SiteGround vs. HostGator – why you should stay away from both

Siteground vs Hostgator

If you’re deciding between SiteGround vs. HostGator, I wouldn’t use either.

SiteGround used to be good but has gone completely downhill in the last few years. Even though they use Google Cloud servers, their TTFB is horribly slow and there have been many complaints about this (and CPU limits) in Facebook Groups. They also reduced support (no WordPress support), push upgrades, ditched cPanel, and aren’t taking care of their customers.

HostGator was never good after they got bought out by EIG who is infamous for overcrowding servers and do little to no innovation. They were the slowest WordPress host in speed tests with an average TTFB of 1268ms and a load time of 2680ms based on 336 individual Pingdom tests. The only people recommending HostGator are affiliates who don’t even use their hosting.

I do not use affiliate links to SiteGround or HostGator because I don’t recommend either. I do use affiliate links to Cloudways which is who I recommend in the alternatives section since they are significantly faster (view my GTmetrix report), have monthly pricing with no yearly contracts, and are who most people recommend in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. I encourage you to join – do your own research!

SiteGroundHostGator
SpeedVery SlowThe Slowest
Speed FeaturesManyVery Little
CPU Limits Very StrictStrict
EIG OwnedNo Yes
SupportAverageTerrible
Sitelock ScamsNoYes
DashboardSite ToolsCustom Portal
FeaturesManyVery Limited
UptimeGreatPoor
SecurityGreatPoor
Data Centers62
PricingAverage With High RenewalsCheap With High Renewals
TrustPilot Rating4.8/52.6/5
Facebook Group FeedbackRecently PoorTerrible
SummarySiteGround has gotten more expensive while the quality of their hosting went downhill significantly. As they increased prices, support, CPU limits, and dashboard have gotten worse as reported in Facebook Groups.HostGator is even worse than SiteGround. Aside from being cheap, there is little to desire with the slowest speeds in tests, CPU limits, lacking features, and awful support including reports of Sitelock scams on TrustPilot.
Better AlternativesCloudwaysCloudways

 

1. SiteGround vs. HostGator Speed Tests

I signed up for SiteGround’s GrowBig and HostGator’s Standard plan. Then I installed the same Astra Starter Site on different domains while measuring key metrics like TTFB and load times. Only US locations were used since that’s where the data centers were (it’s somewhat pointless to measure TTFBs because your host and data center are usually in your same country). No CDN or cache plugins were used (SG Optimizer) – I was strictly measuring the server’s speed.

SiteGround’s TTFB averaged 1164ms while HostGator averaged 1268ms (only a 104ms difference). This was surprising considering SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers which should theoretically be faster than HostGator’s in-house shared servers. When it comes to speed, SiteGround was slightly faster than HostGator in multiple tests, but not by much at all.

SiteGround-vs-HostGator-Speed-Test
View all 16 hosting plans tested

SiteGround Reports

SiteGround TTFB GTmetrix

SiteGround TTFB KeyCDN

SiteGround WebPageTest

SiteGround Server Response Time

HostGator Reports

HostGator TTFB GTmetrix

HostGator TTFB KeyCDN

HostGator WebPageTest

HostGator Server Response Time

In Pingdom, SiteGround and HostGator were the slowest hosts when comparing 16+ different hosting plans with a load time of 2280ms and 2670ms respectively. This was for a period of 1 week at 30 minute check intervals, which means 336 individual tests were done on each site.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

Conclusion: both SiteGround and HostGator are slow, but HostGator was the slowest.

 

2. Speed Features: Which One Has More Optimizations?

SiteGround has more speed features than HostGator.

The biggest differences are SiteGround’s Google Cloud servers, SG Optimizer plugin, and Ultrafast PHP. Google Cloud servers are supposed to be significantly faster than shared hosting and their SG Optimizer plugin has made big improvements which is now comparable (or even better) than WP Rocket since it uses server-side caching instead of the file-based caching done by other cache plugins. Plus, it has nearly every feature included with WP Rocket. HostGator doesn’t have a cache plugin so you will need to use a third party plugin (e.g. WP Rocket) and they are slow to release new PHP versions with slower shared servers and no HTTP/2 support.

