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Reviews and expert opinion HostGator

Mark Holden Mark Holden Web Hosting Expert

It may be one of the biggest hosting companies around, but HostGator’s services just aren’t as good as they should be. I was disappointed with the support I received, and unless you sign up for many years, the plans aren’t that affordable either. To get the most bang for your buck, take a look at Hostinger, Hostwinds, or Liquid Web instead. Before you make any final decisions, you should check out Hostinger’s cheap plans.

We hosted the same WordPress website on the most popular web hosting platforms and measured their performance
Click here to see our results >>

Overview

HostGator Must Be Doing Something Right. But Is It Right for You?

HostGator’s endless advertisement campaigns are definitely impressive, but marketers won’t give you an honest answer to the most important questions: Is this true quality hosting? Fast and reliable? And can it fit your specific needs?

hostgator-overview1

I personally had a great experience with HostGator in the early 2010s, but things change. Some corporate meddling and “business optimizations” are all it takes for a great company to take a turn for the worse.

I decided to see for myself how the company fares today and signed up for the basic shared web hosting plan. Other than shared hosting, HostGator also provides managed WordPress, VPS solutions, and dedicated servers. Everything is available in English.

Long story short – you can do better. HostGator isn’t really cheap, support has been outsourced to who knows where, and the features aren’t good enough. 

4.7

Features

hostgator_features

A Little Something for Everyone

Of course, HostGator offers all the basic features. You probably won’t be surprised (or particularly excited) to know there’s support for SSL certificates, automatic backups, SpamAssassin to keep your email protected, website backup and restore, and so on.

One nice thing is that all the plans come with the free HostGator Website Builder, with more than 100 mobile-responsive designs and a media library.

Also, there are free website migrations and domain transfers thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of HostGator’s advanced features.

Scalable Resources

The cPanel control panel offers one-click scalability. This means if you’re experiencing a peak or (hopefully not) a trough in your traffic levels, you can easily increase the capacity requirements with just a couple of clicks. Not only does this ensure your performance remains consistent — you only pay for the resources you need, when you need them.

hostgator-features1

Blazing Fast Servers

According to HostGator, thanks to “supercharged cloud architecture, low-density servers, CDN, and multiple caching layers”, your WordPress website should load up to 2.5 times faster. Faster than what, you ask? Well, they’re a bit unclear on that.

However, what is clear is that your content will be managed efficiently, with dynamic content requests processed quickly via cloud hosting services.

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Developer-Friendly Features (Beginners, Skip This Bit)

HostGator is definitely a beginner-friendly host, but if you’re by no means a beginner, don’t let that stop you. It also comes with all the standard advanced-level features e.g. MySQL databases with phpMyAdmin access and FTP accounts, as well as some value-added extras.

There’s support for PHP 5 and 7, Ruby on Rails, Perl, and Python, and SSH access and Cron job scheduling for optimal system management.

Generous Resource Allocations

As well as scalable resources, all the plans come with comprehensive resource quotas. As a HostGator customer, you’ll get unmetered bandwidth, unlimited subdomains, FTP Accounts, email accounts, and a minimum of 100 GB disk storage.

Simply put, you’re not going to run out of space in any of HostGator’s packages.

4.6

Ease of use

HostGator Makes Hosting Easy

HostGator’s features are designed to make your life easier. From account creation to account cancellation, the processes are uber beginner-friendly. Take advantage of the one-click installers, the managed WordPress hosting, and the website building tool, which can all help you get set up without any coding experience or technical background.

Creating an Account

Creating an account with HostGator is ridiculously easy, although the pages are also surprisingly slow to load.

There are only a few steps on the online signup form and your dashboard is set up for you. It’s all done entirely from the browser and you don’t even need to confirm your account via email to finish the process.

Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress

Largely due to cPanel, the process to connect a domain and install WordPress is easy as pie. It only took me a few minutes and I didn’t need any help from customer service.

However, if you’re a beginner or you just want to ask live chat for support while you’re doing it, be prepared to wait on hold for a long time.

