Hostgator Review: Pros, Cons & Performance Tests (2022)

Hostgator Review Featured Image

Hostgator is among the top five web hosting companies used around the world. With over 2.5 million websites hosted and some of the lowest prices on the market, you might wonder if Hostgator is still a good hosting service provider for your website…

In this data-backed review, you’ll find out the details on all aspects of Hostgator’s services.

You’ll learn about the good, the bad and the sneakily hidden fineprint to bring you the most up to date Hostgator review on the internet.

So let’s get started!

Introducing Hostgator

HostGator Homepage

That’s no small accomplishment folks!

When it comes to hosting, it says a lot when a company invests in their staff. From additional support agents through to server engineers, the more people working to build a better product, the better your experience as a customer should be.

Now, likely you have a lot of questions about web hosting companies, and in particular how their performance stacks up in today’s market.

So let’s dive right in by exploring the features of Hostgator’s current services and products, shall we?

Hostgator Hosting Features Review

Hostgator Hosting Plans

Hostgator offers a range of hosting plans including:

  • Shared hosting
  • WordPress hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Dedicated hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Reseller hosting

We’ll look at the details of each later in this article.

Since most people use a shared plan, and these are Hostgator’s most affordable plans, we’ll use these as the baseline for our comparisons of all of Hostgator’s available features.

Disk Space

First up, let’s address how much space Hostgator’s plans offer.

Unmetered Bandwidth

All of Hostgator’s shared and managed web hosting plans provide “unmetered” bandwidth. Note, this is not the same as “unlimited” storage or bandwidth.

  • Unmetered Bandwidth: Your disk space and bandwidth usage is not strictly monitored or limited unless you exceed fair usage policies. You can freely use as much or as little as you need so long as you leave enough resources for the other people sharing your server too.
  • Unlimited Storage or Bandwidth: The hosting company has no cap on disk space and bandwidth usage. However, all servers have a physical limit to how much data they can each hold, and your account may be subject to such a limit. So, it will never offer “truly” unlimited bandwidth or storage if you catch our drift.

Keep in mind that, like most web hosting services, Hostgator does have fair use policies in place. For instance, if your account uses over 25% of a server’s resources for longer than 90 seconds, this will be flagged as a violation of Hostagtor’s usage policies.

You may be asked to reduce your usage or upgrade to a more suitable plan that can better accommodate your website’s needs.

Backups

Website backups are an essential lifeline if something goes wrong. You’ll want to know your hosting company has your back if your website breaks down at a critical moment.

Hostgator Backups

Unfortunately, you will not receive adequate backups with Hostgator’s out-of-the-box plans. Instead, they offer an upsell for CodeGuard’s service, which starts at an extra $32.95 per year.

As such, Hostgator makes it very clear that they take no responsibility for failed backups. They do offer free weekly backups for customers, but they’re also “not guaranteed” in any way.

Hostgator Automatic Backups

Besides, Hostgator only takes backups once a week on a random day. There may also be an additional fee of $25 for Hostgator to provide you with a copy of a courtesy backup file.

Compared with companies like SiteGround, which offers free daily backups on all plans, Hostgator severely lacks its in-built backup features and policies.

Security

As with the backup features, Hostgator tends to lack some security features in its out-of-the-box offers.

Hostgator Security

In fact, on all the shared web hosting, some essential security features (like spam protection) are added as an upsell offer instead of built into the service.

FeaturesHostgator
Free SSL CertificateYes (Let’s Encrypt)
Hotlink ProtectionYes
Spam ProtectionPaid Option - Spam Assassin
Free Automatic BackupsYes (Weekly)
Web Application FirewallYes
DDoS ProtectionYes
Brute Force ProtectionYes
Bot BlockingYes - Manual
Malware ProtectionPaid Option
24/7 Server MonitoringYes
WP Security PluginNo

Honestly, there are far better hosting options out there that constantly invest in their in-built security features for all shared plans. SiteGround and WPX  are our top choices, to name a few.

However, Hostgator’s minimal security features might be a compromise you’re ok with making in the interest of extending your bootstrapped budget. If you are making your decision on price alone and don’t intend on growing your website into a money-making asset, you will find Hostgator to be an acceptable hosting solution.

