HostGator Review: Host Features, Reviews, And Test Results

When you are browsing for a hosting platform, you will likely come across HostGator very quickly.

They are one of the biggest hosting providers on the market. HostGator has some impressively affordable prices with a lot of flashy advertising.

HostGator Review: Host Features, Reviews, And Test Results

While most HostGator customers seem to be happy with their service, there are also some reviews that aren’t convinced of what this host has to offer.

We take a closer look at HostGator (Also check out HostGator Vs GoDaddy), its features and what you can expect from their hosting plans.

HostGator Pros

HostGator has a huge range of great features that make this hosting platform so appealing (Also check out Bluehost Vs HostGator). Here are some of the pros when you are using HostGator.

Fast Website Load Speed

When you are looking for a hosting provider, you need to make sure that the host has enough capacity to load your site at a fast speed.

When we had a closer look at HostGator’s content compression system, we found just the standard based on Apache.

There is no SSD storage for the basic plans or any special caching options to make your site faster.

Still, HostGator websites run superfast, so they are doing something right. 

HostGator uses cloud hosting which is one of the fastest web hosting services in the industry.

But when we tested our site on a shared hosting plan, we had similar results to the cloud hosting which was very impressive.

While we tested just on a basic site, we are sure that site speed could improve even more with a bit of fine tuning.

Fast Server Response Time

Whenever we test a hosting service, we are usually most interested in server response times because that’s where many hosting providers fall short. 

We put our test site through different response times tests and the average worldwide response time was 190 ms.

That’s faster than some other hosting companies we tested before, so from a server response time, HostGator is excellent.

Minimal Downtime

Whether you are running a blog or an ecommerce website, you want your site to be up at all times. In fact, downtime means you may lose out on sales.

But it’s not just lost revenue which makes downtime so dangerous to your website. Google also marks sites down in rankings when they are down for too long. 

All HostGator plans offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. 

This means that if your site isn’t up a minimum of 99.9% of the time, you will get reimbursed for this time with one month credit on your plan.

HostGator has a reputation for good uptime, so you hopefully shouldn’t need to make use of the guarantee.

Saying this, there are a few issues with this guarantee which we’ll talk about in more detail below in the cons section.

Long Money-Back Guarantee

The majority of hosting providers offer a standard 30-day money-back guarantee. HostGator extends this by an extra two weeks to 45 days.

This gives you over a month to try the service and still get your purchased price refunded if you are not happy with it.

However, there is a catch with this. Any admin fees, installation fees and dedicated server fees will be deducted from the refund.

Plus, you might also need to wait up to three months to receive your refund. There are also a few caveats on refunds on bank wire transfers, so make sure to read their terms.

You also need to be careful with foreign exchange rates as refunds are only provided in US dollars.

User-Friendly Interface

Maybe it’s because many hosting platforms feel that a hosting site doesn’t have to look good, but the majority of hosting websites we tested look very old fashioned. 

This is not just a question of design but usability. If you have to click ten buttons to get something done, then it’s not very user-friendly.

Luckily, this is different with HostGator. You will instantly notice the bright interface which isn’t just nice on the eyes but also easy to navigate.

You will find everything easily accessible. All important buttons and links are located where you expect to find them.

This makes it a real pleasure to log into the HostGator account and quickly get something updated.

This is a big plus for businesses owners because any second that you try to find something is wasted money.

We like that you can set up your website in a very short space of time without having to look around too much.

Single Click Installation And Site Builder

When it comes to website hosting, you want to get everything set up as quickly as possible. This is especially important for businesses. 

HostGator comes with a built-in site builder which allows you to manage your entire website. You can pick a template and then add as much content as you like.

This great feature means you can create a good-looking website in a matter of hours without the need for a big development team.

We tried a few different themes and they all looked professionally designed. Once you have chosen your template, you can then just add search bars widgets and some other great features.

The only disadvantage we noticed with the HostGator’s site builder is that it isn’t optimized for speed.

This being said, it is a small trade-off when you want to launch a website quickly without too many resources.

Besides the website builder, HostGator also has the standard 1-click installation feature. This allows you to install other apps, such as WordPress.

You only need to select the app you want, pick the directory and click the install button. HostGator will even preconfigure the application automatically.

Unlimited Resources

If you are a small business or you just cannot spend any money on a developer, then you will need access to a community that can help you if you have an issue with your hosting or your website.

HostGator has a great community and excellent costumer service that can help out with any troubleshooting.

In addition, this hosting provider also offers some great free features which other providers would charge for, such as domains and email addresses.

