When it comes to technical support, HostGator is on the decline and no longer a customer friendly service.
Why you may need an Alternative to HostGator
First of all, I should make clear why someone may seek a hosting alternative to HostGator. |Generally speaking, it has been the best shared hosting for small business websites and average traffic blogs for many years. Like in all my previous articles, I would stay as impartial and unbiased as possible while penning this article. Indeed there was a time when I was a hard-core fan of HostGator and had never thought that someday I could consider to ditch it. However, things have changed remarkably and you might positively feel cheated and frustrated when you come across its horrible sales and technical support.
Reasons to ditch HostGator
HostGator shared hosting is highly vulnerable to malware
No free automatic backup restore feature
Technical support is the biggest failure of Hostgator
Reasons to still consider HostGator
The Most powerful shared Hosting
HostGator invariably has been a weighty name among host services for years and at the same time the first choice of all webmasters in general. Why is that? How has it maintained its status? The answer to these ‘why’ and ‘how is very simple. There are two most important things about Hostgator which earns HostGator its stand-out position among host services:
First, there may be numerous alternatives to HostGator, but when it comes to a host which is more powerful, more competent and a better host than hostGator, I would say only few.
Providing a powerful shared hosting for a very reasonable price. Yes, it is true that as far as resources limit is concerned, there are a very small number of hosts- two or three- which give HostGator a run for its money.
The thing is when a new web hosting company comes up with a good service and promising support system, it gains popularity very fast. The reviews from hosting experts and personal feedbacks from customers all over the world further push this newcomer to the forefront. It all results in exponential increase in the new company’s customer database. So far so good. Now comes the challenge and that is tackling the increasing customer base. The moral of this story is that for a hosting company to qualify always as a good company, it needs to maintain a balance between its number of customers and its hosting resources and support staff. A good hosting company always increases its hosting resources and support staff with the increasing number of its customers.
After acquisition of EIG, no doubt HostGator maintained its hosting resources but its always at-your-disposal brand support system faltered and its support capacity clearly failed to keep up with its millions of customers across the world. There was a time when HostGator live chat was able to respond within minutes. Now you may have to wait for more than half an hour to connect to the same live chat. Not only that, if you place a support ticket, it takes more than 24 hours for you to get a reply and sometimes frustratingly the reply time may extend up to days.
But at the same time there’s no denying that there are only two or three hosting services which in terms of system resources -CPU power, physical memory and speed- can challenge HostGator.
Here we are talking about HostGator’s regular shared hosting and not about its preposterous cloud hosting. HostGator offers some special plans for shared hosting which give you freedom to pick RAM and CPU cores. A buyer thinks if he buys a cloud hosting service having 4CPU cores and 6GB RAM, he is going to get these resources like VPS hosting. But it is not like that. HostGator has fierce resource restrictions and there are a lot of themes and plugin which do not work with this so-called cloud hosting.
Potential reasons that force someone to look for a HostGator alternative
HostGators shared hosting is highly vulnerable to hackers
HostGator is one of the most unsafe web host and hackers can access and spoil your hosting account very easily. My experience says that my websites get hacked many time when I use HostGator. I am a WordPress professional user and tries to implement best security for my WordPress websites. Despite of that hackers messed my HostGator hosting many times.
On the other hand I use A2 Hosting and DreamHost and I never face any issue regarding hacking.
Facing unexpectedly poor support
I am really disappointed to report that HostGator support is getting poorer day by day. HostGator’s present support is not half as good as it used to be in the past. Live Chat is not, in fact, an instant support. Average wait time would be no less than 30 minutes after you initiate a Live Chat. If you place a support ticket, it would not be resolved within a few hours, but it may take more than 48 hours – even when if you place it during U.S. daytime.
Insufficient support staff to cover a very large customer database
Being a reputed shared host for several years, HostGator has built a very large customer database, perhaps the biggest customer base coming to shared hosting. To nurture so much customers, HostGator should have expanded its support staff to retain its reliable support. But it didn’t happen and their support has become poorly slow.
