HostGator vs DreamHost
When shopping for a web host, you might have come across two of the most popular hosting companies namely HostGator and DreamHost. And if you’re hesitating between these two hosting giants, choosing the right one isn’t an easy task.
Just like every web host out there, they each have their pros and cons. So which one is the best? HostGator and DreamHost are two well-known web hosting companies vying for your business. Our DreamHost vs HostGator comparison looks at a set of must-have web hosting features and we score each company.
Not Exactly a Startup
HostGator is one of the top ten largest hosting providers, with over 8 million hosted domains. Dreamhost is known for one for having one of the longest money-back guarantees.
Whichever web host you decide going with. It’s always important to spend time researching both companies. Since both DreamHost and HostGator have generous money-back guarantees, you can even give them both a try and see which one you prefer.
| Unlimited disk space|
45-day money back guarantee
More features at hostgator.com
|From 2.75 /mo||67% score|| Visit website|
| Free domain for life|
Automated daily backups
97-day money-back guarantee
Endorsed by WordPress.org
More features at DreamHost
|From 2.59 /mo||76% score|| Visit website|
So let’s see how the actual hosting plans and packages fare against one another, with our two contenders.
Hostgator’s Flexible Hosting Plans
HostGator has flexible shared hosting plans, all offering unmetered bandwidth and one-click installs. The basic plan is $2.75/month and comes with one domain, with the mid-range and high tier plans offering support for unlimited domains. HostGator’s cloud hosting package has a similar offering.
HostGator supports dozens of quick-install applications.
Plans provide up to 6 GB of memory and 6 core CPU, and a dedicated IP address. The web host’s VPS hosting package offers up to 8GB and bandwidth scales from 1.5TB, 2 TB to 3TB. Disk space ranges from 120 GB, 165 GB to 240 GB.
Comparing HostGator’s Plans Side-by-Side
Ideally, you want solid knowledge on exact performance statistics of HostGator’s plans, so we picked out their web hosting plans for comparison.
|Hatchling Plan||Baby Plan||Business Plan|
|Freebies||SSL Certificate||SSL Certificate||SSL Certificate|
Upgrade to positive SSL
|Pricing||from $2.75/month||from $3.95/month||from $5.95/month|
Overall, it’s fair to say that HostGator offers some very fairly-priced web hosting.
DreamHost has one shared hosting package, billed differently depending on the plan duration you select (month-to-month, annual, three-year plan.) You can get it for $2.59/month.
You’ll get the following with most plans:
- Unlimited data transfer
- Unlimited e-mail
- Automated daily backups
- Free SSL via Let’s Encrypt
- A free domain included (with annual or three-year plans)
For VPS hosting, Dreamhost recommends their basic package for new and small websites. It comes with unmetered bandwidth, 1GB ram and you can host unlimited domains. Cloud hosting packages start at $4.95/month for 2 GB RAM and 80 GB SSD (solid-state drive) storage.
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS platforms, and most hosting providers offered specialized packages to host WordPress sites.
On HostGator’s WordPress clouding hosting package, the web host will transfer your WordPress site from another web hosting service at no cost. The hosting service provides unmetered disk and bandwidth with its WordPress plans.
Video above: DreamHost explains the difference between shared and managed WordPress hosting. The DreamHost YouTube channel has only a handful of videos. If you prefer to learn by video, you may want to compare their channel with HostGator’s.
DreamHost’s Shared and Managed WordPress Hosting
Dreamhost’s WordPress offering starts with a $2.59/month shared hosting option with WordPress pre-installed. Dreamhost also has cloud-hosted WordPress options and VPS Managed WordPress plans. It promises fast site speeds even when your website traffic grows.
Their managed high-performance plan offers the following feature set:
- 1 WordPress Website
- Up to 100k monthly visitors
- 30 GB SSD storage
- SSL certificate installed
- E-mail hosting support
- Free Jetpack installation
- 1-click staging
- 24/7 support
- Easy-to-use control panel
While these are great perks, it comes in pricey at $16.95/month.
Control Panel Comparison
Both web hosts let you manage your site via control panels. You can control all the technical aspects of your hosting service from one interface. Most web hosting providers use an industry-standard control panel.
