Hostgator is a web hosting provider that provides services for hosting websites and blogs online and Hostgator is used for purchasing domain names online.
What is HostGator?
Hostgator is a web hosting provider that provides services for hosting websites and blogs online and Hostgator is used for purchasing domain names online. Hostgator is one of the biggest, oldest web hosting companies in the industry.
Their basic shared hosting plans come with unlimited storage, bandwidth, free domain, and a free SSL certificate. They also have great customer service, who connected through a live chat instantly and answered each question within a few seconds.
General Info & Hosting Overview
Our Verdict: 4.0
734 ms (April 2020 to March 2021)
99.93% (April 2020 to March 2021)
24/7 Live Chat
Over 75 Apps Supported
Unmetered Bandwidth and Storage, Single Email Account, Free Domain 1st Year, SSL Certificate, 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
Shared, Cloud, WordPress, VPS, and Dedicated Servers
Single Free Site Transfer
Starting at $2.75/mo (renews at $6.95/mo)
Here’s a quick summary:
Pros of Using HostGator Shared
- Stable Uptime of 99.93%
Hostgator has posted an average of 99.93% uptime with a bit more than six hours of downtime over the last 12 months. That’s not the best uptime we’ve seen but also not the worst.
The good part is that they have an uptime guarantee which says that if they drop below 99.90%, you can receive one month of credit on your account.
Any planned maintenance or impossible-to-predict hacks aren’t factored into this guarantee. You will, however, have to reach out and ask for the credit by submitting a support ticket to their billing department within 30 days.
- Decent Load Time 734 ms
HostGator’s servers had no issues keeping our site up and live over the past year.
However, what about their server speed?
Hostgator delivered an average page loading time of 734 ms over the last 12 months.
Why is it important to have a fast page loading time?
Slow page loading times have been shown to impact your visitor’s experience directly. And that has a trickle-down effect to hitting your bottom line, too.
There are a few things you can do to speed up your site without switching hosts. But if your host is consistently slow, it means you’ll constantly be fighting a losing battle.
- Great Support
Similar to other known providers like Namecheap and Bluehost, HostGator provides a knowledge base, phone, email, and live chat support.
We tested out their live chat option.
We asked a simple question about their shared hosting plans and got connected to a customer rep within two minutes. The replies were fast and knowledgeable.
Overall it was a good customer support experience.
- 45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
HostGator is so confident in their service that they extend the industry-average 30-day refund policy an extra two weeks or so to 45 days.
That means you can use them for over a full month and still get your purchase price back if any issues pop up.
This 45-day money-back guarantee applies to all shared, reseller, and VPS hosting packages.
The only catch is that this does not apply to HostGator’s dedicated servers, administrative fees, install fees for custom software. After combing through many Terms of Service documents by now, we’ve found that these caveats are fairly common in the hosting industry.
So, for example, if your plan included a free domain name, they’ll deduct the standard fee of $15.00 for the domain from the refund amount.
There are a few other points to make. HostGator’s Terms give them up to 90 days to issue a refund. No refunds will be given on checks, money orders, Western Union payments, or bank wire transfers, either.
Refunds are only available for new plans or accounts. So if you previously signed up for one, and are canceling a renewal or second attempt, you won’t get anything in return.
And last but not least, foreign currency refunds are processed based on the U.S. Dollar exchange rates.
- Site Security Features Available
HostGator’s shared hosting plans are fairly bare-bones. You’re getting enough for one site, but not a whole lot of extras on top of it.
Fortunately, they do offer a few extra security features like the ability to add SiteLock monitoring to your site. This service will run daily, looking out for any potential site breaches or hacks, and let you know instantly when they find it.
They also offer SpamAssassin on their email plans to help prevent spam from hitting your inbox in the first place.
The only downside is that SiteLock will cost you a little extra. We’ll expand on this below in the Cons, but the sticker price is $1.99/mo, billed annually at $23.88.
- Free Site & cPanel Migrations
If this isn’t your first site, and you’re trying to move an existing one over, HostGator’s got your back.
You’ll have 30 days after sign-up to get in touch and have them help move any site files, databases, scripts, and even a domain name over for you.
This includes a full cPanel transfer. So if you happened to have multiple site installs (like subdomains for one large site), you’re covered.
All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans come with a single site (or cPanel) migration included. Different plans, like resellers, for instance, will get access to more (up to 30).
A single free site migration isn’t a lot compared to some hosts. But it’s still better than nothing.
- Very User-Friendly for Beginners
HostGator is tailor-made for beginner bloggers or webmasters.
Their site is full of tutorials, walkthroughs, and more to help you navigate the murky world of DNS and data centers.
They also have extra features for beginners who are looking to set up a site without the hassle of hiring other people to design, build, and manage everything.
Their website builder tool, Gator by HostGator, is one of the better ones we’ve reviewed. It comes with free hosting and a domain name, so you just need to purchase a single account for all of the necessities.
The customizable templates are all pretty modern, to begin with, and you can easily customize how they look by dragging and dropping each feature. You’ll also get site analytics and a free SSL certificate to help safeguard your visitors’ data (like their physical location).
Gator by HostGator even comes with an eCommerce plan, so you can set up a fully functioning online store with inventory and more, all without worrying about payment gateways, plugins, or any other messy technology. It just works.
Cons of Using HostGator Shared
- Lots of Extra Fees for ‘True’ Backups, Gmail, and Malware
HostGator’s shared hosting plans are cheap, with introductory pricing starting at only $2.75/month (for 36 months).
Their cheapest plan (“Hatchling”) comes with a single domain name, one-click installations of popular apps like WordPress, Joomla, and more, unmetered bandwidth, unlimited storage, and a free SSL certificate. All of the core features you need for a complete website.
However, that’s about all they provide in their default plans. All of the ‘extra’ stuff, like site backups, Gmail access, SiteLock Monitoring, and SEO tools will all cost you extra when it’s time to checkout.
Gmail is the standard $5/month or $60/year per user, which is their normal pricing. But then SiteLock will cost you $19.99/year, CodeGuard (to backup your sites) will cost you $23.95/year, and they don’t even keep many previous versions of your site on file in case you run into any problems.
So while the initial plan seems inexpensive at first, it starts to become pretty pricey when all is said and done.
Do We Recommend HostGator Shared?
Yes, HostGator’s shared hosting does offer a lot of benefits. The uptime has been solid together with improved speed. The customer service was good. And the plethora of beginner-friendly options makes it user-friendly.
However, the extra pricing hikes make it too expensive to get our 100% recommendation.
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