HostGator is one of the biggest names in web hosting. Founded in 2002 by then-college student Brent Oxley in his dorm room in Boca Raton, Florida, the company grew exponentially through the years until it was eventually sold to Endurance International Group in 2012.
Today HostGator has nearly half-a-million customers and hosts over nine million domains. The company is now based in Houston, Texas, and has offices in China, Russia, Mexico, and Canada.
What is it that keeps attracting customers to the service and how do they stand out in such a crowded and competitive field? We signed up for an account to learn more..@WebsiteBuilderI takes a swim with #HostGator. Click To Tweet
Pros and Cons
- HostGator’s hosting plans are some of the most feature rich and all-inclusive in the industry. Most options come standard, and bandwidth and disk space are always unmetered and unlimited.
- The HostGator website builder is really easy to use and offers a vast selection of templates. While they are not known for their builder, it definitely presents a good reason to use them.
- HostGator is known for their customer service. This is because they offer so many options for getting in touch, each of which takes a few minutes, on average, to connect with a real person.
- HostGator does not offer the security features that other hosts do. While they do perform free weekly backups, the is no weekly malware scanning or other automatic maintenance features. You can do these things on your own, but keep in mind that other hosts offer the service.
- After your first year, your costs are bound to nearly double. This is a big increase and one of the “gotchas” that we really dislike seeing in payment plans. Additionally, in-house domains and dedicated IPs are pricey on the low-end packages.
Signing up for HostGator is pretty simple. Links on the main site send users to a page where they can select from different web hosting plans. Once you choose one that suits your needs you can register a new domain or begin a domain transfer. Then just simply enter all of your billing and payment information and you’re ready to begin using the service.
HostGator’s user interface is definitely not the most intuitive or streamlined one that we have ever seen, but upon sign-up, the company sends an email full of links to all of the references and resources you may need to get started. These include videos from HostGators vast library of tutorials. This was very helpful, especially since they use a proprietary cPanel (which can be demoed).
HostGator offers users a variety of features that keeps them extremely competitive. The service can be tailored to your needs with options ranging from three basic shared plans, WordPress-specific plans, five VPC options, and eight Windows and Linux options.
HostGator’s packages are all-inclusive and provide users with a ton of freebies. Users get unlimited bandwidth, subdomains, FTP accounts, and email addresses. Additionally, each new account comes with a free website builder, a free website transfer, and $100 in Google Adwords and Yahoo/Bing credit.
The company boasts an impressive 99.9% uptime and decent page speed of 877ms. They also have a very flexible and easy to use control panel.
HostGator’s cPanel is not the industry standard, but it is one of the most popular ones. This is because the control panel is extremely easy to use, with sections broken down clearly and logically. Everything from mail to SEO and marketing to security can be controlled and changed via the interface. It is definitely not the most intuitive cPanel we have used, but it certainly cannot be called difficult to use.
Customers using a dedicated server can choose from three different control panels on HostGator.
Many web hosts offer website builders just for the sake of offering them. They tend to be hard to use and merely serve as another feature for companies to add to a list that makes them look more competitive. This is not true of HostGator’s website builder, however.
Although they don’t advertise it as such, HostGator’s builder is based on Weebly’s website creator platform. This means that the interface is extremely easy to use with drag-and-drop, What You See Is What You Get functionality. With thousands of website templates and over one hundred mobile-friendly templates, there is a solution for everyone.
While many may choose HostGator for WordPress hosting, they should not be ruled out as a very good option for builder-level website hosting.
Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Users can opt for online chat (which we prefer), telephone support, or creating an email service ticket. Each of the options usually results in you speaking to an assistant within a few minutes.
HostGator’s knowledge base is extremely deep, offering text- and video-based tutorials and solutions for seemingly every problem you might encounter. Additionally, you can chat with other users on their forums.
There are many pricing plans to choose from, but you will likely be choosing from the three basic plans offered by HostGator.
The most basic plan begins at $3.95 per month for the first year. It offers a single domain along with everything you would get from the other plans, save for some advanced features like parked domains and anonymous FTP. Once the term ends, the price shoots up to nearly double.
The Baby plan features unlimited domains for $5.95 per month for the first year. Like the Hatchling plan, it includes all of the features that HostGator is known for, aside from a few more advanced ones.
The most expensive plan is also, shockingly, the one that HostGator recommends. It is priced at the same rate as the Baby plan ($5.95 per month) and includes advanced features like free dedicated IP, free private SSL, and anonymous FTP. If you are wondering why you should take the similarly priced Baby plan over the Business plan, keep in mind that the price increase after one year will make it much pricier.
HostGator has an impressive 45-day money back guarantee and constantly adds new HostGator coupon codes directly to their site.
HostGator is a popular host for a reason: it’s easy to use and you can begin creating or transferring a site using one of the many options they provide. The support is great and often does simple website tasks for you. While the costs begin at low rates, keep in mind that they increase after one year.