Review: Web hosting at hostgator

noted: This is not AN ADS. This is my actual experience.

I just realized that couples of my domain names were hosted by Hostgator for 40 months already. I had experiences with quite a lots of providers, but I stick to Hostgator because

  • Reasonable price, and they accept monthly payment!
  • They have minimal restriction to their hosting plan. They allow you hosting unlimited domain names! They do not have limitation on disk space, bandwidth, add-on domain names, sub domains, ftp accounts, mysql database, pop3 accounts, etc… Finally a web hosting which make senses!
  • They allow SSH access, this is useful when I need to create some symbolic links. Also I always SSH to my account to perform some kinds of maintenance. It is just too painful to do that using FTP.
  • No hidden cost!! Not any. Never got any additional fees charged to my bill.
  • They are using cPanel. And provides lots of free website templates and one click install of PHP/CGI application.
  • Their service are stable!! It is actually the main reason keep me using their service. Up time is guaranteed.
  • Great support staff. I submitted support ticket and asked for help for DNS changes for Google Apps. They helped a lot.

My Road to Hostgator

Local provider

At the beginning, I was using some local providers. They were expensive, no cpanel, one domain per account, minimal support. I decided to switch to foreign provider.

Lunarpages – Lost some of my files

I read some hosting review and I chosen Lunarpages. Oh wow, they were using cPanel, I love it! It was working fine until they performed some kinds of server migration. My website was down after the migration. I found that lots of files in my account were gone. I didn’t figure out the root cause, I just thought it maybe time looking for another provider again.

I lost some of my web pages without a reason. It might be due to server migration, or might be my account was actually hacked. The lesson learnt is that I should backup my site as frequently as possible.

Godaddy – Lost my hosting account!

I looking for hosting provider again, and I figured out that Godaddy was dirt cheap, providing similar functionality as Lunarpages. I immediately signup’ed because of their attractive price.

Until one day, I login’ed to cancel a not-so-useful domain name, but I accidentally canceled the hosting account! (guess I wasn’t paying too much attention before clicking the hyperlink /sigh). I called them to cancel my request, they said they couldn’t cancel a termination request, but they could restore my hosting account. However, they required the amount which was equal to like 20 months of hosting fees in order to restore my hosting account. Sadly, I did not backup my account yet. I refused to pay such hugh amount of fees in order to restore my account.

I lost my website with just a few stupid clicks. The lesson learnt is that it is better to separate the domain registrant with your web hosting company.

Finally settle with Hostgator

At last I reached Hostgator and I’m happy with them. Their server are stable, up time is great.

They did performed server migration as well. They did their job well. My account was not damaged at all during the migration.

However, my website did experienced down time once when they upgraded their PHP and MySQL from version 4 to 5. Hostgator did reminded their customer about such activities before the major upgrade. I was just too lazy to test my PHP application. If people are serious to their site, they should have enough time to test and upgrade their PHP application prior the upgrade process. I thought Hostgator already minimized the impact of such upgrade, because all I need was modified couple lines of PHP codes and all my web application were backed to normal again.

Overall I’m satisfied to their services, and their hosting plan just fit all my needs. I am lazy to keep track of changes about their server, I never read their forum as well, they just managed to keep my website up and running 😉

Other FACTS you might wanna know before subscribing their services

1. They have limitation about email usage. They only allow 500 outgoing emails per hour. (I don’t run any mailing list though.) I am using Google Apps to host my email instead.

This is to protect other shared hosting customer on the same server. If one customer spamming on their server, all the other customers hosting on the same server are being marked as spammed as well because their domain sharing the same IP address.

If you seriously need email marketing, you might need to subscribe to other email marketing company rather than doing it your own on the web hosting account.

2. They claim they provide UNLIMITED bandwidth, as a casual blogger… I don’t think I can hit their limit anyway.

3. At the beginning I can modify my domain DNS record, i.e. adding CNAME in the cPanel. However, they somehow removed the functionality from cPanel. I need to submit support ticket for any change request to my DNS. THIS IS REALLY BAD because I always prefer to do it myself. Luckily their support staff is helpful for this kind of job.

Update: Nov 8 2011 Both of the Simple and Advance DNS editor is introduced back to their cpanel. I can perform most DNS changes myself now.

4. They don’t have disk storage limitation, however, they only allow up to 250,000 inodes per account. Guess this limit apply to number of files instead of file size. Right now I only consumed less than 10% inodes during 3 years of usage… So it is not really a problem for normal usage

Here is the detailed articles about inodes limitation on web hosting.

5. Update: Nov 8 2011 I’m using a shared hosting account and I’m hosting some flv video in other domains. They probably limited the bandwidth for shared hosting account and I figured out that only low resolution of flash video can be hosted without lag. My videos were now limited to resolution 320×240 and something like 500bps bit rate. Increasing resolution or bit rate also introduces lag. Maybe you need to consult them for other kind of account which provides higher bandwidth than shared hosting account.

Update: Nov 9 2011 They have mod_bwlimited running on apache to apply bandwidth limitation on hosting account.

If you are looking for a web hosting provider, Hostgator is probably one of the provider you might want to consider 😉

I’m glad I don’t need to switch provider anymore (it is painful to migrate from one provider to another!)

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