New to the world of online business and looking for a host? There are many important factors in choosing a first-time web host, but most customers are after these key things: shared hosting, lots of freebies, and simplicity.
An Affordable Host with a Reliable Set of Functional Features
There are many hosts that provide these things, and Dot5Hosting is one of them. Dot5Hosting is inexpensive, has a lot of helpful features to suit most websites, and everything is very easy to use. There’s even a Quickstart Wizard to get new users on their feet.
But in an admittedly crowded market of hosting providers, what makes this one stand out? The features it provides, the support it offers, or the helpful add-ons (like a web builder)?
Is Dot5Hosting worth your time, and what makes it unique? Let’s see what makes this host stand out from the crowd.
Find What You’re Looking For
History of Dot5Hosting
Dot5Hosting was founded in 2002 with a goal of creating one package for all their users.
At some point, it isn’t clear exactly when, Dot5Hosting was purchased by EIG (Endurance International Group), which owns nearly 100 small hosting companies including HostGator, Bluehost, and A Small Orange. This doesn’t seem to have affected their performance or service.
What Stands Out?
Though there are plenty of shared hosts designed for newer users, Dot5Hosting has quite a few features to help out. Almost everything is tailored to help people who might be a bit clueless about how this whole hosting thing works. It seems especially made for startups beginning their very first projects.
While this means more tech-savvy customers might be better off on a more customizable, self-reliant host, all those folks who have an idea for a website but struggle to get it published have a place to turn to here.
Control Panel: vDeck
Some of the exceptions to this are using vDeck instead of cPanel for the customer control panel. Most people are familiar with cPanel, so using vDeck instead could result in confusion. It also forces a yearly subscription rather than a month-to-month plan, the latter of which may be better for new companies.
Lots of Helpful Features for Newbies
Though those are issues, the bundle of helpful features and a single plan is great for inexperienced users. The CM4all site builder looks easy to use, and the Quickstart Wizard gives clearly outlined steps to get started. It’s cheap, has a helpful user guide and knowledge base, and the support is designed to help customers new to hosting.
And, most importantly, the service comes with a lot of freebies.
Single Plan Hosting
Dot5Hosting runs on a single plan system. You have a choice between a one-year purchase or a discounted two-year one. The lack of on-demand pricing is a downside, and the promotional price will expire by the next year. But even so, it’s still reasonably cheap.
Notable features include:
- Unlimited disk space (as long as you are compliant with their TOS)
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited email accounts
- Host unlimited domains
- A free domain name
- Supports CGI, Ruby, Perl, PHP, MySQL
- e-commerce ready
- Free shopping cart for e-commerce
- Free site builder with templates
- Blogging & Forum Tools
- Hundreds of do-it-yourself tutorials
- 30-day money-back guarantee
The unlimited disk space and unmetered bandwidth mean as long as you follow the Terms of Service, you can store as much data as you need.
However, since this is shared hosting they will likely cut you off if you try to do anything outlandish. This is pretty common for shared hosting plans and likely won’t be an issue if you are just building a standard site.
Along with the initial purchase, you also have your choice of add-ons ranging from WordPress optimization to backups to G Suite for businesses. All of these are fairly cheap, most priced at under $20 a year. They also offer SSL certificates, SiteLock, marketing services, and more.
While charging for backups and security features is still a source of contention, it’s at least extremely affordable. The yearly cost of it looks more like the monthly cost other hosts charge for similar services.
Control Panel is Easy To Use (Even Though It’s Not cPanel)
VDeck is used pretty extensively as well, and learning to use it is a fairly useful skill to have. It’s missing features compared to cPanel, but if you’ve never used either, the lack of features shouldn’t be a problem.
Hosting Plan Features
But what does it offer? Like many hosts of this caliber, it provides “unlimited everything” like:
- Email accounts
- Domains (within reasonable limits, of course)
It comes with a free domain (it’s not clear if it’s free forever or renews), and a website builder to get you started, along with blogging and forum tools for interactivity. It’s a great package to open up your first website with little to no prior experience.
Get Help Build Your Website
Dot5Hosting does a lot to help get your company started.
You get hosting, a domain, and a site builder all in one bundle. Along with that comes ad credits to publicize your brand, and secure email servers with a browser-based manager. But the main focus is the site builder, as a great design is just as important as the underlying hosting supporting it.
CM4all’s sites are responsive — extremely important for most websites, especially online shops — and there are hundreds of widgets to add on from a continually growing network. The sites built are simple yet professional.
Since more than 50% of internet surfers are now using mobile and responsive devices, this feature is timeless.
Additional Tools are Integrated
With a lot of other hosts, you’ll often have to go through other avenues to get a domain, SEO tools, and a site builder. Luckily, they’re all in one place here, so there’s no need to jump through hoops or pay for services with different companies. Just get everything set up in one place, and you’re good to go.
Dot5Hosting comes e-commerce ready, but not in a comprehensive way. It comes with a few nice ad credits and a free YellowPages listing, but beyond that, things get messy.
Is ShopSite Any Good?
It’s integrated with ShopSite, which seems like a decent enough platform. But the free plan has a fifteen product limit, which is pretty limiting even for a basic plan. And unlike the other add-ons, this one doesn’t come cheap.
If you’re running an e-commerce store that sells any sizable number of products, you’ll be on the line for quite a bit of money.
Add More Functionality to Your Online Store
After you sign up, you’ll be connected to Mojo Marketplace, which has all sorts of helpful downloads you can purchase, such as website themes, live chat functionality, and SEO tools. You can also use Mojo to purchase professional services like logo design and writing or editing.
Many web hosting companies offer this connection to Mojo Marketplace.
