The company was founded in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University in 2002 but has since moved its headquarters to Austin and Houston, Texas.
Since its humble beginnings, HostGator has grown to become a global player in the web hosting arena by offering shared hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and dedicated hosting plans.
The most important question, though, is whether it's the right hosting provider for your unique purposes. In this HostGator review, we'll give you the info you need to make that decision.
HostGator is a domain registrar, so if you're not ready to purchase a web hosting package but you want to reserve the domain name of your choice, you can do so.
Web Hosting Options
HostGator's shared hosting can quickly get you started with a website. There are two options: traditional shared hosting or cloud hosting. We'll explain in detail how these two plan types compare in terms of features and costs.
Shared hosting is probably what most people have in mind when they think of web hosting plans: different websites sharing the same server resources.
HostGator has three shared hosting plans. Here's how they're different:
|Cost per month||$2.75||$3.95||$5.95|
The Hatchling plan is the entry-level option. It includes:
- Support for a single hosted website.
- Unmetered bandwidth and storage – You don't have to worry about heavier traffic loads overwhelming the server where your site is hosted.
- A one-click installer that makes it easy to extend the functionality of your website – For example, you might add an image gallery, an event calendar, or a contact form.
The mid-range Baby plan is similar to the Hatchling plan, but instead of being limited to using just one domain name, you can host an unlimited number of websites and subdomains.
The high-end plan, called the Business Plan, builds on the mid-range option.
It includes support for unlimited domains, access to the one-click installer, unmetered bandwidth, a private SSL certificate, and the option to get a dedicated IP address.
Features On All Shared Hosting Plans
Regardless of which option you choose, all HostGator shared hosting plans come with free access to their website builder.
Their proprietary builder allows you to drag-and-drop your way to a good-looking website in no time.
Shared plans also have a flexible, easy-to-use control panel to manage your website, unlimited subdomains, FTP accounts, and email inboxes, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
If you have an existing website, HostGator offers migration services. You'll also get credits to use with Google Adwords and Bing Ads.
HostGator's cloud-based shared hosting option runs twice as fast as shared hosting because your site is hosted on a low-density server that features premium hardware and multiple caching layers.
Cloud hosting plans also offer four times the resources of shared plans. If you decide that this option is right for you, there are three different plans from which you can choose:
|Hatchling Cloud||Baby Cloud||Business Cloud|
|Memory||2 GB||4 GB||6 GB|
|Extras||—||—||Private SSL certificate, dedicated IP address|
Regardless of which plan you choose, you'll get unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth.
One of the biggest perks of the cloud-based option is easy scalability. If you ever find yourself needing more resources, you can easily scale up with just a couple of clicks in your control panel.
You no longer have to worry about traffic spikes causing issues with your website.
HostGator includes detailed usage statistics in its dashboard for cloud-based customers. It lets you see a high-level overview of:
- Usage trends
- Page download speed
- Global reach
- Browser trends
- Geographical data
If you want to use the WordPress content management system (CMS) to power your website, HostGator offers many hosting plans that cater specially to such websites.
Although WordPress plans are in some ways similar to shared plans, their resource allocations are different. WordPress-specific plans are faster and come with more resources for you to manage and update your site.
|Cost per Month||$5.95||$7.95||$9.95|
|Automated Daily Backups||1 GB||2 GB||3 GB|
|Power vs. Shared Hosting||2x||2x||5x|
|Free Migration||1 site||2 sites||3 sites|
WordPress Plans Compared to Shared Hosting
If you're wondering whether HostGator WordPress hosting worth it, here are some factors to consider:
- Automated backups aren't offered on shared plans.
- If you have an existing site, you can get it migrated over to HostGator for free with a WordPress plan.
- If your site will be resource-heavy, it will load more quickly on a WordPress plan.
- You can start with a Shared hosting plan and upgrade to a WordPress plan later.
Compared to GoDaddy
As a point of comparison, GoDaddy offers WordPress plans that are similar to HostGator. GoDaddy's cheapest WordPress plan is $4.99 but it's higher tier plans cost nearly the same as HostGator's.
However, GoDaddy's WordPress plans offer a few more perks than HostGator's plans, including free themes and plugins, pre-built websites, and Free Microsoft Office 365 email.
High-End Web Hosting Options
While you're most likely going to opt for a shared hosting plan, especially if you're looking to get started in an economical way, HostGator does offer other plan types.
If you're hosting a resource-intensive website, a Virtual Private Server (or VPS) plan might be right for you.
There are three different plans from which to choose, depending on how much RAM, disk space, and bandwidth you might need, as well as how many CPU cores are necessary to ensure optimal performance.
