Texas-based HostGator is a well-known web hosting company with more than 15 years in the business. It’s now part of Endurance International Group, along with Domain.com, Bluehost, iPage, SiteBuilder.com and more.
HostGator offers a solid range of products covering all the core hosting essentials: shared hosting, a drag-and-drop website builder, cloud and VPS hosting, dedicated servers, a handful of Windows products, a reseller account and more.
There’s not a lot of depth to any individual area, though. HostGator only offers three VPS server plans and three base dedicated servers, for instance, and these only have very limited configuration options.
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Dedicated servers only allow you to choose Windows or CentOS operating system, for example. Meanwhile, Hostwinds has four VPS plans available in Linux and Windows flavors; its dedicated servers enable choosing up to three additional drives, adding RAID support, extra RAM, choosing from five operating systems and multiple versions, and adding extra IPs and bandwidth.
The products HostGator does offer are surprisingly capable, though, especially at the budget end of the range.
HostGator’s shared hosting range delivers from the start. Even the cheapest shared hosting plan, Hatchling, gets you unmetered disk space; unlimited bandwidth, MySQL databases, email and FTP accounts; a free SSL certificate, easy WordPress and shopping cart installation (osCommerce and ZenCart) and full-featured cPanel-based site management. That’s more than enough power for many personal and business websites, yet it’s priced from only $2.75 a month on the three-year plan ($6.95 on renewal).
At the top of the range, the Business plan supports hosting unlimited domains and adds professional features such as a free dedicated IP and a premium SSL certificate. This has a very low headline price from $5.95 a month over three years, and renews at a still-reasonable $14.95-$16.95, depending on subscription length (1 month to three years.)
All plans are protected by a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, subject to the usual restrictions (if HostGator has already paid to register a domain for you, for instance, that won’t be refunded.)
HostGator Web Hosting review
The only small issue we could see was in HostGator’s choice of automated installers. Many web hosts offer Softaculous, a smart platform which simplifies the process of installing WordPress, Joomla, phpBB, PrestaShop, Drupal, Magento and hundreds of popular web apps. HostGator is mostly focused on WordPress, with just a handful of others. That will be fine for most users, but if you’re looking for something else, you may have to install and set it up yourself.
HostGator offers simple WordPress hosting for a very low price, but without some of the high-end features you’ll get with the more specialist competition.
The Starter plan supports a single site with an average 100,000 users a month for $5.95 a month over three years, for instance ($9.95.) The Business plan includes more resources, can handle three sites and 500,000 visitors a month, and is priced at $9.95 a month over three years, $22.95 on renewal. HostGator also offers a free migration service to transfer your existing WordPress site to the new account, while automatic WordPress updates should keep your site securely patched.
HostGator Web Hosting review 2020
Liquid Web’s WordPress plans include a staging environment to enable testing updates without breaking your production site, and a very smart updating system which can automatically update WordPress and plugins, and raise an alert if there’s a problem. Bandwidth is ‘limited’ to 2TB a month, probably enough for most users. It’s a great product, but it’s priced at $19 billed monthly, or $15.83 on the annual plan, so if you only need the WordPress basics, it’s still the better deal.
Creating a website
After a simple signup, HostGator’s shared hosting packages have a range of tools to help you create and manage a website.
There’s an Install WordPress link, for instance. This takes you to a page where HostGator offers to set up WordPress for a fee (from $99 with $49 WordPress theme credit), and if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to assume you must choose one of these options. They’re just some over-enthusiastic upselling, though, and you can install WordPress yourself by entering just a few blog details: title, admin username, email and so on.
A Softaculous setup enables speedy installation of 400+ other apps, including Drupal, Joomla, Magento, PrestaShop, phpBB, MediaWiki and more. It’s probably the best of the auto-installers, but for some reason HostGator also includes a similar (but more basic) One Click Installs tool of its own.
The shared hosting packages also include a free Weebly Builder plan. This has an excellent drag-and-drop editor, the site can be hosted on your own domain and there’s free SSL thrown in. The catch? Well, there are two: your site is limited to 500MB in size, and it displays ads.
You can upgrade within a shared hosting plan from $5.99 a month over three years, which drops the ads and space limits, and includes site search, password protection, HD video and audio support, and more. But if you’re after drag-and-drop simplicity, check out HostGator’s Gator Website Builder first– prices start at $3.84 a month and you can get e-commerce support for under $10 a month on the initial term.