Running a website is no easy task. In fact, between content creation, marketing strategies, website design, social media involvement, and affiliate marketing, there is very little energy, or time, to deal with anything else.
But let’s face it. You have to have a smooth running website in order to accomplish all of the above. And, no matter how stretched for time you are, there are going to be some administrative tasks to handle.
Today, there are plenty of web hosting providers out there for you to choose from that focus on providing affordable solutions, fancy features, and top-notch support. However, deciding which host to go with is not all that easy.
Luckily for you, we are here to break down one of the most popular web hosting solutions on the market today, HostGator, to see if what they have to offer is what you need in order to run a successful website, without running yourself into the ground with site issues.
If you give me 10 minutes of your time, I will give you all the must-know information about HostGator hosting services, answering questions such as:
- What features does HostGator provide its clients?
- What are the different plans available?
- How much does HostGator hosting cost?
- What kind of hosting does HostGator provide website owners?
By the time you are finished reading this HostGator review, you will surely be able to tell whether this is the right web hosting service for your needs.
This is what you’ll learn from this HostGator Review
- HostGator Hosting Solutions
- HostGator Hosting Features
Here I will discuss in detail each of HostGator’s main web hosting features.
- HostGator Pros & Cons
- Do I Recommend HostGator?
Here I’ll tell you whether I recommend HostGator or if I think you would be better off using a competitor.
Let’s dive in but first a quick background.
HostGator was founded in 2002 by a young college kid by the name of Brent Oxley, HostGator finally landed it’s official office location in Houston, Texas after spending some quality time in Canada during its early days of operation. From there, HostGator continued to grow, opening up another office in Austin, Texas, as well as expanding into Brazil.
By 2012, Oxley announced Endurance International Group (EIG) was acquiring HostGator. And, while this was a smart business move for Oxley and his crew, a move like this has the potential to create problems amongst those currently using, or looking to use, HostGator services.
Not sure why? Read up on EIG and its impact on the web hosting providers they have aquired.
That said, in this HostGator review I am not here to tell you that its role in the EIG is inherently good or bad. In fact, HostGator has seen some great success over the years and has churned out hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers.
HostGator Hosting Solutions
Here are the different hosting solutions HostGator provides website owners.
Shared Web Hosting
HostGator offers extremely affordable shared hosting packages for websites of all kinds and sizes. Separated into three distinct plans:
Hatchling, Baby, and Business – HostGator shared hosting plans have features that will meet your basic hosting needs.
For instance, every shared hosting plan comes with a built-in HostGator Website Builder for convenient drag & drop site building. In addition, they come with the QuickInstall tool for installing a WordPress blog, forum, gallery, and ecommerce store scripts directly onto your site.
Not to mention the fact that HostGator supports WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Wiki, and phpBB hosting content management systems.
Additional features include:
- Unmetered bandwidth
- 99% uptime guarantees
- Free website transfers
- Google AdWords and Bing Ads credits
- cPanel controlpanel
- PHP version 7 and SHS access
- Unlimited POP3 email accounts
- 24/7/365 technical support via phone, live chat, and email (ticket system)
It is important to note that shared hosting will be the focus of this review, however other hosting solutions will be shared with you in case you need something a little more robust.
HostGator Cloud hosting services come with plenty of features for those looking to scale quickly. Enjoy HostGator’s optimal cloud caching solution, intuitive dashboard and resource management capability. Plus, maintain complete control over your entire site with the easy to use cPanel.
In addition, quickly transfer all site data to another server in the case of a failure, and know that three mirrored copies of your website are hosted across multiple devices to ensure safety and redundancy.
HostGator cloud hosting starting at $4.95/month, and scale up to the larger plans, priced at $7.95/month and $9.95/month as your needs become more demanding.
HostGator Shared vs Cloud hosting
Cloud hosting is better than shared hosting because it allows you to utilize the resources of multiple servers, rather than being limited to a single server
HostGator Cloud gives you get all the features of shared hosting, but you get way more grunt!
2X Faster Servers
- Up to 2X faster load times due to low-density servers, premium hardware, and multiple caching layers
- Your website content is managed more efficiently, enabling dynamic content requests to be processed lightening-fast
- Built-in caching makes your site load faster from the cloud due to an optimal caching configuration
4X More Scalable
- Ramp up your cloud resources as your online presence grows. One simple click is all you need – no data migrations, downtime or reboots
- Get server allocation and management in the cloud!
- Lets you respond to those large traffic spikes without any service interruption
Managed WordPress Cloud Hosting
Okay so here is the plan from HostGator that I like the most.
For those that work specifically with WordPress, HostGator has WordPress cloud hosting that caters to the WordPress platform and delivers all the needed features to run a fast, efficient, and highly secure website.
