HostGator versus Wix? You know the phrase “there’s plenty of fish in the sea”? Well, there is plenty of web hosts on the internet, and these two are some of the best. We have realized you may need some help selecting the one that is right for you, and best suits your hosting appetite. HostGator, the quintessential web host that meets most of your hosting needs at cheap prices and Wix, the premium site builder with the largest library of templates and app integrations.
Just like our GoDaddy versus Squarespace comparison, this comparison is perhaps unbalanced, or is it? Both web hosts satisfy your e-commerce, as well as website building, and management needs, but that is basically where the similarities end. HostGator allows you to register a domain and provides you with a ton of hosting services along with other web solutions, placing everything under your complete control. Wix, more conservatively, only helps you to build websites (granted, some of the most beautiful sites on the web), and satisfies some of your blogging, e-commerce, and app integration needs. In fact, due to its early flash-building approach, developer gurus and professional coders have rejected Wix. Claiming it is an insult to professional website development since it sacrifices control for convenience. It is so easy to use, that your uncle that knows nothing about coding could build a website with his own hands.
We know what you are thinking, Wix should be compared with the likes of Weebly, Squarespace, GoDaddy’s GoCentral or more accurately HostGator’s site builder called Gator website builder. But after reading our review, you’ll see for yourself how Wix can be a site builder and how it is inclusive enough to go toe to toe with HostGator.
Overview. What does the History Book say?
Both web hosts were established as independent hosting providers, but while Wix remains independent till today, HostGator didn’t stay independent for long. Making its way into the hosting waters in 2002, HostGator was established by Brent Oxley. Operating out of Houston, with data centers in Provo, Utah, the company quickly became one of the most popular web hosts. Registering domains and hosting websites for millions of people worldwide. Like they did with a couple of other hosts, Endurance International Group (EIG) soon acquired HostGator. You can check out our comparison of two EIG-owned web hosts, HostGator versus BlueHost comparison.
Wix is a publicly-traded website building company. So it is easy for them to direct all of their focus and resources into polishing site building services and marketing tools, something that big web services providers like HostGator simply cannot afford to do.
Wix was one of the forerunners of DIY website building movement that took the web hosting world by storm in 2006. The same year that HostGator reached a milestone of 200,000 domains under management, Wix successfully helped people and their mum build end-to-end websites with no coding skill. Seeing as hosting providers acquired by EIG have been identified with the stigma of sub-par performance, it is a relief to know that HostGator is the exception to the rule.
Popularity: Which is the Big Boy around the Hosting Block?
We know some of the best and most geeky webmasters, developer friends and family. Outside of trivia and “who knows what”, none of them will ever choose a web host based on popularity, and neither should you. Wix is definitely big in the site-building industry, hosting a massive 160 million websites (only websites built by Wix are hosted on Wix). It even bursts out its savings to woo stars like Heidi Klum, Jason Statham and Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman herself for advertisement. That being said, web hosts that offer a host of web services like HostGator tend to be more popular. Because, well, they appeal to a wide range of people.
Wix has built websites for millions of people but it will primarily be talked about in site building communities. Not to mention the fact that EIC puts in place some of the biggest campaigns for the web hosts they own. We have noticed that HostGator seems to be searched on Google more than Wix.
HostGator is the poster child for popularity: Chances are, as Wix gets better and allows more and more flexibility for the ordinary Tom and Dick to build websites, it’ll be more popular. For now though, HostGator is known throughout the corners of the internet.
Performance: The Primary Commandment of Web Hosting
And so it was, the first commandment by the council of webmasters “to even be taken seriously as a web host, thou shall excel in performance, namely: Speed and uptime.” Seriously though, we don’t take popularity seriously, but performance? Performance is the true test of a web host, and we can’t even begin to recommend a web host if it drops the ball in this section. It’s time to see if HostGator is just an empty barrel, or its popularity is justified. That Gator and the Wizard, which is faster? Which keeps hour site awake all year long?
Speed: Can the Gator outrun the wizard?
Wix sounds like the name you would give to a modern-day Merlin, if there ever was one. Can it pull great speed out of its bag of tricks, or will it be left in the dust by HostGator? We found out the answer to this by performing three different speed tests.
We set up two dummy websites, one on Wix and the other on HostGator and we proceeded to test their response time or time to first byte (TTFB), and the full page load speed. The results were simply…fascinating.
