HostGator is one of the oldest and biggest web hosts in the market, and after all these years, they offer their customers an excellent uptime with an average of 99.93% in one year.
They provide a shared hosting plan that is basic and offers unlimited bandwidth, storage, SSL certificate (free), and a domain that is free for the initial twelve months. In addition, they have an excellent customer support team that is available to answer any queries or concerns. You can connect with them via live chat as well.
We would like to point out that, unlike some hosting companies, HostGator charges extra for all the additional services like security and backups. Also, after the initial term, when you plan on renewing your plan, the prices increase quite a bit, making it a tad expensive.
This article will discuss the various pros, cons, features, and much more that we have learned over 12 months testing period. But, first, let’s take a quick look.
- 1 Hosting Overview and General Info
- 2 Shared Hosting
- 3 Cloud Hosting
- 4 Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting
- 5 More Hosting Options
- 6 Key Features
- 7 Website Builder
- 8 Domain Name
- 9 Marketing Tools
- 10 SEO Review
- 11 PPC Service
- 12 Pros
- 13 Cons
- 14 Quick Facts
- 15 Conclusion
Hosting Overview and General Info
Our Rating: 4 out of 5
Testing Period: March 2020 – February 2021
|Speed||Uptime||Support||Apps||Features||Hosting Plans||Site Transfer||Price Per Month|
|734 ms||99.93%||Live Chat 24×7||Supports more than 75 apps||Unmetered Bandwidth|
One Email Account
Uptime Guaranteed 99.9%
Free Domain for 12 months
|Single Site Transfer||Begins at $2.75 Renewal – $6.95|
Alternate Hosting Providers
|Key Features: Good Uptime, Beginner – Friendly, Customer Service – 24×7||Key Features: Very Affordable, Good Load Time, Support-Multilingual||Key Features: Quick Service, Strong Uptime, Site Migration- Free|
HostGator offers various web hosting options. Let’s take a look at them.
HostGator offers their customers economical web hosting plans that fit all sizes and types of websites. They offer three types of plans; Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan and Business Plan.
|Hatchling Plan||Baby Plan||Business Plan|
|Domain: Single |
Installs: Single-Click Bandwidth: Unmetered SSL Certificate: Free Beginning Price $2.75 per month
|Domain: Unlimited |
Installs: Single-Click Bandwidth: Unmetered SSL Certificate: Free Beginning Price $3.95 per month
|Domain: Unlimited |
Installs: Single-Click Bandwidth: Unmetered SSL Certificate: Free Positive SSL: Free Dedicated IP: Free SEO Tools: Free
Beginning Price $5.95 per month
The Hatchling Plan is the starter plan and is the cheapest of the three. The basic plan has features to match the basic hosting requirements. For instance, all their hosting plans have a website builder called Gator. This is in-built in all their plans; it has a convenient feature of drag and drop. You can also install a WordPress site with the help of the QuickInstall, e-commerce scripts, gallery, forums, and blog.
Hatchling plan supports all WordPress sites, Joomla, Wiki, Magento, Drupal, phpBB hosting CMS (Content Management Systems)
Other features include
- They offer unmetered bandwidth
- They guarantee an uptime of 99%
- You get free Migration of Online store, blogs and website
- Bing Ads and Google AdWords credit
- Control Panel – cPanel
- SHS and PHP version 7 access
- Email Accounts are unlimited
- They offer support through email ticketing, live chat and phone. The team is available 24×7, 365 days.
If you feel that your business has the potential to scale rapidly in a couple of months, then Cloud Hosting is a plan to consider. You can now enjoy cloud caching options, manage your resources and intuitive dashboard. The user-friendly cPanel allows you to have full control over your site at all times. They offer three different plans;
|Hatchling Cloud||Baby Cloud||Business Cloud|
|Domain: Single |
Memory: 2 GB
CPU: 2 Core
Beginning Price $4.95 per month
|Domain: Unlimited Memory: 4 GB |
CPU: 4 Core
Beginning Price $7.95 per month
|Domain: Unlimited Memory: 6 GB |
CPU: 6 Core IP & Private SSL: Free
Beginning Price $9.95 per month
All your site data can be quickly transferred to a different server if ever your server faces any failure. To ensure redundancy and safety, they mirror three copies of the website, and they are hosted across various devices.
