HostGator is among the oldest web hosts on the internet, and it’s one of the most common recommendations. Does that mean their service is good, or is it just branding for how long they’ve been around? That’s what we’ll find out today.
Sure, HostGator has seemed like a favorite since its establishment. We need to consider that web hosting was a much smaller industry; there weren’t many names like today. You have plenty of options if you want to host your site, and they all have their own methods, features, advantages, and disadvantages.
That’s why I’m focusing on HostGator today. For all the recommendations, there’s always someone saying it’s only because they were already a big name. We can verify it by checking out its solutions, features, and comparing them with today’s standards.
Overall, HostGator is a fairly good solution if you’re looking for web hosting. Its shared hosting plans are affordable, but they’re okay at best. However, WordPress and cloud hosting are great options; they can stack up quite well to some of the best providers on the internet.
If you want to know exactly why that is, then read on.
HostGator has been up and running for nearly two decades by now, founded back in 2002. Brent Oxley founded the service while he was still in college, and it started off in Canada before moving its official location to Houston, Texas. To this day, HostGator has grown exponentially, spreading to Austin, Texas and even heading outside the US, to Brazil.
A decade after its foundation, Brent Oxley announced that EIG (Endurance International Group) was to become the new owner of HostGator.
Now, that’s both a good and a bad movement depending on your point of view. For Oxley and the original HostGator team, it was great; EIG is a huge name, and they surely made a great deal. On the other hand, EIG isn’t the most beloved firm on the internet. A lot of people tend to see that name as bad news.
However, I can’t really agree or disagree with those opinions. I’ve seen some web hosts lose quality after getting involved with them, yet others haven’t changed. What matters is which group HostGator falls in.
Like most hosting companies, HostGator has several hosting services and options depending on what you’re looking for. Whether you’re on a budget or you need the premium experience, chances are you can find what you need here.
Shared hosting is the most affordable version of any hosting service. HostGator’s shared hosting plans are extremely affordable, and they separate this hosting tier into 3 accounts. Just like most web hosts, each plan builds on the previous one, adding more features and value.
In HostGator, the 3 shared hosting tiers are Hatchling for $2.75, Baby for $3.95, and Business for $5.95. The only difference between Hatchling and Baby is that Hatchling users can use a single domain. The Business plan adds positive SSL, a dedicated IP, and specialized SEO tools.
However, HostGator also has fundamental features that you get regardless of the plan you pay for. All packages have the Gator builder to help you design your website. You also get QuickInstall; this is a great tool for installing scripts, blogs, galleries, and WordPress websites.
Supported CMS include more than WordPress, too. There’s Drupal, Magento, phpBB, Wiki, Drupal, and Joomla.
Other features you get with all plans include unlimited bandwidth and email accounts. Their uptime guarantee is 99%, and they back this up with PHP 7 and SHS. If anything goes wrong, you can contact customer support via live chat, phone, and email tickets. You can migrate your website into HostGator for free, and it integrates seamlessly with Google and Bing ads.
Cloud hosting is also available with HostGator. Entrepreneurs looking to scale their websites quickly. They provide an excellent service, with cloud caching, a beginner-friendly dashboard, and easy management for your resources. You also get to control your entire website via an intuitive cPanel.
Just like shared hosting, cloud hosting is divided into the same three levels. However, these are a bit more different. Hatchling is still for a single site, but you also get 2GB of storage and 2 core CPU. Baby users get twice the amount of memory and CPU cores, along with unlimited domains. Business accounts have 3 times the Hatchling’s memory and CPU cores as well as a private IP address and SSL.
The plans are $4.95 monthly for Hatchling, $7.95 monthly for Baby, and $9.95 monthly for Business.
All of your data gets transferred instantly to a different server in case yours malfunctions. Furthermore, HostGator makes three copies of all websites and hosts them in several devices for even more safety.
Naturally, cloud hosting is miles ahead of shared hosting. After all, shared hosting is the budget version of web hosting companies. Besides, cloud hosting lets you enjoy resources from several servers.
That’s the opposite of shared hosting, where you’re allocated to a single server with other sites. Cloud hosting gives you all the benefits of shared hosting while adding more power and stability.
That makes your website twice as fast. Page loading times are a lot faster, and since the servers aren’t as crowded as with shared hosting, your website is a lot more responsive. State-of-the-art hardware and practices also ensure your content loads a lot better, and dynamic content loads almost as quickly as static content. Finally, caching is also optimized thanks to it being built-in.
Your website is also four times more scalable than with shared hosting. You can increase your resources on the cloud as your website attracts more traffic. You don’t need to migrate data or risk downtime. You can get more resources managed from the cloud when necessary, and that ensures traffic spikes aren’t a problem for your site’s stability.
