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Summary: What’s The Best Replacement For Hostgator?
- Siteground – good, cheap, and faster than hostgator with their supercacher built in
- Lightning Base – if you want to step up to a VPS, their $50/mo plan is what I’m running here on my blog. Awesome service, no phone support though if you’re a newb
Humbly originating in a dorm room in 2002, Houston-based HostGator has been around for a relatively long time, and in this period, found widespread fame, glory and the whole package, literally “eating up the competition”! The company even won awards for its efficiency and popularity as a web host, probably due to its many easy-to-use features. In fact, one of the best parts of the web host’s services is that the different plans offered by them have a little something for everyone, no matter your level of experience or how developed your website is.
HostGator has long held the reputation for offering one of the quickest and easiest options for website publication, despite its relatively pricey nature. However, for the price, HostGator gives you many amazing features, such as a user-friendly cPanel, marketing credits, 99.9% uptime guarantee, web hosting with both Linux and Windows, 24/7 customer support and many other services that are great for web development. All of this only served to make HostGator a well-established and popular brand in the industry, being the first choice for many people looking for a web host. More recently, the company even launched a cloud-hosting platform and managed WordPress hosting services to cater to a wider user-base.
A more detailed look at HostGator’s features:
- Great Hosting Packages: The company offers many flexible packages that cater to a wide audience, whether individuals, large or small businesses. The Hatchling plan supports one domain with unlimited bandwidth, disk space and databases, shared SSL certificate and the ability to support third-party applications. You can also choose more advanced packages, whether VPS, dedicated, cloud, WordPress or shared, depending on your hosting needs. It also offers many tools for site-building and web-development.
- Performance: HostGator guarantees an uptime of 99.9%, which is possible because of the many servers it has. These servers are not only strategically located, but also advanced hardware and are stored in high-end data centers with all the facilities needed to keep them secure.
- Security and Backup: HostGator is known for the security it provides, whether to users or its servers. This is due to many features such as 24/7 monitoring of the servers, the presence of biometric locks, security entrances and exits, malware scans and spam protection.
- Customer Support: HostGator is known for its customer support, with 24/7 email, live chat and telephone support, as well as a strong social media support through Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They also have an extensive FAQ database with articles and video tutorials.
- Additional Features: HostGator offers several additional features such as advertising credits, free site transfers, one-click installation for major third-party applications and a free domain name while setting up a new account.
- Widely recognized with a 15-year history of excellence in the web hosting industry.
- Works on both Linux and Windows through a variety of plans.
- Uses cPanel (for Linux) and Plesk (for Windows) for the management of domains.
- Standard hosting features provided that are ideal for all types of users, whether beginners or experts.
- Unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and emails.
- Great security.
- Great customer service, available via live chat, email and telephone.
- New plans such as managed WordPress hosting services and cloud-hosting.
- Great for reseller hosting.
- A green-energy company; it buys certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).
- 45-day money back guarantee.
So with so much going right for it, why exactly do we think HostGator’s awesomeness is a thing of the past, you ask? And why alternatives? Well, for starters, HostGator’s innovative abilities seem to be one of the least in the industry, indicated by the lack of many unique developer tools and their provision. Additionally, there is very little to distinguish HostGator’s plans from its competitors, apart from an independent data center. Also, despite the good cPanel, the company seems to have questionable marketing methods and many users have stated how the plans are deceptively priced, as renewal prices are high, leading to either forced migration or a hole in your pocket!
Like we said, there are certain downsides to using HostGator, such as expensive renewal rates and plan pricing, outdated features due to a lack of innovation, WordPress cloud plans with no access to cPanel or PHPMyAdmin, and a lack of additional services provided with the plans. We take a more detailed look at the cons of using HostGator:
- Below Average Speed: Despite their claims, HostGator users have complained of really slow page loading times, with a 12-month average of 846 ms, which is only a little bit faster than the standard average of 1059 ms. This can be a downer, especially when you consider the SEO implications it has, what with Google announcing that page speed is an important factor in ranking websites in its search engine. A slow page-loading time has been proven to negatively impact sales, as well. Many other web hosts offer faster loading.
- Extra Charges for Automated Backups: Though HostGator claims to provide backups of your site data, this advertisement sadly refers to the manual backing up you have to perform in the cPanel. Automated backups by the company can set you back by as much as $15.95 annually! Quite a turn-off, considering how many web hosts offer free automated daily backups.
- Deceptive Pricing: Like we said, the plans offered are deceptively priced. The promotional pricing offered by the web host is only applicable if you sign up for at least 3 years; monthly or yearly plans are much more expensive! Additionally, renewal rates are exorbitant, sometimes more than double the original pricing.
- Weebly Website Builder: HostGator has partnered with Weebly to provide a free website builder with HTML and CSS templates for theme design that doesn’t require a database. Though the website builder is easy to use and can be enabled in the cPanel, the free service is limited to only 6 pages. If you want to use the website builder for more than 6 pages, it’ll cost you an additional $8.99 per month and an additional $2.99 per month for the e-commerce features.
All of these downsides could end up negatively impacting your website to a great extent, as well as your finances! After all, no one likes paying a bomb only to later realize it wasn’t worth it. To save you from this dilemma, we give you 3 amazing alternative web hosts to HostGator: SiteGround, Lightning Base and LiquidWeb.
