SiteGround and Hostgator are two of the most popular hosting companies, and we’re going to be comparing them to help you choose which one to trust with the very important decision of where to host your website. We’ll be looking at things like performance, how easy each one is to setup and use, and something else that’s very important… customer service!
Service and support, in the world of hosting, is crucial. There’s really no such thing as a good hosting company that also has terrible support, and most hosting companies with great support are great across the board. Amazing customer support is one trait that is really indicative of a solid company that you can trust to host your website.
SiteGround has been in the hosting game for a long time, and are considered one of the best. We’ve compared them to a handful of other hosting companies, and frankly they’re one of the consistently highest ranked hosts we’ve encountered, especially when it comes to quality shared hosting for a really fair price.
Their support is very helpful and fast, and it’s easy to get in touch with them when you need help the most.
SiteGround has several different tiers of hosting, from cloud hosting that starts at $80 per month, enterprise hosting that costs a lot more than that, and shared hosting starting at under $4 per month which is what we’re going to be focusing on mainly in this comparison.
Shared Hosting with SiteGround Plans
Here’s a quick look at what SiteGround has to offer for shared servers (Great for small businesses, bloggers, portfolios, etc…), which are the most affordable option and a perfect starting place for the vast majority of websites.
If you have more than one website, consider the GrowBig packages. It’s an excellent value, can handle a lot of visitors, and is a good starting point. You could also start with “StartUp” which allows for one single site, and with either package you can easily upgrade to GoGeek once your site gets more popular!
HostGator has also been around for a very long time, and has been one of the top hosting brands for nearly as long. They’ve had their hiccups over the years, but most hosts that have been around this long are bound to have a blemish or two on their records. The important thing is learning and improving. HostGator is a long-time competitor of SiteGround, so its only fitting for them to cross paths today…
HostGator also offers a variety of different hosting options beyond their shared hosting plans, including cloud hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers. Their VPS prices are a lot lower than SiteGround’s premium VPS packages, but the shared hosting prices are a lot more similar between both companies.
Shared Hosting with HostGator Plans
HostGator has branched out to offer more and more types of servers, but it was shared hosting that put them on the map. Here’s what they’re currently offering:
Once again, the most entry-level plan doesn’t support more than one website (domain), whereas the other plans do.
You’ll notice that SiteGround places limits on things where HostGator offers unlimited bandwidth. In reality, there’s no such thing as unlimited bandwidth, in fact bandwidth is a very hot issue when it comes to things like Net Neutrality, or even your cell phone data (which is using bandwidth). So, when a hosting company claims to have “unlimited” or “unmetered” bandwidth, what it really means is that it’s “unlimited/unmetered” unless you start using too much of it – at which point you’ll have to upgrade your plan and your website might even go down if it suddenly gets super popular.
You’re better off knowing exactly how many resources you’ve got, rather than being blind and never really knowing when you’re approaching the limit since the limit is unspecified. It’s a misleading way to market things. HostGator claims that the bandwidth is unmetered, which means that you aren’t charged based on your usage, but then they say: “For example, customers who are using 25% or more of system resources for longer than 90 seconds would be in violation of our Terms of Service.”
So it’s unmetered, but if you use too much, you’re in violation of the Terms of Service, which can result in HostGator being able to say “See ya!”, leaving you high and dry without a place to host your site. And that’s definitely not good, especially if The Rock or some other celebrity randomly shares your website and all of a sudden it’s down when you need it most because your hosting company was playing games.
This alone is a big plus in the SiteGround column, but let’s compare these hosts some more before making our final selection, maybe HostGator can redeem themselves?
SiteGround vs HostGator Performance
By the very nature of the way their plans are setup, we expect (and often see) superior website performance for sites that are hosting on SiteGround instead of HostGator.
We have no way of knowing exactly how many websites are on each server owned by each of these hosting companies, and ideally you want to be on servers with less sites hosting on them, so that your site gets a bigger chunk of the resources.
With HostGator’s unmetered storage and bandwidth, you don’t really know how many resources will be left for your site to perform perfectly, and it’s possible for big sites to come along and hog it all, and slow your site down. Not only that, sometimes people run malicious websites that can also slow down other sites on the same shared server. With SiteGround, once again, you have your own resources allotted to you. Most people won’t use anywhere near what they’ve been allotted, but the best part is that you won’t have a bunch of resource hogs using more than their share, either.
All in all, we believe this means SiteGround is better setup for superior performance. It’s possible for HostGator to outperform SiteGround on certain speed tests, and vice versa, as there are a lot of variables at play. Both hosts can be very well-optimized and work flawlessly with WordPress…
Ease of Use
Both of these companies have really fine-tuned the whole sign-up and set-up process, making it very simple. From choosing your domain name for your new site (or using one you already own), to choosing which software to run on it (WordPress is very popular and for good reason), to adding new content to your site, designing it, hosting emails so people can get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s all a breeze, and both companies have extensive documentation if you want to self-serve, or you can reach out to their customer support.
Which Host has Better Support?
This is a big category, and we won’t bury the lead: It goes to SiteGround.
We found them to be faster and more responsive, which means the world when your website is on the line. Being able to understand your issues, and being experienced enough to handle them right, can be the difference between losing everything in a catastrophic situation, or having your site saved and back online in the snap of a finger.
Granted, HostGator also has a large and experienced team, and we’re sure everyone on their support staff works hard to do a great job, but in a critical situation – we’d want SiteGround’s support staff in our corner.
Overall Winner: SiteGround
SiteGround takes the top prize this time around, there’s a more personal feel to them, and beyond that we simply prefer their service, their support, and the plans they offer. The whole package makes more sense, especially at roughly the same price as HostGator, we’re having a hard time thinking of a reason that anyone would go with HostGator instead of SiteGround.
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