Hostgator Inc. was founded by Brent Oxley in his college dorm back in 2002. The web company grew from a one-man operation to one with hundreds of employees over the years; and was ranked 21st (year 2008) and 239th (year 2009) in Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company.
In 2012, Brent sold the company was sold to Endurance International Group (EIG) for, unofficial figure, $225 million.
EIG, which also owns a number of other well-known web hosting brands, including BlueHost, iPage, FatCow, HostMonster, Pow Web, Easy CGI, Arvixe, eHost, A Small Orange, and so on; is now the largest website hosting company.
About Hostgator, the company
- Founded in 2002 by Brent Oxley.
- Services: Shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, and cloud hosting
- Offices in four locations: Houston and Austin, Texas; Florianopolic and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Data centers: Houston, TX and Provo, UT, America (U.S.).
What’s in this Hostgator review
Verdict & Relevant Info
- Background story: My 11 years with Hostgator hosting
- Hostgator cloud hosting plans and pricing
- More quick facts about Hostgator
- Verdict: Is Hostgator right for you (and your websites)?
My 11 years experience with Hostgator hosting service
This Hostgator review was first published in 2008. That was almost a decade ago.
The company has went through a number of big changes – Brent sold his company to Endurance International Group (EIG), the company released a new Hostgator.com site design, and the Gator reinvented themselves as a cloud hosting provider.
As a long time Hostgator customer, I have witnessed the up and down of the company.
WHSR (this site you are reading) was once hosted at Hostgator before I moved to cloud-based hosting WP Engine in 2011 and to InMotion Hosting two years later.
I am hosting some secondary domains at Hostgator Cloud now.
My 10 years billing history with Hostgator. Can I get a free company T-shirt? 🙂
Apparently Hostgator is no longer the same beast that we used to know in 2008. And we need a new review on Hostgator’s service.
In March 2017, I bought myself a new Hostgator Cloud and started monitoring its server performance. This Hostgator review is built on my experience in two different plans – Hostgator Shared and Cloud.
Hostgator Hosting Review: The Pros
1. Solid server performance (Uptime > 99.99%)
Server uptime is the one thing that I stress a lot in my hosting reviews. Can you imagine what will happen to your business if your site goes down frequently? Fancy additional features are meaningless unless your site stays online.
As I own both Hostgator Shared hosting and Cloud hosting in the past – I am giving you the uptime record for both plans.
Hostgator Cloud Hosting Uptime (Under Baby Cloud Plan)
August 2018: 100%
Test site hosted at Hostgator Cloud has not gone down since May 2018.
March 2018: 99.99%
Hostgator cloud hosting uptime (March 2018): 99.99%.
Older Records (2017)
* Click image to enlarge.
Hostgator Shared Hosting Uptime (Under Baby Gator Plan)
March 2017: 100%
Hostgator shared hosting uptime (March 2017): 100%. This test site hosted on Hostgator Shared Hosting has not gone down since November 2016. We stopped tracking Hostgator shared hosting after April 2017.
Jul 2016: 100%
Mar 2016: 100%
Feb 2016: 100%
Feb 2015: 100%
Jun 2014: 99.91%
Oct 2013: 99.97%
2. Hostgator Cloud Hosting = Speed
I ran multiple speed test on Hostgator Cloud Hosting using Bitcatch and WebpageTest.
The results were magnificient.
Here are some speed test results I got for different test sites. Take note on the server response times for test nodes located at United States – the results (below 50ms) were superb.
Speed test result for site #1, April 2017 – Test site scored an impressive “A” on first test. Most other web hosts in this price range do not score above A- in Bitcatcha speed test. This result (and the few that I am going to show you below) convince me that Hostgator is back to the top of their game.Speed test result for test site #2: A!Speed test result for test site #3: A! (For the record, the speed test score for this site was C+ in first run; the image shown above is the result for second run.)Test site recorded TTFB at 426ms in one of the recent tests.
3. Special discount: Save 45%
Save up to 45% when you signup to Hostgator Cloud hosting plan today.
Bear in mind that, however, this price falls back to normal when you renew (see below for more).
Hostgator’s Cloud Plans: Hatchling Cloud, Baby Cloud, and Business Cloud.
To order, click (affiliate link): https://www.hostgator.com/cloud-hosting/
4. Free site migration for new customers
Hostgator provides a limited number of free transfers from other web hosting companies to new users.
For Cloud Plans, you are eligible for one full transfer within 30 days of signup.
To request a site migration, login to your customer portal > Support > Request Migration.
5. Good customer care policy
Free SSL installation
In conjunction with Google Chrome browser changes, free SSL will be automatically installed to every domain for Hostgator customers.
Enabling the SSL will give your domain an “HTTPS://” prefix, which ensures your website will be labeled as “secure” in most web browsers.
