Updated: July 26, 2019
Creating a website with a poor web hosting company is like building a house on quicksand. Eventually, you are going to have structural problems. Because your web hosting company is so important, this review will compare two of the most popular: SiteGround Vs HostGator.
Additional Resources: Bluehost Vs HostGator Comparison
HostGator is a large web hosting and domain company with over 9 million domains and more than 400,000 clients using their service. Based in Houston, they have grown rapidly since their inception in 2002. They were acquired by Endurance International Group in 2012.
SiteGround was established in 2004 and now has 140 employees. They are strong supporters of open-source software and have custom hosting plans for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, and other popular programs. Currently, they host over 250,000 clients worldwide.
Here’s what we will review.
- SiteGround Vs HostGator – Why not to choose EIG?
- SiteGround Vs HostGator – Performance
- SiteGround Vs HostGator – Uptime
- HostGator Vs SiteGround – Speed test
- HostGator Vs SiteGround – Price, plans, and features
- SiteGround Vs HostGator – Support
SiteGround Vs HostGator- Why not to choose EIG?
EIG is an international brand for web hosting owning around 40 top hosting companies which include HostGator, Bluehost, iPage and many more. They have a reputation for acquiring large hosting companies and then ruining their quality, one such acquisition was HostGator in 2012.
Like any other acquisition, HostGator’s quality and performance started declining so much in terms of uptime, speed, and support since 2013.
However, SiteGround’s growth in the last 3 year is mindblowing. They grew from hosting just 500,000 domains in 2016 to 1.8 Million domains in 2018. That’s a 300 percent increase in just 2 years.
As you can see from the above data from Google Trends, HostGator (RED) popularity is declining from last 5 years after their acquisition by EIG, whereas as SiteGround(BLUE) popularity is gradually increasing every year.
Here are some of the ugly facts about EIG.
SiteGround Vs HostGator – Performance
SiteGround’s emphasis on offering top-level performance has led them to use SSD servers, latest software releases, their own inbuilt caching system known as SuperCacher, HTTPS speeding, etc,.
These features help them offer the highest performance among all the hosting companies.
Also Read: SiteGround Review
SiteGround uses PHP 7.3 RC( the latest available version) released in 2018 as the server-side language. Whereas, HostGator uses PHP 7.0 released in 2015 to run their server-side language.
Using the latest PHP version address many bugs and also helps in faster execution of scripts, which further helps in increasing site speed.
SiteGround and HostGator provide free SSL certificate for the encrypted connection.
However, just like any other feature, HostGator was very late in providing free SSL. As a result, many of their customers openly showed their disappointments.
Moreover, It’s a fact that HTTPS site adds some extra load time to your website. Therefore, SiteGround started using HTTPS speeding(TLS 1.3 and OCSP stapling) to fasten the encryption connection and minimize the effect of HTTPS on your load time.
★ Winner SiteGround. SiteGround offers innovative features to achieve high performance.
SiteGround Vs HostGator-Uptime Report
As you can guess from the name, uptime is a critical measurement of web hosting companies. It is the total amount of time the company’s servers are up, operational and effectively serving websites for their clients.
SiteGround states they have a guarantee to be up 99.9% of the time. This guarantee applies across the board, no matter which plans you have. Much of their strength is in their custom programming, like a detection system they built which “sniffs out” potential downtime problems and automatically corrects them.
Similarly, HostGator guarantees to deliver 99.9% uptime. You get this guarantee whether you purchase the smallest intro plan, use the reseller plan or utilize their most complex dedicated server technology. A separate guarantee offers additional coverage for Network clients.
Further, we are tracking uptime of a test website using Pingdom and here are the results.
Here are the test website used and the results.
For SiteGround- inlinehostblogger.com
For HostGator – hg-inlinehosting.com
From the above test result, we can conclude that SiteGround has a better uptime compared to HostGator.
Read our extensive Bluehost vs Siteground web hosting comparison review.
We have a unique uptime interactive graph here that lets you enter different data points to see various results for each hosting service. This graph tracks real-time uptime of around 150 websites hosted under these hosting companies.
SiteGround was online with no downtime for 100 percent of the time during long periods of our study. This is unusual for any web host and a good testimonial for SiteGround.
More Extensive stats on HostGator can be read from this Bluehost Vs HostGator Vs DreamHost Review
★ Winner Tie. Both hosting companies scored 99.99% uptime as promised.
SiteGround Vs HostGator – Speed Test
SiteGround had good quality speed results based on a unique quality of many open-source projects: They respond well to good caching systems. Knowing this, SiteGround built the SuperCacher, a custom-made cache process that keeps things moving fast. On the other hand, HostGator focused on employing more equipment and server layers to allow faster speeds and better service.
