A Warning About Hostgator Shared Hosting

By Mark Ling
A Warning About Hostgator Shared Hosting


When it comes to choosing a shared hosting solution, I've always recommended people to use Hostgator. For the last 3 years I've been using the shared service with no problems whatsoever, and I also use the dedicated hosting which is really good.

As a result of having no problems with the Hostgator Shared Hosting, I grew to trust it perhaps a little more than I should have. That's not to say that it is a bad service, but I decided to host an important video there over the weekend, and when I mailed it out to my subscribers, hostgator decided to shut it down.

The reason I was given by their support staff was that it was using up too much CPU power.

Now I was very frustrated because I did not receive any phone warning, I blissfully slept through the night while 1000s of my subscribers tried to click the link to the video only for it to be broken.

It was also particularly frustrating when their support staff told me that they sent me an email as warning (like I check my email in the middle of the night).

You see at Hostgator Shared Hosting you get lots of bandwidth, but read the fine print, you don't get lots of CPU power with shared hosting, so if you are getting a flood of visitors to your website, then you have the potential to get shut down.

This isn't temporary, they refuse to put the content back online. It took me a lot (and by a lot I mean over 2 hours) of talking to them to get them to allow me to put up a redirect from the shared hosting to my dedicated server, thus fixing the link. In all the video was down for about 9 hours.

Until now, Hostgator Shared Hosting has been fantastic, it has had zero downtime and has always been a fast and reliable webhost for me. Their dedicated hosting is even better.

However as a warning to others, don't get too comfortable with any form of shared hosting. If your website grows significantly in terms of visitor numbers, then sooner or later you should strongly consider upgrading to dedicated hosting so that you won't run the risk of being shut down right when your website is at its all time best.



View all 58 comments (Currently displaying latest 50)

hans dekker 14 years ago
Hi Mark,

Thanks for sharing, I had the same issue with Godaddy's shared hosting. Without any warning they shutdown my support and redirect application. It was a bit of a shock since all my affiliate redirects were handled by that application. It took me three days to get it back online. For me it was quite a wake-up call and reminded me never to place the faith of my business in the hands of one provider again. My traffic was far below Godaddy''s limit, but the 10-17k requests to the database took up to much CPU power.

I was angry but looking back at it I was at fault as well, using cheap hosting for the lifeblood of the business and no "plan B" in case of this single point of failure situation.

Take care,

Patricia Crespo 14 years ago
My host is Start Logic and for the most part I am satisfied with them. They offer a dedicated hosting service which should solve the problem and charge $29.95/ month for it. But as Mahesh said above, Amazon S3 is really a preferred way to go. No threat of shot-down and ejection, plus you only pay for the bandwidth you actually use. Just MHO.

If you decide you want to use Start Logic perhaps you'll sign on through my link. I'm an affiliate and have been pretty satisfied with them. Normal charges are about the same as Hostgator.

Mark Ling 14 years ago
I agree with you Hans, this was certainly partly my fault. I should have used my backup solution which rather than direct linking to the video, I should have used my redirect link that I usually use (from my dedicated server at affilorama), that way I could have simply changed that redirect to somewhere else to fix the problem faster.

The only reason that I use shared hosting is so that I know a good shared hosting provider to recommend to affilorama members, but it seems from talking to others that Amazon S3 is the way to go for that kind of thing. I'll check them out. Hostgator shared hosting is fine if you don't expect a lot of traffic all at once, but once you are making enough money, dedicated hosting is a must if you want to minimize your chances of downtime.

Hostgator's dedicated hosting is great, I've never had a problem there. It's just their shared hosting that I've had this issue with that has frustrated me, not least of all their customer service in the matter who were reluctant to be helpful at all. I have had good dealings with their customer support in the past, just to give a balanced perspective. I also use rackspace for dedicated servers, who are second to none, but are about 5 times more expensive than hostgator for dedicated hosting.
paulita 14 years ago
Hi Mark,
Thanks a lot for sharing this problem with us.It´s good to know this.
Devin Elder 14 years ago
Mark, sorry to hear about the downtime. Never fun.

