HostGator Web Hosting Review 2023 – Forbes Advisor UK

HostGator Web Hosting Review 2023 – Forbes Advisor UK

Choosing the right web hosting platform for your needs can be a tedious task that’s easy to postpone. HostGator is a popular web hosting platform that offers affordable prices, 24/7 customer support and flexible web hosting options, including WordPress hosting and e-commerce features.

If it’s your first time building a website, or you’re looking to create an online presence for your business, you need a web hosting server. For many business owners, this essential step might be the last thing on your to-do list. HostGator is established for offering one of the most affordable plans on the market, excellent customer service and a reasonable money-back guarantee period. Read our comprehensive HostGator review to decide if it’s right for you.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Unlimited storage included for basic hosting
  • One-click WordPress installs
  • Free SSL certificate with web hosting plan
  • Free domain name for the first year

Cons

  • Expensive short-term plans
  • No Linux servers option
  • Lower uptime than some competitors including Bluehost, ScalaHosting and Hostwinds
  • Additional costs for services such as domain privacy and automated backups

Plan costs

£3.03* ($3.75) per month introductory offer

Storage and bandwidth

Unlimited and unmetered

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What Is HostGator?

HostGator is a web hosting service that offers several different hosting options and additional options users typically need when they are setting up a website. The company’s extensive features that come with every plan make it a beginner-friendly web host. HostGator ranked high on our list for the top 10 best web hosting services of 2023.

HostGator pros and cons

As with all services, there are benefits and disadvantages to signing up with HostGator. Given that the best deals are available for multi-year plans, you’ll want to make sure to research the pros and cons of the service before committing. In this HostGator review, we’ve outlined the highlights below.

Pros

HostGator offers an affordable price and attractive introductory deals. With unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth for all plans, and an uptime of 99.9%, HostGator’s plans are solid options, regardless of which tier you end up choosing.

Users who want to build a website easily without code will be able to use the company’s website builder, a tool that offers drag-and-drop functionality to easily build websites.

HostGator also provides essential features for free. You’ll receive a domain name for free for the first year. Plus, you’ll be getting an SSL certificate for free, an add-on that’s practically necessary for any website and usually costs money.

Cons

While HostGator offers many services for free, there are also many add-on services offered at an extra cost. These may easily add up and should be considered when evaluating the overall cost of web hosting with HostGator. For example, the advanced tiers of the website builder, advanced security and automatic website backups all cost a monthly fee.

While HostGator does have the standard uptime offered by web hosting platforms, there are some competitors that promise better uptime (99.99% compared with 99.9%, which amounts to being guaranteed service for around an extra eight hours per year). Depending on the nature of your business, this difference could be worth considering.

HostGator web hosting services

As far as hosting options, HostGator offers many options including VPS hosting, cloud hosting and dedicated hosting. Here’s a breakdown of the hosting options available and what each one is best suited for.

Types of hosting available

  • Shared hosting: Shared hosting, which means that you are using space on a server that is also used by other websites, is the most popular plan for websites
  • Cloud hosting: With cloud hosting, you can use the resources of multiple servers instead of using one fixed to a single location
  • WordPress hosting: This type of hosting is optimised to use WordPress in the easiest and fastest way
  • VPS hosting: This type of hosting is best suited for website owners who want more flexibility in software installations and more freedom to send emails and stream media
  • Dedicated hosting: The most powerful type of hosting, this choice is suited to meet the requirements of large businesses. Dedicated hosting is best for businesses that have heavy traffic or a very popular site
  • Reseller hosting: This type of hosting is suited for website owners who want to sell hosting services for profit. This plan is suited for users who want to start their own web hosting company and white label HostGator’s products.

Reliability and uptime

HostGator’s uptime is 99.9%, which is standard for web hosting businesses. This means that HostGator guarantees that service is available 99.9% of the time, which equates to around 8.76 hours of downtime per year.

It is rare for web hosting services to guarantee a higher uptime (after all, no one can truly guarantee available service 100% of the time).

However, some competitors, including Bluehost, ScalaHosting and Hostwinds, do guarantee 99.99% uptime, and that extra digit reduces the overall downtime per year to 52.56 minutes.

