A2 Hosting vs Godaddy vs Hostgator: Godaddy and Hostgator are among the most popular web hosting companies in the world with millions of domain names under their belt. However, A2 hosting is one of the oldest players that still provides services equal to a homegrown web hosting company. With optimized servers and high performance hardware they compete head on with most of the top web hosting companies. A2 hosting also provides all kinds of services provided by Godaddy and Hostgator and are thus often preferred by users more than its popular alternatives. Their scalable server architecture allows the users necessary flexibility to build any kind of web application on top of their servers which is hardly the case with larger web hosting companies.
Although Hostgator and Godaddy provide scalable hosting plans in the cloud of cloud hosting, they don’t allow the necessary flexibility associated with most cloud solutions. There are hundreds of other differences among the three hosting companies. This guide focuses on their numerous differences to find the ideal solution as per your requirements.
Plans and Pricing
Plans and pricing offered by the companies is relatively closer to each other depending on the type of resources offered by the companies. Godaddy and Hostgator plans closely resemble each other while A2 hosting plans focus more on optimization in terms of page speed and server performance. The cloud hosting plans are also modified as per user requirements. The cloud hosting plans offered by Godaddy and Hostgator are least customizable while A2 hosting plans are highly flexible. Here are the details of the plans offered by each of the companies.
With SSD drives in all its plans and numerous other advanced features that lack in most web hosting companies, A2 hosting offers some of the best web hosting plans among the three web hosting companies. All the servers support all kinds of development environments and come with numerous features that can be added as add-ons upon requirement (Read A2 Hosting Review). The plans provided by A2 hosting are:
- Lite: The cheapest plan priced at $3.92/month comes with solid state drives along with optimized server software like WordPress, Joomla and other major web content management systems. It offers 25 email addresses, 1 domain name and 5 databases. The servers are highly configured for optimized content delivery with 2.1GHZ core processors with 5GB physical memory and 2GB virtual memory.
- Swift: Priced at $4.90/month, the plans are ideally suited for any kind of web application on top of the servers. Along with all the features included in the Lite plan, it also comes with unlimited email addresses, unlimited domain names and databases. Your applications run on 2×2.21GHZ core processors and come with 1GB physical memory and 8GB virtual memory. Moreover, it also comes with server rewind backups and add-on domains.
- Turbo: priced at $9.31/month it comes with A2 optimized turbo servers that claim to offer up to 20x faster performance than other servers. Along with SSD servers, these plans are ideal for all kinds of web applications. You can easily build large scale applications and scale them as per your requirements. It also comes with A2 optimized caching with turbocache, opcache and memcache. It has a 2GB physical memory and 8GB virtual memory that is ideal for large scale performance oriented applications.
All the plans come with cloud flare free CDN that can be upgraded to the basic or plus plan. They also help you migrate your website from your existing web hosting company for free while other web hosting companies charge extra for the same service. All servers highly optimized for WordPress installations and are therefore ideal for any type of WordPress based website. With the latest server applications and support for all ecommerce related plugins and features the plans are also suitable for any type of web based ecommerce website.
One of the largest web hosting companies in the world is also ideal for all kinds of web applications. It offers plans that are ideal for web applications based on consumer requirements. You can easily build any type of major web application but the restrictions on the server resources often tend to restrict you from building customized apps (Read Godaddy Review). Here are the details of the plans offered by Godaddy
- Economy: Priced at only $1/month, it is the beginner plan for users. You can easily build a static website. It comes with 100GB storage and unlimited bandwidth. It also offers 100 email addresses and a free domain name with a yearly plan. All other services are available for extra charges. You can always upgrade to a higher plan. You can only host a single website on the plan which is quite a restriction when hosting simple HTML websites
- Deluxe: A bit more powerful plan than the previous, it is priced at $5.99/month. It comes with unlimited bandwidth, storage and disk space as long as your consumption is within the hosting agreement. It also comes with 500 email addresses. You also get 25 databases of 1GB each. If your consumption goes beyond the limits, you will have to upgrade to the next higher plan that comes with numerous other additional features like SSL certificates and premium DNS
- Ultimate: Priced at $7.99/month, it is one of the most powerful plans offered by the company. It can easily host all your web applications like WordPress and Joomla and comes with one click setup for all popular web applications. You can run multiple websites on a single plan and have unlimited storage and bandwidth. You also get 100 email addresses along with 2x processing power. The plan also comes with a 1 year SSL certificate that can be used to host any type of ecommerce web application.