This solution is easily the best service from HostGator. WordPress hosting also works via cloud hosting, but it’s specifically for WordPress’ platform. You get all the specialized features necessary to ensure your website works as good as it can.
This service also splits into 3 tiers, but this time it’s Starter ($5.95), Standard ($7.95), and Business ($9.95). Each plan lets you host 1 additional site, with a single site for Starter and 3 for Business. You can also handle 100,000, 200,000, or 500,000 monthly visitors depending on the plan.
Free migrations are also for as many sites as you can host in your plan; this means 1, 2, or 3 free migrations depending on your account tier. All plans have the same compute power except for Business, which is over twice what the others provide.
However, HostGator’s cloud hosting guarantees 2.5 times the loading times from shared hosting, too. That’s thanks to improved cloud structure, free servers, CDN implementation, and cache layering.
Finally, WordPress hosting also comes with management, so your WordPress receives automatic updates at its core level and all plugins and themes. The same is true for malware protection, and the free CDN is perfect for responsive websites.
While those are the highlight hosting services from HostGator, the company has many other solutions, so I’ll go through them briefly in this section.
The first one is VPS hosting, which grants you access to plenty of premium features. You receive more security layers to the network for improved reliability, and you can scale your store with a single-click function. If you’re tech-whise, then complete root access is a great feature for you.
They also keep user data secured in RAID 10 protection, complete with HVAC units and power redundancy. Your website also gets separate backups for the entire structure, and the complete development tool suite helps you improve your site’s design. Customer support is specialized, and it’s also split into 3 tiers: from $29.95 to $49.95 monthly.
There’s also dedicated hosting if you have a website that’s heavy on traffic. It’s also for bigger budgets since you’re basically paying for an entire server for yourself. However, having your own server means you get to keep all the resources you’ll ever need.
You can customize your plan however you want, too. You can choose whether you use Windows or Linux or prefer SSD or HDD for storage. You also receive protection against DDoS attacks, RAID-1 setup, and up to 5 IP addresses. Like VPS users, you can also access your site’s root access directly. Pricing for dedicated hosting splits into two tiers for $119 to $149 monthly.
Reseller hosting is another interesting service outside plain web hosting. That’s actually for aspiring web hosts. It comes with all the necessary tools to build an audience, control your operations, and upgrade your business.
Since you’ll be starting your own hosting service, the features are a lot more complicated. You receive a WHM panel, supporting several languages. You can guarantee the same 99.9% uptime as HostGator, and for more branding, you get hundreds of tutorial videos for clients. Naturally, MySQL databases and phpMyAdmin are part of the package. Pricing for these packages goes from $19.95 to $24.95 monthly depending on your account tier and payment term.
As mentioned, you can use other CMS platforms other than WordPress, and that’s through application hosting. You can use any of the platforms I’ve already mentioned, and they all get the same unmetered bandwidth, emailing, and single-click installations.
Finally, there’s also dedicated Windows hosting, despite Linux being the preferred option when working with web hosting. There’s full support for platforms like Microsoft SQL, IIS, and other platforms.
HostGator has plenty of features in all packages. However, I’ll focus on their shared hosting solution since that’s the most common plan customers subscribe to. Besides, shared hosting has the fundamental features; all advanced plans build over this foundation with advanced features.
Therefore, shared hosting plans are usually the best way to measure a web host’s quality.
Right from shared hosting, you can see a very comprehensive features package. You have HostGator’s own Gator page builder to customize your entire website by dragging and dropping the elements wherever you need them.
That’s one of the main features we’ll break down here, and we’ll also go through their domain management, marketing functionality and their premium solutions.
Firstly, we have the Gator website builder. HostGator built this intuitive website builder, and it’s perfect for beginners with zero experience with web design and programming. You get over a hundred templates, fully responsive in mobile devices.
The drag-and-drop functionality pairs perfectly with these templates. You just need to choose your preferred pre-built pages and drag the different elements wherever you need them. You even get entirely premade pages you can start using right away.
This Gator builder also comes with integrated SEO tools to help you improve your search engine rankings. You can integrate platforms like social media, PayPal, video platforms, Google Analytics, and shopping carts among other integrations.
HostGator customers also have full control over their domain names and everything related to it. You start by purchasing your domain name; you can do this directly via your cPanel, and you can find several extensions, from .com to .org and others.
Thankfully, finding a domain name is seamless, even if you’ve never done it before. You can use the handy search tool (like Google’s) available in HostGator to find out whether or not your desired URL is available.
If you already have a website, and you’re transferring it to HostGator, you just need to choose the “Transfer Domain” option and receive your year extension. As mentioned, it’s completely free.