SiteGroundHostGator
ServerGoogle CloudIn-House
Caching3 Levels via SG Optimizer on GrowBig+Server Caching via Dashboard
CDNFree CloudflareFree Cloudflare
PHP Version7.4 + Ultrafast PHP7.4
Hotlink ProtectionYesNo
StorageSSDSSD
HTTP/2YesNo

 

3. CPU Limits Force You To Upgrade

CPU limits are the worst part about SiteGround.

Each SiteGround hosting plan comes with a certain amount of resources (same with HostGator). You can find these in their terms of service, user agreement, and SiteGround’s features page under the “server” section. While both SiteGround and HostGator have CPU limits, SiteGround will take down your website if you exceed them. HostGator will throttle bandwidth (making your site slower) and with 503 errors, but they won’t take down your site.

SiteGround customers constantly exceed CPU limits. SiteGround usually blames it on plugins, bots, or the WordPress Heartbeat API. But this is not usually true (I wrote a popular tutorial on reducing CPU and still went from $14.99/month on GoGeek to $120/month for cloud hosting to eliminate the issue). It’s bogus – SiteGround’s CPU overages are a ploy to make you upgrade.

SiteGround CPU Limits:

StartUpGrowBigGoGeek
Simultaneous Server Processes102030
Simultaneous Connections From Single IP101520
CPU Seconds1000/hour, 10000/day, 300000/month2000/hour, 20000/day, 600000/month4000/hour, 40000/day, 800000/month
Average Execution Time Per Day2 seconds2 seconds4 seconds
Shared Service CPU UsageNo more than 20% for a period more than 10 secondsNo more than 20% for a period more than 10 secondsNo more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds
Server Memory Per Process768 MB768 MB768 MB
Inodes150,000300,000450,000
Minimum Cron Job Interval30 minutes30 minutes30 minutes

HostGator CPU Limits:

Inodes250,000 (at 100,000 it will be removed from backup system)
Database QueriesNo longer than 15 seconds
Database Tables5000
Single Database Table Size5GB
Database Size10GB

No matter how much you optimize for lower CPU, you will likely have problems on SiteGround:

SiteGround CPU Overages

 

4. EIG Owned – HostGator Is Controlled By Shareholders

Heard of Endurance International Group?

They own 80+ different hosting companies with HostGator and Bluehost being their top 2. They are infamous for buying out existing (decent) hosting companies then running them into the ground by doing anything to cut costs. They have shareholders to please (and a stock ticker) and are really just in it for the money, not making customers happy. If it’s owned by EIG, run far!

EIG Hosting Companies

 

5. Support – SiteGround Is Better, But Not Great Anymore

SiteGround used to have outstanding support, but it’s very bad now. Here’s why:

  • They made it difficult to contact them
  • They limited support to hosting issues, not WordPress
  • They moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek
  • They pressure you to upgrade and recommend expensive plans
  • They disabled live chat in the SiteGround dashboard without warning
  • They don’t go “above and beyond” hosting issues like they once used to

This is another reason people are leaving SiteGround. They used to have amazing support, but people are noticing how it’s been going completely downhill and it’s just not what it used to be.

SiteGround Support Feedback

I haven’t used HostGator’s support for years, but it has always been terrible.

Their TrustPilot reviews are a great place to read up on their support. With a 2.7/5 star rating, it’s pretty obvious HostGator’s support isn’t great. It can take more than a week for them to respond to tickets. So if your website is down, don’t expect prompt answers. It’s just very slow.

HostGator-Support-TrustPilot

 

6. Sitelock Scams – How HostGator Tries To Take Your Money

HostGator partnered with Sitelock who (once signed up for HostGator) sends emails warning you of malware. Even if you don’t have malware, you can receive these emails recommending to purchase Sitelock through HostGator for hundreds of dollars. Many people have already fallen for this scam which is another unethical thing HostGator does to try and get money out of you.

HostGator-Sitelock-Scam

 

7. Dashboard: SiteGround Site Tools vs. HostGator Dashboard

Both SiteGround and HostGator have their own custom dashboard.

