With so many options for WordPress hosting companies, you might be overwhelmed trying to sift through your choices. If you are a WordPress developer/creative type looking for a new hosting place to call home, HostGator could be a good option for you. HostGator prides itself on available features, freebies, and price points for every budget. Let’s get to know HostGator and discuss whether it can fulfill your hosting needs.
What is HostGator Managed WordPress Hosting?
HostGator is one of the largest managed WordPress hosting companies around. They state that they currently host more than 2 million websites, with 30% of them being professional developers. They offer one-click WordPress installs, a simplified control panel, backups with 1-click restore points, and excellent support. Pricing is attractive as well. There are several plans to choose from to get you started: the Starter Plan, the Standard Plan, and the Business Plan. Each price tier starts under $9.95 per month for a 36-month agreement.
HostGator claims its offerings are different from other WordPress hosting providers because of their faster speeds, stringent security features, and free migration. We’ll break down our thoughts on the features, pricing, and possible benefits of using HostGator so that we can make your choice easier.
What Features Does HostGator Hosting Include?
HostGator offers quite a few features with its hosting plan offerings. Among those are 1-click installations of WordPress, advanced security features, an easy-to-navigate control panel, free website migrations, and a free domain for one year (with select plans). Let’s break features down one by one, so you can make an informed decision.
Ready-to-Go WordPress With Hostgator Hosting
Having the ability to begin designing in WordPress without worrying about installing yourself is a nice feature to have. With some managed WordPress companies, you’ll be responsible for installing WordPress yourself. With HostGator hosting plans, once you sign up and sign in, you have a fresh install of WordPress sitting there waiting for you. In Addition, you’ll have hundreds of themes to choose from, making life easy on you. If you’re a creative type, you can start from scratch with your design magic.
Advanced Security Features
HostGator offers free Malware protection with automatic malware removal, free website backups, a free SSL certificate for each site you host, and two excellent features — CodeGuard, and SiteLock Fix. CodeGuard is a backup service that allows daily backups, protection against pesky hackers, viruses and broken code. SiteLock Fix is software that helps protect your website against cyber attacks, which has become increasingly important in our current environment.
Free Website Migration
If you decide to make HostGator your hosting provider, you’ll get free migration with any plan you choose. To access this feature, navigate to “Quick Links” in your account dashboard to request a migration.
A Control Panel That is Easy To Use
With some hosting providers, it can be difficult to navigate the interface. HostGator simplifies this process by creating a panel structure that anyone can use. All options are clearly visible — from your hosting plans to support — making it easy to find what you are looking for.
How to Navigate the HostGator Hosting Dashboard
The dashboard is well thought out and places all crucial information in plain sight. Let’s go over what’s in the dashboard and where you can find it.
1. Hosting Tab
This is where you’ll see the hosting plans in your account. You can manage your account here, as well as access your cPanel. Adding another hosting package to your plan is easy, with just a click of a button.
Upon clicking on manage, you’ll be redirected to your account overview page. You’ll be able to add additional features such as Office365, Constant Contact, or Google Workspace. Additionally, you can access SEO Tools, or manage your SSL amongst other handy things. cPanel, email, install WordPress in one click, access databases, and addon domains are a mere click away.
2. Marketplace Tab
In this section, you can access your plan add-ons, or add new ones. Additionally, related services such as one-click installs — which allows you to easily install WordPress — are found under the marketplace tab.
Options for web design services, professional SEO services, and PPC management services are available for a fee. Lastly, plan perks such as Microsoft or Google free ad credits are also available to you.
3. Email & Office Tab
You have options to add additional emails through Microsoft for $4.99 per month per email, or Google for $6.00 per month per email. HostGator’s email service gives you unlimited POP3 email accounts with SMTP, free installations of Horde and RoundCube, and mobile phone emails via IMAP. There’s a spam preventative in the form of Apache’s SpamAssassin, unlimited email aliases, unlimited autoresponders, and unlimited email forwards. Lastly, you’ll be able to create up to 25 mailing lists with any starter, standard, or business plan HostGator offers.
