Hostgator Pros and Cons:
- Unlimited Bandwith
- 99.9% Uptime
- Automatic migration
- Website Builder not included in hosting price
Currently hosting over eight million unique domains, HostGator is one of the biggest and oldest web hosting companies out there, with shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and managed WordPress hosting plans. As all of HostGator’s plans are fully scalable, they’re a great choice for businesses of all sizes, while the WordPress hosting plans are a popular choice amongst smaller business owners and individuals looking to launch a new brand or business.
As HostGator is one of the largest hosting companies, there are lots of HostGator reviews out there, all of which say different things. To help you decide whether or not HostGator is the perfect hosting provider for you, our web hosting experts have tested a variety of HostGator’s plans and packages to see if they live up to the hype. Read on for our full HostGator review to see if this web hosting provider packs a big enough bite to support your hosting requirements.
As any business owner or digital marketing agency knows, your web hosting provider needs to provide enough options to allow your website to expand at the same rate as your business. As businesses grow, websites usually expand to span multiple domain names that require a variety of different features, whether that’s e-commerce support or larger servers to ensure uptime when they’re hit with heavy traffic.
For our HostGator review, we’ve taken an extensive look at the most important features available from HostGator so you can make sure this web hosting provider delivers everything that you need it to. From an impressive array of security features to checking if HostGator lives up to its uptime guarantee, here’s our full rundown of everything that’s on offer.
Whether you’re managing multiple websites or just a single domain, your hosting provider’s interface needs to be easy to navigate so you can easily make any necessary changes to your websites or domains as required. Our hosting experts have spent days tinkering with a variety of different tools in HostGator’s dashboard for our HostGator review, which they found very responsive and easy to navigate. Everything is located at the left-hand side of the dashboard and you can easily view all of the information you need to manage your account.
There are plenty of convenient touches throughout HostGator’s dashboard too. Many of the most common website management modules you’ll ever need to use, such as email accounts, file manager, webmail, and databases, are located in the Control Panel section, which is easy to spot straight from the dashboard. If you’re a more experienced web developer, you can install a full-strength cPanel that contains useful tools such as FTP, PhpMyAdmin, Webalizer, and Awstats.
Signing up for HostGator couldn’t be any easier and everything you want to customize your plan with is available on a single web page, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time clicking through page after page of customizable options. Beginners won’t have any issues setting up a WordPress site from scratch or building their thanks to Weebly’s drag-and-drop website builder, and if you do hit any hurdles during your web development, you can speak to a HostGator WordPress expert for absolutely free.
The website builder is one of our favorite features on HostGator as it allows anyone without any web coding experience to easily set up their website from as little as $3.24 per month. If you’re planning on using HostGator to launch an e-commerce store, you can upgrade to an e-commerce plan for an additional $9.22 per month, which includes a variety of useful tools such as inventory management, shipping, and promotion options.
For our HostGator review, we created several test websites to find out how fast HostGator is, and to see if it lives up to its 99.9% uptime guarantee. As HostGator is a popular choice amongst smaller businesses and individuals, we wanted to keep things basic, so we set up WordPress websites using the default theme, populating the pages with lorum text and a variety of images.
Using our speed testing tools, we received response times ranging from 205ms to 749ms, with an average of 640ms. That meant our HostGator websites were loading in less than a second. We checked how quickly the sites performed under the strain of peak traffic too and were equally impressed by the results, although we did notice times started to slow down once we had over 100 simultaneous views on the website – but that’s to be expected with a basic WordPress hosting package.
Throughout our testing of upkeep times for our HostGator review, we didn’t experience any outages. Our site was never done during the monitoring period, which is impressive over a two-week testing period. We also used Bitcatcha’s Server Speed Checker on our website to test how well our they’d hold with traffic from multiple locations all over the world. Again, HostGator didn’t let us down and still performed well with ghost visitors from London, North America, and Japan. Response times were consistently flat with no significant spikes.
It’s important to note that HostGator is so consistent for a reason. If HostGator drops below its guarantee of 99.98% uptime, affected users are given a month’s worth of credit on their account.
HostGator is protected from DDoS attacks and has an extensive custom firewall rule and large mod security rules to protect their servers and your websites from a variety of digital attacks. And if for any reason your HostGator website experiences heavy flooding, HostGator’s data center can enable network level flood protection. But what security tools are available for your own websites?
Unfortunately, HostGator doesn’t offer a lot of free security features as part of its packages, other than the usual things you’d expect such as free SSL certificates, spam blockers, and basic protection. Other HostGator reviews have equally criticized the provider for its lack of security features but you are able to enhance your site’s security through HostGator’s partnership with SiteLock, which offers HostGator users' 80% off the retail price of its web security plans starting from as little as £1.99 per month.
For that, you’ll get daily malware scans, automatic malware removal, 24/7 SiteLock support, DDoS protection, a web application firewall, and Google blacklist monitoring. Additional features, such as database scanning, PCI compliance reporting and application patching come at a cost. Ultimately, a lot of the onus is on-site managers to ensure their websites and any associated plug-ins and patches are regularly updated to ensure their websites run smoothly. It’s a shame that HostGator doesn’t provide more enhanced security for base-level packages.