I recommend CloudFiles for all video content. It's similar to Amazon's S3, but it's serves content through Limelight CDN. You can Google all that stuff if you're not familiar with it.

CloudFiles is a Rackspace product, and you can check out a demo here: http://www.rackspacecloud.com/cloud_hosting_products/files

By putting your videos on CloudFiles, all the "heavy lifting" is done by the CDN, and the rest of your site can be served up from a shared host.

Full disclosure: I work at Rackspace, but I use CloudFiles on all my affiliate sites. It also costs pennies, so you can check it out very cheaply.

Good luck everyone,

wizard 14 years ago
CARLMASURE, i've used Micfo Hosting for several years, at least 4 or 5. It is important to build a good relationship with your host, as sometimes you may go through some bumping times, like when I spammer hijackers a script on your site and uses it to send spam.

If you have a good host, they will be understanding even if they get mad and suspend site at first. I got really angry when they suspended mine when that happened, but it was only to protect their servers -- which is understandable. I decided to stick with them -- no one (or host) is perfect and trying to find a new one can be daunting.

Need to have good support, that's very important. You need to feel confident that if there's a problem you will have help 24/7. That's probably most important to me -- in addition to a speedy server.

For $10 a month I can host multiple sites for as much space and bandwidth allocated. It's a great server in my experience -- and don't plan to go hunting for a new one anytime soon.

Good luck!

hans dekker 14 years ago
Well I think I'll give the Amazon S3 guys a shot as well then, almost used up my Affiliorama hosting slots anyway :-) Don't know how Mark did it but the few sites I have running at this premium service are really hosted "premium". It's the perfect haven for smaller or "not sure what to do with it" sites Especially Wordpress performance is superb when compared to Godaddy.

So if someone hasn't tried this feature yet, don't let that asset just sit there, we're putting more then enough money in Marks pockets as it is. :-)

All the best,

Rudolf vda 14 years ago
I've been using Hostgator for three years now and never had any problems. I've got like 20 sites hosted there and honestly I don't see ANY good alternative for Hostgator that can beat THEIR pricing, support and by god the control panel is just so straightforward a monkey could use it. But Mark, let's be honest, you're being a bit spoiled here, with the kind of money you're earning, you could easily afford to buy your own complete dedicated hosting, no questions asked! I think it's a shame you post this on the public Affilorama blog because it seems like you're just putting out your frustrations while Hostgator's reputation is being harmed since many of us regard you as an authority. Hostgator is if not THE, it's one of the best.
Mark Ling 14 years ago
Rudolf, you do raise a good point in that Hostgator is certainly one of the best shared hosts out there. There are not a lot of good options for shared hosting.

To answer your point about how I could be using dedicated hosting, like I mentioned in my last comment, I already do have several dedicated servers. I also like to have at least one shared server hosting for a few of my minor websites and also I was hosting some videos there too (until now) because I like to know who to recommend as a shared host to my members.

Until now, hostgator has been reliable, however I was shocked at how little their customer support appeard to care about my situation and it took me over 2 hours on talking to their support staff to get this matter resolved (where they finally allowed me to move the content to a dedicated server and set up a redirect).

Yes I was frustrated when I posted my story above, but in the past I've had nothing but glowing comments of hostgator and this story brings a little balance, basically warning others if you find you are getting high volume traffic, don't stick with shared hosting forever, it's only great as a starting point. Once you are getting 1000s of visitors a day, then it is risky to stay with it.
Harry Touzel 14 years ago
Still learning Affiliate Marketing, but the saying there is no such thing as a free lunch comes to mind. Customer service is the next. Don't put all your eggs in one basket is another. Running your affiliate business is not much different to running any other business when it comes to some business basics.

So far what has happened to Mark is not a total surprise. I have had some minor issues with Hostgator, but all resolved. I still use them. Good to be reminded that even the top providers can let you down.

Curt D 14 years ago
We did some pre-beta lauch testing on HostGator and blew their CPU processors through the roof. If you have a system like ours that costs $300,000 USD and takes up computers in 2 countries you can't really go with a shared host, you need your own set up. We pull so much bandwidth monitoring over 40,000,000 nouns and proper nouns every 24 hours we need some BIG pipe.
brent oxley 14 years ago
Hi Mark,

I'm the owner of hostgator and I'm truly sorry for this issue that you had with us. Let me explain how are limits work so that you have a better understanding of what to expect in a shared environment.

