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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.
iPage is known as one of the cheapest hosts when it comes to monthly subscription fees. At $1.99 per month, you'll get a great deal if your monthly spend is your biggest criteria for choosing a web host. However, you do get what you pay for with cheap hosting. Many reviewers panned iPage customer support and refunds are almost impossible to obtain in spite of the iPage money-back guarantee.
As noted, prices are low for iPage plans. At least in the first 12 months. Then, like other EIG-owned companies, they renew at a much higher regular rate and canceling your free domain results in a $15 cancellation fee. Here's the breakdown:
Essential (non-WordPress) gets you unlimited everything and a free domain for 1 year. It is
WP Starter and WP Essential both start at $3.75 and 6.95 per month for 24- and 36-month terms (respectively) and renew at between $8.49 and $12.49 for 12-, 24-, and 36-month terms.
Besides price, one of the biggest draws to iPage has been its page builder tool, Weebly. It allows non-technical, non-programmer, non-designer site owners to quickly get a nice design up and running. The designs can look a little "stock" in their finish, but are serviceable to a majority of casual website owners and small businesses. If you're looking for a design that is more well-customized to your particular brand and is more "open" for specialized configuration and eCommerce tools, then iPage Weebly is not your best bet.
Another problem with iPage Weebly, and other drag-and-drop builders in general, is that they tend to slow down page speed. Page speed has become a big deal recently in the world of search engine optimization in that Google, especially, is penalizing sites that have slow page load times. If you're trying to improve your Google search ranking, steer clear of drag-and-drop page builders and go for a custom-designed site, or a WordPress site instead.
iPage uptime is well below average at 99.77% in a 12 month period, which equates to about a full, 24 hour day of downtime when other hosts only experience about 8 hours of downtime maximum.
Page load times with iPage average over 1 second. That's slow when compared to other hosts coming in at under 1 second.
Customers with iPage complain of tech support not having good coverage on weekends, support staff being from non-U.S. countries, and customer service not honoring money-back guarantees. Other problems ranged from being promised follow-up and not receiving it to very slow websites, or sites that don't work at all.
To help you find the Best Web Hosting, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Host Gator and iPage.
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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