Gator Website Builder Review and Coupon

With the Gator website builder, you can create a fully functional website within minutes, unlike with a WordPress site which has a lot of setup time. Here’s how the Gator website builder compares with other platforms and builders.

A lot of people wonder if Hostgator’s best days are behind it. However, I think there are still some things that Hostgator does better than everyone else. The website builder is their latest offering to fill an unexplored niche.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Special 55% off Gator Website Builder Coupon

Disclaimer: Your clicks help me build my underground army of crab people for world conquest 🙂

Normally, you only get a discount of 50% on the main website. But WP-Tweaks has partnered with Hostgator to get a 55% discount using the coupon below:

Duration: 24-months (2 years)
Coupon:

Unlike their regular shared hosting plans which give you the best deal for three years, the website builder product gives the highest discount for two years:

Special Hostgator Website Builder Discount from WP-Tweaks
Special Gator Website Builder Discount from WP-Tweaks

If you’re looking for more discounts and deals, you can find the Hostgator promo code that suits you best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gator Website Builder: Pros

Hostgator’s website builder has a lot of advantages.

Free Domain

Unlike their regular web hosting plans, the Gator website builder includes a free domain! That’s a pretty significant perk! Other builders like Wix for example, don’t give you a free domain. Here’s a screenshot of Wix’s pricing:

Ggator Website Builder vs Wix Free Domain
Ggator Website Builder vs Wix Free Domain

As you can see, other website builders just sell you space. The Gator website builder allows you to have the whole package.

No Ads with the Gator Website Builder

It sounds absurd, but websites like Weebly and Wix put ads on your site even after you pay to connect a domain. They remove the ads for a fee. Personally, I think that’s absurd. Why should you put up with someone else’s ads on your site? You can see that Weebly removes ads only on its “Professional” package:

Weebly Remove Ads for a Fee
Weebly Remove Ads for a Fee

By contrast, the Gator website builder never has advertisements. Even on the most basic package, it doesn’t put ads on your content.

Included Marketing and E-Commerce

The great thing about the Gator website builder, is that it comes with marketing and e-commerce already built-in. The “Express Start” plan allows you to have 3 products on your store. “Express Site” gives you 10 products, and the “Express Store” lets you have as many products as you want:

Hostgator Website Builder Plans
Gator Website Builder Plans

In addition, the “Site” and “Store” packages also come with appointment booking. So you can start accepting customers right away!

All plans also come with in-built e-mail marketing. You can launch e-mail campaigns to promote your products – here’s what you can do:

  1. Express Start: 3 e-mail campaigns per month
  2. Express Site: 5 e-mail campaigns per month
  3. Express Store: 10 e-mail campaigns per month

Again, this might seem trivial, but Wix doesn’t allow you to sell stuff on their platform unless you upgrade to a business and eCommerce plan.

AI Builder without Templates

The new Gator website builder uses AI to create your site. You no longer need to fiddle with templates and drag n’ drop elements. All you need to do is choose the category to which your site belongs, and the builder will automatically design the site for you, which you can easily modify later on.

Here’s a screenshot of picking the site category:

Choose the Site Category on Hostgator Website Builder
Choose the Site Category

Most of the time, your layout will already be perfect for your needs. But if you want, you can always change it as shown here:

Change the Layout in Hostgator Website Builder
Change the Layout in Gator Website Builder

This new AI optimized website building process is perfect for newbies who just want to get started with their site as quickly as possible. Just choose the category, the front image, your site title and colors, and you’re good to go!

Mobile Optimized

Each of the professional themes above is optimized for mobile and is completely responsive. It’s hard to overstate how important this is, considering that well over half of all traffic now comes from mobile devices.

With regular themes on other CMSs, you might need to do additional work to ensure that your visitors view a mobile-optimized site – like installing a plugin for example. But with the website builder, you don’t need to worry about that.

Stock Photos

Adding images to an article can be time-consuming. Searching for license-free images, then downloading, sizing, and uploading them can be a drag – especially when you have to do it over and over again.

The Gator Website Builder includes integration with unsplash.com, which means you can include the images right from within the interface itself. No more putting your work on pause!

Free Analytics

Setting up analytics on your site is crucial. You need to know how many pageviews you get, your bounce rate, and other important statistics. Normally, you’d use Google Analytics, but this involves setting up the code, and again – it’s not always intuitive. With WordPress, you might need to install a plugin or write custom code to insert the analytics section into your theme.

The Gator website builder on the other hand seamlessly integrates analytics into the dashboard as shown here:

Gator Website Builder Analytics
Gator Website Builder Analytics

So you no longer need to take any additional steps. If you’re already using Google Analytics, you can migrate that easily too!