In a shared environment we put a few hundred shared hosting accounts on a top of the line server with the following specs:

2x Quad Core Xeon E5520 @ 2.27 GHz
12GB Ram
1.5 TB RAID 1 holding OS (15k rpm)
2TB RAID 5 holding user data. (7200 rpm)

Contrary to what our TOS says we don't actually have a cpu or ram limit. You can use as much cpu and ram as you want as long as you aren't crashing the server or causing high loads. In this particular case it appears your site began using more cpu and memory then everyone else on the server combined. This resulted in performance issues for everyone on the server which is why we had to take action against your account.
We wish we could warn you first but unfortunately the hundreds of customers that your site affected demanded we take action immediately. If it was the other way around and someone else was causing your account to run poorly I'm sure you wouldn't want us to give just a warning. You would want the problem fixed immediately which would mean disabling the problem.
On a dedicated server you will never be disabled no matter how much you crash the server since the only customer affected by the poor performance is you.
Here's something interesting to consider....
In many cases a hostgator shared hosting account will be faster than a customer who purchases a dedicated server. The reason is that we are so loose with the resources we allow to be used and our server is so powerful that in many instances it's going to outperform a dedicated with only a single account on it.

At the end of the day on a shared hosting account what it comes down to is that you are either crashing the server or you aren't. We have unlimited bandwidth deals in place with our provider so it has nothing to do with the cost of the bandwidth.

If you have any questions of if there is anything I can to help the situation please email me at [email protected] I am personally available to all of our customers no matter how small of an account they may have.

Brent Oxley
Mark Ling 14 years ago
Hi Brent,

Thanks for taking the time to comment on this post, I really appreciate you taking the time.

I will update my blog post shortly to be less harsh as I do agree with you in that you do have to take measures against people who are crashing a server. Although it's a shame you can't limit the traffic rather than just nixing it altogether.

I explained to the hostgator support that the surge in traffic was only for a short number of minutes while my email went out to everyone on my subscriber list, but they refused to put it back online and also at first refused to allow me to put up a redirect on my site to redirect it to a dedicated server (2 hours later they agreed to do this).

I admit that I was frustrated when I made this post, and I will adjust it to be more balanced, although it is important that people realize that with any shared hosting, that if they know they are getting a lot of traffic, even if it is just for a few minutes and not for the entire day or week, then they need to be looking at dedicated hosting.

Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, it is a lot more than other webhosts would do. I also want to reiterate that Hostgator Shared Hosting has been very good for the last few years up until this event and I do rate the dedicated hosting highly.
Kim Smith 14 years ago
I use Affilorama Hosting. What kind is it?
Rowena Stein 14 years ago
I have been using Host Gator for my hosting but am not sure what shared hosting even is. Is that why my main domain name is the ending for all of the sites that I have hosted?

Thanks for the info. I am getting ready for some to put up some videos and was wondering if I should put them on Host Gator or just embed them from YouTube.


Get Better Sleep
Mark Ling 14 years ago
Hi Kim, Affilorama hosting is shared hosting, which is currently only available to premium members. It has nothing to do with hostgator.
Emmanuel Ampere 14 years ago
Hi Mark,I want to know why you use other shared hosting like hostgator shared hosting,whiles the affilorama community offers shared hosting.whats the difference between the 2 and you happen to inspire people here on your website.....i mean we all want to be a guru like yourself so why are you not using your product?
James Mann 14 years ago
I have been using HostGator for a long time now and have had no real problems but in the past couple of weeks I notice that load times are much slow and I even get time outs. This concerns me greatly but I am not sure what to do about it as I have more than 20 web sites there.
Christoph Dollis 14 years ago
"This concerns me greatly but I am not sure what to do about it as I have more than 20 web sites there."

Email Brent? Or customer service first, and then Brent if they can't resolve the situation?
Kerry Jukes 14 years ago
Hi guys

Really interesting post and nice to see the reply from Hostgator. Like a few people have already said is that they don't understand by what you mean by shared hosting and all the different types of hosting.

