Why I Do Not Recommend HostGator and Who I Use Instead

Why I Do Not Recommend HostGator for WordPress Hosting

This post is a bit of a retraction. I have previously written 2 blogs, here and here, in which I talked about setting up WordPress hosting using HostGator and that it was the platform I was using.

WELL. Things have changed. I eat my words. I made a mistake.

I paid in advance for hosting with HostGator awaiting my site content and hosting transfer from Squarespace to WordPress hosting with HostGator.

The transition went fine and dandy, until about 48 hours after my new site went live and I receive an email from HostGator at 8:30 at night while I was getting my daughter to bed. Here’s an excerpt:

“Your account has been abusing CPU resources for an extended period of time and has been disabled in order to ensure continued performance stability of the account and server. While we do limit each account to no more than 25% of a system’s CPU in our terms of service, we do not actively disable accounts until they greatly exceed that number, which is what happened in this case.

Please take a moment to review this email in full as it contains important information and resources to assist you in resolving this issue. Please note that this permanent restriction requires you take further actions to gain access to and resolve the issues on your account.”

One minute after the email warning, my site was taken down for using too many resources with zero warning and no chance to fix it before they took it down.

Their first option for resolution was that I purchase a dedicated server for my resource-hog website, which would cost $3200 for 36 months.

Their second option was to optimize and use fewer resources, which resulted in using removing two industry standard WordPress plugins – Yoast SEO and Gravity Forms – at their suggestion.

We removed the problem plugins they identified, and not pay the $3200, to get us back online while we formed a game plan on what to do next.

BUT, one of the main reasons I switched from Squarespace to WordPress was for the functionality via the Plugins, and both myself and my developer (Shannon Mattern of WP BFF, she’s a WP website angel) were shocked that HostGator didn’t support these standard plugins, yet they promote themselves as WordPress optimized hosts.

While we were in the process of finding a new host for my website after HostGator’s shut down, we received more warnings for using too many resources even after removing the offending plugins.

From this, we deduced that my site was receiving too much traffic (230,00 pageviews a month at the time of this writing) for the hosting that I had at HostGator, a hosting package that they recommended. So, it wasn’t the plugins anymore since those were gone, and now it was the traffic.

Maybe I should have purchased a different kind of hosting package with them from the start, one that supported more traffic. They could blame that on me, but when I wrote the post recommending them (find it here), they provided a series of steps that people should purchase/do if they wanted WordPress hosting. I didn’t consider myself a big website or a blog, compared to others that exist and I never had a problem on Squarespace.

I did and purchased exactly what HostGator recommended to myself and my readers.

And then, when my site went live with bare minimum plugins and on their recommended hosting package, it was “too many resources” and they shut it down with no notice.

Once we got it up, they shut it down 3 more times in the span of the 36 or so hours it took us to find a reputable hosting company.

This is why I can no longer recommend HostGator for WordPress hosting.

I purchased the hosting they recommended and we installed industry standard, minimal plugins, with not any super huge traffic numbers, and as a result, I violated their Terms of Service for usage and was shut down with no notice and no chance to resolve it before taking my site down.

My goal for moving to WordPress was to grow and expand, not be limited and experience poor customer service within 48 hours.

To be completely fair, they were prompt in working with us to help us optimize, find the problem, and remove the plugins – we were just shocked that they didn’t support those plugins, shut us down immediately, and that the choices were to limit the site or fork over three grand right then.

Who do I recommend instead?

I’m currently hosted by Flywheel.

Everyone at that company has been nothing short of amazing in working with me, even outside of business hours, to get my site migrated and set up for hosting on their servers really quickly and within about 3 hours of signing up with them. They do end up to costing a bit more over time than the $3200 requested by HostGator, but they’ll also never unexpectedly shut me down and they’ll support the Plugins that I need. I pay for a monthly service.

I’d also like to give a special shout-out to Shannon Mattern of WP-BFF, who has been handling the entire transfer from Squarespace to WordPress. Even after our project ended, when HostGator took my site down, she was on it late at night and early in the morning helping me resolve it – and really, doing it all for me and just telling me where to sign and pay for services. A friend called her a divine intervention. She’s amazing and I am so grateful for her.

If you need help with WordPress anything, Shannon’s your girl. From the basics of just setting up a site, to optimizing, to figuring out opt-ins and monetization strategies, her blog and website are an amazing resource.  She has a FREE 5-day course on her website for setting up a WordPress hosted website, too! Find her here.

In the end, HostGator did not work out for me and I was not pleased with their customer service. They shut down my site after only being live for like a day, with zero warning or notice, and do not support basic plugins or lower levels of traffic. I did have to eat the cost of the 3-year hosting plan that I pre-paid because they do not provide any refunds at all outside of the initial 45-day window. I purchased my hosting in at the end of November and my site didn’t go live until January 29th, so I was just outside that window and thus could not get a refund. Lesson learned, folks. Lesson. Learned.


Flywheel, WordPress, and Shannon Mattern (WP-BFF)  


Happy Website Hosting!




UPDATE February 8, 2017: This is the parent company of HostGator, and a list including all the companies that they own. Something to consider when searching for hosting in the future. (Thanks, Michelle!)

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