As a seasoned web developer, I have had the opportunity to work with numerous web hosting providers throughout my career.
To determine if HostGator still stands as a reliable web hosting provider, I decided to put their services to the test. During this time, I’ve personally witnessed HostGator’s growth as one of the top five web hosting companies worldwide, hosting over 2.5 million websites and offering competitive pricing.
In this data-driven review, I’ll cover all facets of HostGator’s offerings, examining the good, the bad, and even the fine print hidden within their service terms. My aim is to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date HostGator review available.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the in-depth analysis of HostGator’s web hosting services!
Table Of Contents
- Introducing Hostgator
- Hostgator Features Review
- Web Hosting Plans & Pricing
- Hostgator Website Builder
- Hostgator Domains
- Pros & Cons
- Do We Recommend Hostgator in 2023?
When it comes to web hosting, it says a lot when a web hosting provider invests in their staff. From additional support agents 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, founded in 2002, has grown into a leading provider of shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated web hosting services. It has built its reputation on delivering reliable, user-friendly services tailored to beginners, making website building and management more accessible.
Their offerings include a variety of web hosting plans, each packed with features such as unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates, and easy WordPress installs. For beginners, their website builder with hundreds of customizable templates can be a game-changer, simplifying the website creation process significantly.
However, the true test of a web hosting provider’s performance lies in its customer service and technical support, where, unfortunately, HostGator has shown some shortcomings. It’s imperative to consider these factors before making a final decision.
Hostgator Features Review
Hostgator hosting offers a range of web 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.
1. Disk Space
First up, let’s address how much space Hostgator’s plans offer.
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 web host 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.
Website backups are an essential lifeline if something goes wrong. You’ll want to know your web host has your back if your website breaks down at a critical moment.
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.
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.
As with the backup features, Hostgator tends to lack some security features in its out-of-the-box offers.
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.
Hostgator’s limited in-built security offerings may be sufficient for some, but for users with high-traffic websites or more sensitive data, this could be a potential pitfall.
A robust security suite is key to preventing data breaches and cyber threats, and essential tools like spam protection should ideally be a part of the initial package rather than an additional cost.
|Free SSL Certificate||Yes (Let’s Encrypt)|
|Spam Protection||Paid Option - Spam Assassin|
|Free Automatic Backups||Yes (Weekly)|
|Web Application Firewall||Yes|
|Brute Force Protection||Yes|
|Bot Blocking||Yes - Manual|
|Malware Protection||Paid Option|
|24/7 Server Monitoring||Yes|
|WP Security Plugin||No|
Honestly, there are far better web 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.
Hostgator’s basic security setup seems to lag behind other competitors like SiteGround and WPX, which provide comprehensive security features right from the start. They integrate functionalities such as real-time monitoring, automated backups, and advanced spam protection in their base plans, offering an extra layer of protection.
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 web hosting plan.
Hostgator’s servers and data centers are located within the United States (Utah and Texas).
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 web host with international data centers may be a better option.
It’s also worth noting that, unlike some other web hosting companies, Hostgator does not allow you to choose which data center your files are hosted in.
This lack of customization might not suit everyone’s needs, making it a point to consider when choosing a web host.
As mentioned earlier in this article, besides investigating the features of each type of web 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.
To test the speed of an average Hostgator account, we ran a test website through two tools: GT Metrix and Pingdom.
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 web hosting plan 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.
|Pingdom Performance||Pingdom Load Time|
Our Verdict: There’s a lot that could be improved with Hostgator’s speed performance. If you’re interested in using a web hosting company that offers better speed performance, check out our post on the fastest hosts.
Like loading speed, uptime is a critical performance factor that needs to be weighed up before purchasing a web hosting plan.
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 Uptime||2019 Uptime||2020 Uptime||2021 Uptime|
Our Verdict: As with loading speed, Hostgator’s uptime performance, and server reliability is quite underwhelming.
Given Hostgator’s products and services are generally aimed at beginner markets, customer support is crucial.
Building a website for the first time is a challenging process.
The last thing you want is to be left hanging by a web 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.
There have been complaints about their 24/7 chat support, which ironically, is often unavailable, contradicting their promise of round-the-clock availability.
Some users have also pointed out that the response time for email support was disappointingly slow, sometimes taking several days to receive a reply.
For basic issues, it may be ok. However, if there’s a more technical problem with your web 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.
In a field where time and functionality are critical, these shortcomings are concerning. Hostgator’s poor performance in the customer support department could discourage potential customers who need a web hosting provider that guarantees prompt and effective solutions to their problems.
As such, Hostgator should take these criticisms into account and reevaluate its customer support strategies, as their current state is dissatisfactory.
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 users’ expectations.
We’ll let you decide whether this bears any impact on your decision of whether Hostgator is the right choice for you.
Web Hosting Plans & Pricing
Although widely known for its affordable shared hosting, Hostgator offers a range of different web hosting packages to suit the needs of many types of websites.
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 with Hostgator alternatives, 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 web 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.
In general, Hostgator’s pricing for shared web hosting works out cheaper than many other web hosting companies on the market.
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 web 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 Prices||Evergreen Promotional Pricing||Renewal 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.
2. WordPress Hosting
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.
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 web 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).
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 Prices||Evergreen Promotional Pricing||Renewal Pricing|
|Lowest Tier (Starter Plan)||$5.95/month||From $9.95 - $14.95/month|
|Middle Tier (Standard Plan)||$7.95/month||From $15.95 - $20.95/month|
|Highest Tier (Business Plan)||$9.95/month||From $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.
3. VPS Hosting
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.
Unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting imitates a dedicated server by using virtual partitions. By using virtualization technology, web 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 Prices||Evergreen Promotional Pricing||Renewal 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|
4. Dedicated Servers
Dedicated hosting is among Hostgator’s most expensive type of web hosting plan. These web 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.
Here are the prices Hostgator offers.
|Hostgator Dedicated Hosting Prices||Evergreen Promotional Pricing||Renewal 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 dedicated 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.
5. Cloud Hosting
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.
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 Prices||Hostgator Promotional Pricing||Hostgator Renewal Pricing||SiteGround Cloud Hosting|
|Lowest Tier||$4.95/month||From $8.95 - $12.95/month||$100/month|
|Middle Tier||$6.57/month||From $11.95 - $13.95/month||$200-$300/month|
|Highest Tier||$9.95/month||From $17.95 - $19.95/month||$400/month|
If you run an agency or offer website building services, getting a reseller plan may be a smart thing for you to do.
All of Hostgator’s reseller accounts allow you to add unlimited websites to the account. If you opt for reseller hosting, the benefit is that you can mark up 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 to your web hosting package.
Here’s what Hostgator’s reseller packages will set you back in terms of price.
|Reseller Prices||Evergreen Promotional Pricing||Renewal 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
“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.
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 optimization flexibility than Hostgator’s website-building platform does.
Hostgator offers domain names for free (or significantly discounted) when bundled with other web services and products they offer.
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!
Pros & Cons
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.
Do We Recommend Hostgator in 2023?
While Hostgator certainly has a number of popular features, there are some major red flags for our expected level of performance and customer care.
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.
Otherwise, we recommend you check out a better-performing service with outstanding customer support, like WPX.
Having transitioned from Hostgator to WPX for my own website, I’ve experienced firsthand the significant improvement in performance and reliability.
WPX’s stellar customer service has been a game changer, always ready to assist me during critical moments, making the slightly higher cost completely worthwhile.
Our #1 Recommendation: WPX Hosting Load Time Uptime Support Score Pricing What more do you want?
Our #1 Recommendation: WPX Hosting
What more do you want?