DreamHost vs. HostGator (2017)

Laura Stamey Laura Stamey Hosting Expert
“We tested DreamHost & HostGator — The winner is DreamHost!”

If comparing a cartoonish alligator with a serene moonscape seems like a strange task, you’re probably right. Diving past company logos, however, reveals the tight web hosting competition between DreamHost and HostGator. The two longtime providers offer superb services across the board. We’ve long considered HostGator our favorite host to grow with, while DreamHost offers premium managed WordPress solutions powered by supercharged solid-state drives. Your best bet will be the host whose priorities are most closely aligned with yours. Read on as we put the two hosts to the test.

Advertiser Disclosure

Overall Rating
4.8/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit DreamHost »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit HostGator »

Overall Hosting Comparison

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

A top-notch host for those who know what they're looking for, DreamHost offers nuanced and performant hosting perfect for scaling websites and applications through the ranks of shared, VPS, cloud, and... read more +

A top-notch host for those who know what they're looking for, DreamHost offers nuanced and performant hosting perfect for scaling websites and applications through the ranks of shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting.

We love their features but realize that beginners or hobbyist developers might not want to fork over the extra cash to capitalize on the performance, optimization, and managed services that DreamHost offers.

If, however, your site is growing and gathering more and more traffic, few hosts will take care of you as well as DreamHost. Managed services include infrastructure management, automatic backups and updates, malware scans, and DDoS protection.

We appreciate how the independently owned company was built on a passion for open-source technologies. DreamHost developers routinely contribute code back to communities, such as WordPress and OpenStack, and the company has used their brainpower and experience to create the open-source storage system Ceph and OpenStack cloud network virtualization tool Akanda.

As such, DreamHost support agents know what they're talking about. Available all day, every day, the in-house support team provides help worthy of DreamHost's speedy SSD-based architecture, hand-crafted control panel, WordPress-tailored solutions, and reliable managed services.

read less -
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • In-house, 24/7 customer support
  • FREE SSL/TLS certificates
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth
  • Supercharged SSDs on all plans
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

HostGator has been around for over a decade and is well-respected for their large number of servers and their consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies... read more +

HostGator has been around for over a decade and is well-respected for their large number of servers and their consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies decent dedicated and VPS options if you need your site to scale.

HostGator costs a little more than some of the other budget-minded shared hosts, but that contributes to their reliability and well-known support. They offer decent features included in their basic offerings, unlimited disk space, a nice control panel, and free website templates. While the feature list is short compared to other hosts, you do get the flexibility to add them as you see fit.

Aimed primarily at the semi-technical user, HostGator's flexibility is their strong suit. Dedicated, VPS, and Windows hosting is available if that fits your needs. For those than need it, root access, SSH, and support for Ruby, Perl, Python, and other languages is available on all plans.

HostGator has nearly limitless options and control available for their server, however, they require a little more knowledge than beginner-focused web hosts. If you need to host multiple sites, their wide array of offerings make them a great choice.

read less -
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • FREE Weebly site builder
  • Unlimited disk space, emails, and bandwidth on all plans
  • No contract required and 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 50% off your first month, plus domains starting at $5!
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Cheap Hosting Comparison

Cheap Rating

★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

#8 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews

While their price might be a little steep compared to other high-value hosting providers, DreamHost gives customers ample time and reasons to get hooked and stick around. The company, which started in the... read more +

While their price might be a little steep compared to other high-value hosting providers, DreamHost gives customers ample time and reasons to get hooked and stick around. The company, which started in the founders' dorm room in 1997, offers an industry-leading 97-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, DreamHost guarantees 100% uptime and will reimburse customers the cost of a whole day of hosting for each hour of downtime outside of scheduled maintenance.

We love that DreamHost seems to be genuinely built with their customers' experience and success in mind. Beyond unlimited storage and bandwidth, their luxurious shared hosting package boasts high-performance SSDs that make your websites perform at least 20 times faster. Customers can also enjoy unlimited domain hosting, free domain privacy on sites registered through DreamHost, and unlimited email accounts.

We found that DreamHost's hand-crafted control panel gives easy access to all the tools beginners need to start and grow their sites: 1-click installers of top content management systems and eCommerce tools, SSL/TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt, and automated malware scans.

