HostGator Full Review: Is It the Right One for You?
HostGator is an excellent reliable web hosting service that offers many useful tools, an economic plan, and 24/7 customer service. It includes three unique shared hosting plans depending on your goal.
With over 19-years in business, HostGator is one of the well-known website hosting services owned by Endurance International Group like Bluehost, Site5, and others. HostGator has over 2 million consumers and is famous for its satisfactory customer service, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and one of the best WordPress hosting companies.
Yet, the question remains what differentiates HostGator from other web hosting companies?
What are its pros and cons? And is it the right one for you?
If you want to know the answers to all these questions, keep reading.
HostGator's Hosting Plans
What kind of hosting plan are you looking for? HostGator offers the following:
- Shared Hosting: For small businesses and medium projects.
- WordPress Hosting: Looking to host your WordPress website? HostGator's got your back. Their WordPress plans range between $5.95-$9.95/month.
- Dedicated Hosting: You'll have your own server and get more traffic. That's why it's for large projects with thousands of visitors. Price starts from $89.98/month.
- Cloud Hosting: If you're looking to host your website on several servers, then cloud hosting is what you're looking for. HostGator's cloud hosting starts from $4.95/month.
- VPS Hosting: The Virtual Private Server is recommended for small and medium sites that need server configuration to host their website. Prices range between $19.95-$39.95/month.
- Reseller Hosting: Sell your server to third parties and earn some money. Plans start from $19.95/month.
- Application Hosting: Choose from hundreds of applications to host your website. Apps include Drupal, Magneto, Joomla, and so much more. Prices range between $2.75-$5.25/month.
All these servers run on CentOS Linux x86 servers in the United States. In this review, we're focusing on HostGator's shared hosting plans. Let’s dig in:
HostGator’s Shared Hosting Plans
If you're a small business owner or a beginner on a budget, a shared hosting plan is what you're looking for.
You're probably wondering what shared hosting is? To answer your question, shared hosting is a type of web hosting that shares resources with other websites on a single server.
HostGator offers month-to-month budget-friendly web hosting plans, which are usually excellent for start-ups or medium businesses who want to set up their website and increase their traffic to grow their business. HostGator's shared hosting plan offers unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, a free domain name, and a discount for the first year.
Depending on your budget, you can pay your fees either monthly or every three months up to 36 months in advance. Don't forget the longer you commit to their plan, the less you'll spend each month.
Depending on the number of websites you want to host, there are three shared hosting plans:
- Hatchling: The Hatchling Plan is what you need if you're looking to host one website. It includes a one-click WordPress install and a free WordPress/cPanel website transfer.
- Baby: This plan includes the same benefits as the Hatchling. In addition to that, it allows you to host unlimited domains.
- Business: If you're a small business creating a website, not only does this plan include a free SSL certificate, but it also has a free dedicated IP that helps in creating an e-commerce website and unlimited domains.
Let's take a look at the plans in detail:
|Domain Name||Free for the first year||Free for the first year||Free for the first year|
|One-click WordPress installs||Included||Included||Included|
|$150 Google Ads Spend Match Credit||Included||Included||Included|
|$100 Bings Ads credit||Included||Included||Included|
|Free dedicated IP||Not Included||Not Included||Included|
On a side note, all these plans are protected by a 45-day money-back guarantee!
A huge advantage of using HostGator is you can pay monthly for your plan. Most competitors only provide annual plans. It's hard to find a web host like HostGator that allows you to pay a monthly fee.
HostGator's Ease of Use
If you're a beginner, you're probably looking for something easy to use. No one wants to get a headache when hosting their website. Don't worry! Using HostGator is a piece of cake! Everything you need is found in the cPanel, and it's pretty easy to navigate. Changes can be made using the drag-and-drop function, and you can install any apps with one click. If you feel confused and need help, there's a tutorial to guide you with anything you need.
HostGator can be used by programmers as well. They have many tools and understand multiple coding languages like Python, Perl, unlimited MySQL databases.
