5 Reasons You Should Never Host Your Website With HostGator
HostGator is a web hosting provider currently headquartered in Austin, Texas that first started out in a humble dorm room in 2002. Founder Brent Oxley turned his modestly-sized business into one of today’s most popular platforms for web hosting solutions. In 2012, HostGator announced their sale to web hosting company Endurance International Group for a whopping $225 million. The Group owns other hosting giants like iPage, BlueHost, and FatCow. Keep in mind that this review is mostly centered around plain web hosting solutions. If you want to compare today’s best website builders, Weebly vs Shopify would be a good read instead!
Primarily known for their budget shared hosting service, HostGator also offers a variety of popular services, including:
- Shared web hosting — Pages are served over multiple websites to utilize a single server. This is the cheapest and most popular service HostGator offers.
- VPS Hosting — Makes use of a virtual private server (VPS). This uses a shared server environment while mimicking a dedicated server. This is more affordable than dedicated hosting.
- Dedicated Hosting — With this hosting plan, your website and all files are stored on a single, dedicated server. This is generally more pricey, but comes with high performance and security, perfect for larger businesses or sites expecting high traffic.
- Reseller Hosting — This option involves one hosting provider renting bandwidth and hard drive space to another company, who will then rent the space to third party users. Basically, reseller hosting allows you to provide hosting to your client as if you were the hosting provider. This is great for entrepreneurs or web developers.
- Domain names — Companies and individuals can also register their domain with HostGator when you purchase a web hosting plan. HostGator also allows the transfer of a domain name you’ve purchased elsewhere over to their platform.
Hosting packages are each available in three plans ranging from $3.95 all the way up to $149.95 a month.
So what exactly is behind the huge success of HostGator, their impressive uptime? Excellent customer support? Or maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors, and they simply have a huge marketing budget. Let’s look at the pros and cons of HostGator that will ultimately reveal why it’s not quite worth the buck.
Pros of HostGator (shared hosting)
The most basic promise from any decent web hosting provider is quality uptime. Uptime refers to the stability and consistency of your website, and means it’s up and running properly. HostGator was able to come in at 99.99% uptime, which is pretty darn good and roughly 20% higher than the industry average this past year.
HostGator offers their client base with convenient support. This includes live chat, email, and phone support. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is a headache often accompanied with technical issues, which makes quality support a must for any hosting provider.
While it may take a while to reach an agent, their customer support staff is knowledgeable and helpful in problem-solving and troubleshooting.
- Money Back Guarantee
While the majority of web hosts offer a standard 30-day money back policy, HostGator shines with their 45-day money back guarantee. This gives customers an extra two weeks to test drive their services before locking down a basic one year plan.
More helpful perks that come with a HostGator account include security and free migration services. It’s also user-friendly, offering its users an assortment of resources including walkthroughs, tutorials, FAQ pages, and more documents that are especially helpful for beginners.
Cons of HostGator: 5 Reasons
- Below Average Speeds
When it comes to speed and page load times, HostGator falls short with an their average of 846ms. That’s not that good, especially when considering how speed is what factors in Google’s search engine rankings. This can really hurt your business and lead to a decrease in traffic.
Website load time is one of the most important factors to consider when searching for a quality hosting provider.
- Backup Fees
While HostGator boasts instant backups as one of their core differentiating features, they are only referring to the manual backups available in cPanel. If you truly want instant, automated backups, get ready to shell out an extra $15.95 annually.
The site also claims to provide said backups as a courtesy, which means it’s not guaranteed. They even go so far as to recommending their customers use third-party backup services to keep their data safe.
- Sneaky Pricing
If you opt for a HostGator plan, be sure to take a close look at their pricing structure. They offer the lowest rates for the longest terms, meaning you can only take advantage of their promotional prices advertised on their site when signing up for at least three years. If you want a monthly or even one year plan, expect your monthly rate to be 50-150% more.
Another pricing trick to look out for is the long-term promotional prices are only good for your initial term. So once your plan expires and it’s time for renewal, get ready to pay their normal pricing, which can often be double the price.
- Pricey Domains
Like many web hosting providers, HostGator sells domains and even offers them straight from cPanel. But when comparing with competitors, they are pretty pricey, charging on average about $15/year. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you can catch a half-off sale for the first year, which they do run from time to time.
Charging more for domains isn’t very surprising. HostGator is, after all, a hosting company and not a domain company.
- Customer Service
Customer service for HostGator can be a pro and a con. While they offer a variety of methods to get support (live chat, phone, email), which is great, their customer service has been on the decline. They support staff is knowledgeable, but expect to wait 10-20 minutes to getting help, which is fairly common with budget hosting providers nowadays.
There’s no doubt that HostGator has a lot to offer, especially for newbies starting out. But for more serious customers who place a lot of value in the best hosting services, HostGator simply doesn’t fit the bill. There are plenty of other hosts that will offer far better options and services for your money.