InMotion Hosting vs. HostGator

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When starting a brand-new website, one of the key decisions you have to make is the selection of a top-notch hosting provider. There are very many companies to choose from, so it can take a while to sort through them all and make a sensible choice. Today, I’ve decided to take a look at two popular hosting sites, InMotion Hosting vs. HostGator, and give you some solid information about their strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve previously written a thorough InMotion Hosting review, which you can consult at your leisure. However, I recognize that no review of a hosting solution is useful without reference to alternatives, and this is why I’ve decided to give you a breakdown of InMotion vs HostGator.

About the Rival Organizations

Before tackling the offerings from HostGator and InMotion Hosting in detail, I think it’s useful to present a broad overview of the firms. That way, you can gain an understanding of where they stand in the marketplace and their history in the hosting industry.

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InMotion Hosting

InMotion is an independent hosting company that has been in business since 2001. More than 300,000 websites reside on InMotion’s webservers, which are located in Los Angeles, California, and Ashburn, Virginia. It has been certified by CNET for 13 years running. InMotion is employee-owned, so the workers have an incentive to deliver the best possible product.

[HostGator Logo]


HostGator was founded by a college student in 2002, but since that time, it has been acquired by Endurance International Group, which also runs several other web hosts. It has more than 8 million hosted domains. HostGator’s data centers are located in Houston, Texas, and Provo, Utah.

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Pricing and Plans

If you’re a newcomer to developing pages on the world wide web, then shared hosting is the best solution for reliability combined with low costs. Both HostGator and InMotion offer several different packages of shared hosting service. Your introductory period at either company will feature special prices that are lower than normal:


• Hatchling: $3.95/mo

• Baby: $5.95/mo

• Business: $5.95/mo


• Launch: $5.95/mo

• Power: $5.95/mo

• Pro: $8.99/mo

It may seem at first glance that InMotion is more expensive than HostGator, but through my exclusive InMotion Hosting discount link, you can get a reduced price that actually drops the price tag below that of HostGator. InMotion allows you to cancel your subscription within 90 days for a full refund, but at HostGator, you can only do so during the first 45 days after your purchase.

In the event that your website grows in the future and shared hosting is no longer enough, then you can upgrade to a virtual private server or dedicated server at either host. Just as with shared hosting, VPS and dedicated hosting are available in several formats, so you’ll be able to select the one that’s appropriate for your needs and budget.

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Web Server Performance

There’s no use beating around the bush, so let’s get into the meat of what web hosting is all about: rock-solid server performance. There are basically two metrics that are useful for judging this aspect of operations. The first is website speed, which is important because slow page load times impact both placement in search results pages and user engagement. The second relevant factor is uptime percentage, which is self-evidently important because a site that’s down can’t attract any new viewers and may annoy returning visitors.

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Site Loading Speed

InMotion uses only solid-state drives to store files, which translates into fast speeds because this type of hardware can transfer data much more rapidly than old, mechanical disks can. HostGator does not commit to employing only SSD technology.

Historic website speeds for the two enterprises have tended to be pretty comparable and better than most of their competitors. One thing that might change this situation is that HostGator has recently discontinued free content delivery system service to its shared hosting customers. It’s still available, but you have to purchase the optional SiteLock add-on to activate it.

We expect InMotion’s SSD drives to enable it to pull ahead in speed going forward because of the elimination of free CDNs from HostGator’s shared hosting service. Consult my comprehensive InMotion Hosting review to find out more about how cutting-edge systems enable it to deliver excellent hosting products.

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HostGator provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee on all its shared webhosting plans, but InMotion does so only for its top-tier Pro web serving. In practice, both of them comfortably exceed this figure when we’re talking about long-term averages. One thing to note, though, is that HostGator has a history of outages that last from several hours to a few days whereas InMotion has largely been able to avoid them. We therefore give InMotion the nod in the category of steering clear of service interruptions.

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Ease of Use

HostGator and InMotion Hosting have both adopted the open-source cPanel for back-end control of clients’ websites, so they’re identical in this respect. HostGator’s billing and account management functions are conducted with a separate login and password whereas InMotion doesn’t require a second set of account credentials besides those that you use to enter cPanel. So InMotion is easier to use.

Another downside to HostGator is that when you add applications using the streamlined installer, a few extra plug-ins and software bundles are sometimes installed by default. You can disable them without too much hassle, but this is a minor irritation that isn’t really called for. InMotion doesn’t do any of this funny business when you become a customer and set up the programs you want.