Response Time Test
Using Pingdom, we tested the response time for sites hosted on both Wix and HostGator. We ran the test 3 times and then took an average. Wix posted response time of 409ms, while HostGator posted average response time of 770ms. Response time of 770ms is just above average when compared with all the web hosts we have tested. The response time posted by the Wix site, 404ms, is almost twice as fast as that of HostGator, and this is very fast. Faster than 80% of the sites that we have reviewed. You probably won’t notice the difference, considering its milliseconds. But, if there is anything we know, it’s that response time usually determines how fast a page loads, and this isn’t looking very good for sites hosted on HostGator.
Page Load Speed
The same Pingdom test used for response time showed page load speed too, and we analyze it below. For HostGator, we tested the same dummy websites three different times and for Wix, we selected three random templates, tested them and calculated an average.
BitCatcha Test: Around the world in 10 Days.
We have seen the speed of both web hosts in Los Angeles (our Pingdom test site), it’s time to see the results in other places around the world. After all, hour site will have visitors from all over the planet, you need to make sure they can access your site as fast as lightning, or close.
Speed Results for HostGator:
- New York 1.8s
- London 2.3s
- Sydney 1.8s
- Bangladesh 3.2s
- Amsterdam 3.4s
- Ontario 2.2s
- Vancouver 1.8s
- California 1.5s
- Mumbai 3.9s.
- Speed Results for Wix:
- New York 2.3s
- London 2.9s
- Sydney 3.9s
- Bangladesh 4.7s
- Amsterdam 4.5s
- Ontario 2.1s
- Vancouver 2.5s
- California 1.9s
- Mumbai 4.6s.
After all our tests, Wix took only 1 location by the skin of its teeth, which isn’t that great. It isn’t that terrible either, as many hosts that we’ve reviewed have consistently posted even lower speeds. HostGator, on the other hand, performed consistently better than Wix, winning 9 locations.
Load Impact Test: Is any of them the Atlas of Web Hosting?
We’ve checked responsibility time, we’ve checked page load speed…all around the world. It’s time to see which, if any, of the two web hosts if stable under pressure. We sent virtual users to sites hosted on both, 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 Wix.
As you can see, both web hosts started well. But when it got to 70 users, HostGator started to slow down. And this downward spiraling in speed only worsened as we increase the number of virtual users. Wix, on the other hand, remained stable. 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. Wix, on the other hand, would sit with the top dogs like SiteGround in terms of load impact assessment.
Speed Optimization Tools
Content Delivery Systems usually make servers faster, and recently most hosts have started integrating the technology into their hosting infrastructure. HostGator comes with integrated Cloudflare CDN on all plans, so users do not need to pay for additional CDN services. Wix claims it doesn’t need CDN, since it has other optimization tools like SSL. Yikes HostGator, Wix prioritizes security and monitoring through its professional team, and so does not adopt speed optimization tools like caching patches, or CDN.
Datacenters and Server Locations
Hosts that have data centers across the world are usually faster than hosts who do not, especially if such host doesn’t offer CDN. Neither HostGator nor Wix has many datacenters. HostGator, has only two data centers and they are located at Houston, Texas and Provo, Utah, and Wix has its servers in the USA. This is not enough, check our DigitalOcean and Fastcomet reviews to see web hosts with many datacenters. GoDaddy also has thousands of servers to meet the needs of its customers as seen in our GoDaddy versus DreamHost review.
Verdict: This is a tough one. HostGator ensures faster page load, but Wix responds in a flash. Wix also held its own pretty well under heavy load. The gator may be faster, but Wix held it to a draw by being a heavyweight.
Speed is all well and good…assuming you have a destination. We decided to see which of the two web hosts keep your site active even when you are not. Remember our hosting Wix and HostGator subscription? We went back to it late last year (2018). And finally, we have been able to collate results from 12 months. You may find other results online that vary, that’s OK, the same test will never generate the same result for everyone. There will be slight differences. You should keep in mind though, that our test is very recent, so it is more credible than most that you find online.
Wix uptime result for the past 12 months:
- November 2018 average uptime: 100%
- December 2018 average: 100%
- January 2019 average: 99.98%
- February 2019 average: 99.95%
- March 2019 average: 99.95%
- April 2019 average: 100%
- May 2019 average: 99.94%
- June 2019 average: 100%
- July 2019 average: 99.96%
- August 2019 average: 100%
- September 2019 average: 99.95%
- October 2019 average: 99.95%
HostGator uptime results for the past 12 months:
- November 2018 average uptime: 100%
- December 2018 average: 99.99%
- January 2019 average: 99.96%
- February 2019 average: 99.98%
- March 2019 average: 99.98%
- April 2019 average: 99.98%
- May 2019 average: 99.99%
- June 2019 average: 100%
- July 2019 average: 99.96%
- August 2019 average: 100%
- September 2019 average: 99.99%
- October 2019 average: 99.99%
We recorded an average uptime of 99.973% for Wix. This isn’t particularly bad, it is definitely better than that of GoDaddy and about 60% of the web hosts we have reviewed. HostGator quite surprisingly posted an average uptime of 99.985%. This is considerably higher than that of Wix and 75% of the sites we have tested. Web hosts like SiteGround and WPEngine have superb uptime; simply exceptional. The bare minimum uptime for any web host to meet is 99.9%, and both of these web hosts have greater uptime than that. Which leads us to their uptime guarantee.
