Here I am taking a closer look at two of the popular web hosts around; this is my Bluehost vs HostGator head-to-head web hosting comparison. In a rush? Then go straight to the comparison summary.
|Choosing between Bluehost vs HostGator comes down to just one thing: whether or not you’re a beginner. If you are just starting out, HostGator is a great choice. They offer affordable beginner-friendly hosting and fast support. But if you aren’t just starting out, Bluehost is a better choice. While their service is not as beginner-friendly as HostGator, they offer a service that is at least a bit better than HostGator.|
|Price||Basic plan is $2.95 per month||Hatchling plan is $2.75 per month|
|Ease of Use||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 cPanel, automatic WordPress installation, easy creation of emails, automated backups||⭐⭐⭐⭐ cPanel, automatic WordPress installation, easy creation of emails, free website migration|
|Free Domain Name||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Free domain for one year||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Free domain for one year|
|Hosting Features||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Unlimited disk space and transfer, free CDN, high-performance SSD storage, daily backups, unlimited emails, and free SSL||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Unlimited disk space and transfer, free CDN, high-performance SSD storage, daily backups, unlimited emails, and free SSL|
|Speed||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 NGINX+, PHP 7, built-in caching, HTTP/2||⭐⭐⭐⭐ Apache, PHP 7, HTTP/2|
|Uptime||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Good uptime history||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Good uptime history|
|Site Migration||⭐⭐⭐⭐ Website transfer service is $149.99||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Free website migration|
|Customer Support||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Phone, Live Support, Chat, Ticket||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🥇 Phone, Live Support, Chat, Ticket|
|Website||Visit Bluehost.com||Visit HostGator.com|
There are literally thousands of web hosts on the internet. To be honest, most of them suck and finding one that doesn’t suck takes a lot of time and research. This comparison between two of the most popular web hosts out there is meant to give you all the details you need to know and save you the time and aggravation of doing hours and hours of research.
Choosing between Bluehost vs HostGator comes down to just one thing: whether or not you’re a beginner. In most areas, these two web hosts are very similar. There aren’t that many differences between them in most of the important areas, such as pricing, support, uptime, and WordPress installations.
Heck, they are even owned by the same parent company – Endurance International (EIG). But one is a little more beginner-friendly than the other, for various reasons. Keep reading to find out more.
If this was a (Google) popularity contest, then it would be over very quickly. Bluehost is way more popular and people search for it a lot more on Google than they do HostGator.
That said, search demand is, of course, not everything.
Bluehost and HostGator are both entry-level web hosts for relative beginners and both have built a reputation in the industry. Choosing between them can be a tough decision, especially since they offer shared hosting plans that are very similar in terms of price and features.
In this HostGator vs Bluehost comparison, I will help you figure out which web host is the best for your needs. Let’s take a look.
Bluehost comes out slightly ahead as the winner between these two web hosting companies, but only just barely. To find out why let’s take a look at the in-depth HostGator vs Bluehost comparison below.
Shared Hosting Plans
Both Bluehost and HostGator offer identical plans when it comes to shared web hosting. One thing you need to remember about shared web hosts is that unlimited storage and bandwidth do not truly mean unlimited.
While your dashboard and cPanel will show that you have unlimited means at your disposal, they WILL suspend your site if you use too much bandwidth, storage, or server resources. That said, if you are just starting out, your chances of exceeding those limits in the first few months are very low.
To get a good idea of what you can expect when you’re first getting started and when you’re ready to upgrade, let’s take a look at the plans that each offers.
The basic plan from Bluehost is exceptionally affordable and gives you everything you need to set up a single, basic website. This includes unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, a domain, 50 GB SSD storage, and five email accounts.
The next level up is the Plus plan. It’s slightly more expensive at roughly double the basic price but, again, still really affordable. Is it worth it? If you’re planning to have more than one website, yes, it’s absolutely worth it. The plus plan lets you host unlimited websites, bandwidth, and storage. You also get a free SSL certificate, and unlimited parked domains, subdomains, and email addresses.
