Hostgator has been a leader in the hosting world for many years. They’re one of the most popular options besdies GoDaddy and BlueHost, and despite many ups and downs in the industry, and countless competitors coming and giong over the years, Hostgator has managed to stick it out and remain a top hosting brand.
They’ve stayed competitive for so long by offering a decent service at a great price. They’re not a high-end, top-tier hosting company but they also don’t cost nearly as much, either, so for personal sites, portfolios, or small businesses, they’re a very viable option.
In this Hostgator review, we’re going to take a look at some of their most popular offerings, what sets them apart, which areas they could improve, and then we’ll give our final verdict as to whether or not you should trust Hostgator to keep your site on the internet.
Making the Right Choice in Hosting
Of course, a host that’s a good fit for one site or project might not be the best fit for a different site, so we’re going to help you determine whether you should go with Hostgator, and if not, we’ll point you in the right direction for a hosting company that is better suited to your needs.
By the end of this hosting review, you’ll have a much clearer understanding as to what you should be looking for, and where to get it, to ensure that you find the perfect hosting product to fit your needs to a T.
From Humble Beginnings…
Hostgator was founded in a dorm room at a Florida university in 2002, and just the fact that they’re still in business today puts them ahead of many, many others who have come and gone. There’s nothing worse than having your hosting company close up shop in the middle of the night without any notice, leaving you high and dry without a website.
With Hostgator, you know that’s not going to happen because they’re so established and proven, and part of the biggest webhosting empire that has ever existed. They’re not going anywhere. Hostgator is based in Houston, Adam Farrar is their CEO, and they were founded by Brent Oxley.
Here’s a look at what Hostgator brings to the table for people who need shared hosting.
Shared hosting means that your website is on a server with other websites. One thing that sets cheaper shared hosting apart from the high-tier options out there is how many sites are sharing each server. Generally speaking, the less expensive you’re paying, the more sites that are sharing it. More sites on a server means lower performance for each individual site, generally, since more sites are tapping into the resource pool. Services like WP Engine offer higher-tier shared hosting starting at $30 per month, which is obviously quite a bit more expensive than Hostgator’s entry-level packages, so it really comes down to what you need from your server, which we’ll discuss more in a few moments.
The Hatcling Plan: This is a typical entry-level plan, it supports one single website and comes with all of the basic features you would expect from a shared hosting plan.
The Baby Plan: This one is the same as the Hatchling, except you can now have unlimited domains on your account. If you have more than one website that you’re looking to host, start here, and depending on how big those sites are going to be, work your way up the ladder to the business plan and beyond. HostGator’s packages will grow along with your site, no matter how popular your website becomes.
The Business Plan: In addition to everything from the Baby Plan, the Business Plan also adds a private IP address, private SSL, free VoIP, and more. It’s the same price as the Baby Plan, so why wouldn’t everything take it? Well, it’s going to renew at a higher price than the Baby Plan, so if you don’t plan on using the SSL, the VoIP options, and don’t need business features, then Baby is probabally the way to go.
Who SHOULD Use Hostgator
As we said earlier, Hostgator is going to be a good choice for some people, and not such a good choice for others. Let’s start with who SHOULD consider using Hostgator to host their site. If you’re building a site with WordPress or another common CMS or script, you’ll appreciate Hostgator’s 1-click installers, especially if you haven’t built a website before. They’ve truly refined the process, making it as simple as possible to get your site up and running.
If you don’t need a super high-end host, maybe you’re starting up a side-project or just a small site for fun or to test some things out, why spend a fortune on a VPS or another more expensive option? A simple shared plan for a few bucks a month is exactly what the doctor ordered for smaller websites.
Beginner, novice, or even an expert who just needs an extra host for any reason – Hostgator fits the bill when it comes to something affordable and packed with features. If you don’t need peak performance around the clock, no matter how busy the site gets, you can save a small fortune by opting for a cheap shared plan.
Who SHOULDN’T Use Hostgator
The plans we’re looking at today are great for smaller sites, but if you’re running a large, popular website – they might not be the best fit. You might need too many resources, and you’ll be relying a lot more on tip-top performance compared to smaller sites.
