Texas-based HostGator is a vastly fashionable net host with plans for each doable requirement, from easy shared merchandise to speedy cloud internet hosting and highly effective devoted servers.

HostGator Website Builder bundles the corporate’s glorious internet hosting with a user-friendly WebsiteBuillder.com-powered website designer which makes it straightforward to create a top quality on-line presence.

The Primary plan consists of HostGator hyperlinks in your net web page footers and helps a most variety of six pages per website. There are not any net area or bandwidth limits, although, and a library of 100 responsive templates will get you up-to-speed shortly. There’s entry to a free picture library, and straightforward PayPal integration allows constructing quite simple net shops.

The headline value for the Primary plan is $three.95 (£2.82) a month, however it’s not fairly so simple as that. Web site Builder Primary comes as a free add-on to HostGator’s internet hosting, so the $three.95 (£2.82) represents the price of the HostGator Hatchling plan. This offers you much more internet hosting options than you may get with many different web site builder packages, together with cPanel entry and limitless electronic mail accounts.

You may select a extra succesful internet hosting plan if you happen to want it, comparable to choosing the $5.95 (£four.25) Marketing strategy to get an SSL certificates, a devoted IP and a free VoIP cellphone service. And since these are add-on plans, if you happen to determine you do not want the shop in any case, you may scrap it at any time and use the online area for one thing else.

HostGator’s pricing has a hidden catch in that these charges solely apply if you happen to join three years, they usually soar on renewal – the baseline $three.95 (£2.82) internet hosting leaps as much as $6.95 (£four.96). Weebly’s Starter plan is priced at an identical $7 (£5) with no preliminary low cost, however you solely have to enroll in a yr, it has no adverts or web page limits, and provides you a free SSL certificates.

HostGator’s Web site Builder Professional plan helps limitless pages and removes the HostGator promoting. There’s assist for embedding HD movies from YouTube and different video sharing websites (decrease decision movies are supported within the Primary plan). A precious Revision Historical past function maintains copies of variations of your web site, permitting you to revert to an older model everytime you like.

A customized favicon allows utilizing your personal web site icon within the deal with bar and browser tab, and easy Google Analytics integration helps observe your newest guests. It is a extra succesful and attention-grabbing bundle, however it’s additionally far more costly at $16.90 (£12.07) a month. Opponents like Wix and Weebly offer you weaker internet hosting however extra e-commerce options for round $10 (£7.14) a month.

HostGator’s Web site Builder Marketing strategy is all about on-line promoting, and affords a purchasing cart, stock administration, a alternative of fee gateways, Fb integration and assist for coupon codes.

The headline value of $28.94 (£20.67) a month is much costlier than Wix and Weebly, who present succesful e-commerce plans for round £15 ($21). However, bizarrely, this appears to be primarily based on a one-month billing cycle. For those who’re keen to pay three years upfront, which it’s important to do anyway to get the quoted internet hosting value, the entire drops to a month-to-month $19.94 (£14.24).

Getting began

HostGator affords a fundamental comparability desk itemizing its Web site Builder plans and their options, however that is distinctly brief on element and provides you no info in any respect on the internet hosting bundle. There is not any straightforward method to inform precisely what you are going to get.

Pricing is much from clear. There is a headline month-to-month determine and a warning that this may embody a reduction, however nothing on contract lengths, complete or renewal costs.

The image does not get clearer whenever you click on Purchase. We selected the $28.94 (£20.67) a month Web site Builder Marketing strategy, as an example, and the billing web page solely requested us to pay $three.95 (£2.82) for internet hosting. What was occurring? The web site does not say.

The rationale for this confusion is that HostGator requires you to purchase internet hosting first. The Web site Builder Primary plan is included together with your internet hosting plan, however in order for you Web site Builder Professional or Enterprise, it’s important to buy them afterwards as an add-on out of your internet hosting panel. It is not tough, as soon as you have figured it out, however HostGator ought to do a greater job of explaining the product construction on its web site.

There are some small plus factors for the signup course of. You may go for month-to-month billing, if you happen to do not thoughts paying an enormous value premium – it jumps to $10.95 (£7.82) a month. You may select your personal assist PIN and username, and there are alternatives to pay by bank card or PayPal.

