Doteasy is a survivor of the dotcom bubble of the late ’90s and early 2000s, and as such has a fairly long history as far as hosting companies go. They started out offering free hosting to customers (remember GeoCities?), but have, of course, since changed their policies. They offer shared hosting packages that are really only suitable for individuals or small businesses due to several semi-questionable policies that had our reviewers scratching their heads.
While Doteasy may be appropriate for novices or newcomers to the web, anyone with the need to host larger files will be well advised to steer clear of their basic hosting packages, which limit the size of the files you can upload to a paltry five megabytes. We weren’t sure if we were reading that right or if it was a policy that was a holdover from the year 2000, as any video file (and many audio files) are going to break that limit right away. Keep reading to learn what we uncovered when we took a closer look at Doteasy and see how they compare to a handful of other hosts.
What Is Doteasy?
Based in Canada, this web hosting company purports to have “over 500,000 customers,” which didn’t really impress us, to be honest. Most web hosting companies might brag if that number were over a million, but 500k? For instance, fellow dotcom bubble veteran DreamHost claims to host “over 1.5 million websites,” and though their actual customer base might be smaller, they don’t brag about the number. Still, if one is easily impressed, or new to hosting, 500,000 may seem like a lot. To be fair, it is; but it’s not a good metric. Generally speaking, Doteasy may not be the worst option for those looking for a very simple, no frills hosting experience. Though there are mixed reports regarding their support capabilities, reaching support isn’t difficult, as they offer phone, email, live chat, and a trouble ticket system—but if your support request happens after business hours, you’ll be waiting until the next morning. The fact that they have diesel generators on-site almost makes up for only having one data center in Canada. While it shouldn’t matter much where their data center is located, many hosting providers have more than one (it’s not something that’s all that difficult to achieve, frankly).
What Doteasy Offers
Along with virtually every script or scripted software known to man, Doteasy offers several WordPress-enabled plans, which include WordPress pre-installed but not configured. Each of their WordPress packages—the Starter, Business, and Unlimited–also include reasonably cheap domain name registration (but just for the first year), a 30-day money-back guarantee, and “expert WordPress support,” though former Doteasy customers say it’s not so expert.
Low Pricing—but with Limitations
Their pricing is reasonably low—you can do better—but we were stunned at the limitations in place. For instance, their “Starter” hosting plan, which is offered for around $4 per month for your first year, but jumps to nearly twice that for every year after that, has a limit of thirty thousand monthly visitors. Sure, that number is probably sufficient for most people or even smaller businesses, but the idea that a hosting provider would set such an arbitrary limit seems awfully old-fashioned—if you’re old enough to remember sites that had “visitor counters” proudly displayed near the bottom, you’re probably a survivor of the dotcom era yourself. It just seems antiquated—because it is. We’re used to web hosting providers setting bandwidth limitations: that’s reasonable enough depending on the price their customers are paying for monthly service, but even their starting “Business” package, which is currently around $16 per month, has a limit of “500,000+” visitors. What’s the plus? And what happens if you exceed that? There’s no documentation to show what you can expect.
Perhaps the biggest surprise we ran into was their 12/7 support. You read that right—they only have support representatives available from 6am to 6pm, Vancouver, Canada time. That was stunning in and of itself, but former (and several current) Doteasy customers report support that was less than, well, supportive. The biggest complaint was that the support representatives just weren’t very knowledgeable, but there were also reports of support being difficult to reach, or taking a long time to return emails or answer trouble tickets, even during business hours.
How It Compares
We compare Doteasy to three of their competitors to see how they rate. Those competitors are:
Liquid Web Hosting
Doteasy is reasonably priced if one doesn’t mind the restrictions they have at the lower price points. Something to bear in mind is that the prices in most cases double at the end of your first year, and there have been reports of domain name customers left without the option to transfer their domain name away from Doteasy, which we couldn’t verify; but if true is entirely unacceptable.
Ease of Use 4 out of 5 stars
Doteasy is, in fact, easy. Novice customers will be pleased that even the basic hosting packages come with access to many different server-side software packages, like WordPress, Joomla (another WordPress-like content management system), and many other choices, all installable by running a proprietary Doteasy-owned script.
Uptime 2.5 out of 5 stars
Though they do claim to have an uptime of 99.9%, Doteasy does not have any uptime guarantees nor does it offer compensation in the event of down time. No uptime guarantee is a concern for several reasons—it could indicate that Doteasy has had problems with uptime, and no compensation for downtime is worrying, as well. If your website goes down for several days, wouldn’t you want your hosting provider to offer something?
Features 3 out of 5 stars
Doteasy does offer an extensive and varied number of features, but taking into account the limitations they place on the number of visitors, we can’t rate them higher than we have here, as those limitations are from the bad old days of hosting when a provider could get away with things like that.
Customer Support 2.5 out of 5 stars
Having technical support available for only twelve hours a day is simply unacceptable, especially for a company that caters to novice users. This is especially problematic if you’re in a timezone that’s considerably offset from their Vancouver, Canada offices.
- Novice friendly
- WordPress enabled
- Many software packages included with hosting fees
- No 24/7 support—at all
- Arbitrary site visitor limits
- No uptime guarantee
DreamHost started in 1997, giving them a three-year lead on Doteasy. They survived through the dotcom bubble, just like Doteasy, and they’re perhaps best well known for their WordPress hosting, also like Doteasy. That’s where the similarity ends. DreamHost’s prices are more reasonable, all of their plans feature unlimited storage and bandwidth, and of course there’s no ridiculous “site visitor” limitation.
