Gator Review: Is HostGator’s New Website Builder Right For You?
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HostGator is one of the world’s biggest providers when it comes to web hosting. It offers an array of services that are second to none, one of which is its very own website builder, Gator.
Gator is a simple website builder, aimed at those with little technical expertise who are in need of a basic website. It combines an intuitive drag-and-drop editor with a handful of templates, just waiting for you to put your own spin on them.
It’s got plenty of features (although some are a tad basic) making it the perfect fit for any small business that needs to advertise a service, or personal sites like blogs.
Throughout this review, we’ll give a snappy breakdown of Gator’s key areas, and sink our teeth into its strengths and weaknesses. But first, here’s an overview of Gator’s pros and cons:
|Gator Pros||Gator Cons|
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1 Ease of Use
Getting started with Gator is a piece of cake. Once you’ve signed up, the first thing you’ll need to do is pick a template (A.K.A a theme).
Gator makes this super simple by categorizing all its templates into industries (but more on that in the next section). There’s also a search bar if you want to hone in on a specific design.
After that, you enter the editor, which uses pure drag-and-drop. By this, we mean you can drag anything onto your web pages from the side panel and position it exactly where you want it.
If you’ve ever used PowerPoint, where you can move things around on your slides, you’ll have no trouble getting to grips with Gator.
Other website builders like Wix also use a drag-and-drop editor, and it’s generally considered the easiest way to design your own website.
On top of that, Gator comes with a handy onboarding tutorial, where you’ll learn where everything is right from the get-go. No spending half an hour trying to figure out where the ‘Edit Text’ button is!
Speaking of text, you can resize, change fonts, and switch colors effortlessly. The same applies for sorting out images, as well as embedding cool features like blogs, social media posts, and videos.
In short, Gator makes it easy for anyone to create their own website, regardless of their computer skills.
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2 Template Design & Customization
As we touched on above, Gator gives you a collection of templates to choose from. They’re broken down into categories, such as business & consultancy, beauty & fashion, and music & entertainment, making it easy to filter what you’re looking for.
One thing we would say is the variety of template designs is a little limited. They’re also a tad basic, which is fine for certain needs, but not recommendable if you’re in a creative industry like graphic design of photography. If that’s the case, check out Squarespace.
Moving onto editing Gator’s templates, we’ve mentioned how easy it is move things around and resize, but there is one important thing to bear in mind when adding new content.
Unlike Wix and other website builders, with Gator, your content won’t automatically adjust when you pop in a new element or feature. What will happen is your content will start to overlap, or sit on top of one another. This means it’s important to create space on your page before adding more things in.
Overall though, Gator’s templates are more than fit-for-purpose, and provide you with a great starting base to build off.
Gator offers all the basic features you’d expect from a website builder, along with a couple of nice bonuses.
Included in all pricing plans are an SSL security certificate, mobile responsive templates, social media integration, website analytics, and a domain name.
To provide some context on exactly what these are:
SSL certificates make your site secure for visitors to browse. They are symbolized by a little padlock icon next to your URL, and are important for security purposes – if you don’t have one, visitors will see the words ‘not secure’ next to your URL.
Mobile responsiveness means your website will automatically adjust to fit different screen sizes. With more and more people browsing on mobiles, it’s great to know that you don’t have to design a mobile specific version of your site.
Social media integration lets you embed content from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram directly onto your site. Having social buttons, live feeds and image galleries will help keep your entire online presence connected.
Website analytics allow you to track important information, like the number of site visitors you’re getting. Having eyes on this lets you see how little tweaks to your pages can impact upon the amount of people viewing it.
A domain name is essentially your website’s name, like ‘websitebuilderexpert.com’. Not having to purchase a domain elsewhere will save you time and money.
Now onto those juicy bonus features we touched on. Impressively, HostGator – being a top hosting provider – covers its website builder with unlimited bandwidth and storage.
This means that there’s no limit on the amount of content, or visitors, your site can handle. In our eyes, this makes Gator a perfect choice for websites that need big image galleries, such as real estate brochures.
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- Best Real Estate Website Builders – If Gator is proving a hard sell, see our list of the other 4 best platforms for building real estate websites.
