HostGator vs. Wix is on the menu today, and we’ll be checking out the two hosting companies to find out exactly which host does it for us.
How? Easy, we bought plans on the two platforms, and we ran a lot of performance tests, so we are going to show you (not tell) which host actually comes out on top.
But first, let’s look at an overview of both companies.
HostGator vs. Wix Overview
Regardless of what people may think, HostGator isn’t actually a company of alligators who host people. Instead, HostGator is a hosting company that was founded in 2002 by Brent Oxely. Since then, the company has grown to be one of the biggest names in hosting worldwide.
In June 2012, HostGator was acquired by EIG, a web company that owns about half of all the hosts we’ve reviewed (companies like Bluehost are under EIG as well).
Wix is also a hosting company that was founded four years later in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan. The company has become really popular, with millions of users over 120 countries.
While HostGator focuses on specialized hosting solutions, like providing VPS hosting and WordPress hosting, Wix is more of a do it yourself host.
The main focus of Wix is to allow people to create their site however they wish without the stylistic encumbrance of content management systems. To aid this, the host offers a drag and drop website builder with HTML5 functions, a lot of ready-made templates, and loads of features for free.
HostGator, on the other hand, does a bit of everything. If you’d like to build your site on a content management system, you can do that with HostGator as they offer one-click installations for popular systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. If you’d also like to build your website from scratch, you can do that on any of their plans.
Now, let’s get to the main comparison. Generally, we like to start off with our performance tests, but since we had to build our site using the Wix site builder, we’re going to start off with the ease of use. That will give you a rough idea of the differences in the quality and capacity of the two hosting companies.
Ease Of Use Comparison
What use is a host that is difficult to use?
We had an easy sign-up process with HostGator. We only had to click through two or three pages of forms to get to checkout. Like a lot of hosting providers, HostGator offers a lot of upsells, but we knew what we wanted so it was easy for us to navigate through and pay.
Although not as easy as HostGator’s process, Wix’s sign-up process was also not tedious. Like HostGator, there were also attempts to sell us services that we wouldn’t eventually need, but that’s common to most hosting companies so we wouldn’t be bothered about that.
Like most EIG hosts, HostGator makes use of cPanel. We’ve used a lot of control panels, and while some hosts prefer to reinvent the wheel (DreamHost is a great example), we’ve discovered that 9 out of 10 times, cPanel is the right choice. In fact, the only times that custom interfaces have done it for us is with managed hosting specialists like LiquidWeb and Flywheel.
Wix doesn’t offer cPanel, but with good reason. Wix’s control panel is optimised for web services, and as such doesn’t offer many tools for web administration.
Which control panel would we rather use? Well, we’ve used both, and we’d take HostGator’s cPanel anytime, any day (and twice on Sundays).
Free Site Migration
We believe that all hosting plans should come with at least a free single site migration service. It’s just the proper thing to do. Not all hosts agree with us, though. GoDaddy, for example, charges about 100 dollars to help you migrate a site to their servers.
HostGator, on the other hand, runs a free site transfer service. This means that HostGator helps you transfer your site for free at least once depending on the plan that you’ve signed up for. However, this free offer is only active for thirty days from sign-up. Users must also note that free transfers are offered on an “as is” basis. This means that there will be no updates on-site configuration and website content and data will be transferred as they are.
As Wix is a website development platform, they don’t offer a site migration service. You cannot transfer a cPanel based site to Wix. The best you can do is to recreate the structure of your WordPress/CMS site on Wix, and manually transfer the content unto the Wix based site.
That is certainly more work than what HostGator offers.
It is now common practice among hosting providers to offer a free domain to users signing up on a new plan.
Unlike hosts like SiteGround, HostGator and Wix offer a free domain for every new sign-up – given that the user pays for an annual plan.
You can check out our SiteGround vs. HostGator comparison to see exactly how both hosts stack up.
The internet is a scary place, and no matter how secure you think your site is, it can still get hacked or attacked by malware. That’s why it’s important that you have backups – and the host that makes that task easier for you is most certainly easy to use.
Wix doesn’t offer automatic backups. Instead, they offer the next best thing. You can generate backups on Wix whenever you want – and it is absolutely free.
HostGator’s backup policy is a tad bit more complex. Backup runs once a week on a random day and HostGator makes sure not to keep mirrored or redundant backups. This means that only one backup is available at any given moment.
Users must note that HostGator provides backups as a courtesy. This means that they are not guaranteed so they may or may not be available.
Generally speaking, it’s better to purchase a separate Backup service like Codeguard if your hosting provider doesn’t offer guaranteed backups.
