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  • Writer's pictureExpert Opinion

Bluehost vs Hostgator

If you’re new to the world of website building and hosting, or even if you’re a seasoned techie just looking to switch providers, the search to find the best hosting service can seem daunting. With so many options available, it can be hard to decide on just one.

You want the best for your site, and so do we! That’s why we took two of the biggest hosting providers, Bluehost and HostGator, and did some in-depth research to see which is actually the better option.

They’re the go-to hosting companies for bloggers, newbie bloggers who want to start a blog, Internet entrepreneurs, and online businesses looking for a hassle-free way to get their site up and running.

About Bluehost

Bluehost is big and old. Like, two million domains big, and 20+ years old. It was acquired by the aforementioned EIG in 2011, and the brand benefits from their parent company’s considerable marketing power.

A few years ago, Bluehost was one of the only hosting providers to offer a one-click WordPress installation. I don’t know if that’s why WordPress still recommends them, or if there’s something more nefarious at play here.

About HostGator

The name Gator in HostGator, probably refers to the fact that its founder, Brent Oxley, was studying in Florida when he launched the service. The company has since moved its headquarters to Houston, Texas, after a decade of furious growth.

As previously mentioned, it joined the EIG family in 2012, and they continue to offer a wide range of web hosting services, which we’ll examine in detail below. To their credit, they claim to invest in renewable energies to offset their server emissions, something they call Green Web Hosting.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Available Hosting Solutions

The first thing you should be considering when you’re looking for a web hosting provider is whether or not they offer the right type of plan for you. When it comes to options, Bluehost and HostGator are pretty much even across the board.

Both providers have basic shared web hosting. This solution is ideal for smaller sites that don’t need a ton of resources. As the name would suggest, your site is stored on the same server as several other sites.

Once you need to upgrade and get some dedicated resources, you can switch to VPS hosting. VPS, or virtual private server, is a nice middle-ground between shared plans and dedicated plans. You can create virtual machines with all the resources you need.

These plans are completely scalable and provide greater flexibility. Both providers have VPS hosting plans.

Cloud hosting is offered by the two providers as well, though it’s not openly advertised on the respective websites. Cloud hosting is similar to VPS hosting.

The main difference is that your site is stored on several cloud servers rather than a single piece of hardware in a data center.

Next up, we have dedicated hosting. With this hosting solution, you’re getting an entire dedicated server for your site. These resource-rich plans are best for larger businesses and huge e-commerce sites. Bluehost and HostGator have several dedicated hosting tiers available.

If you’d rather keep things simple, both providers also have managed WordPress hosting. They allow you to create feature-rich WordPress websites without all of the hassles of dealing with the technical side of hosting.

Whether you plan to go with Bluehost or HostGator, you can create stunning websites that are designed to meet your needs. Most work with apps and scripts from Mojo Marketplace for simplicity.

Last, but not least, we have reseller hosting. Designed for web developers, reseller hosting lets you divvy up resources and sell white-label hosting plans to clients. All of the resources are managed from one control panel for simplicity.

Both providers have reseller plans available, though they are not openly advertised on the respective websites like the traditional hosting options.

Beyond the hosting plans, both providers also have other services available. You can register domain names, invest in email hosting, and more. It’s pretty typical for hosting companies to provide additional services, so these extras are to be expected.

With that said, Bluehost comes out on top when it comes to available services. They offer a handful of full-service solutions for businesses that don’t want to spend time creating sites. For additional fees, you can have Bluehost create your website for you. They can also perform site migrations of existing sites to reduce downtime.

That’s not all. Bluehost also has marketing services to help get your site seen. They can perform SEO on your site for better visibility and create pay-per-click campaigns. Bluehost is truly trying to become a one-stop-shop for businesses. While those extras aren’t required, it’s nice that they are offered.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Uptime

Bluehost average uptime over the period of 12 months is <99.99% with only 44 minutes of downtime and 25 outages.

  • January 2020 average uptime: 100%

  • December 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • November 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • October 2019 average uptime: 99.96%

  • September 2019 average uptime: 99.99%

  • August 2019 average uptime: 99.99%

  • July 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • June 2019 average uptime: 99.98%

  • May 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • April 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%

  • February 2019 average uptime: 100%

HostGator’s average uptime over the period of 12 months is <99.98% with 2 hours of downtime and 29 outages.

  • January 2020 average uptime: 99.7%

  • December 2019 average uptime: 99.89%

  • November 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • October 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • September 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • August 2019 average uptime: 99.99%

  • July 2019 average uptime: 100%

  • June 2019 average uptime: 99.99%

  • May 2019 average uptime: 99.95%

  • April 2019 average uptime: 99.98%

  • March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%

  • February 2019 average uptime: 100%

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Reliability

Reliability is crucial in the web hosting world. If the service is down, your visitors cannot access your site. This leads to a loss of potential income as well as hits to your reputation.

