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If you’re new to building websites, then the idea of finding the right hosting can seem overwhelming. There is no shortage of options, and it’s hard to tell all the differences between them. One may be better for small businesses, another may be better for scaling your business, etc.
What you care about is having the best hosting for your site, and we want the same for you. That’s why we took two popular hosting services and did some research to see which is better. Because when you’re looking at two of the most well-known web hosting services in the industry, it may be difficult to decide which one is best for you.
HostGator is a close second, but Bluehost’s price point and their ease of use are the two things that really brought this one to the number one spot.
Read on to see more in-depth information about why Bluehost wins the battle over HostGator.
Bluehost Compared to HostGator
Bluehost is the most popular web hosting service out there. More than 2 million websites across the entire world use Bluehost, making it the most widely used service. One of the reasons why it is so well-loved by people all over the globe is its customer service. In addition to that, Bluehost has a clean, modern, and easy-to-use dashboard that allows access to all the features included with Bluehost’s service. If this sounds like what you are looking for, take advantage of the current Bluehost special and sign up for hosting that starts at just $3.95 per month.
HostGator is known to shine when it comes to scaling your business on a budget. It is an ideal choice for those looking to start their first website and for those who have small businesses. In fact, HostGator is four times more scalable than its competitors. On top of that, it is two times faster, and that speed is something website owners greatly appreciate. They offer a 99.9% uptime promise, which we love to see. In addition, their customer service is also excellent and works quickly to help you with any issues. If HostGator sounds like the right choice for you, sign up today for a plan starting at just $2.75 per month.
More Top Web Hosting Services
If you’re on the hunt for the right web hosting service for you, it’s important to note that Bluehost and HostGator aren’t the only two you have to choose from. While they are some of the best, there are many others that we researched, tried, and compared to competitors. With this research, we were able to put together a list of the best web hosting services. Eight different web hosting services made it on our list, all for different reasons that may be the right reason for you. See all of our top picks.
Where Bluehost Shines
Endorsed by WordPress: If you are looking to build your website on WordPress, then you likely want to go with a hosting service that you know works well with WordPress. Of all the different hosting services out there, WordPress only endorses three of them. And Bluehost is one of those three. This does not come as a huge surprise, since Bluehost is the most popular web hosting service on the market, but it does make things much easier for you when it comes to making your decision about web hosting, and which service is best for your WordPress website. In fact, Bluehost is listed at the top of WordPress’s endorsement list, which says a lot.
High Uptime: If you aren’t sure what uptime is, or you’ve forgotten, here is a quick reminder. Uptime is the amount of time that your site is online. When your site is offline, people cannot access it. In other words, you want a high uptime so that you know your site is only as much as possible. Bluehost has an uptime of 99.9%, which means that 99.9% of the time someone goes to your site, it will be up and running. This is a very important factor to consider when looking at web hosting, as you don’t want people to have issues accessing your website.
If you upgrade to a VPS hosting plan with Bluehost, you’re looking at a higher uptime, near 100%.
Customer Support: Bluehost offers several different ways to get support when you need it. With Bluehost, you have a toll-free number for phone support, the ability to submit tickets, as well as a live chat. And if you have issues with account management, sales, or tech support, help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In addition to that, they offer support via social media as well. So, if Twitter is your thing, turn to Bluehost’s Twitter when you have questions.
If you want to see if you can find the answer without having to talk to a person, then Bluehost also has a support library that has all sorts of questions with detailed answers that can walk you through common problems.
Security: When it comes to web hosting, security is not something you want to take lightly. It is imperative that your web hosting service is one that you can trust, and that people who come to your website can trust as well. Bluehost provides a free shared SSL for those plans that use a shared IP. This keeps all information on your website secure, including the customer/client information they put in such as credit card numbers and other personal things.