HostGator managed WordPress cloud hosting promises up to 2.5X faster load times due to super charged cloud architecture, low-density servers, CDN, and multiple caching layers.
In addition, this hosting solution comes managed, meaning automatic updates to your WordPress core, plugins, and themes are handled by HostGator, as well as site backups and malware removal. You also receive free CDN service boosting content delivery to your site visitors.
Compare Hosting Plans
Here is a quick overview of the above mentioned plans HostGator offer:
Shared hosting plans
- Hatchling Plan: Starts at $3.95 per month. 1 site allowed, unmetered bandwidth & storage space.
- Baby Plan: Starts at $5.95 per month. Unlimited sites allowed, unmetered bandwidth & storage space.
- Business Plan: Starts at $5.95 per month. Unlimited sites allowed, unmetered bandwidth & storage space.
- Check latest prices and all Shared features included
Cloud hosting plans
- Hatchling Cloud: Starts at $4.95 per month. 2 Cores & 2GB memory, 1 site allowed, unmetered bandwidth & storage space.
- Baby Cloud: Starts at $7.95 per month. 4 Cores & 4GB memory, unlimited sites allowed, unmetered bandwidth & storage space.
- Business Cloud: Starts at $9.95 per month. 6 Cores & 6GB memory, unlimited sites allowed, unmetered bandwidth & storage space.
- Check latest prices and all Cloud features included
Cloud WordPress hosting plans
- Starter Plan: Starts at $5.95 per month. 2X faster, 1 site allowed, 100k visits per month, 1GB backups and unmetered storage space.
- Standard Plan: Starts at $7.95 per month. 2X faster, 2 sites allowed, 200k visits per month, 2GB backups unmetered storage space.
- Business plan: Starts at $9.95 per month. 5X faster, 3 sites allowed, 500k visits per month, 3GB backups and unmetered storage space.
- Check latest prices and all WordPress cloud features included
Other Hosting Options
In addition to the above-mentioned hosting options, HostGator also has the following:
- VPS Hosting. With HostGator VPS hosting, get exhaustive features such as full root access for controlling your entire hosting environment, multiple network security layers to ensure server reliability, and instant scalability with a click of the button.
In addition, trust that your data is housed on servers that are protected with RAID 10 disk configuration and come with redundant power and HVAC units. Receive weekly off-site backups of your entire website, a full suite of development tools to aid in site functionality and design, and as always, award winning support for any questions you may have. HostGator VPS hosting plans comes priced as follows: $19.95/month, $29.95/month, and $39.95/month respectively.
- Dedicated Hosting. For those with heavily trafficked websites, as well as a larger budget, dedicated hosting may be what you need. Your site’s data will be housed independently on your own dedicated server, meaning there is never a need to share resources at any time.
Moreover, run Linux or Windows, choose between HDD and SSD hard disk options, receive data center level DDOS protection, and enjoy full root access, unlimited databases, RAID-1 configuration, and 3-5 dedicated IPv4 IPs. To get in on HostGator’s dedicated hosting plans, expect to shell out either $79/month or $109/month.
- Reseller Hosting. If you are thinking about starting your own web hosting company, consider HostGator’s reseller hosting plans. Receive powerful tools to help build your clientele, maintain complete control over resource allocation, and upgrade as needed so your business can continue to grow.
With a reseller hosting plan you get the WHM control panel with multi-language capability, 99.9% uptime guarantees, 400+ brandable video tutorials for your clients to reference, and unlimited MySQL databases with phpMyAdmin access. If this is something you are interested in doing see if the one of the three plans available – Aluminum, Copper, or Silver – ranging from $19.95/month to $24.95/month, work for you.
- Application Hosting. If you do not use WordPress as a CMS, HostGator has you covered. Running on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, HostGator can let you run platforms like Joomla, Magento, Drupal, Wiki, and phpBB Hosting. Plus, features like unmetered bandwidth, email marketing, and one-click installs of other helpful applications come included with any plan.
- Windows Hosting. Though Linux is preferred when it comes to web hosting, HostGator makes Windows hosting available for those that need it. With the Parallels Plesk Panel, IIS, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 R2, and ASP.NET support, this hosting solution is sure to have everything you need to run a user-friendly website.
As you can see, HostGator has hosting solutions for every budget, every website type and size, and even goes so far as to cater to specific clients such as WordPress or Windows users.
HostGator’s Main Features
HostGator shared hosting plans come with enough features to get your website started, without sacrificing speed or performance. In fact, here is a lineup of some of the best features they have for customers that may encourage you to sign up with them for your hosting needs:
- Built-in Website Builder
- Complete Domain Name Management
- Marketing Tools
- Premium Services
HostGator Website Builder
Easily create a stunning website, using HostGator’s built-in website builder tool. To start, choose from over 100 mobile-friendly templates. In addition, build using the convenient drag & drop technology, take advantage of pre-built sections and pages to inspire your web design, and even receive 6 ready-made pages to start with.
