HostGator vs. iPage – Deciding The Ultimate Hosting Provider
With over 15 years in the hosting business, it’s safe to say that both HostGator and iPage have plenty of experience under their respective belts. To the eyes of a layman, it may seem like these two companies offer very similar services, which is indeed valid to a certain extent. However, there are also quite a few differences between them that might not be immediately obvious.
If you’re not sure what those differences are, don’t worry because we’re going to talk about them in great detail here today. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive comparison between HostGator and iPage, as well as their services. In addition to talking about the hosting plans themselves, we’re also going to discuss some other aspects that might be of interest to you. This includes things such as pricing, performance, customer support, notable features, and more.
Knowing all of these factors isn’t absolutely essential when trying to decide between the two providers, but it does help. Does HostGator offer a better bang for your buck? Does iPage have a more reliable customer support team? We’re going to find out all of that and much more as we take a look at how these two providers stack up against each other.
Hosting Plans and Prices
It’s usually pretty easy to compare the hosting plans of two providers. These types of companies tend to offer multiple packages that go up in price based on how much they offer. The more you are willing to pay, the more features you are going to get. This tiered system was designed to provide customers with choice, though sometimes the tiers are not sufficiently different from one another to actually justify having multiple packages. That’s why some companies decided to forgo the tiered plans and went with a different system instead.
iPage is one of the few providers that doesn’t offer multiple plans to choose from. At least not when it comes to shared web hosting. The company has a one-size-fits-all approach for shared hosting, though there are a few customisation options available for those who need them. HostGator, on the other hand, offers three different packages. Each package is a bit more expensive than the last but also includes a couple more features to sweeten the deal.
In the case of iPage, the initial cost starts at $1.99 per month while the renewal price starts at $7.99. The cost of the shared hosting plan will ultimately depend on how much you’re willing to invest beforehand. Recurring monthly payments are not an option here so you’ll need to subscribe to one of the annual plans.
You can benefit from the absolute lowest price of $1.99 per month only when you subscribe to a 3-year plan. You'll need to pay for three years in advance to take advantage of the offer, but you do get a nice discount in the process. Similarly, 1-year and 2-year plans are also available, both of which will save you some money long-term but you’ll need to pay the full subscription upfront.
HostGator has a more traditional approach to shared hosting when compared to iPage. The company offers three plans – Hatchling, Baby, and Business – which start off at $2.75 per month and will cost $6.95 to renew. Just like with iPage, the low introductory price is only available to those who subscribe to one of the annual plans. However, HostGator also offers the option to pay via recurring monthly payments starting at $10.95 per month.
Both HostGator and iPage offer unlimited databases, one-click installers, and a free SSL certificate with their shared hosting plans. A couple of other standard features include free email addresses and unlimited disk space.
iPage’s hosting plan can support an unlimited number of domains. In the case of HostGator, the Baby and Premium hosting plans both allow unlimited domains, with Hatchling being able to support only a single domain. As far as HostGator’s highest tier is concerned, it also comes with a dedicated IP, free SEO tools, and a free upgrade to Positive SSL.
HostGator offers unmetered bandwidth with all of its plans while iPage includes scalable bandwidth. iPage offers a free domain name for one year to anyone who signs up for a new plan. HostGator doesn’t give away free domains, but the company does free domain privacy with all of its hosting plans.
Despite only having a single hosting plan, iPage’s offering is reasonably priced and can be enhanced with a number of optional paid tools and features for more functionality. A few notable examples include website backups, a WordPress optimisation bundle, security suite, and more.
The three plans offered by HostGator are not bad considering the price but having some extras never hurts. Luckily, the company has its own share of optional services you can add to the plan for an additional fee. A few examples include site backups, @domain emails, and SiteLock monitoring. SEO tools are also available for the two plans that don’t already include them from the get-go.
Like most hosting providers nowadays, HostGator and iPage both offer plans geared towards WordPress users. This time around, iPage has two separate packages to choose from – WP Starter and WP Essential. However, HostGator offers more choice in this department as well by offering three plans – Starter, Standard, and Business.
