Customer Service & Billing8.2/10
- Free migration with all new accounts.
- Flexible billing periods: You can choose between monthly and yearly billing periods
- No restriction on bandwidth, disk space, and emails
- Rock solid security
- Free SSL certificate
- No free domain
- Aggressive upselling
- Poor technical customer support
In this detailed HostGator review, we will put their promises and claim through our testing process to see if they worth hosting with.
What is HostGator?
HostGator is an EIG’s hosting company with a fancy site. It is a global and really popular company that has been operating since 2002. They provide web hosting services and everything related to it.
The company have long been working with WordPress and even launched their own offering.
Their most profitable service, following the customers’ opinion, is cloud plans. It’s safe, fast and has a fair price tag.
The main advantage of the HostGator service is the easy-to-use control panel, marketing credits to help you increase your traffic, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, user-friendly interface and 24/7 customer support availability.
As at today HostGator has grown from a small hosting company that was started by Brent Oxley to an international top 20 web hosting company with over 9 million website on its server.
We’re going to do a quick HostGator review so that you can get an idea of their services, along with what there is to like (and dislike) about the platform
HostGator Reviews: Pros & Cons
So, why would you want to use HostGator? There are quite a few reasons that this host stands out among the competition.
Like every other web hosting companies i have reviewed, each hosting company have their pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons of HostGator that we learned.
Pros of HostGator
1. Easy to use cPanel
For dedicated server customers, there are three HostGator control panels from which to choose. The rest of their hosting plans only offer one cPanel.
There are many things I look for when comparing web hosting companies, but a convenient and user friendly control panel, such as the highly popular cPanel is also a must on my list.
This may not be something you think of right away when considering web hosting, but in the long run it makes a big difference in how easy it is to manage your site.
The cPanel control panel is the dashboard from where you can manage your entire website. It’s a convenient way to make any necessary changes or to add some new things, to your hosting account.
Unless you are very active when it comes to building, coding and editing your website, you will probably only use a fraction of the features in your HostGator cPanel. There’s nothing wrong with that; what matters is that you do have the capability to use any of these features if you ever need to
As you can tell from the image above, you can perform dozens of tasks through HostGator’s cPanel. You don’t have to understand everything to be able to use what you need. You can learn one function at a time as you require them.
Or you can take some time to familiarize yourself with the whole system. That way, when you do need to makes some changes on your cPanel, you will have some idea on how to proceed. The video tutorials and “Getting Started Wizard” give you some helpful tools to learn how everything works.
2. Above Average Site Uptime & Speed
The most important performance indicator is the speed. A faster website is good for your users, and it also helps your SEO rankings.
In fact, studies suggest that 1 second delay in page load will cost you 7% less conversions, 11% less page views, and 16% decrease in user satisfaction.
For our detailed HostGator review, we created a test site to find out how fast HostGator really is.
Our test site was powered by WordPress using the default theme. We also imported dummy content for theme development, including images.
After that we used website speed testing tool to run the tests. Here are the results:
As you can see, our test site loaded in just under two second for a server in Virginia. That’s faster than 89% of all tested sites.
Another remarkable thing to be noticed is that our test site didn’t went down during the test. As you can see in the screenshot below.
A website is only useful when it’s up-and-running, stable and consistent.
Luckily, HostGator was able to maintain 100% uptime (.06% better than industry average) over the period of testing.
3. 45-day money back guarantee
when you sign up for web hosting with HostGator there are no contracts.
You aren’t locked into any plan that you order. You can save money by signing up for longer periods of time, such as 6 months, 12 months, 24 months or 36 months (or you can pay a little more and just pay month to month).
Even if you sign up for a longer period of time, however, this isn’t the same thing as a contract.
With HostGator, you can quit anytime with no penalties.
The money back guarantee means that you can quit anytime during the first 45 days and get a full refund. This allows you to test drive the system for a month and a half! However, this does not include extras such as domain name registrations. I think this is absolutely fair, because domain name registration cannot be cancelled and it will be yours once registered. You can bring the domain name with you to another web host.
45 days is a good amount of time to put a website online and try out many of HostGator’s features. By then you should have a good idea if you like their service.
When a company offers a generous money back guarantee, it’s because they are confident in their service/product and therefore, believed that most people will not ask for their money back!
