HostGator Review 2020
HostGator Review by HostingSpecs Team — Updated October 2020
Finding the perfect hosting company can be a difficult task to accomplish. Not only do you need to find a hosting company that’s easy to deal with, but they also need to provide the hosting features that you need at a price that you can afford.
If you’re looking for a new web host for your website, then you’re likely reviewing multiple hosting companies to find the best hosting company for your needs. It’s essential that your web host is a right fit with your business or else it can be a long, drawn-out experience, and it may even hold you back as a company.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at HostGator and provide you with a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons, HostGator pricing, and our review of the company overall.
- Benefits of using HostGator
- 1. Good Server Uptime
- 2. Good Customer Support
- 3. Money-Back Guarantee for 45 Days
- 4. Free Website Migration
- 5. Security Features are Available
- 6. Scalable Hosting
- 7. Cheap Web Hosting Plans
- 8. Simple Control Panel (cPanel)
- 9. Long Track Record
- Disadvantages of using HostGator
- 1. Extra Fees for Additional Features
- 2. Renewal Rates
- 3. Slower “Load” Times
- 4. A “free” Website Builder
- HostGator’s Plans and Pricing
- Do we Recommend HostGator?
Benefits of using HostGator
If you’re looking for the best web hosting company then there are many reasons why you may want to consider using HostGator to host your website online. HostGator can provide many features and benefits to its customers, and in this section, we will be taking a look at some of the benefits of using HostGator.
Here are some of the reasons that you should use HostGator.
1. Good Server Uptime
If you’re working with a web hosting company, then you’ll want to make sure that they have a good record when it comes to uptime. Uptime means that the server is actively hosting your website and that your customers can access your website.
If the server is down, then your website won’t be able to be found online, and this can mean lost business or a loss in viewers who want to access your site. This is why uptime is so critical for your online success.
When you work with HostGator, you’ll find that they have a strong uptime record and over the last few years, they have had an average uptime of over 99%. This is just one of the reasons why you should use hosting from HostGator.
They also promise to have uptimes of over 99% which means that if they can’t meet their promise, then you can request a refund for that month’s hosting costs since their services didn’t meet the requirements.
2. Good Customer Support
One of the beautiful things about working with HostGator is being able to rely on their support staff. Their support staff can be accessed 24 hours a day and 365 days per year and can be contacted through email, phone or live chat.
When you work with HostGator, you’ll find that their support staff are experts within the hosting space and they know what they’re talking about. We found that the live chat support system was the fastest way to have issues resolved.
You can connect with a support rep within 1 minute. They are fast to answer your questions, and they don’t seem annoyed that you are contacting support to solve simple issues. They are happy to help, which is nice to have if you aren’t a tech guru.
If you don’t know a lot about web hosting, then I would recommend that you use a web hosting company that’s able to provide fast support so that you can have your issues resolved with little downtime.
3. Money-Back Guarantee for 45 Days
If you’re trying to find a web host, then you’ll want to make sure that they have a good refund policy so that you’re not stuck in a long term contract and later decide that the hosting company you chose wasn’t the best hosting company for you.
When you’re picking a hosting company, you’ll want to make sure that they are the right fit for you and provide hosting plans that fit your budget along with your website’s growing needs.
When you’re working with HostGator, you’ll be able to start working with them as a hosting partner and then decide whether or not you want to keep using them as your hosting provider. If you decide that they’re not the right fit for you, then you can request a refund.
Here’s what will be covered in HostGators Refund Policy:
- Only the costs of hosting will be refunded
- A fee of $15 will be charged from your refund to cover the free domain name (if you received a free domain during the setup stage)
- Setup fees or any additional charges will NOT be refunded
- You need to request a refund within 45 days
This refund policy is pretty standard with any of the other web hosting companies that we have reviewed, so you won’t get much more if you cancel your hosting plan with any hosting provider. HostGator does take its refund policy to the next level by offering 45 days to make your decision while many other hosting companies will only give you up to 30 days to decide if you want a refund or not.
4. Free Website Migration
If you already have a website and you decide that you want to switch hosting providers, then you’ll need to migrate your website from the hosting company that you’re currently using to the web host that you wish to use.
One of the great features that you’ll get when you switch over to HostGator is their free website migrations. This feature is nice to see from a hosting provider, especially when there are some web hosting companies that will charge around $150 to migrate your website.
This means that your website migration will be taken care of by HostGator’s team of experts without any extra cost to you. You’ll be able to relax during the entire migration process because a group of hosting experts is handling it.
