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HostGator Expert Review
Launched in 2002, HostGator has become synonymous with affordable and reliable hosting to over 1.3 million websites. As HostGator’s economy packages are very competitively priced, our expert review was focused on how many features their basic and mid-range plans provide, and how it performs.
Our tests, conducted over a period of months, showed that HostGator’s affordability goes hand in hand with plentiful features including a well-stocked cPanel and unmetered disk space and bandwidth. We were also happy to note that the service’s performance was consistent across plans as well, with very reliable uptimes and extremely quick load times to keep your website relevant. Keep reading to see if HostGator is right for you:
Pros and Cons
- Explore HostGator’s various offerings to find a plan that perfectly suits your needs.
- Take advantage of reliable uptimes and blazing load times to keep customers engaged and buying.
- Leverage even the most basic plans to design innovative website thanks to HostGator’s generous feature options.
- Free SSL certificates keep users happy with your website’s security standards.
- Take advantage of HostGator’s simple plan-switching process to scale your website with ease.
- Contact HostGator’s knowledgeable customer support staff by phone, live chat, or ticketing 24/7/365 to solve problems.
- An intuitive cPanel makes the setup and maintenance of your back-end simple.
- Though customer agents are helpful, getting ahold of them can take time.
- The company’s website builder is less intuitive than other versions on the market.
- To take advantage of the hosting service’s best deals users need to commit to three-year contracts.
- Users need to check carefully to make sure they haven’t been signed up for additional services before purchasing a plan.
Pricing and Payment Methods
We were thoroughly impressed with how many features come with HostGator’s basic packages. You can tart with the basic shared hosting plan at $2.75 a month and receive 1 domain, unmetered bandwidth and a free SSL certificate. You can also use 1-click installations to adapt your back-end including CMS, shopping carts, and forums. For WordPress lovers, HostGator’s most basic plan starts at $5.95 and includes CDN and low-density servers to keep your WordPress site loading quickly.
If you need hosting with fewer websites per server can opt for the service’s VPS or Dedicated hosting alternatives. VPS hosting starts at $29.95 a month, which gives you 120GB disk space and 1.5TB of bandwidth. In contrast, the top Dedicated hosting package starts at $149 monthly and provides you with full root access, DDoS Protection and more. Though HostGator’s more expensive plans are priced similarly to other company’s premium plans, the basic and mid-range plans are very affordable hosting options.
A bonus of HostGator’s pricing system is its lack of contracts. In almost all cases (aside from dedicated server subscription) customers can cancel whenever they want for no extra fees.
Ease of Use
Especially when hosting services offer a lot of customization options, one of the criteria we’re most concerned about is ease of use. In the case of HostGator, the variety of features didn’t stop us from easily navigating the service and making changes with the utmost ease. Though we know our way around a cPanel and programming languages, even first-time website owners can take advantage of tools like HostGator’s website builder and many 1-click installations to get their site up quickly. However, from our experience reviewing other hosting platforms HostGator’s website building service isn’t quite as intuitive as other web-building tools we’ve tested.
If you need deeper access to your hosting, HostGator offers several great developer tools. Easy access to numerous scripting languages such as Python and Perl as well as unlimited MySQL databases let us play around with configurations and make the back-end we wanted.
Load Times and Reliability
HostGator promises 99.9% uptime or your money back, and after months of testing under different conditions we can confirm that the hosting service’s uptime was as reliable as advertised. On average we recorded very little downtime or service outages during or testing period. Moreover, throughout this period HostGator uptimes were often closer to 99.99%, making them one of the most dependable hosting platforms available.
Our months of testing also showed that with consistent load times of under a second, HostGator websites are in the top 10 percentile for website loading speed. We were also pleased to see that HostGator’s website offers specific tips on how users can speed up their website, from image optimization to checking for plugin redundancy and more.
Overall, we were extremely pleased with the range of features HostGator offers, and we were especially impressed with how much is included in economy plans. SMBs can take advantage of tools like a built-in website builder, unlimited email accounts, robust webmail services and two shopping cart options to quickly grow their business presence and sales. That said, we found that their backup services weren’t particularly impressive. HostGator does backups once a week and only keeps one version of a backup at a time, though you can still restore your website as needed.
More advanced options are also plentifully available in basic packages. From real-time AWStats to Image Magick and Ruby on Rails, developers are given the freedom to customize every corner of their back-end. In terms of security, free SSL certificates, DDoS protection, an extensive firewall and more make up HostGator protection services.
As with load times, the HostGator website has a specific help page explaining what steps the user can take to make their website more secure in conjunction with HostGator’s own measures. However, customers that want more robust security can subscribe to the SiteLock add-on.
Our experience of HostGator’s customer support was overwhelmingly positive. The hosting service offers the standard 24/7 live chat, phone ticketing system and even a mailing address. However, these formal channels are bolstered by an active user forum, over 500 video tutorials and nearly 700 help articles that enable customers to resolve problems on their own easily.
When we did need to escalate to an agent, we were helped by friendly experts who were able to fix any problems we brought them in a reasonable amount of time. One area where we did find some room for improvement was the time it took to reach an agent and response times in general were slower than we would have liked.
HostGator User Reviews
This expert review is based on our web hosting expertise, and we examine specific metrics to how companies rate. For a comprehensive view of the company, explore our HostGator user reviews to discover what regular users are saying about the company.
HostGator exceeded our expectations and is an example of how even budget-friendly plans can provide extraordinary value. Beginners can utilize features like unmetered bandwidth, Free SSL and a huge knowledge base to construct websites that customers want to return to. However, HostGator also delivers on the more advanced functionalities that are non-negotiable for developers and IT teams.
Unlimited mySQL databases and a wide selection of programming languages and frameworks let tech experts fully customize their behind-the-scenes. With a robust support ecosystem rounding out its offering, HostGator is an above average option for web hosting.
HostGator Prices, Plans & Features - 2021
Shared Hosting Plans
|Hatchling (Everything Unlimited)||Unlimited||Unlimited||cPanel||$2.75||4.5||Details|
|Baby (Everything Unlimited)||Unlimited||Unlimited||cPanel||$3.95||5.0||Details|
|Business (Everything Unlimited)||Unlimited||Unlimited||cPanel||$5.95||4.1||Details|
VPS Hosting Plans
Dedicated Server Plans
Cloud Hosting Plans
Server LocationsUnited States
- 45 day money-back guarantee
- Applies for shared hosting, reseller hosting and VPS hosting
- Does not apply to dedicated servers, administrative fees, install fees for custom software, and domain name purchases.
- Only first-time accounts are eligible for a refund