Free SSL

Ever since Hostgator introduced free SSL in July 2018, all of its plans come with SSL included. These are basically Let’s Encrypt certificates that renew automatically every 90 days. That’s a huge saving and helps keep search engines like Google happy!

Gator Website Builder: Cons

Here’s what’s bad about the Gator website builder.

Transaction Fees for “Start” and “Site” Plans

While you can sell stuff on all of the Gator Website Builder plans, only the “Store” plan relieves you of transaction fees. The other two charge 3% for each transaction. This is similar to how a payment processor like PayPal charges you for each invoice you send. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone taking a cut of my sales, so I would choose a plan with zero transaction fees. In this case, the “Store” plan.

Other website builders like the NameHero website builder don’t have these fees.

Need to Upgrade for More Products

Here’s the table for the number of products you’re allowed to sell on each Gator Website Builder plan:

Gator Website Builder PlansNumber of Products Allowed
Start3
Site10
StoreUnlimited
Number of Products Allowed in the Gator Website Builder

To me, this is a limitation of the Gator Website Builder. How many people are there that would just want to sell 3 products?

Appointment Bookings Not Available on the “Start” Plan

With appointment booking, you can allow clients to book consultations, meetings, and classes directly from the website. It’s an incredibly useful feature, that’s sadly unavailable on the “Start” plan of the Gator Website Builder. This functionality becomes available only on the “Site” and “Store” plans, which limits the usefulness of the basic package.

Hostgator Hosting vs Website Builder – How to Choose

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.

Alternatives to the Gator Website Builder

There are plenty of alternative website builders on the market. I’ll discuss three of them here.

Gator Website Builder vs WordPress

There are two types of WordPress installations – those hosted by WordPress.com, and those hosted by traditional providers like Hostgator, Bluehost and NameHero. For this comparison, I’m only talking about the WordPress.com plans.

WordPress.com isn’t suitable for selling stuff unless you’re willing to pay the exorbitant fees for the eCommerce plan. However, it’s a pretty decent website builder for simple sites – particularly if you don’t want your own domain name. If so, you can get started even for free! But if you’re building a professional site, you want to connect a domain, and that’s when it gets a lot more expensive.

Here’s a comparison of the features between the two:

FeatureGator Website BuilderWordPress.com
Pricing$3.84/m$5/m
Shopping CartYes. Starting with 3 productsNo. Only with the “Business” Plan
Live Chat?YesNo. Only for “Premium” and above
Google AnalyticsNoNo. Premium and above
Premium ThemesYesNo
Feature Comparison: Gator Website Builder vs WordPress.com

As you can see, the biggest difference between the two is the shopping functionality. With the Gator Website Builder, you can start selling products immediately. On WordPress.com, you can only accept donations via PayPal. You’re can’t have an online shopping store unless you purchase the “Business” plan which allows you to install plugins like WooCommerce.

Here are the pros and cons of the Gator Website Builder and WordPress.com

Gator Website Builder: The Good

  • Cheap
  • eCommerce from the get go
  • Free domain
  • No ads
  • Do what you want with your site

Gator Website Builder: The Bad

  • New interface takes getting used to
  • Hostgator shared servers can be slow
  • Limited flexibility with no plugins

WordPress.com: The Good

  • If you don’t need a domain, it’s free
  • Excellent infrastructure – fast!
  • Familiar WordPress interface
  • On higher plans, can install plugins

WordPress.com: The Bad

  • Expensive – especially the eCommerce plan
  • No free domain
  • Can’t install plugins on the lower plans
  • No premium themes

Gator Website Builder vs WordPress.com Ratings

Gator Website Builder Rating 4/5: ★★★★☆
WordPress.com Builder Rating 2/5: ★★☆☆☆

Gator Website Builder vs Wix

If you’re exploring website builders, you’re surely considering Wix. I’ll save you some time. Don’t. Wix has too many drawbacks, and it’s crazy expensive. Just the starting package which doesn’t show you ads is $10/m, which is at least 50% more expensive than the basic Starter plan of the Gator website builder.

Even if you pay for Wix, the cheapest plan doesn’t even include a free domain for the first year. And the worst part? Advertisements. That’s right. You’re paying for the privilege of showing advertisements on your website. I might not approve of website builders in general, but Wix is one of the worst choices you can make.

Here a side-by-side feature comparison of the Gator Website Builder and Wix:

FeatureGator Website BuilderWix
Pricing$3.84/m$5/m
Free DomainYesNo
Ads?NoYes. Wix shows ads even if you purchase the basic plan.
Shopping CartYes. Starting with 3 productsNo. You have to purchase the “Business” plan
AnalyticsYesNo
Feature Comparison: Gator Website Builder vs Wix

As I explained before, the biggest difference between Wix and the Gator Website Builder, is that Wix continues to show ads on your site even after you pay to connect a domain. Plus, Wix doesn’t have visitor analytics and doesn’t allow you to sell products unless you purchase a higher-tier “Business” plan. With the Gator Website Builder, you can start selling your products straightaway, and you don’t have any 3rd party advertisements on your site.

