2021 January 8
HostGator is among the top 3 choices for beginners. With promises of affordable prices and unlimited plans, it does look like an attractive web hosting solution.
HIGH-LEVEL TIER. THE TOP 10% ARE RANKED HERE
HIGH-LEVEL TIER. THE TOP 10% ARE RANKED HERE
SPEED — 419ms
Fast, HostGator speed is better than average
UPTIME — 99.97%
Great reliability score, among the top 15%
PRICING — 8.4/10
Affordable, provider is among the cheaper options
There are few web hosting providers that receive so much attention as HostGator. They are constantly talked about both in good and completely horrible ways.
HostGator reviews range from ultimate praises about cheapest web hosting to straight-up horror stories about downtimes and support that’s just not bothering to help.
I’m not the one to leave things to other people’s opinions. And I know that HostGator underwent some major changes recently.
This can only mean that I have to do a thorough HostGator review and check out its features, performance, support, and find every flaw that I can.
So let’s see, once and for all, is it an AllGoodGator or a Crocodon’t.
Pricing is one of the few things that did not change and you can still get HostGator for as cheap as $2.75 a month. It has options for both beginners and pros and more expensive ones include VPS for $19.95 a month and dedicated servers for $89.98 a month.
But as most users start off shared hosting, let that be our focus today.
All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans feature essentials for every website – an SSL certificate, free domain name for a year, and even unlimited disk space. So which plan is for what?
Each of the plans is offering quite good value in terms of price and feature ratio. But in my opinion, sticking to Baby is the best deal available – just a little bit more than $1 a month gives you unlimited websites. So if you ever need to add another site, you can do that without purchasing a second plan or upgrading.
But how to get the best pricing possible?
Well, this is where problems with HostGator pricing begin.
You see, they, as many other hosts, advertise the longest billing period price and increase it once the first billing therm ends. It also likes to sell third-party stuff you don’t need to increase the price even more.
So you gotta be smart here.
To get the best deal possible, you gotta pick the Baby plan with a 3-year pre-payment. That’ll be $3.95 a month and $142.2 in total. The renewal, $9.95 a month is also the lowest possible with this billing period. Also, don’t forget to opt-out of SiteLock and backups that have been added to your cart sneakily – you can replace them with WordPress plugins for free.
In comparison to other hosts, is this price good?
I’ve checked the prices and renewals with some of my reviewed companies. To get unlimited hosting, here’s what you’d pay and at what rate you’d renew by getting the best possible deal:
So HostGator, with a total $142.2 3-year price and $358.2 renewal is a very much average price. You can get both cheaper as well as more expensive options with other providers.
Overall, prices at HostGator are quite budget-friendly. Together with all the essentials, you won’t need any further investments making them a good budget option to start a website.
One of the biggest changes HostGator has made is their user interface. It combined a brand new dashboard with the classic cPanel to help new users adapt to hosting management and make everything easier to understand.
This is how the control panel looked before:
Not too bad, a custom cPanel skin, easy navigation on the left.
But many providers started going in another direction – allowing new users to manage their websites without even reaching cPanel.
This is the main dashboard right now:
Here you’ll see all your account information and will be able to install WordPress, manage SSL certificates, and add email accounts without going to cPanel.
If you do need it, the “Launch cPanel” button is here and available. Meanwhile, cPanel itself is seamlessly integrated:
Overall, I like the changes made.
HostGator proves that it is still focusing on customers and especially beginners who might find cPanel confusing at first.
Affordable price and a nice interface is not everything. In this part of HostGator review, I’ll be testing how fast, stable, and reliable they are.
To get started, I installed WordPress on my Baby plan and set up a nice website using the Astra theme. Basically, simulated a realistic scenario.
For the first test, I’m using GTMetrix to show how fast this website loads. That’s 4.1 seconds to fully load. A little better than an average provider but not exceptional.
Unfortunately, GTMetrix only shows how fast the website loads with 1 user on it. To get an even more realistic situation, I’m using K6 Cloud software.
This software allows me to send bots to the website to see how it performs under pressure. I sent the maximum number of bots allowed with my plan – 50 under 10 minutes.
And I got to give it to HostGator. It remained perfectly stable throughout the test. Even at the peak of 50 users, the response time is below 100ms and perfectly flat.