4. Enhanced Security
- Good Firewall
Your sensitive data is in secure hands with HostGator’s security measures. It has a strong firewall in place to counter virus and DDoS attacks. In case of UPD flooding, it provides protection at the network level. That makes their servers very secure to almost any type of threat.
- Free Scanning
Subscribers can opt in to have their servers and accounts scanned every six months for free, to ensure that there aren’t any loopholes or infections. In case you wish to increase the frequency of the scheduled scans, you can do so by paying a small fee.
- Protection Guidelines
Protecting the account is a shared responsibility of the service provider and the account holder. HostGator gives you a list of guidelines to avoid any incidents and to keep yourself safe from hacking attempts.
There are detailed instructions provided to secure your account against such threats. Maintaining strong passwords and altering them at regular intervals, updating your software regularly, and using good antivirus protection are some of the basics covered in the guidelines.
- PIN Creation Process
The account creation process prompts you to create a pin. The pin length ranges from 4-8 numeric digits, which seem easy to crack.
- Protection Plans
Every web hosting plan has its own security system and policy in place. The Hatchling plan provides a shared SSL while the Business Plan comes with a dedicated, private SSL. The Baby plan also comes with a shared SSL certificate.
5. Free Website Migration
HostGator will happily assist you with relocating an existing website over to their services for free (only applies a period of 30-days after initial sign-up).
Note: In order to initiate the migration request, you will need the following information:
- Old Hosting FTP username
- FTP username and password
- WordPress admin info
- cPanel login URL along with username & password
- Latest WordPress database backup
6. Lots Of Free Offers
- Hostgator tend to have lots of free offers for its customer among which are
- Unlimited disk and bandwidth, a free website builder and website building tools, 4,000+ Website Templates and free domain transfers!
- 1-Click installation for all the top CMS such as WordPress, Magento, Joomla among others. So you don’t have to worry about the difficulty in setting up your website
- Free HostGator Website Builder that includes over 100 Mobile-Friendly Templates and an Image Library
- Free Website Transfer, Domain Transfer, MYSQL Transfer, and Script Transfer
- You can instantly install 52 Free scripts on your account with a few clicks
- $100 Google Adwords Offer (If you already have an AdWords account, this offer does not apply. You can only use this credit on new Google AdWords accounts.)
- $100 Bing Ads Credit (This offer is only valid for HostGator users who open a new Bing Ads account..)
7. Extensive Knowledgebase
Additionally, HostGator has a large knowledge-base with answers to practically any question you could have ranging from the simplest to the most advanced. So, when the customer support team takes too long to answer, you can seek out the solution to your problem from this knowledge-base
Cons of Hostgator
1. Extra Fee For ‘True’ Backups
HostGator advertises ‘instant backups’ as one of their differentiating features on the website. Trouble is that they’re referring to manual ones which are available by default in cPanel.
Do you want automated backups to simplify your life? It’ll set you back with an extra $15.95 annually.
Shared servers are only backed up on accounts that are under 20 GB and 100,000 inodes, too. The company also claims that they provide backups as a courtesy, so they aren’t guaranteed.
They recommend that customers seek third-party backup services to protect their important data
2. Inconsistent Speed
Server speeds and performance are not consistent and they sometimes slow down. Though this isn’t that big of a deal for most, smaller websites, larger businesses will want to take note of this.
3. Hidden Fees and Clauses
The first trick is to only offer their lowest rates for the longest terms. Meaning you’ll have to sign up for at least three years if you want the great ‘promotion pricing’ reflected on their website.
If you want a true monthly option or even a twelve-month plan, your monthly rate will jump up.
You cannot use more than 25% of their system resources for longer than 90 seconds at a time. Shared and reseller hosting accounts cannot have more than 250,000 inodes. Accounts with over 100,000 inodes are automatically removed from their backup system.
HostGator Pricing, Hosting Plans & FAQs
Here’s a quick overview of the various plans offered by HostGator and their prices.
Note: The details of their plans are as follows. All pricing mentioned below is based on taking a three year plan, which is heavily discounted. Taking a plan for a shorter period will have an effect on the price offered and you can check these rates before signing up if you wish to have a shorter agreement. The best price by far is over three years however.
Shared Web Hosting Plans
HostGator shared hosting, has a number of hosting plans that are built for a wide and diverse range of functions and subscribers. All shared hosting plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth.