Script installer crowded with advertisements
Have you used any script installer (like Fantastico)? 99% people like to use script installers to install WordPress or any other php software. There was a time when HostGator had a clean script installer. But now its script installer looks more like an ad centric website. “dirty trick to sell WordPress related stuff at Script Installer page”
No Integrated Backup-Restore facility
Why Automated cloud backup is a must-have feature
- To restore hacked hosting account using one click.
- To restore accidentally deleted files on hosting account.
- To restore an older version of your database
Here, I am not referring to cPanel integrated backup-restore tool. This tool is virtually of no use as it can’t schedule backups, and it can’t restore backups with one click. Automatic Backup/ Restore is a key feature for a web hosting. We know that WordPress is highly vulnerable to hackers and malwares. No matter what we use to shield our WordPress, there is no guarantee that it would not be hacked. Once one of your WordPress is hacked, all websites hosted on your hosting account will be affected. And even if you have a backup of your sites, manual restoration demands hard work and a lot of effort.
If our host offers automatic backup/restoration facility, we can reinstate files and database easily. Nevertheless, HostGator does not offer this feature. There is a 3rd party paid addon “Code Guard” available for cloud backup that works with HostGator but this service is costly and offers low backup space at a very high price. Moreover, automatic backup creation with this service is considerably slow and it takes too much time to complete backup of a small website – so I can’t recommend CodeGuard. I canceled my Code Guard subscription within one hour because of the slow-speed backup-restoration process.
Offering CodeGuard might have been a good move if it had offered unlimited backup storage.
So, what is in fact that push me away from HostGator – Key factors that made me ditch this giant and you may too
Top Alternative Hosting to Hostgator
Now I leave out unnecessary preamble, and I tell you about best available alternatives to HostGator
#1 A2 Hosting (non-EIG)
Better than HostGator
A2 Hosting Managed WordPress
Update – A2 Hosting recently launched its managed WordPress Hosting which is focused on WordPress optimization, WordPress security and WordPress centric technical support. This hosting, however, comes with less freedom but it helps you run WordPress smoothly, securely and faster. What else someone wants for his WordPress sites?
Features of WordPress hosting
- Site staging
- WordPress automatic updates and patches
- Premium Jtepack license that enables (hourly cloud backup, free CDN and more)
- WordPress based technical support
- Free SSL
On the other hand A2 Hosting managed WordPress has some disadvantages
- It is slightly costlier
- It is powered by Plesk panel (not cPanel)
- You can’t install any other CMS than WordPress
This host offers SSD hosting and it is still rare in shared hosting industry. SSD hosting is 300% faster than regular shared hosting and that means your site will be exceptionally faster regardless of the fact that it is on a shared host. My website webcusp.com has been running on A2 Hosting for about an year and I am highly satisfied with A2 Hosting server speed and power as well. (UPDATE – Now we are hosted on DreamHost DreamPress, a highly optimized affordable managed VPS to bear large traffic website)
Salient features of A2 Hosting
300% faster than normal shared hosting
A2 Hosting is highly concerned for hosting accounts security. In addition to Hosting firewall, ddos protection and many other security systems, they have implimented a realtime malware scanner and healer called patchman. Patchman regularly scans hosting files and notifies account holder if a code vulnerability is detected. Additionally patchman automatically patches the vulnerability.
Server Rewind ( Daily backups that can be restore with one click )
Server rewind is a premium backup feature that comes free with A2 Hosting. A2 Hosting captures multiple copies of your hosting account files and databases and you can browse and restore these previous versions of files and databases if you get your hosting account hacked or if you deleted your files accidentally.
|A2 Hosting Backup / Restore ( Free )||HostGator Backup Restore ( Paid )|
|Service name||Server Rewind ( in house developed)||Code Guard ( 3rd party application)|
|Price||Free with A2 Hosting||Paid, High price 1GB backup storage for $20/yr,
5GB storage for $49 per year and onwards
|Backup Storage||50GB||1GB for $20, 5GB for $49|
|No. of websites||Unlimited||5 Websites for $20, 10 websites for $49|
|Individual file restore||Yes||Yes|
|Restore speed||Fast||Very slow|
Note – Server Rewind is not an offsite backup facility. But A2 Hosting offers offsite backup service at fairly affordable price.