Because HostGator and Bluehost are massive companies, you can expect to get some of the best uptime figures in the industry.

Both have uptime guarantees for peace of mind. On Bluehost’s website, there’s a section devoted to the company’s Server Uptime Agreement. It states that the provider works to get most issues resolved in less than 15 minutes.

While major outages could take longer, the general consensus is that Bluehost is quite reliable compared to other service providers.

HostGator offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. If monthly uptime figures fall short of that guarantee, the company will provide credit to your account.

The difference between HostGator and Bluehost is quite minimal when it comes to uptimes. Both manage to stay above 99.9 percent. Through several long-term tests, Bluehost managed to keep the servers up slightly longer than HostGator. However, that difference was less than 0.1 percent.

The two providers go to great lengths to keep their data centers secure. The equipment is heavily monitored and the centers all have restricted access. To prevent major outages, both utilize several fail-safes as well. These include redundant power systems and backups.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Speed and Performance

Speed is key when it comes to creating a smooth browsing experience for your website visitors. Data has to travel from the physical servers to your visitors’ device. Unfortunately, not all providers are capable of providing you with lightning-fast speeds. Slow connection speeds are a huge turn-off for web users, so it’s an important factor to consider.

We’re happy to report that Bluehost and HostGator do pretty well across the board. Both can load pages in under a second. However, there is a stark difference between the two companies.

Speed tests show that HostGator takes about twice as long to load web pages and Bluehost. Several factors can affect load times on an individual basis, but Bluehost typically performs best.

One of the reasons that Bluehost is faster is because the hosting accounts all come with CDN. A CDN, or content delivery network, is basically a large network of cached data. When someone connects to your website, the data from the nearest CDN node is loaded up.

Thus, it’s particularly useful for those accessing your site from a location that’s very far away from the physical data centers.

Bluehost accounts have Cloudflare CDN built right in. Currently, HostGator does not include a CDN.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Features and Extras

Both Bluehost and HostGator offer a lot of great features to help your site reach its full potential. Not all of these features are complementary. You may be charged to use some of them. However, they are worth considering.

These providers both utilize cPanel. cPanel is a very popular control panel used to manage your site and hosting features. The feature is very user-friendly and can be used alongside Softaculous to perform one-click installations of many plug-ins and scripts.

The control panel also works with many content management systems, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

HostGator and Bluehost both also provide free domains. You can get a free domain for a year, which can help you cut back on your site’s startup costs. The free domain may be limited to certain plans. You’ll also have to pay for renewal costs after your first term. Bluehost offers a free domain year-round.

However, HostGator only offers theirs periodically, so keep an eye out for it!

Bluehost vs Hostgator: WordPress

If you’re a fan of WordPress, Bluehost is the clear winner. WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. It’s estimated that over 30 percent of all sites on the web utilize WordPress.

So why is Bluehost the best web hosting option for WordPress? Well, Bluehost is the number-one recommended provider by WordPress. HostGator isn’t even on that list.

Bluehost has a ton of great features that are specifically catered towards WordPress users. WordPress installation can be done in seconds. Plus, the provider has great partnerships with WordPress site builders to help you get started from scratch. The sky is the limit when WordPress is concerned.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Security

When you’re running a site, security is one of the most important things you need to invest in. The Internet runs rampant with viruses and malware, so you need to keep your site protected.

Not only that, but a lack of security can also put your visitors at risk. This is especially true if you run an e-commerce site and handle sensitive information.

Bluehost and HostGator offer several security features to take advantage of. Most of them come with add-on fees. However, basic security extras come with every account. The simplest form of security they offer is a free SSL certificate.

SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It’s a unique protocol that encrypts the connection between the server and your visitors’ device. These days, an SSL certificate is a must-have. Most web users won’t even visit a site if it doesn’t have that small padlock icon on the corner of the browser window.

A free certificate is included with all plans from HostGator and Bluehost. Though, you can also purchase additional certificates for an extra fee.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Customer Service

Customer support can be a bit of a sour subject when it comes to web hosting. In the past, it was difficult to get any reliable help from trained technicians. This even applied to giants like Bluehost and HostGator. Luckily, things have changed in the last couple of years.

Having quick and reliable assistance whenever you need it is crucial for web hosting. Like we mentioned earlier, downtime can affect your reputation and bottom line. Both Bluehost and HostGator have put a lot of money into their customer support departments and it shows.

The easiest way to contact a support agent for both providers is through live chat. With the press of a simple icon on the website, you can be connected with an agent in seconds. The live chat systems are available 24 hours a day, ensuring that you have access to help whenever you need it.

Generally, it doesn’t take much time for agents to respond. While the time of day and workload of the support team may lead to longer wait times in some instances, you can expect response time to be 10 minutes at most.

If live chat isn’t your thing, both providers also have a messaging system and email support. You can send your queries via email and get a response the next business day. It’s simple, effective, and to the point.

