Quick Facts & Checklist
|Speed||825 ms (over the last 6 months, updated March 2021)|
|Uptime||99.99% (over the last 6 months, updated March 2021)|
|Features||Unmetered bandwidth, Free Domain 1st Year, Free SSL Certificate, Free Website Builder, 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee|
|Hosting Plans||Shared, WordPress, VPS, Reseller, and Dedicated Servers|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat, Phone, Email, Knowledge Base|
|Pricing||Plans start from £2.06 per month|
What Is HostGator?
HostGator is far from primitive in the web hosting world despite its prehistoric name, responsible for hosting over 2 million websites worldwide.
They offer various hosting types; Shared Web hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, Cloud hosting and dedicated hosting.
On their website, HostGator boasts that 30% of their customers are web pros. Therefore their hosting must be good because they are trusted by the people who know what truly makes a good hosting server.
Despite this, they also describe themselves as well suited to less-experienced web users, exemplified in their easy-to-use interface and one-click installation across multiple apps.
They offer a free domain as a given and even allow you to transfer your domain for free.
Great Website Buider
Furthermore, their website-building tool is highly rated as one of the best website builders on the market, with a vast amount of stylistic and thematic options to make your website stand out from its competitors.
HostGator’s Website Builder
That all sounds well and good, but there are a few nitty-gritty details that need we ascertain before we can genuinely give HostGator the stamp of approval.
So, let’s get into it, shall we? Remember to keep your fingers inside the boat at all times – gators are known to bite.
Speed & Reliability
How Fast Is HostGator?
Did you know that alligators can run on land at a speed of 11mph and swim as fast as 20mph? That’s pretty fast, considering their size and weight.
Humans walk at the average pace of 3mph, so I wouldn’t want to try my chances in a gator race. However, if you think gators are fast, get ready to hear how fast HostGator is.
HostGator Speed Test
Their server response time comes in at less than a second, which is fast. It’s a “blink, and you will miss it” kind of speed. Using Uptime Robot to monitor our test site over the last six months, our research shows an average of 0.82 seconds, but HostGator’s speed is not the fastest.
Furthermore, compared to their competitors, some of which have consistent load times of 0.3 seconds, HostGator falls behind. So maybe you would have a chance of outrunning a gator after all.
This means that while HostGator is not the slowest web host provider, they are likewise far from being the fastest – sorry, HostGator.
Load Impact & Stress Test Results
We wanted to see if HostGator’s server held up under a bit of stress on the topic of speed. So we ran a test using K6 (formerly known as Load Impact) to simulate 50 active visitors over 5 minutes. The purpose of this is to determine the performance and reliability of the server when multiple users are accessing and using the site at the same time.
HostGator K6 Stress Test Results
The above chart shows that as the visitor’s increase (the grey line), the response time (the blue line) stays relatively stable. Despite an initial spike of around 25 virtual users, the response time never went above an impressive 200 milliseconds.
From our research, we have ascertained that HostGator’s response time is pretty good. Speed is pretty important for web hosting reviews. However, we have all heard the saying – slow and steady wins the race. The question is – does this ring true with HostGator?
Let’s find out.
HostGator Shared Hosting Uptime
Arguably more important than a server’s loading time is its uptime. Uptime is a measure that gauges the time the site is live and ready to host visitors.
HostGator guarantees an extremely high 99.9% uptime, but we all know how easy it is to talk the talk – what we want to know is if HostGator can walk the walk.
Our research shows that HostGator consistently performs, with their 99.9% uptime guarantee reliably being met time and time again.
This high uptime score means that you can rest easy knowing that your website functions as it should, drawing in traffic and creating revenue.
So far, so good HostGator. But at what cost does quality come at?
Pricing & Plans
How Much Does HostGator Cost?
With prices starting at around £2.00 under the aptly named ‘Hatchling’ plan, HostGator is pretty reasonably priced. This reasonable pricing is even more evident when looking at the price jump from the most basic plan to the intermediate ‘Business’ plan, which comes in at only a £2.50 difference per month.
For example, many other hosting companies, Hostinger, will lure their customers in with cheap £0.99 plans, offering very few features. But attractive due to the barely noticeable cost.
HostGator’s Shared Hosting Plans
However, your bank account will soon catch up with the multitude of added costs, hidden fees and excessive upgrades to better plans as soon as you realise that the basic plans often are exactly what they say on the tin – basic.
HostGator also offers up a whole range of hosting options alongside their popular shared plans that include: WordPress, VPS and Dedicated hosting.
Free Domain & SSL Certificate
With HostGator, basic means one free domain, a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate and, impressively unlimited bandwidth. This means you can host as many people on your site at once as possible.
While one domain is slightly limiting, especially when you can find other plans which host just one domain for half the price. It is rare to find a plan which offers free bandwidth for such a low cost.
Furthermore, for just £0.90 more, you can get unlimited domains, so while the economic jump between these two plans is minor, the added features are major.