300% Speed Booster WordPress plugin exclusively for A2 Hosting users
A2 Hosting developers have developed an innovative WordPress plugin that works only for WordPress websites hosted on A2 Hosting. This plugin dramatically boosts WordPress websites speed up to 3 times.
Store unlimited files now (was 3 lac)
Update – From now A2 Hosting has lifted any inode limit or limit on number of files stored in a hosting account.
Inode limit means number of total files stored on your hosting account. Every unlimited hosting provider company imposes this limit other than A2 Hosting that offers unlimited number of files to be stored.
Best available Script installer
A2 Hosting offers Softaculous script installer that provides facility to install more than 200 scripts and every script can be installed within a minute regardless of it being too large for FTP upload. Softaculous also offers automatic backup and restore feature for all installed scripts.
- 24/7 technical support via Live Chat, Phone and Support ticket system
- 30 days money back guarantee
- Powered by cPanel
- Support forum
- Detailed documentation on website
Try A2 Hosting Risk Free ( 51% discount coupon – FLASH51)
#2 DreamHost (non-EIG)
DreamHost offers a custom hosting control panel that is fast and secure and it is not a resource hungry system like cPanel. DreamHost is so confident regarding its server and support reliability that it offers 7 days free trial hosting. You can try it for 7 days without paying a penny.
The only disadvantage of using DreamHost is that its File manager doesn’t have a feature to extract and create archives and you need to use SSH to do this. To cap it all, it is difficult to get the hang of SSH. We have created a tutorial that will help you how to zip unzip on DreamHost.
Salient features of DreamHost Hosting
Efficient and high performance shared hosting
We are not sure which kind of hardware they use in their shared servers but regardless of this their shared hosting is found lightning fast and powerful. You can host and nurture your multiple WordPress websites on its shared hosting.
DreamHost support is pretty good and they are available 24/7 via Live Chat, ticket system. They also offer phone support at little cost. you can get up to 3 call backs from DreamHost per month.
Inbuilt caching engine (page speed optimization)
DreamHost offers optional caching system that you can enable in your hosting dashboard. With its caching system you can boost website performance and can reduce the load on a shared server.
Automatic backup restore system for files and database
You can restore your files or database from available backup copies. Backup are taken automatically on a daily basis.
Firewall to block malicious attacks on your account
DreamHost gives an option to add extra layer of security and you can enable or disable it for different hosted domains. This firewall blocks attacks like Brute Force, Remote Execution, SQL Injection etc.
|DreamHost Restore||HostGator Backup Restore ( Paid )|
|Service name||No specific name||Code Guard ( 3rd party application)|
|Price||Free.||Paid, High price 1GB backup storage for $20/yr,
5GB storage for $49 per year and onwards
|Backup Storage||Unknown||1GB for $20, 5GB for $49|
|No. of websites||Unlimited||5 Websites for $20, 10 websites for $49|
|Individual file restore||You can restore all files but not an individual file.||Yes|
|Restore speed||Slow||Very slow|
Try DreamHost Risk Free ( $50 discount coupon – WEBCUSP)
#3 SiteGround (non-EIG)
Over the last two years SiteGround has emerged as a very reliable host. The most specific thing about this company that stands it out from the crowd is that it is highly transparent and far more honest about its policies. Each shared hosting plan of this company details in a very clear manner about how many visitors per month it can handle. Another thing that is really compelling is SiteGround’s fast and responsive support. On the one hand, the technical support of the so- called big companies like HostGator is going to the dogs, on the other hand SieGround support is improving day by day.
