Founded in Vancouver in 1999, Dotster was the brainchild of George De Carlo - a webmaster by profession and an enthusiast for modern technology. The company is popular for its versatility and flexibility in provision of services. Besides domain registration, which is its main provision, it offers multiple hosting infrastructures, web design services, email and competitive business solutions including SEO marketing, local site promotion, and business hosting.
Moreover, it is one of the few firms that provide a one-month instant website for free. Essentially, this is a hosting solution for anyone looking for a temporary site to get the word out about a business, event, or idea. With fully automated social media tools and embeddable web elements including maps and images, it is a service truly worth consideration.
Since its inception, Dotster’s mission has been to empower businesses and individuals by delivering high-quality web services and solutions. With their all-round tools, they’ve facilitated a successful subscription of over three million clients to their rapidly-growing online space. In fact, the firm is among the top-rated domain name registrars in the world.
A while ago, Dotster was purchased by Endurance International Group (EIG); a company established to network hosting providers and build collectively their brand names. Other companies owned by EIG include HostGator, Small Orange, Arvixe, and Site5.
Another outstanding feature of Dotster is its enthused advocacy for Green Hosting Movement. Fundamentally, this is an initiative to facilitate renewable energy consumption and elimination of excess carbon emissions from the environment. Every year, it dedicates a large chunk of its resources to buying trees and planting them to rapidly purify the air.
|Plan Name||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Currency||Admin panel||OS||Websites||Scripting||Email-Transport||Database||SSH||Databackups||Free Domain||1-Click Installer||Websites Builder||Location||Price|
|Ultra Hosting - Windows||-||15GB||USD||Admin panel||1||Perl,PHP||POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 14.75|
|Deluxe Hosting - Windows||-||-||USD||Admin panel||1||Perl,PHP||POP3, SMTP||-||$ 7.75|
|Basic Hosting - Windows||-||-||USD||Admin panel||1||Perl,PHP||POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 4.75|
|Ultra Hosting||-||-||USD||Admin panel||1||Perl,Python,PHP||POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 13.75|
|Deluxe Hosting||-||-||USD||Admin panel||1||Perl,Python,PHP||POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 6.75|
|Basic Hosting||-||-||USD||Admin panel||1||Perl,Python,PHP||POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 3.75|
|Plan Name||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Admin panel||OS||Cores||RAM||Core Speed||CPU||Backups||Managed||Location||Price|
|Premium||60GB||2000GB||WHM,cPanel||2||2GB||-||2 Cores||$ 67.95|
|Pro||40GB||1500GB||WHM,cPanel||1||1GB||-||1 Core||$ 41.60|
|Standard||20GB||1000GB||WHM,cPanel||1||0.5GB||-||1 Core||$ 29.70|
Even with its lowly-priced packages, Dotster is excitingly very robust when it comes to the features it puts out there. In this section, we shall categorize them into six classes namely performance & speed, security, account control & management, customer support system, money-back guarantee policy, and extras.
Dotster offers various types of hosting and as such performance and speed varies from one environment to the next. In our experience though, a web project hosted on the Linux shared environment performed better. This was mostly because of the server side scripting languages supported by the platform. Windows hosting is okay too but the slightly high prices on the plans don’t offer any extra value in performance or speed. Besides, it has several compatibility issues with websites built to work with PHP version 7. Anyways, here are several features related to this class:
Support for PHP 5 and 7
Dotster servers use PHP server scripting language by default in the flavors of version 5 and 7. The two are highly compatible with most web projects and can be customized to offer better security and stability to most site elements.
All Dotster’s hosting plans accommodate at least 10 MySQL databases. MySQL is lightweight, quick to take in or share data in it, and can accommodate a wide range of data types. Again, it works on both Windows and Linux platforms which Dotster uses for its servers.
Custom DNS management
Domain Name Servers are the backbone of every network activity. They affect how quickly URLs are converted into machine understandable addresses. Dotster’s account provide a custom DNS management portal where you can decide which name server engines resolve the URLs of your websites. You can set multiple DNS engines to act as backup in case one goes offline.
The downside of this app store is that it has lots of ads which may be annoying or misleading to new users. Nevertheless, it works quite effectively in installing WordPress alongside other useful applications. It would be better if Dotster included Softaculous which is much easier to use.
