The Free Hostgator CDN is Good Enough

All Hostgator plans come with in-built and free CDN integration via the Cloudflare network. I’ve written before about how Cloudflare is better than any other CDN even though it’s free. With Hostgator, you can enable Cloudflare with just one click. You can even opt for full DNS integration directly on the Cloudflare network by changing your nameservers. This is more than good enough for any website. You don’t need to pay for a CDN.

In addition to Cloudflare, Hostgator has two other CDN options. Here are the three separate Hostgator CDN options:

Hostgator CDN PlanPaid?Details
Cloudflare CDNNoFree with all plans
WordPress Package CDNNoFree with all WordPress packages
CDN with Hostgator SiteLock EssentialsYesPaid add-on
Hostgator CDN Comparison

Here’s an explanation of all three CDN options.

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Table of Contents

The Hostgator Free CDN via Cloudflare is Sufficient

Cloudflare CDN integration is available by default on all Hostgator packages. Since you’re probably purchasing Linux web hosting with cPanel, you can simply select the Cloudflare icon in cPanel, and set up your integration with the click of a button.

Cloudflare offers two ways to integrate your web hosting:

  1. Through the hosting providers (easy)
  2. By manually changing your DNS records (advanced)

The first method is for those who don’t want to mess around too much. Your website will continue to use Hostgator’s servers. The second method is a bit more involved, but you use Cloudflare’s DNS servers instead, which I find to be faster than almost everyone else’s.

No Railgun Integration

However, Hostgator doesn’t appear to be a Cloudflare Optimized Partner with access to Railgun – Cloudflare’s service for speeding up the delivery of dynamic content. But my personal experience with Railgun has been very iffy. Whenever I’ve tried Railgun, my server response times have spiked, and I typically get worse performance.

So I don’t think this is a big deal. You’ll do just fine without Railgun as long as the rest of your site is optimized.

But Why is a Hostgator CDN with Cloudflare Good Enough?

I know what you’re thinking. “Cloudflare is free. How good can it be?”. The answer is – pretty damn good. I’d written an article earlier about whether you should pay for a CDN in the face of Cloudflare. And the answer for most situations is “No”.

Cloudflare’s CDN service is so good and seamless, that you most likely do not need to pay for a separate CDN service. Unless you require logging, and a few advanced features, your site is probably faster with Cloudflare.

Full vs Partial Cloudflare/Hostgator CDN Integration

There are two ways you can integrate Hostgator with Cloudflare:

  1. Partial integration via cPanel
  2. Full integration by changing your DNS nameservers

Here are the pros of each approach:

Partial Cloudflare CDN Integration Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Can manage directly from Hostgator
  • Hostgator support can help you if needed

Cons of Partial Integration

  • You still use Hostgator Nameservers
  • Limited functionality

Full Cloudflare CDN Integration Pros

  • Faster DNS servers
  • Access to full functionality
  • Access to the firewall, page rules, and more

Cons of Full Integration

  • More complex setup – requires a DNS change
  • No support from Hostgator

On the whole, I prefer full integration of Cloudflare with Hostgator. The additional DNS lookup speed is worth it all by itself. Also, the cool functionality like page rules and advanced firewall features are indispensable for me. However, if you’re not comfortable changing nameservers and doing other tech stuff, I would advise against it.

The Hostgator Global CDN with WordPress

While most Hostgator plans will use Cloudflare, Hostgator does have a global CDN that customers can use. But not just any customer. Only those who sign up for the Hostgator WordPress plan. This is a special kind of hosting that brings all sorts of benefits if you’re on WordPress such as:

  1. Cloud architecture
  2. SSD drives
  3. CDN
  4. Malware detection and cleaning
  5. Automatic updates
  6. Streamlined dashboard

The Hostgator CDN benefit is mentioned on their WordPress hosting page as shown here:

Hostgator CDN Comes with WordPress
In-built Hostgator CDN Comes with WordPress

This is the only reference to CDNs on the Hostgator website for any kind of hosting package. WordPress users can preferential treatment, and I personally think that Hostgator has one of the best affordable WordPress packages on the market. There are others of course, like Kinsta and Liquid Web, but they fall into the more “premium” slots.

Paid CDN with SiteLock

You can also get a CDN by purchasing the SiteLock add-on from Hostgator. This is part of the SiteLock Hostgator Essentials plan, and includes more than just a CDN. You also get malware scanning, the blocking of automated bots, image compression, and elevated ticket response times.

However, for what it offers, I think that Hostgator SiteLock is not worth it. I prefer the Cloudflare CDN over the dedicated one provided by SiteLock. And Cloudflare has pretty advanced DDoS capabilities. Overall though, if you’re looking for security features I suggest you choose something like NameHero instead. Here’s a complete NameHero review that explains all the features. Once you factor in the cost of add-ons like SiteLock and backup solutions, the cost evens out.

Why You Need a Hostgator CDN

All Hostgator shared hosting plans need some kind of CDN to store JavaScript, CSS, and image files. This way, it reduces the load on your server, and this is especially important when you’re sharing server resources with other people. With a CDN, your visitors will receive the static files from locations close to them, which will speed up the delivery of your site. With Google now factoring in page experience as a ranking factor, this is something you can’t afford to ignore.

Bottom Line: Use the Free Hostgator CDN

In short, unless you’re on the WordPress plan, you should be using the built-in Hostgator CDN with Cloudflare. And personally, just between us, I think Cloudflare is superior of the actual Hostgator CDN as well. Don’t let the “free” tag fool you. I’ve been web hosting since 2008, and I’ve tried everything. Nothing beats Cloudflare!

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!

Comments

  1. Thanks for your post. Please I am on hostgator but how do i upload my javascript files to the Hostgator-Cloudflare CDN and use it ? I do not see CDN anywhere in my cpanel

    Reply

    • You don’t need to explicitly upload your JavaScript files to Cloudflare. Just enable Cloudflare and the files will be uploaded automatically on the first load.

      Reply

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