Hostgator uptime guarantee
The company guarantees 99.9% server uptime and will refund your money should the uptime fall short. Read Hostgator’s ToS (clause 15).
If your shared or reseller server has a physical downtime that falls short of the 99.9% uptime guarantee, you may receive one (1) month of credit on your account.
This uptime guarantee does not apply to planned maintenance. Approval of any credit is at the sole discretion of HostGator and may be dependent upon the justification provided […] To request a credit, please visit http://support.hostgator.com to create a support ticket to our Billing department with justification.
Support from Hostgator comes in different channels: 24×7 live chat, telephone, forums, ticketing system, as well as Twitter.
For those who hate to wait and like to solve problem in their own hands – The company also hosts a comprehensive customer support knowledge base.
While not everyone is happy with their after-sales service the company, at least Hostgator does care about their customers.
Hostgator Support on Twitter
Hostgator Support comes in various channels, including Twitter.
Hostgator posts server maintenance updates and handle support requests via @HGSupport on Twitter.
45 days money back guarantee
Most web hosting companies offer a standard 30-day money back guarantee for their first time customers.
HostGator is one of the few that bumps the trial period up to 45 days, giving you an extra 15 days to try out their offerings with no risk.
Hostgator’s terms on Money-back Guarantee.
Hostgator User Forum
A forum (that allows its customers to speak freely) is usually positive indication of company’s will to listen from their customers’ feedback and reviews, and improve continuously.
You can visit Hostgator forum here.
Screen shot of Hostgator forum (April 2018).
6. Hostgator = Bloggers’ favorite web hosting service?
In 2015, I spoke to a group of ~50 bloggers and asked for their comment about their blog hosting services. There were 43 votes and 21 hosting brands mentioned in the survey.
Hostgator was the most frequent mentioned name (7 times) in the survey.
WHSR 2015 Hosting Survey – 7 out of 41 votes casted go to Hostgator hosting. More details: WHSR Web Hosting Survey 2015.
The same thing happened in 2016. The survey size was 4x larger with ~200 respondents. Out of the ~200 responses I got, 30 of them are hosting their primary site at Hostgator.
Numbers of web hosting brands mentioned in the survey. 30 out of 188 respondents are hosting their primary site at Hostgator. More details: WHSR Web Hosting Survey 2016
Hostgator users are generally happy with their host
Interests over time on Hostgator.
After two major server outage in 2013 and 2014, I did not expect so many bloggers to stick with Hostgator hosting. Some survey respondents I spoke to complained about the long wait time at live chat but generally most of them are happy with their host.
For your reference, here are feedbacks on Hostgator I collected via emails.
Enstine Muki, EnstineMuki.com
“Been with them [Hostgator] since 2008 and have not had any major issues.
The Live support has become the worst thing on Hostgator. It’s becoming more and more difficult to get help either by mail or live chat. Looks like it’s the worst in the industry at the moment.”
Abrar Mohi Shafee, Blogging Spell (Blog Sold)
“People might’ve noticed HostGator has gotten very slow in live support. Previously, it was 2-3 minutes, but now it is taking 30 minutes or longer.
Just to clarify, I think, this is the consequence of data center transfer as off the owner has changed. Though I should let you know, HostGator was the company who provided the fastest live support ever. The existing customers are thinking to move from it where the new customers think they will be trapped by getting themselves in. But I think, we should give them a chance as they are gradually overcoming. The company was the gem of web hosting in last few years. There has to be a tough reason for all these difficulties. But that never means they are a bad host.”
Lisha Yost, Blog and Retire
“I use Hostgator for business and blog hosting.
I have been using hostgator since 2011 with zero problems. I They have great chat support. They are super helpful any time I have a problem or question. They are sometimes able to answer technical questions not related to hosting even! The only issue I’ve run into lately is longer wait times for the chat support…
I do not plan on switching hosts, for the above reasons.”
Credit: Enstine Muki
Hostgator users feedback on Twitter
@ImChemX depends what you need to do with it
i run a couple wordpress sites with custom php on hostgator + their customer service is A+
— replicant pidge (@pidgezero_one) January 25, 2016
Big shout out to @HostGator for resolving my #WordPress update issues. Your customer service rocks!
— Daniel Lofaso (@DanielLofaso) August 24, 2015
@Matt_Winkelman been happy with HostGator for small to medium sized sites built with WordPress. Good support and performance for $10/month
— Anthony Zazo (@azazo) June 8, 2014
@antonkudin well I usually recommend hostgator, though that’s usually for WordPress. Nonetheless, it’s great for what you need
— Dave Clements (@daclements) June 23, 2012
Hostgator Hosting Review: The Cons
1. Hostgator “unlimited’ hosting is limited
In reality, all unlimited hosting offers are limited by a long list of server usage limitation.
Hostgator – as a for-profit business, is not exceptional in this issue – excessive usage of Hostgator server may result in account suspension or termination.