One thing that we really like about HostGator and Bluehost is their use of knowledge bases. You can find this area on the company’s respective support pages. Essentially, knowledge bases are filled with guides and tutorials to address frequent issues that users have. It’s a great way to troubleshoot issues and find solutions on your own.

The knowledge bases are both well-designed. They are split up into categories for easy browsing. Alternatively, you can use the respective search bars to find items based on specific tops. Both providers even have dedicated YouTube pages filled with guide videos.

When it comes to customer support, HostGator and Bluehost do very well across the board. They offer far more support than other web hosting companies out there.

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Plans and Pricing

No hosting service review is complete without talking about pricing. Hostgator and Bluehost offer many different hosting packages to suit the needs of everyone. What’s included with each plan varies dramatically. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll be focusing on shared hosting plans.

Bluehost Pricing

Basic Plan

With the most affordable plan that Bluehost offers, you’re getting a single website with 50 GB of SSD storage. Bandwidth is unmetered. As always, you’re also getting a free SSL certificate and domain for the first year. 25 subdomains are included, too.

Pricing: $2.95 per month with promotion $4.95 per month with a 12-month term $3.95 per month with a 24-month term $2.95 per month with a 36-month term

Plus Plan

The Plus Plan lets you create as many websites as you need. It also comes with an unlimited amount of SSD storage and unmetered bandwidth. You also get an unlimited number of subdomains and the Spam Experts feature for your email accounts.

Pricing: $5.45 per month with promotion $7.45 per month with a 12-month term $6.95 per month with a 24-month term $5.45 per month with a 36-month term

Choice Plus Plan

The Choice Plus Plan ups the ante just a bit. In addition to the unlimited perks of the previous plan, you’re getting free domain privacy and CodeGuard Basic free of charge. The latter feature lets you make automatic backups of your site.

Pricing: $5.45 per month with promotion $7.45 per month with a 12-month term $6.95 per month with a 24-month term $5.45 per month with a 36-month term

Pro Plan

Designed for businesses, the Pro Plan includes all of the features of the Choice Plus Plan. However, it also includes access to a high-performance server. These servers are limited, ensuring that you’re getting the best performance possible on a shared hosting plan. A dedicated IP is included as well.

Pricing: $13.95 per month with promotion $18.95 per month with a 12-month term $15.95 per month with a 24-month term $13.95 per month with a 36-month term

These prices cover shared plans. Bluehost also offers cloud, VPS, dedicated, reseller, and managed WordPress plans. Those all come with additional costs.

Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If, for whatever reason, you aren’t happy with the service, you can request a refund. Bluehost will subtract the costs of your free domain and any non-refundable extras from the refund.

HostGator Pricing

All of HostGator’s shared plans come with unmetered bandwidth. You can also take advantage of a one-time free site migration feature, one-click installs of your favorite apps, and unlimited storage. The shared plans are broken up into three tiers.

Hatchling Plan

The Hatchling Plan is your most basic. With it, you can use only one domain. You do, however, get a free SSL certificate.

Pricing: $2.75 per month with promotion $10.95 per month with no term $10.95 per month for a 6-month term $8.95 per month for a 12-month term $7.95 per month for a 24-month term $6.95 per month for a 36-month term

Baby Plan

The Baby Plan lets you create as many sites as you want. Like the previous plan, it has unlimited storage and bandwidth.

Pricing: $4.95 per month with promotion $11.95 per month with no term $11.95 per month for a 6-month term $11.95 per month for a 12-month term $10.95 per month for a 24-month term $9.95 per month for a 36-month term

Business Plan

The priciest shared plan from HostGator has all the same features as the previous one. However, it also has a free private SSL certificate and a dedicated IP address. You can also take advantage of free VoIP phone service if you’re interested.

Pricing: $5.95 per month with promotion $16.95 per month with no term $16.95 per month for a 6-month term $16.95 per month for a 12-month term $15.95 per month for a 24-month term $14.95 per month for a 36-month term

Like Bluehost, HostGator offers many different types of hosting solutions. The shared plans are the most affordable, so expect the subscription fees of the other options to go up substantially based on the resources you need.

HostGator’s money-back guarantee is a bit more generous than Bluehost’s. You can request a refund up to 45 days after the start of your term.

The Final Verdict

There’s no doubt that HostGator and Bluehost are excellent options for anyone looking to host a site. They’re both very user-friendly and offer a good bang for your buck. However, we have to give credit where credit is due. Bluehost is the clear winner of this roundup.

At the end of the day, Bluehost excels in areas that matter. The provider can give you blazing fast connection speeds and very reliable uptimes. When you compare what you’re getting for your subscription fee, Bluehost is just the better value. The high-tier plans come with more features, including extra security and CodeGuard. Those are features you will need to pay for with HostGator.

While HostGator does have free site migrations and an integrated site builder, those features aren’t enough to beat Bluehost at speed, reliability, and price. Plus, when you consider Bluehost’s great WordPress-focused features, it’s the obvious choice for most.

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