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HostGator

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Overview

Every business in the 21st century setting needs a website at some point to use for online commerce purposes or a personal space to share daily updates. For this, a web hosting that’s flexible, reliable, affordable, and experienced in the field is needed. That’s what HostGator has been for the last decade rising to become one of the popular web hosting providers across various regions in the world. It powers about 8 million websites across the globe boasting hosting packages such reseller, shared, cloud, virtual private server, and dedicated packages. HostGator’s shared hosting package, which is remarkably robust, is the oldest of the pack and its plans remain the most used in 2018.

Background Information

HostGator was founded in 2002 by Brent Oxley who was then a student at Florida Atlantic University.  A decade later, Endurance International Group, which owns world’s top ten state-of-the-art web hosting companies, took it under its umbrella growing its popularity exponentially ever since. It enjoys a close working relationship with BlueHost, iPage, JustHost, Fatcow – firms which also happen to be part of the EIG.

HostGator owns two U.S based data centers which are situated in Provo, UT and Houston, TX. In 2012, it launched an office in India aimed at expanding its international reach and brand. The firm also began knitting rapport with tech titans such as Linux and Cisco whose networking infrastructures have permeated the web in great detail.

Our HostGator review will comprehensively inspect its web hosting packages, features, pros & cons, and conclude by answering the frequently asked questions by customers.

Hostgator Hosting Plans

As aforementioned, HostGator offers a wide array of hosting packages spanning from the simple shared plans, to the pricier top-of-the-range options including dedicated servers and cloud hosting plans. Below are the primary hosting packages that we’ll closely review in our post:

-          Shared Web Hosting

-          VPS Hosting

-          Reseller Hosting

-          WordPress Hosting

-          Dedicated Servers

-          Cloud Hosting

Shared Web Hosting

While this is the package with the cheapest plans at HostGator, it has everything needed to set up a small or medium-sized website. The plans are payable on a monthly basis with amazingly good offers available to customers signing up for terms longer than six months. Hosting using this package avails both Linux and Windows platforms with their applications using popular web tools including MySQL, Apache, and PHP. Moreover, the package comes with website builders that support drag-and-drop input creating an easy set off for anyone starting out in web design or running a budding site.

All plans come with a Quick-Install tool that is particularly handy in installing popular applications on the web ranging from Joomla, Drupal, Magento, to WordPress. The one-click installer also avails a wide selection of pre-built themes, image libraries, and supporting sections to facilitate easy publishing. In total, HostGator offers for free around 52 scripts for this package, all which are useful in managing content and behavior of each element at the front end. Besides, customers wishing to migrate their sites, domains, or databases can do so for free. Want to market your site right off its start up? Use the $100 Google and Bing AdWords offer to get on board and known to the world. These credits, however, are only available to users with new accounts.

Although not mentioned expressly on HostGator’s site, subscribers of shared hosting package are restricted from utilizing more than 25% of allotted system resources for over 90 seconds. Furthermore, an account with more than 100,000 inodes is eliminated from the backup system without prior notice. Although the sign up process for any plan is easy and straightforward, any new account takes around 24-48 hours to get activated fully.

Shared web hosting offers three pricing packs namely Hatchling, Baby, and Business plans. They arrive with a 45-day money-back guarantee period and a free SSL certification for every website the client puts up. Payment can be made via PayPal or a valid Credit Card.

-          Hatchling Plan

Starting at $2.75 per month (using 36-month subscription), Hatchling plan is ideal for small startups and blogs with minimal demands on resources. On purchasing it, you’ll receive one single domain, a free secure socket layer certificate, and content will be accessed on an unmetered bandwidth. In addition, you’ll be able to protect your website from unauthorized access by hackers via HackAlert monitoring service. Any malicious code injected on the site will be detected and thwarted before it damages the system resources allocated to you.

Other tools that are within reach for users subscribing to HostGator’s Hatchling Plan include a separately billed backup solution by CodeGuard, Search Engine Optimization tools, and professional mailing service powered by Google.

-          Baby Plan

This plan is not much different from Hatchling plan in terms of apportionment of resources. Nonetheless, it comes with a shared SSL certificate, unlimited network bandwidth, and support for indefinite number of domains. On a monthly subscription plan, it costs $11.95 and $8.95 when using an annual subscription. The fairest deal is the 3-year payment which charges approximately $5.95 per month.