VPS plans come with full root access, which means that you have total control over your hosting environment, including custom installation and configuration.
VPS options are more reliable and fully scalable options, but you do have to have the necessary technical knowledge to set up, configure, and manage them.
For maximum performance, look no further than a dedicated server plan, where all of the resources are devoted to serving your website to the internet.
As with all the other types of hosting, HostGator offers three different tiers from which you can choose. You can choose whether you want a Windows-based server or a Linux-based server, as well as whether you want the less expensive HDD storage option or the higher-performance SSD option.
Dedicated servers tend to be options geared toward those who are technically proficient, but HostGator offers both managed and semi-managed options.
Semi-Managed Dedicated Hosting
If you opt for a semi-managed environment, HostGator will assist you with monitoring the overall health of the server and the network and patching bugs and security issues. You are responsible for everything else related to server and website setup, configuration, and management.
Managed Dedicated Hosting
With managed hosting, HostGator does all of the heavy lifting to keep your server up and running. You can make changes yourself using the provided cPanel (Linux-based environment) or Plesk (Windows-based environment).
Reseller hosting is for those want to sell hosting packages on behalf of HostGator, but under their own company name. Think of reselling as having your own web hosting company.
There are three different reseller plans, based on the storage space and bandwidth allocations. All offer support for an unlimited number of domains, so there's no cap on the number of users you can host on your account.
No matter which hosting plan you choose, you can add features to your plan with HostGator's add-ons. These extras will incur additional fees to your plan, except where we've noted below.
- CodeGuard Site Backup & Restore – Add daily automated backups with 3 restores per month. All WordPress plans come with daily backups and VPS plans come with weekly backups.
- SiteLock – Add daily malware & vulnerability scans and bot prevention.
- G Suite – Get Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, and more.
- Domain Privacy – Masks your public domain registration to guard against identity theft.
Is HostGator Secure?
There are two aspects of security: (1) safeguarding transactions on the frontend your site and (2) protection for the backend of your website.
Your visitors will appreciate that HostGator includes a shared SSL certificate with all plans and a private certificate with the more expensive plans. HostGator supports PCI compliance, too, but you'll have to enable it yourself.
In HostGator's documentation, they say they protect their servers in a variety of ways, including firewalls, DDoS protection, and secure datacenters. They don't, however, offer a lot of specifics for these claims.
If you want to ensure more security for your website, you can buy the add-on the SiteLock security package, as mentioned above.
HostGator's technical support team can be reached 24/7 via its support portal, live chat, telephone, fax, and snail mail. All plans receive premium support.
Customer support is provided only in English. The only localized support they offer is for Chinese and Russian customers.
If you're looking for self-help resources, HostGator offers the following options:
- Video tutorials
- Peer support forum
- Extensive knowledgebase
For all plans except dedicated servers, HostGator offers a 45-day money back guarantee, which is one of the longest guarantee periods we've seen.
Your refund won't include your domain name registration or fees for any administrative services you've purchased. Dedicated servers are non-refundable.
Pricing and Billing
The price you pay on a monthly basis varies based on the type of hosting you choose, as well as the specific plan you purchase.
You can pay upfront for an extended contract and receive a discount off your monthly hosting fees.
Extended contracts are available in lengths of 3, 6, 12, 24, 36 months, with the discount you receive commensurate with the length of your contract. The more months you prepay, the bigger your discount. Month-to-month plans cost the most.
Is HostGator Better Than GoDaddy?
HostGator and GoDaddy are often compared with one another. Here's our objective view of the differences that might matter to you:
- HostGator's Hatchling plan is cheaper than GoDaddy's lowest tier plan. After that, the pricing difference is minimal.
- GoDaddy (and many other web hosting companies) provides your first year's domain registration for free. HostGator makes you pay for your domain upfront.
- HostGator's money back guarantee is for 45 days while GoDaddy's guarantee is only for 30 days.
- GoDaddy lets you get started with their website builder plan for free (no credit card required). HostGator doesn't give you access to their website builder until you've paid for a plan.
Get Our Discount
When you click any of the links to HostGator in this review, you'll automatically be eligible to get our pricing discount on their plans, thanks to our embedded coupon.
Another good reason for signing up for HostGator via one of our discount links is that we make a referral commission that helps us keep our site free for you to use.
HostGator is a global provider of domain registration services and web hosting plans. Its full-featured shared plans get your site online inexpensively.
If you need to upgrade later, HostGator offers options that allow you to do so without having to switch providers (unless, of course, you want to).
Not sure that HostGator is right for you? You can purchase a web hosting package, and if you decide within 45 days that you're not happy, you can get a full refund of all fees paid.
Your Review of HostGator
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