Both web hosts have a 99.9% uptime guarantee policy. This means a free month of hosting for every downtime experienced below 99.9%. You are expected to contact them and claim a month credit of hosting if they perform below their guarantee.
The Gator takes the lead in uptime: Wix doesn’t have a particularly bad uptime, it’s just not as good as HostGator, and that just doesn’t cut it. In an industry with this much competition, “average” may be the deciding factor for a potential customer. Read the rest of our comparison before you decide, though.
Both Wix and HostGator keep your site safe, but they approach security in completely different ways. Which is safer? And what’s better? Which keeps your site safe for free?
All Web-hosts take security seriously presumably. The only difference is, if you’re forced to pay for extra security features and whatnot. What of backups? Are they regular and free? In the case of a hack or a virus attack, what measures are in place to help or protect the customer from further attacks?
HostGator provides free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt on all plans, and Wix gives its own SSL certificate if you subscribe to higher plans. That’s one less thing to worry about.
HostGator protects you in the traditional way. Using different features, or allowing you to seek protection in the hands of third-party apps. What you need to know is that site building-specific hosts like Wix effectively serve as the first and strongest line of defense for your website. This is because, they built your website and its safety is also their responsibility.
HostGator protects your site from DDoS attacks, and they also inform their users of weak passwords, through their audits on a weekly basis. Wix even goes a step further to ensure your site security by being PCI compliant. The importance of this for e-commerce sites cannot be overemphasized. They also handle security risks through industry-standard methods (ISO compliant). 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.
Wix also uses TLS encryption to secure and protect online financial transactions. 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, something Wix will not allow. There are three subscription plans for SiteLock, starting at $1.94 a month. There’s also an extensive firewall put in place to secure their servers from various kinds of attacks. So, in the case of heavy flooding, HostGator’s servers are protected.
Backup and Restore
Unfortunately, though, HostGator doesn’t provide automatic backups. But a tool is recommended to users which is the Codeguard automatic backup tool. It isn’t free and costs about 2$ 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 three restores per month. The tool is also scalable, so users can upgrade to 5Gb space backups.
With Wix, you can duplicate your site at any time to create a manual backup. The duplicated site is, however, not automatically updated when you update your original site. The site history feature allows you to save every version of your site which you can easily restore at any point in time. Some components are not affected when you restore.
Wix wins Security: 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. Wix has any time backup and we don’t even have to worry about security, as professionals handle it. There is just no want HostGator wins security. The gator may be fast, but it’s clearly not safe, at least, not without having to spend extra.
Ease of Use
HostGator has the industry-standard cPanel, which is graphically based on icons, Wix does not. For people migrating from a web host that has cPanel, HostGator would be the right choice. But for newbies, Wix seems to be the way to go. First, we are established that Wix is an inclusive site builder, not a traditional web host, so it doesn’t have a control panel. Although it helps you host any site you build with it, it cannot host sites built elsewhere and it doesn’t even give you the hosting control. It has a dashboard where you can build your site and work on templates, typography, and general design, but we wouldn’t call it a control panel.
Actual Site Building
Both HostGator and Wix allow you to build apps. Both of them also adopt drag and drop features for fast building and curating, but the difference in interface and design is quite large. First, apart from drag and drop tools, HostGator allows you to do some coding, if you prefer that route, Wix does not allow this. HostGator’s official website builder is called the “Gator Website builder”, but we’ll just call it Gator. Wix, however, has a special platform called Wix code, created specially to meet the demands of developers that find its normal site-building to be limiting. Building a site through HostGator takes longer compared with the process when using Wix. Gator has templates that you can choose from, they are not as modern or as diverse as Wix templates. Wix allows you to build your website through 3 different methods, depending on the level of control you want.