Like the Hatchling plan, subscribers of this will have access to QuickInstall tool, inbuilt market with over 500 applications, and a security kit powered by SiteLock. Unfortunately, any sites hosted on accounts using this plan will share dynamic IP addresses amongst themselves.

-          Business Plan

With almost a 60% price difference on its lowest versus the highest fee, Business Plan is excellent for established small and medium commercial stores. Customers have three options when it comes to payment - monthly charge at $16.95, an annual fee at $107 or $8.95 per month, and a 36-month term for $5.95 per month. Accounts subscribed to it enjoy support for unlimited number of domains, a single dedicated IP, and private toll free number that business owners can contact in case of a system hitch or emergencies.

Like the other two plans of this package, a free shared SSL certificate is included but now with an ability to upgrade to free Positive SSL. Basically, this secures both the domain and subdomains, adds a TrustLogo Site Seal on your site’s URL, and is backed by $10,000 warranty in case of a malicious security breach. The SEO tools are also included with HostGator estimating a value addition of $50 per year to customer’s website. With the tools, the web host provider focuses on Bing and Google as its preferred search engines.

Cloud Hosting

Over the last decade, HostGator has been lauded for its cheap cloud hosting plans which are easy to use as they are to acquire. The cheapest plan here gives twice the speed and up to four times the resources apportioned in the priciest shared hosting plan. The provider attributes the boom in performance to the multiple-layer caching technology, low density of servers, and premium hardware used in allotting resources to sites using this package.

Cloud hosting on HostGator will be ideal for anyone who’s reaching usage limits in Business Plan of shared hosting package. The provider makes it possible to migrate data freely after upgrading with minimal manipulation of the control panel values. Subscribers will also maintain their accounts irrespective of the type of hosting they were using before the upgrade or downgrade. Additionally, the resources are scalable to give your website the ability to respond to visitors’ spikes efficiently.  With this, HostGator eliminates downtime, system reboot requirements, and maximizes the power needed to hold large volumes of traffic at different times of the day.

Another thing, with this package, you’ll be able to access site’s statistics on visitors’ traffic, bandwidth usage, and access to the installed third party applications. All these are accessible via an intuitive dashboard which moreover shows server uptime info, rank on search engines, and generally your global outreach. Did you also know HostGator removed the need to have advanced coding knowledge and reliance on system admins entirely? Well, their resource management portal provides an easy-to-use, interactive interface that allows web rookies to administrate the cloud hosted site(s) as if they were tech gurus.

Like the Shared Hosting Package, HostGator’s Cloud Hosting uses three pricing plans to allot resources and manage diverse groups of users. These are:

-          Hatchling Cloud Plan

This plan works like an independent system completely unaffected by the activities of other users on the cloud infrastructure. The cheapest rate starts at $4.95 per month and includes a free single domain and an SSL certificate with 256-bit encryption. With the free domain, you are allowed to create an unlimited number of subdomains. The sites, applications, or services you host are powered by 2GB memory, a dual core processing unit, and a network with unmetered bandwidth. Although HostGator claims that the disk space apportioned is unmetered, you might need to regulate your usage to stay within what’s considered a fair usage. In case you exceed the size considered normal, an email will be sent advising you on upgrading the plan for convenience.

-          Baby Cloud Plan

With the resources allotted to subscribers of this plan, it is the recommended option for a majority of users of cloud hosting package. The cheapest rate stands at $7.95 when using the 36-month subscription. It gives your account the capacity to host an unlimited number of domains and subdomains all running under an SSL-enabled environment. For power, the plan allots 4 cores of CPU, 4GB RAM, and an unlimited storage space plus bandwidth. You can also choose to activate automatic backup of data although this will attract an increase in the charged fee.  

-          Business Cloud Plan

This is HostGator’s ultimate cloud hosting plan suited for grown commercial stores and high traffic websites. With the plan, customers are apportioned 6 cores of CPU, unlimited storage and bandwidth, 6GB RAM, and a dedicated IP to service public facing apps and sites in the account. The charges begin at $9.95 per month with free SSL certificate for all domains and their subs held by the account. The plan also comes with optional web essential tools such as Domain Privacy, G Suite, SiteLock, and CodeGuard. For mailing, clients are advised to implement Google infrastructure which allows creation of unlimited POP3 accounts.

