My Updated Hostgator Hosting Review: 5 Pros + 4 Cons

Hostgator

URL:
http://www.hostgator.com
Services:
Shared, VPS, Dedicated Hosting
Price:
$5.96/mo*

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
Review Last Updated: May 9, 2014


Summary

There are a lot to like and very few to dislike about Hostgator hosting - this explains why I am a Hostgator fan for the past 5 years. Are things still as good after EIG acquisition and the leaving of Brent Oxley as the company CEO? Read this updated review for more.

Upon first arriving to the Hostgator site, you will most likely notice that it’s a bit more, how to put it… animated than its competitors’ sites. From the colorful alligator donning the upper lefthand corner to the blues and rainbow colors throughout, this palate is quite indicative of the service: vibrant.

I’ve been using Hostgator’s Baby Gator plan since 2008 – when I first started, things were excellent and they continue to be fantastic today.

This web host  has continued to expand its services and now offers a variety of hosting configurations, including shared servers, dedicated servers, VPS hosting, and reseller hosting.

Hostgator has been around for quite some time (since 2002) and supports clients in more than 200 countries with a sizeable staff of more than 750 people. Though a strong organization, the company was acquired by Endurance International Group in 2012; since its acquisition, there have been lots of changes, so I decided the time had come for a detail follow up on my previous Hostgator review.

5 Pros of Hostgator Shared Hosting

Hostgator has an array of “pluses” to its services, just some of which include:

1. Wide Server Upgrade Options

It’s hard to beat a hosting provider who offers scalability – and Hostgator does just that. Since it supports shared, dedicated, reseller, and VPS hosting, it’s relatively easy to upgrade your servers and configuration as your organization grows and your needs change.

2. Reliable Hosting

“Hostgator – a reliable hosting?! Jerry you are all messed up.”

Okay, I knew there are several major outages (read here, here, and here) that put Hostgator clients into crazy mood and they’d bash anyone who says the Gator servers/infrastructure is reliable.

But if you look at this on a wider time span – Hostgator has notoriously good site load times and a stellar uptime record for the past 5+ years. I thought it’d be unfair to berate the web host (as unreliable) based on just three incidents. And to stand behind its service, Hostgator provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee to clients. There were reports that the Gator actually refunds some of their customers during recent server outage incident.

hostgator uptime score

Hostgator Uptime Score (September/October 2013) – test site tracked using Uptime Robot.

3. Better Long-term Pricing

The sign-up price for Hostgator’s Baby Gator plan starts at $6.71 per month after a first-time client discount – not bad, but also not the cheapest rate out there.

However, with most hosting organizations that offer super low start-up hosting rates, after the first year is up, the renewal pricing jumps substantially; this is where you save with Hostgator. Hostgator’s  renewal price goes up just slightly per month to $8.95 with a 24-month subscription (see table below for comparison).

Web HostSign Up Price *Renewal Price
Hostgator$6.71/mo$8.95/mo
WebHostingHub$3.99/mo$12.99/mo
SiteGround$7.95/mo$14.95/mo
A2 Hosting$6.99/mo$10.99/mo

Though the initial one-year term is slightly more expensive, odds are that you’re in it for the long haul, so those lower ongoing rates will serve you well and keep your costs down in the long term.

4. Free Site Migration

Migrating your website to a new hosting provider is doable, but can be a bit of a pain – particularly for the inexperienced. Hostgator will help you to migrate your existing site into their hosting solution for no additional cost – all you need to do is to complete the form found at https://transfer.hostgator.com/?accountClass=Shared and the tech will help you do all the dirty work.

5. Transparent + 45 days money back guarantee

Perhaps one of my favorite things about Hostgator is its transparency – something hard to find in the hosting arena. The terms of service are very clear about the rules and limitations of the unlimited hosting features so that you know exactly what you’ll receive and what to expect.

For example, it states upfront that users with a hosting account that exceeds 250,000 inodes and uses more than 25% of the CPU resources will receive a warning and suspension.

Yes, there are limitations to the unlimited service – but you know exactly what they are. Additionally, Hostgator provides all users with a 45-day money back guarantee; a guarantee that exceeds the industry average 30-day guarantee by a full half month.

4 Cons to Hostgator Shared Hosting

As is always the case, nothing is without flaws. Here’s what I’ve found with Hostgator:

1. Customer Service is on the Decline

As mentioned, Hostgator was recently acquired (in 2012) and since then, I’ve noticed a sharp decline in the level of customer service I’ve received. In my recent encounters, I’ve been generally unhappy, but the most notable change is the amount of time it takes to get someone on live chat (more than 20 minutes!). I suppose it should be water under the bridge – this isn’t uncommon with budget hosting providers these days – but it wasn’t my experience with Hostgator previously.

2. Not the Cheapest

hostgator hosting plans

Hostgator Shared Hosting Price List

If you’re looking simply for no-frills budget hosting, Hostgator isn’t the cheapest of the lot.

For example, iPage charges just $1.99 per month for the first signup with a renewal rate of $8.95 per month. Of course there are differences in the actual level of service, but as it pertains simply to cost, Hostgator is not the cheapest.

3. Pricey In-house Domains and Dedicated IP

Most hosting providers will provide free or low-cost in-house domain – but Hostgator charges $15 per year for new domains, $10 per year for WhoIS protection, and $24 per year for a dedicated IP.

In short, it’s just over priced – plain and simple.

4. Not as Many Freebies

Who doesn’t love a good freebie? Hostgator – that’s who. While other hosting providers throw in cool swag, like Yahoo, Facebook Marketing, and even Fotolia ad credits, Hostgator gives just a measly $100 AdWords credit.

Not that I’m one to turn up my nose at a $100 credit, but still – when compared to iPage’s $400 in marketing credits, BlueHost’s $200 in marketing credits, or WebHostingHub’s $200 credit upon signup, it just seems petty. It’s a minor issue, but still…

In Summary

So where do I stand on Hostgator? Well, as mentioned, I’ve been using it for years and continue to use it so, yes, I’m a bit biased.

Some webmasters simply dislike EIG for a variety of their own reasons and think that the change in ownership will impact the quality of service. It’s a logical concern, but one that only time will tell as to whether it’s a valid reality.

And yes, there are also a few more things that Hostgator could work on, but many of Hostgator’s issues are not unique to them. Those issues tend to carry across the spread of budget hosting companies. The choice has to be yours, but as for me, I remain my 4-star rating (recommended) on the Gator.

Exclusive Hostgator Discount Coupon

There are generally three different types of discount codes available in the market. One is the usual official promo code (something like ‘bestoffertoday’ or similar) that gives 20% price cut; the other one is $0.01 hosting offer where Hostgator will charge only one cent on your first month hosting bill (if you do the maths, the deal is actually below 10% price cut).

Both of these promotions are NOT the best deal.

If you want the best Hostgator discount, then you need to search for the third type of discount code – the exclusive 25% discount code – something like this one of mine: WHSR25DISCOUNT. Such promotion code is given to a special small group of top Hostgator partners – and it’s the best discount available online.

Hostgator Promo Code: WHSR25DISCOUNT
Details: 25% discount on first Hostgatorl hosting bill.

Here’s a quick comparison on Hostgator before- and after-price.

Hostgator HostingBefore DiscountAfter DiscountSavings/Year
Hatchling Plan$4.95/mo$3.71/mo$14.88
Baby Plan$7.95/mo$5.96/mo$23.88
Business Plan$12.95/mo$9.71/mo$38.85

Do visit my original Hostgator review for more details on Hostgator shared hosting features, exclusive discount coupon, and uptime details.