Hostgator Web Hosting Review
Solid web hosting service
HostGator is a provider of dedicated, reseller, VPS, and shared web hosting. The privately owned company was found by Brent Oxley in his dorm room at Florida Atlantic University in 2002. In the past twelve years the company has grown for its modest beginnings of 3 servers to over 12,000 servers and is certainly one of the leaders among our web hosting reviews. The business is currently headquartered in Houston Texas with additional offices in Austin.
According to a 2008 survey, 90% of customers reported being satisfied with their service. To backup the results, the web company holds numerous awards for their business. A HostGator review performed by Top Ten Reviews 2014 the host provider was given an 8.3 out of 10 stars.
Currently, HostGator offers three plans; hatchling, baby, and business. All plans include:
These services are in addition to the web hosting features of CGI, PHP5, SSH, Perl, Python, SSI, Cron, FrontPage, Streaming audio/video, and Ruby on Rails. HostGator also offers free module installation for all their service plans.
Baby accounts also receive unlimited domains and add-ons. Business customers are given a dedicated IP, private SSL, anonymous FTP, and a toll free phone number in addition to everything the other two tiers receive.
With the current HostGator coupon, pricing starts as low as $3.96 per month for the hatchling plan when paying for three years in advance. This tier can also choose to pay two years at 4.77 per month, one year at $5.56 per month, 6 month contract and month-to-month service runs $7.16 a month.
Baby plans start as low as $6.36 per month when paying for three years in advance. Other options include two year plan at $7.16 per month. Customers can also choose from one year, six month, or month-to-month plans all at $7.16 per month.
Business plans start at $10.36 per month when purchasing a three year contract. Two year plans are $11.16 per month. While one year, six month, and month-to-month services are $11.96 per month.
Hostgator VPS Hosting Plans
Dedicated Server Plans
Reseller Hosting Plans
When you create a HostGator account, availability is instant. Once payment is made users will be able to login and go to their HostGator control panel in order to start building web pages. It does take between 24 and 48 hours for a new domain to become active online.
HostGator does offer to transfer your account from a previous host to their servers. The process can take up to 72 hours to complete. While performing our HostGator review, we did discover that sometimes transfers are not successful. Since you do have unlimited FTP account support, on all plans, it might be better to saving a copy of your site and re-uploading it at the time of transfer.
With the baby and business plans you can add as many domains as desired, simply pay for the domain name registry fee, which varies depending on the domain type. For example, a .com domain costs about $12.95 per year with HostGator. You do have to option to register your domain name with a different company and still use this service for hosting your site.
HostGator has many different features and applications to choose from. With the baby and business plans users have access to add-on options. You can request a specific IP, change domain name, or generate a CSR to purchase SSL from somewhere else (which is not recommended due to the complicated nature of the task). Add-ons like these are not included in the hatchling service plan.
Some of the applications featured by HostGator include:
WordPress users will be excited to see how easy it is to set up the application. Like most of their features, it is set up through their Quick Install tool bar which is located on the HostGator control panel. Simply select the app and click install. The screen will prompt you to enter a destination for the service, an email and username. The password is sent to the specified address. Then click install and it sets up the program for you.
Not only is WordPress access available, those who want to create their own database can utilize the Wiki option. There are many popular free software choices for you to choose from, however, HostGator’s service is best compatible with MediaWiki, the same software used to run Wikipedia. Users can also choose from PMWiki or Wikka if they desire. As with other apps, it all starts by going to Quick Install on the HostGator control panel. Like with other programs the user must specify destination, username, and email address. The entire service is downloaded, installed, and ready for editing in less than five minutes.
Email is probably one of the most important features on offer. HostGator email hosting gives users unlimited numbers of POP3 email accounts. These accounts can be synced on mobile devices thanks to the IMAP support that is built right in. Users can access their messages through Horde, SquirrelMail, and Round Cube. Spam is taken seriously and is purged by their special Spam Assassin. In addition, something business owners will enjoy, you do have access to unlimited mailing lists, set them up and use however.
