Dotster Hosting Review: Can This Domain Registrar Really Win At Hosting? We Found Out.

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At first glance, Dotster appears to be only a domain registrar. However, they also offer some formidable hosting plans, starting as low as a few dollars per month for one domain. Since they host websites for millions of customers, they’re worth consideration.

If you need a website quickly or you want to minimize your learning curve, Dotster offers an “instant website” that’s free for 30 days. This plan is ideal for people who just want to hang out a shingle on the web or get the word out about an event. Setup for instant websites is fully automated and comes with some nifty extras like social tool integration and embeddable maps and images.

Dotster is serious about sustainable business, believing that “good business decisions are also good for the environment.” They purchase renewable energy credits for 150% of the power the company requires and plant a tree for each new hosting customer.

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dotster homepage

About Dotster

Dotster was founded by George DeCarlo in Vancouver in 1999. It currently operates from a massive data center in Massachusetts.  The company’s mission from the very beginning was to deliver high-quality services and products as well as superior online tools so customers could create or expand a successful business in their particular marketplace. Today, Dotster has over three million customers and that number is growing rapidly. The company is listed as among the world’s biggest registrars of domain names.

Dotster is now part of the Endurance International Group (EIG), which is the parent company for a large number of smaller hosts, including HostGator, Arvixe, A Small Orange, and Site5. EIG’s acquisition of Dotster does not seem to have changed any of the company’s core values, and users will likely notice no difference.

Dotster has committed to becoming a Green Hosting provider. One initiative is to buy renewable energy credits that equal 150% of the consumption of server energy. It’s better than 100% which merely negates the carbon footprint. It actually offsets all power used and creates an extra 50%. Every plan you pay for helps in this worthwhile endeavor.

Dotster also supports the Trees for the Future Program by buying a tree for every new Dotster customer. While one tree per customer may seem small, it’s very significant when you consider the number of customers that Dotster actually has. This initiative helps to keep our planet alive. Customers can include badges on their sites to tell their customers that they’re powered by green renewable energy. It’s another positive selling point to help customers increase their own client base.

Try Dotster. Get started now.

Dotster’s Main Features

Dotster is a surprisingly robust host, particularly considering the cost of the hosting packages they offer. Below are some of the most popular features.

  • A free domain name for the first term
  • Lots of new TLDs. Very useful in today’s market because most of the (dot) com and other popular TLDs have already been used
  • Hosting is available for both Windows and Linux platforms
  • 24/7/365 support via phone, live chat, and email tickets
  • A vast knowledgebase
  • Do-it-yourself website builders
  • Unlimited sites
  • Unlimited disc space
  • Hosting for WordPress sites
  • The servers are housed in the US
  • Variety of installs, including Drupal, Joomla, MediaWiki, and Magento

Here are some of the most important features and benefits of Dotster hosting.

doster homepage
If you want hosting with Dotster, keep your eye out for special deals announced on their homepage.

SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates offer an added layer of security for data you collect on your website. For site users, they also serve as a trust indicator that you are who you say you are.

Choose From a Variety of SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates do not come standard with any hosting packages, but you can add them on for an additional fee. $35 per year to as high as $269 per year.

Choose from Domain Validated SSL, Wildcard SSL, and an Enhanced E-commerce protection. Dotster does not offer True BusinessID, which is a popular SSL option offered by GeoTrust.

Get Website Design and Marketing Help

Need a site built, but don’t have the budget for a full-fledged designer or the time or skills to do it yourself? Dotster offers a talented design team who can build you a 5-page website, which includes content creation for three pages, basic SEO, and the addition of any branding you already have.

These sites are likely very basic but may serve the needs of smaller businesses.

They also offer additional marketing services such as SEO, local SEO, content marketing, and expert consultations, all for additional fees.

Increase Your Business’s Visibility

The company has a new solution for marketing called Local Site Promotion. This tool has numerous features including:

  1. Targeting specific areas geographically
  2. Budget-friendly options
  3. Only pay for results, not impressions
  4. Tracking campaigns, creating special offers and making search engines work in your favor

This solution is particularly useful for small businesses with a brick and mortar store.

dotster marketing services
Dotster marketing services: If you think you could use this type of assistance with your online presence, consider Dotster’s offerings.

What’s Their Customer Service Like?

