Read this article to learn about the history of HostGator and how the company got its start.
In 2002, Brent Oxley, then a student at Florida Atlantic University, founded HostGator, running its initial operations from his dorm room. Oxley was seeking a recurring revenue source, and viewed his dorm room as his headquarters—homework was relegated to other spots on campus. Soon, he was in the awkward situation of having to take tech support calls and sales calls through the night and even during class. The business grew so quickly through its first summer that Oxley was faced with a choice—drop out of school or close the business.
HostGator offered reseller hosting early in its business when Oxley discovered that he got a much better conversion rate advertising for resellers than for shared hosting customers. Spurred by his reseller success, he expanded his shared hosting to include unlimited domains, and was one of the first web hosting companies to provide that feature.
In a January, 2011 interview with ClickFire (updated June 1, 2012), Oxley described some characteristics that he believes set HostGator apart from other web hosts. First, he pointed to the fact that any customer can have a support ticket assigned to him if regular support is not providing what is needed, even though he is the founder and currently chairman. Second, they protect their brand confronting negativity in social media and other forums to try to make things right and turn detractors into supporters. Third, Oxley claims that while many web hosts claim to offer 24/7 support via tickets, chat, and phone and 99.9 percent uptime, they don’t actually deliver, whereas HostGator does. Finally, any customer can speak to upper management at any time.
HostGator charts its growth by the number of active customers. The HostGator.com domain was registered on October 10, 2002, and it had 112 active customers by February 1, 2003. A year later (February 1, 2004), it had nearly 10 times as many active customers: 1,031. Here’s a chart showing HostGator’s yearly growth:
|Date||Number of Active Customers||Growth (x more than previous year)|
As of June 18, 2012, HostGator had 2,106,127 domains, giving it a 1.6016 market share globally according to Webhosting.info. According to HostGator, it hosts 8.000,000 domains. That’s a dramatic difference. Somebody needs to check their math or put an asterisk by their figure and explain what it means.
According to Webhosting.info, HostGator has had a net loss of nearly 2800 domains in the last week, after climbing fairly steadily since mid-May, and a 2.6357% market share in the United States. This, according to Webhosting.info, placed it 5th among web hosting companies in the United States and 5th among web hosting companies world wide. The unusual domain loss may be fallout from the social engineering attack on the WHMCS billing software developer, reportedly to show the vulnerability of the credit card data of their customers, which was stored on a HostGator-managed web server.
HostGator is a domain name reseller, rather than a domain name registrar, so its registration statistics are not kept by Webhosting.info. It has been a reseller for eNom and is now a reseller for LaunchPad. According to Oxley, LaunchPad is designed to compete with GoDaddy in offering discount domains and hosting.
HostGator moved to Houston, Texas in 2007 from its original Boca Raton location, partly in order to attract qualified staff. In 2010, they expanded in Austin, and in 2011 began operations in Nahik, Maharashtra, India as Hostgator.in.