Bluehost Vs. HostGator
Last updated on: February 2019
What’s up? I’m Mike and I’m going to be your Superman today, but instead of fighting Doomsday to save your life, I’m going to save you time and money before you buy any hosting plan from Bluehost or HostGator.
There so maaaaany companies fighting for your business, so many. Sadly, many of them are terrible and don’t deserve the privilege of hosting your site.
I’ve tested hundreds of them so you don’t have to. Yes, I’ve wasted tons of money and time, but be happy, because you won’t have to pass through the same…
From this research, I’ve found that Bluehost and HostGator are two of the best hosting solutions, and thereby they deserve a proper comparison, so you can see which company is the best for your business.
Without any further delay, let’s get into it!
Why Bluehost vs. HostGator?
Why have I picked them? There are several reasons, but instead of using too many words and boring you to death, here you have the list:
- They have been around since the early 2000s (2003 for Bluehost and 2002 for HostGator)
- They are two of the largest hosting companies in the world
- They have affordable prices that are accessible for practically any business
- They are beginner-friendly
- They both offer excellent features
Got it? This is why I picked them, and because I tested them with my own sites.
Now that it is clear, let’s get down to the details.
Each company has different plans, and here you have them:
- Shared Hosting (Basic, Plus, Prime)
- Cloud Hosting (Starter, Performance, Business Pro)
- WordPress Hosting (WP Standard, WP Enhanced, WP Premium, WP Ultimate)
- WooCommerce Hosting (E-commerce specialized solution that starts at $6.95/month, I liked it)
- VPS Hosting (Standard, Enhanced, Ultimate)
- Dedicated Hosting (Standard, Enhanced, Premium)
They have plans for every kind of business and need. I like this about them, and worry not, because they keep the prices very reasonable.
- Web Hosting (Hatchling, Baby, Business)
- Cloud Hosting (Hatchling, Baby, Business)
- WordPress Hosting (Starter, Standard, Business)
- Dedicated Hosting (Value, Power, Enterprise)
- VPS Hosting (Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, Snappy 8000)
Again, prices are very affordable, especially for a small business. However, if you are a big company, then you can opt for their dedicating hosting or Business cloud hosting, and even then, the prices remain reasonable.
Now, let’s compare the different plans to see which one offers you the best value for your money.
Shared Hosting Comparison:
|N° of Domains||1||Unlimited||Unlimited||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Website Space||50 GB||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
An important note here: HostGator’s plans offer unlimited web space, but they do not declare it openly. I think it is a flaw, because they should say it explicitly. Transparency never hurts.
Both companies offer a good value for your money in these plans, but keep in mind that such prices only apply if you opt for a 36-month plan in both cases.
I would recommend you to choose any of these plans in case you are just getting started, setting up some test websites or something similar.
However, if you want to host an important website with tons of traffic, then you should opt for better solutions like cloud or dedicated hosting. We’ll compare these plans too.
Cloud Hosting Comparison:
|N° of Domains||1||Unlimited||Unlimited||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Website Space||100 GB||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered|
|RAM||2 GB||4 GB||6GB||2 GB||4 GB||6GB|
In general, what are the advantages of cloud hosting over shared hosting? Well, they are many, but first let’s start with a definition of what it is:
“A revolutionary kind of hosting that allows you to use the resources of several sources instead of only one”.
This improvement offers several benefits:
- It is perfect for websites that receive tons of traffic
- Protection against overwhelmed servers
- Excellent scalability
- Better performance
- Cheaper than dedicated and VPS hosting
Therefore, if you are looking for something better than your regular shared hosting plan, then this is the next step.
If your website receives plenty of traffic, then this is a much better pick. You have the different plans offered by each company, so judge yourself and choose wisely.
If you are shopping more price-oriented, then HostGator is the way to go, because their prices are cheaper, especially in the long run.
I like especially the HostGator’s Business plan versus Bluehost’s Business Pro plan, because they both offer nearly the same things but the price difference is remarkable (with HostGator you will save $6 per month and $72 per year, a huge gap!)
However, take note that these prices only apply if you sign up for a 36-month plan.
WordPress Hosting Comparison:
Before we move to compare the plans, what is the difference between conventional hosting and WP hosting?
According to both companies, they have engineered these plans meet the needs of high-traffic websites and WordPress; thereby the CMS can work at its fullest potential.
