There are many benefits with changing to ultra fast WP dedicated hosting such as increase in sales, and higher Google (SERP) rankings. WordPress is a powerful way to host websites, but can be bulky and resource consuming.
But is WP hosting really worth the extra buck?
In this review, I’ll be examining what HostGator WP Hosting really is and it’s pros/cons. Because singing up is not always a good idea for everyone.
Easy to Use with Less Control
HostGator WP Hosting is perfect for those who want to easily setup and manage a new and powerful WordPress site or blog. Also migrating your old website (more about that later) is simple because it’s done for you.
The single biggest limitation is that you are mostly restricted to working with the WP dashboard (the backend of WordPress). If you are new to hosting websites, or accustomed to using the dashboard only, this is the easiest way of course.
For advanced users, it’s still a very attractive option because this is one of the most inexpensive ways to host WordPress with blazing fast page loads. Plus a whole lot of other benefits such as:
- Automatic off-site backups
- Automatic security updates
- Automatic malware detection and removal
- Unlimited bandwidth
HostGator’s Own Hosting Control Panel
Most normal hosting plans include access to cPanel – the most popular advanced web hosting control panel. Instead of cPanel, HostGator has it’s own “Customer Portal” which is much easier to use for administrative tasks with more limitations.
What you see in the screenshot is pretty much all you can do with it:
- Manage WordPress (takes you to the dashboard)
- Change Cache Settings
- Manage Email Accounts
- Security Settings
- Manage FTP Accounts for access to your files
The biggest missing feature is the access to MySQL, which is a database management system that contains your website data.
Without it you have limitations like:
- It is not possible to use third party applications that use a MySQL database. For example: Piwik web analytics, Internet forums, other scripts, etc.
- Manual migration or moving (exporting) the website is not possible and have to ask staff to do it for your every time.
Please note, that you have full access to your files through FTP. Just not direct access to the MySQL database contents.
To manage WordPress, the dashboard looks just like any other WP installation. You can upload your own themes or use the ones provided, add Google Analytics to your website, install plugins, etc. No difference there.
Page Load Speed
It is said that roughly every one second increase in page load time, can result in a 7% decline in converting leads. This is because a slow loading website has a higher percentage of page abandonment.
Also Google has stepped in to support those who want to provide a smooth user experience. Slow websites can result in lower rankings in search results, and decrease the amount of pages that Google will crawl at any given time.
This is a speed test, loading up a site hosted with HostGator WP Hosting.
A common WordPress specific hosting problem is a slow Time To First Byte (TTFB) time. This is the amount of time it takes for the server to access the requested data and start loading it onto the visitors browser. In this test, it was around 50 milliseconds. When using ordinary shared hosting, it can take several seconds to just start loading the page.
Also the data is transferred very fast with good worldwide server connections (speeds well maintained outside of US). Page load of 0.3/seconds is phenomenal.
Managed vs VPS Hosting
Those who are more experienced with WP, and want full control with access to extensive tools, HostGator VPS plan is worth considering. The ability to run third-party web apps and MySQL tools such as phpMyAdmin is one of the biggest temptations to pay the slightly bigger expense. As with the cheaper managed plan, you get blazing speeds and outstanding performance.
While any serious business should consider advanced web hosting methods, it’s not for everyone’s budget or needs. If bothered with slow page loads, probably the most powerful cache plugin, WP Super Cache is also worth a try.
While HostGator is considered the most affordable, there are other WP Hosting providers with similar services.
After registration, you will receive an email with instructions to setting up the website. Here are links to some of the important bits as navigating through the massive support system is not always fun.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch. Hope this review was useful.
Last updated: November 19th 2016