So while loading speed could be improved with the right optimizations, even one of the cheapest plans can handle a lot of visitors. All who came in at the same time.
Now, the last test will show us how real the HostGator reviews telling horror stories about days of downtime are.
I monitored my HostGator for almost 3 months now. It was online 99.99% of the time with only 12 minutes of downtime.
That is as good as it gets – you always want the uptime to be as close to 100% as possible. But the truth is, some downtime will happen nonetheless. HostGator seems to be dealing with it pretty well.
So all in all, HostGator’s shared hosting performance is not something that will blow you away. But it is quite speedy and the stability and reliability are more than enough for any small business website or a blog.
HostGator has 24/7 live chat and phone support while the more complicated issues will be redirected to the tech teams via email. Throughout the year that I had the plan with HostGator, there were ups and downs with the support.
Let’s start with a very nice and positive example. I nagged the agent a little bit about the expiration of the plan. I know it was expired but pretended that it should be active for at least one month.
The agent handled the situation with grace.
Not only they replied in less than a minute, but were polite and not at all annoyed. They checked the details and assured there were no mistakes.
But I did have a couple of interactions when not all went as expected. For example, I couldn’t reach Softaculous on my cPanel. The agent could, I couldn’t. I was moved from agent to agent over several days. Then to the email support and the issue was there for more than a month.
Fortunately, live chat agents did install all I asked so I could use my subscription, but the fact that the panel wasn’t working properly was really annoying. In the end, it was solved, but it took them at least one and a half months.
So as always, everything depends on your personal experience. Most of the time, I had great agents help me. But a few times, the issues were just too big for them to solve and required more experienced support.
As I talked about my varied experiences with support, let’s point out some of the flaws that HostGator has. It’s not something exceptional and you’ll see that majority of the hosting providers are having these same issues too:
Purchasing a plan, a couple of things will be added to the cart automatically. That’s a backup tool for $2 a month and SiteLock security package for another $1.99 a month. That’s even more expensive than 2 of the cheapest plans! Do you need these features? Not necessarily if you can take backups yourself and protect your website using free plugins.
Once you have your account, upselling attempts won’t end. For example, HostGator will offer you to install a theme and make it look like the demo version of it. $150 payment for a task you can do in 5 minutes. So just be careful with these offers and think good before making any purchases.
Once your first billing period ends, you’ll be charged more to renew. While this is true with many providers, it remains one of the biggest flaws of HostGator.
So, HostGator’s flaws are focused on money things. It can be very cheap if you are careful about the purchase but more expensive renewals won’t be avoided. At least at the moment.
We already saw that HostGator can be affordable and very stable in terms of performance. A design change makes it easy to use as well. So what other advantages will you get?
This is an extremely great thing for beginners. Purchasing HostGator, you’ll get a domain name and SSL together with an easy to use dashboard. Everything will be set up for you so you can just log in and start your website. No additional investments or tutorials to follow needed.
In case you find that HostGator is not the best option for you after the purchase, it has a little bit longer money-back guarantee than usual. A good thing to know that you can have a way out.
If you want to also invest largely in ads for your business, HostGator might be the provider for you, it gives you a $100 Google Ads credit and a $100 Bing Ads credit. It's not life-changing, sure, but if you plan on using these services anyway, why not have the extra help with your hosting.
One good feature is a free website and cPanel migration that HostGator offers, if you're less of a tech-savvy person, this can be a huge help. In my eyes, these free transfers remove one of the biggest fears that most users have when wanting to migrate to a better hosting provider - what if I miss something and mess everything up?
So definitely, you get way more good than bad with HostGator.
In this HostGator review, we found out that it’s not a bad provider and definitely the one you can trust your website with. It will be easy to use and will reliably keep your site online. More to add, you’ll get a bunch of nice extra features to make life easier.
So who should use HostGator?
HostGator is a good option for beginners who have never hosted a website before. It’s control panel guides you through the management process so you can have your site online in minutes. Might not be the cheapest option in the long-run, but it’s definitely one of the best values for your buck to get started.
Who should not use HostGator?
If you have a serious business project in mind that needs the best performance possible, HostGator might be a little too slow for you. Either pick a business ready option like VPS or just go straight to speed-focused providers like A2 Hosting or WP Engine if the budget allows.
I hope this was helpful. Don’t forget to leave your questions and comments down below. And as always – good luck creating your website!