When it comes to hosting a website, HostGator is often one of the first companies that you will stumble across. Started by Brent Oxley in a Florida college dorm room, they have been in business since 2002 and long since established themselves among the industry leaders. Their reputation for offering low cost, high quality services has continued to drive immense growth over the years.
Unfortunately the HostGator that we once knew and loved is gone, sold to the notorious Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2012 for $225 million dollars. Now owning more than 60 hosting companies worldwide, EIG is known for chewing up and spitting out the remains of well regarded providers. They fire the original employees, relocate servers to their datacenters and gut the business from the inside. Worse yet, they attempt to keep such matters secret as to not draw attention to the impending changes.
While HostGator has somewhat recovered over the last several years, they are still just a shell of the former company. For those looking towards greener pastures, we will share the best alternatives on the market. There is no shortage of choices these days and we have picked our top three providers for 2018.
Here’s the Best Alternatives to HostGator of 2018:
- Inmotion Hosting
While our number one choice is actually another EIG owned business, BlueHost is the exception rather than the rule. As one of the most renowned hosting providers on the market, they have managed to overcome the odds and maintain the highest quality of service (despite questionable ownership). Investing considerable effort into their specialized hosting platform, they are recognized by WordPress.org as the number one choice for WordPress hosting.
If you are looking to launch a blog, setup an e-commerce store or just build a website, they have a wide range of options to develop your online presence. In addition to the shared hosting plans, they also offer distinct WordPress and WooCommerce packages, perfect for those that need the most from a specific software solution. Their services are affordable, extremely simple to use and their customer support is second to none.
To read our full in-depth review on BlueHost, you can check out the article BlueHost Review for Shared Web Hosting. Otherwise, we will look at some of the more notable aspects of BlueHost and why they are the best alternative in 2018.
Shared Hosting Plans
The hosting plans are BlueHost are simple and straight forward, with minimal differences when it comes to features. The price jump between packages is almost entirely related to the limits that are in place. While the higher end options throw in a few extra goodies to justify the extra cost, your decision is essentially between hosting 1 website with limited quotas, or multiple websites with unlimited resources.
Starting at $3.95/mo, Basic is the entry level plan that is the cheaper, more restrictive option. Capable of running just a single website, it is equipped with a decent 50GB storage space, unmetered bandwidth and 5 e-mail accounts. By comparison, the upgraded Plus and Prime packages are both priced at $5.95/mo, lifting all limits and providing nearly unlimited usage. Since the cost of these are oddly identical, it only makes sense to choose the latter of the two which includes domain privacy and backup tools.
Overall, there isn’t much to debate when it comes to standard BlueHost plans. The entry level package is perfect for those with one website and limited needs, otherwise the highest tier Prime is an affordable, full featured option for those with greater demands.
Reliability, Speed, and Performance
BlueHost is not exactly on the cutting edge of performance, yet they continue to rank among the best providers in this aspect. They have maintained an average uptime of 99.93% uptime, which happens to reflect a large outage that occurred back in August 2017. As this can ultimately occur to any provider at any time, we can’t fault them for one poor showing, where they have otherwise managed to achieve nearly 100% uptime since that point. Considering the absolute magnitude of their business, they have managed to fair quite well in the reliability department.
As for website performance, BlueHost does bode quite well against the competition. They average an impressive 3.08 seconds on page speeds, with an all time best of just a mere 0.30 seconds. Certain optimizations such as browser caching could improve their results even further, however their websites perform remarkably well under current conditions. Considering their more conservative approach to infrastructure, BlueHost websites are absolutely blazing fast, delivering your content to visitors with split second page speeds.
Bluehost is our top pick because…
- WordPress Hosting: As the number one content management system (CMS) in the world, WordPress powers more than 25% of all websites. BlueHost has long since been recognized as the premiere choice for hosting this software and with good reason. Their team consists of WordPress developers, contributors and experts that are intimately familiar with the platform, even contributing to the code base.
- Customer Service: With more than 750 personnel, you can quickly reach a trained representative any time of the day. They have true 24/7 support via phone, live chat, e-mail or the support desk (ticketing system).
- Learning Resources: Every hosting provider will offer some level of self-help resources, yet BlueHost goes above and beyond in this category. They have hundreds of guides and articles covering every topic imaginable. From WordPress to E-Mail and Domains, you can find the answers to nearly any question via their knowledgebase.
- Competitive Prices: Taking into account promotions, their prices changes almost every other week. They always manage to be among the lowest cost options despite the high quality of service they provide.
In business since 2004, SiteGround takes their job seriously and has the chops to prove it. Known for state of the art infrastructure and bleeding edge features, they spare no expense when it comes to website hosting. With a strong emphasis on their development team, they have built a series of features to improve the experience for their customers. The most notable of which is SuperCacher, an in-house tool created exclusively for their customers to optimize website loading times by a considerable margin.
If BlueHost isn’t your cup of tea, SiteGround is also another business endorsed by WordPress.org among their top choices for hosting. Considering a total of 3 providers have made the list, it remains a rather prestigious accolade given only to the absolute best. While this may seem irrelevant if you are hosting a different software package, keep in mind that WordPress is highly demanding and often works as a performance benchmark. Even though the WordPress centric features and services may be irrelevant to your needs, the website performance will be beneficial to any website regardless of content.
If you want to check out our full review on SiteGround, it is available at SiteGround Review for Shared Web Hosting & VPS Servers. For now, we will go ahead and give a brief overview and several points of note, looking at what you can expect from hosting with this company.
