What is HostGator Web Hosting?
Founded in 2002, HostGator is a Houston, Texas-based web hosting company that powers 950,000+ registered domains worldwide. The company provides shared, VPS, reseller, and dedicated web hosting. They have additional offices and data centers in Austin, Texas, India, and Brazil. HostGator was among the first group of large web hosting companies to take part in green hosting, which involves using eco-friendly technologies to offset carbon and reduce environmental waste.
If there was a Walmart of web hosting, we'd point to GoDaddy. HostGator then is more like Target: perhaps not quite so gargantuan or well known, but with similarly low prices and a more refined reputation associated with their brand. HostGator is an excellent discount host for new webmasters.
Our Official HostGator Review
HostGator is one of the most widely used hosting services in the world, and for excellent reason. HostGator pricing is some of the lowest around, and they include a great selection of website-building tools at no extra cost. They are so confident in their product that they offer a 45-day money-back guarantee, and they let you try out their cPanel before purchasing. HostGator support is available 24/7, including a live chat feature. But while a support rep may always be at your fingertips, HostGator's support team doesn't have a reputation for always being terribly helpful. Not to fear, with such a huge amount of customers, the user-generated support forums are incredibly robust. And for such a low cost, it's hard to complain. On the whole, HostGator is easy to use and has great uptime, making it an excellent choice for novice webmasters.
Best Features of HostGator Plans
If you are like most webmasters, your top priorities in a web host are probably easy-to-use services, readily available customer support, and fast uptime — all for excellent value. HostGator certainly meets these criteria and then some. Here are our favorite HostGator features:
1. HostGator Support – Live Chat & More
Most of the top web hosting companies these days offer 24/7 support, but many limit their support channels during closing hours. HostGator support is always available, in any medium you choose. Live chat support is our favorite of these methods for the speedy and efficient responses you can get for quick questions and emergency situations. If you’re running a business, downtime has costly repercussions. When you need help immediately, knowing that you'll be able to reach live person in a matter of seconds is a hugely reassuring aspect of HostGator support services. Email, of course, is still available for those non-emergency situations. But chances are you can probably find the answer you're looking for in HostGator's extensive user forums. After all, there is a great benefit to be had in using the same platform as millions of others — someone is likely to have already encountered and solved all of your problems.
2. HostGator Pricing – Extended Money Back Guarantee
At such a low price point, it would be hard for even the pickiest of webmasters to claim they aren't getting their money's worth. HostGator is confident enough to offer a 45-day money-back guarantee – which is 50% longer than the industry standard of 30 days. HostGator makes it easy for you to try them out without making a big commitment. Where other companies, like SiteGround, only offer year-long contracts that require you to fork over a mass of cash at the beginning, HostGator's low month-to-month payment plans give you lots of flexibility. This is an ideal setup for someone who is trying to test out several short-term projects at once.
3. HostGator WordPress Compatibility
If you already have a WordPress site, moving it over to HostGator is incredibly easy. They built a manual migration tool that almost anyone can figure out in a matter of minutes. And if you want it done even faster, they even feature a 1-click WordPress migration tool. Plus, HostGator comes standard with cPanel, which the WordPress user manual oftentimes assumes you are already running. In summary, the HostGator WordPress relationship is a seamless one, thereby making it an easy choice for anyone who uses the WordPress CMS.
In addition to WordPress and cPanel, HostGator offers a wide variety of other one-click and open-source applications that will make designing and building your website a breeze. They offer 4,500 free templates, blogging software, shopping carts, wikis, CMS, and more. The best part is that all of these features come standard as part of your package. If you don't want to waste time and mental energy shopping around for various plugins and features, HostGator can help ease the anxiety of the decision-making process. Rest easy knowing they've picked out some great ones, and all of them are already integrated.
4. Unlimited Email Addresses
Once you purchase a domain, you can set up as many free email addresses as you like. Really! As many as you like!
5. Free Trial of HostGator cPanel
HostGator lets you try out their cPanel and administrative tools so you can experience them for yourself before you become a customer. On top of that, you can also check out their site-building tools and their templates. By the time you make a purchasing decision, you’ll have a pretty good idea if HostGator is right for you. This trial does not come with the complete package that you'd be getting upon sign-up, but it is pretty generous considering few hosts give potential buyers any free access. But if you're looking for a hosting company that will give you a completely free trial of ALL of their services, check out Site5. They'll let you start hosting for 30 days without payment.
