Hostgator is a mainstay in the web hosting services space, having been around for over 2 decades. But is it really the best hosting option?
Marketing gurus have promoted them for years, even inspite of at time subpar service. NEWS FLASH: hosting is MUCH better “on the web” in 2019 than in 2010.
So what is a webmaster to do?
I found myself in this predicament a few years back. I ended up doing an inordinate amount of research on web hosting companies (including spreadsheets) before I come up with a list of finalists. I tend to spread our web hosting accounts across a few different hosting provider options for diversification.
All this being said, below you will find my running list of the top web hosting alternatives to HostGator.
Note: This is update frequently, as I learn new information.
Summary: Faster speeds (in general, very comparable or better in price (depending on precise plan) and with an almost identical management dashboard, Dreamhost is the IDEAL Bluehost hosting provider substitute, particularly for WordPress site owners. Best of all, Dreamhost is still independently owned and operated, unlike Bluehost which was acquired years ago by hosting services conglomerate EIG hosting services (rumored to drive down quality, cut costs).
Typically clocks in around 440 to 460ms load time in our periodic testing (vs around 650ms loading time for HostGator)
Still independently owned and operated
Has Managed WordPress hosting plans
Has Managed WooCommerce store hosting plans
Uses cPanel control panel
Dreamhost has one of the cheapest entry level hosting plans out there
Only offers 2 shared hosting plans (Bluehost has 4)
Only offers customer service between 5AM and 10PM PST (Bluehost is 24/7)
Summary: If you are trying to stretch your dollar but still get top of the industry performance, SiteGround is the hosting provider market leader here. Ideal for WordPress sites, with easy to scale starter plans for as low as $3.95 per month (first year).
Best value Managed Hosting provider for WordPress
Outstanding value for starter sites and small business sites (more features compared to Hostgator shared hosting)
Free Let’s Encrypt SSL integration
1-Click WordPress installs and website builder
Generally faster server response times than HostGator
Responsive live chat, live call, and email support (typically responds within 1 hour)
Uses cPanel control panel
Free daily automatic backup daily
First year pricing jumps up considerably in the second year (almost double in many cases), so be sure re-evaluate each year if it’s still the best option
Shared hosting is quite affordable, but dedicated hosting options are less affordable in relation to peers
Summary: Kinsta is the BMW of managed WordPress hosting, with all the features of a WPEngine but at a more affordable price point with plenty of tiered options for different users. If you’ve ever been frustrated with HostGator customer support and customer service, get ready for the white glove treatment!
Extremely responsive support staff with deep technical knowledge (better than HostGator)
Free migrations and “hack fix” guarantee
Automatic daily automatic backup
Outstanding uptime across many benchmark tests
20+ regional Google Cloud data centers
24/7 support, including live chat support
Easy to configure email accounts
Site cloning (available on “Pro Plan” or higher)
Multiple price break points on plans (much more than WP Engine, for example)
Lightning fast reliable speeds (one of our sites went from 1.7 second load time on Hostgator to 0.77 seconds after switching to Kinsta)
Kinsta Prices: Starts at $30/month for 1 WordPress install up to 20,000 visits per month, then $60/month for 2 installs and up to 40,000 visits, $100/month for 5 installs and up to 100,000 visits, and then incraesing in increments of $100 for 10 installs (250,000 visits), 20 installs (400,000 visits), etc…
Summary: A2 us a direct competitor to HostGator in the “budget hosting companies” category, with plans starting at just a few dollars per month. While A2 Hosting does less hand holding with support, they offer a variety of plans at perhaps the best pure value of any option here.
Summary: What does a super premium managed WordPress host get you? Well, try WP Engine. From complimentary Genesis themes, expert support, and robust staging environments, WP Engine is almost the complete opposite of HostGator.
WP Engine Advantages
Likely the highest level of security available for WordPress
Fully featured staging areas with excellent version control
Tech support that is both tactfully and technically above HostGator’s
Live chat support
Excellent control panel interface
Laser provider focus on WordPress sites and webmasters
Ideal for larger traffic sites north of 100,000 visitors per month
Simple pricing structure (no complicated loopholes)
WP Engine Disadvantages
One of the most expensive web hosting provider options, especially relative to HostGator
Summary: Originally called TrafficPlanet Web Hosting, WPX is another highly awarded Managed WordPress Host, offering outstanding support team (many technical issues resolved before you even need to ask) and transparent pricing models.
WPX Hosting Advantages
Amazing support, willing to solve any problem
Free site transfers (end-to-end)
Hardened WordPress security features
Completely managed WordPress hosting services
Built-in server caching (WPX Cloud)
WordPress staging included on ALL pricing tiers
Simple pricing structure (no games, gimmicks, or massive jumps after a year)
WPX Hosting Disadvantages
More expensive entry-level hosting compared to HostGator
Some plugins might not work due to security settings
Bluehost offers seasonal deals that are among the steepest web hosting discounts
Acquired by Endurance Internal Group, one of the largest web hosting aggregators (typically drives down quality after acquiring, commoditizes service) and the SAME parent company of HostGator (uptime generally takes a hit)