A cow versus a gator? Well, this should be a mascot themed battle to remember. HostGator has a wide variety of prices, plans, and features, all at a wide variety of prices. FatCow believes that all of that is too complicated, and offers one plan at a low price, but missing some features.
Features can really define a service. The table below shows the key differences between the two services. Keep in mind that additional domains can be added to HostGator by paying for a more expensive plan, but this review is targeted towards entry level.
|Number of Domains||Unlimited||1|
|UPS Backup Power||Yes||Unspecified|
|Email Catch Alls||Unspecified||Yes|
|Without a Contract||No||Yes|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 Days||45 Days|
|100% Wind Powered||Yes||No|
FatCow provides more domains and more ad coupons, as well as clearly supporting backup power supplies. But, when you look at supported programming features, HostGator comes out ahead on multiple fronts.
No matter what features are available, sometimes it comes down to what you can and cannot afford. For HostGator, the monthly price varies based on how long you commit to using their service, though their 45 day money back guarantee always applies. FatCow offers the same price at all time lengths, except that you can’t sign up for less than a year of hosting.
|Term of Commitment||FatCow||HostGator||HostGator w/ Unlimited Domains|
If you only need one domain, HostGator is literally always cheaper. If you need multiple domains, HostGator is more expensive unless you commit to a full three years, in which case HostGator becomes a little cheaper than FatCow. Occasionally, FatCow offers promos that can get pricing lower than HostGator, though. At the time of this writing, FatCow offers Clickfire visitors a 1 year plan for $56 (comes to 4.67/mo) and a 2 year plan for $88 (comes to $3.67 per mo).
When you also consider the number of programming features that HostGator clearly supports, HostGator is easily the better option when it comes to price and flexibility.
Terms of Service
Of course, as is with all “unlimited’ web hosting plans, there are actually limits, they just aren’t in terms of megabytes or gigabytes. HostGator’s terms of service are quite clear as to what the limits actually are. Using more than 25% of the system resources for more than 90 seconds and you can’t have more than 250,000 files of any kind. If you wish to take advantage of the backup system, you cannot have more than 20 Gbs of data stored. Most of this is easy to follow, but it can be difficult to know the amount of server resources you are using at any given moment.
FatCow’s terms of service are much more general. They let you know that they reserve the right to determine when you are abusing your unlimited bandwidth or storage capacity, and to take action if they feel that you are.
Having clear guidelines that you can’t exceed seems much butter than not knowing if you are nearing the limits or not. HostGator exceeds FatCow in this area.
HostGator uses cPanel, the most familiar control panel among webmasters. Simple, straightforward, and has the usual features like Fantastico. FatCow really has all of the same features in their control panel, but without the usual names. Once you figure out the equivalent names, it is also very familiar.
But FatCow has one fatal flaw when it comes to their control panel. Every once in a while, FatCow will serve a full-page advertisement. It’s easy enough to skip, but it just doesn’t seem right to put full page ads on a paid service like web hosting.
Customer support is important even when you’re an expert webmaster. The simple fact is that there are sometimes settings that only the host can actually change. In these scenarios, every user will need to contact customer support to get the problem resolved. For those who are not experts, customer support is even more important because there will be far more reasons to contact customer support if you’re initially learning about how to be a good webmaster.
FatCow provides support in proper English with excellent wording, but their answers are overly scripted. So much so that they occasionally do not actually answer the original question. For an example of this evasive scripted answers see ClickFire’s FatCow review. Thankfully, the provided knowledgebase is often extensive enough to compensate for it.
HostGator, in stark contrast, doesn’t always word their answers as cleanly in English, but they are much more flexible in their answers, and you can usually get the answer you need from the person you are chatting with. For an excellent example of HostGator’s flexibility, check out the HostGator review.
In the end, HostGator actually answers the questions while FatCow doesn’t always manage to do so. HostGator wins this category as well.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, unless you really feel the need to be green, or you have to save as much money as possible on a yearly contract while supporting more than one domain, it’s hard to justify going with FatCow as opposed to HostGator. For a single domain, HostGator offers better features, better support, and lower prices.
Overall winner: HostGator