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Sunday, October 2nd
HostGator has been in the hosting business since 1997, offering domains, web hosting, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated hosting, and reselling. They were acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2012, making them part of a large group of hosting companies owned by EIG.
Owned by Endurance International Group
One thing to know about hosting through any EIG company is that they have made a practice of moving all the technical expertise for their hosting offerings to offshore IT contractors and employees. So, if you value hosting operations and support personnel being within the Americas, you may find it desirable to look at other hosting providers.
Low Cost at the Cost of Long Term Billing
All the lowest prices for HostGator hosting plans are introductory rates billed in 36-month increments that renew at higher amounts after the initial term completes. If you want shorter terms, you'll pay more per month. This feels a bit predatory because it's often impossible to know whether a website will be in business three years from when it starts. It's nice to be able to start with such low pricing, but if you shut down your site because it fails to live up to its promise after year one, you're out the money for years two and three.
That said, you can begin as an entry-level user with the $2.75 to $5.25 per month shared hosting plans. That's without any website builder or installed WordPress. If you need the website builder, that's a range of $3.85-$9.22 per month, or if you want to have WordPress already installed, migrated, and managed, that's in the $5.95-$9.95 per month range.
Free Features and Guarantees
HostGator provides free domains and free SSL certificates with its hosting plans and free site transfer within 30 days of initial purchase. If you do decide HostGator is not for you, there is a 45-day money-back guarantee you can take advantage of, within certain conditions. As with most hosting companies' money-back guarantees, refunds aren't valid for things like dedicated hosting, administrative or installation fees, custom software, domain name purchases, or add-on services like SiteLock that come from third-party vendors.
HostGator hosting costs
HostGator offers the following web hosting plans:
At the time of this review, HostGator server performance as measured via GTMetrix and Pingdom showed a lot of room for improvement. Time to First Byte numbers were all above one second and page load times were over 3 seconds on average.
Of concern is the fact that HostGator is not Better Business Bureau accredited. There is also an administrative note on their BBB entry since 2017 about a problematic pattern of complaints regarding HostGator customers paying for services not received, cancellations not being processed quickly, and not adhering to the contract agreement and/or website advertisements as well as a failure to honor their 45-day money-back guarantee.
Reviews outside of the BBB are also not encouraging for HostGator. Lots of complaints center around slow or ineffective support, poor quality hosting service, and billing problems.
Many Better Alternatives Exist
Even though HostGator is in the top five hosting companies as far as popularity goes, it's not a good idea to host with them when there are alternatives that can offer better service and hosting. Why not get more for your money, with superior customer support and better performance?
Having a website is a necessity for anyone who wants to communicate with a regional, national, or global audience. Whether it's a website for brand awareness, eCommerce, media, services, writing, or a hobby, every site needs to be hosted somewhere. Since the web began, thousands of hosting companies have arisen, flourished, and disappeared. How do you know which companies available today will be around as long as you plan to have your website online? And, how do you know what features to look for?
For starters, be aware of your budget and what hosting companies charge. Don't be lured in by apparently low-priced plans without first reading the fine print. Many companies attract website owners with seemingly impossibly low fees only to jack up the rate at the time the hosting plan is renewed. Some offer a single rate regardless of the billing period. Others offer discounts based on whether you pay monthly, yearly or multiple years in advance. Yet others offer more advanced capabilities depending on the size and needs of your website and audience.
When considering features, make a list of what you really need, what would be good to have, and what isn't very necessary. For example, do you need a plethora of themes to choose from in a do-it-yourself direction, or would you rather have a web designer create a custom design for you? Do you need a high-availability, supercharged dedicated server or just a bit of space on a shared server? Do you plan to develop your own code or do you need a professional developer for that? If you don't have a domain, will the host sell you one? If you do have a domain, how hard is it for the host to transfer it and also migrate your existing site? If you need email, eCommerce, advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO), be sure to list those as well.
Something people almost never think about is security and performance. Most like to assume that all hosts are secure and provide fast page load speeds. But that isn't always the case! This is especially a problem when a host charges very low prices for marginally capable plans. Those services are not likely to be secure or fast. Beware of shared hosting, which means your site is among hundreds or even thousands of others housed on the same server. In a shared server, when someone else's site is compromised or has a problem, it puts your site at risk.
Finally, look at a hosting company's reputation. This is not just about how many years they have in business. It's a combination of longevity, how they treat customers, how many complaints are logged, and how many of those complaints are directly answered by a representative of the company. Ask other website owners, web designers, and developers if they like or dislike a hosting company you're considering. Most of them will be able to share good and bad stories about any hosting company.
When evaluating your list and narrowing down your choices, consider these factors:
TopConsumerReviews.com has created a list of the most popular or prominent website hosting providers to guide you in your research. We hope this information makes it easier for you to choose the best web host for your business that will make your website engaging, performant, affordable, and secure.
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