The decision of Bluehost vs HostGator is tough. Why? Well they're both affordable, entry-level hosts with a lot of options. They're brand names that you've heard about, and maybe even from a famous podcaster. So which is best for you? We dig in below.
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting companies in the entire world, but is it right for you? With name recognition and improved customer support, it's a solid choice for beginners.
With over 1 million websites hosted, HostGator is a behemoth. HostGator is a great starter host for those looking for cheap hosting with some lots of advanced features.
Bluehost has some of the most affordable entry level pricing, with shared hosting being the most popular at rock-bottom prices. We deducted half a point for pricing because of the 3-year term required for the best deal, but overall it's about as cheap as it gets:
HostGator has a large selection of plans, everything from bargain bin shared hosting up to high-priced VPS hosting. HostGator is very aggressive on their pricing, giving out huge discounts as they look to gain market share. Their ambition is your benefit:
|Best For||Beginners||WordPress sites||Growth sites|
In our opinion, Bluehost is a tremendous value. With pricing starting at just $2.95/mo (promo price), you still get the backing of a very large company with the expected customer support and quality of service. Some of the top features included in the rock-bottom starter pricing that add to the value are unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and 50 SSD in storage.
We think the Plus shared hosting is a better deal with unlimited websites included, unlimited storage, and unlimited domains. Moving onto other plans, you'll see an overall great value for the money you're spending. You're truthfully not going to get super premium features, but the value will be very high.
HostGator offers amazing value for it's pricing. Truthfully it's not as strong as SiteGround, which is the overall favorite, but HostGator will get you in the door very affordably.
It has a very strong value overall because for what you're paying, you're getting a ton of features such as free migrations, unmetered bandwidth, and 24/7/365 support.
Where we don't see strong value is where they charge for extras that others include for free, such as backups - which are critical to your site's health. They also want to charge extra for even better uptime, which in our opinion should be a baseline feature included in all plans, no matter how cheap.
Bluehost customer support is a mixed bag. Some recent reviewers have never had a problem, others have stories of waiting for a long time and getting subpar support.
With 24/7 support via both phone and live chat - you can always get ahold of them. Unlike other, more premium, support however you may not get the highest quality tech nor the fastest service.
HostGator checks all the boxes on the surface with their support: 24/7 and 365 days a year. By chat and by phone. But customers tell a different story.
There are lots of complaints about slow responses, incompetent staff, and overall sub-par support. There are plenty of people that have no complaints, so we recommend you test out their support before buying.
Reports across the web show Bluehost uptime fairly strong at 99.99% to 100%.
However, it's hard to find if they offer any specific uptime guarantee like HostGator (sister company) does. Their server uptime agreement page only promises vague promises of less than 15 minutes of downtime before being fixed.
Their shared hosting page doesn't make any references to a specific uptime promise. So even with great uptime reports overall with minimal downtime, we're docking them a half a point because of a lack of transparency on this issue.
With over 99.5% uptime, depending on the source, there's not much to complain about with HostGator.
In addition, HostGator offers on free month of hosting if they fall below the 99.9% guarantee.
We've docked them half a point because there have been some occassional complaints from users, and we also prefer to see 99.99% uptime for best-in-class providers.
Bluehost has made significant speed advancements in recent years. There used to be scores of user complaints, but they've upgraded their hardware to take this seriously.
However, you only need to pop over to Twitter to see tons of complaints. Now a lot of the speed problems come from your website overall setup and not just hosting, so be sure to take that into account. Bluehost also has tons of customers so there's bound to be some complaints.
Bluehost made the honorable mentions in our fastest web hosting comparison post. Check that post if you need the ultimate in site speed.
Shared hosting usually has problems with speed issues, purely based on the lower cost of the hosting. HostGator is firmly middle of the pack when it comes to speed. When you search Twitter, you don't see as many complaints as other shared hosts like Bluehost, which is a good anecdotal sign.
If you're looking for a faster HostGator product, check out HostGator Cloud hosting. If you want even faster shared hosting that won't break the bank, however, we highly recommend either A2 Hosting or SiteGround. You'll be much happier with those.
Bluehost has all the basic features you need to get started, and a very affordable way for beginning bloggers to start. They include a free SSL from Let's Encrypt, which is a must, as well as unmetered bandwidth.
However, when you compare to other companies like SiteGround and A2 Hosting, Bluehost is lacking some extra features that are very helpful. One complaint is the fact that you have to pay for migrations, which is annoying.
You also have to upgrade to some of the more expensive shared plans like Choice Plus and Pro in order to get site backups - which are critical for every site.
HostGator is often compared to Bluehost for it's pricing and features, and overall HostGator does take the win here.
Between the two companies, HostGator was built for more pro users. And when comparing HostGator to any other shared hosting company, you have to keep that in mind.
We like the fact that migrations are included, they have one-click installs, are on cPanel, and offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. We still like other hosts like SiteGround better for features overall, but HostGator has what you need to get started.
Final Decision: Bluehost vs HostGator
So at the end of the day, which of these two is best for you?
So we're going a bit different from most review sites here.
If you plan on hosting multiple sites, we suggest HostGator. On the Baby Plan you get unlimited domains (websites) allowed on the hosting plan, starting at an astounding $3.95/mo. With Bluehost the pricing jumps up to $5.45 a month.
We'd suggest Bluehost for those looking for absolutely the lowest cost of entry and and a bit faster speed.
Overall though, we don't see any big reasons to choose Bluehost over HostGator – it'll come down to the specifics of what you're looking for on a hosting plan and what level of business you're at. Another comparison worth checking out is our Bluehost vs DreamHost page – DreamHost may just be the best shared hosting option of them all.