HostGator vs. WordPress

“HostGator vs. WordPress, which host would come out on top?”

If this is something you’ve ever wondered, well today’s your lucky day. In this article the hosting providers will be going head to head, and we’ll be looking at the strong and weak parts of their service. We’ll be comparing them based in different metrics like performance, customer support and ease of use.

In the end, we’ll have a final winner backed up by the facts and results that we’ve collected.

What’s amazing is that you don’t even have to agree with us. The important thing is that you’ll have enough data to come to your own conclusion yourself.

But first, an overview.

Overview

When most people hear of WordPress, they think of the content management system. However, today, this isn’t about WordPress.org, but WordPress.com, an arm of WordPress that hosts sites. Both companies are owned by the same firm, and WordPress.com was founded in 2005. One interesting thing about WordPress.com is that bloggers can sign up for free and get an absolutely free subdomain to post their blogs. No other hosting provider does this.

HostGator is one of the biggest hosts on the internet with over a thousand employees and over one hundred million dollars in revenue. The company was founded 17 years ago by Brent Oxley and was purchased by Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2012. Unlike WordPress, HostGator provides a broader suite of hosting services and these include VPS hosting, shared hosting, dedicated hosting and reseller hosting services.

For the purposes of our comparison, we’ll be looking at the managed WordPress hosting infrastructure of both hosts.

And now, to our performance tests.

HostGator vs. WordPress: Performance Tests

We carried out tests on the speed and uptime of both hosts. Here was what we found out.

Uptime

To carry out our uptime tests, we bought a Business plan from WordPress and a Business plan from HostGator. Yes, WordPress and HostGator have “Business” plans. We guess you could say they both mean business. We’ll see exactly how much business they mean by their results, and here they are.

MonthHostGatorWordPress
September99.98%99.93%
October100%99.95%
November100%99.92%
December100%99.97%
January99.97%99.93%

Our uptime results show us one thing; WordPress isn’t quite good at keeping websites up. Our HostGator site performed well, as we recorded an average uptime of 99.99% which is about the highest average that any host can give you these days. That wasn’t so for our WordPress site, as we recorded a disappointing uptime of 99.94% – which is about the lowest we’ve recorded.

Uptime Guarantee

Uptime guarantees ensure that customers have a path to compensation if they record very low uptime. If you host your site with a company that doesn’t have an uptime guarantee, you may not be entitled to anything if you get atrocious uptime.

HostGator has a standard 99.9% uptime guarantee. If shared or reseller servers fall short of being up 99.9% of a month, customers will be entitled to a month of credit. It is important to note that, like all hosting providers, HostGator counts scheduled and unscheduled maintenance as downtime.

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t offer an uptime guarantee. This means that no matter how bad your uptime gets with them, you can only wring your hands, curse your luck, and proceed to do absolutely nothing.

Speed

HostGator has severs in Provo, Utah and Houston, Texas, so if the bulk of your traffic comes from the United States, you should expect good things in terms of speed. If you expect traffic from outside the United States, you’re covered too, as HostGator has free CDN from Cloudflare on every plan.

WordPress also has three data centres within the United States. Unfortunately, the host doesn’t come with free CDN.

Response Time Test

To test speed, we decided to look at Time To First Byte (TTFB) of both our Business plans. We tested from different locations, and here are our results.

LocationHostGatorWordPress
New York138ms390ms
Aberdeen419ms389ms
Bangladesh1.2 seconds2.3 seconds
London170ms450ms
Mumbai889ms1.6 seconds
Singapore681ms278ms
Vancouver691ms999ms
Berlin365ms986ms
Amsterdam719ms997ms
Barcelona251ms1.2 secs

HostGator was certainly the faster host, averaging a response time of about 756ms over our test period. WordPress was much slower, with an average response time of 976ms. That’s quite close to a second, and that is simply not good enough.

Load Impact Test

At this point, another speed test is starting to look like a formality, but we have to be sure that the speed we recorded isn’t a fluke.