5. Security Features are Available
Website security is becoming more critical with each year, and it’s not something that should be taken lightly. If you’re a website owner, then you should be doing everything that you can to protect your web audience and your online customers.
When you buy hosting through HostGator, then you’ll be given a free SSL certificate to ensure that your website is always safe from online attacks. Even if you’re on their cheapest web hosting plan, then you’ll get this security feature added for free.
HostGator also provides other security features such as SiteLock which is a tool that you can use to help monitor your website and run daily check-ups to spot any potential security breaches on your website.
However, extra security features such as SiteLock will put you out around $19.99 annually (which is not that bad). Still, we will be covering these additional costs when we review the disadvantages of working with HostGator.
6. Scalable Hosting
Another reason why we love HostGator is that their hosting plans are flexible for customers to use. The scalability allows you to upgrade your hosting plans if you need more hosting data.
Scalable hosting is something that you want from any hosting provider. If you are locked into a hosting plan that’s too small for your growing website, then the hosting plan will hold your site back. You won’t be able to upgrade your plan until your contract has expired.
Scalable hosting also allows you to save money because you won’t need to buy a more expensive hosting package until you’ve outgrown your current hosting plan and then you can upgrade your plan once you need more server resources.
When you’re using HostGator, you’ll be able to upgrade your hosting plan easily and with zero hassle from the support staff. They are more than happy to assist you in finding the best hosting plans for your website.
7. Cheap Web Hosting Plans
If you’re looking to host your first website, or maybe your website doesn’t get a huge volume of traffic, then you’re likely interested in finding a cheap hosting plan. Many website owners don’t get enough traffic to need a web hosting plan with all the bells and whistles.
If this sounds like you, then you’ll be happy to learn that HostGator offers cheap web hosting plans. If you just need a basic hosting plan, then you can get web hosting for as low as $2.75 per month if you sign a 36-month contract with HostGator.
They also provide high-tier hosting plans with various price ranges, but we have found that their hosting plans are affordable, and they are quite competitive with other hosting companies such as BlueHost.
8. Simple Control Panel (cPanel)
If you’re a beginner with building websites or aren’t very “techy,” then you’ll want to use HostGator to host your website. They make it easy for just about anyone to get started with setting up their website and having it hosted online.
HostGator also provides a lot of different features such as an easy to use cPanel and other features that will make it easier for you to build your website without needing to hire a professional team to design and build you a website.
One of these features is called Gator by HostGator, which is a website builder that you can use to build your website within hours. You can choose between tons of professionally design website templates and choose the ones that fit your needs.
You can then take this theme and easily customize it and make the website your own, and when you’re finished, you’ll have a beautiful website that looks professionally-made.
9. Long Track Record
If you want to choose a good quality web host, then you’ll want to take a look at how many years that web host has been in business. This will be a significant indicator of whether that web host is an excellent company to deal with or if there are reasons why nobody wants to deal with them.
HostGator was founded in 2002, which is coming up on two decades ago. This is a long time for a hosting company to be around, and it’s proof that they’re doing a lot of things very well. HostGator also has over 850 employees. Their company is currently hosting over 8 million domains, and some of those are for big-name brands which are even Fortune 500 Companies.
If you want to work with a hosting company that can provide a solid track record, then you may want to consider choosing HostGator as the company to host your website.
Disadvantages of using HostGator
Once you’ve reviewed or dealt with your fair share of hosting companies, you’ll quickly find that the perfect web host doesn’t exist. They all differ in some way, and some benefits and disadvantages come with each company. Each company will find the areas that they are best at and then try to boast at what they can do exceptionally well.
While we were doing our research on HostGator, we dug deeper and read through the fine print of their terms of agreement. Here are some of the disadvantages that you’ll experience with HostGator.
1. Extra Fees for Additional Features
One of the things that we noticed with HostGator is that their hosting plans don’t include a ton of free features that you may be used to with other hosting companies. They provide the basics, but they don’t throw in the bells and whistles unless you pay for these extra features.
We already took a look at SiteLock, which is a security feature that’ll monitor your website for any potential security breaches. SiteLock is usually a nice security feature that other companies throw in for free. However, when you use HostGator, you’ll need to pay $19.99 annually to have this extra feature.
HostGator does have a lot of additional add-ons that you can access, which is nice, but you’ll also need to pay for them. You’ll want to take a look at the fine print before you buy anything to figure out what is covered, so you’re not getting charged extra fees at the checkout.
