Hostgator Review: The “Pizza” of Web Hosting

Pizza isn’t anyone’s favorite food. But it’s not the worst either! It’s an acceptable meal when you can’t agree on anything else, or don’t want to think too much. Hostgator is like that. It’s the pizza of web hosting. Nothing special, but it’s affordable and stable. You can’t fault it too much.

For years, Hostgator has been the default choice for those looking for cheap web hosting. Compared to the competition like SiteGround, or even Bluehost, it doesn’t have much going for it in terms of features. But there’s one thing you can’t beat – the price. And yes, some hosts are even cheaper than Hostgator. But they cut too many corners to be considered serious web hosts. With Hostgator, what you get is cheap and stable. Nothing more and nothing else.

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.

Here’s how Hostgator compares with other providers like SiteGround, NameHero, and Bluehost:

Monthly Price
Hostgator$2.64/m
Bluehost$2.95/m
NameHero$2.69/m
SiteGround$6.99/m
GoDaddy$4.49/m
HostPapa$3.95/m
Hostgator Pricing vs Other Web Hosting Companies

As you can see, Hostgator is cheaper than all the other major web hosts. The only one that comes close is Bluehost. But even Bluehost’s prices are significantly higher if you choose to host for just one year. For example, the price for one year hosting with Bluehost is $5/m, whereas it’s only $3/m with Hostgator.

In particular, Hostgator has a “1c” for the first month plan using the “PENNY” coupon code that’s 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!

Get the Biggest Discount!

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Duration: 12 Months
Hostgator Coupon Code
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Table of Contents

Hostgator: The Good

Here are the plus points about Hostgator.

Unlimited Storage Even for the Basic “Hatchling” Plan

Ordinary web hosts always limit the storage on their cheapest plans. Both Bluehost and SiteGround for example, restrict their starting plan storage to 10 GB and 50 GB respectively. They keep it low so that you have an incentive to upgrade. Hostgator on the other hand, allows unlimited storage even on the cheapest available plan – Hatchling. This means that you needn’t worry about exceeding your limits. This is made possible because Hostgator uses HDD drives instead of SSDs as mentioned below.

Of course, Hostgator has the standard fair use policy that says you can’t use your hosting as a file storage service. So there are limits on what you can do!

Free SSL

It took a while, but Hostgator started offering free SSL in late 2018. This means you don’t have to pay for HTTPS connections, unlike other web hosts such as GoDaddy. This free SSL is available on all their hosting plans, so it’s not locked into any tier. The SSL certificate continues for as long as you keep hosting, and is renewed automatically.

Keep in mind that this is an AutoSSL generated via Let’s Encrypt. It’s not a positive SSL, which means that your business won’t be verified by a certificate company. But in terms of encryption, it’s every bit as good as positive SSL.

Cheap but Decent Quality

Unlike other web hosts like Hostinger and Namecheap, Hostgator does a better job of managing the price/performance divide. Their hosting is cheap – but not so absurdly cheap that it renders your website unusable. Unlike Namecheap’s and Hostinger’s servers which are famous of being super slow, Hostgator delivers adequate performance at the best price point.

Naturally this is just my opinion, but I feel that no host can reasonably offer less than $2.50/m hosting without seriously compromising their server performance by overselling.

Free Domain for the First Year

Unlike SiteGround and A2 Hosting, Hostgator offers a free domain for the first year. After that, you have to pay the renewal fee as usual. To avail of this offer, you need to purchase hosting for at least 12-months. Some web hosts like NameHero only give you a free domain on the higher-tier plans and if you purchase for a longer period like 2-years. But the requirements to get a free domain from Hostgator are much more forgiving.

Generous 45-day Money Back Guarantee

Hostgator has an extremely generous money-back guarantee of 45 days. Other web hosts like SiteGround and Bluehost have a 30-day cancellation policy, so having an additional 15-days is a nice perk! Keep in mind that domain costs won’t be included in the money-back guarantee because these are fixed costs that are paid directly to ICANN.

Separate Coupons for Every Need

Hostgator’s specialty is coupons. The list of Hostgator coupons is extensive, and you can find one for every occasion. For example, there is the “PENNY” coupon that gives you essentially free hosting for 1-month at a cost of 1 cent. This is great to try stuff out. Then there’s another coupon for 12-months hosting that gives you a better deal than any other web host for an annual billing cycle. More coupons are available for 24 and 36-months. There are also individual coupons for cloud and WordPress hosting. You just need to find the one that’s right for you!

