HostGator offers month-to-month shared web hosting plans, but pushes hard for you to sign up for longer terms, starting at six months. I don't like that during the signup process HostGator defaults to a three-year term. It's one thing to encourage users to skip month-to-month service, but pushing them into three years from the start is a bit much.
That said, HostGator offers Linux- or Windows-based shared hosting packages that give small- and medium-size businesses room to grow. The Hatchling plan (starting at $10.95 per month) offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth, databases, and email addresses, plus support for one domain and third-party applications such as content management systems and e-commerce platforms. The Baby plan (starting at $11.95 per month) builds on the Hatchling offering by adding unlimited domains. The top-tier Business plan (starting at $16.95 per month) includes highly specialized options, such as a toll-free number for your business and a private SSL (secure socket layer) certificate.
Arvixe matches HostGator closely in the shared hosting game, but HostGator offers slightly more bang for the buck with the inclusion of a private SSL certificate and toll-free VoIP number. As a result, HostGator is the Editors' Choice for shared web hosting services.
VPS Web Hosting
HostGator offers Linux-based VPS hosting starting at $19.95 per month. If you need more power, expect high traffic volumes, or have specific compliance requirements that prevent you from using shared servers (but you don't want to pay dedicated server prices), these are good options to consider.
The most basic VPS plan, Snappy 2000, offers 2GB of RAM, 120GB of disk space, and 1.5TB of monthly data transfers starting at $79.95 per month (or as low as $19.95 per month with a three-year commitment). The mid-tier Snappy 4000 package, starting at $119.95 per month (or as cheap as $29.95 per month with a three-year plan), boasts 4GB of RAM, 165GB of storage, and 2TB of monthly data transfers. The most advanced plan, Snappy 8000, offers 8GB of RAM, 240GB of disk space, and 3TB of monthly data starting at $149.95 per month or $39.95 per month if you sign up for 36 months. The plans are much more flexible than what's offered by Network Solutions, but not quite as well rounded as Hostwinds, our Editors' Choice for VPS hosting.
Hostwinds has wallet-friendly, well-rounded VPS offerings that start at $7.50 per month for 1GB of RAM, 25GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email. Plans scale up to $129 per month for 18.5GB of RAM, 130GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email. Hostwinds' VPS plans also have a Windows operating system option, which is something that HostGator doesn't offer.
Dedicated Web Hosting:
HostGator's dedicated server packages start at $119 per month, and they offer a fine set of features. HostGator users can customize their servers with up to 1TB of SSD storage, 32GB of RAM, and unlimited monthly data transfers, which bests the bandwidth offerings from many other dedicated server packages.
HostGator's dedicated servers come in both Linux and Windows flavors, which isn't as commonplace as you might think; Linux tends to dominate the field. In fact, HostGator is one of the few web hosts we've tested that scored well and offers both operating systems. Even Dreamhost, one of our favorite hosting services, lacks Windows-based dedicated servers. That said, Hostgator isn't the Editors' Choice for dedicated hosting. That title goes to Hostwinds.
Hostwinds has an impressive feature set. Its dedicated hosting packages (starting at $99) can be outfitted with up to 3TB of storage, 128GB of RAM, and boast unlimited monthly data transfers. The servers come in either Linux or Windows flavors, too.
Still, HostGator's dedicated hosting offerings are nothing to sneeze at. Check them out if you're in need of dedicated hosting with high-capacity SSD storage.
WordPress Web Hosting
HostGator lets you install the WordPress content management system (CMS) onto any of its aforementioned servers, but the web host also offers three tiers of managed WordPress web hosting: Starter, Standard, and Business.
Starter (starting at $14.95 per month) offers 25,000 visits per month, the ability to host just one WordPress site, 50GB of storage, and unlimited email. Standard (starting at $20.95) ups things to two WordPress sites, 200,000 monthly visits, and 150GB of disk space. Business (starting at $27.95 per month) grants three WordPress sites, 300,000 monthly visits, and unlimited storage. All plans come with page caching and an optimized WordPress hosting environment.
That said, 1&1, our Editors' Choice for WordPress hosting, tops HostGator and the competition by offering unlimited storage, domains, visitors, and email with its high-end Unlimited plan ($14.99 per month). You also get automatic malware detection and removal.
WordPress is easy to set up on HostGator even if you don't go the managed-WordPress route. The customer portal has an option called Quick Links that opens a dedicated interface for installing third-party applications. There's also a handy shortcut called Get Started With WordPress Today that leads to the Quick Links interface. I set the path to my blog's installation, entered the username for the WordPress administrator account, and clicked on the install button. As easy as that, my site was up and running. HostGator also automatically installed the WP-Super-Cache WordPress plug-in to help improve blog performance.
In testing, the process of setting up my WordPress site was easy, because the database was already there. There was also a link to the Mojo Marketplace under WordPress services, with premium add-ons and services for my blog. HostGator lacks a blog import button, but WordPress makes the import process easy enough.
Reseller Web Hosting
If you're looking to get into the web hosting business, but you don't want to deal with infrastructure matters, check out HostGator's reseller hosting packages. The plans, starting at $19.95 per month, boast unlimited email across the board. The shared, dedicated, and VPS packages are of both the Linux and Windows variety, but HostGator doesn't supply them with unlimited storge and monthly data transfers at each tier, as the Editors' Chocie Hostwind does with its offerings. On the upside, HostGator lets you apply your own branding to the servers you rent, and it also supplies 24/7 tech support.
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