HostGator vs. DigitalOcean
HostGator vs. DigitalOcean is like Bill Nye the science guy versus Sir Isaac Newton. Both are great web hosts that meet the creative needs of people, but there's a difference in the type of people they appeal to.
HostGator, like Bill Nye, could bring itself down to the level of an internet toddler and meet all their needs as well as the needs of creatives at the cheapest rate. But there is something about DigitalOcean, like Sir Isaac Newton, it has complete trust and pride in its services in a condescending way. It belongs to an elite class of developers and webmasters and it cannot even begin to comprehend the needs of beginners.
HostGator caters to the needs of everyone, everywhere and it does it at very cheap prices. You could almost imagine DigitalOcean users working with their VR lens in a soundproof room trying to solve the theory of everything. With all its exotic terms like droplets, Kubernetes, etc.
DigitalOcean is focused on cloud hosting services. HostGator offers shared, WordPress, VPS and dedicated server hosting. They both have differences in the services they offer. We will analyze all of these differences and similarities, and when all is said and done, we will help you choose the best web host for you. Pull up a front-row seat, and strap in.
DigitalOcean vs. HostGator Overview
Founded by Brent Oxley, a student at Florida Atlantic University, in October 2002 (whole 9 years before DigitalOcean), by 2006, HostGator had registered over 200,000 domains. Operating out of New York City, DigitalOcean is the web host for professionals, creatives and veteran developers everywhere. Its first server, launched in 2011, put it on the map in a big way. HostGator is headquartered at Houston and their data-centers are located at Provo, Utah.
In the first ten years of providing hosting services, HostGator built up a name providing for every noob and intermediate developer and was known for its reliable services. As an American hosting company, DigitalOcean does not market itself as a beginner-friendly web host, rather it promises and delivers to boost the cloud hosting work processes of developers and creatives in the most convenient way possible.
HostGator was acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG), the conglomerate that owns basically half of the Web-hosts on the internet (Check out Bluehost versus HostGator comparison to see which is better among two EIG web hosts). While some say that this has reduced the quality of hosting that the web host provides, we prefer to check things out and form our own opinion. DigitalOcean has three servers in New York City and like EIG, the company is bankrolled by Andreessen Horowitz, IA Ventures, Techstars, and Crunchfund.
DigitalOcean has over 500,000 customers worldwide. HostGator blows this out of the water with its 10 million subscribers worldwide. This makes sense since HostGator is beginner-friendly and it accommodates amateurs. DigitalOcean, on the other hand, is for coders, developers, and advanced programmers.
As a big company and as a member of a great conglomerate like EIG, HostGator has the funds to embark on great marketing campaigns. DigitalOcean was stated by Netcraft to be one of the fastest-growing web hosts in the world. In the following year, they were also considered the third-largest VPS hosting service provider in the world. The company also does not offer any features like domain or even the ability to choose a domain name, both of which will be needed by beginners.
HostGator has a bigger marketing push and it has more customers worldwide. Yay, now, can we get to the really important part of the comparison?
Two things we'll consider in this section. Uptime and speed.
Your website loads under 3 seconds? Yes, so does literally every other web host. We are, however, looking for a web host that does better. One that loads websites under a second. Let's see if either DigitalOcean or HostGator is that kind of web host.
We measured the response time, page load speed and carried out a load impact assessment for both web hosts. Our results are analyzed below:
How quick are the sites hosted on DigitalOcean and HostGator? We put our demo sites hosted on both to test from November 2018 to October 2019.
|HostGator Response||DigitalOcean Response|
HostGator consistently posted response time of 500ms+, and DigitalOcean often sits between 200ms and 400ms. Seeing as DigitalOcean's upper threshold isn't even as high as HostGator's number, it's clear that DigitalOcean has a faster response time.
HostGator has a response time that's a little below average, the same with 50% of the sites we have reviewed. DigitalOcean, on the other hand, is slightly above average, better than 70% of the sites we have tested. Both are not exceptional, but they aren't the worst we have reviewed outside. They are OK, but we wont be finding award winners here.
