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Before starting your blog, you’ll need a solid web hosting platform. Web hosting basically provides a place on the internet for your site to live. While there are lots of web hosting options to choose from, HostGator has remained a top choice for nearly two decades. This popular hosting service offers lightning-fast speed, guaranteed uptime, top tier features, and round-the-clock customer support. This HostGator review goes in depth about its pros and cons so you can decide if HostGator is right for you.
- HostGator review: What is HostGator?
- How to sign up for HostGator
- Who is HostGator best for?
- Who is HostGator not right for?
- Bottom line: Is HostGator good or not?
HostGator is a web hosting company based in Houston, Texas. It was founded in 2002 in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University by Brent Oxley. Today, the company hosts over eight million domains worldwide.
By 2012, HostGator’s success caught the attention of EIG (Endurance International Group), which acquired the company for $225 million. EIG owns other top sites such as Bluehost, Constant Contact, and iPage.
HostGator has been a top option for bloggers thanks to its extensive list of features. Below are some of the most popular.
Fast loading speeds
Aside from creating amazing content, one of the most important elements of any blog is speed. Slow loading times deter your site visitors from wanting to view your content.
In fact, studies have shown that a mere one second delay in page loading can lead to 11% fewer page views! That’s one reason why faster websites typically have better SEO rankings.
Fortunately HostGator sites load 94% faster than sites hosted by other platforms.
Compatible with WordPress
HostGator is compatible with the world’s largest blogging platform, WordPress. It’s a great option for WordPress users for multiple reasons, including:
- 1-click WordPress installation
- Free WordPress migration
- Access to WordPress themes via the MOJO Marketplace
- Auto-backups and single-click site restore options
- Free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
Whether you’re looking to migrate an existing WordPress-built site or to start on from scratch, you can easily do either with HostGator.
Top-notch customer service
HostGator offers 24/7 phone support and live chat support. For more complex issues, the company offers ticket-based email support.
HostGator also provides a support portal with an extensive knowledge base of articles and video tutorials.
Free weekly backups
HostGator provides free automatic backups that run once a week on a random day. Each backup overwrites the previous one. This is an often overlooked feature that will give you peace of mind should your site go down or become compromised.
The company also offers additional paid backup services if you’re in need of more frequent automatic backup options.
HostGator’s user-intuitive dashboard makes creating a site or blog easy for newbies. The online dashboard allows users to take full control of their site with convenient control panel options. In your control panel, you can easily access email accounts, webmail, databases, and a file manager.
Free Weebly Website Builder
If website design is as foreign to you as Latin, you might enjoy HostGator’s free access to Weebly’s Website Builder. This feature is included in all its shared hosting plans. With the Weebly Builder, those that are less than tech-savvy can easily design a professional-looking site thanks to an excellent drag-and-drop editor.
That said, I recommend sticking with WordPress if you’re looking to grow a money-making blog.
SSD persistent storage
Circling back to the ever-important aspect of site speed, HostGator’s shared hosting plan users benefit from their sites running a Solid-State Drive (SSD.) Unlike a standard hard drive, an SSD doesn’t have moving parts, making it more reliable. SSDs provide faster load times because less data is stored on the drive compared to alternative storage drive options..
Safe and secure
Unfortunately, hacking and cyber attacks are a real threat. Thankfully, HostGator has a custom firewall to protect your site from hackers. Additionally, all shared hosting plans come with an SSL certificate and Security Socket Shell (SSH) access to ensure your carefully crafted content isn’t vulnerable.
Now let’s take a look at the potential pitfalls of utilizing HostGator as your blog host.
Dated control panel design
Although easy-to-use, HostGator’s control panel isn’t as user-friendly as the control panel offered by some other hosts. Some users have complained about a somewhat dated design.
More expensive plans & renewals than competitors
Like many hosting providers, HostGator offers a steep discount when you initially purchase products, but the price rises when it comes time to renew your plan. Their most affordable hosting plan starts at just $2.75 per month for new users, for example, but it jumps to $10.95 per month for a 12-month renewal.
With a 99.9% uptime guarantee, HostGator is recognized as a leader in hosting performance. The company is so confident in its uptime guarantee that if a server falls short, HostGator will provide you with a credit equal to one month the cost of your current package.
HostGator’s SSD-enabled storage allows your site to operate at maximum speed. The company has two primary data centers located in Provo, Utah and Houston, Texas, as well as an additional 23 locations around the globe. This helps ensure your site runs quickly no matter where you or your site visitors are located.
On a HostGator plan, you won’t have to waste time worrying about your site going down. If there is an exceptional circumstance in which it does, you can contact HostGator’s 24/7 customer support team for assistance.
Recognized as one of the best customer service support teams in the industry, HostGator offers 24/7 phone and live chat support.
Additionally, more complex issues can be addressed via ticket-based email support. Inside your account, you can also access a knowledge base of 680+ articles and over 500 video tutorials.
Now, let’s take a closer look at a few of HostGator’s key features.
HostGators 99.99% uptime guarantee is one of the best on the market. If reliability is something you value, choosing HostGator as your hosting provider will give you peace of mind that your site is up and running consistently — ensuring your site visitors or customers always have access to your blog or products.
In addition to providing free SSL Certificates with all hosting plans, HostGator has several layers of site protection it employs as standard practice. Additionally, it offers upgraded security plans for sites that require added protection.
The company has highly secure data facilities that house its servers with restricted access. HostGator has taken the added step of building a custom firewall to protect its customers from hacking and harmful malware.
