When the time comes to setup your new website, picking the best hosting provider can be a big decision. There are dozens of popular options on the market, yet BlueHost and Inmotion Hosting are two of the most notable names in the industry. These competitors have long since established themselves at the top of the class, each serving a tremendous amount of clients and specializing in areas that appeal to their target niche.
Behind the scenes, BlueHost is a corporate entity, part of the infamous EIG (Endurance International Group) network while Inmotion Hosting remains independently owned and operated. Although EIG is a behemoth known for ruining the quality of hosting providers, BlueHost is a rare exception, maintaining their outstanding reputation despite the circumstances. Inmotion Hosting by comparison has operated autonomously for more than 20 years, one of the first and most successful hosting providers in the industry.
Over the course of this article, we will look at the difference in plans, performance and support from both companies and determine who excels in each category. Depending on what is most important to you, one business will often suit your needs better than the other. If you don’t care for the details, you can jump to the bottom and see our pick for the winner between BlueHost vs. Inmotion Hosting!
BlueHost vs Inmotion Hosting: Who Has The Best Shared Plans?
Websites are the bread and butter for every hosting provider, leasing a small piece of server space in which to serve your pages. As implied by the term “shared hosting”, the machine’s resources are split between customers, acting as a hub for potentially hundreds of individual websites to operate simultaneously.
Since website hosting providers cater to a wide range of users, from personal blogs to corporate websites, they often make several tiers of plans available. To get started, we will take a look at what packages are offered by BlueHost and Inmotion Hosting and then compare the prices, features and resources included with each choice.
BlueHost Shared Hosting Plans:
BlueHost, one of the largest names in website hosting, is a company that you have more than likely heard of before. Established in 2003, they are considered to be one of the best providers in the industry, coming highly recommended by many as the go to for website hosting. This is further acknowledged by the team at WordPress.org, who has named BlueHost as their number one choice for WordPress hosting.
Using a traditional three tier layout for their website hosting plans, these are separated into the “Basic” entry level package, a mid range “Plus” package and the all inclusive “Prime” package. Starting at just $2.75/mo, these are reasonably priced and feature rich plans, well suited for housing a wide variety of websites. We will take a look at what is included with each and help figure out which one would best meet your needs.
Basic Plan: Operating as the entry level start package, the Basic plan is just $2.75/mo and geared towards new website and/or blog owners. Capable of hosting a single domain (included free with all registrations), they include a moderate share of 50 GB storage space, unmetered bandwidth and up to 5 e-mail accounts with 100 MB storage for each. They keep the feature breakdown simple enough, emphasizing exactly what you get to build your brand name and establish a website presence, no more and no less.
Plus Plan: At $5.95/mo, the Plus plan is a fairly substantial upgrade, essentially removing any limitations found in the Basic plan. This supports an unlimited amount of websites, includes unmetered storage and bandwidth, and of course parked domains, sub domains and e-mail addresses are unlimited as well. In addition, the Plus plan also features (1) Spam Expert, an e-mail filtering service that mitigates malicious content such as spam, viruses and malware. As an extra incentive, they provide $200 of Marketing Offers for free advertising with Google, Facebook, Twitter or Bing.
Prime Plan: As strange as it may seem, the Prime Plan is priced exactly the same as the mid tier Plus plan at $5.95/mo. Furthermore, these are nearly identical in terms of features, with the exception of Domain Privacy and SiteBackup Pro being the only discernible differences. While these aren’t exactly game changers on their own, they are essentially free upgrades and given the unusual pricing scheme, it’s a pretty sweet deal at no extra charge.
Inmotion Shared Hosting Plans:
Incorporated in 1997, Inmotion Hosting is one of the oldest hosting providers that is still active today. They have been CNET’s number one choice for website hosting 15 years running and currently hold more than 70 awards for their services. While they tend to prioritize business clients rather than generalize their offers, they cater to a wide variety of customers from personal bloggers to corporate giants.
