When it came to hosting, I had a hard time making the decision. Eventually, I narrowed down my choices to Dreamhost and Bluehost–based on pricing, recommendations and cautions by people using both sites, etc. I went with Dreamhost because it seemed like the frugal choice.
As many have written, frugal is different from cheap. Dreamhost was cheaper up front (why I made the decision) but the two were also on equal footing from what I could find out. Both had some real glitches this year, both left some frustrated users. Both also offered a lot of the same services and had some very satisfied users.
Dreamhost’s advantage: Coupon codes.
The annual fee for Dreamhost (if you buy just one year) is $119 at $9.95 per month with free setup. Bluehost is slightly cheaper (for a year) $95.40 at $7.95 per month with free setup as well.
Both require upfront payment. That was the sticking point for me. With equal service, I’d much rather sign up for a year or two with Bluehost and pay $7.95 or $6.95 per month.
However, using a coupon code for Dreamhost, I paid $22.40 for my first year! I used HERMOINE, but there are lots out there. I may create my own coupon code once I have time and figure out how it works (I saw an explanation but didn’t have time to get more than the basics).
That’s less than $2 per month.
It was important to me for two reasons. First, it’s much cheaper. Second, I don’t have the money to put down as much cash up front. With the code, I was able to pay for it with my Paypal commissions from last month’s alternative income. It didn’t have to come out of my budget or even savings.
If things go badly enough that I want to change, then after 3 months I’ll be ahead of what I’d have paid for Bluehost anyway. And, if I’ve earning money with the BlogHer ad network, then perhaps I’ll even have enough to pay for a year without hurting the budget.
As for next year, I’ll figure out what I want to do based on how this coming year goes. There’s a whole 12 months and we’ll see what happens! Hope you’ll be along with me. 🙂