A lot of people nowadays struggle when trying to pick a hosting provider because there are so many to choose from and most of them seem to be offering similar services. It gets even harder if you’re not an experienced webmaster and you’re still trying to figure out how to get your website up and running, let alone which hosting provider would best serve your particular needs. A good way of figuring out exactly what each company has to offer is to compare two of them against each other and see how they stack up. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today and we’re going to use HostGator vs InMotion as an example.
Both of these companies have been founded in the early 2000s and are old rivals in the web hosting market. HostGator and InMotion offer fairly similar services so choosing between them could be particularly tricky without proper research. That is why we’re going to take an in-depth look at what these two providers have to offer not just in terms of hosting plans but also in terms of performance, key features, and customer support. Some of these factors might be more important than others for certain people but they are all worth taking into consideration to some degree. With that in mind, let’s start off by taking a look at the hosting plans offered by HostGator and InMotion and how much they cost.
Hosting Plans and Pricing
It can be a bit confusing to figure out how much certain plans cost given than many providers have a tendency of listing their best prices in big bold letters to attract attention. That sounds great in theory, however, in order to benefit from the best prices you generally have to subscribe to an annual hosting plan and pay upfront for it. That’s something that you may or may not want to commit to right out of the gate depending on how long you want to stick with a particular provider.
If you’re just starting off and aren’t sure if your website or business will end up being successful, it’s generally a better idea to go with a recurring monthly plan at first even if you end up paying a bit more in the short term. That way, you can cancel at any time and save some money in the long run.
HostGator is a lot more aggressive when it comes to listing its absolute best offers but you’ll need to read the fine print to learn that you are required to pay three years in advance in order to take advantage of them. InMotion makes it easier to tell when its highlighted prices are for annual plans or monthly recurring plans. However, monthly prices aren’t always listed on the front page here either.
For the purposes of this comparison, we’re going to take a look at the base recurring monthly price for all plans offered by HostGator and InMotion when possible so that we can have a level playing field. However, there will be some instances when recurring monthly payments are not an option so we’ll need to look at annual plans in those particular scenarios.
HostGator offers three types of shared hosting plans – Hatchling, Baby, and Business – with each plan targeting a specific type of customer. For example, Hatchling is recommended for starter websites while Baby is geared more towards customers who want to create multiple small websites. Business is similar to Baby but includes a few extra features. All plans come with unmetered bandwidth, one-click installs, and a free SSL certificate. A few optional services like backups, SiteLock monitoring, @domain email addresses, and SEO tools are also available for an additional fee.
Hatchling: HostGator’s most basic shared hosting plan costs $10.95 per month and can only support a single domain.
Baby: The Baby plan will set you back just $1 more for a total of $11.95 per month. In return, you gain support for an unlimited number of websites with this plan but that’s pretty much it.
Business: Last but not least, the Business plan comes in at $16.95 per month and can support an unlimited number of domains, just like the Baby plan. In addition, this plan also offers free SEO tools, a free upgrade to the more trustworthy Positive SSL certificate, and a dedicated IP address.
InMotion also offers three different types of shared hosting plans – Launch, Power, and Pro. Now, it’s worth noting that the company lists these options under the Business Hosting section on its home page. Once you click on that section, though, you are redirected to a new page that makes it clear you’re looking at shared hosting plans. The Launch tier is most suitable for starter websites while the Power tier is marketed as the number one choice for small businesses. Meanwhile, the Pro plan is aimed at growing businesses and developers.
All three plans come with a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, storage, and emails, marketing tools, a free SSL certificate, and even a full security suite. As an added bonus, the plans also include one-click installers, website backups, and all the data is stored on SSD drives. InMotion’s offer is quite generous, however, there’s a little caveat to it. Only the Pro plan gives you the option to pay via monthly recurring payments. The other two tiers require you to subscribe to a 1-year or 2-year plan so you’ll need to pay quite a bit more upfront.