In the case of Bluehost, they offer the following advantages:
- Amazing Speed: Built on VPS platform + Custom PHP-FPM configuration + Advanced NGINX architecture
- Enhanced Security: Advanced CDN + SiteLock WAF + SiteLock Security
- Excellent WP Add-ons: Mojo Marketplace (for e-com) + beginner-friendly panel
- Ownership of resources: Thanks to KVM hypervisor, your resources are 100% used on your site
Now, let’s see what HostGator brings to the table:
- Great Speed: Super-charged cloud architecture + CDN + several caching layers + low-density servers
- Beginner-friendly: One-click scalability + user-friendly interface + one-click restores + easy access to email
- Excellent Security: CodeGuard for automatic backups + SiteLock for protection against hackers and viruses
- Excellent Prices: In all honesty, HG offers the most competitive pricing for this type of hosting.
As you can see, this kind of specialized hosting solution has excellent advantages. There is another thing that they offer: excellent and reliable 24/7 support. This is especially important if you aren’t very tech-savvy, because you can get help whenever you need it.
Enough. Let’s check what each company offers in its plans.
|N° of Domains||1||1||1||1||1||2||3|
|Monthly avg. traffic||100 million||300 million||600 million||Unlimited||100K||200K||500K|
|RAM||2GB||4GB||6GB||8GB||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified|
|SSL Certificate||YES||YES||Positive SSL||Positive Wildcard SSL||NO||NO||NO|
At a first glance, you can easily see that there is a huge difference in the following aspects:
- Backup space
- Monthly visitors
Bluehost’s plans are best suited for websites with tons of traffic, while HostGator’s plans are excellent for business owners who want to save money and still get a specialized solution with an amazing performance.
It is also important to note that Bluehost includes great add-ons like free SSL certificate and dedicated IP, whereas HG does not. However, you can add them at the checkout for an affordable price.
Now that you have this comparison, it should be easy to pick the best plan for your website. Nonetheless, remember that such prices only apply if you sign up for a 36-month plan.
Do I Really Need WP Hosting?
If you are just starting off, then you can start with shared hosting or cloud hosting (the best option in my humble opinion).
Once your site starts picking off rhythm and growth, you can migrate to a WP hosting plan. In the case of HG, they will do the migration for free. That’s an excellent offer!
If you don’t have the budget (HG’s plans are veeeeeeery cheap to be honest), then start with shared or cloud hosting, and once you feel your site needs more resources, you can do the switch.
VPS Hosting Comparison:
Now we are entering the big leagues.
If you do digital marketing or any similar activity, then you already know why VPS hosting rocks:
- Full access and control of your server. You can tweak it as much as necessary to meet your own needs
- Scalability made easy. You can scale your website as your needs grow without problems
- Multiple domains. You can host as many as you want, and if you know what you are doing, then you already know why it is useful
- A dedicated server for a cheaper price. You get practically all the functions of it for a fraction of the cost.
Now, let’s check the different plans offered by each company:
|Plan||Standard||Enhanced||Ultimate||Snappy 2000||Snappy 4000||Snappy 8000|
|N° of Domains||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Website Space||30 GB SSD||60 GB SSD||120 GB SSD||120 GB||165 GB||240 GB|
|RAM||2 GB||4 GB||8 GB||2 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|Bandwidth||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1.5 TB||2 TB||3 TB|
Both companies offer great value for the price, but again, HG is the winner in terms of pricing. If you are hunting the lowest price, the answer is obvious if you compare the Ultimate plan by Bluehost vs. Snappy 8000 by HostGator.
It is also excellent that both include 24/7 priority customer support. If you are new to this, then it can be a bit hard at the beginning, but when you have support at your reach, things become much simpler.
However, here is something important to note: Bluehost offers SSD disk space. It offers many advantages, so let’s review them in a concise way.
What Are the Benefits of Solid State Disk storage?
The principal advantage is that SSD doesn’t use RAM to store information. Therefore, your data won’t be lost if the power is disconnected.
Another advantage is that SSD makes your websites faster. How so? There is a term we need to take into account: IOPS (Input/output Operations per Second). To keep it simpler, the higher the IOPS, the better for speed.
SSD disks have very high IOPS value when compared to traditional disks, so the answer is simple: they will make your website faster. That’s something that you will solely get with Bluehost’s VPS hosting plans, so consider that at the hour of choosing.
How Do I Know if I Need VPS Hosting?
If you have fallen in love with the benefits and features of this type of hosting (especially with SSD disks) but don’t know if you should do the switch yet, then this is for you.
If you receive thousands of visits per day, then it may be due time for a change. Because you will need far more resources than a shared hosting can bring you.
In a shared hosting plan, as the name clearly suggests, you are sharing resources with maaaany other users. On the other hand, with a VPS plan, you only have a couple of neighbors, which means that you will get far more resources for your needs.
