Whether you’re looking for your first web host or you already have a website and want to switch providers, the process can be quite daunting. There are a lot of options, so it’s no wonder it can be difficult to decide.
BlueHost and HostGator are two of the biggest hosting companies on the market. This is why we decided to sign up for both to create this 6 step comparison of what they have to offer. So that you can choose the best hosting option.
Let’s get started…
Table of Contents
- Basic features of BlueHost vs HostGator
- Pros and cons of Hostgator vs BlueHost
- BlueHost & HostGator Customer Support
- BlueHost & HostGator’s cheapest plans
- Performance (Uptime & Speed) of BlueHost & HostGator
- Pricing comparison of BlueHost & HostGator
Basic features of BlueHost vs HostGator
As of April 2020, BlueHost was the host of choice for 1.2% of all websites on the internet and HostGator 2%. While they may appear to be very similar, these two big guns have different things to offer.
Before we go too in-depth, let’s compare their basic features and the price-tags they attach to them.
|Shared Hosting Plans||4||3|
|Shared Hosting Prices (monthly)||$2.95 – $13.95||$2.75 – $5.95|
|VPS Hosting Plans||3||3|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔||✔|
|Money-back Guarantee||30 days||45 days|
You can see that, while they start at a very similar basic rate of just under $3 per month, their top-tier options are very different, with BlueHost’s pricing options topping out at $13.95 and HostGator just $5.95.
Apart from that though, they look pretty much the same on the basics. So, let’s dive a little deeper.
Pros and cons of Hostgator vs BlueHost
Like anything in life, BlueHost and HostGator both have their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at some of the main ones in this side-by-side comparison.
BlueHost Pros & Cons
|Affordable pricing||The shared hosting plan offers limited storage|
|Very easy to use and suitable for beginners||Add-ons and extras at checkout, including some which are pre-selected|
|Recommended by WordPress|
|Free SSL certificate|
HostGator Pros & Cons
|Great 24/7/365 customer support||Advertising credits are only available to residents in the U.S. and Canada|
|Free domain included||Only 2 data centers in Utah and Texas|
|Unmetered Storage and bandwidth|
|45-day money-back guarantee|
|Hostgator’s own Website Builder included|
BlueHost & HostGator Customer Support
When you sign up for any kind of service, especially a technical one like web hosting, it’s important to have a solid support network around you. When it comes to technology things can go wrong and they are often things you can’t fix yourself.
For me, a web host that offers 24/7 support and live chat is a winner. It’s 2020 and frankly, I don’t want to wait around for 12 hours for my questions to be answered.
Thankfully, both BlueHost and HostGator offer many options for support. You can see from the table below that the only real difference is that BlueHost offers both U.S. and international telephone support service, whereas HostGator only offers this to U.S. customers.
|Phone Support||U.S. & International||U.S. Toll-Free|
Whilst my expectations of customer support are high, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. There are certain things in life you cannot buy without reassurance. You wouldn’t buy a car with no seatbelts or ride a bike with no wheels, and web hosting should be no different.
BlueHost offers an in-depth knowledge base that is easy to use. You can simply search for the answer to your question or narrow your search down by category. Similarly, with HostGator, you can see how many resources are in each category, like 55 topics in the domains section.
BlueHost & HostGator’s cheapest plans
In this section, I’m going to focus on each provider’s shared web hosting packages. They are both very similar in price, but do they match up when it comes to advanced features?
|Free SSL Certificate||✔||✔|
|Advertised Price Term||36 months||36 months|
On the face of it, BlueHost and HostGator’s cheapest hosting plans offer similar features. However, it’s clear from the table above that HostGator pips BlueHost to the post on the features offered by their basic plan.
All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans offer unmetered storage whereas BlueHost’s Basic plan has a limit of 50GB. Some may see this as negative, however, most eCommerce sites (which tend to use the most storage) only need 4GB storage on average.
I can pretty much guarantee you won’t have a website that will exceed 50GB storage.
Both providers’ advertised prices are based on a 36-month term. This is true of many web hosts, where signing up for longer will net you the biggest available discounts.
When it comes down to it, HostGator does offer more features than BlueHost. However, it depends on what features you want for your website. For example, if you’re hosting a WordPress website, BlueHost is one of the few hosting providers recommended by WordPress themselves. But, if you’re not hosting a WordPress website, HostGator seems to offer more.
