HostGator web hosting review: Pros, cons and more

Discover why HostGator is a top choice for web hosting with our comprehensive review. Unparalleled uptime, stellar customer service, and more!

Apr 16, 2024 - 12:38
Jun 8, 2024 - 12:58
HostGator web hosting review: Pros, cons and more

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

HostGator, a web hosting provider owned by the Endurance International Group (EIG), offers a variety of hosting plans suitable for beginners and scalable for larger businesses. Their plans are affordable and feature-rich, providing consistent performance across the board.

like Pros

  • Reliable uptime
  • Affordable pricing
  • User-friendly interface
  • Good customer support

dislike Cons

  • Customer support quality
  • Limited backup options
star star star star star
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Starting price

$2.75 per month

Money-back guarantee

30 days

Free SSL certificate


Specifications of HostGator web hosting

  • Linux server options
  • Windows server alternatives
  • Customer support available round the clock

Every business requires a website, whether it's an elaborate e-commerce platform or a basic blog for regular updates. Regardless, a web hosting service is essential. HostGator, with its comprehensive offerings including cloud, WordPress, virtual private server (VPS), and dedicated server packages, emerges as a leading choice. However, it's the shared hosting plans from HostGator that truly shine amidst the competitive web hosting landscape. In fact, HostGator's shared hosting packages are so impressive that the service has been named the Editors' Choice winner in the shared hosting category.

HostGator's shared hosting service

Shared hosting, for those unfamiliar with the term, refers to a type of web hosting where multiple websites are hosted on a single server. In this arrangement, the sites share the server's resources, hence the name "shared hosting". Consequently, a significant increase in traffic on one website (Site A) can have a detrimental effect on the performance of another website (Site B). Shared hosting is a suitable choice if you're seeking cost-effective hosting. However, if you require more server resources dedicated to your website, opting for VPS or dedicated hosting is advisable.

HostGator provides shared web hosting plans on a month-to-month basis, but it strongly encourages customers to opt for longer terms, beginning at six months. We find it unfavorable that during the signup process, HostGator automatically selects a three-year term, similar to many other web hosting providers. While it's understandable to promote longer-term commitments, requiring a three-year commitment from the outset seems excessive.

Nevertheless, HostGator presents both Linux and Windows-based shared hosting packages tailored to accommodate the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses. Under the Linux services, HostGator offers the Hatchling plan, which starts at $11.95 per month (or $9.99 per month with an annual plan). This plan provides unlimited disk space, monthly data transfers, and email addresses. It also includes a free SSL (secure socket layer) certificate, support for one domain, and compatibility with third-party applications like content management systems and e-commerce platforms. The Baby plan, starting at $12.95 per month (or $14.99 per month with an annual plan), expands upon the Hatchling plan by allowing unlimited domains. Finally, the top-tier Business plan, starting at $17.95 per month (or $18.99 per month with an annual plan), offers specialized features such as a free dedicated IP address, SEO tools, and access to the Cloudflare CDN (content delivery network) for enhanced speed.

It's worth noting that HostGator's annual commitments may not always be cheaper than their monthly equivalents, which is uncommon in the industry. Typically, you'd expect to receive a discount when opting for 12-month (or longer) payment plans. However, with HostGator, certain annual, biennial, and triennial plans can actually be more expensive than the monthly renewal subscription. For instance, while the Baby Plan costs $12.95 per month, opting for an annual commitment increases the price to $14.99 per month. This pricing structure applies to several of HostGator's WordPress plans, not just their shared hosting packages. In fact, during our discussion with a customer service representative, they appeared surprised and puzzled by this pricing setup. We recommend consulting this pricing table to make an informed decision before committing to a package.

Nonetheless, HostGator's comprehensive shared hosting packages offer unlimited storage, email, and monthly databases, providing businesses with ample room to expand. In summary, it's a highly commendable service for shared hosting packages.

HostGator's VPS hosting service

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is designed for individuals seeking greater server capacity than what shared hosting provides. With VPS hosting, multiple websites coexist on a server, albeit in significantly fewer numbers compared to shared hosting servers. While VPS servers come at a higher cost, they offer increased server capabilities in return.

HostGator provides three tiers of Linux-based VPS hosting. If you require enhanced power, anticipate heavy traffic, or have specific compliance needs that prohibit the use of shared servers (yet you're not prepared to invest in dedicated server pricing), these options are worth considering.

The entry-level VPS plan, Snappy 2000 (beginning at $79.95 per month), includes 2GB of RAM, 120GB of SSD disk space, and unlimited email and monthly data transfers. The intermediate Snappy 4000 package (starting at $119.95 per month) enhances the Snappy plan with 4GB of RAM and 165GB of SSD storage. The highest-tier plan, Snappy 8000 (beginning at $149.95 per month), provides 8GB of RAM and 240GB of SSD storage. While the plans offer flexibility, they may not be as comprehensive as Hostwinds, our top pick for VPS hosting.