Shared Hosting Plans
Starting at just $3.95/mo, SiteGround offers three hosting packages suitable for a wide variety of applications. Every tier has been crafted to meet certain needs, allowing your website to grow as the demands increase. With explanatory names and helpful subtext, it is easy to choose the one that suits your purpose.
The introductory StartUp package is most notable in that it allows for a maximum of 1 website, where as the GrowBig and GoGeek plans support multiple domains. Past that, the larger tiers mainly introduce more feature rich options, such as additional storage space, monthly visitors and a wide variety of additional tools. They all come with the Essential Features, including items such as a 30 day money-back guarantee, free SSL certificates and unmetered bandwidth.
SiteGround’s plans are very affordable, hosted on the latest performance hardware and backed by an amazing 24/7 customer service department.
Reliability, Speed, and Performance
Utilizing some of the latest advances in hosting technology, SiteGround has an arsenal of innovative tools built for optimization and security. Their Proactive Server Monitoring solution was developed in-house, preemptively detecting problems and automatically fixing issues before they happen. Combined with the cutting edge Linux Containers (LXC) technology, isolating individual user accounts and increasing system stability, they have managed to achieve a true 99.9% uptime gurantee.
When it comes to performance, the usage of NGINX web server provides blazing fast page speeds compared to the traditional Apache. They also utilize an array of tools such as CloudFlare’s CDN, enterprise grade SSD drives and several caching solutions, including their own custom built SuperCacher. While some of these are exclusive to higher tier plans, all hosting customers benefit from these performance oriented optimizations, most of which are implemented and operate behind the scenes.
There are very few companies that can compete with SiteGround’s focus in this department. Their devotion to feature development and state of the art infrastructure are unmatched, often leaps and bounds better than that of the closest competition. As they succeed where so many others fail, they are among the best in terms of uptime, speed and performance.
- 24/7 support via phone, live chat and tickets
- Strict security layers
- 99.9% uptime over last 12 months
- Performance optimizations with SSD storage, HTTP/2 and SuperCacher
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates
3. Inmotion Hosting
While most website providers worth considering have been in business for a while, Inmotion Hosting is one of the oldest companies still operating. Started in 1997, they have been providing quality hosting services for over two decades. With more than 70 awards under their belt and CNET’s top pick for the last 15 years, Inmotion Hosting is definitely a formidable competitor in this industry.
Since their plans cater more specifically towards small business clientele, their prices are somewhat higher than that of our other recommendations. Still, these packages provide a great alternative for anyone planning to launch a website. They are somewhat unusual by comparison,
Shared Hosting Plans
The Inmotion Hosting plans are the most expensive of our 3 recommended providers, but this is more than justified for a number of reasons. The entry level Launch package starts at $4.89/mo, but unlike others, it actually supports up to 2 separate websites and includes unlimited storage space, bandwidth and e-mail addresses. Furthermore, they also feature free advertising credits, a domain name, SSL certificate and more. Since these options are rarely found in the introductory plans, it is a rather different but welcomed change from the standard approach.
As their smallest plan is comparable to the higher tiers from other hosting providers, there is less incentive to upgrade at Inmotion Hosting. Still, they manage to make the offers quite attractive, increasing the maximum number of websites and increasing the performance across each package. The second tier Power plan allows for up to 6 websites and features 2x the performance, granting your websites twice the allocation CPU (processing power) and RAM (system memory). The Pro package, coming in at the highest tier, is capable of unlimited websites, a whopping 4x performance and a specialized SLA called Pro Level Support. This ensures that you receive a full 99.9% uptime, otherwise they compensate with additional hosting free of charge.
Reliability, Speed, and Performance
Since they are the most expensive choice between our three recommended alternatives, we have rather high expectations of the quality at Inmotion Hosting. As you may have already guessed, they certainly do not disappoint. Coming in with a near perfect 99.97% uptime during the 2017 calendar year, Inmotion Hosting has maintained an exquisite stability score in hosting. They don’t tout bleeding edge monitoring solutions or develop advanced in-house tools, yet have still managed to provide an industry best in terms of website uptime.
Although their performance does not produce the blazing fast page speeds we may find elsewhere, they once again take the opportunity to pursue stability above all else. Averaging a modest 3.21 second page speed with a best of just 2.13 seconds, these numbers are nothing to write home about. They do however keep the speeds consistent, with no more than several seconds of variance in the page load times at any given time. As competitor services can jump anywhere from milliseconds to 30+ seconds depending on the time of day, the steady performance found at Inmotion Hosting can be very appealing by comparison.
- 24/7 support via phone, live chat, skype and tickets
- 99.97% uptime over last 12 months
- Free domain name
- Max Speed Zones (choose your datacenter)
- Unlimited storage, bandwidth and e-mail addresses
Our Pick for the Best HostGator Alternative
We recommend Bluehost as the best HostGator alternative due to their low costs, high quality services.
If you are a HostGator customer looking to find a better provider, or just comparing your options before making a decision, any one of these three will make an excellent choice. While every company has particular strengths and weaknesses, these guys check all of the boxes that we look for in a website host. If Bluehost isn’t your cup of tea, SiteGround specializes in high performance solutions with custom built, in-house tools and phenomenal customer service, while Inmotion Hosting offers the most stable hosting platform in the industry.
If there is another great alternative to HostGator you would like for us to consider, don’t hesitate to let us know. Our reviewers are always open to check out alternative options and those that make the cut will be among our future recommendations!