2017 HostGator Reviews: Our Expert Rating (4.8/5.0 Stars)
In the last 14 years, we have seen HostGator transition from being a mere player in the world of web hosting to the biggest and most popular web hosting provider on the market right now. Since its inception in 2002 in Boca Raton, Florida, the company has been consistent in their provision of outstanding shared, virtual private server (VPS), Cloud, WordPress, reseller, and dedicated server hosting for its users.
Brent Oakley, the founder of HostGator, saw the opportunity to increase sales by getting into unlimited web hosting services. It wasn’t long before the company registered an increase in sales by over 30% and at the same time gave other web hosting service providers, offering the same web hosting service, a run for their money.
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2007 was the year HostGator started to experience massive growth which led to it expanding into other areas and setting up new data centers. HostGator currently has data centers in the United States and Brazil. Overall, the uptime performance and loading speeds are phenomenal, and for the user looking for a mix of quality and affordability, your search ends here.
HostGator now services over 9 million domains and counting with thousands of customers. Having over 75% of its subscribers renewing their subscription every year, the popularity and success of HostGator just keeps increasing as more and more users sign up, and our detailed HostGator review tells you why.
What is Web Hosting?
Simply put, web hosting is the ability to provide storage space and access to websites for different companies. The business can post their website on the internet, and web hosting companies offer shared web hosting, dedicated web hosting, and business web hosting services.
When you are looking for the best web host, you should find the top web hosting company that provides a focus on reliability, excellent performance, and an overall good reputation when it comes to their service, customer support, ease of control panel use, and unlimited bandwidth.
HostGator Customer Support
HostGator boasts of good service and HostGator support, excellent uptimes, secure transfer service, and Quick Install if you do not want to transfer your website manually. HostGator support teams will transfer the website for you in just a couple of hours. If you don’t already have a website, HostGator provides an easy video tutorial on how to install WordPress quickly.
There are several ways you can contact HostGator customer support including a live chat option, phone and fax support, traditional mailing methods, and contact form submissions on their website. HostGator’s live chat, and other customer and technical support options are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred and sixty-five days a year. The HostGator live chat option is quick and easy to use. Simply go to the HostGator website and click the box that says, “Start Chat Now.” You will immediately be transferred to a member of HostGator Support, and they will answer any questions you may have and offer any assistance you need concerning any web hosting services.
HostGator offers top web hosting plans with unlimited features, with the exception of their Hatchling Plan. The Hatchling Plan caps your domain names at just one. On the Baby and Business plans through HostGator, you are allowed an unlimited number of domains and websites with unlimited bandwidth.
The cPanel is what runs the server’s backend. The cPanel is where you login when you are ready to install a website. cPanel is a type of open-source software and provides several opportunities to get help on the internet, in addition to HostGator customer support.
HostGator Web Hosting offers many hosting options including Web Hosting, Cloud Hosting, WordPress Hosting, Reseller Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, Application Hosting, Windows Hosting, and Website Builders.
HostGator can register, transfer, and manage domains and offers a fantastic customer support and technical support portal to help with pricing, problems, or any questions you may have regarding their array of web hosting services.
- Features 4.5/5.0
- Reliability 4.0/5.0
- Ease of Use 4.5/5.0
- Pricing 4.5/5.0
- Customer Support 4.0/5.0
HostGator Web Hosting Review
With HostGator, you are never at a loss of a server hosting plan to suit your needs. It is a great option for both the amateur and the professional, and every plan is geared towards helping your website succeed at meeting its target. With 99.99% guaranteed uptimes and qualified customer and technical support, users can run their businesses and maintain a consistent online presence without worrying about load times and downtimes.
Every plan that HostGator offers is full of practical features making it difficult to pinpoint one that surpasses the other. The shared plan acts as a huge stepping stone platform for the other plans. As a beginner, that’s your best bet to succeed in hosting your website. HostGator has built a reputation around three things: impeccable server uptime, fast and reliable hosting services, and customer-centric plans.
Pricing has been done accordingly, and if you are looking for a decent mix of affordability and quality, their hosting plans will exceed your expectations. Finding your way around HostGator hosting won’t be a headache for intermediate to advanced users, but as a beginner, you are likely to encounter a few challenges especially if you look to installing your WordPress site on their servers. Complexity, as you will get to see later in our review, mainly touches on WordPress hosting.
Customer support is also an area they have recorded remarkable feedback as seen in the dozens of HostGator reviews by some current users but still, there are those who insist more should be done to refine it.
HostGator’s uptime guarantee is clearly stipulated in their ToS clause 15. As a user on the shared or reseller server you are guaranteed an uptime of 99.99% and should you experience a downtime that falls short of that, you may receive one month’s credit on your account. Of course, your claim must be justified, and specific criteria must be met for you to qualify for the compensation.
