HostGator Vs 1&1 IONOS has got to be, in recent times, one of the most like for like matchups we’ve seen. It’s like comparing the giant of two continents. HostGator is one of the biggest names in Web-hosting in America, and 1&1 is the largest Web-host in Europe, with over 20 million domains under its control. On the other hand, HostGator has over 10 million domains under its control. So maybe they aren’t that similar. Or are they? Both Web-hosts are owned by some of the biggest internet conglomerates on the planet. HostGator is owned by EIG, a company that owns almost half of the Web-hosts that we’ve reviewed, and 1&1 is owned by United Internet, a company that has been around since 1988. The company also owns Mail.com, which is probably the biggest mail service on the internet. But does all these have a bearing on the actual performance of these Web-hosts? Let’s find out.
HostGator, as one of the most powerful Web-hosts (in the US, anyway), offers a lot of web hosting services. These services include VPS, shared, dedicated and WordPress hosting. It also comes with its own proprietary website builder called Gator. . .by HostGator. (A bit obvious, but also a stroke of genius, we think). With a longer than normal money-back guarantee, decent security and superb uptime, HostGator is a pretty reliable Web-host. This is probably why, despite being acquired by EIG, a company notorious for making Web-hosts a shadow of themselves, HostGator is still popular amongst small business owners and bloggers.
Like HostGator, 1&1 provides services from the ground up. Be it advanced level hosting services or shared hosting plans for beginners, it is unlikely that any group of webmasters would not find a viable plan with 1&1. Recently, in 2018 (whether or not 2018 is recent is relative), we got the news that 1&1 expanded by buying Profitbricks which was an enterprise cloud solution. If anything, we expected this expansion to mean even more stellar performance stats from 1&1. Will we be disappointed? Let’s find out.
This is usually the more irrelevant aspect of the hosting and we literally just write about it to state the obvious. You can call us captain obvious. However, we won’t be stating the obvious for this section, because the answer to this question is probably not really obvious— especially if you’re reading from America. Hostgator is a supremely popular Web-host. . .in America, and perhaps, Provo, Utah. 1&1 is much more popular everywhere else. And that is that about that.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a Web-host is performance. How reliable are the services you’ll be paying for? How quick? Since the primary job description of a Web-host is to keep your website online and accessible, you should be able to measure how well these services are rendered. Obviously, the best Web-host is the one that handles these tasks better than others. Let’s see how well both Web-hosts perform on uptime and page load speed.
What difference can a few milliseconds make? A LOT, according to google. Faster websites generally rank high on search engine inquiries, and that means a higher conversion rate for businesses and higher traffic for blogs. So speed does matter.
To test the speed of HostGator, we did what we do best— we bought a basic plan (sorry if it sounds like we’re being a tad cheap), built a dummy website, filled it with basic content and tested response time. On average, HostGator had a response time of 765ms, which was quite high for us, especially as we’ve seen response times consistently lower than 500ms. In short, if speed is your thing, as it should be, HostGator isn’t the greatest choice for you. The page load speed was even lower, around 1.280ms. However, if you’re determined to use HostGator, you can make use of their cloud hosting option which is two times faster and has four times the resources of their shared hosting plan— according to HostGator, at least.
So, compared to HostGator, how fast is 1&1? Well, we set up a website and tested the response time, and we measured an amazing average of 276ms. This isn’t only higher than HostGator’s response time by far, it is also significantly higher than the industry average. If speed is something that you’re particular about, then 1&1 should be at least near the top of your list of prospective Web-hosts. Full-page load speed wasn’t up to a second either, with most of our page requests loading around 800ms. We think it’s unlikely that users would have a problem with the speed that 1&1 provides.
VERDICT; 1&1 most certainly blows HostGator out of the water in terms of speed. It’s almost like comparing a Hyundai to a Ferrari.
Page load speed can only be measured if there is a page to load— there can only be a journey if there is a destination to reach. So it is important to know how reliable a prospective Web-host is in accomplishing the most basic of tasks— keeping the website accessible. Of course, no Web-host can claim to have your website online 100% of the time. There are too many variables that interfere with this, however, a Web-host can be judged on how close to 100% their service really is. It would be needless, at this point, to start explaining how vital it is to businesses and blogs that their website is constantly reachable.
