Everyone remembers their first self-hosted WordPress blog setup. Mine came when my college advice blog outgrew Blogger in 2012, and I spent an all-nighter researching the best web hosts, hosting prices, and customer reviews to make sure I set up WordPress the right way. With no one but my roommate’s dog to turn to for help, I needed some support from my new web host to make sure my precious blog actually worked in the morning!
Serving beginner to advanced WordPress users for more than a decade with its cheap, powerful, and widely chosen Hatchling plan, HostGator has been a big help for us late-night bloggers. I think I called the support team four times that fateful night when I signed up for HostGator hosting, and the reps had all the time in the world.
We have run HostGator’s WordPress suite of tools through the ringer in our HostGator WordPress review. The host is among the top WordPress hosts out there, but every blog is different, and you ultimately have to pick the best service for your own needs. Make sure to read all the way to the end for an expert tip that’s often overlooked when folks set up their first blog!
HostGator’s WordPress Hosting Review Overall: 4.8 / 5.0 Rating
There’s no place like WordPress to call home. With a Microsoft Word-esque dashboard any beginner can use to build a niche WordPress site and more than 40,000 themes from which to choose, WordPress’s popularity should come as no surprise. What amazes most folks, however, is how easy it is to set up the WordPress.org software on a host (self-hosted WordPress).
The setup takes place through a one-click install of the WordPress.org platform, which essentially puts WordPress onto your hosting space with no downloads or coding required. Most top web hosts have this sort of tool. The difference: Few meet HostGator’s mega-high standard of support and customer care. Even web veterans fumble at times, and it helps to have the experts on the receiving end of HostGator’s Live Chat tool to explain any part of a blog or website 24/7/365 while making you feel smart, not belittled.
Additionally, HostGator recently revamped its cPanel (the control panel from which you initiate the one-click install) to the new Paper Lantern theme to make navigating your HostGator dashboard even easier. Let’s take a look at the details involved in making a WordPress site with HostGator.
- Easy-to-set-up WordPress hosting on shared servers
- Install WordPress with one click via cPanel dashboard
- Unlimited email addresses hosted at your domain
- 99.9% uptime guarantee means your blog stays online
- $100 in Google Adwords credit to kickstart marketing
- Get started on HostGator now.
HostGator was also among the first large-scale web hosts to pioneer optimized (aka managed) WP hosting for WordPressers who want more robust features out of the box in terms of security, speed, and scalability. It’s a little pricier, but if it’s for your business, remember that web hosting expenses are also a tax write-off.
While I use the managed WP option for a few sites that require higher levels of security (up to 3 sites on the business install), I find it to have more features than I need at times; it’s like ordering a Venti Mocha Frappuccino with caramel drizzle when all you wanted was a quick cup of coffee. Tastes great, but the latter would work just fine. I run my most serious sites on a HostGator shared hosting plan. Let’s dive into some everyday use features in this HostGator WordPress review.
- Up to 2.5x faster WordPress hosting in the cloud
- FREE site migration to help you get started
- Multiple caching layers for optimal WP performance
- Advanced security and 99.9% uptime guaranteed
- $100 in Google Adwords credit for marketing
- Get started on HostGator now.
HostGator’s WordPress “Features” Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
Where do we begin? As a huge top 3 web host, HostGator can afford to offer a ton of features for free — tools and perks which may cost you elsewhere. This isn’t even including the massive support department you get access to when you sign up (seven support teams for things like billing, domains, and tech support). From someone who spends a lot of time in their hosting dashboard, here are a few of my favorite HostGator features:
- Intuitive cPanel dashboard: Simply log into cPanel to install WordPress sans coding!
- Money-back guarantee: You have 45 days to reconsider your choice.
- Email perks: Create custom email addresses, such as [email protected], in cPanel.
- Very transparent offers: HostGator offers competitive prices clearly outlined upfront.
- Free Google Adwords credits: Use a complimentary $100 Adwords token to attract visitors!
- Addon domains: You’re free to create additional domains if you get a Baby plan.
- Subdomains: You can create subdomains like blog.yoursite.com.
HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley in his dorm room in October of 2002, just in time for the creation of WordPress in 2003. The company manages to cut through all the flashy WordPress offers out there and remain one of the largest WordPress blog hosts on the market. HostGator packages also come pre-installed with several plugins, such as Mojo Marketplace, so you can shop for WordPress themes, and Akismet, to stop spam from the start. Finally, unmetered bandwidth and data transfer gives your site room to grow. In fact, when my site’s traffic spikes, HostGator recommends new WordPress plugins to help it run even better.
