SiteGround vs. HostGator (2016)

Alexandra Leslie Alexandra Leslie Hosting Expert
“We tested SiteGround & HostGator — The winner is SiteGround!”

SiteGround and HostGator both emerged in the early 2000s. They are longtime members of the hosting community and both offer a wide spectrum of shared, virtual, and dedicated servers. Though they both seemingly offer it all, you could say they’ve each specialized in different hosting niches. HostGator is most known for shared hosting, while SiteGround’s advanced hardware and higher cost make them best suited for experienced site owners. Nevertheless, HostGator is the kind of provider with whom you can start small and scale up, and SiteGround’s support experience makes every customer feel like a VIP. So, depending on where you are in your hosting lifecycle, which is the best fit for you?

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Overall Rating
5.0/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit SiteGround »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit HostGator »

Overall Hosting Comparison

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 5.0/5.0

With an impressive breadth of overall hosting services offered, SiteGround is a leading innovator in the hosting space — from custom software solutions to premier customer support. They offer the full... read more +

With an impressive breadth of overall hosting services offered, SiteGround is a leading innovator in the hosting space — from custom software solutions to premier customer support. They offer the full range of web hosting features, including a free domain and email, Cloudflare CDN, cPanel with SSH access, and unlimited MySQL databases and bandwidth — not to mention their prize-worthy customer support.

We got a chance to sit down with both the CEO, Tenko Nikolov, and Founder of SiteGround, Ivo Tzenov, to discuss the technology behind some of their incredible innovations. They gave us the inside scoop on SiteGround's features, and took us through the solutions they've engineered to enhance the user experience.

What's SiteGround's strongest "pull" factor, you ask? Well, customer service has been their claim to fame, without a doubt. However, customers come to SiteGround for the support, only to be blown away by the custom solutions they've built to make the hosting experience as stress-free as possible.

SiteGround has engineered an in-house chat software that allows users to select and rate thoroughly vetted customer service agents with whom they've worked previously. They've written their own Ticketing System as well, which is comprised of an algorithm designed to select appropriate technical support representatives for specific tasks.

They've taken their preference for in-house software solutions for customer support and applied it to their entire business. "All of our infrastructure and all of our code beds are done internally," Tenko said.

For their shared hosting service, they've conceived a one-of-a-kind server isolation system that prevents vulnerable servers from taking down entire networks. In place of VPS hosting, they've built their own cloud container platform, featuring thousands of containers and top-notch scalability and security. All SiteGround hosting service users benefit from their unique downtime prevention mechanism, which has helped SiteGround develop their reputation for uptime rates: 99.996% annually and 99.999% monthly.

In the cases of caching and backups, customers have access to SiteGround's in-house SuperCacher, with a flexible range of options to meet any and all page load needs at optimum speeds. Their custom backup software improves upon technology off the shelf, which often takes up to a day to run. Instead, SiteGround customers receive daily backups from a system that only takes about an hour.

SiteGround is, without a doubt, an esteemed leader in customer service within the hosting industry. They've emphasized that commitment to quality with the unique, custom solutions they've built. On the development side, they devote a tremendous amount of time to UX testing, epitomizing their commitment to the user experience.

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  • Unlimited email hosting at your FREE domain
  • Compatible with multiple webmail and email clients
  • Secure email protocols and integrated anti-SPAM solutions
  • FREE website builder and easy management via cPanel
  • Ideal for business email hosting, with 99.9% uptime
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
FREE for life!

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

HostGator has been around for over a decade and is well-respected for their large number of servers and their consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies... read more +

HostGator has been around for over a decade and is well-respected for their large number of servers and their consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies decent dedicated and VPS options if you need your site to scale.

HostGator costs a little more than some of the other budget-minded shared hosts, but that contributes to their reliability and well-known support. They offer decent features included in their basic offerings, unlimited disk space, a nice control panel, and free website templates. While the feature list is short compared to other hosts, you do get the flexibility to add them as you see fit.

Aimed primarily at the semi-technical user, HostGator's flexibility is their strong suit. Dedicated, VPS, and Windows hosting is available if that fits your needs. For those than need it, root access, SSH, and support for Ruby, Perl, Python, and other languages is available on all plans.

HostGator has nearly limitless options and control available for their server, however they require a little more knowledge than beginner-focused web hosts. If you need to host multiple sites, their wide array of offerings make them a great choice.

