Before I get into this HostGator review, there are a couple of things that I need to disclose/clarify. I am a member of the HostGator affiliate program, which means that I might make commissions on sales that I send them. I have also been using their platform since my very first website (which came as a bonus with my Proz.com membership) back in 2012. So, I’ve been a happy customer for over five years. I have a very specific rule when promoting any sort of affiliate on any platform: I make tutorials and help people resolve problems and if I’m not willing and able to help resolve any issues with whatever I’m recommending, I won’t do it. That means that I need a thorough understanding of the platform and to actually use it. That’s why, for example, you won’t ever see a GoDaddy affiliate on this site. I can’t stand them… So, my thoughts, opinions, and suggestions are my own and come from years as a daily user of the platform – even though I might receive a commission if you decide to sign up with them. Ok?
What is a Domain, Hosting, and TLD?
If you’re a translator getting ready to start their own website and get clients, the first thing that you need is to purchase a domain and hosting. A domain is the name of your website, like www.adomainisthenameofyourwebsite.com. The .com, or .net, .org, .ninja or whatever is called a TLD or Top-Level Domain. There used to be some problems getting certain TLDs to rank in searches, but those limitations are no longer applicable. It’s still recommended to use one of the common .coms, but it’s a question of personal choice. I am very happy with my .ninja domain.
You can purchase your domain directly from HostGator. They usually cost $12.99 per year, though some TLDs are less expensive (and some are MUCH more expensive). It’s best to choose a domain that reflects your business and is easy to remember and write. opl10nt9n.com probably isn’t the best domain out there, but I bought it before I knew about all of this (by the way, this site is hosted on HostGator). You have a lot of options, so take some time to think about how you want to be identified online. Remember, your domain is your website’s name.
Next, you’ll need hosting. Hosting refers to the computer servers that actually hold your website and make it available to the public. You’re basically renting space on someone else’s computer for your website. You probably won’t need anything crazy, server-wise, for your website, so the cheapest plan will do just fine. It’s currently $3.95 a month. I personally use the Baby plan, which is $12.95 a month and allows me to host as many websites as I want. I currently have about 20 websites on my HostGator account.
Perks of using HostGator
There are a lot of options out there for hosting your website. The other main one that I use is NameCheap, I’ll write a review about them next, but HostGator offers a few bonuses that make it my favorite.
First off, you get a TON of free resources that you wouldn’t normally have access to, like the ability to make your own email accounts for free, easy access to one-click installs if you decide to go the WordPress route, and access to Attracta, which is an online SEO tool. Your HostGator account gives you free access to their platform. Your site is controlled primarily through the cPanel (Control Panel). This is where you access the files on your section of the server and manage the backend of your website. To be totally honest, the average user almost never goes into their cPanel once they’ve installed their CMS (Content Management System – usually WordPress, Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, or something along those lines). But, it’s great having access to it if there’s ever a problem or you want to do something that the CMS doesn’t typically allow.
The platform is pretty easy to use and straightforward. However, if you do run into any problems, their customer service folk are always there and very helpful.
When talking about servers, one important aspect to keep in mind is latency. Latency is how long it takes for your computer to send information to the server and receive a response and is affected by the physical distance between your computer and the server. That means that if you’re hosting your website on a server in the US and you’re trying to access it from China, it’s going to load more slowly. Another perk to using HostGator is that they have servers located worldwide, so your website should always run and load quickly.
Drawbacks to HostGator
Believe it or not, there are actually hosting providers that are less expensive than HostGator. $4 a month is 4x more than what I spend at NameCheap, but they don’t offer as many other benefits, like Attracta. The other drawback is that they have a limited number of TLDs available, but you can also purchase those domains and then transfer them to HostGator. I think that the cPanel can be a little intimidating for new users, which is a problem for all platforms that use it (including NameCheap). They do have a wizard that helps you set everything up, but I think there’s room for growth there. I’ll make a video guide on how to install WordPress if there’s a need for it. It’s nitpicky, but those are really the only complaints that I have with the platform, and that’s after 5 years of using them.
I really do like HostGator and I highly recommend them to pretty much everyone. I think that they are especially good for translators due to it being easy to use, inexpensive, and international. The extra tools to help with search engine optimization are especially valuable if you want to capture organic search traffic. That means that clients find you instead of you hunting for them.