With a more professional orientation, Inmotion Hosting categorizes their shared hosting plans under the guise of Business Hosting. As this name may deter those looking for personal space, it is worth mentioning this is just standard website hosting, but features additional tools that appeal to small business owners. While this may provide some allure to certain parties, these are mostly incentive based options that you will find with nearly any competing plan on the market. We will breakdown each of their offers and figure out exactly what is included, where you can decide which one is right for you.
Launch Plan: As the basic tier package, Launch is $5.99/mo and advertised as a generic hosting plan for all skill levels. It supports up to 2 concurrent websites, features unlimited storage space, bandwidth and e-mail addresses with a free domain registration to top it off. The additional features are grouped into “Marketing Tools” and “Security Suite”, but these are mostly just filler items that come standard with any plan in the last decade.
Power Plan: Attempting to distance itself from the entry level plan, the Power package has only two discernible differences at $7.99/mo. It increases the maximum website capacity to 6 and emphasizes 2x the performance. This essentially means your website(s) are permitted to use twice the resources including RAM (memory) and CPU (processor).
Pro Plan: Advertised as their Best Value, the Pro plan is $13.99/mo and lifts the maximum website restrictions, supporting unlimited domains and resources. To further expand on that offered in the previous package, they also increase the performance to 4x utilization, meaning a greater allocation of memory and processing for your sites. Pro members also receive a specialized SLA that guarantees 99.9% uptime, where they otherwise credit free hosting should they fail to meet that guarantee.
We can certainly appreciate the approach used at Inmotion Hosting when it comes to shared plans. Unfortunately it feels as though the Pro tier customers take precedence, while other clients are deprived of resources and guarantees. The all inclusive Prime plan at BlueHost is a third of the price, yet offers comparable features. It’s hard to justify the additional cost at Inmotion Hosting when we can get the same for less.
Who Has The Best Performance?
When it comes to website speed, performance and uptime, not all providers are created equal. These are however among the most important points to consider, where a slow loading or unavailable website means a loss of visitors. DoubleClick, a Google marketing subsidiary, performed in-depth tests on mobile users to determine the optimal speeds for visitors. This study concluded that 53% of website visitors will abandon pages taking longer than 3 seconds to load. Faster pages had 70% longer sessions and 35% lower bounce rates, meaning performance directly correlates with the overall success of your web presence.
Using automated data collected by down.com, we will compare the overall performance of BlueHost vs Inmotion Hosting. Utilizing a number of third party tools, this site performs recurring tests at scheduled intervals to gauge speed and uptime over a period of time.
Pingdom is a tool for measuring website uptime, making HTTP requests from 3 locations every 60 seconds and reporting if the website is unresponsive. This is an excellent method to determine the reliability of a hosting provider, where the constant pings and large sample size give an accurate uptime average that can be expected.
Although BlueHost just barely manages to stay out of the red due to several prolonged outages, they still come in 6th place and maintain an impressive average of 99.93% uptime. The results are somewhat skewed based on a very poor month in August 2017, where they have otherwise kept a nearly 100% uptime since then. With that rather catastrophic month aside, they have remained a very reliable provider in terms of uptime.
Inmotion Hosting by comparison has an impressive 99.95% uptime, just behind the likes of HostGator and GoDaddy. Their worst showing was 93.19% which isn’t half bad all things considered. The majority of their outages are very brief, lasting no more than several minutes, and they do a fantastic job of announcing network maintenance/outages to keep their customers informed.
WebPageTest is a popular service used to benchmark a website’s loading time, performing several tests and awarding a letter grade on performance. Various metrics such as speed index, full load time and time to first byte (TTFB) paint a fairly conclusive picture, measuring the speed and efficiency of a website when loading for a new visitor.
When it comes to page speeds, BlueHost fares remarkably well against the competition. With an average result of 3.08 seconds and a best of just 0.30 seconds, they come in right behind other industry leaders to take 4th place. It was noted that while certain image and connection optimizations are in place, the failure to leverage browser caching impacted their overall speeds and caused erratic results. Still, they have performed well above average and are among the fastest in terms of page speeds.
