If you are using Hostgator to host your WordPress websites and you have been unhappy with slow website load times, periods of blackouts, and visiting your own website only to realize it is totally offline, you are not alone. If you are looking to potentially sign-up to hostgator with their lower end (cheap) packages, there are some things to consider.
There is a growing concern within the entire hosting industry right now as the quality seems to be spiralling downwards by some of the most established and once highly regarded services out there.
Downtime Reoccurences, 4 Blackouts in a Year!
2014 was tumultuous year for HostGator users. The network experience some more very serious DDOS attacks by various groups costing their clients MILLIONS of dollars in business. Some of these outages were hours, some were even over a day in length. When many of their dedicated hosting clients (paying upwards of $400 per month to host their WordPress websites) said they had enough and were jumping ship, Hostgator had nothing to offer in response other than “attacks happen”.
Here is just one of their Facebook announcements about their service levels not being up to par (and this one post had over 150 comments of people livid about the service they were receiving from Hostgator).
People were jumping ship left and right…and they continue to jump ship. And those that didn’t, were really struggling and totally shocked with the level of support they were receiving. Here is just one of the examples:
Someone with a webstore that was completely down and Hostgator was totally unable to offer them any level of educated or helpful assistance.
The first issue here is their service going down. The second issue, is once the service isn’t working and I am losing money as a customer is NOT being able to get a proper level of help to put my mind at ease.
In fairness, DDOS attacks are triggered by a mass influx of traffic coming as a targeted attempt to take down services. It is highly illegal, but the hackers behind these sort of things are usually very good at hiding themselves. Unfortunately though if you are paying for a service like hosting, you expect the uptime to be in line with the 99.9% guarantees and in some cases that was definitely not the case.
Jack of All Trades, Master of?
This is what is happening with the entire hosting world in general right now. There are so many different types of websites out there, that in order to be a GREAT host you have to specialize in one of these “types” of websites. Most hosts do not and the end up being the “jack of all trades” in the website world, which leads to mediocrity at the best times with their hosting.
There are very specific things that need to be done from a hosting standpoint to offer a secure WordPress hosting experience and this cannot be done if you have a WordPress website along side a Joomla website along side a custom built website. It simply doesn’t work that way.
Because of this, many folks have found their websites were constantly under pressure, they were always getting hacked, they were even getting malware put on them without their knowledge!
Ultimately the experience can be very low quality one if you join a cheaper, lower end hosting plan (typically anything $10 per month or under).
One thing that most people forget to understand is that if your website is loading slow, is getting hacked, or is getting malware put onto it, it is going to hurt your rankings in Google and other search engines.
At the end of the day, HostGator does not offer specific managed WordPress hosting, rather they pile you onto servers with all types of sites (not good). In their defense though, as a website creator, a lot of your issues can derive as a result of what your “neighbour” is doing on a shared hosting plan. Because of this you want a host that holds full responsibility for the security and the performance of the servers…versus a “not my responsibility” sort of approach that many of the shared hosts are taking these days.
If you are hosting a WordPress websites though, you truly need to consider a more premium hosting experience though that focuses PURELY on WordPress. This way your website will not only operate optimally, you won’t be stuffed on servers with other websites that are using completely different technology.
Cramming Your Website on Servers With 100’s – 1,000’s of others
I work with webmasters all-day-everyday and when I visit a website that is loading slow, the first thing I do is check their “whois” information to check and see who the web hosting company is behind their website. It is quote often a Hostgator hosted website. This is indicative on their focus to make money, which is OK, but at the cost of a customers quality of service is not always the best idea. If you do purchase one of their more expensive “reseller” or “dedicated” services, you can of course expect a much quicker experience but some of these services can cost you several $100+ per month when all is said and done.
That is what you will find as hosting companies grow and as they acquire more shareholders that demand “profits”, they tend to focus only on the money aspect at any cost so they can offer returns to investors and venture capitalists. In this case it is YOU, the customer.