Since we already have a HostGator plan (specifically bought to be tested for this review), we went to work. Over our testing period, which was a little over two months (not long enough to get an accurate picture, but just the exact length to get a preliminary idea of what to expect), HostGator had an impressive uptime of 99.99%. Like we earlier said, it is almost impossible for any Web-host to promise 100% uptime, and the closest is usually 99.99%. So HostGator has most definitely hit the mark squarely here, and we don’t think that it gets much better than this. But, when analyzing uptime, we don’t like to look at the data of the results alone. We also like to know whether the Web-host in question has an uptime guarantee or a compensation policy for customers when they experience uptime below a certain point. We were impressed to discover that HostGator has a 99.9% uptime, which means that if uptime gets worse than 99.9%, users are entitled to a free month of credit. So not only do you get great uptime, but HostGator also provides a safety net in case uptime gets terrible.
Using the same methods we made use of when testing HostGator, we arrived at a slightly less impressive uptime of 99.98% for 1&1. So basically, 1&1 has amazing speed, and very nearly almost perfect uptime. So in terms of performance, we have to say that it is very near impossible to have a problem with 1&1. We are so used to seeing a Web-host sacrifice speed for uptime or vice versa that it is a genuine sight to see a Web-host deliver on both counts, exceptionally. (Well, just almost exceptionally). 1&1 even does better than HostGator on account of an uptime guarantee, with a guarantee of 99.99%.
VERDICT; We recorded a 99.99% uptime for HostGator, and they have a 99.9% uptime guarantee while we recorded a 99.98% uptime for 1&1 and they have a 99.99% uptime guarantee. So, on one hand, HostGator has better uptime than 1&1 and on the other hand, 1&1 has a better uptime guarantee. So which do we go for? We’d rather have great uptime than the best uptime guarantee there is, so HostGator takes this one for us. But it’s a close margin, though.
EASE OF USE
We’ve met a lot of webmasters, website owners and generally a lot of human beings. We’ve never met one who told us that they “enjoyed the challenge” of handling a difficult user interface or backend. So we can say, on some authority, that no one likes the stress of navigating a difficult interface or handling a backend with unnecessary complexities. In fact, in all cases, it is the easier the better. Asides that, some Web-hosts are more helpful than others.
HostGator makes use of cPanel, the standard industry interface, for all its plans. However, HostGator’s version is heavily customized to make it easier for beginners to use. We noticed that Hostgator’s customized version of cPanel is far easier to use than many other brands of cPanel that we’ve seen. Upon logging in, the user is presented with most of the options they’d need to run their website. There’s also a clear path to the knowledge base on the first page of the panel. There’s a search panel for users to pull up tutorials or articles that would help answer difficult questions. Failing that, there’s a support tab that lets them contact support directly.
HostGator also has a “wizard-like” feature that allows you to make a request and then recommends a package that users can add to their plan to accomplish their goal. There’s also a website builder, developed by HostGator itself, appropriately called “Gator by HostGator”. It’s a free website builder that comes with all of HostGator’s plans and comes with drag and drop functionality so that even beginners can get their websites up and running in no time. The builder comes with a full image library, so if you want full customization, you’re covered. Hostgator also has an email marketing feature that is free to use for the first three months. The feature also has tools for people interested in building their email list. Like most other Web-hosts, HostGator has one-click installations of a lot of applications, so users don’t need to fret over installing their favorite apps. However, it is rather important to note that Hostgator isn’t a domain name registrar, so you’ll need to buy a domain name from registrar’s like Namecheap or GoDaddy first (or you could easily buy from HostGator, as they now have a partnership with Domain.com). Hostgator also has freebies for new users like a gift $100 advertising credit (however, this only becomes yours when you spend $25 on actual advertising). Additionally, all of HostGator’s plans come equipped with a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. It might not be much, seeing as Let’s Encrypt provides these certificates for free, but there are some Web-hosts who don’t make it available so this should be applauded, to a certain extent. Hostgator also solves one of the most frustrating questions that users can have, which is the question of site transfers, easily. Users can migrate their site, absolutely free of charge, with less than minimum downtime. However, if you want to get this done, you have the first thirty days to get in touch and have it done. A single site transfer might not be the greatest thing in the world but when you consider that it isn’t a service that a lot of Web-hosts offer, it actually begins to sound nice. Users also get Google analytics straight out of the gate and can start work without having to set it up. That helps them track the progress of their work easily.
