Both Bluehost and Hostgater are companies that you’ll see recommended all the time. They used to be competitors, but now they’re both owned by the same parent company.
If you’re choosing between Bluehost vs Hostgator and not sure which one to go with, we’re going out point out the similarities, the differences, and help you decide which one is the better. Even though they have both been acquired by the same company, there are still some notable differences and things that set them apart from each other.
Bluehost plays host to over two million websites all over the world. They employ over 750 people for customer support, working hard to make sure that your websites are also working hard. They have a special partnership with WordPress and a team of WordPress experts working in-house to constantly improve their implementation of the most popular blogging platform, and website building and management tool in general.
In addition to their shared hosting packages, Bluehost also has virtual private servers for people who need extra performance, and dedicated servers for more power-hungry websites. They also have an optimized WordPress package starting at $20, which is different than simply installing WordPress on a regular shared hosting account as per the standard.
Even with their normal shared plan, and not the $20 per month WordPress-optimized hosting, it’s worth mentioning that it’s still a breeze to install WordPress, their custom wizard takes you through it in just a couple seconds and then you’re all ready to go.
Bluehost has been recommended as a great hosting choice by WordPress.org themselves for over a decade, and works very closely to be on top of all the latest when it comes to WP. They have numerous WordPress Core developers on their staff, and they’re active sponsors of various WordPress events around the world.
To say they support the community would be an understatement, and their intimate closeness with the WordPress platform makes them a great place to host your WordPress site.
Hostgator has been one of the most popular hosting companies around, and they’ve been in business for a long time. As such, you’re going to find a lot of people who have had great experiences with no hiccups, and you’re going to find plenty of people who haven’t had the best experience, too. Every host is going to run into hiccups along the way, there are always going to be growing pains, but simply lasting so long in this business is a testament to a company’s staying power. Many hosts face struggles and quietly pack up shop over night, so knowing that your host can withstand some turbulence is very valuable – and Hostgator have been a leader for long enough that we’re confidant saying you won’t wake up one morning and find them gone, this hosting company isn’t going anywhere.
They offer the usual assortment of hosting options from shared, to WordPress hosting, to VPS, Dedicated, and more. You can also buy domain names through Hostgator, and re-seller accounts if you’re hosting sites for clients or looking to start your own small hosting company.
Hostgator offers a 45 day money back guarantee if you aren’t happy with your hosting plan, they have excellent support available around the clock, and they offer at least 99.9% uptime. Hostgator has won numerous awards from outlets like PCMag.com, Hosting Advice, and WPBeginner.
Before we dig any deeper in comparing Bluehost with Hostgator, we should address something that gets brought up often when talking about either of these companies, and that’s the fact that they’re both owned by the same people, who operate a number of the top brands in the hosting industry, but also doesn’t have the absolute greatest reputation when you read about them online due to some issues in the past with other companies they’ve acquired.
Comparing Cost, Plans and Features
Let’s go over the shared hosting plans that both of these brands offer, since they’re both best known for shared hosting and it’s really their bread and butter.
Hostgator’s plans come with a website builder if you want something really quick and simple, but you can also install WordPress and any other content management system or frameworks that you’d like to use. They have installers to make the whole process super simple with over 50 different scripts that are ready to go and ready to be installed in just a few clicks.
You’ll get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited sub domains, unlimited email addresses, and there’s no contract to sign. In addition, you’ll get hundreds of dollars worth of advertising credits which will help to kick your site off on the right foot. You can also install an unlimited amount of MySQL databases, support numerous programming languages, you’ll have the latest cPanel to control everything, the ability to setup blogs and shopping carts almost instantly, you can even start your own Wiki if you want to.
It’s worth mentioning that “unlimited” is a feature you’ll see with many hosts, but what it really means is that if your site gets so massive and popular that it’s slowing down the shared server for everyone else, that they’ll get in touch with you to talk about an upgrade. By the time you’re getting enough visitors to worry about this, it’ll be well worth upgrading and will easily pay for itself. Generally speaking, it’s meant to prevent people from uploading thousands of movies and hosting a streaming site, or doing other shady things. If you aren’t doing anything untoward, it’s very unlikely that you’ll run into any issues as far as the “unlimited” thing goes.
Hostgator’s support team has won awards in the industry for their ability to solve issues quickly and earn high customer ratings. There’s also a community forum that you’ll be able to access, to converse with other website owners around the world and to help each other solve common problems and issues, not to mention advice for growing your websites. We’ll cover the support side of things more in-depth after we look at the plans that Bluehost offers.
