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HostGator was founded in 1997 and is now a hosting brand of Endurance International Group (EIG). The company has a large market presence, bringing in about $800 million a year in revenue. They offer full-service hosting for small and large businesses with competitive pricing.
Hostgator's offerings include:
The standard, shared, static web hosting packages are priced in three tiers with introductory rates leading to higher renewal rates at the end of 12, 24, or 36 months depending on the term chosen at signup. The renewal rates are not immediately apparent on the HostGator website, so the numbers given below are estimates based on their stated discount on each plan:
WordPress hosting is similarly cryptic with regards to renewal rates:
HostGator finds praise in its hosting package pricing being among the lowest available among new users looking for shared hosting. There is also a 45-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the service. This is a bit more than most other hosting companies which only offer a 30-day guarantee. And, if you need your site migrated over from another host, HostGator will do that for free. Plus, if you buy a premium plan, they'll do malware scans and fixes and give you a free SSL certificate, which is important for secure eCommerce and good SEO.
People like the familiar cPanel interface. However, some find that HostGator lacks CPU (processing) power and memory, causing CMS platforms like WordPress to install incorrectly. The VPS offering has also been reviewed as being lackluster when compared to shared hosting. However, most shared hosting customers aren't going to be as concerned about VPS offerings until their sites become popular enough to need VPS.
Other problems HostGators have reported include long hold times on phone and chat as well as long resolution times for email-based support tickets. One reviewer wrote about how his web development client's sites were frequently hacked and taken down by HostGator, which replaced the site with a "suspended" message. Upon calling support to resolve the issue, the support reps consistently told them they had to purchase other services to secure the sites. He canceled HostGator and moved the site to another hosting company, but was unable to obtain any refunds for the HostGator plan.
Backups at HostGator come in two types: "instant" backups, which the user initiates through the cPanel on an as-needed, manual basis, and truly automatic backups, which cost $15.95 per year.
HostGator's performance is on the slower side, being just under 1 second to render a page for one user on shared hosting. Their Cloud hosting service, being about twice as fast as their shared server offerings, is a much better option for all website performance concerns.
Uptime at HostGator could be much better. It registered at about 99.85% in one test, which is far below the industry average of 99.90% and the industry ideal of 99.95% or more.
BlueHost, founded in 1997, is rated highest in content management system support (WordPress, Drupal, et. al.) and is known for helping users quickly establish their websites in an affordable price range. They currently host 2 million websites and are one of the most popular hosting companies due to their high-paying affiliate program blog backlinks skewing the positive reviews in their direction.
Features that BlueHost offers are
As with most hosting companies, the rates you see on BlueHost's pricing pages are promotional or introductory rates that will increase upon renewing service. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it doesn't apply to the purchase of domain names.
Shared hosting for static websites is split into three plans with somewhat complicated and hidden upcharges:
The "extras" that the more expensive two shared hosting plans provide are not specified on the pricing pages of BlueHost.com, leaving potential customers wondering what they are and what the real value of those plans might be.
Optimized hosting for WordPress sites is split into four plans:
The WordPress plans are positioned in the context of hundreds of millions of visits per month. That magnitude of monthly site visits is unrealistic for the vast majority of WordPress sites that see only a fraction of that level of traffic. These rates may be reasonable for the publisher of an already very popular WordPress site with a lot of big media files. However, budget-conscious WordPress site owners who are just getting started and won't expect high numbers of monthly visits or a need for big amounts of storage, even out to years 2 and 3, will want to look to another hosting company with lower renewable rates.
BlueHost's reputation is not as high as other web hosting companies. One reviewer took WordPress.org to task for endorsing BlueHost and recommended they stop doing so because of BlueHost's slower servers, poor technical support, and more frequent outages than other hosts. Other sites also had numerous comments from real BlueHost users complaining about these same problems.
Performance of BlueHost hosting got a description of "lackluster" from one blog that frequently posts comparison reviews of load tests done against various hosting companies. The maximum web page response time in that test was 10.64 seconds under a load of 20 concurrent users. Even at only 10 active users, the response time was inconsistent and ranged between 1 to 3.5 seconds on average. Overall uptime (availability) of websites was recently measured at 99.93%, slightly under the industry average of 99.94%.
BlueHost's security is generally recognized among most reviewers and customers to be fairly good for the price paid.
Customer service at BlueHost is not its strong point. People who have BlueHost accounts complain of curt replies, long wait times, and difficulty getting issues resolved quickly. There are a number of YouTube videos BlueHost has published to try to reduce the load on their support team, so if you have a problem it's best to start with those first.
To help you find the Best Web Hosting, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Host Gator and Blue Host.
If you're a business owner, a writer, or a hobbyist, sooner or later you're going to want a website. To have a website, you'll need a web hosting service. There are hundreds of web hosting companies available to host your site, but which one do you choose? And, how do you know what to look for?
The first step in choosing a web host is figuring out how much you want to spend per month in hosting costs. While some web hosts are nearly free when you sign up, there is often some fine print involved. Many web hosting companies will lure you in with cheap pricing at the outset, but then will raise the monthly subscription cost when you renew at the end of a month or a year.
Some web hosting companies will offer you a lower overall cost if you choose to pay up front for multiple years. While some web hosts will seem really expensive compared to other, that's because they're usually offering more value for your dollar in more advanced or innovative features their cheaper competitors aren't covering. Whether you choose a more expensive host will depend on whether those features improve convenience or lead to a better return on investment (ROI).
That leads us to the next decision to make: features. You'll want to decide which features you genuinely need versus which ones you don't really need at all. Aside from the core service of hosting the actual website will be offerings such as web design, do-it-yourself site theme implementation, domain registration, email, eCommerce tools and setup, online advertising to promote your website, website development tools, and search engine optimization (SEO) help. Some of these will be important to you and others will not be necessary.
Security and performance are considerations that often get overlooked in the drive to find the cheapest web hosting available. Cheaper cost to you means the web host is cutting corners somewhere in how they host your site. Often that means "shared hosting", which means your site is put on the same web server as hundreds of others. There are security and site speed implications to this that often are not in your best interests.
Reputation can also be a key factor - web hosts with bad reputations or "fly by night" business practices can hurt your business or position in search results.
Finally, you want to know how reliable and supportive each web host is from the perspective of its customers. How many people are complaining about hacked sites, slow page load times, poor support, and price hikes over time? There will be many, many complaints across all web hosting options, so you'll want to narrow the list of things that are important to you and focus primarily on those as you evaluate options.
Once you have an idea of which web host you want to subscribe to, shopping online will make it easier than ever to find it. To summarize, as you decide which web host should get your business, keep in mind these criteria:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best web hosting companies available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the right web host to make your website appealing, secure, and affordable!
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