Bluehost’s premium plan is Choice Plus which is also surprisingly affordable. You get all the same perks as you do with the Plus plan as well as some bonus perks, like domain privacy, site backups, and help with spam.
What’s the Catch?
There is a catch to this pricing. While the monthly price is affordable, you cannot sign up and pay on a month-to-month basis. To get the best monthly price, you have to sign up for a 36-month agreement and pay upfront. There are 12 and 24 months options, too, but the longer you sign up for, the less you’ll pay per month.
There are good and bad things about this. First, if you like Bluehost and you know you’re going to keep your site up and running for a while, it’s definitely worth paying for three years upfront if you can afford it.
Depending on promotions, though, this can mean shelling out about $200. That said, it does lock you into the monthly rate, so, if the prices go up over the next three years or if a promotion expires, you won’t be surprised by an unexpected increase in a monthly bill.
Understandably, you might be hesitant to pay this much upfront and commit to three years of web hosting if you haven’t used Bluehost before. What if you’re not happy? The good news is that they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, though there are some restrictions. As with most things, make sure you read the fine print before committing, especially for a long-term contract like this.
Also, note that the Bluehost pricing does not cover site migrations, so, if you are changing from another hosting provider, you’ll have to pay an extra fee. More on that later.
This is HostGator’s basic plan. It’s extremely affordable and includes one domain, one website, unmetered bandwidth, and a free SSL certification. The one thing that puts this and all other HostGator plans ahead of Bluehost is that they include free site migration.
The next tier up is the Baby plan, which is, again, extremely affordable. This plan includes everything you need to support multiple websites, including a free SSL certificate, unlimited disk space, and free site migration.
HostGator’s business plan is its top-of-the-line option. It’s about twice the price of the Hatchling plan but is still very affordable. This plan gives you unlimited domains and bandwidth, a dedicated IP, SEO tools, an upgraded SSL certificate and, you guessed it, free website migration.
What’s the Catch?
HostGator is similar to Bluehost in that the longer a term you prepay for, the better your monthly rate, but you still have to pay upfront. That said, there are some notable differences.
Bluehost only offers 12, 24, and 36-month terms. With HostGator, you have a lot more options: one, three, six, 12, 24, or 36 months. You don’t really start seeing good monthly deals unless you sign up for at least a 12-month term, but having the option at least gives you a chance to try it out for a month or two before committing to a longer plan.
The price difference is significant, though. If you pay month to month, you’ll end up paying roughly three times as much as you would by signing up for a 36-year term.
HostGator has a slightly better money-back guarantee. You can try it out for 45 days but there are a lot of exceptions when it comes to refunds. For example, you don’t get back any admin fees, only those for shared or VPS hosting.
Another thing to consider is that HostGator is likely to significantly raise rates after the initial term expires. Again, make sure you read the fine print carefully so you know what you’re getting before you commit.
Bluehost vs Hostgator – who has the better plan?
Honestly, the plans offered by Bluehost and HostGator are pretty equal. You’ll end up paying roughly the same about every month, though HostGator does give you more options. With Bluehost, the minimum term is 12 months. HostGator lets you sign up month-to-month, but it’s significantly more expensive because you can’t take advantage of special pricing.
The other big thing to consider is site migration. Bluehost doesn’t include it in its plans; HostGator does. What does that mean? With Bluehost, you can migrate up to five websites and 20 email accounts, but it’s going to cost you $150.
HostGator transfers one site for free within 30 days of signup. If you need more transfers or need one done outside of the 30-day window, you have to contact them for a quote.
What does this mean? Well, if you’re starting brand new and don’t have a site to migrate, it doesn’t mean anything.
You’re starting fresh so you don’t have to worry about it. If you have an existing site, though, this is one area in which HostGator has a clear edge over BlueHost. Unless you’re dead set on BlueHost, you’ll have to think long and hard about whether signing up for its hosting is worth the $150 you’ll have to pay to move your existing site.
Bluehost vs HostGator Hosting Features
Another thing to consider when choosing between Bluehost and HostGator is what features they have. The features your web host offers dictates how easy or difficult it will be to do certain things.
Here are some of the features these web hosts have to offer at a glance:
- Bluehost throws in a free domain name when you register.