The basic plan begins at a monthly fee of $4.95, you can upgrade to the Baby cloud at a monthly fee of $7.95, and if your site gets very demanding, you can go in for the higher plan, Business cloud for a monthly fee of $9.95.
In our opinion, we feel compared to shared hosting, cloud hosting is one step ahead. You can use all the resources of the various servers available. It doesn’t limit you to a single server. The features that shared hosting offers are available with the cloud, too; however, cloud hosting offers you much more than just that.
Let’s take a quick look at the difference between Cloud Hosting and Web Hosting.
|Hosting||Speed Booster 2x Faster||Heavy Traffic Lift||Performance Dashboard cPanel||Shared Hosting Features||Price|
|Web Hosting||Yes||Monthly Fee: $3.95|
|Cloud Hosting||Annual value: $120||Annual Value: $25||Yes||Yes||Monthly Fee: $4.95|
Two Times Faster Server
- The response time and load times are two times faster because of the various caching layers, premium hardware, and low-density servers.
- All the content of your website is managed efficiently; this processes the content request at lightning speed.
- From the cloud, your site loads faster because of the built-in caching and caching configuration that’s optimal.
Four Times More Scalable
- You can, with much ease, increase the cloud resources as and when your business grows. Then, you can ramp up with a single click – no reboot, downtime, and Data Migration.
- All the server resources are managed and allocated within the cloud.
- When your site faces high-volume traffic, you will be able to respond to the traffic without interruption of the service.
Managed WordPress (WP) Cloud Hosting
This plan is one of our favourites. For customers that specifically work with WP, HostGator has WP cloud hosting that provides for the WP platform. The features required for this platform are met, enabling it to run fast and making it a highly secure and efficient website.
|Starter Plan||Standard Plan||Business Plan|
|Maximum Sites: 1 Avg Monthly Site Traffic: 100,000 |
Compute Power: 2X Free
Migration: upto one site Auto Malware Removal: Yes Storage Speed: Unmetered Google AdWords Credit: $100
Monthly Price $5.95 per month
|Maximum Sites: 2 Avg Monthly Site Traffic: 200,000 |
Compute Power: 2X Free Migration: upto two site Auto Malware Removal: Yes Storage Speed: Unmetered Google AdWords Credit: $100
Monthly Price $7.95 per month
|Maximum Sites: 3 Avg Monthly Site Traffic: 500,000 |
Compute Power: 5X Free Migration: upto three site Auto Malware Removal: Yes Storage Speed: Unmetered Google AdWords Credit: $100
Monthly Price $9.95 per month
The HostGator WP Cloud Hosting guarantees load times that would be 2.5 times faster. This is because the servers have low-density, cloud architecture is supercharged, various caching layers and CDN.
To add to this, the hosting service is managed, which means auto-updates to the WP core, themes and plugins are all managed by HostGator. They also handle malware removal and site backups. Your site visitors will receive a boost in content delivery on account of the CDN service that is free.
Comparing Web Hosting Packages
An overview of the pricing plans from HostGator
This plan begins at a monthly price of $2.75. With this plan, you get one site, the storage space and bandwidth are unmetered.
This plan begins at a monthly price of $3.95. They offer you unlimited sites, the storage space and bandwidth are unmetered.
This plan begins at a monthly fee of $5.95. However, they allow you unlimited sites, the storage space and bandwidth are unmetered.
Cloud WP Hosting Plan
This plan begins at a monthly fee of $5.95. However, it is two times faster, and one site is permitted, monthly visits of 100k, backups, backup of 1 GB, and the storage space is unmetered.
