Bluehost vs Hostgator: Which is better for online business and internet marketers
Bluehost vs hostgator. A feature by feature comparison of two of the most popular webhosting companies for building online businesses with special focus on WordPress hosting.
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If you’re looking for a web hosting company for your online business, then you’ve probably heard of Bluehost and Hostgator. These are two of the biggest web hosting players that have made hosting affordable and easy for internet businesses and marketers. Both support WordPress out of the box and have special tools for it.
Shared web hosting is the most affordable option for most online businesses and internet marketers. And these two are amongst the most popular web hosting brands.
Both offer fast, reliable and safe hosting services for sites using WordPress. Both brands are owned by the same company – Endurance International Group (EIG), a billion dollar behemoth in the web hosting industry.
Both target the same market – people starting new online businesses and internet marketers. The pricing and features are also similar.
But when I looked closely, Hostgator came out on top.
Let’s compare Hostgator and Bluehost on multiple features, including price.
Bluehost vs Hostgator: Feature comparison between their most popular shared hosting plan
|Websites||Unlimited websites||Unlimited domains|
|Server||Uses own servers||Uses own servers|
|SSD Storage – up to 1000 times faster than traditional hard disk drives||Yes||Not on the main server. But they use it for the MySQL database.|
|Free SSL Included?||Yes||Yes|
|Number of websites allowed||Unlimited|
|Storage included in the plan||Unlimited|
|Bandwidth included in the plan||Unlimited bandwidth||Unmetered bandwidth|
|Number of sub-domains allowed||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|WordPress Installer||One-click install||One-click install|
|Support for staging - build and test your site on staging before moving to production||Included||Yes – through Softaculous|
|PHP support||Latest version supported||PHP 5 and PHP 7|
|Automatic backup||Automatic daily backups|
|Automatic daily backups (Baby plan)|
|Price for 1 year – first time||$6/month|
|Price for 1 year – second year onwards||$16.99/month|
|Support offered||24x7 – response time can be in hours||24x7 – response time usually in hours|
|Money-back guarantee||30-day money-back Guarantee||45-Day money-back guarantee|
Highlights of feature comparison:
- Hostgator 20% cheaper in the first year. You save even more from second year onwards as Hostgator is cheaper by almost 50%.
- Bluehost offer more speed and performance features like SSD, CDN and Cache.
So why do I say that Hostgator is the better hosting provider than Bluehost?
One, it’s much cheaper. More importantly, as I show later, Bluehost performance features aren’t really great and do little to speed up your website.
So with Hostgator, you get cheaper web hosting that gives you similar, if not better, performance.
With that said, let’s dig in and see how Bluehost and Hostgator go head to head in my detailed comparison.
Which is faster: Bluehost or Bluehost?
A faster loading website does better in SEO. Your online business will get most of its visitors, and sales, from Google search. So it’s important for the site pages to rank higher in Google searches.
Website speed depends on
- Quality of server – CPU, amount of RAM, speed of hard disk
- Caching – keeps a copy of your website in the RAM so it can be delivered faster to user’s computer
- Content delivery network or CDN – keeps big images and slow loading elements of your page on servers around the world. When someone goes to a page on your site, the CDN sends the big files from the server closest to the user. This makes your site pages load fast.
- Network conditions – network congestion slows down the website. CDN is a good way to avoid network congestion.
Let’s see how Hostgator and Bluehost compare:
|High-end servers with SSD and NGNIX||High-end servers with standard dis drives|
|SSD on database servers hosting the||SSD on database servers hosting the|
|WordPress MySQL database||WordPress MySQL database|
|Server side caching||Server side caching|
|Need to use a WordPress plugin like WP||Need to use a WordPress plugin like WP|
|Super Cache||Super Cache|
|Includes a basic CDN in the ChoicePlus plan||No CDN in the Baby plan|
|Unlimited bandwidth||Unlimited bandwidth|
|Unlimited storage||Unlimited storage|
From this table, you may think that Bluehost is the clear winner. But not so fast!
Both use SSD for MySQL databases used by WordPress, the most popular content management system. If you plan to use WordPress, like most online businesses and internet marketers do, you will not see any difference in performance between Hostgator and Bluehost.
Both use SSD for MySQL databases. If you plan to use WordPress, like most online businesses and internet marketers do, you will not see any difference in load times between Hostgator and Bluehost.
Let’s see how Bluehost and Siteground stack up against each other on website loading times. I use TTFB or time to first byte as the benchmark for measuring server speed. It eliminates the site and page specific issues like number of images that impact speed.
In theory, pages with lots of images and those with no images should have the same TTFB if the servers and network conditions are same.
I tested three websites hosted on Bluehost and three hosted on Hostgator. I was expecting Bluehost to win this round. Here are the results:
Bluehost vs Hostgator: Comparing server response time (TTFB)
|Hostgator TTFB||552 ms||466 ms||338 ms||452 ms|
|Bluehost TTFB||774 ms||389 ms||336 ms||500 ms|
Hostgator beats Bluehost, by about 10%. 48 ms is not a lot but it tells you that the Bluehost performance features don’t work as well as you would expect.
Who has a higher uptime, Bluehost or Hostgator?
Uptime is the percent of time server is available over a time period. It’s normally calculated over 6-12 months to get a good idea of long-term performance.
