Hostgator is a large privately owned hosting company operating from multiple state of the art facilities in Dallas, Texas. Hostgator was founded in 2002, since then they have grown rapidly and currently host over 400,000 websites. They are also widely considered to be the worlds leading provider of reseller hosting accounts. At present they supply hosting to over 10,000 individual reseller account customers.
Hostgator offers many different web hosting packages, and cater to a broad range of customers. From the first time webmaster who needs simple, stress free hosting for their personal site; all the way through to large corporations, who require specialist dedicated hosting services.
Hostgator's hosting packages can be split into three groups; standard shared hosting plans (suitable for the vast majority people), reseller hosting plans (these are mainly for individuals and businesses that wish to “resell” their account resources to customers of their own), and finally dedicated server plans (these accounts give customer their own server, so they don't have to share its resources with anybody else). Very few of us will every need a dedicated server so this review will concentrate on the shared hosting plans that Hostgator offer.
Hostgator's three main shared hosting plans are named: “Hatchling” (the entry level plan priced at $6.95/month), “Baby” (this is the most popular plan, and it is likely to satisfy the requirements of a very wide range of clients), and “Swamp” (much the same as the “Baby” plan, but with increases in bandwidth and disk space, priced at $14.95/month).
For a full list of features and a side by side comparison of all hosting plans you should visit Hostgator's website here. Below is a review of the most important features of the “Baby” plan, this is probably the most suitable package for most users, and it is our favorite plan.
Disk space 100GB – This amount has been recently upgraded by Hostgator from 5GB to an enormous 100GB. All users are likely to find it impossible to exhaust this quantity of disk space.
Bandwidth 1000GB/month – Also increased is the bandwidth allocation, from 75GB to a seemingly excessive 1000GB. Again pretty much zero chance of utilizing all that, but it's nice to know that you definitely won't be facing extra charges for going over your limit, even if you have a very busy website(s).
Site Studio website builder – This is a great free program that allows you to build your website from scratch. You have over 500 templates and color schemes to choose from. You need no HTML experience, or code writing knowledge. It offers the simplest possible way of designing a professional looking website in a very short space of time. However, there is no need to take my word for it, as Hostgator provides us with a demo version of the software on their website!
Unlimited add-on domains – This really is the stand out feature of this hosting plan (the “Hatchling” plan only allows 1 domain), and enables you to host as many websites as you like on a single account, at no extra cost. All your websites then share your account resources. This allows you to make full use of your massive bandwidth and disk space allowances, and host multiple websites at a fraction of the normal cost. Fantastic!
99.9% Uptime guarantee – This basically tells us that Hostgator is a serious host offering a reliable service. If uptime drops below this figure in any given month then you don't pay for that months hosting, it's as simple as that! We would never consider using a host that did not offer a solid uptime guarantee; this is purely because there is only one good reason why a host will not offer an uptime guarantee – unreliable uptime!
30 Day money back guarantee – This has become a pretty standard feature in the web hosting community, though it's nice to have for added peace of mind.
Instant setup – Most hosting providers take 24-48 hours to setup your account but Hostgator promises to have you up and running in under 15 minutes (they do not charge a setup fee either)!
Unlimited MySQL databases – This is very useful because each Fantastico (see below) script requires its own MySQL database.
Fantastico DeLuxe – This impressive program allows you to instantly install over 50 scripts via your control panel. Scripts include blogs, forums, galleries, shopping carts, and more.
Unlimited e-mail accounts – Permits you to have as many, or as few, different e-mail addresses as you like.
cPanel control panel – At the heart of any web hosting experience is the control panel, thankfully Hostgator uses one of the best units around, a cPanel. It's well laid out and easy to operate. It contains many features and offers good performance. Best of all, there is a full working demo on the Hostgator website, so you can test it out yourself!
Customer service and technical support
Hostgator gives us 24/7 phone support, and live online chat. The fact that you are offered two options to receive instant technical support at any time of the day is great. Our experience has always been very good when contacting Hostgator, their operatives are very polite and most importantly they seem to know their stuff when dealing with technical issues. However, we always recommend contacting them yourself prior to signing up. Ask them a question and see if you're impressed by their response. This always tells you a lot about a company!
The performance from Hostgator's servers is excellent! Hostgator place much tighter limits on the number of websites sharing the same server compared to most other shared hosting providers. This gives greater reliability because less strain is placed on the servers; and it also greatly improves the speed at which your web pages run.
Server performance is another one of the key areas where Hostgator distinguish themselves from the crowd of other web hosts.
Overall there is so much to like about the way Hostgator does business, they really do seem to have a good grasp on what the average customer requires from a web hosting provider. Rarely do you come across reports of unsatisfied Hostgator clients, and after hosting with them ourselves we now know why! Reliability, performance, and uptime from the servers is first rate, also customer service is way ahead of most other web hosts out there. However, the area where Hostgator really excels is value for money. At just $9.95/month for the “Baby” plan (which includes unlimited domains); anyone looking to host more than one website has a pretty easy decision to make. The other great thing about this package is that you do not have to sign up to a contract. You pay on a month-by-month basis, which leaves you free to cancel your account at any time without losing money. So to sum up, we don't really have any bad things about Hostgator; at the prices they charge, we truly feel that they offer an exceptional service. Keep up the good work Hostgator!