Bluehost and HostGator have been around since the early 2000s and are both great choices for Web Hosting. Each offers a cloud plan that boasts a good mix of reliability, scalability, and performance at very reasonable prices. How do they stack up against each other?
Bluehost vs. Hostgator: Basic Cloud Plans
|Number of websites||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Domain name included?||Yes||Yes|
|RAM||4 GB||4 GB|
How does “unmetered” differ from “unlimited”? Unmetered means that you won’t be charged according to your usage, as long as it remains within reasonable limits. For example, if you want to download and host every Will Ferrell movie ever made you’re likely going to be asked to scale back your usage. Otherwise, you probably don’t need to worry about it.
The features offered by the introductory plans are almost identical (see chart above), save for the price. It’s important to note that introductory prices apply only if you pay up-front for a 3-year plan. HostGator has a slight edge here, but not by much. Before you make a 3-year commitment, consider the following important hosting metrics.
Bluehost vs. Hostgator: Reliability
If you’re paying for a professional hosting service you probably expect your site to always be available. Hence, uptime is an important measure of a host, even though it isn’t often included in the usual list of “what you get for the price”.
Fortunately, hostingfacts.com has been monitoring test websites for Bluehost and HostGator since 2016. For the months measured Bluehost showed an average of 99.96% uptime, while HostGator averaged 99.96%. That’s not much of a difference, so let’s look atthe worst month measured for each service. Bluehost’s worst measured uptime was 99.81%, while HostGator’s was 99.87%. Again, HostGator has a slight edge, but this time it’s practically negligible. The high level of uptime is accomplished by mirroring your data across three devices and implementing a strict failover protocol. For example, if one of the three devices goes down, your data is immediately copied from one of the remaining two to a fourth device.
On top of this service redundancy, both hosts offer an option to create a daily backup of the code that powers your site. For example, if you’re experimenting with a new feature and it breaks your whole site, you won’t have to worry about rebuilding anything. Just a few clicks, and you’ll be able to restore your site to the way it was yesterday. This option is an extra $2.99/mo at Bluehost and $2.00/mo at HostGator.
Bluehost vs. Hostgator: Performance
“Ping speed” is the time it takes a server to receive and respond to the most basic request, which makes it an ideal standard with which to compare services. Thankfully, hostingfacts.com also measured average monthly ping speed:
|Ping Speed||Overall Average||Worst Monthly Average||Best Monthly Average|
|Bluehost||487 ms||705 ms||277 ms|
|HostGator||470 ms||728 ms||252 ms|
HostGator has an edge here, but it’s even more miniscule than the difference in uptime. The chart above shows a difference of about 21 ms. For reference, the average duration of a single blink of a human eye is around 250 ms. Both hosts have lightning fast speeds, even in their worst months.
Bluehost vs. Hostgator: Ease of Use
On both Bluehost and HostGator, you’ll use cPanel to manage your servers. “cPanel” stands for Control Panel, and is exactly whatyou would expect. At a glance, you can monitor your disk space, memory, and CPU usage, as well as bandwidth transfer for the month. Managing file uploads and applications on your server is all accomplished through a graphical interface that will be familiar to anyone who has spent time with a computer in the last decade (i.e. basically everyone).
You can get a WordPress site up and running in no time with an easy one-click install. If you’re unfamiliar with WordPress, both hosts also offer a drag-and-drop solution. The free version of Weebly is included with all Bluehost and HostGator cloud packages. It’s worth noting however, that if you need extra features, like SSL or payment portals, you’ll end up paying a little bit more, depending on your package and the applications involved.
Bluehost vs. Hostgator: Support
Bluehost and HostGator both advertise robust technical support: you can either call or chat online 24/7. However, user reviews of customer support are mixed, ranging from “no problem, perfect service” to “waited two hours and they couldn’t help me”. Unfortunately, the negative reviews seem a little more common than the positive ones. This is the only real issue with Bluehost or HostGator. Frankly, at the low price point offered, spotty support shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Our advice: stay on the safe side and do some research on whatever it is you want to build before you sign up with either service.
Both Bluehost and HostGator are great choices for a beginner website: cheap, reliable, and fast. Although customer support may not be stellar, the tools provided with all cloud accounts should make it easy enough to fulfill just about any of your basic website needs.
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* Disclosure: One Month uses both Blue Host and Hostgator, and benefits from their affiliate sales program.