HostGator is one of the popular, biggest, oldest web hosting companies in the industry, but they’re still providing a solid average uptime speed of 99.93% over the past 12 months.
Their basic starter shared hosting plans come with powerful unlimited storage, bandwidth, free domain (for the first year) service , and a free SSL encryption certificate. They also have great customer service, who connected through a live chat instantly and answered each question within a few seconds.
Unfortunately, many extra services, like backups and security, will be enabled after additional charges. Plus, the renewal rates is higher than your first term charge.
Here’s a complete overview of our team's hands-on test, using third-party data service from Pingdom to shed light on their performance.
General Info & Hosting Overview
|Our Rating:||Our Verdict: 4.1|
|SPEED:||733 ms (April 2021 to March 2021)|
|UPTIME:||99.92% (April 2020 to March 2021)|
|SUPPORT:||24/7 Live Chat|
|APPS:||Over 75 Apps Supported|
|FEATURES:||Unmetered data Bandwidth and Storage, Single Email Account, Free Domain 1st Year, SSL Certificate, 99.9% Uptime Guarantee|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Shared, Cloud, WordPress, VPS, and Dedicated Servers|
|SITE TRANSFER:||Single Free Site Transfer|
|PRICING:||Starting at $2.75/mo (renews at $6.95/mo)|
Alternative Hosting Providers
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A2 Hosting Review
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• Free Site Migrations
Pros of Using HostGator Shared
HostGator’s uptime performance used to be a problem in past years. But now not anymore, based on our 12 months’ worth of tracking.
On top of that, their customer service was fast and friendly 24/7. They’ll help move your first site over to their service for free. And beginners will like a lot of the simple, intuitive, user friendly options directed their way.
Here’s a quick summary:
1. Stable Uptime of 99.92%
HostGator has posted an average of 99.92% uptime with a bit more than six hours of downtime over the last year. That’s not the best uptime we’ve seen but also not the worst.
The good part is that they have an uptime guarantee offer which says that if they drop below 99.90%, then users can receive one month of credit on their account.
Obviously, any planned maintenance or impossible-to-predict technology hacks aren’t factored into this guarantee. You will, however,To get the one month credit back you have to reach out on your own and ask for the credit by submitting a support ticket to their billing department within 30 days.
We’ve started to see that to win customers few other hosts are also giving this opportunity pop up with uptime guarantees recently, and it means all customers win as a result. Many Competitors coming out and doing this helps raise the bar of sales for the entire industry. It forces other hosting companies in the market to either match their guarantee and raise the standard level of service or risk falling behind.
HostGator average uptime | See stats
Last 12-month average uptime:
|Name ▲||Uptime||Response Time|
|January 2016||100%||329 ms|
|February 2016||100%||345 ms|
|March 2016||99.96%||300 ms|
|April 2016||99.97%||279 ms|
|May 2016||99.75%||279 ms|
|June 2016||99.96%||342 ms|
|July 2016||99.87%||400 ms|
|August 2016||100%||317 ms|
|September 2016||100%||250 ms|
|October 2016||99.98%||281 ms|
2. Decent Load Time 733 ms
In the past couple years our team has analyzed that HostGator’s servers had no issues keeping our site up and live over the past year.
However what about their server loading speed?
HostGator successfully delivered an average page loading time of 733 ms over the last year.
HostGator average speed | See stats
It is obvious that this is definitely not the fastest speed we’ve seen but surely , it’s decent enough to get a spot in our pros section. Moreover, over the years HostGator has improved its page loading times quite a lot. Not a very long time ago, it took more than a second to load our own site hosted in their hosting platform.
Is it important to have a fast page loading time?
Main reason behind that , slow page loading times have been shown to impact your user experience directly. And that has a trickle-down effect to hitting your bottom line, too.
There are a few cool tricks you can do to speed up your site without switching hosts. But if your host is consistently getting slow loading time, it means you’ll constantly be fighting a losing battle.
3. Good Customer Support
We tested out their live chat option.