For controlling your domain, you also receive several advanced features.
Firstly, you can lock your domain to keep anyone else from stealing your domain name. You can also activate automatic renewals for your domains every year; this is perfect since it’s easy to forget about renewing your domain after an entire year probably not thinking about it. Finally, your cPanel works as a control center, where you can manage everything related to your domain.
Naturally, a website means nothing until it starts receiving traffic. You web host, stability, and performance won’t generate any profits unless people visit your website. Thankfully, HostGator doesn’t forget about this, and it integrates a couple of digital marketing aspects to help you attract visitors and improve your conversions.
Of course, you’ll need to implement modern marketing approaches, like social media, Google Ads, and more. However, It’s important to note that HostGator accommodates these strategies seamlessly.
To simplify things, SEO is how you make your website show among the first search engine results, just like Google. Proper SEO is the foundation for marketing your website; it’s free and leaves a great first impression.
SEO is critical for any website, but it can be very complicated if it’s your first time. Creating an SEO strategy can be a challenge, especially considering how search algorithms are always changing.
Thankfully, HostGator offers free consultations to formulate SEO strategies. You even receive a dedicated coordinator to help you plan your SEO approach. It’s great when launching your first marketing campaign. They audit your website, research relevant keywords for your niche, and more.
Keyword research is the main pillar of SEO. Keywords are basically what people type into Google, Bing, or YouTube when they want to search something. Finding the right keywords means everything when you want people to find you on Google, but it’s complicated. Your marketing coordinator will come up with your keywords and monitor their performance.
Furthermore, this coordinator will also help you come up with the best content for your website. They’ll aid you to create original and SEO-friendly content. Finally, they’ll also take care of on-page optimization; this includes coming up with titles and descriptions for your pages as well as header tags for search engine indexing.
The other marketing service available is Pay Per Click advertising. This marketing approach is perfect for targeting potential customers with better precision while still keeping your budget safe; after all, you’re just paying for actual clicks instead of just placing the ads.
One of the aspects of their PPC solution is, again, keyword research. Their marketing personnel use global and local targeting along with keyword usage to boost their targeting precision. You’ll even receive a “keyword blacklist” with keywords you want to avoid using unless you want to drive poor quality audiences to your site.
However, the most advanced marketing service is full campaign management. That includes CTA’s, contact information, location, and links are part of every advert. You can also monitor their ad optimization to ensure you don’t go over your budget.
Premium services aren’t exactly cheap, but if you have a more flexible budget, then they can influence your site’s success greatly.
The first one is their CodeGuard solution. It starts at $2, and it packs tons of value for the small price you pay. Your website will be even more secure thanks to daily cloud backups on autopilot as well as three restorations every month.
You get up to 16GB for storage for all the databases and files you want to keep. It notifies you about unauthorized changes. You can use CodeGuard on up to five websites, and it’s easy to manage.
You can also hire HostGator’s marketing team to help you design your website. You can receive several optimized templates and premade SEO original content for your website. They even use WordPress, to ensure your website is as flexible as it needs to be.
Their web design comes with an SEO expert to help you figure out the best ways to generate traffic. Your website will be responsive through all platforms, and you’ll even get monthly calls about your marketing efforts to find what you’re doing good and wrong. Other features include eCommerce integration, including product pages, payment processors, and shipping.
You don’t have to worry about not knowing how to keep things running. You receive private training to make sure you can keep your website and marketing working smoothly.
As you might know already, HostGator isn’t perfect. It’s the same with all services around the globe. As much as I recommend it, we still need to consider its shortcomings. I believe their advantages outweigh their disadvantages, and the latter aren’t a dealbreaker for most people.
However, some might think their cons are more than enough to look past it. So, let’s measure my likes and dislikes.
There’s not a shortage of reason why you should use HostGator. They’ve made a name for themselves by providing a good service; we can summarize their advantages into a few simple pointers.
HostGator has you covered with what matters the most: performance and stability. They guarantee 99.9% uptime, which is vital for anyone taking their website seriously. That said, we must note that 99.9% is mostly standard with the best services, so it’s nothing you won’t find elsewhere.
Still, a lot of people tend to neglect uptime in favor of loading speed. Your pages might load instantly, but it won’t do much if your website dies out regularly. Thankfully, testing HostGator’s uptime isn’t too difficult.
Thankfully, HostGator passes the test with 99.95% uptime in a month, so you don’t have to worry about recurrent dowtimes. Furthermore, you’re entitled to compensation with credit months if you experience less uptime than their guarantee.
On the other hand, page loading speed is still important. As mentioned, their page loading speeds are usually around a single second, so you’re covered there. You might be wondering why that’s so important, and it goes far beyond user experience within your website.