Performance (Uptime & Speed) of BlueHost & HostGator
Performance is a very important feature of any web host. Whether you’re hosting a small business website or running a large enterprise, you’ll need to know your host’s server response time and uptime are decent.
In 2019, Littledata surveyed over 3,500 websites and concluded that the average server response time was 553ms. Bear in mind that anything less than 302ms would place your website in the best 20% of sites on the web and a response time of more than 998ms would place it in the worst 20%.
Many web hosts offer an uptime guarantee, which can be reassuring. However, this means nothing unless they adhere to their SLAs, so it’s important to run real tests to accurately analyze the data presented.
BlueHost uptime test
BlueHost offered a solid 100% uptime for 30 days. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to offer any kind of compensation or reward scheme if they don’t adhere to their SLAs, but they do say that most issues will be resolved within 15 minutes.
Based on a fresh install of WordPress on my BlueHost server, with no optimization, my test server response time returned an average of 502ms. Whilst this doesn’t put my BlueHost site in the best 20% of sites, it does put it pretty much bang on average, which is reassuring.
HostGator uptime test
Like BlueHost, HostGator also came up trumps on their uptime promises. HostGator says that if your site isn’t up an average 99.9% in a given month, they’ll issue a service credit on your hosting account for one month.
I did the same test with HostGator as I did with BlueHost, which gave me an average server response time of 671ms. This isn’t as good as BlueHost’s speeds, but it certainly isn’t anything to stick your nose up at either.
Pricing comparison of BlueHost & HostGator
BlueHost and HostGator offer similar pricing packages at the lower end. They are both easy to understand and it’s clear to see which features are available across all of their plans. Let’s take a look at these two titans of Web Hosting offers.
|Office 365 Mailbox||No||Included||Included||Included|
Currently, BlueHost’s Choice and Choice Plus plans are the same price, costing just $5.45 per month. I reckon that’s pretty good value considering you’ll get unlimited websites, storage, bandwidth, and a free SSL. The Choice Plus plan includes domain privacy and protection, site backup, and 1 Office 365 mailbox, which is free for 30 days.
BlueHost’s Pro plan seems to be pretty expensive considering the only real difference it offers compared to its cheaper plans are the dedicated IP and extra Spam Experts. However, the Pro plan offers high performance, which allows for a 300,000 file count and is deployed with fewer users and more resource availability per user.
|Private SSL Allowed||No||Yes||Yes|
|Free SEO Tools||No||No||Yes|
All of HostGator’s pricing plans are very reasonable, in my opinion. Their most expensive shared hosting plan is only $5.95 per month and offers plenty of features suitable for most individuals and businesses.
Compared to BlueHost, HostGator’s Business plan offers almost the same features as BlueHost’s Pro plan, without the performance upgrade. Whilst both hosts offer 1-click installs for WordPress via their cPanel, it’s worth reminding ourselves that BlueHost is the only host in this comparison that’s recommended by WordPress.
Comparing two big names in the hosting industry is always an interesting exercise. This comparison has been difficult at times because both hosts are so similar and offer like-for-like features in a lot of cases.
Both BlueHost and HostGator offer affordable, shared web hosting with 1-click software installs, a free domain name and a free SSL certificate. They also allow you to sell online with the option of installing shopping carts and scalable pricing plans. However, I did discover a few key differences.
BlueHost is recommended by WordPress and I can safely say I understand why. Testing their services using a WordPress website, I found myself enjoying a solid uptime of 100% and fast server response speeds.
For beginners and advanced users, BlueHost is easy to get to grips with and their cPanel is clear and concise. However, their basic plan has a storage limit of 50GB. And, whilst not a danger to more website owners, in comparison to HostGator, it is a little disappointing.
HostGator is an extremely well-known web host with a good reputation. Their plans cost the same price as most people’s lunch each day and they come packed with a wealth of features.
HostGator offers an uptime guarantee and hand out credits if they don’t meet their SLAs, which is something BlueHost doesn’t offer. However, if I had to be picky, I’d pull up HostGator on their customer support which quite frankly isn’t as good as BlueHost’s.
That said, if you’re looking for a reliable web host that offers great speed and performance, as well as cracking customer support for the price of a bit of pocket change per month, I highly recommend BlueHost.
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This comparison article on BlueHost vs Hostgator was written by Georgie Peru. If you have a useful comparison resource like this and interested in contributing our site, then check our Guest Posting Guidelines.
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