If you are planning to build a website or have already started working on one with the help of CMS platforms such as WordPress, it won’t be long before you’ll need a reliable hosting provider.
It is only with the help of a web host that your website will be accessible on the internet.
While platforms like WordPress do allow you to host your website for free, the “.wordpress” suffix in your websites name affects its reliability.
While you might use the free hosting if you are just starting a personal blog, you’ll have to switch to a hosting provider to improve your credibility.
And if you are building a business website or e-commerce store, there is no option better than using a reliable hosting provider.
But if this is the first time that you are searching for a hosting provider, you should prepare yourself for one of the most confusing decisions of your lifetime.
There are now hundreds and thousands of hosting providers and if you are not very good with technicalities, every other hosting provider would appear the same.
Fortunately, there are a few such as HostGator that have been around for a very long time and still continue to be one of the best.
You might have definitely heard about HostGator in the past couple of years as they have been very aggressive with their marketing efforts.
From websites, social platforms, to even YouTube, their ads are just about everywhere.
But is HostGator actually worth the hype? Is it really a reliable hosting provider or is it just paid marketing? In this HostGator review, we’ll try to find answers to these questions.
Analyzing a Hosting Provider
When it comes to hosting, there are a few important factors on the basis of which you can analyze them. Some of the most important factors include-
- Types of hosting services
- Quality of service
- Customer support
So, for this HostGator review, we’ll have a close look at each of these factors in order to reach a conclusion.
Rest assured that by the end of this review, you’ll know whether HostGator is the right choice for your website.
Before starting this review, let us quickly have a look at the beginnings of HostGator.
History of HostGator
Just like many of the largest of companies we now have, HostGator was also founded in a university dorm.
Brent Oxley founded HostGator in 2002 when he was still studying at the Florida Atlantic University.
By 2006, HostGator already had more than 200,000 registered domains and a registered office in Boca Raton, Florida.
To keep up with the growth, Oxley decided to move the headquarters from Florida to Houston, Texas and a 20,000 square foot building was acquired for the same.
The company grew aggressively between 2007 and 2010 when HostGator added another office in Austin, Texas.
The company continued to expand and started its operations in India in 2011 where it acquired an office and a data center.
In 2012, Brent Oxley announced that HostGator has been sold to Endurance International Group (EIG) in a USD $225 million deal.
EIG is also the name behind some of the biggest hosting providers such as Bluehost, iPage, and JustHost.
Hosting Services by HostGator
HostGator offers many different types of hosting services to suit the needs of different websites. Some of its most popular hosting services are as follows-
If you are looking for affordable hosting for a new website you are planning to launch, shared hosting can be a great option. HostGator offers three different shared hosting plans-
This is the cheapest shared hosting plan from HostGator which costs just $2.75 per month if you pay for 36 months at once.
The renewal rates are slightly higher at $6.95 per month but are still in line with most top hosting providers.
With this plan, you get a single domain, 1-click installs, free SSL certificate and unmetered bandwidth.
All the plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, 45-days money back guarantee, free website builder, free website transfer, and marketing credits.
The Baby plan costs $3.95 per month (36 months) and comes with everything included in the Hatchling plan but for an unlimited number of domains.
The Business shared hosting plan from HostGator starts at $5.95 per month and included everything that you get with the Baby plan.
Additionally, it also includes a free upgrade to positive SSL, free SEO tools, and dedicated IP.
If you are building a WordPress website, it is better to select a hosting service that has been fine-tuned to suit the needs of this most popular CMS platform.
HostGator offers WordPress hosting with features such as 2.5 times faster load times, user-friendly interface, and free migration.
The plans under this service are-
The Starter plan costs $5.95 per month and is available for a single website. It supports up to 100,000 visits in a month and comes with automated 1GB of daily backups and free SSL certificate.
All the WordPress plans also come with unmetered storage space, automatic malware removal, and Google AdWords credit of $100.
Standard plan costs $7.95 per month and can be used for up to 2 WordPress websites. It is ideal for websites with an average monthly traffic of 200,000 visits and comes with 2GB daily automatic backup.
If you are creating a business website on WordPress, you can go ahead with the Business plan which costs $9.95 per month and can be used for up to 3 websites.
It comes with 3GB backups and is ideal for websites with a monthly average traffic of 500,000.
- VPS Hosting
If you want your website to have access to more resources but do not want to pay for expensive dedicated hosting plans, VPS hosting is a great option.
This virtualized hosting service offered by HostGator is fully scalable and comes with a host of security features for a secure hosting experience. HostGator offers three different VPS hosting plans-
This plan costs $29.95 per month and comes with 2GB RAM, 2 cores CPU, 120GB disk space, and 1.5TB bandwidth.
You get 2 IP addresses, advanced server features, multiple layers of security, and high-end server hardware with all the VPS hosting plans.
For Snappy 4000, you will have to pay $39.95 per month. This plan comes with 2 CPU cores, 4GB RAM, 165GB disk space, and 2TB bandwidth.