Despite the fact that these plans offer unlimited bandwidth, you can still experience slowdowns, or even hit a brick wall and be forced to upgrade, if you’re using too many resources. That’s the downside with “unlimited” offers, we’re more partial to hosts that are upfront and transparent in exactly how many resources we’re getting, but that’s usually a higher-tier of service that costs a lot more, so we’re kind of comparing apples to oranges, in all fairness. For what it is, kind of a “cheap and dirty” option to quickly throw up a great website that doesn’t need a ton of bandwidth, where you don’t have to lose sleep if you get a tiny bit of downtime here and there, this is a totally valid choice…
But if you absolutely need the very best, to be very blunt, you’re just not going to get it at this price point. Not from Hostgator, and not from anyone else, either. It’s just not realistic to expect a perfect shared hosting environment that’s going to have amazing performance at such a low price. This is for people who are okay with that, and would rather save the money and don’t need some crazy high-end server. You can always upgrade your hosting package as your site grows and becomes more popular, so it’s not like your initial decision is written in stone and you can never get something better, but if you need a very powerful server right out of the gates, you’ll want to consider something other than Hostgator’s shared plans.
5 Reasons to Try Hostgator For Your Website
There are a lot of compelling reasons to try out Hostgator and to experience everything they have to offer, let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons that will impact the most people, and are the most relevant for the average website and customer.
- Value: Hostgator is affordable, and really great for the price, in other words they’re offering a great value. Value doesn’t necessarily just mean that it’s inexpensive, it also means that you’re getting a lot for your money.
- Ease of Use: Hostgator has mastered the art of making webhosting accessible for everyone. Even if you aren’t that much of a techie, and even if you’ve never made a website before, this is a super easy place to start. Between their staff, and their support documentation, and just the fact that the platform itself is super easy to setup even without any extra help, this is a great way to go.
- Longevity: Hostgator has been around for so long, and is a very successful company, so you don’t need to worry about them up and disappearing over night, something that happens far too often in the world of hosting.
- Options to Scale: As your site grows bigger and more popular, Hostgator can continue to grow with it! It’s super easy to upgrade your hosting plan whenever you want, so no matter what the internet throws at you, you’ll be ready for it.
- Support: We’re about to go more in-depth into their support staff and what’s great about them, so we’ll just wait a second to get into that. In short, their support is one of the top 5 reasons to check them out. Here’s why…
Review of Hostgator’s Tech Support
Hostgator support can be reached all the time. That’s 24 hours a day, every single day of the year, no exceptions. There’s always something waiting at the other end of the their toll-free phone number, their live chat, or their support ticket system. You can choose whichever option suits you the best. Sometimes, for a quick question or a quick fix, Live Chat is the best bet. For something more serious, we always recommend getting on the phone to ensure it is fixed as smoothly as possible. For longer requests, that might be a bit too much for quick chat, or where you want to describe your question at your own pace without waiting around on live chat, support tickets are a classic.
On top of that, you can even send them a fax if you’re old school like that. They have local numbers you can call, along with toll-free international numbers. You can even send them snail mail to their officers in Austin, Houston, or in Brazil.
In addition to the many facets of their customer support system, Hostgator also has a ton of documentation covering all sorts of common questions. Many options in your account are also self-serve if you’d rather just take care of them yourself. It’s nice to have options, isn’t it?
Do we recommend Hostgator?
YES, for a number of reasons.
All in all, we’ve summed it up in the two previous sections, it really comes down to your budget and what type of performance you need.
Hostgator is used by countless websites, they have great up-time, but they aren’t selling a super high-end product here either.
That said, you do get great value for your money. These are solid servers, they get the job done, and they’re not going to break the bank.
Hostgator isn’t the absolute strongest host we’ve ever tested out, but they’re above average when all the cards are on the table, and when you consider the price, what you get, how easy it is to setup and use, and the support you’ll have in your corner – you can’t go wrong here with Hostgator, check them out and give them a chance!
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