The Truth About HostGator

HostGator Hosting Facts, Host Profile & Hosting Reviews

Facts - HostGator

By Mark Shroyer

We researched over 200 web hosts and narrowed it down to the best Web hosts called the "Web Host 'Straight A' HOT List." To qualify for this list we required each web host have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at the time of our review. BBB ratings indicate how well companies have satisfied their customers and resolved complaints. The BBB rated HostGator with an A+.

But we did even further research.

Next, we emailed HostGator twice with 40+ tough questions about their shared Web hosting. We wanted to check out their response time and the depth of their answers. Both times were during "off" hours. (i.e., First set of questions were emailed on a week night somewhere between 7 PM to midnight. The other set were emailed on a weekend.)

It took HostGator 2 hours and 12 minutes to answer our first set of questions and 1 hour and 28 minutes to answer our second set. 24 hours or less for a response is considered quick by industry standards. HostGator responded within two hours on both occasions and supplied us with full detailed answers. Frankly, they were the second fastest on our entire list of hosts.

Here are the answers to our questions straight from HostGator themselves:

  1. Question: How long have you been in business?

    Answer: Since 2002

  2. Question: What are all the different ways I can contact technical support? (i.e., Email? Support ticket? Help desk? Chat? Phone?)

    Answer: Phone and Fax, Live Chat, Email, Snail Mail

  3. Question: Do you offer a simple user-friendly Web site builder for beginners to make creating web pages quicker and easier? (i.e., WYSIWYG online HTML Editor or something similar?)

    Answer: The easiest way we can help you design webpages is to provide you an account with a service called Sitebuilder, which provides an easy way to generate webpages and can upload them with FTP. FTP uses a username and password to authenticate you (show that it's you and not someone else), and you will be provided one if you sign up.

  4. Question: On average how long should I expect to wait before I get a reply back from technical support on an urgent high priority request?

    Answer: Normally tickets are answered the same day, usually within a few hours. Tickets are addressed in the order they are received.

  5. Question: Will I share an IP number or will I have my own?

    Answer: A Dedicated IP can be ordered and assigned. However Shared and Reseller accounts all are initially assigned a shared IP address.

  6. Question: How many sites do you normally put on one shared server? How many sites do you normally put on one shared server? How do you decide what constitutes a full server?

    Answer: I cannot offer an estimate. We have multiple accounts on the shared and reseller servers, and it also depends what sizes they are as to how many we can fit. I can tell you we never fill the server past 80% capacity.

  7. Question: Will I be contacted in advance about routine maintenance?

    Answer: Scheduled Maintenance events will be broadcast within cPanel and on the HostGator Customer Forums.

  8. Question: What is your bandwidth, transfer, file or hit limit?

    Answer: We have a 250,000 inodes (file/item) limit for shared and reseller customers per cPanel. Bandwidth is 100mbps constant.

  9. Question: Can I have telnet access?

    Answer: Yes, telnet will work by default.

  10. Question: Is a CGI directory included?

    Answer: Yes

  11. Question: Can I run CGI scripts outside of the CGI directory?

    Answer: Yes, normally, we run PHP as CGI. On your phpinfo() page, this is the setting listed under "Server API".

  12. Question: Is there a limit to how many scripts I can install?

    Answer: You only would have an Inode limit to adhere to, that is all.

  13. Question: Do you provide full shell access?

    Answer: Shell access on Shared and Reseller accounts is Jailed (limited).

  14. Question: What version of Perl do you use? Does it contain a full set of modules?

    Answer: The current Version is 5.8.8. You can see all of the available Perl modules by entering cPanel and clicking the Perl Modules icon (under Software/Services in the X3 theme). On that page, scroll to the bottom for a button to "Show System Installed Modules".

  15. Question: Do you offer a Web statistics package?

    Answer: Within cPanel you will have access to this. We can also create a symlink for Webalizer (only Webalizer) to yourdomain.com/stats. Please submit a written request to us for this service.

  16. Question: Will I have access to the raw statistical log files?

    Answer: Yes, via cPanel

  17. Question: Does the space used by my logs count against my allotted disk space?

    Answer: Yes

  18. Question: How much space am I alotted for databases such as MySQL?

    Answer: There is no specific allotment.