Speed and performance

Overall, HostGator’s speed and performance are rated highly among users. However, some users did complain about slow load times.

Security

HostGator has security protection from DDoS attacks. HostGator’s additional server security and precautions are confidential. However, the security is set up to enable network-level flood protection.

For added security to individual websites, HostGator offers the feature SiteLock Security for £4.84* ($5.99) per month. This feature scans your website for malware daily, automatically removes malware from your website and defends against malicious attacks.

Storage and bandwidth

HostGator comes with unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth for all plans. For automated website backups, HostGator offers an add-on feature that is included for initially but renews for £3.23* ($4) per month, billed annually at £38.72* ($47.95).

Customer support

HostGator offers 24/7 live chat and email support to all customers. When Forbes Advisor connected with a live agent through chat, we were able to speak with someone within five minutes, and the agent was able to answer our questions.

HostGator pricing

HostGator offers three plans for shared web hosting, all with competitive pricing. The company also provides introductory offers where your first contract can be as low as £3.03* ($3.75) per month. After the terms of your offer are finished, the service goes back up to the standard pricing. The section below highlights some of the main distinctions between these plans.

HostGator tiered features and pricing

Hatchling plan

The Hatchling plan offers a single website, a domain and SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth and WordPress installs as well as WordPress/cPanel website transfers.

Hatchling plan cost after introductory offer:

  • £9.65* ($11.95) per month for the month-by-month plan
  • £8.07* ($9.99) per month for the annual plan
  • £6.45* ($7.99) per month for the three-year plan

Baby plan

The Baby plan is very similar to the Hatchling plan but comes with the ability to make unlimited websites, as opposed to only one. It also includes a £403.77* ($500) Google Ads spend match credit and a £80.75* ($100) Microsoft Advertising credit. If you plan to spend these credits regardless or know in advance you need more than one website, the small price increase for this plan may be worth it.

Here’s how the costs for this plan break down by contract length.

Baby plan cost after introductory offer:

  • £10.46* ($12.95) per month for month-by-month plan
  • £12.11* ($14.99) per month for the annual plan
  • £10.49* ($12.99) per month for the three-year plan

eCommerce plan

The eCommerce Plan includes the same features and credits included in the Baby plan plus a free upgrade to Positive SSL, a dedicated IP and SEO tools. The Positive SSL upgrade secures a domain and subdomain and is backed by a £8075.50* ($10,000) warranty.

Here’s how the costs for this plan break down by contract length.

eCommerce plan cost after introductory offer:

  • £14.50* ($17.95) per month for the month-by-month plan
  • £15.34* ($18.99) per month for the annual plan
  • £13.72* ($16.99) per month for the three-year plan

Fine print

It’s worth noting that while the introductory offer is a compelling deal, the prices jump when returning to normal rates. HostGator does not offer e-commerce hosting, so if you need a website for an online store, you may want to consider alternative hosting options.

HostGator domain services

HostGator makes it easy to buy a domain name and use that same name for your account. You can search for available domain names here, and sign up for a hosting plan once you find one that suits for business. Then, all of your account needs can be managed under one dashboard. HostGator offers your domain name for free for the first year.

HostGator also has domain locking, which will prevent unauthorised transfers of your domain name. You will also be able to protect your personal information from being publicly available on the WHOIS database for a small fee. Additionally, you can also choose to auto-enroll your domain, so you never have to worry about forgetting to renew it and risk losing it.

HostGator website builder

HostGator offers a website builder that makes it easy to set up and customise a website with no knowledge of code. The website builder uses drag-and-drop functionalities and includes features such as a blog, shopping cart and payment gateway, which make it simple to set up a professional-looking website in no time.

Here’s how the costs break down for the website builder:

  • Website: £4.00* ($4.95) per month
  • Website + marketing: £6.42* ($7.95) per month
  • Online store: £11.27* ($13.95) per month
  • Online marketplace: £16.11* ($19.95) per month

The Website plan comes with most of the features you would need to build a basic website, including over 100 mobile-friendly templates, prebuilt sections and pages, SEO tools, social media links and PayPal integration. However, the main limitation is in the page count as you cannot add more than six pages to your website for this plan. The paid plans, on the other hand, do not limit the pages you can build.