SiteGround’s Site Tools was built in a rush after cPanel raised their prices (so SiteGround ditched them). After a quick release, they used their customers as beta testers while they fixed bugs. Still, Site Tools has many problems and many customers aren’t happy with the switch.

HostGator’s dashboard is so minimal that it’s hard to do anything at all. All you have is caching, email, FTP, SSL, and promotional options in your dashboard to entice you to pay for upgrades.

HostGator-Dashboard

 

8. SiteGround vs. HostGator Features

View SiteGround’s features page and HostGator’s features page.

The main differences are staging, number of sites, and migrations. HostGator doesn’t offer staging on shared hosting plans while SiteGround offers it on GrowBig+. Number of sites are limited on HostGator but is unlimited on SiteGround’s GrowBig+. Finally, SiteGround offers cheaper migrations (and a Migrator plugin) while HostGator is more expensive with no plugin.

Conclusion: SiteGround’s Site Tools has more options than HostGator’s dashboard.

SiteGroundHostGator
SSLFreeFree
BackupsFree DailyFree (Limited)
StagingOn GrowBig+No
Email HostingYesYes
# Of SitesUnlimited On GrowBig+1-3
Banned PluginsNoNo
Migrations$30/SiteFree on "qualified accounts" (otherwise $150/Site)

 

9. Uptime – Higher Uptimes On SiteGround

Search for HostGator down or look at their Downdetector profile.

There are more reported uptimes issues on HostGator than on SiteGround. Doing an “uptime test” is not really fair since you’re only testing one of their servers, so simply look at complaints on Twitter and Downdetector (however, SiteGround does not have a profile on Downdetector).

HostGator-Downdetector

 

10. Security – Which Host Is More Secure?

SiteGround is much more secure than HostGator.

SiteGround provides a long list of security measures and makes constant security patches to their servers. HostGator is very broad about their security and doesn’t even list any technical specs, which probably means they don’t use a lot of things they should. In fact, they heavily rely on you to use Sitelock (a paid service costing hundreds of dollars per year) if you want to protect your site. HostGator provides minimal security in hopes of you purchasing Sitelock.

SiteGround-Security-Features

 

11. Data Centers – SiteGround Has 4 More Data Centers

While SiteGround has 6 data centers, HostGator only has 2. SiteGround also lets you choose your data center when choosing a hosting plan while HostGator automatically assigns you one, which may not be a good location considering your visitors. There’s more control at SiteGround.

SiteGround Data CentersHostGator Data Centers
Council Bluff, Iowa (US)Provo, Utah (US)
London (UK)Houston, Texas (US)
Eemshaven (NL)-
Frankfurt (DE)-
Singapore (SG)-
Sydney (AU)-

 

12. Pricing – Both Are Initially Cheap With High Renewals

HostGator is cheaper than SiteGround.

Both HostGator and SiteGround have cheaper initial prices which you get for 1-3 years, then they charge about 2.5x times that price (the higher renewal price) after your contract expires.

HostGator makes you pay 3 years upfront to get the cheaper price while SiteGround only makes you pay 1 year. However, SiteGround has a history of price increases (in 2018 and 2020).

These were completely unwarranted because their servers have gotten slower, they replaced cPanel with Site Tools (to increase their own bottom line since cPanel raised their prices), and their support has gotten worse. Why would they increase prices when the quality of their hosting has been getting worse? I don’t know, but that’s why so many people are leaving them.

SiteGround Pricing:

SiteGround-Plans

Intro PriceRenewal Price
Startup$6.99/month$14.99/month
GrowBig$9.99/month$24.99/month
GoGeek$14.99/month$39.99/month
Cloud Hosting$80/month$80/month

HostGator Pricing:

HostGator-Pricing

Intro PriceRenewal Price
Starter Plan$5.95 - 7.95/month$9.95/month
Standard Plan$7.95 - 9.95/month$15.95/month
Business Plan$9.95 - $11.95/month$22.95/month

 

13. TrustPilot Rating – SiteGround Has Better Reviews

SiteGround has a 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating while HostGator has 2.7/5 (and going down).