If you read the company Acceptable Use Policy –
C / a. i) [You may not] Use twenty-five percent (25%) or more of our system resources for longer than ninety (90) seconds at a time. Activities that could cause this excessive use, include but are not limited to: CGI scripts, FTP, PHP, HTTP, etc.
C/ b. The use of more than two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) inodes on any shared or reseller account may result in a warning, and if no action is taken to reduce the excessive use of inodes, your account may be suspended. If an account exceeds one hundred thousand (100,000) inodes it will be automatically removed from our backup system to avoid over-usage, however, databases will still be backed up as a courtesy in our sole discretion.
2. Higher cost during renewal
Like many other hosting companies who offer huge discounts on signup price, Hostgator will jack up the price once your bill is up for renewal (a common practice for almost all budget hosting).
For your reference, here’s the renewal price for Hostgator Cloud Hosting Plans.
* Note: All signup price based on Hostgator’s recent discount (April 2018), please refer to https://www.hostgator.com for latest offer price.
** Also – To see this in context, also read our market study on the overall cost of creating a website.
3. Occasionally long wait time for live chat support
In 2017, I reached out to 28 hosting companies’ live chat support and recorded my experience in a spreadsheet.
The performance of Hostgator live chat support met my expectation in that case study. Average wait time was 4 minutes and my issues was resolved efficiently.
However, there was time when I need to wait 15 – 20 minutes to reach their live chat support – which I find rather dissatisfying. Customers who are big on live chat support might want to check out others (SiteGround has the best live chat support in my experience so far, go check out).
4. Website Builder: Overpriced and limited features
Hostgator Website Builder comes with 100+ mobile friendly templates and bunch of useful integrations.
However, you can only get a tiny fraction of these awesome features as a Hostgator hosting customers – you are only allow to build 6 pages using this tool. Professional and Business plan cost $6.99/mo and $15.99/mo respectively.
To access Hostgator Website Builder, login to your customer portal after purchase > (top navigation) Website Builder. You’ll need to pay an additional fees of $15.99/mo for the full package (which I recommend against).
Plans, Pricing, and Other Quick Facts
Like their shared hosting, Hostgator Cloud Hosting comes in three different plans – Hatchling Cloud, Baby Cloud, and Business Cloud.
|Features||Hatchling Cloud||Baby Cloud||Business Cloud|
|CPU Capacity||2 Cores||4 Cores||6 Cores|
|Memory Capacity||2 GB||4 GB||6 GB|
|Signup Price (24-mo)*||$6.95/mo||$8.95/mo||$10.95/mo|
|Signup Price (36-mo)*||$4.95/mo||$7.95/mo||$9.95/mo|
|Trial Period||45 days||45 days||45 days|
* The price tags displayed at Hostgator official page (Hostgator.com/cloud-hosting) is based on 36-month subscription. Monthly price is higher when you go with a shorter subscription period (say, 24-month).
Hostgator SiteLock and CodeGuard Backup
Hostgator offers various upgrades and built-in features in their hosting plans.
For example you can purchase SiteLock ($19.99/year) and CodeGuard ($19.95/year) when you checkout at Hostgator. These two features are relative cheaper and convenient for customers who are looking for affordable business hosting with basic site protection.
List of some useful features offered when you checkout at Hostgator.
More quick facts on Hostgator Plans & Business
- Hostgator servers are located in United States only. For advanced users, you’ll need a CDN to reduce latency.
- Hostgator does not support NGINX and HTTP/2 at this point of writing.
- Cloud Hosting Plans come with a performance dashboard that provide a quick view of server resources, site global reach, and uptime.
- Hostgator Business Plans come with free Positive SSL, which is backed by $10K warranty, and provides a TrustLogo Site Seal to display on your site.
- Hostgator now offers WordPress Cloud Hosting – a hosting plan focused in serving WordPress sites. Start Plan starts at $5.95/mo.
- Sites hosted on Hostgator Cloud load faster (compared to Hostgator Shared) partly due to Hostgator’s custom-built caching machine.
Verdict: Is Hostgator best for your websites?
We usually select a web host based on few key factors: company reputation, reasonable price, features, and server performance.
Based on test results and studies shown above, you can see that Hostgator Cloud Hosting meets expectation in all categories. The company scored 4.5-star in our updated rating (we use a 80-point check list for our reviews, learn how it works here).
So yes – Hostgator is a go. And I personally think the Gator is particularly a good choice for newbies and individual bloggers who wish to “stick with the crowd”.
Quick recap on our Hostgator review
Alternatives and Comparisons
Also check out:
- Hostgator vs BlueHost
- Hostgator vs InMotion Hosting
- Hostgator vs Hostinger
Order Hostgator Cloud at 45% discount
Click (affiliate link): https://www.hostgator.com/cloud-hosting/