Grow Traffic with SEO Tools
There’s also SubmitNet, the company’s SEO tools. This tool is expensive as well, and though it’s advertised as free, the plan page doesn’t include a basic plan for non-paying users.
But it does give you access to osCommerce and Agora shopping carts, a lot of self-help articles to get you started, and support for most popular scripting and coding languages.
But some users may be better off going for a host that gives away more e-commerce-related features for free or has stronger integration with multiple shopping platforms. Dot5Hosting is a more generalized platform intended for a broader range of sites.
Add-Ons and Other Products
Dot5Hosting offers more than just hosting and a site builder. For an additional fee, they also offer:
- SSL certificates
- Account set up help
- Marketing services
- SEO services
Below, we will look at a few of the more popular add-ons and why they matter to small businesses.
Easy access to Google Search Console (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools) is another good feature. (Realize though that Google Search Console, like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, are all free products provided by Google.)
The features of Google Search Console include:
- Content access verification
- Discover and fix malware issues
- Keyword analytics
- Data highlighter
- Recommendations for HTML improvements
- Evaluation of cross-platform performance
- Discovery of crawl errors
- Sitemap submission
- Spam protection and evaluation
- SEO support
Starting at $35.99, you can add an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to your site. This gives you an “https” web address and indicates to both search engines and your website visitors that any information they submit to your site is encrypted, and there for more secure.
If you are planning to sell physical or digital products, an SSL certificate is a must-have. It also may give you a small bump in the search engines. However, it is a bit pricey as far as SSL certificates go. It is also worth noting that certificates offer different levels of protection.
SiteLock is a program designed to protect your website against malware and hacking. SiteLock is a well-known brand name and offers pretty solid protection. To protect your website, it is worth the cost.
Dot5Hosting also offers an array of other services through their My Marketing Services portal. You can hire someone to help you build your site, get traffic, get your site listed locally, and even do PPC.
The page looks a little thin, but this host is aimed at those just getting started so the lack of jargon (and details) makes sense.
Customer Service a Technical Support
Dot5 offers 24/7 support through live chat or by phone. They also have an email listed at the bottom of their contact page. However, most of the “support” links direct you to their knowledge base. On the contact page, it says “Have a question about a service? Fill out this form, and our Support Team will get back to you” but the link just takes you to the knowledgebase.
If you are self-directed, this might not be an issue but it is worth considering if you think you will need a lot of support.
A Small Complaint
Not to turn this review negative — Dot5Hosting is a decent choice — but there is one feature that deserves to be pointed out: the pricing model. Promotional prices are one thing, but as long as the customer understands what they’re getting into, there’s little issue with it. And this mid-range shared hosting is priced fairly, even at its renewal rate.
That’s not the issue. While many hosts provide discounts for purchasing long-term plans, it’s another problem entirely when you force customers to buy in bulk. Your only choice is a one- or two-year plan. No month-to-month and only a 30-day guarantee to sure you.
Besides the fact that this could drive away some potential customers, it’s also not viable for many startups.
Not Ideal for an Extended Trial Period
Some companies are experimenting with a new product/site, and if it doesn’t take off, they may move on to something else. Or perhaps the owner may underestimate the costs of running an online business and decide to shut down.
There are many reasons a startup company could end sooner than expected. Month-to-month payments encourage people to test the waters for a few months and see if a business will take off.
But with only yearly plans, this overly restrictive setup can end up being a pretty big downside, and a plan unsuitable for many. The company is upfront about this you’ll realize pretty quickly that there are only these two options. But it’s just something to keep in mind before you go to check out.
Great for Newer Users
While there are some issues here, many are forgivable. This host isn’t going to impress you by offering hundreds of features, but its helpfulness to inexperienced customers stands out.
The perks it provides are quite nice, too. This is a serviceable host that will do fine for many people.
If you’re a startup, a small business, or are new to the online realm and need a helping hand, Dot5Hosting is a great one to look at. There are plenty of hosts meant to help newer users, so examine all your options, but certainly, put this one on the list of potential candidates.
Whether you have no clue what you’re doing or you’ve been through the hosting song and dance before, this service provides plenty of helpful articles, decent e-commerce features, and a lot of great free stuff to take worrying about bandwidth or domain limits off your mind. There are some downsides, of course, but for a first-time host, Dot5 is a quality option.
How Does Dot5 Compare to The Competition?
With so many different hosts, it can be hard to pick the right one. Here is how Dot5 compares against the biggest names in hosting.
|Starter Plan Price||$1.99/month||$6.39/month||$2.75/month||$3.95/month||$3.95/month||$5.95/month|
Both iPage and Dot5 offer unlimited hosting space, traffic, and emails. iPage’s offers fewer template choices but the cost of hosting is cheaper overall. iPage does seem to provide better support, at least for North American users.
InMotion offers cheaper hosting with unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and email (same as Dot5.) However, they also provide a free SSL certificate, where Dot5’s costs $35 and up. InMotion also offers SSD (solid state drive) hosting, which tends to be faster. Both provide a free site builder with templates.
InMotion offers more hosting plans, which might be a better fit for a growing business.
HostGator offers Windows hosting, which Dot5 does not provide. Smaller businesses might not care about this, however. HostGator offers:
- More customizable packages
- Including reseller hosting
These are important if you are planning to host multiple sites.
SiteGround is cheaper than Dot5 for their smallest package, but you can only host one website and they do not offer a free domain. They do provide a free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt and use cPanel, so if those features are important to you, they might be a better option.
Bluehost is much more expensive than Dot5, but you can host up to five sites and they do offer a free domain. They also provide a free SSL certificate and free SiteLock CDN, which are paid options for Dot5. If you need a lot of features, Bluehost may be a better option as the addon add up with Dot5.
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Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin:
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