For the higher-level plans, Bluehost offers something called CodeGuard Basic which runs automatic backups as often as you’d like — whether that’s daily, weekly, or monthly. This is a great feature, as you always want to have a backup of your site on hand in case anything goes wrong. For all the plans with Bluehost, you can manually update via the cPanel.
Though malware scans do not come for free with Bluehost plans, their SiteLock feature is available as an add-on. This service includes things such as:
- Daily spam monitoring to keep your site free of spam. These include tools like SpamExperts, Spam Hammer, and Apache Spam Assassin
- Business verification to provide trust in your site
- Site verification certificate that allows your customers to trust your site
- Blacklist monitoring that keeps Google from blacklisting your site
- Basic malware monitoring that provides daily scans
Fast: How quickly your site loads is a very important piece of how well your site succeeds. If people have to wait a long time for it to load, they won’t — they will go onto another page. This will do a number on your bounce rate, too. So, if you want to have a website that does well and that serves your clients and customers, you need a hosting service that offers a fast loading speed. Bluehost does just that.
Google recommends that sites load within 200ms and sites hosted through Bluehost perform at much higher speeds than that.
Flexible Plans: The different plan options available through Bluehost are flexible and cover almost every possible need.
If you start with a lower-tiered plan and realize that it isn’t enough for you, Bluehost makes it easy to upgrade to something that is better suited. You don’t have to worry about changing to a different hosting provider — Bluehost can give you the plan you need. And the best part about an upgrade or transition in plans is that your site won’t have any downtime during the switch.
Free Features: Some of the free features included in hosting plans seem like fluff that may not have any real importance to you. However, Bluehost is an exception to that. The free features that are included in Bluehost plans are ones that you actually care about. These include things such as a free domain for an entire year, free CDN, and a free SSL certificate. These are all important to your website, and they are free with all Bluehost plans.
The free domain exists for the first year, and then you pay an annual fee for use of the domain thereafter. The free CDN ensures that the servers work together to provide fast web loading and ensure minimal delays. And the free SSL certificate keeps your website secure and safe from potential hackers. This includes not only your information but also any information visitors to your website enter (such as credit card numbers, addresses, etc.).
Where Bluehost Falls Short
No Uptime Guarantee: While Bluehost does have great uptime (99.9%), it is not guaranteed. That means that if your uptime drops below that 99.9%, Bluehost will not compensate you in any way. Other web hosting services such as DreamHost offer money in the case of downtime with your website, but Bluehost does not. An uptime guarantee is important and is something that Bluehost doesn’t offer.
Costly Renewal: While we love the intro prices of Bluehost that are low and make it one of the most affordable options for web hosting, those prices increase quite a bit when it comes time to renew your subscription. This is fairly typical for a hosting provider to do, but be mindful of the big increases in price that Bluehost has.
Expensive Migration: If you want to move your website from another provider for Bluehost, it is going to cost you. It’s going to cost you a pretty penny. While either hosting services offer free migration to their servers, Bluehost makes you pay a hefty fee of $149.99. This allows you to migrate up to five websites and 20 email accounts, which is a lot, but it comes with a big price tag.
Where HostGator Shines
Uptime Guarantee: As mentioned above, uptime is a very important thing to consider when choosing your web hosting. And HostGator offers not only a quick uptime speed but also a guarantee for that speed. If the uptime speed drops below 99.9%, HostGator will give you an entire month of credit.
Great cPanel: While cPanel is pretty typical for running anything with your hosting, the interface and usability of HostGator’s cPanel blow the others out of the water.
While it has the typical tools of a cPanel including:
- File manager
- FTP with user management
- Backup wizard
- Disk usage
- Domain manager
- File upload
- File download
- And much more
It shows them in a way that is easy to navigate and clear to see. HostGator’s cPanel makes it incredibly easy for you to manage all parts of your site from one place.
Free Site Transfer: If you are looking to transfer your site from another hosting provider to HostGator, you can do it for free. And you can do it quickly and easily. Simply sign up for the plan that best meets your needs, and start the free transfer.