All in all, we are happy to recommend DigitalOcean based on response time, they performed suite decent. Response time has a huge impact on the Load Time of a website. Lets find out how HostGator will keep up in terms of full page load speed.
Page Load Speed Test
We tested the site load speeds consecutively and calculated the average speed. We got an average speed of 1.2s for HostGator. It's a decent number, quite alright, but it's not the best among the Web-hosts we've reviewed. DigitalOcean, on the other hand, loaded a whole page in less than a second.
We believe that DigitalOcean has the speed advantage because it deals mostly with cloud services and frowns on the sharing of resources. Basically, if speed is your thing (and it should be), DigitalOcean is the host you want to go with. HostGator also has a faster hosting option in the HostGator cloud (a different plan from their shared hosting packages).
Load Impact Test
We sent virtual users intermittently to sites hosted on both DigitalOcean and HostGator, 10 at a time, and we found out the level of speed consistency. The chart below shows which can handle heavy traffic between websites hosted on HostGator and DigitalOcean. We already guessed though.
[Insert a chart here that shows DigitalOcean is more consistent than HostGator. Throughout the test, while HostGator spiked at 50, 70, 80 users].
As you can see, both web hosts started well. But when it got to 50 users, HostGator started to slow down. And this downward spiraling in speed only worsened as we increased the number of virtual users. We can comfortably place HostGator on the same level as GoDaddy (Read our GoDaddy and SiteGround comparison here). Not the worst in the industry, but certainly not the best.
Datacenters and Server Locations:
Both DigitalOcean and HostGator have servers located in the US. DigitalOcean does have more data centers than HostGator.
[Insert the locations of both HostGator and DigitalOcean datacenters here. HostGator has data centers and located at Houston, Texas and Provo, Utah. DigitalOcean has in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, San Francisco, Toronto, and Singapore.]
GoDaddy also has thousands of servers to meet the needs of its customers as seen in our GoDaddy versus DreamHost review.
Speed Optimization Tools: Which goes the extra mile for speed?
Content Delivery Systems usually make servers faster and HostGator comes with integrated Cloudflare CDN on all plans. DigitalOcean does not come with an in-built CDN.
Unlike HostGator, DigitalOcean prioritizes SSD for optimized speed that we don't think any other web host makes use of SSD like they do. It's utilized in all their plans. Zero tolerance for HDD. We guess if you are paying a premium price, you have to fly First Class.
Maybe we are easily impressed, but a company that can pose great speed and runs only on SSD servers is a beast in our books. Quicksilver? Flash? Neo? Call DigitalOcean any of those because it is very fast.
Will DigitalOcean lock your site in Davy Jones locker? Or will HostGator drop the proverbial uptime ball?
When we are asked to choose between a web host with perfect uptime and that of a sub-par uptime, its Hobsons choice really. Because it's either great uptime or it's nothing. We have been able to collate uptime readings for 12 months. Online results differ, that's OK, the same test will generate the different results for everyone. Ours should be accepted more though, it is a recent test.
|DigitalOcean Uptime||HostGator Uptime|
Web hosts like SiteGround and WPEngine are at the top of the shelve with respect to uptime; simply exceptional. Considering what we've seen with HostGator's speed, we weren't very optimistic about its uptime numbers. HostGator, quite surprisingly, posted an average uptime of 99.985%. DigitalOcean has an average of 99.989%. This slightly edges out HostGator's number.
Uptime posted by both are considerably higher than 75% of the hosts we have tested. As you can see from the reading, both web hosts maintain very consistent and great uptime. DigitalOcean' only had less than 100% on 4 occasions. The bare minimum uptime for any web host to meet is 99.9%, and both of these web hosts have greater uptime than that.
Both web hosts have an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. This means that if uptime drops below 99.9%, you get about 5% credit of the monthly hosting fee. Luckily, both web hosts pose a decent uptime, so we didn't have to ask for our money back.