We sent up to a hundred virtual users to our dummy sites to see exactly how fast the sites will respond under heavy traffic. For the most part, we were not surprised by our results. Here’s a screenshot

Clearly, as you can see, WordPress performs terribly under pressure, and HostGator performs way better (although not as great as other hosts like SiteGround. Talking about SiteGround, we have a great article for you if you like to know how well HostGator and SiteGround stack up).

HostGator vs. WordPress: Ease Of Use

The best hosts tend not to give you headaches and they often offer loads of freebies, an easy sign-up process, free backups, and additional services. Let’s see which host this applies to.

Signing Up.

Getting our account set up on WordPress.com was pretty easy. In fact, we were done with the whole process in about five minutes. That is super quick.

The same can not be said of HostGator as it took a while for our payment to be confirmed. It was over an hour before we were able to set up our account.

Interface

Like most people, we are generally happy when people do not attempt to reinvent the wheel. cPanel intuitive and is the best interface for hosting in our experience.

Sadly, WordPress doesn’t make use of cPanel. Instead, users have to make use of the “Calypso” control panel, a custom interface designed by WordPress. While we were not blown away by the interface, we had no problems with it. It is intuitive and even aesthetically pleasing to a limited extent.

HostGator, on the other hand, makes use of cPanel. Unsurprisingly, we found it easy to use, and controlling our account was quite easy too.

However, If we had the option to choose between Calypso and HostGator’s cPanel, we’d take cPanel without a second thought.

Free Site Migration

WordPress doesn’t come with a free site transfer, and they do not have a fixed price for it either. If you’d like a happiness engineer (yes, that is what WordPress engineers are called) to help you transfer your website, you will be billed separately.

Thankfully, HostGator isn’t like that. The host offers a free site migration service for new customers alone. On shared hosting servers, users get at least a free site transfer. On WordPress hosting plans, you can get up to three free site transfers, as it all depends on your plan.

On other packages like Reseller and VPS plans, customers can get as many as a hundred and fifty free site migrations. If you’d like to migrate your site, you must let HostGator know within thirty days of signing up. It is also important to note that websites will be transferred on an “as-is” basis. This means that HostGator will not make any updates on your database or make any changes before migrating the site.

Free Domains

Both HostGator and WordPress offer a free domain on all plans.

Backups

WordPress offers free daily automated backups on Business plans or higher. Sadly, other plans don’t have access to this.

On shared servers, HostGator runs backups once a week on a random day. The company doesn’t keep mirrored backups either. This means that only recent backups are available at any point in time. This service is free, but not guaranteed. What this means is that the service is offered on a courtesy basis –  HostGator isn’t required by the Service Level Agreement to actually help you backup your files.  However, managed WordPress plans come with free automated backups. These backups have a limit, and our plan’s backups were pegged at 3GB.

Website Builder

All WordPress plans come with a free website builder. We used the builder to set up our Business account and it was quite easy. We had no complaints. However, you can only host WordPress based sites on the Business plan, so that’s a limitation that we encountered. If you’d like to use a different content management system, you’d be better served buying a plan from HostGator.

Gator by HostGator is the rather dramatic name that HostGator’s website builder goes by. The company has a separate builder plan that comes with free hosting and costs just about $3.84 per month. Unfortunately, we were not able to test the builder during our tests because our testing plan was on a managed WordPress platform. However, we’ve used Gator by HostGator for some of our other projects and generally, as web builders go, Gator by HostGator is one of the best.

Staging Environments

Of all WordPress plans, the Business plan and the e-commerce plan gives users control over themes and plug-ins. That means that on the free plan and on lesser plans like the Premium and Personal plan, users cannot update themes or plugins. The Business plan comes with a custom plug-in that allows users to create a staging site.

Unfortunately, HostGator plans do not come with a free staging environment. If you want one you’ll have to create one yourself on a subdomain.

HostGator vs. WordPress: Customer Service

Hosting is quite technical, and if you don’t quite know your way around, you’ll need capable customer support infrastructure to make sure that your user experience is a good one. Unfortunately, not all hosts have this. We’ll be comparing the tests and weaknesses of WordPress and HostGator’s customer support infrastructure.

Customer Support Channels

HostGator has the regular support channels that we’ve seen among hosting providers. There are phone, live chat and ticketing channel.