Servers

Hostgator’s servers and data centers are located within the United States (Utah and Texas).

Hostgator Datacenters

If you’re targeting audiences outside of the US and want your website files hosted near your audience groups, you’ll need to set up a good CDN service if you intend on using Hostgator. Otherwise, a hosting company with international data centers may be a better option.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike some other hosting companies, Hostgator does not allow you to choose which data center your files are hosted in.

You can find out more about Hostgator’s servers here.

Hostgator Hosting Performance Review

As mentioned earlier in this article, besides investigating the features of each type of hosting account offered by Hostgator, we also ran our own tests.

The data we gathered first-hand lends insight into whether Hostgator lives up to the performance claims they make on their website and in their marketing materials.

Hostgator Speed

To test the speed of an average Hostgator account, we ran a test website through two tools: GT Metrix and Pingdom.

Why Does WordPress Site Speed Matter?

The same website was used and tested three times on each tool for each location. Yes, that’s a whole lot of tests we ran so that we could be extra sure of the data we gathered.

The average results from each tool are below. As you’ll observe, they’re below optimal and quite disappointing for the needs of today’s websites.

Also, truth be told, we didn’t take things one step further to implement any of the recommended speed upgrades.

Essentially, we wanted to test what the speed performance would be like for an average WordPress user. A good hosting service should constantly be working to improve the performance of their servers regardless of what speed optimizations are done on their user’s websites.

Unfortunately, Hostgator just doesn’t live up to the top-notch speed performance expected today.

GT Metrix

 Performance ScoreTTFB
Vancouver0.481.6s
London0.271.7s
Sydney0.121.3s

Pingdom

 Pingdom PerformancePingdom Load Time
San Francisco653.24s
Frankfurt652.84s
Tokyo653.09s
London645.70s
Washington DC643.65s
Sydney643.41s

Our Verdict: There’s a lot that could be improved with Hostgator’s speed performance. If you’re interested in using a hosting company that offers better speed performance, check out our post on the fastest hosts.

Hostgator Uptime

Like loading speed, uptime is a critical performance factor that needs to be weighed up before purchasing a hosting plan.

HostGator Uptime

Hostgator offers an uptime guarantee of 99.90%, which matches the industry benchmark. However, according to Pingdom’s uptime monitoring data, Hostgator’s average uptime is lower than the guaranteed amount at 99.89% since 2015.

Here’s what it has been over more recent years:

 2018 Uptime2019 Uptime2020 Uptime2021 Uptime
Hostgator99.98%99.94%99.91%99.98%

Our Verdict: As with loading speed, Hostgator’s uptime performance, and server reliability is quite underwhelming.

Hostgator Web Hosting Plans & Pricing Review

Although widely known for its affordable shared hosting, Hostgator offers a range of different hosting packages to suit the needs of many types of websites.

Hostgator Hosting Plans

In general, Hostgator tends to limit the amount of included features, and it chooses to upsell additional products and services instead. Thus, we found that Hostgator’s pricing is not as favorable as it may initially appear.

When comparing pricing against other top hosting companies in the market, we also found that Hostgator consistently charges extra hidden or higher renewal fees.

Sure, there are some instances where the price works out cheaper in the short-to-medium term when compared with other hosting providers. However, Hostgator’s pricing racks up larger bills than you might have initially expected in the long run.

Take a look at the details of Hostgator’s costs for each of their plans below.

Hostgator Shared Hosting Review

In general, Hostgator’s pricing for shared web hosting works out cheaper than many other hosting companies on the market.

Hostgator Shared Hosting

This is because Hostgator uses a loss-leading price strategy and offers benefits (like a free domain name) to attract new users to the service. But there’s more than meets the eye.

To receive such low prices, customers must commit to a 3-year term and pay upfront. Then, the renewal prices increase significantly for both the hosting and the “free” domain. We’ll look at the domain pricing later on.

Here’s how Hostgator’s evergreen promotional prices stack up against renewal prices for shared hosting.