I think it would be really great if Mark or someone at affilorama could do an article on the different types of hosting and what all the jargon means.


Steve Benedict 14 years ago
I've been very happy with Blue Host. You can talk to their guys in customer support with relative ease, or on their live chat. They usually have pretty good suggestions about CPU throttling, which can be a major pain in the arse! I think everyone experiences difficulties with hosting, here and there, So far my experience with Blue Host has been positive.
Kathaleen Dunford 14 years ago

I am wondering what everyone's opinion of Affilorma hosting is. Our sites are currently with HostGator and we are wondering if we should transfer them to Affilorma Hosting. I eagerly await your input.
Hanan Qatine 14 years ago
I am just a newbie, intresting to hear about you experience and comments with hostings. I was on my way to buy the hostgator. It's my first webside ever. Should I start with the unlimited one with hostgator or should I just buy one domain? And join the hostgator or Amazon S when I have more websites?? little confused.
Spiderman 14 years ago
Or, just read the fine print - or in this case, the server specs that are displayed upon purchase.

know what you're getting yourself into. if you don't understand CPU and such, then ask someone who does. but DON'T purchase a shared server account and complain about it afterwards because you failed to do your research.
hosatgator free 14 years ago
TBH, that's said in their terms of service, so it's mostly your fault. Imagine - there are probably dozens of sites hosted on that very same server, and if you were hogging 100% of cpu time, performance for other sites would be very bad.
100% FREE online dating 14 years ago
you're right , i have been a hostgator customer for 2 years , and sudenly my account get suspended! why? i asked them they said you are usimg much resources and you need to upgrade to VPS or dedicated ! after 10s of emails to get it unsuspended so that i can move it to a vps server
Cheap Web Hosting 14 years ago

I'm rather shocked by this review. I also use HostGator to host my sites and have never had anything problems (Although I suppose you didn't either until that happened).

I'll definitely have to be careful with how much resources I'm using, then.

Thanks, Jake..
Brian Flemming 14 years ago
I have had this same problem with 1and1.com when a particular WordPress blog of mine on a shared server got a huge spike in traffic due to publicity. Similarly, 1and1.com told me it wasn't a bandwidth issue but instead a CPU issue.

I wish hosting accounts offered some kind of an "overdraft protection" for customers who get an average of X traffic per day but may have one day a year when they get 10,000X. It's impractical to pay for 10,000 times your average traffic every single day to guard against that one rare big day. But it also stinks to have your site shut down on your biggest day of the year.

I've never had a problem with static sites getting these spikes, though -- i.e., plain old HTML pages. Only dynamic sites (like WordPress blogs or forums) that significantly use the CPU with every visitor have given me problems.
GiceRallcek 14 years ago

your post is intertesting, can you share the blueprint that Rob follows? I will keep watching your post . great!
Fatih 14 years ago
I've been using Hostgator shared hosting. As far as I know, it's the best services so far. It gives you up to 25% CPU usage, while others like bluehost, dreamhost, etc will only allow you using up to 10% of CPU usage. 25% in practical terms is about 60k visitor in wordpress powered blog with caching plugins installed.
Samuel Wiki 14 years ago
I have been a Hostgator fan since long. You should have mentioned some coupons for your blog readers. Like i use coupon code "9BUCKS94CENTS" to get $9.94 off or "GET25PERCENT" to get 25% off on any bigger package. :)
Harry Touzel 13 years ago
I have used Hostgator for some time and always find their support good. Today I had a 500 internal server error fixed in no time. Had some minor issues before but all in all everything works fine.
bunny 13 years ago
I am sorry to hear this. In fact there is another solution that is a mid solution between dedicated machine and shared hosting to cut the cost. VPS hosting can be helpful with low budget and mini dedicated server. I use to host my sites at Shopaserver.com, and thanks God no such issues till now plus they have better price.
Ken Gibson 13 years ago
I've been using Hostgator for a couple of months now and so far it's working well. So i might as well recommend it for others to try.
carlos scarpero 12 years ago
Yep, HostGator did the same thing to me. I'm also on Site 5, which also give me CPU warnings but at least Site 5 will give me a chance to fix it without shutting it down.
Andy 12 years ago
Another disappointed HG customer here. I have been a Hostgator customer for 7 years with a shared hosting deal.