It's no secret that HostGator's website builder is not recommended for large companies because it is not as intuitive as other web-building services. Yet, that shouldn't stop you from using HostGator to host your site due to the third-party apps you can download to build your websites like Drupal, WordPress, and many more.
HostGator's Customer Support
If you're a beginner, you might need help every once in a while. Lucky for you, HostGator is also known for its helpful customer service. Whether using live chat, e-mail, or whatever platform you choose to contact them, they're available 24/7, so they'll be there, but they'll need a few minutes before replying.
There's also a great KnowledgeBase full of answers to your questions, tutorials to help you with any problem, and over 700 articles to guide you.
Having all e-mail, phone, and live chat support is a massive advantage to HostGator compared to other web hosts. Many web hosts lack phone support, which is essential if you want to contact an agent to guide you directly.
Security is a critical factor to consider when choosing your web host. With excellent security, you'll get better customer loyalty, SEO ranking, and more traffic. I wouldn't be telling you all this if HostGator didn't offer top-notch security. So, let's see:
Free SSL Certificate
HostGator has an SSL certificate with every plan. It is essential to encrypt your data and your customers' data when entering sensitive information like their login credentials or credit card details.
Password Protected Directories
HostGator offers password-protected directories from the cPanel, to make sure your files are safe and secure. According to HostGator, "Any file that needs protection can be placed in a protected directory. This also does not protect the directories that can be accessed locally or through FTP, SFTP, or Web Disk."
Free Dedicated IP
The business plan is the only plan that comes with a free dedicated IP. What's a free dedicated IP? Well, this means your website can have its own IP address for free. People can access it through the domain name and IP address.
Spam Assassin Protection
Spam Assassin Protection is an email feature that identifies spam mails. You can decide if you want to delete the unnecessary spam emails or just mark them as spam in a separate folder if HostGator is your web host.
Another security feature offered by HostGator to protect your data is Hotlink Protection. This feature is used to prevent other websites from linking to files and pictures on the website.
Web Application Firewall & DDoS Protection
Web Application Firewall protects web apps by monitoring and filtering HTTP traffic between the web application and the internet. In addition, it'll protect the apps from certain attacks like DDoS.
24/7 Network Monitoring
To check that the server is always working and ensure that no problems occur, HostGator has a 24/7 network monitor. This way, you shouldn't have to worry about your website at any time. If there's any problem with your server, you can contact HostGator's customer support.
You don't have to worry about losing your data with HostGator; they offer daily automated backup. And the best part? Anything you want can be restored with one simple click.
Other Extra Security Features
Other security features include the SiteLock monitor and Spam Assassin. The SiteLock is used to detect any malware or viruses that might affect your site and let you know if they find anything. Unfortunately, the SiteLock is a bit pricey, costing you an extra $19.99/year. On the other hand, the Spam Assassin is included with its email plans to prevent malware and cybercriminals from attacking your email.
Load Times, Reliability, and Features
Choosing your web host can be overwhelming, but not every service comes with excellent hosting services like the ones offered by HostGator.
Uptime & Speed
Let's start by talking about HostGator's uptime. If you choose HostGator for your website, you will benefit from a 99.9% uptime (one of the top 10 web hosting in high loading speed) and from a one-month credit added to your account if your downtime is below that.
It's a reliable web host that offers plenty of excellent features that you don't just find anywhere. Firstly, all plans come with a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, emails, email storage, and unlimited traffic. That's right; there's no need to worry about how many visitors your site they won't ask you to upgrade or anything.
That's not all!
If you already have a website and decide to change your web host, HostGator provides free site migration. You'll be joining the HostGator team, but only within the first 30-days of your plan. They'll import anything you need, site files, databases, the domain name, and even the full cPanel. If you don't have a site, you'll create one with their easy-to-use website builder, but there's more about that later.