If you need to implement specific configurations, then you should have already noticed that it is not possible to do that in a shared hosting. However, with a VPS, you can do that and more. You can scale your website as your business grow with ease.
Finally, if you need to have more control and root access, then VPS is the answer to all of your problems. If you are a developer who needs to take care of your clients’ websites, then this is the platform to use.
Dedicated Hosting Comparison:
Dedicated hosting is the next step after VPS.
Let’s check the different plans and all they have to offer you:
|N° of Domains||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Website Space||500 GB (Mirrored)||1 TB|
|1 TB HDD||2 TB HDD or|
512 GB SSD
|1 TB SSD|
|RAM||4 GB||8 GB||16 GB||8 GB||16 GB||30 GB|
|Bandwidth||5 TB||10 TB||15 TB||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered|
All these plans deliver excellent value for the money, because they bring you great speed, plenty of storage, enough IP addresses and RAM.
However, let’s check the unique add-ons by each company. Let’s start by HostGator:
- Unrestricted root access
- Protection against DDOS attacks
- RAID 1 (Mirroring) for superior performance
- Fully Redundant Network for protecting your server if a network outage happens
- Unlimited databases
Now, let’s see what Bluehost has to offer:
- RAID 1 storage
- Full root access
- OpenStack to tweak the setting as much as you please for superior performance
- Increase storage rapidly
- Customized database manager
- Manage multiple VPS, shared, cloud and dedicated server hosting plans in the same account
How Do I Know If I Need a Dedicated Server?
For starters, if your website is getting tons of visits per month – think of thousands over thousands – then it is a sign that you are already profiting big time, and thereby you need to level up your game.
It can be the perfect solution for your insanely-popular e-commerce store where even 1 second less in the load time can bring you tons of new sales.
It is excellent for any traffic-heavy website, and unlike VPS, here all the resources are exclusively for you.
If your website is large and profitable, then you may already be the target of some hackers. Shared hosting is very susceptible to these attacks, but a dedicated server will protect you better.
Quick and important note: If you are serious about SEO, then you need to keep your neighborhood as clean as possible, and it won’t get any cleaner than with your own dedicated server.
All in all, if you need a professional hosting solutions that brings you unparalleled speed, total management of the server and exclusivity of resources, then this is what you need.
Speed and Performance: Analyzing It All
It is time to get serious and analyze the real performance of both companies in terms of speed and uptime. Similar to what we did when comparing plans, we will do this in a side-by-side fashion as well.
|The company doesn’t reveal the real location of their datacenters. Lack of transparency is concerning. There are reports that suggest that they located in different parts of the world: Europe, USA (Utah), India and China.||HG is fully transparent in this aspect. The majority of their datacenters are located in Utah and Texas.|
|Their main facility is located in Provo, Utah. It is a 4,600 square-meter complex with state of the art technology for optimal performance of the servers.||They have their top tier facilities in Houston and Provo.|
Similarly, they have excellent technology that guarantees good speed, uptime and optimal performance.
|Owned by EIG.||Owned by EIG.|
In terms of transparency, HG is the winner. Moreover, they openly talk about their datacenters and facilities. This allows you to verify if they are the real deal or not before getting any of their plans.
This aspect can be a decisive point for any purchaser, because you need to know what you are getting in return for your money (especially since you have to go for a 36-month plan if you want to take advantage of their low monthly prices). In this regard, HostGator beats Bluehost.
Technology for Speed:
|Their server infrastructure is by enterprise-level SSD database storage, something that will play a huge role in the load time and performance of your websites.||HG doesn’t have solid SSDs.|
|Includes CDN powered by CloudFlare for optimal content delivery.||Includes CDN powered by CloudFlare.|
|They use diesel-backup generators, quad processor servers, mirrored storage backups and uninterruptible power supply to guarantee an excellent uptime and great speed.||Amongst their most important pieces of technology, they include the fact that LSA backs them up, thereby guarantying a 99.9% uptime.|
That’s not tech exactly, but it is valid.
They use state of the art Linux container technology + built-in redundancy for greater speed and enhanced security.
There is an important point to note: Bluehost’s SSDs are not solid neither, but the fact that an enterprise-level SSD database storage supports their server infrastructure adds far more value.
Both of them have taken care of adding cutting-edge technology to their servers in order to provide a great service.
Bluehost has undergone an excellent evolution. Back in 2016 they have an uptime of 99.89% which was below the average. However, nowadays, they enjoy an excellent uptime of 99.99%.