HostGator affords an honest set of optionally available add-ons, too. SiteLock checks your website each day for malware, and is priced at $2.99 (£2.13) a month. CodeGuard-based automated each day backups can be found for $2.99 (£2.13) a month, and Google-based electronic mail internet hosting provides you a [email protected] electronic mail deal with and 30GB of storage for $5 (£three.57) a month.

The core internet hosting and Web site Builder packages include a 45-day money-back assure, though that does have the standard exclusions. For those who ask HostGator to register a site through the signup course of, as an example, you will not have the ability to declare the registration charge again later.

We signed up from HostGator’s Web site Builder Enterprise web page, paid for our internet hosting and acquired an acknowledgement electronic mail. This gave us fundamental particulars of our internet hosting account however did not point out the Web site Builder, so we needed to log in and discover the acquisition particulars ourselves

As soon as we had lastly signed up, HostGator allowed us to start by selecting a template from greater than 100 responsive designs. HostGator’s template browser allows filtering its choices by business and sort, however it’s extra awkward to make use of than we anticipated. Not solely did the browser show its templates in a fixed-size field which confirmed solely 9 thumbnails at a time, however some thumbnails have been repeated two, three, or 4 occasions, so we have been eternally hitting Subsequent and Earlier to scan by means of the complete listing.

The browser did not less than permit us to preview the templates full-screen earlier than we made our determination. The designs aren’t excellent in any means, however they cowl the fundamentals fairly nicely and most of the people will discover one thing they will use.

HostGator Website Builder

Editor

HostGator’s editor has a well-known and simple interface. Your web site is displayed within the physique of the web page. A left-hand sidebar shows a menu of things you may add (Components, Pages, Sections, Weblog, Retailer, extra). And an always-visible toolbar shows site-wide choices comparable to Undo, Preview, a desktop/cellular view, Save and Publish.

Your web site is not displayed ‘dwell’, so for instance clicking a hyperlink within the navigation menu will not change pages. As an alternative, whenever you click on any object or space – a textual content block, a picture, the web page header or footer – the editor robotically exhibits you no matter actions you may carry out with it.

Click on in a textual content field, as an example, and you may instantly begin modifying its textual content, whereas a toolbar lets you change its model (font, dimension, daring/italic/underlined, shade, shadow) and alignment. You can even add lists, configure hyperlinks, set a background picture and extra.

Picture dealing with is spectacular, too. It begins very merely – click on a picture, resize it, drag and drop it on the web page, click on Change Picture to exchange it with one thing else – however you may as well crop and edit the picture, set opacity, configure the picture border, add a hyperlink, and extra.

Most web page objects can have one in every of 11 animations connected (bounces, fades, flips, fly-ins and extra). These aren’t fully configurable – you may’t select whether or not a heading will fly in from the left or the suitable, as an example – however they’re straightforward to make use of, particularly because the editor previews the animation for you. Simply scroll down the menu to the Flip possibility, as an example, and the editor will show the flip impact in your chosen object, permitting you to see how it will work.

HostGator Website Builder

The editor lets you assemble new pages, or prolong present ones, by dragging in preformatted chunks of content material known as Sections. Select so as to add a Textual content part from the sidebar, as an example, and the editor shows thumbnails of 15 very totally different textual content layouts (1 to six blocks of textual content, single or a number of columns, various numbers of titles, and all positioned individually).

There are many sections right here – Entrance Web page, Schedule, Fb Timeline, Pictures and Textual content, Video and Textual content – and each consists of loads of different designs. For those who’re not fairly pleased with the template, this makes it straightforward to customise it to fit your wants. And even when a bit does not fully fit your wants, you may nonetheless tweak it identical to another web page.

You are additionally in a position to customise pages by dragging in parts, particular person controls for displaying explicit content material varieties, or finishing up particular actions. There aren’t fairly as many of those as you may get with some companies – the Picture part consists of solely Picture, Picture Gallery and Icon, for instance – however they cowl the fundamentals nicely sufficient and there are some much less widespread extras. You are ready so as to add paperwork, embed HTML or whole net pages, show Twitter feeds or Fb feedback, add a SoundCloud music participant, and make use of a number of PayPal choices (Purchase Now, Add to Cart, Donate, Verify Out).

