As much as I try to dive into reviewing a hosting provider or a company in general with a clear and open mind, this wasn’t the case. I’ve read a lot of bad things about Hostgator which almost made me not want to review this hosting provider.
Honestly, a lot of blogs, in which I will not discuss which ones, recommend Hostgator just because of their high affiliate commissions.
Also, because I wanted to experience and see for myself if it was actually really bad as people say it is, or as a good as popular blogs say it is. So here’s my brutally honest Hostgator Review of 2020.
Pricing and Features
I believe Hostgator because of the massive marketing expenses and budget, and also how big they are since they have been around for like, what if feels like, forever. They are able to keep the cost of their shared plans at least pretty competitive, now at what cost? We’ll find out during the performance test. The plan I’m using in this test is their middle plan from their shared hosting (Baby plan).
They have the typical features any shared hosting would have, with the exception they only have up to PHP 7.1, which is quite dated since it has reached its end of life.
Some of the features are:
- Free SSL
- Unlimited domains (Baby and Business Plan)
- “Unmetered Disk” (Not really, its capped by the number of files you can have)
- … and a lot more standard stuff
Their support system, actually, their chat system if somewhat weird and annoying (if you are logged in). If you are logged in you need to login once again to be able to chat with an agent. Anyways, they also offer phone support, which I would never use but hey they at least have that.
The down part is that, from what I could see, they don’t offer a ticketing system, you always gotta contact them through the chat, which can be a hassle for some people who don’t have the time to sit and wait for the agent to respond. With a ticketing system you can go ahead describe your problem and hopefully when you come back they will get your problem sorted out.
I went ahead and asked the typical spam question: “Do you guys have SpamAssassin? If so how can I activate it?“
Literally, within a minute I was chatting with an agent, not bad.
The support agent was able to come back to me with a nice and in-depth response and also a guide on how to use SpamAssassin. Not bad.
Now, as usual, this is the most exciting part when I’m testing hosting providers. I actually do not have high hopes for Hostgator because of the current stack they use, I think they need to ditch the old-school Apache and move towards Litespeed or Nginx.
Regardless of their stack, let’s get started.
As usual with all my tests, I’ll be running the same test which is to maintain 1,000 clients through the course of one minute.
Not a great start, the test timed out because it reached the error threshold, in other words… Let’s just say they are really bad.
I decided to give it another try by changing from 1,000-1,000 clients to 10-100 clients.
This is AWFUL. Sorry, but there is not another word that can describe the performance of this hosting provider. They are really bad. The test, once again, stopped because it received too many errors.
Now, please note that the performance above is to measure the raw performance without a third-party caching plugin. I went ahead and activated WP-Rocket and the results were a lot better but my $1 promo/month plan from EasyWP was able to handle 2.1x more the number of requests, with less than half of the timeout errors.
These results and experience, the WordPress dashboard was painfully slow during the tests even though the server load wasn’t high at all.
Pretty much, all that AB does, in this scenario, is to simulate real visits without a hard cap (unlike Loader, in which you have to pay) to see how the stack handles the number of requests sent (which can be also a real-life spike in visitors).
ab -c200 -n100000 -s60 https://hg.hostreport.net// > hostgator.txt
- -c: Is the amount of concurrent requests, in this case, 200
- -n: Total number of requests, in this case, 100,000
- -s: Timeout in seconds, in this case, 60 seconds
- > hostgator.txt: This part is optional, this will just output a txt file.
|With WP-Rocket||Without WP-Rocket|
|Requests per second||14||Didn’t even bother measuring|
|Time Taken on the Test||1347.65 (22 minutes)||Didn’t even bother measuring|
|Failed requests||37400||Didn’t even bother measuring|
Let’s just say that even with a caching plugin enabled, 22 minutes passed by and it served only 56,250 requests, which 66% of them (37,400) failed. I didn’t even bother to measure without a caching plugin simply because it would be useless.
If with a caching plugin it was going at a rate of 14 requests per second, imagine without one. Yikes.
WP Benchmark Tool
I recently discovered, through a Facebook group, this new plugin, called WordPress Hosting Benchmark tool, which ultimately replaced in my case (even they are not created by the same person) the old WPBenchmarkTool tester plugin I’ve been using for a while now.
Just like it says at the bottom there, “your site should run quite well, but it will not break any speed record.” I mean, yes it’s average but if you have a site with a lot of database query calls, then you are going to be in trouble if you happen to use Hostgator.
Just to compare, this is a client’s site that I manage, that happens to be running on a well-optimized and great hosting provider (which is nearly the same price as this hosting provider).
So yeah… There’s quite a bit of room to improve in this category.
During the first few days, they were doing pretty good, until they got hit by a 26-minute downtime in one day and the following day another 10 mins.
This heavily impacted the uptime monitor and score.
Update: March was looking pretty good until…
The site was down for around 20 minutes. There seems to be a trend? Around the same time in February, the site went down as well…
Honestly, so I don’t make this too long, all I’m going to say is NEVER TRUST REVIEW SITES that don’t stand behind the reason and/or have used the product. I wouldn’t even recommend this hosting provider to my worst enemy, let’s leave it at that.
They are so bad I won’t even bother opening an affiliate account with them.
Overall, I’m not happy with the results whatsoever, really bad performance, uptime could be a lot better. On the positive side, their support was quick and responsive for what is worth. Their features could be better, a lot of hosts are switching over to litespeed which provides a magnificent caching plugin and it does a lot better than the good ole’ apache.