Launch: InMotion’s first shared hosting plan will set you back $7.46 per month ($89.52 upfront) for a 1-year plan or $6.39 per month ($153.36 upfront) for a 2-year plan. This first tier can support up to two websites right off the bat.
Power: The second tier is priced at $9.56 per month ($114.72 upfront) for a 1-year plan or $8.49 per month ($203.76 upfront) for a 2-year plan. This tier can support up to 6 websites and the performance is said to be two times better when compared to the Launch tier. Based on InMotion’s description, this basically means that the servers used by this plan have more resources to work with.
Pro: Finally, the third tier will set you back $14.71 per month ($176.52 upfront) for a 1-year plan, $15.80 per month ($94.80 upfront) for a 6-month plan, and there’s also the aforementioned recurring monthly payment option that costs $18.99 per month. This tier includes everything found in the previous one along with support for an unlimited number of websites, priority customer support, and even better servers that are said to deliver four times better performance when compared to the Launch tier.
HostGator offers three VPS hosting plans – Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, and Snappy 8000. The names may seem somewhat arbitrary but they just so happen to coincide with the amount of RAM included in each package. Each plan comes with a different server configuration but they all have a few key features in common. These include weekly off-site backups, 2 dedicated IP addresses, free emails, optional cPanel, and a secured VPS firewall.
- $89.05 ($79.05 without cPanel) Snappy 2000: 2 GB RAM + 2 CPU cores + 120 GB disk space + 1.5 TB bandwidth
- $129.95 ($119.95 without cPanel) Snappy 4000: 4 GB RAM + 2 CPU cores + 165 GB disk space + 2 TB bandwidth
- $159.95 ($149.95 without cPanel) Snappy 8000: 8 GB RAM + 4 CPU cores + 240 GB disk space + 3 TB bandwidth
InMotion offers two versions of VPS hosting – Managed and Cloud – each of which has three different tiers to choose from. The Cloud options are recommended for experienced system administrators and developers while the Managed options are better suited for webmasters looking for a hands-off approach to server management. Regardless of which version you choose, the specs will be identical for each of the three tiers and you can also look forward to automatic backups, between 3 and 5 dedicated IP addresses, and SSD storage. There are a few differences when it comes to the extra features, though. The Managed options also come with a free SSL certificate, cPanel, and a free domain with 6-month and 12-month plans while the Cloud options include full root access and the ability to choose your OS.
- $31.34 Cloud VPS-1000 ($41.64 Managed): 4 GB RAM + 75 GB storage + 4 TB bandwidth
- $62.54 Cloud VPS-2000 ($72.84 Managed): 6 GB RAM + 150 GB storage + 5 TB bandwidth
- $84.94 Cloud VPS-3000 ($95.24 Managed): 8 GB RAM + 260 GB storage + 6 TB bandwidth
HostGator offers three types of hosting plans designed specifically for WordPress websites. Every plan comes with a free SSL certificate, unlimited storage and @domain emails, SiteLock monitoring, and daily automatic backups. There’s also an extra feature that allows customers to add support for additional websites, although the company doesn’t really mention anything about it on the front page. This option can be accessed during checkout and lets you add support for up to 5, 10 or 20 websites for an additional fee.
- $14.95 Starter: 1 website + 1GB backups + support for up to 100K monthly visitors
- $20.95 Standard: 2 websites + 2GB backups + support for up to 200K monthly visitors
- $27.95 Business: 3 websites + 3GB backups + support for up to 500K monthly visitors
InMotion offers six types of hosting plans designed specifically for WordPress websites, that’s something unusual when compared to the other hosts such as HostGator or BlueHost. All plans come with a free domain, unlimited email addresses, and the BoldGrid plugin suite. Two of the lower tier plans also include the JetPack Personal plugin while the three highest tiers come with JetPack Professional. It’s worth noting that only the three most expensive tiers let you pay via recurring monthly payments, with the cheapest three only including 1-year and 2-year plans. The prices listed below are for the 1-year plans for the first three tiers and the recurring monthly cost for the last three. This should give you a better idea of what you can realistically expect to pay at InMotion each month without having to break the bank upfront.