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Both hosts try to entice you to sign up by complementing your purchase with plenty of no-charge goodies. InMotion Hosting’s perks blow HostGator’s out of the water. When you choose InMotion as your webhost, you’ll get:

• A free domain registration, which HostGator doesn’t provide

• One-click installation of more than 400 applications as compared to just 75+ at HostGator

• $250 in advertising credits to use with popular search engines – HostGator gives you just $200

Both firms enable you to quickly create web pages without any coding experience required through drag-and-drop website building software. These programs even generate responsive designs automatically – your creations will look just as good on mobile devices as they do on desktop monitors. This is perfect for anyone making a website for the first time, and as long as you purchase a shared hosting package, there’s no additional charge for using either website building interface.

There are differences, though, between both hosts’ website builders. HostGator’s suite grants you access to more than 100 templates that you can customize according to your whims, but InMotion’s BoldGrid builder features around double the number of templates. Even worse, HostGator limits you to making a maximum of six separate pages with their software! After you’re done with your “about,” “contact” and “legal” pages, that’s half of your quota already accounted for. Fortunately for InMotion, BoldGrid lets you craft any number of pages.

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We’ve already discussed what you get with your membership at HostGator and InMotion, and now it’s time to talk about the restrictions in place at each hosting vendor. Your hard drive space, bandwidth and free email accounts are unlimited regardless of which webhost you pick.

HostGator allows you unlimited databases with any plan, but at InMotion, this is only true of the highest Pro level. The low-end Launch product at InMotion only permits two databases while the next tier up, Power, caps them at 50.

The number of websites you can run from one account is similarly held down to two for Launch and six for Power while there is no max for Pro at InMotion. HostGator holds you to a single website at the Hatchling grade, but there’s no limit applied to either Baby or Business packages.

Joining InMotion for shared website hosting service is fine if you don’t intend to get fancy with multiple sites or domains. On the other hand, HostGator may prove to be the preferred option if you want to run more than one web presence from the same account.

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Customer Support

Whenever you have an issue at HostGator, you can get in touch with support personnel via phone, live chat or email 24/7/365. It’s also possible to receive help through Twitter. If you’d like to try to solve your troubles without contacting the company directly, you can head over to the community forums, video tutorials and articles.

InMotion delivers support through live chat, phone, email and Skype. Like its rival hosting firm, InMotion CS staff members are available all day, every day. The community support section is similar to the forums at HostGator.

Where InMotion Hosting truly shines is in the breadth and variety of the collection of self-help resources on its website. Thousands of documents lay out solutions to common concerns, and there are hundreds of videos on the company’s YouTube channel. FAQs and tutorials empower you to educate yourself not just on how to resolve technical glitches but also on the proper use of many popular software programs too, like WordPress and phpBB.

Both sites have above average customer support, but I have to nominate InMotion as the winner in this department. The company says that each support team member undergoes 160 hours of training before interfacing with customers, and this level of commitment shows in the results. It’s rare for agents to not know how to resolve a complication or to not understand a question posed to them.

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Backup and Restoration Policy

Everyone who has been in the content creation game for any appreciable length of time knows to expect the unexpected. From hacks and equipment failures to corrupted databases and broken software upgrades, there are any number of snafus that could lead to the deletion or unwanted modification of your site. The only reliable way to guard against these incidents is by frequently making backups of your files.

InMotion and HostGator will back up your data regularly without collecting from you any surcharge for this service. Beware though: HostGator will actually levy a $20 fee on you if you should want to restore any of your saved backups. InMotion does no-fee restorations of your backed-up databases.

Now, you ideally ought to make your own backups manually, which is possible with both of these web hosting enterprises. Nevertheless, InMotion offers the peace of mind of knowing that they have you covered in case your own precautions turn out to be ineffective.

Closing Thoughts

The web hosting field is one that’s jam-packed with rival entities, complicating the decision-making process for aspiring web developers. The plus side of this is that prices have declined even as quality has improved. The comparison of InMotion Hosting vs HostGator is a judgment call that really doesn’t have a wrong outcome no matter which of these two fine organizations you elect to partner with.

That said, I feel that InMotion is the more appropriate choice for most shoppers. I’m so enamored of this web hosting firm that I’ve gone to the trouble of negotiating an exclusive discount for everyone who registers for InMotion through my link. The solid customer service, powerful page-building platform and free domain will make the entire experience of starting a website from scratch go more smoothly. For more details, check out my InMotion Hosting review page.

For a minority of readers, HostGator may be the way to go. Some who intend to deploy a complex arrangement of content and URLs might prefer the unlimited databases and websites permitted with the mid-range Baby and top-of-the-line Business shared hosting tiers. As always, individual tastes will vary, and I certainly can’t fault you if you opt for HostGator as your hosting provider.

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Arlie Wall

Los Angeles based web developer with over 15 years experience with helping people start and grow their blogs.