Both web hosts have great uptime and great uptime guarantee. We recommend both if you are making your selection based on uptime. But because we have to choose a winner, DigitalOcean has a higher uptime, if only by a little margin.
If your site has never been struck by malware or plagued by brute force attacks, be grateful to your web host. To remain that way, we would like to help you make the right choice, preferably with no additional cost.
HostGator protects you in the traditional way. Using different features (multilayered), or allowing you to seek protection in the hands of third-party apps. DigitalOcean makes use of the SSD to effectively provide redundant security for your data.
HostGator provides free SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt on all plans and protects your site from DDoS attacks, brute force, and other malware attacks. DigitalOcean marketplace has Vendors that provide a fairly easy way to get a free SSL certificate as part of their installation procedure, but it's at their discretion and you may need to pay them. They also maintain multiple security and compliance certifications including those for the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield and PCI-DSS.
The Defense continues…
HostGator also informs users of weak passwords through their audits on a weekly basis. If you are not satisfied with the security that HostGator provides, you have the option of fighting spams with SpamAssassin and combating malware using the SiteLock Website Security (for a price).
Both web hosts have a 24/7 monitoring team for their servers to arrest any attack and stop it from spreading, but maybe DigitalOcean took it a little farther. A lot of customers have complained about being locked out of their own accounts for days. Claiming that the company provides security for their own servers and not necessarily customer security. When customers complain that their accounts are blocked because the company supposedly noticed suspicious activities, we have to wonder where the line should be drawn.
On HostGator's website, they say they use additional “confidential methods” to protect their servers. Whether that is just a marketing tactic, we wouldn't know. But seeing that, in recent times, HostGator hasn't experienced massive security breaches, they must be doing something right.
If after all the security that DigitalOcean provides, you want added security for your account, you have to do some coding by yourself, not to mention DigitalOcean does not come with pre-installed cPanel and all the protection that comes with it. In fact, you have to pay a third party if you want the cPanel.
Backup and Restores:
HostGator doesn't provide free daily backups, instead, it offers automated backups for free every week but charges $19 to retrieve the backup. A tool is, however, recommended to users which is the Codeguard automatic backup tool. It isn't free and costs about $2 per month and allows daily backups of about five websites. The plan also allows three restores per month. The tool is also scalable. DigitalOcean's automatic backup is provided at 20% of the droplet plan.
We do not like that both companies charge for backup and restore. DigitalOcean maintains great security with in-house tools and SSD, but HostGator also makes use of SSD, along with many other protective measures. The Gator takes this for us.
Ease of Use: Baby gloves or big boy shoes?
Both HostGator and DigitalOcean employ a code-driven backend. The problem is, a lot of people have complained and compared DigitalOcean with Chinese arithmetic; very difficult to navigate. HostGator's launch, set up and management are pretty easy and beginner-friendly.
On DigitalOcean, when you deploy a Droplet, it is deploying an empty canvas. You will have to configure, secure, optimize, etc. You do this by installing and configuring the webserver (NGINX, Apache, Caddy, etc.) as well as any other programming language you may require (PHP, Ruby, RoR, Python, NodeJS, etc), and the database server (MySQL, MariaDB, Percona, etc.).
DigitalOcean, however, has pre-configured images for WordPress and some other types of software. At the end of the day though, you are on your own with the management and operation and security of your CLI and OS.
Ease of Signup
HostGator has an extremely easy and fast signup process. Account activation is a breeze; fast and easy, barely any inconvenience. Its onboarding process is even more fluid. Unfortunately, we can't say the same about DigitalOcean.
Signing up DigitalOcean takes time. Your sign up even has to be confirmed through a phone call, especially if you are from outside the US. Although their onboarding process is also superfast. You can set up and spin droplets under a minute. With HostGator, after onboarding, you can set a website and Start hosting in a few hours at Max. With DigitalOcean, a developer can probably get a project started in a few hours but it will take a blogger at least a whole day.
Both DigitalOcean and HostGator allow credit, debit, prepaid cards, and PayPal payment options.
