HostGator is one of the most popular web hosting on the market. Web pages are flooded by banners and ads promoting HostGator and you may well wonder if this web hosting is worth your money. Continue reading our HostGator review and you will discover what is behind this service, whether good or bad.
Choosing the best hosting provider is crucial, as the plan and capability of your provider will determine how fast your website loads for your users, its uptime, security, and more.
It will also greatly impact how much you spend on hosting payments.
The quality of their customer support will determine whether or not you can easily solve various issues that might emerge along the way.
Also, let’s not forget things like the number of features that you get, the possibility of migration of an existing website, user-friendliness, and more.
All of this is extremely important for you, your website, as well as for your future visitors, clients, and customers. With that in mind, let’s see how the famous HostGator performs in all these areas.
Before we start listing features and comparing the good against the bad, let’s talk about the service itself.
HostGator is one of the oldest and largest web hosting firms in the industry.
However, the company is still changing things from time to time, trying to improve its service and keep up with the new standards in the industry.
It offers several different hosting plans, most of which are rather good, although it does suffer from a few downsides, all of which will be discussed as we move along with this HostGator review.
But, before we get to the flaws, let’s see what the company offers, and what it does right.
As mentioned, HostGator is one of the best-known and most popular services out there. Even so, it has some elements that are better than the others, such as:
In the past, HostGator had some issues with its uptime, which is one of the most important factors of any hosting provider’s service.
However, these issues remain in the past, and the service now has a strong and stable uptime of 99.98%, on average. It is also worth mentioning that it is only 99.98% because of a single bad month, which is spoiling the average. Otherwise, it would easily have 99.99%-100% uptime, which is phenomenal. (You can check here the statistics.)
In fact, the service is so sure of its uptime and so proud of it, that they promise to give you one month of credit should the uptime drop below 99.99%.
Of course, this only includes incidents, and not planned things like maintenance, or issues like hacking attacks, where an outside force impacted the service.
Another thing to note is that users have to reach out and request this credit by themselves, and within 30 days, otherwise you will not get it.
Regardless, the point is that HostGator’s uptime is not something that you will ever have to worry about.
HostGator Money-back guarantee
Not only does HostGator provide excellent uptime, but it also offers you every opportunity to decide whether or not you like it. This is delivered through a very long money-back guarantee that lasts for 45 days.
As you may know, most other services only offer a month-long money-back guarantee. Not HostGator.
With this service, you get a month and a half to test it out and request your money back at any point during this time, if you decide that you do not like some aspect of the service. The guarantee applies to shared, HostGator VPS, or reseller hosting plans, so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose.
There is a catch, however. The catch is that you cannot count on the guarantee if you use dedicated servers, and administrative or install fees for custom software. But, these are regular conditions for hosting services, meaning that you likely will not find a service that will offer a better deal than this.
Some other points that you should be aware of include things like the fact that you cannot receive a refund on the money order, bank wire transfer, check, or Western Union payment.
Therefore, choose carefully how you pay for your hosting plan!
Customer support is another very important aspect of a hosting provider. While old and professional services like HostGator are pretty polished after all these years, you are bound to run into some problem sooner or later. This is true for every provider, and it is simply how the internet is.
However, running into an issue does not matter — what matters is whether or not customer support can help you resolve it.
Fortunately, we can confirm that HostGator has excellent customer support which you can access via email, phone, or live chat.
Most experiences indicate that HostGator live-chat is the fastest way to address the problem, and support is very likely to answer within seconds.
The staff is very knowledgeable, polite, and well-trained. They were ready to answer any question, providing precise answers that were right to the point.
All in all, we believe that HostGator customer support is one of the service’s strongest aspects, which makes it perfect for those who may experience an issue and might not be knowledgeable enough to take care of it themselves.
Of course, well-trained and helpful staff is always a plus, but let’s get back to top essentials, such as security features.
When it comes to shared hosting plans, they are rather bare-boned. There is little to no extras for them. With that in mind, you might be wondering why is security in the section of this article that talks about the good stuff.
The reason is the fact that HostGator does allow you to add a number of additional security features, such as SiteLock monitoring. This is a service that will watch over your site at all times, and it will keep watch, protecting you from hackers.
You will be instantly notified as soon as an attempt to breach the site’s defences is detected. Unfortunately, you will have to pay a bit more in order to add it, although not that much.
You also get to filter your emails thanks to Spam Assassin, which is very useful, as it will save you time, as well as protect you from email-based threats.
Naturally, all of the hosting provider’s benefits are pretty much useless if you can’t find your way around, which is why we very much appreciate the fact that HostGator was designed for beginners and professionals alike.
Regardless of whether or not you have previous experience, the service is easy to use, filled with useful tutorials and walkthroughs, and we can say that its knowledge base is nothing short of impressive.
Furthermore, beginners can also make use of some extra features that will help you in creating your website without trouble. Best of all, you can do it yourself, and you don’t have to think about hiring people to manage everything or take care of the design and build.
They offer a very easy-to-use website builder named Gator, which is among the best ones out there. It offers modern, customizable templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and even free HostGator SSL.
On top of that, you also get an eCommerce plan that will help you set up an online store if that is what you are after, without having to worry about plugins, payment gateways, and alike.
HostGator Website Migration
If you already have a website and you simply wish to move it to HostGator, we are glad to say that the service has you covered. After you sign up, you can contact the support and ask for help to have your site files, scripts, domain, databases, cPanel and everything else moved.