99% availability in a year means the server is available for 99% of the year. In other words, the server was down for 87.6 hours in the year. That’s over 3.5 days in the year!
Most web hosting companies give an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. Both Bluehost and Hostgator do the same. But do they actually live up to that promise?
Uptime performance: Bluehost vs Hostgator
Bluehost average over the last 10 months: 99.93%
Hostgator average over the last 10 months: 99.94%
As you can see, there is little to differentiate between the two as both deliver on the 99.9% uptime guarantee.
How do Bluehost and Hostgator compare on customer support?
Customer support is something you don’t appreciate until you need it. Every business owner knows that customer support is critical to keeping customers happy. But few businesses provide good customer support.
Bluehost vs Hostgator in customer support is a tie. Not because they provide great support but because they both are just about OK.
I compiled customer support data for top web hosting companies. Barring a couple, most hosting providers came up shorts. The ones that did well are higher priced companies like SiteGround.
|Hosting company||Customer Support Rating (out of 5)|
Moral of the story, err, data?
If you want top customer support, be willing to pay extra for it. If you want a cheap hosting option like Bluehost or Hostgator, be ready to get slow support. It’s not that your issue will not be resolved. They have a good support team. It’s just that you will have to wait longer to get it.
One hack to get faster support is to get on the chat. It’s much faster than email support.
Which has the better user interface, Bluehost or Hostgator?
Both companies use cPanel user interface which is the standard in hosting industry. It’s fast and easy to use, and does not require any technical knowledge to manage your website.
They also have many articles that explain different features of cPanel like how to set up your domain, create email accounts and install WordPress.
Both provide 1-click installation for WordPress.
Creating and managing email ids is straight forward with cPanel. You can access the email account over the web (webmail) or through an email client like Outlook/Gmail.
Both companies provide same tools for managing MySQL database that powers WordPress websites.
Once again, it’s a tie since both have similar user interface.
Which one offers better tools for WordPress websites?
Almost all internet businesses use WordPress for their websites. So it makes sense to look for tools that make installing and managing WordPress sites easy.
Both Hostgator and Bluehost have tools for one-click installation for WordPress sites. Setting up WordPress sites is a breeze with this installer.
Read this detailed post if you want to create a WordPress website.
Hostgator recommends you install the WP Super Cache plugin created by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. It’s a popular tool recommended by most WordPress experts.
Both also give you a staging area to develop and test your site before making it public.
Comparing Security features of Bluehost and Hostgator
Backup and security are important for securing your website. Keeping a backup of the website is an insurance should something happen to the site or the server. You can quickly deploy the website again from the backup.
Bluehost offers automatic backup for Choice Plus and higher plans. Hostgator does the same for Baby and higher plans. The backup is taken daily so you always have the most recent copy of the website.
Website security is increasing in importance every year. You don’t want your visitors to see a defaced website or get infected with a malware if someone hacks into your site.
Both companies do everything they can to protect their servers. They update the software regularly, use firewalls and other security measures to secure the server. But that does not prevent someone from hacking into your site.
Unfortunately, no hosting company provides any site specific security features. It’s your responsibility to secure your site using a plugin or service. The hosting companies resell security services like Sitelock and Sucuri. Or you can opt for a cheaper option like Shield Security Pro.
You get free SSL certificates with both Bluehost and Hostgator. SSL certificates secure the connection between your site and your site visitors’ browsers to protect the data in transit. SSL certificates also improve the search ranking of sites.
Should your website come under attack, both Bluehost and Siteground offer additional paid malware removal and clean up services to restore the website.
Again, there is not much to choose between these two hosting providers.
Additional Features offered by both web hosts
If you already have a website, you may need migration service to move the site to the new server. Both offer free migration for one website. If you have more than one site, be prepared to pay up to $30 per site for migration.
SiteGround has a WordPress plugin you can use to migrate your site to their server. It’s free and you can transfer an unlimited number of sites.
If you already own a domain, you can transfer it to Bluehost or Hostgator for free. If you don’t have one, you will get free domain registration for one domain.
I strongly recommend that you buy domain privacy add-on to keep your domain information private and avoid spam.
You also get a bunch of SEO tools with your hosting plan. But I recommend using better ones like Yoast to improve WordPress SEO.
Bluehost Vs HostGator: Who Wins this head-to-head Comparison?
While both are very similar Hostgator is the winner for me due to lower price and slightly better server performance compared to Bluehost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Readers frequently ask these questions so I decided to answer them on this page:
Is HostGator better than Bluehost?
Both are well suited if you just starting your online business. But I rate HostGator better that Bluehost because it’s cheaper and somewhat faster. But Bluehost is the more popular hosting service.
If you’re an experienced internet marketer, use SiteGround instead.
Who owns Bluehost and HostGator?
Endurance International Group (EIG) owns both Bluehost and Hostgator brands. EIG is the million pound gorilla of the hosting industry. it’s a public company with more than $1B valuation.
How much do Bluehost and HostGator cost per month?
The ChoicePlus plan of Bluehost costs $6/month in the first year if you buy one year hosting. The plan costs $16.99/month after the first year.
It’s equivalent Hostgator plan is the Baby plan that costs $5/month in the first year if you buy one year hosting. it will cost you $8.49/month from the second year.
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