Control panel and dashboard
DigitalOcean has the DigitalOcean control panel. (we'll get to that in a minute). HostGator has the industry-standard cPanel, which is graphically based on icons useful for people migrating from a web host that has cPanel. It's best for anyone familiar with it or migrating from a previous web host that uses cPanel.
DigitalOcean does not host websites alone. They host everything from your small brain project to game development, etc. For this, they require an intuitive and more versatile control panel which is their DigitalOcean control panel. It's a choice at first, but once you learn to use it, you'll feel like a wizard riding a broomstick. If you do want to install cPanel, you have to know how to code and pay third parties ($15 – $20) for it. With DigitalOcean, you can also use third-party dashboards like a Centos droplet along with the Centos Web Panel which is free, convenient and informative. You just have to set it up first and to do that, you need a developer.
App Market, One-click installation and App Integration
HostGator supports a host of Content Management Systems and a couple of other apps like Drupal, Joomla, and Magento. What's more? It ensures that users have access to these apps, plug-ins and even professional services, through the MOJO marketplace.
DigitalOcean used to have the own cloud which was scrapped for a reason we do not know and succeeded by the Nextcloud. The Nextcloud was ultimately removed and replaced by the new and ever-expanding DigitalOcean Marketplace, a platform for preconfigured 1-Click Apps and tools. You can choose the Operating System or One-click apps. DigitalOcean supports these operating systems: Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Fedora, Debian, CoreOS, CentOS. It supports the basic one-click installation of WordPress, Grafana, OpenFaas, InfluxDB, etc.
For users who would like to install WordPress on their shared hosting plans, HostGator also has one-click installation support that ensures that you can build a WordPress and other CMS sites at a go.
Site-building with DigitalOcean is like a heaping help of manual labor. It's not for beginners at all. On a spectrum of site-building difficulty. Builder specific solutions like Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are on the extremely easy side. GoCentral builder would be close, followed by the Gator site builder that utilizes drag and drop features, as well as templates.
You see DigitalOcean, it is perhaps the hardest we have seen for beginners. In their defense, they never masqueraded as a beginner-friendly web host. Their multipurpose hosting solution is for developers that can dismantle a site and build it up again in minutes. You'll have to do actual coding. Developers jargon like setup Apache2 or Nginx and, FileZilla sFTP (FTP really shouldn't be used), PuTTY to connect via SSH, etc. will have to become important terms in your dictionary.
Domain, Migration, Staging and Site Transfer
The HostGator domain costs $3.84/month. DigitalOcean is not a domain registrar. To use DigitalOcean DNS, we advise that you register a domain name with either GoDaddy or NameCheap and update your domain's NS records to point to DigitalOcean's name servers. Naturally, you can add up to 50 domains but DigitalOcean can allow you to set up as many domains as you want if you have the space.
HostGator has no staging site before the push to live production. DigitalOcean allows you to use droplets and Git hooks to easily go from local to live production. HostGator has secure shell (SSH) access but no Git pre-installed, and no automatic migration. DigitalOcean gives you SSH access, log file access, as well as root access.
HostGator allows you to either transfer your site on your own or assist you through their free website content transfer service. The free content transfer is only available for new accounts that are under upgrade and require a server move, within 30 days of signup or upgrade. It's not automatic, you have to request for it. Like all things with DigitalOcean, site migration or transfer is a bit more complicated. You create a new website, then you backup your previous data, database, etc. You have to make use of SFTP or SSH (if your current host gives SSH access) to transfer the files over. It's manual.
HostGator offers emails with its plans and the amount depends on the tier of your plan. You can set up an email service with DigitalOcean using a mail server, but it's also manual. You could, however, use Zoho for free. You could also use Google G Suite which is cheap and it provides security.
It is kind of unfair to set a test of convenience or ease for DigitalOcean, it is like we are setting it up to fail. It is like judging a fish by its ability to fly. Although we can and we did, and it turns out, fishes do not fly.
