I’ve tried a lot of hosting companies and HostGator had always been my favorite. Recently though, I have seen a substantial decrease in the overall quality of their service and the performance of their servers, to the point that I’ve downgraded them from their B+ rating to a D. I wish I could say it looks like improvement is coming – but that’s just not the case.
Things I Like:
- HostGator was established more than a decade ago.
- They offer prorated refunds. I always assumed that this was a common protocol for the industry, but sadly it’s not.
- With their 45-day full money-back guarantee, you can cancel the contract and get your money refunded with any plan HostGator offers if you’re not loving it.
- They have a wide range of packages for any kind of site.
- They use cPanel, a very user-friendly, graphical interface control panel that comes with several tools that make hosting and managing your sites very easy.
- Support staff knows their stuff and are based out of Austin and Houston, Texas.
- Uptime has been surprisingly good recently with 99.94%, although the servers are a bit slow at 1,006 ms.
Things I Hate:
- The interface of their billing system combined with the frustrating transition to get to cPanel is incredibly frustrating.
- Their plans can be quite pricey – especially now that what you get for the price isn’t what it used to be.
- Their entry-level shared package sucks! You’re only allowed one domain – ideal for nobody but the most basic of users with no plans for growth.
- Their CMS script software is outdated. It seems everyone is moving to Softaculous but HostGator is still stuck with QuickInstall. This is fine and you still get your basics (i.e. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal) but I like Softaculous much better.
- HostGator used to have the best customer support in the industry by a mile. Now it’s a different story. Your support tickets will be answered intelligently, but sometimes you’re waiting days to get a response. This is unacceptable. Phone wait times are at LEAST 6 minutes, so I hope you like dial-tones and hold music. I can’t help but notice the strong correlation between the sale of HostGator (June 2012), and worsening of support.
- Remember those impeccable servers HostGator used to have? Those don’t exist anymore. Server space has been drastically oversold, so performance has dropped in a big, BIG way. HostGator also appears to use the exact same servers (in Provo, UT) as HostMonster, Bluehost, and JustHost. Whenever a massive outage happens, all four companies suffer together. Unfortunately, these massive outages aren’t a rare occurrence. There was a big one on August 2, 2013 and then some more fun on December 31, 2013. I can’t put my trust in a company that keeps being brought down.
I canceled one of my HostGator accounts on January 17, 2014. Normally you’d expect that my pro-rated refund would be processed in just a few days.
They sent the PayPal payment on February 14, 2014 – almost a full month later. When I received the PayPal email saying I received money, it had been so long that I didn’t even remember what the money was for.
I also had the “pleasure” of working with Tenea, HostGator’s “Loyalty Administrator.” Here’s a tip: Refund your customers faster than four weeks and they might be a little more loyal.
It’s common belief that after EIG came in they laid off a bunch of employees to increase profit margins. My personal opinion is that EIG quickly grew the consumer base without scaling up support staff (but that’s opinion, so take it with a grain of salt). EIG has a history of focusing on being bigger rather than better.
You should also note that EIG went public in November. I wouldn’t put it past EIG to cut costs to make their books look better before going public – and then squeezing their companies to up their business numbers, putting even MORE strain on already struggling servers.
Last year, I wrote that If you’re an advanced user (someone who won’t need many support tickets) and you’re not afraid to pay a little extra for quality, HostGator should probably be one of your top choices. I’d like to retract that statement because their servers are no longer what they used to be.
Deteriorating service and long wait times mean that if you hit a snag, you might wait a bit for a solid answer if you don’t want to pick up the phone.
Sorry guys, but this is one to avoid.
Well, that wraps up my HostGator review. Agree? Disagree? Give me your thoughts in the comments below.