HostGator: What We Love & Why (+573 User Reviews)
HostGator: Value Priced Hosting for Smaller Websites
What is the right web host for you? In this article, we take a deep dive into HostGator to help you answer that question.
Looking for affordable plans and easy set-up? HostGator is one of the best options for hosting smaller websites. Specializing in hosting for individuals and small business, HostGator provides what you need without a lot of the frills.
As a result, HostGator generally offers lower prices than its competitors. But that doesn’t means that their plans are bare-bones. They offer more than enough features for most users. What’s more, they provide a powerful hosting infrastructure.
The company offers a wide variety of hosting options. These range from user-friendly shared and cloud hosting to virtual private servers (VPSs) for more advanced users.
Is HostGator right for you? Read on to find out!
HostGator is a leading hosting provider with headquarters in Houston and Austin, Texas. They also have international offices to spread their reach globally.
The company was founded back in 2002. Now, more than a decade later, they host websites for over 400,000 customers. That kind of experience and trust is indicative of the company’s reliability.
Most of HostGator’s web hosting plans are meant to serve low-maintenance websites. For example, individuals running their own blog or e-commerce store.
The Hatchling Plan
Their cheapest shared hosting plan also has the most adorable name, the Hatchling. The Hatchling plan is perfectly suited to people who are brand new to web hosting. Cheaper than starter plans from both GoDaddy and Squarespace, HostGator should be considered by anyone on a budget.
The Hatchling plan allows people to host a single domain and unlimited subdomains. With one-click installs of a variety of applications, you can easily get started on WordPress and other applications. If you’re like me and shudder in the face of following complex instructions to install applications, then one-click installs will be your best friend.
Even with the Hatchling plan you will be allotted unmetered disk space and bandwidth. But remember: this does not mean that you can host a high-traffic e-commerce site on HostGator for $2.75 per month.
Unmetered resources can be deceiving. Though this means HostGator doesn’t place strict limits on your bandwidth and disk space, you’ll still be required to keep your usage within the range that doesn’t put too big a strain on the server’s resources.
Just the same, most users will never have to worry about their resource use. And if you do: great! It means your website is doing well. You should be able to upgrade to a VPS plan instead.
But here’s something cool: you’ll get $100 in AdWords and $100 in Bing Ads credit with any plan so you can start marketing your brand-new website right away.
The Business Plan
HostGator’s Business plan has even more excellent features to offer. With an included private SSL certificate and dedicated IP address, you will be ready to start accepting payments on an e-commerce store immediately.
This is a rare inclusion for hosting companies, as many only give you shared SSL certificates. These can still trigger security warnings to your store customers. Private SSL certificates often need to be purchased separately. An affordable business plan that includes these is a rare and wonderful find.
One of the best reasons to consider HostGator is their cheap cloud hosting options. For each of their basic web hosting plans, you can pay a small amount more for cloud hosting. This will give you twice the speed and four times the resources over a shared plan.
Cloud hosting reaches this kind of speed due to:
- Low-density servers
- Premium hardware
- Multiple caching layers
- Data-mirroring that distributes 3 copies of your data across multiple devices.
It’s great for people on shared web hosting who find they’re reaching usage limits. You can easily upgrade to cloud hosting at any time from the control panel.
Overall, your website is managed efficiently so dynamic content is processed super-fast. With unmetered resources, your websites can be scalable to respond to visitor spikes. You can scale up your resources from your dashboard with one click. This will give your websites the power they need without experiencing downtime or requiring reboots.
A virtual private server (VPS) gives users full control over their hosting environment. It’s meant for people who want root access to the server and need to install their own software or scripts. But VPSs can be challenging to maintain.
HostGator offers fully-managed VPS servers which include access to their customized cPanel. On the other hand, their semi-managed servers do not include the control panel. You will need advanced technical knowledge to run websites smoothly on these plans.
Fully Scalable Hosting
HostGator’s VPS hosting will provide you with a scalable hosting environment. Your virtual server will be fully allocated to your own site. Forget about sharing resources with other people. Instead, scale your own resources with one click. Your hosting will be able to handle more complex websites and much higher numbers of visitors.
