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Hostgator Review

Hostgator Scorecard
Category Score
Core Features 9/10
Email Features 10/10
Support & Security Features 10/10
Website Statistics 10/10
Administration & Software 10/10
Multimedia Support 10/10
Included Scripts 10/10
E-Commerce 9/10
Overall Score 78/80
Rank #1
Rating 5 Star
Visit: Bluehost Web Hosting

Pros: Unlimited domains, subdomains, parked domains, storage space, bandwidth, databases, email accounts, forwards and autoresponders; 24/7/365 live phone or chat support; 45 day money back guarantee; Comprehensive free script library and software support; $100 Google Adwords advertising credit; Free toll-free number; Dedicated IP address and private SSL certificate included.

Cons: No PostgreSQL, No Yahoo! Advertising credit.

Overview: Hostgator is all around the best host we have seen so far. For web business, the free 866 or 877 toll-free number allows you to have a professional contact number. Their customer support is fantastic, with responsive 24/7 phone and chat support and a support ticket response time of a couple hours at most. The dedicated IP address and free private SSL certificate allows you to have a shopping cart without paying a premium. Their extensive script library, software support and feature package makes HostGator a perfect place to host your websites.

The Hostgator Baby plan is feature-rich and reliable – perfect for small businesses and individuals. Hostgator also has award-winning dedicated server plans and fantastic reseller plans to accommodate all of your business hosting needs.

Hostgator Review – Core Features: 9/10

HostGator offers an excellent set of core features that makes your hosting account flexible enough to handle whatever type of websites you need to create. You get unlimited: storage space, bandwidth, domains, sub-domains, parked domains, FTP accounts and MySQL databases. There is no size limit to the MySQL databases, so as your sites grow, your databases can grow with them. They also support international domain names. Anonymous FTP and SSH shell access are allowed, along with .htaccess editing (to manage page and folder access) and custom error pages (to keep visitors on your site if a page doesn’t load).

HostGator also provides a free dedicated IP address, which is essential if you plan to have your own merchant account and shopping cart. These require an SSL certificate, which ensures your customer’s personal data is secure. Many hosts provide shared certificates. Using a shared SSL certificate will cause your customers to see your host’s name in their browser address bar at checkout. That can be off-putting for customers. With a private SSL certificate, your domain appears to customers in the address bar, showing them you are a real professional business that can be trusted with their personal information.

HostGator does not provide PostgreSQL support. Though they get docked half a point for this on principal, it’s not a big deal in practice. You will likely not come across any popular scripts that use it. A free domain name is also not included, which accounts for the other half point deduction. While this extra could save you nine dollars, you often don’t get the administrative control over a free domain that you would with a real domain registrar.

HostGator also offers reseller hosting and dedicated server hosting. The dedicated server hosting comes in two varieties: Linux hosting and Windows hosting. Dedicated server hosting at HostGator is a fully managed solution that provides you with the capability to go beyond the resource limitations found in a shared hosting environment. It also improves the performance of your sites with a higher level of security and speed. Though this HostGator review is focused on their shared business hosting, if you need a dedicated server host, HostGator is second to none.

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Hostgator Review – Email Features: 10/10

The email features are essentially the same in all the hosts that qualified for our review list. HostGator provides unlimited POP3/IMAP email accounts, unlimited autoresponders and unlimited mail forwarding/aliases. One very important feature to note is that each separate domain in your account can have its own email addresses. You also have control over catch-all emails. SPAM Assassin is also included, which gives you custom filtering and black/white lists. Webmail is included and is compatible with personal email programs (Outlook, etc.).

HostGator does allow mailing lists. Our HostGator review found that their policy permits a maximum of 500 outgoing emails per hour. There is no limit to the number of lists or the number of people on each list. The mailing list script provided with their hosting plan (PHPlist) allows you to “throttle” your email so you don’t exceed 500/hr. This is a generous limit. Remember not to max out your hourly limit on only your list or you won’t be able to send regular email. if your lists outgrow your hosting account, don’t worry – that’s a good thing. It means you are ready to transfer those lists to a dedicated mailing list provider like AWeber. This is an especially good idea if you don’t yet have the resources to accommodate the higher cost of upgrading to a dedicated server.

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Hostgator Review – Support & Security Features: 10/10

HostGator tops our scale for support and security. There is no setup charge for new accounts and a 45-day money back guarantee if you are dissatisfied for any reason. They have an extensive knowledgebase and great video tutorials. When you need to talk to a real person, they provide 24/7 live telephone and chat help. Customer service representatives and technical support personnel are easy to work with and know their system backward and forward.

Their support ticket system is also available 24/7 and most tickets get a response within an hour. Simply put, HostGator has one of the best support systems out there. There are specific issues that may present higher resolution times. But, unlike other hosts that lump it all together in an effort to look better, HostGator lists them in their knowledgebase so you know what to expect. We found this part of our HostGator review refreshing; it’s nice to see some honesty from a web host for a change.