Their award-winning support and service teams are staffed by self-described tech veterans, geeks, and nerds who are trained to Tier II to provide the most knowledgeable and experienced assistance. If the extensive knowledgebase and user forums don't solve your problems, you can reach the in-house support team around the clock through phone callbacks, email tickets, Twitter, and live chat.

read less -
  • Automated malware scans
  • Unlimited domain hosting
  • Unlimited email accounts with POP/IMAP/SMTP
  • FREE eCommerce store tools and PCI compliance
  • Streamlined proprietary control panel
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

Cheap Rating

★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

#7 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews

HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. They offer unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus 1-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to... read more +

HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. They offer unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus 1-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to a 99.9% uptime guarantee on their shared hosting plans.

HostGator’s price-to-performance perks also apply to their vast array of other hosting options, such as VPS, dedicated servers, and even reseller hosting. Their many hosting options make them a great choice for sites on the rise, in need of options for the future.

For those just getting started and looking for a good, cheap host, HostGator bundles some nice features that hosting newbies can appreciate. A very nice site builder from Weebly is included. Their control panels are also very easy to use and a free domain is a nice touch.

If you are looking for a solid web host, with a ton of flexibility, plenty of power, and great price points, you should consider making HostGator your web host of choice.

read less -
  • FREE Weebly site builder
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Unlimited disk, emails, and bandwidth
  • 24/7/365 premium support
  • 50% off your first month, plus domains starting at $5!
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Dedicated Hosting Comparison

Dedicated Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

When your high-traffic site outgrows VPS, turn to DreamHost for premium dedicated hosting at a reasonable rate. The 20-year-old hosting provider offers servers with three times more cores and four times... read more +

When your high-traffic site outgrows VPS, turn to DreamHost for premium dedicated hosting at a reasonable rate. The 20-year-old hosting provider offers servers with three times more cores and four times more RAM compared to well-known competitors. What's more, DreamHost includes up to 2TB of SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, and a 100% uptime guarantee.

All dedicated servers come with full root and shell access, along with DDoS protection, RAID 1 storage, and unlimited MySQL databases. With DreamHost's custom control panel, customers can quickly add, remove, or reboot servers with just a few clicks.

We appreciate that DreamHost prides themselves on providing open-source solutions, contributing to and supporting developer communities, and maintaining expert-level support teams. In addition to running Ubuntu Long Term support, DreamHost supports PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

DreamHost has datacenters on both coasts and offers integration with the Cloudflare content delivery network, making sure your content loads quickly, no matter where your traffic comes from.

DreamHost's newest facility, dubbed "Data Center Alley," includes 2N+2 power redundancy and dual water lines for redundant cooling. Around-the-clock staffing, a 1GBps internet connection, and emergency generators can give dedicated hosting customers peace of mind that their sites will stay online for the long haul.

read less -
  • Up to 12 cores available
  • Full root and shell access
  • DDoS protection and 24/7 server monitoring
  • Fully managed and customizable hardware options
  • RAID 1 HDD or SSD storage
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
240 GB SSD - 2 TB HDD
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

Dedicated Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

#4 out of 7 in Dedicated Hosting reviews

Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated server hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad-core processors and a boatload of RAM, HostGator... read more +

Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated server hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad-core processors and a boatload of RAM, HostGator balances performance, quality of service, and competitive pricing.

As one of the few hosts to offer managed support and a Windows-based operating system, HostGator is an excellent fit for those seeking hassle-free ASP.NET support.

HostGator boasts a top-of-the-line, fully redundant network and datacenter, which dedicated hosting users should appreciate. The company also offers several unique IP addresses per dedicated server account.

Finally, HostGator has a fantastic support network and 24/7 customer service available via phone, chat, or email. Combining that support with plenty of power, HostGator is a very respectable choice for a dedicated server host.

read less -
  • Linux or Windows servers available
  • Top-of-the-line fully redundant network and datacenter
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • SSH access and support for multiple languages
  • Use code HA30OFF for 30% off first month
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
500 GB - 1 TB RAID
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

VPS Hosting Comparison

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

With scalable RAM and SSD storage, DreamHost's VPS plans give customers a powerful, speedy, and stable environment ripe for growth. RAM ranges from 1GB to 8GB, while storage varies between 30GB and 240GB. ... read more +

With scalable RAM and SSD storage, DreamHost's VPS plans give customers a powerful, speedy, and stable environment ripe for growth. RAM ranges from 1GB to 8GB, while storage varies between 30GB and 240GB.

