Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the most well-known web hosts today; largely due to their time in the industry and their unusually huge marketing budget. The company offers affordable rates as compared to other web hosts, and provides its customers with a diverse array of web hosting solutions to choose from; including their standard shared hosting, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting.
We had set up a shared hosting account with HostGator several months ago, in order to obtain firsthand knowledge about the company’s services. We also analyzed a wealth of existing reviews about HostGator on the internet, and also remained in touch with the company ourselves, enabling us to craft an unbiased and authentic review about the company’s services. Here’s what we found out.
The Pros of HostGator
Uptime: The uptime of your webhost is perhaps the most important factor that you need to consider before you choose to host with a company. Uptime basically means the amount of time that your site remains online. It is measured in a percentage and web hosting providers usually have an uptime of at least 99%; however, you should aim for a host that guarantees an uptime of at least 99.5% or more. While the company claims to have an uptime of 99.99% on its website and some users even reported an uptime of 100%, in our personal experience, we found the company’s uptime to be around 99.8% which is an acceptable figure. The good news is that they are constantly working to improve this rate, and did make progress considering their last year’s average uptime of 99.6%.
Customer Support: While HostGator does not have a customer service that will blow you away, it is still good enough to be regarded as one of the company’s pros. HostGator offers both online chat support and telephone support, and we tested both of them to make sure they are satisfactory. Over the chat, we had to wait for 3 minutes before a representative joined us; however, he was friendly and knowledgeable enough to answer all of our questions. We received instant support over the phone along with an email sent to us that had detailed instructions about the questions we asked over the phone. Overall, the customer support is quite good.
Money Back Guarantee: While many web hosts offer a standard money back guarantee of 30 days, HostGator extends their guarantee to 45 days, giving you 2 extra weeks of test drive before you commit to a one year or longer hosting plan with the company.
Enhanced Security: The premium plans offered by HostGator come with several free security enhancements. These plans have built-in security tools that are essential for websites engaging in ecommerce. These security enhancements include automatic daily backups, malware detector and remover, a dedicated IP, and free SSL certificates, making your website all the more secure and safe from hackers. Unfortunately, these enhancements don’t come for free with the basic plans and you’ll have to pay extra for them.
Specialized Hosting: Similar to many other web hosts nowadays, HostGator offers you a number of options for specialized hosting. Specialized hosting is more tailored towards the particular needs of your website and the expectations of your visitors and customers. So if you have a WordPress or WooCommerce based website, it is best to choose specialized hosting for them. HostGator offers specialized hosting for both of them.
Control Panel: Unlike many other web hosts, HostGator has a very simple and user-friendly interface. Their control panel, commonly known as the cpanel, is easy to use and navigate around. The company offers a demo control panel on its site which you can try out to ensure that it is something you will be comfortable with.
The Cons of SiteGround
Speed: By speed we mean the time it takes for your website to load when someone types your site’s address in their browser. Unfortunately, we couldn’t list speed as of the pros of HostGator since the loading speeds that we observed were not so impressive. The average loading speed that we observed was 832ms, slower than the average industry standard speed of 820ms. In terms of loading speed, HostGator is a bit below average.
Paid Backups: While HostGator refers to free backups as one of their distinguishing characteristics on its website, the company is actually referring to backups that you have to perform manually through the control panel. If you want automatic daily backups, it will cost you an extra annual fee of $15.95.
“Unlimited” storage and bandwidth: Wait, isn’t that a good thing to have unlimited storage and bandwidth? Well, it certainly is; only if it were true. While the company advertises unlimited storage and bandwidth for their premium plans, it doesn’t literally mean unlimited. There are always limitations, and the details are often buried deep down in the company’s policy pages. This is generally known as ‘fair usage policy’, which states a certain limit on your ‘unlimited’ bandwidth and storage, and you will be charged extra in case you exceed these limits.
Pricing Plan: This problem exists with virtually all web hosts out there. The company advertises a cheap monthly rate on their website but if you try buying a plan, you will find out that the price they mentioned is only valid if you commit to a one year or longer hosting plan. That sucks right? HostGator is no exception to this and you won’t be able to benefit from the price they advertise on their site unless you commit to a long term hosting plan.
While HostGator has been around for quite a while now and has become increasingly popular over the last few years due to their tremendous marketing budget, we don’t regard it as one of the best hosts around. It is suitable for beginning webmasters, though, due to their affordable prices and ease of use. However, if you have a site that is crucial for your business or online presence, there are many better options that you can consider.
We Recommend Siteground
Weighing both the pros and cons of SiteGround, it can be concluded that SiteGround is one of the best webhosts overall. The most important aspects for a webhost to consider are their uptime, speed, customer support, and security; and SiteGround excels in all of these areas. SiteGround is amongst the most ideal webhosts in the market today.