  19. Question: Do you offer Frontpage extensions?

    Answer: Yes this can be enabled via cPanel

  20. Question: Do you offer Secure Socket Layer?

    Answer: Yes

  21. Question: How many email accounts, forwards, and email aliases can I have?

    Answer: As many as you'd like to manage.

  22. Question: Is sending to opt-in email lists allowed? (i.e., e-newsletters, autoresponders, etc.)

    Answer: Safelists are allowed and Online businesses that use e-mail marketing must follow all the CAN-SPAM rules.

  23. Question: How many emails can I send out per hour and day?

    Answer: There is a 500 hourly outgoing email limit per domain on all shared servers. This limit is also applied towards mailing lists. If you send over this amount in any hour, the e-mails will fail and may bounce back with a undeliverable error.

  24. Question: Is your package upgradable and what should I expect if I ever need to upgrade to a larger package?

    Answer: Upgrades are easily achieved in Shared Server environments. However you will need to change servers each time should you choose a Dedicated Server.

  25. Question: Do you have a money-back guarantee?

    Answer: We offer a 45 day money back guarantee on Shared and Reseller accounts. Domain names are non-refundable.

  26. Question: What are your billing and cancellation policies?

    Answer: Due to the scale of this question I ask that you please contact billing at our web site and ask direct questions if you need clarification on specific issues. Otherwise, see our terms of service page at our web site. This should fully answer your question.

    (Webmaster's Note: Basically they use reoccuring billing with a 10 day grace period for unpaid bills, and to cancel your service you must use the cancellation form at their web site.)

  27. Question: What is your acceptable usage policy in a nutshell?

    Answer: There is no nutshell answer to it unfortunately. Please see our Terms of Service located at our web site.

  28. Question: Are there any penalties or fees for exceeding basic allocations and what should I expect if it accidentally happens? (i.e., Going over my bandwidth, etc.?)
  1. Answer:

    - Shared Webhosting:
    You will not need extra disk space and bandwidth, as we do not limit those.

    - Resellers:
    If you need more bandwidth or disk space, please upgrade to the next package by filling out our online upgrade form.

    If you need more bandwidth or disk space than our highest plan offers, please purchase a second plan to accommodate your needs, or upgrade to a dedicated.

    - VPS:
    If you need more bandwidth or disk space, please upgrade to the next package by emailing us with your request.

    If you need more bandwidth or disk space than our highest plan offers, please purchase a second plan to accommodate your needs (or consider upgrading everything to a dedicated server).

    - Dedicated Owner:
    You can order an additional hard drive to achieve more disk space; please understand that the extra hard drive cannot be transferred to another server. You can order additional bandwidth, or else we will automatically charge you for every Gigabyte over your monthly limit. Please read the related article "Bandwidth policy and prices" at our web site.

  2. Question: Can I set up a free trial period?

    Answer: We do not offer a free trial period, however, please see question 25 about our 45 day money back guarantee.

  3. Question: How soon can I expect to obtain access to my Web site after I submit my order?

    Answer:
    * Shared, Reseller and SEO accounts take less than 1 hour to set up.
    * VPS without cPanel takes less than 1 hour to set up.
    * VPS with cPanel takes a few hours (about 3 to 4) to set up.
    * Dedicated server takes 24 to 48 hours to set up.

  4. Question: Do you impose file size upload limits and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: There are no file size upload limits.

  5. Question: Do you impose any limits to how many files can be stored in a single sub-directory and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: There is a technical limit of about 32000 files or directories in any one directory. This limit is an inherent limitation of the Linux operating system that we use.

  6. Question: Do you impose a size-load limit that a directory can have and, if so, what is it? (i.e., 100 MB worth of files per directory)

    Answer: There is no size limit to your directory.

