SiteGround Vs. HostGator (2020) – WordPress Hosting
Choosing a hosting company is one of the most important steps if you’re starting your own online business website. It won’t affect your brand or style, but it’ll make or break your site’s performance and, ultimately, your customer experience and SEO.
SiteGround and HostGator are 2 of the most popular platforms in the industry. You have shared, dedicated, and WordPress hosting among other solutions. However, having the same goals and hosting types doesn’t mean they’re the same.
Today, I’ll help you make a choice between the two. You’ll learn about their features, technologies, performance, and pricing; after finishing this article, you’ll know everything you need to learn which one is the best choice for your needs.
Finally, keep in mind that we’ll compare their shared hosting solutions. It’s the most efficient way to measure the fundamental experience between the 2 companies. While things might be different with the higher pricing tiers, I’ve always found shared hosting to be the best first impression for these services.
Now, let’s dive into the article.
SiteGround comes with 3 options for shared hosting: web, WordPress, and WooCommerce hosting. Each one is further split into 3 plans: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek.
StartUp is the entry level, and it’s fairly limited in terms of storage, and you can only run a single website on it. On the other hand, the other 2 options let you host as many domains as you need while increasing storage capacity and adding a few features here and there.
Other hosting solutions include cloud hosting and dedicated servers. People with specialized needs and goals can also ask for Enterprise hosting, which offers custom features and structure.
HostGator is somewhat similar to SiteGround in that it offers both web and WordPress hosting; each one also has 3 plans: Hatchling, Baby, and Business. Other services include dedicated and virtual private server (VPS) hosting as well as domain registration.
Just like SiteGround, you can host all the domains you want with all plans except Hatchling. However, a nice difference is that you have unlimited space and bandwidth for all plans in HostGator.
WordPress hosting also comes with 3 options, this time Starter, Standard and Business. You receive a SSL certificate for free and a domain with all plans. The last addition comes with 3 extra hosting options, this time Starter, Premium and eCommerce; it’s a drag-and-drop builder for your own websites, yet the fee a bit more expensive.
HostGator is easily the most popular platforms in the pair. You can verify this quickly with a Google Trends search, which ranks HostGator constantly above SiteGround. When it comes to the amount of domains hosted, it’s 8 million for HostGator and 2 million for SiteGround.
Now, popularity isn’t really an important metric to measure service quality, but it can be a useful consideration. That’s because it gives you insights into how much the company has to spread its resources between different companies.
More users tend to translate into worse performance due to the heavier workload. However, we’ll measure performance separately, but keep in mind HostGator’s shared hosting might be more affected than its other plans.
Technology refers mostly to how sophisticated each company’s practices are. This includes using the latest methods, hardware, and other things like languages and protocols.
SiteGround lets you check out all of their technologies via a dedicated section in their website. On the other hand, HostGator doesn’t have direct access to a similar section, but you can ask customer support if you want to find out.
Data centers—and mostly their location—play a huge role in your website’s performance; the closer you are to them, the faster your site will load. That’s why most companies keep data centers in different locations—preferably in different continents.
SiteGround has 5 in total, and you can find their locations through their website’s map. They have 2 in the US, 2 in Europe (the UK and Netherlands), and 1 in Singapore. In the other hand, HostGator seems to have only 2 in the US: Texas and Utah.
Therefore, SiteGround is a much better option if you’re not in North America.
SSD refers to solid-state drives: essentially an upgraded HDD or traditional hard drive. They have the same function: data storage. However, they’re very different in how they actually perform. SSDs are simply a lot better, and they make hosts perform a lot better.
That’s why it’s great how SiteGround uses this technology with all of its plans, and it’s also one of its advantages.
HostGator restricts SSDs for cloud hosting on shared servers only. Shared hosting is limited to HDD, which is significantly slower.
In layman’s terms, NGINX makes it a lot faster to load static content; there’s no reason to go into a lot more depth than that.
This is yet another advantage for SiteGround; you get the NGINX setup with both shared and cloud hosting—all plans available. Sadly, HostGator doesn’t offer NGINX for shared users, but it might be available for more advanced plans.
Before we dive into this feature, let me clear something up. I’m not using the literal definition for web protocol; I’m using the term to refer to the most modern languages and structures used by web hosts today. These speed up your site regardless of your location.
SiteGround offers HTTP/2, PHP7, and CDN (via a free CloudFlare CDN) in all of its shared plans. It also includes Linux containers among other technologies for better stability.
HostGator really falls short with this metric, again; it only offers PHP7. Therefore, SiteGround is the winner here—as well as the entire “technology” section. As you’ll see in the next sections, these technologies make a big difference in website performance.
Websites occupy space in the host’s servers; this is referred to as storage as well.
SiteGround limits storage for its shared hosting clients to 10GB, 20GB, and 30GB depending on which plan you’re using. Thankfully, it’s quite hard to break these limits; it would require you to go crazy with high resolution visuals, which isn’t common practice anyways.