Both web hosts have a ton of features. With HostGator, the features are available for every Tom, Dick, and Harry. With DigitalOcean, if you are lucky to find it, you have to learn to use it. And even then, it takes a lot of time and some getting used to.
DigitalOcean offers tailor-made plans for specific purposes and needs. DigitalOcean refers to its Virtual Private Servers as Droplets (touche). It provides you with root access and allows you to configure the server as you like. Unlike Shared Hosting (which HostGator offers), you have to do things like updating and upgrading software, maintaining security, installing stack, installing WordPress and performing all system admin duties, all by yourself.
With HostGator's Shared Hosting, you sign up for the hosting provider to manage your servers among other things, and you have nothing to worry about.
Unless you install one of your own for a price, Droplets do not provide you with a Control Panel (like cPanel or Plesk). You will only be allowed to use CLI (Command Line Interface), Terminal (macOS), PuTTy (Windows), or some other shell access (if youre running a Linux distro for your desktop).
The Fancy Droplets
The most popular defaults have already been chosen. Scroll to the end and configure your Droplet by selecting a server image from the popular OS (Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.), or available one-click apps.
You create and customize your droplets yourself. If you want to customize your Droplet, you can follow the DigitalOcean interface instructions. After the creation comes the allocation of resources. Our advice is to start small, you can upgrade later. After droplet deployment, you can use SSH to access it (typical) or open a terminal through the console of your DigitalOcean account.
They have two major Droplets from which you can select
First is the Standard Droplet for very small websites, a blog or small testing tasks. Their Standard Droplet category has subcategories; The second, CPU Optimized Droplet will cater to users who will require heavy CPU usage like batch processing.
Spaces: DigitalOcean has Droplets for app deployment, but they need something to handle storage and that's where Spaces come in. It's simply a security system that lets you store and send your data to applications and end-users. Spaces utilize drag and drop UI or API system to create a solid storage. Spaces can save backup files, weblogs, data analysis, etc. The service is also scalable, so your Spaces can grow with your company. Spaces can be used as standalone or together with other DigitalOcean features.
When you spin up and delete your droplets, you will require a storage mechanism to save its data and that's where the following two types of storage come in: block storage and object storage.
Block storage is similar to your computer hard drive. Block storage is fast and has a size range of 1 GB to 16 TB. They can also be used together just like A2 Hosting's RAID system. You can change the scale of the blocks and transfer them to different droplets. All blocks have SSD's for added speed but you can also burst them for extra speed boost if you suddenly have a heavy workload.
Second, DigitalOcean also offers object storage, which it calls Spaces. Spaces are best suited for storing large amounts of unstructured data like video. Object storage works differently from block storage. The data is unstructured, with no specific format, unlike the file structures on block storage.
Kubernetes allows developers to deploy and scale up a containerized app in clusters. They also have Load Balancers which share your traffic among droplets.
Customer Support and Reliability:
We consider the speed and mediums of support as well as feedback. We also compare the size of each web host's knowledge base in relation to the ease of navigation.
When you are looking for a web host with good support. These are the questions to ask. Could they be reached easily and fast? 24/7 support? Will you be connected to a bot or a human on the other end? If it's human, is the human knowledgeable?
HostGator offers 24/7 phone, chat and email support. Most people prefer making use of the live chat channel, so we decided to check that out first. On our first few tries, we got connected to a live rep in a relatively short period of time. However, and this did not happen very often, we were sometimes forced to wait for more than twenty minutes before getting a hold of a live rep. It got dicier when we actually got talking to the reps we contacted. Some were quite knowledgeable and answered our questions well, while some had to take their time. We also found out their support could communicate in Russian, Chinese and of course, English.
Both web hosts have knowledgeable support. As seen in our SiteGround review, as well as SiteGround and A2 Hosting comparison. If you consider support an investment, it will help your business, especially with word of mouth.
With DigitalOcean, the reverse is the case. We have scoured the internet and we saw many comments about DigitalOcean's prolific bad customer support, but we didn't believe it so we tested them ourselves.
