Author: Matthew Rogers
Last Updated: January 2020
Why our reviews are worth reading
As a web agency, we use/test a LOT of hosting providers to scale both our clients and our many many side-projects (we like to experiment).
Having done this for quite a few years now, we've used, analysed, and reviewed a lot of web hosts... these are our findings.
A few of the better-known brands that link to our content
Good ol’ HostGator, they host millions of websites, but are they actually worth it? let’s find out!
HostGator: A quick summary for people with no time (pretty much all of us)
HostGator is a web host you use if you’re on a really tight budget. They’re super cheap (USD 2.75 if you lock in for a few years – that’s AUD $3.70-ish), which is great…. but it does come with a few downsides.
Speed: You’ll be on a US server, meaning almost every other site hosted closer than the US will be faster (if they use a decent host). Also, Google really doesn’t like slow sites, so it can hurt your potential rankings and online visibility.
Support: They’re ok, and actually pretty responsive, but they’re not as specialised compared to other hosts.
Locked-in: You can only get the lowest price if you lock in for a few years, which is not ideal if you decide to switch half-way through.
1 site: If you want to host more than 1 site (a lot of people like to experiment), you’ll have to upgrade and pay more (at which point you might as well have chosen a premium host).
So what we are really saying is… check your budget, and if you can swing an extra AUD $1.20/mo, go with a web host like SiteGround, they’re a LOT faster, more specialised, have a ton of cool features HostGator doesn’t have, etc. etc. You get the picture, you can check out our SiteGround review here
Still interested in HostGator, keep reading below.
Alright, let’s get into some specifics. We’ll start with a quick history of the company (we always do), then move straight to what we think are its’ main pros and cons, with some cool features and our verdict at the end (which mimics our summary at the start).
HostGator was founded in 2002 by a man named Brent Oxley, who at that time was just a student attending college. After his first year of business, he had a modest customer base of a little over 100 clients, but by the next year his client base had increased tenfold. By 2006, HostGator had opened its first international office, and this company’s growth showed no signs of slowing down.
Since this company’s initial growth spurts, they have maintained a steady growth and opened multiple offices all over the world, and started competing in the Australian web hosting market. They currently host well over 8 million domains, and they have established themselves as one of the most coveted website hosts in the business. It’s really impressive the way they’ve scaled.
Pros & Cons of HostGator
At USD $2.75/mo, cheap is definitely the right word. Usually when prices are this low, something is horribly wrong, but HostGator manages to provide a decent service despite the low cost.
So many plans
No matter what type of web hosting service you are looking for, HostGator offers it. Whether you’re looking for Cloud Hosting, Shared hosting, Reseller Hosting, or just E-Commerce Tools, they’ve got it covered.
Great Uptime Numbers
This company boasts a very stable and consistent uptime record, averaging somewhere between 99.96% and 99.97%. This is above the industry uptime average, which is impressive. Uptime is critical to the success of your business, as any downtime can cost you greatly.
If you purchase one of the more premium web hosting plans, you’ll gain access to HostGator’s enhanced security features. This includes data backups that occur daily as well as automatic removal of malware so that you don’t have to waste any of your valuable time worrying about these issues. That being said, if you have the $$$ to go with a premium plan, might as well look at a more premium host then (SiteGround for most people, or something like Kinsta or Pressidium if you’re looking for high-end managed WordPress hosts).
For those who are unfamiliar with web hosting or are building their first website, HostGator has your back. Their back-end is pretty user-friendly, even for beginners. Some web hosts have a very difficult to follow interface that users have to interact with, but fortunately, HostGator strives to keep their user interface as easy to follow as possible. Users will also have access to helpful FAQ pages, online tutorials, and informational documents at every step of the way.
Slightly Lower Load Time Speed
While HostGator’s average page loading times are only slightly below the average page load time (with their servers being in the US), this is still a significant disadvantage for Australians. Search engines factor speed into their organic search ranking algorithm, and any delay in the page load time of a company has the possibility of negatively impacting their sales.
Other Cool Features
24/7 Customer Service
As previously stated, this company’s customer service is pretty helpful, but another huge benefit of it is that their customer service is available around the clock, 24/7. This is extremely helpful because a lot of the time, your biggest issues will happen at the weirdest times (middle of the night, weekends, etc).
Money Back Guarantee
This is always handy. If you are unsatisfied with their services, you can get a full refund within the first 45 days of using them.
HostGator is happy to relocate your existing website to their own web hosting, saving you a lot of time and resources.
As mentioned a few times, if you’re just starting out and budget is reallllly tight, then definitely sign up. But if you can swing the extra $1.5, we would recommend having a look at SiteGround as you’ll definitely benefit from the extra speed (and WordPress targeted features if you’re using WordPress to build your site).