Bluehost’s shared hosting plans allow either 1 or unlimited domain names in your account depending on the plan you choose. Their basic plan comes with 50GB storage, which is quite a bit as far as most normal websites are concerned. If you opt for a higher plan, you’ll get unmetered storage. Their plans include a domain name if you don’t have one already. You’ll get either 100MB email storage, or unlimited, once again depending on the plan you choose. Their two higher-tier plans also come with hundreds of dollars in advertising credits just like Hostgator’s plans did.
Bluehost includes daily, weekly, and monthly backups of your website. It’s a good idea to go in and take some manual back ups as well occasionally, but for the most part you’re covered.
Bluehost offers email hosting as well, and a simple domain manager. Their support is excellent and available around the clock. They also offer simple installers and you can get your site up and running with WordPress and a number of other scripts and apps very easily. Bluehost is a huge supporter of WordPress in general, and it will work great on all of their plans, whether you get a simple shared hosting plan, or their dedicated WordPress plan, you’ll have no issues setting up a WordPress site and getting world-class support along the way.
Comparing Customer Support
The support from both of these companies is going to be quite similar, as one of the things that E.I.G. often does is overhaul support and implement their methods. In some cases, this is great, in other cases, customers have noted a downgrade in support quality. Again, each acquisition is different, and both Hostgator and Bluehost have very quick and responsive support teams.
One thing you’ll see with a lot of lower cost shared webhosts is that they will have tiers to their support staff. Rather than having an entire team of hosting experts, they hire more standard support staff for the “front line”, because it doesn’t take years of server management experience to help with basic account issues, DNS settings, and things like that. On the plus side, you can get help for common and basic things more quickly. On the down side, more serious issues will often need to be escalated to a higher tier, which can cause minor delays in some cases.
None the less, this won’t have an impact for most customers, and for the most part it should be smooth sailing, perhaps with the occasional support ticket here and there when you need some extra help with things that may arise.
One of the common criticisms of EIG (the company that owns both Bluehost and Hostgator) is that after they buy up successful hosting companies, they tend to cut costs which can result in lower-tier hardware and also less money invested in customer support. They have a massive infrastructure so they are able to buy up hosts that are doing well that people love, and sometimes the transitions don’t always go very smoothly. It’s worth pointing out that they took over Bluehost many years ago, and Hostgator much more recently.
Over the years there have been stories of rough transitions when a host gets bought out, but the silver lining here is that you won’t have to worry about that transition ever happening with either of these companies, because it already has. They were acquired, the dust has settled, and now it’s business as usual.
If you’re with a smaller or quickly growing host, you never know when the person running the company might accept an offer to sell their brand, or might even get hit by a bus. It’s a morbid thought, but there’s something to be said about working with a giant, stable, host that you know isn’t going anywhere.
While EIG has earned the criticism historically, there are companies they’ve acquired who have continued to be very viable options for hosting. It’s starting to seem that in their newer acquisitions, they’ve learned from some of their mistakes in the past, and are working to keep standards higher.
Having said that, Hostgator and Bluehost are both good choices when you need a simple shared hosting plan. If you had some massive, super-important site that was earning you a fortune, you would definitely want to look at a higher-end company, but Bluehost and Hostgator aren’t meant for those type of sites – they’re meant for personal sites, blogs/journals, portfolios, and small businesses. And when it comes to that, both of these brands are solid and will take good care of you, so let’s move on to helping you pick between them.
They both make the whole hosting process very easy, from customer support, to setting the site up in the first place, and helping handle the tech side of things so that you can focus on your website and your business.
BlueHost vs HostGator: The Winner
Both of these companies have data centers in Provo, Utah, which isn’t one of the huge internet hubs in the United States so it can lead to slightly higher load times, but does offer up lower costs compared to data centers in some of the other hot-bed hosting cities around America.
Their plans and specs are all quite similar, basically the same data centers, quite similar support… so how do we choose a winner? Well, there’s a little more to it than that. These are still two different hosting companies, and it’s only recently that Hostgator was taken under the EIG umbrella, and we’re not sure that all of the kinks have necessarily been worked out yet.
Bluehost, on the other hand, has a long track record of offering up great hosting plans for their customers, with great service.
All things considered, our choice between these two is Bluehost.