HostGator HostGator
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5 5stars

HostGator Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Reliable web host with a 25% exclusive discount (code: NEXTADVISOR), good for beginners; particularly strong for advanced users

Full Review:
[Editor's note: HostGator is currently offering an exclusive 25% discount to NextAdvisor visitors with the coupon code NEXTADVISOR. Just click through on any link to HostGator from NextAdvisor and enter the code at checkout to take advantage of this great deal.]

HostGator is a high-quality web host with a great online site-builder. It's fast and stable, and comes in at the low price of $3.95 per month, with a three-year plan.


Pricing

Hostgator's generous price of $3.95 per month includes the 25% discount that you get by clicking though from NextAdvisor and using the coupon code found at the top of the review. Registration with HostGator also includes a $12.95 per year charge for domain registration should you purchase your domain from the web host. Finally, if you want domain privacy to keep your name and address out of public hosting records, that will cost $12.95 per year. However, the monthly price is very reasonable with a 3-year commitment. Plus, you're getting a solid, feature-packed web host with unlimited storage and bandwidth.


Basic Features

HostGator calls itself a green host, meaning it achieves carbon-emission reductions through efficient servers and the purchase of wind-energy. If shrinking your carbon footprint is important to you, web hosting is one place you can do it. HostGator uses cPanel as its control panel, which will be familiar for many intermediate and advanced web hosting users, and easy-to-learn for beginners.


A number of different sitebuilding apps are included with HostGator, but we had fun using the Parallels Plesk sitebuilder. There are a large variety of templates to choose from. While many appear a bit generic, there's a good amount of easy customization you can do to add some originality. The design process is very fluid, and it's a true WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. There's support for virtually any kind of page you might make: basic text pages, galleries, blogs, and one of the easiest shopping cart creators we've come across. You can even add a nice, animated flash intro with just a few clicks. Users looking to build a multi-faceted site should give this one strong consideration.

HostGator has recently added its own homegrown script manager as a competitor to the ubiquitous Fantastico scripts that come with other web hosts. HostGator's QuickInstall environment allows you to install many blog programs, shopping carts, content management systems, and photo albums from one centralized interface. We found it slightly less intuitive to use than Fantastico, and unfortunately HostGator has discontinued support for Fantastico.

HostGator uses cPanel's default form for setting up new email accounts, and offers a choice of three webmail interfaces for reading and writing email. Setting up new accounts is quick and easy.




TUTORIAL: How to Set Up an Email Account with HostGator

Advanced Features

HostGator is a great web host for advanced users, with just one caveat: the service will only allow you to host one domain unless you pay to use more. That said, the company does offer unlimited MySQL databases, Shell Access (SSH) for advanced administration and shared hosting accounts on both Windows and Linux servers, which are a bit of a rarity. HostGator supports a wide range of programming languages, including CGI, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, SSI and ASP.


Usability

HostGator uses the cPanel control panel system, which is one of our favorite standard interfaces. If you've used cPanel before, HostGator will be very easy to get used to. Setting up email accounts is simple, as is installing plugins and scripts. Most users should have no trouble finding the features they want within a few minutes, and if not, support is helpful, friendly and accessible. Even though it has strong features for advanced users, HostGator should not be too intimidating for beginners and intermediate users.


Support

HostGator offers a rare 45-day money-back guarantee. After that, it's prorated. The $12.95 domain registration fee is, as usual, not refundable.

Support is provided by chat, email and telephone. A telephone call was answered in 9 minutes, a somewhat long wait, but help was provided cheerfully and we were given an accurate answer. HostGator's chat, using the integrated support function, was picked up in less than a minute, and provided us with a decent an answer.


Conclusion

HostGator has a strong set of features at a great price for webmasters of all levels, though we particularly recommend it for advanced users. In fact, one of NextAdvisor's engineers used it for his own personal needs. We think that's pretty high praise for this solid web hosting champ.

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If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Service Details

Cheapest Price:$3.95/mo
Storage/Data Transfer:Unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee:45 days
Domain:$12.95/yr
Support:Email, Chat, Phone

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