In addition, this is at the discretion of the company. With such confidence in their services, that clearly shows the commitment the company has towards keeping their uptime guarantee consistent all the time. For the customer, this means a server that runs like clockwork. So far HostGator has been able to fulfill its 99.99% uptime guarantee perfectly.
No doubt there’s a need to protect the environment, and for this reason, the company powers its equipment using wind energy. In fact, the majority the company’s operations are powered by renewable wind energy. As a certified green web hosting provider, this means that HostGator restores back to the electrical power grid 1.3 units of clean energy for every unit it uses.
After first going green at the office level, the company still felt its carbon emissions were very high. They now have all their shared and reseller servers on wind power. They have even bought certified RECs representing 130% of the electricity used to power and cool each of its servers. It is reassuring to users, especially those who are green energy focused, that the energy that powers their servers is not from a coal plant but a wind farm.
Ease of Use
Are you a beginner? Consider yourself in the best hands when using HostGator. It’s not just the interface that is easy to work with; they also offer countless tutorials to help you maneuver around the settings and configurations with ease.
In addition, they feature their frequently asked questions accompanied with detailed explanations to help you further. They are also one of the few companies that offers both Windows and Linux based plans; with Windows, you are using the most dominant operating system in the market and can find applications to support your requirement. With Linux, you have access to open source technology that has distributions freely available to you e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, and Mint.
While beginners find the services of HostGator well suited to their needs, this web host company also targets the semi-technical users. Offering SSH, root access, as well as programming languages like Ruby, Python, Perl among others the site, ensures the advanced user is well taken care of and managed.
HostGator has provided consistent and reliable web hosting services, despite incidences that could have significantly impacted its performance over the years. A number of major outages may have put a dent in its clean bill of uptimes. However, the site sufficiently recovers only to continue providing outstanding services.
In fact, since the last major outage in 2014, the site came back stronger hitting consistent uptimes of 100% until late 2016 when both HostGator and BlueHost experienced an outage simultaneously. HostGator support, however, professionally alerted their customers of the crisis as they went ahead to handle it with a statement explaining the issues they were experiencing with network flapping and outlining their systematic isolation of the problem without further worsening the situation. Eventually, they restored services within hours using their best data team.
Compared with its competitors, even within the EIG family, HostGator comes out on top regarding price. For the quality of web hosting you receive, the amount you will pay is just a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere for similar features. And bear in mind this includes inviting features such as unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, unlimited domains, and so forth (for the introductory plan). While other web hosts may provide better occasional promos, factors like fewer features or higher prices, in the long run, cannot compete with HostGator’s offering.
HostGator offers often include a default discount of up to 20% off the first year, but there are special links and codes (click here for mine) where you could potentially find savings of up to 45%. They provide monthly pricing for their web host services without the obligation of a twelve-month plan.
45 Day Money Back Guarantee
While most companies will only offer a 30-day money back guarantee, HostGator offers an additional 15 days to ensure you have ample time to sample what they are offering. It is, in large part, a show of faith. It allows the user to test out their services to their satisfaction before they can lock down a year to three years of services. Moreover, there are no gimmicks during this “trial” period. What you see is what you get. The client is therefore assured of what they are getting into before they settle for HostGator.
Although you get tutorials and professional customer support when stuck, the site does little to make the process easier for its users, especially those that use WordPress hosting. The fact that not all its features are intuitive is a huge drawback for the site. Much as this is to be expected with a shared package on any web hosting site, it still doesn’t sit well with some users. But if you are among the many WordPress users facing challenges installing their site on HostGator, this video will be of much help to you:
While the customer base of HostGator is happy with the site’s web hosting abilities, they can only describe the customer service as decent. For a company of this magnitude, this does not reflect well. It’s important to state at this point that neither the knowledge, professionalism nor friendliness of the staff is in question. However, the time lapse before you can get someone on the line or be put on hold once you do is what has some users ranting about the quality of customer support that is provided by this web host service.
High Cost of In-House Domains and Dedicated IP
With HostGator, you fork out almost 50 dollars a year for a new domain, WhoIS protection, and a dedicated IP. The domain alone will cost you $15 while the rest cost $ 10 and $ 24 respectively; this is in sharp contrast to other companies that even offer the domain for free. While this is kind of typical with many web hosting sites, quite a number of users now are opting for other sites like NameCheap for domains. Sites like GoDaddy have registered the most domains even though HostGator is the better option for hosting.
There are advantages to having a unique IP address. A unique and dedicated IP address can improve the website’s compatibility with older browsers and several applications. It can also offer your website less downtime, your own private SSL Certificate, an anonymous FTP, and remote access.