ADI or artificial intelligence treats you with kid gloves and allows you to build websites with minimal effort. It simply takes you by the hand and walks you through the entire process. It only asks a few questions like:
What kind of business do you want to create a website for? Eg. photography business, business name, business location (which you can skip if your business is mobile), contact details, logo & social media profiles, preferred design style (note that you will be asked to select 1 of 6 suggested styles. You can change this style, later but not the template ), as well as the requirements of your website (blog, contact form, appointment setter, selling capability etc.)
After answering these questions, your website is created in the blink of an eye. A complete website with your logo and mock-ups, which means you don’t even have to pay graphic designers.
This basically creates a website and allows you to edit it to suit your needs. You are asked questions at every turn about what you want to change or leave. Typography, designs, templates, you can use your own images and change many in-page elements.
Wix is known for taking control and giving you convenience. But if you want total control, in which case, blank canvas to paint your own broad strokes, you can have it. Go all out.
Just try to play around with everything so you know which is best for you. It can be quite overwhelming, with over 500+ templates (more than Squarespace). You should also note that once you create your website, you can never change your template, making it all the more important to select absolutely what you love. In the Wix world, you can not redo.
Apps Integration, Installation and Market Place
Both web hosts allow you some level of integration. Wix has more integration options and it is also easier. HostGator supports a host of Content Management Systems and a host of other apps like Drupal, Joomla, and Magneto. What’s more, it ensures that users have access to these apps, plug-ins and even professional services, through the MOJO marketplace. And Wix has a marketplace of its own called Wix App Market. The marketplace is where you can hire and buy all sorts of products and services and makes your job easier. Wix App Market has over 250 apps co-created by Wix and third parties. Through its market, you will have access to photo galleries, booking forms, etc. Some of the most commonly used Wix apps are Wix Booking, Wix email marketing, Wix apps store, Wix apps photo gallery, Wix pro gallery, Wix apps blog. Any element you want on your website can be found on the market, and most are for free. The apps are easy to install and they are customizable as well as optimized for Mobile phones. For users who would like to install WordPress on their shared hosting plans, HostGator has one-click installation support that ensures that you can build a WordPress site at a go. Wix does not build any CMS for you, not even WordPress or a blog. Although, you can add them as add-ons to your Wix website.
Free Site Migration
Wix does not offer free site migration, and a case can be made that it does not need it. After all, you cannot host websites created elsewhere on Wix. HostGator offers a limited number of free site migrations on a number of plans. For example, depending on the Optimized WordPress plan opted for, users can be entitled to between 1-3 free site migrations. Users on Cloud or Shared hosting servers, however, are only entitled to a single site transfer. If you purchase a Reseller plan, you have access to about thirty total free site transfers, and if you purchase a Dedicated Server or VPS hosting plan, you get access to unlimited free site transfers. There is a catch, though; all sites can only be transferred on an “as is” basis, that is, copying an existing site to a new domain or changing the URL of an existing site is not covered by the free migration service.
Website builders like Squarespace have a way to store your data in one place, so you can just carry your load on the way out, not Wix though. Wix does not want to see you go, period.
HostGator is one of the most convenient web hosts for beginners, but convenience is the sole reason that Wix exists. Seeing as that is the reason we have Wix in the first place, it only makes sense that it excels when compared to a multipurpose web solution when it comes to ease and convenience.
Which web host helps you out when you are in a pickle? When you bite more than you can chew when you mistakenly drop the ball? The Gator? Or the Wix?
First off, we feel we should get this out of the way, Wix does not have chat support and we are disappointed. Our disappointed only deepened when we found that their support isn’t even available 24/7. So if a customer decides to call from Africa, he has to do some calculations using the time zone. When you do get a hold of their support though, they can meet your needs in more a couple of languages like English, Spanish and Portuguese. HostGator has all the support contact methods you can think of, but they have a slow response time, and they cannot boast of multiple language speaking personnel. Unlike Wix, HostGator is available 24/7.
Both Wix and HostGator have an expansive library of knowledge. Wix’s editor is very easy to understand, but if you get stuck, you can use the super helpful FAQ section. They have short tutorial videos and articles. And if you use their ADI, you won’t even need support.
It’s a tie: we have seen exceptional customer support in our reviews, check out SiteGround for example, but these two just don’t cut it. They are not terrible, but in a world where customer support is being proactive and offering help when you don’t seek it. We are forced to wonder if the two web hosts even consider customer support to be an investment, rather than a necessary evil.
Plans and Pricing
We will only be comparing the cheapest hosting plans (Shared Hosting), and e-commerce hosting. Since Wix does not offer reseller, VPS/Cloud, or dedicated hosting plans or pricing, all of which HostGator does.