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  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • FREE Weebly site builder
  • Unlimited disk space, emails, and bandwidth on all plans.
  • No contract required and 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 50% off your first month, plus domains starting at $5!
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Cheap Hosting Comparison

Cheap Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

Hosting with the perfect balance of technological innovation and superior customer support, SiteGround offers a range of affordable hosting services to meet your needs. In addition to the expected cheap... read more +

Hosting with the perfect balance of technological innovation and superior customer support, SiteGround offers a range of affordable hosting services to meet your needs. In addition to the expected cheap web hosting perks — free domain, emails, and unlimited bandwidth — they specialize in the custom-built tools they bring to the table for technical and customer support.

SiteGround has developed their own Ticketing System and custom chat software, allowing you to chat with trusted and capable representatives with whom you've had success in the past. Their custom software takes in around 1,500 chats on any given day. Their Ticketing System uses an algorithm to assign tasks to the most appropriately qualified team member out of their dozen-or-so web developers.Their website itself receives about one million visitors per month, with users coming for both their tutorials and knowledge base articles written and updated by their Tech Support Team.

"Everybody says we have 24/7/365 support," Tenko said. Once a month, SiteGround tests the support of a list of hosts, themselves included, with dummy accounts. They measure response times, politeness, responsiveness, et cetera, and if a competitor is really doing something well, SiteGround's team takes note and acts on that to improve their own services. “Quality is #1 for us, not the revenue or the numbers," Tenko told us.

For hosting users, SiteGround's interface and API are simple and intuitive. They have free automation-migration from popular hosting sources, so you can just input SSH data directly from your site. SiteGround makes it affordable and easy to get your website up and running, and their support crew doesn't leave your side at any point.

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  • FREE site transfer, email accounts, and domain name (for life!)
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee, Cloudflare CDN, and unlimited site traffic
  • 1-click WordPress installs and cPanel with an all-inclusive UI
  • 24/7 support featuring their custom Chat and Ticketing Support Systems
  • SuperCacher with 4 caching options, plus staging and Git available
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
FREE for life!

Cheap Rating

★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

#3 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews

HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. They offer unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus 1-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to... read more +

HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. They offer unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus 1-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to a 99.9% uptime guarantee on their shared hosting plans.

HostGator’s price-to-performance perks also apply to their vast array of other hosting options, such as VPS, dedicated servers, and even reseller hosting. Their many hosting options make them a great choice for sites on the rise, in need of options for the future.

For those just getting started and looking for a good, cheap host, HostGator bundles some nice features that hosting newbies can appreciate. A very nice site builder from Weebly is included. Their control panels are also very easy to use and a free domain is a nice touch.

If you are looking for a solid web host, with a ton of flexibility, plenty of power, and great price points, you should consider making HostGator your web host of choice.

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  • FREE Weebly site builder
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Unlimited disk, emails, and bandwidth
  • 24/7/365 premium support
  • 50% off your first month, plus domains starting at $5!
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
Unlimited
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Dedicated Hosting Comparison

Dedicated Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

Looking for limitless server resources that are easily accessible across the globe? Look no further than SiteGround's dedicated hosting. Featuring multiple datacenters based out of the US, Europe, and... read more +

Looking for limitless server resources that are easily accessible across the globe? Look no further than SiteGround's dedicated hosting. Featuring multiple datacenters based out of the US, Europe, and Asia, SiteGround's dedicated servers offer extreme accessibility, scalability, and security.

If you're interested in dedicated hosting, you're probably not new to the web hosting community, as hosting on dedicated servers is designed for site owners faced with extremely high traffic volumes (ie. not entry-level site owners or mom-and-pop shops looking to build a web presence). These customers are therefore in need of a server dedicated to providing blazing-fast page load speeds and mega-scale bandwidth for their very popular website, and their website alone.

With dedicated servers, the key points to consider before choosing a host are bandwidth limitations, speed and processor performance, as well as RAM and storage options. To ensure your account is secure, you'll also want to look into data protection, downtime prevention, and of course, network size and overall security.

SiteGround starts you off with Intel Xeon E3 or E5 processors, with a minimum of four CPU Cores and eight Threads. Depending on whether you choose the "Entry Server", "Power Server", or "Enterprise Server" Plans, you'll be given 4-16GB of DDR3 RAM, and 8-15MB of CPU Cache. Disk space ranges across the three plans, from 500GB of SATA II to four 500GB SATA IIIs with RAID 10 (all HDD). Best of all, all SiteGround dedicated hosting customers are alotted five terabytes of bandwidth.