- Hatchling Plan – From $2.75 per month
The Hatchling Plan is perfect for those starting out and people just setting up their first website or blog.
This plan comes with support for a single domain name, and a shared SSL certificate, as well as several other features that are common with other plans.
- Baby Plan – From $3.95 per month
Scaling up to the next level, the Baby plan comes with support for unlimited domain names, and a shared SSL certificate.
- Business plan – From $5.95 per month
The business plan is great for small and medium businesses and comes with support for unlimited domains, a private SSL certificate and dedicated IP, and your own toll free number that can be used by US callers to get in touch with your business directly
Cloud Hosting Plans
HostGator’s cloud hosting plans are marginally more expensive than shared hosting, with the hatchling plan starting at $4.95 , baby at $6.57 and business cloud plan at $9.95 per month for a 36 month plan.
The cloud plans do have a few added benefits. For a start, it is easier to allocate more resources using a cloud package, if your site and traffic grow quicker than anticipated.
By the very nature of cloud hosting, you are not restricted by the parameters and dimensions of a single physical server, and this makes it easy to scale up or down accordingly.
Also, if for any reason an issue occurs with hardware, it is easy to switch the site to another server to reduce any downtime risk or data loss.
HostGator’s cloud hosting packages give you all the features of the shared hosting packages, even the names of the plans are the same, but the cloud plans are twice as fast, with four times the resources.
You also get a performance dashboard with cPanel which is something you don’t get with the standard shared hosting plans.
Optimized WordPress Hosting
Hosting a website using WordPress can be a challenge with speed, support, and security being the primary concerns.
HostGator provides one of the most comprehensive managed WordPress hosting solutions available today, and has hosted million of WordPress websites. Again, these are marginally more expensive than shared hosting plans, but with some notable features that are more than worth while.
Let’s look at some of the salient features of these websites.
- They are powered with blazing speed (2.5 times faster than shared), they are also, scalable, secure with robust functionality.
- HostGator optimized WordPress Hosting are also extremely easy to manage as you can manage files, databases, and e-mail accounts through a single portal, with free migrations too.
- They scanned daily for any malware or spyware with advanced security features, and at the same time, the system comes with automated backups as well.
- The cloud architecture allows instant scaling without much downtime
- 24/7 real-time support is provided over the phone
OK, so these are the standout features, lets now take a look at the different plans available.
Starter Plan – From $5.95 per month
The Optimized WordPress Hosting Starter Plan is geared toward hosting a single site, with traffic up to around the 100k per month. You get up to 1GB space for backups and free SSL for your site.
This is great for a standalone blog or site with a modest flow of traffic.
Standard Plan – From $7.95 per month
Step up to the Starter Plan, and you can host 2 sites, with up to 200K visitors per month. You get 2GB storage for backups and free SSL certificate for your sites.
This package is good where you perhaps have a site and a blog hosted separately, where traffic is significant.
Business Plan – From $9.95 per month
The Business Plan is geared toward the top end where perhaps you have separate sites for different areas of your business, or a blog, business and e-commerce site.
You can host 3 sites and up to 500K visits per month at capacity. You can store up to 3GB of backups and there is free SSL certificate for your site.
Virtual Private Servers
HostGator offers three flexible plans as part of their VPS hosting services.
They are all scalable plans that allow you to move from one plan to another with ease.
You can update software with full root access and all plans support unlimited domains, email accounts, MySQL databases, and unlimited FTP accounts as well.
- Snappy 2000 Plan – From $29.95 per month
This plan provides you with two cores, 2GB RAM, 120GB storage, 1.5TB bandwidth, and two IP addresses.
- Snappy 4000 Plan – From $39.95 per month
This plan provides you with two cores, 4GB RAM, 165GB storage, 2TB bandwidth, and two IP addresses.
- Snappy 8000 Plan – From $49.95 per month
This VPS plan is fastest of all available. It provides you with four cores, 8GB RAM, 240GB storage, 3TB bandwidth, and two IP addresses.
With many satisfied clients across the globe, HostGator is well known for its reliable, Dedicated server hosting plans. The best part is that they have servers for both LINUX and Windows operating systems.
HostGator carries three flexible plans, with each managed through the popular cPanel, web-based manager. Let’s take a look at these plans.
