HostGator is one of the industry leading providers offering a variety of services including web hosting, website builder and domain name registration services.
The provider aims to make hosting affordable, easy, and powerful. All at the same time.
So in this HostGator review, we'll check exactly that. Is HostGator what it claims to be?
What is HostGator?
HostGator is one of the hosting providers offering perhaps the widest service list. It has shared, VPS, WordPress and dedicated hosting plans. It also is a website builder and domain name registrar. HostGator focuses on clients in need of scalable and affordable, yet easy to use and powerful hosting.
Being in the industry for quite some time now, HostGator is a leading hosting provider managed by the Endurance International Group (EIG).
And while lots of industry professionals expected HostGator's demise after being acquired by the EIG, it's still up and in the leading positions.
For the hatchlings of the web hosting world, there are 3 shared hosting plans to choose from starting at $2.75/month. With the cheapest Hatchling plan, you get to host 1 website. You can scale up to the Baby plan for $3.95/month or the Business plan for $5.95/month to get unlimited websites.
And while all of the plans include unmetered disk space and bandwidth, and SSL certificates, differences come in other features.
- With the Baby plan you can host unlimited websites
- Business plan will get you a free upgrade to Positive SSL, dedicated IP, and SEO Tools.
It's obvious that HostGator offers quite a lot for an affordable price. However, once in a shopping cart, you may see a different view.
I'm taking the Baby plan as an example. It costs $3.95/month only if I sign with HostGator and this particular plan for 36 months. That's quite a commitment.
The actual price of the plan is $11.95/month - 3 times more from what is advertised.
Moreover, after the initial first term, the price will go to a regular rate as well - $11.95.
And, a domain name is not included. So you'll have to invest in that too. Add around $3 to $10 per month and that's quite a price we have.
If you decide to chose HostGator, you can compare all the options here:
|SSL||Included||Included||Included + Positive|
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat, email, phone|
|Free Automated Backups||Paid||Paid||Paid|
HostGator is one of the richest hosting providers in features. Employing a website builder, reselling domain names, offering a variety of hosting options - little Gator has quite a few things to handle.
CodeGuard Automatic Backups
To ensure the highest security of millions of its users, HostGator recommends using its CodeGuard Automatic Backups. Service price starts at $2/month, which is very reasonable and includes 1GB automatic daily backups for up to 5 websites, unlimited databases, and files. It also allows up to 3 restores per month.
The tool also protects your website from viruses and hacking; it performs daily monitoring, which a useful feature to add to the plans that do not include automatic backups and other security features.
HostGator free website builder
HostGator includes a free website builder with its plans. It has a bunch of responsive templates and drag-and-drop functionality, so even the ones without any coding knowledge can build a website themselves.
While a website builder is included with the plans, you can choose to use it separately.
Starting at $3.84/month you get a domain name, free hosting, and SSL certificate. Also, HostGator support team is ready to help 24/7.
Domain name purchase and registration
Unfortunately, HostGator does not include domain name registration in its plans. And not without a reason. You can buy a domain name directly from the little Snappy as it resells them from ENOM.
Buying a domain from HostGator, you'll be able to lock a domain, auto-renew them, and manage all domains from the domain control panel.
HostGator not only includes classic TLDs (Top Level Domains) but also new ones if you are feeling creative. Some of the most interesting variations include .ninja, .tips, and .guru.
HostGator promises 99.9% uptime which can still round up to 10 minutes downtime weekly. During our testing 99.99% uptime in the last 7 days was so insignificant, it rounded to 100% in the last 30 days. As far as uptimes go, HostGator is doing very well.
The response time is somewhere in between good and average - rounding to around 400ms for the majority of the time. But the spikes in performance when it goes to 1.7 seconds or over are alarming.
So with these inconsistent results, I also decided to check global response times. Bitcacha evaluated server performance with a D+. While results were extremely good in the US, they lagged behind in Europe and Asia.
In this part of HostGator review, we tested its well-established customer service base, trying out the vast resources of their website. The Knowledge Base is the place where you can find a lot of answers. By typing in your question you will get plenty of articles made to help you.
If you are more of a visual learner, HostGator also provides plenty of video tutorials. They show exactly how to fix most of the problems or build a website.
But if browsing through the video tutorials didn’t get you the information you were looking for, there is always a ‘Contact Us’ button provided at the bottom. It’s just disappointing that clicking it doesn’t seem to take you anywhere.
After a bit of trial and error, these were the main communications channels I’ve found.
- Live chat support and support tickets
- Phone and fax
There also appears to be a way to contact them via email, but it’s very difficult to find and even more difficult to use. It seems like the company itself wants you to either call or use the chat system.
The wait time for the live chat was about 4 minutes - which is very good. However, after testing the customer support multiple times, I was unable to settle on how much it usually takes to get to the chat. Wait times go from 2 minutes to 4 hours. In one instance, I was waiting in a line for 30 minutes, changed the browser, tried again and was connected in 3 minutes. This shows that there’s a clear problem in the system that HostGator needs to address.
Nonetheless, eventually, I was connected with John. This is what we talked about:
It is worth noticing that the gaps between my questions and John’s responses were fairly big. Sometimes the gaps exceeded five minutes. I can only assume that at the same time one agent is having so many chats, it’s impossible to pay enough attention to everyone at once.
John was also unable to answer my questions about the most recent downtime and how often they do maintenance. Also, after asking about the drives used in the servers, I was promptly directed to a web link. However, the agent has done very well in offering me Cloud services with an SSL and CodeGuard. That is probably the best HostGator option for an online shop owner who is scared of hacking attacks.
Overall, online support is there and functioning. To what extent can it solve my problems is another question. So if you had more experiences - share them with us.
HostGator Review - the Verdict
HostGator is truly a jack of all trades. The performance and reliability of the host are great. There also is plenty of features it offers and many plans to choose from. Also, from their website you can buy nearly every single addon you can dream of. But there are downsides as well.
But in this HostGator review, we also found out that the provider has some drawbacks. It is a master of advertising and conditions. Initial prices quickly jump up, though they bring great value.
I will not recommend choosing HostGator as a first option, but it's worth trying.
Do you have any experiences with HostGator? Share them in the comment section down below!
- All web hosting plans are unmetered
- Good uptime
- 45-day money back guarantee.
- Performance is inconsistent and quite low
- Customer service and tutorials should be improved
- Packages don’t include much and there’s plenty of upselling