Wordpress Hosting

With WordPress growing so popular, HostGator is also aboard offering cloud hosting for sites built out of it. The company asserts that it works 2.5 times faster than shared web hosting, attributing the boost in performance to the super charged cloud architecture, powerful Content Delivery Networks, and the multiple caching layers on the servers. Besides, customers receive free migration services allowing new users to HostGator to get started on the right foot. If in need of WordPress templates, these are accessible at MOJO marketplace that’s included in every plan on this package.

Unlike other hosting types, WordPress Hosting comes with a control panel specially designed to suit WordPress users. According to HostGator, the interface focuses on usability, scalability of resources, and mail services management. Account owners can configure auto-backup to take snapshots or perform a full back-up without affecting performance of the website. An automatic Malware Removal Tool is also included in the package for free.

HostGator has three WordPress Hosting pricing plans under this category:

-          Starter Plan

This one targets people owning a single site and without much traffic spikes through the entire period of hosting. It provides 100% free migration for the single site in the account and automated backup of up to 1GB data that includes databases and file systems. The bandwidth allowed can only accommodate a traffic averaging 100,000 visits every month. Like other plans covered before, the storage space is unmetered and each account owns its free SSL certificate for web security. The monthly charges are $5.95 for the Starter Plan.

-          Standard Plan

Using Standard Plan, you’ll be able to host a maximum of two websites with an estimated site traffic of 200,000 visits a month. The backup size ramps up to 2GB with provision of 100% migration of two sites of choice. Furthermore, the account receives one-off Google AdWords Credit worth $100 which is applicable to new members only. This plan costs about $7.95 per month with guaranteed expert help for any WordPress related issues. It is HostGator’s recommended pack for WordPress hosting.

-          Business Plan

WordPress hosting business plan targets accounts owning a maximum of three websites with an estimated traffic of 500,000 visits. The resources allocated to subscribers here are 5 times those in the highest plan of Shared Web Hosting. HostGator automates a daily backup size of 3GB prioritizing databases then file directories. Business Plan goes for $9.95 every month.

Reseller Hosting

If you’re in web hosting industry to earn money, Reseller Hosting using HostGator is a great avenue to build your worth. It allows you to acquire third-party clients whose websites you’ll host on a provider and receive a commission after they pay. The package provides a billing software, offers flexibility in resource apportionment to your clients, and allows resellers to scale optimal pricing plans as the business grows. The account for this package comes with WHM control panel which supports a multilingual interface, an application for monitoring the server status, a scaling tool for resources allocation, and a panel that can be branded with your company’s logo.

The reselling hosting plan also brings aboard plenty of programming languages and modules including Ruby on Rails, Python, CGI, PHP 5 & 7, Curl and ImageMagick. Also provides are webmail access tools namely SquirrelMail, RoundCube, and Horde with a free anti-spam powered by SpamAssassin.

There are three pricing plans of Reseller Hosting at HostGator with slight variations in each level.

The Aluminium plan gives 60GB disk space, 600GB in bandwidth, support for unlimited creation of domains, and charges $19.95 per month.

On the other hand, the Copper plan offers 90GB in hosting space, 900GB bandwidth, and charges $24.95 every month.

Silver is the priciest fetching $24.95 per month for unlimited domains, 140GB storage space, and 1400GB bandwidth.

Dedicated/VPS Hosting

With dedicated hosting and VPS, the buyer gains total control over the supplied environment by allowing independent configuration of the server(s). They also come with multiple layers of security and multiple bandwidth providers to ensure clients devices run smoothly throughout. The data center which facilitates these service is fitted with HVAC units with failover systems installed to keep hosting uninterrupted 24/7. Both hosting types receive weekly offsite backups to keep data intact and be accessible on demand. They have access to thousands of tools, installer scripts, and templates which work compatibly with Intel and AMD hardware for optimal performance.

HostGator has three VPS hosting plans here namely Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, and Snappy 8000.

Snappy 2000 provides 120GB of disk space, 1.5TB bandwidth, 2 cores of CPU, and 2GB RAM. The asking price starts at $19.95 per month.

On the other hand, Snappy 4000 offers 4GB RAM, 2TB bandwidth, 165GB of storage, and 2 cores of CPU. It costs $29.95 to acquire or upgrade to the plan.