Staging environments are great for beginners. Except you want to be a cowboy developer – this is the name that we give to developers who develop without a staging site, it is important to have a site where you can test out changes before transferring these changes to your live site.
Wix has a “Sandbox” environment where you can create a staging site (which is a clone of your live site) and make necessary changes on it before you move those changes to your live site.
HostGator also comes with a staging environment where you can test out your changes. This environment comes on all hosting plans.
In terms of functionality and ease, the Wix site builder and Gator by HostGator are roughly on the same terms. However, when it comes to more options in terms of templates and styles, Wix is certainly the superior host. While HostGator control panel is certainly more impressive than Wix control panel, the flexibility of the Wix Editor and site builder wins this one for Wix.
Website Builder Comparison
Since Wix is primarily a website builder, this is the crux of this article. We’ll be comparing the Wix site builder to Gator by HostGator, which is the spectacular name of HostGator’s site builder.
Creating The Website With Wix
Wix offers two primary ways to build a site. The first is a Do It Yourself mode where you’ll be able to create your site to whatever specifications you want. You are started off with a template, and with the very intuitive drag and drop editor, you’ll be able to add anything that you want to customize your site.
Wix has hundreds of templates for you to choose from, so users rarely have problems because they are spoilt for choice (at least we were). The Wix Editor app gives you control over almost all aspects of your site. This includes the background, apps, store, blog and bookings. With the editor, you can enable or disable any feature that you think would be useful for your site.
The second way is to let Wix’s ADI fix a website for you. How does this work? Easy, really. You answer a few basic questions about the structure of your site, and the system generates a generic website for you.
The system does it by choosing a unique combination of billions of features that you’ve previously selected. So your final site looks exactly like what you’d want but still remains very unique. Unlike with similar site builders, the Wix ADI doesn’t ask you to choose a theme. Instead, you are asked to choose a general style.
After this, your website is designed and the work is left to you. You can easily edit the website and add your content and pictures yourself.
An interesting feature of the Wix site builder is that it comes with an “onboarding support checklist”. If you don’t know how to edit a site, the checklist walks you through the important parts of your site and even shows you a quick tutorial.
An important feature of the Wix site builder is that it gives you access to advanced features – this is something that a lot of other site builders lack.
- Creating custom forms, quizzes and so on
- You can also create custom interactions. For example, you can set your site to act in a certain manner when customers make certain actions.
- You can separate your content from your site so that you can add images and text easily.
Creating The Website Gator By HostGator
Gator by HostGator is the name of HostGator’s website builder, and like most website builders, it is simple and meant for people with little technical expertise.
Creating a website with HostGator is simple. Immediately you sign up, you must choose a template (or theme?). This is simply because all templates are categorised into industries.
Like Wix, HostGator gives you templates to choose from when building a site. However, unlike Wix, the templates of HostGator are basic and not as expansive as Wix’s. Even though HostGator’s themes are arranged by industries like business, beauty, music and entertainment, they still aren’t quite as expansive as the templates that Wix offers.
To build your website, you are given a drag and drop editor. It works a bit like creating a PowerPoint presentation. The Wix Editor makes use of the same system.
Like Wix, Gator by HostGator also comes with an onboarding tutorial, so in that respect, both sites are fairly similar.
It is important to add that, unlike other site builders, Gator by HostGator gives editors complete control over the eventual look of their site. You can resize, change fonts and switch colors without any headaches whatsoever. You can even add videos, blog posts and social media posts easily. As far as creating a website goes, Gator by HostGator is up there with one of the easiest to use.
However, there’s one thing that we noticed with the Gator. Unlike with Wix, images don’t automatically adjust when you add a new feature to your website. This means that before adding a new feature, you need to do a bit of space management, if not you’ll be stuck in an endless loop of resizing pictures.
HostGator is very mobile responsive, and you don’t have to design a different site for mobile. The sites created can fit any size of the screen easily.
The same can be said of Wix. All sites created with Wix are mobile responsive by default. There is even a Switch Editor view button that lets you see how your website would look on a mobile phone.
We created two sites using the Gator site builder and the Wix site builder. We ran tests on them for four months, and we have some interesting results.
Using Pingdom, we monitored uptime on HostGator and Wix for four months. Here are our results.
Wix had an average uptime of 99.96% which isn’t spectacular but certainly isn’t bad. HostGator has a superior uptime of 99.98%.
Uptime is fickle, and it’s great to have an uptime guarantee for times when uptime gets actually terrible.
