Hostgator Alternatives: Free and Paid

Here are the main Hostgator alternatives. At the bottom, there are also some free alternatives that you should check out.

Table of Contents

1. Bluehost – A Slightly More Expensive Alternative

The first alternative to Hostgator is Bluehost – I’ve used it myself for several years. In terms of pricing, Bluehost is almost as cheap. Unfortunately, they offer the ultra-low price only under certain conditions.

Bluehost is a bit higher-tier than Hostgator, but is also more expensive.

Bluehost has a special $2.95/m deal. Unlike Hostgator, Bluehost doesn’t have any coupons, so you have to rely on them to show you whichever deals they choose. Most of the time you’re going to see the more expensive hosting options. Only when you hang around for a bit, you might come across the special $2.95/m deal.

The other problem is that the price is only available when you sign up for 3 years. Hostgator, on the other hand, gives you low prices even for shorter billing cycles. You can shop around for coupons to fill your needs.

For the additional price, Bluehost gives you a more sophisticated infrastructure compared to Hostgator. You get SSD drives and spike protection, which is pretty cool. Here’s a detailed comparison between Hostgator and Bluehost. So which Bluehost comes close, it’s not a true replacement for Hostgator because it’s more expensive.

Bluehost Features:

  • SSD drives (Hostgator only has HDD drives for files and folders)
  • Account isolation for misbehaving sites on shared hosting
  • Allows parked domains on basic plan

2. HostArmada: Free Backups = Good Hostgator Alternative

One of the big disadvantages of Hostgator is that there are no free backups. If you want, you can purchase the Hostgator CodeGuard add-on, which adds to the cost of hosting. HostArmada is a web host that has free daily backups, which makes it a good alternative to Hostgator.

HostArmada has free backups and malware scanning – both are paid addons with Hostgator.

Another advantage of HostArmada over Hostgator is the free malware scanning. Thanks to Imunify360 integration, HostArmada regularly scans your site for malware and also has a Web Application Firewall (WAF). To get these same features on Hostgator, you need to purchase the Hostgator SiteLock add-on. So with HostArmada, you save on two additional add-ons that you would have needed to purchase with Hostgator.

As for pricing, HostArmada is only moderately more expensive compared to Hostgator. Their basic plan starts at $2.48/m, whereas Hostgator is $2.64/m. Yes, it’s more expensive, but you should see what you get in return.

Unlike Hostgator, HostArmada uses the NGINX server on the lower plans and the LiteSpeed server on the Speed Reaper plan. This gives it higher response times compared to Hostgator, as well as a free private DNS. So this makes HostArmada an excellent Hostgator alternative. Here’s the HostArmada coupon page, where you can see all their pricing plans.

HostArmada Features:

  • SSD drives
  • NGINX reverse proxy for static caching
  • LiteSpeed server on the highest-tier “Speed Reaper” plan
  • Free malware scanning
  • Daily backups

3. GreenGeeks: LiteSpeed is an Alternative to Hostgator

GreenGeeks is the cheapest way to use the LiteSpeed webserver, instead of Apache that Hostgator uses. This makes GreenGeeks a great Hostgator alternative.

GreenGeeks uses LiteSpeed, which has in-built server-side caching.

LiteSpeed is a faster webserver but requires a paid license. As a result, Hostgator doesn’t use it. HostArmada mentioned above, also offers LiteSpeed, but only on the expensive Speed Reaper plan. By contrast, GreenGeeks has LiteSpeed on even their cheapest plan starting at $2.95/m. This puts it at the same price as my first Hostgator alternative – Bluehost. The benefit of LiteSpeed however, is that it supports native server-side caching. This makes LiteSpeed much faster than Apache and is one of its main attractions.

The downside of GreenGeeks is that the basic plan doesn’t have automatic backups. This means you’ll have to purchase a separate plan if you want that functionality. The higher-tier GreenGeeks plan has backups, but the starting price is $5.95/m. And it doesn’t have free malware scanning either. If you want both free backups, as well as advanced malware scanning with LiteSpeed, then the best host for that is NameHero.

GreenGeeks Features:

  • LiteSpeed web server. Hostgator uses plain Apache
  • Purchases carbon offsets for 3x the energy used for hosting
  • Free nightly backup on the basic plan – missing from Hostgator

4. GoDaddy – Not a True Alternative, Thanks to SSL

It’s shocking that after all these years, GoDaddy doesn’t bother giving you a free SSL when every other web host does the same. Here’s a screenshot showing that you get SSL only on the higher GoDaddy plans:

GoDaddy is not a good Alternative to Hostgator
GoDaddy SSL Not Available on Starter Plans

This is crippling for a small website, which will have to purchase an expensive SSL certificate just to exist. These days, all browsers show a warning for non-encrypted websites. Hostgator provides an SSL for free regardless of which plan you choose and no matter how short your billing cycle is. It’s almost as if GoDaddy isn’t serious about web hosting and is just trying to milk you if they can. Since there are plenty of customers who don’t know the importance of SSL, this is borderline deceptive.