HostGator’s WordPress “Performance” Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
HostGator offers all customers unmetered bandwidth, meaning your site won’t slow down or crash during periods of high traffic. Bandwidth is like the doors through which people enter a sports arena. If these doors are narrow or obstructed, you can only let in a handful of people (low traffic), the process will take forever (slow site), and many will miss the event (site down).
A good example of this level of care is when my little old college blog was mentioned unexpectedly by Huffington Post one day, sending in about 1000x my usual traffic. Nothing broke, phew, and the lasting increases in organic traffic kind of made my career. If my blog had crashed that day, you can imagine HuffPost would have un-mentioned it.
It doesn’t stop there: HostGator also offers unmetered storage so you can bring a ton of images, videos, logos, links, and whatever else you need to run a growing website or blog, or both!
HostGator recently invested in a 300,000-square-foot world-class datacenter in Houston, Texas as well. The team has built in redundancies in the software, which means that in the small chance one thing doesn’t work, a few other pieces of infrastructure will fill in to ensure no gaps in coverage. These sorts of technology improvements may seem irrelevant to bloggers, but with more than 8 million domains hosted on its servers, HostGator has to keep innovating. At the end of the day, it gives me added peace of mind knowing they’re working on difficult stuff while I’m sitting here blogging.
HostGator’s WordPress “Pricing” Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
In the world of web hosting, you get what you pay for. HostGator is not a free web host by any means, but the provider manages to offer premium services at affordable prices. On the site, you’ll notice different pricing tiers for any type of new hosting customer:
Even the cheapest plan grants full access to cPanel, where you can begin your WordPress blog creation journey. Also worth noting: The prices listed are for 36-month registrations. If you’d like a 12-month registration, I’d recommend you find a valid HostGator coupon, unless you want to wait until a flash sale happens around Thanksgiving or Black Friday. That’s a long wait, though, so get yourself a coupon and bring that cost of hosting a WordPress blog down.
HostGator’s WordPress “Reliability” Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
As is the case with many of the best web hosts, HostGator promises a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which means your site will potentially experience a mere 42 minutes of downtime per month. After managing WordPress blogs for more than five years, I’ve come to realize bad things can happen. A plugin can go rogue and cause your WordPress site to throw a 500 error. When you first connect your domain to your hosting, there’s something called DNS propagation, which means servers in your area are updating to show people your site. Switching your domain to new nameservers is not an instant process, and people might see a 404 error or some weird browser error page. These are only temporary issues.
Things can happen, but when asked whether I rely on HostGator to keep my online businesses and livelihood moving forward, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In terms of support, I’ve used the Live Chat for questions involving:
- Changing my domain
- Setting up an SSL green padlock
- Creating custom WordPress pages
- Getting a refund on additional services
- Using a file manager (FTP)
- Removing parts of my theme
- Importing/exporting a client website to a new hosting account
- And more
Don’t just take our word for it. Evidence of HostGator’s support and reliability can be seen in online video tutorials. Take this eCommerce website video as an example, or check out the video below of HostGator’s Live Chat getting the job done and solving my problem (you will have problems as you grow your site) in real time:
Also, HostGator recently built in an intuitive search bar, in case you don’t want to talk to a real person. With all the support available as you build a blog, along with our expert opinions here at HostingAdvice, you should never be without an answer to any hosting question, regardless of where and why you’re stuck!
We’re Longtime HostGator Fans & Die-Hard WordPress Lovers
Hosting is a big commitment, especially for a former cheapskate like me who tried to grow his whole business on a free blog hosting site like Blogger. But once you sign up for hosting and pick your perfect host, you’ll know it was well worth it. You pay about as much as a trip to Starbucks per month (which you can surely do without, come on!) for a safe and secure home for your business to flourish. The best hosts, in fact, often go unnoticed as you operate your day-to-day business tasks. They handle the tech stuff while you sit back and simply create great content.
Expert Tip: The last point I wanted to make, which I alluded to in the introduction, is that HostGator is a good place to grow your blogging, too. In other words, whichever WordPress blog you’re working on now may not be your last. You’ll find new niches for blogging or taking on clients, and it can really help having that Sky’s-the-limit feeling HostGator offers.