HostGator has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This means that you are entitled to a month of credit if your website is up for less than that period of time. Wix also offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee and reimburses users based on downtime experienced.
This was really close, but SiteGround won because of superior uptime and uptime guarantee. This does not mean Flywheel does not have great uptime - in fact, put up against any other, Flywheel will probably have won this section.
Data centers are important to speed and HostGator has two of them. One in Houston, Texas, and the other in Provo, Utah.
Unlike HostGator, Wix had data centers in America and Europe.
Let’s get to our speed performance results. Here are our TTFB (Time To First Byte) speed results.
HostGator was the much faster host, blowing us away with an average response time of 668ms. Wix proved to be slower, coming in with an 801ms response time.
Page load speed figures reflected the difference in speed. HostGator consistently loaded completely under a second (around 800ms) while Wix took longer than a second to load many times.
Load Impact Test
To check out if our speed figures were wrong, we tried using load impact. We sent up to a hundred virtual users to our respective sites and found out something rather interesting.
HostGator is a much more stable host than Wix. Even at a hundred virtual users, our site with HostGator still managed to report stable speed. That was certainly not the case with Wix.
The winner of this section is clear as day. HostGator has better speed and performs better under traffic. There really could have been no other winner. HostGator takes this one clearly.
HostGator vs. Wix: Customer Support and Reliability
If you’re a beginner, you should probably pay a lot of attention to the customer support department of your prospective hosting provider. Why? Hosting plans can become really technical at times, and you will need easy solutions when you run into problems. Only quality customer support can provide that.
We tried to measure the quality of customer support that both hosts offer and we found really interesting things.
Customer Support Channel
Wix and HostGator offer roughly the same sort of customer support. They both have phone and email support channels. Wix doesn’t have a live chat system while HostGator has one.
It’s important to note that Wix offers support is Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish.
Customer Support Test
While testing customer support, there are two things that we paid close attention to. The first is wait time – that is, the period of time it took for a live rep to get to us. The second is the quality of support.
For HostGator, wait time was particularly long, as we often had to wait for over five minutes before we connected to support staff. We found that tedious. After connecting to support staff on the live chat channel, we found the representatives who spoke to us to be friendly.
However, they had very little help for us when we came with problems and questions that were above basic ones. Too many times we were given links to videos and tutorials that did little to solve our problems. Phone chat was more of the same, and more often than not we put down the phone feeling a bit disappointed.
We had to wait for over ten minutes before we got someone to talk to us on the phone. Even at that, the support wasn’t great. Like with HostGator, we continually got advice that was of no help, and even though support staff was cordial enough, they were often unhelpful.
Since Wix’s support is not available 24/7 (only available from 5:00 am and 5:00 pm PST) users can often get stranded. That’s another negative.
Simply put, interacting with HostGator’s customer support was tedious. But certainly not as tedious as what we continually had to pass through with Wix.
Thankfully, the ticketing support of both hosts was a huge improvement. We got our tickets back in 24 hours, and our problems/questions were always comprehensively attended to.
Wix and HostGator maintain a really up to date knowledge base. The knowledge bases are so filled with articles and tutorials that they almost excuse the subpar live support that is on offer.
Customer Support Winner HostGator: Let’s get this right. The support infrastructure of Wix and HostGator needs overhauling. Customers often have to wait for a while before live reps attend to them, and even when that is done, quality is more often than not missing.
HostGator offers more customer support options and offers these options 24/7. They win this one clearly as well.
Wix offers an incredibly low 14 days money-back guarantee. This 14 days money-back guarantee doesn’t apply to renewal plans. In addition to that, if you’ve received a free domain, Wix will deduct about $15 from your refund. Add-ons paid for at checkout are non-refundable.
HostGator has a way longer 45 days money-back guarantee. Like with Wix, this guarantee doesn’t apply to renewal payments, and if you’ve received a free service (like a free domain, for example), it will be deducted from your plan.
This one is very clear, and HostGator wins this without a shadow of a doubt. 45 days is way longer than 14 days.
|Vulnerabilities scanner||SiteGuard||Regular Scans|
HostGator vs. Wix: Plans and Pricing
No matter how great a service is, it must come at the right price, if not, it’s basically a waste. Let’s look at the deals offered by Wix and HostGator to see which host offers the better deal.
We’ll be comparing Wix premium plans to HostGator’s three shared hosting plans.
Basic Plan comparison
HostGator’s basic plan is the Hatchling plan and it comes with a single domain, free transfers, unlimited bandwidth and disk space, a free SSL certificate and a free domain. The plan costs $2.75 for an initial three years plan and renews at a normal rate of $6.95 per month.
