What is Hostgator?
Hostgator began as a one-man operation back in 2002. The years since has proven what Brent Oxley can do with a business idea that was conjured in the not so quiet quarters of a college dorm room. The company proved to be resilient and it eventually grew. By the year 2008 it was ranked as the 21st Fastest Growing Companies by Inc. 5000.
Just like all web hosting companies, this one has its share of good and bad comments from customers. Hostgator reviews are a mix coming from both satisfied and grumpy customers. If you actually make a careful tally of what’s to like and what’s there to not like about the company, the pros actually outnumber the cons (we’ll get to that a little later).
What This Webhost Has To Offer
Hostgator makes the options really easy for all would-be customers.
The following comes bundled with every hosting plan:
- Unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth
- money back guarantee for the first 45 days of service
- Website builder complete with thousands of free templates
- Unlimited email addresses
- 24/7 tech support
Available Hostgator Plans
The Gator makes the options very simple for all customers. They only offer three simple hosting plans – each of which caters to a very specific set of user needs. The following are the shared hosting plans that you will have to choose from:
- Hatchling Plan – If you’re looking for a really cheap hosting plan then this is the one you’re looking for. This plan hosts a single domain. This plan provides you with unlimited bandwidth and also unlimited disk space. This is the cheapest hosting package they offer. Need shared SSL certificates? This is the hosting plan you should opt for.
- Baby Plan – This web hosting plan is really popular – more customers opt for this one. Most of the time you will find more than one Hostgator review recommending this plan. You can host unlimited domains with this plan. This hosting package comes with unlimited everything (i.e. bandwidth and disk space). A shared SSL certificate is also included just like the Hatchling Plan.
- Business Plan – This web hosting plan, just like the two shared hosting plans, includes unlimited disk space, domains, and bandwidth. It’s the perfect business website suite and the package also comes with a free a private IP, toll free number and a private SSL.
Note that this web hosting provider offers a discount with every new hosting plan. On top of that, you can also use a promo code to drive the cost even lower. You may even as much as a 25% discount when you sign up for a new plan.
The next question is which plan customers should get. The answer is simple – you should choose a hosting plan according to your needs. If you need to host multiple websites but don’t need a toll free number or private SSL then get the Baby Plan. If you’re just going to host your blog (only one domain) and don’t need any fancy features then the Hatchling Plan is your best bet. If you need all the fancy features then the Business Plan is for you.
Needless to say, the company’s shared hosting plans (the ones mentioned above) are the really popular hosting solutions that the company has to offer. There are other hosting options that customers can opt for such as Hostgator Reseller hosting, Dedicated Hosting, and VPS hosting.
The Best Things to Expect About the Gator
The following are the best things you can get when you sign up for any hosting plan.
- Price: This web host has some really decent rates compared to other competing providers. You can easily put them in the $10 and below category of web hosting solutions. On top of that, it’s also easy to find coupon code to help save you some money. Some of the codes can be used for sign-ups while some of them can be used for service renewals.
- Guaranteed Uptime: This is one of the issues that irk a lot of customers. Obviously, if your website becomes inaccessible you lose money. This is one department where all web hosting companies get mixed reviews. On average, you should expect an average of 8 hours of down time each year.
The good news is that down times have been less frequent for this web host – which is a lot better compared to the mediocre service you’ll get from cheap hosting solutions. Some competing hosting companies also guarantee 99.9% uptime but aren’t able to deliver on that promise.
- Hostgator Support: Customer support is available to customers every day and any time of the day. You can get phone support, chat, or you can use their ticketing system. As with most companies that offer customer support, this is one area that is considered to be both a pro and con. You can read a Host Gator review that raves about the type of customer service and support was given and you can find another that complains about it.
- Slightly Longer Money Back Guarantee: It was mentioned earlier that this hosting service offers a 45 day money back guarantee. That’s actually 15 days longer than what many contemporary service providers can give. Now, this is also another grey area since you can also consider this as a downside – there are a few hosting companies that offer a longer guarantee; but you have to compare the service offering of these companies with what the Host Gator can offer.
- Unlimited Hostgator FTP Accounts and Subdomains: This is also another advantageous offer. With these features you can give secured access to a lot of other people (e.g. your employees, staff, or a third party developer among others).
- Open Stance: You won’t be able to find a web hosting company that will allow you to operate an email spamming campaign. That is why some hosts are really strict about filtering emails coming from websites they’re hosting. Host Gator takes on an open stance with regard to the way you will run your site. That means that you can use a Hostgator contact form any way you like as long as you are using it legally – which also means no spam. They are more hands-free about how you use your website compared to the competition.
- You Still Use cPanel: If you’re using WordPress, then you know that the user manual just assumes that the host has cPanel. It’s a lot easier to use compared to the proprietary back ends provided by big time web hosts. Best of all, it is open source.
- Environment Friendly Hosting: It takes a lot of power to run a data center – that’s something frowned upon by a lot of environmentalists nowadays. According to the blurb on their page, the Gator data centers are 130% powered by natural renewable energy (i.e. wind power).
You might wonder how something can be powered more than 100%. The eco-friendly certification doesn’t mean that there are large cables coming from wind turbines hooked up to the company’s servers. It simply means that for every single unit of energy that the company consumes it pays back 1.3 units to the clean energy grid. They do that by buying renewable energy credits from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Some people have tracked the uptime rates of their sites using Uptime Robot. Some web site owners track their sites for a week or two some even longer. The general consensus is that the uptime rates of Host Gator are pretty reliable recently.
There have been complaints about downtimes from time to time but the good news is that these issues are easily resolved. In one survey, it was found that the uptime rate for this web host can go down to 98% but the down times don’t last that long. Some downtimes only lasted for 14 minutes. On an average of 3 months, it is safe to assume that Hostgator can deliver 99.97% uptime.
The Company’s Downsides
Let’s make this point perfectly clear. All web hosting services have downsides to them. That should be common for all kinds of service businesses. You just can’t please all customers – and there will be times when your service turns bad.
However, the good news about Host Gator is that even though the service has its drawbacks, the fact is that there are a lot more things to like about them than there is to not like.
The following are the downsides of hosting with this company:
- Expensive Domains: You can purchase domains through this web host. You may think that it is a bit of convenience since you don’t need to go to a different company to get your domain name registered. However, this is not their main line of business.
Compared to other hosts like GoDaddy and Namecheap, the domain registry prices from Host Gator are definitely more expensive. Well, the company is not primarily a domain registrar. They’re better as a web hosting company.A Popular Site: A web host’s popularity works both ways. It can be a benefit to them and it can also become a downside. Nowadays, server space is getting crowded, which may also reflect on performance as well as customer service. Having too many clients also attracts a lot of hackers since there will be more opportunities for them to get in without notice.