HostGator vs. Competitors Prices
HostGator’s most expensive plan offers a free upgrade to positive SSL. This feature will be discussed later in the review, in addition to free dedicated IP and free SEO tools. In our opinion, these added features justify the jump up in price, and paying just over £5 a month for world-class web hosting is pretty good going.
HostGator’s Other Hosting Options
Help & Support
How Good Is HostGator’s Support?
Customer support is important for web hosting, mainly because using a hosting server means entrusting the provider with private data.
Furthermore, suppose your entire business is based online, like an online shop, for example. In that case, any issues with your website failing to connect to its server could cost you a lot of money. So the provider must have a strong customer support team, should worse come to worst.
HostGator offers great support with plenty of resources to help you with your site
As with many other web host providers, HostGator has 24/7 customer support 365 days a year. This support comes mainly in the form of a live chat service, in which you can talk directly to an actual employee for assistance.
The support staff is hailed as being knowledgeable and helpful. However, there are a few issues with the speed it takes to connect to somebody.
Some of the best website hosts on the market boast of the 2 second waiting times on their live chat service. However, HostGator’s response time sits between 9 seconds and 3 minutes.
HostGator offers Live Chat 24/7
While this time is undoubtedly slower than some of their competitors, sometimes you can’t rush a good thing. Some things are worth waiting for, and it seems that HostGator’s high quality of assistance is indeed worth the wait.
Broad Online Support Materials
Furthermore, they have a sound’ Knowledge Base’, which you can refer to at any time, for written help about topics. These range from design tools, domains and dedicated VPS to security, cPanel and hosting products.
This means that you can have all your problems sorted out before you even have to talk to someone. Nice one.
Features & Products
What Features & Services Do HostGator Offer?
HostGator Shared Hosting Features & Comparison
|Free Domain Name||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|24/7 customer service||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Money back guarantee||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
Added features are one category in which HostGator excel against their competitors. They use a reliable and up-to-date cPanel system for user accessibility, in addition to offering state-of-the-art eCommerce features.
Which makes selling online easier than ever before, with the addition of, as they state, ‘Instant Shopping Carts, Blogs, Portals, Forums and Counters’.
Furthermore, they have an incredible website builder, designed to be super accessible for users with drag and drop options. This enables you to have complete control of your site without being a tech genius.
HostGator’s control panel is beginner friendly and easy to use
Interestingly, they also work with Google AdWords, offering new customers $100 to put towards their marketing campaigns after users spend $25 in AdWords.
This is a rare feature for web host providers and can dramatically improve your site’s exposure, so it’s pretty impressive that this feature is offered to anyone, no matter what plan they are on.
The only slight drawback of this feature is that it is only available in the US and Canada, which is a shame, but not a dealbreaker.
Security & Protection
Is My Website Secure With HostGator?
Unfortunately, protecting yourself from cyber-attacks isn’t relatively as straightforward. Still, luckily HostGator has several security precautions to keep your data safe.
The most distinctive of these precautions is positive SSL, which is essentially the same as a standard SSL certificate, save for the fact that it is backed by a stronger warranty and provides your site with a TrustLogo Site Seal.
While this is a unique add-on, it is worth considering that it is precisely that – an add-on. Positive SSL is only included in the most expensive web hosting plan, so don’t bank on it on your basic plan.
HostGator offers good security on all their plans
Despite this, there are plenty of impressive security features which come as standard on the basic plan.
Free SSL is one of these, not quite as impressive as its swanky positive SSL sister, but still a great security feature that is proven to keep your data safe.
Furthermore, HostGator promise protection from DDoS attacks, as well as flood protection on servers, so that your site does not get overwhelmed by visits and crash.
Protecting Your Data
In addition, HostGator gives its users some advice on self-protection, suggesting that they should use secure passwords. You should also keep app installations up to date and ensure their sites are malware-free.
HostGator cares about its customer’s site security. However, their features are admittedly limited compared to some of their competitors, who offer enviable features, such as Cloudflare protection, sieving out corrupt traffic.
Ultimately, they offer no more than the basic security features expected from a web host provider – but don’t let that put you off. These basic features are still enough to protect a site from a cyber-attack, or gator-attack for that matter.
Pros & Cons
What We Like & Dislike About HostGator
Not the fastest server response time.
Likewise, not the fastest customer support response time.
Semi-basic security features in comparison to its competitors.
Google AdWords is only available to customers in the US and Canada.
What Are The Alternatives To HostGator?
Do We Recommend HostGator?
It is pretty clear that HostGator is a great hosting server but in the harshly competitive web hosting market, being great is not always good enough.
Ultimately, if you want a web host provider which has a strong uptime, good added features and a decent reputation, all for a relatively small price, HostGator will serve you well.
However, is it the best web host provider on the market? Not quite. But it’s a great place to start if you’re a beginner.
Editor & User Ratings
With unlimited storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates and free domain for the 1st year. Hostgator’s got you covered!
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