Just like Godaddy, Hostgator also offers similar web hosting plans suited for most web common type of web applications. But like most web hosting companies along with Godaddy, Hostgator also doesn’t disclose the exact amount of resources that it offers its users. You can always build and try the resources available plan and then scale to a higher plan if the resources are not enough (Read Hostgator Review). The plans offered by Hostgator are:
- Hatchling: Priced at $5.56/month, the plan comes with a single domain name for a one-year plan along with a shared SSL certificate that can be used to secure transactions. You can host a small website with a CMS or basic HTML websites that take up very less computing resources. Although the storage and bandwidth are unmetered, they hardly have any definite resource constraint that users can stick to. Thus the limits of your hosting plan can only be determined by testing your website on the server.
- Baby: Priced at $7.96/month. It comes with a free domain name but can host multiple domains all pointing to multiple websites on the same plan. It also comes with unmetered bandwidth and storage along with a shared SSL certificate. You can directly install any type of web application from the one click install CPanel. You can have unlimited subdomains and FTP accounts and email addresses on top of each of the plans.
- Business: The most powerful all plans provided by Hostgator in shared configurations and it comes with all features included in the Baby plan along with free private SSL and IP address along with a Free toll free number that can be easily deployed to any location all over the world. It is ideal for all kinds of business and ecommerce websites and comes with enough resources to run a small online shop. You can easily run major ecommerce web applications like Prestashop, Opencart or even WordPress to build any kind of online cart on the plan.
All the web hosting companies claim to provide unlimited bandwidth but they have significant limits on the resource usage that is outlined in their terms and conditions. You cannot outgrow their set limits which itself depends on the type of websites that are hosted on the server. Thus the resources available to you are completely dependent on a number of factors that are completely out of your control.
If you’re from India, you may also like to read Hostgator India Review.
Features and Add-ons
All the three companies target quite different market segments and have therefore structured their features and add-ons to suit their target market requirements. Although most of the basic features like programming language support, control panel, email, FTP and other features remain constant over hosting companies, the major differences lie in the server configuration along with the resource constraints set by the companies for each type of plan. You will often get advertising credits and the most preferred add-on as it can help you quickly build your advertising campaign and boost your sales. However, the number of customers you get and the type of website you have built that can handle sessions depends completely on the server resources allowed by the hosting companies.
A2 hosting provides the most features when compared to the other two companies. Godaddy provides a 1-year SSL certificate and Hostgator provides a Toll free number that can be used for business purposes as major add-ons in their costliest plans. Apart from that, A2 hosting provides cloud flare CDN support, Railgun optimizers, constant physical and virtual memory for all its plans, server rewind backups and a number of other optimization features that lack most web hosting companies.
All the three companies provide a bunch of website building tools that are well suited for beginners and experts alike. However, the inbuilt cloud flare CDN support provided by A2 Hosting is one of its striking features that greatly speeds up your website and reduces bandwidth. Along with the above advanced users can also use Awstats, Webalizer, Error and Referrer Logs, Raw Access Logs, Subdomain Stats and a number of other tools and applications to effectively monitor and control their hosting environment.
Godaddy comes with a simple interface that is easy for new users to understand and adapt to while at the same time it seems worse for advanced users. Hostgator provides an ideal environment for both beginners and advanced users alike by providing all information in centralized cPanel that can be used as per requirements. In case you require a toll free number for your business, the ultimate plan in Hostgator provides you with a stable connection that can be connected from anywhere in the world.
Also Read: Bluehost vs Hostgator
In all my years of experience with hosting companies, I have faced the highest amount of performance issues with Godaddy. Hostgator and A2 Hosting are much better in terms of running standard websites although they cannot handle powerful computational applications that require VPS or Dedicated resources. You can easily run a website that gets around 1000 visitors a day with 800 visitors during the peak hours with Godaddy’s Ultimate plan while at the same time, the same website can handle upto 2000 visitors at 1600 or more visitors at peaks hours at A2 Hosting or Hostgator. But hosting and managing a website is quite easier in Godaddy and Hostgator with the hundreds of guides and documentations available through their knowledgebase and on the web.
