About HostGator

Category: Website Builders
HostGator website builder is a smart web design tool that not only requires no code but also drastically reduces the need to use drag-and-drop technology when building your websites. Furthermore, its freebies and enterprise-grade integration are there to supercharge your online business.

Company: HostGator

HostGator is an industry-leading IaaS and SaaS company known for providing shared, reseller, and dedicated web hosting services to businesses of all sizes.

Founded in 2002 by Brent Oxley in his university dorm, HostGator has grown from managing an initial 3 servers to over 7,000 servers across several locations. 6 years after it was founded, it was recognized as the fastest-growing private company in Texas and 21st in the US.

Currently headquartered in Houston, Texas with an office in Austin, HostGator launched its intelligent website builder, which has powered over 2.5 million websites worldwide.

In-Depth Analysis

0 Overall
Price 5.0
Performance 3.5
Ease Of Use 4.5
Features 5.0
Support 5.0

Pros

  • Intelligent website design
  • You can switch between themes without losing your content
  • Fast website content delivery via content distribution network (CDN)
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth on all plans

Cons

  • No free plan or free trial
  • Stringent email marketing limitations

HostGator Comparisons

VS
VS
VS
Plans & Pricing

First things first, the Gator doesn’t have a free website builder package. However, the paid plans are worth every penny that it charges. Beginning with the Start Plan, you can enjoy all there is to get from the HostGator website builder with some limitations, of course.

The Site Plan gives you a little more than the Start Plan, but how much more is up to you to find out in the next part of the analysis.

The highest plan in the Gator Website Builder packages is the Store Plan with priority support and unlimited e-commerce product listing as its distinguishing offer.

The table below highlights the main features of each plan as well as their prices. Keep in mind though, that the prices stated in the table below are introductory prices. So, renewals will cost more. EXTRAS? 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.

Start
$3.84
/mo
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • Free custom + SSL certificate
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Up to 3 products upload
  • Email newsletters
  • Up to 3 email campaigns per month
  • 250 unique emails
  • Basic shipping management
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Unlimited storage
  • 3% transaction fees
Site
$5.99
/mo
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • Everything in Start plan
  • Appointment bookings
  • Up to 5 email campaigns per month
  • Up to 500 unique emails
  • Up to 10 product uploads
  • Calendar management
  • Priority support
Store
$9.22
/mo
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • Everything in Site plan
  • Up to 10 email campaigns per month
  • 1250 unique emails
  • Unlimited product uploads
  • 0% transaction fees
  • Advanced shipping management

 

Performance

Good-to-have features are… well, good to have. Great features and outstanding services make great brands. But what we all need is a website solution that offers the best performance. And while the HostGator website builder may have offered exceptional customer service and wonderful features, it could do better with the performance of the websites built on it.

After testing my website, the performance results were merely above average, with an overall performance score of 58%, as shown in the screenshot below. Following is an analysis of the metrics.

HostGator performance result

Site and Page Speed

A slow-loading website can prevent the owner from converting over 90% of the visitors to paying customers or return visitors. According to Google’s benchmark, the worst speed index for a website to have is 5 seconds and, as seen in the image above, my HostGator-powered website only boosted a 7.1-second speed index. Not cool!

Accessibility

HostGator is a big name in the web hosting industry. Officially, it offers users a 99.9% uptime. So, your website visitors can be very confident that they would be able to access your website at any time. However, Google’s PageSpeed Insight reveals that my website is accessible only 88% of the time. I don’t exactly know what to make of this, but I’ve used website builders that offer better accessibility scores (as well as worse ones).

SEO and Best Practices

SEO is a site-specific endeavor with both technical and non-technical components. The technical component is the responsibility of the website builder. It has to keep the website codes lightweight and scannable. However, the non-technical component is the responsibility of the website owner. Using the SEO feature offered by HostGator, you can get that off your plate. My website SEO result could be a lot better than what’s shown in the image above if set up the SEO.

