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Bluehost vs. HostGator Comparison - Which Web Hosting is Better?

Summer Nguyen | 10-31-2019

Bluehost vs. HostGator Comparison Bluehost vs. HostGator Comparison

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The right web hosting solution is essential to a successful online business. While the primary function of a host is to give 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.

Bluehost Overview

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.

What is Bluehost?
What is Bluehost?

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.

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

Hostgator Overview

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.

What is HostGator?
What is HostGator?

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.

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 anyway, you can always add them later when you want.

What to Look for When Choosing a Web Hosting Provider?

When picking a web hosting company, consider these factors to ensure your platform is efficient and reliable.


How well a web hosting service performs is crucial for any website because it affects uptime and loading speed. Look for platforms that offer applications to enhance performance. In my experience, a provider that guarantees 99.9% uptime is ideal, especially for business use.

Ease of Use

Many beginners and small to medium-sized business owners may not have the technical skills to fully optimize their website. Our team explored various platforms to find out which ones make the process simpler.

Customer Support

Opt for a web hosting service that offers 24/7 customer support with quick response times. This ensures your website can handle technical issues, answer your questions, and provide general assistance.


Keep your website safe by choosing a web hosting provider with top-notch security features. This protects both your business site and your clients from malware, DDoS attacks, and other cyber threats.

Bluehost vs. HostGator: Key features comparison

Domain registration

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!

Website builder

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

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.

Website migration

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.

Money-back guarantee

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!

Feature Bluehost HostGator
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)
WordPress integration Yes Yes
Free backups No No
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: Performance Comparison

Bluehost and HostGator were compared, and it was surprising that HostGator, despite being cheaper, performed better than Bluehost. HostGator was faster and could manage more visitors. However, both companies were reliable and fast overall.

Uptime and response time


Firstly, we’ve kept an eye on how well these hosting services perform overtime to figure out if they’re reliable. From January to March, the website on Bluehost’s server went down six times, each time for almost 11 minutes. This means the uptime rate was zero.

Uptime and response time of Bluehost

The average time it takes for a response from Bluehost was 361 milliseconds, which is really good. However, response times varied a lot but got better towards the end, around 300 milliseconds.

One thing to worry about with Bluehost is that they don’t promise to keep their servers online all the time. While they perform well, having a legal promise to keep servers running would make users feel more secure. On the other hand, HostGator guarantees that their servers will be up 99.9% of the time, which is what most companies in the industry promise.


Uptime and response time of HostGator

We tested HostGator’s server over a slightly different period, from December to February. During that time, there were 3 times when the server went down, totaling 5 minutes of downtime. This means the uptime was better than 99.99%.

The average time it takes for a response from HostGator was a bit longer at 525 milliseconds compared to Bluehost. Even though it’s not as good as Bluehost’s response time, it’s still better than the industry average of 600 milliseconds. This means HostGator still performs above the average level.

Website speed


Website speed of Bluehost

We conducted a test to see how quickly web pages load because users want pages to load fast. If it takes longer than 3 seconds, many users will leave the site, especially those who find it through Google searches rather than visiting directly.

We set up identical WordPress sites on both hosting providers and ran the tests. It’s important to mention that both websites are hosted in US data centers, and the test was also done in the US, so these are the best results we could expect from these providers.

To grasp the findings, focus on three key things:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): It’s when the biggest part of content (like an image or text) loads. For most visitors, this equals the time it takes for the whole page to load.

  • Time to First Byte (TTFB): This is similar to response time. It tells us how long it took for the server to respond to the visitor’s request to open the page.

  • Fully Loaded Time: This is self-explanatory. It’s when the website is completely loaded and ready for interaction.


Website speed of HostGator

In contrast, HostGator showed much faster results. Its Largest Contentful Paint happens in just 1.1 seconds, and the Fully Loaded Time is 1.2 seconds. So, based solely on the outcome, HostGator loads websites quickly.

There’s one more thing we need to consider, and it’s TTFB. Bluehost would be much faster if it wasn’t for that slow 1-second reaction time. Meanwhile, HostGator’s server responds really fast in just 154 milliseconds.

Since Google only looks at LCP and TTFB, HostGator clearly comes out on top. However, users might not notice much of a difference.

Stress testing results


Stress testing results of Bluehost

The last thing to consider in this comparison is how many visitors each provider can handle. In the stress test, I sent 50 pretend visitors to each website and looked at what happened. Sadly, Bluehost couldn’t handle it at first. We had to keep lowering the number of visitors until it finally passed the test with just 15 visitors. Even so, the blue line representing speed did rise as the number of visitors (grey line) went up. This means Bluehost had to slow down to accommodate everyone.


Stress testing results of HostGator

HostGator breezed through the test. Handling 50 visitors was no trouble at all. HostGator hardly slowed down, except for a slight hiccup in the middle. The blue line (response time) barely changed as the number of visitors increased (grey line).

There’s a significant gap in what Bluehost and HostGator can handle. But to be fair, having 15 visitors all at once isn’t something small or even medium-sized websites usually experience easily. It would require at least 10,000 visitors monthly if there were constantly 15 users browsing your site.

Overall, HostGator outshines Bluehost in every aspect of performance. It’s faster, more dependable, and can handle more traffic. However, Bluehost’s results aren’t terrible either, but the technology used by this provider could benefit from an upgrade.

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.

Bluehost vs. HostGator: Ease of use comparison
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Ease of use comparison

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: Security comparison

All Bluehost plans include a free SSL certificate for eCommerce website 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.

Bluehost vs. HostGator: Security comparison
Bluehost vs. HostGator: Security comparison

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.


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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!

  Bluehost HostGator
Knowledge base Yes Yes
Live chat Yes Yes
Phone Yes Yes
Tickets Yes Yes

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: 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.

  Bluehost HostGator
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.

Visit HostGator Package Options

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!

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    A data-driven marketing leader with over 10 years of experience in the ecommerce industry. Summer leverages her deep understanding of customer behavior and market trends to develop strategic marketing campaigns that drive brand awareness, customer acquisition, and ultimately, sales growth for our company.

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