  7. Question: Do you have any CPU, RAM, or Inode limits that I need to know about and stay under and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: All processes that run for more than 30 cpu-seconds (are in the CPU for more than 30 seconds, time spent swapped out or doing I/O don't count) are instantly killed (forced to stop running on the spot). You would also face suspension if you used more than 25% of the total CPU time for over 90 seconds, which is hard to do on powerful processors like those our servers use. PHP processes are limited to 64MB of RAM. You are limited to 25 processes, one process is used by one php connection, one imap connection, or one cron task. You are limited to 500 emails an hour, and if you must send more than this, we suggest you "throttle" the list, slowing it down to this speed or slower.

  8. Question: Is there a limit to how many simultaneous HTTP connections there can be and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: We don't have a specific limit of simultaneous HTTP connections, but very popular sites typically end up using too much of one or another resource and we require them to move to a dedicated server at that point.

  9. Question: Is there a limit to how many simultaneous PHP connections there can be and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: We don't have a specific limit for PHP connections. However, one php connection uses one process, and you are limited to 25 processes at a time.

  10. Question: Is there a limit to how many simultaneous database connections there can be (i.e., MySQL, etc.) and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: You may have 25 MySQL connections at any given time. We suggest closing them when you are done so that you can have a site with more than 25 users.

  11. Question: Is there a limit to how many simultaneous FTP connections there can be and, if so, what are they?

    Answer: We do not have a policy on FTP connections.

  12. Question: Do you offer IMAP and, if so, is there any limits to how many IMAP connections I can have and what are they?

    Answer: We do support Imap, but each imap connection uses one process, and you are limited to 25. The most common reason that people encounter trouble for this is "Idle mode," which leaves stale imap connections open.

  13. Question: What should I typically expect to happen if any of the limits above accidentally went over their limit? (i.e., Would my visitors see a message saying "account temporarily suspended" or what should I expect? Please elaborate.)

    Answer: If you use an unreasonable amount of cpu, MySQL connections, or RAM (as measured by the security team), then your account would be suspended (users coming to your site at that time would see a message that this site "needs support.") and a ticket would be filed (which you would receive a copy of by email) explaining that your account was suspended, why, and what you could do to un-suspend it.

  14. Question: Do you offer ffmpeg for video conversion and video sharing? If so, are there any limitations and what are they?

    Answer: We have a free version of FFMPEG and a custom one for $75. The free one uses only a few, popular drivers, and lacks support for some of the codecs that you might need.

  15. Question: Do you host adult content or web sites?

    Answer: Adult sites are permitted, although they tend to bring a lot of traffic and will cause you problems unless well-coded. (An adult site that, say, never closed MySQL connections would be suspended due to MySQL abuse within 2 hours.)

  16. Question: How can I ensure your network and my (shared) IP address you give me won't get blocked or blacklisted as spam by ISP companies when I send and receive emails through your server?

    Answer: Our email limit is designed to keep sites off the spam lists. We also have some support help if you should wind up on a blacklist, and how you can ask the receiving site to remove you from it.

  17. Question: Do you automatically make back up copies of all my files and, if so, how often, and is there any limits?

    Answer: We have backup servers that make backups once per week, usually on Sunday. Please do not rely on this, as there is a $15 charge for restoring from it. Your site will not be backed up if it is larger than 4GB in size or has more than 100,000 inodes (one Inode is used by one file.) You can back up your files yourself if your account is smaller than 4GB, and we can help you back it up if it is less than 10GB. If your account is larger than 10GB or has more than 100,000 files, then we can only help you make backups that include only your email and MySQL databases, and you will need to find another way to keep your files safe (such as downloading them all through FTP).

  18. Question: What is the typical procedure you recommend that I take (other than companies like PayPal) if I want to accept credit cards from my web site, and what do I need to know to make it happen and how much extra will it all cost?

    Answer: We have a guide to supporting credit cards at our web site. Basically, you need a merchant's account, and should have an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to allow people to tell you their proper information under a cloak of encryption. Although we have a free shared SSL, this is unwise for merchants, as the browser will complain that the SSL does not match the site address. I can provide you with more information on SSL if you need it.

  19. Question: How long will you give me to retrieve all my files if, for any reason, either one of us decides to terminate our service with each other?

    Answer: You would have up to one week, though ideally you should backup your information and download it before canceling.

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