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HostGator is an American company based in Houston, Texas. It was founded by Brent Oxley in 2002 and have recorded 200,000 registered domains by 2006.
In 2008, HostGator went into green (environment-friendly) hosting by teaming up with the Integrated Ecosystem Market Services. To this day, they’ve remained conscious about Mother Earth and are doing everything they can to lessen their carbon footprints.
Even though HostGator was sold to Endurance International Group (EIG), its services kept its good record as a web hosting provider and domain registrant.
In this post, we’re going to review their shared hosting services. However, keep in mind that they have other hosting options such as WordPress, Cloud, VPS, and Dedicated servers.
1. Hatchling Plan
As you can already tell by its name, this is HostGator’s starter plan – so expect it to be quite limited in features. It only costs $2.75 per month but you’re only allowed to host 1 website with it. However, it already provides you with unlimited storage space and unlimited bandwidth. You’ll also get a free SSL certificate for your website. And if you’re paying for 1 year, they’ll give you a free domain (also valid for 1 year, you’ll have to renew it yearly afterward).
2. Baby Plan
HostGator’s Baby plan is bigger than its Hatchling plan. For one, you can host an unlimited number of websites with it. Of course, it also includes unlimited storage and bandwidth (like the Hatchling package). You’ll also get free SSL certificates and 1 free domain name for a year if you opt to get their annual plan (again, much like the Hatchling plan). This package is currently priced at $3.95 per month.
3. Business Plan
For $5.95 per month, you can get HostGator’s Business plan. It’s their most expensive and powerful plan and it comes with unlimited websites, storage space, and bandwidth. You’ll also get free SSL certificates with it and 1-year free domain if you pay for a whole year upfront. In a nutshell, we can say that it carries all of the features embodied in HostGator’s Hatchling and Baby plan – but comes with so much more. It even includes a dedicated IP for your website/s.
HostGator’s pricing plans seem simple, but we really don’t think they’re that simple. We’ve listed a few notes below.
- If you’re attracted to HostGator’s low prices, know that these are only their introductory prices. To be able to get said prices, you’ll need to pay for 3 years (36 months) in advance.
- You won’t get a free domain name if you’re paying monthly. You’ll have to pay at least yearly to be qualified for this freebie.
- HostGator’s renewal rates are not shown on their pricing page. In short, they’re hidden – and you’ll only find out above them when it’s time to renew your plan. So, here’s a heads up – anticipate that you’ll be paying more than double when you renew your plan with them.
- Extra features and services from HostGator such as malware monitoring and backups come with fees. Note that these are usually given by other web hosting companies for free, but you’ll need to make extra payments for them in HostGator.
- Here’s another heads up – know that HostGator is keen on upsells. When you check out your purchases from them, keep your eyes open for their other services. Make sure that you’re not blindly buying extra services from them before you hit that pay button.
- Don’t expect instant activation when you sign up to HostGator. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours for your account to be activated.
HostGator has decent customer support – and it’s something that we like about it. First of all, they have an extensive knowledge base on their official site. Beginners and advanced users will surely find their articles relevant and useful. They also have tutorials and guides for those who are used to finding their own ways.
Just like other hosting services, you’ll also find a lot of helpful materials on the internet. You know how people are on the internet these days. They have blogs and video channels to help fellow users.
HostGator’s phone support and live chat services are also good. They’re known to pick up calls and chat messages within a few seconds. And it’s the same thing with their e-mail service – their response time is quick, so expect to get a reply from them in a few minutes.
HostGator also has well-trained customer support staff. They’re friendly and knowledgeable on different topics and they’re always more than willing to help you out. You won’t feel scared or intimidated to reach out to them, that’s for sure.
1. Lots of unlimited features
This is one of our favorites. You’ll notice that HostGator provides for unlimited storage space and bandwidth on all their plans – yes, even the cheapest one. These unlimited features are not commonly found on starter plans, you know.
2. Stable and reliable uptime
HostGator is giving its customers a 99.9% uptime guarantee (yearly average). And you’ll be glad to know that they usually hit that 99.9% commitment every month. In fact, it’s not unusual for HostGator to deliver 100% uptime in a month.
HostGator has such strong uptime commitment that they’re offering their users 1 month of free hosting for every hour of downtime experienced on their sites. It sounds amazing, of course, but there are some caveats to this agreement. For one, scheduled maintenance is exempted from this deal. But hey, it’s still all good, right?
