Well, my two cents on the subject. I have always relied on hostgator, since I have some websites up and running, they allow me to have all of them together under the same roof.
I highly recommend getting the medium plan (baby plan), that costs me around 6 bucks/month, but I can stuff in all my websites into the same hosting space. The simple plan (hatchling) is cheaper, but it restricts you to just one domain, which is a HUGE difference for only $3 dollars difference.
Personally, it's been 5 years since I started with hostgator, and I have never had a problem, customer service is pretty quick (although you have to make yourself clear to avoid getting a standard response that doesn't quite put you in the right direction).
Nowadays, the features that most of web hosting providers offer cover pretty much anything that you will need to set up a website in minutes. Hostgator is not an exception.
If you want to really save money but still keep the best service, I would recommend getting your domain names at Godaddy.com (although I find their control panel quite confusing) and then pointing those domains to your hostgator baby plan. Hostgator also offers domain registration, but it's some dollars more expensive.
If you have any particular question about it, I will be more than glad to answer it, just send me a pm or reply to this thread. I'm willing to help anyone with doubts or questions on getting hosting services or anything related.
I hope this helps,
EDIT: Ohm, I wrote an extensive review on hostgator
not so long ago (I thought that I left it unpublished... but here it is)