Not all web hosting providers are created equal. Although on the surface it may seem like there’s not a great deal to separate them, the little details can add up to big differences. This piece will break down the key differences between HostGator and SiteGround, two major forces in the market.
If you don’t have the time to read through, here’s our opinion on the matter in brief: HostGator is the better all-round hosting service. In fact, according to our research it’s the best all-round hosting service full stop. HostGator comes first in our overall rankings with a 97% score, while SiteGround comes in fourth with a highly respectable 80%.
If you’re just starting out and want cheap, reliable hosting, HostGator is the better fit. If, however, you’re planning to host a WordPress website, it bears mentioning that SiteGround is one of the three providers WordPress.org recommend for that purpose — the other two being Bluehost and Dreamhost.
- Cheap, scalable plans
- Email marketing
- 99.9% uptime
- No free domain on signup
- Recommended by WordPress for WordPress hosting. Always a good sign
- Super customer support
- One of the the pricier providers out there
Those are the need-to-knows. If you want a more in-depth breakdown of how HostGator and SiteGround compare, read on. We’ll cover the key differences.
There’s more to web hosting than hosting, would you believe. Beneath the hood there’s a lot of features worth checking for before handing over your (presumably) hard-earned money.
HostGator and SiteGround are both feature-rich providers, but they’re directed at slightly different audiences. HostGator provides an all-bases-covered service for those in need a simple, reliable hosting on a moderate scale. SiteGround meanwhile is angled more at resource intensive sites in need of superb tech support and custom plans.
HostGator plans come with unlimited email accounts, sub-domains, and unlimited disk space. It’s uptime is an excellent 99.99%, meaning less than a day of downtime per year. SiteGround’s uptime of 99.98% is still terrific, though its disk space is just 10 gigabytes.
Surprisingly, neither include free domains with their plans, and that’s not a cost you can sidestep either. Keep in mind then that you’ll likely wind up spending another $10 or so to get a domain name.
SiteGround have a useful page where you can see which features are included in which plan (we’d display them here but there’s too many of them!).
Both integrate SiteBuilder (a drag and drop website builder) into their interface, which is functional but hardly the best out there. It offers one-click WordPress installation though, making setup simple for customers of every skill level.
HostGator’s interface is surprisingly clunky given its stature in the market, but it’s perfectly functional. SiteGround has more sophisticated integration with non-WordPress content management systems as well, offering support for Drupal, Joomla, and Magento sites.
SiteGround has a more impressive top-end presence than HostGator does, offering custom-made ‘Enterprise’ plans for clients who want a service built around their needs. The monthly budgets for these kinds of plans start at well over $2000, so it’s not terribly useful to most customers.
Verdict: HostGator. Both are feature-rich, but SiteGround is targeted more at the advanced end of the hosting spectrum. Unless you’re raking in millions of views already HostGator is a better fit.
Both have excellent WordPress integration with one-click installation, and the starting prices for their WordPress plans is a lot lower than some of their competitors.
SiteGround is one of the three providers recommended by WordPress themselves, the other two being Bluehost and Dreamhost. They know what they’re doing. Even the cheapest plan comes with their ‘Essential WordPress Features’, some of which are terrific value to get included.
SiteGround have recently rolled out a free site transfer with their plans. It’s obviously in their interest to make switching to them easy, but it’s an excellent feature nonetheless.
And just to be clear: you don’t need a WordPress hosting plan to host a WordPress website. If you’re just starting out, a shared plan with either provider will do just fine. It’s when a WordPress site grows that it needs a more specialized service, at which point you can just change plans.
HostGator’s knowledge center is extensive and fairly easy to navigate. If you’re more comfortable talking to a friendly support person (or a chatbot imitating a friendly support person), they have 24/7 phone and chat support.
Both offer tech tickets (a way of getting personalized tech assistance), with SiteGround guaranteeing an impressive 10 minute response time. Having turnaround of the speed is extremely useful for web hosting issues.
Verdict: Tie, with SiteGround just edging it if you need hands-on technical support.
Cheap doesn’t always mean good value, especially where web hosting is concerned. It’s common practice for web hosting services to flaunt spectacularly low prices then bolt on essential features as addons.
Neither HostGator or SiteGround get too cheeky with this, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the lowest prices you see a based on the assumption you lock in for years and use no addons.
|Shared Hosting||$3.95 – $11.95||$2.75 – $5.95|
|WordPress Hosting||$3.95 – $11.95||$5.95 – $9.95|
|VPS Hosting||–||$19.95 – $39.95|
|Dedicated Hosting||$269 – $729||$119 – $149|
|Cloud Hosting||$80 – $240||$4.95 – $9.95|
The fact is SiteGround actually has really affordable entry-level plans, but it’s focus is clearly on more lucrative plans higher up the ladder. It doesn’t scale as gradually as HostGator does, but if you’re unlikely to go beyond basic plans there’s little to separate the two providers.
Verdict: HostGator, but the bigger you site gets the more attractive SiteGround becomes.
To an extent pitting these two against each other is like comparing apples and oranges. Although they’re both hosting providers, their services are in many respects very different. Overall, HostGator vs anyone tends to be a win for HostGator, but it’s still worth being clear on what you need from your hosting.
For all-round hosting that’s affordable and reliable, HostGator wins out. It’s team has done a terrific job of making a technical service easy to use, even for those with no tech know-how.
SiteGround is targeted more pointedly at large sites and customers in need of custom solutions. For that they’re actually one of the best around, but otherwise HostGator is likely to be the better fit for your needs.
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