Hostgator Review 2018 – Customer Complaints, and Discounts

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It’s one of the most recognized hosting providers along with GoDaddy and Bluehost. Certainly, their gator mascot has the best brand name recognition of any of the others. As such, they’ve received their share of customer complaints. We’ll go into that in this comprehensive Hostgator 2018 review.

First, let’s start with their discounts and prices.

Hostgator Pricing, Discounts and Coupon Codes

Hostgator relies more on coupons for deals than any other provider. Even GoDaddy – which has the cheapest hosting out there – doesn’t have the same breadth and variety of discounts. Here’s the complete list of Hostgator coupon codes and you’ll also find advice on the best coupon to use for each hosting plan.

In particular, they have a “1c” for the first month plan that cheaper than any other plan on the market. The catch is that it’s only for a single month – unlike GoDaddy’s $1/month hosting plan which you can purchase for a maximum of 12 months. So even if you pay a penny for a month of hosting, you’ll have to renew it at the full price next month. It’s not a great plan for saving money!

Here’s the Hostgator pricing chart with before and after prices for all plans:

Basic Plan
(Yearly Renwal)
Advanced Plan
(Yearly Renwal)
Premium Plan
(Yearly Renwal)
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator Shared Hosting
$2.58/month
$8.95
Discount 71%off
With Coupon code: HOSTINGBUNDLE
$3.33/month
$11.95
Discount 72%off
With Coupon code: HOSTINGBUNDLE
$3.75/month
$16.95
Discount 78%off
With Coupon code: HOSTINGBUNDLE
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator WordPress Hosting
$7.95/month
$12.95/month
Discount 39%off
With 39% - 57% off coupon code: WPTWEAKSHOSTING
$9.95/month
$17.95/month
Discount 45%off
With 39% - 57% off coupon code: WPTWEAKSHOSTING
$11.95/month
$24.95/month
Discount 78%off
With 39% - 57% off coupon code: WPTWEAKSHOSTING
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator Cloud Hosting
$7.95/month
$10.95
Discount 27%off
With 27% - 45% off Coupon code: SNAPPY
$9.95/month
$13.95
Discount 29%off
With 27% - 45% off Coupon code: SNAPPY
$11.95/month
$19.95

Discount 40%off With 27% - 45% off Coupon code: SNAPPY
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator VPS
$49.95/month
$89.95
Discount 44%off
With coupon code: SNAPPY
$59.95/month
$129.95
Discount 54%off
With coupon code: SNAPPY
$69.95/month
$159.95
Discount 56%off
With coupon code: SNAPPY
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator Dedicated Servers
$138.99/month
$189
Discount 26%off
With 26% - 50% off coupon code: SNAPPYD2
$179.01/month
$249
Discount 28%off
With 26% - 50% off coupon code: SNAPPYD2
$199.01/month
$289
Discount 31%off
With 26% - 50% off coupon code: SNAPPYD2

Get the Biggest Discount!

Need to make a decision fast? Click below for the maximum discount today:

 

A quick word about SSL.

Hostgator Now Provides Free SSL

On the 28th of June 2018, Hostgator announced that they are providing free SSL to all its shared hosting customers. This is a big deal, and finally makes Hostgator competitive with companies like SiteGround, DreamHost, and InMotion who have been giving their customers free SSL for a long time.

So much for prices. Let’s move on to customer complaints.

Hostgator CodeGuard – Not the Best

HostGator has a backup service called CodeGuard starting at $23.95/year. In my opinion, it’s not worth the cost since the basic plan has a lot of limitations. Here’s a list of alternatives for CodeGuard along with reasons why I think it’s not so great.

Bad Hostgator Reviews on the BBB

Sadly, there have been a lot of these. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) maintains a verified list of customer complaints against companies on a regular basis. Their rating for Hostgator is a dismal “C+” with a terrible 2.43 out of 4 stars.

None of the complaints are about the technical aspects of Hostgator’s service. The problems all relate to customer service and how difficult it is to get proper responses from the company reps. Especially, there are issues related to domain name transfers, and refunds in line with their 45-day money back guarantee, and the funds taking a long time to be returned. Some have even gone so far as to call it a scam.

There’s a sense that Hostgator’s general level of service declined after it was acquired by EIG in 2012. From an objective point of view however, it’s impossible to say whether or not the complaints are a result of the acquisition. It could also simply be due to the fact that the company has grown so large. It’s an inevitable fallout of a corporation for it to become less personal – especially in a customer focused industry like web hosting.