SiteGround has gone to great lengths to make its shared hosting WordPress and Joomla -optimized. Several tools such as WordPress management tool and Site Stagging tool have been implemented, which are immensely helpful for WordPress and Joomla users and make their work remarkably easier. Besides, SieGround offers a free backup-restore tool which helps you restore your files and database. This tool keeps backup copies of last 30 days.
SSD Hosting – SiteGround provides a fully SSD (Solid State Drives) hosting which means that its all servers are equipped with SSDs and all your files and database are stored on these high speed SSDs.
One Click Restore tool – Like A2 Hosting, SiteGround’s powerful backup restore is luckily for free. You can recover any of your files and database easily at no extra cost at all.
Softaculous installer – You may know that Softaculous is the best script installer ever that can help you install a lot of PHP software with just one click.
In-built caching engine – SiteGround has its own in-house caching system: SuperCacher. With the help of SuperCacher, you can increase your site’s speed many times.
Extremely reliable support – Quite a lot has already been said about the support of SiteGround. Here I would only say that as far as support is concerned, no any other hosting company is anywhere near SiteGround in quality, excellence and in almost everything.
Weebly Site Builder – SieGround has joined hands with Weebly. If you are using SiteGround hosting, you can use Weebly site builder for free to make a website of up to 5 pages and set it on your domain. You don’t have to worry about the manual setting of domain as entire process is automatic.
OneClick Staging – You are eligible to take advantage of OneClick Staging tool, if you have subscribed to GoGeek plan of SiteGround. Let me tell you, this tool is enormously useful for developers. Often developers need a staging site. To this end, either they have to make a clone of original site or they fall back on editing on their local computer. OneClick Staging tool gets you rid of all this hassle. This tool can automatically create a staging tool for you and you can make to this staging site whatever changes you want to transfer them anytime onto
#4 GoDaddy (Pro) (non-EIG)
What we we are going to focus upon in this article is not GoDaddy’s regular hosting which comes with the cPanel. We are here talking about GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting. Let me tell you that GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting is altogether different from its regular hosting and after putting it to all kinds of tests we have come to the conclusion that you can bank upon this hosting. We checked GoDaddy’s WordPress Ultimate plan and found that it’s not only well-suited to resource intensive plugins but also it comes packed with many useful features.
GoDaddy Pro hosting is designed exclusively for WordPress users and there’s no denying that WordPress has the status of being the de facto number one website building and blogging platform. As things stand now, no blogger in his right mind would go for any platform other than WordPress.
GoDaddy Pro has fabricated its different plans on the basis of number of visitors. If you run a high traffic website, GoDaddy Ultimate plan has more than enough to offer you and meets every last of your needs. It can stand up to 4 lacs (0.4 million) visitors per month. This plan allows you to host 2 WordPress websites. But if your website attracts up to 8 lacs (0.8 million) visitors per month, the best plan in that case for you would be GoDaddy WordPress Business plan.
Goodaddy Managed Hosting features
- 99.9% Uptime guarentee
- Powerful and blazing fast server
- Scalable resources.If your site gets a huge spike in traffic, you can extend your hosting resources paying a little amount of money.
- They offer malware protection and free malware removal for infected websites.
- Daily backups that can be restored automatically
- Multi-WordPress management tool
- Site stagging facility
A Quick Survey of GoDaddy WordPress Pro.
WordPress Migration Tool
GoDaddy WordPress Pro offers the site migration tool. You just have to provide your WordPress login details (of the old server) and FTP details of your old hosting and you can leave the rest to GoDaddy’s migration tool. This migration tool will migrate your WordPress website to a temporary address, which is called the staging address. After the migration is finished, you can point the site to your main domain at your leisure.
