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Hostgator : Honest review of Web Hosting

Hostgator use to be one of the best web hosting companies out there. In fact, the people behind Mosaic Audit used Hostgator from 2005-2017. That is a 12 year relationship that has now ended in divorce. The reason for that will be outlined.

It is safe to say that this review on a web hosting provider will be a little bais based on the vast experience gained over a decade of using the service.

I started getting services from Brent Oxley when it was just starting in Florida. I liked how hands on that he was with customers and I stayed with them through changes. I had the opportunity to “jump ship” and host elsewhere. This included a year free with WP Engine which is where Mosaic Audit is based today!

I was a customer when they moved to Houston and the little changes that happened with them. I remember when they started the affiliate program and I was a reseller for them for some time.

All in all, I have had shared hosting, reseller, VPS hosting and lastly dedicated hosting. This review is based on using all the services.

Yes, I agree with the scores of people that think that when Hostgator was sold to Endurance International Group destroyed the company. It has went to complete crap since and this review will be why I feel that way.

What is the true cost of Hostgator Shared Hosting?

Let’s start off with the dishonest hosting pricing. What they do is take everything out of the packages that claim some really cheap price. They also make you pre-pay for several years (with no refund if the service goes to crap). This is dishonest business if you ask me.

On their shared plans, only the business one is worth using. In today’s world, you need SSL certificates for your server and you need private IP addresses. However, you also need malware protection and you need nightly backups as well.

Here is the addons that you really need:

  • Domain ($12.95/yr)
  • Domain privacy ($12.95)
  • Hack Alert by Site Lock ($19.99)
  • Backup by CodeGuard ($19.96
  • SSL Certificate ($19.95)

Here is what pre-paying for a year will look like. It is not quite as cheap as some make it out to be. Media Temple is $215 for the same services and WP Engine, the best in WordPress Hosting would be about $290.  The real difference between Hostgator and Media Temple is only a little over a dollar! 

Now, I do suggest committing to a cheap hosting provider for more than a month to month basis. Too many problems are possible and you do not want to be locked into something not worth keeping. I never commit to a web hosting provider past three months because anything can happen and it probably will.

Here is what you will see signing up for a month to month plan. That does include your domain, privacy, Codeguard, and SSL that are yearly plans. The Sitelock is a monthly plan.

As you can see, that $5.95 a month hosting is not quite honest. It is really $19.95 a month once you get everything you need and an extra $60 on the front end. The bottom line is Hostgator is not really that cheap.

Getting the same package with Media Temple would cost rough the same amount with much better back end services and better support.

The final word about the pricing is just realize you are getting a good deal at all. The prices they market are just dishonest and they do not tell you that you need some pretty important things. Your whole website could be destroyed with no recourse.

What about Hostgator “award winning” Customer Support?

The first thing we have to say about these awards is who gives them and what interest does the people giving them have in the award? If a company giving another company that is owned by the same investment firm is giving an award; I do not take it too serious. If the award is not from a legit industry source, it does not mean anything at all outside of marketing material.

The truth is the support for Hostgator is ran by people based in India on a web chat, a few people answering wanted ads on Craiglist, and there is no email support to speak of. Getting to people that are actual Linux Administrators is only when they are complaining to you about something.

The only options are chat and phone is your only option these days and that is not good. Sometimes, the best thing is to be able to email them a screen shot so they can see what you are seeing. No option for that these days.

On top of that, it seems most of the people running the phones are just reading how to do this and that on the screen. They are not Linux Administrators, web developers or even Computer Science majors.  It seems they are just people answering ads from some online source for a $10 dollar an hour job.

There has been several times that there has been a “we do not know what to tell you” moment when dealing with the Hostgator support team. When people are reaching out for help, the last thing they need is to be told they are just basically screwed over.

While the need for quality support is there, it is not being addressed and it has gotten worse since the buyout. The truth of the matter is they do not want to spend for support and see it as a necessary evil. The focus of Hostgator is the investor, not the customer. 

What am I saying? This notion that they have some “award winning” support is either seriously outdated from when Brent Oxley owned the company or it is being awarded by companies owned or controlled by Endurance International Group. There is no way some truly unbiased authority is calling the support of the last few years anything close to award winning.

I have to rate the support they offer as below average.

Know the Terms and Services

Now, we can get to the juicy part of the review. The following is the reason that I actually ended the 12 year relationship with Hostgator. The have some odd things in the terms and conditions and how they enforce them is even more bizarre.

In February 2017, I had an article become  quite popular and was even shared on Facebook by the main newspaper in Hawaii. It actually saw over 9,000 views inside of 24 hours.