Hostgator Shared Plan PricesEvergreen Promotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Lowest Tier (Hatchling Plan)$2.75/month$6.95 - $10.95/month
Middle Tier (Baby Plan)$3.50/month$9.95 - $11.95/month
Highest Tier (Business Plan)$5.25/month$14.95 - $16.95/month

It goes without saying these prices are always subject to change and there are opportunities during seasonal sales periods, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to score even lower rates too.

But, the point here is that there’s more to Hostgator’s cheap prices than meets the eye.

It’s also worth mentioning that compared with other companies, the features and functionality available out of the box are somewhat limited or require you to purchase them separately. For instance, daily backups are not automatically included with Hostgator’s shared hosting.

Hostgator WordPress Hosting Review

Managed WordPress hosting is an excellent service to consider if you don’t want to be dealing with the headaches of setting up and maintaining a WordPress site yourself.

Sure, for some people, it’s not a great deal of effort to do it all yourself.

Hostgator WordPress Hosting

But, if you’re a beginner, not very tech-savvy, or managing a portfolio of websites and want to free up time, using a managed service may just be a lifesaver!

It’s worth noting that Hostgator’s managed WordPress plans are not on par with their shared hosting as far as some limitations are concerned.

With shared hosting, the Baby and Business plans allow you to host unlimited websites. However, the most websites you can host using a managed server hosting is three.

There are also traffic limitations on the managed service, with the highest plan allowing up to half a million visits per month across the entire account (i.e. not per WordPress site).

Hostgator Visits Per Month

For the affiliate marketers in the room, these limitations can be quite restrictive as your portfolio grows and as you scale your audience size using marketing channels like SEO.

Despite these restrictions, the managed web hosting plans are all more expensive than shared hosting.

Hostgator Managed WordPress Hosting PricesEvergreen Promotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Lowest Tier (Starter Plan)$5.95/monthFrom $9.95 - $14.95/month
Middle Tier (Standard Plan)$7.95/monthFrom $15.95 - $20.95/month
Highest Tier (Business Plan)$9.95/monthFrom $22.95 - $27.95/month

These include: Despite the restrictions mentioned, both plans come with features like a free domain for the first year, a free SSL certificate and unmetered bandwidth. But, there are also a number of other features that managed WP web hosting offers that do not come with Hostgator’s shared hosting.

  • Up to 3 GB of backup storage space
  • WordPress is pre-installed
  • Automatic malware removal
  • Free security and website protection
  • 24/7/365 premium support

Whether these added features are worth the extra cost to you will depend on your website’s needs.

We’ve gotta say though, there are other web hosting companies out there offering far more features for comparable prices, especially as far as security and support are concerned!

Hostgator VPS Hosting Review

If having a private server with loads of storage is what you’re after, hands down Hostgator’s virtual private server plans (VPS hosting) are among the best options.

Hostgator VPS Hosting

Unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting imitates a dedicated server by using virtual partitions. By using virtualization technology, hosting companies allow you to access private resources even if your server is shared with others.

It’s a great interim step if you want to limit the risks of sharing a server but don’t have the budget to get your own dedicated servers.

We’ve reviewed Hostgator’s VPS plans against many other leaders in the web hosting arena, and the amount of SSD storage offered comes out on top almost all the time. Check out these articles for more details:

As you’ll observe, Hostgator’s VPS plans are often more expensive than comparable offers from other web hosting companies. They also offer fewer CPU cores and RAM capacity but come out on top for SSD storage in most cases.

Virtual Private Server PricesEvergreen Promotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Lowest Tier (Snappy 2000)$23.95/month$79.95/month
Middle Tier (Snappy 4000)$34.95/month$119.95/month
Highest Tier (Snappy 8000)$59.95/month$149.95/month

Hostgator Dedicated Servers Review

Dedicated hosting is among Hostgator’s most expensive type of web hosting plan. These hosting services are usually best suited to power users who know how to configure servers to their needs or for websites with large traffic demands.

Hostgator Dedicated Servers

Here are the prices Hostgator offers.

