In the previous article, Best PrestaShop Webhost – Bluehost or Hostgator – Part 1, we discussed the merits of Bluehost. In this article, we’ll talk about Hostgator, which is another great shared web host that is extremely PrestaShop friendly.
As a PrestaShop store owner, one of the biggest decisions you can make is who you should host your store with.
A good decision means you should have good performance and excellent customer service. A bad decision means you may not have either. Read on to learn how to make a good decision.
Before we get started, though, I want you to be aware that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means I get paid a commission if you sign up these services after you click through any of the affiliate links.
It won’t cost you any more or less and if you choose to do that. So, if you feel that this content was useful and you sign up for one of these hosts by using a link in this article, thank you in advance.
I use both hosts and give them my highest recommendation for shared hosts in the USA.
Hostgator has been in the hosting business for more than 9 years and they provide fast, efficient, economical, and professional service with hosting packages to suit very diverse requirements.
Hostgator is one of the top hosting companies in the world with more than 7 million domains currently hosted and a staff of more than 750 employees.
It has established itself as a leading hosting company by its attention to detail, the features it offers, the competitive pricing on its packages, and its first class support, which is something that any PrestaShop store owner should care about.
One of the biggest differences between Hostgator and Bluehost is that Hostgator offers more hosting options. You can choose from three levels of shared web hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), or even dedicated servers.
This article is going to primarily cover the three shared hosting plans. We’ll have to talk about VPS and dedicated servers another day since that is a huge topic.
Let’s first talk about some of the general features of a Hostgator web hosting account.
You’ll find that each of the Hostgator web hosting plans include some basic features.
Unlimited disk space and bandwidth is pretty helpful considering some hosts still charge for how much you have stored on your web server and your bandwidth usage.
It’s also great to have unlimited e-mail accounts because you might need to setup multiple e-mail addresses for your store.
For instance, you might need a firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. Instead of paying for each e-mail address individually, you can have as many as you want for free.
In my experience, I have a couple e-mail accounts that are separate from my web hosting accounts and I pay about $10/month for that service. To set those e-mail accounts up, I also had to pay an initial fee of $25.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t set up e-mail accounts outside of your web hosting. In fact, many people would say this is a smart thing to do since it diversifies your risk if you get into a dispute with your web host and they shut your account down.
If your web hosts shuts you out of your account and you have your e-mail account set up through another provider, at least you’ll still have working e-mail accounts. I can tell you that losing access to my e-mail would be a huge problem for my business.
That’s why I do have some e-mails outside of my web host. You should strongly consider this too.
All hosting plans also come with Sitestudio and Sitebuilder website building tools at no charge and 4,500 free website templates, which could be great resources for any PrestaShop user who is creating a new website or sprucing up an old one.
While the Sitestudio and Sitebuilder options are nice, my personal preference would be to create blog/website with WordPress and link the blog/website to my PrestaShop store. In my opinion, there is no better content management system than WordPress.
For those with existing websites that they want transferred to Hostgator, all plans also offer free services for domain transfer, website transfer, script transfer, and MySQL transfer so users don’t have to redo all the PrestaShop settings from scratch.
One of the most user-friendly components that all Hostgator web host plans feature is the intuitive cPanel Control Panel.
cPanel, which is short for control panel, is the back-end administrator for the Hostgator shared plans. cPanel is a versatile and easy to use package of tools for handling all the background tasks you will use to get the most from your site.
cPanel is quite possibly the most popular control panel software and its popularity is due to its simple but powerful interface.
In cPanel, you can set up and manage your email accounts. There you’ll be able to set up forwarding options, auto responders, mailing lists, and anti-spam options. You can also access your mail from anywhere using cPanel’s web-mail programs.
If you want to set up and use MySQL databases, cPanel provides all the necessary tools.
You can also edit files directly on your site using cPanel’s File Manager and carry out security related tasks.
cPanel on Hostgator includes QuickInstall, which is a wonderful tool to make installation of packages such as Prestashop a piece of cake. In fact, there are more than 75 software packages that can be installed with one click including Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, and Wiki Hosting, just to name a few.
I can personally attest that the Quick Install feature is one of the most useful things that hosts like Hostgator offers. It will make your life so much easier when it comes to installing programs that can otherwise be quite difficult, or nearly impossible, to install.