This round actually marks HostGator’s first win (I never really consider popularity as a victory). Your site can be as big as you want regardless of which shared plan you’re using. Keep in mind this is still HDD, but in terms of raw storage capacity, HostGator wins.
Backups are lifesavers. They mark the difference between losing a bit of work by restoring a previous version of your website or losing your entire site. That’s why hosting companies always implement backup features in one way or another.
SiteGround excels in this regard since it backs up your site automatically every day. Depending on which plan you’re using, these backups last for either 30 or 7 days—for shared and cloud hosting respectively. You can recover your backups through the dedicated tool in your cPanel.
With GrowBig and GoGeek accounts, you also get free on-demand backups; you can have up to 5 at any give moment. These are still available for StartUp users, but they cost extra.
HostGator has a worse approach, yet it still backs up your website automatically. These occur once every week; days aren’t fixed, and each new backup overwrites the previous one.
There’s actually a reason for that. HostGator has different policies for different plans, and they’re considered courtesies instead of part of the service. HostGator actually recommends you use a separate service.
Therefore, SiteGround wins here.
Sites and subdomains
Sure, many entrepreneurs make their entire lives with a single website. However, the ability to host several domains with a single plan is a big advantage for anyone; it’s also critical for webmasters.
Thankfully, you can’t go wrong with either platform in this regard. Both SiteGround and HostGator let you host as many websites as you want as long as you’re not using the most basic plan.
Data transfer refers to how much traffic your website can handle. It can seriously hinder your growth if your hosting company limits this amount. There’s not much to say here, but that’s a good thing.
This round is also a tie, for both platforms let you have unlimited bandwidth. The worst case scenario would be receiving a message about unusual traffic surges, but you’ll never be restricted in any way.
SiteGround lets you create as many email accounts as you need with 3 different clients right from the platform. You only need to keep in mind that your storage space is limited depending on your account: from 2GB for StartUp to 6GB for GoGeek.
On the other hand, HostGator lets you create all the POP3 accounts you need. It does have an advantage over SiteGround since it doesn’t limit how much space you have for your email. It also includes unlimited autoresponders and forwards.
Therefore, this is a victory for HostGator. Unlimited space isn’t really a huge deal if you’re organized with your emails, but it’s still something that SiteGround doesn’t have along the few other features I mentioned.
I’m sure I don’t need to explain why dedicated WordPress hosting plans are common among host companies. After all, WordPress is the most famous platform for entrepreneurs looking to create their own sites.
Therefore, it’s only natural that both platforms have their own specialized hosting solutions. That doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same, though; let’s see how they’re different.
The first difference comes with how many WordPress sites you can keep with each platform. Both limit you to a single one with the most basic plans, but HostGator still keeps a limit up to its most advanced plan. SiteGround lets you host unlimited sites from GrowBig onward.
Nevertheless, HostGator lets you have more visitors every month than SiteGround. The latter accommodates a maximum of 100,000 visitors depending on your plan. That’s actually the lowest plan for HostGator, and it goes all the way to 500,000.
Therefore, if you want more than 3 websites, SiteGround is better. If you’re fine with 3 or less—but you want more traffic—HostGator might be a better option. I call it a tie.
Speed is one of the most important criteria when choosing a hosting service. Not only does it provide a better experience for your users overall, but search engines also pay a lot of attention to loading speed over many other metrics.
SiteGround has always been really quick for me. However, HostGator is a lot closer to the average; there are several faster options, but there are also several slower ones. Thankfully, there are tools specifically for testing loading speeds, so no one needs to settle for a “feel” after opening different websites.
During my tests, SiteGround kept ranking under 2 seconds regardless of the tool and location I used; it averaged just under 1.50 seconds, sometimes even dipping under a single second. Unfortunately, HostGator was several times slower, constantly, scoring over 3 seconds; it even broke the 4-second mark several times.
Of course, there are many factors relevant to a hosting service’s speed. However, my results were consistent enough—and with lots of distance between the two—for me to safely say that SiteGround is a much faster service.
Uptime is another important metric for SEO and customer experience. It basically refers to how long your website is up and running. Therefore, downtime means both a big cut in traffic and search rankings.
While there are more than a couple causes for downtimes, it’s most commonly caused by maintenance. Some businesses might also lose less because of downtimes than others, but that’s more like saying that losing your car is better than losing your house.
There are also tools to test a host’s stability, so let’s take a look at it.
SiteGround consistently ranks over 99.99% uptime, which is its guarantee. Unfortunately, HostGator’s uptime is around the 99% mark, oscillating between 99.5% and 98.5%.
This one is actually a continuation of the previous metric. You see, most companies offer some form of compensation in case you experience lower uptime than what they guarantee.
SiteGround has one of my favorite policies in this regard. If your uptime ever dips below their guaranteed minimum, you’ll receive a free month of service. Additional months are also granted if your uptime drops further.
