Not sure if HostGator is the right web host for your website? Looking to switch from a competitor? Regardless of why you are looking at HostGator, this HostGator review will help you determine if their hosting services are for you.
Since its launch in 2002, HostGator has been providing websites with reliable web hosting services. Today, their two Texas locations host over nine million websites, and counting. In several annual customer satisfaction surveys, over 90% of their customers stated that they were satisfied with HostGator.
Even with its popularity, they have fought an ongoing battle to be the best web hosting provider. We can all blame the EIG acquisition for their slow decline. So, is HostGator for you? Continue reading our HostGator review to find out.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH HOSTGATOR
When I launched my first WordPress blog, I turned to HostGator to host my first real blog. At the time, they seemed to be the best web host; it had positive reviews on webmaster forums and various other websites. In addition, they offered unlimited hosting features that I found enticing.
The servers were good and my blog was consistently available. Support was there when I needed them and I never left unsatisfied. Then, EIG took over. While, a majority of things remained the same, other things changed.
However, as my website grew, this is when I started experiencing poor performance, excessive downtime and poor customer service. This is not the problem with only HostGator and other EIG companies, I think this is a problem with all shared hosting companies in general.
After years of using HostGator to host my blogs, I think they are good for small and medium websites. Shared hosting is not an ideal choice for larger websites.
Pricing is not the cheapest, but there are always discounts and promotions that make it enticing to join. Right now, you can get a shared hosting account with unmetered bandwidth and storage for $7.16/month (or as low as $3.96/month for a multi-year term). Personally, I purchase web hosting for at least a year as it is a lot cheaper than on a month-to-month basis.
The cheapest hosting plan enables you to host a single website and entitles you to a shared SSL certificate at no extra charge. Normally, other web hosts do not provide you with a free SSL certificate.
HostGator has other hosting services as well. Here are the other services they currently offer:
- Optimized WordPress hosting from $11.66/month. This plan comes with free website migration and unmetered storage. The cheapest tier is good for 100,000 monthly website visits.
- Reseller hosting with 500 GB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage from $24.95/month (discounted at $19.96/month for your first term). You can host unlimited client websites.
- VPS hosting from $19.95/month (discounted at $11.97/month for your first term). This plan offers 500 GB of bandwidth, 25 GB of storage and 2 IP addresses. RAM is at 512 MB and CPU capacity of 0.5 cores.
- Dedicated servers from $174/month (discount at $105/month for your first term). It comes with 10 TB of bandwidth and 2 dedicated IPs.
Let me start of by saying that the performance is good but not like it once used to be. Again, this is mainly because EIG has horrible server management and jams multiple websites on the same server. This causes slow loading websites and even constant downtime.
However, I feel that the overall performance of HostGator is still somewhat decent for a shared hosting provider. From my past experience, I would say that HostGator is good for websites that have fewer than 80,000 visits each month. As you get close to 80,000 visits, your website will start slowing down and encounter various other issues that you might not have time to deal with.
HOSTGATOR CONTROL PANEL
The control panel is one of the things that attract me to HostGator. It uses the popular cPanel for all of their shared hosting accounts. This means that you will get the same user experience as you would on other popular hosting providers. HostGator has Quick Install, powered by MOJO Marketplace, so you can install popular scripts with a single click. Some popular script installs include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.
Their reseller plan also uses the latest version of the cPanel interface. It also uses the WHM (Web Host Manager) for administrative access to the backend of cPanel. You will find that both of these interfaces are easy to work with and will be beneficial for any reseller account.
Overall, the HostGator control panel is no different from other web hosts utilizing the same interface. So, if you have used any cPanel version in the past, you will be able to adopt the functions fairly quickly.
If you plan on building a website from scratch, you will find the HostGator site builder useful. All of their hosting account tiers feature the famous Weebly SiteBuilder. However, the free version of Weebly that is included with each hosting account is limited to creating six pages. In either case, other hosting providers charge for something HostGator offers for free.
In addition to the free site builder, they provide you with over 4,000 website templates in various industry categories. So, if you do not plan on installing one of the available scripts, you will find the free site builder and templates helpful.
RELIABILITY AND UPTIME
The actual reliability of HostGator is going to have mixed views, both positive and negative. They are just as reliable as any other shared hosting provider out there. Whether it is for maintenance or something else, your website may go down from time to time, but this is going to happen, no matter where you go.
HostGator is also known for suspending accounts (sometimes without prior notice) for violating their terms of service (not paying on time, abusing servers, etc.). However, if you abide by the policies, you should not have a problem with account suspensions.
As for the uptime, they guarantee a 99.9% uptime, which is the industry standard. Of course, there is going to be minor downtime for maintenance. I have not seen a web host that is up 100% of the time – although, DreamHost guarantees it.
HOSTGATOR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
Shared, reseller and VPS hosting packages are backed by a 45-day money back guarantee. So, if you are not satisfied with your hosting purchase, you are eligible for a full refund within the initial 45 days.
Their money back guarantee does cover administrative fees, custom software install fees, or domain name purchases. Basically, the guarantee covers hosting alone. However, either way you look at it, I do not know how this could be a bad thing.
If you ever used hosting in the past, you probably understand the importance of reliable technical support that is available when you need them. Thankfully, HostGator provides all of its customers with 24/7 support via live chat, phone and standard email ticketing.
Personally, I like the live chat option as I find it most convenient. For example, I can simply copy and paste the errors instead of having to deal with code jargon over the phone.
While, I was not very pleased with their live chat response times, I understand that they provide support to millions of people all over the world. Normally, my live chat support requests were answered within 10 to 15 minutes, which is not all that bad.
On top of their traditional human support, HostGator gives you access to video tutorials, an active support forum, and an easy process for purchasing account add-ons.
As much as I hate EIG, I cannot say anything negative about the support you receive on HostGator.
- You gain instant access to your hosting account.
- You receive a free website transfer. This includes a transfer of your domain, databases and scripts.
- Reputable web host, hosting over nine million websites.
- The vital hosting features are unmetered (not limited to a specific amount).
- Automatic weekly data backups.
- HostGator uses wind energy to go green and reduce server emissions.
- $200 in free advertising credits ($100 for Google AdWords & $100 for Yahoo/Bing).
- Not its own company. EIG (Endurance International Group) owns HostGator. However, they are still a somewhat decent web host.
- Suspends your hosting account if you do not pay on time and/or abuse their servers.
- Not the most economical option for web hosting.
HostGator is not perfect and has its set of flaws. However, over the years, they have proven that they are a reliable, flexible and scalable web host. I would not go as far and say that “HostGator eats up the competition”, but they do make it very competitive out there.
My experience and all of my interactions with HostGator have been pleasant to the point that I would host with them again and recommend their hosting to my clients. Of course, every web host out there is going to have things you like and dislike.
To conclude this HostGator review and send you on your way, I would recommend them to small and medium websites. If your website starts going over the 80,000 monthly traffic mark, I would suggest looking elsewhere (see these web hosting providers).