While DreamHost's VPS storage space and RAM options are in line with the industry average, DreamHost layers on a bevy of additional perks that turns their already competitive prices into big bargains.

Starting with all-SSD infrastructure, which boosts your website or application's speed by 20 times compared to standard SATA disk drives, DreamHost also includes a dedicated IP address and free SSL/TLS certificates, as well as unlimited bandwidth, domain hosting, and email accounts.

You can manage your virtual servers through DreamHost's custom control panel, which has been developed for more than 15 years. Although we originally missed the familiarity of cPanel or Plesk, we quickly adapted to DreamHost's sleek, modern panel. Easily scale your virtual servers up or down based on your expected needs.

For an added performance boost, DreamHost offers an add-on MySQL VPS service that puts your website's database on its own isolated server. Linux-VServers dedicate an initial 2300MB of RAM to your site, giving customers a sneak peek at what DreamHost's dedicated hosting looks like.

read less -
  • Custom web-based control panel
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • Easily scalable RAM
  • High-performance SSD drives
  • 5 years of security updates with Ubuntu Long Term Support
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
30 GB - 240 GB SSD
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

#5 out of 8 in VPS Hosting reviews

HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for their shared hosting options. Their VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those that are new to VPS... read more +

HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for their shared hosting options. Their VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those that are new to VPS hosting and know their needs require more than a typical shared host.

Starting at low price points, HostGator makes transitioning to a VPS plan reasonable and doable. Each plan comes with two IPs and a bunch of storage, however, their CPU and RAM offerings could be better for their respective price tags.

HostGator’s strongest point comes from their state of the art datacenter. Featuring a fully redundant network with no single point of failure and multiple bandwidth providers, uptime should almost never be a concern.

Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts. They have more than 12,000 servers under management and award-winning support. If you are looking for a very small VPS server or value the strength of a great network, give HostGator a shot.

read less -
  • Full root access
  • Redundant network with multiple layers of network security
  • Fully or semi-managed options
  • FREE website, domain, MySQL, and script transfer
  • Use code HA30OFF for 30% off first month
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
25 GB - 3 TB
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

WordPress Hosting Comparison

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

One of only four hosting providers recommended by the WordPress Core team, DreamHost has actively contributed to the WordPress community for more than a decade. Their platform is optimized for the... read more +

One of only four hosting providers recommended by the WordPress Core team, DreamHost has actively contributed to the WordPress community for more than a decade. Their platform is optimized for the incredibly popular content management system, and plans include easy setup, automated updates and backups, unlimited bandwidth, and 24/7 specialized support.

DreamHost does an admirable job tailoring their shared hosting service around WordPress, but we're most impressed with their fully managed WordPress solution, DreamPress. Launched in 2013, DreamPress offers enhanced speed, scaling, and security by configuring various settings and plugins that streamline WordPress installation, databases, and server operations.

DreamPress adds multiple caching layers and isolates server resources to perform more than five times faster than shared hosting. We love that DreamHost allocates two VPS servers for each DreamPress customer: one optimized for the frontend and the other for MySQL. You'll get the same SSD storage found elsewhere in DreamHost plans, but DreamPress dynamically auto-scales memory to grow with your traffic.

Support and security are further tailored to WordPress with automatic updates and a firewall that blocks known WordPress vulnerabilities and offers protection from brute-force attacks. DreamPress uses NGINX, HTTP2, and Let's Encrypt SSL/TLS certificates to balance performance and privacy.

read less -
  • Preconfigured and fully managed option available with DreamPress
  • Multiple caching layers with Varnish, Memcached, and OPcache
  • 1-click install and automatic updates
  • WP-specific firewall for security
  • Pre-installed SSL/TLS certificate
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

#5 out of 10 in WordPress Hosting reviews

HostGator is great for all things shared hosting, and application-specific services — such as the classic one-click-install WordPress hosting — are no exception. The team recently updated its already... read more +

HostGator is great for all things shared hosting, and application-specific services — such as the classic one-click-install WordPress hosting — are no exception. The team recently updated its already clean and intuitive cPanel dashboard, wherein users can find a myriad of free apps and scripts to install, including WordPress. You could quite realistically have a WP-powered site up and running in as little as an afternoon.