Quick loading speeds are a must for SEO to rank your website optimally. Furthermore, quick loading times reduce bounce rates; potential customers won’t be frustrated over unresponsive websites. Finally, you can boost your conversion rates by letting your visitors get faster to where they want to be.
If you experience any issues with your website, you can still contact their full-time customer support. It’s available 24/7 via live chat, email tickets, and phone. Reaching out is seamless thanks to their dedicated portal, and there’s even a community forum and wiki-like pages with FAQ and troubleshooting guides.
This service is also quite common with any good hosting service. Regardless, it’s important to point it out, especially considering how seamless the process is with HostGator. You can transfer your website to them from a different hosting company.
You just need to create an account with the plan you want to use. The HostGator team does the rest from there. Keep in mind this service is completely free, and installing WordPress requires a single click, like usual.
Additionally, HostGator is also great for people hosting their first website without any experience. You’re free to use any CMS platform you prefer; you only need to choose the right option while you’re signing up.
Setting up your website is seamless thanks to their quick installation feature. You don’t need any technical expertise.
Outside of the most basic package, HostGator has unlimited features for almost all other features. It does wonders to let you squeeze as much value as you can from your subscription.
First, we have limitless disk space to store your website’s data. This feature lets you grow your website as much as you need; you don’t need to exit your shared hosting subscription for a while.
Unmetered bandwidth is also part of HostGator’s service. You can move all the data you need between your visitors, your server, and the web. It’s an amazing way to improve website performance, and it’s fully available with shared hosting, too.
Finally, unlimited databases are also included with HostGator’s shared hosting plans. This feature translates into having all the WordPress installations you need. If you work with several clients, this lets you keep and test several websites under the same account.
However, that’s as unlimited as the term’s meaning in the hosting industry. The reality is that there’s nothing “unlimited” in web hosting, and HostGator is one of the few hosts that clarify this issue.
These limits are CPU usage, running too many cPanel processes and MySQL connections at once, creating too many cPanel files, and email usage. That said, the amount of emails accounts you can create and bandwidth you can use are truly unlimited.
However, HostGator still falls short in a few aspects. As mentioned, these don’t really break their service or user experience. They’re mostly a matter of preference; some people might not care and others might prefer to look elsewhere because of these shortcomings.
Before starting, their features’ catalog is actually standard. You’ll find similar offers from most host companies. Their lack of heavy restrictions is also commendable.
Having said that, HostGator doesn’t provide too much value with its shared hosting plans. Granted, shared hosting is the cheaper option for users who simply want to host their site and nothing more, yet other hosts might offer more value here.
Moreover, shared hosting isn’t management, which means you’re on your own managing your website. From daily backups to updates and security, you’re solely responsible for your website.
Thankfully, it sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is. In fact, you can find guides and tutorials on how to do it on YouTube and Google. Their support team can also help you if you run into any issues.
Now, HostGator does make it very easy to manage your domains and anything related to them. Nevertheless, some domain names are actually a bit more expensive than several of its competitors.
However, that’s far from a deal breaker since you can register your domain with many other companies. You can save most of that money registering and renewing your domain names with a different company. You can simply use your cPanel to direct your DNS.
Firstly, this “downside” doesn’t have any impact on HostGator’s features, functionality, and performance. Everything mentioned in this review is still true, yet I always mention EIG ownership because some people don’t like them.
Some reviewers point out EIG ownership as a red flag. They’re somewhat infamous for sacrificing their product’s performance to reduce costs and maximize profits. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule, and HostGator is one of them so far.
Still, EIG practices might impact HostGator at one point, but that doesn’t seem to be the case so far.
Overall, HostGator is definitely a worthy consideration if you’re looking for affordable web hosting. It’s quite cheap and simple, so new site owners might find everything they need with their shared hosting, at least to give themselves a solid start.
That said, their cloud hosting solutions are the best thing about HostGator by far. They’re perfect for advanced users who care more about security and performance. The main highlight here is their WordPress managed hosting; this comes with all the best features and functionality, with excellent assistance, at an outstanding price.
Yes, they belong to EIG, but they seem to be a noticeable exception to EIG’s infamy. HostGator is a common recommendation for beginner and advanced website owners alike. They’ve managed to build and maintain their reputation by offering excellent plans and features for highly competitive prices.
To summarize the entire review, HostGator has plenty of aspects that make up for their prices and even offer a bit more value beyond that. Their features might be relatively limited when compared to newer competitors, but what they do offer is among the best on the internet.
Just make sure to read their plans carefully and plan your needs before making a decision. Not all hosting companies accommodate all users, so you need to consider your own conditions.