- You get a cPanel control panel to help you easily manage your website.
- One-click installation of all the popular CMS including WordPress, Joomla, and even Magento.
- Integrates with CodeGuard, Constant Contact, and SiteLock, though none of these are included across all plans.
- It comes with an on-site website builder that is powered by Weebly.
- Advanced anti-spam tools.
- One-click installation of all popular content management systems using Mojo Marketplace.
- Integrates with CodeGuard, Constant Contact, and SiteLock, though none of these are included across all plans.
- Free website builder tool that comes with hundreds of fully customizable templates.
- HostGator will migrate your website from your old web host for free. This includes the migration of one domain, databases, and all your files.
Wordpress is one of the most popular blogging platforms so, if you are a blogger, you probably use WordPress for your websites.
If that’s the case, it’s important to choose a web host that offers ease of installation and makes it easy to get started with WordPress. Let’s take a look at Bluehost and HostGator from a Wordpress perspective.
- Bluehost is a web host recommended by WordPress.org itself.
- Installing WordPress is as easy as clicking a few buttons using the Mojo Marketplace installer that comes with Bluehost.
- You get a free SSL certificate to make your site secure.
- Free Cloudflare CDN you can activate with just a few clicks.
- HostGator offers a free site migration for one domain and all files and databases.
- You will be able to install WordPress with just a few clicks using Mojo Marketplace.
- Just like Bluehost, HostGator offers a free SSL certificate and Cloudflare CDN service.
Ease of Use
Signing up for an account with Bluehost is pretty straightforward. It asks that you set a password right away but doesn’t seem to like it when you copy and paste.
For some people, that might not be a big deal, but if you use a password manager and complicated, secure passwords, typing it in manually is a chore and sort of defeats the purpose of having a password manager in the first place.
Once you get into your account, the dashboard is easy to use. There’s an obvious focus on WordPress, which makes sense since Bluehost is its recommended host. You can manage just about everything on WordPress from here, quickly and easily.
Signing up for HostGator is easy enough, but there are some issues that make it not necessarily difficult as much as aggravating. Choosing a plan is a little clunky and you have to pay very close attention to pricing.
Choosing add-ons is a little more complicated than it has to be and some people report having issues logging into the platform after signing up for a plan.
After you choose your plan, things get a little easier. The account dashboard has an intuitive design that’s easy to navigate and cPanel is just all-around impressive.
Which Is Easier to Use?
Bluehost and HostGator are pretty evenly matched when it comes to usability and they both have similar issues with setting up an account.
The only real difference is how well Bluehost integrates WordPress. If you already have a WordPress site or are planning to get one, Bluehost has a bit of an edge here.
Performance, Speed, and Uptime
It is important to know how the web host you go with stacks up against its competitors in terms of performance. Your website’s speed mostly depends on your Web Host’s server configuration.
If your web host’s server performance sucks, nothing you do to improve your website’s speed will work. Let’s start by comparing uptime.
Bluehost (review) uses industry-standard servers and projects an uptime of 99.98%. But unlike HostGator, they don’t offer a service level agreement.
HostGator (review) uses industry-standard servers just like Bluehost. They offer a Service Level Agreement that guarantees a 99.9% uptime. This means that if your website is not up at least 99.9% of the time, you will get free credit.
Which is Better?
As you can see, HostGator has just the slightest advantage over BlueHost, but, when you’re looking at numbers are impressive as 99.98% and 99.9%, the difference is so small that uptime isn’t going to be a deal-breaker.
Which is Faster? BlueHost or Hostgator?
Bluehost has a slight edge when it comes to speed. There’s no bloat, blocked requests, or lengthy connect times. Bluehost is also able to handle an influx of visitors more smoothly, not slowing down even when a site is bombarded with visitors.
HostGator’s response time left a lot to be desired. Reports show that it has a lot of blocked requests and there are some issues with load impact problems, too. The more people that visit in a short span of time, the more errors HostGator seems to return. It’s not terribly inconsistent, but when you’re comparing two web hosts that are so similar, these little differences really stand out.
