HostGator is one of the biggest names in web hosting in the world right now. Launched in 2002 by Brent Oxley, then a Florida Atlantic University student, it has since grown to host several million websites currently. HostGator is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and offers shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting plans.
To illustrate how rapidly it grew, it was ranked in 2008 by Inc. Magazine as the 21st fastest-growing company in the United States. By 2012, Oxley had sold the company to Endurance International Group (EIG). EIG also currently owns two other well-known web hosting companies – BlueHost and iPage.
Here’s out 2021 quick review of HostGator:
- Decent uptimes
- Solid response and page load times
- Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
- cPanel available
- Shared, cloud, WordPress, VPS, reseller, and dedicated web hosting
- Good customer service with 24/7 support
- Newbie-friendly hosting service
- Free website migrations
- Expensive renewal prices after first subscription
- Unlimited hosting, with unmetered bandwidth and unlimited storage on shared hosting plans
- United States only server locations
HostGator currently hosts upwards of 8 million websites, and that number is still growing. Launched nearly two decades ago, it has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the most popular web hosting platforms available now. HostGator is packed with features and is suitable for a large range of websites.
There is a variety of hosting plans available on HostGator. You can choose to go with shared hosting, managed WordPress, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, reseller, or dedicated server, depending on your web hosting needs.
If you plan to host a personal website or one for a small or medium-sized business, then the shared hosting plan is the way to go. It is also generally the cheapest web hosting plan. Shared hosting requires multiple websites to share a single server, and then resources that come with it.
HostGator has three shared hosting packages – the Hatchling, Baby, and Business plans. All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans come with unmetered bandwidth and unlimited disk space, with the major difference being the number of websites you can host.
The Hatchling plan only allows you to host one website. It comes with 1-click WordPress installs and a free SSL certificate. If you sign up for a long-term package, you will qualify for a free domain. Pricing starts at $2.75/mo. for a 36-month plan.
The Baby plan kicks things up a notch. Together with the available features on the Hatchling plan, users are offered unlimited domains. The introductory offer for new customers starts at $3.50/mo. The last tier on the shared hosting plan is the Business plan, which comes with dedicated IP and free SEO tools. Pricing for this plan starts at $5.25/mo., also for a 36-month package.
VPS hosting is a step ahead of shared hosting. For certain businesses, having to share a single server and its resources with other websites is simply not an ideal situation. A larger influx of visitors can put undue stress on those resources. VPS hosting provides website owners with a virtual server, along with control over that server. As a result, it appears as though they are managing their own dedicated server. In reality, this virtual server is still a portion of a physical server.
HostGator offers three VPS hosting plans. The Snappy 2000 plan starts at $19.95/mo., and is the most basic plan. It comes with 2GB of RAM, 120GB of disk space, and unmetered bandwidth. The next level is the Snappy 4000 which is the recommended plan. It increases available RAM to 4GB, and disk space to 165GB. It prices at $29.95/mo. Finally, we have the Snappy 8000 with 8GB of RAM and 240GB of storage. Price starts at $39.95/mo.
Dedicated hosting describes web hosting packages that offer a customer a dedicated server, along with all the resources that come with it. The website owner also gets virtually full control of the server, its configurations, and resources. It is the most powerful form of web hosting. Dedicated hosting plans are based on the hardware features and volume of resources.
HostGator also offers three dedicated hosting plans. The Value plan starts at $89.98 and comes with 1TB HDD and 8GB of RAM. Next up is the Power plan with double the RAM and HDD storage/ 512 SSD. It starts at $119.89/mo. The Enterprise plan rounds it up, with 30GB of RAM and 1TB SSD. This plan starts at $139.99/mo.
After testing HostGator’s shared hosting service, we were able to come up with a list of what we consider the advantages of using this web hosting provider.
1. Decent Uptimes
The uptime rate of a web host provider is an essential factor to consider in choosing one. Interruptions in service are inevitable, but when they happen too often, your website will definitely suffer. Due to web hosting downtime, the average website is down 4 hours a year. The longer this time stretches out, the more likely your website will lose visitors to it.
We tested HostGator’s uptime over the last 3 months using the Uptime Robot tool. Our results had it averaging an uptime of about 99.93% over that time period. This is not the best uptime in the industry, but it certainly is not the worst.