This plan begins at a monthly price of $7.95. However, it is two times faster, and two sites are permitted, monthly visits of 200k, backups, backups of 2 GB and the storage space is unmetered.
This plan begins at a monthly price of $9.95. However, it is five times faster, and three sites are permitted, monthly visits of 500k, backups, backups of 3 GB, and unmetered storage space.
More Hosting Options
Apart from the above hosting options, they offer the below-mentioned options too;
VPS Hosting offers various features like controlling the hosting environment due to complete root access, various security layers making the server very reliable, and with a single click of a button, you get instant reliability.
They also have all your data housed on various servers secured with Raid 10 disk space config. It also comes with HVAC units and redundant power. Your website will receive an off-site backup every week.
To assist you with your site design and functionality, they offer you an array of development tools. They also have a customer support team to back you up anytime you need any help. VPS hosting plans begin at – $29.95 per month, $39.95 per month, and $49.95 per month.
This hosting is specially designed for sites that face high-volume traffic. If your site faces high traffic and you have a large budget, then Dedicated Hosting is something you can consider. You will have an independent server to house all your data, and this means that your resources are yours alone; they will not be shared with anyone.
You can run Windows or Linux, make a choice between HDD or SSD hard disk, and you get DDoS protection, full root access, databases are unlimited, you get dedicated IP address of 3-5 and RAID 1 config. To receive this plan from HostGator, you will need a minimum budget of $119 to $149 per month.
This plan is designed specifically for people who are planning to begin a web hosting firm. You can build a good clientele by using the tools they offer. Resource allocation is very simple as you will have total control over it. You can also upgrade as and when required.
The reseller plan offers various features like WHM control panel with multilingual features, unlimited databases- MySQL, phpMyAdmin access, client referral branded videos that are over 400, uptime guarantees of 99.9%. If you plan to get this, you can go in for any of the plans; Aluminium Plan, Copper Plan and Silver plan. These plans begin with a monthly range of $19.95 and go up to $25.95.
You are covered even if your CMS isn’t WordPress. Running on PHP, MySQL, Apache, Linux, HostGator permits to work on platforms like PhpBB, Wiki, Drupal, Magento, and Joomla. They also offer features like single-click installs, email marketing, bandwidth that is unmetered, and various helpful apps included in all the plans.
In terms of web hosting, Linux is always preferred; however, Windows hosting is made available for customers that want to work with it. With IIS, ASP.Net, Plesk panel. This host supports all that may be required for the working of a website.
HostGator has a hosting solution for websites of different sizes, types, and budgets and goes on and beyond to assist clients like Windows and WordPress users.
You can get your site started with the shared plans, too, as they have plenty of features to help you, and you won’t have to sacrifice performance or speed. They have an impressive line-up of some amazing features for their customers, encouraging them to sign up for the same.
- Website Builder that’s In-built
- Total Domain Management
- Web Hosting Service that’s Premium
- Marketing Tools
You can build an extraordinary website by making use of the website builder, a built-in tool. To begin, you must select from over 100 templates that are mobile-friendly. They also have the drag and drop feature that makes it straightforward.
In addition, you can now use any of the pre-built pages and sections that will help inspire the web design; you can also get six ready-made pages to begin with.
The extra features are;
- Inventory management and ecommerce shopping cart.
- Google Analytics.
- Branding removal.
- Embedding of HD videos.
- Payment gateway – PayPal.
- Integration of social media.
- To enhance the results of the search engine, they offer SEO tools.
- Coupon codes.
You can purchase it individually as well. The Website Builder is offered with all plans.
Everything that is related to the domain name they give their customers total control. To begin, you must buy your domain like .co, .com, .org etc., from your cPanel control panel. In order to make sure that the URL your searching for is still available, in the search tool, type the desired domain name. Or maybe you are planning to move from your current host to HostGator, and they will help you move using your current domain for free.
