3 Different Shared Hosting Plans
Unlike iPage and FatCow which offer only 1 plan for everyone, HostGator is offering a full range of web hosting services with a lot of different plans. However, we are only interested in the Hatchling and Baby Plan. Hatchling can only host 1 website while baby plan comes with the ability to host unlimited websites.
The more expensive Business Plan includes extra features such as dedicated IP address, private SSL certificate, anonymous FTP connection and a toll-free number. Dedicated IP address and private SSL certificate are required if you plan to register for your own online merchant account to process credit card payments (You don't need it if you are accepting PayPal payments). The toll-free is self-explanatory. The anonymous FTP connection is a useless feature that I don't think you will need it.
Hatchling, Baby or Business?
I have a written a longer post to explain the differences between the Hatchling, Baby and Business Plan in details. In brief, because upgrading from Hatchling to Baby will be free and will be done in a pro-rated basis, you can safely choose the cheaper Hatchling plan to start with if you only have 1 domain name. You can upgrade to Baby plan later when you need to host your 2nd website.
Features and Highlights
45-Day Full Money Back Guarantee + Prorated After That
They also have a longer 45 day FULL money back guarantee instead of a standard 30 day money back guarantee with no questions asked. And they promise to process your refund in just 1 working day! For them, customer is the boss.
After the initial 45 days, you will still be able to get a prorated refund for your unused portion! It is prorated to the month so if you pay for 24 months and cancel after 3 months, you will still get 21 months of hosting fee back! This is the same as the "anytime money back guarantee" promoted by other web hosts such as iPage and JustHost.
Try 1 Month For 1 Cent Only!
What's more interesting is that Brent actually decided to let you try them out for 1 month for only $0.01! ONE CENT! I repeat, ONE CENT! All you have to do is to use the coupon code "GetFreeMonth" when you order, it will take off $9.94 from the total as shown above. You don't even need to wait for money back if you decided not to host with them. Simply cancel your account before the auto renewal date (30 days) and your risk is just ONE CENT!
By giving this offer, you and I know that they are really very confident with their business! But please be warn that you are not getting the best discount using this coupon because after paying 1 cent for the first month, you will have to pay full price every month, that's $9.95. For a more worthy discount, you should sign up for at least 1 year and use the 25% discount coupon "Get25Discount". Remember you can always get a prorated refund if you are not satisfied!
Superior Customer Support
They provide 24/7 support, through tickets/email, chat, phone and forums. Their building is staffed every day of the year at all times of the day and night. You will usually find a ticket replied back to within minutes. Major issues will be handled right on the spot by their administrators.
As Brent said, "Support is most likely the number one thing we do right and it's what keeps our customers, and brings back a majority of those that leave for another host. You will never call HostGator and get an answering machine!"
They also have no outsourced support at all, everything is done in house. You won't end up talking to an Indian.
Customer support is the reason why I am willing to pay so much more for them.
CPanel Control Panel
They are also using our favorite CPanel control panel. CPanel is also used by LunarPages, HostMonster and BlueHost. CPanel beats the other control panels in terms of speed, features, and user friendliness. My advice to you is to always choose CPanel or vDeck as your control panel. Your hosting experience relies heavily on what control panel you are using. Unlike other hosts who never provide you with the demo of their control panel, HostGator makes the demo available to you! Their custom CPanel theme is so beautiful that I am sure you will love it at first sight. Try it now - Demo Link.
They Will Help You To Move Your Site
While most web hosts will not promise you anything on moving your site to them, HostGator actually takes 1 step further and promise to help you in moving your site. While this is really a tedious task, at least you won't need to manually download your files from the old host and upload it to HostGator. This is quite painful since most of us have a slow internet connection. They will help you to migrate your existing files and existing databases from your old host which will save you a lot of time and effort. If you want, you can also move your domain name to them and they will renew it for you for another year for FREE. They might even help you in changing the configuration files for popular scripts such as Wordpress or Joomla to point to your new databases. But for other configuration and debuging, I believe you have to do it yourself. But I am sure they are already doing a lot more than other web hosts. Maybe it is true that how much you pay is how much you get. How do you expect a free web host or a $1.95/month host can do this for you?
All of their servers are located out of The Planet datacenter based in Texas. They have been with them since 2002 and they are their largest customer having the most servers located at the datacenter comparing to other web hosts.
These world-class datacenters contain top of the line technology to ensure that servers stay cool, secure, and up at all times. The datacenters feature redundant power, HVAC, and fire detection systems, and are monitored 24/7 by both HostGator and The Planet's Network Operation Centers.
HostGator has purchased certified Renewable Energy Credits (REC) representing 130% of the electricity used to power and cool all their servers. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) allow any customer, anywhere in the country to support renewable energy generation. For every REC purchased, one megawatt-hour (MWh, or 1000 kilowatt-hours) of renewable electricity is generated and delivered to the power grid.
Management & Employees
HostGator management team are made up of employees who have been with the company since early 2005 and 2006. All of them work directly at HostGator Office in Houston, Texas. HostGator has over 400 employees, with a large amount of industry veterans from the hosting field. They are growing so rapidly that they expect to add another 200 employees in the next 2 years. Not only that they are able to retain their customers for a long time, they are also able to retain their staff for a long time, showing that they are really a well run business.
Choose Your Own Username
HostGator is the ONLY web host in my directory that actually allows you to choose your own username. This benefit may look insignificant at first but will be very obvious when you start using your account. All other web hosts will generate a username for you base on your domain name. For example, when I was hosting my site with LunarPages, they actually assign me a username of n0-che2! If you examine it carefully you will notice that they are taking the part "0-che" from my domain name 10-cheapwebhosting.com and than added another 2 random characters to my username. With the mix of alphabets, numbers and a dash, typing my username is like doing gymnastic. In shared hosting, all our database names (and many other names) are prefixed with our hosting account username, which means my database will look like n0-che2_wordpress and n0-che2_joomla. Not only they are ugly but they are also very difficult to type. After I moved to HostGator, I happily pick the username "ten" and now I can have simple database name such as ten_wordpress.
Make sure you pick a good username. Remember to KISS - Keep it simple and stupid.
The pricing might seems a little bit expensive but with the 30% discount coupon, it becomes very reasonable comparing to the premium service quality you are getting.
Of course, many people will still prefer cheaper hosting with similar features. You may want to look at JustHost (BlueHost sister company) and iPage. Both are significantly cheaper and JustHost is powered by CPanel which is the same as HostGator while iPage is powered by vDeck.