VDeck FTP and File Manager
If you wish to manually manage your site or upload elements, these two tools are freely provided by the hosting provider. They offer a quick way to make changes to a website before taking it live.
Web Analytics Tool
This tool is handy in monitoring how a website performs over a certain period. All accounts at Dotster servers can access it for free which is beneficial in assessing value addition stats of your site.
Any web project residing on an infrastructure with weak security is vulnerable to compromises and attacks. Dotster applies various measures to guard against such possibilities. These include:
Besides being run by certified network engineers, the datacenter boasts various measures to improve reliability and security. These include dual independent power grids (HVAC power systems), temperature & humidity monitors, fire detection sensor units, braced racks and cabinets that are foolproof to seismic attacks, video surveillance systems, and monitored access to the datacenter.
All projects hosted on Dotster network are automatically mirrored to an offsite location that serves as a restoration center in case of loss and damages. You can actually request for migration of your backup image to a location of choice and the company will provide a link to it within 48 hours.
Since its establishment, Dotster has always monitored its network infrastructure via a multi-layered firewall at the server level. The measure employs inbuilt content delivery networks and traffic filtering software to guard against DDOS and other server-directed attacks.
Their emailing package comes with advanced spam filtering tools which are integrated with webmail check-ins. You can control the messages that reach your inbox via custom keywords as well as broadcast notifications to your audience via email.
Dotster’s hosting environment supports a wide range of Secure Socket Layer certificates from companies such as Domain Validated SSL, Enhanced Ecommerce, and Wildcard SSL. All these certificates come at an additional fee. You can try Comodo SSL which Dotster recommends on its site for better Google rankings and its high encryption algorithms.
For Linux and Windows web hosting accounts, the default control panel is vDeck. As for the VPS users, they can use vDeck or cPanel to manage the account. VDeck is quite basic but still offers straightforward configurations and information on the account. You can use it to manage databases, emails, FTP transactions all in a single dashboard. It also includes a searchable interface that you can use to locate settings under the menus in the main interface.
CPanel, on the other hand, is not free for VPS users but still it’s very handy when it comes to account management. You can use the dashboard to manage billing plan, scale VPS resources accordingly, access FAQs, manage background jobs on your VPS unit, schedule tasks, and view domain name subscription status. It offers significantly more control functions than vDeck.
Importantly, the two panels allow users to access Mojo Marketplace that hosts applications such as WordPress and File Managers. Also, you can reach the inbuilt site builder for editing web projects before actual deployment.
When it comes to support, Dotster is very resourceful on that front. It offers extensive documentation on various subjects and features they advertise on their website. Additionally, their answer to customer queries and concerns are hands-on as opposed to being automated. Communication with the customer care staff via the chat support system takes on average 3 minutes. Except for technical questions, solutions to everyday questions are quickly provided and further reading links forwarded for better comprehension of the subject. The main communication channels are:
This involves creation of a ticket by the customer via a set of guidelines to help in problem resolution. The system then scans the site’s database for related problems and then decides the direction to take to offer a solution. We posed a presale question and it took just six minutes to get a complete documentation on the subject.
Chat support system
This works instantly in the same way as live chat. The elimination of automated responses ensures issues raised are addressed after a thorough review. Nevertheless, sometimes the support staff take too long to answer back which might frustrate potential customers.
Dotster website has their contact number which allows users within the US to reach them easily via phone calls.
The frequently asked questions database is very resourceful even though some of its resources is too old. Since 2011, the hosting provider has done little overhaul to the database to conform to current issues. All the same, their Facebook and Twitter pages are extremely active and great for real-time interactions.
Refunds are available at Dotster in two ways: following cancellation of the hosting contract or when the monthly average uptime isn’t 99.9%. Cancellation of the hosting contract should be within 30 days after registering an account with them to be valid. They charge a fee which they term as an early cancellation fee. Their terms of service state that payment of the contract must have been made via a credit card for an account to be considered eligible for refunds.
As for the uptime guarantee, if it goes below 99.9% on a monthly assessment, you’ll qualify for receipt of service credits.
Free domain names
Every new account receives a free domain name valid for a year and ability to include unlimited subdomains.
These advertising credits can be used in Bing, Google, and Yahoo.
