HostGator, until they were acquired by EIG has been an excellent company. They were a go-to choice for most new and experienced bloggers. Even now, it’s a very popular hosting known for their solid performance at an affordable price.
They are ranked number 3 in our list of the best web hosting companies. That said, HostGator was ranked #1 in our list until 2016 when we saw a decline in their performance post-EIG acquisition.
Our ranking is based on many criteria and not just based on performance. We consider affordability as a major ranking factor in choosing the best web host. There are hostings that perform better and are faster than HostGator but still ranks below HostGator due to their high price.
HostGator was founded in 2002, by Brent Oxley, who was a student at Florida University at that time. They grew slowly until 2008 when they became one of the first companies to offer unlimited hosting. In 2012, they were ranked by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest-growing web hostings, and that’s when EIG stepped in and purchased their hosting for $229 million in cash.
Unlike other EIG acquisition, HostGator management was unchanged due to some agreement between Oxley and EIG. Even though some EIG policies have made a bad dent in their reputation, but overall they are still considered one of the best web hosting for beginners and medium scale websites.
Is HostGator a good choice for your website?
I will be just lying if I say that HostGator is a perfect hosting or that it has all of the best performance and features you can get. It’s great where it counts most for small to medium scale websites, and are totally fine at every other aspect. They have major issues with many customers complaining about their upselling policy and other issues related to billing. As a result, you should be careful and check for any additional charges from time to time.
Here’s Inline Host Blogger’s HostGator review.
We covered the following area for this review.
- Ease Of Use
- Client satisfaction
- The Verdict
Is HostGator fast?
HostGator has 2 top tier world-class data centers in Houston, TX and Provo, UT, which promises to use the latest technology in the web hosting industry. Most importantly, they use SSD storage for all their hosting accounts. SSD is faster and offers more security compared to traditional HDD hard drive that we often use.
In addition, HostGator offers PHP 7.3, which happens to be the latest version available right now. This is very important as this helps in increasing your website speed and ensures better security.
Here’s how many requests each PHP version can handle per second.
In contrast, more than 39% of the WordPress sites are still using PHP 5.6 and only 5.6% of websites use PHP 7.3. Having the latest version is an important thing to consider while choosing a web host.
Kinsta has published PHP version guide in which they have mentioned 60.4% of users are currently using PHP versions that are no longer supported.
How fast is HostGator compared to other hostings?
HostGator’s biggest rivals are SiteGround and Bluehost. Let’s see how fast HostGator loads when compared to these two hosting companies.
We hosted a WordPress website with exactly the same theme and content on all three above mentioned hosting companies. Then, we measured their website loading time using tools like Uptrends and Pingdom.
Here are the results.
HostGator is faster than Bluehost by 1.4S but slower than SiteGround by .5S. SiteGround is the fastest shared hosting in our blog. We have compared them extensively in our SiteGround Vs HostGator and HostGator Vs Bluehost blog post.
Is HostGator fast around the world?
The speed at which a site load depends largely on the distance from the web hosting server to the visitor. As a result, we wanted to see how HostGator loaded from around the world. Here’s how fast HostGator loads from around the world as compared to Bluehost.
|Location||HostGator Load time||Bluehost Load time|
|Azure US West||1.8S||2.6S|
As shown above, HostGator didn’t disappoint with regards to speed. They offered a very high speed considering their plan starts at just $3/mo. Moreover, they are rated #3 in speed at our website just below Kinsta and SiteGround.
Is HostGator affordable?
HostGator basic shared hosting plans start at $2.75/mo, with unmetered bandwidth and 1 website allowed. To put this into perspective, the basic plans at SiteGround, which is our best-ranked web hosting costs $3.95/mo.
In addition, HostGator provides free one-year domain registration, which saves around $12/year.
Here’s an overview of HostGator’s plans, price, and features.
|Plan Name||HostGator Hatchling||Baby||Business|
|Number of Websites Allowed||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Free Domain Name||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|45-Day Money-Back Guarantee||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Server Location||Hoston and Provo||Hoston and Provo||Hoston and Provo|
|Free Site Backup||No||No||Everyday|
|Backup On Demand||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|In-Built Caching System||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SFTP And SSH||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Support Channel||Live Chat/ Phone and Email||Live Chat/ Phone and Email||Live Chat/ Phone and Email|
|Check HostGator Price||Check HostGator Price||Check HostGator Price|
What is good about HostGator pricing and features?
- Very cheap compared to other hostings in their category.
- Unmetered storage and visits allowed.
- Free domain for one year.
- Unlimited Email accounts allowed.
- 45-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked.
- Free manual website transfer by their support team.
What is bad about HostGator pricing and features?
- No cloud backups, you need to backup your website into your own computer. On the other hand, SiteGround provides automatic cloud backup for the last 30 days. You can easily restore to any day of the last 30 days with just a click.
- Renewal rates are 2-3 times higher than the initial price depending on the plans.
Popularity declined post EIG acquisation.
The above graph shows the Google trends data on the popularity of HostGator over the years. As you can see, HostGator grew rapidly until 2014. After that, their popularity started declining slowly as a result of EIG acquisition. However, they are still popular than many other web hosting companies like SiteGround and DreamHost.
This decline in popularity gave HostGator a reality check. Last year, they completely revamped their hosting including completely redesigning their control panel, hiring new customer representatives, and also offering better prices compared to its competitor.
Uptime – Is there a downtime issue with HostGator?