3. Free SSL certificates
SSL certificates have become very important these days. You need it and you should get one if your hosting provider doesn’t provide for it. Fortunately, HostGator is giving this feature for free on all their plans (yes, even on their cheapest package).
4. Free site migration
If you’re transferring your existing website to HostGator, know that they’re offering free site migrations. It’s just for 1 website, however – but still good enough for us. You know, site transfers can cost around $30 per website. And not all hosting companies have free migration services.
With HostGator, all you have to do is contact HostGator support to ask for their assistance in transferring your site to them. They’ll do everything for you (cPanel migration, site files transfers, etc.), but you’ll have to inform them within 30 after your signup date.
5. Superb customer service
HostGator’s customer support team is really good. You can tell that they know what they’re talking about when you reach out to them about something (an issue or a problem). Sadly, we can’t say the same for a lot of hosting companies out there – so we really do appreciate HostGator’s performance on this aspect of their business. Oh, and their response times are very quick as well.
6. Money-back guarantee
Ok, the industry standard for money-back guarantees is 30 days. HostGator, on the other hand, is giving their customers 45-day money-back guarantees. That’s a good 2 weeks extra to test drive their hosting services.
This good news has some limitations, however – extra services and third-party fees are non-refundable. And so, we recommend not getting extra features while still trying them out. In the case of a domain name (which costs around $15 on HostGator), this won’t be refunded to you when you decide to cancel your subscription within 45 days.
Here’s another thing to consider with regards to their money-back guarantee. It can take up to 90 days for HostGator to issue your refund. AND, their money-back guarantee doesn’t apply to payments made by wire transfers, checks, and money orders.
One last note on HostGator’s money-back guarantee. Keep in mind that said guarantee only applies to new accounts, ok? We just want to make it clear that it doesn’t apply to renewal plans.
Yes, we know that HostGator’s money-back guarantee has some issues (and we pointed them all out to you). Still, we consider their 45-day money-back guarantee a pro because not all hosting providers have this (it’s quite generous, actually).
7. Gator website builder by HostGator
Gator is HostGator’s very own drag-and-drop website builder. It’s easy to use and it comes with modern, stylish templates. You can still edit your website’s design as their templates are highly customizable. They also have a wide range of designs for different categories (e.g. blog, e-commerce, etc.).
1. Slow page-loading times
Ok, this is a biggie for us. We’ve seen reports of slow-loading pages from websites that are hosted by HostGator and we’re not happy with it. This is said to happen even on simple text-based sites, and so we wonder how they’ll perform on sites with thousand-word articles and large images. It’s not a pleasant thought, to tell you the truth. They also don’t have any servers in Singapore, which means that they’re only OK for people looking USA hosts, or Canada web hosting providers. We probably wouldn’t recommend them if you’re looking for website hosting for Singapore, UK web hosting, or Australia.
Do prioritize site speed when considering a hosting company as this will affect your SEO rankings (Google doesn’t like slow-loading sites, for one). It will also result in poor user experience – so it’s really bad for business.
2. Lots of extra fees
We’ve already mentioned extra fees in the previous paragraphs, right? It’s one of the things that we don’t like about HostGator. If you want a backup app, their CodeGuard will cost you $23.95 per year. Their Gmail access is currently priced at $5 per month – so if you want that feature, you’ll need to pay for it. For their SiteLock feature, they charge $19.99 per year. See, those features usually come for free with other web hosting plans. And so, with HostGator, make sure that you run through all the things in your checkout cart as you may be paying for A LOT.
3. Introductory prices to lock you in
We don’t consider HostGator’s pricing to be among their pros as their low prices aren’t really low (in our opinion). Like we said before, you’ll need to get a 3-year plan to qualify for their low introductory prices. 3 years is a long, long time…
OK, so we weighed the pros and cons of HostGator and came to the conclusion that we’re really not recommending it. While its uptime and customer support system are both great, they fail miserably on speed and pricing (just to name a few) – and these are very VERY important in a web host.
If you’re considering HostGator, we suggest looking at SiteGround first (it probably has everything you’re looking for). It comes with great uptime, great speed, and even greater customer service. Its pricing plans also offer value for money (and competitive with other hosting providers’ prices).
Do take a look at SiteGround before making your final decision. They have lots of freebies for features that HostGator charge fees for. You’ll miss out on one of the best hosting providers today if you don’t check them out.Sign Up with HostGator