HostGator is a popular, feature-rich hosting provider that offers a wide assortment of affordable plans to cater to websites of all sizes. From small businesses to global enterprises, HostGator’s services help its customers achieve their goals. But the question is, is HostGator the right host for you?
In this HostGator review, we will discuss the numerous features that this host provides, and importantly, consider the pros and cons of each. So by the end of reading, you will have a clear idea of exactly what HostGator is offering, and if this hosting provider is the best fit for your project. Let’s get started…
HostGator: An Introduction
HostGator was founded in 2002 by Brent Oxley whilst he was still a student at Florida Atlantic University. After growing quickly and establishing itself as a leading hosting company, HostGator was acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2012. Since then, HostGator has opened international offices across the globe, with its main head offices based out of Houston, and Austin, Texas.
HostGator offers a range of hosting options, including:
- Shared Hosting
- WordPress Cloud Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Reseller Hosting
HostGator’s thousands of servers are housed in data centers in Provo, Utah, and Houston, Texas. Customers can also activate Cloudflare, which will enable you to route your content through an additional 25 data centers worldwide.
HostGator Key Features
HostGator offers a number of key features that are available to all users whatever hosting package they have signed up to. Let’s take a look at these…
- 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
- 45-Day Money Back Guarantee – Receive a full refund if you aren’t happy with your hosting plan.
- 24/7/365 Support – Contact support staff via telephone or live chat anytime.
- Free Migration Service – Let HostGator migrate your websites and domains for free (number of migrations offered is plan-dependent).
- Free Website Builder – Create new websites using the free HostGator drag-and-drop website builder.
So let’s now take a look at each of the plans and features that HostGator provides…
All HostGator shared hosting plans come with one-click WordPress installs, unmetered bandwidth, unlimited storage, and $200 of Google Adwords and Bing Ads credit, as well as a free SSL certificate for all of your websites.
Here are the shared hosting packages…
- Hatchling Plan (Starting at $2.75 a month) – Shared hosting for a single domain.
- Baby Plan (Starting at $3.95 a month) – Shared hosting for an unlimited number of domains.
- Business Plan (Starting at $5.95 a month) – Shared hosting for an unlimited number of domains, plus free dedicated IP, SEO tools, and an upgrade to Positive SSL.
All packages are currently offered at 60% off the original price if you sign up on a three-year plan.
HostGator WordPress hosting packages all come with unmetered storage space, automatic malware removal, $100 of Google Adwords credit, and free SSL. Let’s check out the plans…
- Starter Plan ($5.95 a month) – WordPress hosting for one domain and up to 100k visits a month. It also includes 1GB of automated daily database backups, and free migration for one website.
- Standard Plan ($7.95 a month) – WordPress hosting and free migration for two domains and up to 200k visits a month, as well as 2GBs of automated daily database backups.
- Business Plan ($9.95 a month) – WordPress hosting and migration for three domains, up to 500k of visits a month, and 3GB of automated daily database backups.
Again, all the above plans are currently offered at between 40% – 60% off the original prices, if you sign up on a three-year plan.
HostGator VPS packages all benefit from advanced server features, including full root access to your VPS, multiple security features, including VPS firewall and DDOS protection, cutting edge server hardware, and two IP addresses. Here are the plans…
- Snappy 2000 ($29.99 a month) – Features of this VPS hosting plan include 2GB of RAM, 2 CPU cores, 120GB of disk space, and 1.5TB of bandwidth.
- Snappy 4000 ($39.99) – This VPS plan includes 4GB of RAM, 2 CPU cores, 2TB of bandwidth, and 156GB of disk space.
- Snappy 8000 ($49.95) – This top tier VPS plan offers 8GB of RAM, 4 CPU cores, 240GB of disk space, and 3TB of bandwidth.
The prices for these plans are offered by HostGator at 75% off the original price.
HostGator’s Dedicated hosting plans give you full control over your dedicated server. Catering for Linux and Windows OS, all packages also offer unmetered bandwidth, unlimited databases, DDOS protection, and much more. Here are some of the key features of each individual plan…
- Value Server ($118.99 a month) – Features include 4 core / 8 thread Intel Xeon-D CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1TB HDD.
- Power Server ($138.99 a month) – This plan offers 8 core / 16 thread Intel Xeon-D CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and a 2TB HDD or 512GB SSD.
- Enterprise Server ($148.99 a month) – This top-level plan includes 8 core / 16 thread Intel Xeon-D CPU, 30 GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD.
You will find Dedicated hosting packages currently offered at between 37 – 48% off the regular price.
