The best web host for your personal or business needs should meet your expectations and provide you with plenty of features at an affordable price. Both HostGator and GoDaddy offer excellent value, but which one works best for your web-publishing needs?

Pricing & Features

If you want to carve out a space on the web at the lowest possible price, HostGator might provide you with the ideal solution. The starter, or Hatchling, plan starts at $4.86 per month for the first year, while GoDaddy's base economy plan costs you $4.99 per month. That isn't a huge difference, but GoDaddy's non-introductory hosting starts at $6.99 per month, which is what you pay if you already have a site through GoDaddy or when you decide to renew.

When comparing HostGator and GoDaddy, you'll want to look beyond the price point. HostGator offers unmetered bandwidth and website storage space, as well as unlimited subdomains with its base package. GoDaddy lags behind on starter features, offering 100GB of storage space but unmetered bandwidth.

Startup Procedures

It's easy to get your website up and running with either HostGator or GoDaddy. Each host offers one-click installation procedures for popular applications like Joomla, WordPress and Drupal, which is especially useful for users who have no experience with web hosting. HostGator allows unlimited MySQL databases for applications, while GoDaddy limits you to 10 databases with 1GB or less of data on its economy plan.

HostGator and GoDaddy use cPanel, the most common control panel for web hosts. You'll find the interfaces slightly dissimilar, however, as GoDaddy's is more customized, with big icons, lots of white space and simple navigation. HostGator's control panel is slightly more cluttered and less user-friendly, but it shouldn't pose a problem for the average user.

GoDaddy might take slightly longer to set up than HostGator because you have to wait for the site to go live. This might bother impatient consumers who want to get started right away, but you may not mind putting off your website launch for a couple of hours after purchase.

Email Services

HostGator offers unlimited email addresses for each package tier, which is particularly beneficial for businesses and organizations. GoDaddy, however, limits email addresses to 100 for the economy plan, 500 for the deluxe plan and 1,000 for the ultimate plan.

Additionally, you have unlimited space for email storage with HostGator. If you often send bulky files or photos, this comes in handy. GoDaddy caps customers at between 100MB and 1GB for email storage, depending on the pricing plan you choose.

Customer Support

GoDaddy focuses on 24/7 live phone support, but you can also initiate a live chat with the support team. HostGator offers telephone support, but you might wait up to half an hour to speak to a live support professional. You might fare better with the live chat or email support at HostGator.

You can also search the FAQs and knowledgebase at HostGator or GoDaddy. Both allow you to type in questions and locate tutorials and answers. GoDaddy also offers video tutorials for visual learners. You don't have to pay for any of the support features, which should put many consumers' minds at ease.

If you decide you don't like HostGator, you can get a refund after 45 days. GoDaddy offers the same guarantee for annual plans, but if you sign up to pay monthly, you have to cancel within 48 hours. To avoid this problem, you should read plenty of web hosting reviews before you buy so you know what to expect.

Security & Performance

You get a free SSL certificate with GoDaddy's ultimate plan, while HostGator offers SSL certificates across all plans. Both HostGator and GoDaddy stand out for their 99 percent uptime guarantee, which means you'll always have access to your site   and so will the rest of the world.

HostGator and GoDaddy offer similar performance histories. Sites hosted through both of these companies tend to load quickly and reliably.

If you're still on the fence about the right web host, take time to compare the features that matter most to you. You'll thank yourself for doing your homework before you select a home for your site.

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