Having a website is useful for showcasing your work, selling your services, or simply serving as a virtual resume. But with thousands of website hosting companies out there, how do you know which to choose for your website?
We consider HostGator one of the best web hosting services for creative professionals, particularly if you’re looking for a budget option. In this review, we look at the pros and cons of the popular web host.
HostGator review: Plans and pricing
Creatives will most likely be interested in HostGator’s Website Builder, shared hosting plans, and WordPress plans, though HostGator offers other services, including dedicated web hosting servers. It has deep introductory discounts of between 40% and 75% of the price of its plans, so take that into account when looking at its impressive headline rates. We’ll list the full prices here.
HostGator Website Builder plans start at $7.68/month (on a two-year plan). This gets you access to the drag-and-drop website builder, customizable templates, and a free SSL certificate, meaning the traffic between your website and its visitors is encrypted for security. If you want to sell products online, you’ll need the $18.45/month e-commerce (two-year) plan.
If you don’t want the website builder, you can get shared hosting from HostGator starting at $6.95/month (on a three-year plan). This is the cheapest option, but you must spend more time setting up and managing your website software yourself.
Another option is WordPress hosting, which starts at $9.95/month (on a three-year plan). This is a managed WordPress product, meaning you get a ready-to-go WordPress website and HostGator takes care of backups and security for you.
HostGator review: Features
HostGator’s plans typically include a free domain name for a year, unmetered bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate. You can upgrade your plan to get access to search engine optimization tools. Top features available include managed WordPress hosting, one-click application installs, and a drag-and-drop website builder.
Managed WordPress hosting
If you plan to build your website on the popular content management platform, HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting offers a few benefits over handling it all yourself. Your site will be fast, secure, and always up to date, as HostGator will take care of all the daily management of the server and the software.
One-click installation of products
If you choose one of HostGator’s inexpensive shared hosting plans, you can still leverage popular software such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal by using the one-click installer. Over 75 popular applications are available, from content management systems to forum software.
Bear in mind that you’ll still need to do the work setting up the software after it’s installed so it suits your purpose, but if you know the software that you want to use and you’re confident in managing it yourself, it’s easy to do with HostGator.
HostGator Website Builder
HostGator has its own website builder software that you can use to create a website from a template. You choose a theme, edit the images and text, and publish your site. It’s one of the most user-friendly website builders that we’ve tried, and anyone who has worked with design software will find it a breeze to pick up. But it does lack the power and versatility of better website builders, such as Wix and Weebly.
HostGator review: Interface
Using the website builder is a piece of cake. After signing up with HostGator, you’ll be asked to pick a template to work from. You’re then transferred to the editor, which has drag-and-drop functionality. The onboarding tutorial takes you through everything that you need to know. The number of templates available is relatively low, though, so if you have a specific look in mind, you might prefer Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly.
HostGator review: Support
If you use the Website Builder, priority support goes to those who pay for the Premium plan. But it’s not really worth it over the price of the Starter package, which already includes 24/7/365 support live chat and phone support. In our testing, we got answers to our queries within two minutes every time.
HostGator also has one of the best knowledge bases online, with over 3,500 articles on how to get the best from your hosting. These articles are supported by useful videos that take you step by step through any feature.
Is HostGator the best website host for creatives?
HostGator fills many niches, but not all of them. The HostGator Website Builder is a good option if you hate the idea of working with website code, but it lacks the customization that most creatives will crave. It’s also important to remember that the prices go up significantly after the initial payment term.
If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, though, the WordPress and shared hosting plans are competitively priced, and installing software is as easy as a single click.
HostGator gets high marks for offering unmetered bandwidth and file storage at such a cheap price. The after-sales support is also excellent. Therefore, it’s an easy website host to recommend to creatives.