We asked a simple question about their shared hosting plans and got connected to a customer reply within two minutes. The replies were extremely fast and knowledgeable.
Overall it was a good customer support experience.
4. 45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
HostGator is so extremely confident in their web hosting service that they extend the industry-average 30-day refund policy an extra two weeks or so to 45 days money back guarantee.
That means you can use them for over a full month and more and still get your full money back if any bad experience occurs
This 45-day money-back guarantee available to all shared, reseller, and VPS hosting packages.
The only catch is that this does not apply to HostGator’s dedicated servers, administrative fees, install fees for custom software. After combing through many Terms of Service documents by now, we’ve found that these caveats are fairly common in the hosting industry.
So, for example, if your purchased plan included a free domain name, they’ll surely deduct the standard fee of $15.00 for the domain from the refund amount.
There are also some other points to look at. HostGator’s Terms of policy give them up to 90 days to actually issue a refund. No refunds money will be given on checks, money orders, Western Union payments, or bank wire transfers, either.
The refunds option is only available for new plans or accounts. So if you previously signed up for one web hosting, and also cancelled a renewal or second attempt, you definitely won’t get anything in return.
And last but not least, but also most important for other country users that foreign currency refunds are processed based on the U.S. Dollar exchange rates.
5. Web Site Security Features
HostGator’s shared hosting plans are extremely fortified. You’re getting enough for one site, but not a whole lot of extras on top of it.
Fortunately, they do also offer a few extra security features like the ability to add SiteLock monitoring to your site. This service will run continuously daily, looking out for any potential site breaches or hacks and let you know instantly when they find it.
They also offer a SpamAssassin feature on their email plans to help users prevent spam from hitting your inbox in the first place.
The only downside is that SiteLock will cost you a little extra money . We’ll expand on this below in the Cons, but the sticker price is only $1.99/mo, billed annually at $23.88.
6. Free Site & cPanel Migrations Feature
If this isn’t your first site, and you’re trying to move an existing one over, HostGator’s got your back.
You’ll have a total 30 days after sign-up to get in touch and have them help move any site files, databases, scripts, and even a domain name over for you.
This includes a full technology transfer cPanel transfer. So if you happened to have multiple site installs (like subdomains for one large site), you’re covered.
All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans come with a single site (or cPanel)transfer included. Different plans, like resellers, for instance, will get access to more (up to 30).
A single free site transfer isn’t a lot compared to some hosts. But it’s still better than nothing.
7. Beginner Friendly
HostGator is tailor-made for beginner bloggers or webmasters.
Their site is full of tutorials, documentation, walkthroughs, and more to help you navigate the murky world of DNS and data centers.
They also have extra features available for beginners who are looking to set up a site without the hassle of hiring other people to design, build, and manage everything.
Their website builder tool, Gator by HostGator, is one of the better tools that we’ve reviewed. It comes with a free hosting plan and a domain name, so you just need to purchase a single account to get this features.
The customizable templates modern feature, to begin with, and you can easily customize how they look by dragging and dropping each feature. You’ll also get site analytics and a free SSL certificate to help safeguard your visitors’ personal data (like their physical location).
Gator by HostGator even comes with an eCommerce hosting plan, so you can set up a fully-functional online store with inventory and more, all without worrying about payment gateways, plugins, or any other messy technology. It just works.
Cons of Using HostGator Shared
HostGator’s consistently strong uptime speed report was, frankly, surprising (in a good way). We’re also fans of their uptime guarantee service.
Beyond that, their beginner-friendly approach and helpful customer service 24/7 mean that there’s a lot to like about their service.
Unfortunately, our team ran into a few issues along the way while testing their service. Here are the biggest problems we found:
1. Lots of Extra Fees for ‘True’ Backups, Gmail, and Malware
HostGator’s shared hosting starter plans are cheap, with introductory pricing starting at only $2.75/month (for 36 months).
