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HostGator Review: Is This Cheap Host Worth The Tradeoffs?

Reviewing

HostGator

Level Beginner
Category Cheap Hosting
Blogging Tips Score
Star Rating
Star Rating
4.25/5 HostGator Reviews

Our BloggingTips Breakdown

In this HostGator review, we look at several features to help determine whether or not the hosting platform is right for you. HostGator currently hosts more than 10 million domains, making it incredibly popular and reliable. The dashboard is easy to use even without web experience, and their 24/7 support helps users feel empowered. Plans start at $2.75 a month for a single site, $3.50 a month for unlimited sites, and $5.25 a month for businesses. Introductory plans have great discounts, or find savings through their affiliates—or become one yourself.
Overall
Star Rating
Star Rating
4.25 out of 5.0
Ease of Use
Star Rating
Star Rating
5 out of 5.0
Customer Service
Star Rating
Star Rating
5 out of 5.0
Value for the Money
Star Rating
Star Rating
5 out of 5.0
Features
Star Rating
Star Rating
2 out of 5.0

Cons

  • Monthly rates increase exponentially with renewal
  • Limited backup options unless you pay for add-ons
  • Not many advanced features considering how much you pay after renewal

Pros

  • Easy for beginner webmasters to set up and use
  • 99.9% uptime guaranteed
  • Get a free domain name, email address, and SSL with your subscription
  • 45-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like the service
  • 24/7 customer support for help with any issues you encounter
5 /5 User Reviews
Star Rating
Star Rating

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Contact us for Questions

If you plan to launch a new website or migrate to a new provider, HostGator is worth considering. But you need sufficient knowledge to decide if its web hosting packages suit your needs.

I’ve spent the last couple of days researching HostGator. I tested this web hosting service and examined its usability, performance, security, customer support, pricing, etc.

I created this in-depth HostGator review to help you decide if the company’s web hosting stack is up to the snuff.

An Overview of HostGator

HostGator is a web hosting service provider that offers four hosting solutions: shared, managed WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting, all at highly competitive rates.

HostGator’s shared hosting plan comes with unlimited email accounts, storage, and bandwidth, making it one of the most generous offerings in the industry.

HostGator’s 99.9 uptime guarantee has earned it a reputation for reliability, with over 2 million websites hosted on its platform. My experience with HostGator confirms its commitment to excellence, as its setup process was seamless, and its support team was readily available to help.

Ease of Use- Set up

Setting up an account with HostGator is a breeze. Pick your preferred plan, fill out a simple form, and voila! You’re ready to roll.

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Once logged in, you’ll land on your HostGator dashboard. Although not the most intuitive, HostGator cPanel is beginner-friendly.

It wears the traditional cPanel skin with a few tweaks and offers essential website and hosting management tools.

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Advanced features like creating email accounts, installing apps like WordPress, and managing your website’s files and databases are unavailable on this dashboard. You’ll launch cPanel to access them.

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Installing WordPress is easy. Simply hit the “Install WordPress” button in the dashboard and follow the prompts. You can also do it via cPanel.

The Core Feature I Tested in HostGator

Regardless of your hosting plan, HostGator’s main features include a 99.9% uptime guarantee, a free domain for a year, and free SSL certificates.

Other features include unlimited storage, unmetered bandwidth, free website transfers, and 24/7 live chat support.

These features sound impressive on paper, but the real test lies in how they perform for your website.

While claims like free SSL certificates and one-click installs are straightforward to verify, others like 99.9% uptime and unmetered bandwidth are abstract.

To verify these, I conducted performance tests on a HostGator-hosted site to provide concrete data on critical factors such as uptime, server response time, loading times, and overall reliability.

HostGator Server Response Time

For this test, I needed a website hosted on HostGator. Since I didn’t have any and didn’t want to use a dummy site, I visited HostGators to pick one of their customers’ sites. I chose an active website with content, text, images, and more.

For this test, I use Bitcatcha, a speed testing tool that works slightly differently from traditional testers for this test. Instead of loading up the whole website, it only checks how fast the server responds to requests from different geographic locations.

Here’s what I found out:

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The server response time was consistently below one second for requests initiated from all locations, reaching as low as one millisecond in Canada. With this result, sites on HostGator servers will load fast.

HostGator Speed Tests

In the test above, we only tested the server response time, ignoring the website’s content. Here, we’ll test how content will impact load time. I ran these tests using two tools.

The first tool I use is Google owned PageSpeed Insights. This tool accesses a webpage performance and speed against Core Web Vitals benchmarks on a scale of 0-100.

Here are the results:

  • Performance score: 97
  • First Contentful Paint: 0.8 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 1.0 s
  • Total Blocking Time: 20 ms

The results show that HostGator servers can deliver excellent load time to users.

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Next, I enter the test site URL into Pingdom and test from San Fransisco, USA.

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According to Pingdom’s website speed test, our test site loads in under a second (524 milliseconds) when accessed from a server located in San Fransisco.

This speed places it ahead of 90% of all tested websites.

HostGator Uptime Guarantee

Hostgator promises its users a 99.90% uptime guarantee, and it’s been living up to that.

When I checked HostGator’s uptime history, I found that throughout 2023, it averaged 99.99% uptime, slightly more than what it promised.