Therefore, if you are new to web hosting then you would definitely need guidance while setting up and running your first website. Thus you should always choose Hostgator but if you are a bit experienced with hosting then you should always go with A2 Hosting. Although A2 Hosting is not hard to setup either, it just doesn’t have the extensive amount of guides and resources that Hostgator and Godaddy has.
With A2 Hosting’s cloud flare DNS support, it is definitely the fastest of all the three but you are experienced with apache programming, you can always enable mod_pagespeed at Godaddy and Hostgator to match page speeds. Moreover, you can also opt for cloud flare or cloud front just like A2 Hosting to further speed up your website.
No matter what hosting company you use, you should always opt for a DNS service like Cloud flare. As A2 Hosting provides Cloud flare in its suite of applications, you won’t have to separately setup your website with the service. However, it doesn’t take more than minutes to configure your website on cloud flare in case you choose to go with Godaddy or Hostgator. It’s easy to setup DNS but setting you apache mods can be quite intricate. You would require expert guidance while doing so and the customer support will not be able to help you with it.
Also Read: A2 Hosting vs Bluehost vs Godaddy
Godaddy customer support sucks when compared with A2 Hosting or Hostgator. Although you can contact their customer support is a dozen different ways, you will end up standing in line behind 20 more customers all waiting to get their problems solved. Therefore, it is always better to do your research before you approach customer service. Godaddy customer support is helpful and they solve nearly all your problems without any lags. However, if you are running a traffic intensive website and it is your peak time, you cannot wait for hours on their toll free number to get an answer to a simple problem that could have been solved by reading through the knowledgebase articles. Moreover, every time you call them with some issue, they try to sell you some other service that you just don’t want.
Hostgator customer support is awesome. You get connected with an agent within a minute and they solve all your requirements. They stay to the point and also guide you through the whole process so that you won’t have to rely on the customer service next time you face the problem. A2 Hosting also has one of the best customer service units that focuses on the customers’ problems and guides then through all necessary steps to fix it. Therefore, if you are new to hosting, you should go with Hostgator but if you are experienced then you should choose A2 Hosting for your next website.
Also Read: A2 Hosting vs Hostgator vs Siteground
Usability, Upgrades and Migration
All the three companies have the best software stack that allows you to build and run any kind of website of application you want. However, while migrating your website from an existing host, A2 Hosting really stands outs. There are hardly any complaints from users who have had a bad experience with porting their existing websites to A2 Hosting. You can find negative reviews for Hostgator but Godaddy and A2 Hosting never disappoint you while changing your hosting company. Godaddy has the best technical people who can help you migrate even the most complex website configurations across to their servers without eve giving you a call. A2 Hosting people need some guidance and documentation before they can proceed but their results have always been perfect.
While upgrading, all the three companies have the same plans as they allow you to upgrade and downgrade anytime depending on your choice. But when it comes to usability, Godaddy is the best for new comers while A2 Hosting is ideal for experienced hosting administrators. Hostgator also has a great ui designed and laid out in strategic forms for easier customer access but it can only stand in the middle as putting all information on one big screen can sometimes be intimidating for new comers and experienced persons alike.
Also Read: Arvixe vs Godaddy vs Hostgator
If you are still confused as to which hosting company to choose, here is small summary of the above findings. If you are completely new to hosting, you should go with Godaddy. If you are an intermediate hosting administrator and want to get your hands wet with a new hosting company, then go with A2 Hosting as you will learn a lot of new stuff. But if you are a business user and want the best services without compromising any time or resources, you should definitely go with Hostgator. Godaddy and Hostgator also provide dedicated WordPress plans ideal for bloggers and users who are certain that would be hosting a WordPress website. However, if you go with A2 Hosting, you have the independence to select any web content management system for your requirements and also host multiple website at a single hosting on top of the most optimized server stack. Thus choose according to your requirements.