We have all been there — wondering which hosting plan is perfect for us, weighing our options, and considering all the pros and cons. Still, if you’re like us and have decided to trust HostGator with your hosting needs, you know that the task isn’t done yet. A titan in the industry, HostGator has a lot of options we can choose from.
Every successful business requires a fully functioning website: whether that’s a fully functioning e-commerce website, or a simple blog featuring daily updates. And behind every up-and-running website is its beating heart — the web hosting service.
The efficiency of the website depends almost entirely on how smoothly the web hosting service runs. However, choosing the ideal service can be a daunting challenge. How does one pick the right hosting plan anyway?
Now, we all know HostGator is a reliable hosting provider. But that still leaves us with the question — which one of their services is the best?
HostGator Shared Hosting Plans
HostGator has been one of the giants in the hosting world for a while now and is famous for its reliability, quality cloud, and virtual private server packages. But the crux of their service is the shared server hosting. Thus, it’s no surprise that multiple publications have opted to choose HostGator as their top pick.
Furthermore, Hostgator is a great choice for scalable businesses — their services include dedicated hosting as well as VPS. Therefore, those of us looking to expand can rest assured that we won’t have to switch providers.
Another great feature of Hostgator is flexibility. It’s not ideal for a total beginner, but users with a semi-technical knowledge will be more than capable of finding their way around HostGator, as it provides the user with quite a bit of control.
Initial setup factors
Let’s go through the list of initial setup factors to consider:
Some may say that HostGator costs more than other shared hosts that focus on budget restraints. However, at the end of the day, it’s all about finding shared hosting that contributes to the website’s reliability. HostGator also offers additional features such as unlimited disk space, free website templates, and an optimized control panel.
HostGator offers multiple shared web hosting plans on a month-to-month basis. But, while that’s good news, we do have a complaint. HostGator seems to be pushing hard for customers to sign up for longer periods. In fact, when you try to sign up, their default service is a 3-year term.
HostGator shared hosting has been glorified by many and for a good reason. It offers Linux/Windows-based platforms for shared hosting. In addition, there are three plans, each suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Hatchling Plan: Starting at $10.95/month, this plan offers unlimited bandwidth, databases, disk space, and email addresses. Additionally, it also supports third-party applications, such as e-commerce platforms and content management systems.
- Baby Plan: Starting at $11.95/month, this plan offers everything the Hatchling plan does, and then some. It provides additional unlimited domains, making it ideal for slightly bigger businesses.
- Business Plan: Starting at $16.95/month, this top-tier plan offers highly specialized choices, such as a private SSL certificate and a toll-free VoIP number.
Comparison with other hosts
HostGator is famous for its strong shared hosting game, but there are plenty of competitors in the arena. One such opponent is Arvixe, a shared host that has been neck and neck with HostGator for a while now. However, most customers prefer HostGator over Arvixe because of the inclusion of the toll-free VoIP number and the private SSL certificate in the business plan.
Pros and Cons
Now that we have all these facts out of the way, let’s dive into the pros and cons. After all, HostGator has many desirable qualities. Yet, how well it could work with your dream website depends on the factors you wish to focus on.
Starting off with the pros, we have:
A website is only useful when it runs efficiently, is stable and productive. The uptime is one of the most crucial factors for a hosting service. The reason is simple — if the site crashes, the customers won’t be able to access your service.
Various tests were performed to check HostGator’s uptime, and the testing data revealed that it was exceptionally stable. One thing you can be sure of is that the HostGator site will not crash for extended periods of time.
Quality customer service
Like most shared hosts, HostGator has 24/7/365 customer support that’s available via phone, live chat, and email. We personally preferred the live chat service as it got us the fastest response. However, we also dialed phone tech support to find out generic information about switching plans, and the representative was well informed and polite. Even though there was a 12-minute delay, we’d say it was worth it. Of course, we weren’t blown away by the experience, but we weren’t disappointed either.
User-friendly, especially for first-time customers
This may just be HostGator’s top advantage. We had no problem finding our way around the platform. It’s extremely easy to familiarize yourself with.
One of the most irritating things about starting off with new web hosts is that their interfaces are complex (almost equivalent to learning a foreign language from scratch). That’s not the case with HostGator, though. In fact, it also provides extensive tutorials and step-by-step walkthroughs to help you get used to it.
45-day money-back guarantee
Most of the shared hosting services out there provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, which in itself is worth it. But HostGator takes it to another level and offers two extra weeks for potential clients to test-drive their services. This is reassuring and gives you the option not only to cancel your account if you don’t like it but to test it for longer. However, note that if you are hoping to use this guarantee, there are some terms and conditions that make you eligible for a refund:
- This refund is applicable only to shared/reseller/VPN hosting and not to administrative/installation fees, domain name purchases or custom software.
- We can buy our HostGator subscription using a credit/debit card, Paypal or cash. Other payment methods like cheques, money orders or bank wire transfers do not apply.
Free migration & flexibility
If you wish to relocate an existing website to HostGator, they will happily assist you for free. HostGator’s flexibility has to be one of their strongest suits: you may choose the hosting base that best suits your needs (Dedicated, VPS or windows). Additionally, SSH, root access and support for Python, Perl, Ruby, and multiple other languages are available with each plan.
Lots of Freebies
Who doesn’t fall for the word “free”? With each package, HostGator offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free website building tools, 4000 different website templates, unlimited MySQL databases, and free domain transferring options. In addition to this, HostGator offers 1-click installs for all major open-source projects like Magento and WordPress. You can never have too much of a good thing, though, can you?
Moving on to the cons, we have:
Lack of speed
HostGator’s average page loading time has to be its top drawback. Research shows that their average page loading time is almost 10% slower than the industry average. Site loading time is one of the top metrics involved in ranking web hosts. Therefore, this is not a great statistic.
Additional fee for actual backups
The automatic backup service run on HostGator cannot be trusted because each run overwrites previous backups. They also claim to provide backup as a courtesy, which is not a good sign. In fact, HostGator recommends using third-party backup services to retain their important data.
Even though their web hosting prices look tempting from afar, they’re not half as delightful from up close. The oldest trick in the book is to offer the lowest price for the long-term sign-ups; this would imply signing up for at least three years if you want that great pricing. If you purchase the month-to-month subscription, notice how the monthly rate jumps by an alarming 50–150%.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that low rates are provided only for the initial period. Once you have to renew the plan, the rates jump back to the normal pricing. That’s when the question arises: Is it really worth it?
A few parting words
The jury is still out on whether HostGator is worth the money. It all depends on what your business priorities are, and what you can and can’t compromise on.
HostGator is one of the biggest household web hosting names, and it’s used by small, medium and large businesses alike. Their uptime game is strong (at a stunning 99.98%), but improving their page loading time wouldn’t hurt. Still, HostGator has shown some serious progress over the last five years and continues to be one of the giants on the web hosting market. It is a more than an adequate option for novices, and it’s highly reliable.