PROS / HostGator puts no restrictions on bandwidth and disk space.
CONS / There are long wait times for customer support.
VERDICT / HostGator lacks support quality, but makes up for it with flexibility.
HostGator is one of the most recognizable and most-used website hosts. It excels in hosting flexibility by providing three different plans under a shared server umbrella. In consideration of how most small businesses start buying a monthly service and an initial domain, we reviewed the basic Hatchling plan and compared it to competitors’ basic plans. Based on the number of features, it ranks near the upper crust of the best shared hosting services.
The basic hosting plans are generally good, with a few distinct omissions. The Hatchling plan provides unlimited bandwidth, disk space, email accounts and MySQL databases, yet you are only allowed to run one URL per account. This, of course, changes as you upgrade. Also, you cannot park any domain names.
The money back guarantee is slightly better than average; HostGator allows 45 days to get your monthly hosting cost back, minus the one-time cost of the domain. You can cancel at any point in the contract, but you won't get your money back for the month you cancel in after the guarantee period.
Help & Support
HostGator is a web hosting service that’s relatively easy to use, though it does require you spend some time learning your way around. Not all of its features are intuitive, and it can take you a few minutes to learn how to navigate its interface. It’s a similar story with the service’s support; it’s good, but there is definite room for improvement.
On the HostGator website, you can read the FAQs, browse through user forums and view video tutorials. You can also contact the company for technical support via email, live chat or toll-free telephone. While we think the company expertly strikes a balance between good help documentation and effective contact methods, it would definitely benefit from better response times; we frequently waited over a 30 minutes for them to respond to our live chat requests, which is the longest we had to wait for any provider we reviewed.
Control Panel Options
Overall, we are impressed with HostGator’s feature set, which includes some advanced features like custom cron jobs and error pages. However, the service lacks a script library. While these features aren’t essential to web hosts, they are convenient and give advanced users more hands-on control of their websites.
You don’t have to worry about spam because HostGator includes Spam Assassin in each of its packages, a powerful spam protection program that effectively keeps unwanted junk emails out of your inbox. This shared host does not offer a dedicated IP or private SSL at this level but does provide a shared SSL. This is a lower form of protection but still encrypts private information like credit card transactions.
HostGator is a flexible and feature-rich web hosting company. The control panel is not as intuitive as most nor does the customer support stand out. However, even with the lack of those two differentiators, it is still a solid service for a complete hosting bundle. It caters to those who are new to owning a domain and those who are migrating sites over.