Most particular person controls will be freely resized, and there is huge management over how they are often positioned. You may drag and drop them with pixel-level precision, align them with different controls, dock them to edges of the web page in varied methods, even determine whether or not they’ll scroll on the web page or at all times be seen.

You may change from a desktop to cellular view at any time, and the editor will show the cellular view of the web page. Your website is not responsive within the normal sense – it does not reformat if you happen to resize your browser window – so the cellular view is definitely a separate model of the web site which is served to guests on cellular units.

This works nicely sufficient for real-world use, although, and it does make it straightforward to customise the cellular website to fit your wants. For those who determine you do not want a selected picture or textual content block on the cellular model, as an example, all it’s important to do is delete them inside the cellular editor; easy.

Put all of it collectively and it is a very likeable editor. Newcomers ought to discover it fairly easy-to-use, as clicking on any object instantly shows toolbars exhibiting you what you are able to do. However specialists can even discover there’s plenty of performance right here, and loads of fine-tuned management over content material and the web page.

HostGator Website Builder

Media

HostGator Web site Builder consists of Adobe’s Aviary picture editor, which instantly provides you loads of image choices and potential tweaks. Primary instruments embody Crop, Resize and Orientation; you are in a position to repair issues by adjusting lighting, shade and sharpness, eradicating red-eye or fixing pores and skin blemishes; you may get arty by making use of vignette, shade splash or different results, and there are different instruments so as to add textual content captions, draw freehand, use stickers and extra.

The Change Picture possibility provides you entry to a free inventory picture library. The outcomes aren’t at all times of the best high quality, and generally do not match your search textual content in any respect (we looked for ‘dolphin’ and located photos of a hamster and a lady with a horse, in addition to precise dolphins), however there are many photos to select from and general it is value having.

You are additionally in a position to add your personal photos right into a cloud-based My Pictures library. This lets you maintain key photos organized, and means you should utilize the identical photos elsewhere on the positioning with out having to add them every time.

A easy Video management allows embedding YouTube and Vimeo movies simply by pasting their URLs. HD assist is not included in probably the most fundamental plan, nonetheless.

Picture and video gallery controls can help you group and set up associated media. These look fundamental, not less than initially, however there’s extra performance than you may anticipate. The picture gallery can import photos from Fb and Instagram, as an example, in addition to chosen native photos. You may customise its structure to be a grid, row or column. Pictures can have titles, descriptions and linked URLs, they usually’re displayed with an interesting lightbox impact.

There’s audio assist by way of a fundamental SoundCloud management. You may’t do a lot with it past defining a observe URL and deciding whether or not you’d prefer it to autoplay or not, however it’s higher than nothing.

HostGator Web site Builder does not have almost as many controls and integrations as opponents like Wix and Weebly, then, however you could possibly use content material from different websites by way of its Embed HTML object. HostGator’s video management solely helps YouTube and Vimeo, as an example, however we have been ready to make use of the Embed HTML management to show a Metacafe clip.

HostGator Website Builder

Running a blog

HostGator Web site Builder allows including a weblog as one of many choices on its left-hand sidebar. Unusually, the editor provides you a number of weblog layouts to select from. Whereas that sounds good in principle, the weblog templates did not match the colours, fonts or structure of our principal website, which left our chosen weblog model trying a little bit misplaced.

New weblog posts are created utilizing a subset of the usual web page editor. There are all the standard textual content formatting instructions, however you do not get entry to the primary modifying widgets, and the Add Component field solely permits for the insertion of photos, movies, strains, headings and paragraphs. If you wish to add a map, or a picture gallery, or any of the opposite elements out there in the primary editor, you are out of luck.

There are many methods to customise how your publish seems to be and behaves on the weblog web page. You are in a position to set a title, a canopy picture and a abstract, in addition to assigning tags to assist customers discover associated posts, and pin a publish to the highest of the weblog.

There is not any choice to schedule posts, sadly. Weblog feedback are supported by the Fb feedback system solely, which may’t be managed or configured in any means. The weblog has one superior function in its optionally available RSS assist, however in any other case it is very a lot in regards to the fundamentals solely.

