Should You Use HostGator? Read The Fine Print!
If you are thinking about beginning a blog, a forum, a photo gallery, an e-Commerce site, etc., you have probably been in the market for a web hosting service.
Web hosting is the activity or business of providing storage space and access for websites. In a nutshell, it is what will provide you with a platform for creating a website, and ensuring that it is viewed on the internet.
HostGator is one of many web hosting companies, and we are going to be going over why some people love, and some people hate this company.
It’s super important to find a web hosting platform that you are comfortable and familiar with when starting up a website, because you will have enough on your plate as it is with the actual creation of the website.
You need access to support, realistic pricing, videos and tutorials, ease of usability, and much more.
So, let’s jump in and find out if HostGator is the platform for you!
Product Name: HostGator
Website URL: www.hostgator.com
Owners: Endurance International Group
Training: (3 / 5)
Price: (3 / 5)
Tools: (2 / 5)
Support: (1 / 5)
Usability: (3 / 5)
Overall Rating: (3 / 5)
HostGator is a seemingly reputable web hosting company, claiming to currently be supporting over 9,000,000 domains.
They are popular, and you can see the slightly scary looking alligator on many people’s pages across the internet who are marketing for them.
The website is very well put together, and does offer quite a few plans and pricing options. You also have the ability to purchase domains directly through them, which I’ll discuss in detail.
They have different kinds of web hosting, which does set them apart from many companies who are a little more limited in that aspect, and they really push the fact that they have solid 24/7 support.
So, is this a reliable platform to host your website on? I must warn you, I don’t pull any punches in my reviews, so let’s board the train to transparency town and find out if this is the platform for you!
- Easy to follow website, with pricing comparisons and what is included in plans
- 24/7 support
- Competitive pricing
- Hosting over 9,000,000 domains currently
- Good affiliate program
- Can purchase domains directly through them
- Lots of training videos
- Pricing Fine Print
- Separation of services, such as training and website builder and live support
- Many reports of sites being hacked and going down
- Lack of immediate support
- Canceling is not easy
- Comparitively, not much is included in their plans for the price
- Training videos very difficult to navigate through
- Starter Plan does not include priority support
- Pay for automated backups
- Slow site speed
- Have to pay extra for training such as SEO and PPC
- To get promo price, you have to lock in for at least 3 years
- Not able to use over 25% of services for over 90 seconds, or site could crash
Let’s start with the seemingly crazy amount of training and tutorials that HostGator offers.
As you can see in the photo, Hostgator does have a tutorial video for everything. Every. Single. Thing. Like, you could get lost in their tutorial videos.
If you are a pro at website creating and have been in the business for a while, this might be a great thing for you, just so you can brush up on your knowledge and maybe learn a few new things.
However, if you are a beginner..which HostGator seems to cater to, this can be very confusing. I spent quite a bit of time here, and the videos and tutorials are all titles with words that the beginner would probably not understand.
I’ve been doing this a while, and I didn’t have any idea what most of them were. I suppose you could ask the live support which video to watch for certain issues, but I’m not very patient.
When I first began in blog writing, I had to have a step-by-step walk through of every single thing. And I assume I’m not alone.
On the upside, if you know your terms and have experience, this could be a great training center for you. They really leave no stone unturned in terms of training.
This is where things can gt a bit confusing.
If you take a look at the website, Hostgator has their pricing plans very well organized into categories, based on what type of hosting you are after.
Here’s an example:
The issue is this: See the little asterisks next to the prices? Yeah. That’s because every month after the first month, the price is not going to be that low.
The prices are actually quite reasonable. Depending on which plan you choose.
The problem emerges when you read the fine print. The promotional offers are only valid for the longest term plans. You need to sign up for at least three years. Yes. THREE YEARS, to get the lowest price. If you choose to sign up for a shorter term, the price could increase by as much as 150%!
I don’t know about you…but I have no idea where I’ll be in three years. That seems a little excessive.
The fine print also states that the price could go up at any given time.
Here’s another point. You do have to purchase some forms of training separately. Example:
If you need training or assistance with SEO (search engine optimization), or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, you will have to call the customer service line, be matched up with a representative, and then pay for the training. See picture :
It is also necessary to pay for automated backup of data.
The free website builder included with the hosting packages includes the following perks:
-$100 ad words credit (if you do not have an ad words account)
-$100 Bing Ads credit (if you do not have an account)
– Unmetered Bandwidth (it shouldn’t slow down your internet connection)
– Free SSL Certificate (this is security for your website)
You can purchase your domain name through HostGator, as well, just be sure to note that the price listed is not what the price will be when the auto-renewal takes place.
Purchasing your domain with HostGator is convenient, and some plans offer the opportunity to have unlimited domains, which is a definite perk.
If you choose to cancel your membership with the company, you will need to give written notice, and then any charges that are accrued while you are waiting for your account to be canceled, you are responsible for.
If you choose to cancel within the first year of your membership, and you plan includes a free domain name, you will be responsible for paying the fee for the domain name.
The best tools at HostGator would have to be the website builder, the training videos, and the affiliate program.
The website builder offers quite a few themes, and they have a feature that allows you to drag and drop media and content, allowing for a quicker published product. It seems to be very easy to use and pretty nice.
The training videos, like discussed above, are many MANY. And there are many step-by-step trainings. The downfall is that they are pretty difficult to navigate through.
The affiliate program offers nice incentives.
Basically, you can earn $5 and $125 per referral to their site, if the referral signs up for an account.
The only issue I have with this, is that the commissions are not recurring. It is a one-time commission. So if you have some slow weeks, months (which are inevitable), you are not earning any residual income from prior referrals.
The support seemingly leaves a lot to be desired. While they do have live support 24/7, the wait time for the support is not specified. Some users report that they waited for as long as 50 minutes. That would be very frustrating when you have a major issue on your website and need assistance.
The overall report is not good when it comes to the support. Some have had websites down with no help or support to speak of for days.
It’s very important to have immediate help if something crazy is going on with your site, and there are hosting platforms that offer immediate help.
It has also been reported that the managers are unavailable. A Little bit shady, in my opinion.
The main website is very easy to navigate. Besides navigating through the training videos, the whole site is pretty self-explanatory and easy to read and decipher.
The website builder available with membership is easy to use, and is a great place to begin if you are unfamiliar with coding.
The overall ease of use is high.
What’s the Final Word?
Is HostGator For You?
The bottom line is, it’s not a platform that I would recommend for someone looking for long term support and stability.
It seems user-friendly enough, and the prices are certainly not that bad. The up time of your website will also be very good. The average up time rate is over 99%. That’s important.
However, with speed being a factor in Google rankings, that is also important. And the speed of the sites are lacking. Seconds behind websites of other hosting platforms, which can make all the difference to Google.
Finally, let’s keep in mind from the list above, that you cannot be using more than 25% of their services for over 90 seconds at a time. What? Yeah, and their are reports that if you do, your site will go down. Not good, ya’ll.
In conclusion, HostGator might look nice, until you read the fine print and experience the trouble that comes after you have locked yourself in and signed up.
I wouldn’t sign my name on a recommendation.
If you are looking for a reliable, all encompassing platform with which to start your website, FOLLOW THIS LINK and I will explain the in’s and out’s of a far superior option.
If you have used HostGator, and have a personal review, please leave a comment below!
Let us know what you experienced!
Also, feel free to leave any questions or comments below.