HostGator is one of the popular hosting companies for WordPress bloggers. Though EIG is a single parent company behind HostGator, Bluehost and many other companies, the services of these company vary largely. For example, you can get cheap shared hosting plan with HostGator for as low as $3.50 for unlimited websites. If you have a smaller blog or you are just starting the blogging, then HostGator is definitely a good option to consider. In this article, we will explain how to setup your WordPress blog in HostGator shared hosting. Learn more on how to setup your blog with Bluehost shared hosting.
Shared Hosting Vs WordPress Hosting
Before starting, we want to make the difference clear between shared hosting and WordPress hosting plans offered by HostGator. The lowest WordPress hosting plan is a Starter Plan which you can get for $5.95 per month. It has limitations of 1 site and 100K visits per month. It comes with pre-installed WordPress and you can straight away start building your site.
On other hand, you can the shared hosting for as low as $2.75 per month for single site under Hatchling plan. You can get the Baby plan for $3.50 per month for unlimited websites with no limit on bandwidth. The only difference is that you need to install WordPress using the one-click Softaculous installer.
In our opinion, you can purchase Baby plan and install WordPress instead of paying higher for WordPress hosting plans.
Purchasing Shared Hosting Plan from HostGator
Go to HostGator website’s shared hosting page and click on the “Buy Now” button.
Choosing a Domain
The first step in setting up your WordPress blog in HostGator is to purchase a domain for your website. You can either get one-year free domain or use your domain purchased from another registrar. We recommend purchasing domain from GoDaddy, NameCheap or any other registrar for a lower price. Though you can get a free domain with hosting plan for the first year, it will cost you $17.99 for renewal.
Type your domain name to choose it as a primary domain for your hosting account. If you are purchasing Hatchling plan, then this will be the only one domain you can use on your account. For Baby and higher plans, you can add additional domains in cPanel using “Add-on Domain” feature. HostGator will suggest purchasing other domain extensions, which you can ignore.
Choosing Contract Term
In the next step, you will automatically see the plan you have chosen. In this article, we will explain purchasing Baby plan and setup WordPress blog in HostGator. The price will change depending on the billing cycle you choose. Three years (36 months) is the longest term available, and you can $3.50 get the Baby plan with almost 65% discount. If you want to test HostGator shared hosting, then select one month Hatchling plan which will cost you $10.95 per month.
Remember, you need to renew the hosting account with much higher price after the end of your billing cycle. You can see the actual renewal rate below the current billing cycle box.
Create Your Account
The next step is to fill your email and password for creating the account. This will be your hosting account login details and you need to remember the password for logging into your account from HostGator portal. You also need to fill up 4-digit PIN to use during support call.
Select Billing Method
HostGator offers to pay through credit card or through PayPal account. You do not need to worry much about the payment about as you will get 45 days moneyback guarantee for the purchase. Fill up you name and billing address details to proceed further.
Unselect Additional Services
HostGator offers multiple add-on services to support the hosting account. For example, you can get custom Gmail, SiteLock, Positive SSL, etc. for additional amount. By default, HostGator will select few services like SiteLock. Make sure to unselect all these additional add-ons. You can purchase them whenever you need at later point of time.
Check Coupon and Price
On the next steps, you can see HostGator automatically applies the coupon code like SNAPPY. If you have any other coupon code, try in the box and validate it. Finally, make sure to check the price is discounted as per the pricing plan you have selected.
Hosting companies like DreamHost needs up to 24 hours to manually verify your billing details before activating the account. Good part is that HostGator will instantly activate your hosting account after payment.
After verifying the amount, click on the “Checkout Now” button.
If you have selected PayPal, you will see a screen to confirm paying with PayPal Agreement or One-Time Payment. Select the option and click on “Make Payment” button.
Check Nameservers and SSL in Hosting Account
After a successful payment, you can see the hosting account is activated instantly showing your website name as a primary domain.
You have to do few steps before setting up WordPress blog in HostGator for publishing your content. If you want to change the nameservers of your domain to point to HostGator servers, click on “Hosting” section and get the nameserver details. Checkout this article on how to change the nameservers on GoDaddy account, you need to follow similar instructions if you have purchased a domain somewhere else. If you have purchased a free domain from HostGator, DNS zones will be setup automatically and you need not to do any changes.
