HostGator is one of the heavy-hitters of budget web hosting companies. They don’t put quite as much money into their advertising budget as GoDaddy does, but they have a huge user base and have been a popular choice for years. Possibly because of the alligator-based puns they are fond of using in their naming conventions, but more likely because they are a solid web host and offer a lot of value to their customers. Are they the right host for you? Hopefully this review can help you decide.
Among the largest web hosting companies, HostGator stands strong with over 9 million domains and 400,000 customers. HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley—a student of Florida Atlantic University—in October 2002, and in 2008, they were ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 21 fastest growing companies in the US. Their headquarters are in Houston, Texas with another office in Dallas. They have also expanded overseas, building a data center and office in India within the region of Nashik, Maharashtra.
If you’re just getting started in establishing your online presence, HostGator offers an array of packages, solid customer service, a user friendly cPanel, and plenty of power, control, and flexibility. They are a solid web hosting service providing affordable prices without compromising quality.
The Bottom Line:
- Very strong uptime scores
- Email plans available (however, you can not bulk add addresses)
- But…you get unlimited POP3 email accounts
- Unlimited MySQL databases with all hosting plans
- Short wait times for customer service inquiries
- Has a money-back guarantee, but it is fairly restrictive and they do not issue full refunds
Our Uptime Scores:
99.95% – Excellent
So what exactly does this score mean? Uptime is the amount of time your website will load when somebody tries to visit, so when the server is ‘up’ and serving your website properly, and is scored from 0% (does not load at all) to 100% (loads every time). It’s very difficult to guarantee an uptime score of 100% with budget hosting plans, typically you would need to pay for dedicated or VPS hosting which are significantly more expensive. Most shared hosting plans will average a score of around 98%, so the score of 99.95% for HostGator is very strong.
The Types of Hosting That HostGator Offers:
HostGator has six different types of hosting packages ranging from Web, Cloud, VPS, Dedicated, and WordPress. Each package has unique benefits and features that are sure to meet your demands.
Their Web Hosting package consists of three different levels. At the bottom, you’ve got Hatchling. This is the most basic plan HostGator offers, therefore it has the least amount of features. Don’t let that fool you, however. It still gives you a single domain, unmetered bandwidth and storage, $200 in advertising revenue, and easy one-click installs of some of the best applications on the web which can be done from the cPanel.
Next is the Baby plan which adds unlimited domains and a dedicated IP for an extra fee of $4.00/mo. Private SSL is also allowed, but that’s another extra you’ll have to buy.
Finally we come to the Business plan, giving you the tools for total web domination. If you need your own toll free number, Private SSL, and Dedicated IP, you’ll find them included with this package as well as receiving all of the other benefits from Hatchling and Baby.
HostGator’s VPS Server plans are excellent for both novices, veterans, and anyone who falls in between. They also provide you with the ability to upgrade at any point, as well as giving you total control of advanced software and overhauling your hosting environment. Their three-tiered VPS plans start at low price points, too.
The recommended VPS package—Snappy 4000—lies in the middle of the road, providing you with 4GB of RAM, 2 Cores CPU, 165GB Disk Space, and 2 TB Bandwidth. Snappy 2000 has 2GB of RAM, 2 Cores CPU, 120GB Disk Space and 1.5 TB Bandwidth. The top tier plan, Snappy 8000, doubles the features of Snappy 2000 and even gives you 8GB RAM.
No matter what VPS plan you choose, you’ll receive free website, domain, MySQL and script transfers. You will also get a free Reseller account and 52 free scripts that are easily installed with a few simple clicks.
Their Dedicated Server plans include everything you need to give yourself and your customers a rewarding experience. All of the in-built tools are included, from the hosting control panel to website building tools and application installers. The Dedicated server packages are compatible with both Linux and Windows and their datacenter consists of a fully-redundant network.
Their most popular Dedicated server plan out of the four choices available is the Standard plan, giving you 4GB RAM, 4 Core CPU, 1 TB disk space and 15 TB bandwidth. With each Dedicated plan a free Reseller account is included. You will also receive up to 100 free transfers within 30 days of account activation.
HostGator’s Cloud Hosting plans will give your website the extra juice it needs, with as much as 2x faster loading times. This enables the enhanced content management system to process requests faster than ever before. If you need extra resources as your website grows, feel free to say goodbye to data migrations, downtime or reboots. It all can be done with a simple click of your mouse or trackpad, and don’t worry about dealing with large traffic spikes—there won’t be any disruption of service. Finally there are an wide variety of dashboard tools at your finger tips such as usage trends, page download speed, uptime, global reach, and much more.
Their WordPress Hosting packages are priced, named and ranked similarly to the Web Hosting plans. However, HostGator give you a WordPress Cloud interface which focuses on speed, usability, auto-backups with one click restores and easy access to all of your email accounts. They also offer a FREE migration service should you need to transfer an existing WordPress site to HostGator, and if you need help their customer service is available 24/7/365.
Making yourself known online isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you start seeing success you’re going to need to connect with your followers and customers. HostGator brings you unlimited email accounts right from the start. The set-up is easy, but unfortunately you can only set up one at a time rather than being able to do several at once. This is a bit of a time-suck, and they don’t provide built in antivirus or anti-spam features, however you can purchase add-ons such as SpamAssassin to aid in this endeavour.
With HostGator you’ll enjoy unlimited POP3 email accounts with SMTP as well as WebMail access via Horde, SquirrelMail and RoundCube. You’ll receive your email to your phone through IMAP support and there are unlimited Autoresponders, mail forwards, email aliases and 24 mailing lists to use at your convenience.
Security and Other Included Freebies:
HostGator doesn’t skimp when it comes to bonuses and security. Using SiteLock, you’ll be kept up to date of any suspicious activity on your website. You will also be given the ability to prevent your site from being blacklisted through search engines. SiteLock’s scanner verifies your website, email, and SSL to ensure non-stop communication with your customers.
Now…about those bonuses…
With each hosting plan the following is available:
- Unlimited disk space and bandwidth
- A free website builder with all the available tools
- Over 4,000 website templates
- Free domain transfers
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- $200 in ad revenue credits for new customers
- 1 click installs for WordPress, Joomla, Magento and all other major open-source projects
If you’re having technical difficulties, HostGator is there for you 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. You can reach them via their toll free number, and you’ll be put through within a few minutes according to most customer reviews. In the event you are having trouble getting through on the phone, they offer a live chat as well.
Not satisfied with HostGator? They offer a restrictive 45 day money-back guarantee for Shared, VPS and Reseller packages. This guarantee does not apply for dedicated servers, administrative fees, install fees for custom software, or domain name purchases. In addition, packages paid for with check, money order or bank wire transfers are not eligible for a refund.
They offer a lot of the same features as other web hosting companies, but if email is important to your business then HostGator is definitely a good choice as on top of their reliable and versatile hosting plans you also have the option to purchase unlimited email accounts. A lot of other hosts bundle email into expensive and restrictive packages. Their uptime scores are almost unbeatable (and really strong for a shared hosting service), and if you have trouble you will quickly be connected to a customer service representative.