When building a small business website, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is which company you’ll choose to host your website. Two of the most popular choices are DreamHost and HostGator, but which is the right one for your website? Where DreamHost offers more storage space, HostGator includes email. To help you decide, we take a deep dive into the products, features, and cost of DreamHost vs HostGator.
Here’s a quick look at when to use DreamHost and when to use HostGator:
- DreamHost: You plan to build a WordPress website and would like a drag-and-drop editor
- HostGator: You have a small business with several employees and need multiple email addresses
DreamHost vs HostGator at a Glance
4.9 out of 5
3.9 out of 5
Cost per Month*
From $2.95 (requires plugin)
BoldGrid drag-and-drop builder
Add-on or unlimited (per plan)
24/7 ticket, chat, and phone support (callback)
24/7 ticket and chat support
*Billed annually; renews at higher rate
When to Use DreamHost
DreamHost pricing starts out at an affordable $2.95 a month for the first year. With it, you get a WordPress page builder with drag-and-drop functionality, which makes DreamHost ideal for website builders new to WordPress. Here are a few reasons to use DreamHost:
- You’re shooting photos or videos: DreamHost’s base plan includes a generous 50GB of storage space, more than enough for sharing videos or photos with visitors and clients.
- You want extra security: DreamHost’s plans include automatic updates for the core and security of WordPress. This helps improve the overall security of your website. With daily backups, you know your data is always protected from hackers and intruders.
- You’re just starting out with WordPress: Every WordPress installation on DreamHost includes the BoldGrid website builder with drag-and-drop editing functionality. This helps you overcome the learning curve of WordPress to build your site faster.
When to Use HostGator
HostGator is only slightly more expensive than DreamHost, with plans starting at $2.99 a month. While HostGator does not include a website builder, it nevertheless is a strong contender for WordPress hosting. More importantly, HostGator includes basic email as part of its service, a premium add-on at DreamHost. Here’s when to consider using HostGator:
- You need a lot of email addresses: All HostGator hosting accounts include unlimited email addresses. You can assign an email address to each member of your team without any additional expense.
- You plan on advertising on Google: For businesses planning on running Google Ads, HostGator includes a $500 ad spend matching credit starting in its $3.50 per month tier. This doubles the size of your first $500 in advertising on Google.
- You don’t want a WordPress website: For users who don’t want a WordPress website, HostGator offers a website builder with more than 150 prebuilt templates in a package that includes free domain, free SSL, and free private registration for $4.95 a month.
Best Alternatives to HostGator & DreamHost
Both DreamHost and HostGator deliver excellent service at a great value, but that’s not to say they’re the perfect web host for every small business website. Both are great for WordPress, but they may lack certain features you’re looking for. Other site builders could offer more of the options and features you need. Here are a few alternatives to HostGator and DreamHost:
Ecommerce Plans Monthly Cost*
Unlimited, but page-count limits may apply
Free Domain & SSL
Section-based with templates
Block-based templates with drag-and-drop editing
*With annual billing; may renew at higher rate
DreamHost vs HostGator Pricing
Starting Cost per Month: $2.95*
Starting Cost per Month: $2.99*
Renews at: $6.99/month
BoldGrid WordPress website builder
Add email as low as $1.67/month
Renews at: $11.99/month
Unlimited basic email addresses
Most Affordable: DreamHost, Barely
Both HostGator and DreamHost offer competitive introductory rates for their web hosting packages. The key difference comes a year after you get started, when it comes time to renew. DreamHost renews at $6.99 a month, paid annually. HostGator is a hefty $11.99 a month, also paid annually.
What closes the gap considerably is that HostGator includes unlimited email addresses, while DreamHost charges $1.67 per address, per month. Add a couple of employees and suddenly that monthly cost gets a lot closer.
HostGator vs DreamHost Products & Services
Shared web or WordPress hosting from $2.95/month
Shared web or WordPress hosting from $2.99/month
WooCommerce hosting from $16.99/ month
WordPress ecommerce hosting from $2.99/month
Managed WordPress hosting from $16.95/month
Managed WordPress hosting from $7.95/month*
Virtual Private Server (VPS) starting at $10/month*
Virtual Private Server starting at $23.95/month*
Dedicated servers from $249/month
Dedicated servers from $109.97/month*
Domain registration ($8.99-$19.99/year for .com)
Domain registration ($12.95-$19.99/year for .com)
Standalone email hosting from $1.67/month* per address
Unlimited basic email included; no premium email offering available
Custom website design from $1,499
SEO, social media marketing, and more from $399/month
Custom website design, SEO, and PPC marketing offered; price available upon request
*With annual billing; renews at higher rate
The products and services offered by DreamHost and HostGator are fairly similar. Both include basic web hosting for WordPress or the content management system (CMS) of your choice. They also offer more premium features like virtual private servers, dedicated servers, and custom website design.