They do not have a phone option, so you can only contact them through email or ticketing. We tried both and the response was not good. We filled their customer support form and it's buggy, we haven't gotten a response till today and we don't know if we ever will. It also takes them days to respond to emails. Thank God our account wasn't blocked or hacked or worse, mistakenly deleted without backup.
When you get a customer support message like this: “We have reviewed your account and have declined to activate it. No further information or action is required from you.” you wonder if it's a human on the other end or a robot. DigitalOcean may think they are protecting their customers, but we are cynical enough to think that they are only protecting their own servers and not one bit about the customers. And there is a fine line between those two, trust us.
Knowledgebase and Website Navigation.
HostGator has a large collection of video tutorials, forums, and even choose to share your screen with support for more hands-on help. DigitalOcean has a decent knowledge base with tutorials that explain how to run and customize your cloud.
Both web hosts have decent knowledgebase. But HostGator really impressed us with their customer support, and that has made all the difference. DigitalOcean is more focused on skilled developers. Leaving a beginner to wonder if their customer service can be called a "support" at all.
In the world of web hosting, pricing of plans sits with the likes of performance atop the shelf of important factors to consider while choosing a web host. In fact, no plan has the same price for more than a few months. They offer discounts all year round to suck you in. But believe it or not, a lot of web hosts will promise you the web hosting moon, only to hang you out to dry with hidden prices and upsells.
HostGator provides a host (pun intended) of web hosting services like VPS, managed WordPress hosting, Dedicated Server hosting and a few others at vastly different rates. A lot of web hosts like HostGator try to woo new customers with low prices. DigitalOcean is not a very big fan of this approach. In fact, DigitalOcean has a completely unique pricing system, the likes only offered by CloudWays (check out CloudWays versus SiteGround comparison).
HostGator has a traditional plan and annual or monthly payment plan. DigitalOcean does not have such. The company uses a form of after monthly payment system. In which case, the bill for your services last month will be sent to your mail at the beginning of the next month. That's like the best pricing and money-back guarantee policy wrapped into one.
What's more? They only charge you for the services you use. Where HostGator will give you everything you may need or not need at a price, DigitalOcean only charges you based on what you used. No wasted money or services, no additional costs.
HostGator, like most Web-hosts, has three shared hosting plans. These are the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan, and the Business plan.
The Hatchling plan costs $2.75 per month (with a 60% discount). However, much like all the other HostGator plans, this price is only available if you're paying three years in advance. If you're paying for lower than three years, you have to pay the regular price which is $10.95. After the first three years, you can renew the plan at $6.95 per month. This means that you're looking at a honeymoon period of three years. After that, you're on your own. You should perhaps consider whether or not you can afford the renewal fee before purchasing a plan, if not you'll be forced to pay through your nose or move to another Web-host after three years. It comes with these features:
- A single domain.
- One-click installations.
- Unlimited disk space.
- Unlimited email accounts.
- Unmetered bandwidth and subdomains.
- A free SSL certificate.
The second plan is the Baby plan, it costs a discount fee of $3.95 per month. The real monthly fee is $11.95 and renewals cost $9.95, as well. It comes with the following features: Unlimited domains, a free domain, all the features of the Hatchling plan.
The third is the Business plan and it comes with all the features of the Baby plan plus a free dedicated IP and free SEO tools. The plan costs $5.95 per month, but renewal costs $14.95 per month. If you plan on paying per month, you best be ready to fork out $16.95 per month.
Apart from their shared hosting plans, HostGator has another branch of plans called HostGator cloud hosting.
Snappy 2000 at $29.95/month. Included With hosting:
- CPU: 2 Cores.
- RAM: 2 GB.
- Disk Space: 120 GB.
- Bandwidth: 1.5 TB.
- IP Addresses: 2 IPs.
Extras: Advanced server features, multiple layers of security, cutting-edge server hardware, top of the line network
Snappy 4000 at $39.95/month, Included with hosting:
- CPU: 2 Cores.