In the case of HG, they offer an uptime guarantee of 99.9%.
With Bluehost, you would experience an average downtime of 0.876 hours per year. In the case of HG, even though they state it at 99.9%, they are closer to 99.99% according to uptime reports.
Now that you have this information at hand, it will be easier for you to choose which company should host your website. Furthermore, you already have a comparison between the different plans, be it shared, cloud, VPS or dedicated server hosting.
However, if you have any question, feel free to post it below and I will get back to you as soon as possible with more details to solve all of your doubts.
Security: What Company Will Protect Your Websites The Best?
Security is another important aspect, because if a company cannot fight against hackers, DDOS attacks and many other online threats, then it is not a good idea to host your website with them.
However, as you will see, both options offer excellent features that will keep your websites safes. Let’s compare.
|SiteLock partnership for malware and spam scanning.||Same SiteLock partnership for keeping your website protected against spam and malware.|
|Their infrastructure has built-in features for dealing with DDOS attacks and they have a team fully dedicated to this, so they can solve the problem as soon as possible.||They also have DDOS protection features, like custom firewall rulesets that will keep your website safe from such attacks.|
Again, we have to talk about their data centers. They come with network-level flood protection, something that adds more value to their service.
|They make it easy for you to protect your website by enabling automatic backups. This is a major point for beginners who may not know how to do them by themselves.||Unlike Bluehost, HG doesn’t bring you this feature by free. However, you can opt for purchasing their CodeGuard add-on. You can get it for free if you go with their WP Hosting plans.|
Security is very important and it is good to see that both companies offer excellent features to protect their customers.
Even though no server is 100% hack-proof, it is important to note that their team (especially for higher-end plans) is always ready to help in case of problems.
Now you can judge which company offers the security features you need to have peace of mind when running your website.
WordPress: What’s The Best Option for this CMS?
Now it is time to talk about WP, one of the most popular and easiest-to-use CMSs in the market.
It is a popular choice amongst business owners, niche site builders, internet market and more. As you have seen previously, both companies offer special plans for this platform, but let’s take a closer look.
|Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress.|
They have worked closely since 2005, so this speaks very well about Bluehost and their performance with WP. Take this in consideration.
|Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t officially recommend HG. However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t work well with WP, but they do not recommend it explicitly.|
|Their special WP hosting plans are built on a VPS platform in order to guarantee excellent speed.|
Moreover, they also include a custom PHP-FPM config + a cutting-edge NGINX architecture especially designed for WP.
|HostGator features an incredible cloud architecture engineered for WordPress.|
Moreover, they also include multiple caching layers, low density servers and CDN.
They have engineered this combination of features with the end goal of bringing you up to x2.5 faster load times.
|You can install WP with only one click, making it incredibly easy even for beginners. However, if you still have complications with this, you can always reach out their customer support team.||Installing WP only takes a click.|
They have an excellent and beginner-friendly cPanel interface.
They can migrate your WP site to HG for free, that’s a major bonus.
|You get a free SSL certificate. This will protect your website and boost your credibility, and furthermore help you with Google rankings.|
They include SiteLock.
They take care of automatic backups.
They don’t include HackAlert, but they include other features that accomplish the same.
|They do not include a free SSL certificate, but you can buy it as an add-on.|
They include SiteLock for free.
They include CodeGuard for automatic backups.
They include HackAlert for malware monitoring.
As you can see, both companies offer good value in terms of security, speed and performance.
This is excellent for beginners, because you will not have to take care of anything that’s too technical or complex. With both companies, they will take care of monitoring your website, removing malware, doing automatic backups (Bluehost includes storage exclusively for this) and more.
However, the WordPress’s endorsement of Bluehost brings it a slight edge over HG.
Easiest to Use: What’s the Best for Beginners?
If you are an advanced user looking for a VPS or dedi, then this may not bother you at all. However, for the average business owner who is not tech-savvy, this is very important.
Let’s analyze the features that make the plans of both companies friendly for beginners.
|They bring you a free domain with your hosting plan. It is renewed automatically along with your plan. This is very helpful for beginners, because you will not have to take care of registering your domain with another company, changing the DNS address and more.||HG doesn’t give you a domain for free, but you can buy it for $12.99 (.com).|
|They won’t migrate your site for free. The service costs $149.99 and it has some restrictions: only up to 5 websites||They will migrate your entire website for free within 30 days of creating your account or upgrading to a new plan.|
|You can install WP easily from the cPanel interface.||You can install WP quickly, and they even have tutorials that you can watch to learn more about it.|
|They offer you a website builder by Weebly, in case you can to design your own site. It is easy to use, but remember that Weebly is not the best platform (WP is far superior in all senses, including SEO).||They include their own website builder with over 100 templates, drag-n-drop functions and more.|
However, it is free only up to 6 pages. In any case, WP is the better option.