HostGator’s control panel is easy to navigate and it’s the same version used by most hosting services. From HostGator’s control manage, you can add CMS, monitor your site traffic and create and manage customized email accounts.
More or Less Simple With Both Hosts
If you are new web hosting, you won’t struggle to master HostGator’s control panel.
Dreamhost has its own proprietary control panel, but you manage most of the same aspects from your account. Although it has the same features as the industry-standard control panel, it might take you longer to navigate, but still easy to pick up.
Site Speed: Will My Website Load Quickly?
The best web hosts will use technology to increase the speed of your site. This is important because there’s a link between fast sites and increased conversions.
Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, a slow site will frustrate your customers. HostGator uses a Cloud Delivery Network (CDN) to keep response times high for your website when delivering web content to your customers. Dreamhost also uses a CDN to improve response time.
Reliability and Uptime Guarantees: What Happens if Your Website Goes Offline?
This is a straightforward comparison ground. The host with less chance of experiencing downtime has the upper hand. While overall uptime guarantees are important, we must bear precautions and compensation in mind too.
HostGator – 3/5
A 99.9% guaranteed uptime is provided for your website and you may receive a credit for the month’s hosting if this performance percentage isn’t at that level.
The guarantee isn’t relevant in the cases of scheduled maintenance periods designed to keep you running at peak efficiency.
HostGator has discretion when it comes to refunding money so you must have a valid reason and contact them prior to the end of the following month.
DreamHost – 4/5
DreamHost offers an 100% uptime guarantee. You receive one day of credit for each hour (or part thereof) that your service is interrupted.
This is limited to a maximum amount of 10% of your hosting fee. This doesn’t apply to any scheduled maintenance time.
DreamHost have created an uptime monitor for a majority of their services.
The downtime starts when the customer creates a support ticket to report that they can’t access their site. It also doesn’t apply if the customer has somehow caused their own site to crash due to configuration or coding mistakes made by the customer.
No Refund Needed from DreamHost
DreamHost isn’t obliged to provide a refund for any downtime incurred for any reason. So be wary of what you do and say so they have no reason to refuse your request for the refund.
Security: What’s the Quality of Their Datacenters, Site Protection, and Infrastructure?
You want your site to be guaranteed top-notch security without having to deal with sleepless nights, or an empty wallet even.
HostGator – 3/5
HostGator only does weekly backups so you should do your own daily backups as well. You’ll be charged a fee to restore your site from a backup. Malware scans are also only conducted weekly.
Their datacenters with strong infrastructure have multiple redundancies to provide smart foreseeable risk management. Keeping your site online has been made paramount.
Hurricane Shelters Protecting Your Business
They even have hurricane shelters and their locations are outside the FEMA 500 year floodplain. Administrators and technicians are onsite 24/7/365 to fix problems before they become worse.
They’re protected by biometric locks, mantraps, CCTV monitoring at all times and secured entrances.
Other protection includes uninterrupted power supplies, high-tech cooling systems, and redundant chillers to ensure servers won’t overheat, diesel generators, fire suppressors, smoke detectors and much more.
DreamHost – 5/5
DreamHost has partnered with StopTheHacker to offer all members superior security in a huge multitude of ways including malware and virus scans, protection against being on blacklists, daily scans of the site to ensure the highest reputation level and much more. They offer four plans according to your needs.
They also provide automated daily backups on all plans. They also handle updating WordPress core software and provide security updates for clients.
Datacenters and Infrastructure
Centers are manned 24/7 by technicians and support staff. CCTV is monitored 24/7. All doors are security doors to keep out intruders.
Multiple redundant lines of physical security ensure they have an uninterrupted power supply and other equipment designed to protect the servers from getting too hot (among other things).
Scalability: How Easy is it to Accommodate Traffic Surges or Upgrade Your Plan?
It is common to experience significant growth in terms of visitors and site-popularity. This will inevitably require more resources, so the flexibility to upgrade is vital to bear in mind.
HostGator – 5/5
If you’re unsure how fast your needs will grow, you can choose a monthly contract instead of a longer commitment. Then you can upgrade when the need arises and you’ll only pay the difference in cost between the two contracts.