Hostwinds offers cost-effective VPS plans starting at $16.99 per month, featuring 1GB of RAM, 30GB of disk space, 1TB of monthly data transfers, and unlimited email. Their plans scale up to $574 per month, offering 96GB of RAM, 750GB of disk space, 9TB of monthly data transfers, and unlimited email. Notably, Hostwinds' VPS plans include the option for a Windows operating system, which is not available with HostGator.

Comparison of VPS hosting plans: HostGator vs. Hostwinds

Dedicated hosting represents a robust form of web hosting where your website resides on a server exclusively dedicated to it. Consequently, while this type of hosting comes at a premium price, it offers the highest level of power and performance. If you anticipate significant traffic, dedicated hosting is the ideal solution for powering your website.

HostGator's dedicated server offerings commence with the Value tier, starting at $179.99 per month. The Value package provides 8GB of RAM, 1TB of HDD storage, and unlimited email and monthly data transfers. Moving up, the Power Server option, starting at $239 per month, features 16GB of RAM and 2TB of HDD storage (or 512GB of SSD storage). Finally, the top-tier Enterprise Server, starting at $279 per month, boasts 30GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.

HostGator offers dedicated servers available in both Linux and Windows versions, a feature that is not as common as one might expect in the hosting industry where Linux typically dominates. HostGator stands out as one of the few web hosting providers we've evaluated that performs well and provides both operating systems. Surprisingly, even DreamHost, a preferred hosting service, does not offer Windows-based dedicated servers. Despite this, HostGator does not hold the title of Editors' Choice for dedicated hosting; that distinction belongs to AccuWeb.

AccuWeb boasts an impressive array of features. Its dedicated hosting packages start at $105 per month and can be scaled in terms of price and power to suit your requirements. Additionally, their servers are available in both Linux and Windows configurations.

Nonetheless, HostGator's dedicated hosting options are still noteworthy. If you are seeking dedicated hosting with high-capacity SSD storage, HostGator's offerings are worth considering.

HostGator's cloud hosting services

Similar to numerous other web hosting providers reviewed by PCMag, HostGator also provides cloud hosting services. With cloud hosting, your website's resources are distributed across multiple servers. This setup offers advantages such as the ability to scale resources instantly, as your site is not restricted by the limitations of physical servers.

HostGator's cloud hosting service, unlike that of DreamHost, the other recipient of PCMag's Editors' Choice award in this category, is exclusively offered on the Linux platform. If you require the Windows operating system, you'll need to explore alternative options. Nevertheless, HostGator presents appealing cloud hosting plans that merit consideration.

The Cloud Hatchling plan starts at $12.95 per month and provides 2GB of RAM, along with unlimited email, monthly data transfers, and storage. Moving up, the Cloud Baby plan, starting at $13.95 per month, offers unlimited domains and increases the RAM to 4GB. At the top-tier, the Cloud Business plan, starting at $19.95 per month, includes 6GB of RAM, a dedicated IP address, and complimentary SEO tools.

1&1 Ionos, another recipient of PCMag's Editors' Choice award for cloud hosting, is tailored for enterprise-level businesses. Its offerings feature 16-core CPUs, servers with 48GB of RAM, and other high-end specifications. Additionally, packages can be extensively customized. For further details, please refer to the comprehensive review.

WordPress web hosting with HostGator

HostGator allows users to install the WordPress content management system (CMS) on any of its servers. However, the web host also provides three levels of pre-installed, managed WordPress web hosting: Starter, Standard, and Business.

Starter (beginning at $17.95 per month, or $14.99 per month with an annual plan) offers accommodation for up to 100,000 visits monthly, the capacity to host a single WordPress site, and unlimited email. Standard (beginning at $24.99, or $18.99 per month with an annual plan) increases the allowances to support two WordPress sites and up to 200,000 monthly visits. Business (starting at $27.95 per month) provides room for three WordPress sites, up to 500,000 monthly visits, and unlimited storage. Each plan includes page caching and a tailored WordPress hosting environment. Nevertheless, A2, Bluehost, and WP Engine—our co-Editors' Choice selections for WordPress hosting—outshine HostGator with slightly more comprehensive packages. For a more thorough exploration of their WordPress offerings, we recommend referring to those reviews.