With every package, you get the below domain name features for free;
- Domain Locking
You can protect your domain from malicious hijackers, who can hijack it, lock it and use it on their own.
- Domain Renewal
Once you have transferred your current domain name or bought one using your cPanel, it will renew every twelve months automatically to avoid accidental expirations.
- cPanel Management
You can, with much ease, use your cPanel to handle every feature of the domain.
Having an excellent host is not the only thing required to run your website successfully. HostGator is well aware of it; hence they offer various marketing tools to assist you in expanding your site reach, boost conversion and direct traffic to the site.
Everyone wants their site to be found on search engine results that are popular. In fact, once you optimize the website for SEO, it will boost the visibility and ranking in the search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Customers that need help in formulating a strategy for their SEO, they can connect with HostGator and avail their SEO consultation for free. You will get a Dedicated Marketing Coordinator who helps you to launch the marketing campaign. The coordinator will audit the site and also perform detailed keyword research in terms of your specific business niche.
There are certain strategies the Marketing Coordinator will implement on the website that will help influence your results of the search engine.
- Keyword Research
It is vital to find the keywords that will relate to the business niche, and their marketing experts will help you with the same. They will assist you to boost your ranking by moving it up, and it will resonate with the target users. They also learn the most used terms by the target users in the search queries. And that’s not all, and they also monitor the site to check the success of the keywords.
- Content Creation
They have an in-house specialized team that will assist you in creating content that’s original, thus, driving traffic to the site that also grows your audience.
- On-Page optimization
The team can help in optimizing the website with regard to the meta descriptions, page titles, header tags that help the site to be indexed that contributes to an increase in search ranking.
This is an excellent service; it helps their customers to increase their sales. This service is called the Pay-Per-Click service that is most commonly called PPC Service. Attracting customers through paid ads is an amazing way to grow clientele by encouraging them to visit the site and eventually get a sale.
If you plan to go for this service, below are the things to expect;
- Keyword Research
HostGator’s team of marketing experts use global and local targeting methods, research the various keywords used through different devices, and get the target users that your business needs. The team makes a list of negative keywords. This will stop attracting and engaging the wrong users to the site.
- Campaign Management
The PPC ads include links to the site, location direction, phone numbers, and call to action. The paid experts also help to boost the optimization score, and at times, they ensure to keep the cost per click within the budget.
It is clear how they take over and contribute in a big way to their customer’s success. Offering marketing strategies that are personalized and SEO help along with Bing Ads credit and Google AdWords, the site has it all to be successful and thrive.
There are multiple reasons why you should try Shared HostGator; here are a few;
Years ago, HostGator didn’t offer the best uptime; however, that’s not the case anymore. For the past one year, we have been tracking their performance. We are also very fond of customer support; they are very friendly and fast. They also help to move the site over for free. We have noticed beginners love their service on account of the intuitive options that are very simple.
Over the last one year, we have received a steady uptime of 99.93%, which amounted to a downtime of six hours. I must say it is not the best that we have seen, but I tell you we have seen uptimes worst than this.
Luckily they have guaranteed uptime of 99.99%, and for any reason, if it has to go below it, they would give us a month of credit on the account. The guarantee doesn’t cover unpredicted hacks and planned maintenance. To receive the credit, you must raise a ticket within the 30 days term to the billing department.
Of late, we have noticed a few more hosts have come up with a similar uptime guarantee. This is definitely a win-win situation for the customer. The bar is being raised with many hosting companies coming up with a similar offer. This encourages the others to match up to this service or they will always remain at risk of falling behind.
Good Load Times
The servers at HostGator had absolutely no issues in keeping the site live over the last year. But, the main question is the server speed.
The loading time we received was 734 ms, over 12 months.
We have seen faster speeds, but we can say it was decent enough to earn a place in the pros section. HostGator has come a long way, and the page loading time has increased quite a bit. In the recent past, I remember it taking over one second to load the site.