Hostgator Dedicated Hosting PricesEvergreen Promotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Lowest Tier (Value Server)$89.98/month$189/month
Middle Tier (Power Server)$119.98/month$249/month
Highest Tier (Enterprise Server)$139.99/month$289/month

Not only does SiteGround have options at comparable prices, but the servers used are superior to those used by Hostgator. Not to mention that Hostgator’s servers are only limited to the US. In order to secure the promotional pricing for dedicated hosting, you must pay up to 3-years in advance. Honestly, if you can afford that much upfront, you may be better off looking into other hosting providers that offer better value for money, like SiteGround’s cloud hosting.

Other web hosting providers offer both cheaper dedicated web hosting, more server options, and more resources compared with Hostgator.

Hostgator Cloud Hosting Review

Hostgator’s cloud plans are not what would be considered “true” cloud hosting. Let’s explore that difference for a moment before we get into analyzing the features of Hostgator’s cloud plans.

Hosgator Cloud Hosting

True cloud hosting uses multiple servers and virtualized partitions to offer each user dedicated resources.

So if one particular server is experiencing issues, your site won’t go down with it because other servers in the network step in to mitigate the damage and maintain data integrity.

However, Hostgator’s cloud hosting plans are more like shared hosting on steroids. There’s no partitioning, and it’s essentially one server.

The biggest drawbacks about Hostgator’s cloud-based plans are that:

  • They don’t offer root access
  • They’re cheap because they use cloud SSD shared hosting
  • They don’t offer a virtualized VPS
  • They cap the resources you can access
  • They don’t offer a dedicated server environment

We’d only suggest using Hostgator’s cloud-based plans if you want to move your website to the cloud on a very low budget. Even so, the only tangible benefit you’ll get is faster loading speeds.

So if you’ve ever compared Hostgator’s pricing to the pricing of other cloud hosts, that’s why you’ll notice significant price differences. Check out the price comparisons below.

Cloud Hosting PricesHostgator Promotional PricingHostgator Renewal PricingSiteGround Cloud Hosting
Lowest Tier$4.95/monthFrom $8.95 - $12.95/month$100/month
Middle Tier$6.57/monthFrom $11.95 - $13.95/month$200-$300/month
Highest Tier$9.95/monthFrom $17.95 - $19.95/month$400/month

Hostgator Reseller Review

If you run an agency or offer website building services, getting a reseller plan may be a smart thing for you to do.

Hostgator Reseller

All of Hostgator’s reseller accounts allow you to add unlimited websites to the account. If you opt-in for reseller hosting, the benefit is that you can markup the cost of hosting and earn an additional monthly profit from each of your clients.

You can also start slow with a reasonable pricing tier, and, as your web design business grows, you can upgrade the resources allocated on your hosting package.

Here’s what Hostgator’s reseller packages will set you back in terms of price.

Reseller PricesEvergreen Promotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Lowest Tier (Aluminum Plan)$19.95/month$34.95/month
Middle Tier (Copper Plan)$24.95/month$48.95
Highest Tier (Silver Plan)$24.95/month$69.95/month

Hostgator Website Builder Review

“Gator” is Hostgator’s website building product that’s best suited to beginners and business owners with little technical experience. It allows people to build a simple website through the use of an intuitive drag-and-drop editor.

Hostgator Website Builder

Sure, there are many helpful features, but most are very basic. Not to mention the site won’t be very SEO-friendly either, given the limited SEO tools available.

Suppose you’re considering building a website but would like the benefits of drag-and-drop functionality. In that case, a WordPress website using a beginner-friendly page builder (like Elementor) is a far better option.

WordPress offers far greater SEO optimizations flexibility than Hostgator’s website building platform does.

Hostgator Domains Review

Hostgator offers domain names for free (or significantly discounted) when bundled with other web services and products they offer.

Hostgator Domain Review

However, in all instances, the low rates are only available for a limited period and are often restricted to the first year.

When looking at renewal rates, Hostgator’s pricing is always above average, making them one of the more expensive places to buy a domain name!

TLDAverageHostgator
.biz14.5617.99
.co23.9935
.com11.5718.99
.info11.8117.99
.me12.0019.95
.net13.6117.99
.online16.3115
.org12.0917.99
.site13.7815
.space10.8615
.store24.7335
.tech21.5130
.us10.4517.99

Hostgator Support

Given Hostgator’s products and services are generally aimed at beginner markets, customer support is crucial.