HostGator pricing on most of its more advanced services edges out DreamHost. For example, you can get managed WordPress hosting for $7.95 a month from HostGator vs DreamHost’s $16.95 a month. Dedicated servers from HostGator will run less than half of similar offerings from DreamHost. But DreamHost provides transparent pricing for its custom services—with search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), and more starting at $399 a month. HostGator custom-prices the same services for each client.
Best Hosting: DreamHost
Free Domain & SSL
Add-on (Starter plan) or included (Shared Unlimited)
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Add-on, 12 cents/GB
When it comes to standard hosting features, DreamHost and HostGator offer roughly the same packages. Both deliver introductory plans that include a free domain and SSL certificate and unlimited bandwidth. And with both providers, a CDN is available as an add-on.
That’s not to say the services are equal on all fronts. At 50GB in its Shared Starter plan, DreamHost offers five times the storage of HostGator’s Hatchling plan. That’s a considerable difference, and it’s enough to give DreamHost the edge, in spite of the lack of included email in the DreamHost plan.
Best for WordPress: DreamHost
WordPress Page Builder
Automated WordPress Migration
Automatic WordPress Updates
From $2.95/month the first year, renews at $11.99/month
If you’re considering using HostGator or DreamHost, chances are you’re looking to build a WordPress website. After all, WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. Depending on what features you’re looking for, both DreamHost and HostGator can be an effective WordPress hosting solution. However, one big differentiating factor between the two is the ease with which you can build a WordPress website.
DreamHost includes BoldGrid, a drag-and-drop WordPress website builder that is relatively easy to use. This makes building your site faster and easier than with traditional theme-and-customization installations.
The inclusion of BoldGrid is one reason DreamHost landed at the top of our cheap WordPress hosting options. In addition to including a powerful website builder, DreamHost pre-installs WordPress on your domain, eliminating the complicated steps necessary to get started.
Add to that a one-click website migration for users with existing websites and an option to upgrade to a preconfigured WooCommerce ecommerce website, and DreamHost tops HostGator when it comes to WordPress hosting.
Best Place to Buy Domains: DreamHost
.com Introductory Price
Maybe you have the ideal domain name in mind but aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger on building your website. You can still lock in your domain name by doing a domain-only purchase. Both DreamHost and HostGator allow you to “park” a domain—buy a domain without a hosting or email service. But when it comes to what you get for your money, DreamHost blows HostGator out of the water.
DreamHost prices .com domains at $8.99 for the first year, with an auto-renewal at $19.99. For comparison, HostGator charges $12.95 for the same .com domain, and it renews at $19.99 a year as well. While $4 isn’t that big a difference, DreamHost also provides domain privacy—a critical security feature—for free. At HostGator, it’s a $14.99 per year add-on. This makes DreamHost a much better deal all-around for domain-only purchases.
Best Business Email Provider: HostGator
Standalone Email Hosting
$1.67/month per address
Shared with web hosting
Productivity Suite (Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations)
Shared Calendars, Contacts & Tasks
Anti-phishing & Virus Protection
Mobile & Desktop Apps
Add to Email Clients
Google Workspace Add-on
$7.20/month per user*
$6/month per user*
*Billed annually; may renew at higher rate
Depending whether you’re looking for an email-only service or email hosting with web hosting, both DreamHost and HostGator have their pluses. Both providers sell bundled plans that include email, but HostGator includes unlimited email addresses in its lowest tier of service, whereas DreamHost charges a $1.67 a month fee per email address in its entry-level plan.
DreamHost’s email add-on provides you with 25GB of storage per mailbox. On HostGator, you’ll be sharing email storage with web storage, which could put a damper on sending a large volume of emails and attachments. On either DreamHost or HostGator, you can access your email via a web-based interface or through a popular business email app such as Outlook, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird.
You can also pair your email service with Google Workspace for an additional, per-user fee. With Workspace, you get 30GB of Google Drive storage, plus access to its popular productivity suite, which includes Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Using Google Workspace with DreamHost will run you $7.20 per user, monthly, with HostGator coming in at a slightly more affordable $6 per user, monthly.
Because HostGator includes unlimited emails with its Hatchling plan for just $2.95 a month—and because its Google Workspace fee is slightly lower—HostGator edges out DreamHost when it comes to email service. If you’re going to be setting up a lot of email accounts, HostGator is probably the better choice.