Finally, Snappy 8000 which is the costliest of the three goes at $39.99 per month and offers 8GB RAM, 4 cores of CPU, 3TB bandwidth, and 240GB in storage.

All accounts are issued 2 dedicated IP addresses and run on fairly top of the line network.

For dedicated hosting, HostGator features Value, Power, and Enterprise Server plans.

Value Server, which costs $119 per month, provides a hyperthreaded 4 core CPU running on Intel Xeon-D brand, 8GB RAM, 1 TB hard driver, unmetered bandwidth, and either Linux or Windows platforms.

Power Server costs $139 per month bringing on board an 8 core CPU, 16GB RAM, 2 TB HDD or 512GB SSD, and unmetered bandwidth.

Finally, Enterprise Server which sits on top of the line provides 1 TB SSD storage, 8 core CPU, and 30GB of RAM. It costs $149 per month. 

Webhosting Plans
Shared Hosting
Plan Name Disk Space Bandwidth Currency Admin panel OS Websites Scripting Email-Transport Database SSH Databackups Free Domain 1-Click Installer Websites Builder Location Price
Business Plan - - USD cPanel 1 Perl,Python,PHP IMAP, SMTP MySQL $ 6.73
Baby Plan - - USD cPanel 1 Perl,Python,PHP IMAP, SMTP MySQL $ 4.48
Hatchling Plan - - USD cPanel 1 Perl,Python,PHP IMAP, SMTP MySQL $ 3.13

Reseller Hosting
Plan Name Disk Space Bandwidth Admin panel OS Accounts Scripting Database Guarantee Location Price
Silver 140GB 1400GB WHM,cPanel 1 Perl,Python,Ruby on Rails,PHP MySQL $ 24.95
Copper 90GB 900GB WHM,cPanel 1 Perl,Python,Ruby on Rails,PHP MySQL $ 24.95
Aluminum 60GB 600GB WHM,cPanel 1 Perl,Python,Ruby on Rails,PHP MySQL $ 19.95

Cloud Hosting
Plan Name Disk Space Bandwidth Admin panel Cores RAM Core Speed CPU OS Backups SSH Managed Location Price
Business Cloud - - cPanel 6 6GB - 6 Cores $ 9.95
Baby Cloud - - cPanel 4 4GB - 4 Cores - $ 7.95
Hatchling Cloud - - cPanel 2 2GB - 2 Cores $ 4.95

VSP Hosting
Plan Name Disk Space Bandwidth Admin panel OS Cores RAM Core Speed Backups Managed Location Price
Snappy 8000 240GB 3000GB cPanel 4 8GB - $ 49.95
Snappy 4000 165GB 2000GB cPanel 2 4GB - $ 39.95
Snappy 2000 120GB 1500GB cPanel 2 2GB - $ 29.95

Dedicated Hosting
Plan Name Disk Space Bandwidth Admin panel OS Core RAM Core Speed IPs SSH Backups Managed CPU Guarantee Location Price
Enterprise Server 1000GB - WHM,Plesk,cPanel 8 30GB - 3 Intel Xeon-D CPU $ 149.00
Power Server 2000GB - WHM,Plesk,cPanel 8 18GB - 3 Intel Xeon-D CPU $ 139.00
Value Server 1000GB - WHM,Plesk,cPanel 4 8GB - 3 Intel Xeon-D CPU $ 119.00

Hostgator Features

Performance and Speed

To be honest, the measure of performance on HostGator is relative to the package which the consumer picks. Nevertheless, the provider appears to give the amount of resources that are just optimal for a particular price. Those using Shared Web Hosting receive unmetered bandwidth but it’s not truly unlimited as data caps exist. For instance, no one is allowed to exceed 25% of the allocated system resources which can sometimes be impossible to control when running a website with rapid growth over a short while. But with dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting, the performance is worthwhile considering the resources are allocated individually to each account.

On speed, HostGator optimizes this with optional inclusion of Content Delivery Networks on every plan. Although it comes with a slight ramp of cost, it improves the load speed of the websites hosted on the provider. Indeed, the greatest beneficiaries of HostGator’s huge array of networking infrastructure are account owners using the cloud technology which is turbo powered to boost performance. Whether you’re on WordPress or normal cloud hosting plans, you’re guaranteed of at least twice the efficiency of the normal allotted resources. And the good thing, the prices are fairly friendly even when working with the defaulting 36-month subscription term.