4. Domains Tab
You can view all of your domains, register a domain, or transfer a domain into your HostGator account under this tab.
5. Billing Tab
Viewing your billing history, making a payment, viewing your credit cards on file, setting up Paypal for payments, or viewing your credits (if applicable) are all located until the billing tab.
6. Support Tab
If you are running into trouble with your site, Hostgator offers you several ways to contact support. You can get help using the HostGator chat software, check the community knowledge base, or retrieve phone numbers to contact support by phone. When we were testing the HostGator environment, we were able to speak with a support representative within a few minutes. He was very knowledgeable and handled our issue in a short time.
Free Domain With a HostGator Hosting Plan
HostGator offers a free domain for one year when you sign up for a WordPress hosting plan. In order to receive your free domain, at least an annual plan must be chosen. You’ll need to do this immediately when you sign up, or you’ll lose this benefit. They also stipulate that you must remain a customer of HostGator without canceling your plan during your contract term. While this is a great feature, domains aren’t typically too expensive. You can generally get a domain for $12 with other hosting providers, so keep that in mind.
HostGator Hosting: Which Plan is the Best Value for You?
As we mentioned before, HostGator offers three tiers in its pricing structure. Which of these plans is best suited to your needs? The answer to that question depends on how many sites you have, and whether you plan to add more sites in the near future.
The HostGator Starter Plan
Their lowest priced option is the Starter Plan, which includes 1 website, 100k visits per month, 1GB backups, an SSL certificate, and a free domain for $5.95 per month if you sign up for 36 months. This is a discounted rate of 40% from their regular pricing. Additionally, the Starter Plan comes with 1 free website migration.
The Starter Plan offers the option of a positive SSL certificate through Sectigo. This SSL is different from the free option you receive when you sign up for a plan. With the Sectigo SSL certificate, you’ll receive a warranty of up to $10,000 ensuring your visitor’s info is protected and encrypted. To add the Sectigo SSL certificate, you’ll need to pay $3.33 per month, which is billed annually at $39.99.
Features of this plan include 24/6/365 live chat and email support along with instant account activation, which means your WordPress site is ready to go when you sign in for the first time. HostGator offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is nice if you decide you’re not in love with them.
The HostGator Standard Plan
The next level pricing plan for HostGator is their Standard Plan. You’ll receive 2 sites with 200k visits per month, 2GB of backups, a free SSL certificate and a free domain. The Standard Plan starts at $7.95 per month if you sign up for a 3-year contract with annual payments.
Like the Starter Plan, you will receive free SiteLock essentials which give you peace of mind knowing your site is protected from malware and malicious attacks. Additionally, you’ll receive daily automated site backups with 1-click restore points. With the Standard Plan, you’ll need to utilize the Sertigo SSL certificate upgrade if you want to incorporate a more robust SSL. Plan features include 24/7/365 live chat and email support along with instant account activation and a 45-day mostly money-back guarantee. In addition to those features, you’ll receive 2 free website migrations.
The HostGator Business Plan
The HostGator Business Plan grants you three sites, 500k visits per month, 3 GB of backups, a free SSL certificate, and a free domain. Prices begin at $9.95 per month for a 36-month contract. You’ll receive the same level of service with email and live chat support, a 45 money back guarantee, and instant account activation. Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of 3 free website migrations.
HostGator 5 Site Business Plan
An upgraded offering of the Business Plan gives you 5 sites, with the ability to migrate up to 5 websites. You’ll still have the features of the 3-site Business Plan, but you’ll be able to host 2 more sites. The 5-site Business Plan will run you $11.95 per month if you opt to host for 3 years. Lastly, you’ll receive email and live chat support, along with instant account activation, and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
HostGator 10 Site Pro Plan
HostGator Pro Plan is a top-tier plan that offers the ability to house 10 websites. The most affordable rate is $22.95 per month with a 36 month contract.
You’ll receive the standard SSL certificate along with SiteLock Essentials, CodeGuard, daily backups, round-the-clock support through email and live chat, instant account activation and the 45 day money back guarantee.