Last week, without warning they shut down our small village website that gets very little traffic (from what I can see). They said that the combination of WordPress and the little-used myBB forum was using up too much CPU and violated their terms of service.

This is despite them making both programs available for download / 1-click installation through the control panel.

What really irks me is that they refuse to allow me to address the underlying issue. They won't even tell me what is causing the underlying issue. It's a small site with a small readership. What's causing the violation?

They won't even let me just uninstall the forum to see if that helps.

They just announced (and have repeated) that the site will not be allowed to be restored.

This has happened just days before the Olympic torch is due to be carried through the village -- one of the biggest days in our history!!

So at the moment, I would have to say that I cannot recommend Hostgator until they become more transparent and more helpful to their paying customers.
Rich 12 years ago
I find your post more than a little strange. I've contacted Hostgator service many many times and have always found them helpful and transparent.

It's possible that what you consider 'very little traffic' is more than a shared hosting account can handle. In my experience anything over around 500 visits a day (on a WordPress site) is too much for a shared account. This is especially true if a lot of that traffic happens during certain times of the day. A simple solution is to upgrade to a VPS.
admin21 12 years ago
Hi Mark,
I am now experiencing the same problem with Affilorama, except my website has been off line for weeks!

This is the 3rd time that it has happened... and all without warning.

So it seems my website is growing in popularity which is a good thing... but I still haven't made any money so the $174 (hostgator) dedicated server cost is out of the question.

I will look at VPS... while I'm waiting for my website to go back on line. (last time it took 5 days) :(
chris tucker 12 years ago
This whole thread stinks! It seems people are jumping on HostGator w/o good reason. The Internet is a dirty pace, where the good reputation of a company can easily be damaged by competitors acting like unhappy customers!
I own a small roof cleaning forum, and HostGator was suggested to me to host it. I am still shopping for hosting, and this crap will not make me not use or consider HostGator.
NDA 11 years ago
My site have just been suspended and all my files have gone. I am waiting for support but they do not respond after 2 horus.

Hostgator support is very very bad

Im moving out as son as posible
Tayyab 11 years ago
I was reading reviews of best webhosting in the market lots of people ask about to use blue host but they are giving less features than hostgator .I also think hostgator is best till now not recieved any problem.
Mark F. 11 years ago
Hey Guys,

I do apologize for the issues you are having with Host Gator. I just wanted to clarify a few things regarding resource usage for shared accounts. It is true as per the Terms of Service you are limited to using 25% for more then 90 secs at a time.

7a.) Resource Usage

User may not:
1) Use 25% or more of system resources for longer then 90 seconds. There are numerous activities that could cause such problems; these include: CGI scripts, FTP, PHP, HTTP, etc.

This is put in place not to cause issues with your site but to protect you and the other people that have websites on the server as well by keeping the server from halting due to high resource usage.

Some things that can be done to reduce the amount of resource usage is to implement caching for your site. Using WordPress as an example what caching does is take the dynamicly created php pages and output them as static html pages. This is good do to the way php pages are handled by the server. When you connect to a website that is using php to serve content since the content is dynamic it needs to generate a apache (web server) process everytime that somebody connects and this is were the CPU resources start to jump. Serving pages cached outputs the content to a single html page that everybody can connect to at one time significanly reducing the amount of resourcesu used on the server.

In the case of the video, Videos can be very resource intensive on the server as well. It's the same theory, everytime the video is accessed it creates a new process to do it. The higher amount of users connecting the more CPU usage is used.

I hope this brings this issue to light and if you have anymore questions regarding this process I will be happy to answer them.