If you are considering starting your own hosting company or providing hosting for your web design clients, then one of the HostGator Reseller hosting plans may be a good option for you. These packages all include unlimited domains, subdomains, email accounts, MySQL databases, and FTP accounts, free WHMCS, private name servers, 70+ gTLDs and ccTLDs to resell, and much more. So let’s have a look at the individual packages…
- Aluminum ($19.95 a month) – This plan offers 60GB of disk space, 600GB of bandwidth and free SSL.
- Copper ($24.95 a month) – This reseller package provides 90GB of disk space, 900GB of bandwidth and free SSL.
- Silver ($24.95 a month) – This top-end plan offers 140GB of disk space, 1400GB of bandwidth, and free SSL.
As you can see, HostGator provides a wide assortment of hosting types, plans, and features to help cater for a range of needs. And they are all offered at a discount during the initial term.
Hostgator Coupon Codes
Hostgator has coupons available for all their plans. When you purchase a plan from Hostgator, our recommendation is to choose the longest term (36 months). This is because you will be getting the highest discount, as the image shows below.
Once the first term expires, the price more than doubles! For your convenience, we have compiled all recent Hostgator coupons at this page.
Let’s now look more closely at the pros and cons of HostGator’s key features, to give you a good understanding of what is really on offer.
HostGator is extremely user-friendly, and a particularly good choice for beginners. Here are a few of the key features that make it so easy to use…
- Quick and Easy Sign Up Process
- Branded Intuitive cPanel – A clear signposted menu and highlighted essential features makes it easy to navigate the cPanel.
- One-Click Install – Quickly set up new websites using the powerful script Installer.
- Quick Domain Search and Registration – Browse available domains and TLDs, then easily purchase the right one for your new website.
HostGator also provides a wide assortment of support materials and channels, which help to get users started and deal with any issues that may arise.
HostGator Performance: Pros
HostGator offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee – an impressive and reassuring feature for website owners. We put this guarantee to the test by testing a website hosted on one of HostGator’s shared plans, using the monitoring tool Pingdom.
Over a two-week period, HostGator actually achieved an impressive 100% uptime. Here are the results…
This uptime reliability that HostGator offers is extremely reassuring for its customers, as downtime can greatly affect websites’ conversion rates.
HostGator Performance: Cons
When we tested loading speed times, HostGator’s performance wasn’t quite as impressive. We used Pingdom to monitor two websites, hosted on one of HostGator’s shared plans, over the course of one week. One website used the lightweight Twenty Nineteen WordPress theme, the other the larger WordPress theme Divi from Elegant Themes.
As you can see from the test results below, the average load time for the Twenty Nineteen website was recorded at 1.63s, and the Divi website loaded on average in 3.82s.
Although these speed performance results could be faster, they do show that the HostGator shared hosting plans provide reasonable-to-average load times. And remember, this is only a snapshot of two websites that we tested over a one week period, so these results are more of an indication, rather than an accurate prediction, of how fast your website might be.
HostGator is well-known for its low prices and great hosting deals. And with packages starting from just $2.75, you can see why. So let’s have a look at some of the many HostGator pricing pros…
- Discount Prices – HostGator are currently offering 60% off all its shared hosting packages, 40% off WordPress cloud hosting and dedicated hosting, and 75% off its VPS hosting plans, to name a few deals.
- Freebies – HostGator throw in a range of free features with each hosting package. These freebies are plan dependent but can include a free SSL certificate, free SEO tools, $200 of Bing Ads and Google AdWords credit, and more.
- Flexible Billing Periods – With HostGator, you can choose the length of your contract, from 12, 24 or 36 months.
- Money-Back Guarantee – HostGator offer an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee (the majority of hosting providers offer 30 days or less). So you can sign up with the reassurance that if you decide this isn’t the right provider for you then you can quickly get your money back and go elsewhere.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of hidden pricing issues that you should be aware of before you sign up with HostGator. Let’s take a look…
- Cheap Prices with Long Contracts – If you want to take advantage of the super cheap prices that are advertised (eg – Shared Hosting Hatchling Plan for $2.75 a month, Baby Plan for $3.95 a month, and Business Plan for $5.95 a month) then, as mentioned earlier, you will only be able to do so if you sign up for a 36 month contract.
- Expensive Renewal Pricing – Once your initial contract is over, you will find the renewal pricing is expensive in comparison to the discounted deal you were getting. For example, if you opt for the 36-month Hatchling contract, for the first three years you will be paying just $2.75. However, after that your monthly payment will jump to $6.96 – a big difference!
Therefore, if you want to fully benefit from one of Hostgator’s low price deals, you will need to sign up on a 36-month contract. Then, when your three-year term comes to an end, if you want to keep your hosting costs down you should consider moving your hosting to a different low-cost host. Of course, if you are satisfied with Hostgator overall, you can continue with them despite the price increase.