Hostgator: The Bad

Here are the disadvantage of Hostgator compared to other web hosts:

No In-Built Backups

I consider a good backup system to be an essential part of any web hosting. Hostgator doesn’t provide automatic backups and restores. At best, they make a non-binding declaration that they take random backups once every week. But you need to open a support ticket to restore these backups. I’ve written before about Hostgator’s terrible backups, and the situation hasn’t changed since then.

Hostgator would like you to purchase the “CodeGuard” add-on, which I find entirely insufficient. It doesn’t provide enough storage. The best solution for you would be to either:

But don’t leave it as it is. Without backups, you’re just asking for trouble.

No SSD Drives – Only for MySQL Servers

Hostgator lags behind every major hosting provider in not offering SSD drives for faster hosting. But there are reasons for this. Using HDD drives allows them to offer unlimited storage on their cheapest plans. This is also mitigated by the fact that they use SSD drives to host their MySQL databases. Since most of the hard disk slowness comes from database queries rather than files and folders, this almost negates the impact of HDD drives.

Nonetheless, the fact that they don’t offer SSD drives on all their servers is quite a large black mark against Hostgator.

No In-Built Malware Scanning

Hostgator doesn’t provide any security measure out of the box, like malware scanning. Instead, you’re advised to pick up one of the add-on packages like SiteLock. However, I don’t find SiteLock to be very effective, since there are better alternatives. But at least you get good security, a free CDN, and daily monitoring.

Or you can just choose a web host with in-built security features. Once again, I recommend NameHero for this.

No Server Caching

Hostgator doesn’t offer server caching on its shared hosting plans. Other web hosts like SiteGround and NameHero have sophisticated mechanisms, which serve the visitor cached pages instead of generating them repeatedly. With Hostgator, you have to rely on plugins to get the job done, which isn’t ideal. Server caching is really the best. However, Hostgator offers server caching on its WordPress plans, which are surprisingly good. You even get an in-built CDN, and lower density servers.

No Data Centers Outside the US

While not a huge deal, Hostgator doesn’t have data centers outside the United States. Not even in Canada. Other web hosts usually have at least a server farm in Europe, or even Asia. But Hostgator is a strictly US company. Having said that, there are several subsidiaries scattered across the globe like India, Brazil, and more. But these are independently run organizations that share the Hostgator branding. They’re not part of the main Hostgator operations.

If you’re looking for Asia hosting, I suggest HostArmada. If it’s Europe hosting that you’re looking for, you should go with NameHero.

3 Top Reasons to Choose Hostgator

With so many alternative web hosts, Hostgator can seem a little outdated. No free backups or fancy features. Here’s an example of how Hostgator has declined in popularity over the years:

Hostgator 5-Year Trend
Hostgator trend over 5-years compared to SiteGround

However, it still shines in a few areas. Here are the reasons people still use Hostgator today.

Reason 1: Hostgator Pricing for Budget Customers

If there’s one thing for which Hostgator really stands out, it’s their pricing. They have the largest collection of discounts for any given situation. For example, this Hostgator coupon gives you the lowest web hosting for a year anywhere on the market with a 78% discount. It includes SSL, and unlimited disk space.

In addition, they have coupons for different billing cycles and products. These are all “real” coupons – not namesake coupons. Hostgator also gives its affiliates the ability to create special custom coupons for various hosting packages. All in all, this means there are a huge number of Hostgator coupons out there – but the major ones are all covered in the Hostgator coupon code list above.

Cheap Website Builder

Hostgator’s website builder is one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market. In one package, you get:

  1. A free domain name
  2. Hosting
  3. A drag ‘n Drop website builder
  4. Mobile optimization
  5. SSL

Bluehost also provides a free domain name, but it’s slightly more expensive compared to Hostgator, unless you manage to snag their rare $2.95/m hosting plans. But even those are only available for 3-years at a time, no less.

Reason 2: Excellent Budget WordPress Hosting

It’s hard to find quality budget WordPress hosting. Either they’re far more expensive compared to ordinary shared hosting like Bluehost’s managed WordPress or Kinsta’s packages, or they can simply be repackaged shared hosting plans like Bluehost or SiteGround regular WordPress hosting. The latter is nothing but normal web hosting plans with WordPress pre-installed, and automatic plugin and theme updates.

Hostgator’s WordPress hosting on the other hand has a large number of features without breaking the bank. It’s only slightly more expensive than regular shared hosting, but with additional benefits like an in-built CDN, malware protection, dynamic server caching, and more.

To my knowledge, this is a niche not occupied by any other major hosting provider. Basically an “upgrade” of regular shared hosting, with WordPress specific enhancements that no site should be without.

