HostGator Problems – Avoid at all costs

Originally posted 2017-11-09 16:40:28.

hacker ransomeware gosfordThis post is titled HostGator problems – avoid at all costs however in addition to addressing this, we can also discuss what makes a great host for web sites.

Reasons why I am so over HostGator

  1. Biggest issue is the support these days is really poor. HostGator used to have a ticketing system but unfortunately these days all support is handled through live chat. It is still possible to ‘via the backdoor’ log a ticket however this is not advertised. Sending an email to will create a new ticket and they do actually respond although it’s rare that you will get any meaningful response other than them continually expressing how awesome they are and that they take your feedback seriously. If only. I’m going to list some of my complaint with service in the next heading below.
  2. I have discovered by trial and error that if you disconnect from support and then reconnect you will get a different person responding to your question. Given that maybe 50% of support chats are likely to get you a resolution to your problem, it’s efficient to just disconnect and then reconnect rather than wasting your time with someone who can’t/won’t help.
  3. I believe HostGator used to provide excellent support however they sold out to Endurance International Group (EIG) who also owns Bluehost, Justhost, iPage, Fatcow, among others. They have two U.S. based data centers in Houston and Provo, Utah. It seems to me that cost cutting has occurred resulting in the changes to their support system.
  4. HostGator don’t provide free SSL certificates and charge a fee if you provide your own certificate for them to install. They do provide a free SSL on their Business plans but on their entry level plans they don’t. Even on their reseller plans they don’t include one. There has been discussion on the free SSL provider LetsEncrypt from hostgator representatives saying that they are ‘looking into it’ but in my opinion they are just deflecting and have no intention of providing free SSL. Their fee for installing a certificate for you makes even a free LetsEncrypt certificate which only lasts for 3 months cost prohibitive. SSL is becoming more and more important and is recommended by Google. My understanding is that some features of WordPress will require SSL at some point this year (2017).
  5. Should you be looking at the HostGator web site looking to sign up for hosting you will see statements that they provide the latest versions of cPanel and WHM however this is untrue. Even though their demo page for cPanel does indeed go to an up-to-date demo of cPanel, this is not what you get. At least it’s not what I get on my Reseller plan. In actual fact, the version (60.0 (build 48) was depreciated and is unsupported as of 31st October 2017 and today it’s 9th November). This version is EOL and no more updates security or otherwise are provided going forward. Their response? “We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your feedback. The next upgrade is in progress, but an ETA is not available at this time. Of course, if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.” which is pretty much their standard response to anything. I expect they will move to version 62 which entered stable status in February 2017. A similar thing happened in June with v58 becoming EOL but at least for that release they upgraded 2 weeks prior to EOL. Meanwhile, v68 was current status in October. They will also talk about how they have a huge job testing and upgrading and gradually rolling out…. My other hosts are on v68. (Update: Today, 22nd November they finally upgraded to version 62 as expected. That’s almost a month running an unsupported insecure version of cPanel!)
  6. Speaking of old versions, they still run Apache 2.2.34 instead of 2.4.xx
  7. All versions of php available to select all have security issues and they refuse to patch to a version with no issues.
  8. This one should have probably been at the top of my list – HostGator unannounced and without permission installed a must-use caching plugin on all my WordPress sites. No apology…. These are not WordPress hosting plans where they do get to pick and choose the plugins you can use. This is unconscionable conduct. I did remove them all and I believe they withdrew this as it caused a lot of issues for their customers.

So those are just some general reasons why you might want to move on and avoid them.


Specific Problems with Hostgator

  1. Item 8 above – no host should make any changes to your site without your permission unless it’s spamming or otherwise interrupting the server for other users or causing reputational damage.
  2. I had the most surreal conversation over live chat yesterday. I use UpDraftPlus for my backups and I have this setup to email me a message saying that the backup has been completed. Originally I was doing off-site backups to a dropbox account however I was running out of room so I decided to move the backups to Google Drive. Ever since I did that I have not received any email notifications. Turns out because of the way Updraft is sending the notices, when I changed the backup location, HostGator flagged them as spam. They refuse to whitelist these and refuse to do anything about it but of course, they are very sorry and really, really want to help oh and by the way would I recommend their service….
  3. You know how they want to fully test all their upgrades before rolling them out blah blah blah? Well an upgrade (of what I have no idea) killed all of my sites a few months ago. Turns out they had broken the SSL certificate used. Their response was to instruct me on how to check my SSl certificate is valid and working. Well thanks awfully but I know how it works, it’s been working for 6 months and YOU broke it. I think maybe 5 times they assured me they had fixed it but hadn’t, interspersed with lectures on how I can check if my SSL is working and valid.
  4. Another one to add! I saw the other day in my monitoring program that all my hostgator websites were not responding! Live chat told me I had deliberately changed the .htaccess file on all my sites and denied access!! Yes really.

So that’s probably enough for right now. I might add some more things later. I suggest for now that you look elsewhere for Hosting. The great pricing isn’t worth it.

I have another post that looks at the criteria for selecting a web host here.

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