Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||Shared Hosting; Cloud Hosting; VPS Hosting; WordPress Hosting; Dedicated Hosting|
|Top Features||Free Domain; Free Site Transfers; Unmetered Bandwidth; 99.9% Uptime Guarantee; One-click Installs; Free SSL Certificate; 24/7/365 Support|
|Customer Support||Live Chat; Phone and Email Support; Knowledge Base|
During September, HostGator:
- No updates
During August, HostGator:
- No updates
During July, HostGator:
- No updates
During June, HostGator:
- No updates
During May, HostGator:
- Didn’t issue any new features or updates
- Didn’t report any server issues
HostGator is quite possibly one of the largest hosting providers on the planet. Brent Oxley, who at the time was a student at the Florida Atlantic University, founded the hosting service in October of 2020. Since then, they have been making a name for themselves due to their solid offerings, uptime, and competitive pricing.
It has a wide assortment of applications that it supports, and you also get unmetered bandwidth and storage, a free domain for the first year with certain packages, an SSL Certificate, 99.99% uptime guarantee, and all of this is available within shared hosting plans, cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers.
To test out these claims, I decided to make an account and actually see what all of the fuss is about and if it truly lives up to its reputation.
Getting Started With HostGator
Getting started with HostGator is quite a simple process.
To make an account, click on the big yellow “Get Started” button.
Assuming you don’t want to pick a shared account as your hosting option, you always have the option to click on “Learn More” from the bottom row of icons and get access to the pricing there.
Here, you can select one of three plans: Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan, and Business Plan.
For the purposes of this review, I’ll do what I always do and pick the cheapest plan available, as I want to see what each and every hosting provider out there can offer the users who are just starting out and might not have that big of a budget, to begin with.
With the Hatchling Plan, you’re getting the following:
- Single website
- One-click WordPress installs
- Free WordPress/cPanel
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free SSL certificate
- Free domain included
On the next screen, you can either register a new domain or use a domain you already have.
The best part here is the fact that you get a free domain for 1 year when you select the annual plan.
Next, you need to choose the plan, as well as the billing cycle.
You can choose a 1-month plan, 3 months plan, 6 months plan, 12-month plan, 24-month plan, and 36-month plan. This allows for a lot of flexibility.
Then you’ll need to enter your email address, password, and security pin.
After that, you’ll need to enter your billing info.
After you fill in this information, you can add additional features, such as an SSL Certificate, SiteLock Essentials, Professional Email, Site Backup, and HostGator SEO Tools.
You can enter a promo code, which you get by default, although there are countless other codes out there, and you’ll have a review of the order details at the very bottom which showcase exactly how much you’ll need to pay for it.
Now, the main thing that surprised me here is that all of this costs extra, none of this is included for free when you are choosing the hosting package. Of course, I want SSL; of course, I’d love SiteLock, professional email, site backup, and SEO tools, but you get the impression that you would be getting shared web hosting at a certain price point, so why does this need to catch you off-guard like this? Maybe you had planned that money for something else, and now you find that you are questioning yourself. It’s not such a good aspect about this hosting provider in my opinion.
Once you agree to HostGator’s Auto-Renewal Terms, Terms of Service and Cancellation Policy, all you have to do is click on “Checkout Now!” and you will be good to go.
Setting Things Up at HostGator
The first time you log in after your HostGator account has been built, you’ll see this screen.
This is a standard survey, and you can skip it if you feel the need to do so.
Finally, we come to the fun part, you’ll be able to build your website here.
What I love about this initial Dashboard is the fact that you can get started with WordPress at the very top, or use other methods for building a website.
You can use Weebly, use FTP, or Choose different CMS Options.
This is all done through the Softaculous App Installer, and through scripts.
If you end up using Weebly, you can just click on a theme you like, and the entire process is straightforward after that.
You also have the main dashboard, which now has a Weebly icon since I chose that method of building a website.
Now, let’s look at what we get in the main dashboard for a bit before diving too deep into anything else.
On the left side, you have access to:
- Dashboard – lets you view your website, as well as manage your hosting package easily.
