Bluehost vs. HostGator Comparison - Which Web Hosting is Better?
The right web hosting solution is essential to a successful online business. While the primary function of a host is giving your website a place on the web, its quality can significantly affect your website’s performance, reliability, and security.
The problem is: if you’re a newbie to the website building or hosting world, or even if you’re an experienced techie just looking to switch providers, the search for the best hosting service can seem daunting. With a lot of options available, it can be challenging to decide on just one!
You want the best for your website, and so do we! That’s why we took two of the biggest hosting providers, Bluehost and Hostgator, and did some in-depth studies to see which is actually the better option for you.
The two are extremely similar in many ways, for instance, they both provide comparable services, and both are acclaimed for their reliability and speed. However, there are some notable differences that need consideration.
Therefore, in this post, we will compare Bluehost and HostGator so you can determine which one could make the best home for your website. Because this post is quite long, we’ve broken it down into sections. Feel free to use the below table of contents to jump to a specific section.
Table of contents
- What is Bluehost?
- What is Hostgator?
- Bluehost vs. Hostgator: Key features Comparison
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Ease of use Comparison
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Load time and uptime Comparison
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Security Comparison
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Customer support
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Pros and cons
- Bluehost vs HostGator: Pricing plans
- Who should choose Bluehost?
- Who should choose Hostgator?
- The bottom line
What is Bluehost?
Bluehost was first conceived by Matt Heaton in 1996; however, it was officially launched by Heaton and Danny Ashworth in 2003. Five years later, the company already had one million registered domains and in 2010, it was acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG). Bluehost operated its servers in-house at a Utah-based facility and has a dedicated team of more than 750 employees.
Up to now, Bluehost is powering more than two million websites across the world. It offers a wide array of hosting solutions, such as shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting. It’s also one of the most highly recommended WordPress hosting providers, with the option of a managed WordPress hosting as well. In addition, Bluehost offers WooCommerce hosting to help you build and run an online store in just a few clicks.
You can read our Bluehost reviews to learn more about this popular hosting provider.
What is Hostgator?
Initiated from a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University in 2002, HostGator has opened its offices worldwide and now powers more than 8 million domains. With 12,000 servers under management and over 90% customer satisfaction, Hostgator becomes one of the largest hosting companies.
HostGator claims to offer a powerful, fast, and secure web hosting solution for an affordable price. With a major focus on simplicity and low shared hosting prices, HostGator is trying to be a perfect “beginner’s host.” The company also provides dedicated, VPS, reseller, and WordPress hosting - all at reasonable prices.
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Key features comparison
Both Bluehost and HostGator provide free domains for the first year, whether you want a .com or .org domain. This can help you significantly cut back on your website’s startup costs.
However, remember that the free domain name may be limited to certain plans, and you’ll need to pay for renewal costs after your first time. While Bluehost offers a free domain year-round, HostGator only offers theirs periodically. Thus, you should keep an eye out for it!
Bluehost doesn’t have its own website builder; instead, it integrates with the Weebly site builder, one of the best and most common website builders. Weebly is a drag-and-drop builder that uses a grid system. With this system, every element you place will snap in place and auto-align with other elements. But keep in mind that you only get the Weebly’s basic version for free. Thus, consider it carefully!
HostGator offers its own website builder called “Gator,” which is a simple and easy-to-use tool with drag-and-drop functionality. With the Gator builder, you get more freedom in placing different elements. Besides, it provides pre-built site sections, 100+ mobile-optimized templates, and six pages included in the free basic plan. There are upgrades to this service available for a fee.
WordPress integration is one category where Bluehost has the obvious advantage - it is the WordPress hosting platform, and even WordPress itself recommends it.
Because Bluehost is built with WordPress in mind, you can take advantage of many integration tools between your host and CMS (Content Management System). Some features include an easy setup process, automated WordPress updates, and WordPress-specific support. Bluehost even installs WordPress on your domain for you if you are just setting up your site.
Not to be outshined, HostGator also provides hosting plans specialized for WordPress. For new websites, it includes a setup wizard to help you install and configure your CMS on its servers.
To be honest, HostGator lacks many of the WordPress integration features when compared to Bluehost. So, consider this inconvenience if you run a WordPress site.
If you’d like to move your website from another host to Bluehost, you will either need to transfer it yourself or pay the $144.99 fee that the company charges for its migration service. Meanwhile, HostGator beats Bluehost with its free migration service.