HostGator 20 Site Pro Plan
This plan is the most expensive, yet robust WordPress hosting plan that HostGator offers. With the ability to have 20 sites, this plan makes sense for small to medium-sized agencies or web developers with multiple clients. The 36-month plan saves you the most money in the long run, costing $33.95 per month. If you choose to pay monthly or quarterly for shorter terms, the price increases substantially.
You’ll receive a standard SSL certificate, SiteLock Essentials, CodeGuard, daily backups, and live chat support 24/7/365. HostGator says “if you’re working, we’re working.” Plus, you’ll get the 45-day money-back guarantee should you not be satisfied with your purchase.
Now that we’ve explored all of the pricing options offered by HostGator, you might be asking yourself a question. “Is HostGator Hosting right for me?” Let’s take a look at who HostGator WordPress hosting is geared towards, and who might want to look for other options.
Who is HostGator Hosting Best Suited For?
The answer to this question largely depends on what type of WordPress user you are. If you are an individual who only has one or two websites that don’t want to deal with the daunting task of setting up your own server environments, HostGator could be a good option for you. With their 1-click WordPress installs, you won’t have to worry about messing things up. HostGator takes the initiative to do the techy stuff for you, allowing you to focus time on making your site look good. The security aspects of your site are handled for you as well. They’ll install your SSL, protect you from the meanies that want to do your site harm, and keep your site safe and sound with daily backups.
Hostgator Hosting is a Good Option for Freelancers
What if you are a freelance web developer with more than just a couple of sites? Well, the answer is tricky. It depends. We think that HostGator could be a good option for you if your clients are mostly bloggers or small businesses. With that said, if your clients have sites that are larger than 5-10 pages and have lots of files, HostGator might not be the best option. HostGator touts unlimited bandwidth, but the fine print on their website reads:
Disk space and bandwidth is “Unmetered” which means you are not charged according to the amount of disk space or bandwidth you use.
However, we do require all customers to be fully compliant with our Terms of Service and to only utilize disk space and bandwidth in the normal operation of a personal or small business website.
HostGator is affordable compared to other hosting providers. If you charge your customers a monthly maintenance fee, the cost you’ll pay to host your sites is pretty low. For less than $300 per year, you can host 10 client websites on their 10-site Business Plan. Even if you only charge your customers $50 per month for hosting, you’re still pocketing a couple of hundred dollars a year using HostGator.
Is HostGator a Good Option for Larger Agencies?
If you are a medium to a large web agency, HostGator might not be the best option. The largest plan they currently offer is their 20-site Pro Plan. The cost for this plan is roughly $432 per year. Those savings only apply if you sign up for a one-year contract. This plan would be good for a smaller agency that’s just starting out but doesn’t leave much room for growth. If you continue to add clients you’ll need to buy an additional plan to accommodate your business growth. Plus, there’s that bandwidth issue we mentioned above. You wouldn’t want to limit yourself to smaller business clients that will have smaller sites.
Regarding the 45 Day Money Back Guarantee…
We signed up for a Starter Plan for our testing purposes. When we decided to test the refund policy, we discovered that you don’t get all of your money back. If you take the free domain during signup, you’ll be charged regardless. Our upfront cost was $84 and some change. When we canceled our service, we had no problems doing it, but our refund was only $55. We thought it worth mentioning in case you decide to try HostGator and end up canceling it within the refund time period.
Wrapping Things Up
HostGator is priced very affordably with a variety of plans and price points to suit any budget. They offer some really nice features that will make the lives of WordPress users a lot easier. Additionally, they have a good support policy that is available to you any time of the day or night, year-round. We feel that HostGator can be a good option for WordPress hosting for some people. If you are an individual looking to host a couple of websites or a freelancer with a few sites, it would work for you. HostGator would also suit the smaller web agency that hosts small client websites.
If you’d like to read more reviews on WordPress Hosting, check out this article, Google Cloud Hosting: A Review for WordPress Users.
Looking for a hosting solution for larger sites? Check out our review of AWS hosting here.
Do you have any questions about how HostGator, or are you currently using them? Tell us about it in the comments section below!