Downsides of HostGator Hosting
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – no hosting company is perfect. Even HostGator has a few faults they can afford to fix if they wanted to really be on top.
1. Frequently Infrequent Server Backups
They only back up their servers once per week. Considering that most people go for the affordable shared hosting options, this may or may not do it for you. For many people, this may be perfect. However, if you need to back up your website more often than that with mission-critical information, you may wish to look for a third-party service or WordPress plug-in that will do the job for you.
2. Cloud Hosting Is Not Offered
Cloud hosting would allow the company to provide a much more scalable hosting plan, and so it's a shame that this isn't offered. If they offered a cloud hosting plan, you'd have the option to only pay for the space and resources you use instead of a flat monthly rate. Furthermore, cloud hosting is valued for its redundancy – your information is stored on several servers. If something is wrong with one server, they have backups naturally built into the system. This would be especially helpful given that HostGator already only backs up its databases once per week. If you are looking to store a ton of vital information, HostGator probably isn't the right host for you. This isn't a huge deal if you are a small business owner who more or less just needs basic information online. But for any business or company that requires its own database, it might make more sense to purchase a hosting plan that includes options for both shared and cloud hosting.
3. Lack of Spam & Virus Protection
While we appreciate the ability to create as many email addresses as you need, the serious lack of built-in spam and virus protection in HostGator's email software is a huge letdown. In an age when junk mail proliferates exponentially, and where we've all gotten used to the free and easy filtering of programs like Gmail, it can be difficult to see why anyone would willingly work out of HostGator's WebMail portal. Competitor A2 Hosting also offers unlimited email addresses, but their platform includes built-in spam and virus protection.
With low monthly fees, no setup fee, and all of their website-building tools and email options, you may not have to look any further than HostGator for your basic hosting needs. They do well with customer service, have a huge offering of service options, and give you the ability to try them before you buy them. If you were really trying to pay the bare minimum for a no-frills website, there are cheaper options like WebHostingPad. However, HostGator is probably the best value on the market for budget hosting. There’s a reason HostGator has always been ranked as one of the top Web hosting companies.
HostGator Hosting FAQs
Is HostGator a good option for hosting my WordPress site?
Yes, HostGator is one of the most commonly used web hosting domains for accommodating WordPress websites. You will find the integration process to be seamless. HostGator WordPress compatibility is very simple, making it easy for you to get your site up and running as quickly as possible.
Is it possible to migrate my current WordPress website over to HostGator?
Yes! HostGator allows you to move your site's information over to a HostGator account at no extra charge. Shared hosting plans give you one complimentary transfer of this data. VPS and dedicated server plans receive unlimited transfer opportunities.
Does HostGator offer an affiliate program?
Yes, HostGator offers an affiliate program. They have a sales commission payment program. The payment you receive equals the number of sign-ups you have on your account. As that number increases, your sales commission payment increases.
When signing up for HostGator, is a domain name included in that process? Or is buying a domain a separate transaction?
HostGator does not provide you with a domain name as part of your new hosting account. You'll need to go elsewhere to purchase your domain if you don't already have one. However, there is no domain registration fee to transfer a domain name to HostGator's servers.
Will HostGator allow me to purchase a stand-alone domain registration? Do they Offer WHOIS Privacy registration?
Yes, HostGator gives you the opportunity to have full management and purchase options for any stand-alone domain that you desire, provided the domain name is available. WHOIS Privacy registration is also available for a nominal fee.
Is HostGator a good option for my e-commerce site?
HostGator is an excellent option for your e-commerce website. They provide SSL certificates for all of the websites on their host servers, making your site's transactions secure. You also have access to a private IP address as well as full customer service support standing by to help whenever you need additional assistance. In addition, you will receive access to their storefront features and applications library that can enhance your online retail presence.
Does HostGator offer Linux or Windows hosting?
HostGator’s primary specialization is in LAMP-based systems, such as Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. However, they also offer a Windows-based system for their personal and business account customers as well.
Will I be able to receive any managed services with my HostGator account?
HostGator provides full management options for customers who are on shared hosting, reseller hosting, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans.
What kind of VPS hosting options does HostGator offer?
HostGator gives you the opportunity to have a VPS server account that utilizes a CentOS Linux system. There are several available account options you can select and the one you pick depends on the type of performance speed and features you desire.
What development languages does HostGator support?