- Hosting – lets you see your hosting packages that are currently active.
- Marketplace – on the marketplace, you have the ability to buy various solutions, including CodeGuard, Office 365, Constant Contact, Google Workspace, SEO Tools, and SSL management to name a few.
- Email and Office – email and office give you access to professional email and business tools.
More specifically, you can select between two solutions, one being Microsoft Office 365 and the other being Google Workspace.
|Microsoft Office 365||Google Workspace|
- Domains – In this tab, you can register a domain or transfer a domain, with an additional function being the ability to lock your domain.
- Billing – Here you will have the billing history, make payments, Credit Card(s), PayPal and Credits.
- Support – In the support tab, you will have ways through which you can contact the support team. This can be done through live chat support, or through a phone number.
Getting back to the main screen, the stand-out feature here is the fact that you have an SSL management tab.
By default, you get Let’s Encrypt SSL free, and its status is pending.
On the Control Panel Tab, you have access to email accounts, webmail, Databases, File Manager, Install WordPress and Launch cPanel.
Let’s switch from the Weebly builder and install WordPress.
Click on Install Now.
Here, you’ll need to select the version you want, the URL, the site name, site description, admin account, admin password, language, and plugins alongside the theme.
Click on Install at the bottom.
Wait for it to finish.
That’s about it.
Next, let’s launch the cPanel.
Here is what you are essentially getting with the cPanel, and while it may seem like a lot, we will be taking a look at exactly what is available step by step.
Here, you get access to email accounts, forwarders, email routing, autoresponders, mailing lists, global email filters, email filters, email deliverability, address importer, spam filters, encryption, boxtrapper, calendars and contacts, and email disk usage.
Here, you will get access to the File Manager, Images, Directory Privacy, Disk Usage, Web Disk, FTP Accounts, FTP Connections, Anonymous FTP, Backup, and Backup Wizard.
It is important to note that HostGator’s automatic backup service runs once a week on a random day, and each run overwrites any of the previously made backups. Only one week of backups is kept at a time as-well, and this is dependent and varies depending on the type of hosting account you have.
When it comes to creating manual backups, you can create them through cPanel up to 10 GB and/or 150.000 inodes or less. If your backup is larger than this, you need to contact the support team for assistance.
Here, you will get access to phpMyAdmin, MySQL Databases, MySQL Database Wizard, and Remote MySQL.
In the domains tab, you are getting access to domains, addon domains, subdomains, aliases, redirects, zone editor, and dynamic DNS.
Discussing the Metrics tab, you are getting access to visitors, errors, bandwidth, raw access, awstats, webalizer, webalizer FTP, and the metrics editor.
In the Security tab, you are getting access to SSH Access, IP Blocker, SSL/TLS, Manage API Tokens, Hotlink protection, and SSL/TLS Status.
In the software tab, you will be able to access the WordPress Manager by Softaculous, PHP PEAR Packages, Perl Modules, Application Manager, MultiPHP Manager, MultiPHP INI Editor, and the Softaculous Apps Installer.
Discussing the advanced tab, you will be able to access the terminal, cron jobs, track DNS, indexes, error pages, Apache Handlers, and MIME Types.
In the preferences tab, you are getting access to password and security, change language, contact information, and user management.
- Softaculous Apps Installer
In the Softaculous Apps Installer, you can essentially view software scripts, including WordPress, Joomla, AbanteCart, phpBB, SMF, WHMCS, Open Real Estate, MyBB, and much more.
Level of Support
What I always like to do when contacting support is to cancel my account and ask for a refund. This is convenient in my case due to the fact that I am reviewing the hosting services, so I won’t be using them for a long time anyway, however, it also shows me how nice they are to new users who just want to leave.
Click on support, followed by Start Live Chat.
Here, you’ll need to select a topic, description, and explanation of the issue.
You’ll be given some article options that could potentially solve your issue, but if they don’t, click on “Start Chat”.
