Endurance International Group (EIG) has plenty of hosts at its disposal. Two of the most popular ones are Bluehost and HostGator. Despite being a part of the same global family, the two are also fierce competitors. These providers have huge user bases and are well loved all around the world. If you are currently looking for a new web hosting provider and can’t pick between the two – don’t worry, we have you covered. It is time for HostGator vs BlueHost.
In this showdown, we will check the most important things these hosts offer, compare them and declare the one we think is better. We will test various different things, such as price, features, ease of use and of course, performance. Without further ado, let’s start the test.
Bluehost and Hostgator prices are pretty much identical
We want a fair trial. So in this review, we will test shared web hosting services. After all, this service is still by far one of the most popular ones.
In this part of the review we checked not only the introductory prices but also looked into renewal fees and available payment periods.
Bluehost prices go from $2.95 to $5.45 a month, while Hostgator charges $3.95 to $5.95. Renewal prices are more or less identical. Hostgator offers monthly plans, while Bluehost doesn’t – but to be brutally honest, they’re so expensive ($10.95 to $16.95 a month), that those plans will be used only by a tiny fraction of clients.
In many ways, both of these providers are very similar. Prices are nearly identical (BlueHost slightly lower), renewal fees are the same. The only difference is that HostGator provides a monthly plan but its price is not good value. Overall, these two hosts offer very similar prices in very similar packages. The first round of HostGator vs BlueHost ends on even terms.
The first round ends in a TIE!
Why would you do this to your users?
Now, it is time to see what features do these hosts have and how do they compare.
Both hosts have their strengths and weaknesses. Despite BlueHost website builder having fewer website templates, it is not a problem. Since the builder in question is the brilliant Weebly, there will be plenty of third-party designs for you to choose from as well. Therefore, both hosts offer enough options for a basic user.
Website transfer in HostGator is free of charge for 30 days – you have to pay a hefty fee if you want BlueHost to do the same. That is a good thing for HostGator but it has problems as well. Restoring a website from a backup costs $25 and the cheapest HostGator shared hosting plan doesn’t even support SSL. Those two things are genuinely not good. If you lose your website, it’s already quite stressful – so why demand that your angry users dish out extra money? And with no SSL support in the entry-level plan means reduced security to lots of Hostgator users – justifying this decision feels almost impossible.
You can transfer a website without anyone’s help – just use Google and follow the instructions. Yet you can’t put SSL in a plan which doesn’t support it or restore a website for free if you don’t have access to the files. This is a serious problem from HostGator. That is also the reason why BlueHost gets the nod.
WINNER: Bluehost wins with no problem.
Many small errors let HostGator down
When choosing a host, it is important to pick one that is easy to use. That means a simple purchasing process, an easy-to-understand panel, and great support, should any problems arise.
In terms of customer support, both hosts are understandably comparable. They use the same system and identical methods for their customers to receive help. The differences start making their way forward during the purchase process, which is a bit more problematic in HostGator. The host has plenty of upselling attempts and attempts to lure you into paying extra. That is less prominent in BlueHost.
Both hosts use cPanel, which is the gold standard in Linux shared hosting plans. However, BlueHost optimizes it better. Access to the panel is easier and many things are easier to reach. In our Hostgator review, I noticed that Hostgator panel is experiencing several minor issues which bond together to form a problematic user experience.
In this case, a bundle of small things makes using Bluehost a better overall option.
Bluehost is WordPress-optimized and super fast
Performance is arguably the most important thing here – it determines not only how satisfied the visitors will be. It also affects Google rankings, as the search giant now uses website’s speed as one of the key factors. It is also important to see how often the website is down – the less common it is, the better.
This is how the two hosts compared:
In response times, BlueHost has a very clear lead. Overall, the delay is around 200 ms. There are a few spikes, but they mostly go around 5 seconds or less – and there’s rarely more than one a day. Both of these websites have been stock WordPress pages. Bluehost, however, mentions it’s ‘optimized for WordPress’ – enough to be mentioned the company itself! – and that sure shows.
HostGator have an overall speed of 600 ms. There are also some dips in performance but they are way more severe, going up to 15 seconds. This is clearly worse than whatever Bluehost is doing.
Downtimes are also a thing worth monitoring. I set up regular WordPress websites and monitored when do they go down. These are the results:
Both hosts are doing reasonably well here, with neither going offline for more than 10 minutes a month. However, HostGator has a slight edge. It was down once, for 4 minutes, compared to BlueHost going down twice, for 9 minutes total.
In terms of overall worldwide performance, I used the well-known BitCatcha tool, which evaluates the host’s performance is various worldwide servers and also puts them in a form of grades. These are the results:
Bitcatcha rating for BlueHost – A for low upkeep, B for high upkeep.
Bitcatcha rating for HostGator – C+ for low upkeep, D+ for high upkeep.
In a HostGator vs BlueHost fight, the latter is dominating. HostGator is only superior in uptimes, and only slightly. Everywhere else, the BlueHost website was quicker on servers all over the world.
WINNER: Bluehost once again wins out!
Everything HostGator can do, BlueHost can do better. Similarly-priced plans and identical forms of customer support leave the decision to performance, features, and ease of use.
In terms of ease of use, BlueHost wins, providing a less-intrusive purchasing experience and a superior panel.
BlueHost also has more features, only missing out on assisted website transfer, which costs $149, compared to HostGator offering it for free.
Finally, the performance. BlueHost leaves no place for doubt. Its server was down for only 5 more minutes but offered vastly superior speeds and was rated higher by BitCatcha.
Paul joined the Hosting.Review team right from the start as a content writer and marketer. He was the person responsible for establishing a trademark for in-depth web hosting evaluation and superb review articles. Before joining Hosting.Review, Paul was working on various projects as a freelancer. Paul spends his free time reading fantasy books and graphic novels.
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