If you’re comfortable with a three-year commitment, HostGator’s WordPress plans start off at $5.95 per month and renew at $9.95. Otherwise, recurring prices fall between $14.95 and $27.95 per month. In addition to the three plans mentioned before, there are three other hidden packages customers can opt for. These aren’t showcased on the front page but can be selected during checkout. We’ll talk more about those in a minute.
iPage’s WordPress packages start off at $3.75 per month and renew for anywhere between $7.49 and $9.49 depending on the length of the plan. Interestingly enough, there are no discounts for subscribing to the annual plans for the first term. However, the renewal will cost less if you go with a long-term contract. Unlike the shared hosting plan, the WordPress package also gives you the option to pay via recurring monthly payments.
HostGator and iPage both include unmetered storage, unlimited @domain emails, and a free SSL certificate with their WordPress hosting plans. You can also expect cPanel and one-click installers.
HostGator offers support for a limited number of websites with any of its WordPress hosting plans. The Business plan, which is the most expensive one listed on the front page, can support up to three sites. That said, you can actually get support for up to 20 websites by choosing one of the hidden plans mentioned before. These do cost quite a bit more, though.
Both plans offered by iPage come with support for an unlimited number of websites. The company also offers a free domain registration for one year with any of its plans, which HostGator doesn’t.
As far as the differences between iPage’s Starter and Essential plans are concerned, there aren’t too many worth mentioning. The most expensive plan is just said to come with expert WordPress support, automatic malware removed, and SiteLock monitoring.
Meanwhile, there are some pretty significant differences between HostGator’s plans. In addition to supporting a certain number of websites, each plan has a recommended amount of visitors it can support per month. There’s also a cap on the automated daily backups you can expect, which ranges between 1 and 3 GB depending on the plan.
It’s a bit easier to do a direct HostGator vs iPage comparison in this department as both companies offer three tiers of VPS hosting. iPage’s naming scheme is pretty straightforward and goes a little something like this: Basic, Business, Optimum. Meanwhile, HostGator went with names that are indicative of the specs of its servers. Specifically, Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, and Snappy 8000.
Pricing at HostGator starts off at $29.95 and renews at $89.95, but you can get a better deal by choosing not to include the cPanel in the package. In that case, the minimum price sits at just $19.95 and the renewal will cost $79.95. The cPanel is optional for all three plans and costs $10 per month regardless of package.
iPage’s VPS hosting plans start off at $16.99 per month and renew for $24.99 which is quite cheap when compared to either HostGator or BlueHost. cPanel is included with each of the three plans, so there’s no need to worry about paying extra for that feature here. Similar to its other types of hosting, iPage offers a free domain name that’s available for all new clients who subscribe to one of the VPS plans.
The VPS plans for both HostGator and iPage are relatively similar to the shared ones in terms of features. As such, you can expect things like unlimited databases and @domain emails to be included regardless of tier. Unlike the other types of hosting mentioned earlier, subscribing to a more expensive VPS plan will not grant you access to additional features. Instead, in this case, you get increasingly better specs for your private server the more you are willing to pay.
The minimum specs you can expect by subscribing to HostGator’s VPS plans include 2 GB of RAM, a dual-core CPU, 120 GB of storage, and 1.5 TB of bandwidth. These specs are better than what iPage offers with its Basic plan but aren’t quite enough to beat the second tier.
The minimum specs you can expect from iPage include 1 GB of RAM, a single-core CPU, 40 GB of storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth. iPage’s Basic plan is inferior in pretty much every way when compared to HostGator’s first tier. However, the renewal cost at iPage is significantly lower and not just for the Basic plan but for the other two as well.
HostGator has a desirable VPS offer for new customers, but you will need to pay an arm and a leg if you ever decide to renew once the first term expires. Meanwhile, iPage charges a fair price for renewals, but you’ll probably want to go with one of the highest tiers because the basic plan doesn’t have much to offer in terms of specs.
