Choosing the right web hosting service is important. The last thing you want to do is get a website published with a hosting service (after learning to use that hosting service), and then be disappointed with the service and have to mess around with transferring your website to another hosting service.
I’m a happy HostGator customer. I use both HostGator and Bluehost. I recommend both. This article is an in-depth HostGator review.
I’ll start with one of the most important considerations: Price
HostGator has several pricing plans. They are as follows (as of the date this article was published):
- Hatchling Plan: as low as $4.95 per month with a 3 year commitment. On this plan you can host one website.
- Baby Plan: as low as $7.95 per month with a 3 year commitment. On this plan you can host an unlimited number of websites.
- Business Plan: as low as $12.95 per month with 3 year commitment.
You don’t have to commit for 3 years. However, with shorter term commitments, you’ll pay slightly more per month.
You can also get your own dedicated server if this is something you like to have.
Unlimited number of websites
I wouldn’t consider a hosting service that didn’t let me host an unlimited number of websites for one monthly price under $10. I have several sites and I like the flexibility of being able to build more sites at no additional cost (except for registering the domain name).
If you opt for the Baby Plan (this is the plan I have) or Business Plan, you can host as many websites on as many domain names as you like. This is where using a hosting service like HostGator can save you a great deal of money in the long run versus using a website builder or having a website designer host your websites. When you use a website builder or have a website designer host your site, you’ll usually pay extra for each additional website (or each additional batch of websites).
The downside of course, is you must manage your own hosting. However, fortunately, this isn’t difficult with the easy-to-use CPanel and technical support.
You can easily register domain names with HostGator. You must pay for each domain. REMEMBER to set your domain names on auto-renew (and that your billing information is set up to auto-pay) so your domain name registration doesn’t lapse. Nothing could be worse than building a great website and then to lose it all because you forgot to renew your domain name. It’s possible then that someone else registers your domain name and you can’t get it again. That could be disastrous.
All HostGator plans offer unlimited bandwidth
This is good and you should require this with any website hosting service. I would not consider using a hosting service that didn’t offer unlimited bandwidth.
Easy-to-use CPanel Dashboard
You manage your websites with HostGator in a dashboard referred to as a CPanel. The CPanel is an easy-to-use interface to manage your websites and domains.
Easy website installation
I specifically require with any hosting service that I use can install WordPress with pretty much a single click or a series of simple clicks. HostGator offers Fantastico De Luxe and QuickInstall options for easily installing WordPress and many other scripts to build your site (i.e. Joomla and others).
Access to 4,500 website templates
For any web designer, this is huge. The templates are good. They are mostly HTML and Flash feature templates. You can choose from over 115 categories. This is a great way to build websites inexpensively for clients. You can check out these templates for yourself on the HostGator website without having to sign up.
Free website builders
With an account, you can easily build a website with one of two website builders you get access to. The 2 website builders are:
- Trendy Site Builder, and
- Site Studio website builder.
Note, you can only use the website builders for one website on your account. What this means is if you get an account where you can host unlimited domains, you can only build one website with a website builder.
You get unlimited POP3 email accounts with SMTP. Having email accounts on your custom domain names is more professional than a gmail or hotmail email account.
45 day money back guarantee
You can get your money back if you cancel your account within 45 days if HostGator isn’t for you.
HostGator gives you access to numerous video tutorials that step you through many processes.
You can access live customer support via the telephone and live chat. The operators for technical support know a lot about working in HostGator. Note, however, you won’t get much assistance with specific scripts such as WordPress. For example, if you have a question about customizing a WordPress theme, HostGator won’t assist you (I found this to be the case with Bluehost as well. What I do in these situations is inquire on my premium WordPress theme support forum and/or do general Google searches).
1 Criticism of HostGator
I had to call HostGator to verify my account upon opening it. This didn’t take long, but it was an extra step. I would have preferred simply to sign up and get going without having to call them for verification.