DreamHost MySQL VPS: Need it? Speed Test & Case Study

Getting VPS hosting with DreamHost in 2024? Wondering if there’s need for the dedicated MySQL database add-on? Need speed?

In this review, I’ve done my best to answer all this.

DreamHost has affordable VPS hosting plans which all come with a unique IP, fast SSD storage, plenty of ram (basic 1GB is enough to run big websites) and unlimited everything else. There just has to be a ‘but’ in all this — the MySQL server is shared unless you pay at least 15/month. You do get a one week free trial of a privately run database, but it’s a nuisance to setup just to figure out if you need it or not.

DreamHost Mysql

Wanting a definite answer — I have tested page speeds and processing time globally, with a resource hogging website running WordPress & Piwik Analytics (both with MySQL cravings). And came to some very conclusive conclusions!!

I went through the trouble of running the install with and without a private database to compare the results — and I have affordable news for you.

1. If you have multiple websites, other uses than WordPress and choose DreamHost VPS — most users won’t need to pay extra for dedicated MySQL.

2. If you want to run a super-fast WordPress site: you are cheaper and faster of with Managed WordPress Hosting AKA ‘DreamPress 2‘.

Will MySQL VPS Give You..

  • a more reliable database connection? — Possible.
  • a significant boost in performance? — Unlikely.

And, — Test Results

Tests were run from five locations: California, New York, Texas, Australia & Sweden to see improvement after MySQL VPS was enabled. TTFB means Time To First Byte — how long it takes for the website to start loading.

Average Page Load Time: 0.128seconds (128 Milliseconds) faster

Average TTFB: 0.0234seconds (23.4 Milliseconds) faster


It was not difficult to hold my excitement when the results came in. While I have no doubt that MySQL VPS will prioritize database access and has benefits — with such a small difference in numbers, I could not find any evidence of a real performance boost. The  slightly faster results can be purely coincidental because obviously the tests were done on a different day. Neither the often ‘verbally communicative’ DreamHost staff were willing to comment if such a benefit was to be expected.

The tested website was mostly code that utilizes the MySQL database to render content. Also Piwik Analytics which was running in the background, is known to be heavy on database use. As well as the website has an average of 1500visits/day. Overall not bad for a test on database resources. So this would certainly have to be tested in a very demanding environment to seek potential benefits.

Then again, if you are running a huge website or a very large number of sites at once, it’s more likely that even marginal increase in performance is worth the investment. Those who have none-huge websites and just need a powerful hosting architecture for their business are more likely to question the need for dedicated MySQL. And those businesses are potentially less likely to need it.

The Data

Here are screenshots of the tests done to assess this case study.

  • Dallas, Texas, USA

MySQL VPS Dallas

  • New York City, New York, USA

MySQL VPS New York

  • San Jose, California, USA

MySQL VPS San Jose

  • Stockholm, Sweden

MySQL VPS Stockholm

  • Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

MySQL VPS Melbourne

Do note! This website was not optimized in any way for the purpose of testing resource consumption. Obviously with various tweaks and a smart setup, you can run websites much faster with DreamHost.

Good to Know

Setting up MySQL VPS from install will make things much easier of course. While you can upgrade (or downgrade) at any time, it’s good to know a couple of things.

  • Databases are migrated to the new environment only at midnight pacific time after upgrading the database.
  • The migration is completely automatic, however there is a short down time. Luckily however, with even a bigger 500MB database, migration was quick.

Click here to continue reading about MySQL databases on DreamHost

Hope this was helpful and comments always most welcome! Thanks!

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