HostGator Website Builder

E-commerce

Constructing an online retailer is usually a difficult course of, however HostGator Web site Builder does its finest to maintain life easy. Click on the Create a Retailer button, select from a really brief listing of retailer varieties (Well being and Magnificence, House and Design, Arts and Music, Meals and Drink, Different), enter your deal with and the service provides a retailer web page to your web site with some pattern merchandise.

The service additionally offers a working purchasing cart you may take a look at straight away. We selected a product, added it to our cart and clicked Verify Out. We have been in a position to present our particulars, choose a dummy ‘Check Cost’ supplier as a fee methodology, and watch as we have been despatched an acknowledgement electronic mail and our order was added to the system. This is a superb method to see and higher perceive each the acquisition course of and what you may get when orders arrive, particularly because it does not require you to do any system setup work first.

Sadly, the excellent news stops virtually instantly, as you look previous this preliminary demonstration and begin to determine how the service works.

The shop structure and design presents a direct visible concern, because it does not in any means match the remainder of the positioning. You may manually tweak the shop to attempt to deal with the issue, however that is a trouble you do not usually have with different web site builders.

There is not any method to import a product catalog from one other net retailer, as you may see with specialist e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce. You should enter all product particulars manually.

The shop does not assist digital merchandise, companies, subscriptions or anything past commonplace bodily items. Once more, any good devoted e-commerce platform will provide you with way more flexibility.

Transport performance is horribly fundamental. Merchandise haven’t got shipping-related attributes (weight, dimensions) which you should utilize to calculate the ultimate prices. The shop does not can help you create transport zones (your nation, your continent, remainder of the world) with their very own guidelines. All you get are flat charges for the primary and subsequent objects, and an optionally available threshold without spending a dime transport.

Our UK-based web site was provided a grand alternative of simply two fee processors, Stripe and PayPal; way more restricted than you may get with the specialist competitors. Transaction charges are additionally excessive at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

A service like Shopify will be prolonged by plugging in a number of apps and extensions, however there’s none of that right here. What you see, which is barely something, is what you get.

These are only a fraction of the problems with the shop. We might go on, however this is not an e-commerce-specific evaluation and we simply haven’t got the area.

There’s nonetheless some worth right here. The shop is straightforward to arrange, and it does can help you promote on Fb. However it’s not a good selection for promoting something greater than a really small catalog of bodily items to consumers in your personal nation, and even then, it is vastly overpriced for what you get. Shopify’s Primary plan prices virtually precisely the identical, but provides you one of many market-leading net shops, and with decrease transaction charges it’s going to in all probability be even cheaper over the long run.

HostGator Website Builder

Help

A very good web site builder will get you on-line shortly, however that is simply the beginning. It is also essential that you’ll find and repair any points as they crop up, and which means assist is essential.

The HostGator Web site Builder editor has a Assist hyperlink within the normal place, top-right on the toolbar, which reassured us that help can be out there once we wanted it. However that turned out to not be the case. Clicking Assist took us to a damaged sitebuilder-kb.com hyperlink which solely displayed a 404 ‘not discovered’ error, and attempting just a few variations on that hyperlink did not assist.

We browsed the interface additional, and located a Assist Heart hyperlink in one other menu. That might work, proper? Incorrect: it pointed to the identical damaged URL, and displayed the identical ineffective 404 error.

We persevered, falling again to HostGator’s normal assist pages. These have a few articles on Web site Builder, however they’re fundamental, certainly little greater than beginner-oriented ‘getting began’ guides. They are not going that can assist you resolve issues or do something complicated.

The web site is feeble, then, however thankfully HostGator’s assist staff saves the day. For those who do have any issues you may contact them 24/7 by way of chat, cellphone or electronic mail, and in our expertise response occasions are good and the brokers are educated. We would favor to have some first rate web-based steerage as a primary line of help, however the assist staff ought to get most points resolved speedily, and that is a very powerful factor.

Last verdict

HostGator Web site Builder’s most simple plan might be a wise method to create small websites, however the premium plans do not offer you something like sufficient options or performance to justify the value.

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