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Courtesy of Hostgator
Customer service via phone, email, & live chat
45-day money-back guarantee
Low-cost options for cheap hosting
FREE web builder tools & site migration for beginners
Pay extra for Gmail, security, and automatic backups
Slower speeds than promised
Time commitments necessary for good pricing
Can have slow speeds and poor customer service
Hostgator has a reputation for excellent uptime and reliability, which is why it's one of our most highly rated web hosts. If you want great service for an affordable price, this is a good place to look.
Hostgator is a web host that doesn't convey the most professional image, with their cute cartoon mascot and alligator-themed plan names, but they're consistently ranked at the top of the pile for reliability, speed, and pricing. This is a full service web host that provides a variety of shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting options, with 24/7 customer service and an aggressive pricing structure.
We recently took the service for a spin to see how it really stacks up in terms of specifications and performance, so read on to find out why Hostgator is one of our most highly rated web hosts.
Hostgator offers traditional shared web hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and dedicated hosting in a tiered structure, as well as WordPress hosting.three levels of shared web hosting.
These are Hostgator's shared hosting tiers:
Hatchling: The base Hatchling plan offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, allows you to host a single website, and comes with a free SSL. This plan costs $10.95/mo if you pay monthly, or just $2.75/mo if you pay for three years in advance.
Baby: The baby plan also provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, with the added bonus that you can also host as many websites and domains as you want. This plan costs $3.95/mo if you pay for three years in advance.
Business: The final tier is the Business plan, which adds a more secure SSL, a free dedicated IP, and some free SEO tools to boot. This plan costs $5.95/mo if you pay for three years in advance.
Hostgator also offers VPS services, dedicated servers, and even cloud hosting, which scales much more easily than traditional shared hosting. They even provide beefed up hosting plans specific for WordPress that promise 2.5x the speed of their regular shared plans, enhanced security features, and free migration of your old site.
If you are in the market for web hosting, we recommend the business plan from the shared tiered offerings. All three plans come standard with the Hostgator email service, unlimited MySQL databases, and Linux cPanel.
All Hostgator plans are fortified on the Apache Linux backbone providing a solid base and with the classic cPanel for easy access to all the necessary website tools you need. You also have unlimited MySQL databases with phpMyAdmin built-in so that you can access your data 24/7.
Compared to GoDaddy, Hostgator comes out on top for reliability and price.
Storage for all Hostgator plans is unlimited, with the lowest tier plan on limiting you to a single website with a single domain rather than limiting your storage or bandwidth. However, even with the Hatchling plan, you can add as many subdomains as you want. Email and FTP are also unlimited across all plans as well.
One of the best features of all the Hostgator plans is unmetered bandwidth. That being said, shared hosting does experience bottlenecks from time to time. Therefore, those speeds will vary at different times. The good news is that Hostgator consistently ranks high for uptime and keeping their promise of a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Hostgator remains at the top of the list for quality, reliability, and speed.
Hostgator offers a no-frills registration process making it quick and easy to sign up and grab a plan. However, be sure to choose and register your free domain when you sign up. We found out the hard way; it’s difficult to register the new free domain after creating the account. A quick call to Hostgator support, and we were all set, but not worth the hassle if you can avoid it.
From a single Hostgator login, users can access the customer portal. This unified system integrates the Linux cPanel with Hostgator’s dashboard tools. So from under one roof, you can manage your domains, set up email campaigns using the Constant Contact account included with your plan, check billing, contact support and of course manage all your web hosting features.
All accounts come with a free domain and SSL that are easy to set up and use from inside the control panel. The step right after registration prompts you to install their own website builder or WordPress. You can choose to skip this step, but if you need a WordPress website, it couldn’t be easier.
The control panel inside Hostgator has a one-click installation of many popular CMS systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and WHMCS. They claim to offer one-click installs for 75 open source scripts. Hostgator also offers a lot of freebies like plugin installs and templates for many of these popular systems. Some plugins and templates are fee-based, however.
Using the standard Linux cPanel, you can create multiple users with access to specific domains. You can also easily set quota limits for FTP and email accounts as well as restrict access to specific areas of the server by directory.
All Hostgator plans include unlimited email accounts. Setting up a new account, changing mailbox limits and passwords are a snap within the Hostgator cPanel. Although hosted email is not always the most secure, Hostgator throws in a lot of extras here worth talking about. For example, you can set up autoresponders, and email forwards in seconds.
Additional features include an area to create mailing lists, import your contact lists, and set up calendars. You can even turn on email encryption, activate Apache SpamAssassin, and edit MX records from this area.
The thing we like best about Hostgator is their easy-to-use control panel. Many web hosts offer poor interfaces with confusing navigation, and it is difficult to figure out where to go to get the job done. The unified Hostgator control panel is really a joy to use.
We also appreciate Hostgator's 45-day money-back guarantee. You don’t see that strong of a guarantee with a lot of other web hosting companies. Another key feature is their reliable 99.9% uptime, which is backed by stats and codified in writing. We also love the options for support, including live chat, email, and phone at any time of the day or night.
Hostgator also provides free access to Constant Contact, which is a great bonus. They pack a lot into a small package, and we appreciate that.
Hostgator offers round the clock support, and they don't make it hard to find. Their toll free support number is featured prominently on every page of the site, along with a live chat button that you can use if you prefer that to calling support on the phone.
Some web hosts state a high uptime number, or even claim to have a guarantee, but they won't give you anything in writing. Hostgator actually codifies their 99.9% uptime guarantee in writing, and it's one of the better guarantees that we've seen. If the server your site is hosted on doesn't meet the 99.9% uptime mark, Hostgator will credit you for one full month of service.
Although Hostgator offers some of the lowest prices for hosting, those monthly fees are only available if you sign up for three years. If you need to pay monthly, their pricing is much less attractive. So you have to factor in a higher price if you can't pay for several years at once.
For example, the lowest tier shared hosting is listed at $2.75 per month. If you only want to pay for one year, that price jumps to $5.95/month. Anything less than a year jumps to a whopping $10.95/month.
Compared to GoDaddy, Hostgator comes out on top for value, reliability, and price as long as you're willing to pay for three years in advance. For example, the GoDaddy Economy plan provides just 100 GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and a single email address through Office 365, all for $5.99 per month if you pay for three year in advance.
Hostgator's comparable Hatchling plan provides unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email addresses, and a free SSL certificate, all for $2.75 per month if you pay for three years in advance.
Hostgator and GoDaddy's other tiers follow a similar pattern, with Hostgator consistently providing a slightly higher level of service for less money. Hostgator also has a superior uptime guarantee in terms of compensation, although they both promise an uptime of 99.9%.
Hostgator is a good, solid hosting option that will fit most needs.
Aside from the price gimmicks, based on a 3-year commitment, we feel that Hostgator is a very cost-effective, reliable, and trustworthy web hosting provider. The service is also easy to use and provides an excellent uptime guarantee that's backed in writing. For business clients, we strongly recommend that you go with the business plan. You may not need everything it offers on day one, but you will appreciate the extras as you build your online presence.