You can rest assured that if you are buying one of the “el cheapo” packages at hostgator, you are probably getting one of the lower hosting procuts you could get. You get what you pay for and in the case of hosting on cheaper packages, you service quality is often compromised for the sake of more profits.
Uncomfortable Installs Using Their Dated Control Panel
Until you utilize a quality website builder, it is difficult to truly understand what you are missing. The Easy Control Panel and 1-Click Scripts are anything but EASY. If you take a look at this and think this is intuitive or a well integrated User Interface, you must be a programmer or someone with years of experience using Hostgator.
For WordPress, there is 7 buttons alone. Two of the buttons are additional upsells (on top of the many layers of upsells that are already there).
Deleting Websites and Forceable Upgrades
A common practice with web hosts is to delete or disable websites. The reason is, the hosting platform often puts too many sites on a given hosting instance (often times you are stuffed on a server with a THOUSAND+ other clients) that if your site starts getting too popular or putting too much load, they will take you down and tell you to host elsewhere or upgrade to a more expensive package. Lower end hosting packages delete websites all the time. This has been very common with folks hosting on WordPress sites on “el cheapo” packages.
If your site breaks rules or is taking up too much room…loading too slow, they will have no problems enforcing action on your site or requesting that you upgrade to a much more expensive hosting plan.
Back-ups, Err, It’s Going to Be an Extra Cost
Good luck recovering your sites unless you have a budget for it. Most hosting companies charge for backing up your content, so this is not to bizarre but it is something that most people don’t consider before getting themselves a quality hosting service. Backing their hard work up!
Hostgator offers a service called Cloud Backup which runs you up another $239.95 per year (maximum) if you want their top back-up plan.
They do not offer a fully redundant, backed up solution out of the box. So in essence, if you don’t pay more for their backup “upsells” then you probably are going to have a tough time sleeping at night knowing very well that if for some reason your website is deleted (by accident, hardware failure, or by a hacker), you are going lose all of your hard work and subsequently your business.
Because of the nature of affiliate payouts and expensive server technology, Hostgator hosting is likely operating on thin margins, so they cannot afford to “include” this sort of quality as part of their service. Upselling it within the back end leads to much more profitability.
The Solution: Real, Trustworthy WordPress Specialized Hosting
You want a solution, I will give you one. It’s not a cheap, run of the mill host, but it is the best quality you can get. Not only that, you are going to get everything you need to go along with your hosting to run a business online:
- State of the Art Website Builder
- Managed, Fully Supported, 100% Secure Hosting
- Fully Redundant and Backed Up Service
- Current Internet Marketing/SEO/PPC Training
- Sophisticated Keyword Tools
- Mentoring From Industry Experts
- The Ability to Ask ANY Questions About Your Business
You can access this sort of hosting and host up to 25 of your own domains and 25 free websites using the SiteRubix platform which is included inside of the Wealthy Affiliate community. If you are looking for an all-inclusive training, tools, websites/hosting and support platform, then I encourage you to at the very least check out the Starter program at Wealthy Affiliate. It is completely FREE and the Starter program includes 2 free websites and will give you an awesome taste of what you can come to expect at WA. The Premium “everything included” membership is $47 per month.
You will also be able to move your websites over from HostGator or any other hosting service if you are unhappy with your existing service. The 24/7/365 support that is available to you can help you out.
Don’t let your hosting company dictate your website success, they should be the ones that facilitate it.
If you are hosting WordPress websites, I would like to offer you some additional recommendations for Managed WordPress Hosts, all of which are of very high quality and can be trusted within the industry:
If you have any feedback about your hosting experiences with Hostgator (either positive or negative) that you would like to share, please drop them below. Also, if you are looking to get a website up and running and have questions about that, I would be happy to help you out.
At the end of the day, Hostgator has been and will likely remain an industry leader in the hosting space and if you are looking for budget hosting they are definitely a good option. With lots of happy customers (which there no doubt are many), comes some that are unhappy as well. Just be careful when you see a “low ticket” web hosting plan, you often times do get what you pay for.