Hostgator Support

Building a website for the first time is a challenging process.

The last thing you want is to be left hanging by a hosting provider when something goes wrong.

So we scoped out Hostgator’s support ratings, and we’ve got to say, it’s a fairly disappointing picture. Take their reviews on Trustpilot, for instance.

Hostgator Rating

Hostgator’s rating on Trustpilot

As you can see, Hostgator’s support gets a bad rap.

For basic issues, it may be ok. However, if there’s a more technical problem with your hosting server, Hostgator’s support has left many clients in the lurch for issues that aren’t the client’s fault.

Poor support is a major red flag for us. If anything goes wrong, you need to know your hosting provider has your back when you need it most.

Hostgator Complaints

Bad Customer Review

Hostgator’s support gets the most complaints among dissatisfied users for a few different reasons, including:

  • Slow support times
  • Support disconnects frequently
  • Support agents “try” to help but are useless in the end
  • Issues remain unresolved even if they aren’t the customer’s fault
  • Customers are left to fend for themselves with no support in critical times
  • Poor quality of the hosting service leads to business interruption
  • Refunds and cancellations don’t go through as expected
  • Ex-customers were billed long after their service had been canceled

Many loyal customers who used Hostgator for over five years also noted a serious decline in the quality of the service and support offered by Hostgator over time.

Hostgator’s Declining Popularity

As a result of declining performance and customer support, Hostgator’s popularity has also been on the decline since 2014.

Despite having over 1,000 employees, it appears Hostgator’s support and product development are simply no longer living up to user’s expectations.

We’ll let you decide whether this bears any impact on your decision of whether Hostgator is the right choice for you.

Hostgator Pros & Cons

Hostgator logo

Hostgator Pros
  • Low prices for shared hosting
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Offers more storage on VPS
  • Free website migrations
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name with hostin
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
Hostgator Cons
  • Speed needs to be improved
  • Uptime could be improved
  • Limited server locations
  • Poor backup policy
  • High renewal costs
  • Poor customer support

FAQS About Hostgator

Is Hostgator Good For Beginners?

Yes, Hostgator is good for beginners. It has made its services and products well suited to anyone just starting out with building a website. However, if you would like a beginner-friendly option that also offers great performance, there are better options on the market than Hostgator.

What Is The Difference Between WordPress And Hostgator?

WordPress is a PHP-based platform on which websites can be built. However, the files associated with the website all need to be stored on a computer server, and WordPress does not provide these servers. Hosting companies, like Hostgator, do.

It’s also worth noting that Hostgator has its own website builder called Gator. The need for someone to use WordPress is replaced if they build their website on Gator instead.

How Many Websites Are Hosted On Hostgator?

There are over 2.5 million websites hosted with Hostgator at the moment.

What Company Owns Hostgator?

Hostgator was acquired by Endurance International Group (now known as Newfold Digital) in 2012 for an aggregate valuation of $299.8 million.

How Do I Get Started With Hostgator?

You can get started using any of Hostgator’s products and services by purchasing them on Hostgator’s website. If you’d like to receive a 60% discount on your Hostgator subscription, click this link today!

Hostgator Review: The Final Verdict

While Hostgator certainly has a number of popular features, there are some major red flags for our expected level of performance and customer care.

Hostgator Red Flags

We love that Hostgator offers affordable hosting solutions that can easily help any beginner or new business owner get started.

However, there’s a very large opportunity cost many people don’t realize until it is too late. The cost of a poor-performing or slow-loading website is too difficult for many to calculate. Let alone the costs of a website that crashed or experiences downtime during critical moments in your business.

To make matters worse, Hostgator’s poor support often leaves their customers high and dry during crisis moments. How can anyone put a price on such experiences?

The question you need to ask yourself is if price is the only factor that you care about.

If that’s the case, here’s a link to Hostgator’s website to secure up to 60% off your initial purchase.

 

Otherwise, we recommend you check out a better performing service with outstanding customer support, like SiteGround.

 

Matt-Author-Img

Article by

Matt Diggity

Matt is the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, The Search Initiative, The Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He actually does SEO too.

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