HostGator has a somewhat similar policy. You receive 1 month’s worth of credit depending on your account if your uptime dips under their guarantee. The problem is that credit approval depends solely on HostGator, so there’s no way to trust they’ll actually respond accordingly.
Therefore, I’ll give this victory to SiteGround. It’s just a lot more reliable than HostGator.
Support is one of the most important metrics—for me, personally—when it comes to any service. If you’ve ever worked or used a service where the personnel was rude, you know how even the best offers can be hindered by bad support.
Luckily, SiteGround values customer support, and they implement several practices to make the entire experience as pleasant as possible. You can reach out to them via support tickets, phone, and live chat. When interacting with the agents, you can see their profile picture and information like rating and amount of customers served.
The experience itself is also stellar. Both agents and technical support are experts in their fields, and I haven’t run into any trouble they haven’t been able to solve.
For HostGator, you can reach out via live chat and phone—interestingly, there’s also fax support. You also have a wiki-like resources base, and it’s a great first step since they have many resources; you’ll probably find a solution for the most common issues here.
What’s interesting is that HostGator and Bluehost have the same live chat platform and even parent company. Therefore, I’d bet they also share support teams since it’s fairly similar for both of them.
They’re helpful and quick, but SiteGround is slightly better in terms of friendliness and speed.
Site transfer simply means migrating a website from one host to another.
SiteGround lets you transfer your website automatically for free if you’re either a GrowBig or GoGeek user. StartUp users can also transfer their website, but it costs $30; the same goes for additional transfers.
What’s nice is that you can also transfer your entire cPanel, even if it has several websites. You can request transfers from your account.
HostGator offers a free transfer for the first month after you signed up for the platform. You can transfer your entire cPanel, and it’s available with all shared and cloud hosting plans. You can still request transfers after 30 days, but it’ll cost extra.
Overall, I’d say HostGator has a significant advantage in this regard, but it could be considered a tie. That’s because, while it’s free for all accounts, cPanel migration isn’t supported in WordPress plans.
When it comes to security, both platforms are quite similarly responsible.
SiteGround gives you a free SSL certificate with all websites you host with them; the same goes for SSH and SFTP access. Other technologies include PHP7, suExec, IDS/IPS, and ModSecurity. Among the benefits, we have more efficient updates, blocking attacks and bots, and more.
It also grants you access to a site scanner from Sucuri, which you can use daily. It’s less than $2, too.
HostGator also grants you a free SSL certificate with all hosting plants, and they have SFTP support, not SSH. They also employ ModSecurity and firewalls to keep attacks at bay; you can also enable flood prevention.
SiteLock is HostGator’s version of the site scanner from SiteGround, but it’s more expensive. Other than that, it’s quite difficult to find out which measures HostGator takes.
Therefore, I’d say it’s a close victory for SiteGround, simply because it appears to employ more tactics and a cheaper site scanner. HostGator also has more attack reports than SiteGround.
Now, let’s dive into pricing. You already know the features you get with the different plans, so I’ll keep this section strictly around numbers.
SiteGround is generally a more expensive service than HostGator, with the more expensive plans being over double what HostGator costs; the same is true for discounted prices. However, it makes up for it by offering cheaper upsells and additions.
SiteGround’s StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek plans are $11.95, $19.95, and $34.95 respectively every month; discounted, they’re $3.95, $5.95, and $11.95. Remember that SiteGround isn’t a registrar, either, so you’ll need to get your own domain.
HostGator’s Hatchling, Baby, and Business are $6.95, $9.95, and $14.95 respective; discounted, they go down to $2.75, $3.95, and $5.95. You also get a free domain, which could be up to a couple extra bucks every month.
Therefore, HostGator is the cheaper option—which is reasonable, considering it’s not as advanced as SiteGround.
Even though HostGator has the edge in a few categories—most importantly, pricing—SiteGround is simply the superior alternative here. The main selling points for HostGator is their domain registration and affordability, but there are many complaints about their service.
SiteGround has overall better performance, stability, and customer support, for those who are new to the business.
It’s also important to consider EIG, the company behind HostGator. They own several hosting companies, and it has been constantly criticized for offering poor service because of “cutting corners”. They usually downgrade their systems, and we already touched on how they probably outsource their customer support to people probably unfamiliar with the platforms.
Therefore, the only reasons I could recommend HostGator is that it’s cheap and offers unlimited storage space.
On the opposite side, SiteGround offers great performance without sacrificing affordability. As long as you don’t mind storage limits, you have access to the latest technology and methods. They’re among the best hosting services I’ve seen in terms of performance, and it’s difficult to find faster loading times.
Besides, the customer support can also make a huge difference. If you’re new to the platform, you might run into trouble now and then. Having a support team that can help you get back on your feet in the same day can save you lots of time and money.
I hope you found this review useful and if you have any questions, please comment down below. I’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Once again, thanks for reading my SiteGround Vs HostGator and I wish you the best of luck.