Integrations and Add-Ons
There’s a variety of integrations and add-ons that can be easily implemented into your website(s) directly through HostGator’s own website builder or by installing cPanel. If WordPress isn’t your CMS of choice, you’ll be happy to know that other platforms such as Drupal, b2evolutions, Mambo, and Tiki can be just as easily installed. In total, you can install more than 75 open-source scripts at the simple click of a button thanks to HostGator’s one-click installer, while the QuickInstall tool provides over 400 apps to support any type of website, from blogs and forums to photo galleries and busy e-commerce stores.
Speaking of e-commerce, HostGator is one of the best hosting provider choices out there for sales, thanks to its e-commerce packages provided through ClickLinks, with a choice of Magento, phpCOIN, ZenCart, and SugarCRM. With so many design options to choose from, other HostGator reviews have pointed out that things can get a bit complicated for basic web users, but anyone that has a lot of experience working in e-commerce sites will find this additional design features a benefit rather than a hindrance.
In terms of general add-ons outside of apps, HostGator allows you to redeem free private SSLs with a dedicated IP for business accounts; update primary domains; install an SSL from anywhere; purchase dedicated IP addresses; transfer accounts from previous hosts; generate CSR and issue an SSH activation request.
Similar to other HostGator reviews, we have a couple of grievances with its customer support. Similarly, HostGator’s reviews on Trustpilot highlight customer service as one of the hosting provider’s biggest areas for improvement.
Before we proceed with the negatives, let’s start with the positives. HostGator has a knowledge base that’s packed full of useful information and you may find all of the answers to many of your questions there. Unfortunately, things start to go downhill when you actually need to speak to someone from the team.
Customer service is 24/7/365 and even includes live chat support but we had long waiting times to get through to an actual human being. On average, we experienced wait times of up to ten minutes which, to us, indicates that HostGator has far too many customers than it’s actually able to take care of. Even when we were connected during live chat, we couldn’t have a normal conversation as our agent always seemed to respond in five-minute bursts. This is just our experience, though, but it does seem to ring true to a lot of the other HostGator reviews out there.
Types of Hosting
HostGator has all hosting bases covered with shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and reseller hosting, with a variety of different plans across each area. The shared web hosting plans feature one-click installations and some of the best applications available on the web, perfect for anyone looking to create their first website. Similarly, WordPress hosting combines the flexibility of WordPress with HostGator’s powerful speeds, resulting in 2.5x faster-loading speeds thanks to HostGator’s supercharged servers.
For the web hosting pros out there, HostGator’s VPS hosting plans provide webmasters with dedicated control and functionality in a scalable hosting environment, while three dedicated hosting plans combine the best in both power and performance. Finally, HostGator’s reseller plans are perfect for digital agencies, with low costs providing a decent mark-up.
Plans and Pricing
There are three main plans for each different type of hosting, including shared hosting and VPS hosting, providing plenty of options when it comes to the amount of storage and bandwidth you’ll need, as well as the final price you’re willing to pay.
The cheapest shared hosting plan is the Hatchling Plan starting at just $2.75 per month. It offers a single domain, one-click WordPress installs, unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and a free domain. The Baby Plan, at $3.95 per month, enhances the Hatchling Plan with unlimited domains, while the Business Plan, at 45.95 per month, includes a free dedicated IP address and free SEO tools.
These plans are laid out easily so it’s clear to see what you’re getting for your money. The Starter Plan, at $5.95 per month, covers one site with up to 100k visits per month and 1GB of backups, while the standard plan at $7.95 per month, doubles all of the allowances we’ve just mentioned. Finally, the Business Plan includes three websites, 500k visits per month, and 3GB backups for $9.95 per month.
HostGator has the big boys covered starting with the Value Server package at $89.98 per month, which includes 8GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, and unmetered bandwidth supported by a 4-core Intel Xeon-D CPU. The Power Server doubles the aforementioned features for a cost of $199.89 per month while the Enterprise Server plan provides 30GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and unmetered bandwidth for $139.99 per month, with the Power and Enterprise Server plans provided on an 8-core processor.
For $19.95 per month, The Snappy2000 VPS hosting plan provides 2GB RAM, 2-core CPU, and 120GB disk space with unlimited bandwidth. The Snappy 4000 VPS hosting plan doubles the RAM to 4GB and increases the disk space to 165GB for $29.95 per month, while the Snappy 8000 plan doubles the RAM and processing power for $39.95 per month.
Starting at $19.95 per month, the Aluminum Plan provides 60GB disk space, 600GB bandwidth, and unlimited domains with a free SSL certificate. The Copper Plan, priced at $24.95 per month, cranks up the disk space to 90GB and the bandwidth availability to 900GB, while the Silver Plan takes things even further by increasing the disk space to 140GB while providing 1400GB of bandwidth for $24.95 per month. Not bad!
Set aside the bad experience with customer service and HostGator is a fantastic hosting provider, offering plenty of options for hosting newbies while an extensive selection of enhanced features will keep web hosting experts happy. With plenty of plans to choose from, all of which provide excellent value for money, HostGator definitely takes chunks out of its competitors. Just make sure you’ve read HostGator’s reviews for customer service if you’re planning to spend a lot of time utilizing the live chat feature.