Due to the server’s virtual nature, HostGator can offer them at cheaper prices than dedicated servers would cost you.
Don’t just assume that VPSs will always lead to higher performance. HostGator’s lower-level VPS plans will not necessarily outperform the company’s shared hosting plans. But they will give you more flexibility in your hosting. For better performance, I advise you to opt for their higher-level VPS plans.
Reseller hosting is one way to earn extra money with your web design business. Advertising that you host websites can be a major selling point for you.
You could even outsource web development and host these websites for your clients. This is a great way to make money doing very little work.
Host unlimited domains even on HostGator’s cheapest plan. With any reseller plan, you get unlimited email accounts, so you can offer them to all your clients. Be aware that your disk space and bandwidth is limited. For more resources, you will have to upgrade to more expensive plans.
WHMCS Client Management
HostGator’s reseller plans include free WHMCS client management and billing software. This makes it easy to manage who you’re hosting websites for and bill them accordingly.
From the WHM control panel, resellers can limit packages and specify resource amounts for each client. You will also be able to brand your clients’ control panel with your own logo. Additionally, you can brand HostGator’s video tutorials as your own to help your clients get started.
The ease of using a hosting provider’s control panel is an important thing to consider, especially because many people using HostGator will be starting a website for the first time.
HostGator cPanel dashboard
HostGator uses the industry-standard cPanel control panel for all of its plans. As cPanel can be confusing if you’ve never used it before, HostGator has customized it to make it more user-friendly.
Upon logging into your HostGator account, you’re presented with many options. Tabs in the control panel point you to your account settings, billing information, hosting specifics, and a support page. Notice that you will be presented with HostGator advertisements in the sidebar.
HostGator’s customized control panel is more user-friendly than the default cPanel. You can see all of your options nicely organized in tabs. This makes it easy to find what you need.
The control panel also makes it extremely easy to get support. A knowledgebase search in the sidebar gives you quick access to articles. And a support tab at the top lets you reach live chat support with no problem.
Other cPanel Features
You’ll be able to perform many other actions through the control panel:
- Create and manage an email account
- View website traffic by integrating Google Analytics
- Add domains and subdomains
- View your SSL certificate or purchase one
- Get Google Apps to streamline your business
- Set up HostGator email marketing.
From the control panel, you can easily add packages to your plan based on what you want to do. HostGator offers a tool that allows you to enter what you want your site to do; based upon this information, HostGator recommends a package to add to your plan.
Add a package screenshot
HostGator’s Optional Site Builder
You can also purchase and use their website builder from the control panel. The builder uses drag and drop functionality, includes a full image library, and allows for complete customization.
Site builders can be useful but often result in messy code. It’s often easier for developers to build you a brand new site than customize one you have built on a drag and drop platform. Just keep this in mind before you use it. You might want to try out WordPress to build your website first. It’s free.
HostGator’s email marketing is free to use for your first 3 months with up to 500 contacts. This feature includes tools for building your email list. Add contact information from your Facebook page or existing website. Segment email lists to target specific audience groups. Create email messages with their mobile-friendly templates.
Never underestimate the power of email marketing. It has some of the highest ROIs (Return On Investments) for marketing techniques. And when you’re trying it for free, you can’t lose.
Live Support and Helpful Resources
Speaking of tutorials, this is a good time to mention what kind of support you can expect from HostGator.
Support ticket history screenshot
I would have liked to see a better-organized support page on HostGator for finding articles and resources. Their knowledgebase is a little difficult to navigate. People may find it hard to find the answers they’re looking for.
However, you can contact customer support directly from your control panel. In fact, your support tickets are the first thing you see when you log in.
As you sift through the options for narrowing your particular issue, you will be presented with links to helpful articles. Since the HostGator knowledgebase is not organized intuitively, this is a helpful way to find articles in it. If these fail to answer your question, you can continue on to contact live chat support.
Always Available Support
With a team ready to help you 24/7, you won’t have to worry about your website problems for long.