The 24/7 support provided by HostGator is another impressive feature. Let’s take a look a the different support options…
- Knowledge Base – HostGator provides an extensive knowledge base that is well organized and easily searchable. Containing numerous how-to articles and video tutorials, this is a great resource for those new to HostGator, as well as long-term users experiencing problems or who have questions.
- Live Chat – HostGator provides live chat for both new and existing customers. Every time I have used this service, a customer service representative has been immediately available and able to assist me with my queries.
- Telephone Support – If you would rather speak directly to a customer advisor, you can ring HostGator via the free help phone line (country dependent).
- Social Media – You can check out the HostGator Facebook page for news and information, contact HostGator for support via its Twitter page, or check out help videos on the HostGator YouTube channel.
Support : Cons
Generally, the HostGator support is pretty effective and well geared up to deal with any question, problem, or complaint a customer may have. However, if we are going to be picky, here are a few improvements that could be made…
- Knowledge Base Aesthetics – The look and feel of the HostGator knowledge base is not welcoming or aesthetically pleasing to the eye. However, the information it contains is extremely useful – maybe HostGator should consider a little improvement to the design and layout!
- No Ticketed Email Support – Ticketed email support is not something that HostGator offer. However, with live chat and phone support, I don’t think this will be a big issue for most.
Of course, depending on the issue, different customers may have had different experiences with HostGator customer service. We can only go on our own experience, which was fast and helpful support.
Registering Domain Names: Pros
HostGator is registered with ICANN (The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) making it an official domain registrar. Whether you are hosting a website with Hostgator or not, you can purchase a domain name directly on their website.
As always with domain names, prices vary depending on the domain extension you select. Currently, domains ending with the TLD .site are discounted to as little as $0.95 a year, whereas .com and .org have a discounted price of $12.95 a year. This is much cheaper than other registrars, like Godaddy and Network Solutions.
If you are looking to start a new project, with a new domain name and hosting company, then registering your site’s domain name with your hosting provider is the quickest and easiest option. HostGator will take care of any technical domain issues, and enable you to manage your domain name, hosting plan, and website all from the same control panel.
As well as that, when you purchase your domain name, HostGator includes…
- Domain Locking – Prevent unauthorized transfer of your domains.
- Auto-Renew – Domain names are all set to auto-renew, preventing domain names from accidentally expiring.
You can also purchase domain Privacy Protection, hiding your private information from the WHOIS directory.
Registering and Transferring Domain Names: Cons
Let’s take a look at some of the cons…
- No Free Domain Name – Many hosting providers offer a free domain name in with their packages, but this isn’t something you will get with HostGator.
- Renewal Prices Can Vary – When your initial domain name term is finished, you may find that the renewal prices have increased.
- Privacy Protection – This will cost you $14.95, which is quite steep in comparison to some of the privacy protection plans offered by other domain registrars, like NameCheap.
If you already have a domain registered elsewhere, when you sign up with a Hostgator hosting plan you can benefit from a free website and domain transfer. However, on the shared hosting plan, HostGator will only transfer one domain for you for free. After that, you will need to pay to transfer domains to HostGator, with prices starting at $7.95 (domain extension dependent).
Equally, you can use a domain name managed by a third party domain registrar alongside your HostGator plan. Setting this up is slightly technical, as you will need to point your domain name at your hosting server. However, if you are unsure on how to do this, HostGator support can help walk you through the process.
WordPress Support: Pros
HostGator is extremely WordPress friendly, and offers a range of WordPress specific features. These include…
- WordPress Managed Hosting – HostGator provides three WordPress hosting packages, that will all host your website via WordPress specific cloud hosting, managing content more efficiently and improving load times.
- One-Click WordPress Install – All HostGator plans come with a one-click install feature, enabling you to quickly set up your new WordPress websites.
- Automatic WordPress Updates – HostGator will automatically run WordPress updates on your website (plan dependent) so you don’t need to.
- WordPress Themes – HostGator has teamed up with Mojo themes, displaying these premium themes within your WordPress dashboard. This will help you easily choose and install a theme on your new site.
WordPress Support: Cons
HostGator doesn’t just provide hosting for WordPress – you can also host sites on Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and many other CMSs. Therefore, many of the advanced features that you will find with managed WordPress hosting providers (including WordPress staging environments, expert WordPress support, and WordPress specific security tools) are either not available with HostGator, or not available on their lower-tier plans.
If you are interested in benefiting from the enhanced features that a managed WordPress hosting company offers, start by checking out WPEngine or Kinsta.
Apps and Software
HostGator runs on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, making it compatible with thousands of applications and software. So whether you want to use a CMS, start a blog, set up an eCommerce store, or simply upload your own photo gallery, you can do so with HostGator web application hosting.