Hostgator did not like the traffic and they actually killed my website until I installed several things to deal with the cache system. They did not work with them at all. It was “you want your website, you will do these thing or you won’t have it.” Really lame if you ask me.

This went on for days and at one point they told me according to policy, they will review putting the website online in 48 hours. Everything I tried would get no answer until the end of this waiting period.

This was the end of the road for using Hostgator. They put more value on terms and conditions than they did a customer of twelve years that has given the company at least $10,000 for services.

The official reading of their terms and services says,

 HostGator expressly reserves the right to review every shared account for excessive usage of CPU, disk space and other resources that may be caused by a violation of this Agreement or the Acceptable Use Policy.

The problem is the only thing I was doing was having an article go viral and it was getting a little “stressful” on the server that they had way too many websites running on. They could not find a violation  of acceptable use because a lot of traffic coming in quickly from Facebook and Twitter.

Another issue inside of the terms that many do not know about is their inode policy. Every file you have on your account has an inode and if you have much of any data on your account, you can easily have tens of thousands of them. If you have more than 100,000 of them; you are in violation of the terms of service with Host Gator.

If you reach the 100,000 mark, you will not even having the database backed up weekly (which they charge $15 to get access to). If you cross 250,000 inodes; it says that, ” result in a warning, and if no action is taken to reduce the excessive use of inodes, your account may be suspended.”

The third issue with the terms of service to consider is that if anyone complains to them about a DMCA issue, they assume you are guilty and you have 48 hours to get the image offline or lose all your websites on the server. It is really that nazi. You can counter claim it but you have to pull everything down in the process or lose your websites.

Host gator will not stand up for their customers in any way, shape or form these days.

Aren’t these common problems with cheap hosting companies?

Some people might think I am being harsh and these same problems are common among the cheap companies like Host Gator, 1 &1, Godaddy, and BlueHost. While the case could be made for that, the issue is they are not upfront about their pricing, customer service and the terms of service. It would not be as bad as the expectations were clearly laid out. This is not the case.

Using the case of “everyone else sucks too” is really not a smart marketing strategy for a business. People do not have the time to dig deep into the policies of every hosting company to see what they say about every little thing. It might be within their legal rights to do so but it is not ethical or socially right to do it.

Let’s assume that a website gets 50,000 views a month and they are making $125 a day in Adsense revenue. Host Gator just pulls the website and will not restore it for some reason. The owner of that website is out hundreds of dollars in the process and Host Gator claims the following,

“HostGator shall not be responsible for any damages your business may suffer. HostGator makes no warranties of any kind, expressed or implied for the Services. HostGator disclaims any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, including loss of data resulting from delays, delivery failures, wrong deliveries, and any and all service interruptions caused by HostGator or our employees.”

Travel the Fire can not recommend Host Gator

Since there is no way we could give the rubber stamp of approval to them, we will not give you a link to get a special price if you choose them as a hosting provider. In fact, if you read this far into the review, I would think you would be considering having them as your chosen source of hosting anyways.

The fact of the matter is there is quite a few better options out there. While Mosaic Audit highly recommends WP Engine (that we are hosted on), we want to give you a few other choices as well. Some of them are cheaper ones too.

Media Temple- Media Temple, while owned by Godaddy, operates on its own and is a huge step up from Host Gator when it comes to technology, support, service, and handling of viral traffic. They are a great choice to grow with. The only really downside to using them is they do not offer free migration to their systems. It is a paid service.

Media Temple is the recommended choice of Mosaic Temple for people looking for “Bang for the buck” web hosting!

Pressable- Zippykid is now Pressable. The people behind this website have used Pressable professionally. It is quite a great technology and they are working on improving customer service. They do a great job of handling viral traffic as well. The new CEO actually came from WP Engine so I expect that Pressable will ultimately become a cheaper version of the best WordPress Hosting provider in the world.

The staff at Mosaic Audit has had some great discussion with people at Pressable and we can honest recommend them knowing they are the company in WordPress Hosting to grow with!

WP Engine- The top of the list will be who we are hosted by, WP Engine. They are the best they come and are highly recommended by about everyone from the founder of WordPress to SoundCloud to National Geographic. You can add us to that list as well. They are just that good. It is night and day difference between Host Gator and WP Engine.

While they might not be the cheapest option are the market, they are well worth it and should be the go to option for serious WordPress Hosting. Mosaic Audit is without question a fanboy of WP Engine!

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  1. […] next thing is to get a premium hosting provider. I highly recommend staying away from cheap hosting companies such as Host gator that will take you offline for too much traffic, nichel and dime you for everything and just do not […]

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