Getting support screenshot
If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, as many do, you can get a hold of a support assistant via a toll-free number. People are available to answer calls at all hours. You can even send mail to one of their offices in the US or Brazil if that’s your style. However, this is the slowest possible way you can get support from them and I cannot recommend it.
HostGator has a lot to offer. But if it doesn’t seem quite right for you, there are many alternatives. Here are three of the best.
Bluehost is a good alternative to HostGator — especially if you plan to run a WordPress website. But HostGator has many advantages.
|SSL Certificates||Free||Purchased separately|
|Features||Many included||Fewer features|
HostGator added managed WordPress hosting to their plans in 2015. These plans also run on the company’s cloud architecture, giving users lightning-fast speeds. These WordPress plans are cheaper than those found at both WP Engine and Media Temple. In addition, they come with unlimited email accounts, something that is hard to find with cheap plans from other hosting companies.
Cheap WordPress Plans
HostGator’s most expensive WordPress plan is still half the price of Bluehost’s cheapest managed WordPress plan. It also provides more than double the storage space.
However, HostGator’s WordPress plans do not include SSL certificates. These can be purchased separately, but Bluehost gives them to you for free with all plans. They also provide a free domain name while HostGator requires you to purchase one separately.
But here’s where Bluehost falls short: they do not include free domain transfers. Instead, they charge a hefty fee to migrate your websites. This makes HostGator stand out as an exceptional option for people with existing websites because they transfer domains for free.
Both Bluehost and HostGator include SiteLock CDN with their WordPress plans. What does this mean? That website content is stored globally, leading to fast load speeds for people all over the planet. SiteLock also protects websites from hackers, malware, and viruses.
HostGator appears to be the cheaper host simply because they cut out additional features from their plans. This makes them a great budget option for people who just need the basics.
If it’s cheap, optimized WordPress hosting you like, look into InMotion Hosting. Their plans come with solid disk space limits. This is good for people who dislike the vagueness of unmetered resources.
SiteGround is one of the best all-around hosting companies. They provide hosting at all levels — from basic shared to dedicated servers. With them, you can depend upon top-level performance and unparalleled customer service.
HostGator Quick Overview
Here we’ve put together the most important information about hosting with HostGator. Use it to compare with other hosts.
HostGator is especially focused on providing highly-available customer support at all hours of the day via phone, live chat, and email.
With a stellar, 45-day money-back guarantee, they are confident you’ll be happy with their services.
The company gives you super-fast WordPress cloud hosting that is 2.5x faster than traditional shared web hosting.
Uptime and Response Time
The last 6 months of uptime an response time have bee measured via Pingdom.com. Note that this is measured on one test site only, but it should provide a good idea of how robust HostGator servers are.
- Downtime: 9 minutes
- Outages: 2
- Uptime: 99.996%.
HostGator guarantees you a 99.9% uptime. From your dashboard, you will be able to monitor your own uptime, so you know that the company is delivering what they promise. If they fail to meet this guarantee, they will give you one month of hosting credit to your account.
Within 30 days of opening a shared hosting account, HostGator will transfer one website for free to your new domain. They will also transfer one full cPanel which includes all domains, email accounts, and settings. VPS plans are eligible for unlimited transfers.
Quality of Support Material on the Website
HostGator provides the latest cPanel Control Panel. They have customized it to make it more user-friendly.
HostGator has datacenters in Houston, Texas and Provo, Utah. They do not allow you to choose which datacenter houses your servers.
Money-Back Guarantee or Trial Period
Cancel your plan for a full refund within your first 45 days by contacting HostGator.
$2.75/month when you sign up for 36 months.
Site Builder Included?
The HostGator site builder is available at an extra charge but comes included with the business plan.
HostGator’s servers support PCI compliance but they are not compliant by default. The company can assist with some PCI compliance settings but this will generally be your responsibility
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to a couple of frequently asked questions.
Answer: Unmetered or unlimited resources can be misleading as companies often still place some kind of restrictions on your usage of them. HostGator defines what they consider acceptable use in their terms of service.
