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Web hosting has gone through a lot of changes over the years. What was once a fairly esoteric element of an intimidating new technology is now so common place and populist that hosting companies are hiring NASCAR drivers as their spokesmodels and anyone who has an inkling that they might want to create their own website can get their digital dreams up and running in just a couple minutes while hardly causing a blip on their bank statement.
Increasing and improving technology provides one explanation for the democratization of the web. As the technology making the internet possible becomes cheaper and increasingly common the price of hosting a website and transferring bits and bytes continues to go down exponentially. In reaction to the easy access to bandwidth and storage space we’ve seen a massive explosion in the number of web hosting companies out there. To be even more specific and accurate, we’ve seen an explosion in the volume of low cost web hosting companies out there.
In fact, the main problem in the world of hosting these days is the fact there are just so many low cost hosting solutions available and easily accessible it can be difficult for a consumer to make a choice between any of them.
To a certain extent this is a non-problem. Yes, it’s difficult to distinguish the differences between many of the hosting companies out there, but it’s also often unnecessary to dig too deep into the low cost hosting solution you’re going to pick. Many of them offer very similar services for very similar prices with negligible differences between them.
Which means the question often isn’t “What sets a company like Hostgator apart from the pack?” The question becomes “Is a company like Hostgator good enough to meet my needs?”
What Does Hostgator Offer?
To answer that question we need to start by breaking down what, exactly, Hostgator has to offer its potential clients.
Unlike a lot of its competition Hostgator, true to its name, focuses on providing hosting solutions and that’s about it. A lot of modern low cost hosting solutions attempt to offer a little bit of everything. They try and offer hosting and a fully functional domain purchasing system, they try and offer shopping carts and advanced e-commerce solutions while simultaneously trying to offer online business advising, SEO and other marketing solutions.
Often these other companies fail due to their far-reaching ambition. They fail because they try and offer everything and end up offering nothing of real value. It doesn’t matter if a web hosting company also offers a fully integrated shopping cart solution for an upcharge if you can subscribe to a superior third party solution for less money.
Specificity is often key on the internet. Specificity allows a company to deliver the best product possible for the lowest price tag possible. Specificity is a good thing, and specificity is perhaps Hostgator’s biggest selling point.
Hostgator offers hosting and that’s it. In fact, Hostgator only offers two different hosting solutions and a handful of payment plans. You can sign up for either:
• The Standard Hostgator plan.
• The Hostgator Pro plan.
The differences between these two plans are negligible. The pro plan is a little more reliable and comes with a couple extras, but the majority of people who are considering signing up with Hostgator will find themselves served just fine by the company’s standard plan.
What, exactly, will you get from Hostgator’s standard plan?
• Unlimited Hosting Space
• Unlimited Data Transfer
• SSL, FTP and Statistics
• Unlimited Email Accounts
• Free domain Registration
• Free Site Builder
• Full Customer Support
• Unlimited Domain Hosting
• Support for CGI, Ruby, RoR, Perl, PHP, MySQL
• WordPress, Drupal and Joomla 1-Click Install
• $100 of Google Adwords Advertising
• Multiple Free Scripts (including message board scripts)
• Multimedia Support
For the average person a standard hosting plan with Hostgator will provide them with absolutely everything they need to get online and make the starter website they’ve always wanted.
How Much Does Hostgator Cost When You Add Coupon Codes?
Specificity not only lets a company like Hostgator focus on providing a fully stocked feature set without bloated up-sells, it also lets that company sell its solutions at a high affordable price point. Hostgator sells its services for some of the lowest prices on the market, though what you end up spending at Hostgator depends on how many months, or years, of hosting you purchase at once.
When you first browse over to the Hostgator homepage you’ll see an offer for web hosting for just $3.75 a month. This is an absurdly good deal and probably represents the lowest price you’ll find on web hosting no matter how far and wide you search.
However, this price is a little misrepresentative. To get this ultralow $3.75/month hosting price you need to purchase in bulk. To get this price you need to buy between 12 months and 36 months, or between one year and three year’s worth, of hosting all at once. This is a pretty big commitment to make to a hosting company, especially if that hosting company offers a service that is great for beginners but probably won’t serve your website so well years down the line.
However, buying in bulk is really the only affordable option from Hostgator and the company’s pricing schemes make it clear they want you to sign up for at least a year at a time. After all, if you buy less than a year at a time you will not only see your per-month price shoot up to $8.95 per 30 days of hosting, you will also find yourself slapped with obnoxious setup fee and domain name registration expenses, leading to the truly absurd situation where it costs more money to buying hosting for 6 months, 3 months, and even just 1 month, than it costs to rent out hosting for a full year.
Know this in advance- if you’re going to host with Hostgator you’re going to buy at least a year at a time. Because there’s no per-month price difference between one year and three years of hosting it appears that buying one year of hosting at a time is the sweet spot with this company and the package you should purchase.
Does Hostgator Offer Truly Great Solutions?
Before we wrap up there’s one final point we need to discuss here, and that’s the question of what exactly you’re getting from Hostgator.
When you sign up with Hostgator, or any company like Hostgator, you’re buying what’s known as shared hosting. Basically this just means that all of your website’s data is saved on a server that is also home to other website’s and their files. With a company like Hostgator your website and its files will be share storage with a LOT of other websites and their files. In fact, low-cost hosting companies are pretty well known for overcrowding their shared servers.
What does this mean, in real world terms? It means companies like Hostgator don’t offer the fastest and most reliable web hosting available. It also means that companies like Hostgator are only good for small websites, domains that don’t see a whole lot of traffic. If the website you host on Hostgator ends up blowing up in popularity you better believe it’s going to crash and you’re going to need to trade up to a better (and considerably more expensive) hosting solution.
These superior hosting solutions are almost always dedicated server solutions- services where your website and your website alone is stored and saved on its own server and doesn’t share storage space with anyone else, improving its speed and reliability and, if the server is managed, all but eliminating downtime, no matter how big you get.
This sort of storage solution sits well in the future of most people who are first starting out with their own website, but it’s worth keeping in mind your hosting solutions and expenses will have to expand alongside your digital ambitions.
So, is Hostgator Good Enough?
For what it offers, Hostgator is absolutely good enough. Small price shenanigans aside Hostgator offers a great service that’s at least on par with any of its competitors and the company charges a miniscule amount of money for it. $3.75 is a truly negligible, infinitesimal amount of money to spend on hosting every month and is probably as close to the promise of free web hosting as we’re ever going to see.
Does Hostgator offer the best hosting in the world? No. Will Hostgator be able to provide for your hosting needs for the full life of your website? Hopefully not. But is Hostgator a good enough solution for individuals who are looking to get started making an impression on the web? Absolutely.
If you’re starting out with a small website then Hostgator will meet your needs, without question, and the company will do so at a price that you absolutely can’t beat.