Every business needs a website, and for that you need a web hosting service. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fully functioning e-commerce setup or a simple page with little more than your contact information. The feature-packed HostGator boasts wallet-friendly prices, and it offers plenty of tools to webmasters. HostGator has quality dedicated and virtual private server (VPS) server packages, but its shared plans are one of the reasons why the company stands out from the very crowded web hosting pack. In fact, HostGator’s shared packages are so robust that PCMag named the web host our top pick in that subcategory.
HostGator, founded in 2002, has long been in the hosting industry. With over 90% customer satisfaction and 12,000 servers under management, they are one of the largest and most well-known web hosts. They offer dedicated and VPS options for customers whose sites grow to require the extra power.
HostGator has been outstanding in term of server reliability. Personally, I have been with the Gators for the past 7 years (2008 – 2017) and I have to say their uptime record is remarkable.
Overall, HostGator is an ideal source for shared web hosting and VPS solutions for bloggers or anyone else. The WordPress support and installation is easy, and the buy-what-you-need approach makes HostGator one of the most appealing options on the market.
The feature-packed HostGator gives you all the tools to craft attractive, functional websites. HostGatorpromises 24 x 7 x 365 service – and they actually delivered. I was transferring a development site from my HostGator account to my client’s host – and was having a technical problem (turned out to be a misstep I had taken) at 2am. I logged in on chat – and yep, got my questions answered right away. Fabulous.
It’s rare to find such a large hosting company that readily offers efficient live chat, email and phone support for free. The added extras, such as the eNom account and affiliate programme, make them an ideal choice for a new business that’s looking to grow or white-label. All in all, they offer a rounded feature set for a good price with a whole host of extra features to keep loyal customers happy.
Merits (+)of using HostGator (shared) Hosting:
1. Uptime? Very Good – 99.95%
A website’s only useful if it’s up-and-running, stable and consistent.
Luckily, HostGator was able to hit 99.95% uptime (.16% better than industry average) over the past year.
When we first connected our website to HostGator, their up times were horrible, but they have been improving ever since.
2. Good Support (at least, we think so…)
HostGator conveniently offers 24/7/365 support through the phone, live chat, and email.
After a 16 minute delay, their representative was knowledgeable and friendly enough in our experience. We weren’t blown away by the level of service but didn’t walk away with a bad taste in our mouth either.
3. 45-Day Money Back Guarantee
Most of the web hosts we’ve reviewed offer a standard 30-day money back guarantee. HostGator bumps theirs up to 45 days, giving you an extra two weeks or so to test drive their offerings before getting locked into a one-to-three year term.
4. Enhanced Security and Free Migration
HostGator will happily assist you with relocating an existing website over to their services for free.
And if you’re thinking about shelling out the big bucks (JK, they’re not that expensive) for any of their premium plans, you’ll also enjoy automated daily database backups, automatic malware removal and a free SSL certificate for processing website transactions.
5. Very User Friendly for Beginners
HostGator is very user-friendly for beginners (which is nice, considering the utilitarian interfaces of some web hosts read like a foreign language).
They also have endless tutorials, FAQ pages, and documents to help you at every turn, with detailed explanations and simple step-by-step walkthroughs.
Demerits (+) of using HostGator (shared) Hosting:
HostGator has a few redeeming qualities. However, they fall a bit short in some of the most important categories (like uptime and speed). Here’s how they fared in our tests.
#1 Not Fast Enough. Just Below Average…
HostGator followed up their lackluster uptime display with equally mediocre page loading times.
Over the last twelve months, their average was 866ms, which is a bit (22%) faster than the average 1052ms.
That’s ain’t good. Especially when speed is factored into Google’s organic search (SEO) ranking algorithm and has been proven to hurt sales with each delayed second.
Website load time is more important than ever: not only does This is why site load time is one of our core metrics for ranking web hosts we review.
Again, not a great showing considering there are smaller web hosts will less experience delivering FAR better page loading times.
2. Extra Fee for ‘True’ Backups
HostGator advertises ‘instant backups’ one of their differentiating features on the website.
Trouble is, they’re referring to manual ones which are available by default in cPanel.
Want automated backups to simplify their life? It’ll set you back an extra $15.95 annually.
3. Standard Pricing ‘Tricks’
Web hosting pricing looks great from afar, but far from good up close.
The first trick in the book 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. Otherwise, if you want a true monthly option or even a twelve-month plan, your monthly rate will jump over 50-150%.
Speaking of ‘promotion pricing’, the second trick in the book is to offer this low advertised rate for your initial term ONLY. That means once your plan does expire and it’s time to renew, the rates will jump back up to their ‘normal’ pricing (which again, could be more than double the original price).
In that light, HostGator doesn’t look like such a good deal after all.
Shared Hosting: They have three shared hosting plans:
- Hatchling plan: This plan starts at $3.95 per month. It supports 1 domain name, unlimited disk space and storage and unlimited subdomains.
- Baby plan: This plan starts at $5.95 per month. It supports unlimited storage, bandwidth and domain names.
- Business plan: This plan starts at $5.95 per month. It supports unlimited storage, bandwidth and domain names. It comes with a free dedicated IP, SSL and toll-free number.
Cloud Hosting: Here’s a quick overview of their Cloud hosting plans:
- Hatchling Cloud plan: This plan starts at $4.95 per month. Specifications: 2 Cores, 2GB RAM, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and support for 1 domain name.
- Baby Cloud plan: This plan starts at $7.95 per month. Specifications: 4 Cores, 4GB RAM, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and support for unlimited domain names.
- Business Cloud plan: This plan starts at $9.95 per month. Specifications: 6 Cores, 6GB RAM, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and support for unlimited domain names.
- Ease of Signup: Easy signup process.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: You cannot use more than 25 percent 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.
- Upsells: Lots of upsells.
- Account Activation: It can take up to 24 – 48 hours for accounts to be fully activated.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): They make it easy to install popular apps and CMSs in a few steps using QuickInstall.
Do we recommend HostGator?
YES, we do.
HostGator is one of the biggest, household web hosting names for a reason.
And it ain’t their stellar performance.
Their consistently below average uptime and speed is greatly concerning. The customer support, while not terrible, didn’t blow us away either. And the extra features or plan add-ons are nothing to write home about.
They’re an average host. And there are far better options for your money.
Author: CMSFolks Editorial Crew
Editorial Staff at CMSFolks is a team of Enthusiast WordPress experts led by Kunle Ajayi. The whole Website is maintained by Kunle Ajayi