Did we forget to mention that all shared hosting plans come with a $150 Google Ads spend match credit and $100 Bing Ads credit? The best part is your only paying a small fee to get all of these features. So why not give it a try?
Overall, it's a reliable web host with excellent uptime and loading speed for everyone to use. And don't forget there's a generous 45-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind, but we doubt you will.
Having an SSL certificate and fast speeds increases your chance of getting a higher ranking on search engines, but it's not enough on its own. So how else does HostGator help in getting a higher ranking?
The business plan is the only shared hosting plan with a step-by-step SEO guide and tools to increase your traffic. If you're not using their Business plan, you can depend on their 'Free SEO Review.' The free SEO review will define the keywords, utilize strategies to rank higher, and work on the on-page SEO. So that's one less thing to worry about.
For Advanced Users
If you're a programmer and don't want to take the easy way out, you can use one of the programming languages of your choice that HostGator supports. These include:
- Fast CGI
- Perl 5
- Ruby on Rails
- PHP 5&7
Other benefits include:
- MySQL Databases
- FTP Accounts & Access
That's a lot more than most web hosting services usually offer and a huge advantage for tech-savvies.
Another advantage for advanced users is Secure Shell (SSH) Access. SSH is a network protocol that allows two computers to communicate. This is a huge benefit for developers as they can safely share data.
Custom Error Pages
A nice extra feature that you can benefit from is customizing the error page that appears when an error occurs. It's a way to make your website look more professional for visitors. This can be done from the cPanel, and if you're not sure how to do it, you can contact HostGator's Customer Support.
Unfortunately, HostGator's server is only located in the United States, in Texas and Utah. You can't choose your server; it all depends on the hosting plan you choose. This shouldn't stop you from using HostGator and all the features it offers.
Gator: The Website Builder
Every plan comes with HostGator's website builder. Have you ever heard of Gator? It's pretty good, especially for beginners. It has a drag-and-drop editor, so you don't need to know any coding. In addition, you get a wide range of templates and features to create the website of your dreams in minutes; you can add your logo, images and customize your site before launching it.
It's usually recommended for bloggers due to the availability of several templates suitable for a blog. You can add images, videos, tags, text formatting, and edit the URL, which is excellent for better SEO ranking. You can even save the post as a draft before deciding to publish it. The only downside is you can't schedule to post a blog at a specific date or time.
If not for a blog, you can use it to create an e-commerce website. You'll be guided step by step, and the website will tell you everything you need. Many elements are included to help you create an online store, including tax, shipping, and payment processor. You can even create store discounts and coupons.
Did we forget to mention the 1-click app installer? It allows you to install third-party apps that'll help you create the perfect websites. These apps include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many others.
HostGator E-Commerce Features
HostGator's plans include some of the best e-commerce tools to help your business improve. Shared hosting plans include many features that help in setting up an online store. These features include the free domain for the first year, free SSL certificate, and unmetered bandwidth. While the Business Plan includes more features such as a free upgrade to a Positive SSL, a free dedicated IP address, a free domain, and free SEO Tools that can help optimize your website for search engines. Moreover, HostGator has plenty of third-party apps that can help you create your online store from scratch, like Woocommerce. This Mojo Marketplace features an e-mail marketing tool such as DaDa Mail to send e-mails to its subscriber's list. Another application like Magneto can be added and can help to create an eye-catchy online store.
Do we recommend it? We definitely do. With over 2 million customers, you will be finding the right tools to host your website and maybe even build it. If you're looking for the perfect shared hosting plan at a fair price and the features mentioned above, HostGator is what you're looking for. With excellent customer service support available through live chat, phones, social media, and even by e-mail, you'll be able to solve your problems. If not, you can refer to their knowledge base for answers.
Whatever your problem is, there's a solution for it. Do you need a CDN? You'll get an external one. You don't want to pay for backup; you can untick the box. Do you need to import your website? HostGator will do it for free. HostGator's got your back.
And don't forget you can try HostGator for free for the first 45-days!