Reason 3: The Best Web Hosting “Trial” Package

If you want to test out a hosting service before making a purchase, you don’t have a lot of options. You usually need to sign up for the initial billing cycle for a year if you need discounts.

With Hostgator, you can get virtually free shared hosting for one month for just $0.01 or 1c by using the following coupon:

After this month, you’ll be charged the full hosting price. So if you want to continue, I suggest you create a new account and sign up again with a “proper” coupon for 1-year or more. This way, you can get the maximum savings.

For these reasons, Hostgator still holds a niche for price conscious customers.

Hostgator Ratings vs Other Web Hosts Summary

Here’s a summary table of the ratings of various aspects of Hostgator compared to the others.

Price Rating

RatingComments
Hostgator5/5 ★★★★★This is Hostgator’s main strength
SiteGround2/5 ★★☆☆☆Very expensive. Even more so than others
Bluehost4/5 ★★★★☆Good prices second only to Hostgator
GoDaddy1/5 ★☆☆☆☆Without free SSL, it’s GoDaddy is incredibly expensive
HostPapa3/5 ★★★☆☆Average pricing. Neither good, nor bad
NameCheap5/5 ★★★★★NameCheap is well…cheap!
Pricing Ratings: Hostgator vs Others

Performance Rating

RatingComments
Hostgator3/5 ★★★☆☆Strictly middle of the road performance.
SiteGround5/5 ★★★★★The one area where SiteGround excels
Bluehost4/5 ★★★★☆Bluehost’s performance is slightly better than Hostgator’s
GoDaddy1/5 ★☆☆☆☆GoDaddy is known for very slow servers
HostPapa3/5 ★★★☆☆Performance is around the same as that of Hostgator
NameCheap1/5 ★☆☆☆☆The downside to super cheap hosting – poor performance!
Performance Ratings: Hostgator vs Others

Features Ratings

RatingComments
Hostgator2/5 ★★☆☆☆Hostgator just provides web hosting.
Though you can buy add-ons.
SiteGround5/5 ★★★★★SiteGround is jam packed with features.
Bluehost3/5 ★★★☆☆Not too many features. Add-ons available.
GoDaddy2/5 ★★☆☆☆GoDaddy doesn’t have many features to boast of.
HostPapa3/5 ★★★☆☆Not many features. But allows 2 websites on the basic plan.
NameCheap1/5 ★☆☆☆☆No special features
Hosting Features Ratings: Hostgator vs Others

Hostgator Compared to SiteGround

It’s not really fair to compare Hostgator and SiteGround. The latter is more than double the price of the former! SiteGround has a lot more features compared to Hostgator such as better backups, server-caching, and superior architecture. But that’s to be expected! Here’s a more thorough explanation of the differences between Hostgator and SiteGround.

If you’re looking for the cheapest deals, obviously SiteGround is a terrible choice. In fact, I’ve written a lot about SiteGround’s price hikes, and I’ve stopped recommending them for this reason. I suggest you choose a better host like NameHero instead if you’re looking for premium hosting. But when it comes to pricing, Hostgator is clearly far better than SiteGround.

Hostgator vs SiteGround Feature Comparison

Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

FeaturesHostgatorSiteGround
Price$2.64/m$6.99/m
StorageUnlimited10 GB – 40 GB
SSDNo. MySQL servers onlyYes
Server CachingNoYes
E-mail StorageUnlimited10 GB
SupportBasicExcellent customer service
ArchitectureApache/MySQLOptimized NGINX
BackupsNone. Need to purchase separatelyAutomated 30-days backup
Comparison of Hostgator and SiteGround Features

As you can see, SiteGround clearly has a lot more features. But you pay a heavy price for them. Choose Hostgator if you just want basic and affordable web hosting without the bells and whistles.

Hostgator vs SiteGround Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Hostgator vis a vis SiteGround

Hostgator Pros

  • Cheap
  • Unlimited storage
  • Free domain
  • Unlimited e-mail storage

Hostgator Cons

  • No in-built backups
  • HDD drives
  • Ordinary Apache/MySQL architecture
  • No server caching

SiteGround Pros

  • Lots of features (backups, malware scanning etc)
  • SSD drives
  • Amazing customer service
  • Renewable energy match with Google Data Centers

SiteGround Cons

  • Expensive
  • No free domain
  • No cPanel – custom interface
  • No website builder

Most of the negatives of Hostgator arise from the low price. However, SiteGround’s exclusion of cPanel is a big black mark.