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of Wix vs the Gator Website Builder:

Gator Website Builder: The Good

  • No ads
  • Cheap
  • Free domain on all plans

Gator Website Builder: The Bad

  • Only 3 products allowed on the “Start” Plan
  • Lower plans are not as fast

Wix: The Good

  • Fast
  • Has a nice logo builder

Wix: The Bad

  • Ads inserted into content for basic plans
  • No free domain
  • Expensive!

I have some friends who set up their website on Wix because they probably didn’t know any better. It’s a shame, because now they’re locked in. Don’t make the same mistake. Stay away from Wix!

Gator Website Builder vs Wix Ratings

Gator Website Builder Rating 4/5: ★★★★☆
Wix Builder Rating 1/5: ★☆☆☆☆

Gator Website Builder vs NameHero Website Builder

If you really want an alternative, I recommend the NameHero website builder instead of Wix. The best part about this builder is that you can try it out for free! This is something that no website builder allows, so you should take advantage of it if you can.

You can create unlimited pages, unlike the basic plans for many other builders. All this on NameHero’s LiteSpeed servers, which makes it a lot faster than ordinary hosting. In fact, NameHero is a better alternative to Hostgator in general. But Hostgator is cheaper. And also, you can’t have an eCommerce store on the NameHero Website Builder unless you choose the highest-tier eCommerce plan. So that’s super important!

Gator Website Builder: The Good

  • E-commerce out of the box
  • Cheap
  • No Ads

Gator Website Builder: The Bad

  • Can be slow – especially on lower plans
  • No free trial period

NameHero Website Builder: The Good

  • Allows you to try free for 7-days
  • LiteSpeed web server = fast loading speeds
  • No Ads

NameHero Website Builder: The Bad

  • E-commerce only available on the highest-tier plan
  • Not as cheap as Hostgator

Gator Website Builder vs NameHero Website Builder Ratings

Gator Website Builder Rating 4/5: ★★★★☆
NameHero Website Builder Rating 3/5: ★★★☆☆

Gator Website Builder vs Weebly

Weebly is another platform to which you connect your custom domain and create a website. They too have a free plan, but it comes with huge limitations. Like Wix, they too put ads on your site, and so I can’t recommend them in any way over the Gator Website Builder.

Gator Website Builder: The Good

  • No ads
  • Cheaper

Gator Website Builder: The Bad

  • Limited eCommerce on basic plans
  • Can be slow on lower-tier plans

Weebly: The Good

  • Allows unlimited eCommerce on all plans
  • Far more complete than other website builders

Weebly: The Bad

  • Square ads on basic plans
  • No phone support for basic plans

Overall, I prefer Weebly to Wix, but the Gator Website Builder is yours, unlike with the other two where they put ads on your content even after you pay for it. To me, that’s an absolute deal breaker.

Gator Website Builder vs Weebly Ratings

Gator Website Builder Rating 4/5: ★★★★☆
Weebly Builder Rating 2/5: ★★☆☆☆

Differences Between the Three Gator Website Builder Plans?

The Gator website builder comes in three plans:

  • Express Start
  • Express Site
  • Express Store

All the feature above apply to these three plans. The only differences are:

Premium Differences

This includes “priority support”, which means quicker responses to your questions. Note that even with the starter plan, you have access to round the clock support 365 days a year via telephone, email and live chat.

But priority support is faster, and you get placed into a special queue where your concerns are addressed faster.

Store Limitations

There was a time when you needed an e-commerce add-on to sell products on your website builder site. No more! Now all plans allow you to create an e-commerce store. Here is the capability depending on the plan:

  • Express Start: 3 products
  • Express Site: 10 products
  • Express Store: unlimited products

The reason for this limitation, is because of PCI compliance. Payment processing vendors have an association to create standards to ensure that servers which accept online payments adhere to a strict set of requirements that guarantee safety and privacy. These requirements mandate special security measures on servers, which increases the cost of hosting. That’s why the e-commerce plan is priced at a premium.

Also, e-commerce stores require a lot of processing power. The shop pages are dynamic, and need constant communication with the database. For this reason, there are limitations on how many products you can sell on the “Start” and “Site” plans of the Gator website builder.

Should you Go for the Gator Website Builder?

That depends on how much experience you have setting up a website. If you’re an experienced developer, you’ll probably want to stick with an environment that you’re familiar with. But if you’re just getting started, it might be a good idea to go with something that is bundled together.

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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