HostGator offers an add-on called SiteLock at a fixed monthly cost. It comes with plenty of security features for your website.
The host also offers numerous plans under this add-on to suit the needs of different website owners. But since it will be an additional recurring expense out of your monthly budget, is HostGator SiteLock worth it? Let’s find out.
What is HostGator SiteLock?
HostGator SiteLock is a website monitoring and malware protection tool built for small and medium enterprises. The application is designed to locate and rectify the vulnerabilities present on your website and facilitate the improvement of customer privacy and data security.
The HostGator SiteLock prevents your website from malicious attacks. Additionally, it provides a security badge to your site that helps you gain the trust of more website visitors.
Pros & Cons of HostGator SiteLock
Now that you are aware of this HostGator offering, let’s look at its pros and cons here:
Pros of HostGator SiteLock
Protection from DDoS attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks aim to flood your website with unusually high traffic to disrupt its normal functioning and negatively impact the server’s performance. Your website either slows down or becomes unavailable when it is a target of a DDoS attack.
HostGator SiteLock protects your website from DDoS attacks, thereby maintaining its efficient performance at all times. Also, your site will never be down because of such attacks.
Scans malware daily
HostGator SiteLock has an in-built malware scanner that performs daily malware scans for your website. It notifies you immediately of detecting malware during a scanning session.
So your website remains secured from spam activities and malicious content without you having to perform any scan manually.
Faster loading website
HostGator SiteLock has an in-built Content Delivery Network (CDN) SiteLock TrueSpeed that improves your website load times. Working together with the WAF, TrueSpeed CDN can accelerate your website speed by 50%.
Additionally, TrueSpeed reduces the bandwidth consumption of your website by 40-70%. Therefore, your website can handle more visitors while also giving them a fast, pleasant, and secure user experience.
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
HostGator SiteLock comes with a firewall that protects your website from suspicious requests and malicious traffic. Your website will remain safe from bots, content scrapers, spammers, and all kinds of attacks.
The Web Application Firewall of the HostGator SiteLock also allows you to blacklist IP addresses and countries from where the majority of attacks on your website originate.
Prevents website blacklisting
If Google or any other search engine finds malware on your website, they will blacklist it without notifying you. Such blacklisting eliminates your website from search engine results, thereby negatively impacting its visibility.
HostGator SiteLock prevents your website from search engine blacklisting by regularly monitoring it and automatically removing malware if any. You never have to worry about your SEO efforts getting wasted with HostGator SiteLock protecting your website at all times.
All HostGator SiteLock plans provide a SiteLock Trust Badge for your website which acts as a visual safety sign for the visitors. A study also revealed that trust seals are important for websites in the eyes of 88% of online shoppers in the US.
So, you can expect to see a rise in sales with the HostGator SiteLock add-on if you are running an online business. With a trust seal present on your website, visitors have the confidence to share their sensitive information since they know that your site is secured.
Scanning application vulnerabilities
Criminals can easily enter your website through vulnerable or outdated website applications. HostGator SiteLock scans all your website applications to determine their status.
If any of your applications are out-of-date or possess a vulnerability, you will receive an email alert immediately to take care of the situation. So, the HostGator add-on prevents the entry of unsolicited individuals to your website.
Automatically removes malware
The HostGator add-on also has an in-built tool called SiteLock SMART (Secure Malware Alert & Removal Tool) that automatically removes the malware from your website.
It alerts you if any of your website files are infected while also preventing the malware from causing any further damage to your website.
Helps prevent SQL injection
Cybercriminals can enter your website database through an SQL injection (SQLi). Unprotected forms on your website allow them to inject malicious code into your database.
HostGator SiteLock has an SQLi scanner that detects the presence of vulnerabilities to such injections on your website. It also notifies you via email if it finds any vulnerability.
Helps meet PCI compliance standards
Websites or businesses accepting card payments online must meet the Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance standards for the safety of their customer data.
HostGator SiteLock helps make your website PCI-compliant so you can accept online payments without getting into any legal troubles.
Cons of HostGator SiteLock
A Web Application Firewall is an important security aspect that must be available with all HostGator SiteLock plans. But the host does not offer it with its entry-level Essentials plan.
So your website will still be unsafe from bots, content scrapers, and spammers even when you purchase the lowest plan and bear a fixed monthly cost.
Confusing pricing structure
HostGator lists different costs for its SiteLock add-on on its Checkout page and the offering page. It is quite confusing to understand the pricing structure with such variations in the values listed on its website.
PCI compliance in the premium plan
PCI compliance is a necessity for all businesses, small or large, accepting card payments through their websites. HostGator does not offer PCI compliance with its low-cost plans which I do not appreciate at all.
If you are running an eCommerce store, you will have to purchase the costliest plan to receive this feature. It seems like a cheap tactic used by the host to force you into buying the most expensive SiteLock plan.
HostGator does not offer a monthly billing option for its SiteLock plans which leaves you with the option of committing to the add-on for at least a year in advance. If you change the term of your hosting plan to one month on the checkout page, the host still demands a year’s worth of payment for this add-on:
Unfortunately, you never get a chance to try HostGator SiteLock for a few days or a month before purchasing a long-term plan.
Incomplete DDoS protection
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are very common these days and must be a part of every security tool. HostGator SiteLock does offer this protection but only with its higher-level plans.