In addition to setting up as many mailing lists as you like, you can also set up auto response emails. There is no limit to how many can be programmed for a single account. Another email feature is the use of aliases for accounts, which is also unlimited.
HostGator sports some 12,000 servers. They boast a guaranteed uptime of 99 percent. For the most part, their statement is true. However, during our research we did find several complaints about server downtime during busy shopping seasons. If you compare Hostgator with other web hosts in this section, you can clearly find better alternatives.
One user, who uses this host company for business, claimed the site was down for two days during the busy December shopping season. The reason given was for server maintenance. Due to the down time, the client saw a loss in sales.
Another claimed that while their site was up as promised, being able to access the control panel was slow to the point of almost being painful. There were actually several that complained service was running sluggish. Some had issue with the learning curve on the control panel, claiming it wasn’t intuitive and really slowed down their progress in creating a website. Apparently, this is a recent occurrence, as all of these complaints are dated July 2014 or later.
While these complaints are not isolated, they are outweighed by the number of clients that found HostGator to be speedy and reliable.
HostGator has many different security measures in place to help protect your site. They start with a strong firewall and DDoS Attack protocols. In the event of heavy UDP flooding, the company enables network level protection at the data center level.
HostGator does offer one free scrubbing of accounts every six months in the event of hacking. If you suspect hacking more frequently, or simply want to clean your site more frequently there is a fee involved. Customers also have the option of using a third-party cleaner, such as SiteLock to perform services.
In addition to providing security for their clients, HostGator has a prevention list posted on their site. The detailed list explains how to protect your website from being hacked, such as making sure software is up-to-date, passwords are strong and changed frequently, and using malware/virus protection on all systems used to access your account.
HostGator has 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year customer support. Their team helps with sales, billing, and technical issues. Customer can contact them either through phone call or use live chat to contact a representative.
When we were completing our HostGator review we noticed that it takes about 30-minutes for the live chat representatives to become available. Users can check the knowledge base to help answer questions until a service technician is on the screen. Once connected there was some delay between sending questions and receiving answers. However, despite the lengthy delay we did find the person to be knowledgeable and helpful. The provider was also able to direct us to specific areas of the site which could help to solve the issues we were asking about.
On the review site we noticed some customers who submitted support tickets, were waiting for several days for the requests to be answered. There were some who were presented with a HostGator coupon for services in order to help compensate for the delay in answering the problem.
HostGator refund is good for up to 45-days after purchasing service. Customers must contact tech support in order to receive reimbursement for service used and to terminate the account. Of course, personnel will try first to solve any problems or offer other services in lieu of a refund in order to keep your business, it’s a common sales tactic. Note if you agree to free service for a set amount of time, no refund is issued.
HostGator offers a myriad of web hosting services at affordable pricing. Obviously, they are not the only web hosting company on the block and we would be remiss if we didn’t explain how they stacked up against some of their leading competitors.
In the battle between HostGator vs GoDaddy, the two are very similar. Both offer low monthly or yearly plans, guaranteed uptime, and one click install of features. HostGator does edge GoDaddy out in areas such as having unlimited databases and email accounts. HostGator also gives you instant access to your account and a full 45-day money back guarantee on a refund. GoDaddy can take a full 24-hours before the account is active and you have to decide in 2 days whether you want your money back. It is a near draw with HostGator edging out the competition.
If you are deciding between Bluehost or HostGator, you will find that they too are similar. With the current HostGator Coupon, the prices are comparable, however normally Bluehost is much cheaper. They are similar in many ways such as their one click installation, email offerings, unlimited databases, available website builder, and credit for use on Google Adwords. However, HostGator does offer a better refund period of 45 days as compared to 30 days and has an uptime guarantee that Bluehost does not offer.
There are many different web hosting platforms to choose from. When you factor in all the features, the availability of the staff, and the flexible payment plans HostGator is a major contender. It is easy to see why the service has over 9 million domains located on their servers.