Automatic Backups

The plans come with automatic weekly off-site backups. Okay, so it’s not the best backup policy I’ve ever seen (other hosts often include daily backup and restore). However, at checkout, you can upgrade to CodeGuard backup and restore for an additional monthly fee.

Application Hosting

HostGator plans are compatible with all the usual applications, such as WordPress, Joomla!, Magento, and Wiki. If that’s not enough for you, you can install more than 75 open-source scripts with the one-click installer.

It’s not the most premium one-click installer out there (some include 300 – 400 apps), but all the popular programs are included.

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cPanel Access

If you’re a newbie, you’ll be pleased to see cPanel is the control panel. Sure, more advanced users may prefer a customized in-house panel, but for beginners (or people who want things to just work), cPanel is a reliable, easy-to-use, and well-recognized option.

It’s from here you’ll access your website statistics, setup your password protected directories and custom error pages.

hostgator-ease-of-use2

4.8

Performance

Impressive Test Results

HostGator offers a solid, but fairly standard 99.9% uptime guarantee. While it’s not going to break any world records, it is good to see it’s backed by a full month’s credit in the event of excessive downtime.

Other third-party tests show uptime records well over 99.98%. However, anecdotal evidence from other customers often cites downtime and slow website load speeds as major issues with the service.

Never to take things on face value, I decided to run a Sucuri Page Load Test of my own. It’s important to know how fast your website is going to load, as we all know that Google recommends less than 2 seconds if you want your visitors to stick around.

As you’ll see from the screenshot, the overall performance is A+. You can’t ask for better than that. The website loaded in as little as 30 milliseconds for some locations, with the slowest locations at around 800 milliseconds. Whatever location you’re in, the page load speed is far below the 2-second rule.

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4.3

Support

Customer Service is Not HostGator’s Strong Suit

So far, this review has been extremely positive. But before you get your wallet out, take a minute to read about my experience with customer service. Arguably the most important feature of any business, with HostGator it feels like an afterthought.

Customer service is 24/7/365 by live chat and telephone, plus there’s a series of video tutorials and a customer forum. However, it only takes a couple of minutes of searching online to find customers complaining about the level of service rather vocally on Google.

hostgator-support1

I’d love to tell you my experience was at odds with online customer sentiment, but unfortunately, they were spot on. I tested three methods of customer service. Read on to see how they fared.

Sales Live Chat

Before making a purchase, I hopped on live chat to ask a basic question. All I wanted to know was the location of the servers. I was left on hold for ten minutes waiting for an agent to pick up. When they did, they were helpful and polite, answering my question in full, but ten minutes does seem excessive.

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Technical Support via Live Chat

When I was setting up WordPress, I wanted to install Cloudflare CDN. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear from the control panel whether or not this was an option.

First, in order to get technical support, you need to log in again (despite already being inside the control panel). Then, you are then at the mercy of the wait times. It was around noon on a weekday and I had to wait around twenty minutes for someone to pick up.

However, I still wasn’t out of the woods. The agent was not clear about what a CDN was, nor did they know if it was included. Again, I had to wait while they “looked into it”, which left me hanging around on live chat for another ten minutes or so.

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Customer Forum

After a disappointing experience with live chat, I headed over to the customer forum to see if this is a better way to get support. I submitted a post at around 1:00 PM on a Monday asking about customers experience with uptime, in the pre-sales thread.

A pop-up advised me the post would need to be approved by an admin before it was published. I waited for confirmation, but none came and my post was never approved, and as far as I’m aware, it was never published!

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4.5

Pricing

Pricing Breaks at 3-Year Commitment

HostGator displays its prices for three-year terms on the main product pages, so at first glance, the prices seem very cheap. However, if you’re looking for a month-to-month plan or any term less than one year, you’ll pay a much higher price.

There’s a generous 45-day money back guarantee, but you’ve got to watch out for the pricey (and optional) add-ons which are added to your cart by default.

When you’re ready to make a purchase, you can use any major credit card.

