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- Best uptime (99.99%)
- Fast, 405 ms load time as average
- Good & quick customer support
- Recommended by WordPress.org
- 1-Click installs for website builders
- Cheap introductory cost
- Some disadvantage
HostGator – Why is it so popular?
HostGator is another American-based hosting provider acquired by EIG (the corporation that owns Bluehost as well) in 2012.
My personal experience dealing with customer support was pleasant since they answered within seconds and proved to be very knowledgeable.
They pioneered unlimited hosting back in 2008, and their basic shared hosting plans still come with unlimited storage, Bandwidth, free domain (for the first year), and a free SSL certificate. In fact, HostGator’s shared hosting plans are so robust and inclusive that they might be the best choice for a great variety of businesses and personal blogs. But let’s get more specific and point out the main things people like/dislike about HostGator.
What do people like about HostGator?
- Reliability: HostGator has proven to provide uninterrupted 99.9% uptime guarantee to ensure that your website will always be available
- Customer Support: Their customer support is genuinely 24/7/365, operating via phone and live chat and it is among the best in the industry
- Straight-forward and affordable pricing
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Free website migration
What’s not to like? Here is a detailed feature description.
- Single to unlimited domains depending on the chosen plan
- Free WordPress/cPanel website transfer
- SSL Certificate included
- Free Domain included for the first year
- Unmetered Bandwidth
- Unlimited free email addresses even with the cheapest plan
- Free HostGator website builder
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Latest cPanel
- $100 Google AdWords and $100 Bing Ads credit
- The windows-based hosting option is available
- 24/7/365 Premium Support via Phone and Live Chat
- Automatic Weekly Off-Site Data Backups
- 24/7/365 Hosting Server Monitoring
HostGator Pros and Cons
Firstly, HostGator offers free website migrations, which is a bonus when looking for a platform to transfer without additional cost.
Secondly, it provides reliable hosting performance and stable uptime (99.9%) guarantee, which is only up to eight hours of downtime per year.
- Free SSL Certificate with Let’s Encrypt
- Search engine advertising credits
- They have reinvested in a new website builder which is included with every package
- Programming languages: HostGator supports multiple languages. PHP, Ruby On Rails, Perl, and Python are allowed.
- Unmetered databases, which basically means that you can have as many WordPress installs as you need
- 24/7/365 multichannel customer support
In other words, pretty much everything is unlimited, except for the number of domains with the cheapest, Hatchling shared hosting plan.
Finally, if you don’t like their services, they have a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Slower loading speeds than you might expect (1191ms average). If you are running a big website on Hostgator, you might experience delays since they tend to host tons of sites on the same server. It’s not necessarily a problem if you have a smaller website or a blog. On the other hand, if you’re looking forward to the growth of your audience and content, think about booking a dedicated server or exploring some competitors.
Recently, they’ve started to upsell semi-useful additional applications and services, which could be annoying at times, since you will have to deactivate those plugins manually if you’re not interested.
Another downfall is that they only offer US-based data centers, so if your audience is international and you care about their experience, we suggest to check out other providers, like ChemiCloud.
If you are willing to purchase a domain name through HostGator, it might come across quite pricey – $17.99/yr for .com renewals.
When to use HostGator?
As I’ve mentioned before, HostGator brings excellent value at a reasonable cost. The company is owned by a huge corporation, so they can afford to maintain low prices, which is vital for small businesses and individual blogs.
When not to use HostGator?
If you’re planning to upload heavily weighted content, such as videos; you have multiple websites with a massive amount of traffic, HostGator might not be the right choice. If you are looking for more personalized service, you might want to take a closer look at privately-owned businesses.
Is HostGator easy to use?
They provide a custom-build Website Builder that ensures drag-and-drop building experience. You can choose from a wide selection of themes, pre-built sections, and so on. Their website creation experience is smooth. Regarding their backend, the CPanel is easy to use and intuitive (please see the screenshot below). The only thing that’s worth mentioning about overall customer experience, is that customer support may be a little slow. Many users stated that support specialists have no sense of urgency.
HostGator Pricing Plans
HostGator’s pricing policy is pretty straight-forward, I got to give them that. They have only three shared web hosting options that are easy to choose from, unlike GoDaddy, with their overcomplicated pricing and add-ons.
Even the cheapest, Hatchling plan offers you a free SSL Certificate, unmetered Bandwidth, and unlimited free emails if needed. This plan will also give you a free website migration, a free domain for the first year of usage, and, surprisingly, unmetered storage. That’s very generous, considering the starting price of only $2.75/month. When I say “starting,” I mean that they will charge you more upon renewal – $6.95. For comparison, some of the hosting providers will give you as little as 15GB storage for relatively the same price and would charge extra for SSL certificates and emails. That’s the perfect plan if you’re intending to host a single domain without e-commerce functionality.
The Baby plan comes with all the perks of the Hatchling plan and doesn’t limit your domains. This plan still doesn’t offer essential e-commerce tools, and the starting price is $3.95 per month ($9.95 upon renewal).
If you are going to add purchasing options to your website (selling services or goods, accept credit cards, and so on), you should go with the highest Business package. It will give you an additional SSL certificate upgrade, which protects your domains and subdomains. You will also get dedicated IP to ensure higher page loading speed for your users. And, they will give you up to $50 in credits for SEO tools. That’s the only shared hosting option they have that meets the requirements for a functional e-commerce site, and it starts at $5.95/month or 14.95 upon renewal, which is still reasonable.
Don’t forget, that after the first year of using the free domain, they will charge you $17.99 for every year following. That’s why I recommend purchasing domain elsewhere (e.g., Freenom) and use the provider for your hosting and website building needs only.
Does Hostozilla Recommend HostGator?
Yes, we do. It comes at a reasonable price if you try and avoid all the annoying upsells and pick the right package. They say that HostGator’s WordPress plans will provide you with a higher page loading speed, so if your website is subject to a massive amount of traffic, we suggest getting yourself familiar with those plans.
Even if you go with the Business package, your bill will not go through the roof, but you will get the speed, dedicated IP, and all the unlimited features you need. We especially like unlimited storage, even with the cheapest option.
Customer support is not the fastest in the industry, so HostGator might not be your first choice if you need hand-holding every step of the way (read: you’re an absolute beginner). But more tech-savvy users will appreciate the multiple programming languages and some other advanced features.
Hostgator Frequently Asked Questions
Where are Hostgator servers located?
They use Ace Data Centers and CyrusOne in the following cities: Provo, Utah, and Houston, Texas. They don’t own the data centers and only host your data within the US. You can’t choose between the centers.
Does Hostgator do backups?
HostGator’s automatic backup service runs once a week on a random day, and each run overwrites any previous backups. HostGator backups are provided as a courtesy and are not guaranteed, so it’s safer to run your own backups.
Does Hostgator charge monthly?
You can pay monthly, but the price will go up drastically, for instance, the Hatchling plan is $10.95/month. It’s only fair to mention that that’s a standard industry practice.