In all fairness, customer reviews of hosting services tend to always have a negative slant. This is due to selection bias – people only bother to file a review when something goes wrong. If your site has been humming along smoothly for years, you never stop to leave great feedback!

In light of these reviews however, Hostgator seems to have upped its focus on customer support in recent times. They have a big “Live Chat” button right on their front page which seems to indicate that they want to feel approachable. In any case, it seems like Hostgator has its job cut out. Changing customer perception is a long-term process after all.

Active Hostgator Forum

One place to ask questions and vent is the Hostgator forum. It’s quite an active website where thousands of customers join to ask, answer questions, and provide service. You know the saying – misery loves company. Well if you have a complaint, just search the forums and there’ll be hundreds of people with the same issue. You can discuss tips and tricks to solve the problem, and see what works. In fact, you’ll find many of the issues raised in this Hostgator review over there.

In many cases the Hostgator forum can act as a sort of secondary customer support center!

Add on Services with Hostgator Plans

Hostgator has a bunch of add-on services in addition to its hosting plans. Some of these might be useful, others are dubious.

Free Website Builder

For example, they have a free website builder that they’ve developed in-house. While you might like the idea of a drag and drop interface for building your site quickly, there are several downsides to this. Primarily, what if you want to shift your hosting to another provider? Hostgator isn’t going to provide you with an easy export function so you can go elsewhere!

And looking at the features of the service, I would suggest that you just build your site using WordPress instead. It has equal functionality and can be transferred easily whenever you want.

SEO Services

I’m not a big fan of these services even on other hosting providers, and I would consider some of them to be borderline scams. For example, no one can “Index your site faster”. Google, Bing etc. will index your site when they’re ready to do so and Hostgator certainly can’t speed that up. Plus, their packages to track keyword rankings are horribly expensive and only allow you to track a pitifully small number of keywords.

Here’s a complete review of the Hostgator SEO plan, as well as a free alternatives for each of the services provided. There are  zero reasons to invest in one of these SEO packages. If you really want to get serious, you’re going to have to track more than just 10 keywords. Get a proper package from a service dedicated to SEO keyword tracking!

Green Datacenters

This is one huge plus point of Hostgator. While their datacenters do not directly utilize green energy, they purchase “Renewable Energy Credit” or RECs. These represent green energy generation and Hostgator has purchased 130% of their power used as RECs. This allows them to justifiably claim green energy datacenters.

The purchase of these green credits not only covers their immediate hosting operations, but also associated carbon emissions from things like employee commute and others. However, Hostgator doesn’t provide you with a “green badge” that you can place on your website. A pity – it would have been nice!

Hostgator Review 2018: WordPress Hosting – Mainly Bunkum

Normally, “WordPress Hosting” is supposed to represent servers that have been specially configured to run WordPress. Sometimes with custom configured servers and special caching solutions. In addition, proper WordPress hosting providers like Bluehost give you access to premium theme stores and premium plugins that you would otherwise have to pay for.

Hostgator gives you none of this. From what I can tell, it’s simply a regular shared hosting environment with WordPress installed – something you can do with one click using an automatic script anyway. That’s one of the reasons why their WordPress plans are so cheap – real WordPress hosting services are much more expensive. Just look at Bluehost for example!

Hostgator VPS and Dedicated Hosting

Unlike some other providers, Hostgator gives you the option of fully managed or semi managed VPS hosting. You’ll have full root SSH access, but if something goes wrong on the semi-managed solution, you’ll have to fix it yourself. The fully managed solution on the other hand comes with cPanel, so life is that much easier for you.

The same options are available for dedicated hosting.

Hostgator Datacenter Locations

Unlike Bluehost which doesn’t disclose the locations of its data centers, Hostgator is much more transparent. Here’s a full description of their datacenters. Currently, they have US based centers in:

  1. Houston, TX
  2. Provo, Utah

In Summary

Choosing to go with Hostgator requires weighing two conflicting pieces of evidence. On the one hand, it’s a massive player in the hosting market with a revenue in the tens of millions of dollars. Clearly, they’re doing something right. But this Hostgator review would be incomplete without addressing those customers who’ve had terrible experiences. No one is saying those customers are wrong, and no one is disputing their claims. The question however is about how many customers don’t have issues – and if they do, then why is Hostgator still in business?

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!