Their unmetered disk space and bandwidth is really only enough to run personal websites and small businesses. They state that customers using more than 25% of system resources for more than 90 seconds will be asked to reduce their usage. HostGator may even terminate your access to services if you continue to violate this.
If you’re just running smaller websites, you shouldn’t worry about this. It will only be a problem for larger businesses who think that unmetered resources mean they have access to as much as they need.
Question: Do HostGator’s prices increase upon renewal of a contract?
Answer: Yes, this is a common thing for hosting companies to do.
HostGator offers their cheapest rates for people signing up for longer lengths of time. They give you their most affordable options when you sign up for 36 months. In fact, this is their advertised price.
People not willing to commit to longer than month-long terms will be faced with much higher prices. Once your term is over, you will be charged at these higher rates as well.
See more frequently asked questions below.
Pros and Cons of HostGator
There are good and bad points with every hosting company. Here are the main ones to consider for HostGator.
- Unmetered hosting resources at an affordable price for all shared web hosting plans
- Fast cloud hosting optimized for running WordPress sites at high speed
- Fantastic customer support available around the clock.
- Websites are not automatically PCI compliant
- HostGator’s knowledgebase is difficult to navigate
- Their unmetered hosting will still limit larger businesses.
Who Should Consider HostGator?
HostGator is best suited to host individual websites and small businesses. It will be great if you’re starting a blog on WordPress or building a simple portfolio website. In fact, their cloud-based WordPress hosting makes them perfect for this.
On the other hand, bigger businesses will need to check out HostGator’s VPS plans to get the resources they need to run websites smoothly. Just make sure you grab a HostGator coupon from our website before signing up.
HostGator is a good option for those who want a cheap hosting option. Its best feature is the unmetered hosting, which is perfect for a smaller website. The support is also excellent, even if their knowledgebase is a little difficult to navigate.
For larger businesses or those who run higher-traffic sites, there are better options for hosting like InMotion that have been mentioned earlier. HostGator is a good, solid, easy to work with host nonetheless. Its user-friendliness and good support makes it a good choice for smaller sites.
HostGator Reviews by Our Community
Overall Rating from 573 Reviews by HostGator Customers
Most Helpful Reviews
Kevin Wiebe mypoeticpen.com
Sep 02, 2014
Gigi Fazikas wildcardmediamarketing.com
May 10, 2016
sohail ahmed onlinemoneymania.in
May 16, 2014
Most Popular HostGator Hosting Plans
|Linux Hatchling||Windows Personal||Linux Baby|
|Price||$2.75 / mo||$4.76 / mo||$4.95 / mo|
|Visit HostGator||Visit HostGator||Visit HostGator|
|Unlimited||$5.97 / mo View|
|Unlimited||Unlimited||$6.78 / mo View|
|Unlimited||Unlimited||$7.95 / mo View|
|Unlimited||$8.77 / mo View|
|SNAPPY VPS 500
|25GB||5000GB||$8.95 / mo View|
|50GB||500GB||$9.98 / mo View|
|80GB||700GB||$13.98 / mo View|
|Unlimited||$13.98 / mo View|
|Unlimited||Unlimited||$14.36 / mo View|
|120GB||1000GB||$19.98 / mo View|
|SNAPPY VPS 1000
|60GB||1TB||$25.98 / mo View|
|200GB||1400GB||$39.98 / mo View|
|SNAPPY VPS 2000
|120GB||1.5TB||$41.98 / mo View|
|SNAPPY VPS 4000
|165GB||2TB||$57.98 / mo View|
|SNAPPY VPS 8000
|240GB||3TB||$69.98 / mo View|
|500GB||10TB||$70 / mo View|
|160GB||1200GB||$73.70 / mo View|
|1000GB||15TB||$88 / mo View|
|1000GB||20TB||$112 / mo View|
|1000GB||25TB||$150 / mo View|
HostGator Frequently Asked Questions
- Will HostGator help me to migrate my website?
Yes. You can transfer a limited number of sites for free, with support from the HostGator tech team.
You must file your transfer request within 30 days of signing up.