On its higher-level shared plans, Bluehost provides CodeGuard Basic with automatic backups. You can schedule these to take place daily, weekly, or monthly. All plans let you create your own backup via cPanel.
HostGator also offers a paid upgrade called CodeGuard, which allows you to create daily, weekly backups, or instant manual backups.
Bluehost offers an industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee. If, for whatever reason, you aren’t happy with its service, you can request a refund. Bluehost will then subtract the costs of your free domain and any non-refundable extras from the refund.
HostGator’s money-back-guarantee is a bit more generous than that of Bluehost. You can request a refund up to 45 days after the start of your term.
Note: To give you a more in-depth insight into Bluehost vs. HostGator’s key features, we’ll show them in the following table. Let’s take a quick look!
|Free domain name||Yes, for the first year||Yes, periodically|
|Free SSL certificate||Yes||Yes|
|Free website migration||No, it costs you $144.99||Yes|
|Website builder||Grid system (available via Weebly)||Drag and drop with absolute freedom (Gator website builder)|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||45 days|
=> It’s quite hard to identify the winner when it comes to key features. But you can realize that Bluehost is the better choice for a free domain and WordPress integration, while HostGator offers free website migration and a longer money-back guarantee.
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Ease of use comparison
Both hosting providers allow you to use cPanel to manage your servers. cPanel is a widely-used Linux-based platform that provides a range of administrative tools through a graphical interface. While HostGator’s cPanel screen is relatively standard, Bluehost has shifted some menus around to customize its version.
In general, Bluehost and HostGator are both beginner-friendly. From the moment you sign up, you’ll be carefully taken through the set-up stage in a clear, concise, and easy-to-follow way. Both offer one-click WordPress installation and easy access to support if necessary. The support is exceptionally easy to understand, and you’ll be guided through the entire website setup process.
=> Bluehost and HostGator are pretty solid when talking about ease of use, thanks to their intuitive cPanel and a bunch of one-click installations.
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Load time and uptime comparison
When it comes to speed and uptime (how often your site is available online), tiny differences can significantly influence your business. Page performance is one of the critical Google ranking factors for search, and most visitors expect your pages to load in seconds.
Page speed actually doesn’t matter much when your site is down. Any reputable hosting provider will often market an average uptime percentage very close to 100%, because any downtime can hurt your reputation and disappoint audiences. Downtime typically decreases on higher-tier plans, but even the cheapest plans should be online at least 99.95% of the time.
In order to measure up to other websites, your hosting provider should provide fast and reliable delivery of your web pages. Let’s see how our two candidates perform!
Bluehost’s load time has consistently ranked as one of the fastest and most reliable providers in the industry.
A recent study by Hosting Facts tracked the page performance and uptime of a website using the cheapest plan of Bluehost - the “Basic” shared hosting plan. They found out that the average load speed was around 400ms. Moreover, the Bluehost test site hovered around a near-perfect 99.99% monthly uptime over the period of two years, an outstanding result when considering 100% uptime is nearly impossible.
It’s also worth mentioning that websites on higher Bluehost plans might experience even faster and less downtime with CloudFlare’s content delivery network integration.
HostGator claims to own exceptionally fast loading speed thanks to its content delivery networks and low-density servers. Indeed, loading times on HostGator websites have been proven comparable to, and sometimes faster than those of Bluehost websites. An analysis by Themeisle recently showed that loading times averaged under a second.
HostGator reports an average of 99.99% uptime recently and even guarantees one month of credit on your hosting account if your website’s uptime drops below 99.9%. However, you need to request this compensation from HostGator’s billing department, and might not receive it in some instances.
=> When it comes to performance and reliability, both Bluehost and HostGator continue to set high standards for the rest of the industry, so you can’t go wrong with either of the two services in this factor.
Bluehost vs HostGator: Security comparison
All Bluehost plans include a free SSL certificate to protect your visitors when connecting to your website. An SSL certificate is nearly a must for your website, as many browsers will warn visitors when they are about to access a non-SSL-protected site, and Google appreciates SSL encryption in its rankings.
Bluehost states that its servers are equipped to detect and handle intrusions to keep your data safe and secure. Its service also integrates with Cloudflare, a digital security and performance company, to handle extra security features on your website, such as spam protection and firewalls.
