I want to thank everyone for their replies - lots of good info there.
The web panel (control panel) sounds pretty useful. I don't mind a learning curve - I'll figure it out eventually (maybe/hopefully) ... actually I sort of like stuff like that.
I also like the fact that their secure login page (https://panel.dreamhost.com/) actually works in my browser and OS (a prehistoric Mac), without giving some silly error message(s) like some other hosting sites that I've been looking at.
On a somewhat-related topic, I also noticed that Dreamhost supports SFTP - and that's good, IMO. I guess that means (I think) that I could upload stuff via SFTP and still have a secure login, apparently, without having to use the web-panel unless I wanted to for some other reason.
Overall, everything sounds pretty good about Dreamhost, so I may put my site here. My only reservation is the 91-day guarantee thing, since 90 days is (so I've been told) supposedly the credit card companies' limit on refunds/disputes/whatever and after that you're basically on your own, but maybe that isn't anything to worry about, after all... hey, paranoia has kept me alive in some dicey circumstances, so it isn't all bad. Anyway everything looks pretty nice.
I went ahead and registered for the forum here so that I could make this reply (and in case I sign up for hosting later), although I'm not sure I'm doing the "reply" thing correctly - I don't know which post is the correct one to reply to if I want it to show up as a general reply to all previous replies... if I've screwed it up somehow, please forgive my ignorance.
Thanks again for all the replies, I really appreciate it!