Those needing upgraded security have the option to add SiteLock (a program that will automatically scan your files and detect security issues), as well as more advanced SSL certificate options for a fee.
Not unlike other hosting providers, HostGator offers users a free SSL Certificate and domain name for one year with the purchase of any hosting plan. However, the company throws in a bunch of other valuable tools and products that some other hosts charge for.
Here’s what’s included for free with the purchase of any hosting plan:
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited storage
- SSL certificate
- Free domain name (1 year)
- Unlimited email accounts
- Unlimited file transfer protocol accounts (FTP) (all you to transfer files from a computer to a network)
- Access to drag-and-drop website builder
- Unlimited subdomains
- Free email marketing via Constant Contact
When signing up for a HostGator shared hosting plan, you will have three plans to choose from:
- Hatchling Plan: With this budget-friendly plan, you’ll receive a free domain for 1-year, 1-click WordPress installs, and free WordPress/cPanel website transfers. This shared hosting plan also includes unmetered bandwidth & disk space, a free SSL certificate, and free email. You can also access a website builder free of charge, as well as promote your site with a $150 Google ad spend match credit and a $100 Bing Ads credit. The Hatchling plan only provides hosting for a single website. This plan is offered at the introductory price of $2.75 per month, with a renewal rate of $10.95 per month. All hosting is backed by a 45-day money back guarantee.
- Baby: HostGator’s Baby shared hosting plan includes the same great features as their Hatchling hosting plan but allows unlimited websites, rather than just one. The Baby plan is offered at the introductory price of $3.50 per month, and renews at $11.95 per month.
- Business Plan: The priciest of the shared hosting plans, this package includes the same benefits as the Baby plan but also provides a free dedicated IP address and free positive SSL upgrade — which is backed by a $10k warranty. HostGator’s Business shared hosting plan is offered at the introductory price of $5.25 per month and renews at $16.95.
Here how to sign up for HostGator’s shared hosting plans with ease:
Step 1: Select your service and plan
Go to Hostgator.com, and hover your mouse over the first menu option, HOSTING. From the drop down menu select SHARED HOSTING. Select your preferred hosting plans from the options provided: Hatchling, Baby, or Business.
Note that the Hatchling plan is the most economical option for new bloggers looking to start just one website.
Click BUY NOW to proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Choose a domain
In this section, you will need to register a new domain or provide an existing one. If you are registering a new domain, select the tab at the top of the page titled “Register a New Domain.”
Proceed to enter your domain name in the search box. Then select the domain extension you desire from the dropbox (e.g. .com, .net, .org, .info, .us, among other options.)
A list of available domains will appear. Select the domain name of your choice and elect to add or remove privacy via the checkbox below. Proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Select Hosting Plan & Term
In this section, you can re-select your chosen hosting package from the dropbox. In the dropbox section titled “”Billing Cycle,” select your desired term.
NOTE: The longer term you select, the more money you’ll save overall. If you can afford it, consider selecting the longest term provided (36 months) to ensure you receive the lowest price.
Step 4: Create your HostGator Account
In this section, you will register your email address and create your account password and four-digit security pin.
NOTE: Be sure to save your 4-digit security pin, as it’s required to access customer support.
Step 5: Enter Billing Information
In this section, you’ll enter your billing information including name, address, credit card number or Paypal login, and tax exemption ID (if applicable.)
Step 6: Add-ons, Promo Codes, & Order Review
In this section you will be provided a list of paid upgrades you can add to your hosting plan. These add-ons include an upgraded SSL Certificate, SiteLock Essentials (an added layer of protection from malware), professional email, daily site backups, and an SEO tool. Select any desired add-ons and proceed.
In the next section you can enter a coupon code. If you’ve selected a new hosting plan this section may be pre-filled with the necessary code to receive the discount rate advertised on the shared hosting page.
Below the coupon section, you’ll see a review of your order details including their updated prices and your grand total. Read over the section and ensure all of your desired items are included
Proceed by clicking “Checkout Now!”
Your payment will be processed, and a confirmation email sent to the provided email address.
When you receive the confirmation email, click on it to confirm your registration. You will be redirected back to HostGator to start setting up your blog.
HostGator is best for new and experienced bloggers with low or moderate site traffic (e.g., fewer than 100,000 visitors per day).
More importantly, it’s a great choice for those with no experience building websites, mostly in part due to its simplified user-friendly interface. HostGator provides users with comprehensive guides to assist them with setting up their blogs and 24/7 customer support.
HostGator also provides enhanced site speeds making for a pleasant user experience. On average, the web hosting platform is able to load sites in under a second, making it unlikely a site visitor will exit your blog due to slow loading times.
Because of these benefits and the low introductory pricing for shared hosting plans, HostGator is a solid option for bloggers and online entrepreneurs.
If your site is already live online and yielding high traffic volumes (e.g., more than 100,000 visitors per day), HostGator’s shared hosting plans may not be the best option for you.
This is because shared hosting means data is stored for various websites on the same server. This can impact your site speed if you’re used to having high traffic on your site.
HostGator is highly recommended for new bloggers who want to establish their online presence via an easy-to-use platform. HostGator provides reliable site speeds and top-notch performance, ensuring your website visitors an optimal user experience.
On the flip side, if you already have an established website with high traffic volumes (or are expecting a large amount of site traffic), their shared hosting plans probably aren’t for you. But if you’re a new blogger, HostGator is an excellent place to start a blog that you can easily scale as your site grows.
Ready to launch your blog? Head to this guide to learn how to start your blog, step by step.