The fact you are reading this you are interested to try out HostGator webhosting services. Or probably you are planning to migrate or build your new blog or business website to HostGator Virtual Hosting server. First and foremost, I will be direct and honest to you. This is the same reason why I am starting this article about HostGator. I will be publishing a series of updates regarding Hostgator – from my first day, first quarter, first semi-annual, and lastly my first year. It wouldn’t be fair for both of us for me to judge HostGator webhosting services as early as now. It will be too premature to conclude. I will try to test if WordPress and HostGator will become the best pals for my niche. I know your business can’t wait and you wanted to start now to register your domain and buy your web space. As of now, there’s nothing I can’t recommend aside from FloroWorks Webhosting Services. I’ve been with them since 2010 and most of my other blogs are still active there. One of them is my other tech blog called Eyes4Tech.
HostGator Webhosting Services – The Saga Begins
Expect that this article will not be the first and last. As I’ve mentioned above, this is just the start of this 1-year review of HostGator webhosting services. If I see the benefits of staying with HostGator then I might upgrade my Hatchling Plan to their VPS Hosting or virtual hosting server. For this article, I will share my first impression and experiences with WordPress and HostGator.
My First Day and First Week Experience With HostGator
This is not my first time in web or blog building. And along with that fact, this is not the first time I’ve been searching for the best webhosting. For 5 years, I’ve only trusted one webhosting company as I’ve mentioned above. And this is the very first time I jumped out of the box and tried to explore other companies that can offer what I want. It’s like trying out other ice cream brands in the market with the same flavor.
I did my homework first before I started with my exploration in looking for the best webhosting. I made a list of top webhosting companies – from the most popular down to the least. I started by searching for reviews – I am sure that’ll be your first thing you will do too. Then I asked some friends within the blogging society. They were very helpful and provided me more than what I have on my list. And finally, before the week ended I’ve decided to check out HostGator.
The day finally came where I’ve decided to register my new domain and get a webhosting plan. I decided with a brand name called BugThinking.com.
When I went to the official website of HostGator, I saw that the webhosting company is currently offering $3.96 USD per month on their lowest web shared hosting called Hatchling Plan. But before I started to complete my registration, I tried to search for any valid discount coupon that I can use. To my luck, I found one! The coupon code I used is TOP30 which will take of 30% on your first invoice. The coupon code is valid for Hostgator Hatchling, Baby, Business, Reseller, VPS (Virtual Hosting Server) and Dedicated Plans. The first one I saw was MAXIMIZE25 which will take out 25% off your hosting invoice. I know what you’re thinking now, of course I used the coupon which will save me more money.
The first step was to either choose a domain or state that you already owned a domain and you just wanted the webhosting. Believe it or not this is the first time when I started to scratch my head. Why? I forgot that you also need to consider that a domain name cost is not inclusive with that $3.96 USD per month. The domain name cost will start at around $12.96 USD. The cost will depend on the type of domain you want or the suffix like .com, .net, .org, etc.
Fine. I went on with my registration of my domain. Done deal!
What’s next? This time, I was asked to choose the hosting plan. Again, more scratching on my head. That $3.96 USD per month is applicable only if you are to register for 3 straight years plan. Since, I have not fully decided to stay and acquire HostGator webhosting services I’ve selected the one year plan. And that costed me $5.56 per month for one year on top of my $12.96 USD for the domain registration. So as of the moment that’s almost $96.35 USD.
Done with that and there’s nothing more I can do about it, do I? The next part will be your Billing information and Payment mode. You can use your Credit Card directly or Paypal. That’s your only choice.
Then the fun part comes after. The addons or Additional Services for your hosting plan will be offered. As of the moment, the following are your choices:
- Domain Privacy Protection – $9.95/yr
- Secure and Accelerate Your Site – $1.67/mo (Billed Annually)
- Site Backup – $19.95/yr
- Increase Your Search Engine Visibility With SEO Gears – $14.99/yr
There are benefits on each additional services especially if you are not code savvy. But if you ask for my personal and honest opinion, I’d only select the Domain Privacy Protection. My main reason is because if you will be combining WordPress and HostGator, there are so many plugins and open source that can help you to do those things. Like SEO, WordPress Backup, and Secrity.
Then the Coupon Code comes next. As I’ve mentioned, I made use of the valid HostGator coupon code TOP30 to give me 30% off discount. YEY!
Finally, I’ve checked my total amount due. So out of $108.35 USD, my total amount due went down to $81.28 USD. Well, not bad for a startup niche.
Then, I received a couple of emails from HostGator such as the Welcome email, receipt, and access to my Billing Portal, and CPANEL access. And to my excitement, I began setting up my blog site through their CPANEL.
However, a couple of hours after my happiness suddenly changed! It was a mixed emotion – anger and frustrations.
The First Frustration with HostGator began…
I received an email from HostGator with a subject of “HostGator – Verification Requested”. The email simply contains a request for me to send a scanned copy of a Photo ID such as as a passport, or drivers license. In addition to a photo ID, I was asked to include a scanned copy of the credit card that was used in your account purchase. I immediately took a picture of my ID and masked credit card. I thought that was the last part of my registration. Unfortunately, all I received was an automated ticket number. But that was not the frustrating part. The worst part was that HostGator suddenly disabled my access to my Billing portal and CPANEL. I actually did not received any notifications on why that happened? All I can do is assume that HostGator still needs to verify my account and credit card.
I’ve waited for hours, then 24 hours and still I didn’t received any update. So, I created an account on HostGator ticketing system and updated the ticket with a question on my account status. Guess what I received? Another automated response. Come 48 hours, I still have not received any updates so I asked again. No response. The following day I once followed up again on the status of my account from HostGator webhosting services ticketing system. I came to the point where I almost gave up on them and told them to just tell me whether they’ll activate my account or should I go with other webhosting services.
I also tried HostGator Customer Service Live Chat. It always prompts me to wait for 30mins then it will timed out. So much for my luck. Really, it’s too frustrating. Especially when their website will just recommend me to call their toll free hotline. Like I have more time to do that.
Finally, my prayers were answered
After 4 long days, I finally received an answer from them. This was their email and the reason of the delay.
Thank you for responding to the verification request. We appreciate you taking the time to do so.
The delay you are experiencing is due to a combination of our higher than normal signups and multiple replies to the ticket which causes the ticket to be considered “New”. We work our ticket queues from oldest to newest. If in the future you experience a delay as this we invite you to come to our live chat so that we may escalate your issue immediately.
To complete the verification process we just need a valid address for the account.
In order to activate your account, please fill out the following:
(The address needs a number in it)
live Chat: https://chat.hostgator.com/
Thank you again for your patience and understanding.
WHOA! I can accept the fact that there was a surge of sign-ups on HostGator webhosting services especially because the company seems to be so aggressive with their ads and campaigns since the latter part of 2014 until early 2015. But why do I need to wait for 4 days before they can tell me that? Moreover, from their email it seems as if they were partly blaming me for updating the ticket. Asking for an update makes my trouble ticket “NEW”? How ridiculous! Well, I guess I have to live with that kind of process and system for a year.
So, they’ve reinstated my access to my billing portal and CPANEL. And as a result, this is so far what I have accomplished so far. I am now testing WordPress and HostGator combination.
There you have it. I hope I wasn’t ranting too much about my first impression with HostGator webhosting services. Sad to say, my first week wasn’t really that satisfying. Let’s just see how this journey goes for a year before I decide to upgrade with their virtual hosting server plan. Or just leave and explore again.
How about you? Did you experienced the same thing? Please do share it with us so that we can help others who plans to start with HostGator.