Pricier Bluehost plans add on automatic backups and restoration through CodeGuard Basic (though you can manually back up your Bluehost site whenever you want), and you can purchase the SiteLock add-on for performing malware scans to catch spam, harmful code, and potential vulnerabilities in your site.
Like Bluehost, HostGator offers a free SSL certificate to all customers and the paid add-ons CodeGuard and SiteLock for malware scanning and backups. The company runs automatic weekly backups free of charge, and you can also back up our site yourself at any time.
HostGator specifically highlights the protective measures implemented in its servers to protect from DDoS attacks, a common hacking type in which multiple hostile servers send large amounts of traffic to a hosting server causing it to crash. It counters DDoS attacks with a sophisticated custom firewall and instant reactive measures to these hacking attempts.
=> When talking about the security features of Bluehost and HostGator, it is a tie.
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Customer support
Both Bluehost and HostGator have most areas of support covered, so you can make sure that their team of tech-experts is only a click or a phone call away. With so many customers relying on them, neither can afford to neglect their customer service - just look at the following table!
In general, HostGator’s knowledge base is a support portal offering documentation and 24/7 live technical support. This includes a forum with different topics, such as general announcements, customer reviews, suggestions, pre-sales questions, etc., video tutorials, as well as live chat and telephone support options. You might find that it’s even quicker to find your answer on the knowledge base rather than via the phone, but at least you have got the option!
The Bluehost’s knowledge base has a search function as its main feature, together with educational resources, such as articles and “how to” guides for different sections (e.g., emails, WordPress, domains, etc.,). There’s also an essential FAQ section and a link to its contact page with information on how to contact the right department for your query.
If you’ve got a more complicated issue that can’t be covered by general advice online, you can submit a ticket. It’ll be received by a team that attempts to resolve the problem in a more personalized solution.
=> It’s hard to identify the winner in this round, as both providers do very well across the board. They offer far more support channels than other web hosting companies out there.
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Pros and cons
Pros and cons of using Bluehost
- Free domain name for the 1st year
- Free SSL encryption
- Free CDN
- Unlimited web traffic and storage space
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- Fast and reliable
- Great customer service
- 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans
- No free website migration
- No monthly pricing options
Pros and cons of using HostGator
- Free SSL certificate
- Free website migration
- Unlimited disk space
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- Available monthly pricing plans
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Long commitment periods - discounted prices are available only if you commit to HostGator for a few years
- Aggressive upselling - you need to review additional services pre-selected during the signup process. If you’re not sure, then uncheck them anyways, you can always add them later when you want.
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Pricing plans
No hosting service review is complete without mentioning pricing plans. Creating your own website should be exciting, not break the bank. Both Bluehost and HostGator offer different hosting packages to suit the needs of each individual.
|Shared Hosting||$3.95 - $13.95/ month||$2.75 - $5.95/ month|
|Dedicated Hosting||$79.99 - $119.99/ month||$89.98 - $139.99/ month|
|VPS Hosting||$19.99 - $59.99/ month||$19.95 - $39.95/ month|
|WordPress Hosting||$3.95 - $6.95/ month||$5.95 - $9.95/ month|
=> While HostGator can offer you cheaper prices for some services, the extra bucks you will spend on Bluehost will go towards better features, ease of use, and WordPress integration. That’s why we decided that Bluehost offers better value for money than HostGator.
Who should choose Bluehost?
If you are looking for a reliable web hosting provider with a strong reputation, Bluehost is a decent choice. Additionally, we would highly recommend Bluehost for:
- Anyone wanting to delve into the blogging world
- Anyone needing to setup small E-commerce websites
- Anyone that doesn’t want to pay for extra bandwidth
- Anyone wanting flexibility about their website look
- Small to medium scale businesses
Who should choose HostGator?
Please keep in mind that HostGator is not for everyone. While it’s highly recommended if you’re a blogger or an online business owner, the service is meaningful to people with specific needs.
You should use HostGator if:
- You’re not satisfied with your current web hosting provider, and want free migration
- You want to build your own website flexibly
- You have some technical experience with building and setting up websites
- You want to build multiple websites
- You don’t want limitations from hosted platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Wix, etc.
The bottom line
We hope this comparison of Bluehost and HostGator can help you choose the appropriate service for your business. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to your requirements. You should clearly identify your business needs and budget to come with the best choice.
If you have any concerns about Bluehost and HostGator comparison, please feel free to contact us! And don’t forget to read the next useful and interesting articles on our blog!