2. Renewal Rates
While this may not be a disadvantage because every hosting company does it, it’s still something that you need to be aware of before you purchase your web hosting. If you have a budget, then this is something that you’ll want to keep an eye on.
When you sign your contract with a web hosting company, you’ve likely noticed that they provide tons of features for a really low rate if you sign for 36 months. This is called your “initial contract,” and it’s a great way for hosting companies to get new customers in the door without breaking the bank.
However, you need to keep in mind that once your initial contract has expired (36 months later or less), you’ll be paying a higher rate per month for your hosting plan. Once you resign, you’ll be paying their standard fee every month for website hosting.
This is something that you’ll want to be aware of so that you can check the standard pricing before signing up with any web hosting company. The last thing you want is to be doing a website migration down the road because the standard hosting prices are too high.
3. Slower “Load” Times
If you want to be an online success, then you need to have a fast website. There are many ways that your site can become slow, but you never want your website to be slow as a result of the web host that you chose.
If your web host is the reason that your website is slower, then there’s no way that you can fix this problem. Your website will always be delayed, which will hurt you in the long run.
One of the things that we don’t love about HostGator is the fact that their load times are slower than the industry average. We took a look at around 30 different companies and the average load time was 700ms to load a page, but when we tested the load time of HostGator, we found that they are below average with a load time of 989ms to load the page that we were testing.
This is below average and simply isn’t acceptable if you’re hosting a more massive website. If you have a smaller website, then you can easily get away with these load times because you won’t have tons of traffic trying to access your site.
If you have a large website and you’re still looking to use HostGator, then I would suggest that you use HostGator’s Cloud Hosting plans which have some of the best hosting speeds in the industry.
As long as you use the Cloud Hosting, then you’ll be perfectly fine with using HostGator, no matter the size of your website.
4. A “free” Website Builder
If you’re using a free website builder, then you would expect that this is a free feature that is being provided by the hosting company so that you’ll buy their hosting and become a customer.
When you use the HostGator website builder, you’ll find the website builder is free–to a point. You’ll be able to use some basic features with their website builder, but if you want to use essential features, then you’ll need to pay for them.
This is perfectly fine by HostGator since they don’t have to give anything away for free. Still, if you’re a potential customer that plans on using their website build, then you should be aware that the website builder isn’t completely free and you’ll be hard-pressed to build an adequate website without spending some money for extra features.
HostGator’s Plans and Pricing
If you’re looking to buy web hosting, then you’ll want to take a look at the plans and pricing for the companies that you’re considering to use. You’ll want to find hosting plans that will fit your budget and also be a good fit for your website’s hosting needs.
HostGator provides a lot of diversity with its hosting packages, and they currently offer five different types of hosting with separate plans within each hosting type. Here are the five types of hosting that HostGator offers:
- Shared Hosting — Starting @ $2.75/mo
- Cloud Hosting — Starting @ $4.95/mo
- WordPress Hosting — Starting @ $5.95/mo
- VPS Hosting — Starting @ $29.95/mo
- Dedicated Hosting — Starting @ $118.99/mo
We will be taking a look at each of these hosting services and then break down the pricing plans to help you understand what you’ll be getting which each hosting plan so that you can choose the best web hosting for your website.
Shared Hosting by HostGator
Shared hosting is one of the most common forms of web hosting, and the majority of website owners use it. This is because shared hosting is cheaper, and many websites don’t need more from a hosting provider than their basic hosting plans.
If you use shared hosting, then you’ll be sharing a hosting server with many other website owners, and you will share the server’s resources and data with everyone else who’s on the same server.
While this can be cheaper for you, you’ll also risk having a slower website if there are faulty websites on the same server as you. A broken website can eat through server resources, which will mean that your website load times will be negatively affected.
Your website will become noticeably slower, as your website struggles for adequate server resources.
HostGator has three pricing plans for its shared server hosting. Here are the different pricing plans:
- Hatchling Plan — As low as $2.75 per month
- Baby Plan — As low as $3.95 per month
- Business Plan — As low as $5.95 per month
The HostGator shared hosting plans are priced competitively with other hosting providers, and we have found that these cheap web hosting plans also provide a lot of features for the price that you’re paying.
Who will Benefit from HostGator’s Shared Hosting?
If you own a website and you don’t need a lot of frills from your hosting provider, then you’ll likely be able to function nicely with HostGator’s Shared Hosting plans. These plans are affordable, and they offer a lot of excellent features that will come in handy while you’re trying to grow your website.
You can start on their base plan, and as your website grows, you can upgrade your hosting plan to meet the growing needs of your website.
Keep in mind that this is shared hosting which means that if you have large volumes of traffic (under 50,000 monthly viewers) then shared hosting is not right for you. Instead, you’ll benefit more from HostGator’s VPS hosting if you exceed 50k viewers per month.
VPS Hosting by HostGator
Virtual Private Hosting (VPS) is another way that you can host your website if you decide to use HostGator as your web host. Virtual private hosting is similar to shared hosting, in that you’re still sharing a hosting server with many other website owners.
The significant difference between shared hosting and VPS hosting is that you’re given an allotted amount of server resources that no other website can use, apart from your own.
When you’re on shared hosting, a faulty website can use up lots of hosting data, and this means that the other sites are left lacking.
When you use VPS hosting, this issue is solved because you’re given your own resources for your website, which means that you can have consistent hosting times and your audience will never experience lags in the load time.
Virtual private hosting is much more expensive than shared hosting. Still, if you get higher traffic volumes, then you really don’t have a choice but to upgrade your hosting plans or else your audience will experience poor loading times, and you’ll likely lose business as a result.
If you want to buy VPS hosting from HostGator, then you’ll have three separate plans to choose from which all have different prices and features to meet your needs. Here are the VPS hosting plans provided by HostGator:
- Snappy 2000 — As low as $29.95 per month
- Snappy 4000 — As low as $39.95 per month
- Snappy 8000 — As low as $49.95 per month
If you purchase HostGator hosting plans with a 36-month contract, then you’ll be saving around 70% more on your monthly contract fees than if you bought a 1-month contract. This is an excellent way for you to save some extra money on hosting fees.
Who will Benefit from HostGator’s VPS Hosting?
Virtual private hosting is built so that you can have a guaranteed amount of server resources so that other people can’t eat through your resources because of a faulty website. VPS hosting is also meant to be cost-friendly so that you can have the best of both worlds.
I would recommend that you get VPS hosting if your website exceeds 50,000 visitors every month. This will give your audience a smooth viewing experience, and you’ll give yourself the best chances for online success by having faster website speed.
HostGator also allows you to customize and configure your web hosting server when you use VPS hosting, which is rare because many other companies will make you buy a dedicated web server to have this feature.
So, if you need a custom server to host your website or more web hosting resources, then I’d suggest that you try HostGator’s Virtual Private Hosting.
Dedicated Hosting by HostGator
A dedicated web hosting server is precisely what it sounds like; A hosting server that is dedicated to hosting just one website. This means that if you have dedicated hosting, then you won’t need to share any of the resources that the server can provide to you.
A dedicated hosting server is far more expensive since you’re covering the entire cost of the hosting server and none of the costs are being shared around with other website owners.
With the extra expenses comes the ability for you to customize the server. You’ll also have all of these resources that the server can provide, which makes it optimal for larger websites.
A dedicated web host can also reduce security breaches since there are fewer websites that can be hacked through to access the hosting server. This means that you’ll be more secure if you use a dedicated web host.
When it comes to dedicated hosting, HostGator provides three separate plans for you to choose from. These hosting plans are called:
- Value Server — As low as $118.99 per month
- Power Server — As low as $138.99 per month
- Enterprise Server — As low as $148.99 per month
With each of these hosting plans, you’ll be able to take complete control of your hosting server and configure the settings to your own preferences. This will give you the most flexibility with your web host.
Who will Benefit from HostGator’s Dedicated Hosting?
The majority of websites on the internet will never require dedicated web hosting to be able to handle more website traffic. With that being said, there are other reasons why you may want to invest in a dedicated web host.
One of these reasons is for increased website security. When you’re using a dedicated web host, there are fewer chances of your server getting hacked because fewer websites are being hosted on the server which may be a week link to allow a hacker to gain access to your server.
The main reason why most people will buy a dedicated web host is that they have an enormous amount of web traffic (500,000 viewers) every month. If this sounds like you then I would recommend that you use VPS hosting first because this may be enough for your needs and it will also save you a lot of money.
Do we Recommend HostGator?
Yes, without question! We would recommend HostGator to our readers because we have their company and found that HostGator is a quality web host that can benefit a lot of website owners. They have been around for a long time, and it doesn’t appear that they will be leaving anytime soon.
They offer a lot of features with all of their plans, and while we were able to find a few disadvantages of working with HostGator, there are a lot more benefits that you’ll get from working with them.
All of their hosting plans are affordable, and you can rest assured that they will do their best to provide you with a quality hosting experience if you give them a chance.