To expand on moua’s reply, as he said, you can sign up for a year of hosting ($119.40) and take the $97 discount for a net payment of $22.40.
If within the first 97 days of your hosting, you decide that dreamhost isn’t for you, you can take advantage of the money-back guarantee to get your $22.40 back. If you use your free domain registration, you’ll actually only get $12.35 back because the domain registration isn’t reversible. That may sound like a downside but you’ll still have your domain registration paid up for a year and can have it transferred to your new web host.
After the 97 day money-back guarantee period, your $22.40 will have bought you the rest of the year (that would be about 9 more months) to decide whether you made the right choice with dreamhost. That’s as good a deal as it gets for the level of hosting you have access to here. At the end of that year, you’ll have to decide whether to renew at $119.40 a year (or go multi-year for a bigger discount).
But here’s the interesting part: if at any time during that first year, if you decide you’ve fallen in love with dreamhost and think you’re in it for the long haul, you can “renew” immediately for a longer term and a bigger discount. Dreamhost will apply the “unused” portion of the remainder of your $119.40 to your new plan. This is what my sister did. She signed up for a one year plan and then after three or four months, decided she was going to stay here for a while and so she renewed into a two year plan. Since she had “used up” four months at $9.95 a month, she paid ($7.95 x 24) - ($9.95 x 8) = $190.80 - $79.60 = $111.20 for her two year plan. (Note that this example uses a plan that doesn’t exist any more, but I hope you get the point)
Anyway, the point is that you can get the best of both worlds - a low initial commitment when you don’t know whether you’re going to know whether you’ll like dreamhost and the ability to switch immediately into a long-term discount program when you decide you’re going to stay a while. What could be better?
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