There is no Hostgator free web hosting. Even though it offers a free domain and a website builder, these are still paid plans. Zero-cost web hosting is another matter entirely and comes with its own set of trade-offs. No web host offers free web hosting without major compromises in performance. And if you take your business seriously, free web hosting isn’t a long-term strategy.

Below, I’ll talk about what makes Hostgator so special, and an analysis of the various alternatives.

Best Hostgator Discount Code

If you sign up for three years, here is the lowest Hostgator price you can get. You can find the right Hostgator discount code depending on the type of plan you want.

Discount Period: 3-years
Discount amount: 66%

If you want to host for a shorter period, check out the following Hostgator coupon for 12-months instead:

The above code is the complete bundle with a free domain name and website builder.

What Makes for a Hostgator Alternative?

As mentioned above, we’re looking for the following in any good alternative to Hostgator:

  1. Good price
  2. Reliable
  3. No artificial restrictions on disk space, bandwidth, or number of databases

I’ve written before about why Hostgator is the best choice for affordable, basic hosting. No other host has the above three in just the right combination. This makes finding a true alternative rather tricky. But here are the best options you have.

A Free Domain Always Has a Time Out

While most web hosts like Hostgator give away a free domain if you purchase web hosting for a minimum period, there’s no way they’re going to give you an entire domain for free just by itself. That’s because domain registration is a “hard” cost that can’t be avoided. Unlike hosting, where a company can conceivably maintain your site without any real cost.

Some providers will only give you a free domain if you purchase hosting for 2 years or more. Others have different requirements. Some like SiteGround don’t give you a free domain at all. Hostgator is unique in that you get a free domain even if you choose to host for just one year. It’s one of the reasons why I maintain that there’s nothing cheaper than Hostgator.

Free Alternatives to Hostgator

Since there’s no Hostgator free hosting plan, here’s what you can get if you don’t want to pay anything.

1. Hosting on WordPress.com

The first option for free web hosting is to create a site on WordPress.com. You get a fast site with no restrictions on disk space. You can even find themes that don’t have ads on them. The only drawback is that you don’t get your own domain unless you pay extra (obviously).

So instead of a site URL like this:

example.com

You get this:

example.wordpress.com

If you want, you can upgrade your site with a “proper” domain name by paying a bit extra. But at that point, you might as well go with a full-fledged host like Hostgator instead. Because it’s not free anymore.

2. Using Wix (Not Recommended)

A lot of people are attracted to Wix because of its easy site design tools. But by choosing Wix, you’re locking yourself into a web host that you can’t get out of later on. It’s why I’ve written a separate article on why hosting on Wix isn’t a good idea.

In addition, Wix places ads on every page of your website. I don’t blame them, because who wants to provide a free service with nothing to show for it? It’s the same as with WordPress. But with WordPress, at least you can export your site and its contents out of the platform and move it to another provider. With Wix, you’re locked in.

Another big disadvantage of the free Wix plan is that there’s no integration with Google Analytics.

3. Try 000webhost

If you already have a domain name and just want free web hosting, try 000webhost. They’re a sister concern of Hostinger, and they have a free hosting plan with extremely limited capabilities. Here’s a screenshot of the restricted choices:

Hostgator Free Web Hosting Alternatives
Hostgator Free Web Hosting Alternatives

As you can see, you don’t get a free domain unless you purchase the third plan, which costs more than Hostgator’s basic Hatchling plan for 3-years. This tracks with what we already know – that Hostgator’s plans are the cheapest in the market for what they provide.

Stay Away from Website Builders

A good rule of thumb while getting started with web design, is to not use website builders like Wix. WordPress is fine because you can migrate your data out of it and go to a new host. But hosting providers that offer easy “drag n’ drop” website builders are trying to lock you into their service. This goes for the Hostgator website builder as well. Just use something that you can take with you when you leave. WordPress is a great example, but any exportable CMS will do.

Bottom Line: There Aren’t Many Alternatives to Hostgator

The big takeaway from all this is that there are just a handful of true alternatives to Hostgator. What we do know is that for what you get – a domain name and hosting – it’s the cheapest out there. While other services can allow you to build your website for free, they won’t give you a domain name. And even then, you’ll have restrictions like advertisements and (in the case of Wix), caps on resource usage.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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