If nothing else, HostGator is the options king. They provide three different shared hosting plans, reseller hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting at a whopping 9 different levels of service, and 8 different dedicated hosting options (4 Linux based and 4 Windows based). In this review, we will be looking at the cheapest level of the standard shared hosting plans. Even here, the options are surprisingly impressive, so let’s dive in to this HostGator review!
So, what does the lowest level of the shared hosting offer?
First off, a low price. If you’re willing to sign up for the longest term (3 years), you can get the service for $4.95 a month. Not many services are that cheap, though there are a few others. Of course, if you opt for shorter terms, the price goes up. A 2 year commitment is $5.95 a month, a 1 year commitment is $6.95 a month, and anything shorter than that is $8.95 a month. If you prefer to pay month by month instead of in advance (which is required with longer commitments), $8.95 a month starts to get pricey. But, flexibility costs extra money in the web hosting world, so this isn’t too surprising.
For such a low price, what are the restrictions?
Well, you can only host 1 domain on it and the IP address is not a dedicated IP address. Also, neither private SSL nor anonymous FTP are allowed. If you’re looking for one host to run multiple sites off of, or if those features are needed for what you want to do, this is obviously a big determent. Never fear, though, as those problems can be alleviated! By paying more for a higher level of service, of course. But, for now, we won’t be covering those services, so we’ll take these limitations as-is.
What is not limited is the control panel.
HostGator uses the classic cPanel and Fantastico combo to provide a wealth of options to the end user. Combine that with an unlimited number of MySQL databases, and there’s a LOT you can do (provided you want to do it all within one domain name). From setting up a WordPress blog to creating your own Wiki, HostGator can do it quickly and (relatively) easily. This can definitely be invaluable for somebody new to web hosting in general, though really tweaking these things to your liking might take some coding experience, but that is true no matter what host you use.
The Terms of Service includes a couple of nasty things.
The biggest sore in the HostGator Terms of Service is their limits on their “unlimited” storage and bandwidth. Using too much of the server’s resources can get your account suspended. More specifically, using more than 25% of the server’s available resources for more than 90 seconds at a time can result in bringing your account up for review, and they might even take your site down until the can review it. The average honest Joe most likely won’t run into this problem in practice, but the fear of having your website shutdown for accidentally using up too many invisible, remote resources is unpleasant. There’s also a fairly extensive list of things not allowed on their servers, some of which due to the average server load of such things, and others simply due to ethical or legal concerns. For most of these, it seems to make sense, but it is rather daunting to see such a list of “forbidden activities”.
The support is adequate.
But not the best. On two different occasions, we have contacted them asking why a site of ours is down or why our site is loading so very slowly, and they were able to answer relatively quickly in both cases. But, both times the answer was “server issues”, and Web Host Review Blog was assured that they would soon be resolved. In there defense, they were (within an hour each time), but only getting these vague answers as to what’s wrong can be a little disconcerting. However, in both cases, they were already aware of the problem and working on it, so that is certainly a plus. They’ll discover problems and start trying to fix them before you tell them about the problem. WebHostReviewBlog.com also thinks that perhaps if they really went into detail about what was wrong, it might confuse some customers… and it’s always possible that they didn’t know what was wrong just yet. Simpler questions, like how to do something or “can I do something”, were answered quickly and accurately, which provided us with much satisfaction.
So, what does Web Host Review Blog really think?
We think they’re a good shared web hosting company, and we were happy to bring you this HostGator review. HostGator has proved to have everything a beginner needs at a great price, though some daunting Terms of Service prohibitions can put a bit of a damper on a beginner’s attitude about the whole thing. At this level, there could definitely be some improvement. Perhaps their more expensive levels fix some of these problems, but, alas, they are more expensive.
Web Host Review Blog gives HostGator a Thumbs Up