If you have already used your allocation, or you miss your 30-day window for a free transfer, the technical team will provide a quote for the transfer service.
- Will I receive a free domain when I sign up?
No. However, you can claim one free domain name transfer. To qualify, you must transfer the domain at sign-up, and your domain must be at least 60 days old.
- Does HostGator offer specialized Magento hosting?
HostGator doesn’t market plans specifically for Magento, but all of its Linux hosting is Magento-compatible. It also offers free transfer of your Magento site from your old host when you sign up.
- Does HostGator offer Windows hosting?
Yes. It offers Windows hosting packages with the Plesk control panel.
- Does HostGator offer dedicated hosting?
Yes. All HostGator offers dedicated hosting plans. They have semi-managed and managed plans with either Linux or Windows operating systems.
- Does HostGator offer VPS hosting?
Yes. HostGator offers three VPS plans starting at $29.95 per month.
- Where is HostGator’s office?
HostGator is headquartered in Houston, TX in the USA.
- What development languages are supported?
HostGator’s Linux hosting plans support unlimited MySQL databases with phpMyAdmin access, as well as CGI, Fast CGI, PHP 5, PHP 7, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, and SSI.
Windows plans support unlimited MySQL, Microsoft SQL and Access Databases, as well as ASP, ASP.NET 2.0, ASP.NET 3.5, ASP.NET 4.0, ASP.NET 4.5, PHP, Python, and SSI.
VPS and dedicated servers offer the ability to install any language of your choice.
- Does HostGator offer a reseller hosting plan?
Yes. HostGator offers Linux reseller plans with cPanel and WHM.
- What control panel does HostGator provide?
All Linux plans are set up with cPanel. If you purchase a reseller, VPS, or dedicated hosting plan, you will also be able to use WHM. Windows plans comes with the Plesk control panel.
- Does HostGator offer a free CDN?
No. HostGator used to provide CloudFlare with most plans, but it has discontinued the feature. Linux hosting customers may optionally purchase SiteLock and use its CDN.
- Will HostGator back up my data?
HostGator takes backups once a week, but does not guarantee that they will be made available to customers. For proper coverage, HostGator customers should make their own backup arrangements.
- How many email addresses can I create?
All shared hosting plans come with unlimited email accounts and unlimited disk space. VPS and dedicated servers offer unlimited email accounts, but storage space is limited by the disk size of the chosen plan.
- Does HostGator provide unlimited storage and bandwidth?
Yes. Unlimited storage and bandwidth are provided on shared hosting, including both Linux and Windows plans.
HostGator says that it will only charge overage fees for abnormal usage, which is defined in its Terms of Service document.
- Where are HostGator’s datacenters located?
The company’s datacenters are located in Houston, Texas and Provo, Utah. It uses the CyrusOne Houston West facility and the Ace Data Centers facility, respectively.
- Is there an uptime guarantee at HostGator?
HostGator guarantees 99.9% uptime for shared and reseller plans only. If uptime falls below that figure, HostGator will provide one month’s hosting as a credit on your account.
Dedicated and VPS hosting plans are subject to a separate Network Guarantee, which offers a pro rata credit for eligible downtime.
- Is there a money-back guarantee?
Shared, reseller and VPS plans come with a 45-day money back guarantee. However, HostGator does not provide refunds for all payment types.
Dedicated servers, administrative fees, install fees for custom software, and domain name purchases do not qualify.
Outside of the 45-day guarantee, you may be able to claim a refund for unused months when you cancel, providing you have not violated HostGator’s terms of service.
- Can I pay for my hosting via PayPal?
In addition to major credit cards, customers can also pay via PayPal.
- What is the minimum contract term?
You can pay for your hosting month by month, or pre-pay for one or more years. Some prices are discounted when you pre-pay for one year or longer.
- What kind of security protections are in place?
HostGator offers DDoS protection, custom firewall rules, and mod_security rulesets to prevent network disruption. It has the option of enabling security at the datacenter level to contain the impact of an attack.
- What support options are provided?
Support is provided 24/7. All hosting customers can access email support, live chat and telephone support.