Wordpress vs. VPS vs. Cloud Computing


I’m doing some shopping for a non-profit and trying to balance our very low budget with a fairly robust hosting option. I’m also a sysadmin by trade so I’m open to saving money by using my own labor to maintain a VPS. One thing I will not do is maintain an email system, that’s best left to others, IMO.

We have one main site and around 30 subsites that have very little traffic. I think this rules out the DreamHost WordPress hosting option as anything beyond two sites falls into the “contact us” pricing realm.

That would leave the VPS and Cloud Computing options.

The VPS appears to be “managed” but I don’t quite see what that entails. Is it basically a VPS where you don’t have root but are able to install various services/packages via some web UI? Am I able to setup my normal Nginx/PHP-FPM/Varnish stack on there for WP? Are any email accounts included in this service that are hosted by Dreamhost outside the VPS?

Cloud Computing looks interesting, I assume it’s cheaper because it’s not “managed”. My only question there is does DH provide any email accounts?

Lastly, if the VPS or Cloud options do NOT include email, is it possible to purchase that as an add-on?

  • For all options, you need to have a base/shared DH account. This comes with free and unlimited email. So to categorically respond to all of your inquiries on that, you get email with shared, VPS, and DreamCompute ( = DC = cloud ).
  • VPS is managed LAMP. You get unlimited MySQL with the base account. You can use those servers with VPS, or you can get a special MySQL VPS so that you’re not sharing database services with others.
  • DC is not managed in any way. You’re free to abuse, tune, and do whatever you want. DH support is almost exclusively limited to the OpenStack services which provide your hardware - what you do with your hardware is up to you.
  • As with VPS, with DC you can still use the base MySQL if that suits your purposes (I do this). Or you can create a new server just to support your databases. Or you can install your databases on the same server as your web server.
  • If your normal stack is Nginx/PHP-FPM/Varnish, I recommend DC, but only because that specific stack might not be supported by DH in VPS. If they do support it, you might want to go with VPS just to get your feet wet and get running, then when the pressure is off in stall and configure DC servers to your taste, and migrate when convenient.
  • I don’t believe DH offers for-fee email services. For my primary services I’m using a third party. With the cost of that, my expanding needs, and DH issues over the last decade-plus with email, I’m strongly inclined now to configure my own email services. While very time consuming and possibly volatile, I consider that option potentially more attractive than trusting others with my fate. YMMV
  • DC is great and inexpensive. It compares well to competitors. But it does require an education. So don’t take on DC in a time crunch and/or with commitments to others. Take it on in your own time, in small pieces. Research as you go. Have patience. I wrote a tutorial for the HowTo here but have not yet published - just no time, but I should start to post monthly articles (or more frequent) within the next month.

If I missed anything, please note it for another round.

Good luck!



Any better place to ask this?


What’s wrong with the extensive and complete answers that I already provided?


I posted my bump before you posted your answer. :slight_smile: (held for moderation, not sure why).


Dang. Email is really becoming the sticking point here. Legit hosted email-only seems to be at a minimum $2/user/month (fastmail or similar). What are the general sort of issues with DH email? Periods of unavailability, lost mail, slow delivery, poor deliverability due to abuse? I actually started poking around DH because they were listed as an atmail customer (and they generally have built a nice mail platform).

Thanks for the detailed answer, very much appreciated.


Hi chas-atnj,

DreamCompute does not include email. However, we do provide free shared hosting for non-profits which does come with email so you can set an account up with both and just pay for the DC instance. More info on our non-profit plan can be found here: https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us/articles/215769478-Non-profit-discount

Also please note that VPS service does include email.



@MariT : Unless I’m not understanding correctly…

A for-profit entity must have a DH “regular” shared account as a pre-requisite to using DreamCompute.
Regular shared accounts come with email, therefore all for-profit DreamCompute users have email.

A non-profit entity gets a DH “regular” shared account for free. But paid or not, a regular DH account is still a pre-requisite to using DreamCompute. So all non-profit DreamCompute users also have email.

Since everyone must have a DH account, and all DH accounts come with email, then all accounts, whether shared, VPS, or DC get email.

Therefore this is not correct:

DreamCompute does not include email


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.