TTFB or Time to First Byte refers to how quickly the host’s server sends the first byte of data when responding to a request. This is an important metric because it allows us to test the speed and quality of the servers independent of front-end issues.
So here are the results for SiteGround and HostGator w.r.t TTFB.
HostGator looses to SiteGround by a small margin. SiteGround has made significant investments like VPS servers that use Supermicro Server Chassis, Dual AMD Opteron CPUs, SuperCacher, and RAID 10 Disk Arrays. To get a custom look at different speed scenarios, I have conducted a speed test for 2 similar sites hosted on SiteGround and HostGator from different continents. To make it appealing, two websites used are similar in size, content, requests, and attachments.
Speed Of Sites Hosted On SiteGround
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
Speed Of Sites Hosted On HostGator
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
As expected, SiteGround loaded faster in USA and Netherlands whereas HostGator tops in Australia. This is mainly due to the availability of servers for SiteGround in Netherlands and USA region. And also, their inability to have a data center in Australia, where HostGator manages to have a data center.
Here’s a why website hosted on SiteGround is faster than HostGator.
★ Winner SiteGround.
Server Quality Test
In essence, a web server is really a big hard drive in an off-site, secure location. The speed of each machine will make a big impact on how fast your site is. SiteGround, who put customer support and satisfaction above all, purposefully keep server loads low. That means they have room to allow for surges and seasonal increases, like during holidays and near the end of the year.
HostGator has an impressive battery of server arrays, which work instantly to balance loads and keep server response high.
We used the Load Impact app to send up to 100 concurrent visitors and test the load time of the website. The Green Line indicates the number of visitors and blue line represent the adjacent response time as the traffic increase.
Here are some of the steps taken to ensure that all tests were as fair as possible.
- Each site is a WordPress site of Installation 4 with the same theme installed and the same number of images, pages size, content, and request.
- All the plugins and catching system was disabled
- The test was conducted several times and the best results are displayed here.
- Server location of both these hosting companies was located on Ashburn, VA, and Portland, Oregon.
Response time of SiteGround
SiteGround clocked a response time of 0.5s throughout the test, the blue line ( which indicate response time) remained flat for up to 100 concurrent visitors. This means the number of visitors and their multiple requests didn’t have much impact on the response time of SiteGround servers.
Siteground servers were stable and performed with high quality even when there was heavy load applied on the servers.
Response time of HostGator
HostGator clocked a response time of 0.4ms until the traffic reached 50. After that, response time started varying heavily and finally, server stopped responding at 75 concurrent visitors. However, handling 50 concurrent visitors at a response time of 0.4ms is a good benchmark for a shared hosting server.
Here's another test on the response time of HostGator and SiteGround Recently, another test was conducted on a smaller test website from a different location, and the result was similar. This concludes the superiority of SiteGround’s server over HostGator with a 1.5x faster performance.
Response time of SiteGround – 90ms
Response time of HostGator – 120ms
Recently, another test was conducted on a smaller test website from a different location, and the result was similar.
This concludes the superiority of SiteGround’s server over HostGator with a 1.5x faster performance.★ Winner SiteGround. Again, SiteGround gains an edge over HostGator.
HostGator Vs SiteGround – Control Panel
Control Panel is where you manage all the backend part of your website. This is where you make major design changes, coding changes to your website. The ease and flexibility in using the control panel play a huge role in successful and speedily development of your website.
Both these hosting was using Cpanel as their control panel, but SiteGround changed to a custom made control panel called SiteTools starting August 2019. We have tested this control panel ourselves and it looks better than cPanel in all terms.
Moving away from cPanel is a big decision made by SiteGround as most of their users signed up with them because of cPanel. They believe that with new custom made panel, it will be easier for them to add new tools to address customers needs as they will not have to comply with a third-party framework like cPanel.
SiteTools has all the functionality that was widely used in cPanel with brand new user experience.
HostGator cPanel: Try Demo
★ Winner: Tie.
#HostGator vs SiteGround – Free migration (Transfer)
If you are someone new or someone with limited web development knowledge, it will be a tedious task for you to transfer your existing website from your current hosting to the newly chosen one.
SiteGround makes this process very easy with their super cool expert team transferring your website in less than 24 hours. Additionally, this service comes free of cost.
Here’s how SitGround’s transfer works. They got our very heavy test website transferred in less than 24 hours.
Similarly, HostGator offers the same service free of cost. I didn’t get a chance to personally test HostGator transfer service, I will update this post once I do it in near future.
Here are some more details on the free transfer service of HostGator.
Price, Plans, and Features
SiteGround has a wide variety of hosting service plans for everyone from individuals to large organizations. They are especially suited to open-source projects like the popular e-commerce platform Magento.