On the hardware side of things, SiteGround uses the latest hardware, while keeping replacement parts on-site for every model used. Their Dedicated Server Operations Team puts a tremendous amount of resources into testing and tweaking hardware configurations for optimum server performance. To reward their loyal customers, hardware is regularly updated, with seamless transitions and zero downtime. Overall, SiteGround averages 99.999% uptime each month and 99.996% annually.

For software, SiteGround prides itself on using mostly in-house solutions and performing their own custom patches and bug fixes for products bought off the shelf, which are also always kept up-to-date. "We really obsess over doing everything ourselves, because we believe that’s the best way to do it,” Tenko said. Their customer service offerings, including their Ticketing and Chat Systems, were developed in-house, and offer top-level support 24/7.

In terms of security, SiteGround was the first to implement a unique server isolation mechanism that protects servers from becoming compromised by a single, vulnerable account. They actively monitor and detect security exploits. The unique downtime prevention software they developed detects and resolves the majority of server issues instantaneously, while most hosts take up to 40 minutes to detect, triage, and react to security breeches.

For unmatched support, server resources, and technological innovation, you can't go wrong with choosing SiteGround as a dedicated server host. As Tenko put it best: “Quality is #1 for us, not the revenue or the numbers.”

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  • WHM, cPanel, SSH access, and 24/7 proactive uptime monitoring
  • FREE domain, 5 FREE IPs, and Softaculous autoinstaller
  • Cloudflare CDN and iptables firewall
  • MySQL 5 and PostgreSQL
  • Private DNS server setup
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
Up to 5 x 400 GB SATA III/RAID 10
Domain Name
FREE for life!

Dedicated Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

#5 out of 7 in Dedicated Hosting reviews

Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad core processors and lots of RAM, HostGator is a... read more +

Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad core processors and lots of RAM, HostGator is a great balance between performance, quality, and price.

Being one of the few hosts to offer managed support and a Windows-based OS, those needing trouble-free ASP.net support should take a close look at HostGator.

HostGator boasts a top-of-the-line, fully-redundant network and datacenter, which dedicated hosting users will take full advantage of and love. They also offer a ton of IP addresses with each plan.

HostGator has a fantastic support network and 24/7 customer service in the form of phone, chat, or email. Combining that support with plenty of power, they are a very respectable choice for a dedicated host.

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  • Linux or Windows servers available
  • Top of the line, fully-redundant network and datacenter
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • SSH access and support for multiple languages
  • Use code HA30OFF for 30% off first month
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
500 GB - 1 TB RAID
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

VPS Hosting Comparison

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

When it comes to VPS hosting, SiteGround does things a little differently. Instead of managing a typical virtual private server network, they have their very own cloud platform that they built from the... read more +

When it comes to VPS hosting, SiteGround does things a little differently. Instead of managing a typical virtual private server network, they have their very own cloud platform that they built from the ground-up. It's similar to VPS, with shell access included, but it's much more scalable, according to Tenko.

Their managed cloud hosting includes thousands of containers and is much faster than most products you'll find on the market. A single cloud instance can be provisioned, up, and running in seconds, according to Tenko. "Unlike most of the container cloud platforms out there, it's completely secure," he said.

Tenko also told us they've done around 70 kernel patches to ensure security for their cloud hosting innovation. “We’re really obsessed with performance and security," he said, "and we really obsess over doing everything ourselves, because we believe that’s the best way to do it.”

When asked about the motivation behind crafting an in-house cloud platform rather than using a container product off the shelf, Tenko said, "there are a lot of reasons, but the main one is flexibility." It may require more groundwork in the beginning, but being able to dictate changes to the technology means that SiteGround stands out, providing an enhanced, faster, more-scalable service. "People feel that they're getting something custom," he said.

The container platform that their cloud hosting is built upon isn't the only in-house technology they've got up their hosting sleeve. Instead of using third-party software, the SiteGround team writes almost all of their software themselves.

Among SiteGround's many custom solutions is their unique server isolation system. The technology shields servers from falling victim to the vulnerability of single, corrupted accounts. SiteGround was the first in their field to develop such a mechanism.

