HostGator Website Builders Review

In a Nutshell

HostGator is a powerful web hosting and website building company that provides mix and match packages for web building and web hosting. You can choose from hundreds of templates and pre-built elements to build your website; access advanced Ecommerce solutions; and take your pick of hosting options that include cloud hosting, shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, dedicated, VPS, or application hosting, or Windows web hosting.

Pros

  • Plenty of hosting options
  • Hundreds of templates

Cons

  • Confusing pricing structure
  • Templates can be awkward to scroll through

Standout Features

You’ll be most impressed by HostGator’s range of hosting options. Find the hosting solution that suits your business website so that you won’t end up paying for server space or security options that you don’t need, but still enjoy the capacity and capabilities that you want.

HostGator still offers a powerful range of website builder services. There’s no ‘do it for me’ option, but you can take advantage of an intuitive drag-and-drop website builder, pick from hundreds of themes which are all mobile-friendly, and speed up the process with pre-built website elements.

  • Wide range of dedicated or shared hosting
  • WordPress, Windows, VPS, web, or cloud hosting
  • Drag-and-drop website builder
  • 100s of theme options
  • Customizable, pre-built website elements
  • Full website analytics and metrics tools
  • All themes are mobile-friendly
  • Online store

Ease of Use

HostGator’s website builder is hugely popular among web building novices, partly due to their very intuitive, drag-and-drop website builder. This includes an efficient image editor, plenty of different text boxes, and elements such as embedding a SoundCloud music player or a Twitter feed. I found it pleasantly easy to resize each element so that I could build a page to my own specifications.

However, HostGator’s ease of use for people who are just starting at building a website might have more to do with their incredibly good customer support (more about that below). The themes are displayed as tiny thumbnails which are awkward to scroll through. But once you’re past that hurdle, it all goes pretty smoothly. Even adding an online store and payment options aren’t a big challenge.

The most difficult part to using HostGator is understanding your payment options. The website isn’t very clear about what is included, and there’s no way to view all the different packages on one page.

Features

  • Website Builder

HostGator offers a DIY website builder that is intuitive and easy to use, even for tech newbies. It includes over 100 templates, a simple drag and drop editor, and prebuilt, customizable elements. All themes are mobile responsive, SEO optimized, and social media ready. Once your website is up, you can measure your success with HostGator's built-in analytics and metrics.

  • Online Store

HostGator’s Business web-builder plan brings you full Ecommerce capabilities, including Facebook sales integration, inventory tracking tools, coupon code generation, and a range of payment processors.

  • Web Hosting

Businesses can choose from a number of web hosting options. Shared web hosting gives even the smallest of businesses the ability to access secure web hosting, Windows web hosting, or application hosting.

  • Cloud Hosting

Larger businesses seeking cloud hosting, scalable VPS hosting, cloud managed WordPress hosting, or dedicated server cloud hosting will find the solutions they need with HostGator.

  • Add-ons

No matter which HostGator package you choose, you can customize your level of service and protection with add-ons. These include email hosting, control panel features, Ecommerce features, protection against malware, and more.

Pricing

Understanding HostGator’s pricing is the single biggest drawback to using HostGator. The Basic web builder comes free when you buy shared web or cloud hosting. If you want the Web Builder Pro or Web Builder Business plans, you’ll need to purchase them as an upgrade after you buy hosting. All 3 shared web hosting plans include unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and a free SSL certificate.

Business owners who want more powerful and dedicated web hosting, such as cloud hosting, scalable VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting, Windows, or WordPress web hosting, can take their pick from 3 pricing plans for each hosting type. You can also purchase single add-ons such as email hosting, automated daily backups, and malware protection. Visit the HostGator site for full pricing details.

A short word of warning—the advertised cost of monthly hosting with HostGator is based on a billing cycle of 36 months. If you don’t want to sign up for 3 years upfront, you’ll pay monthly fees of up to $10.95 instead of $2.75 for the Hatchling plan, and similar price hikes for other plans. You won’t discover the full range of monthly price options until you click the ‘Buy’ button.

HatchlingBabyBusiness
$2.75$3.95$5.95
1 domainUnlimited domainsUnlimited domains
  Free positive SSL
  Free dedicated IP

Templates

HostGator boasts hundreds of mobile-ready templates, which are all optimized for SEO and social media integration. You can view each template as a full-screen preview before you complete your decision. The templates are organized according to industry and type and are fully searchable. However, they're displayed as very small thumbnails in the gallery, so it can take some time to find the one you want.

HostGator templates include all of the basic website types, but the designs are not particularly original or unique. Some of them look similar to each other. Still, you should be able to find something that suits your needs.

eCommerce/Online store

HostGator's web builder offers a full range of online store capabilities. If you only need to accept simple on-site payments, you can integrate PayPal with the Basic web building plan. However, for full Ecommerce functionality, you'll need to pay for the Business web building plan, which is a large price jump up.

With a HostGator eCommerce store, you can set up an effective online store that is consistent across every type of device. HostGator's Ecommerce features include the ability to track your inventory and integrate your Facebook page for direct Facebook sales. You can select from a range of payment processors such as PayPal, eCheck, Stripe, and Square, and take advantage of coupon codes like automatic discounts and item filtering according to special offers.

Customer Service

HostGator’s reputation really rests upon its customer service. Users stick with HostGator for years because they appreciate being able to get live help for every problem, no matter what time it is. 24/7/365 live support is available through live chat or over the phone. You can call toll-free, get local support, or call internationally. There’s also the option of opening a web support ticket through the support portal.

When HostGator says round the clock support, they really mean it. A glance at customer reviews shows one happy customer after another who resolved an urgent issue at 2am. HostGator’s expert representatives do all they can to help customers.

If you prefer to resolve issues yourself, HostGator has a well-stocked Support Portal. You can access video tutorials on just about every aspect of using HostGator, hop on one of the forums to check if anyone else has already dealt with the same problem, and get customer support through a few different social media channels.

Bottom Line

HostGator is a leading web hosting service that provides hosting solutions for every level of website user, from shared web hosting for small businesses to dedicated servers for large enterprises, and everything in between. It’s primarily focused on web hosting solutions, and offers an almost bewildering range of choice. Pricing plans can be confusing, and expensive when compared to market leaders such as Wix. However, HostGator’s hosting options are generally stronger than those offered by Wix or other competitors.

HostGator is clearly a hosting service first and a web builder service second, but if you want to use it for your website hosting, the web builder tool is worth a look. It’s very easy to use and intuitive for novices, with plenty of drag-and-drop, prebuilt elements that simplify the process. The options for advanced website designers aren’t quite as broad, and it’s not always easy to access the CSS level.

Overall, HostGator offers top-level web hosting together with a good, reliable web builder service.

About HostGator

HostGator was founded in 2002 in a dorm room in Florida, providing hosting options to varied customers. After a few years, HostGator moved to offices in Toronto and Houston. Today, HostGator hosts hundreds of thousands of websites, provides customer support in multiple languages including Russian, Chinese, and Spanish, and provides its own built-in web builder solution. HostGator employs hundreds of employees around the world.

HostGator is the proud recipient of several awards, including the 2016 Best Host to Grow With, PCMag Editor’s Choice 2016, and WPBeginner 2016 Best Business Hosting award.

Physical Address

5005 Mitchelldale

Suite #100

Houston, TX 77092

Visit HostGator

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