Additional features include:
- SEO tools for better search engine results
- Social media integration
- PayPal payment gateway
- HD video embedding
- Removal of HostGator branding
- Google Analytics
- ecommerce shopping cart and inventory management
- Coupon codes
Available for purchase individually, complete with hosting services, the HostGator Website Builder also comes with every other hosting plan offered to customers.
Domain Name Management
HostGator allows customers to have complete control over everything domain name related. To start, purchase your .com, .org, or .co (to name a few) domain name straight from your hosting cPanel.
Use HostGator’s convenient domain name search tool to see if the URL you are looking for is available. Or, if you are changing to HostGator from another hosting provider, simply transfer your existing domain name and enjoy a year extension – free of charge.
With every hosting plan, you also receive the following free domain name features:
- Domain Locking. Prevent anyone from hijacking your domain name and using it for themselves by locking it up.
- Domain Renewal. Once your existing domain name is transferred, or you have purchased one through your cPanel, let it automatically renew each year to prevent any accidental expirations.
- cPanel Management. Manage all aspects of your domain name directly from your cPanel.
HostGator knows that there is more to running a successful website than having a solid hosting provider. That’s why they offer valuable marketing tools to help you expand your website’s reach, drive traffic to your website, and boost conversions.
Having an SEO strategy in place helps get your website found on popular search engine results. In fact, optimizing your website for SEO will boost your rankings and visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
If you find yourself needing some help formulating an SEO strategy, contact the experts at HostGator for a free SEO consultation. From there, your dedicated Marketing Project Coordinator will help you launch the perfect marketing campaign by first auditing your site and conducting thorough keyword research related to your business niche.
Here is a breakdown of some of the strategies your Marketing Project Coordinator will put into place on your website to help influence search engine results:
- Keyword Research. HostGator marketing experts will find the keywords that best relate to your niche, that will help you move up in search rankings, and that will resonate the most with your target audience. In addition, they will learn which terms are most used by your target audience in search queries, as well as monitor your site’s keyword success.
- Content Creation. Use HostGator’s specialized team to create original content in order to drive traffic to your site and grow your audience.
- On-page Optimization. Let HostGator optimize your website in terms of page titles, meta descriptions, and header tags so your site is indexed for higher search rankings.
Another great service HostGator offers customers to help increase sales is their Pay-Per-Click services, otherwise known as PPC. Targeting customers with paid advertisements is a great way to encourage people to visit your site and ultimately make a sale.
Here’s what you get when you utilize HostGator’s PPC services:
- Keyword Research. HostGator marketing experts will utilize both local and global targeting methods, check out keywords used across multiple devices, and find the exact target audience your business needs. They will also help develop a “negative keyword list” so you stop attracting the wrong kind of audience to your website.
- Campaign Management. Call to actions, phone numbers, location information, and direct links to your site are all included in your PPC ads. In addition, watch your paid experts help boost your optimization score, keeping you within your cost per click budget.
In the end, HostGator takes it upon themselves to help their customers become successful. Providing SEO help and personalized marketing strategies, along with free Google AdWords and Bing Ads credits, there is no reason why your website cannot thrive.
HostGator offers customers some exceptional premium services for those with a little wiggle room in their budget.
With HostGator’s CodeGuard service, you receive features such as:
- Daily automatic backups on the cloud
- 16GB of storage
- Use on up to 5 websites
- Unlimited databases and files
- 3 restores per month
- Email notifications for unauthorized changes
- Easy management – view changes, schedule site monitoring, and manage email alerts
Starting at $1.67/month, this premium service is well worth the small price.
HostGator’s full-service, professional web designers will provide you premium templates with stunning web design and up to 3 pages of SEO-friendly content created just for your website.
Plus, your site will be built on the most popular content management system to date, WordPress, which is known for being user-friendly and flexible.
Additional features of HostGator’s web design services include:
- An SEO expert on hand to strategize ways to drive more traffic to your site
- Complete web design built with responsive design
- Monthly review phone calls to discuss your marketing campaign success
- One-on-one training to ensure you can handle your website in the future
You will also receive ecommerce integration, complete with up to 10 product pages and OpenCart payment processing and shipping solutions.
Pros and Cons of HostGator Hosting
There always going to be pros and cons with any web hosting provider you choose to use. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your priorities and make sure the solution you go with does not sacrifice on any of those priorities.
There are many reasons why HostGator is such a popular hosting company. Let’s see what the benefits are of using their shared hosting services.
Solid Uptime and Service
HostGator guarantees 99.9% uptime, which is great news for any website owner. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is the standard and anything less is not generally tolerated.
Adding to that, HostGator is prepared to compensate its customers with a one month credit if at any time the server falls short of the 99.9% uptime guarantee.