After your initial registration with Hostgator, you’ll also receive $100 worth of Google Adsense credit, which is a great little perk for anyone interested in trying out Adsense.
Several additional benefits come with each web hosting plan, so let’s take a more detailed look at Hostgator’s three shared server plans.
The Hatchling Plan
The entry-level plan is the Hatchling plan, which provides hosting for a single domain and is available for as little as $3.96 per month based on a 3-year commitment.
If a 3-year plan is more than you want to bite off, you can pay month-to-month for as little as $7.16/month.
All of the Hostgator web hosting plans provide you with unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and e-mail accounts.
The Hatchling plan also provides access to a shared SSL certificate, which is OK but, there are better options.
If your going to take e-commerce seriously, you really need a dedicated IP address and a private SSL certificate.
You can get these features by signing up for the Business Plan.
Just as I warned you in Part 1 of this 3-part series, I’ll warn you again. While you can get a good deal on registering your domain name through Hostgator, just like you can with BlueHost, I would not recommend doing that.
You should always register your domain name separately from your web host just in case you get shut out of your web hosting account. That way, you can take a copy of your website, which you should have store somewhere other than your web host, and create a new hosting account with another provider.
Instead of losing your website for some indeterminate amount of time, you will only be down for the amount of time it takes you to set up another hosting account and move your site to that account. That might take a day or two.
The Baby Plan
The next level is the Baby plan, which should be adequate for most small to medium-sized businesses. This is the plan that I currently use and I highly recommend it.
However, I’m considering moving up to the Business Plan sometime soon because of the private (dedicated) IP address and SSL certificate.
The Baby plan starts at $6.36 per month based on a 3-year contract. If you want a month-to-month option, you’ll pay $7.96/month.
With the Baby plan, you’ll get everything the Hatchling plan provides, plus the following upgrades:
- unlimited domains
- unlimited addon domains and parked domains
The Business Plan
The top-end Hostgator shared hosting package is the Business plan. This plan includes everything in the Baby Plan plus the following upgrades:
- Your own free toll-free (US) number
- Dedicated IP address
- Private SSL certificate
If you’re really serious about your e-commerce business providing a high level of security for you and your customers, you need the dedicated IP address and private SSL certificate.
You can promote your private SSL certificate as an added benefit to your customers so they know they are working with a store that is serious about their security.
The Business plan pricing starts at $10.36 per month based on a 3-year contract. If you want a month-to-month option, you’ll pay $11.96/month.
The Hostgator interface is very intuitive and simple to understand, and most people will have little difficulty managing the basics. The company’s own website provides hundreds of articles to help you understand the ins and outs of website ownership. If you do need more support, though, Hostgator offers a whole range of online resources.
The company has a comprehensive, searchable database of common questions and problems along with their solutions. It provides more than 500 video tutorials giving step-by-step instructions on how to carry out various tasks. The company hosts a range of forums dedicated to various topics where peer support is available.
If you cannot find a solution or an answer for your particular problem, there is toll-free telephone support or online live chat available 24 hours a day every day of the year and in both cases the response is very fast.
Hostgator is an excellent hosting provider that I highly recommend. I’ve had great success with their shared hosting services.
I don’t want you to think that Hostgator is perfect. They are not. In my opinion, they are vastly better than most of the web hosts out there.
When that does happen, I typically will find a way to get off the call and just call back and speak with a different representative. Most of the time, I get a representative that is more patient. If I don’t, I call back until I do get someone I’m comfortable talking with.
On my last call with Hostgator, the technical support representative was very impatient. He was also typing furiously in the background we where talking about my issue.
I’m not sure if he was trying to also answer e-mail support questions while he was trying to answer my question. Whatever he was doing, it was very distracting and unhelpful to solving my issue.
I did manage to get the answer I needed, but it was a uncomfortable call for me and my client who was listening to the call.
Alright, that’s it for our detailed Hostgator evaluation. In the next article, we’ll take a comparative look at Bluehost versus Hostgator and try to determine which one would best suit your web hosting needs.
You can also go directly to the web hosts reviewed in this article by clicking on the links below:
See you in the next article.