However, SiteGround’s support funnels happy customers to leave good TrustPilot reviews while HostGator does not. So while SiteGround has a better rating, it’s still somewhat biased.

SiteGround-TrustPilot-Reviews

HostGator TrustPilot Review

 

14. Facebook Group Feedback – What People Are Saying

When it comes to SiteGround vs. HostGator, who do people recommend in Facebook Groups?

Neither of them. Possibly SiteGround because they have a larger affiliate following, but they have been declining more and more each day as they continue to run themselves to the ground.

Read this about SiteGround.

SiteGround Bad Support

And here’s a long one about HostGator.

 

15. Summary – The Winner Of SiteGround vs. HostGator

The winner of SiteGround vs. HostGator is definitely SiteGround, however they’re still not a great choice.

SiteGround has faster speeds, better support, more features, and an SG Optimizer plugin that is comparable to WP Rocket. But their servers aren’t fast, Site Tools is oversimplified, CPU limits are brutal, and it’s just not worth the price (especially when it comes to higher renewal prices).

 

16. Alternatives To SiteGround And HostGator

I don’t recommend SiteGround or HostGator, just trying to be honest.

Instead, I would go with Cloudways DigitalOcean.

They were #1 in my speed tests and highly recommended in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group with 4.8/5 star TrustPilot reviews, constant innovation, better support, and monthly pricing with no yearly contract. They even have a free 3-day trial so you can clone your website and test them out. I promise, you will see a significant difference in how fast your website loads.

They also do free migrations.

You can even visit cwdoserver.com which is hosted on a $10/month Cloudways DigitalOcean plan. Click through the pages to see how instantly they load or run your own tests if you want. I use their DigitalOcean plan and you can view my GTmetrix report which has a huge page size.

People who moved to Cloudways and posted results:

Cloudways Response TimesCloudways-Migration-Result
Cloudways Google PageSpeed
WP Engine To Cloudways
DigitalOcean Pingdom Report
Cloudways Server Response Times
UntitledWPEngine-To-Cloudways
Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration
Cloudways Pingdom Load Times
Cloudways Pingdom ReportNamecheap To Cloudways Migration

 
They were also #1 in most recent Facebook polls:

Hosting-Recommendation
Moving-From-WPX
SiteGround-Alternatives
Preferred-Web-Hosting
Elementor-Hosting
Web-Hosting-France
SiteGround-Alternative
VPS-Cloud-Hosting

 
If you decide to use Cloudways, I recommend their $10/month DigitalOcean plan.

Cloudways-Pricing

You can save 25% off your first 2 months. with this promo code: OMM25

Cloudways Promo Code

Request a free migration from Cloudways and enjoy the faster load times.

2020-GTmetrix-Report

I use Cloudways because:

  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s.
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
  • It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
  • Server caching (Varnish, Redis, memcached) = faster performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Muhammed (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

OMM on Cloudways DigitalOcean

Do your research and look at this Facebook thread.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is SiteGround or HostGator faster?

SiteGround is faster than HostGator since they use Google Cloud servers and the SG Optimizer plugin. SiteGround also had a faster TTFB in speed tests, however neither host performed well.

Is SiteGround good for WordPress?

SiteGround isn't the best option for WordPress. They have gone downhill in recent years with slower TTFBs, reduced support, increased prices, and strict CPU limits.

Is HostGator good for WordPress?

HostGator is cheap, but they're not a good option to host your WordPress site. You will likely experience a slow website, poor support, and bandwidth throttling.

Is SiteGround's support still good?

SiteGround's support is average, but it isn't as good as it used to be. They disabled live chat and push upgrades more than previously.

Is HostGator secure?

No, HostGator has stored passwords in plain text even in 2018. They do not take security nearly as seriously as other hosting companies.

See Also: Why I Use Cloudways

I hope you found this SiteGround vs. HostGator comparison helpful! Yes, I’m an affiliate for Cloudways (not SiteGround or HostGator) since I try to be honest with my recommendations.

Cheers,
Tom

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