Although they take the cake on uptime and reliability, Inmotion Hosting is lacking when it comes to page speeds. Their speeds averaged at 3.21 seconds with a mere best of 2.13 seconds, not exactly the blazing fast performance we are looking for. Still, they managed to remain quite stable in comparison, with results that are quite consistent albeit a bit slower.
When it comes to website uptime, Inmotion Hosting pulls ahead with a slightly better average at 99.95% overall. BlueHost however is not far behind and manages to achieve a considerably better page speed as well. Since both companies outperform one another in different areas, we will consider this as a tie.
Who Has The Best Customer Service?
Arguably one of the most important aspects of any business, the customer service department can make or break your hosting experience. Brick and mortar stores are expected to have staff ready to assist at the drop of a hat, why should service providers be any different? Since problems can arise anytime day or night, we often look to the company to resolve these matters, or at least help point us in the right direction. When it comes to BlueHost and Inmotion Hosting, we will look at what support channels they have available, the quality of assistance provided and how we can reach them when the time comes.
BlueHost Customer Support:
As one of the largest providers in the hosting industry, BlueHost employs 750 personnel to maintain their immense website empire, consisting of more than 2 million websites worldwide. Knowledgeable experts are available 24 hours, 7 days a week to help over the phone, live chat or the support desk. These agents are among the best in the world, with exceptional training and a customer friendly attitude to match. For less urgent questions or those just looking to familiarize themselves with various topics, they also have plenty of well written, self help resources to use at your disposal.
From a customer’s point of view, we can appreciate the wide range of quality support options they provide. While some companies tend to prefer a specific channel, BlueHost leaves that decision up to the individual, providing the same great service across all methods of contact. The Live Chat button doesn’t disappear at various hours of the day, and the phone number isn’t hidden on some secondary page, these are all prominently displayed at the top of their website. When questions, comments or problems arise, there is no doubt that BlueHost will have someone ready to assist at a moments notice.
Inmotion Hosting Customer Support:
Inmotion Hosting looks to raise the bar even higher when it comes to customer service. They have the same standard channels available that BlueHost does, such as a toll-free 800 number, live chat and of course the support desk, yet they take things one step further and bring Skype agents into the mix as well. For those so inclined, you can initiate a live call with a specialized representative at the click of a button, with individual departments for sales, support and general inquiries.
As for other resources, InMotion Hosting has built a rather impressive self help community for their clients. Their FAQ is loaded with knowledge-base articles including tutorials and guides, tools and software specific educational channels. They also maintain an active Youtube channel with instructional step-by-step videos and even have a Stack Exchange style forum for Questions & Answers between customers.
With two US based offices and more than 400 employees, they have gone to great lengths ensuring the success of their Customer Support department. Their 24x7x365 Premier Support guarantee may sound too good to be true, yet they seem to maintain all channels with prompt, friendly and knowledgeable service.
Although Inmotion Hosting offers more support channels and better learning resources, the support channels at BlueHost are maintained exceptionally well. The agent’s knowledge and professionalism are unmatched, placing them ahead of the competition in this category.
Winner Between these Two Hosting Companies?
Website hosting is a competitive market, with dozens of choices and plenty of factors to consider before making a decision. BlueHost vs Inmotion Hosting illustrates just how close this competition can become, often looking at minimal differences to determine who excels by a small margin. Experiences will of course vary from person to person, however we feel BlueHost is often the better choice between these two despite their shortcomings and flaws.
To summarize our findings, BlueHost ultimately had the better plans and pricing as a whole. They took the win on raw performance despite failing short in the uptime department. And their top notch customer service experts are unmatched, although Inmotion Hosting did come out stronger in terms of self help resources. There is a lot to be said for both companies, but BlueHost is the stronger competitor in our areas of comparison.
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