- Snappy 8000
If you are building an extensive e-commerce store or business website, you can select Snappy 8000 and pay $49.95 per month. It provides you with 4 CPU cores, 8GB RAM, 240GB disk space, and 3TB bandwidth.
Dedicated hosting is when your website alone uses the resources of a hosting server. This type of hosting is generally recommended for business websites.
HostGator offers dedicated hosting with features such as RAID-1 configuration, DDoS protection, full root access, unlimited databases, and fully redundant network.
There are three different dedicated hosting plans- Value Server ($119/month), Power Server ($139/month), and Enterprise Server ($149). The plans vary on the basis of the CPU cores, RAM, and storage space.
Cloud hosting is highly affordable and comes with easy scalability. HostGator’s cloud hosting services comes with 2x faster loads times, 4x more scalability, intuitive dashboard, integrated caching, unlimited subdomains, and easy resource management.
Just like shared hosting, the cloud hosting service from HostGator is also available in three plans- Hatchling, Baby, and Business.
HostGator Uptime and Page Load Times
While there is no denying that the hosting services from HostGator are feature-packed and reasonably priced, how good are they in terms of their uptime and page load times?
HostGator claims to offer guaranteed uptime of 99.9% and most of the tests and analysis agree that the uptime is indeed 99.98% which is slightly higher than the industry average.
There haven’t been any major outages since 2013 and most of the users too are thoroughly satisfied with the uptime.
The next important consideration is the page load times or the time it takes for a web page to open when a visitor tries to access your website.
Apart from the visitors, the page load time is also very important for your website’s SEO as Google’s ranking algorithm factors the same for ranking the websites.
The industry average is around 880ms-890ms but most of the tests have concluded that the page load times with HostGator are in the range of 920-980ms.
This is considerably slower than the industry average.
This is a major drawback for a hosting provider as huge as HostGator. As a matter of fact, there are several newer and smaller hosting providers that offer faster load times.
Customer Support by HostGator
HostGator is one of the best in the hosting industry when it comes to customer support. As a matter of fact, the support offered by the company has won several awards too.
To help people easily find answers to basic queries, HostGator has an extensive knowledge base on the website which is full of video tutorials, FAQs, helpful articles, and more.
You can also get in touch with the support team through email and social media pages to get your general queries resolved.
However, if you want to talk to a customer executive, you can do the same 24×7 through chat, phone, and ticket system.
The entire support system is pretty quick and the executives are highly knowledgeable even when it comes to technical problems.
Alternatively, there is also an online forum on the HostGator website when you can ask your questions. Other HostGator customers or their support executives can answer these forum questions.
User-Friendliness of HostGator
You also need to make sure that the hosting provider you select is user-friendly, especially if you are a beginner.
HostGator understand this fact and has made sure that its services, pricing plans, payments, and customer support are very beginner-friendly.
The administration console is another important consideration as you’ll be managing the hosting service through this console.
Just like most other top hosting providers, HostGator offers the latest cPanel software with a few tweaks. The console is not very difficult to understand but will surely need some getting used to.
There are also advanced features and options for professional developers and webmasters.
Overall, it can be said that HostGator is a very user-friendly hosting provider. There are also video tutorials, FAQs, articles, and more to help beginners experience utmost convenience.
Security Features Offered by HostGator
HostGator has put several measures in place to help its customers enjoy a highly secure hosting service.
Its data centers in Provo and Utah have a state-of-the-art network, server hardware, electrical systems, and HVAC systems to prevent service interruptions.
All the servers are monitored 24×7 in real time to prevent and quickly resolve server problems.
The hosting services themselves come with loads of feature such as free SSL, prevention against DDoS attacks, multi-layer security, and more.
However, a lot of users have mentioned that security features such as automated daily backups and automatic malware removal are only available with more expensive plans.
Pros and Cons of HostGator
- Excellent uptime
- One of the best customer support
- 45-days money back guarantee on all the plans
- Free SSL certificate with all the plans
- Beginner-friendly services
- Decent security features in place
- Free website builder
- Reasonably priced plans
- Free migration
- Page load times are below the industry average
- Many of the advanced security features are only available with expensive plans
- Renewal fee is higher
- Aggressive upselling during the initial sign-up process
- Automatic backups are not free
Should You Select HostGator?
Unless the page loading time is not very important for you, HostGator is surely one of the best hosting providers.
Moreover, while the average page loading time is below the industry average, it is not really something that should abundantly affect your website.
Apart from this, HostGator offers everything that you expect from a reliable hosting provider.
The hosting plans are reasonably priced, come with loads of features and room for growth, and the security is rock solid.
If at all you are not impressed with their services, there is also a generous 45-days money back policy.
So, if you are planning to select a hosting provider soon, you should check out the HostGator website at least once to browse through their offerings.
With so many different hosting services and plans to choose from, your search for the best web host might end up here.