Is Hostgator too Cheap for “Serious” Hosting?

Hostgator is one of the cheapest providers of web hosting. The large numbers of Hostgator coupons give the impression of a “discount” web host. But is it really unsuitable for serious web hosting? The answer is: “It depends on what type of website you have”.

You Ain’t Seen “Cheap” Yet!

But this begs the question of Hostgator being cheap – because there are dozens of other providers that cut corners and offer hosting for mere pennies. This is why I actually view Hostgator as the default hosting option. They’re the lowest-cost provider that doesn’t resort to shady tactics which cripple your website.

For example, one host that I do NOT recommend, is Hostinger. Here’s a screenshot of them offering hosting for less than a dollar a month:

Hostinger Prices Get REAL Low!
Hostinger Prices Get REAL Low!

Now that is called cheap hosting. And how do they manage to make it so cheap? By cutting corners and imposing absurd restrictions on websites. The account density of these servers is off the charts – which means that you share your resources with literally hundreds of others, resulting in slow load times, a starvation of CPU time and I/O operations.

Now this is the kind of package that’s really unsuitable for “serious” web hosting. On the other hand, Hostgator’s prices are low – but not absurdly so:

Hostgator Prices are Low - But Not THAT Low
Hostgator Isn’t TOO Cheap – Prices Aren’t THAT Low

By comparison, Hostgator does a pretty good job of balancing costs with hosting on which you can actually run stuff long term. But as mentioned above, it depends on the kind of website you have.

Is Your Website Dynamic or Static?

There are two types of websites – dynamic, and static. The former involves personalized content, tailored to the visitor. For example, if you require visitors to log into your site, then you need to show them their name, perhaps the status of their latest orders, and more. All shopping cart sites are dynamic in nature.

Static content on the other hand, pretty much remains the same for everyone. Look at news sites – they show the same content to the entire world. Most people don’t log in, and so they see what everyone else does.

Low-cost web hosting like Hostgator is best suited for static websites. The more expensive Hostgator plans are best suited for dynamic ones. The reason is that with static websites, we can use tricks to dramatically lower the server load, and so never run into resource issues like you would with dynamic sites.

Server and CDN HTML Caching Are Game Changers

If your website is mostly static, you can implement caching solutions to reduce website load. Some web hosts offer server-based caching, but with Hostgator for example, you can just install a plugin if you’re using WordPress. Examples of plugins are:

  • W3 Total Cache
  • WP Super Cache
  • WP Rocket

These will store your static pages on the server as plain HTML, then serve them to visitors so that the server doesn’t have to generate the pages from scratch using precious database and CPU calls. This one step can greatly expand your shared hosting limits on mostly static websites.

The next trend is for CDN providers to cache entire HTML pages instead of just images, JS, and CSS. In fact, I’ve previously written about how cheap hosting is the way forward with CDN caching. Using Cloudflare or the new QUIC.cloud, you can pretty much host your entire website on the cloud, and not even worry about things like your server being located too far from your clients. You can get this functionality for free on Cloudflare using the WP Cloudflare Page Cache plugin on WordPress. It can be installed on any WordPress website, regardless of how cheap your Hostgator plan is.

But Dynamic Websites Need More

The strategy outlined above won’t work with dynamic websites. Even with partial page caching, the server still needs to do a lot of work to generate unique pages for individual visitors, requiring heavy database usage.

The cheap Hostgator plans are insufficient for these. So you’ll need to upgrade. For example, Hostgator has a surprisingly good WordPress plan that has lower density servers, built-in server caching, and a native CDN with SiteLock to speed things up. You can also check out their cloud packages that have fewer accounts on each server.

Another great web host for dynamic sites is NameHero. It has a LiteSpeed web server that has excellent performance for dynamic websites. It also has a bunch of features that Hostgator doesn’t – such as free offsite backups, malware scanning, and more. Plus their customer support is the best I’ve ever encountered. Here’s the page for the best NameHero coupon, thanks to a unique tie-up with WP-Tweaks.com!

Bottom Line: Hostgator is Fine for Static Sites

If your site is a blog, or even a business contact page where the client doesn’t have to interact too much to receive personalized content, then the cheap Hostgator plans will do just fine. A little bit of optimization using plugin-based caching and integration with Cloudflare’s CDN, and you’re good to go. You can stretch those limits pretty far.

But as soon as you have dynamic websites like a shopping cart, or other personalized content, you will need something more. For that, choose the higher-tier Hostgator plans, or use a different web host like NameHero.

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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