Of these three, WordPress has only one which is the live chat channel. Other customer support channels offered by WordPress are support documentation (otherwise known as a knowledge base) and forum support. It is important to note that live chat is only available 24/7 on Mondays to Fridays.

Customer Support Test

Our first test was to check the average wait time of both hosts. We tried connecting to a happiness engineer at WordPress through the live chat panel, but we almost never connected. This was frustrating because we had to first fill a form where we stated our complaint. Normally, after filling the form, we are supposed to be immediately contacted by a customer support rep. However, that only happened 2 times during our entire testing period. The rest of the time we were contacted via mail. In terms of quality, the support that we got from WordPress was average at best.

HostGator’s customer support isn’t perfect, but it was way better than the one that we got from WordPress. First off, wait time never exceeded six minutes, and there were times that we only had to wait for a minute or so. The reps that we eventually connected to were cordial and tried their best to help us even though there were a lot of times where their best generally didn’t cut it. The same was obtainable with phone support as there was no great difference in quality.

Knowledge Base

Both HostGator and WordPress have knowledge bases that are choke-full of helpful tutorials and articles. They are easily arranged and each has a useful search feature that can help users find what they are looking for.

WordPress knowledge base was especially useful to us because we didn’t often get live support. So we had to look for solutions ourselves. Although to be fair, we had a lot of help from the users’ forum.

Customer Support Winner HostGator: HostGator has clearly better customer support infrastructure. With WordPress, we often had to find solutions to problems ourselves. That is certainly not the hallmark of great customer support.

HostGator vs. WordPress: Refund Policy

Before you get locked into a long and potentially wasteful contract with a hosting provider, you should know a thing or two about their refund policy, if there’s any. This is especially important if you’re being lured into paying for two or three years in advance.

Most hosting providers offer a standard thirty days money-back guarantee, but not HostGator. Instead of thirty days, the host offers remarks forty-five days money-back guarantee. However, this guarantee is only valid for hosting fees and not add-ons. It is also important to note that if you’ve received a free domain, the price of the domain will be deducted from the refund you’re supposed to get.

*Only annual HostGator plans come with a forty-five days money-back guarantee period.

Unlike HostGator, and like many other hosts, WordPress offers a basic thirty days money-back guarantee. Most of the same limitations that apply to HostGator’s guarantee applies to WordPress as well. The refund only applies to hosting services and not add-ons, and the price of a free domain received will be deducted from the refund.

HostGator vs. WordPress: Pricing

Now, we’ll take a look at which host offers the best value for money. In this pricing comparison, we’ll be looking at the managed WordPress plans of HostGator and the plans of WordPress.com.

Managed WordPress Hosting Comparison

WordPress has four paid plans which are the Personal, Premium, and Business. These three plans will be going up against HostGator’s Starter, Standard and Business plans. Before we continue, it is important to note that all WordPress plans come with a single site.

Starter vs. Personal plans

The Starter plan of HostGator comes with one site, a capacity for a hundred vista per month, 1GB of backups, a free SSL certificate and a free domain included. It also comes with unmetered storage and automatic malware removal. Users are also entitled to $100 of Google AdWords credit. The plan costs $5.95 per month and renews at $9.95.

This is a great deal. You get a powerful site that can get a hundred thousand visits per month, and you also get unmetered storage. All of this comes at a not so grand price of six dollars.

The Personal plan of WordPress comes with a free domain for a year, 6GB of storage, free SSL certificate, and Jetpack essential features. The plan costs $4 per month.

In terms of value for money, the Starter plan is certainly better than the Personal plan. This is because it comes with unmetered storage and better performance than the Personal plan. Even at this, the difference in price isn’t a lot. The Starter plan certainly comes out on top of this one.

WordPress PersonalHostGator Starter Plan
Websites11
SSD Storage6GBUnlimited
BandwidthUnlimited100.000 users/mo
SSL CertificateYesYes
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain PrivacyYes$14.95/year
SitebackupDailyDaily
Dedicated IPNo$4.00/mo
Starting from$4.00$5.95

Standard vs. Premium Plan

The Standard plan of HostGator comes with two sites, 200 thousand visits per month, a 100% free migration for up to two sites, 2GB of automated backup space, automatic malware removal, and unmetered storage space. It also comes with $100 in Google AdWords credit and also a free SSL certificate. The plan costs $7.95 per month and the plan renews at $15.95 after a three-year term.

