Building a stable and growing website is tough. But finding the right web host to lay down the hardware foundation for your web application is even tougher. A decade ago when I building my website for the first time, I started out with Hostgator. Over the years, I have moved on to better and more powerful hosting solutions. However, like most hosting enthusiasts, I too encountered numerous web hosting companies like Godaddy and Arvixe along the way. But now I am quite satisfied with cloud hosting with AWS. I am satisfied not because AWS is better than the normal hosting companies but only because it is ideal for my requirements. Hostgator and Godaddy are among the most popular web hosting companies in the world today while Arvixe is quickly gaining support due to its excellent services at competitive prices.
The web hosting market is changing quite rapidly due to the quick adaptation of the numerous cloud hosting solutions like Digital Ocean and Linode that provide better resources at cheaper prices. However, setting up a normal website and administering all its aspects are not for the faint hearted. However, experienced web administrators who are good with programming and server setup are slowly moving to cloud alternatives to attain better ROI.
Therefore for the beginner, the normal hosting companies like Godaddy, Arvixe and Hostgator are havens for ease of deployment and configuration instead of going through dozens of lines of code with no idea about what each does. I have used all the three hosting companies at some point and have evaluated their metrics and performance over a time period to finally reach a conclusion. This review puts down most of these findings while emphasizing on one of the three and trying to answer the much asked question, “Which is the best of the three?”
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Plans and Pricing Comparison
When it comes to selecting the best out of cheap hosting companies, selecting one among them becomes very hard. The quality experienced by the user varies depending on a number of factors, primary being their web application load on the server and the amount of bandwidth it consumes.
Godaddy provides diverse plans in its shared hosting section. And most of these plans have dozens of offers and discounts that often confuse the user as to what to select and what they would get out of the one they have selected. Its basic shared hosting plan comes in 3 tiers namely: Economy at $4.99 a month, Deluxe at $5.99/month and Ultimate at $7.99/month. Although the economy and deluxe plans have most of what a beginning user would need to host a website, they come with very little resources (despite the unlimited tags all over their pricing chart). Every time you try to download multiple files or upload simultaneously, your server resource would turn red and eventually shut down until everything gets back to normal. By normal I mean until the client stops requesting the file from the server. Thus if you want to host a wordpress website that can handle at least a 1000 visitors every day you should definitely go with the Ultimate plan. It is the only one that can support your necessary resource requirements.
Hostgator is a bit better than Godaddy in terms of resource constraints such that it doesn’t just shut down your instance every time page requests get a bit higher than allocated. Instead it tolerates for some time and sends you an email to upgrade to a higher plan or reduce resource usage. You can always choose to ignore that email and move on with the present plan if your resource usage was only temporary. But if your resource is continuously drained every day, Hostgator will eventually shut down your server as it should. Like most of its counterparts, Hostgator also hass 3 tiers of shared hosting named: Hatchling priced at $3.96/month, baby priced at $6.36/month and the business plan priced at $10.36/month respectively. None of these plans are restrictive in nature and allow you the freedom to build and administer any type of web application on the servers. The baby plan should be sufficient for all your normal requirements but you can always upgrade to the business plan where you can avail a toll free number for your business.
Arvixe is competing head with the giants to grab a market share that they have enjoyed for quite some time. Although it doesn’t provide a lot of offers and coupons like Godaddy, it makes up for them with quality service and features that lack in most of these web hosting companies. Its shared hosting is divided into 2 distinct tiers ideal for any kind of business. Named as the Personal Class, it comes in Linux and windows variants. The personal class is divided into 2 tiers namely: Personal Class priced at $4 per month and Personal Class Pro priced at $7/month. Both the plans support all the features available to shared hosting users even in the Personal Class Pro plan except for higher limits for the number of hosted domains that is only 6 in the lower priced plan. You would not notice any kind of lag or server resource constraints while hosting a normal website in any of the plans but if you are hosting more than 6 websites on a single plan, you will have to upgrade to a pro version to be able to host more than the limit.
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Of all the three, Arvixe is the only one that provides every available feature to the users without any kind of restrictions. You can easily host and manage multiple websites on a single hosting plan with the numerous tools at your disposal. However, Godaddy and Hostgator impose a number of restrictions regarding resource usage and lack most features provided by Arvixe.
All the three companies provide a bunch of website building tools that are well suited for beginners and experts alike. However, the inbuilt cloudflare CDN support provided by Arvixe is one of its striking features that greatly speeds up your website and reduced bandwidth. Along with the above advanced users can also use Awstats Software, Webalizer Software, Analog Software, 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.
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In all my years of experience with hosting companies, I have faced the highest amount of performance issues with Godaddy. Hostgator and Arvixe 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 Arvixe 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 require 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 Arvixe. Although Arvixe is not hard to setup either, it just doesn’t have the extensive amount of guides and resources that Hostgator and Godaddy has.
With Arvixe’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 Arvixe 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 Arvixe 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: Godaddy Hosting Review
Customer Support Comparison
Godaddy customer support sucks when compared with Arvixe 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. Arvixe 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 Arvixe for your next website.
Usability, Upgrades and Migration Comparison
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, Arvixe really stands outs. There are hardly any complaints from users who have had a bad experience with porting their existing websites to Arvixe. You can find negative reviews for Hostgator but Godaddy and Arvixe 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. Arvixe 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 Arvixe 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.
Conclusion: Which One Is The Best?
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 Arvixe 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 Arvixe, you have the independence to select any web content management system for your requirements and also host multiple website at a single hosting plan.