Hostgator Site Builder Review

Dave Platt

In a Nutshell

HostGator is a powerful web hosting and website building company. Foregoing the usual drag-and-drop process, HostGator’s website builder opts for a self-building method that creates a website for you without the hassles. No searching through hundreds of templates, no constant editing or trial-and-error, the new website builder is an intelligent, self-creating tool that yields professionally designed websites that are up and running in no time.

pros

  • Hands-off design with self-creating website builder
  • Plenty of hosting options
  • Helpful marketing and eCommerce tools included

cons

  • Limited customization
  • Less room for creative input

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Standout Features

You’ll be most impressed by HostGator’s range of hosting options. Find the hosting solution that suits your business website so that you won’t end up paying for server space or security options that you don’t need, but still enjoy the capacity and capabilities that you want.

  • AI-based self-creating web builder
  • Wide range of dedicated or shared hosting
  • WordPress, Windows, VPS, web, or cloud hosting
  • Unsplash image library 
  • Full website analytics and metrics tools
  • All themes are mobile-friendly
  • Online store
  • Appointments and bookings (with upper-tier plans)

Ease of Use

HostGator’s website builder is hugely popular among web building novices, partly due to their very intuitive, AI-based builder. Unlike other website builders, which demand some design savvy and require the user to play around with layouts, placement, and formatting themselves, HostGator instantly populates a design for you based on a simple prompt. This is infinitely easier and less time-consuming for the user. And though an intelligent builder ultimately does the work for you, you’re stuck with the results: users can click a button to change the layout and be provided with alternative options.     

The downside to the builder is that those who prefer some design input may find their freedom limited. Indeed this is a dummy-proof website builder, meaning that one on hand you have less room to make mistakes, but on the other, you have less freedom to put your own stamp on the design. 

For those who lack tech or design savvy, or simply don’t have the time to fuss around with layouts and formatting, the self-creating builder is a helpful tool to get a professional website up in a short amount of time. 

Features

  • Website Builder

HostGator’s AI-based website builder that is intuitive and easy to use, even for tech newbies. As noted above, it’s a self-building process that requires only the most essential input from the user, meaning it’s fast and protected from design errors on the part of the user. All themes are mobile responsive, SEO optimized, and social media ready. Once your website is up, you can measure your success with HostGator's built-in analytics and metrics.

  • Online Store

HostGator’s Business web-builder plan brings you full Ecommerce capabilities, including Facebook sales integration, inventory tracking tools, coupon code generation, and a range of payment processors.

  • Web Hosting

Businesses can choose from a number of web hosting options. Shared web hosting gives even the smallest of businesses the ability to access secure web hosting, Windows web hosting, or application hosting.

  • Cloud Hosting

Larger businesses seeking cloud hosting, scalable VPS hosting, cloud managed WordPress hosting, or dedicated server cloud hosting will find the solutions they need with HostGator.

  • Add-ons

No matter which HostGator package you choose, you can customize your level of service and protection with add-ons. These include email hosting, control panel features, Ecommerce features, protection against malware, and more.

Pricing

HostGator offers 3 pricing plans. The Express Start is the most basic, though it includes a number of free email marketing and ecommerce features as well as 3 email campaigns per month. Express Site is recommended for companies that stock around 10 items on their site and plan to send 5 emails a month. Express Store, the most advanced plan, allows you to send 10 emails per month and stock unlimited products. 

Package
Express Start
Express Site
Express Store
Price per month
$3.84
$5.99
$9.22

All 3 packages include freebies plus a generous mix of marketing and ecommerce features, including:

  • Free hosting
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Free domain for 12 months
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Logo maker
  • Integrated contacts CRM
  • Visual analytics and campaign reporting 
  • Lead capture forms
  • Inventory management
  • ...and more 

If you sign up for the Express Site and Express Store, you get additional email campaigns and product listings, as well as booking features including calendar management with email notifications and a side-by-side staff calendar feature. 

A short word of warning—the advertised costs with HostGator is based on current discounts that are applicable only on the first invoice. You won’t discover the full range of monthly price options until you click the ‘Buy’ button.

eCommerce/Online store

HostGator's web builder offers a full range of online store capabilities. If you only need to accept simple on-site payments, you can integrate PayPal with the Basic web building plan. However, for full Ecommerce functionality, you'll need to pay for the Business web building plan, which is a large price jump up.

With a HostGator eCommerce store, you can set up an effective online store that is consistent across every type of device. HostGator's Ecommerce features include the ability to track your inventory and integrate your Facebook page for direct Facebook sales. You can select from a range of payment processors such as PayPal, eCheck, Stripe, and Square, and take advantage of coupon codes like automatic discounts and item filtering according to special offers.

Customer Service

HostGator’s reputation really rests upon its customer service. Users stick with HostGator for years because they appreciate being able to get live help for every problem, no matter what time it is. 24/7/365 live support is available through live chat or over the phone. You can call toll-free, get local support, or call internationally. There’s also the option of opening a web support ticket through the support portal.

When HostGator says round the clock support, they really mean it. A glance at customer reviews shows one happy customer after another who resolved an urgent issue at 2am. HostGator’s expert representatives do all they can to help customers.

If you prefer to resolve issues yourself, HostGator has a well-stocked Support Portal. You can access video tutorials on just about every aspect of using HostGator, hop on one of the forums to check if anyone else has already dealt with the same problem, and get customer support through a few different social media channels.

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Bottom Line

HostGator is a leading web hosting service that provides hosting solutions for every level of website user, from shared web hosting for small businesses to dedicated servers for large enterprises, and everything in between. It’s primarily focused on web hosting solutions, and offers an almost bewildering range of choice. Pricing plans can be confusing, and expensive when compared to market leaders such as Wix. However, HostGator’s hosting options are generally stronger than those offered by Wix or other competitors.

HostGator is clearly a hosting service first and a web builder service second, but if you want to use it for your website hosting, the web builder tool is worth a look. It’s very easy to use and intuitive for novices, with a novel approach that uses AI to simplify the process. The options for advanced website designers aren’t quite as broad, and it’s not always easy to access the CSS level.

Overall, HostGator offers top-level web hosting together with a good, reliable web builder service.

David Platt writes for top10.com. He developed an extensive working knowledge of background check and data management services in his time providing support for military access credentials with respected biometric security service provider SureID. He has further developed his internet security skills in completing a Bachelors of Science degree at Portland State University.

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