HostGator Review 2021 – Is HostGator Still a Good Host?

This review is about the HostGator web hosting service. I have spent some hours studying the various aspects of the service and also, I have used some advanced performance tests to analyze its performance. This review will present you with an in-depth view of the HostGator pricing, performance, and features. 

HostGator Review Summary

Started in 2002, HostGator is one of the oldest hosting companies and is a very popular name for sure. The service is pretty affordable and easy to use. The web host comes with good features and has a few powerful add-ons using which you can have an extremely reliable setup for your business. The service has decent performance and is good for hosting small and medium-size sites.  

HostGator Pricing

HostGator offers customers 4 plans to choose from, and the plans have been classified based on the number of websites. Here are the plan details:

  • Hatchling Plan: Single website, $2.75 per month.
  • Baby Plan: Unlimited websites, $3.50 per month.
  • Business Plan: Unlimited websites, $5.25 per month.

Certain features are common in all plans:

  • One-click WordPress installs
  • Free WordPress/cPanel website transfer
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Free SSL certificate 
  • Free domain for the first year

The best part is that all the plans are available for introductory prices, making them very affordable. One way to make the most out of this introductory offer is to buy a plan for the maximum possible years. Selecting the Baby plan over the Hatchling plan would be wise because the Hatchling plan offers just 1 site support while the Baby plan supports unlimited sites. 

Performance

Server Response Time

When it comes to performance, the first obvious thing to check is the server response time. I hosted a site on the HostGator platform for testing purposes and have been consistently monitoring the service and several other hosting services. As per my last server response time test, my HostGator site recorded an average server response time of 759 ms, a decent server response time. 

Uptime

Uptime is one of those factors that have a huge impact on sites’ success and ranking, which is why it should be taken very seriously. When I tested the uptime of my HostGator site recently, the site reflected an uptime of 99.97%. Most importantly, the uptime has never been below 99.97% throughout the testing period, and, of course, the uptime has touched 99.99% a couple of times.

Load Testing

Another important aspect to check is the load handling capacity of the service, which means the service's ability to handle high traffic. I tested the load handling ability of my HostGator site by sending 500 and 1000 concurrent traffic to the site. 

As per the test results, the site recorded 104 ms in the Clients Per Test (1000 Clients in 1 Minute) and 380 ms in the Maintain Client Load (500 Clients in 1 Minute). Going by the results, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that HostGator can handle high-traffic sites.

HostGator
HostGator

Global TTFB

The global TTFB test is an excellent performance test to determine the TTFB of hosting services across global locations. The test is exceptionally useful for sites that largely rely on multiple global locations for traffic. I pinged my HostGator site from as many as ten global locations, and results were a bit disappointing, with the service scoring an average TTFB of 1.23 s.

Anything below one second is considered good. Besides, the site had a TTFB of more than 1 second in 7 out of ten locations. In Frankfurt, the performance was just too bad with a TTFB of 2.27 ms. I wouldn’t recommend HostGator for sites that count on multiple global locations.

Core Web Vitals

User experience has become an important factor for ranking these days. Before a site can deliver the best user experience to its visitors, it is important to find a hosting service with decent Core Web Vitals. 

I have constantly been testing the Core Web Vitals of the various hosting services. As per my last Core Web Vital test, my HostGator site recorded a ‘Largest Contentful Paint’ 1.607s, a ‘Total Blocking Time’ of 0.002, and a ‘Cumulative Layout Shift’ of 0.002. Hence, you can count on HostGator in terms of user experience. If you are planning to improve Largest Contentful Paint on WordPress site, then this host is not for you.

HostGator Pros

Affordable Pricing

HostGator is one of those hosting companies with the most affordable pricing, and customers can start for as low as $2.75 per month. However, the service comes with comparatively more resources than other hosting services for the same price range. 

Free Email

HostGator also allows customers to create free email accounts. While many other hosting services have stopped providing customers with this service for free, customers can still have this service with HostGator. Besides, there is no limit on the number of email accounts users can create in HostGator.  

Free Domain

HostGator provides customers with a free domain for the first year on all plans, and this would also help customers save some money. Besides, having a domain from the hosting service means you don’t have to configure the domain with the hosting since it will be automatically configured.  

Unlimited sites

Another cool thing about the HostGator pricing is that all the higher plans have unlimited sites and unlimited bandwidth, unlike other hosting companies. This is helpful for those who may need to host multiple sites. 

HostGator Cons

Average Performance

HostGator offers a good performance for sure, and I can say it is based on the server response time and uptime test results. Even if it's not as fast as many other leading hosting services, 759 ms is certainly a decent server response time. Besides, the service also has a reliable time. The service also has good load handling ability and good Core Web Vitals for sites to deliver a brilliant user experience.

However, Bluehost another company from the same EIG group offers better server response time and they have recently upgraded their plans with a focus on the future.

Only 2 Data Center Locations

Datacenter locations play a very important role in hosting since users look for hosting their sites from the closest data center location to their target audience. However, HostGator has just two data center locations: Provo, Utah, and Houston, Texas. This means customers have a higher chance of not finding their desired data center location with HostGator. 

Backups Not Guaranteed

Hosting a site without a proper backup in place is pretty risky, and customers need to pay close attention to the backup policy of hosting services before choosing one. Even though HostGator has automated daily, weekly, and monthly backups in place, the host does it as a courtesy and is not guaranteed. 

However, customers need to pay an additional price to get any of these backup copies. Hence, HostGator does have a complete backup system in place, and the only way to go about this would be to have a third-party backup solution such as CodeGuard.

HostGator Features

Control Panel

Since every aspect of the hosting account has to be managed using the control panel, it is important to pay close attention to this feature. HostGator comes with cPanel, which happens to be the most popular control panel, and those who have used cPanel with some other hosting services before will have an advantage for sure. 

HostGator Control Panel

With a cPanel, you have the comfort of adding or removing domain names, installing CMS like WordPress via Softaculous, managing backups and traffic logs, monitor resources such as bandwidth and disk space usage, and changing PHP versions. 

CDN

HostGator uses Cloudflare CDN and has it on all the plans for free. Cloudflare gives sites the benefits of reverse-proxy caching, auto minification, image optimization, and static content delivery over 155 global locations. This subsequently reduces the bandwidth and server load, resulting in faster load times. 

Staging

Staging is a handy feature for testing important changes before implementing them on the live site. HostGator allows customers to create staging sites for free from the cPanel through the Softaculous App Installer. The process is very simple, and after you finish testing, you can easily push the changes to live in just a few clicks. 

Security

Unfortunately, unlike other hosting companies, HostGator doesn’t have any free security features. The only way to go about security in HostGator is to choose one of the SiteLock plans for an additional price. SiteLock comes with a Daily malware scan and Automated malware removal.

Support

Reliable support service is exceptionally helpful while you are stuck with some technical complexities. As far as the HostGator support service goes, it comprises 24×7 live chat, phone, and tickets alongside video tutorials. Even though customer service has gotten better over the years, you may sometimes have to experience longer waiting times. 

HostGator Review – Do I Recommend?

In this review, I tried my best to clarify all aspects of the HostGator service, and I am sure that you now have a good understanding of the HostGator service. According to my tests, HostGator had a reliable performance. The only thing that I couldn’t be impressed with was the global TTFB. 

The service is pretty affordable and offers a lot of resources for the same price range compared with other hosting services. Besides, the web host also offers a free domain for one year on all plans. However, backup and security are not perfect unless you get the paid add-ons. This may increase the cost to some extent but overall, good service for this price range.

Leave a Comment