SiteGround also created their own backup system, which runs daily backups in about an hour, a downtime prevention mechanism that has yielded stellar uptime rates, and their SuperCacher, which offers four caching options for optimum load times.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, SiteGround developed the software to build their very own Chat System and Ticketing System, which enable them to provide the ultimate customer support. Ivo told us, "customers come for the customer service, but they stay because of the technology."

With each custom innovation SiteGround has engineered, customers have reported being pleasantly surprised by how much the technology simplifies their hosting experience. SiteGround's cloud hosting service is no different. They offer all the hit features they're known for, plus the added scalability and security that surpasses most VPS hosting providers. If you're ready to move beyond shared hosting, and want to do so with a king of customer service and tech solutions, look no further than SiteGround's cloud hosting.

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  • Fully-managed cloud hosting with ultra-fast performance and scalability
  • 3 datacenters, FREE Cloudflare CDN, and daily backups
  • SuperCacher, Git integration, and 1-click install for popular CMSs
  • WHM, cPanel, SSH access, and private DNS server setup
  • FREE domain name, dedicated IP, and iptables firewall
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
20 GB - 80 GB
Domain Name
FREE for life!

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

#5 out of 8 in VPS Hosting reviews

HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for their shared hosting options. Their VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those that are new to VPS... read more +

HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for their shared hosting options. Their VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those that are new to VPS hosting and know their needs require more than a typical shared host.

Starting at low price points, HostGator makes transitioning to a VPS plan reasonable and doable. Each plan comes with two IPs and a bunch of storage, however their CPU and RAM offerings could be better for their respective price tags.

HostGator’s strongest point comes from their state of the art datacenter. Featuring a fully-redundant network with no single point of failure and multiple bandwidth providers, uptime should almost never be a concern.

Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts. They have more than 12,000 servers under management and award-winning support. If you are looking for a very small VPS server or value the strength of a great network, give HostGator a shot.

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  • Full root access
  • Redundant network with multiple layers of network security
  • Fully- or semi-managed options
  • FREE website, domain, MySQL, and script transfer
  • Use code HA30OFF for 30% off first month
  • Get started on HostGator now.
Money Back Guarantee
45 days
Disk Space
25 GB - 3 TB
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

WordPress Hosting Comparison

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

#3 out of 10 in WordPress Hosting reviews

Want a hassle-free, WordPress-compatible hosting service? SiteGround has thought of everything you need to get your site up and running. Starting with the essentials, users get free email accounts, site... read more +

Want a hassle-free, WordPress-compatible hosting service? SiteGround has thought of everything you need to get your site up and running. Starting with the essentials, users get free email accounts, site transfer, cPanel, Cloudflare CDN, and free domain registration. Then they make it simple for you to start rolling out content by offering easy, 1-click installs for popular CMSs, including WordPress.

With SiteGround's WordPress hosting, you'll find features you would normally only have access to with managed (more cost, less control, compared to shared) WordPress hosting services. "Our WordPress product has several distinct characteristics that make it attractive to the end user," Ivo told us.

Users experience a seamless site transition with transferring conducted by SiteGround's WordPress experts, with a free template and template installation included as well. Sites experience no downtime during the transition, but that's no surprise given that SiteGround is reputed for an incredible 99.999% monthly uptime rate (99.996% annually!).

SiteGround's unique downtime prevention software monitors servers' statuses in real-time and resolves over 90 percent of server issues instantly and automatically. With most competitors, it can take an average of 5-20 minutes to detect, plus up to 20 minutes to react to and resolve issues.

SiteGround's WordPress hosting also features autoupdates to the core and plugins, with WordPress caching built-in as well. Users can easily stage and deploy changes to their site, with SiteGround's 1-click staging, and Git is available for version control. "Our customer feedback on these features has been extremely positive," Ivo said.

SiteGround's technical support and reliability is uncanny. In addition to downtime prevention, they've developed a server isolation system that prevents vulnerable servers from devastating entire networks; SiteGround was the first to innovate in such a way in the shared hosting space.

When their team of about 26 developers, designers, and DevOps gurus isn't writing and building premier solutions from scratch, or coming up with new tutorials and knowledge base articles for the SiteGround site, they're talking to customers directly.

On the customer support side of things, SiteGround hits the ball out of the park. Two innovations contribute to their unbeatable customer service: their Ticketing/Help Desk and Chat System. Both of these user-focused software solutions were custom-built in-house.

