By Mark Shroyer
What can I say about HostGator.
They are one of the most popular web hosts on the Internet.
Especially with Internet marketers. HostGator offers several
plans at different price points that most any budget can
Of course, HostGator includes all the normal stuff in
their packages you see everywhere. Like 99.9% uptime,
unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, etc., etc.
(See their web site for full features.)
One thing I like is that HostGator includes free SiteBuilders
with 4,500 high quality templates. Obviously, this is
a great way to make the process of creating web pages
quicker and easier. It is especially beneficial to those
without HTML skills.
Not only that but HostGator offers several ways to contact
support and it is 24/7. One of the best ways is through
their 800 number. This is especially good for newbie webmasters.
HostGator includes all the most popular one-click install
applications for hosting personal sites, blogs, CMS, bulletin
boards, online business, etc.
What I really like though is that, unlike most web hosts,
HostGator includes interactive demos of their SiteBuilder
and Cpanel. That way you can play around and get comfortable
with their tools and layout.
One thing I found unique is that they give business account
customers their own toll free 800 number. I have never
seen this anywhere.
A couple other uncommon things HostGator does (that most
other host's do not) is they include telnet and a free
limited version of ffmpeg for video conversion. Something
else I like is that cgi can be ran out of the cgi directory.
All seasoned web site owners realize that all successful
web sites have "growing pains." The best way
to look at hosting is to be sure you have a plan in place
for upgrading. When that day comes where you've outgrown
the benefits of shared hosting, with HostGator it's easy
to upgrade to a reseller account, VPS, or a dedicated
The best part is that HostGator offers a 45-day money
Though HostGator offers a lot of unlimited features the
truth is they do have a few limitations that could impact
you; depending on your web site and its coding.
One limitation HostGator has that I didn't understand
at first is they limit connections to 25 processes altogether.
If you don't use php, crontab, IMAP, databases (i.e.,
MySql) then it is not an issue. If you do, then it could
become one. Especially if you run blogs, forums, etc.
Each item counts as a connection. (i.e., PHP equals one
connection, IMAP equals one connection, Cron tab equals
one connection, etc.)
But the good news is 25 processes doesn't necessarly
mean only 25 people can view your web site simultaneously.
What it really means is that, for example, if it takes
a PHP file 3 seconds to execute its code, then that's
3 seconds excess visitors must wait before a new process
can open in order for them to visit your site. So it is
all in the quality of the coding. As long as each connection
does not take a long time to execute, there is nothing
to worry about.
Like most web hosts who offer "unlimited" hosting,
HostGator has a bandwidth limit of 100mbps constant and
an inode limit of 250K. This simply means you can't have
more than 250,000 items. (i.e., an email counts as 1 item,
an image counts as 1 item, a web page counts as 1 item,
etc.) Granted, this is more than most web site's will
ever need. However, if you use 2.0 blogs or forums then
a day could come where 250K isn't enough and you'd be
forced to either delete excess files, open another HostGator
account, or upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server.
Another thing I'm not crazy about is that there is a
technical limit of about 32,000 files or directories in
any one directory. These inode limits apply to their reseller
accounts also. But again, it's more than the average person
will ever need.
Also, HostGator limits you to sending no more than 500
emails per hour (12,000/day) per domain on their shared
hosting. Now if you do very little to no email marketing
then it is not an issue. However, if you do then 500/hr.
may not be enough.
Of course, the reason for this 500/limit is to minimize
spam accusations and being blacklisted. That makes sense.
In fact, if you send over 500 emails in any hour, the
emails will fail and may bounce back with an undeliverable
error. Besides there are plenty of 3rd party companies
for email marketing like TrafficWave,
So really this 500/hr. limit isn't that big of deal. It
is simply there to protect you and keep your best interest
Another thing to understand is their policy on using
more than 25% of CPU time for over 90 seconds. While they
do try to kill any process that runs more than 30 cpu-seconds,
the bottom line is that if any account uses more than
25% of CPU for more than 90 seconds that account is automatically
suspended. This means your visitors get redirected to
an "account suspended" page until the problem
is fixed. But don't worry. For the average webmaster this
won't be a problem because HostGator has very powerful
processors and exceeding the limit is not easy.
The good news is that HostGator does back up your web
site files each week. The bad news is they only back up
to 100,000 files or 4 GB. You are responsible for backing
up anything bigger and they do charge to restore your
back up. (You should be backing up your own files anyhow.)
What surprised me most, however, is that HostGator allows
adult web sites. I don't like that. The main reason is
because adult web sites tend to be very busy and cause
a lot of problems for everyone else sharing the server.
(i.e., Web site speeds slow down and crash.) Of course,
if you plan to host an adult Web site then HostGator is
OK. So do I recommend HostGator and why?
While HostGator clearly has a couple minor limitations
I definitely recommend them; especially for personal sites
and small business sites.
The reasons why are because they have an A+ BBB rating.
They are one of the most popular web hosts on the entire
web. They have free telephone support and free site builders.
At the start price of $9/mo. it is is dirt cheap. And
when it is time to upgrade due to success they have everything
from reseller accounts, to VPS, to dedicated servers.
Plus they are green!