Opting for a dedicated server is always the most reliable option for larger websites, but it’s also by far the most expensive one. HostGator offers three dedicated plans – Value, Power, and Enterprise – that will set you back anywhere between $118 and $148 per month at the bare minimum.
iPage also offers three packages – Startup, Professional, and Enterprise. The minimum cost for the first plan is $103.99 per month, so a bit cheaper than HostGator’s basic package. Meanwhile, the highest tier is a bit more expansive than HostGator’s equivalent and goes for a minimum of $167.99 per month.
In terms of common features, both HostGator and iPage include free dedicated IPs, unlimited databases, and @domain email addresses. HostGator includes unmetered bandwidth with all plans while iPage offers between 5 TB and 15 TB of bandwidth depending on tier. HostGator doesn’t add a free domain with its dedicated hosting plans while iPage does.
The minimum specs you can expect from HostGator include a quad-core CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of storage. Meanwhile, iPage’s cheapest dedicated server is about half as powerful and comes with a dual-core CPU, 4 GB of RAM, and 500 GB of storage.
The renewal situation is similar to what was discussed before, with HostGator offering an overall better value proposition for the first term but charging significantly more than iPage upon renewal. All of iPage’s dedicated servers are fully managed while HostGator gives customers the option of choosing between Semi-Managed and Managed servers. Choosing the Managed option costs an extra $10 per month regardless of plan.
Key features are by no means universal as different people expect different things from their hosting provider. That said, there are a few things that most webmaster would like to see included with all of their hosting plans. In this section, we’re going to discuss some of the most common features people expect and see if HostGator and iPage can deliver them.
Registering a domain with HostGator will set you back $12.95 per year, along with an additional $14.95 if you also want to add privacy protection on top. In some cases, though, the company offers privacy protection as a freebie with its hosting plans.
iPage provides a free 1-year domain registration with all its hosting plans but charges $9.99 for domain privacy. None of its plans includes free privacy protection, but the free 1-year domains can be seen as an advantage by many new customers.
Both iPage and HostGator’s website builder come with a drag-and-drop editor, website analytics, customizable templates, and a free SSL certificate. The companies also offer a free domain name regardless of which of the three available plans you choose.
Pricing for HostGator’s website builder starts off at $4.99 per month and can reach up to $12.49. The difference between the three available plans is fairly minimal, with the mid-tier including priority support while the highest tier comes with a few eCommerce tools.
iPage’s basic website builder is included for free with its hosting plans while the other two packages are priced at $6.99 and $15.99 per month, respectively. The mid-tier comes with a few extras that are not found in the basic package, including Google Analytics integration, HD video embedding, and revision history. Meanwhile, the highest tier includes everything found in the mid-tier, along with a few eCommerce tools.
Both HostGator and iPage offer an unlimited number of free MySQL databases with all of their shared, VPS, WordPress, and dedicated hosting plans.
iPage includes free @domain emails with all of its hosting plans, as well as its website builder. HostGator also includes them with its website builder and almost all of its hosting plans. WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting customers can expect them to be included for free. HostGator shared hosting customers also have access to @domain emails, but they have to acquire them separately via an optional service that costs $5 per month.
HostGator provides free automatic backups for all WordPress and dedicated hosting plans. Backups are available for shared hosting customers as well. However, they are considered an optional service that costs $2 per month. Meanwhile, all VPS hosting plans come with weekly off-site backups for free.
iPage offers website backups as an optional service for all of its hosting plans. The service has two packages to choose from – Basic starting at $0.96 per month and Pro starting at $1.77 per month. The basic version can only support one website and one database, and can only be used once per day. Meanwhile, the Pro plan can support an unlimited number of websites and databases, can be used up to 5 days per day, and grants users access to on-demand backups.
If you’re looking for HostGator’s marketplace features, you’re going to find them as part of its website builder. More specifically, the third tier of the builder known as eCommerce. The platform doesn’t include many features, but you do get the basic stuff like shipping & tax calculator, coupon codes, and inventory management.
Just like HostGator, iPage offers eCommerce tools and features as part of its website builder, most of which are only available as part of the third tier. Some of the features you can expect here include eCommerce shopping cart, inventory management, coupon codes, and PayPal integration.