Hostgator vs Bluehost

The most important difference between Hostgator and Bluehost is price. Hostgator is cheaper, not just for long term hosting, but for short term 12-month hosting as well. The gap in price is significant. In return, Bluehost has a lot of little features that make for a better quality hosting experience. Here’s an in-depth view of the differences between Hostgator and Bluehost.

Where Bluehost really shines is when it comes to resource protection. This is their main USP. It isolates heavy resource using servers on shared hosting, and gives them time to sort out their issues. This protects other accounts on the server, and mitigates the risk normally associated with shared hosting.

Hostgator vs Bluehost Features Comparison

Here’s a summary of the major differences between Hostgator and Bluehost:

FeaturesHostgator HatchlingBluehost Basic
Price$2.64/m$2.95/m
StorageUnlimited50 GB
SSDNo. MySQL servers onlyYes
SubdomainsUnlimited25
Server CachingNoNo
Parked DomainsNone allowed5 parked domains allowed
E-mail StorageUnlimited100 MB
Free BackupsNoNo
Comparison of Hostgator and Bluehost Features

As you can see, the basic plan on Bluehost has a lot more limitations than Hostgator. That’s because they’re trying to compete with Hostgator on price, and they need to compromise on things like storage. For example, having just 100 MB e-mail storage can get pretty tight, particularly if you receive a lot of spam. If your goal is cheap hosting, then I suggest you simply choose Hostgator instead of Bluehost. Their infrastructure is built for that.

Both Bluehost and Hostgator have terrible backup systems by default. You need to purchase an additional CodeGuard package for automated backups, and even then, CodeGuard isn’t really worth it.

Hostgator vs Bluehost Pros and Cons

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of Hostgator vs Bluehost:

Hostgator Pros

  • Less expensive than Bluehost
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited subdomains

Hostgator Cons

  • HDD drives
  • No parked domains on the Hatchling plan

Bluehost Pros

  • Site isolation for misbehaving accounts
  • SSD drives
  • Separate WordPress theme interface

Bluehost Cons

  • Limited storage space for basic accounts
  • Limited subdomains
  • No coupons for individual plans

Hostgator vs GoDaddy: GoDaddy is Terrible

GoDaddy is much worse than Hostgator. They don’t offer the most basic features. For example, Hostgator has free SSL, while GoDaddy doesn’t. Instead, GoDaddy makes you pay a huge fee for what every web host today offers as part of the package by default.

Hostgator vs GoDaddy Features Summary

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between GoDaddy and Hostgator:

FeaturesHostgator HatchlingGoDaddy Economy
Price$2.64/m$4.49/m
Free SSLYesNO
StorageUnlimited100 GB
SSDNo. MySQL servers onlyNone at all
SubdomainsUnlimited25
DatabasesUnlimited10
Server CachingNoNo
E-mail StorageUnlimitedFirst year ONLY – 5 GB storage
DatacentersUS OnlyUS, Europe, and Asia
Comparison of Hostgator and GoDaddy Features

You can see that despite being a lot more expensive than Hostgator, GoDaddy doesn’t deliver the goods. At this point, I think they’re in full cash-cow mode, and don’t even pretend to compete. Normally, web hosts choose to differentiate themselves either by price, or by features. Hostgator is an example of the former, while NameHero is an example of the latter. GoDaddy does neither – more expensive with fewer features!

The only area where GoDaddy beats Hostgator is in its datacenter locations. Even though Hostgator has many subsidiaries, the main Hostgator operation is based strictly in the US. GoDaddy on the other hand, has data centers in three continents – US, Europe, and Asia. Honestly though, if you want cheap hosting in either Europe or Asia, I would suggest a web host like HostArmada instead.

Hostgator vs GoDaddy Pros and Cons

Hostgator Pros

  • Free SSL
  • Unlimited storage
  • Cheaper
  • SSD drives for MySQL databases

Hostgator Cons

  • Data centers only in the US

GoDaddy Pros

  • Data Centers outside the US

GoDaddy Cons

  • No SSD drives – not even for MySQL databases
  • Free e-mail storage only for the first year

GoDaddy nickel-and-dime’s you like no other web host.

Hostgator vs HostPapa: Comparable

HostPapa and Hostgator are comparable web hosts. HostPapa is based in Canada and is somewhat more sophisticated. But Hostgator still wins in terms of pricing. There are a few key differences however. HostPapa has SSD drives, whereas Hostgator still uses traditional HDD for file-hosting. HostGator’s website builder is a separate package, while HostPapa provides the starter package free with the basic hosting plans.

