Host Gator Review: Eats Other Hosts for Breakfast

Hostgator (Hostgator.com) offers top tier shared web hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers to meet the needs of different types of customers.  One of the better aspects of Hostgator is that customers can upgrade from one package to another without losing uptime and/or having to go through a backup/restore cycle.  Instead, the entire upgrade process is handled in house by Hostgator’s staff and a few of their automated scripts, but the result is a much more satisfying hosting experience that lets websites grow as needed.

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Customer Service With a Smile

Before going into details on Hostgator’s plans, it is also worth noting that Hostgator’s staff was contacted three times at roughly 8 hour intervals in an attempt to measure their speed, knowledge, and overall level of customer service.  It would be almost impossible to give Hostgator anything short of a perfect score as there was never once even a minute of hold time, the representatives were always friendly, and answers were always accurate.  The representatives always seemed to be native English speakers, and a pleasant southern drawl was detected on one occasion.  No Hostagor customer has to worry about communication difficulties with a non-native English speaker, whether they send an e-mail, chat online, or place a call to Hosgator’s toll-free line.

Shared Hosting Plans With Some Bite

The least expensive services offered by Hostgator are the shared hosting plans, which some of Hostgator’s competition seem to have eschewed altogether or paid a little less attention to.  In fact, Hostgator’s name is tied closely to two of the three tiers of shared web hosting, which are referred to as the Hatchling, Baby, and Business plans.  All of Hostgator’s shared hosting plans offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth, but the Hatchling plan comes with the ability to host a single domain while the other two shared hosting plans allow for the hosting of unlimited domains.  This can be very important for those looking to host numerous sites, especially domainers and/or bloggers looking to monetize multiple websites.

Bloggers using WordPress or other common packages will appreciate the unlimited MySQL version 5+ (at the time of this writing) databases and support for PHP 5, Ruby on Rails, Perl, ASP, Python, and both regular CGI as well as its Fast CGI alternative.  All of Hostgator’s shared web hosting accounts come with the latest version of cPnael and Fantastico support, which makes installing WordPress and other popular packages a very simple, straight forward process.  Hostgator’s customer service can even help integrate or tailor modules upon request, sometimes for no additional price. For a more detailed review of Hostgator’s wordpress services, check out our WordPress Hosting page.

99.9% uptime guarantees come with all of Hostgator’s shared hosting plans, but an integrated private SSL certificate is only included with the business package, but a shared SSL certificate from Hostgator comes with all packages.  Multi-domain SSL certificates are available as well for as little as $150 per year.  That $150 covers the first 3 domains and $25 per domain after that for each additional domain name.  Additional domain names cost at least $15 per year, though some of the foreign domain names can cost significantly more.  On the subject of cost, Hostgator’s shared web hosting plans start at $4.95 per month for the Hatchling to $12.95 per month for the Business plan.  These prices reflect multi-year agreements, though shorter term agreements are possible for higher monthly fees.

Screenshot of HostGator's Control Panel

Screenshot of HostGator's Control Panel

VPS With Some Serious Power at Great Prices

While competitors might advertise lower prices, the fact is that anyone running at least one blog with SSL-login protection will discover that Hostgator’s prices are still on the low-end of the spectrum.  It is Hostgator’s VPS solutions are truly amazing in terms of price and flexibility.  Offered in 2 semi-managed and 7 fully-managed tiers, Hostgator’s VPS solutions start at $19.95 per month and run all the way up to $209.95 per month.  The two semi-managed solutions lack full cPanel support in favor of Virtuozzo, while the top 7 packages can be outfitted with the latest cPanel for an additional $10 per month.  The least expensive managed package with a cPanel module add-on costs $49.95 per month and comes with a guaranteed 24/7 access to 1.13 GHz of computing power, 768 MB of RAM, 30 GB of storage, and 500 GB of monthly bandwidth.  Add to this the need to register or transfer domains, and the first year of VPS hosting is likely to cost just over $600.  While that figure may seem a tad on the high side, Hostgator does use late model Dell servers packing two Nehalem-class CPUs.  This translates out to fast performance and affordable hosting without any compromises.

Get Dedicated!

While Hostgator’s VPS solutions may be right for many, their dedicated server plans are reserved only for those with the most serious of hosting needs.  Starting at $174 per month for the Basic and topping out at $374 per month for the Elite Pro, all of Hostgator’s dedicated servers rely on last-generation Intel Xeon technology and are hosted in Texas.  Intel’s last generation Xeon CPUs were blazingly fast in their time, but the truth is that the hardware behind the VPS servers is probably faster and more future-proof.  That being said, dedicated servers are not sharing their resources, so the overall performance of any dedicated server should be far superior to that of a comparably equipped VPS account.

Starting at 1,500 GB of monthly bandwidth and maxing out at over 2500 GB of monthly bandwidth, Hostgator’s dedicated servers are not just high-performance on the inside, but have the pipes needed to actually make that hardware work in a way that viewers can see without paying additional fees.  Private SSL and shared SSL certificates are available for additional fees, though no discounts are given to customers with dedicated servers.

The only downside to Hostgator’s plans is that, like many other hosts, customers have to sign up for long contracts to get the lowest prices.  Most of Hostgator’s offerings require 3-year contracts in order to benefit from the lowest possible price points, and given the pace at which technology continues to advance, it seem unlikely that anyone would be willing to pay even these prices in three years.  Overall, Hostagator would seem to be an ideal source for shared web hosting and VPS solutions for bloggers or anyone else.  The WordPress support and installation is easy, and the buy-what-you-need approach makes Hostgator one of the most appealing options on the market.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. See Disclosure Policy.

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Written by Nick Reese

Nick Reese is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who believes anyone can transform their business and life they they've got guts and hustle. He's also the co-founder of Broadband Now which aims to simplify the broadband shopping process.

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