Fortunately, there is an uptime guarantee when you purchase this service. HostGator pledges to keep your website up at least 99.9% of the time. This guarantee states that if a shared or reseller server ever drops below that threshold, you will be compensated with one month of credit.
It should be noted that this guarantee does not cover any planned maintenance.
2. Decent Response and Page Load Times
The page load time is just as important to the health of your website. A website that is slow to load will definitely have visitors turn away. In fact, up to 53% of website visitors abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
HostGator performs well when it comes to this performance factor. Again, it is not up there with the best, but trust me, we have seen many far worse. Over the period of testing, it delivered an average of about 812 ms. SiteGround, with 676 ms is faster.
3. Great Customer Service
HostGator shines when it comes to customer service. It boasts 24/7 customer support, with phone support, email, live chat, and a robust knowledge base.
The customer service is very efficient. We tested their phone line and live chat methods, and were able to connect to representatives without much of a delay. Responses were prompt and helpful.
The knowledge base itself is enough to answer most answers. It has walkthroughs and tutorials and covers all the bases, with useful information for both simple and advanced points of inquiries.
4. 45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
The industry standard for money-back guarantees is 30 days. But HostGator beats this significantly, with its 45-day money-back guarantee. This guarantee means that you may apply for a refund within 45 days of purchasing a plan if you are unsatisfied with the service.
This refund policy applies to all of HostGator’s shared, reseller, and VPS hosting plans. Dedicated hosting plans are not covered. It also does not cover some freebies like the free domain name. Additionally, this guarantee only applies to new users. Customers who had previously purchased a HostGator plan are not eligible.
5. Ease of Use
HostGator is a great web hosting option for the webmaster beginner. It is newbie-friendly, with a very helpful knowledge base, and easy to use features. HostGator’s knowledge base is packed full of articles and instructions that will guide a beginner and flatten the learning curve.
It also comes with a well-designed cPanel that is intuitive and beginner-friendly. The cPanel helps you to manage your websites, email, and billing easily. Its website builder comes with tons of templates and is drag and drop, making it convenient for customers with limited technical knowledge.
6. Free Website Transfer
If by any chance you are considering switching your website from its current web hosting platform to HostGator, then you are in luck. HostGator allows you to choose between transferring the site over yourself or take advantage of their website content transfer service.
The free content migration is for new accounts and accounts that are being upgraded and so require a server move. It should be noted that it is only free within 30 days of the upgrade or sign-up to a HostGator plan. Also, changing the URL of your site or copying it to a new domain disqualifies you from the free transfer.
HostGator also comes with some drawbacks that would be worth taking note of.
1. Expensive Renewal Prices
This con is not exclusive to HostGator with loads of other hosting companies playing the same tricks but is it annoying anyway. The apparently low prices are bait and used to lure in customers.
After the first subscription period, the price for renewal jumps drastically. For example, HostGator’s entry-level shared hosting plan is priced at $2.75/mo., which is certain to attract webmasters. On renewal though, this price sharply rises to $6.96/mo., a more than 100% increase.
2. Low Pricing is Locked to Long-Term Subscription Plans
Like expensive renewal rates, this practice is fairly standard now. The fees you find for HostGator’s plans on its website look affordable. Well, until you realize that to be able to pay at those rates, you have to be locked into a long-term plan.
Let’s use the Hatchling plan as an example again. The price for this plan starts at $2.75, but only if you subscribe for a 36-month period. If you decide to only opt for a 2-year plan, you will need to pay $3.45/mo. A 6-month subscription will have you paying $10.95/mo.
3. Very Few Free Extra Features
HostGator may be generous with its money-back guarantee, but that’s basically where the generosity ends. Although its plans are affordable, they do not come with much in terms of free extra features, even though these features are available to be paid for.
Gmail access, daily automatic backups, and SiteLock monitoring are some features that need paying for. In contrast, you can get some of these thrown in for free on alternative web hosting providers like A2 Hosting and Hostinger.
Well, now you’ve seen our comprehensive review of HostGator, it’s up to you to decide if it is the right fit for you. HostGator is an immensely popular web hosting option, and it comes with a plethora of hosting options and features.
Whether you are a small business owner or you run a huge business that can bring in millions of visitors, you will find a plan that will suit your website. It’s affordable too. Ready to give it a try? Click here.