The Website + Marketing plan also comes with a few more features including Google Analytics Integration and revision history for when you need to look back at past drafts of your work. The Online Store and Online Marketplace plans come with an e-commerce shopping cart, inventory management, multiple payment processors, coupon codes and Facebook integration.

The best plan will depend on your needs. For basic websites such as portfolios or landing pages hosted on their own web page, the Basic free plan is plenty.

Those who are looking to build more complicated websites can consider HostGator’s website builder paid plans or may also want to consider using an open-source tool such as WordPress (and forgoing the drag-and-drop functionalities), or competitors such as Squarespace or Wix. Read our 2023 guide to the best website builders here.

Compare HostGator alternatives

HostGator vs. A2 Hosting

Both HostGator and A2 Hosting offer competitive introductory plans. These plans are comparable, at £2.17*($2.99) per month for A2 Hosting and £2.22* ($2.75) per month for HostGator but the difference is that the A2 Hosting plan only locks you in for one year while HostGator requires a three-year commitment. If you’re unsure about the direction of your new website (perhaps you are experimenting with a new business) then A2 Hosting is likely the better choice.

HostGator vs. GoDaddy

HostGator’s introductory three-year offering is significantly more affordable than GoDaddy. However, their standard plans are priced around the same. Another factor to consider is that GoDaddy only offers a free SSL certificate for the first year.

After that, the starting cost is £35.88 for the first year, then £170.87 upon renewal for one website. Since SSL certificates are a necessity for website security, this added cost is an important consideration.

Visit GoDaddy’s website for more details.

How HostGator stacks up

As far as cost is concerned, A2 offers the most affordable option at £2.17* ($2.99) per month for the basic plan on a 12-month plan. However, HostGator offers unlimited storage for its basic unlimited web hosting plan, while A2 Hosting comes with a limit of 100GB SSD, which is standard for basic web hosting plans.

Is HostGator right for you or your business?

All told, HostGator provides a solid balance of pricing, features and usability covered in this comprehensive HostGator review. The fact that the plans come standard with so many tools for hosting and managing your personal website makes it a good one-stop shop for beginners.

You won’t have to worry about the additional cost of essential services such as an SSL certificate. HostGator’s helpful customer support also helps it stand apart from its competitors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I cancel my HostGator account?

You can cancel your plan anytime through your account portal. HostGator also offers the option of pausing your plan. You can read more information here.

What are the different types of web hosting services?

To transfer your domain to HostGator you will need to follow a series of steps, including updating your name servers, temporarily disabling WHOIS privacy and confirming your domain is 60 days old.

You can read the steps to follow when transferring your domain here.

Can I change my domain name on HostGator?

Yes. Depending on the hosting plan you have, you can change the primary domain on your account.

Read the instructions on how to make this change for specific plans.

Does HostGator include email?

Yes. HostGator will allow you to create an unlimited number of email addresses for your account.

For instructions on how to set this up, read the company’s guide.

Does HostGator support WordPress?

Yes. HostGator offers WordPress hosting, which is specifically designed to get users set up on WordPress quickly. These plans start at £4.80* ($5.95) per month (when paying for the first three years in advance).

HostGator’s shared hosting plans are also compatible with WordPress. Our comprehensive HostGator review covers the main features that the web host offers.

Does HostGator have a cPanel?

Yes. HostGator has a beginner-friendly cPanel that enables users to easily perform basic tasks such as installing WordPress, checking server usage statistics and running or scheduling website backups.

Many website hosts are equipped with a cPanel to more easily allow users to manage their hosting accounts.

Does HostGator include a free SSL certificate?

Yes, HostGator offers a free SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate for customers who purchase a hosting plan.

SSL certificates are an important part of website security as they protect the user information that is transmitted through the website.

Learn more about SSL certificates in our article that covers what they are and why they are important.

How can I transfer my domain to HostGator?

To transfer your domain to HostGator you will need to follow a series of steps, including updating your name servers, temporarily disabling WHOIS privacy and confirming your domain is 60 days old.

You can read the steps to follow when transferring your domain here.

https://www.forbes.com/uk/advisor/business/software/hostgator-review/

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