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This means that websites hosted on HostGator will only experience a downtime of 5 minutes in 365 days instead of the 8-9 hours expected downtime from its 99.90 guarantee.

If HostGator fails to meet its uptime promise, it compensates customers with a month of credit towards their hosting package.

Be aware that this reward isn’t automatic. You must open a support ticket to request it, and it must be within 30 days of the downtime event.

HostGator Security

Regarding securing your site, HostGator offers enhanced security features with all its plans. Each plan includes a free SSL certificate.

But this may vary may vary by hosting plan. For example, the Hatchling and Baby plans include free SSL certificates, while the Business plan offers a free Positive SSL option as an upgrade.

There’s also free Cloudflare CDN caching, which protects against malware and attacks. You can also purchase optional security add-ons like SiteLock for $5.99 monthly.

This service continuously scans your website for malware and automatically removes any threats detected.

HostGator Support

Hostgator offers round-the-clock customer service. You can contact the support team 24/7 via phone, live chat, and email ticketing.

The best part is that these channels are available for users on all plans.

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You’ll see the support portal inside your dashboard. To request urgent assistance, you should use the live chat. I tried it and was joined by an agent in less than 2 minutes.

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The ticketing option is ideal for technical and more severe issues. A HostGator rep will respond within 48 hours when you submit a support ticket.

I checked out HostGator customers’ reviews to see how helpful they find this service. Most reviews show that HostGator support reps do well in solving general issues but often struggle with more technical issues.

That means you might have to wait longer to get specialist assistance.

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HostGator also offers resources for self-help and learning, including a comprehensive knowledge base and a library of video tutorials.

The only issue I noticed with this is that these libraries can’t help you solve critical problems, just routine ones.

Where I Think HostGator Could Improve

Like any online service, HostGator has some areas to improve on. First, the company can be more transparent about its renewal plan.

While other providers make it explicit on their pricing page, you won’t see HostGator renewal fees until you are at checkout.

The renewal fee is not only written in hard-to-read fine print, but it’s also significantly higher.

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For instance, the Hatchling Plan for shared hosting costs only $2.75/month ($99 for a 3-year commitment), but sadly, it renews at $9.99/month ($359.64 for another 3-year commitment) without any additional features. That’s over 200% increase.

Another thing not made obvious is the refund policy limitations. When you request a refund, HostGator will charge you for the free domain name given upon sign-up. You may also be charged for other add-ons.

So, never expect a full refund.

Also, not all HostGator plans include essential features, like daily automated backups which are a standard offering with other providers like Hostinger and Kinsta. Unlike these competitors,

HostGator requires additional payment for this service.

How Much Does HostGator Cost?

All HostGator hosting services offer fantastic entry-level pricing.

The most affordable is the shared hosting plan, which starts at $2.75 for the Hatchling Plan on a 36-month commitment. The HostGator Managed WordPress hosting plan starts at $3.5 per month.

VPS and dedicated server hosting are HostGator’s most expansive plans, starting at $36.99 and $91.98 per month, respectively.

When I compared this pricing with other providers, HostGator is one of the most affordable on the market.

Does HostGator Offer Discounts?

HostGator offers new customers up to 70% off all its hosting plans. However, you won’t get discounts for its one-month and six-month shared hosting plans.

Its one-year and three-year plans offer 60% to 73% discounts, making longer-term commitments more cost-effective for users.

As of the time of writing this review, HostGator currently offers up to 77% off its WordPress hosting.

The company also offers seasonal promotions such as New Year and Holiday discounts.

Is HostGator Worth The Cost?

Whether HostGator is worth it depends on your specific needs and priorities.

HostGator’s competitive pricing and variety of services make it a popular choice for website owners. Its entry-level pricing is attractive, especially during promotional periods, and it offers various hosting types to suit different website requirements.

Some users have reported mixed experiences with HostGator’s customer support and uptime reliability.

While it may be suitable for personal websites, blogs, or small businesses, larger enterprises or those with high traffic volumes might benefit from exploring other hosting providers known for more robust performance and support services.

Alternatives to HostGator

If you’re considering alternatives to HostGator for your web hosting needs, here are three noteworthy options: Bluehost, SiteGround, and Namecheap.

Each provider offers its own set of features and advantages. Let’s see how they compare.

SiteGround

SiteGround stands out for its exceptional website loading speed and performance, achieved through features like SSD storage and Google Cloud infrastructure.

This provider offers automatic WordPress updates and caching, which can enhance website performance without the need for additional plugins.

 While slightly pricier than HostGator, with shared hosting plans starting at around $3.99 monthly, SiteGround is an excellent choice for users prioritizing speed and performance, particularly for WordPress websites.

Bluehost

Bluehost, a well-established alternative to HostGator, is renowned for its user-friendly interface and beginner-oriented features.

Their shared hosting plans, starting around $2.95 per month, offer a comparable pricing structure to HostGator.

Bluehost provides a free domain name and SSL certificate for the first year. It’s an attractive option for those new to website creation.

Namecheap

Namecheap offers shared hosting plans starting at under $2 per month, making it an appealing alternative for cost-conscious users.

Like HostGator, Namecheap provides free SSL certificates and email accounts, maintaining a good balance of price and features.

You can switch server locations with Namecheap, which has data centres in the USA, the United Kingdom, and Europe. On the other hand, HostGator servers are only in the United States.

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