They have three server locations—in Virginia, California, and Oregon—which gives them more flexibility for customers who want to have domestic US server locations. Best known for their WordPress hosting, DreamHost is home to many blog sites, but they also offer an array of more advanced hosting solutions for customers who have a need for more resources or processing time. Their support is, unlike Doteasy, 24/7; though wait times can sometimes be extensive.
DreamHost’s starter plans run from around $2.50 per month to around $8 per month, with more advanced plans and options costing, of course, more.
Ease of Use 3.5 out of 5 stars
DreamHost is easy to get started on, even for novice users, but their Control Panel feature is text-based, unlike most graphical ones that any web hosting veteran is likely to be familiar with. This is all right if you’re comfortable with text-based interfaces, but it is far from intuitive.
Uptime 5 out of 5 stars
Not only do they have an uptime guarantee—it’s 100%.
Features 3.5 out of 5 stars
Though they have extensive features, especially for bloggers, many of them are either only available with higher priced hosting packages or cost an additional fee.
Customer Support 3.5 out of 5 stars
Though support is 24/7 and includes various methods of contact, wait times can be extensive.
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Free Domain
- 100% Uptime Guarantee
- Command line prompt style Control Panel
- Many features in their DreamHost Dashboard cost extra
- Premium WordPress features only available at extra cost
- Occasionally long support wait times
TMDHosting was founded in 2007, making them the new guy in our roundup. Though they may be new, they do provide stiff competition to the more established companies above by providing a good value for hosting customers, and they are committed to helping customers with little or no technical knowhow stake their claim on the web. They offer free installation and configuration of server-side software and even go so far as to offer free installation of WordPress themes and modules.
TMDHost offers packages starting at a “regular” rate of around $9 per month, but frequently offer specials that bring the cost down to around $3 per month for their most basic offering. As this level of hosting includes unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage, it’s a great bargain; but we’re judging them based on their “regular” prices, which aren’t the best in the industry.
Ease of Use 4.5 out of 5 stars
Few web hosts will engage in the kind of hand-holding that TMDHost will and few offer the level of commitment to novice users. If you can’t configure a WordPress feature or theme yourself, customer support will do it for you, which is not common in the hosting world.
Uptime 4 out of 5 stars
TMDHost runs on SingleHop maintained servers, and as such have excellent uptime. SingleHop offers managed server solutions to companies like TMDHost, and have a reputation for zero downtime. The company guarantees 99.99% uptime, which translates to under five minutes of downtime per month.
Features 4 out of 5 stars
TMDHost not only offers an extensive list of server-side software, themes, and modules, but their customer support staff will install and configure them for you, which is an excellent value even at their “regular” pricing structure.
Customer Support 4.5 out of 5 stars
TMDHost has renowned customer support staff and a dedication to helping customers who have very little technical knowledge. Unlike Doteasy, TMDHost’s technical support staff is available 24/7, although after business hours, phone support is unavailable. Still, their web-based support ticket and live chat features are outstanding, and their tech support is highly knowledgeable and friendly.
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage space
- Outstanding customer support
- Ease of use
- Server speeds are sometimes not up to industry standards
- Pricing isn’t the lowest
Liquid Web Hosting
Another company founded in the late 1990s, Liquid Web Host is hosting for the blogging professional who needs VPS or Dedicated hosting, which is a specialized market. As such, Liquid Web’s hosting is far from the cheapest on our review, but if you’re someone who requires service on this level, you could do a lot worse.
Their starter plan offers a server space with access to one gigabyte of ram and one core processor, 50 gigabytes of solid state hard drive storage, and five terabytes of bandwidth for around $50 per month. The plans just go up from there, all the way to right around $220, which will get you eight gigs of ram, four core processors, 150 gigs of SSD storage, and the five terabytes of bandwidth.
Ease of Use 2.5 out of 5 stars
This is a specialized hosting company for a specialized kind of customer. Though they do offer tools that make it easy for those running multiple WordPress sites to make changes to all of their sites at once, this is not a host for novices or those who are uncomfortable or unknowledgeable with WordPress hosting. Though their hosting packages are suitable for different content management systems, unless you’re running WordPress, this perhaps isn’t the best choice.
Uptime 3.5 out of 5 stars
Though they don’t offer uptime guarantees, they can claim a 99.99% uptime figure which we verified through independent sources. They would score higher if they offered a concrete guarantee, but this is far from the worst you could do in terms of uptime.
Features 2.5 out of 5 stars
Again, this hosting company is for blogging professionals and WordPress experts, so isn’t really geared toward offering the kind of features most novice users might expect.
Customer Support 5 out of 5 stars
As you would expect from an expensive, blogger-dedicated host, they have excellent customer support, available 24/7 via phone, email, or web-based trouble tickets.
- Professional blogger hosting
- Dedicated to WordPress sites
- Excellent customer support
- Very expensive for basic hosting
- Not novice friendly
As you can see, Doteasy doesn’t quite compare to some of the other hosting options available, and can’t really hold a candle to the more professionally run organizations out there. Doteasy has been reported to be run like a “family business,” which means sometimes managers and other higher administrative staff that may not be knowledgeable, friendly, or necessarily qualified for their position manage to hang on to their jobs despite poor performance. It apparently isn’t the best place to work, and that’s telling—unhappy employees make for unhappy customers. On the whole, we give Doteasy 2.5 out of 5 stars. You can do better for your money.