Free Features: Everyone likes some freebies and HostGator offers some good ones. With the purchase of a hosting plan, they provide you with a free SSL certificate for all the users and hosted domains in your account. This takes the weight off your shoulders of using a third-party site to get the SSL certificate and getting it set up on your site.
In addition to that, HostGator gives you a free domain for your first year if you sign up for a 12, 24, or 36 month plans that is either HostGator Shared, WordPress, or Cloud hosting. After that first year, you pay the regular rate for domain renewal.
Where HostGator Falls Short
Standard Features: Though HostGator does offer a number of free unlimited features, many of them are standard and aren’t anything to get excited about.
Only Offer Weekly Backups: As we talked about above, having a backup of your website is an absolute must. And you always want the backup to be the most recent version of your website. Well, when it comes to HostGator, that isn’t as easy as it is with other hosting providers. HostGator only offers one backup a week, and in the case of an issue, you have to pay to restore the site.
Customer Service Is Not Quick: One of the things we like about HostGator is their great customer support, but it does not come without some waiting. Though their service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via phone, chat, and email, the responses are known to be very slow. If you’ve ever had issues with your website, you know the last thing you want to do is sit around and wait for someone to answer your call. Other hosting providers do a much better job of providing customer service support in a timely manner.
The Final Verdict on Bluehost Compared to HostGator
Bluehost’s hosting plans offer a variety of different things, depending on you and your website’s specific needs.
Basic. This plan is great for those who are looking to run one, fairly basic site. This plan will get you:
- 1 Website
- 50 GB SSD Storage
- Custom Themes
- 24/7 Customer Support
On top of that, you also get:
- Free Domain – 1 year
- Free CDN Included
- Free SSL Certificate
Plus. This plan is best for those running multiple websites. This plan will get you everything that the Basic does as well as:
- Unlimited Websites
- Unlimited SSD Storage
- Free Office 365 – 30 days
Choice Plus. This plan is the Bluehost recommended plan, as it gives you additional privacy and security features. The Choice Plus plan has everything that the Plus does as well as:
- Free Domain Privacy
- Free Automated Backup – 1 year
Pro. This plan gives you more power with web resources and includes everything that the Choice Plus plan does as well as:
- Optimized CPU Resources
- Free Dedicated IP
As for HostGator, it offers some great plans at a low price.
Hatchling. This plan is a good place to start for those who are new to websites and need some basics. This plan will get you:
- Single website
- One-click WordPress installs
- Free WordPress/cPanel website transfer
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free SSL certificate
- Free domain included
Baby. This plan is HostGator’s recommended plan. It includes everything that the Hatchling plan has as well as unlimited websites.
Business. This plan is great for those who are running a bigger business via their website. It includes everything that the Baby plan has as well as:
- Free upgrade to Positive SSL
- Free dedicated IP
- Free SEO tools
Though HostGator has cheaper introductory and overall prices, the extra money you spend on Bluehost will get you better features and an easier WordPress integration.
Comparing The Best Web Hosting Services
While Bluehost and HostGator are two of the top web hosting services on the market, others offer some great benefits that may be just what you’re looking for.
- Hostinger – Best web hosting for most users
- A2 Hosting – Best web hosting service for speed
- DreamHost – Best web hosting with month-to-month plans
- Bluehost – Most popular web hosting service
- Nexcess – Best web hosting for e-commerce
- HostGator – Best web hosting service for scaling on a budget
- InMotion – Best VPS web hosting service
- SiteGround – Best for customer support
In our research and experience, we found that Bluehost is better than HostGator. However, HostGator is not far behind.
Bluehost is the best option if you are looking for a hosting provider that works well with WordPress and offers some top-notch customer service support, freebies, and security.
HostGator is the way to go if you are looking for something with an uptime guarantee and a cPanel that will make managing your site a piece of cake.
Whichever hosting provider you choose, when picking from our top list above, you know you are getting something reliable that is used and trusted by people all over the world.