HostGator supports a wide variety of development languages, so no matter what language your site is running on, HostGator is probably a safe bet. When you have a VPS or dedicated server hosting account, you are free to use the development language of your choice.
For their Linux hosting system, they support the following languages: MySQL; Database with PHPMyadmin access; CGI; Fast CGI; PHP 5; Ruby on Rails; PerL; Python, and SSI
For their Windows hosting system, they support the following languages: ASP, ASP Net 2.0, ASP Net 3.5; ASP Net 4.0; ASP Net 4.5; PHP, Python, and SSI.
Can I use HostGator to host single images or galleries on my site?
HostGator makes it easy for you to use your hosting account to feature images and image galleries on your website. You have access to several varieties of image gallery applications through the HostGator QuickInstall Software program that is in your account control panel section. All of HostGator’s shared plan accounts have unlimited image storage space as well.
How does HostGator back up my website?
HostGator provides an automatic backup program for shared, reseller, and VPS hosting accounts that are under 20GB and have 100,000 inodes present. The backup takes place once a week. They do not provide an automatic backup program for dedicated server accounts. However, you do have the available option to create your own backup plan for this type of hosting account.
How many email addresses to I get with a HostGator account? Is there a disk space requirement for these email addresses?
If you have a shared hosting plan, you receive an unlimited number of email address accounts. You also have unlimited disk space available for hosting these accounts. If you have a VPS or a dedicated server hosting plan, you receive unlimited email address accounts as well. However, the disk space limit is equivalent to the specific disk space restriction for your exact hosting plan.
Why did I receive a notification from HostGator that my website is abusing the server resources? What course of action do I need to take to resolve this issue?
The notification that you received addresses a situation where your particular website is using more than its share of HostGator's shared server resources. This can be frustrating because you are not notified when you start to approach the limit, only after you have already overdrawn. Your best course of action is to revisit the HostGator limit requirements for key areas of your website, including the account limits, CPU resource usage, and email address hosting limits. All of this information is easily accessible in the HostGator support portal.
Your next course of action will be to work on the problem and find a way to reduce the number of server resources that your website needs to function properly. HostGator customer service will gladly assist you in identifying the problem and work with you to resolve the issue and remove your account from suspension.
Why is my newly registered domain name not yet working? Are there additional steps I need to take first before it will work with my website?
If you purchase your domain name along with your HostGator server hosting account, it may take a few extra minutes to link the two items together. You will need to wait for DNS propagation to take place before the name appears in your hosting account. The DNS propagation process can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to begin working properly.
If your domain name and HostGator server hosting account are separate purchases, you will need to ensure that the domain name properly associates with the hosting account package. Review your domain name settings in the WHOIS directory to view how your domain name configuration is set up. You want to make sure the name servers point to your new HostGator server hosting account. Their customer service team can assist you in resolving this issue if necessary.
I want to configure the DNS settings for my reseller account. What is a private name server?
A private name server is a version of the standard DNS server that most websites require to function properly. The private name server for your reseller account will point towards a particular domain hosting name that does not associate with the HostGator server accounts. You may only use a private name server on a HostGator VPS, reseller, or dedicated server account. It is not available for the HostGator hatchling, baby, or business server accounts.
Which HostGator plan is best for my particular website?
HostGator offers four main types of server hosting accounts. These options include shared hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting. Each one comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. You simply need to decide what features are the most important to your website hosting experience and select the hosting option that best matches those needs.
Here is a brief synopsis of your hosting account options.
- Shared: You can have more than one operational website at a time. You serve as the website administrator for each website with HostGator available for help as needed.
- Reseller: You serve as the hosting company by allowing others to host their website off of your hosting account. You are responsible for their actions and treatment of the account.
- VPS: You have access to more software installation with this hosting account. It is an upgrade from a shared or reseller hosting account.
- Dedicated: You have free range over how your website functions, the information it contains, and who has access to the account. It is popular for larger companies that need website hosting.
HostGator customer service representatives can help you determine which hosting account best matches what you need for your specific website.
What kind of uptime guarantee does HostGator have?
HostGator has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which translates to an allowance of 8.76 hours of downtime per year.
- Extended Money-Back Guarantee
- Wide selection of great website tools
- Unlimited email addresses
- 24/7 Chat Support
- No Cloud Hosting
- No one-step WordPress import
- Frequently Infrequent Server Backups
- Lack of email spam & virus protections
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