Setting up WordPress on HostGator is a straightforward process even without opting for managed WordPress hosting. The customer portal features a convenient option called Quick Links, which directs users to a dedicated interface for installing third-party applications. Additionally, there's a useful shortcut named "Get Started With WordPress Today," leading directly to the Quick Links interface. By specifying the path to our blog's installation, entering the username for the WordPress administrator account, and clicking on the install button, our site was swiftly up and running. HostGator also automatically integrated the WP-Super-Cache plug-in to enhance blog performance. For those seeking additional plug-ins to enhance their site, exploring The Best WordPress Plug-Ins for Supercharging Your Website is recommended.

During testing, the process of setting up our WordPress site was seamless, owing to the pre-existing database. Furthermore, under WordPress services, there was a link to the Mojo Marketplace, offering premium add-ons and services for our blog. Although HostGator lacks a dedicated blog-import button, the import process on WordPress is relatively straightforward.

Creating a website with HostGator

HostGator provides a helpful getting-started email containing links to essential resources for website creation. However, navigating the interface can be a bit cumbersome. The Billing Login link on the site leads to the customer portal, housing payment information, plan details, and add-on options. Within the portal, tabs for account and domain management are visible, while the Hosting tab grants access to the control panel, featuring site-building tools and statistics. Though an introductory email offers a direct link to the control panel, its appearance differs from the one accessed through the Hosting tab, causing initial confusion.

HostGator offers various options for website building, including its user-friendly Gator website builder. With drag-and-drop functionality, users can swiftly create appealing pages featuring slideshows, contact forms, social media links, and more. Additionally, users can opt to install WordPress or other CMS platforms like b2evolutions, Drupal, Joomla, Mambo, and Tiki. For those preferring manual file uploads, the File Manager tool allows direct file editing and includes a built-in HTML editor, enhancing functionality beyond basic FTP clients.

When signing up for at least 12 months of cloud, shared, or WordPress hosting, HostGator provides a complimentary domain name, excluding dedicated and VPS hosting plans. Although common in the web hosting industry, this offering adds value to the package. However, two conditions apply: the domain name is free for one year, and it must end in .com, .org, or .net extensions. Additionally, HostGator facilitates free domain transfers for existing domains with these extensions. For further insights into site building, explore The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites and How to Create a Blog.

HostGator's reseller hosting

If you're interested in entering the web hosting industry without managing infrastructure, consider HostGator's reseller hosting options.

Starting at $34.95 per month, these plans include unlimited email. While HostGator's Aluminum, Copper, and Silver plans come in both Linux and Windows versions, they don't offer unlimited storage and monthly data transfers at each level like Hostwinds, our top pick for reseller hosting. However, HostGator does allow you to brand the servers you rent and provides 24/7 technical support.

HostGator E-Commerce tools

HostGator has a partnership with Mojo Marketplace, offering a range of design tools such as graphics, logos, themes, and templates. Quick Links also provides access to e-commerce packages like Magento, phpCOIN, SugarCRM, and ZenCart. We tested Magento, which offers a user-friendly interface for creating an appealing online store.

Setting up your online store with this tool is simple. You can choose a theme, add products, pricing, and images, and select preferred payment and shipping methods. If you intend to use your website for e-commerce purposes, HostGator provides numerous excellent options.

Outstanding uptime and customer support

We utilized a website-monitoring tool to observe the uptime of our HostGator-hosted test site for a 14-day period. The tool checked our website every 15 minutes and alerted us via email if it couldn't reach the site for at least 1 minute. The results demonstrated HostGator's remarkable stability, as the site didn't experience any downtime throughout the testing period. This indicates that users shouldn't encounter prolonged periods of site unavailability with HostGator.

HostGator provides 24/7 telephone and live web chat support. During a weekday morning call, we connected with a customer service representative in under a minute. We inquired about the various hosting tiers and received informative and friendly assistance. Subsequently, we engaged in a live web chat to learn more about their WordPress services and pricing. The support agent promptly responded, detailing the pricing structure and features of each tier.

Similar to many other web hosts, HostGator offers a money-back guarantee. However, it surpasses most competitors by extending the refund window to 45 days (compared to the standard 30-day period). Nonetheless, DreamHost, another Editors' Choice selection, exceeds expectations with its generous 97-day guarantee.

Dedicated to hosting

HostGator stands out as a top-notch web hosting provider, offering a wide range of hosting options, exceptional customer service, impressive uptime, and an extensive money-back guarantee. Whether you're looking to launch a personal blog or a business website, HostGator provides a comprehensive suite of tools to meet your needs—though if you require a Windows-powered server, you may need to explore other options. Particularly noteworthy are HostGator's shared hosting plans, which excel in performance and functionality, earning the service our Editors' Choice accolade for this category. However, if building on the Windows Server operating system is your priority, you may find AccuWeb, another Editors' Choice winner, to be a better fit.

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