Uniqueness

HostGator is recognized as the second fastest-growing private company in the business services industry of the US. This is due to the superb features that it offers its users as well as the exceptional support service available 24/7. While the website builder offers features that are aligned with the standards, it has offered more by including an intelligent site builder to lift the creative burden from no-technical-background business owners.

Ease of Use

Intelligent, truly. The HostGator website builder is one of the easiest to use, especially if you want to follow the Smart Builder route. You can have a website up and running in under 15 minutes if you’re not looking forward to a busy site.

From setup to publishing your website, the website editor from HostGator is very intuitive and visually appealing. Here’s a first-hand review of my experience with real-time imagery and screencasts to help.

Setup

Setting up my website was a breeze. First, I had to choose whether to build the site from scratch, using the drag-and-drop editor, or try out the Express option with the intelligent builder. I chose the latter. Then, I had to provide a few more details that will help the algorithm fuse the elements into my website, including colors and universal font styles. Here’s a real-time video of my setup.

Designing

Once the setup is complete, it doesn’t matter if you used the traditional builder or went Express, you have to make some changes to your website because artificial intelligence just won’t give you 100% ready website. Maybe we will get there someday but for now, your website still needs some human intelligence. You need to put your copies in the right position and style your texts accordingly. Let’s talk about these teeny-tiny cases of website styling and customization for a moment.

Text Styling

After you’ve selected the website’s universal font style, there is not much styling that can be done when you’re making the final tweaks on your website. You can do as much as change the size of the texts, as well as the weight, color, and composure, but you can’t change the font family.

Also, the text styling function is not far-fetched when using the editor. By simply selecting the texts that you want to modify, the styling functions show up just above as evidenced in this image here.

HostGator text styling

Form Customization

Forms are crucial, no doubt. And adding them should be as easy as HostGator made it. You can simply click the “+” icon on the top-left corner of the Editor and find your way to “Contact Forms”. There are about 8 contact form templates to choose from. You have to add one to the site before you can start customizing the fields and… well, behaviors.

HostGator adding contact form

After you’ve added the contact form to your website, customization comes pretty easily. Simply clicking on the fields of the form opens up a window where you can hide/disable some fields and also change their respective questions. The sad part, though, is that you can’t add more fields with the current edition of the Editor. Perhaps, they will include that function in the future.

HostGator form customization

Button Designing

Designing a button. Oh, yes! One critical element that needs so much attention. There are several ways that a button could be made to look but HostGator can only make it look one of two ways: filled or bordered. You can also modify the color of the button but that color has to be congruent with the theme of the website chosen during the setup stage.

HostGator button design

App Integration

App integration is the one area in that HostGator isn’t playing a particularly winning game. It has no app marketplace, so the available integrations are very limited. Of course, a few third-party apps are already preinstalled in the website Editor for users but more could be done. You can find these apps when you click the “+” or “Add Section” icon on the editor and the app you choose to add will just appear on the web page. Check the image below for an illustration.

Needless to say, HostGator has provided all the necessary functionalities to make sure that users can build and operate a fully functional website without any third-party app.

HostGator apps

Customer Support

Being the fastest growing private company in Texas takes more than a great portfolio of products. It also requires exceptional services to keep customers coming back and new ones ringing your phone for orders. HostGator has more than good enough customer service to offer to its customers –both old and new.

Its self-service options are good enough to turn even web design newbies into a pro-Gator. There is a sophisticated repertoire of information on the HostGator Knowledge Base, blog, and even the YouTube channel, flooded with video tutorials.

Putting self-service options aside, HostGator offers 3 channels to connect with real human experts at any time of the day. I’ve used all three of these options and my experience with each is highlighted below.

Phone Support

HostGator does have a toll-free phone line that you can call to receive real-time technical support. Well, it appears that the company does offer something for free. However, I don’t know how this toll-free phone would work with international callers. So, if you’re calling in from anywhere outside the US, you should consider using the international phone number on the website.