Top Features of the HostGator Web Hosting Company
Even though there are so many amazing features that HostGator offers, below are the ones that have stood out in the many reviews of HostGator by current users.
HostGator is popular for its many unlimited perks that users find invaluable. From unlimited bandwidth to storage and even MySQL databases, being web hosted on HostGator allows you to run a website of any size on a resourceful platform. The unlimited features cut across every package. However, you can easily upgrade in the event the unlimited perks are not enough for your needs.
Feature Rich Control Panel & Open policy
The site’s features set includes some advanced features like error pages and custom cron jobs. It uses the latest cPanel software that provides users with easy to use tools in the administration of their sites. Their backend panel will enable you to gather statistic and logs using Webalizer, raw log manager, and AWStats, and a web based file manager will provide you a place to keep your server uncluttered from junk.
The best feature in our opinion is the open stance that HostGator has by virtue of using the cPanel. The cPanel opens the administration of your website to you so that you are never at the mercy of a remote administrator. Even though this may be the case for all the web hosting providers, it is an amazing way to allow yourself to shepherd your website in whatever direction you so desire. As such, it stands out a top feature across the board when reviewing HostGator as one of the best web hosting providers.
Security, Reliability and Impressive Service
HostGator ensures that you have no spam by including Spam Assassin, an efficient spam protection program, in each of its packages; this means you never receive junk mail in your inbox. At the shared level the site offers a shared SSL that encrypts sensitive and private information like your credit card details and transactions.
And with a 99.99% uptime guarantee, HostGator has been able to uphold this industry standard as a web host provider even in the face of adversity. As we pointed out before in our HostGator web hosting review, the site has consistently been registering uptimes of 100% following the major outage in 2014. With higher uptimes come higher costs. However, HostGator has remained reasonably priced as it was before despite over delivering in this regard.
When it comes to a shared hosting plan, it’s all about taking a little from the earnings made on the paid plans to make it work. That is why there is so much hullaballoo about the features. Despite the challenge, HostGator has managed to stay reasonably priced in the paid plans and still offer the shared plan users a feature rich plan that caters to their basic website needs at the very least and grows the website to an advanced level at the most. They also offer a monthly price for those not willing to be locked down for a year.
Free Migration and Quick Install
HostGator is happy to help you move your website to their services at no cost. This invaluable service eliminates the hassle of manually transferring your website yourself. With the help of their incredibly efficient staff, all you have to do is provide the information to them after you have signed up for their service, and in a few hours, their technical guys will have your website migrated and ready to go with no downtime issues. Furthermore, they offer you the option of installing WordPress with the 1-click to install WordPress tool. For a non-developer, this service is priceless.
Instead of having to call or chat with customer support any time you hit a hurdle, HostGator has a knowledge base of written tutorials as well as video tutorials, FAQ, and step by step detailed explanations to users’ questions that are available 24/7. The unlimited HostGator customer support options help in mitigating the long wait time that is experienced by many users and also keeps your online business present as you deal with a given issue.
It would be immoral not to feature the clean energy aspect of HostGator on its top features. As a company that is eco-friendly, HostGator has definitely kept an eye out for the world’s carbon emissions. By being conscious of what the industry is doing to the environment and by extension generations to come, they have earned an outstanding reputation with some users opting for it based on this aspect.
HostGator is featured on all the web hosting searches you can run. HostGator reviews are spread out almost everywhere, and this is not by mere chance. It is the biggest, web hosting provider with a huge following that gives it over 90% popularity ratings. Additionally, it is reasonably priced, has outstanding uptimes and registers few cancellations of their own accounts. As a matter of fact, HostGator has always been the budget web hosting provider with the high-end features.
As with any web hosting service, the shared plan comes with its own pitfalls. However, a close look reveals that HostGator’s shared plan offers so much more than other web hosting sites in the same category do. This site is remarkably versatile and offers a plan for every individual and business. It offers all that popular, smaller web hosts like 1&1 hosting provides, combined with more advanced features. These factors all culminate into a world class web hosting service and deserving of their rank of one of the best web hosting companies.
Granted, there are areas to improve on regarding their web hosting services. However, the great features on HostGator far outweigh the ones in need of tweaking. Despite the common saying in the industry that ‘Unlimited is always more limited than you think,' you will find with HostGator unlimited really is unlimited. HostGator has had above average load times even for websites that were further away from its servers. As expected, those sites closest registered impressive load times. It remains one of the best web hosting companies currently available in the industry.
Bottom line, HostGator remains,and competes to be, one of the best brands in web hosting services and the best choice for all types of business whether they are small, medium and large. HostGator’s web hosting reviews are also positive in regards to all types of users and websites. Whatever web hosting needs you have, HostGator strives to be the best web hosting provider for your website and business and is sure to end up as the perfect solution for you, while catering to your own individual and unique needs.