4 Help & Support
Gator’s friendly support staff are there to help you 24/7 via phone, live chat and email. You can also get support through Gator’s help center, although you are limited to three search words, so it’s not recommended for complex or niche queries.
One thing to bear in mind is that the support staff can get pretty inundated with requests, so you may have to wait a while for a response.
This can be avoided by signing up to Gator’s middle priced plan or above, where you receive priority support and can speak to someone almost immediately. Think of this like buying queue jumps at a theme park – sure, you’re paying more, but there’s no time lost waiting in line!
99% of the time, we’d imagine you won’t touch the help and support services. On the rare occasion you need a helping hand, though, it’s reassuring to know you can receive around-the-clock support.
Gator offers three different pricing plans that you can sign up to for either a month, year, or two year period. Naturally, the longer you commit to Gator, the more money you save each month.
Below, we show how much each pricing plan costs if you sign up for two years, and the savings you’ll make in comparison to a month-on-month subscription.
|Gator Pricing Plan||Cost (over 2 years)||Saving|
|Starter||$7.68/month (normally $9.98)||23%|
|Premium||$11.98/month (normally $12.98)||8%|
|eCommerce||$18.45/month (normally $24.98)||26%|
As you can see, there’s nowhere near as much value in Gator’s Premium plan as there is in the other two. On top of that, you can access all of Gator’s features on its Starter plan – the only difference is you won’t get priority support.
The eCommerce plan is for those looking to build an online store – basically, if you sign up to this plan, you can sell products through your website. So, if selling online isn’t something you’re looking at, the smart choice is Gator’s Starter plan.
Gator currently doesn’t have a free plan or trial. For this reason, we’d suggest taking out a Starter plan for one month – if you like what you get, then you can commit to the two year subscription for cheaper rates.
The first month will cost you less than a takeout pizza, and could lead to your very own slice of the online world.
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6 HostGator Website Builder Review: Conclusion
Unfortunately, we’ve come to the end. We hope you found our HostGator website builder review useful!
To recap, let’s summarise what we’ve learned:
- HostGator’s website builder, Gator, is incredibly user-friendly. The builder comes with pre-designed templates and a drag-and-drop editor.
- The templates themselves look a little basic, but they’re perfect for creating simple online presences like blogs.
- Gator has some brilliant features. As well as being hosted for you, it also gives you unlimited bandwidth and storage space.
- There’s no free plan or trial, but prices are very reasonable. Gator’s Starter plan represents the best value for money.
We’d see HostGator’s website builder as a brilliant option for people with limited to no experience designing a website, and who need a simple DIY solution.
Because Gator has lots of storage and amazing social media integration, it suits service-based sites, as well as ones that need big gallery sections with lots of media content.
Don’t just take our word for it, though – take Gator for a spin yourself, and see what you think. All it’ll cost you is a few bucks and a couple of hours.
7 HostGator Website Builder Review: FAQs
Is HostGator’s website builder good for small businesses?
The answer really depends on what your business is. Gator’s large storage capacity and unlimited bandwidth make it ideal for businesses who need image galleries or lots of media content. It doesn’t have built-in email marketing, though, so that’s something to bear in mind.
Can you build an online store with Gator?
Absolutely. Gator’s top-tiered plan, ‘eCommerce’ is built for, well, exactly that. It allows you to sell products and process payments, and also has a cool analytics suite so you can keep track of everything. There are other ecommerce options out there, but Gator is a sound choice.
What should I look for in a website builder?
Choosing the right website builder is always a subjective decision – when all is said and done, you need one that fits your needs. General things to consider are the features on offer, the price, and how good the help and support is. To compare all this and more, head over to our website builder comparison chart.
Which website builders are the best?
We’ve put hours upon hours of research into this very question. From our findings, Wix is the best all-around website builder, but other top platforms serve specific needs. Squarespace, for example, is excellent for design, while Shopify is perfect if you need an online store.
Found our review helpful?
Did this guide help you decide whether HostGator’s website builder, Gator, is right for you then help to get you started building your website? If so (or if not!) leave a comment below.
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