Their cheapest plan named (“Hatchling”) comes with a single domain name, one-click installations of popular apps like WordPress, Joomla, and more, unmetered bandwidth, unlimited storage, and a free SSL encryption certificate. Basically, all of the core features you need for a complete website.
However, that’s about all they provide us in their default plans. All of the ‘extra feature’ stuff, like site backups, Gmail access tokens, SiteLock Monitoring, and SEO toolkit will all cost you extra when it’s time to checkout.
It’s disappointing because many of these features are worded carefully on their site, like “available,” to make you think they’re already included. Browse the other top hosts we’ve reviewed and you’ll see that many of them, in fact, do throw these into their basic pricing.
It’s only when you get to the very end of the process, when you fill up the forms and all your details go to enter your billing information, that you’ll realize all of these extra features will cost you, well, extra.
Gmail is the standard $5/month or $60/year per user plan, which is their normal pricing. But then SiteLock will cost you $19.99/year, CodeGuard (to backup your sites) will cost you $23.95/year, and they don’t even keep many previous versions of your site on file in case you run into any problems.
So while the initial plan seems inexpensive at first, it starts to become pretty pricey when all is said and done.
2. Industry-Standard Pricing ‘Tricks’
In addition to extra fees, HostGator pulls two extra pricing tricks that are a pretty standard technique in the industry.
The first one is advertising a low rate like $2.75/month, only for you to realize that it requires you to prepay for a full three years to actually get it. Otherwise, you’re looking at $10.95/month for an actual single month’s worth of service plan.That’s just the beginning, though. Because on top of this, HostGator’s renewal pricing is extremely high after your initial plan expires.
So let’s say you can go ahead and lock-in that low rate for three years. You’ll be getting a pretty good deal, no doubt.
The trouble starts when it’s time to renew your plan in three years. At that point, your monthly rate for the same plan jumps to $6.95/month (or $250.20 total) — more than double what you just paid for the same exact service.
Essentially, they’re preying on the fact that after a few years of service use of hostgator, the likelihood of you wanting to switch services is pretty low. So you’re locked in for a while (like a cable company or gym membership).
Lots of other hosts we’ve reviewed pull this same stunt. However, that doesn’t mean we have to like it.
HostGator Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Shared Hosting: HostGator has three shared hosting plan option to choose from:
|Hatchling Plan||Baby Plan||Business Plan|
|Pricing||$2.75/monthRenews at $6.95/mo||$3.50/monthRenews at $9.95/mo||$5.25/monthRenews at $14.95/mo|
|Other Features||–||•Unlimited Addon Domains||• Dedicated IP• Free Positive SSL Upgrade• Free SEO Tools|
- Free Domain: Yes. For the first year.
- Ease of Signup: Easy signup.
- Payment Way: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Money-Back: 45-day money-back guarantee feature.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Introductory pricing is only available for long-term plan purchases. Renewal rates will also be more than double the price. Extra services, like backups and malware monitoring, are all extra fees, too.
- Upsells: Lots of upsells available.
- Account Activation: It can take up to 24 – 48 hours to activate your account.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): They make it easy to install popular apps and CMSs in a few steps using QuickInstall.
Do We Recommend HostGator Shared?
Yes, we do. But there are better options out there to choose from.
HostGator’s shared hosting does offer a lot of benefits to the users. The uptime has been solid together with improved speed experience. The customer service was good. And the plethora of beginner-friendly options makes it user-friendly.
However, the extra pricing hikes make it too expensive to get our 100% recommendation.
Best alternatives for HostGator:
- Bluehost Very Good Uptime | Easy to Use for Beginners | 24/7 Customer Support Read Bluehost review
- Hostinger Extremely Affordable | Top 3 Load Time | Multilingual Support Read Hostinger review
- DreamHost Best Month-to-Month Plan | 97-Day Refund Period | Unlimited Bandwidth Read DreamHost review
Have you used HostGator before? Please consider leaving a review below — good or bad — doesn’t really matter as long it’s helpful to our visitors.