Bulgaria-based SiteGround was founded in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since, hosting over 800,000 domains ever since. Providing different types of hosting such as shared, cloud, and dedicated server hosting, SiteGround also offers some pretty amazing and wholesome WordPress hosting, with plans starting at $3.95, a price few competitors are able to beat! However, don’t go by the cliche of “low prices, low quality” as SiteGround ensures that it doesn’t compromise on its quality and features no matter the price of the plan!
The company offers pretty great uptime, speed, and excellent customer support. Its user-friendly features make it ideal for both beginners and experts. However, a word of caution! You’ll only be able to make the best use of the pricing if you pay annually for a plan, instead of monthly. Otherwise, monthly plans offered by SiteGround don’t differ too much from those offered by its competitors.
Some of the features offered by SiteGround include:
- Free migrations to the WordPress platform.
- The ability to setup WordPress with a single click.
- A free-of-cost caching tool that is developed by SiteGround itself (SuperCacher).
- Allows the installation of Git for WordPress tool, which is a great tool for developers.
- SiteGround offers an uptime guarantee of 99.98%
- Loads sites consistently in 500 ms or less
- The customer support service is well-trained, efficient, and knowledgeable
- All of SiteGround’s plans offer high-performing WordPress hosting, regardless of the price
- Security add-ons that are free
- Free migration
- Affordable pricing ($3.95 for the “StartUp” plan, $7.95 for the “GrowBig” plan, and $14.95 for the “GoGeek” plan, all on a monthly basis)
- SiteGround offers a money-back guarantee of 30 days
- Storage space offered is limited
- Billing on a monthly basis results in an additional “setup” fee being charged
SiteGround is a great option if you value excellent performance, expert support, some pretty advanced WordPress-oriented features, and of course, a one-shot annual payment!
Known to be one of the most affordable web hosting services in the world, especially if you’re looking for managed WordPress hosting, Lightning Base is highly popular due to its speed and performance, with many users claiming that the web host offers the fastest managed WordPress service. Initially starting off by offering personalized services in 2011, the web host, today, offers web hosting services for sites that face high traffic.
However, despite claims that it’s great for high traffic, turns out that Lightning Base isn’t the ideal option for sites that face extremely large amounts of traffic, such as e-commerce sites or well-established and popular blogs. It is, however, one of the best and least expensive options for beginners to blogging or small businesses. Lightning Base has some pretty great features, such as:
- Hardware infrastructure that is reliable
- A content delivery network (CDN) that is global
- Efficient security
- Linux-based software that’s efficient and high-performing
- Site setup/transfer
- Automatic backups
- Multi-site support
- Service and support for WordPress-related queries
- Like the name says, Lightning Base is one of the fastest web hosts
- Affordable ($9.95 for the Personal plan, $19.95 for the Small plan, $49.95 for the Medium plan, and $99.95 for the Large plan)
- Lightning Base is an efficiently managed-WordPress host
- The customer service and technical support that are offered are pretty great
- Optimal for sites with low traffic
- Ill-equipped to handle high amounts of traffic
- Not as rich in features or sophistication when compared to other web hosts in the industry (for example, Lightning Base doesn’t provide staging options like WP Engine)
Whether you’re just starting out with your blogging or whether you’re an established blogger who’s looking to cut web hosting costs, Lightning Base is a great web host to replace HostGator.
Founded in 1997, Michigan-based LiquidWeb provides web hosting services, owning and managing 3 data centers that cater to over 30,000 customers in over 120 countries. In fact, the company’s progress resulted in it receive the “INC. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies Award” for 9 consecutive years (2007-2015)! With its diverse plans, LiquidWeb is ideal for all businesses, regardless of their size and their needs; the company offers dedicated, cloud, hybrid and managed WordPress hosting.
LiquidWeb provides many different features to users, such as:
- Various types of hosting and hosting essentials
- Network services such as load balancing, DDoS attack protection and content delivery
- Storage and backup
- Database hosting
- Software services such as Plesk, CMS hosting, blog-hosting, Softaculous and so on
- Monitoring services
- Extensive security services
- Log management
- Designed and built to host multiple WordPress sites
- Extensive range of products, solutions and services
- Excellent uptime with 100% guarantee from the company
- Excellent reputation and wide customer base
- Transparency in the company’s operations
- Powerful SSD servers
- Strong server security
- 100% uptime guarantee
- WordPress-optimized hosting
- Free site migration
- No email hosting for the company’s managed WordPress hosting
- A gap between customer’s needs and technical support offered; inconsistent technical support
- Inadequately trained new staff
- Pricey in nature
HostGator may be one of the most popular brands among today’s web hosts with its 15-year reputation but all good things do come to an end! The company offers excellent hosting plans that are relatively inexpensive at first glance but can really burn a hole right through your pocket when it’s time for renewal. There is also an absence of innovation and development of new tools; however, on the whole, HostGator is easy-to-use and can get the job done.
But why be satisfied with just getting the job done? You can get the job done amazingly well with the alternatives to HostGator that we’ve reviewed! SiteGround, Lightning Base and LiquidWeb may not be perfect either (but then again, few things rarely are!) but these web hosts can satisfy your website’s needs much more efficiently than HostGator and give you value-for-money with their great prices. If you haven’t already made the switch from HostGator to one of these web hosts, we assure you that it’s something you should definitely start thinking about right now.