- $8.29 ($99.48 upfront) WP-1000S: 1 website + 40 GB SSD storage + 20K monthly visitors
- $13.44 ($161.28 upfront) WP-2000S: 2 websites + 80 GB SSD storage + 50K monthly visitors
- $18.59 ($223.08 upfront) WP-3000S: 3 websites + 120 GB SSD storage + 125K monthly visitors
- $41.34 per month WP-4000S: 6 websites + 160 GB SSD storage + 300K monthly visitors
- $82.69 per month WP-5000S: 10 websites + 200 GB SSD storage + 600K monthly visitors
- $155.09 per month WP-6000S: 20 websites + 240 GB SSD storage + 1200K monthly visitors
HostGator offers three dedicated hosting plans along with the option to have the company manage the servers for you. The system works similar to the one discussed a bit earlier and you end up saving a few bucks if you choose to manage it yourself. The main difference here is that Managed users gain access to cPanel, can request off-site backups, data migration, and can opt for server optimization tools for an extra fee. Meanwhile, Semi-Managed users can choose between more operating systems and have to manage their own backups and data migration. All plans come with 3 dedicated IPs, unlimited databases, unmetered bandwidth, and the option to choose between SSD and HDD storage but only with the mid-tier plan.
- $179 ($189 Managed) Value: 4 core/ 8 thread CPU + 8 GB RAM + 1 TB HDD
- $239 ($249 Managed) Power: 8 core/ 16 thread CPU + 16 GB RAM + 2 TB HDD or 512 GB SSD
- $279 ($289 Managed) Enterprise: 8 core/ 16 thread CPU + 30 GB RAM + 1 TB SSD
InMotion has six dedicated hosting plans and offers customers the option of customizing their own servers by adding extra RAM, storage, and backup drives for an additional fee. The company also offers to manage your servers but in this case, it works like an optional subscription-based service that costs $27 per month. That said, InMotion does offer a couple of hours of free managed hosting with every plan. In addition, all plans include between 5 and 15 dedicated IPs (depending on the tier), SSL certificate, cPanel, unlimited emails, and the option to choose between SSD and HDD storage.
The prices listed down below are for the default server configurations but keep in mind that you can choose to customize them differently, though the final prices will likely differ. At the time of this writing, there’s a double RAM promotion available but we’re not going to take it into consideration and will instead only list the usual specs as it’s unclear how long the deal will last.
- $136.59 Essential: 4 core/ 4 thread CPU + 4 GB RAM + 500 GB SSD or 1 TB HDD
- $207.49 Advanced: 4 core/ 8 thread CPU + 8 GB RAM + 500 GB SSD or 2 TB HDD
- $279.89 Elite: 4 core/ 8 thread CPU + 16 GB RAM + 1 TB SSD or 4 TB HDD
- $403.99 CC-500: 6 core/ 12 thread CPU + 16 GB RAM + 1 TB SSD
- $498.49 CC-1000: 8 core/ 16 thread CPU + 32 GB RAM + 2 TB SSD
- $603.49 CC-2000: 16 core/ 32 thread CPU + 64 GB RAM + 3 TB SSD
In this section, we’re going to discuss a few of the key features every webmaster should take into consideration when signing up with a hosting provider. The full set of tools and features you may need can vary greatly from person to person and could differ from the ones we’re going to mention here. Some of these features have been briefly mentioned before but here we’re going to discuss them in a bit more detail. This section isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide but rather a quick summary of what you can expect from HostGator and InMotion in terms of essential key features.