For us, loading speed is very important; you ask why?
Your site visitor’s experience is directly impacted by slow loading times. This can have a trickle-down effect on the bottom line as well.
There are a couple of things that can be done to increase the speed of the site without changing hosts. However, if this is a constant struggle with your current host, it means it’s time to move; you could be fighting a battle that you are sure to lose.
Just like some of the popular hosts like DreamHost and SiteGround, HostGator has an excellent knowledge base, live chat, email, and phone support.
We put their live chat to the test. We asked them a question about the shared plans. We connected to a customer service executive in two minutes. The reply we received was knowledgeable and quick. We were satisfied. So I can say it was a good experience.
The industry has a standard refund policy of 30 days. However, HostGator seems to be very confident of its offer. Thus extending the refund policy to a whole 45 days.
This means you can use their service for an entire month. If at any point you feel, for some reason, they don’t match your needs and expectations, you can cancel the service.
The full money-back guarantee of 45 days is applicable to shared, VPS, and resellers hosting packages. This is not applicable to their Dedicated servers, custom software installs fees and administrative fees. But I must say these are not uncommon terms, and many hosts have similar terms.
Like, your plan includes a domain name that’s free; if you cancel service, they will make a deduction of $15 towards the domain name. So, in this case, you will get a refund amount, minus the $15.
A few more things to note; the terms mention that HostGator can make a refund in 90 days. The refunds will not be issued on wire transfer, Western Union payments, money orders or cheques.
Refunds will be available only for new accounts and plans. So, if you have already signed up, you cannot make a cancellation on a renewal. They will not entertain such a request.
All refunds of foreign currencies are processed at the US dollar exchange rate.
Features of Site Security
I could say that HostGator’s shared hosting is kind of bare-bone. The features you get with the plan are enough for a single site, but you don’t get a lot of extras with it.
Luckily, they do provide a couple of extra features in terms of security, like you can add the SiteLock monitoring to the site. This service runs daily, searching for site hacks and breaches. They will notify the customer as soon as they detect a hack or a breach.
Their email plans have Spam Assassin to keep away spam from getting to the inbox. The downside is the SiteLock costs a tad extra. We will discuss it in the cons.
HostGator is specially designed to help beginner webmasters and bloggers. On the HostGator site, you will find plenty of walkthroughs, tutorials, and much more to help their users navigate through all their concerns related to data centres and DNS.
They have features to assist beginners that want to set their site up without hiring a third person to manage, build and design everything.
HostGator has an ecommerce plan that will help their customers set up an online store that is fully functional. You don’t need to stress about plugins, payment gateways and other technologies.
Their shared plan Hatchling starts at a monthly fee of $2.75 for 36 months. However, all the extras like SEO tools, SiteLock Monitoring, Gmail access, and site backups are all charged on and above the plan on checkout. So, what may seem very cheap, now begins to get expensive.
The extra fees are not all, and they have two tricks in terms of pricing that are standard in the hosting industry.
The ad mentions the low price of $2.75 per month, but later, you realize to avail of this cheap pricing, you must pay for a whole three years in advance. If not, the monthly price is $10.95.
That’s not all, and their renewal prices are also very steep. It increases to more than a double for a similar service. Many companies do the same thing, and we don’t like it.
- Domain: They offer a domain for the initial 12 months.
- Quick Signup: The process to signup is quick and simple.
- Payment Method: PayPal and credit card.
- Money-Back: They offer 45 days full refund guarantee.
- Clauses and Hidden Fees: The low price is available on a three-year commitment. Renewal rates are very steep. All the extra services will be available at an extra cost.
- Upsells: Loads of upsells.
Their shared hosting offers plenty of benefits, good uptime and decent load times. They also have a good support staff, and it is user-friendly due to the extensive beginner-friendly options.
But it gets very expensive with additional pricing hikes. Hence, we don’t vote for it 100%. We do hope you find what you are looking for.