- RAM: 4 GB.
- Disk Space: 165 GB.
- Bandwidth: 2 TB.
- IP Addresses: 2 IPs.
- Plus every extra that comes with Snappy 2000.
Snappy 8000 at $49.95/month. Included with hosting:
- CPU: 4 Cores.
- RAM: 8 GB.
- Disk Space: 240 GB.
- Bandwidth: 3 TB.
- IP Addresses: 2 IPs.
- Plus every extra that comes with Snappy 2000.
As the king of VPS hosting, DigitalOcean VPS hosting consists of a record of 9 different plans. All droplet plans come with solid-state drives (SSD) as standard. For the latest and up to date prices visit DigitalOceans website (it keeps changing).
Plan Name. monthly price.
Cloud 1. 5.00
Cloud 2. 10.00
Cloud 3. 20.00
Cloud 4. 40.00
Cloud 5. 80.00
Cloud 6. 160.00
Cloud 7. 320.00
Cloud 8. 480.00
Cloud 9. 640.00
Standard plans offer a range of 1 to 4 servers and memory of 512 MB to 8 GB. The TB transfer rate starts at 1 with a maximum of 5 with respect to the plan you are going for, while the SSD disk space starts at 20 GB and ends at 80GB.
For a measly $5, the most popular plan (Cloud 1) offers 1 GB memory, 1 core processor, 30 GB SSD disk, and 2TB bandwidth transfer. But HostGator's cheapest VPS plan, Snappy 2000 goes for a hefty $29.95/month and it offers 2 CPU Cores, 2GB RAM, disk space of 120 GB, bandwith 1.5 TB, and 2 IPs. There is not much difference.
Granted, on DigitalOcean's simplest plan, its difficult to setup Nginx, PHP7.1, MariaDB and WordPress on a $5 droplet without running out of RAM, which leads to crashes. A simple upgrade that would still be cheaper than HostGator's simplest plan will fix that.
We know one thing that's certain; the HostGator cloud hosting plans are way better than the shared hosting plan. But they are also more expensive than other web hosting providers VPS plans and offer considerably lower value for money compared to their DigitalOcean equivalents.
DigitalOcean customers are billed for their actual usage alone and this makes sure that you do not spend on features you do not need or periods you are inactive. You can also pay per hour, and pay-after-use, i.e the payment for last month is on the first day of every month.
They also have a monthly cap that prevents you from spending or using more than you planned or requested.
Which VPS plan would we opt for? That's simple, DigitalOcean. It's cheap, powerful and we don't have to pay for what we don't use. Boom, done, solved it for you. Let's go get pizza.
Generally, HostGator plans including the cloud hosting plans, have exactly the same problem. Whiplash inducing hidden charges. We won't teach them how to host, and they won't teach us how to review. But if they think they can sneak this past us, they are wrong. This is because we've reviewed Web-hosts that do not need to pull this “marketing tactic” including the web host that they are going up against; DigitalOcean. Check out our 1&1 IONOS review for other web hosts with transparent pricing.
DigitalOcean is one-of-a-kind in a sea of web hosts. A web host that doesn't rely on upsells and renewal hikes. We didn't even know they were allowed to do that.
We know what is on your mind, but DigitalOcean VPS Plans are cheaper than those of HostGator. But we are comparing both web hosts, and shared hosting is one of the areas in which HostGator excels at cheaper prices.
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, and that is what DigitalOcean offers. We've however seen a lot of Web-hosts go beyond 30-days. We've even seen one go as far as 97-days. (check out our DreamHost versus InMotion comparison to see the two web hosts with 90+ money-back policies) Amazing, right?
HostGator goes above the standard, promising a 45-day money-back guarantee. Of course, like with most Web-hosts, this is not a cut and dried issue. Refunds do not cover additional services like free domain names. If you have received any such services, the price will be deducted from the total amount you paid.
Extras of HostGator and DigitalOcean
All Web-hosts (or most, some are utterly ordinary) have that extra features that makes them stand out. Let us see if these Web-hosts have any interesting extra features.
