Why I dumped HostGator

Back sometime in mid 2011, I opened an account with HostGator. I purchased a shared/reseller account mainly to separate all of my other domains into their own cPanel accounts. This domain was my first account there (after the new reseller domain name) and to be honest with you, it never performed well at all.

The proof is in the graph

I use Google’s Webmaster Tools for all of my sites. In there you will find a section entitled Diagnostics where you can see Crawler Stats. This is a graphical representation of how many pages get crawled per day by Google, the total kilobytes downloaded, and the time spent in milliseconds. Take a look at the crawler stats for this site and see if you can spot when I moved this site away from HostGator:

This is a screenshot right from my Webmasters Tools stats page (click the image to see a larger view).  In it you can clearly see the difference when I moved this site over to Liquid Web’s servers. You’ll notice the biggest change in the bottom graph; time spent loading pages.

That seemed to have a secondary side affect of allowing the Google Bots time to download more pages per visit and a greater amount of data per visit! What that means is your sites pages will get indexed a lot faster and possibly put you higher in the search engine results pages giving you improved exposure and maybe more visitors.

I just moved there in February and as of this writing I am seeing more organic search generated visitors each and every day.

Shared hosting has its drawbacks

The main problem with HostGator shared hosting is the fact that their servers are oversold. I guess that’s to be expected when you are one of the top shared hosting companies around. But that doesn’t help any when your pages take 6 – 10 seconds to load. In the internet game, speed is everything and if your pages don’t load in less than a second or two, you’ve probably lost your visitor.

While this site was with HostGator, I could go to the site and sit there while my browser said “waiting for reply” for quite a while. There were times when it would never load at all! The page wouldn’t time out; it would just sit there with the page loading icon spinning backwards waiting for a reply.

Was it always like that? Well, in HostGator’s defense I have to say no, the problem was only noticeable during peak traffic times. That’s because you never know who else is hosting on your server and what exactly they are hosting. In a shared environment the resources are used by ALL sites on your server so if someone else has an active blog or website, their traffic will affect your sites performance.

Why so much emphasis on tech support?

I moderate for a popular webmasters forum and when ever anyone asks for advice on what to look for in a host, by far the biggest item will be tech support. That seems somewhat ironic because if the service performs well, there should never be the need for tech support, right?

I used their tech support to try getting my site to perform better and the overall experience was totally dissatisfying. Big companies seem to have big problems with this due to:

  • The lack of experience of their tech support staff.
  • The overwhelming amount of support requests at any given time.
  • The lack of continuity – meaning that your support ticket may be handled by many techs before it gets resolved. This can cause a LOT of frustration as you have to explain your issue over and over again.

Don’t get me wrong, these problems aren’t specific to HostGator. I deal with many levels of technical support throughout the day in many different industries. You can always tell when you are getting the run-around. You have to know when to ask for something to get escalated to a supervisor when necessary.

So why did I write this article?

Well, I didn’t write this article to specifically “bash” HostGator, it was more to maybe make others aware of the pitfalls associated with shared hosting at “big box” providers. There are plenty of reviews on hosting companies out there on the web, but you have to take everything you read with a “grain of salt”.

Most review site offer their reviews because they are paid affiliates and can profit from your decision. When I made my choice to change over to Liquid Web it was after doing many months of research; visiting forums, asking questions, getting un-biased opinions from people who use or have used their services.

I won’t lie, I did join their affiliate network, but that’s because I am extremely happy with their service and I believe in the product that I selected. I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed in Liquid Web’s service.

Liquid Web Smart Servers

Comments

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  5. Liquidweb price is expensive for new web masters,but they are best,non oversold servers.I was with hostgator for 1 year,then transferred to a cheap vps which works better than hostgator shared hosting.Linode is also good,if you need unmanaged service

    • I’m really happy with them so far. As far as cost goes, you get what you pay for. HG’s comparable package would be their tier 3 plan which actually costs more than Liquid Web’s

  6. I LOL’ed at HostGator crawl stats.. I’m currently using a bulgarian hosting which costs me less than $3 per month and my crawl stats are shoing that google crawls (on avarage) 900 pages on my site per day, while taking only about 1500 ms for that..

    • Hello Sava, thanks for stopping by 🙂

      I couldn’t believe the difference when I switch. I’ve since moved another WP/Genesis site over to Liquid Web and the results were the same so I’m very happy I switched…

  7. Shared hosting is sin! Even Mediatemple’s.

    Thanks for notifying us that your links are referral ones… 😉

  8. I am so happy so far. As far as cost goes, you get what you pay for. HG’s comparable package would be their tier 3 plan which actually costs more than Liquid Web’s

    • Hey Scarlett thanks for the post. Actually, when you compare the bandwidth and storage space it’s closer to HG’s tier 5 so it ends up being much cheaper than HG. Don’t get me wrong, I still have an HG account but general site performance is much better with my Liquid Web account. HG’s problems aren’t with their servers so much as it is with their MySQL database servers being over burdened. With over 8 million domains hosted that is to be expected though.