You won’t receive DDoS protection for your website if you choose the HostGator Essentials plan. Your website might then become a victim of a DDoS attack and become unavailable for your visitors.
HostGator SiteLock plans
HostGator offers three plans for its SiteLock add-on with the following prices and features:
It is the entry-level HostGator SiteLock plan, providing your website only with the minimum necessary protection. Essentials include:
- Daily malware scans for unlimited pages
- Basic CDN
- Google Blacklist monitoring
- Automatic malware removal
- SiteLock Seal
- A weekly scan report
- Automatic blocking of bot attacks
The Essentials plan is available at $5.99 per month for the first term. It renews at $8.99 per month if you renew it every month and at $7.99 per month if you renew it for 1, 2, or 3 years.
This plan offers complete protection for your website with all the features available in the Essentials plan plus:
- DDoS protection
- Web Application Firewall
- Database scanning
The Prevent plan has an introductory price of $14.99 per month. Its renewal price remains the same as the initial one.
Prevent Plus plan
This is the top-most SiteLock plan offered by HostGator. It includes all the features of the Prevent plan while also helping you make your website PCI-compliant.
Additionally, the Prevent Plus plan performs continuous malware scans to keep your website safe from all attacks.
The Prevent Plus plan is available at an initial price of $24.99 per month. Like the Prevent plan, its renewal price also remains the same as the introductory one.
Now that you are aware of the features and pricing of the HostGator SiteLock plans, it is important to mention that you can get it for free with the WordPress hosting solutions offered by HostGator.
HostGator SiteLock scam claims, are they real?
HostGator SiteLock is not a scam but is believed to be one by many people due to the following reasons:
- Since HostGator has partnered with SiteLock to offer this service to its customers, it constantly tries to push this upsell aggressively and utilizes scarcity tactics to trick you into buying this add-on.
- HostGator technical support usually recommends SiteLock to its customers facing any hacking or security issues. They receive a commission every time a customer referred by them to SiteLock signs up for the recommended service.
- HostGator SiteLock plans are overpriced and can be called a way of taking advantage of needy customers. The host even offers this service for free with its WordPress hosting plans, so why does it charge such a high price for it otherwise?
- A host must offer a firewall with all its hosting plans since it is a necessary security feature for all websites. But HostGator neglects this deliberately to expose more of its customers to security issues and eventually sell them their SiteLock add-on as a solution.
Rather than depending solely on the security provided by the server, it is wiser to take additional security measures for your website. Consider keeping all your applications up-to-date and installing a reliable security plugin.
HostGator SiteLock customer reviews
Let’s find out the opinions of HostGator customers about their SiteLock add-on:
If you’d like to see the full Reddit discussion thread on the above problem faced by the HostGator customer, follow this link.
Here is another HostGator customer with some serious claims against SiteLock:
Consider going through the above Reddit thread here.
Here are some more HostGator customers complaining on Trustpilot:
Free Alternatives to HostGator SiteLock for WordPress
Since I don’t believe that HostGator SiteLock is worth your money, I’m here to share with you some of its free alternatives for the WordPress websites:
Wordfence is considered the best free WordPress security plugin. It provides your website with all the features that HostGator SiteLock has to offer and some additional ones too. Wordfence offers:
- Blockage of malicious traffic
- Endpoint protection
- Scanning and blocking of malware
- Prevents brute force attacks
- Repair files that are overwritten without your permission
- Scans your website for vulnerabilities
Wordfence is more reliable and costs nothing, so it is a much better alternative to the SiteLock add-on.
2. Cloudflare CDN free plan
Website owners use Cloudflare CDN to speed up their websites while also protecting them. The free Cloudflare CDN plan offers:
- Unmetered DDoS protection
- Managed Firewall rule-set
- Universal SSL certificate
- Fast and user-friendly Domain Name System (DNS)
- Identification of new threats
- Protection from spam comments
- Threat protection
- Protection from content scraping
Plenty of extra security features included in the free plan of Cloudflare CDN makes it a pretty good alternative to HostGator SiteLock.
3. Hostarmada hosting
Hostarmada is a US-based host offering different types of hosting services with in-built security features. You will receive:
- Free Web Application Firewall (WAF)
- Malware scanning and removal
- IP firewall
- Brute-force protection
- Virus scanning
- DDoS protection.
With so many extra features than the ones offered by HostGator SiteLock, Hostarmada is undoubtedly a good free alternative.
Verdict: Is HostGator SiteLock worth it? Do I need it?
No, HostGator SiteLock is not worth your money since it doesn’t deliver the results as promised.
Also, you can utilize the free alternatives to the add-on like Wordfence which are more reliable and offer much better features.
Can I cancel SiteLock in HostGator at any time?
Yes, you can cancel your HostGator SiteLock plan anytime but you won’t receive a refund on such cancellation.
How secure is HostGator?
HostGator does not offer much website security with its hosting plans and tries to sell you the SiteLock add-on for charging you additional money each month. You will have to find other ways to secure your website when choosing this host.
How do I remove a virus from HostGator?
It is advised to hire a freelancer to remove a virus from your HostGator website and strengthen its security. Hiring an expert from Upwork or another such freelance platform will cost you much less than paying for SiteLock expert services.
Once your website is clean, it is best to switch your host since HostGator has very weak security measures.
Who owns HostGator?
HostGator is owned by Endurance International Group which also owns many other hosting websites like Bluehost, iPage, HostMonster, and JustHost.