We ran into very few problems (none at all, in fact) while using HostGator. It was an easy experience for us and not one that we think a lot of Web-hosts can beat. But can 1&1 surprise us? Why not let’s find out.
First off, 1&1 does not make use of a cPanel. This means that they have their own dashboard customized entirely to their specifications. While we don’t think that it is ideal for Web-hosts to not have cPanel, the majority of the time they replace cPanel with a dashboard just as intuitive. Unfortunately, though, 1&1 hasn’t done this. We found it rather difficult to carry out the easiest tasks and had to Google or speak to a customer rep to figure out the basic controls of the dashboard. It wasn’t an experience that we enjoyed very much and we don’t think people would feel very encouraged to switch from a control panel that they understand to one that they cannot quite wrap their heads around. 1&1 offers easily scalable performance, though. This means that whenever your server is under a lot of stress, its easy for your server performance to be increased with just a few clicks. 1&1 also makes use of HTTP/2 protocol, the so-called “future protocol”. This protocol optimizes the web and allows for quicker load times (No wonder 1&1 is so fast), and makes it easier for pages to be displayed. In any case, only about 20-25% of the websites on the internet offer HTTP/2 but the number is increasing every day. 1&1 also offers some freebies like free SSL certificates with shared hosting plans and a free domain name too (for the first term, at least). In order to get word about your website out there quicker, 1&1 has a Google Ads management lesson that helps you with writing ads, location-specific targeting, and keyword research. This ensures that your ads never get stale or old. There’s also a rankingCoach tool that gives your website full coverage on SEO through videos and tutorials. In no time, if you make judicious use of these features, your business should be on the first page of a search engine inquiry.
For users looking to build their first website, they can look into MyWebsite Builder, a turnkey that gives you access to the tools needed to build a proper website. The builder comes with a lot of templates so you don’t have to build anything from scratch. All you need to do is to add your text, as simple as something that is extremely simple. To customize your website further, there’s the award-winning Drag-and-Drop interface. You can also add widgets to further customize your website to your taste. It isn’t a free service, though, and it comes at $4.99 per month. As usual with Web-hosts, 1&1 also offers access to a lot of popular apps like Drupal and Joomla, and they can be installed in one click.
However, for users looking to set up a virtual market, 1&1 provides a website builder especially for that function called the. . .drumroll. . . Ecommerce website builder. The builder is very similar to the first Website builder that we spoke about earlier, the only difference is that it comes with features peculiar to E-commerce website building.
1&1, to round it up, has something different for small businesses, startups in particular. It’s called a Startup guide that contains exactly what you would imagine that a startup guide would contain— articles on how to start a limited liability company, and how to create a work schedule using eXcel.
Asides from the initial difficulty of navigating the user interface, 1&1 IONOS actually provides a lot of help for new users. But do they compare to HostGator?
VERDICT; For many webmasters, the lack of a cPanel can be a deal-breaker, and for all the features of 1&1 IONOS, we just couldn’t look past it. For us, HostGator takes this round, and easily too.
What if, after purchasing a Web-hosting plan, you feel like you’ve been terribly shortchanged. What happens then? Do you have to stay with the Web-host for the whole term that you’ve paid for? In order words, what is the risk associated with buying a Web-hosting plan from a Web-host?
Most Web-hosts have a period called a guarantee period. This is the period where you can check out the performance of your Web-host and decide whether it is the right fit for what you want. If it is not you can cancel your plan and get your money back— as long as this is done within the grace period. Generally speaking, since we all want the longest period to check out the performance of a Web-host, the Web-host with the longer money-back guarantee period wins.
The industry standard is 30-days, but we’ve seen a lot of Web-hosts go beyond 30-days. We’ve even seen one go as far as 97-days. Amazing, right? HostGator goes above the standard too, promising a 45-day money-back guarantee. Of course, like with most Web-hosts, this isn’t a cut and dried issue. Refunds don’t cover additional services like free domain names. If you’ve received any of such services, the price will be deducted from the total amount you paid.
1&1 IONOS, on the other hand, is more comfortable towing the industry line, as they provide only a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, this guarantee is not applicable to their premium products and the same conditions as with HostGator apply.
VERDICT; This as simple as any duel to decide. The Web-host with the longer money-back guarantee period wins, and that Web-host was HostGator.
