Getting started


This article introduces you to DreamHost’s most important services you need to set up your website. While this doesn't cover everything, it does cover the five basic steps to help you get started after you purchase an account.

Step 1: Basic setup

Step 2: Add a hosting plan

Step 3: WordPress hosting options

Step 4: Add an SSL certificate

Step 5: Additional configurations

Step 1: Basic setup


Creating a DreamHost account

If you wish to use any DreamHost services, you must create an account. View the following article for instructions on how to open an account.

Logging into the panel

Once you finish the signup process, you’ll receive a message to notify you that your account is set up. From there, you can log in to the panel at:

To log in, use the credentials within the email that was sent to you.

Registering a domain

To load any web page, the owner must first own the registration of the domain name. If you do not own the registration, you have no right to use the domain name.

To register a domain, navigate to the Manage Registrations page.

On the Manage Registrations page, you can register any domain you wish that is still available.

DreamHost allows the registration of many different Top Level Domains (TLDs). You can view a full list of these on the Manage Registrations page by clicking the See full pricing link.

For further information, please review the Domain Registration article.

Step 2: Add a hosting plan

After you purchase a registration, you must then add a hosting plan in order for it to resolve online. There are a few different hosting options you can use for your domain.

  • Fully hosted — your site is hosted on a server and is visible online
  • WordPress — your site is still Fully Hosted, but it's running the software for WordPress
  • DreamPress — your site is Fully Hosted and running WordPress, but it's hosted on the DreamPress plan

Adding a hosting plan

To add a hosting plan to your account, navigate to the Manage Account page.

On the Manage Account page, you’ll see a section titled Active Plans.

If you already added a plan, you’ll see it listed here. If you do not see a plan, add one by clicking the Add a Hosting Plan link.

Add Hosting Plan

Adding hosting to a domain

View the following article for instructions on how to add hosting to your domain so it is Fully Hosted.

Even if you set a site to be FULLY HOSTED in your panel, that still does not mean it’s hosted at DreamHost. Your DNS records must also point to your DreamHost server. The company that hosts your Nameservers controls your DNS. You can check where the nameservers are pointed by looking up your public WHOIS information here:

If the nameservers are set to DreamHost already, then all you need to do is set up hosting. View the following articles for further information:

Step 3: WordPress hosting options


Adding WordPress

WordPress is the world's most popular content management system (CMS), and DreamHost is one of the very few recommended providers by If you're new to hosting a website, you'll want to check out WordPress to help you build your website. Within minutes, you can build a site that incorporates all of the modern features that websites now include, with a nearly limitless capacity to add new features as you need them.

To help you get started with building a WordPress site at DreamHost, please see the following articles:

DreamPress Hosting

DreamPress is DreamHost's managed WordPress product, which provides even more powerful features such as larger memory & storage plans, faster speeds, and improved caching.

More information on DreamPress can be found here:

WordPress migration options

View the following article for a list of the different options available to migrate WordPress:

If you are having trouble migrating your website from another host, or just don't have the time, DreamHost currently offers a WordPress Migration Service that takes care of that for you. You can find more information in the DreamHost Website migration services article.

If your WordPress site is already hosted at DreamHost and you need to migrate it to another DreamHost account, view the following article instead.

Step 4: Add an SSL certificate


Adding an SSL certificate to a domain

After you set up hosting for your domain, it's highly recommended that you also add an SSL certificate to it (either a free Let's Encrypt or a professionally-signed certificate). Adding a certificate is a simple process that not only secures your site for transactions and eCommerce, but also ensures that your site is rated as secure. In fact, Google will more favorably rank it since having a secure site is an important factor in search rankings.

To help you get started with adding a certificate, please see the following articles:

Step 5: Additional configurations

The following are additional services or products you can add to your site, but are not mandatory in order for it to operate.

Creating an email address

Once you add hosting to a domain, you can then create an email address(es).

To create an email address:

  1. Go to the Manage Email page.
  2. Click the Create Email button at the top.
    You’ll then be able to enter a new email and a password.

Once you save the changes, the necessary DNS records for mail are added to your site’s DNS.

More information can be found at Email Setup regarding the creation and configuration of email accounts with DreamHost.

It is also possible to host your email outside of DreamHost. To host elsewhere, you can configure custom MX records to point to your external mail host. Visit the following article for further instructions.

Adding site statistics

All DreamHost accounts have the ability to add site statistics to any non-DreamPress fully-hosted website, which you can enable on the Site Statistics page. There, you can track information such as the number of requests, traffic by domain, traffic by file, requests by browser types/OSs/URLs, and more.

To find out more about adding site statistics to your site, please see the following articles:

Adding the DreamShield website security service

DreamHost also offers a paid security service in the panel. When enabled, this service allows you to scan your website for malware and alerts you if any issues are found.

To learn more about how to enable the Website Security service, please see the following article:

Contacting support

If there’s anything support may assist you with regarding setting up and loading your website, feel free to submit a support ticket on the Contact Support page of your panel.

See also

Did this article answer your questions?

Article last updated PST.

Still not finding what you're looking for?