That said, HostGator offers an uptime guarantee. If your site falls below 99.9 percent, they’ll give you a month of hosting for free. Bluehost doesn’t offer this, which is highly unusual.
Its reasoning is that shared web-hosting environments are complex and occasional downtime is expected. That reasoning doesn’t really make much sense. I’m not saying that it isn’t true – of course, shared web hosting is complicated – but it’s Bluehost’s job to figure it out.
It’s literally one of the things you’re paying them for and saying that it’s too difficult to control when HostGator and other hosts can is, well, a little annoying.
Bluehost vs Hostgator Security Comparison
First, I’ll just say that neither Bluehost or HostGator is top of the line when it comes to security. Let’s take a closer look to see what I mean.
Something that Bluehost has going for it is that it gives you a free SSL/TLS certificate for free along with daily backups across all plans.
Another area where Bluehost has a slight edge is in the more expensive WP Pro plans, they give access to a privacy center that shows you what data is collected and how it’s used. As you’ll see, though, ultimately, this doesn’t mean a whole lot.
HostGator also gives you a lot of essential security features for free, even as part of the basic plans. Each has an SSL/TLS certificate as well as daily backups. But, beyond that, there’s not much to get excited about. They do offer you a chance to upgrade but, at about $40 a month for a package that includes malware removal and a firewall, you’re paying a lot for full security.
Which Is Better?
While there may be valid reasons for, say, Google Maps to access your private info, sites like Bing, Verizon, and Google Ads can, too.
Okay, so what happens if you do have a problem? How easy is it to get the help that you need? Let’s compare Bluehost and HostGator's customer service reputations.
The Bluehost team is known for being supportive and the process is pretty simple. You can either submit a ticket and have them reach out to you or get in touch through a live chat or call their customer service line.
They’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even on holidays. Generally, they’re very responsive and knowledgeable. You don’t have to wait very long to get any issues resolved.
HostGator has a huge customer support team that can be reached by live chat or over the telephone. You can also submit a support ticket and wait for them to get in touch. Their team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
While their availability is evenly matched, I have to give BlueHost the edge when it comes to customer service. Though it seems to be somewhat rare, HostGator has had some complaints about their support.
Bluehost vs HostGator: Pros and Cons
Would you call it a review if it doesn’t end with a list of pros and cons? If you are in a hurry or still can’t decide which web host to go with, this list of pros and cons will help you make a decision:
- Offers a free SSL certificate.
- Offers free automatic backups but recommends that customers create their own backups as well.
- Free DDOS protection.
- Fast customer support, 24/7.
- Recommended by WordPress and works seamlessly with it.
- Doesn’t offer a free site migration service like HostGator. You will have to pay $150 if you want them to migrate your website.
- Security and privacy are lacking.
- You only have the option to sign up for terms of 12, 24, or 36 months.
- A free site migration service that makes it super easy to switch to HostGator.
- Free DDOS protection.
- Offers fast support using live chat and 24/7 customer support.
- Can sign up for a monthly plan.
- Easy to use with WordPress.
- Unlike Bluehost, you won’t get free automatic backups.
- Security and privacy are lacking.
- Monthly plans are expensive unless you agree to terms of 12, 24, or 36 months.
Hostgator vs Bluehost Summary
I hope this HostGator vs Bluehost comparison helped you figure out which web host serves your needs the best.
At the end of the day, it is more important to choose a web host and get started than it is to pick the perfect one from day one.
You can always switch web hosts later with minimum hassle.
But if you are still confused, let me make the decision easier for you:
If you are just starting out, HostGator.com is a great choice. They offer a beginner-friendly service and fast support.
But if you aren’t just starting out, Bluehost.com is a better choice. While their service is not as beginner-friendly as HostGator, they offer a service that is at least a bit better than HostGator.
Bluehost also gives you a free domain name and a free SSL Certificate.
So to recap, is Bluehost better than HostGator? Well, it depends.
The two are pretty evenly matched but, if you already have a site and are looking to upgrade to a better, fast host, consider the migration fee and payment plans. Ultimately, it makes sense to go with the best fit for your budget.