Setting the bar too low
You know, I remember the time when this name was spoken with silent reverie, as one of the best in the industry. Sadly, that time has passed and we are all stuck with what is only a shadow of its former glory. This is going to be my review of HostGator, a slow lament for those times of legend, and a prayer for the lost souls stuck on their web servers.
HostGator, The Fallen One
Every now and then, I remind myself what it was like to buy a professional hosting for the first time. That natural advance, not to say evolution, from free websites like Blogger to a more stable and more powerful shared hosting. It makes me smile every time, that feeling of invulnerability, of freedom (no more strict ToS to worry about).
HostGator was the second web hosting that I bought. It was fantastic. Server speeds and website performance were fantastic. Support was awesome. I was proud to be with a company that cares about the environment, and that blue crocodile called Snappy was the first face I see every morning. Everything seemed perfect. But then, everything changed when EIG attacked. Although everyone was assured that everything will stay as it was, nothing did.
I don’t rant about reliability, but this time I must.
HostGator used one of the best (by speed) Data Centers in the world known as Softlayer. That changed when they were bought by EIG. Besides that, everyone that had hosting package with HostGator, got a free upgrade, or at least that’s what they called the mass transitions from SoftLayer to another Data Center, Provo I think it is called. There were also some layoffs and most of the original HostGator staff is long gone.
At first I was sad to hear about all of this, but I stayed. I hoped that everything will be OK. And then we had the first great Blackout in August 2013. Then the second one in December, third in April of 2014 which took 24 hours to get fixed. then the fourth blackout in May of 2014 (it took 9 hours to fix it) and finally the fifth on October 29th that got fixed on November 2nd.
I don’t want to sound judgmental, but this outrageous. This is the kind of behavior that you would come to expect from your garage based server that is connected to a windmill, and definitely not something like professionally managed hosting company.
This is actually the only thing that is good about HostGator. They offer unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth with every package. They also provide unlimited subdomains. With the business plan you also get your own toll-free number, a dedicated IP address, and a private SSL certificate.
When it comes to features, HostGator excels at providing all the usual features that we are accustomed to. They are providing a site builder, shopping carts, and easy one click installs of popular scripts and platforms. In addition to webmail, you can create an unlimited amount of POP3 accounts. They also include a number of e-mail features like aliases, autoresponders, mailing lists, catch-alls, and mail forwarding. Spam assassin is also included in each package.
One thing that I would like to point out is that they have integrated Weebly.com website builder into their cPanel, so that creation of small websites is easy and intuitive, especially if you are a new user. Cron jobs and error pages are also included.
Specifications – Specs
There is no point in making a table for this one because their resource limits are all made of if this, then that.
They are allocating 25% of 1 processor core per cPanel. Not much, but it isn’t that bad.
An Inode is a data structure used to keep information about files. The number of Inodes indicates the number of files and folders you have. This includes everything on your account, emails, files, folders, anything you store on the server. They are allowing 100,000 Inodes (soft cap) per cPanel, and if you ever get to more than 250,000 Inodes you will be in violation of their Terms of Service. So, be careful.
As far I know, they are not disclosing their entry processes, but they have confirmed that they allow only 25 concurrent processes (not same as entry processes) to be executed at any time per cPanel. It is, in a lack of a better term, sad to see this kind of restriction coming from a professional hosting company. This does not compare well with 150 processes allowed by Arvixe (you can read a full review of Arvixe Shared Web Hosting here)
Ease of Use
User Interface is a bit outdated. I mean, it’s the same for the last 7 years that I am keeping track. Not that it interferes with your daily maintenance chores, but it still feels a bit off.
cPanel is a standard issue, and with it I had no major troubles.
The only thing that I have to say about user interface is that cPanel tends to get sluggish sometimes. Maybe it’s just me, who knows, but I am accustomed to speedy and responsive cPanel and UI in general. But that’s just me.
Help & Support
HostGator Support is nothing to be proud of. If you are contacting them over the email, well you are going to wait. If you are contacting them over a live chat, you are going to wait. The only way of communication that works is via phone, and I only recommend to use that one.
But hey, look at their promo video, it will cheer you up.
Besides, you cant get cheaper first month of hosting anywhere else on the Internet.
Times are hard for the little blue Snappy. All I can say about it, is that they are not what they used to be. They are trying. But that nasty EIG did make a dent on them. If you want to test them yourself, there is a link below that will take you to their 0.01$ offer. For a month of hosting, you can’t beat that price.