Hostgator uses world-class datacenters that feature state of the art security, fire detection / suppression and redundant power, safety, and cooling systems – all designed to ensure that service remains uninterrupted. They have a fully meshed and redundant Certified Cisco Network and feature 10 backbone and fiber providers. HostGator monitors their equipment 24/7 and backs it all up with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

In addition to automatic server backups, you can back up your account from the cPanel administration panel. You can also enable hotlink/leeching protection (prevents others from displaying your content on their pages using your bandwidth), and password protected directories.

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Hostgator Review – Website Statistics: 10/10

HostGator provides all of the standard website statistics for tracking and monitoring your sites. These include raw access logs, error logs, referrer logs, bandwidth usage monitoring and sub-domain statistics. They also include Webalizer and AWStats programs within cPanel so you can see a detailed graphical representation of your traffic.

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Hostgator Review – Administration & Software Support: 10/10

HostGator runs the industry-standard cPanel administration control panel. cPanel is easy, user-friendly and powerful, providing control of everything from script installation and domain modifications to email and FTP. HostGator runs the latest versions of all the current web application software, including PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby on Rails and FastCGI. Each account has CGI-BIN and SSI capability as well as support for JavaScript and DHTML. HostGator allows custom PHP.ini files and has phpMyAdmin for MySQL database management. They have Microsoft FrontPage extensions and allow uploading from Dreamweaver. HostGator is WordPress ready and makes an excellent place to host your WordPress blog (or blogs).

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Hostgator Review – Multimedia Support: 10/10

HostGator supports streaming audio and video (HTTP streaming of Real Player, QuickTime, and Windows Media Player) along with Real Audio, Real Video, MIDI, Flash (user must have the Flash plug-in installed in their browser), Shockwave (user must have the Shockwave plug-in installed in their browser) and custom MIME types.

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Hostgator Review – Included Scripts: 10/10

HostGator includes an outstanding array of single-click install scripts in cPanel. These include forums & message boards, form-mail scripts, image galleries, blogs, site builders, content management systems & portals, project management, polls & surveys, FAQs, customer service & ticket generation, shopping cart & e-commerce scripts, chat, a mailing list script, search and a CGI script library. At the time of our HostGator review, some of the popular applications in this group are WordPress, Moodle, Mambo, Joomla, Drupal, PHP-Nuke, Xoops, Geeklog, PHPbb, osCommerce, Coppermine Photo Gallery, PHPlist, dotProject, PHPauction, osTicket, phpCOIN, Open-Realty, LimeSurvey, Soholaunch Pro and many more. If what we have seen in previous Fantastico updates is any indication, this list will only expand and get better.

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Hostgator Review – E-Commerce Features: 9/10

When it comes to E-Commerce, HostGator does not disappoint. You get a free private SSL certificate. This is essential if you have your own web store and your own merchant account (as opposed to accepting payments through PayPal or Clickbank where they process the transaction and handle security). This will save you sixty plus dollars a year and a boatload of administrative headaches. They also give you hundreds of free professional CSS and Flash templates and a $100 Google Adwords advertising credit. Shopping carts include osCommerce, Zen Cart and Cube Cart.

While they do not offer a Yahoo! Advertising credit, our HostGator review uncovered something even better – a free toll free number. This 866 or 877 number (via VOIPo) gives you 100 minutes per month and can be forwarded to any phone number you want – with caller ID. You can even change the number to which it forwards as needed. If you are running a business, having a contact phone number on your site not only legitimizes you in the eyes of your visitors, it builds trust with your customers and potential customers. When you show them that if they really need something they can speak with a real person, it will make them much more comfortable doing business with you. Also, if you plan to work with any affiliate or CPA networks, having a separate business number shows them you are serious and helps improve your chances of getting accepted.

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5 StarHostgator Review – Overall Score: 78/80

Editor's Choice: Best Web HostHostGator has the best feature set of all the multiple domain hosts we reviewed. Their large 1-click install script library and unlimited domains, storage, bandwidth, email and databases give you the flexibility you need to set up just about any type of website you require. Their facilities are powered by 100% renewable wind energy and they even purchase 30% more than they need. That means HostGator is not just carbon neutral, they are actually preventing greenhouse gas emissions.

HostGator has reliable, fast servers and consistently ranks high on independent speed, uptime and reliability measurements. Add to that their e-commerce extras (especially the free toll-free 866 or 877 number included in the Hostgator Business plan) and their first-class customer support and you have a clear winner. So how pleased were we with our HostGator review? After reviewing tons of webhosts (it must have been over 100), we moved our website to HostGator.

hostgator review

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HostGator Review Update, 7/1/2010: We’ve been with HostGator for over 1 year now and we are very pleased with our service. Our websites load fast and we haven’t experienced any downtime. cPanel is a breeze to use and everything in the account just works. The toll free number setup was easy and functions just as advertised. Their free templates are much better than I expected.

I have chatted with HostGator customer service twice and both times I had the answer I neded in a few minutes. The people I chatted with were real people – the responses did not seem like automated chat script replies like some other hosts’ chat help does. I called customer service once with a question about something I didn’t know how to do and they helped me right away. They have completely lived up to everything I discovered in the initial HostGator review. If you are still on the fence about which host to choose, debate no longer. HostGator is simply the best.

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