Both companies are very friendly towards beginners, but HG is the better option, because they will migrate your site for free and take care of everything. A hefty fee of $149.99 is a bit excessive, especially when the competition can do it for free.
If you are starting from scratch, then Bluehost is more attractive, because they will bring you a free domain. However, if you want to migrate your website, then HG is obviously the better option.
Customer Support: How Well Do They Score?
This is another critical aspect, because if the customer support isn’t good (especially if you are a beginner), then you will be in trouble. Let’s see how each company scores in this department.
|They reply the chat instantly (almost).||Their chat customer support team answers rapidly.|
|Their customer support on the phone is amazingly fast, especially for higher-end plans (VPS or dedicated server).||Similarly, the response time and quality of phone customer support is excellent.|
|They don’t have a forum.||They have a forum full of helpful users and they usually respond fast. Their community is big and pretty friendly for beginners.|
|There is no specified response time for support tickets. It can take a few hours or a whole day.||Same as Bluehost, but the response time is quite fast because they have a big and specialized team in each area.|
|They don’t have tutorials.||HG has a large and vast library of tutorials and videosfor helping all users with any doubt or question they might have.|
|Priority customer support for higher-end plans.||Priority customer support for higher-end plans.|
In this department, HostGator is the clear winner. They are beginner-friendly and their customer support team is amazing, be it pre-sales or for clients.
Bluehost is good too, but they lack a forum and a library of tutorials. This may not seem like a lot, but this is very helpful for beginners who need help in every step at the hour of setting up their account and website.
Therefore, if you want a company that will practically take you by the hand in every step, then HostGator is the way to go.
Finally, remember that both companies have excellent support teams for their higher-end plans. This is especially important if you want to run your own dedicated server, because you will need to have experts at reach to answer your questions.
What’s The Best Plan for Me?
Now, let’s analyze different types of customers (you may be one of them), so you can discover what plan suits your needs the best (in case you haven’t already decided).
I’m a total beginner and my budget is very small (because I’m afraid to spend more money):
If you almost have no clue on how to set up your website, and your budget is very limited because you are afraid to put in more money at this stage, then HostGator is the way to go.
As you are afraid to spend more money, you may not be inclined to go for their 36-month plan offer, but even in a monthly basis – or 12-month plan – the price for their shared hosting plan is still very affordable.
The best options for you would be the following:
- Shared Hosting – Hatchling Plan at $5.95/month (12-month plan)
- Cloud Hosting – Hatchling Plan at $7.95/month (12-month plan)
If you want more speed, then the cloud hosting plan is the best way to go and it is still very affordable for the features you get.
I want to resell hosting for my clients (be it web design, web development, digital marketing, etc.):
HostGator has reseller plans, but in all honesty, you are better off with a VPS or dedicated server.
As we have seen, both options offer you far more control, endless options for scalability and great speed. Let’s check what plans are better suited for you.
If your budget is not very permissive (just starting off), then the best option is… VPS Standard Hosting by Bluehost at $24.99/month (12-month price). It includes all the features you need to start hosting your clients’ websites, provide them great performance and keep your expenses low.
If you want a similar-priced option, but you still lack advanced technical skills, then you can opt for this plan: Snappy 2000 by HostGator. However, to get the promotional price of $29.95/month you will have to go for their 36-month subscription.
Finally, if you are an advanced user and have the budget for it, then you should definitively go any of the top-tier plans of dedicated servers. Again, if you still need assistance and a library to help you as you go, you should check out what HG has to offer.
My website receives tons of traffic (thousands of visits per day) but I want to switch to another hosting company because my current one sucks:
This is an easy one, because you can opt for the following plans (chances are that you are already profiting big time from your website, so price should not be a problem):
- Business Pro cloud hosting by Bluehost ($15.95)
- Business cloud hosting by HG ($9.95).
In case you are running an e-commerce store, then you should check out Bluehost’s WooCommerce hosting plans. I’ve not reviewed them here, but they are pretty good, especially if you are not very tech-savvy and want everything ready to simply run your store.
Finally, if you have the technical skills, then you should go for any VPS or dedicated hosting plan.
Here you have it. Now it should be clear the strong and weak points of each company. We have compared practically all of their plans and their different aspects (speed, uptime, security, etc.).
If you still need help for selecting the right plan for your business, feel free to drop a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible!