HostGator Web Hosting Review: 2017 Edition

Your choice of web host can either make or break your online success. Pick the wrong one and it could spell utter chaos to your business!

For example, if you’re getting really high traffic spike because of a viral post or TV exposure, can your web hosting plan handle it or will it simply be “unavailable”?

Just imagine your site getting thousands of visitors in an instant. Sounds awesome, right? Well, not until your site goes down completely because your chosen web host couldn’t handle the sudden traffic spike!

A client of mine had the same experience a few months back when one of the YouTube videos I posted for them suddenly went viral. They got about 5,000 visitors in a single day. The site survived it, but a few days later, a social influencer in their industry shared it from her twitter account, linking to the video embedded on their site, sending roughly 10,000 visitors that day!

Just when I was jumping for joy, their site suddenly stopped loading because they were on el-cheapo hosting and couldn’t be convinced they needed something more robust.

Imagine the horror. What if it happened to you?

They soon realized that the web host they’d chosen before (a family friend who hosted customers as a side business) couldn’t handle traffic spikes.

That was when they asked me to look for another web hosting service, and that’s when I recommended they give HostGator a shot. And guess what? Smooth sailing since then.

Since you’re probably wondering if they got a super-expensive VPS or dedicated plan… you’ll be happy to hear they are only using the Baby plan.

I’m not saying they’re perfect though…

You see, HostGator does come with a few quirks and that I have experienced a couple random, short downtimes. It’s inevitable for websites to go down occasionally.

The important thing is that your web host can handle the issue promptly. With a poor-performing web host, you’ll get nothing but headaches!

Building Your Website With HostGator

LogoHostGator is one of the longest running companies that are known for quality web hosting.

They are popular among individuals and business owners who are looking to launch a full-blown website without breaking the budget.

But like any other web host, there are several conflicting reviews about it, which is normal since customers have different requirements and expectations.

This particular review will be based on my own experience with HostGator, since it’s where I’m hosting a few of my sites on a Baby plan.

For those who are new to the web hosting scene, HostGator is a powerful and well-recognized web hosting company that’s known for their high level of customer support and extensive range of hosting packages.

It comes as no surprise that more than 8 million client websites are entrusted to them. From basic shared hosting plans to managed WordPress hosting, trust that you’ll find affordable and feature-rich packages to suit every need and budget.

HostGator Web Hosting Plans

HostGator managed to balance features and pricing, and they even offer plenty of tools for advanced users.

They are on par with other top web hosting providers by way of their wide array of hosting plans.

They have pretty good shared hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS), and dedicated hosting plans to suit everyone. In fact, their shared and dedicated plans are so well-rounded, I don’t think you’ll find any other hosting packages as good and reasonably priced as theirs.

Intro

Unlike other web hosts in my list, instead of narrowing down their services to the usual hosting plans, HostGator is committed to meeting even the most advanced needs. Now, they’re offering not just Linux-based servers but also Windows / ASP based servers. This option is not readily available in other web hosts, like in BlueHost and Just Host.

HostGator Shared Web Hosting Plan

HostGator’s shared web hosting plans give small- and medium-sized business a bang for the buck by giving them plenty of room to expand their online presence at a very cheap price. Their shared hosting plan has three tiers: Hatchling, Baby, and Business.

Shared

Right now, they are offering a 20% discount on all their shared hosting plans. The discount is only available for a VERY limited time so sign up with HostGator today before the promo ends!

HostGator’s shared hosting plans come with all the features you might need to launch your site. The Hatchling plan offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth, email address, and databases; plus support for a single domain. The Baby plan shares almost the same features as the Hatchling plan, except that it offers unlimited domains. If you need highly specialized options, you should go for the top-tier Business plan, as it already comes with a free toll-free phone number and a private SSL certificate for added protection to your site.

Okay, so unlimited disk space and bandwidth sound great, but most web hosting providers these days have such offerings. You should really read through a web host’s terms of service to make sure that their definition of “unlimited” matches yours. But what makes HostGator stand out from the crowd is its multifaceted awesomeness. I mean, not all of the web hosts I’ve tested offer Linux- AND Windows-based servers. Again, the Windows server option is a very important factor to consider when looking for a web host, especially if you plan to build or migrate a website that’s created on an ASP.NET framework.

My top web host recommendation, Arvixe, matches HostGator nearly head-on in the shared hosting game, although HostGator is a shade cheaper, and comes with a free toll-free phone number and an SSL certificate. What’s more, HostGator offers a month-to-month payment option, although they seem to be pushing too hard for customers to sign up for longer terms which start at 6 months. I was a little annoyed that, during the registration process, HostGator defaults to their three-year term. It’s one thing to entice customers not to go for the month-to-month option, but pushing us into three years right from the start is a little too much, don’t you think?

Get past that and you’ll be impressed by HostGator’s shared hosting plans. They’re giving you a very simple choice here. If you want to host multiple domains, you should go for the Baby plan. If not, you can probably get away with just the Hatchling plan. If your business requires advanced features like a private SSL certificate, then you might want to consider their Business plan.

Features1

The great thing about their plans is that upgrading to a higher tier is completely FREE. You just have to fill up a form and a HostGator rep will do the rest. That said, it’s best to start at the lower level plan, especially if you’re still not sure about your site’s requirements. You should only request for an upgrade when necessary.

FREE

Limited-Time Promo on Shared Hosting Plans – Starting From $0.01/Month!

Great news! At the time of writing, HostGator is offering another limited-time promo particularly for their shared hosting plans. Simply click this link and you’ll be directed to HostGator’s special promo page. Today, they are offering their shared hosting plans at even lower rates, starting from $0.01 per month! No other web host can match this offer!

Simply choose a package type (Hatchling, Baby or Plan) and billing cycle to enjoy great savings. The longer the contract term, the more money you’ll save. So hurry before the promo ends!

HostGator Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting Plan

If you need more speed and power, expect high traffic volume, or have specific compliance requirements that couldn’t be met by a shared server (but you don’t want to pay more for a dedicated server), then a VPS hosting plan is your best option.

HostGator offers affordable Linux-based VPS hosting, starting at just $11.97 per month.

You can choose from 5 different tiers: Snappy 500, Snappy 1000, Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, and Snappy 1000.

And if you purchase any of their VPS plans today, you can get 40% off the regular price! So hurry before the sale ends. Who knows, it might end tomorrow!

Features2

A HostGator VPS plan is fully customizable and you can easily upgrade to a higher package any time as your site grows.

The full root access gives you complete control over your site.

You can even install advanced software and configure your hosting environment. What’s more, you’ll have your very own cPanel control panel for easy site creation and management. It’s affordable VPS hosting at its finest!

Technical specifications of HostGator’s VPS plans include:

  • Unlimited domains and sub-domains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • Unlimited FTP Accounts
  • Weekly off-site backups
  • Full root access
  • 24/7 customer support

What makes HostGator’s VPS offering unique is that you have the option to choose between fully and semi-managed servers. The fully managed plans include technical support with any issue or configuration request you may have, except for custom application/script installation. You’ll also get full access to cPanel, as well as FREE website builders. On the other hand, the semi-managed plans don’t include the cPanel (instead, you’ll get the Virtuozzo control panel), with limited support for hardware, OS, or basic configuration issues.

VPS Plan Comparison

Snappy 500 Snappy 1000 Snappy 2000 Snappy 4000 Snappy 8000
Monthly Pricing $11.97/month $33.97/month $57.97/month $81.97/month $99.97/month
Disk Space 25 GB 60 GB 120 GB 165 GB 240 GB
Bandwidth 0.5 TB 1 TB 1.5 TB 2 TB 3 TB
CPU 0.5 core 1 core 2 core 2 core 4 core
RAM 512 MB 1000 MB 2000 MB 4000 MB 8000 MB
IP Addresses 2 IPs 2 IPs 2 IPs 2 IPs 2 IPs
Control Panel Virtuozzo cPanel cPanel cPanel cPanel

HostGator’s VPS plans are much more flexible than InMotion Hosting’s offering, although it’s not quite as well-rounded as Arvixe’s VPS hosting. InMotion Hosting also have budget-friendly VPS options that start at $29.99/month for 4 GB of RAM, 60 GB disk space, and 2 TB bandwidth. On the other hand, HostGator almost have the same pricing as Arvixe’s VPS plans – if not cheaper by a dime.

Make sure to check out my in-depth reviews of iPage and InMotion Hosting to get a better comparison of the features and pricing.

FREE2

HostGator Dedicated Hosting Plan

If you want the ultimate in control, performance, and power, then you better beef up your site with HostGator’s dedicated hosting plan.

You can choose between Linux and Windows servers, and select from four different tiers: Basic, Standard, Elite, and Pro.

HostGator is currently offering a limited-time 40% discount on all their dedicated hosting plans, with pricing that starts at $105 per month.

A dedicated server is best suited for larger businesses and enterprises that are expecting a high volume of traffic to their websites. With a dedicated server, you’ll get maximum customization and configuration capabilities, on top of overall flexibility. What’s more, you’ll be backed by dedicated support from the best in the industry.

Features3All the tools you could possibly need are included in their dedicated hosting plans, from the control panel down to the application and script installers, as well as website building tools. With a dedicated server, you’ll get the highest level of security, speed, and uptime for your site. The possibilities to expand your site are endless because you’ll have the capability to go far beyond the resource limitations that come with a shared or VPS hosting environment.

Best of all, HostGator’s servers come in Linux and Windows flavors, which is actually a rare option, considering how Linux tends to dominate the field. In fact, HostGator is one of the very few web hosts I’ve tested and reviewed that scored pretty well in terms of offering both OS.

Dedicated Plan Comparison

Basic Standard Elite Pro
Monthly Pricing $105/month $132/month $168/month $225/month
Bandwidth 10 TB 15 TB 20 TB 25 TB
CPU Intel Xeon® Intel Xeon® Intel Xeon® Intel Xeon®
CPU Cores 2 core 4 core 4 core 4 core
CPU Speed 2.3 GHz 2.5 GHz 2.5 GHz 3.3 GHz
RAM 4 GB 4 GB 8 GB 16 GB
RAID-1 Drives 500 GB 1000 GB 1000 GB 1000 GB
IP Addresses 2 IPs 3 IPs 4 IPs 5 IPs

HostGator has competitively priced plans that offer excellent value for money. What’s more, they’re all made affordable thanks to their month-to-month payment option. HostGator also lets you easily upgrade or downgrade your hosting plan at any time to suit your needs.

As you can see, HostGator offers an excellent set of features at such low rates. Their dedicated plans trump my web hosting champion, Arvixe, in terms of pricing. Arvixe may offer a larger amount of memory (you can configure one of their dedicated servers with an amazing 96 GB of RAM), but you’ll pay hefty amounts of cash for it. Depending on your choice, you could pay up to $359 or more! So if you want to save a few bucks while still have a well-balanced dedicated web host, HostGator might be a better option.

Managing a WordPress Site With HostGator WordPress Cloud Hosting

WP LogoIf you’re an avid fan of WordPress and you’re running all of your sites on this highly popular and powerful CMS, then you’d definitely love what HostGator have in store for you!

HostGator have recently added three tiers of managed WordPress Cloud hosting: Starter, Standard, and Business. And if you sign up for any of their WordPress hosting plan today, you’ll get up to 35% off on your order! The sale is only available for a limited time so take advantage of it now to enjoy great savings!

WP Intro

One of the best features of HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting is that it comes packed with a minimalist control panel that’s especially designed for WordPress. They’ve done away with the complexities and focused instead on usability, so even those who are new to web development can easily build their own site without professional help! The package also features quick and easy access to all your email accounts, as well as auto-backup with one-click restores.

For someone like me who used to struggle with high traffic volumes, the main takeaway in HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting plan is the one-click scalability for handling traffic spikes and increased capacity requirements. The moment I saw this feature, I knew I had to sign up for an account with them.

Managed WordPress Hosting Comparision

Starter Standard Business
Monthly Pricing $7.46 per month (25% off) $11.16 per month (30% off) $18.17 per month (35% off)
Disk Space Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Maximum Websites 1 2 5
Monthly Average Website Traffic 100,000 200,000 500,000
FREE Migration Up to 1 website Up to 2 websites Up to 5 websites
Automated Daily Database Backups, Including File-Level Restore 1 GB 2 GB 5 GB
Automatic Malware Removal
Email Accounts Unmetered Unmetered Ummetered
Google AdWords Credit $100 $100 $100
Parked Domains Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
SSL Certificate Shared Shared Shared

That said, there are a few other web hosts that tops HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting. For instance, InMotion Hosting tosses all limitations to the side; providing unlimited websites, site traffic, disk space, as well as bandwidth. However, HostGator’s offering is a little cheaper so if saving up on a few pennies is a big deal to you, then you might want to compare their features and pricing first before making the purchase.

cPanel Control Panel

Control panel demos are not commonplace in web hosts, but HostGator do offer demos so you can experience the real thing even before you make the purchase. Yes, that’s right! You can test out the cPanel control panel, which allow you to figure out how the admin controls work on your own site.

cPanel

You can even check out more than 4,000 FREE templates and themes that you can use to design your site!

Templates

Creating and managing your website has never been easy with the intuitively arranged cPanel interface. It serves as the universal access point to all the features and tools in your hosting package, including webmail, data backups, DNS settings for Google Apps, and more. You’ll also find well-organized shortcuts; and the all-important support and billing options are strategically placed at the top of the screen for quick access. Even automatic renewal and update announcements will be displayed so your installations will always be up-to-date.

From the Software section, you can easily install various utilities. Advanced users will also enjoy having access to popular Perl, Ruby on Rails, and PHP libraries.

Software

Another welcome addition is the SiteBuilder app that’s useful for building simple and complex websites using special codes. The editing tools and pre-made templates also provide users with the ability to create customized and fully functional web pages in just a matter of minutes. Besides this, HostGator have also added a flexible and powerful script auto-installer called QuickInstall, which is powered by MOJO Marketplace. QuickInstall is available on all shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans. This auto-installer makes it extremely easy for you to install and upgrade scripts.

QuickInstallTo use, QuickInstall, simply log in to your cPanel account, and click the QuickInstall icon.

Once inside, you’ll have access to a wide array of options for installing and managing various software to further expand your site’s functionality.

All Linux plans (except for the Snappy 500 VPS Plan) come with the cPanel control panel. Snappy 500 users will be offered the Virtuozzo control panel for admin purposes.

eCommerce Features

For those with eCommerce needs, HostGator have not forgotten to include shopping cart software, private SSL certificates, and other useful tools into their package. From the cPanel menu options, you’ll have access to image gallery software, social networking, blogs, as well as CMS options. WordPress, Drupal and PrestaShop are some examples of applications that you can install with just a few simple clicks.

For the SEO experts, you can sign up with an app called Attracta directly through cPanel. From there, you can redeem your $100 Google Adwords coupon so you can start sending pay-per-click traffic to your eCommerce site once it’s launched.

Other eCommerce features included in HostGator’s package are the following:

  • Extra advertising credits i.e. FREE $100 Yahoo!/Bing ad credit
  • Cube Cart software
  • Zen Cart software
  • osCommerce software
  • ShopSite shopping cart
  • Abante shopping cart
  • Google Check Out
  • SSL support (private SSL on request)

Excellent Uptime Track Record

As a leading web hosting company that serves over 3 million customers worldwide, it only makes sense for HostGator to have powerful servers to ensure optimum performance on client sites.

When I tested their performance using the website monitoring tool Pingdom, the uptime score was 99.89% and the response time was an astounding 0.247 seconds. Quite impressive if you ask me!

HostGator also conduct weekly backups and 24/7 server monitoring, which are part of their commitment to delivering nothing but the best and most reliable uptime performance.

45-Day Money-Back Guarantee For Your Peace of Mind

satisfactionA lot of web hosts only provide a short 30-day money-back guarantee to those who wish to cancel their web hosting account. HostGator is confident that you’ll be satisfied with their service but in the unlikely event that you want to cancel your account, they have a 45-day money-back guarantee in place so you can get your money back in full – no questions asked. The extra 15 days may not seem like much to some, but it could be the little bit that could help you decide whether or not HostGator is the right choice for your website.

Customer Support – There’s Room for Improvement

When your website goes down or encounters any technical issues, is your web host prepared to handle the situation? HostGator’s friendly and knowledgeable support agents are ready to assist you anytime via 24/7 toll-free phone, live chat, and helpdesk support.

Support

I went ahead and put their customer support team to the test by trying out their email and live chat support. An email support rep was able to respond to my ticket very quickly. It only took them about 5 minutes to respond. However, they’d definitely benefit from better response times on their live chat support. I sent two different live chat requests: one on a Saturday night and another one on a Tuesday morning. On both occasions, I waited more than 20 minutes before I got a response. This is perhaps the longest I had to wait for any web host I’ve reviewed, which is a little bit of a disappointment. However, I couldn’t deny the fact that they do have knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Besides the usual customer support methods, HostGator also provides a comprehensive FAQs section, and you can browse through discussion forums and view helpful video tutorials.


PROS:
  • Affordable shared hosting plans
  • Various choice of hosting packages
  • Regularly offers discounts on selected web hosting plans
  • Offers the easy-to-use cPanel control panel
  • One-click installs
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Good customer support, with a knowledgeable staff

CONS:
  • Not exactly the cheapest “dirt-cheap” hosting plans
  • Pricey in-house domains
  • Restore from backups require additional fees
  • Limited freebies and bonuses
  • With millions of users, your site might be affected if you go for their shared hosting plan


Final Verdict – A Web Host That Stands Up To Its Promises

No matter what type of website you’re interested in building, HostGator has the tools you need to make your web project a complete success. Their web hosting service is relatively easy to use, although the control panel interface may require some people to spend some time learning the ropes. To be honest, not all of its features are intuitive (as in other web hosts) and it can take you a few minutes to learn how to navigate the interface. The same can be said for their customer support, particularly their live chat system. It’s good, but there’s definite room for improvement.

Overall, this web hosting company has managed to steer clear of many issues that are common among web hosts that take upselling as a top priority rather than providing customer satisfaction. HostGator remains fast, reliable, and stable up until today.

It may not be the perfect web host (is there any?) for everyone, but it will certainly help you get your site up and running quickly. More importantly, it will let you maintain your website and keep it performing optimally for your customers without much hassle. So if you need a reliable and affordable web host, you can’t go wrong with this one.

9 Total Score
A Wise Hosting Choice

It's no wonder HostGator is very popular. You can see them recommended everywhere from review sites to YouTubers and Make-A-Website courses online. Website owners love their affordable plans, feature-rich control panel, fast servers, transparent billing, and responsive customer support.

Support
9
Features
10
Uptime
8.5
Value
8.5
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