If you have a business you will need web hosting, be it a simple web page or a full on e-commerce website. HostGator offers competitive prices along with loads of features along with advanced additions for pros. HostGator offers not just shared hosting but also VPS and dedicated hosting. Their shared and dedicated hosting is the most popular and is definitely the reason why HostGator is so well reviewed by thousands of users and professionals. As you can probably guess, we think HostGator offers a great service, but they do have some issues and we will try to detail them for you in this review. HostGator does offer a 45 day money back guarantee, not the longest term out of the top competitors but not the shortest.
Shared Web Hosting
HostGator offers shared hosting plans on a month to month basis, but they do push pretty hard to lock new customers into longer term plans. The longer plans start at six months, but we noticed they default your term selection to three years. Be careful when your clicking through your options because you could get sucked into a long term commitment.
With HostGator's shared hosting platform you can scale your needs as your business grows. Their starting plan, called Hatchling, starts at $7.17 per month and offers unlimited bandwidth, databases, email addresses, disk space and a domain name. You can then scale up from there to either add needed features or server resources. If you are unsure, start with the smallest plan and then run some performance tests to see if you really do need more. With higher level plans you can also obtain a toll-free phone number and private SSL certificate. One of HostGator's defining options that separates them in the share hosting world is the option to choose from either Windows or Linux based hosting. Most other web hosts force Linux shared hosting on you, while this is fine in most cases you may want Windows based hosting if your site is based around ASP.NET.
VPS & Dedicated Hosting
You can sign up for VPS hosting with HostGator starting at $19.95 per month. If you notice your shared hosting plan struggling to keep up with your users needs then you should consider upgrading or see your customer base drop. The starting plan is called Snappy, which includes 25GB storage, 512MB RAM and 500GB of bandwidth. You can scale your VPS hosting plan to meet your needs just like their shared hosting plans.
Dedicated hosting plans start at $139 per month and include a great list of features for the asking price. HostGator servers are very configurable. You can scale servers up to 16GB of RAM, 1TB of disk space and up to 25TB of bandwidth. It is hard to find other hosts who offer these levels of service. You can also choose Linux or Windows based operating systems for your dedicated hosting package. Like we said before, if you want Windows based hosting there are very few hosting providers to choose from.
Once you sign up you will receive an informative email from HostGator detailing a list of important management areas and direct links. After you log in to the customer portal you will be able to manage your payment information and options to purchase additions that you may need. You will also see a hosting section, this is where you can build your site, manage applications and see your website stats. The layout isn't as good as other hosts, so you may find yourself confused at times.
HostGator offers a site builder, Weebly, if you need help building your website. Weebly is very user friendly and intuitive to use, mostly drag and drop features. You can quickly add things like social media links, slideshows and contact forms. Some of the programs you can install include WordPress, Mambo, Drupal, Joomla and Tiki. You can upload your files using a file manager tool and edit files online through a HTML editor. Of course there is FTP support for those who want it.
When you're setting up WordPress on HostGator you will have to choose between three levels of managed WordPress web hosting: Blog, Business or Pro. The Blog plan starts at $12.95 per month and you can support about 100,000 visitors, host one WordPress site, have unlimited email addresses, storage and parked domains. The Business plan starts at $29.95 per month and you can have five WordPress sites and support about 500,000 visitors. The top level plan is Pro, and it starts at $89.95 per month and supports 20 WordPress sites and about 1 million visitors.
You can easily set up WordPress on HostGator without using their managed WordPress services. Through the customer portal you can choose Quick Links that will open an interface for installing applications. When installing WordPress you just have to set the path where the blog is installed, set a username for the WordPress admin account and you will be up and running. WP-Super-Cache plugin will be automatically installed along with your WordPress install to improve loading performance.
HostGator offers access to Mojo Marketplace to help build your online business. Mojo Marketplace includes email marketing software like DaDa Mail, but it will cost you about $34.95 per month to get started. With DaDa mail you can send email newsletters to your users. Other e-commerce software supported within HostGator includes phpCOIN, SugarCRM, Magento and ZenCart. I gave Magento a try and enjoyed the drag and drop user interface to create my online store. There is no shortage of design options, and you can tweak the layout to match almost any site format.
HostGator has both telephone and online web chat support that is offered 24/7. I gave both a try to see how they stacked up to the competition. I called HostGator telephone support at about 10 in the morning on a Wednesday. I asked how to setup my SSL certificate and they gave me detailed instructions which I could easily follow. I was satisfied at both the quality of the information provided and the quick timeframe.
I tested HostGator's web chat support, and it wasn't the best. You first type in your question and hit submit, then you are given an estimated wait time. My wait time showed a half hour, not a great start. As I waited I noticed that the time left to wait was not updating, after about six minutes it finally updated and dropped to 29 minutes. I know that wait times are just estimates, but it can get frustrating after awhile as you don't know if your chat window is actually waiting or just crashed or timed out. I tried again later in the day and was able to get through after about 15 minutes. The quality of direction given was as good as the telephone support but the wait times are definitely much worse.
HostGator has a very in-depth knowledgebase. Almost any problem you can encounter has been documented in detail and should lead to your problem being resolved. If you can't figure it out, or don't want to read through it all, just give them a call or try out their online chat help.
- Unlimited disk space, email accounts and bandwidth
- Weebly site building software
- Great shared and dedicated web hosting plans
- WordPress import can take longer than competitors
- Email lacks antivirus security
- Help desk support is a bit sporadic
HostGator offers competitively priced web hosting with a fairly intuitive user interface.
Disclosure: the reviews here are unbiased, be it good or bad. But if you do buy something the linked company pays us a commission. This helps keep the site ad free, thanks.