For HostGator, we could find the following;
HostGator Features plus Extras:
- Affordable plans.
- Windows hosting options.
- $100 in free advertising credits.
- Unlimited FTP and email accounts.
- Unlimited disk space and bandwidth.
- Green power servers (eco-conscious).
- HostGator has only one database MySQL
- Better uptime and money-back guarantees.
- Access to Google analytics and Mojo marketplace.
- Support of multiple languages including Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, and Perl.
- Better performance with Opteron 6000 series CPU combined with DDR3 ECC RAM.
DigitalOcean extras are:
- IPv6 support.
- DigitalOcean offers Floating IPs, where IP addresses can be quickly redefined.
- If a droplet fails, its IP can be reassigned to a standby droplet to keep the app running.
- You only pay for the machines you use, this saves cost and makes them popular with startups.
- DigitalOcean offers one-click apps for droplets which include: MySQL, Docker, LAMP stack, MongoDB, Node.js, WordPress, PhpMyAdmin, Ruby On Rails, Ghost, Machine Learning.
HostGator has more extras. A case can be made that DigitalOcean does not charge you for what you do not use, so they do not require extra really. And that is precisely why HostGator wins extra.
Similarities between HostGator and DigitalOcean
- They both give SSL certificates.
- They both utilize drag-and-drop tools.
- They both do not have free plans.
- They both have great uptime.
- Both have 99.9%uptime guarantees.
- Neither has a free automatic backup and restore system.
- Both offer SSH access with all their VPS hosting plans.
- Both allow easy collaboration, although DigitalOcean does it better than HostGator by making it easy for teams to collaborate in building DigitalOcean-enabled apps. To ensure security, DigitalOcean allows collaborators to work together without sharing credentials. They will also be billed on a single invoice.
Major Differences between HostGator and DigitalOcean
- DigitalOcean is faster.
- HostGator is more popular.
- HostGator has a much better support system.
- DigitalOcean has staging, HostGator does not.
- HostGator is a domain registrar, DigitalOcean is not.
- HostGator comes with in-built CDN, DigitalOcean does not.
- HostGator has cPanel. DigitalOcean has DigitalOcean control panel.
- HostGator crumbles under heavy Traffic, DigitalOcean stays strong.
- HostGator has 45 days money-back policy, while DigitalOcean only has 30 days.
- DigitalOcean does not provide free email, HostGator does, depending on your plan.
- HostGator gives you a lot of control, with DigitalOcean, you control everything.
- DigitalOcean can host anything from websites to game servers. HostGator only hosts websites.
- HostGator has multiple layers of security but it also allows you to seek third party protection. DigitalOcean lets you secure yourself.
HostGator is a multipurpose web solution: it is a domain registrar, web host, and has a web design and website builder tools at pocket-friendly prices. They have an above-average money-back guarantee and customer support. It is good all round for bloggers, Joomla, WordPress and all niches that are related. DigitalOcean is targeted towards developers who know what they want. Steve Jobs may dislike Wix, but he'll absolutely adore DigitalOcean.
Let's talk about prices:
One thing you need to know about DigitalOcean's plans generally is that it is flexible, complicated and transparent at the same time, but if you know how to navigate the complexities, it is very cheap. HostGator is cheaper with tons of discounts all year round. To fully enjoy HostGator's discounts, you need to subscribe for 3 years at a time. Pre-paying for a full year is not a bad thing or out of the norm. But if you are unsure about your project length, monthly plans such as those offered by HostGator can be worthwhile.
Not to mention, the web host is easy to use for every Tom, Dick, and Harry.
For us, HostGator wins this match-up. Mainly because it's easier to use, has superior support and has a cheap shared hosting plan. I have seen first-hand situations where even experienced developers complained about DigitalOcean's confusing mechanism, with bad support and that's not a situation we want our readers to find themselves in.
DigitalOcean vs HostGator? The hosting ground remains the gator's territory.