As is the case with many of our favorite shared WordPress hosting providers, HostGator offers unlimited emails, databases, disk storage, and bandwidth. The one downfall is the lack of the popular free domain perk, but domain names are easy to obtain for around $10 to $15 bucks with any registrar. You can also select, register, and pay for a domain directly from the HostGator signup page.

If you're serious about your WordPress hosting, we recommend HostGator's new(er) managed WordPress platform, which is optimized for performance with cloud resources, multiple layers of caching tools, and a complimentary CDN. Managed WordPress plan subscribers enjoy up to 2.5x faster page load speeds for their website or blog. If you're running a business website, this is an excellent investment.

Once your site is designed and ready for promotion, HostGator helps you kickstart your online marketing efforts with $100 in paid advertising credits. Attract blog readers, potential clients, or online shoppers browsing Google search results. Yay, traffic!!

We wish you the best of luck in your blog or online business hosting endeavors. WordPress is a known favorite in the space, and HostGator has established itself as a trusted partner well worthy of your consideration.

read less -
  • Easy-to-set-up WordPress hosting on shared servers
  • Install WordPress with one click via cPanel dashboard
  • Unlimited email addresses hosted at your domain
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee means your blog stays online
  • $100 in Google Adwords credit to kickstart marketing
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
$12.95

Site Builder Hosting Comparison

Website Builder Rating

★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

For a while, the only knock on DreamHost was the lack of a website builder for beginner customers unfamiliar with web design. With the recent beta debut of Remixer, however, DreamHost has come up with yet... read more +

For a while, the only knock on DreamHost was the lack of a website builder for beginner customers unfamiliar with web design. With the recent beta debut of Remixer, however, DreamHost has come up with yet another way to appeal to site owners.

Hosting providers creating their own site builders can be a risky venture — why devote resources to trying something new when there's a tried-and-true outside option such as Weebly? DreamHost, however, seems to have hit a home run with Remixer. We love how the clean and modern interface directs users straight to whatever tools they need.

Remixer offers only about a dozen templates so far, but we know it's too early to fault them on that. The themes currently available, however, appeal to a surprisingly wide range of uses: small businesses, professionals, travelers, creatives, music, events, and even documentation. Remixer lets you preview each theme in desktop, tablet, and mobile (portrait AND landscape) views before getting to work.

The builder interface itself is equally impressive, giving users the options to customize, move, and add content based on row-based layouts. More experienced site owners will appreciate access to HTML code and the ability to use Markdown to format text.

Remixer is only available to current customers during the beta test and hasn't been released publicly. If you're looking for a sleek, refreshing site builder, sign up for a shared hosting plan with DreamHost to access Remixer.

read less -
  • Beta of Remixer site builder available to current customers
  • Preview themes for desktop, tablet, and mobile (portrait and landscape)
  • Responsive, professional themes
  • Royalty-free images from Pixabay
  • HTML access for fine-grained control
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

Website Builder Rating

N/A

HostGator does not currently offer this type of hosting. We would not recommend choosing this host for this hosting category.

DreamHost vs. HostGator - Our Conclusion

Laura Stamey Laura Stamey Hosting Expert
“We tested DreamHost & HostGator — The winner is DreamHost!”

We appreciate the attention DreamHost gives to all aspects of web hosting, including the company’s proprietary Remixer website builder. Although HostGator’s site builder pales in comparison, the company clearly prioritizes affordability and comprehensive services, as evidenced by the unlimited pages, storage, and bandwidth available at the shared hosting level. We don’t think there’s a wrong choice between these two excellent service providers, but the companies’ respective perks and disadvantages will surely resonate differently with customers. How important is affordability compared to performance? Do you want a host that specializes in hosting a particular content management system or one that offers one-click installations on hundreds of programs?

Overall Rating
4.8/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit DreamHost »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit HostGator »