Here are just a few of the most popular apps that you may want to use…
Currently, there are over 75 open source scripts that can be installed in just one click, using the HostGator feature QuickInstall.
Free Site and cPanel Migrations: Pros
The HostGator free site and cPanel migration service is another top feature. Most hosting companies usually charge for this service, so to include it for free with every package is a big plus, especially for those who aren’t overly tech-savvy. So how does it work?
- HostGator will transfer from 1 to an unlimited number of existing websites (plan dependent) from your current hosting provider to their platform.
- The migration service includes the transfer of your website, domain, MYSQL, and script.
- Consultation services are also included with some packages.
Free Site and cPanel Migrations: Pros
Although this is a great service, there are some terms and conditions attached, so make sure you read the small print so you know what you are getting. Points to note include…
- Transfers have to occur within 30 days of opening your new account.
- Shared hosting packages only include one website transfer.
Your emails and email accounts are also included in the transfer service.
Like all hosts, HostGator takes the security of its servers and your websites very seriously. This is reflected in its numerous security features (which do differ depending on the hosting package you opt for).
HostGator partners with SiteLock to offer its users a suite of security tools. These include…
- Daily Malware and Vulnerability Scans
- Blocking Automated Bot Attacks
- Automated Malware Removal
- Web Application Firewall
VPS and Dedicated hosted plans also include firewall support, proactive patching, and DDOS protection.
Although SiteLock is free for WordPress hosting plans, if you have purchased a shared hosting plan then you will need to pay extra for the SiteLock features. Prices range from $1.94 to $38.75 a month.
HostGator offers a complimentary backup service for even the low tier plans. But the backups are only saved for a week and HostGator charges a fee to restore a backup to your website.
However, HostGator also offers an advanced backup service, CodeGuard, that will ensure your website is automatically backed up on a daily basis, alongside one-click restores. For VPS and Dedicated hosting plans, HostGator also performs weekly off-site backups of your data.
Unfortunately, CodeGuard isn’t available for free on the shared hosting plans, and if you are interested in this service you will need to purchase it separately (prices start from just $2 a month).
It is also important to note that although CodeGuard is included in the WordPress hosting plans, the amount of storage available for backups varies depending on the package you select. Therefore, you may find you will need to pay extra to upgrade your Code Guard backup storage space.
Website Builder: Pros
Another useful tool that will benefit many customers, is the HostGator website builder. If you are not a fan of WordPress, or have no web design experience, then this drag-and-drop website builder may be just the tool you need to help you quickly and easily create your new website.
Here are some of its key features…
- Drag-and-drop functionality – no coding required.
- Fully customizable mobile templates for every type of website.
- Fully optimized for the search engines.
- Integrated social media tools.
- Easy to understand analytics.
This free website builder is extremely user-friendly, and included with all HostGator plans, enabling you to design your website to your exact specifications.
Website Builder: Cons
The free HostGator website builder is great if you are building a blog or small website. However, if you are looking to create a larger feature-rich website or eCommerce store, then you will need to upgrade to the premium website builder plan, which starts at $9.22 a month.
HostGator offers a wide assortment of ‘extra’ packages, tools, and features. This makes it an extremely scalable host, as you can start on a basic package and then add extra functionality, or upgrade to a higher plan, as and when your website grows.
Here are a few of the ‘extras’ that you can add to your HostGator plan (some higher-level plans will incorporate these tools)…
- G Suite (starting at $5 a month)
- Applied Merchant for eCommerce (starting at $4.95)
- Constant Contact Email Marketing (starting at $19.99 a year)
- WordPress SEO ($99)
If you are opting for a lower-tier plan, you will need to pay for these ‘extra’ features. This isn’t always clear when you are reading the HostGator website, so make sure you understand exactly what features your plan includes before you sign up. Over time, if you scale up your hosting tools, you may find that these numerous extras can add up to quite an expensive monthly bill.
Final Thoughts on the Pros and Cons of HostGator
To finish off, let’s summarize HostGator’s pros and cons…
Top HostGator Pros…
- User and Beginner-Friendly
- 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
- Cheap Promotional Prices
- 45-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Selection of Apps and Software
- Free Site Migrations
- Website Builder
- Fully Scalable
- Average Loading Speeds
- Expensive Renewal Prices
- Lots of Extra Services Charged at a Premium (that will quickly increase your monthly spend)
Evidently, HostGator is an impressive host with a lot to offer. Like all hosting providers, its service has both pros and cons. However, if you are looking for an affordable, feature-rich hosting provider, that offers a range of packages and tools to cater for your growing business, then HostGator may just be the host for you.
To find out how HostGator compares to other budget hosts, check out these comparisons…