Hostgator Web Hosting Review

by Virtual Exhibit on January 22, 2013

If you spend much time on the Internet you won’t have to look long to before you run into ads for Hostgator. With a promise of “Now 20% Off,” and hosting packages starting at $3.96 per month, which is anywhere from one to three dollars a month less than other hosts, and they offer the same or better features.

Let’s look a little more closely at whats included. To save 25% now use coupon code VE25OFF2013 at checkout HERE.

For starters they offer “unlimited” disk space and “unlimited” bandwidth, 4,500 free website templates, a 99.9% up-time guarantee, a 45-day money back guarantee, 24/7/365 technical support, and a $100 Google Adwords credit. If you’re creating a new website, they even offer a free site builder. If you’re coming from another host, all of your file, domain, database and script transfers are included.


hostgatorlogoThere are thousands of budget hosts on the Internet, and many of them offer the exact same features, because they buy their hosting service from the exact same company. The big differentiators between hosts is service, and price comes into play even though the difference is usually only a couple of dollars a month between any two hosts.

What They Offer

HostGator, like most hosting companies, offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, and 99.9% uptime. They also give you a free site builder, 1-click script installs, 4,500 free website templates, a 45-day money back guarantee, 24/7/365 technical support and a $100 Google Adwords credit. The main drawback is that this hosting package really only allows for 1 website.

For people with more robust needs there are also reseller, VPS and dedicated server options. These options offer more powerful servers and better multi-site management features but do come with bandwidth limits.

The Real Story

Let’s look at HostGator’s Terms of Service about that bandwidth and disk space thing. While HostGator does not limit disk space or delete accounts for using too much disk space, they clearly state that “any shared account” which uses more than 20 gigabytes of space will be removed from the off-site backup, which is made every week.

They will continue to back up databases, but if you use more of your “unlimited” disk space than they want you to, they won’t back up your website anymore. They will mirror the data to a secondary drive, which means that if a drive fails you probably won’t lose your data, but if you want a backup you’ll have to make it yourself if you get too greedy with your unlimited disk space.

There are also limitations on how much load you put on the shared server, for instance you may not use more than 25% of your servers resources for any longer than 90 seconds. Also there are limits on how many and how often SQL queries are made. The good news is, if this is all Greek to you its not a limit you will ever hit.

The 99.9% uptime guarantee is for real, right? Well, it sort of is. First off, the downtime has to be “physical downtime” on the server. If this happens, you’ll receive a credit for one month’s hosting. If the credit is approved, which is totally at their discretion. I personally have used their services for years and never had an outage to my knowledge.

Well, what about the 45-day money back guarantee? Is that good? Yes, that guarantee appears to be on the level.

Now let’s look at that 24/7/365 support. I can say from personal experience that they are great about being there when you need them. Whenever I have had an issue they have been there both on their live chat and actual human phone support.

The free site-builder, one-click script installs and 4,500 website templates are also available. Depending on what you plan on doing this may not be something that you use. I never have.

You should be aware that when they offer free transfers of scripts, databases, domains and files from your existing server, what they mean is that they will try, but if your existing server is not configured correctly, or the way they expect, they may not be able to complete the transfer. When they did my transfer of multiple sites everything went smoothly.

For many people, the $100 Google Adwords credit is a big lure, but is it really that big a deal? To be honest, it’s not. A quick search on Google will lead you to a page on Google’s website where you can obtain the same credit for free with no purchase required. But if you need hosting anyway you may as well take advantage of it.

The Cost

HostGator’s pricing is a bit deceptive. That $3.96 per month applies only if you pay in advance for three years, with only a 45-day money back guarantee. If you pay for one month at a time or six months, you pay $7.16 per month, not $3.96. 12 month and 24 month prices are respectively less, but to get the big deal you must fork over $142.56, and you must make your decision for the next three years within 45 days. If you leave after 45 days you will not receive a refund.

It is not unreasonable to suppose that you would stay with a web host for three years, if their quality and service remains consistent. It is reasonable to suppose that over the course of three years you might become dissatisfied with a service that you liked perfectly well on the 45th day. My personal experience which is now going on 3 years has been great.

Committing that kind of money to save three dollars or so a month may not make sense for a lot of people. When you think about it…its nearly half price though.

That said, at $7.16 per month they still offer good value. On top of that you can save 25% using coupon code VE25OFF2013 at checkout .


The low price for a long-term commitment is typical in the hosting industry, and not a sign of deliberate deception or malfeasance. Most people will prefer to not pay for three years in advance. For those people the regular pricing is quite reasonable.

Most hosting companies offer basically the same features as including the limitations on “unlimited resources”.

The support is the best I have ever dealt with. Also the site builder and templates are helpful to those new to having their own website and planning on building it themselves.

The offer of free transfers from the old server is a good reason to choose Hostgator, and in nearly all cases they will successfully complete the transfer.

The bottom line is that there are thousands of web hosts out there, and HostGator is the best known because they offer reasonable prices on good features, with excellent support. They host this site and have been my #1 choice for several years.

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