Control Panel

To power the administration consoles, HostGator utilizes cPanel software. If you’ve used the it before, you’ll certainly agree is it easy to use irrespective of level of web expertise. To better the control panel farther, HostGator includes task organizers, statistics tools, and help links for consumers who seek clarification of items included in it. With their backend panel, you’ll have exclusive access to Raw Log Manager, AWStats, Webalizer, and Error Logs Reporter.

Moreover, HostGator allows users to remain updated on files written by the server over a configurable amount of time. This, in turn, assists in quick identification of malfunctioning web elements and freeing the apportioned storage of junk directories and files. Also, as previously mentioned, account owners in various packages have access to MOJO market where web templates, applications, and scripts can be sourced out.

Another good thing with HostGator is that it comes with a QuickInstall software. This one is not only powerfully reliable, but also supports one-click and automated installations. That combined with the ability to regulate, automate, and manage backups unlocks the true potent of a provider that is keen on data preservation. Whether you’re on shared web host, cloud, or a dedicated server, your data will be mirrored either automatically or on request. Their intuitive control panel gives you total control over what gets stored or deleted.

Support

HostGator has employed over 1000 staff working 24/7 to attend to queries, complaints, and process feedback. The support team can be accessed by chatting them up on the official site, calling the helpline, or sending feedback via the ticket system. Additionally, the company offers how to articles, provides several Frequently Asked Questions pages, and provides external sources for farther reading of a subject. Actually, information regarding the entails of each web hosting package mentioned here is comprehensively covered on their website. This eliminates the need to enquire on minor issues thereby clearing the traffic in the ticket system and ultimately ameliorating assistance.

It’s also pleasing to learn that all the plans in individual packages arrive with a money-back guarantee of 45 days. So, anyone trying out the services of HostGator has ample time to evaluate whether they suffice their needs or not.

On average, HostGator has 99.9% uptime which is quite decent for a company with over 8 million customers aboard. What’s, however, outstanding is the quick attendance to outages and a great strategy to notify clients when maintenance services are about to be undertaken. It’s almost impossible to be caught unawares at least according to the statistics we’ve gathered so far.

Security

From anti-spam removers, DDOS attack detectors, to free periodic loophole scanning, HostGator is quite keen to keep security uptight. Every package plan comes with free secure socket layer (SSL) certificate to encrypt data exchange between the server and the browser. Additionally, the company’s network works under the cover of strong firewalls which are provided on every layer of communication.

For the last five years, DDOS threats have successfully been eliminated on all websites sitting under HostGator by automatically installing UPD flooding filters. Another measure the company takes is giving a clear guideline on securing accounts, creating passwords, and recommending a foolproof antivirus to shield potential attacks. They also promise automatic provision of updates for WordPress users and patches whenever a loophole is identified and resolved.

Extras

-          Multifaceted Support for Application Hosting

HostGator supports installation and hosting of popular applications spanning from Drupal, phpBB, Wiki, Magento, to Joomla hosting. These platforms are useful in website building, content management systems, creating online stores, and managing a community based forum. With this web host company supporting such applications, it is truly a plus for anyone starting out or already a veteran in the field.

-          Email Features

HostGator offers unlimited POP3 email accounts with SMTP and webmail access using three powerful platforms namely RoundCube, Horde, and SquirrelMail. Consumers wishing to personalize notifications can activate IMAP for real-time updates on incoming and urgent mails. Other useful tools the firm provides include Mail Autoresponders, Batch Mail Forward, and Mailing List Generators.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Hostgator

Strengths

-          Quality customer service

HostGator surrounds itself with experts in every field ranging from technical to communication fields. They can be reached via phone calls, live chats, emails, ticket systems, etc.

-          Excellent uptime record

Although it has 0.4% downtime annually, this web host provider is very reliable on its uptime. Over time, this has increased its popularity while delivering the service needed by most consumers.

-          Support for E-commerce tools

Besides offering Mojo Marketplace where you can grab almost any ecommerce tool, HostGator provides accredited marketing packages including ZenCart, SugarCRM, and phpCOIN. These are very handy for a quick online store setup.

