HostGator Review 2022: Features, Pricing, and More
Before launching your website, the inevitable first step is to secure web hosting. HostGator offers small businesses a solid hosting experience, with server options for a variety of needs and budgets, and basic security measures built-in. It has an interface that’s easy to navigate and shouldn’t put even new website hosters off.
The pricing plans are very affordable at a glance. However, it’s important to remember that monthly pricing will increase after an introductory period, and that many of its helpful features are only available at an additional cost.
Who is HostGator for?
With servers only based in America, HostGator is best suited if you are starting and building a small business website that is based entirely in the United States. Once you’ve created your website, HostGator provides you with a secure platform to launch your business’ web presence.
With affordable plans and no-fuss features, HostGator is often a solid choice for businesses that need a standard level of service without too many confusing bells and whistles.
While the basic need to keep a website running is what any good server should do, HostGator has some helpful add-ons that increase its value as a web host.
Unlimited storage space
Whatever your hosting needs, you can use HostGator to store any files you need as it comes with unlimited storage with its hosting plans.
You can buy or transfer and register your domain name from one place through HostGator.
Because advertising is an integral part of building brand and website awareness, HostGator plans come with $15 in Google ad spend credits and $100 in Bing ad credits.
HostGator does not put a cap on how much website traffic your website can handle.
Easy app integration
One-click installs allow you to sync HostGator with various apps and operational tools, most notably WordPress, making it easy to host your sites built through the free CMS.
Site Security and SSL
You also get a free HostGator SSL Certificate with every HostGator domain, ensuring your website is safe and secure for customers to visit.
Dedicated and shared servers
HostGator offers hosting options depending on your website’s traffic needs. For larger businesses that get tens of thousands of hits a month, you can opt for a dedicated server so you don’t have to share bandwidth with others. However, dedicated servers come with higher costs.
For most small and medium-sized businesses, the shared server option is more than enough. By sharing disk space on a server with other clients, you significantly reduce costs.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
Despite being on a shared server, HostGator still keeps your website and information private and protected by Virtual Private Servers. A shared server itself is digitally divided into smaller sections using specific software configurations. This keeps your website separate and secure without having to host it on an entirely new server.
Ease of use by HostGator
The HostGator cPanel (Control Panel) is easily accessible and navigable. Once you’re logged in, you can view your customer panel and access all of your tools and features from there. It’s pretty basic, so you don’t really have to worry about a learning curve in day-to-day use.
HostGator’s control panel is very similar to cPanels from other hosting services. So if you’ve used one before, chances are you’ll embrace the layout like a fish in water.
HostGator also has free unlimited email accounts with every plan, each of which also comes with unlimited storage. However, think about your bulk email needs: you may want to stick with an outside provider as they limit you to 500 emails per hour.
There are three HostGator billing and pricing options: the Hatchling plan, the Baby plan, and the Business plan. The Hatchling plan lets you host a single domain with unlimited bandwidth and storage, plus a free SSL certificate and WordPress content management integration for an introductory price of $2.75 per month.
The Baby plan offers the same features but lets you host unlimited domains and port your existing sites for free. It starts at an introductory price of $3.95 per month.
Next, the Business plan starts at $5.95 per month and adds upgraded SSL certifications, a dedicated IP address, a free domain, and free SEO tools for website promotion and management.
After your introductory period, the plans increase in price to $8.95 per month, $11.95 per month, and $16.95 per month, respectively. HostGator also takes a flexible approach to billing, offering plans in one, three, six, 12, 24, or 36 month cycles.
Watch out for hidden costs like website backups, feature refreshes, and more.
HostGator’s support options include a dedicated knowledge base and blog. Additionally, HostGator live chat is available 24/7, every day of the year. You can also reach out via phone and even via Twitter.
Of course, the most important part of a support plan is reaching out to someone and getting that person to respond in a timely manner. While HostGator offers 24/7 support, many users report that they have to wait a long time to get in touch with representatives and that the call centers are not very helpful.
When I reached out via chat at night (EST), the connection time took a while and it felt like I was talking to either an outsourced representative or a chatbot.
The most important thing a good host needs to do for website accessibility is minimal downtime.
According to Hosting Facts, HostGator has an average uptime of 99.98% for its servers, which gives a lot of peace of mind. Since HostGator has been around since 2002, it has a secure footing in the hosting world and has a solid reputation for security.
You can also view your backend from a control perspective (for the admin) and from a customer portal (for more overviews).
Since most of the features are add-ons a la carte, you can customize your hosting needs as you see fit and not overcomplicate. With options for hosting ranging from shared to private servers, you have a good balance of security and efficiency.
HostGator does everything right
HostGator might not be the best hosting service, but it’s not the worst either. It offers decent uptime and page load speeds on average. And it has a lot of great features, but they mostly come with hidden costs. And while the library of online resources is excellent, it takes a while to contact live support.
However, HostGator has reasonably priced basic plans for beginners and does a very good job of covering basic small business website hosting needs.