Cheapest Hosting Plans
Wix has a free plan. Yes, completely free $0 plan. Of course, it’s features are limited and it shows a lot of ads, but you can create websites. It will also not do you the courtesy of giving you your own domain name. Look, it’s rock bottom, and it only gives out the bottom of the barrel. But, we believe you could use it to create your website first before signing up.
HostGator has no free plan, but it has super cheap plans. HostGator has three levels of Shared hosting plans which are the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan, and the Business plan.
The Basic plans
HostGator’s basic plan is the Hatchling plan which comes with a single domain, one-click installations, unlimited disk space, unlimited email accounts, unmetered bandwidth and subdomains, and a free SSL certificate, all at a price of $2.75 per month and renews at $10.95.
Medium Range plans
HostGator’s medium-range plan is the Baby plan and it comes with unlimited domains, a free domain name, plus all the features of the Hatchling plan. It costs a promotional price of $3.95 per month, but the same conditions as the Hatchling plan applies. The normal price per month is $11.95 and renewal costs $9.95.
High Range Plans
HostGator’s highest Shared hosting plan 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 (renewal is $14.95 per month).
Wix’s next plan is the Connect Domain at $5: It is the only plan that is cheap enough to be compared with GoDaddy’s business plan based on tier. It allows you to connect your personal domain with your Wix site. Your site will still show Wix ads, and this plan has not extended to some countries.
Wix has the combo plan at $13: Finally, a plan with no ads that comes with a free domain name for one year. It is suitable for smaller professional websites and it has bigger storage.
Next, Wix has the Unlimited at $17: this gives you up to 10GB space and has more capacity.
If we would use any of HostGator’s plans for e-commerce, it would be the Business plan. It provides a free dedicated SSL, free dedicated IP address, and lets us add a shopping cart. Although they would like to tell you that all of their plans are suitable for e-commerce, since you install third-party e-commerce software apps through all of them. But we would recommend the business plan.
Wix has the Business & eCommerce plan at $23, and it is our recommended Wix plan for creating an online store or using premium apps like Wix Bookings or Wix Hotels, Photo galleries, etc. Wix also has a VIP plan for bigger demands.
HostGator has a 45-days money-back guarantee, that’s longer than the industry standard of 30 days. Wix has only 14 days money-back guarantee and that’s a very short guarantee period compared to a lot of web hosts we have reviewed. If you are interested in money-back guarantee, you can check out our InMotion versus DreamHost comparison to see the two web hosts both 90 days and above money-back guarantee. Or even more intriguing is A2 Hosting’s anytime money-back guarantee as seen in our A2 Hosting versus SiteGround and Host Gator versus A2 Hosting comparisons.
The Gator snatches Pricing: Yes, Wix has a free plan, but it’s riddled with inconveniences, and you can’t really get much done. HostGator’s plans are more pocket-friendly when compared with Wix’s. When it comes to prices, the Gator is your go-to.
Features and Extras:
- Basekit Site Builder.
- Wix has the following Extras:
- $100 Google Adwords Credit.
- 4500 Website Templates to use.
- Lots of free templates to choose from.
- 500+ Professional and modern designs.
- Baby steps treatment with Artificial Intelligence (ADI).
- Easy to Use Drag & Drop Interface called WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).
HostGator Features plus Extras:
- Affordable plan.
- Windows hosting options.
- $100 in free advertising credits.
- Unlimited FTP and email accounts.
- Unlimited disk space and bandwidth.
- HostGator has only one database MySQL
- Better uptime and money-back guarantees.
- Support of multiple languages including Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, and Perl.
- Better performance with Opteron 6000 series CPU combined with DDR3 ECC RAM
HostGator vs. Wix – Our Pick
So, Wix versus HostGator? Let’s start with the faults in each web host’s stars: Both web hosts have customer support problems. Wix has slow speed but HostGator cannot hold up under heavy traffic. Most of Wix’s small plans are bombarded with ads as well as advertising logos. It also prevents you from changing your website template without losing your customization, once it’s set. Before we give our verdict, we would like to remind you that both web hosts are different. HostGator is like a construction supervisor, it has general knowledge about what makes a great building, and most times it can make sure everyone is working well to bring your vision to life. Wix is more like a plumber, that’s its area and no supervisor can know plumbing as much as the plumber. Having said that, judging from the ease of use, and the professional level of the websites built by both, we believe that Wix is the better web solution. Sure, HostGator offers more services and has cheaper prices, but Wix dominates any service that they both offer e.g. Site Building. But that’s like saying if they are both in the ring, Wix wins, but when HostGator alone is in the ring, Wix loses. We don’t think that makes HostGator the better host. Not by a long shot.