HostGator phone support numbers

Even though the phone line isn’t available 24/7 like the chat and email options, the response from the support team over the phone is prompt and professional. There was absolutely no waiting time when I phoned in. A technical support specialist picked up the phone and we went right to business.

Live Chat

The Gator live chat channel is open to both existing users and inquiring prospects. So, you can simply reach out to them after reading this review if you have questions. They are sure to give you the answers you so direly need. Now, let’s talk about my experience with the live chat.

The live chat began with a very short form requiring my name and a brief of the issue I wanted to report. The moment I clicked “Start Chat”, I was connected to a support specialist immediately. We had a good conversation about the renewal prices, as well as the email marketing feature of the pricing plans, and she/he (not sure which) offered the best responses possible. And the specialist was courteous too.

HostGator live chat

Email Support

I did shoot the support team an email. As expected, it was treated as a support ticket. I received an automated email response almost immediately, informing me that the team had received my email and will work on getting back to me within 48 hours.

HostGator email support

They did get back sooner than 48 hours though. And trust me, I hate back-and-forth emails, but the Gators made sure they addressed all my concerns in one single email. They also included links to resources with further information that answer the questions that may have arisen from their response. Very thorough. I’d give them that.

FAQs

I’m not exactly sure what to make of the FAQ section of the HostGator website builder page. It is very limited with only three questions answered. Although these questions were answered in the most comprehensive way possible, I’m pretty confident that customers asked way more questions than the company lets on.

24/7 Help & Support
24/7 Help & Support
Enjoy 24/7 support on live chat and email.
Phone Support
Phone Support
No-wait, toll-free phone support-(855) 514-2867
Live Online Chat
Live Online Chat
Connect with support experts worldwide in real-time.
Email
Email
support@gator.com
Video Tutorials
Video Tutorials
YouTube channel filled with a wealth of technical guides.
FAQ
FAQ
The FAQ covers basic and advanced software-related issues.
Blog
Blog
Blog available on the website.
Features & Functionality
Design

Leading the industry is about offering great features and HostGator has done so both with its web hosting services and the website builder. Some of the features it offers are unrivaled in the industry while others may have close competitors offering the same. Here are a few that are worth discussing.

Intelligent Site Builder

Most website builders expect you to start your website with a template or start with a plain canvas and use the drag-and-drop feature to piece your website together one drag and one drop at a time. HostGator’s intelligent site builder features relieve you of that stress.

By providing a little more information about your business, the HostGator algorithm will build a smart and compelling website that is congruent with your industry and business. Of course, you can make a few changes where you want but this saves you tens of hours and creative resources.

Ecommerce Tools

HostGator provides its users with comprehensive eCommerce tools. These tools allow you to build online stores and securely collect payments from your customers. The eCommerce management tools available cover inventory, shipping, tax, and more.

The payment processing aspect of these e-commerce tools is built into the website. So, you don’t have to go through the hassle of integrating with your third-party providers. However, if you prefer to stick with your favorite payment processors, HostGator won’t stop you, as long as you cover the 3% transaction fee when using the Start and Site plans.

Appointment Booking

The appointment booking feature makes it easy for customers and potential customers to reach out to you and schedule a particular time to discuss your service or product offers. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you do. The appointment scheduler can be customized in whatever way you want it.

SEO

SEO is vital for online visibility. Over 80% of organic website traffic originates from search engines. The HostGator team considers this a significant factor to consider. As such, they’ve included SEO tools in the website builder to help users gain and track the exposure they need.

By following the setup guide provided by the SEO tool, you can rest assured that your website is suited for search engines. And you can also earmark some pages that shouldn’t be revealed to search engine crawlers.

Mobile Responsiveness

The future is mobile. Company leaders have known that for a very long time and have positioned themselves to deliver mobile-responsive experiences to their customers. HostGator knows this too. So, it has ensured that every website built with its website builder is well-optimized for the mobile experience. So, it doesn’t matter if your visitors are getting in via smartphones, tablets (or iPads), or a desktop. They are sure to have a nice time.

