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Why HostGator is Counting on Your Website to Fail


Brent: Hey guys, here’s the first ever guest post on Review Hell! I personally think it’s a wonderful post (else I wouldn’t have published it!) Just keep in mind that a lot of the things mentioned in this article apply to other unlimited hosts as well, not just HostGator.

It’s a fact that all web hosts, including “unlimited” providers, set limits on CPU resources. This post talks about HostGator (read my review here) in particular because it’s one of the most popular unlimited hosts out there.

So how does it feel to be treated like a dummy? Because that’s what HostGator thinks of you: what was once a great company offering excellent hosting service as well as great value is now catering to customers they think can be duped easily.

You see, HostGator is now pushing its “unlimited web hosting” package everywhere. This supposedly spectacular deal features UNLIMITED Disk Space and Bandwidth for as little as $7.16 per month. Although not half as cheap as the competition, this deal may seem pretty cheap to regular folk paying $80 and up for their cable TV.

It’s NOT a good deal, and the marketing execs at HostGator are counting on you not to understand why.

Let’s take HostGator’s offer and break it down. While unlimited anything always seems great, the devil is in the details.

  1. Unlimited Disk Space. “Disk Space” is easy to understand: lots of room to store stuff, just like on your home PC. So far so good!
  2. Unlimited Bandwidth. Thanks to home internet accounts, most people know what bandwidth means. They know that running out of it is bad, so unlimited bandwidth must be awesome. Still good!
  3. The fine print. There is actually a limit on disk space and bandwidth! They ask that customers use services “…in the normal operation of a personal or small business website“. That means if HostGator thinks you’re using too much of the “unlimited” resources you’re paying for, they’ll cut you off.

What they’ve put a limit on is CPU usage. That’s what’s required if, say for example your website has a database and it needs to connect to the server to perform its function. Or if you have any scripts on your site, these require CPU usage too. Any time you’re connecting to the server: that is CPU usage.

If you do that too much, you’ve violated the terms of service.

But Who Uses a Database or Scripts?

Almost everyone, that’s who. Not only that, but if your site doesn’t use a database or any scripts, it will basically suck. Here’s why:

Pretty much every website these days is driven by some sort of content management software… and this software uses databases and scripts in order to run the site. Here are some examples:

  • Do you have a WordPress Blog? Database.
  • Do you have an e-commerce store? Database.
  • Do you have banner ads? Scripts.

Only your Dad’s old hand-coded HTML site doesn’t use a database! As long as you don’t use too many plug-ins on your blog, or want to make money on your website by putting up some ads, or any number of other cool features you can stick on your site, HostGator is OK with you. As long as your website never gets much CPU-using traffic, HostGator is OK with you. As long as your website is a boring failure, HostGator is OK with you.

In other words, they’re counting on your website to fail.

So there you go, folks, there’s your unlimited hosting from HostGator. Like it?

Tell us your thoughts on how HostGator advertises their hosting packages, or how you found HostGator’s service as a customer.

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One response to “Why HostGator is Counting on Your Website to Fail”

  1. Ana says:

    Awesome post!! He nails perfectly the catch behind HostGator, EIG brands in general and all unlimited hosts’ seemingly great deals. :)
    It’s a pity that the average user is quite often ignorant of this, and falls for the “unlimited” gimmick; there must be a quick and efficient way to let the normal users (like me when I signed up with Fatcow) know about the what’s really going on behind the scenes of these so-called unlimited hosts: they have more limits than non-unlimited hosts, their service is – especially referring to HG and EIG – crappy at best and support is almost always useless.

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