GoDaddy WordPress Pro is equipped with an automatic backup restore tool. This tool keeps the automatic backup on a daily basis and you can restore any of your previous databases and files with just one click. However, only the backup en bloc (files, database or files and database both) can be restored and you are not able to restore an individual file (Unlike A2 Hosting server rewind).
SiteLock comes free
SiteLock is a powerful and trustworthy tool. With GoDaddy Pro you get this tool fully free, which is really a big deal as this tool usually is not available for free and in most of the cases you have to purchase the tool. Everybody knows the prowling evil eyes of hackers who are always in search of vulnerable WordPress websites . Seeing this, it becomes all the more important that you should get a potent malware protection service and if it is SiteLock and for free, that’s what is called the icing on the cake.
Site Staging for dvelopment
Whether you are a web designer or a developer or simply just a blogger or whatever, you have to make changes to your WordPress website from time to time such as a change in site’s design, plugin experiments and much more. Are you really ready to make any of these changes while your website is live. I don’t think so, right? GoDaddy Pro’s ‘site staging’ tool is a big help in that case. How? Just click once and a staging site for your live website is ready. Now you can throw caution to the wind and experiment on this staging site whichever you like. When you get to make the desired change, transfer these changes from your staging site to your live site. This way the user experience remains unaffected.
GoDaddy Caching system
GoDaddy adds its own caching to your WordPress website. There is no plugin installed by GoDaddy for caching yet you find a GoDaddy caching control menu in admin menu bar. You can flush cache using that option.
Some points to ponder about its drawbacks:
- File manager is not available. You need to depend on FTP to change, upload or download files
- You can’t create email accounts on your hosted domains
- Limited options in control panel
GoDaddy Pro hosting is suited best for
A serious blogger or an online marketer.
A large online portal that ropes in more than 10000 visitors per day.
An eCommerce website
Whoever values performance
You should not go for GoDaddy Pro hosting if
You are a beginner and your website attracts only up to a few hundred visitors. (If so, you should go for some cheap alternative like Arvixe.)
You value the file manager more than FTP because GoDaddy Pro does not have a file manager.
You want to install a CMS other than WordPress such as Joomla or Mgento.
Alternative Popular Hosts that are not recommended
Inmotion ( Not recommended )
It is a web host that is just like a pain in ass. They suspend web hosting account when a hosting account starts getting a little load on its WordPress or Joomla websites. Very low CPU per account.
Other not recommended hosts
- HostDim – Host with strictly low RAM per process and which is insufficient for many WordPress plugins like Gravity Forms
- Site5 –Low limit CPU / Insufficient CPU
- Web Hosting Hub – Low limit CPU
- FatCow – Poor EIG Host with very slow server
- iPower – Other name of FatCow
- iPage – Just like FatCow
- Greengeeks – Low CPU and RAM
Over 90% Web Hosting companies are not reliable. When you buy a shared hosting everything runs smoothly until your website swells a bit. They apply a lot CPU / RAM / IO restrictions per account hosted on shared server. They suspend your website and ask you to upgrade to VPS. But in reality your website does not require VPS.
Most of the beginners fall prey to this kind of unlimited offers
For example I bought Inmotion hosting in the days when I started blogging. Everything ran smoothly until I started getting some visitors to my website. This hosting company started showing its true colors. They sent me a warning message that your Hosting account was consuming high CPU and thus affecting whole server. I was surprised because my blog was attracting only 500-600 visitors per day. Ultimately they suspended my account and suggested to me that I upgrade my account to VPS. I switched to HostGator and my website got no issue even after the numbers of visitors per day crossed 3k.
Literally it is a trick to earn more money by Web Hosting companies. They suspend clients accounts and ask them to upgrade. There are many people who never mind upgrading their plan and thus Hosting company is benefited and the client is cheated in a way.
Honestly speaking, in terms of server resources like RAM, CPU and I/O ( in / out data transfer speed per account), support, server speed and overall features, there seems to be only one host that is really a match for HostGator and that is A2Hosting.