Best Professional Services: DreamHost
Social Media Marketing
Custom Web Development
If you’re in the market for a website designer or need pay-per-click (PPC) and social media ads support, both DreamHost and HostGator can help. Both providers offer a selection of professional services to help you manage your online brand presence, with DreamHost slightly edging HostGator in the types of services it offers.
For one, DreamHost will manage your website, updating not only the software running your website but also the content and images you want to change. It also has a custom web development department, meaning you can get the added features and functionality your website needs to stand out.
One final note is on pricing. Where HostGator custom-prices each project based on your business’ needs, DreamHost publishes its starting prices upfront. You may not know exactly how much you’ll be in for until you confer with DreamHost, but you’ll at least know where you’re starting. With HostGator, you won’t know anything until it delivers your custom proposal.
Best Customer Support: HostGator
Most small business owners aren’t expert website designers. That could mean you’ll need some help creating and managing your website. When you need help, the ability to reach someone is important. DreamHost and HostGator both provide multiple channels for customer support for when you run into trouble.
With DreamHost, you get 24/7 support via web chat and email. You can also request a telephone callback, which can take up to 24 hours. DreamHost’s support site includes an extensive knowledge base that covers most of the topics you’ll run into, and its DreamHost Academy is almost like going to school to learn the ins and outs of website design, management, and maintenance.
For HostGator users, there’s the standard email and chat support. But HostGator also offers a 24/7/365 live phone support line you can call when you need assistance. Additionally, HostGator provides an extensive knowledge base and tutorials to help you get started. Because it offers direct-dialed phone support, HostGator beats DreamHost in terms of customer service.
Customer Reviews of HostGator vs DreamHost
On the review site G2.com, DreamHost scored a healthy 3.7 out of 5 stars. Users spoke well of DreamHost’s speed and server stability, as well as the professional services the hosting provider delivers. Also, DreamHost customer support was highlighted repeatedly. Not all users report the best experience, though, with some noting a challenging on-boarding process, difficult server migration, and hidden fees when cutting ties with the provider.
HostGator scored slightly higher, nabbing 3.6 out of 5 stars from G2.com readers. Users report stable, fast web servers, responsive customer support, and an overall good value for the money. Of particular concern to some users was the price jump after the introductory period ends, as well as a failure on HostGator’s part to upgrade server-side software in older accounts.
Given the closeness of HostGator and DreamHost scores and the similarity of challenges listed, we determine that, on matters of customer support, it’s a tie.
Expert Opinion & Scoring
To assess HostGator vs DreamHost, we compared cost, features, and support to determine which provider delivered the most in each category. We relied on decades of experience in web development to take an in-depth look at each provider’s offerings and deliver our opinion. Here’s how we assessed DreamHost and HostGator:
20% of Overall Score
Price is the most important factor for most small businesses. We gave a higher score to the provider that will save you more money in the long run.
30% of Overall Score
The core features hosting providers tend to be relatively standard, centered around storing and serving your website. Common features include free domain names and SSL certificates, email, security features, and storage space. We weighed the robustness and quality of these general features to determine which provider was better.
15% of Overall Score
Niche features include WordPress-specific offerings like automatic updates, website builders, and backups. We relied on our expertise to weigh the value of each niche feature to assess how well users will be served by the providers.
10% of Overall Score
When difficulties arise, a hosting provider is only as good as the technical support it provides. We looked closely at the various support channels each provider offers and leaned into customer reviews to assess the quality of support received.
25% of Overall Score
With more than 20 years of hands-on experience building and maintaining websites, we relied on our knowledge of design and hosting to compare both providers. We also weighed the experiences and opinions of other users to carefully consider which provider ultimately came out on top.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The primary difference between the two is that DreamHost provides you with a WordPress website builder called BoldGrid, while HostGator offers unlimited email addresses on all plans. Both are web hosting providers, meaning you can house your website on one of their servers.
DreamHost provides users with ample storage space, ultra-fast servers, and a 100% uptime guarantee. For new customers, the company also offers a 97-day money-back guarantee, an industry-leading offer for web hosting. According to customer reviews online, DreamHost’s customer service team provides top-notch support if you run into trouble and need some help.
HostGator’s biggest drawbacks are a lack of a WordPress website builder as well as an entry-level plan that provides only 10GB of storage. This may not be enough to house even the simplest of websites, especially if you have a lot of images to display. This means you’ll most likely have to upgrade to a more expensive plan if you’re going to build a website on HostGator.
HostGator provides some useful features, such as email and a free domain name with SSL certificate. While DreamHost does not offer free email on its Starter tier, it does give you 50GB of storage—much more than HostGator’s 10GB. Additionally, DreamHost is much less expensive when it comes time to renew after the introductory period expires. If you’re a value shopper and looking to save some money, DreamHost is the right choice for your web hosting needs.