This isn’t always a standard with hosting plans. Instead, you typically have to pay for either emails or domain names separately.

HostGator plans also give you unmetered disk space and unlimited bandwidth. However, it’s worth reading the terms and conditions as there are some limits depending on usage.

What we particularly liked is the free dedicated IP with a Business Plan. This is essential for all ecommerce businesses who want to sell online.

An SSL encryption and dedicated IP for your website will ensure that your customer data is safe and secure.

Google also flags up insecure sites, so a dedicated IP is a must-have for all brands that want to create trusting relationship with their customers.

HostGator Cons

Despite some of the solid features that HostGator can offer, there is not just good things to report. 

Upselling During Checkout

Fair enough, this is a typical marketing thing that a company is trying to upsell other services when you are trying to navigate the checkout. 

But we felt HostGator were a little shady with this technique in the past. They tried to squeeze in other paid features and some were even pre-ticked.

We had to untick any features that we didn’t want which isn’t very user-friendly.

That’s why, before you click the pay now button, just make sure that you go through all the details carefully.

No Dedicated Speed Features

We put HostGator speed as a big plus but we also feel that they should offer dedicated speed features, such as one-click system optimization or NGINX server setup.

You will need to install plugins and tweak them manually to get the most out of the server. This isn’t ideal for users without the expertise.

Untraceable Uptime Guarantee

We already mentioned the 99.9% uptime guarantee and the consistent uptime with HostGator websites. 

However, there is a catch! The approval of the reimbursement for any downtime is at the discretion of HostGator.

This means that the hosting provider doesn’t have to offer you the “guaranteed” one month credit for your plan.

While we know that HostGator tries to protect themselves against unwarranted claims, it still feels disappointing to know that they could just not honor the guarantee.

Inexperienced Customer Service

Although we managed to get hold of the HostGator customer service team quite easily, past experience has shown that they couldn’t solve more serious problems.

Their customer service team seems to be based in India, and it wasn’t easy to raise a ticket with them.

HostGator Has Only 2 Datacenters

It’s surprising that such a large website hosting provider has only two datacenters, which are both based in the US.

Ideally, you want to be as close to the datacenters as possible to get the fastest response times.

In addition, there is no option with HostGator to choose which data center you can use.

This means that if you are in Europe or Asia, then you will need to take a closer look at your audience and where your customers are based.

HostGator Hosting Plans

HostGator has a range of different plans. The shared plans and cloud-based plans have three different sizes, so you can pick the one that has the features you want.

One feature we liked with all of the HostGator plans is that they offer a long money-back guarantee of 45 days.

Saying this, they deduct the domain name fee from the refund if you decide to change your mind.

If you already have a domain, then you can easily transfer your domain to HostGator but you will need to fork out for a transfer fee.

HostGator Shared Plans

HostGator’s shared plans are the most popular option. You can choose from different sizes, including “hatchling”, “baby” and “business”. 

HostGator’s shared accounts come in 3 wonderful sizes to suit everyone’s needs.

All shared plans come with at least one domain and unmetered bandwidth. You also get a free SSL certificate for your site.

Although we chose the hatchling plan for our test (not just because we love the name!), we think it’s worth going for the baby plan if you have more than one domain.

The price difference between the two plans is reasonable and the baby plan allows you to create as many websites as you want.

Saying this, you can always start with the basic plan and then upgrade. The business plan gets you some of the more exclusive features, such as free SEO tools and a dedicated IP.

These features don’t seem important at first but they can make a big difference to the end result of your site.

HostGator Cloud Hosting

If you don’t want to host your website on a shared server but in the cloud instead, then HostGator also offers their three size options as a cloud service.

While the hatchling account only gives you one domain, you can create unlimited domains with the baby and business cloud plan.

Each plan has a different memory capacity and you only get a dedicated IP with the business account.

If you want to keep your costs low, then the hatchling plan is a good option. However, you can get more out of your hosting with the baby plan.

Similar to the shared hosting option, you can also upgrade to a business plan at any time.

HostGator WordPress Cloud

HostGator also offers specific hosting for WordPress sites. Their WordPress hosting plan has three size options: starter, standard and business. 

You can manage a maximum of three WordPress websites with the business plan. There is also a limit on visitor numbers per month.

It’s important to bear in mind that these plans are specifically for WordPress sites only. That’s the reason why you can have a maximum number of 3 sites.

Final Thoughts

Looking at all the features that HostGator has to offer, we would recommend HostGator without any issues.

However, it is worth shopping around and exploring if there are better options for your site.

Matthew Jacobs

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