The only requirement is that you submit your request within 30 days from signing up.
It is important to note that HostGator offers only one site or cPanel migration per shared hosting plan, and that includes every shared hosting plan they offer.
However, other types of hosting plans can push the number of website migrations up to 30, which is something you can get if you purchase resellers hosting.
Now that we have talked about the good sides of this hosting service let’s take a look at some of the things that are less than perfect.
There are not that many flaws with HostGator, but there are some things that you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not this is a service for you.
The first and most important issue we had with HostGator is the page load speed. While the service seems to have no issues with keeping the page up, its servers are performing a bit slower, with the loading time being at around 1007ms, on average.
This is not exactly terrible, but it is still longer than we would like, and the only thing that needed loading was a simple text-based content page.
Things go from bad to worse if you add a bunch of high-res images, in addition to a few thousand words.
The reason we are so concerned about page loading speed is that it can seriously impact your business and reputation.
The internet lives and moves fast, and people are usually not ready or willing to wait 5-10 seconds for your page to load. Google estimates that 2 to 5 seconds is the top limit of what you should expect from your visitors.
If the page takes longer than that to load, they will simply leave, which might result in you losing your potential customer.
Now, there are some methods of speeding up the site loading and stay with HostGator, although you should keep in mind that this will mean a neverending battle with slow speeds, which might become quite an annoyance after a while.
All online services that are any good require you to pay the price, and while HostGator’s prices are pretty low, you should be aware that anything other than default services will cost you extra.
As mentioned earlier, default services are a bit bare-boned, meaning that you will likely have to pay for quite a bit of extra stuff.
Now, when we say ‘extra stuff,’ we don’t mean some unnecessary features that you simply might want to add. No, we are talking about some essentials, such as backups of your site, SiteLock monitoring, SEO tools, and even Gmail access.
The service’s description is a bit misleading as it uses careful wording to make it look like these features are immediately enabled.
Instead, they are only ‘available,’ and ‘optionable.’ This is a big flaw with HostGator, especially since so many of its competitors really do include these features in their default plans.
Instead, with HostGator, you will see that you have to pay extra for these things at the end of the checkout process. When all of these features pile up, that can lead to quite a hefty fee.
For example, Gmail access will cost you $60 per year, or $5 per month. Add to that SiteLock’s $20 per year, as well as additional $23.95 for CodeGuard, and you already have to pay over $100 for some basic features that were supposed to be there in the first place.
In other words, don’t get tricked by HostGator’s cheap hosting plans — there is quite a bit of premium stuff you will have to add to the service in order to cover your bases.
And then, in addition to all that, HostGator also has two pricing tricks, although we cannot really blame it for this, as these things are pretty common in the hosting industry. Even so, they are worth keeping in mind, so here is what you should know.
The first of the two tricks is that they advertise a low hosting price of $2.75 per month.
However, in order to get this low price, you must sign up and pay for 3 years worth of hosting, in advance. If you decide not to, you will have to pay a monthly price of $10.95.
The second issue is the renewal price, which goes up by quite a bit after the initial plan expires.
For example, if you take the advertised plan at a low rate of $2.75 per month for 36 months, you pay $99 for three years. However, when the three years expire and you end up having to renew the plan, the cost will climb up to $6.95 per month or $250.20 for 36 months.
This is nearly three times the initial price, which is something that most people realize too late.
Of course, you could always just switch service. However, HostGator doesn’t really expect you to do it. After all, you have just invested three years into building your site from the ground up on their plan.
The likelihood of you actually going through all the troubles that switching service includes is pretty low at that point.
HostGator Review – Plans and Prices
Finally, let’s talk about the basic plans that HostGator has to offer. This segment will not include hidden fees and payment tricks. Here, we are simply going to talk about what plans and prices HostGator offers.
1) Shared hosting
When it comes to shared hosting, HostGator offers three different plans:
- Hatchling Plan — $2.75 per month
- Baby Plan — $3.95 per month
- Business Plan — $5.95 per month
2) WordPress Hosting
HostGator also offers WordPress hosting, with three separate plans that differ in the number of supported sites, the number of visitors per month, and the number of GB available for backup. The plans are as follows:
- Starter plan — $5.95 per month
- Standard plan — $7.95 per month
- Business plan — $9.95 per month
3) VPS hosting
Then, there is VPS hosting which, once again, comes with three different plans, each of which has a different amount of RAM, CPU cores, disk space, and bandwidth. The plans include:
- Snappy 2000 — $29.95 per month
- Snappy 4000 — $39.95 per month
- Snappy 8000 — $49.95 per month
4) Dedicated hosting
Finally, there are also three plans for dedicated server hosting, including:
- Value Server — $119 per month
- Power Server — $139 per month
- Enterprise server $149 per month
Do we recommend HostGator?
Yes and no!!
Our conclusion is not based on the quality of the service but on the fact that the final price hosting for your hosting service might be higher than some competitors who offer better performances.
HostGator is one of the best-known and oldest hosting providers in the industry, and as such, it is being used by countless website owners around the world.
It has a fair number of strengths, although it does come at a cost since there are quite a few extra fees and carefully worded price increases after the original plans expire.
The service itself seems to be very efficient, although its loading speeds are obviously lower than what many would have liked.
However, whether or not that will be a problem for you depends on your plans for your site.
Fortunately, it also has a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you will have plenty of time to request your money back if you decide that the service is not good enough to satisfy your needs.
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