Mark F.
john 11 years ago
I have been with gator for 7 year ;7 years of problems the same problems over and over.
there ads are deceptive which the posts by pesons who claim to work for gator basically admit that what they promise in terms of specs is false.
"unlimited this unlimited that" ...BS
in the first place the 25% server resources means your gonna have a problem if you have any sites with many functions or high traffic or if say a bunch of people post at the same time.then there is the database violations..they hand those out like candy...I get those just for using the cpanel and editing
Problem is the wp blog are big database hogs...once you get many post you will always eventually violate that because with multiple blogs and multiple posts come multiple querries " to many querrys" we have place a hold on your database emails will arrive.
Then the worst two.
Unlimited files is promised but they come up with another name for files= 'inodes" and then those are limited so it is a trick files are limited but we wont tell you what the limit is.
Then the processes.!....most sites have process
wp has ton of them from the wp-cron and the plug ins,but many sites have processes.
you are allowed 25 running at once..if you go over 25 you are shut down. .and frequently around 20 you will have problems.25 might sound like a lot but it is not .due to all the complaints they have"work arounds" for wp which are basically turn off all plug ins use wp super cashe which doesnt help because the process still run and shut of wp-cron and use cpanel cron.
these solution dont work because any processes quickly add up to 25 on a coincident time
joe edwards 11 years ago
xcubehost.com is a good alternative, well was for me anyway, just kept my domain from godaddy and switched nameservers.
Paul Ddd 11 years ago
I have had dedicated servers with hostgator for years and they have always been pretty good. But over the last 3 weeks my entire server has gone down 7 times. Hostgator dedicated is horrible.
phil spin 11 years ago
yes, i opened up an account with them setup wordpress (with no content) and was suspended within 24 hours with no warning. First they told me i was in violation of their tos (later they said I was not), so i read them and asked what part, then i was told since i had a gmail account, they needed verification, then they told me w\they wanted to know what i was using site for. It was obviously a local business marketing website. Then they said my email was not in the system (the same email i used to order. They also wanted my paypal trans id. I gave them much of this information twice. They dropped the ball many times. I have never had an experience like that.
andrew 10 years ago
once again, something that is simple address needs an unacceptable wait time, and repetitive harassment from staff for information already provided to them in the same session.
Clearly the focus is far from the customer. Customers need think clearly about their needs.
Hostgator is definitely NOT organisation it was when I first started my account. Hosting is available more relaibly and the same price in AUSTRALIA now.

Dropped the ball ROFL what an understatement !!!

Time to remove my Hostgator affiliate logo - I dont want people giving me a hard time over hostgator non performance
Anand Rao 11 years ago
I am fully confused by reading this article as well as comments.Can any one help me is hostgator hosting is good for low traffic around 1000 views per day? How is the speed? Which one is better Godaddy or Hostgator?
JRJ 11 years ago
Guys, guys, guys:

ONE person, out of all their customers, had a bad experience with their web hosting program. So? Every single web hosting company will have at least one dissatisfied customer. It's amazing that HostGator has only a couple.

Plus, it's only around $100 per year. You're going to go and boycott a HostGator account just because somebody had a bad experience with their CPU power?

If you have 100 domains, chances are that you're making at least $100 per day online. Invest $100 of that income into another web hosting account.

Robert 10 years ago
While I was waiting for chat support I thought I would search to see if anyone else continually had problems with hostgator's shared server speed and here is a lot of comments about it, I'll add another.

Hostgator's shared hosting speeds for user downloads is extremely slow during the afternoon and evenings, never reaching above 49kbs. However, in the morning, it's lightning fast but this a problem that they acknowledge but never fix. I haven't even launched the site yet, I'm the only one downloading - it's absolutely sad how they can actually claim to have 100kbs up/down speed all the time, it's fraud and they don't intend on fixing the issue.

If your going to conduct business online start off right with another host, I'm not sure who to pick now because I thought I found the best one already.
Ryan 10 years ago
Iv been using host gator for 10 years, this morning I got an email about how some thing on the server was using to much CPU, after fixing it. My sites where blocked and my account was suppended, I tryed to contact them via support chat. There was no answer after an hour of waiting. So I called them. To find out how long it would take to fix and get my sites back to witch I couldnt not get a reply.

There was no warning at all. They just shut my sites down.

There support is terrible and there service has gone way down hill.

I would not recomend them to any one.

Hostgator 0/5 stars
davidfrost 9 years ago
Their tech support team really needs to be restructured. Just saying.

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