HostGator Review (Updated for 2020)

HostGator is best known for their cheap, unmetered shared web hosting plans. The company has been in business since 2002 and is owned by Endurance International Group (EIG), just like Bluehost. Since EIG is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: EIGI), you won’t have to worry about this web hosting company shutting down anytime soon!

In addition to shared web hosting plans, HostGator also offers: 

Fun fact: HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley, a student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida (hence the “Gator” name).

Pros of HostGator

Cheap introductory pricing

HostGator’s Hatchling Plan starts as low as $2.75/mo on a 36 month term when you use our referral link. This is one of the lowest intro price points in the industry. We recommend selecting the longest term when purchasing a HostGator hosting plan, as it saves you quite a bit of money in the long term, and they offer a 45 day money back guarantee so you can get a refund if they’re not a good fit for you.

Free website migration

Unlike Bluehost, Hostgator provides up to 5 free website migrations, depending on the plan purchased. Free website migration is something we really value as it makes everything so much easier, especially when you use a CMS like WordPress that has an extensive database.

Cons of HostGator

Subpar technical support

HostGator really leaves something to be desired when it comes to technical support. This is our biggest argument on why you’d want to avoid HostGator, and EIG owned companies. HostGator is there to drive value to EIG shareholders and one way they do that is by providing minimal training to their support representatives.

If you’re working with a knowledgeable web designer, this shouldn’t be an issue. They’ll likely know the ins and outs of your WordPress installation and the cPanel backend. If you’re creating a website yourself, though, we really recommend going with a non-EIG company like Dreamhost or InMotion. They both are employee owned and operated companies and take support training seriously.

Pricing gimmicks and renewal sticker shock

HostGator isn’t exactly upfront when it comes to their pricing structure.They advertise plans as low as $2.75/mo… but go through their order process and you’ll quickly see that you’re only eligible for that rate if you’re willing to pay for three years up front! We do like that HostGator offers a monthly billing term on their shared plans, but you’ll be paying over $10/mo for the ability to do so.

When it comes to renewing your web hosting plan, expect sticker shock, too. Unless you go with their expensive monthly billing term, expect to pay up to 2.5 times more at renewal! Your $2.75/mo plan will turn in to a $6.95/mo plan.

HostGator Plans & Pricing

Since HostGator is an EIG brand, you’ll notice that they offer many similar plans to their flagship company, Bluehost.

Shared hosting

All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans include unlimited storage and bandwidth. You’ll notice that the features vary little between each tier:

  • Hatching – starting at $2.75/mo
    • 1 website
    • Free SSL
  • Baby – starting at $3.95/mo
    • Unlimited websites
    • Free SSL
  • Business – starting at $5.95/mo
    • Unlimited websites
    • Free SSL
    • IP address

HostGator recommends their Business plan, but we disagree. Their Baby plan is the best option for most. You don’t really get much in terms of extras with their Business plan.

Cloud hosting

HostGator has a unique, low-cost cloud hosting plan that is quite interesting. It gives you the power of a virtual private server (2x faster and 4x the resources) at a price point similar to shared hosting.

  • Hatchling Cloud – starting at $4.95/mo
    • 1 website
    • 2GB RAM
    • 2 core CPU
    • Free SSL
  • Baby Cloud – starting at $6.57/mo
    • Unlimited websites
    • 4GB RAM
    • 4 core CPU
    • Free SSL
  • Business Cloud – starting at $9.95/mo
    • Unlimited websites
    • 6GB RAM
    • 6 core CPU
    • Free SSL

HostGator recommends their Baby Cloud plan, and we agree. It allows you to have unlimited websites with a solid 4GB of RAM and 4 CPU cores. Their Hatching Cloud plan only allows for one website and their Business Cloud plan seems to include unnecessary extras which doesn’t warrant the extra cost.

VPS hosting

HostGator’s VPS hosting seems pretty standard when you first look at the specs. All plans include cPanel and WHM running on top of CentOS, which does include root access. One big difference, though, is that HostGator doesn’t use Solid State Drives (SSDs) for their VPS plans. This is an odd cost saving measure on their part. SSDs are cheap nowadays (and are 20x faster than the spinning drives that HostGator uses).

  • Snappy 2000 – starting at $29.95/mo (renews at $79.95/mo)
    • 2 Cores
    • 2 GB RAM
    • 120 GB Storage
    • 1 TB Bandwidth
    • 1 IP Address
  • Snappy 4000 – starting at $39.95/mo (renews at $119.95/mo) 
    • 2 Cores
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 165 GB Storage
    • 2 TB Bandwidth
    • 2 IP Addresses
  • Snappy 8000 – starting at $49.95/mo (renews at $149.95/mo) 
    • 4 Cores
    • 8 GB RAM
    • 240 GB Storage
    • 3 TB Bandwidth
    • 2 IP Addresses

HostGator recommends their Snappy 4000 plan. We disagree. Given the pricing (both intro and renewal), we only recommend using a HostGator VPS if you’re just getting started using a Virtual Private Server. By the time you’re ready to upgrade, we recommend going with a more robust provider like LiquidWeb that has a strong VPS product (that uses SSDs).

Dedicated Server hosting

HostGator also offers a line of Dedicated Servers. While their specs aren’t the best for hosting a full website or application, they are a decent option for just hosting large files.

  • Value Server – starting at $118.99/mo
    • 4 cores @ 2.1 GHz
    • 1 TB HDD
    • 4 GB RAM
    • Unmetered Bandwidth
    • 3 IP Addresses
  • Power Server – starting at $138.88/mo
    • 4 cores @ 2.1 GHz
    • 2 TB HDD or 512 GB SSD
    • 8 GB RAM
    • Unmetered Bandwidth
    • 3 IP Addresses
  • Enterprise Server – starting at $148.98/mo
    • 4 cores @ 2.1 GHz
    • 1 TB SSD
    • 16 GB RAM
    • Unmetered Bandwidth
    • 3 IP Addresses

Summary & Our Recommendation

HostGator is a decent option if you’re just getting started and have the help of a web developer to provide support. They offer super affordable shared hosting plans which allow you to host a website for less than $3/mo for the first three years. When it comes to more advanced hosting, though, we recommend going with another provider as HostGator hasn’t kept up with technology for their VPS and Dedicated Server plans. Come on, HostGator! It’s 2020 and you’re still using spinning hard drives?

HostGator Alternatives

If you’re a beginner and don’t have support from a web developer, we recommend checking out these hosting providers:

  • Dreamhost
  • Siteground
  • A2 Hosting

If your hosting situation requires a VPS or Dedicated server, we recommend taking a look at these providers which offer expert level support:

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