HostGator also prides itself in offering customers support 24/7/365 via phone, live chat, and email (ticket system). Using their convenient Support Portal, you can get in touch with a hosting expert, check out some of the community forums, and even access HostGator video tutorials meant to help you troubleshoot on your own.
Free Site Transfer and One-Click Installs
Again, this service is typically the norm for most web hosting companies, however, HostGator makes transferring from another host to them super simple. Simply sign up for the hosting plan you wish to use, and let HostGator do the rest.
Adding to that, if you are new to owning a website, and HostGator is the first hosting solution you have ever used, rest assured that installing your preferred CMS is as easy as clicking a few buttons during sign up. Using HostGator’s QuickInstall tool, you can easily set up your website without worrying about having technical knowledge.
(Almost) Unlimited Everything
Save for the most basic shared hosting plan, which limits the domains to 1, HostGator offers unlimited everything (well sort of – see below) else which is great deal since their hosting plans are so cheap to begin with.
Unlimited disk space means you can store as much data as you need. This allows for seemingly limitless growth of your website, while using an affordable shared hosting plan.
Having unmetered bandwidth means you can move an unlimited amount of data between your host server, your site visitors, and the internet. This is great for ensuring the speed and performance of your website, especially on a shared hosting plan.
With HostGator, you also receive unlimited databases, which means you can have as many WordPress installs as you want. This is good for those who have many clients and want to test website changes before pushing them live.
“Unlimited” hosting is a myth and at least HostGator is transparent about their resource usage limitation. HostGator offers “unlimited everything”, as long as you:
- Don’t use more than 25% of the server’s central processing unit (CPU)
- Don’t run more than 25 simultaneous processes in cPanel
- Don’t have more than 25 simultaneous MySQL connections
- Don’t create more than 100.000 files in cPanel
- Don’t check more than 30 emails per hour
- Don’t send more than 500 emails per hour
However, there is no limitation on:
- Bandwidth you use
- Email accounts you create
As with everything, there are going to be some disadvantages to using such a cheap, shared hosting solution. Let’s see some of the things HostGator can work on, and whether they will affect your final decision.
While the features provided are pretty standard, and unlimited everything is nice, the truth is, HostGator doesn’t offer shared hosting users a whole lot of extras.
Since this type of hosting is not managed, you will have to handle the administrative work your website needs, on your own. This means daily backups (though HostGator will perform weekly backups), updates to any core, plugins, or themes you use (unless you opt for the slightly more expensive managed WordPress hosting), and security measures, are all your responsibility.
Though HostGator does offer convenience when it comes to managing everything domain related, it is worth noting that some of their domain name prices are a bit high.
This is good to know because even if you do decide to go with a HostGator shared plan, you can always register and renew your domain name with another, less expensive company and simply direct your DNS to HostGator straight from the cPanel.
It’s Part of EIG
Again, I am not going to attempt to sway you either way when it comes to Endurance International Group (EIG). However, most people who review hosting companies will say that a hosting company that is part of EIG runs the risk of harboring a bad reputation.
That’s because if you were to go with hosting company A (that is part of EIG and you didn’t know it) and have a bad experience, and move to hosting company B (also part of EIG and you didn’t know it), who is to say your experience is going to get any better?
Just be aware that HostGator is a part of this organization and that the way EIG runs things is probably going to trickle down into how HostGator handles things.
Here you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding HostGator.
What is HostGator.com?
Does HostGator offer a money back guarantee?
What type of support does HostGator provide its customers?
Will HostGator migrate my current site for free?
What is HostGator’s Uptime Guarantee?
Does HostGator offer SSL Certificates, SSD, and CDN?
Does HostGator offer site backups?
Will I get a free domain name with HostGator?
What payment methods does HostGator accept?
What is CodeGuard?
Do I Recommend HostGator?
For those looking for a simple, cheap shared hosting solution, Yes I think HostGator should be an option.
For those wanting a bit more oomph in terms of speed, security and features then I recommend HostGator’s cloud plans.
Especially HostGators managed WordPress hosting option as this gives you the speed and security you need without the high price tag.
Despite being a part of the EIG, HostGator has a reputation for being one of the best web hosting providers on the market. They not only provide great shared hosting for site owners, but offer many other exceptional solutions as well.
In fact, big names like WPBeginner love to share their positive experiences with using HostGator’s dedicated server solution.
With a built-in site builder, an easy to use cPanel, and a QuickInstall tool for getting your preferred CMS (and other software) installed onto your site within minutes, HostGator is definitely a front-runner.
That said, their feature set is minimal, and while their customer support is top notch and their uptime guarantee is something worthwhile, HostGator may not have all the things you are looking for.
So, do your research and make sure to prioritize the features you need to grow your business into a successful one before signing up to be a HostGator customer.