HostGator is a provider of web hosting and website-related services with a humble beginning: the company was founded in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University in 2002.
Since then, HostGator has become a global player in the web hosting arena, offering shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated hosting options.
When getting your website up and running, is HostGator the provider that's right for you? Read on to find out.
- 1 Domain Names
- 2 Web Hosting Options
- 3 Pricing and Billing
- 4 Summary
- 5 Your Review of HostGator
HostGator is a domain registrar, so if you're not quite 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
As someone who is looking to get started with a website, HostGator's shared hosting is a great way to get started. There are, however, two options from which you can choose when it comes to shared hosting. You can choose the more traditional option, or you can opt for the cloud-based option. Read on to find out more on how these two options are similar and how they are different (besides cost).
HostGator's traditional shared hosting plans come in three flavors, with prices starting at $3.95 per month.
The entry-level option includes support for a single domain name, unmetered bandwidth (so you don't have to worry about heavier traffic loads overwhelming the server on which your site is hosted), and access to a one-click installer that makes it easy to extend the feature set and functionality of your website (for example, you might add an image gallery, event calendar, or contact form).
The mid-range option is very similar to the entry-level plan, but instead of being limited to using just one domain name, you can support an unlimited number of domains.
The high-end plan, which builds on the mid-range option, includes support for unlimited domains, access to the one-click installer, unmetered bandwidth, a private SSL certificate, a dedicated IP address, and free voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone service.
Regardless of which option you choose, all HostGator shared hosting plans come with free access to the website builder, which allows you to drag-and-drop your way to a good-looking website in no time, a flexible, easy-to-use control panel to manage your website, unlimited subdomains, FTP accounts, and email inboxes, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
That's not all, however. If you have an existing website, HostGator offers migration services. You'll also get credits to use with Google Adwords and Bing Ads.
HostGator offers a cloud-based shared hosting option, which it boasts to be twice as fast, due to your site being hosted on a low-density server that features premium hardware and multiple caching layers. These plans also offer four times the resources of its less expensive traditional shared plans. If you decide that this option is right for you, there are three different plans from which you can choose:
- The entry-level plan includes support for a single domain, 2 GB of memory, and 2 CPU cores
- The mid-range plan includes support for an unlimited number of domains, 4 GB of memory, and 4 CPU cores
- The high-end plan includes support for an unlimited number of domains, 6 GB of memory, 6 CPU cores, a private SSL certificate, and a 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.
Finally, HostGator includes detailed usage statistics in its dashboard for cloud-based customers. You can get a high-level overview of usage trends, page download speed, uptime, global reach, and more.
If you're using the WordPress content management system to power your website, HostGator offers many hosting plans that cater specially to such websites. These options are shared plans, but their resource allocations are a bit different. WordPress-specific plans to be faster and come with resources that make it easy for you to manage and update your site.
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 options. These tend to be aimed at those with resource-intensive or highly-trafficked sites, and it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the host's options in this area before you need them.
Reseller hosting is ideal for those who plan on selling their own websites (for example, you might want to form your own web hosting company). There are three different options from which you can choose, each varying 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.
If you're hosting a resource-intensive website, a VPS plan might be right for you. There are three different plans from which you can choose, and when you make your decision, you're deciding 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, 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 servers from which you can choose. Furthermore, 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 option or the more performant SSD option.
Dedicated servers tend to be options geared toward those who are technically proficient, but HostGator offers both managed and semi-managed options.
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 setup, configuration, and management).
The managed option, however, means that HostGator does all of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your server up and running. You can get in and make changes yourself using the provided cPanel (if you have a Linux-based environment) or Plesk (if you have a Windows-based environment).
Technical Support and Customer Service
HostGator's technical support team can be reached 24/7 via its support portal, live chat, telephone, fax, and snail mail.
If you're looking for self-help resources, HostGator offers the following options:
- Video tutorials
- A peer support forum
- Reference pages
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 — those with contracts lasting 36 months get the largest discount and therefore pay the least amount of money on a month-to-month basis.
If you purchase either of the shared hosting plans, a reseller plan, or a VPS plan, HostGator offers a 45-day money back guarantee (less the fees for administrative and installation services and domain name purchases). Dedicated servers are non-refundable.
HostGator is a global provider of domain registration services and web hosting plans. Its full-featured shared plans are a great way to get started with a website inexpensively, and if you ever find yourself needing to upgrade, 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
Are you a current or past customer of HostGator? Would you recommend them? Please leave your comments below and let our visitors know what you think of HostGator's speed, features and customer service.