One of the pillars of a good Web-host is great customer support. Controlling a website, or numerous websites, is technical work and a day might come (most certainly will) when you’ll need the help of expert help. When that day comes, we can assure you that you would hate for your fate to be in the hands of half-trained support that can’t even be reached. Let’s see how well the customer support of 1&1 IONOS and HostGator perform in terms of customer support reliability.
HostGator has chat, phone and email channels open 24/7. That’s a good sign, but again, that’s what most Web-hosts have. So we tried to contact a live rep because that’s the channel that most people love using to solve their problems. We had varying degrees of wait time, ranging from 35 seconds to 35 minutes. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait for more than 10 minutes a lot. When we spoke to the customer reps that we connected with, we tried asking some difficult questions, and while they were generally friendly and courteous, almost half of them didn’t have the answers to the questions we asked on the spot and had to take up to ten minutes to confirm. We wouldn’t say that it was a fantastic experience and we wouldn’t say it was terrible either. We’ve seen much worse, and we’ve seen a lot better.
Like HostGator, 1&1 IONOS has three main customer support channels. They are the live chat, phone, and email support channels and they are open 24/7. 1&1 also has a lot of articles and tutorials that answer the most basic questions. For more complex issues, you’ll have to speak to them directly. So we tried the chat channel, and we were reasonably impressed with the wait time which was about 2 minutes on average. The longest period we had to wait was about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, though, we were not impressed with much else. We tried asking difficult technical questions and we were either transferred to another agent or the chat was disconnected. This happened consistently. The closest we got to a coherent answer was a link to an article available on the knowledge base which, surprise surprise, did not answer our questions in the least. The experience was more or less the same as the phone channel too. Although to be fair, we had some success with the email channel and our emails were always replied under 24 hours.
VERDICT; Sometimes we got lucky with HostGator and actually connected with someone who sounded like they knew exactly what they were doing. It isn’t the same with 1&1 IONOS, though. We were almost never lucky and it never sounded like we were going to get reliable help. HostGator wins this one for us.
A lot of information is stored on a website, and many times these pieces of information are extremely important. It follows that it is vital that they do not fall into the wrong hands or get corrupted by computer viruses. While a lot of the responsibility of security rests on the shoulders of the end-user, the customer can only do so much to protect the servers their Information is on. The responsibility of this rests squarely on the shoulders of the Web-host. So let’s see how far both these Web hosts go to protect your website.
Asides from the fact that all plans get a free SSL certificate, HostGator also provides extra security features. For example, you can add Sitelock to your website with just a few clicks. This service is a malware scanner that runs through the website daily, looking for breaches and reporting on them instantly. They also provide Spam Assassin, a tool that, like the name implies, assassinates spam. So if you have an email account connected to your website, you’re covered from suspicious emails. Unfortunately, though, HostGator doesn’t provide automatic backups. But a tool is recommended to users which is the Codeguard automatic backup tool. It isn’t free and costs about 2$ per month. It isn’t bad value for money as it comes with 1GB automatic daily backup storage for about five websites. The plan also allows for three restores per month. The tool is scalable too so users can upgrade to 5Gb space backups and so forth.
To us, it seems like HostGator has got the basics covered, but we didn’t like that they did not have automatic backups for free.
Like HostGator, 1&1 provides a free SSL certificate on all plans. 1&1 also provides anti-DDoS protection that prevents attacks on servers and stops malicious third-party users from attacking servers. The higher-tier plans also get SiteLock, a tool that acts as a malware scanner and protector. Website pages are protected from bugs, threats, viruses, and vulnerabilities with this tool. 1&1 IONOS doesn’t slack in the backup area, as users have great backup and restore options in the unlikely case that they lose their website to virus or something of the sort. There’s also a defense against brute force attacks (we know because we tried and we rather unsuccessful).
VERDICT; Overall, we were more impressed with HostGator’s security infrastructure. They take this one for us.
To some people on a budget, this is the most important metric to consider. However, rather than looking for the lowest price, we’ll be looking at the BEST price. Trust us, there’s a difference.
We’ll begin with HostGator. The Web-host has 3 shared hosting plans. These are the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan, and the Business plan.
The Hatchling plan is the base plan and it comes with
- one domain
- one-click installations
- Unmetered bandwidth and subdomains,
- Unlimited disk space
- Unlimited email accounts,
- Free SSL certificate
All these come at a price of $2.75 per month. This price only for customers paying 36 months in advance, though. Other customers have to pay something around the region of $10.95. If after the initial three-year term, you’d like to renew the plan, you’d be asked to pay only $6.75.