Registering a new domain with HostGator will set you back $12.95 plus an extra $14.95 if you also want privacy protection for a grand total of $27.90 per year. InMotion offers domain registrations for $15.99 and charges $12.99 for privacy protection, bringing the grand total to $28.98 per year. That’s just a bit more expensive than HostGator, however, InMotion does offer a free domain with most of its 1-year and 2-year hosting plans, though this offer is only available for new customers. HostGator doesn’t offer free domains with any of its hosting plans but does offer them with its website builder.
HostGator offers a simple to use website builder that’s suitable for blogs, businesses, and even eCommerce platforms. Subscribing to any of the three available plans will grant you access to a drag-and-drop editor, customizable templates, mobile-friendly design, website analytics, and a free SSL certificate. Free domains are also available for those who subscribe to one of the monthly plans. The three available tiers are known as Starter, Premium, and eCommerce. The first plan costs $4.99 per month while the second one is priced at $6.49 and also includes priority support in addition to all the features and tools detailed earlier. Finally, the last tier goes for $12.49 per month and also includes basic eCommerce functionality.
InMotion also offers a website builder that’s suitable for pretty much any type of business or blog and comes with many of the tools and features offered by HostGator’s builder along with a few extras. This includes customizable templates, drag-and-drop editor, responsive design, SEO tools, free SSL certificate, unlimited email accounts, free backups, and a free domain with all annual plans. InMotion’s website builder is a more straightforward affair as there are no tiers to choose from, just a flat rate of $20 per month or $15 per month for those who opt for the 1-year or 2-year plans. The company also offers an additional service known as QuickStarter Website that will create a professional one-page website for you in 2 business days for a one-time fee of $99.
HostGator seems to offer an unlimited number of MySQL databases with all of its hosting plans regardless of tier. InMotion offers unlimited databases with its dedicated and VPS hosting plans, as well as the final tier of shared hosting. WordPress hosting customers can benefit from anywhere between 2 to 30 MySQL databases depending on tier.
Free @domain email accounts are included with most of the hosting plans offered by HostGator and InMotion regardless of tier. The only exception to this is HostGator’s shared hosting plans where although domain emails are included, they are not technically free. The company ads them by default as an additional service for anyone who subscribes to a shared hosting plan, however, this service actually costs an extra $5 per month in addition to the base price of the plan. The company does offer them for free with its VPS, dedicated, and WordPress plans, though, and both companies include free @domain emails as part of their website builder.
Daily automated backups at HostGator are similar to @domain emails for shared hosting customers in the sense that they are available as an optional service, which costs $2 a month. Daily backups are available for free to WordPress and dedicated hosting customers while those who subscribed to any of the VPS hosting plans can benefit from weekly off-site backups. InMotion includes daily automatic website backups for free with all its shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans. Meanwhile, WordPress hosting customers benefit from automatic offsite backups, a feature that is available for all tiers except the very first one.
HostGator offers eCommerce functionality via the final tier of its website builder, suitably named the eCommerce tier. Despite the name, however, there are only a few basic features to look forward to here, such as coupon integration, inventory management, and a shipping & tax calculator. InMotion offers eCommerce functionality via its shared and VPS hosting plans. All these plans come with Softaculous integration, which allows you to download various marketplace-focused apps like Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop or WooCommerce.
Performance and Reliability
This next section will be all about the performance and reliability you can expect from HostGator and InMotion. Or rather, their servers and the services powered by them. In order to make everything easy to understand at first glance, we’re going to break things down into two main sections – speed and uptime. These two factors, as well as many other related to the performance and reliability of servers, change over time and can vary depending on the services you’re subscribed to. For example, opting for a shared hosting plan means you’re going to share server space with other webmasters while dedicated plans allow you to have very powerful servers all to yourself. Keep these things in mind as you read the stats down below as some of the figures presented may not necessarily apply to everyone in the same way.