-          Flexibility in hosting options

HostGator provides major hosting types ranging from dedicated, VPS, shared, to cloud solutions. It has the plan for both novices and experienced web users with thousands of tools to enhance the experience.

-          Decent money back guarantee period

Within 45 days, the account owners have enough time to assess their experience and gauge value addition of the plans selected. The compensation is 100% the initial contribution amount with no cancellation fees included.

-          Numerous discounts

All the pricing plans that HostGator formulates come with a discount relative to the subscription term.

-          Inclusion of QuickInstall module

Upon registering with them, you can acquire all the tools you need almost effortlessly. Besides, with a few clicks the elements you added will be ready for use thanks to QuickInstall module.

-          Basic and advanced security features

HostGator provides a wide array of security-enabling tools, scripts, and modules. Even simple amateur websites here are secured with foolproof network layers capable of arresting zero-day threats that can affect performance or stability.

-          Scaling of allotted resources is instant

Every consumer can limit or upgrade the resources apportioned to their working space. Their control panel software is very versatile and allows consumers to choose features that best suit them.

-          Lots of freebies

Every hosting plan arrives with a decent amount of freebies ranging from site builders, domain transfer assistants, database creators, storage managers, and bandwidth scalers.

Weaknesses

Even with the high number of positives, HostGator is not perfect. Below are the shortcomings:

-          Inconsistency in speed

During peak hours, speeds and performance of various servers deteriorates increasing latency which is disadvantageous for budding and established websites. This is particularly problematic for sites running on a shared resource networks.

-          Delayed Support

Before live chat was introduced, consumers would wait for days before a response was given on issues forwarded. Today, the problem is mainly miscommunication between support staff and customers which delays help.

-          Reasonable plans’ price at 36-month terms

Most of the packages have their plans payable by default on a 36-month contract which can be costly for anyone trying out HostGator for the first time.

Hostgator FAQs

-          How does HostGator work?

To begin with, HostGator is a web hosting company dedicated to renting server space and providing computing power to allow consumers to host websites and other online services. To get started, you need to purchase a hosting package of choice, access the cPanel, and from there add or register domain names pointing to your website. You’ll then proceed to set up content either manually or via content management systems such as WordPress. Within 48 hours your website will be on and running just fine.

-          Which payment methods can I use on HostGator?

The two acceptable means of payment at HostGator are PayPal and use of Credit Card. Note that your credit card must be authorized by your bank to conduct business.

-          Is Constant Contact part of HostGator?

Not really, Constant Contact and HostGator are under a partnership contract. The firm provides email marketing and an optional addition to mailing services offered by HostGator.

-          Is HostGator’s money back guarantee legit?

Yes, it’s totally legit as long as your account has adhered to the terms of service specified here. The period within which you can terminate your contract with the firm lasts for 45-days.

-          Must I have an account to access HostGator’s domain privacy protection?

Yes, you need an account to register, reserve, and protect a domain. Nonetheless, it’s not a must to host your website on HostGator to use domain names acquired from the company.

-          Can I use WordPress on HostGator?

Sure, WordPress is supported on HostGator with even an optimized hosting package to facilitate its operation. You can easily install it via the control panel and proceed to build a website with it. Whenever updates or quick fixes for vulnerabilities are available, you’ll be notified to install them in respect to your panel’s configuration.

-          Any site builders on HostGator or must I build the site myself?

Yes. HostGator features a good number of accredited content management systems namely WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Weebly, Joomla, and many others. Install any or all of these by accessing your control panel.

-          How can I access the control panel?

After the registration of your account is successful, HostGator sends an email that contains a link to your cPanel. For already established websites, the simplest way to access it is visiting www.yourwebsite.com/cpanel.

-          Between IMAP and POP3 which one does HostGator use for emails?

Both are applicable in HostGator. Nonetheless, POP3 is quite a popular protocol in email handling due to its simplicity in implementation and usage. IMAP is recommended when working with complex systems and already accustomed to its inner workings.

-          Are HostGator and BlueHost the same company?

No. Although the two web hosting companies are owned by Endurance International Group, they are not the same companies. Each sells packages at different rates and are based in different data centers. Other companies EIG owns include HomeStead, Typepad, StartLogic, iPage, and iPower. More information is provided here.