Performance and Reliability
It can often be tempting to sign up with an individual provider based solely on how good its hosting plans are. That’s not necessarily always the best idea, though. Before making your final decision, you should also take into consideration a few other factors like the performance of its servers and the reliability of its services. After all, a cheap hosting plan that offers a ton of useful features will ultimately not be of much use if your site is continuously running slow or suffering from downtime issues.
With that in mind, in this section of our HostGator vs iPage comparison, we’re going to take a look at what you can expect from these two companies in terms of performance. To help with that, we’re going to break things down into two main categories – page loading speed and server uptime. These factors can vary from quarter-to-quarter, but the stats below should still give you a pretty good idea of how HostGator and iPage stack up against each other in this department.
HostGator tends to be faster than iPage, though its competitor today is definitely not a slowpoke either. Some of the most recent Pingdom speed tests show that HostGator takes on average a little over one second to load while iPage takes about 1.44 seconds. The situation was a lot more even late last year when HostGator loaded in 1.34 seconds while iPage took 1.44 seconds.
As mentioned, page loading speed tends to fluctuate, and there are a number of different factors that could lead to either an increase or decrease in speed. It’s worth noting that the tests mentioned above were conducted on the home pages of both HostGator and iPage. Needless to say, both companies use the best services at their disposal to host their own websites.
HostGator and iPage have both been doing fantastic this quarter in terms of uptime. Over the past three months, the two providers were able to maintain a very respectable uptime score of 99.98%. Despite both companies suffering a number of outages, clients only had to endure a couple of minutes of downtime during this period.
The good results we’ve seen this quarter are not unusual for these providers. Over the past 16 months, HostGator was able to maintain an identical uptime of 99.98% while iPage lagged just a bit behind with 99.97%. Taking into consideration the fact that most hosting providers promise an uptime of 99.99%, it’s safe to say that these companies came pretty close to the ideal goal.
The last section we want to touch upon in our HostGator vs iPage comparison is customer support. Here we’re going to discuss all the various channels you can use to contact their support teams. We’re also going to briefly mention the documentation you can expect to find should you wish to try fixing the problem yourself.
If you don’t have a whole lot of experience, it’s usually better to get in touch with support and let them help you out. But if you know what you’re doing, you can likely make good use of the provided documentation and take care of most issues yourself.
HostGator and iPage both offer several channels that you can use to contact them, including phone, live chat, and via their respective ticket systems. The two companies also have extensive knowledge bases, tutorials, and share screen tools. HostGator has a bit more to offer in this department, though, as the company provides a lot of video tutorials as well as helpful forums. HostGator also has a toll-free number that you can use, but only if you’re based in the US.
Although you can generally rely on both HostGator and iPage to provide quality customer support, some of their channels are better than others. HostGator is known for its excellent phone and live chat support, but the team in charge of the ticket system can be very slow at times. Meanwhile, iPage is reliable over the phone and does an excellent job at getting back to you pretty quick when you submit a ticket. However, its live chat agents seem to be less knowledgeable than most.
HostGator vs iPage – Our Pick
iPage can go neck-in-neck against HostGator and many other providers in terms of performance, customer support, and the overall quality of its services. Unfortunately, the company can’t hold a candle to many of its competitors in terms of variety.
This becomes painfully obvious when looking at iPage’s shared hosting offer. Despite being one of the most popular types of hosting out there, the company doesn’t offer multiple tiers to choose from. Admittedly, iPage’s shared hosting plan is not bad, and it’s one of the cheapest ones on the market, but having a couple more options would have helped.
HostGator has the standard three packages for most of its hosting plans, though some could argue that some of the packages are pretty redundant. The company tends to offer pretty good starting prices, but the costs get significantly higher once you renew, which isn’t the case with iPage. You do get what you pay for, though. Shared hosting aside, HostGator offers more powerful servers than iPage with its VPS and dedicated plans while including similar key features.
All in all, you really can’t go wrong with any of these two company, but we have to go with HostGator as the overall better hosting provider. iPage is a very solid choice thanks to its consistent prices and an identical suite of features across all its plans. Ultimately, though, if you’re looking for a company that offers excellent products aimed at specific types of customers, you’re probably better off signing up with HostGator.