Click on the cPanel link showing under the domain name to enter into cPanel section. Here is the place you will get all apps for your domain and manage the server. First thing you need to do is to install SSL certificate on your domain.
You can see the information showing “No Valid Certificate” on the right sidebar. Either click on the spanner icon or search SSL in the search box to go to “SSL/TLS Status” app. HostGator will automatically run AutoSSL check and install the certificate on your domain. However, you should point the nameservers as explained above for the SSL certificate to install successfully. You can also click on “Run AutoSSL” button and run the process manually. After successful certificate installation, you will see the status as “AutoSSL Domain Validated”.
Installing WordPress in HostGator
Now that your domain is ready the next step is to install WordPress on it. HostGator offers one-click Softaculous installer app for installing WordPress and other applications on your domain. Type “WordPress” in the search box to find and open “WordPress Manager by Softaculous” app.
You will be taken to Softaculous installer section and click on “Install” button to start the WordPress installation process.
You can use “Quick Install” or provide all details as per your need. We recommend providing all the details like database name, table prefix as you wish instead of choosing “Quick Install” option. Select the latest WordPress version and choose the URL for installation. Here make sure to choose https and www or non-www version as you need.
Scroll down and provide your site name and description details. Do not worry much about these as you can change them after setting up WordPress. However, choose whether you want to have multisite or single site installation. For a normal use, you should go for single site installation and hence leave the multisite box unchecked.
Provide your admin username, password and emails details in the next section. These are the credentials for logging into your WordPress administrator panel and do not confuse this with your HostGator login details. You can login to WordPress using the username or email and providing the password. You can’t change the admin username from the admin panel, hence provide correct admin username.
Select Language, Database, Plugins and Theme
On next section, choose your language for the admin interface and select plugins for installing on your site. You can ignore all the plugins shown here as you will get different plugins after installation, and you can manually install any plugins later.
Click on the “Advanced Options” and provide the name for your database and then enter the prefix for your database tables. By default, WordPress will add “wp_” as a suffix to all database tables. However, it is recommended to change this prefix to your own for security reasons. Disable auto upgrade for WordPress, themes and plugins, to avoid your site layout issues with auto updating.
Final step is to select a theme for your website. We recommend ignoring this step as and install WordPress with the default twenty-twenty-one or similar theme. You can change the theme later from the admin panel.
Provide your email id in the “Email installation details to:” box to get all the details in your email box for handy reference. Click on “Install” button to start installing WordPress on your site.
It will take less than a minute to complete the process and you will get the success message along with the login details.
That’s all!!! Your WordPress blog is ready in HostGator shared hosting account. Click on your administrative URL to go to the WordPress admin login screen.
Customizing Admin Panel
Login to your admin panel with the username and password you have provided. HostGator will add multiple plugins like OptinMonster, WPForms, MOJO Marketplace, Jetpack, Akismet, etc. You can disable the plugins that you do not need and delete them before creating content. You can also install a maintenance mode plugin to put your site under maintenance till the time you publish content.
Similarly, go to “Appearance > Themes” and select “WordPress.org Themes” to get free themes from WordPress repository. You can install GeneratePress, Astra or any other plugin to replace the default plugin. Alternatively, you can go to “Premium Themes” section and purchase theme from MOJO Marketplace.
Start Building Your Blog
We recommend you to first cleanup the interface by deleting all unnecessary plugins and themes. Keep only what you need for creating content. Now you are all set to go!!! Go to “Pages” or “Posts” section and start creating your content using Gutenberg block editor.
As you can see, the WordPress installation process is quite lengthier in HostGator shared hosting setup. However, this should take less than 30 minutes if your domain is a new one. If you do not want to spend this time, then pay high and go for WordPress hosting plan. Both shared and WordPress hosting plans offer site migration from other cPanel providers like Bluehost. You can fill out a form or discuss with the support in chat to get more details for migrating from other companies. Since many companies like SiteGround do not offer cPanel setup, you may need to manually backup and migrate your existing site to HostGator.