For two hundred visits per month, the Standard plan comes with great value. Coupled with the fact that it comes with two websites and has unmetered storage, the Standard plan is great value for money. It’s like having two Starter plans, but for less than double the price.

The Premium plan of WordPress comes with 13GB of storage, a free SSL certificate, and Jetpack essential features. The plan costs $8 per month and is billed yearly.

This plan isn’t a plan that comes with a lot of value. At $8 per month, we expect the plan to come with way more than 13GB of storage. When one considers the fact that one can only host one site on the plan, a terrible picture begins to come into focus. Compared to the Standard plan, the Premium package falls terribly short. Even though HostGator’s plan is cheaper, it comes with unmetered storage and more sites than the Premium plan.

WordPress PremiumHostGator Standard Plan
Websites12
SSD Storage15GBUnlimited
BandwidthUnlimited200.000 users/mo
SSL CertificateYesYes
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain PrivacyYes$14.95/year
SitebackupDailyDaily
Dedicated IPNo$4.00/mo
Starting from$8.00$7.95

Business plan vs. Business plan

So, let’s get down to business.

The Business plan of HostGator comes with three websites, five hundred thousand monthly average visits, 3GB of automated backups, automatic malware removal, storage space, and a free SSL certificate. It also comes with $100 worth of Google AdWords per month. To purchase this plan, you’ll have to pay  HostGator $9.95 per month and $22.95 per month when you want to renew.

In terms of quality, the Business package of HostGator is great. It comes with three sites, has a capacity for five hundred thousand visits per month, and has unlimited storage. There’s no way it could be better. However, it is important to note that the renewal price isn’t the same. $22.95 is a lot of money to pay per month.

Now, let’s get to the other Business plan.

Out the gate, WordPress charges $25 per month for this plan so it is a lot more expensive than the Business plan of HostGator. The plan comes with 200GB of data, a free SSL certificate, Jetpack essential features, unlimited premium themes, Plugin installation, automated backups and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) and Database Access.

HostGator’s plan is by far less expensive than WordPress’s plan, but it could be argued that HostGator’s Business plan packs even more value. At $25, this Business plan of WordPress is way too expensive for comfort.

WordPress BusinessHostGator Business Plan
Websites13
SSD Storage200GBUnlimited
BandwidthUnlimited500.000 users/mo
SSL CertificateYesYes
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain PrivacyYes$14.95/year
SitebackupDailyDaily
Dedicated IPNo$4.00/mo
Starting from$25.00$9.95

HostGator vs. WordPress: Major Differences

  • HostGator performed way better than WordPress in our performance tests
  • HostGator has a forty-five-day money-back guarantee while WordPress has a thirty-day money-back guarantee
  • HostGator has different plans like VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting and shared server hosting while WordPress only has WordPress.org plans
  • HostGator has a free site transfer service, WordPress does not
  • HostGator’s live chat is available 24/7, while WordPress’s only available on Mondays to Friday.
  • HostGator makes use of cPanel, WordPress makes use of a custom panel
  • WordPress has a free website builder while HostGator has a custom-built paid site builder called Gator by HostGator
  • WordPress has free plans, HostGator doesn’t

HostGator won in virtually everything. Our performance tests told us that HostGator was better, our customer support tests told us the same, our pricing analysis told us the same, we found HostGator easier to use than WordPress and HostGator even managed to have a better money-back guarantee.

Author Avatar
Scott Whatley Contributor & Writer
About the Author
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"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." ― Robert Frost
As a programmer and a geek, Scott always had a passion for servers. This passion has eventually led him to a deep dive into the hosting world for the past few years. Now he shares all the accumulated knowledge with all of our readers through detailed reviews, comparisons, and guides. His only purpose is to help users make the right choice for their websites, with no exceptions.