The Baby plan costs $3.95 per month and renews at $9.95 per month. The plan comes with unlimited domains, one-click installs, free SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, and an included a free domain. The most expensive shared hosting plan is the Business plan and it costs $5.95 per month and renews at $14.95. It comes with the following features
- Unlimited Domains
- One-click installs
- Free SSL certificate
- Free dedicated IP
- Free SEO tools
- And a free included Domain.
HostGator has another group of plans called cloud hosting plans. They are similar to the shared hosting plans but are more powerful and consequently more expensive. In fact, HostGator says that have two times the speed and four times the resources of the regular shared hosting plans. HostGator has three hosting plan tiers and they are the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan, and the Business plan.
The Hatchling Plan costs $4.95 per month (renews at $8.95) and comes with;
- A single domain
- 2GB memory
- 2 core CPU
- Free SSL certificate
And free domain
The Baby plan costs $6.57 per month (renewal is $11.95 per month) and comes with the following features
- Unlimited domains
- 4 GB memory
- 4 core CPU
- Free SSL certificate
- Free domain
The last plan, which is the Business plan costs $9.95 per month (renews at $17.5 per month) and comes with the following features;
- Unlimited domains
- 6 GB memory
- 6 core CPU
- Free SSL certificate
- Free upgrade to positive SSL
- Free Dedicated IP
- Free SEO Tools
- Free Domain included
The plan costs $9.95 per month and renews at $17.95.
Do HostGator’s Plans pack a lot of value? Ordinarily, yes. But when we consider their subpar performance, we get less impressed. However, this isn’t the worse “value per dollar” that we’ve seen. It is not the best either.
Let’s take a look at 1&1 IONOS Plans too.
1&1 has three shared hosting plans and they are the Essential, Business and Expert Plan.
The Essential plan comes with 1 Website hosting, 10GB storage, 10 email accounts, and 10 databases.
The Business plan is priced at a flat rate of $8 per month and comes with hosting for five websites, 25 databases and email accounts, and 100 GB storage. The next plan is the expert plan, and, as the name implies, it is for experts and can host about 50 websites. It comes with 500Gb storage, 500 databases, and 500 emails.
So is there something missing? How about the renewals? Yup. It stays the same. And this is something we love to see— clean pricing, with no hidden schemes and whatnot. In terms of value, 1&1 might not have the badge of so many unlimited plans, but they have just enough that it really stops to matter.
VERDICT; Both Web-hosts have fairly cheap plans, but we loved the straightforward pricing of 1&1. They take this one for us.
Do any of these Web-hosts have interesting extra features? Let’s see
We could find the following extra features for HostGator;
- Better performance with Opteron 6000 series CPU combined with DDR3 ECC RAM
- HostGator has only one database— MySQL
- Unlimited FTP and email accounts.
- Support of multiple languages including Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, and Perl.
- $100 in free advertising credits.
- Access to Google analytics and Mojo marketplace.
Impressive? Let’s see what 1&1 has to offer us.
We could find the following for 1&1 IONOS;
- 1&1 IONOS has a proprietary backend interface separate from cPanel or Plesk.
- 1&1 IONOS makes use of the HTTP/2 protocol
- 1&1 IONOS offers several cloud services
- 1&1 IONOS assigns consultants to new users; these consultants are point men that users can turn to for questions, whenever the need arises.
- 1&1 IONOS offers the services of two website builders
VERDICT; HostGator’s extra features we’re more impressive for us, they win this round.
Just to recap, let’s look at the differences between these two Web-hosts
- 1&1 is faster than HostGator
- HostGator has a longer money-back guarantee period
- HostGator has better customer support
- HostGator has cPanel, while 1&1 doesn’t
- HostGator’s pricing hike after renewal, 1&1 prices don’t.
Performance stats mean a lot, and 1&1 IONOS absolutely held its own in that respect. However, it went downhill from there before the Web-host found itself with great prices, and most importantly, no phony renewal schemes. The three most important things to judge a Web-host with, to us, are performance, customer service, and price. 1&1 carried the day in two of these, so they emerge worthy winners.
So, HostGator Vs 1&1 IONOS? 1&1 comes out number one in this one.