How do I get 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 basics and it’s a good place to start after you purchase an account.

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, go to the Registrations page.

On the Registrations page, you can register any domain you wish that is still available:
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DreamHost allows the registration of many different Top Level Domains (TLDs). You can view a full list of these on the Registrations page by clicking the ‘See full pricing’ link.

For further information, please review the Domain Registration article.

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
  • Remixer — your site is hosted on the Remixer website builder plan
  • 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, go to the Manage Account page.

On the Manage Account page, you’ll see a section titled ‘Service Plans’:

If you already added a plan, you’ll see it listed here. In this example, a ‘Shared’ hosting plan has been added which is paid upfront at $119.40 for the entire year.

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:

Remixer hosting

DreamHost also offers a custom website builder called 'Remixer' that requires no coding experience. Remixer is a hosting service that is separate from a Fully Hosted plan like Shared, VPS, Dedicated, or DreamPress hosting. With Remixer, you can click to build your site using its online interface. View the following links for further details:

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 WordPress.org. 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 service options

DreamHost can help you migrate your site, whether it's through the paid WordPress Migration Service or the complimentary DreamPress migration tool using the panel, which are both described below.

If you are having trouble migrating a WordPress site from another host yourself or just don't have the time, DreamHost currently offers a service that takes care of that for you: for just $99 and in less than 48 hours, DreamHost will move your WordPress site without any downtime. Please take a look at the Terms of Service (TOS) for further details about the process. If you want DreamHost to move forward with migrating your site, please submit a ticket with the domain name you wish to migrate and also include the following statement:

I agree to the WordPress migrations TOS and the $99 charge.

DreamHost will then pass your ticket to the capable hands of the Professional Services team to get you started.

DreamPress option to migrate your site to a new domain

You can also upgrade your new domain to DreamPress, which offers an Import option. 

If your current WordPress site was installed and managed by DreamHost's One-Click Installer, you can set up DreamPress on the new domain name and import the content of the current WordPress site into the new DreamPress domain. You can add DreamPress on a new domain on your DreamHost panel at DreamPress. Please see the following guide for how to import content in DreamPress:

If your current WordPress site is not managed by the One-Click Installer, you can submit a ticket to request your site be converted to a One-Click Install.

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 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:

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 New Email Address 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 MX record article for further instructions.

Adding site statistics

All DreamHost accounts have the ability to add site statistics to any fully-hosted website, which you can enable in the panel. There, you can track information such as 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 malware remover 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 Malware Remover 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

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Article last updated PST.