HostGator has revamped the entire order system and now you can sign up painlessly without the need to go through what I have to go through last time. This article is no longer up to date.
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While signing up with BlueHost can be done in 2 minutes (as seen in this bluehost video), signing up with HostGator may need at least 10 minutes! There are too many options and too many page loads. You may even make some mistake and need to start all over again.
In October, I have moved this site from LunarPages to HostGator. I took the chance to capture the order process so I can show you here what you will need to go through so you won't give up half way.
Step #1 - Enter Your Domain Name
You can either register a new domain name or use an existing name. HostGator doesn't offer free domain name and if you are registering a new domain name, you will need to pay $15/year for it. If you want a free domain name, choose Blue Host instead. In my case, I will be using my existing domain name 10cheapwebhosting.com. I planned to add my real domain name 10-cheapwebhosting.com (with dash) as an add-on domain later.
Step #2 - Select Your Hosting Plan
Select your hosting plan. It will be either Hatchling, Baby or Business. Baby is recommended and is also the most popular choice because it allows you to host unlimited domains. I've selected Baby.
Step #3 - Select Billing Cycle and Enter Coupon Code
The billing cycle is either monthly, 6-months, yearly, 24-months or 36-months. Remember to enter your coupon here if it has not been automatically entered for you. The 20% discount coupon is always published in their homepage. If you want to try them for $0.01 for 1 month, use the coupon code FREEMONTH. I have selected 24-months with a 20% discount coupon because it will be cheaper that way since I will be with them for a long time.
Step #4 - Confirm Pricing, New or Existing Customer?
In this page, you will be shown your final hosting fee after the coupon discount. You will also need to tell them if you are a new customer or an existing HostGator customer. If you are an existing customer, probably you won't need to read this tutorial. So I assume you are a new customer.
Step #5 - Enter Billing Information, Username and Password
Enter your personal information and your prefered payment options here. You can pay with credit card or PayPal. You can select your own username with HostGator which is a cool feature because most web hosts will simply assign you an ugly username automatically. My previous username from LunarPage is "n0-che2" which is not easy to type and remember!
Step #6 - Confirm Your Order
Review your information before you click the "Process My Order" button. This step is very important because if you make any mistake, you will have to repeat all the steps above again! So please double check your information especially your credit card information. If there is something wrong, hit the "Correct My Information" button.
Step #7 - Order Completed!
Congratulation! You are now hosted by HostGator. You make a wise choice.
Step #8 - Check Your Email
Unlike BlueHost which offer instant account activation (where you can use your account immediately after you pay), HostGator is activating account manually. They promised to setup your account within 20 minutes. But I have mine setup in less than 5 minutes. You will receive 2 emails. The first look like this
Thank you for choosing HostGator.com as your web hosting provider. This email confirms that we have received your order.
If you have already submitted payment, your account will be setup within 20 minutes. If you have yet to make payment, you may do so by going to https://secure.hostgator.com/billing and logging in with primary email address and password specified at time of signup.
Once your account is setup, you will receive an email notification with your account information. If you fail to receive this email, please check your spam and junk email folders. If you still can't find it, please contact email@example.com with an alternative email address we can use.
Thank you again for choosing HostGator. We are looking forward to serving you soon.
The second email will inform you that your account has been created.
Thank you for your order and welcome to the HostGator Family!
Your Package: Baby
Your Domain: 10cheapwebhosting.com
Your Username: <snip>
Your Password: <snip>
Your sites IP address:
Your name servers:
Until your DNS has been changed and resolves to our nameservers, you can access your cPanel at:
You can view your site before the DNS has been resolved at:
If you purchased your domain name with us, the above links will allow you to view your domain before it has resolved. Your domain may not be viewable for the first 24 to 48 hours depending on your location.
There is a file called default.html in your public_html folder. This page will give you basic links and information on how to get started. You're welcome to delete this file or upload an index.html file in the public_html folder. Once that is completed, the default.html file will not show by default.
Please be sure to read:
http://www.hostgator.com/gettingstarted.html for all the information needed to manage your DNS and account.
Please, sign up at https://secure.hostgator.com/sitebuilder.php if you would like to take advantage of our Sitebuilder tool.
You can find answers to your questions in our customer knowledge base. Please visit http://support.hostgator.com/ for helpful resources, and frequently asked questions.
Any email sent by your account within the next 12 hours will not be delivered to the recipient. After 12 hours, and any applicable DNS propagation, mail should arrive as normal.
If you are in the U.S. or Canada, your account qualifies for $50 dollars in free credit for Google Adwords pay per click program. To redeem your coupon, please login to your control panel or https://gator1077.hostgator.com:2083/frontend/x3/hg/addons/adwords.php and login with your username and password. Just follow the instructions on that page to get started!
After your account is created, you may need to update the DNS servers of your domain name if you are using an existing domain name. The steps varies depending on who is your domain registrar but it is usually a simple procedure. HostGator has many tutorials on how to do it here.
Potential Problem #1 - Invalid Credit Card
If you entered the wrong billing information (for example, wrong credit card number), your order will not go through. You will have to start all over again! And that actually happened to me. So please make sure you really check your input at Step #6.
Potential Problem #2 - Username or Password Not Accepted
While HostGator give you the freedom to choose your own username, there are many criterias that you need to follow.
The username must be 3 to 8 characters long. It can only contain alphabets and numbers. No hyphens and spaces are allowed. It must start with a lowercase letter! For simplicity sake, please choose a short username with all lowercase letters so you can remember and type it easily.
The password must be 3 to 15 characters long. It can contain hyphens (dashes) and underscores. It must start with a lowercase letter (that means no numbers for the first character!) and it also cannot contain any part of your username.
If you don't follow these rules carefully, you will be stuck at Step #5 and it can be very annoying.
Signing up with HostGator is indeed a lengthy process and if you don't do it right, you may need to repeat it again. Or you may get stuck with the username and password. However, they are an incredibly good host that is highly recommended. That's why I am willing to pay them 2 years in advance! Read my Host Gator review to know what it is highly recommended.
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