HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley in his college dorm back in 2002. Since then, it has taken off as one of the most popular hosting providers. They offer shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting as their services and have very competitive prices.
They currently have more than 12,000 servers under management and host more than 2.3 million domains. However, since August of 2015, they have lost more than 600,000 domains. Even though their numbers of dropped, they are still extremely popular.
Here at Host Advice, we have done an extensive review of HostGator to see how they measure up and if it is worth entrusting your website to them. For the most part, we will focus on their shared hosting services but will also talk about general HostGator information,
Speed is not something that HostGator particularly excels at, but they have improved in recent years. With their shared plans, their average is about 991ms, which is more than 10% slower than the norm. While it is not a huge difference, it can lower down your rankings in the SEO because speed is something Google factors in their ranking system.
Website speed is vital to many people, and if you need a fast page load time for your website, then it might be better to look someplace else.
HostGator offers the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee on their plans. As a bonus, if the shared or reseller server does not hit that guarantee after one month, you will receive one month of credit for that package on your account. However, planned server maintenance does not count as downtime.
HostGator is famous for their low-cost packages. Their most affordable plan costs $2.75 per month, but it is essential to note that this price is only valid for your first initial one to three-year contract. After you renew, you must pay their regular rates instead of the heavily discounted initial plan rates. If you are someone who is on a budget, then HostGator is a provider you should consider.
Like nearly all hosting providers, HostGator has 24/7 support through phone, live chat, and email. However, there are many complaints throughout the Internet in regards to slow customer service and lack of support if there are any technical issues. During the daytime, there can also be very long wait times to talk to an agent.
If you have a billing issue or would like to talk to a supervisor, the customer service agent will not be able to transfer you to other departments. The best they can do is give you an email address to help you resolve your issues.
HostGator also got rid of their ticket system, so now everything is done via email. The lack of communication and progress can be incredibly frustrating to some customers.
According to the HostGator website, the company is protected from DDoS attack thanks to their extensive custom firewall and large modsecurity rule sets.
If you get one of their more premium plans, you will receive free automatic daily database backups (free weekly backups for the shared plans), automatic malware removal, and a free SSL certificate to keep website transactions safe and secure.
If your site does get attacked, HostGator has partnered with SiteLock to help protect and clean up your website. If they suspect your account of having malware, they will often immediately suspend your account and then direct you to sign-up for SiteLocks’s services, which costs $200 for a one-time cleanup fee. However, there are many reports of people getting hacked after using SiteLock, which is precisely what it is supposed to protect against, and having trouble getting quick customer service help.
What Else Does HostGator Have To Offer?
HostGator offers a 45-day guarantee, which is 15 days more than the standard 30-day warranty. That extra time gives you a chance to really test out their services before becoming locked into a one or three year contract.
However, some restrictions do apply if you want to qualify for the refund.
- Your refund can only apply to shared, reseller, or VPS hosting. Charges related to dedicated servers, administrative fees, install fees for custom software, or domain name purchases cannot be returned.
- To be eligible for a refund, you must pay for your HostGator package via a debit card, credit card, PayPal, or cash. If you have paid for your subscription with a check, money order, or bank wire transfer you are not eligible for a refund.
- Refunds for orders of only $0.01 are not eligible (which is hopefully not a significant loss to you!)
So while HostGator is generous with the window of time you can get a refund, they do have strict rules about when you get the refund.
HostGator also backs up all of their accounts (other than dedicated servers) every week. If something goes wrong with your site and you need a restore, HostGator will charge you $15. You can work around this charge though by performing the backup yourself.
cPanel is their main control panel which comes with a single-click installer for scripts like WordPress, Weebly, and Joomla. Because it is so easy to install these popular scripts, HostGator is very newbie friendly and has video tutorials on their site to help make new users more familiar. Every shared hosting plan comes with a built-in Website Builder with more than 4,000 templates which make it easy for you to get started with your website.
HostGator is very user-friendly for people who are new or have low-level tech skills. HostGator provides free backups and has an easy to use control panel and website Builder to help get your site up and running as quickly as possible. While they are not the fastest or even the most reliable provider out there, HostGator is very affordable and could be a good option for you and your website.