Free 1GB cloud storage for media
Your account will have 1GB cloud space to store videos, music, or images that you intend to use on your web project. You can synchronize the data automatically to the cloud storage through standard forwarding.
Is Dotster worth considering an ideal hosting provider for you? Well, it has its own share of strengths and weaknesses but generally, it is an inexpensive hosting option. It works for all levels of business setups but mostly focuses its resources on startups and medium-scale enterprises.
Consider some of the pros and cons below to help you in making a more informed decision:
Highly affordable plans
For beginners and people on low budget, Doster is a perfect place to start considering that they offer some of the cheapest rates for plans.
Multiple hosting types
Dotster features shared web and virtual private server hosting as its main packages. Additionally, it offers a wide array of business solutions enabling enterprises to increase their visibility online.
Trusted domain registrar
Ever since its launch, Dotster has been a great platform to register, renew, sell, and replace domain names. It offers almost all top-level domains (TLDs) ranging from .com, .biz, .info, to .net. Its huge database allows new users to look up for domain names already in use as well as get new suggestions.
Committed to the green movement
This company has been on the forefront fighting global warming and carbon pollution. As such, it participates in green movements by planting trees for every customer registered with them.
Keen on data security
Besides applying attack-thwarting measures on their network, Dotster employs a number of physical guards against unauthorized access to the datacenter. Fire, temperature changes, and seismic occurrences are kept under check with powerful sensors. Moreover, power backup systems exist to ensure uptime remains 99.9%.
Resourceful software marketplace
Dotster offers Mojo, which despite many ads, features lots of useful applications, add-ons, and modules. You can install popular CMS in one click and get started on the World Wide Web.
Free site stats tool
All plans come with Web Analytics which is a reporting tool for assessing website performance and popularity.
Professional web designers
Besides hosting, Dotster offers affordable web design services as well as marketing of the designed sites. They create content and optimize the site for major search engines which in turn grow your enterprise.
Unmetered server resources
Web projects using shared servers have unlimited storage and bandwidth. The resources are great jump starters for growing a brand online.
Several pages on Dotster no longer work yet the management hasn’t provided a fix for that. Also, navigating it is problematic since some elements are incompatible with modern browsers.
Generic answers to specific issues
Although the chat support system connects users to human assistance, some responses are very generic. Also, the FAQs contain archaic info that’s irrelevant in modern web setups.
Limited optimized environments for CMS
Dotster only offers a package for WordPress leaving out popular ecommerce CMS like Drupal and Joomla. Again, the server resource allocations are optimal for only small blogs.
Below are the frequently asked questions about the hosting provider - Dotster:
Below are the frequently asked questions about the hosting provider - Dotster:
Which hosting types are available at Dotster?
Shared and Virtual Private Server hosting are the main hosting types at Dotster. In shared web hosting, Dotster has Windows, Linux, WordPress, and Business hosting packages.
Which plan is ideal for a small blog at Dotster?
Basic hosting and WordPress hosting are the two plans that are optimized for small blogs. They have the necessary server resources as well as features to grow simple blogs into authoritative info platforms.
Can I renew a domain I registered elsewhere at Dotster?
Yes. Dotster offers domain renewal and domain registration services. You can renew an existing domain name with them.
Can I search a domain name I want to use for my website?
Yes. Dotster offers a large database of domain names currently in use and unused. It is a certified domain name registrar thus will assist in finding the ideal domain name for your website.
Which hosting providers are the best alternatives to Dotster?
HostGator, Arvixe, Site5, and BlueHost are great alternatives to Dotster. They have all features offered by this company plus other extra ones which are essential in running modern websites.
Which control panels are supported by Dotster accounts?
Veck and cPanel are the two control panels available to accounts registered at Dotster. cPanel is for VPS users while vDeck for shared web hosting accounts.
Which operating environments does this hosting company use?
Windows and Linux are the two main operating environments which the servers at Dotster are based.
I need an SSL certificate, does Dotster provide it?
Not exactly but the company recommends Comodo, Domain Validated, and Wildcard SSL as the companies to acquire the certificate from. The protocols will secure your customer data and tunnel payments via a safe gateway.
How long is the money back guarantee on Dotster?
The money back guarantee period lasts for 30 days. Within the period, you can cancel the hosting contract but the company charges an early cancellation fee. Read the Dotster’s terms of service for more details.