Dotster’s commitment to its customers is a significant feature. This commitment has three main prongs.

One-on-One Customer Support

You have access to some of the best services and products that you would expect from a company that’s among the largest in its field. Despite that, you receive the type of customer care you want from a company that respects small business owners.

No Pushy Salespeople

You won’t face unwanted advertising or people trying to offer you extra upsell products or services you don’t want or need.

Instead, the focus is on delivering secure solutions, innovative products as they become available (in addition to existing options) and believable deals.

One-Stop Shop for Small Business

As a company that has been in business for 15 years, you have full access to experts who will provide everything you need all in one place.

This includes hosting, domain names, the marketing services, custom website designs and business emails. It’s a one-stop-shop to help you create your own long-term web presence, confident that Dotster is also in it for the long haul.

Security and Backups

Your site(s) are secure with Dotster because of existing multiple backups, redundancies, fire-protection, earthquake protection, humidity and temperature monitoring, video monitoring 24/7/365 and much, much more.

Hosting Types and Plans

Dotster is unlike other hosting companies when it comes to hosting plans.

Linux and Windows

  • There are three shared plans for Linux users.
  • There are different three shared plans for Windows users.

Comparison Table of Dotster’s Linux Shared Hosting Plans

FEATURES BASIC PLAN DELUXE PLAN ULTRA PLAN
Website Disk Space Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth Scalable Scalable Scalable
# of domains hosted 1 Unlimited Unlimited
Subdomains Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Email addresses 100 250 Unlimited
FTP logins 5 25 Unlimited
MySQL databases 10 25 Unlimited
Drag-n-Drop site builder
DNS management
Standard forwarding
Web analytics tool
Multiple versions of PHP
PERL/Python

VPS Hosting

You may prefer to use VPS so you have access to a virtual dedicated server without the big price tag.

Dotster does not offer true dedicated hosting. The difference is that multiple virtual private servers are grouped together to share a server. With dedicated servers (which can be expensive) there’s a single customer or account on a server.

WordPress

Dotster does provide one WordPress specific hosting plan.

Try Dotster. 30-day money-back guarantee.

How is the Customer and Technical Support?

Dotster offers 24/7 support by phone, chat, and online. For smaller business owners who may be working off hours, this is a nice feature. Other benefits of support include:

  • Extensive knowledge base and user guides
  • Live chat
  • Ticketing support
  • Phone support
  • Video tutorials

There’s a “Premium Support” Option

If you’re an Ultra Plan subscriber, you get “premium support” that gives you access to a toll-free phone number and faster response times.

The company uses Facebook and Twitter for many of its interactions with customers. However, if you require technical support, you must ring them or submit a ticket.

Is There a Money-Back Guarantee? Uptime Guarantee?

Yes. Dotster offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unhappy with the service. However, they will charge at least $35 as an early cancellation fee. The refund only applies if you use a credit card.

There’s no refund after 30 days of use.

Dotster offers 99.9% uptime, and if you do have downtime, you’ll receive service credits as compensation.

Bonuses/Extras

When joining or adding new sites to your business, you get your domain name for free for the first term.

You get an extra 1 GB of free storage in the Cloud for videos, images, and music.

The company provides $100 worth of Google Adwords advertising credits and another $100 for Yahoo and Bing advertising.

Pros and Cons of Dotser Hosting Plans 

So, is Dotster any good? It really depends upon your needs.

For small businesses, Dotster is a solid option for inexpensive hosting. Medium-sized businesses may also do well with Dotster.

Enterprise sites or sites with large amounts of traffic may find the host is too limited for their needs. Consider the following pros and cons before making your decision.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • A wide range of plan options
  • Dedicated to being a green hosting provider
  • Dotster is rated a B from the Better Business Bureau.
  • Unrestricted monthly bandwidth and disc storage space.
  • You gain access to a range of applications and a 1-click piece of software for easy installations.
  • Listed as advanced tools, you have access to a web analytics tool, a drag and drop site builder and a filter to eliminate spam.

