9 Best HostGator Alternatives [2019]

By HeadMerchant | Hosting

Last Updated on

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 gurusĀ  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.

1. Dreamhost Web Host

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).

Dreamhost Advantages

  • 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

Dreamhost Disadvantages

  • Only offers 2 shared hosting plans (Bluehost has 4)
  • Only offers customer service between 5AM and 10PM PST (Bluehost is 24/7)

Dreamhost Prices: Dreamhost gets started with their basic shared hosting plan at $2.59 per month (vs $2.75 for Bluehost). Managed WordPress Hosting and WooCommerce Hosting gets started at $16.95 per month.

2. Cloudways

Summary: Cloudways hosting provider isn’t the most well-known, but if you can get your hands dirty a bit technically, it offers the most value for the money.

Cloudways Advantages

  • The best pure value for the money (if you can get technical)
  • Completely managed hosting solutions
  • Extensive server customization options
  • Free Wildcard SSL certificates
  • Among the leaders in site uptime
  • Unlimited staging areas
  • Team collaboration options
  • More global server locations
  • Better 1-click install options
  • Complimentary backup

Cloudways Disadvantages

  • Entry -level plans can be more expensive compared to Bluehost (especially with promotion periods)
  • No 1-800 contact number for customer support and customer service

Cloudways Prices:

3. SiteGround

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).

SiteGround Advantages

  • 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

SiteGround Disadvantages

  • 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

SiteGround Prices: Shared Hosting, WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans all start at $3.95/month for Startup Plans, $5.95 for GrowBig Plans, and $11.95 for GoGeek Plans. Cloud Hosting starts at $80/month and goes up in 4 tiers to $240/month.

Further Reading:

4. Kinsta

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!

Kinsta Advantages

  • 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)
  • 100% managed WordPress hosting provider

Kinsta Disadvantages

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…

5. A2 Hosting

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.

A2 Hosting Advantages

  • Affordable and reliable entry-level pricing, without skimping on core features (basically the same price as HostGator)
  • Now offers Managed WordPress hosting as well
  • WordPress Managed Hosting is cheaper than HostGator’s
  • Much fasters than HostGator (2.84 server response time vs 3.94 for HostGator in our testing)
  • Free SSL certificate included
  • In-house optimization software included (including for WordPress)
  • Money-back Guarantee refund policy

A2 Hosting Disadvantages

  • Smaller user base compared to HostGator (could be an acquisition target)
  • Shorter track record in the industry compared to HostGator

A2 Hosting Prices: Hosting packages start at just $2.94/month for Shared Hosting, then $9.94/month for Reseller Hosting, then $5/month for VPS Hosting, and finally the Dedicated Serving Hosting starts at $99.59/month. There are typically 3-tiers within each of these categories as you grow.

6. InMotion Hosting

Summary: InMotion Hosting is another direct competitior to HostGator with similar selling points to A2 Hosting, but with a bit more scalability on the higher-end for large sites.

InMotion Hosting Advantages

  • WordPress Managed Hosting is cheaper than HostGator
  • VPS and Dedicated Servers are cheaper than HostGator
  • 24/7 Phone Support
  • More modern infrastructure compared to HostGator (more reliable)
  • Free SSL certifications
  • Includes free domain (alsk acts as domain name registrar)

InMotion Disadvantages

  • More limited Live customer support compared to HostGator
  • Generic Shared Hosting is not as cheap as HostGator
  • Speed tests were not decisively faster than HostGator (although not slower in any test, just marginally better by a few milliseconds)

InMotion Hosting Prices: WordPress Hosting starts at $5.99/month, Business Hosting at $6.39/month, then $21.04/month for VPS Hosting, then $105.69 for Dedicated Server.

7. WP Engine

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)
  • Scalable services

WP Engine Disadvantages

  • One of the most expensive web hosting provider options, especially relative to HostGator
  • Tight security criteria means that they have a “blacklist” of plugins that you may need to remove
  • Limited flexibility on pricing tiers, with big jumps from initial entry point if you need to scale up
  • Probably overkill for a customer just launching their site with limited initial traffic

WP Engine Prices: Begins with the Startup Plan at $35/month, then the Growth Plan at $115/month, and finally the Scale Plan at $290/month. Custom packages for larger businesses are also available.

Further Reading:

8. WPX Web Host

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
  • Free SSL
  • 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

WPX Hosting Prices: Starts at $24.99/month Business Plan (up to 5 sites), then $49.99/month Professional Plan (up to 15 sites), and finally $99/month Elite Plan (up to 35 websites + unlimited bandwidth / unmetered bandwidth).

9. Bluehost

Summary: Bluehost sometimes get’s a similarly bad rap to HostGator, but offers some compelling reasons to consider in lieu of HostGator (mainly competing on price).

Bluehost Advantages

  • Long track record, not a fly by night operation
  • Dedicated WordPress hosting plans
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • cPanel UA interface (HostGator also uses cPanel)
  • Free domain registration
  • Cloud Hosting plans available
  • Bluehost offers seasonal deals that are among the steepest web hosting discounts

Bluehost Disadvantages

  • 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)
  • Comparable speeds to HostGator
  • Higher than average customer turnover

Bluehost Prices: Shared hosting starts at just $2.75/month, then $19.99/month for VPS hosting, and $79.99 for Dedicated hosting.

Further Reading:

Final Take: So What’s the Best Alternative to Bluehost?

So after all that, which is the right solution for you? My overall best similar (but better) alternative to HostGator is definitely DreamHost available here.

But beyond the overall pick, I break it down something like this:

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