The support chat started at 12:48 am, and I had my account canceled at 1:08 pm. Overall, it took around 20 minutes to get things done. Keep in mind that they also have a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can easily request a refund in this chat as well, and it will be given to you.
However, your mileage may vary, as they have countless services, and a lot of people on the support staff. Just because I had a good experience this time around, does not imply that you will have a good experience with other issues your website might have.
However, we need to discuss one other side of HostGator you might not always read about, and that is the fact that their billing situation can be a bit complex, to say the least. You see, you cannot really get a refund on things that are not directly offered by HostGator, and typically, at the checkout screen, you can select and purchase services that are offered by a third party. This is never really clearly shown to you, and when you contact support, you could be surprised to learn that, well, you might not be able to refund SiteLock.
This is something all users need to keep in mind. Aside from that, there will be times where even the support team could potentially not be able to resolve your issue due to a lack of personnel at the time of your connection.
Security and Backups
HostGator comes with several security features, including SSH Access, IP Blocker, SSL/TLS, Manage API Tokens, Hotlink protection, and SSL/TLS Status. You can easily assess all of these add-ons in the Security tab on the cPanel, as explained before.
HostGator’s backup policy mostly depends on the hosting plan you choose. In general, the company runs an automatic backup once a week on a random day. Each run then overwrites any previous backups. HostGator keeps only one week of backups at a time. Therefore, if you have much critical information, it would be best to hire a third-party service for your database, instead of relying on HostGator.
The company itself refuses any responsibility for your backups and data. So, essentially, you are responsible for maintaining copies of your sensitive information.
Specific Features of HostGator Hosting
HostGator is known due to the fact that it hosts more than 2 million websites, out of which 30% of the customers are web professionals. This is due to the fact that they offer a free domain when you sign up for an annual plan, get free site transfers, unlimited bandwidth, 99.9% uptime guarantee, one-click installs, and Free SSL certificates. Keep in mind that you also get a free site and cPanel migrations, which is always a plus.
You also have multiple website builders, as well as the choice to install WordPress, which is always a plus. The cPanel is filled with useful features, and you never really feel like you are lacking anything.
The 24/7 chat support is legitimate and gets the work one, at least that’s the case if you are in luck at the time to get a person that’s actually knowledgeable.
Then you have the Gator builder, which is this website building software that essentially allows you to build a website simply by dragging and dropping elements. It has eCommerce, email marketing, and appointment booking elements associated with it.
Performance Speed and Uptime
With the time I had to test out HostGator, I saw a 100% uptime, and when it came to the page speed itself, the average response time was at 700ms, with the minimum dropping to 500ms.
This was done using a simple, empty WordPress theme with some pre-installed plugins.
Keep in mind that all of these pricing options are typically for the annual plans, up to the 36-month plans, they will differ based on the amount of time you decide to sign up for.
- Hatchling Plan- $2.75 per month.
- Baby Plan - $3.50 per month.
- Business Plan - $5.25 per month.
- Express Start - $3.84 per month.
- Express Site - $5.59 per month.
- Express Store - $9.22 per month.
- Starter Plan - $5.95 per month.
- Standard Plan - $7.95 per month.
- Business Plan - $9.95 per month.
- Snappy 2000 - $19.95 per month.
- Snappy 4000 - $29.95 per month.
- Snappy 8000 - $39.95 per month.
- Value Server - $89.98 per month.
- Power Server - $119.89 per month.
- Enterprise Server - $139.99 per month.
HostGator is one of the most convenient hosting providers out there due to the fact that it gives you a lot of options in terms of the way through which you can build your website, what you can use, and script support so you can install just about anything you’ll ever need with ease. Alongside the 24/7 support, solid uptime, and fast speed, it is highly recommended. All of this was seen through the use of the cheapest, shared hosting plan, so you know what you expect even if you go through that route.
You have to be warned however that the monthly pricing goes higher after your initial payment period, and it has aggressive advertising in the signup screen, where some add-ons are selected by default, so ensure that you pick only what you genuinely need and will be using. Aside from that, you might also pay for services that you cannot refund, or that will charge you a lot more in the long run.