DreamHost vs. HostGator (2019)

Laura Bernheim Laura Bernheim 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.

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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 the company's 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.

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  • Unlimited traffic, storage, websites, and email addresses
  • US-based customer support available around the clock
  • 200% faster performance with solid-state drives
  • Receive one day of free service for every hour of downtime
  • Industry-leading 97-day money-back guarantee
  • 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 more than a decade and is well-respected for its large number of servers and consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies decent... read more +

HostGator has been around for more than a decade and is well-respected for its large number of servers and 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 slightly more than some of the other budget-minded shared hosts, but that echoes the brand's reputation for strong infrastructure and helpful support. HostGator offers decent features in its basic shared hosting offerings, such as unlimited disk space, a nice control panel, and free website templates. Plus, you get the flexibility to add numerous add-ons for privacy, security, and productivity as you see fit.

Aimed primarily at the semi-technical user, HostGator's flexibility is its strong suit. Dedicated, VPS, and Windows hosting is available if that fits your needs, as well. 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 servers, with the support and beginner-friendly tools that will appeal to the full range of customers.

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  • Familiar and easy-to-use cPanel control panel
  • FREE drag-and-drop custom website builder
  • Unlimited disk space, email, and bandwidth on all plans
  • No contract required and 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 62% off your first three years
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Cheap Hosting Comparison

Cheap Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

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

While DreamHost's price might be a little steep compared to other high-value hosting providers, the company 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, the company's 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.

The company's 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.

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  • 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

★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

#6 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews

HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. The company offers unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus one-click installs of popular open-source projects, in... read more +

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

HostGator’s price-to-performance perks also apply to its vast array of other hosting options, such as VPS, dedicated servers, and even reseller hosting. The company's many hosting options make HostGator 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. The company’s custom website builder comes with more than 4,500 drag-and-drop, mobile-friendly templates to help users launch their website, blog, or ecommerce store, while the familiar cPanel interface helps customers seamlessly manage domains, email, databases, and one-click software installations.

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.

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  • Get 62% off monthly pricing by buying 36 months up front
  • Unmetered disk space & bandwidth
  • Unlimited email addresses & free SSL certificate
  • One-click WordPress install & free blog tools
  • New domain costs $15/year, or use existing domain free
  • 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 itself 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.

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  • 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
N/A
Disk Space
240 GB SSD - 2 TB HDD
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Dedicated Rating

★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

#6 out of 10 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.

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  • Linux or Windows servers available
  • HDD or SSD storage options, plus unlimited databases
  • Top-of-the-line, fully redundant network and datacenter
  • SSH access and support for multiple languages
  • Managed or semi-managed solutions
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
512 GB SSD - 2 TB HDD
Domain Name
New or Transfer

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.

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  • 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
N/A
Disk Space
30 GB - 240 GB SSD
Domain Name
New or Transfer

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

#8 out of 9 in VPS Hosting reviews

HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for its shared hosting options. The company's VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those who are new... read more +

HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for its shared hosting options. The company's VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those who are new to VPS hosting and know their needs require more than a typical shared server.

Starting at low price points and boasting tons of support, HostGator makes transitioning to a VPS plan reasonable and doable. Each plan comes with two IP addresses and a bunch of storage, and recently expanded CPU and RAM offerings lend a ton of computing power.

HostGator’s strongest point comes from its 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. The company has more than 12,000 servers under management and award-winning support. If you are looking for a small VPS server or value the strength of a great network, give HostGator a shot.

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  • Full root access with fully or semi-managed options
  • Redundant network with multiple layers of network security
  • FREE website, domain, MySQL, and script transfer
  • RAID-10 storage for data protection
  • Get up to 75% off when you sign up
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
120 GB - 240 GB
Domain Name
New or Transfer

WordPress Hosting Comparison

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

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

One of only three hosting providers recommended by the WordPress Core team, DreamHost has actively contributed to the WordPress community for more than a decade. The company's 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 its shared hosting service around WordPress, but we're most impressed with the company's 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.

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  • 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.

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.

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  • 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 credits to kickstart marketing
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
New or Transfer

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 beginners unfamiliar with web design. With the relatively recent 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 beginners unfamiliar with web design. With the relatively recent 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 several professional-grade templates that 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.

Being a leader in WordPress web hosting, DreamHost enables users to export their Remixer website to WordPress to take advantage of powerful features such as SSL certificates, blogging, ecommerce, WordPress plugins, and other tools associated with the popular CMS.

If you're looking for a sleek, refreshing site builder, sign up for a shared hosting plan with DreamHost to access Remixer. Upgraded plans also include email accounts to give users a well-rounded and complete experience.

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  • Remixer enables users to create and manage sites without code
  • Preview themes for desktop, tablet, and mobile (portrait and landscape)
  • Responsive, professional themes
  • Royalty-free images from Pixabay
  • Easily export to WordPress
  • Get started on DreamHost now.
Money Back Guarantee
97 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

Website Builder Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

#3 out of 9 in Website Builder Hosting reviews

Setting itself apart from the scores of competitors that rely on white-labeled website builder solutions, HostGator spent the time to painstakingly craft its own platform. Gator provides a frustration-free... read more +

Setting itself apart from the scores of competitors that rely on white-labeled website builder solutions, HostGator spent the time to painstakingly craft its own platform. Gator provides a frustration-free experience that pairs the simplicity of drag-and-drop design with the company’s powerful and respected web hosting services.

Signing up is a breeze, and HostGator gives customers an option to add a suite of social media marketing tools. Users are quickly ushered into a gallery of more than 200 modern, mobile-responsive, and visually impressive templates that can be sorted by categories like beauty and fashion, music and entertainment, real estate, business consultant, portfolios, and others. Gator covers blogs and ecommerce stores, even coming with a free domain name and SSL certificate.

Once you choose your basic look, Gator ushers you through a 15-second tour to show you the basic features of the editor — and it’s all you need. Clicking on any element opens a menu that gives you options to change styles, whether it’s a section’s complete design or something simple like font or color.

We especially appreciate how Gator’s drag-and-drop interface gives users pixel-perfect control while still suggesting guides and grids for appropriate spacing. Throughout the customization and design phase, users can seamlessly switch between desktop and mobile views to understand how your site will appear to all visitors.

Adding a blog or ecommerce store takes just a click. We wish Gator would suggest a select few designs that matched the current site’s template instead of the dozen or so options that reflect a wide range of categories, but we were impressed that the in-depth previews covered both the blog page and individual posts, for instance.

All in all, HostGator can be incredibly proud of its proprietary site builder — and customers can sit back and enjoy the confidence in having such a well-rounded tool at their design disposal.

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  • Drag-and-drop design with the Gator™ website builder
  • Hundreds of mobile-friendly, industry-specific templates
  • FREE hosting, domain name, and SSL certificate
  • Easily add a blog, ecommerce, and social media marketing
  • Analytics portal helps you gauge your site’s performance
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

DreamHost vs. HostGator - Our Conclusion

Laura Bernheim Laura Bernheim 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 »