HostGator LogoMaker

It takes about 20 hours on average to design a logo for your business. Imagine what you could do with all that time if the burden of creating a good logo is lifted.

The HostGator LogoMaker is an intelligent logo design tool with which you can create a befitting logo for your website and your business generally.

Features
  • 100+ Templates
  • Add HTML Code
  • Blog Templates
  • Portfolio
  • Drag & Drop Editor
  • Multi-lingual Website
  • Fully Customized
  • Mobile-friendly
Marketing
Features
  • SEO Tools
  • Social Media Integration
  • Widgets + Apps
  • Newsletter Tool
  • Monetization
  • Visitor statistics
Hosting
Features
  • Multiple Sites
  • Free Custom Domain
  • Unlimited Space
  • Unmetered Bandwidth
Multimedia
Features
  • Free Stock Photos
  • Video Plug-Ins
  • Audio Plug-Ins
Good For
Features
  • Blogging
  • Online Stores
  • Automatic Website Building
Verdict

HostGator has served small and big businesses, especially with its dedicated servers. However, the website builder is more inclined towards serving small businesses and it is ensuring that owning a website is as seamless as possible.

I think the Express (intelligent builder) option is great for people with no technical background and very little creative prowess. However, there is a lot that can be done about the available third-party app integrations allowed on the platform.

If you are looking to sell on the platform, I will strongly recommend that you go for the Store Plan and pick a 2-year package to take advantage of the 50% introductory discount. Also, it allows you to upload unlimited products and bear no transaction fee. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that the secure payment option has to be the one offered by HostGator.

Augustine Ojeh
Author: Augustine Ojeh
Augustine is a freelance writer with a focus on organizational productivity; diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI); marketing and sales; and startup ecosystems in developing economies. He plays 8-Ball Pool when stressed and Chess when anxious.

HostGator User Reviews

B
Bradley A
11-50 employees
Used for: 6-12 months
18 Jan - 2021

Solid features without hitting the wallet too hard

We use Gator for web hosting and design. Our last host got too expensive so we went looking and found Hostgator. It did everything that we needed at a lower price point and it has better support.

Pros

- The panel for the hosting is user friendly
- The website builder is straightforward and did not take long to learn
- Tech support is responsive

N
Nick D
11-50 employees
Used for: 6-12 months
26 Jan - 2021

Reliable and full of value for the price

I use the hosting and builder for client websites as well as my own. It has good uptime and the features are adequate for smaller websites that are not too focused on eCommerce.

Pros

- You can count on your website being up most of the time
- It’s inexpensive, especially for the first term

Cons

Wait times in the support chat can be long

C
Carl P
02-10 employees
Used for: Less than 6 months
29 Jan - 2021

Reliable and full of value for the price

It’s good but beware the upsell Hostgator is the platform of choice for us to build, host, and backup our website. We even take advantage of the additional features like SSL certificate and SiteLock. We’ve had repeated instances of them trying to upsell

Pros

No material downtime in our two-year history

Cons

- It takes a long time to connect with the support team
- There are many upsells for features which I think should be included

H
Harold J
02-10 employees
Used for: 6-12 months
23 Feb - 2021

Perfect for simple sites

We’re using it to host 10 websites and about 15 email boxes and it has been able to withstand the load without much downtime or other issues.

Pros

The admin interface is easily understandable

Cons

-Support team is usually slow to respond via live chat
- There’s a lot of upselling behind the scenes

J
Jenny P
11-50 employees
Used for: Less than 6 months
29 Jan - 2021

Above average

We’ve been using it for many years and have zero interest in moving to another host any time soon. It’s the home of all the content we create for the internet barring social media posts and is cost-effective for us.

Pros

- We’ve had good experiences with the support staff when the rare issue crops up
- Love the regular backups for our websites
- Inexpensive, especially compared to other services
Cons
- It can be a little slow at times
- Until recently