Uptime is one of the most important statistics to be considered while choosing a web host. More importantly, a host with a bad uptime can impact your search engine ranking, decrease your website revenue and harm your website in a lot of ways.
HostGator guarantees a 99.99% guarantee with a prorated refund of 1 month of hosting for each 1% decrease in uptime. In addition, we were tracking uptime of our test website from HostGator for the last 3 years. They maintained their consistent uptime of 99.99% throughout our testing period.
Here’s the report for HostGator uptime.
Moreover, we also check the twitter conversation about all the hosting companies that we test here. And we didn’t find anyone particularly complaining about HostGator uptime, even though many had issues with other aspects related to HostGator.
In short, HostGator is a very reliable hosting with sold uptime.
HostGator offers 24/7 Live Chat/ Email and Phone support
Many beginners don’t realize the importance of support until they purchase a hosting. Everything about your web hosting is virtual, so you need a support that is knowledgeable and available 24/7 to help you with any problems associated with your website.
Surprisingly, their support is better post EIG acquisition. During 2014-2016, there used to be a wait time of around 30 minutes for a live chat agent to talk to you. Things have changed recently, and their response time gradually decreased, now they connect within 1 minute as you can see below.
HostGator support is very friendly, knowledgable and goes beyond just answering about their hosting.
Hostgator is hands down the best support you can get. They were having an issue w/ their chat support today. Their Twitter support helped us update our PHP version 100% via Twitter DM. Thank you @Hostgator for embracing the mediums your clients want to communicate with you!
— Pam Moore (@PamMktgNut) September 12, 2019
Interface – Uses cPanel.
In some ways, the interface you prefer is probably the one that you are familiar with using it already. HostGator uses cPanel as its interface, cPanel is the most used interface and being used by almost every hosting companies baring few exceptions like SiteGround and DreamHost.
cPanel makes it easy to manage your files, add new domains, install SSL, check your disk space and bandwidth usage, create email accounts and many more with just a few clicks.
In addition, HostGator also provides a free demo of their cPanel to check how everything works.
HostGator cPanel: Try Demo
How easy is HostGator for beginners?
If you are a beginner, you need a host that understands you are a beginner and as well as the difficulties you will face. In fact, this is where hosting companies have grown so rapidly in the last few years. Nowadays, building a website doesn’t require you to master web development or spend 1000’s of dollars on web developers, you just need a pc or laptop with an internet connection.
For instance, web hosting companies have utilized CMS like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal to make this process easier. These CMS has 1000’s of inbuilt free templates and plugins that can be used to build a website with just a few clicks without needing to know anything about web development.
How does HostGator perform in this aspect?
Once you purchase a web hosting with HostGator, there is a setup wizard that will help you set up your website within 1-2 hours of your purchase. Even more, their support is specifically trained to help beginners build a website worry-free. We prefer recommending HostGator over other hosts for beginners especially due to their simplicity and cheap prices.
How satisfied are HostGator’s customers?
We checked the satisfaction of the current account owner of HostGator using conversation from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
Here’s what we found what people have to say about HostGator.
HostGator’s security is average.
HostGator takes so many important steps to ensure your data is secure such as equipping their data center with VESDA very early smoke detection apparatus and hurricane shutters. Also importantly, their data center resides outside of the FEMA 500 year flood plain.
They also have an extensive custom firewall rule and large mod security rule sets protecting their servers from a variety of forms of DDOS attack. Having monitored HostGator for years, they were pretty safe except one or two small incidents.
For instance, Paulos Yibelo, a well-known bug-hunter found serious vulnerabilities at Bluehost, DreamHost, OVH, iPage and Hostgator, where he could steal sensitive information from a website if the website owner were to do a simple click.
Surely, HostGator could do more to ensure better security for our websites such as doing automatic cloud backups for our website. This will ensure your data will be safe and secure in cloud storage even if someone is able to hack into your account and delete your data from your origin server.
Is HostGator plans easily scalable if we want more resources?
As your website grow bigger and bigger, there can be times when you will need extra resource to meet sudden requirement at only certain time. If this happens regularly, you will need a hosting that has automatic scalable features based on the demand of your site. As a matter of fact, HostGator is not known for their scalability feature, they are other hostings like Kinsta that are better equipped in such a situation. But Kinsta starts at $30/mo, which might be quite expensive for some. Surely, if your blog is popular, $30/mo won’t be a big issue in exchange for a better user experience.
Let me make one thing clear, not everyone needs a scalable website. You will need only if you happen to be in the league of very popular websites with more than 1000’s of visits in an hour.
After all, HostGator is more suited to blogs and business website that has a steady flow of visitors. Do you want a scalable hosting? I don’t favor HostGator in this aspect.
Should you host with HostGator in 2019?
HostGator is one of the leaders in offering shared web hosting to small scale websites.
I prefer other hostings like Kinsta, SiteGround and WP Engine if you are looking for the best of performance. With HostGator, you will get a very worthy hosting for your new startup or a small scall website at an affordable price of just $2.75/mo.
HostGator has its issue when it comes to security and their upselling policy. However, they are still our 3rd pick in the best web hosting as they offer so much feature for new websites to small scale websites at an affordable price. Additionally, they are second in the speed behind SiteGround for shared hosting. SiteGround offers better speed, but their renewal rates are 2x higher than HostGator’s.
If you have the budget, go with SiteGround, if not, then HostGator is the ideal choice.