Cancellations & Refunds

Canceling your HostGator account is as easy as filling out an online contact form. The only issue is the multiple attempts to get you to speak to an agent. Depending on my mood, I’d say this is to get your feedback or to shamelessly convince you to stay. Either way, you can easily override it.

Click here to read about my experience in full.

Comparison

How does HostGator match up to the competition?

HostingerCompare4.9Compare
InterServerCompare4.8Compare
HostGatorCompare4.3Compare
BluehostCompare2.5Compare

HostGator REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

HostGator has lots of great aspects. The plans are feature-packed, catering to experts and beginners, although marginally more geared towards the latter. The prices are affordable (although you need to sign up for a long term to get the best prices)

That said, the support is slow and the upsells are opportunistic.

Overall, if you want an easy-to-use host with decent resource quotas, HostGator is a good bet, with the caveat of limited customer service.

Still not sure if this is the right web host for you? Check out our top recommended web hosts to learn more.

FAQ

Is HostGator easy to use?While HostGator offers the easy-to-use cPanel along with a mostly painless account creation process, support can be unresponsive and uninformed. Many of the hosts on our list of the best web hosting services for 2022 offer more helpful support services.Do all of HostGator’s plans include a free domain name?Every shared, WordPress, and cloud hosting plan includes a free domain name for the first year. To be eligible for the offer, you must sign up for an annual, biennial, or triennial payment plan.Which of HostGator’s shared hosting plans is best for a blog?HostGator’s Starter WordPress plan is amply optimized for WordPress, and should work just fine for most blog sites. Yet HostGator didn’t make our list of the best hosts for bloggers, all of which offer better features-performance combinations. I’d recommend checking these out before coming to a final decision.Is HostGator cheaper than Hostinger?While HostGator is certainly affordable, Hostinger manages to be far cheaper. And, as our Hostinger review revealed, it offers better performance.
You’ll find multiple budget providers represented – including Hostinger – among the latest deals on our coupon page.

Mark Holden Mark Holden
Mark is a full stack web developer specializing in HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, and PHP. When he’s not busy building websites or geeking out over the latest addition to his ever-growing gadget collection, he enjoys playing drums for his progressive rock band. He can also make a mean Spanish omelet.
1.8

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Service and Server are terrible!

I had bought the 3-year subscription plan more than 2 years ago. It was okay initially, then the service deteriorated and the server is SUPER SLOW! I regretted. 1. They terminated/canceled/suspended my account without prior notice. Only when I asked them why they told me it was a mistake. They thought my account was expired. No compensation to me! 2. They crashed my site and blamed me. I didn't even log in or update the site until I found out my site wasn't accessible, then they want to charge me money for recovering the site. 3. Site is loaded SUPER SLOW, more than 30 seconds. Your customers are not going to wait for that long. In conclusion, please stay away from HOSTGATOR.

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anonymus, Malaysia
November 09, 2020
1
Great start to my new blog hosting

As a webpro I was looking for a hosting provider that can help me host my own blog where I talk about meeting the hosting needs of clients.. My technical knowledge is something I harp on and wanted to find a partner that understood my needs when it came to creating content for users on a day on day basis. My core requirements from a brand were - great uptime, speed and pricing. I found that balance in HostGator as a brand and that's where I took it off.. been 2 years or more now and I have been enjoying the experience..If someone wants to start for hobby or even a small/micro business, Hostgator is my recommendation.

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Mark Gallaway, Canada
May 17, 2020
5
They are stealing moeny

Do not use the site and do not enter any of your personal information. Otherwise you will find out one year later, that their system kept your information and settled the payment method as an automatic and you will be charged for whatever package you were looking for. even though you thought you deleted your information there. Most importantly, they do not refund? Because they want so. Because they are desperate, hunting for every penny they can steal!

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Mariam Sulashvili, Georgia
July 08, 2019
1
Hostgator Review

I have been using them for a few years. I can honestly say I have no complaints. I never really faced any downtime that I noticed.

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Andrew, USA
October 09, 2017
4
Family sharingMulti User SharingExpert SupportBackupSmart syncPersonal SolutionBusiness SolutionTeams optionsOffline foldersFile history and recovery
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