Hostgator Security: It’s Not Enough

Even though it provides basic security for its servers, Hostgator doesn’t protect individual accounts from hacking attempts and malware. You must either purchase the SiteLock add-on or subscribe to a 3rd party security solution. These add to your hosting costs, cutting into the deep discounts HostGator provides. Here’s the Hostgator promo code page to get the latest deals.

Here’s what’s included in the default Hostgator security for shared hosting and what you need to do to make up the deficit.

Table of Contents

Hostgator Security: What’s Included

When you sign up for a shared hosting account with Hostgator, these security features are included by default:

  1. DDoS protection
  2. Unspecified “secret” security measures

The second point comes from the Hostgator documentation, as shown in this screenshot:

Hostgator Security Measures
Hostgator Security Measures

I don’t know what these security measures are, but I feel that they should be open about them. It’s the only way to compare the security with other hosts and avoid unnecessary duplication. The absence of this information leads me to conclude that Hostgator’s “unspecified” security measures aren’t significant.

It’s Not Enough

You need to worry about application vulnerabilities unless you’re running a pure static HTML website. For example, WP-Tweaks.com runs on WordPress, and I use Cloudflare to protect me from thousands of attacks. Here’s a screenshot of all the threats that Cloudflare has blocked for my site in just the last 24-hrs:

Cloudflare Blocked Threats in 24-hrs
Cloudflare Blocked Threats in 24-hrs

With almost two thousand threats blocked every day, you can see why having a robust security system is essential, not just for the server but for your application itself. At the very least, you should have the following:

  • A WAF that blocks known attacks on your application
  • A malware scanner that detects malware and ideally fixes the problem

Security is so important that I consider it an essential web hosting feature. Hostgator has neither of these, which means it’s your responsibility. To do that, you must sign up for a 3rd party service. One option is the Hostgator SiteLock add-on, but it’s not worth it. Too expensive, and the basic version doesn’t even provide a WAF.

These add-ons increase your hosting costs.

Alternatives to Hostgator with Free Security

Your best option is to choose a web host with in-built security – a WAF and malware scanning built-in for free. I have a separate article on the best Hostgator alternatives, but this section lists only those hosting providers with free security.

1. NameHero

NameHero is an excellent alternative to HostGator since it’s cheap and has free security. Prices start at $2.24/m, which you can get by using this NameHero coupon. NameHero offers the Imunify360 cPanel plugin for free, as shown here:

NameHero Imunify360 Security

This plugin scans your installation for malicious files and lets you fix or quarantine them. In addition, NameHero deploys a sophisticated WAF that catches threats before it reaches your site. NameHero also has real-time scanning of blacklists, intrusion prevention systems, and more. You can read more in my in-depth article on NameHero security.

Apart from security, NameHero has a better architecture than Hostgator with the LiteSpeed web server, SSD and NVMe drives, free backups, and more. Read more in my full NameHero review.

2. HostArmada

HostArmada is another company with free security. It’s very cost-effective, with prices starting at $2.48/m for a three year term. This includes free backups and security, so it’s a lot cheaper than Hostgator after you purchase the add-ons. Here’s the HostArmada promo code page to get you started.

HostArmada’s security covers the following:

  • Free WAF
  • Rate limiting
  • Malware scanning
  • Malware fixing
  • DDoS protection

Unlike others, HostArmada will fix your site if it gets hacked instead of just identifying the malware. This additional layer of protection gives you peace of mind. And unlike Hostgator, HostArmada uses NGINX and LiteSpeed instead of Apache, making it less vulnerable to attacks. Here’s the complete HostArmada review to learn more.

HostArmada is particularly useful for hosting in India since it has global data centers all over the world, including Mumbai, as seen in this screenshot:

HostArmada in India
HostArmada in India

The presence in India is helpful because local Indian web hosts don’t offer the same protections.

3. KnownHost

KnownHost is another provider, like NameHero, that uses the LiteSpeed web server. Since LiteSpeed is far rarer than Apache, it also faces fewer vulnerability attacks, making it inherently safer. And like the above two alternatives, it has free malware scanning, but it’s not as cheap. The KnownHost basic web hosting plan starts at $3.47/m, which you can access with these KnownHost promo codes.

KnownHost uses Imunify360 in the same way that NameHero does, and unlike with Hostgator, it’s included for free with the basic hosting package. KnownHost also protects you against brute force and DDoS attacks. Additionally, you can purchase the Patchman add-on, an alternative to Imunify360, but I think Imunify360 is more than enough for ordinary shared hosting.

HostGator SiteLock is Expensive and Incomplete

To compensate for the lack of in-built security, you can purchase the Hostgator SiteLock add-on as part of the checkout process, as shown in this screenshot:

HostGator SiteLock Selection
HostGator SiteLock Selection

Unfortunately, the HostGator SiteLock essentials plan isn’t good enough. First, the basic SiteLock plan doesn’t even include a WAF, so you need to purchase the more expensive “SiteLock Prevent” plan. Second, the HostGator SiteLock plan can cost more than the total cost of web hosting. So you end up paying more than double with HostGator than any of the other alternatives listed above.

The third problem is perhaps the most serious – SiteLock makes you pay for each website you scan. So if you have more than one website, your security costs will spiral out of control. For these reasons, I recommend staying far away from HostGator SiteLock.

Final Thoughts on HostGator Security

HostGator is suitable for cheap web hosting, but its security is non-existent since it protects the server against basic threats but does nothing to keep your website safe. Some alternatives like NameHero, HostArmada, and KnownHost do a far better job of security without making you pay extra as HostGator does. So if security is important to you, choose one of those instead.

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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