Here’s a summary of the differences between the two:

FeaturesHostgator HatchlingHostPapa Starter
Price$2.64/m$3.95/m
Free SSLYesYes
Websites Allowed12
StorageUnlimited100 GB
Website Builder Included?NoYes
Free One on One Session?NoYes (30 minutes)
SSDNoYes
SubdomainsUnlimited25
DatabasesUnlimited25
DatacentersUS OnlyUS, Europe (Amsterdam)
Comparison of Hostgator and HostPapa Features

Perhaps the most surprising difference between the two is the inclusion of two websites in HostPapa’s plan compared to just one from Hostgator. Normally, starter hosting plans just allow a single domain. HostPapa is unique in this regard. The inclusion of the free one on one session is another differentiating factor between the two, and indicates a higher quality of customer support from HostPapa as opposed to Hostgator.

However, Hostgator still has far better discounts compared to HostPapa, in addition to having lower prices in general. So if you’re looking for “no-frills” hosting at a cheap rate, then Hostgator is a better choice. But if you want a few additional features, an extra website, and SSD drives, then HostPapa is better than Hostgator.

Hostgator vs NameCheap: Slow Servers

NameCheap has some amazing deals that match and even exceed Hostgator’s. In terms of features, they’re better than Hostgator in many ways, including free backups. They’re most well-known for their cheap domains. However, the server speeds on NameCheap are far worse than what you get on Hostgator. It’s not surprising, considering how cheap the hosting is. So it seems that it might be just a bit too cheap! Hostgator on the other hand charges more, but the performance is at least average – so better than NameCheap.

Here’s a summary of the differences between the two:

FeaturesHostgator HatchlingNameCheap Stellar
Price$2.64/m$1.58/m
Free SSLYesYes
Websites Allowed13
StorageUnlimited20 GB
Website Builder Included?NoYes
Free Backups?NoYes
SSDNo. Only for MySQLYes
SubdomainsUnlimited30
DatabasesUnlimited50
DatacentersUS OnlyUS, Europe, UK
Accepts Bitcoin?NoYes
NameCheap vs Hostgator Comparison

It’s quite amazing how many features NameCheap is able to cram into its cheap offerings. Other than NameCheap, no other hosting provider offers free backups. I’ve publicly called out Hostgator’s terrible backup systems, so NameCheap’s features seem to good to be true.

The difference in price between NameCheap and Hostgator is stunning. So much so, there simply has to be a catch. How are they able to maintain such low hosting prices? They have free SSL, backups, they allow three websites on their basic hosting plan, and they’re also offering a free CDN. So what’s the catch. Why are they able to provide so much, and still keep prices low? What does Hostgator have that NameCheap doesn’t?

The difference is performance. Sure, Hostgator’s performance isn’t anything to write home about, but it gets the job done at an acceptable level. With NameCheap however, the low-cost plans will crash your site even if just one person keeps refreshing the page. And this is to be expected. There’s a fine line between cheap, and too cheap. Hostgator just about manages to straddle that line, but NameCheap crosses over to the dark side.

Bottom line: NameCheap’s performance is simply unacceptable for the low-cost hosting plans.

What’s the Difference Between Hostgator Hatchling vs Baby vs Business Plans?

Hostgator has three shared hosting plans:

  1. Hatchling (Hatchling plan review)
  2. Baby (Baby plan review)
  3. Business (Business plan review)

All of them come with the following features:

  • Unmetered disk space
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Unlimited sub-domains
  • Free SSL
  • Unlimited FTP accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • SSH Access
  • Unlimited POP3 Accounts
  • cPanel

The differences between these three lie in the following:

  1. Number of domains allowed
  2. Dedicated IP addresses
  3. Anonymous FTP access
  4. Positive SSL

A quick word about SSL.

Does Hostgator Provide Free SSL?

On the 28th of June 2018, Hostgator announced that they are providing free SSL to all their 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.

Is Hostgator CodeGuard Worth it?

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.

What is the Hostgator Website Builder?

The Hostgator website builder is a special type of package that includes a bunch of functionality apart from just hosting. Basically, it’s an end-to-end solution that includes a CMS, stock photo integration, analytics, SSL, and an eCommerce store.

If you’re new to hosting, it might be a good idea to take a look at it because it relieves you of much of the complications that arise from creating a site by yourself from scratch. You can read my complete review of the Gator website builder to get a better idea of what to expect.

What About Bad Hostgator Reviews?

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 because 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.

Is There a 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!

What Are the Hostgator Add-Ons?

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!

Does Hostgator Have 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!

Is Hostgator “WordPress Hosting” Worth it?

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!

Does Hostgator Provide Managed or UnManaged Servers?

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.

Where are the Hostgator Data Centers Located?

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!

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