HostGator and InMotion are closely matched when it comes to page loading speed. A quick look at Down.com’s speed tests reveals that HostGator currently has a pretty impressive average speed of 2.72 seconds while InMotion is a bit slower but still offers a respectable average speed of 2.95 seconds. According to data gathered by WPDingo, the situation was somewhat reversed until recently. Between 2016 and 2018 InMotion was the faster provider with an overall average page loading speed of just 1.95 seconds while HostGator’s speed sat at 2.17 seconds. Historically, the average speeds of these two providers remained constant year-over-year, with slight fluctuations here and there.
Both providers usually do a very good job when it comes to keeping their servers online, though they’re not entirely even in this regard. HostGator currently has an average uptime of 99.97% while InMotion is just a little bit less reliable with an uptime of 99.61%. The situation was somewhat similar in the past but HostGator had a much bigger lead between 2016 and 2018. WPDingo’s data shows that during those years HostGator was able to maintain an overall average uptime score of 89.2% while InMotion was quite a bit behind with a score of just 80.6%. It’s clear that both providers had much better uptime results in 2019 when compared to previous years. This is in no small part thanks to the fact that neither HostGator nor InMotion suffered any major outages this year so far.
The final section we’re going to cover in this comparison is customer support. This is an often overlooked service that a lot of people tend to take for granted. That is, until something goes wrong. Anyone who has ever experienced serious issues with a website knows all too well how valuable it can be to have a team of professionals ready to assist you in a timely manner. Luckily, both HostGator and InMotion have experienced teams that tend to offer reliable support, however, some methods of contacting these companies are better than others.
HostGator Customer Support
HostGator’s support team can be contacted using a wide variety of methods, including phone, live chat, and via ticket. The company offers both local and international phone numbers and you can expect the call to be toll-free if you’re ringing them from the US. The company’s support portal also includes a large number of video tutorials, helpful forums, and even a tool called Glance that allows you to share your screen with support agents when you need to show them exactly what’s wrong.
While you can always count on HostGator’s live chat, the same cannot be said about its ticket system. The company had a bad reputation of taking days to respond in tickets in some instances a few years back. According to Down.com, the average response time for tickets used to be 53.4 hours on average. The team did get back to customers in as little as 30 minutes on occasion but it usually took them a lot more than that. Even if the situation has improved in recent times, you’re still better off contacting customer support via phone or live chat.
InMotion Customer Support
InMotion also offers plenty of options of contacting them, including phone, live chat, a ticket system, and even Skype. Skype calls are audio-only so you don’t have to worry about setting up a webcam or anything like that. InMotion’s support center also features plenty of tutorial videos, forums, guides, and a few other helpful tools and resources. A few examples include a blacklist checker, an email configuration tool, a visual domain routing tool, and more.
InMotion has all-around solid support response times across the board. While you can almost always expect providers to be fast with their live chat and phone support, the ticket system can be a bit hit or miss at times. Not here, though. InMotion is almost always consistent with their tickets and its support team usually only takes about an hour or so to reply. During busier periods, the response times can get as high as three hours, however, that’s still pretty solid when compared to a lot of other providers.
HostGator vs. InMotion – Our Pick
This is one of those situations when choosing one provider over the other mainly depends on the sort of hosting plan you’re looking to buy. InMotion is somewhat better in the shared and WordPress hosting departments if you don’t mind subscribing to annual plans and offers a very reasonable VPS hosting offer, unlike HostGator. On the other hand, HostGator offers recurring monthly payments for all of its plans, which makes it a less risky proposition should you ever decide to switch to a different provider.
Despite some strengths and weaknesses here and there, the two companies are overall pretty even when it comes to key features, performance, and customer support, though HostGator’s ticket system response time could clearly do with some improvements.
All in all, we have to go with InMotion as the overall better choice here even though we’re not big fans of forcing customers into yearly commitments with most of its hosting plans. However, if you can get past that issue or if you can afford to spend the money upfront, the company has a lot of good offers and more reliable customer support.