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I am hosting reviewer. I post articles about hosting companies. I have tried too many hosting companies then i wrote the reviews.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Questions and answers about business web hosting review

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Company information



hostgator is one of the fastest growing companies in the web hosting industry.
It has been talked about a lot on popular web hosting forums like
WebHostingTalk.com for example. The company has been founded in 2002 and by the
time of this review their site says that more than 200,000 domains are hosted on
their servers.



hostgator hosting facilities are located in the one of the best Internet data
centers in US: �The Planet� (www.theplanet.com) Dallas/TX, USA.





hostgator is one of the so called �GigaHosts�, but it looks like so far they
manage to deliver what they promise.

Equipment



The company offers Linux based hosting. By the time of our review the servers
were running Linux Red Hat 9.0. The server where our account has been located
was running 4 x Intel(R) Xeon(TM) 2.40GHz CPUs with 4GB RAM and a 200GB SCSI
drive.



hostgator hosting environment is based on Cpanel/WHM - one of the most popular
web hosting Control panel software packages. It is feature-rich and easy to use.





Services and features



hostgator offers shared hosting packages, reseller hosting plans and dedicated
servers. I would not recommend their dedicated servers as they are pricey.
However, the Shared and Reseller plans are quite a good deal.



Shared hosting plans: The cheapest plan costs only $6.95/month paid on yearly
basis and includes 3.5GB of web space and 50GB of transfer per month. It is
quite a lot of space at quite a reasonable price. It has all the regular
features Control Panel, Webmail, scripting languages, databases, a free scripts
Installer (Fantastico), anti-spam protection, etc. With the cheapest plan you
can host only one web site per hosting account. If you wish to have multiple
sites hosted (multi-domain hosting) you will need to go for a more expensive
plan where prices start $9.95/mo and you have the option to pay on a monthly
basis. With the shared hosting plans you can host multiple sites; however they
are add-on domains. (e.g. you do not have separate Control Panel for each hosted
web site)



Semi-dedicated plans: At first we thought these are kind of VPS plans, however
after we talked to an online sales rep on their site it appeared that these
semi-dedicated packages actually are like shared hosting plans, however they
include more resources (25GB space, 500GB transfer) and most importantly what
makes them different from a shared hosting plan is that the server where the
semi-dedicated plans are located host relatively small number of users. That is
you share the server resources with less users and in this way you have more CPU
power at your disposal. For example if you have 300-400 users on a regular
shared hosting server, when you are on a semi-dedicated you will share the
server with only 15-20 other customers. Of course the pricing is much higher
compared to a shared hosting plan � $74.95/mo.



Reseller hosting plans: Starting $24.95/mo you can purchase a reseller hosting
account with 5GB of web space and 50GB of bandwidth. The reseller package gives
you the option to host separate websites using a single reseller account. If you
are a web designer a reseller account might by the right option for you as you
will be able to offer you clients decent hosting services. hostgator even went
one step ahead and offer some great tools for resellers, such as Billing manager
application, merchant accounts, ready-to-use templates and even a free domain
name registration account with one of the biggest registrars eNom.com. So if you
are looking for a place to host multiple sites with separate Control Panels
hostgator is worth trying out.



Dedicated servers: As mentioned above hostgator services include dedicated
server packages as well. The offerings start with a 2.4 GHz Super Celeron to
Dual 2.4 GHz Xeons servers. So in case your site outgrows the shared or
semi-dedicated hosting plans you may go to a dedicated server. All servers are
equipped with a Panel/WHM which makes the server management an easy task.

Customer service/support



hostgator offers 24/7 customer support over email, phone and live chat. While
we�ve been testing our account, we had several interactions with their support.
Usually, we got replies in 15-20 minutes. However on some occasions it took a
bit more. Our questions varied from simple howtos through some more
advanced/tech related ones and finally some requests that should be handled by
3rd level support (which usually take more time to be completed than a regular
support request). Almost all of our requests have been handled properly. The
only problem they fail to resolve was a question regarding a PHP script. We saw
they have the PHP engine running as CGI and decided to check their knowledge in
PHP. We�ve created a sample HTTP Auth script (actually we took the example
provided at http://www.php.net/features.http-auth) and uploaded it to our
account. Just of reference, when PHP is running as CGI HTTPAuth will not work
properly (this is a limitation by design). The support person who handled the
ticket was unaware of this limitation and provided us with some wrong answers.



In general the support reps were friendly and polite, even we acted as a bad
customer and even we�ve been rude in some of our requests. Our overall rating
for their support is 9 out of 10.

Signup process



The signup process is easy and intuitive. They accept a wide range of payment
options, including: Credit card payments (VISA/MasterCard/American Express),
Paypal, checks, bank transfers, cash and money orders.



In general you will get the account active in 20-30 minutes after your payment
has been processes.



However with our signup we encountered a little trouble. When you go through
their order process at some step you are asked to specify username and password
for your new hosting account. For the matter of simplicity we used one and the
same word for both our username and password. The order form accepted these
values, however later on it appeared that they have created an issue. Most
probably hostgator use some hosting automation software to open hosting accounts
when they receive a payment. However, the Cpanel has a restriction for username
and password similarity. So when we placed our order their billing system failed
to activate the account on the hosting server and the hosting account email we
have received was incomplete and was missing the hosting server IP address. So,
we have been unable to use the account as actually the account has not been
created at all. Luckily, the troubles have been resolved in several support
tickets and email messages and a short live chat session.



Overall experience



Our overall experience with hostgator is positive. Although we have used their
services for a month we had no major problems and the hosting account
performance and speed were at a very good level. The only issues we had were the
ones we have already described above. Despite these, we would recommend
hostgator to anybody looking for a web host. They offer quality and reliable,
feature-rich services backed up with friendly and prompt support.



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