HostGator Review – A HostGator Hosting Review by a UBC Student

What is HostGator?

Founded in 2002, HostGator is a web host with a wide range of hosting options designed to scale, so your plan easily grows along with your business. They have been awarded and recognized by PCMag, wpbeginner, and Hosting Advice as the best web hosting of 2016.

HostGator is most recognized for their shared VPS hosting plans designed for new and small businesses. These plans are simple, affordable, reliable, and come with HostGator’s award-winning 24/7/365 customer service. Shared VPS offers many of the same advantages of dedicated hosting, including greater control and advanced functionality, at a more affordable cost.

Why Use HostGator?

HostGator is a reliable web host, with great uptimes and award-winning service. They have a great range of affordable hosting options, from beginner to professional, and services that will grow along with your online business.

Unfortunately, despite a stellar reputation and recognition built over the past 17 years, recent months have seen a flood of negative feedback about HostGator. There are issues with their site loading times, averaging more than 1,000ms/page, and a lot of negative comments on review sites, even from people who have been using the service for years.

HostGator Features

Web hosting

HostGator features a great choice of hosting options, including shared hosting, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. Each hosting option has a choice of affordable plans with customizable features. Most plans include unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and traffic, and many include bonuses like a free domain for the first year. HostGator also offers free site migration.

WordPress hosting

Specialized WordPress hosting plans include automatic backups, scalability for traffic spikes, free SSL, CodeGuard, SiteLock, and other features.

Reseller hosting

HostGator reseller plans include all the tools you need, with flexibility, scalability, and free client management and billing software.

Application hosting

With HostGator, you can host a wide range of web applications. HostGator services run Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, so they are compatible with thousands of existing or custom applications. HostGator supports Drupal, Magento, and Joomla.

Website builder

The HostGator website builder is easy and intuitive to use. Start with hundreds of modern, attractive templates and then drag and drop to customize and make your site exactly the way you want. Website builder plans include hosting and a year of a domain name, along with a free SSL certificate, website analytics, and 24/7/365 support.

Domain registration

You can easily register, transfer, and manage domains on HostGator.

Professional services

HostGator offers professional web design services, with expert consulting on traffic building methods like SEO and PPC.

Help and support

HostGator is famous for their support, which includes an online help center, live chat with knowledgeable staff members, and phone support with most plans.

45-day money-back guarantee

If you aren’t happy in your first 45 days, you can request a refund from HostGator.

Uptime guarantee

If HostGator falls below 99.9% uptime, you can claim a credit for a free month of hosting.

HostGator Review

HostGator has a huge range of beginner-friendly plans at beginner-friendly prices, with easy and intuitive controls and a big range of great features.

In fact, they seem to have too many plans. With more than 10 core services, and each service having 3 different plans, it can be difficult to compare and contrast different plans and features to find the right one.

In addition, ancillary HostGator services have small additional costs (like CodeGuard, which costs $2/month but is included in some plans, or email, which costs $5/month but is included in some plans), which may or may not be included in different plans and packages. It’s hard to get a comprehensive view of all their plans and options and choose the right one for you.

In late 2018, HostGator was purchased by a company called Endurance International Group. EIG has purchased more than 80 small hosting companies over the past 10 years, and many have been absorbed into other EIG properties. Most of these companies also experience a decrease in reliability, uptime, and service once the company has been bought by EIG. According to recent reviews on TrustPilot and HostAdvice, along with numerous comments on other blog posts and forums, HostGator has become much less reliable a host than they used to be.

HostGator Pros

  • Great uptime stats backed up by an uptime guarantee
  • Huge range of hosting package options scaled to any size company or need
  • Lots of additional features and services
  • Award winning customer support is available 24/7/365
  • Easy and intuitive site builder tools
  • Free site migration

HostGator Cons

  • Plans are quoted as an extremely low monthly cost, provided you sign up for 36 months. If your terms are shorter, the prices rise, and prices more than double when the packages renew
  • Large number of different packages and prices, with small add-on features here and there, can add up to more money than you expect, and not all of those smaller fees are refundable under the guarantee
  • Recent reduction in reliability and service

HostGator Bottom Line

The practice of quoting an extremely low price for an initial purchase and then raising it over time is common in the hosting industry, so you can’t fault HostGator for doing it too. Their site does not make it easy to compare/contrast plans and features to compare prices, consider additional fees and services, and make an informed choice about which of their services is best for your needs.

Only one plan includes the website builder. Some hosting plans include e-commerce, and some don’t. Some include CodeGuard, SiteLock, and other applications; on some plans, they cost extra. It’s unnecessarily confusing, and makes the full HostGator service, with all the features you need, more expensive than they claim.

Given that the prices of HostGator aren’t as competitive as they may seem at first glance, and the recent eruption of negative feedback and complaints, it may be best to avoid HostGator for a while and see if their service delivery improves. After all, they do offer free migration, so if you change your mind in a year or two, you can always come back to them.