The Ticketing System they designed uses an algorithm to select appropriate Tech Ops Team members for specified jobs. Users can submit support ticket requests under an array of categories and can expect a reply in 10 minutes or less (usually less). The algorithm calculates based on skill level and specialty, assigning the most appropriately qualified developer to each job in the queue.

The custom Chat System harnesses the relationships built in previous chat scenarios by allowing users to select team members they've previously worked with, rather than waiting on the next available agent. Customers can also preview profiles and rate representatives based on their experiences.

Tenko and Ivo took us through an impromptu demo of the Chat System, revealing both the ease of use of the product, and the genuine helpfulness and responsiveness of their Support Team members, who had no idea who they were chatting with at the time.

From in-house solutions on the technical side, to warm and unwavering support from a customer service angle, SiteGround has crafted a complete package for any hosting need. For WordPress-specific hosting, they offer popular perks that you wouldn't necessarily get with other shared hosting providers. Get started with all of the awesome freebies, enjoy their helpful and polite team, and prepare to be blown away by SiteGround's commitment to building hosting solutions intended to make your web experience easier than ever.

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  • 1-click install, FREE transfer, and FREE domain name
  • Isolated servers and multi-location dedicated servers
  • Pre-installed Git, 3 caching levels, and FREE CDN
  • FREE WordPress setup wizard, staging, and auto-updates
  • 99.9% uptime, 24/7 support, and custom Chat System
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
FREE for life!

WordPress Rating

N/A

HostGator does not currently offer this type of hosting. We would not recommend choosing this host for this hosting category.

Site Builder Hosting Comparison

Website Builder Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

Do you know you need to "build a website," but don't know where to begin? Well, SiteGround will start you off with your domain name, email accounts, unlimited site traffic, and unlimited database storage... read more +

Do you know you need to "build a website," but don't know where to begin? Well, SiteGround will start you off with your domain name, email accounts, unlimited site traffic, and unlimited database storage options — all for free. Those are just some of the essential starting perks.

From the beginning, you'll also experience unrivaled customer service, whether you're transferring a domain or want a relatively hands-off experience starting your very first site. Even web savants will love the support they receive from SiteGround.

SiteGround hosting includes 1-click installations for your choice of CMS, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento. Their WordPress experts will even migrate your site for you — a seamless transition with zero downtime — or first-timers can benefit from their in-house Setup Wizard.

Once you're up and running, if you run into any trouble, their custom Ticketing and Chat Systems' software has been engineered and implemented to provide you with pleasant and tech-savvy customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

SiteGround offers tons of additional freebies and add-ons to make building your website with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or Magento intuitive and stress-free.

Other WordPress website-building perks you'll enjoy with SiteGround include staging options to easily test and deploy changes to your site. Their SuperCacher offers four different caching options, including those for static and dynamic content, for optimized page loading. You can also opt to have Git pre-installed, so you'll always have version control and revision history.

SiteGround also conducts daily site backups, using their own in-house system that can run backups in about an hour, compared to rival technologies that can take up to half a day to operate. For "GrowBig" and "GoGeek" Plan customers, up to 30 copies of these backups are available.

Tenko told us that customers "come for the customer service, but they stay for the technology." Whether you're a hosting newb or a site-building savant, you can trust SiteGround to provide you with a hosting and website-building combo that's simple to manage and pleasant to troubleshoot.

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  • FREE domain, emails, site transfer, and unlimited bandwidth
  • FREE auto-migration, easy CMS install, and in-house Setup Wizard
  • In-house-built Ticketing System and chat software for 24/7 support
  • WordPress auto-updates, plus staging to easily test and deploy
  • SuperCacher with static and dynamic caching options available
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
FREE for life!

Website Builder Rating

N/A

HostGator does not currently offer this type of hosting. We would not recommend choosing this host for this hosting category.

SiteGround vs. HostGator - Our Conclusion

Alexandra Leslie Alexandra Leslie Hosting Expert
“We tested SiteGround & HostGator — The winner is SiteGround!”

Our ratings declare a clear winner here, but, as we mentioned, it really comes down to your individual hosting needs. If you’re a mom-and-pop shop looking to build your brand’s online presence, HostGator is probably perfect for you. If you’re a tech startup on the rise, expecting incredible year-on-year growth in traffic and in need of market-leading hardware, we’d probably steer you toward SiteGround. Either way, you’ll be in the hands of a host with years of experience catering to customer needs.

Overall Rating
5.0/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit SiteGround »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit HostGator »