Hostgator Hosting vs Website Builder – How to Choose

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Hostgator has two options for a starter website. The first is the standard shared hosting like all other web hosts, and the other is a “website builder plan”. The latter brings together all the things you might need to start creating websites out of the box. For example:

  1. A free domain name
  2. Drag ‘n Drop page builder
  3. Free themes
  4. Mobile optimization
  5. Stock photos etc…

In short, the idea behind the website builder is to get you easily started on a site without needing to know anything about the underlying technology.

Price Comparisons

You can see from the Hostgator coupons page, that the regular shared hosting service gives you a massive 78% discount. As a result, the website builder is slightly more expensive, which is understandable.

Here are the two coupons you can use for shared hosting and website builder respectively:

Shared Hosting:

Website Builder:

Hostgator Free Domains – A New Addition

For a long time, the price difference between the two made sense because you got a free domain with the website builder. But recently, Hostgator started offering a free domain name with their regular shared hosting via the following coupon code:

While the above coupon won’t give you as high a raw discount as the first coupon for shared hosting, it includes a free domain as shown here:

Free Domain with Hostgator
Free Hostgator Domain with READYHOSTING Coupon Code

This really changes the price equation and makes regular shared hosting more valuable compared to the website builder. You’ll have to decide whether all the other add-on features are worth it for you. If you’re a newbie to web hosting, it might make sense. Otherwise, not so much.

Should You Trust a Website Builder?

Earlier, I’d written about how Wix – another page building service – holds your website hostage. It’s not because they’re deliberately trying to be evil or anything, but that’s the nature of page builders in general. You’re locked into their platform and can’t switch out to any other. They’re not open source, and can’t be audited, and they lack the true flexibility that comes with a real CMS like WordPress.

Hostgator’s service is no different from Wix’s in this regard. So everything in the link above, also applies to the website builder. Personally, it’s not something I would choose to use for the long-term health of my website. I don’t like the feeling of being locked into anything, and I prefer the customization that WordPress provides.

Additional Features with a Website Builder

That being said, if you don’t mind the lock in, and your needs are relatively simple, a website builder can help you get started far more quickly. Here’s a more complete review of all of Hostgator’s website builder’s features.

Is Your Website a Primary Feature of your Business?

The decision of whether to use Hostgator’s website builder boils down to one decision – how important is your website to your business? I know plenty of entrepreneurs who don’t care much about their website. It’s there, it lets people know how to get in touch…and that’s about it. They don’t have complex needs, they don’t need to constantly add content, and they don’t think too much about marketing it.

For these individuals, Hostgator’s website builder is a perfect option. The simple drag ‘n drop interface allows them to get started quickly, and build out their site without any technical knowledge whatsoever.

On the other hand, if your website is core to your service offering, and if you see yourself putting time and effort over a period of several years into it, then you can’t afford to get locked into something like a website builder. You need the flexibility of a real CMS platform – and you might even have to hire a developer, or just use WordPress – that usually does the trick!

If you’re the latter kind of entrepreneur, then you should start with simple shared hosting, and work your way up from there. That’s the beauty of shared hosting – you can scale it up or down, and even change web hosts to suit your needs. But if you’re the former type, the Hostgator website builder is a great option for you to quickly put together an online presence for your website.

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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