This plan is great because it has unmetered bandwidth and disk space. However, unmetered doesn’t mean unlimited. It only means that you are only allowed to use as much bandwidth and disk space as HostGator deems “normal” for a small Hatchling website. Once you exceed that threshold, you will be informed and may be charged accordingly. All in all, an initial payment of $2.75 is quite cheap. However, when one looks it in the context of the renewal price, it takes on a whole different look. It is a decent deal, but certainly not the best.
Wix’s cheapest plan is the Connect Domain which, on Wix’s website, has the endearing “most basic” title.
The plan comes with 1GB of bandwidth, 500mb of storage, a free SSL certificate, and costs $4.50 per month.
It is important to note that Wix doesn’t have a limit on sites that can be created on a single account. You can create an unlimited amount of sites on the same account on any Wix plan. However, since the Most basic plan only comes with 500mb of storage, you most likely will only be able to create a single site.
How good is this deal? It is certainly more expensive than the HostGator plan, and cannot be justified since HostGator has better performance. The Hatchling plan is definitely more value for money.
|Wix Connect Domain||Wix Combo||HostGator Hatchling|
|Sitebackup||View and restore||View and restore||CodeGuard|
Medium Tier Plan
The Medium tier plan is the Baby plan and it comes with unlimited domains, unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and a free domain. The plan costs $3.95 for an initial 3 year period and costs $9.95 for renewal.
This plan is sort of tricky because it comes with unlimited domains and unmetered bandwidth. This means that you’re never quite sure of how many domains you can host before you run out of “legally allowed” bandwidth and disk space. In our experience hosting more than two blogs or sites with a lot of traffic may result in considerable downtime.
On face value, the plan is really good. Unlimited domains for $3.95? A good deal for sure.
Wix’s medium-tier plan is the Combo plan and it comes with 3GB of storage, 2GB of bandwidth, a free domain, and no Wix ads. The plan costs a grand total of $8.50 per month – which is really a lot, no matter how you look at it.
The Baby plan may be a baby plan, but it is certainly bossing this Combo plan left, right and centre.
|Wix Unlimited||HostGator Baby|
|Sitebackup||View and restore||CodeGuard|
Top Tier plan comparison
The VIP and Unlimited plan are the top tier plans of Wix. The Unlimited plan is the most popular plan and comes with unlimited bandwidth, 10GB of storage, no Wix Ads, a free domain for a year, Visitor analytics and Site booster. For all this, customers are expected to pay $12.50 per month. It is not a bad deal, as it comes with unlimited bandwidth. However, 10GB of storage means that you can only host four to five sites at maximum capacity. In any case, $12.50 is too much to pay.
HostGator’s top plan is the Business plan and it comes with all the features of the Baby plan plus free dedicated IP, free SEO tools, and a free upgrade to positive SSL. The plan costs $5.95 per month for an initial three-year deal and costs $14.95 for renewal.
This deal isn’t terrible, but for a plan that isn’t very different from the Baby plan (the free dedicated IP address is the only important difference here), it costs a lot more. If you have no great need for the additional features of the Business plan, I’d advise you to go with the Baby plan. It packs more value for money.
The VIP plan of Wix comes with unlimited bandwidth, 20GB of storage, a free domain for a year, two video hours, social media logo files, VIP support, priority response professional logo and all other features of the Unlimited plan. The plan costs $24.50 per month. The VIP plan is definitely not worth it. It is a bad deal that no one would recommend.
|Wix VIP||HostGator Business|
|Sitebackup||View and restore||CodeGuard|
Although HostGator most expensive deal, which is the Business plan, is not the best, it is certainly better than Wix top plans. In general, HostGator deals prove to pack more value for money than Wix plans. That is why HostGator wins this section completely.
HostGator vs. Wix: Major Differences
- Wix doesn’t offer content management hosting, VPS hosting or Dedicated server hosting like HostGator
- HostGator’s performance stats (in terms of uptime and speed) are much better than Wix’s
- Wix has a fourteen days guarantee while HostGator has a forty-five days guarantee
- HostGator has 24/7 support on all plans, while Wix doesn’t
- HostGator has live chat support, Wix doesn’t
- HostGator makes use of cPanel, Wix doesn’t
HostGator vs. Wix: Our Pick
HostGator is certainly the better host. Our performance tests showed us this, our customer support tests showed us this, and even our pricing comparison showed us that HostGator offers a way better deal than what Wix offers.