Hostgator Isn’t Bad, Just Lacking in Features

Hostgator gets an unfairly bad rap. Yes, it’s pretty basic. No, they don’t have advanced features like server caching, an in-built CDN, or a good backup system. But at this price point, it’s the best you can expect. Without gimping customers, there is no host that is cheaper than Hostgator. If you think you’ve found a cheaper price elsewhere, look again – there’s likely to be a catch somewhere.

Here’s a full Hostgator coupon list. You can see that the 36-month hosting is the best price on the market. Even Bluehost isn’t cheaper. But like I said, this comes at a trade-off. So here’s what Hostgator is missing.

Table of Contents

No Backup System

Hostgator takes a random backup of your site every week, that’s it. And you need to call customer service to restore your account. In other words, it’s pretty much non-existent.

If you want backups of your site, you can always purchase the CodeGuard add-on. But honestly, that’s not all that great either. CodeGuard gives you just 1 GB of space, which is pretty sad. It’s a hell of a lot better than nothing, but insufficient to keep, say a month of daily backups for one or more sites.

For piece of mind, you should consider an offsite backup system like DropMySite instead. Of course, this is a paid solution and adds to the total cost of hosting.

No Server Caching

Server caching is where your hosting server creates cached copies of your pages and serves them to visitors. This really speeds things up since your site doesn’t need to generate the page from scratch for each visitor. You can also install plugins on your site that perform the same function. But these are slower than if the server itself were doing all the work.

There aren’t many web hosts that offer server caching, so it’s no surprise that the basic Hostgator plan doesn’t either. It’s an advanced feature, which means the web host has either deployed custom infrastructure and code like SiteGround, or that they’re using a special Apache replacement server like LiteSpeed. Both of these cost money, and so budget hosts like Hostgator don’t have it.

It’s worth noting however, that the Managed WordPress Hostgator plan has server caching. More on that below.

No Malware Detection

Sites get hacked all the time. Sometimes, you could be hacked for months and not even know it! Which is why, it’s always good to have a web host that automatically scans your site regularly for known hacks and alerts you when necessary. This is another value added feature that’s missing from Hostgator’s basic web hosting plans.

SSD Hosting only for Databases

One clever way in which Hostgator cuts costs, is to use SSD servers only for their databases. Since most of the benefit of SSDs comes from speedier database operation, this achieves the same benefits of full-fledged SSD hosting at lower prices! As a side benefit, it allows them to offer “unmetered” disk space, since they’re using HDD for files.

Programs typically don’t need to read and write files as furiously as they query databases. For this purpose, HDD is still perfectly fine.

So if you’d like some of the above features, which hosts do I recommend? Here are two alternatives.

Alternative Hosting #1: Hostgator WordPress Plans

There’s a surprisingly powerful Hostgator WordPress plan that costs more, but includes features such as automated daily backups, server caching, an in-built CDN, malware scanning, and lower density servers. I personally think that Hostgator should stop calling it “WordPress Hosting”, because it’s not just WordPress users who would appreciate the additional features.

Most hosting providers don’t offer “true” WordPress Hosting. Instead, they slap the name “WordPress” on to ordinary shared hosting plans and call it a day. Hostgator doesn’t do this. Their WordPress hosting plan is genuinely powerful, and contains many of the features that should have been included in a premium hosting plan instead.

Alternative Hosting #2: NameHero Hosting

This is my favorite web host. NameHero is a smaller provider that’s making a big name for itself by offering unheard of features on ordinary web hosting. Their backup system is superior even to SiteGround’s (thanks to offsite storage), and they have server caching for all plans instead of just the more expensive ones. Here’s a complete NameHero review with a 55% off coupon code.

NameHero uses LiteSpeed web servers instead of Apache, and replaces MySQL databases with MariaDB – architectural modifications that speed up web hosting considerably. Check it out!

Bottom Line

Basic Hostgator plans are severely lacking in advanced features that make for great web hosting. But that’s only to be expected, since their prices are the lowest on the market. If you want more, either check out their specialized WordPress plans, or opt for a host like NameHero. If you want great features, you’re going to have to pay for them one way or the other!

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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