If you do an upgrade from a shared plan to a reseller option, your site will be transferred “as is.”
DreamHost – 5/5
You can upgrade or downgrade your site. The only fees involved are the difference in amounts between the first plan and the second. Obviously, either you or a support person does the upgrade and then it goes live.
You may choose a monthly or yearly contract and DreamHost can help you choose the best one.
Cancellation: Can I Cancel or Will I be Stuck in a Contract? Is There a Money-Back Guarantee?
Should you be trying either of these hosts, this section is very relevant. Even if you’re directly committing to a plan, you want to know your chances of getting your money back, if services aren’t up to scratch.
HostGator – 4/5
HostGator offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for the contract itself. All the extras such as domain name, admin fees, custom installations and other add-ons.
If you don’t use a credit card to pay for your hosting, your refund can only be applied to the account you have.
Only newcomers to HostGator qualify for this rebate.
DreamHost – 5/5
DreamHost offers a 97-day money-back guarantee, one of the best available. However, you only qualify if you initially paid by credit card and only for shared hosting. Other payments methods aren’t eligible for refunds.
- Domain names, third-party services, and DreamHost partners also aren’t involved in a refund.
- You can choose a monthly or yearly plan. The yearly plans are cheaper but if you’re not sure of anything, the monthly might be the way to go.
If you wish to cancel your account after the 97 days has passed, they’ll most likely give you a refund on most things including some you wouldn’t get if it was under the 97 days.
Support: What Customer and Technical Support Options Are Available? During What Hours?
While it’s nice to have a hosting team based in your country, you cannot always guarantee the support team will be. For this reason, 24/7 support should be standard on your list of must-haves.
Some of you may ask – why would you need it all day, all week? Well, believe me, there are reasons. In the meantime, take a look at why instant availability across multiple platforms is key:
- Unexpected downtime
- Resource overload
- Development-related query
- Restricted access
- Immediate rebate of funds
- Should you not have internet access, you need phone support
- Should you not have phone access, you need online support
- Your revenue depends on the site’s uptime
- Your business’ reputation is on the line
Now it’s time to compare the two providers.
HostGator – 5/5
HostGator offers 24/7/365 for just about all the types of support you could imagine.
This includes phone calls, live chat, emails, more than 500 different tutorials, in excess of 700 articles, a massive database of knowledge and a collection of public and member-only active forums where members help each other.
Video above: Some of HostGator’s support comes in the form of step-by-step video tutorials. This one is the first in a short series that explains how to create a WordPress website on HostGator.
DreamHost – 3/5
Support is offered 24/7/365. However, you can’t ring the company at all. They provide phone “call-back” support, on several plans including the two top Managed WordPress plans. If you choose shared hosting you can use email tickets or live chat for support. Or you can opt to pay a fee to also get phone call-back support. The fee is $9.95 per call-back or $14.95 for 3 call-backs a month.
A Wiki support group of pages offers a comprehensive set of links to site pages with answers to your questions. Live chat is available on all plans.
Twitter is one method they use to help provide support. Many of the support staff are WordPress experts which is handy because WordPress is the most commonly used platform.
Extras: Are There any Extras or Freebies that Come with the Plans?
What do these companies offer which you wouldn’t usually expect with a hosting plan? What would you like that is nice to have but not a necessity?
HostGator – 4/5
You receive $200 worth of advertising credits for use with Google Adwords and Yahoo/Bing.
You can have your site migrated from a different host to HostGator at no cost to you. Upgrades are also free, whereas downgrades aren’t done for free. This should be done within the 30 day period of you first signing up. Each site you create also gets the domain at no cost for the initial term.
The free website builder and other tools will help you to create your amazing site.
DreamHost – 3/5
DreamHost provides free migration of WordPress sites hosted on their Managed WordPress plans. Those who opt for shared hosting can get WordPress migration for a $99 fee.
- You receive one domain name and it’s free for as long as you use it. Most companies only allow a free domain for the first year.
- The Managed WordPress plans provide a drag-and-drop builder to make creating and launching a site easy.
- Some of the Managed WordPress plans come with Jetpack Pro.
- All plans come with a free SSL certificate installed.