Hostgator Review – What’s to Like and What Not To

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
  • cPanel
  • 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.

Uptime Rates

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.

Everything You Need to Know to Convince you that FatCow is the Answer to your Web Hosting Needs

fatcow.comIt refers to a company that caters to the shared web hosting needs of small to medium-sized business owners. It was actually established in 1998 as an answer to the call for web hosting alternatives that are reasonably priced.

The company is fueled by a group of brilliant and devoted staff who believe that giving traditional and valuable service is important, especially to owners of small businesses. This is the reason behind their drive to make it easy for their customers to own and use the web hosting solutions they provide.

What makes the FatCow hosting plan different from other web hosting options?

The company has developed a simple one plan-one price offer to help small business owners get started on running their businesses. This is preferable to other more complicated pricing schemes that tend to confuse customers instead. In addition, the company matches this reasonable price with a type of customer service that truly treats the customers as its first priority.

All of the things needed to build a small business website are included in the plan, which is valued at $49 for one year. A small business owner will benefit from the following: Oodles Disk Space, Oodles Bandwidth, Easy-to-use Site Creation Tools, Easy-to-install Blogs and Forums, Wizards to Add Open Source Apps, E-store Builder by ShopSite, and Free Google and Yahoo! Advertising.

How do I manage my hosting plan?

The company has made it possible for small business owners to manage all areas to be covered in their hosting plan easily. A system referred to as the FatCow control panel is accessible online.

Control Panel Access. One can use any computer to gain access to the control panel, as long as it has internet connectivity. The small business owner will then go to www.FatCow.com/controlpanel/index.bml or simply www.FatCow.com so that he can fill in the details of his account username and its corresponding password. Clicking on the Log In button will then let him in and use the control panel. After he is done, the small business owner then clicks on the Log Out button to ensure that his login details are all cleared.

Control Panel Usage. Three aspects (Shortcuts, Management Tools, and Monitors) are covered in the Control Panel, and each aspect has four tools made available to the small business owner.

Shortcuts: This is a group of links positioned at the topmost part of a page, and they provide easy access to four account management tools: Set Site Editor, Check Traffic, Email Management, and Upgrade Hosting.

Set Site Editor enables the small business owner to determine the web editor he prefers to build his website, maximize its workspace efficiency, and enhance his website’s design. By simply logging in to the site, he is able to use Check Traffic to view his traffic and usage statistics, make updates to his traffic report, and direct these reports to his email account. Email Management lets him get started on monitoring his mailboxes, newsletters, and spam mails, while Upgrade Hosting allows him to upgrade his plan to complement the growth of his business, as well as avail of individual services such as the addition of more storage space, bandwidth, and mailboxes.

Management Tools: This is the main aspect of the control panel, and it is set up to help the small business owner manage his website effectively.

Website Management tools are to be used in site creation and monitoring, as well as uploading of files, database management, submission of the website to various search engines, and integration of shopping carts and counters. Email Management houses everything a small business owner needs to make changes to email addresses and forwards, figure out the settings to set autoresponders and filter spam messages, and to gain access to his WebMail.

Tools for domain management and transferring are accessible in Domain Management, while Account Management is responsible for providing links to the small business owner’s account data (payment details, contacts, and passwords).

Monitors: This aspect covers four specific tools. Disk Usage/ Bandwidth/ Mailboxes make it easy for the small business owner to view both the amount of storage space/bandwidth/mailboxes used and still available, while the lists of his domains as well as subdomains can be found in Domains/Subdomains.

What other benefits can I get?

Aside from topnotch web hosting, small business owners can also take advantage of the advanced FatCow email solutions provided.

OX Mobile Email – With its sophisticated Mobile ActiveSync Technology, this email solution allows Smartphone users to enjoy great connectivity while they are on the road. OX Mobile Email is actually the upgraded version of the OX Standard Email. All of the regular email features have been retained, while the ability to coordinate easily with smartphones and social networks has been incorporated.

A business owner’s mobile device becomes his handy tool in performing numerous business tasks – sending out emails, getting his list of contacts updated, arranging his schedule and managing several business-related activities. All of these are possible for only $1.99 per month; the business owner is expected to pay at the end of the year.

OX Business Email – This is the professionalized email counterpart offered by the company to small business owners. OX Business Email integrates all of the features offered by OX Standard Email and OX Mobile Email with its own superior capacity for more complex scheduling tasks, and getting members of a team to collaborate effectively. With OX Business Email, arranging for meetings between co-workers and with clients will not be a problem. Sharing of documents online is easy, which makes working together on common files possible.

The added benefits that small business owners can gain from OX Business Email are its compatibility with Mac Mail and Microsoft Outlook; the ease with which several social network accounts can be regularly checked; as well as the integration of Mobile ActiveSync technology with one’s smartphone or tablet. A small business owner can have all these for the price of $4.99 dollars a month.

How do I log in to my Webmail?

There are two means available for a small business owner to log in: through the company website and through the control panel.

Log In through Website. Logging into FatCow webmail involves accessing http://www.FatCow.com/mail so that the following case-sensitive information may be entered: the full mailbox address in the Email window and the mailbox password in the Password window. The process is completed when the Log In button is clicked on.

Log In through Control Panel. A FatCow login through the control panel includes going to the FatCow mail central area, where the mailbox to be accessed by the small business owner is located. The View Webmail button is clicked, and then the same process involved in entering information when logging in through the website is followed.

Is there anything else I should know about?

A FatCow review done by users reveals an interesting piece of information. After performing a comparative study on articles and customer feedbacks, it was observed that FatCow and iPage were frequently compared to one another. Viewers of both websites were surprised to find that they both had the same content. A live chat discussion with FatCow resulted to the revelation of the fact that the two companies are owned by one parent company.

The said review from Top11Hosting.com then went on to conclude that the company is able to provide great value, excellent customer service, and ease of use to the small business owners. However, there are other FatCow reviews given by satisfied customers to support this valid claim.

Such reviews have made it known to the public that the company is indeed a welcome solution to the web hosting needs of small business owners. First-hand experience let the customers prove to themselves the advantages of using the services of the company.

Professional Technical Support – This is especially important to those who do not really have a lot of technical knowledge. Being able to build websites of their own, with the assurance of on-time technical assistance, allow them to create their own business identities.

Reasonable Price – The price charged is a great deal to be had, especially when one takes into account that unlimited hosting ability, excellent customer service, and strong server performance are all enjoyed by the users.

Great Customer Service – The knowledge shared by the company’s technical support staff is complemented by prompt and detailed response, utmost courtesy, and genuine concern for the users. All of these help make it easy for small business owners to find answers to their business concerns easily.

I want to sign up. How can I reach the company?

A friendly customer representative that can help a small business owner choose the right web hosting plan can really aid in achieving success. Fortunately, the company is able to provide this to ensure that their customers’ needs are answered. The sales and service staff are always available for web hosting queries and can be reached through phone or email. You can also contact their legal department for any legal question about the company, its products, or its services.