Cons

  • The web host site seems difficult to navigate compared to other hosting providers.
  • The basic hosting plan only allows for one small blog and a single domain on a single account. It also only allows for 100 email addresses, 10 MySQL databases, and 5 FTP logins.
  • There has been a lot of negative feedback online about the loading speed of their pages. Having a fast-loading site is critical to e-commerce. But realize some speed factors have to do with how your site itself (how it’s coded, whether you use large image files, etc.)
  • Others have complained about the efficiency and quality of support offered by the Dotster experts.
  • Some customers complained about getting generic answers to specific problems

Summary

Dotster is certainly a successful hosting provider but it has quite a few idiosyncrasies when compared to other providers. It might not be as easy to use as other hosts, though the dedication to the environment does set them apart.

As with all hosting sites, it’s critical to do your due diligence before making any sort of commitment. Money should never be the only deciding factor.

 

Try Dotster. 30-day money-back guarantee.

 

Cheatsheet of Dotster Hosting Features

We’ve covered a lot in this review. Here’s a wrap on Dotster’s main features.

  1. Linux hosting plans
  2. Email hosting
  3. VPS (virtual private server) hosting for business
  4. cPanel (easy-to-use control panel)
  5. Domain registration and renewal
  6. Domain transfer
  7. Domain tools
  8. Private domain registration
  9. SSL certificates
  10. Custom website design
  11. Marketing services for small businesses including email marketing, SEO services and custom content,
    and local SEO to help your business be found
  12. Affiliate program

Dotster FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Doster.

What is Dotster domain privacy?

When you register a domain, your name and contact information is made public by default. Dotster domain privacy substitutes generic contact information in the place of your personal information. Benefits include avoiding telemarketers or spammers, or as a small business owner, simply keeping your home address private.

Who owns Dotster?

Dotser, headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, is owned by Endurance International Group (EIG).  Dozens of web hosts are under the EIG umbrella, including HostGator, FastDomain, PowWeb, FatCow, StartLogic, and Site5. Dotster was founded by George DeCarlo in 1999.

What is dotster-inc.com?

This is the corporate website of the parent company of Dotster. The site features only a homepage with a brief description of Dotster’s offerings. There is no list of employees or management. As a point of interest, the dotster-inc site is not hosted by Dotster, but by iPage, another EIG-owned host. Out of curiosity, we also researched the Dotster.com site, and found it’s also hosted by iPage. (The research tool we used is on the home page of WhoIsHostingThis.com.)

Dotster Web Hosting Plans & Prices

Dotster offers shared hosting and VPS hosting. Here below is an overview of their hosting plans and current price list. For the latest and most up-to-date prices, and more information on their hosting services, visit Dotster’s website.

Plan nameDiskspaceBandwidthMonthly price
Basic Shared Hosting Unlimited Unlimited 3.75
Deluxe Shared Hosting Unlimited Unlimited 6.75
Ultra Shared Hosting Unlimited Unlimited 13.75
Standard VPS Hosting 20 GB 1000 GB 29.70
Pro VPS Hosting 60 GB 1500 GB 41.60
Premium VPS Hosting 60 GB 2000 GB 67.95

 

Try Dotster. 30-day money-back guarantee

 

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Bluehost Review

People share their opinions about companies on Twitter each and every day. We monitor tweets about Dotster and apply a sentiment analysis algorithm that classifies these tweets as positive or negative. Every review is from a real person opinion. We use this information and output an approval rating score, which is based on real people, positive and negative, opinions about Dotster on Twitter

Dotster Review on Twitter

We monitor tweets about Dotster and apply sentiment analysis to classify tweets as positive or negative. This allows us to output an approval rating score, which is based on real people, positive and negative, opinions about Dotster on Twitter. Dotster approval rating score is 35%. This is based on a total of 603 tweets that mention Dotster on Twitter. There are 212 mentions that share a positive sentiment and 391 mentions that express a negative sentiment. Find out more about how it works.

Dotster Rating

35% Score

Dotster vs Competitor Ratings

  •  All reviews  (603)
  •   | 
  •  Positive   (212)
  •   | 
  •  Negative   (391)

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Michael Barnes (@PolicyRiot)

@Dotster -Sad that twitter is my last recourse, short legal action, to restore rights to a South TX school's digital property @monitornews

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

Joe Diamond (@JoeDiamondLive)

Haven't used @Dotster in years, yet they still charge me for my site renewal? How does that work? Hate that I'm still dealing with this!

If you still don’t know if Dotster is right for you based on our analysis, check our our sister site WhoIsHostingThis.com. There you will find roughly a reviews from actual Dotster users just like you. No bias — just the straight dope from other website owners.