HostGator also has a number of plans, from low-cost starter plans to full VPS hosting and dedicated servers.
|Regular Price||$ 3.95 per month||$ 5.95 per month||$ 11.95 per month||$ 2.75 per month||$ 3.95 per month||$ 5.95 per month|
|Plan Name||Start Up||Grow Big||Go Geek||Hatchling||Baby||Business|
|Visitors Per Month||10000||25000||100000||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered|
|Web Space||10 GB||20 GB||30 GB||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered|
|Free Included Domains||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 Days||30 Days||30 Days||45 Days||45 Days||45 Days|
|Control Panel||Custom panel called Site Tools||Custom panel called Site Tools||Custom panel called Site Tools||cPanel||cPanel||cPanel|
|Server Location||USA, EUROPE AND ASIA||USA, EUROPE AND ASIA||USA, EUROPE AND ASIA||Provo, Dallas, Houston||Provo, Dallas, Houston||Provo, Dallas, Houston|
|Google Adword Credit||No||No||No||$100||$100||$100|
|Free Site Backup||Yes||Yes||Yes||Automatic backup on every week.||Automatic backup on every week.||Automatic backup on every week.|
|Free Backup Restore||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Backup On Demand||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free SSH and STFP||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
★ Winner Tie.
SiteGround Vs HostGator – Backup feature
Backup lets you keep a copy of your website just in case something goes wrong with your website. This can be anything like site breaking down due to accidental coding error, bugs in application software updates, hacking attempts, malware infections, etc,.
During such an event, the backup can be used to easily restore your website to a previous working condition. You will never know the value of a backup unless you are stuck with any such situations.
SiteGround provides 30 automatic backup copy of your website for a month, it means they will have a copy of your website for each day of last 30 days. Additionally, they will let you create a backup on demand, which means you will be able to create a backup copy anytime before you make major changes to your website.
HostGator only provides 1 automatic backup per week. This backup will be created on a random day of a particular week. However, they state in their TOC that those backups are not guaranteed, and encourages us to create a backup by ourselves.
★ Winner SiteGround.
SiteGround and HostGator – Live review by the current users
As seen from the twitter feed, SiteGround has a very high customer satisfaction compared to HostGator.
Steps to High Performance
SiteGround early on niched themselves in the world of open-source software with customized plans tailored around specific packages like Joomla and Drupal. Their server response time is on par with competitors, although not at the top of the industry. Rather, they have concentrated on superior customer satisfaction.
Hostgator has increased investment in its infrastructure including more enterprise-class servers, 24-hour monitoring, and stronger UPS backup capability. Their partnership with SoftLayer, a cloud computing provider, has given them increased capability and speed to service customers.
SiteGround offers telephone support in addition to chat and an email-oriented ticket system. The ticket system boasts a “first reply” within ten minutes, while live chat and telephone support are almost instantaneous.
HostGator has beefed up support to deal with their strong growth in the last few years. They have built an entire support portal on their site with quick access to live chat (Still has longer waiting time compared to SiteGround), ticket submission or billing management. There is also a customer forum with lots of quality content built up over years of service.
SiteGround Support Waiting Time – 0 Minute (Instant)
HostGator Support Waiting time – 2 Minute
SiteGround and HostGator support were extremely fast and were easy to reach. The problem with HostGator support is the lack of expertise of their support representatives, which takes hours to solve a problem. This is because their support is outsourced to third world countries to minimize expense.
Whereas, SiteGround’s entire support team is based on their home office in Bulgaria where they are trained to meet customer expectation. They are highly knowledgeable and knows what they are doing most of the time.
★ Winner SiteGround. SiteGround has a fast, knowledgeable and friendly support team to help on problems associated with our website.
— Richard Sparks (@JoomlaJive) December 22, 2014
HostGator vs. SiteGround – My Recommendation
We’ve taken a good look at the features and benefits of two of the most prominent web hosting services on the Internet. No other site looks as closely as we do at customer support, uptime, site speed, and overall performance.
That said, my recommendation is to go with SiteGround. Their considerable client base allows them to continue to invest heavily in increasingly complex server technology like DDR3 ECC Ram and customized hardware specs. The end result is their servers are faster, have better uptime and make fewer errors. For that reason, I can easily recommend SiteGround as the home for your next web hosting.
HostGator Vs SiteGround Score Sheet
SiteGround: 8 win
HostGator: 3 win
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Noor is a well-known webhosting blogger and industry analyst. Since 2006, he has tested a wide variety of web hosting services and posted the results on his popular blog, InlineHostBlogger.com. For each review, he extensively tests each web hosting company personally, or with his hand-picked team of technicians.