- Value Dedicated Server – From $119 per month
This plan provides you with an Intel Xeon dual core processor with 8GB RAM, 1TB storage drives, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IP addresses.
- Power Server – From $139 per month
This plan gives you a 2.5GHz, Intel Xeon dual core processor, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage drives, unmetered bandwidth, and 3 dedicated IP addresses.
- Enterprise Dedicated Server – From $149 per month
This plan includes a 2.5GHz Intel Xeon dual core processor, 30GB RAM, 1TB storage drives, unmeterd bandwidth, and 4 dedicated IP addresses.
Hostgator Frequently Ask Questions
It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about a company before doing business with it. With web hosting, this is extremely important, as the quality of your website depends a great deal on the web host.
Now let’s look at some HostGator FAQs which new customers always ask.
You have a choice of paying monthly or annually. Just select your preference on the billing cycle when you are signing up.
There is a wide choice of payment options, including PayPal, major credit cards, money orders and personal checks.
No, you only pay the hosting fees; there are no hidden fees. All taxes are included in the regular hosting fees.
If you choose the Baby or Business Plan, you can have as many domains, add-on or sub-domains as you want. With the Hatchling Plan, however, you can only have one domain
There are 3 shared hosting plans:
Only allows you one domain. In other words, you can only host one website on this hosting plan.
Unlimited domains. You can create as many websites and blogs as you want and host them all under one hosting plan!
This hosting plan includes all the features that’s in the Baby Plan. On top of that you get a Private SSL and IP address and a toll free phone number, for free.
Yes, HostGator also offers these options:
This is great for you, if you are thinking of starting a business selling hosting to others, especially if you are a web developer or web designer who have a lot of clients requiring web hosting.
Virtual Private Server hosting for larger sites, or sites with specific requirements.
Dedicated servers are excellent for you, if you require the maximum amount of control over your site. You will have the whole server to yourself, and will not be sharing it with other users.
Yes, and there are no fees (except for the difference in price from one plan to another).
You can create or remove email accounts in your cPanel control panel.
For both of these, enter “mail.yourdomain.com”.
Yes, you have a choice of accessing WebMail with Horde, RoundCube or SquirrelMail.
DNS (domain name server) must be pointed at HostGator if you’re going to use them for your website. You will have to do this at the website of the company where you bought the domain.
HostGator will tell you what to enter for nameservers in their welcome email, which you will get shortly after you have signed up. HostGator nameservers is in the format: nsxxxx.hostgator.com.
It can take between 24 and 48 hours, but it’s often faster.
A sub-domain is something you set up as part of your primary domain. For example, if your main domain is mydomain.com, you might set up sub-domains such as:
Add-on domains are additional domains that have unique URLs. You must purchase each add-on domain separately. However, they are still attached to your primary domain in your HostGator account
You can get support 24/7 by phone, live chat or email.
HostGator has a large number of tutorials on their website on every subject related to hosting. There are also forums where you can find answers to many questions.
HostGator offers both Linux and Windows based web hosting plans. Anyway, their Linux shared web hosting plans are still the most popular but recently, the Cloud hosting is gaining ground
Yes, this can be done easily and with no additional fees.
Yes, HostGator allows adult websites, as long as it’s legal. HostGator is located in the U.S., so you must stay within U.S. laws and those of the country where you are located.
Not more than 12 hours. If you pay by credit card, your account will usually be setup within 15 minutes.
Yes, they give you QuickInstall – a really easy to use yet powerful scripts installer. There are more than 75 free scripts you can install, such as WordPress, Magento, Wiki Hosting, Joomla and many others.
HostGator has lots of experience and is one of the largest web hosting companies in the world. This gives a lot of advantages over smaller companies.
They have some of the best technology and the expertise to keep your site running at all times.
They are also good at protecting your site from hackers and spam attacks.
HostGator also offers guarantee 99.9% uptime. They are a good company to grow a website with. You can start off with one of their cloud hosting plans, and upgrade to a more advanced plan if your site gets bigger or if you build a additional sites.
For those of you who already have hosting but are thinking of making a change, it’s easy to transfer domains and websites over to HostGator.
This is something to consider if your current web host doesn’t provide the features, support or security that you want for your site.
HostGator provides free transfers – this basically mean that they will help you with the transfer for FREE!
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