Hostgator and Bluehost are two of the most popular web hosting providers on the market. Known for their affordable web hosting packages, both companies have surely earned their place among the top ten hosting companies globally.
However, with such similar product offerings, it’s not easy comparing the two on the performance of their web hosting services.
So, in our head-to-head analysis, we compare both web hosting providers on 16+ features and performance tests. Then we declare our ultimate winner in the Hostgator vs Bluehost battle.
Bluehost and Hostgator are among the ten most popular web hosting companies in the world. Hostgator is ranked 5th, with a 5.12% market share while Bluehost comes in 6th with a 3.49% market share.
Since popularity does not always match performance, it can be hard for you to know which hosting provider is best for your needs. We’ve taken both of these services out for a spin in our head-to-head Hostgator vs BlueHost analysis so you don’t have to guess.
Read on to discover which hosting provider is best for you by comparing them side by side for over 16 different features and tests.
Let’s get straight into it!
Table Of Contents
- Introducing Hostgator
- Introducing Bluehost
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Web Hosting Plans Compared
- Bluehost vs Hostgator: Hosting Features Compared
- Ease of Use: Both Hosting Companies Are Easy And Intuitive
- Speed: Bluehost Scrapes By With Faster Loading Times
- Uptime: Bluehost Averages 99.98% Uptime In Recent Years
- Customer Support: Bluehost And Hostgator Leave A Lot To Be Desired
- CDN: Both Web Hosts Offer Free CDN Options
- Servers & Locations: Both Bluehost And Hostgator Have US-Based Servers
- Storage: Hostgator Offers More Storage For Lower Prices
- Security: Hostgator’s Security Features Outperform Bluehost’s
- Backups: Hostgator Offers Free Automated Backups, Bluehost Doesn’t
- Domains: Bluehost Offers A Free Domain Name With Many Plans
- Migrations: Hostgator Offers Free Migration Services For Most Customers
- Hostgator vs Bluehost Comparison: Pros & Cons
Founded in 2002, Hostgator quickly made a name for itself in the hosting market. It has hosted over 2.5 million websites and operates with over 1,000 full-time staff.
So it’s no surprise why Hostgator was acquired in 2012 by the Endurance International Group (EIG) for an aggregate purchase price of $299.8 million!
Founded in 2003 in Utah, Bluehost also powers over 2 million websites. With 750+ employees on its roster, the company has seen slightly lower growth levels than Hostgator.
However, Bluehost has been on an upward trend with no signs of slowing down since they first opened their doors. In 2010, they were also acquired by EIG which now owns a solid portfolio of hosting companies.
Now, you might be wondering whether there’s any difference between these services given the same parent company now owns them.
We were surprised to see one company does indeed offer better performance. However, the other hosting company offers move value and a lower price tag.
Stick with us to the end for all the juicy details on how Hostgator and Bluehost compare.
Bluehost vs Hostgator: Web Hosting Plans Compared
Let’s start this analysis by comparing the plans each company offers.
|Cheap Shared Hosting|
|Managed WP Hosting|
|Managed Woocommerce Hosting|
|Dedicated Server Hosting|
The only initial differences appear to come down to managed Woocommerce hosting and cloud hosting options. At first glance, it appears that the plans offered by Hostgator and BlueHost are very similar.
Bluehost supports e-commerce store owners using WordPress by offering managed Woocommerce hosting. Hostgator doesn’t.
On the other hand, Hostgator offers cloud hosting options though Bluehost doesn’t.
In the next few sections you’ll see how the plans offered by each host compare at a more detailed level.
All in all, Hostgator and Bluehost are very popular because of their cheap pricing. So all their services are suited to website owners who are willing to sacrifice performance for a lower price tag.
The best hosting plan for your needs will depend on what features and performance you’re after for the amount you spend. So let’s dive right into comparing prices and features.
When looking at Hostgator vs Bluehost pricing, first impressions can be deceiving. Both hosting providers offer cheap deals on the condition that you sign up for a long-term plan.
In addition to their evergreen deals, you can also score extra discounts during sale periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Essentially, both Bluehost and Hostgator are using loss-leader pricing strategies. They won’t make as much money from the initial sale, but they will make more sales by dropping their rates as low as they do. They recoup their profits by charging more upon renewal or through upsell offers.
That’s why they have as high a market share as they do. They are among the most affordable hosting providers on the market.
But, when doing your research, make sure you look beyond the initial deal. Especially when it comes to the term required to secure cheap monthly rates and renewal pricing. That’s how you get a better sense of the total costs.
Evergreen Promotional Pricing Compared
|Plan||Hostgator Plans||Bluehost Plans|
Bluehost’s promotional pricing is available for a 12-month term, whereas Hostgator’s is available for up to 3 years if you buy 36 months upfront.
Interestingly, if you wanted to buy 36 months upfront with Bluehost, you’d be charged $4.95/ month instead of $2.95/month (for their lowest tier). It’s still a discount compared to the renewal rate though almost double the cost of their cheapest deal.
In any case, if the price is your biggest concern, Hostgator’s promotional pricing works out cheaper.
Renewal Pricing Compared
|Plan||Hostgator Plans||Bluehost Plans|
|Lowest Tier||$6.95 - $10.95/month||$8.99 - $10.99/month|
|Middle Tier||$9.95 - $11.95/month||$11.99 - $16.99/month|
|Highest Tier||$14.95 - $16.95/month||$16.99 - $20.99/month|
Bluehost vs Hostgator: Managed WordPress Website Hosting
However, Hostgator also offers WordPress site hosting.
As per the above data, both Hostgator and Bluehost offer managed WordPress website hosting and shared WordPress hosting.
Hostgator does not offer managed Woocommerce hosting for any WordPress-based e-commerce stores though Bluehost does.
It’s also worth mentioning that both Bluehost and Hostgator offer their customers similar cPanel dashboards for managing all aspects of their websites through their hosting account.
Within these dashboards, there are a range of WordPress installation options.
All in all, for most users, once you go through the WordPress installation process, the rest is pretty even between Bluehost and Hostgator.
So if it’s down to a price-based decision for you, let’s see how they compare.
Promotional Pricing Compared
|Plan||Hostgator WordPress Hosting||Bluehost WordPress Hosting|
|Shared WP||From $2.75/month||From $2.95/month|
|Managed WP||From $5.95/month||From $9.95/month|
|Managed Woocommerce||N/A||From $12.95/month|
Renewal Pricing Compared
|Plan||Hostgator WordPress Hosting||Bluehost WordPress Hosting|
|Shared WP||From $6.95/month||From $8.99/month|
|Managed WP||From $14.95/month||From $19.95/month|
|Managed Woocommerce||N/A||From $24.95/month|
Bluehost vs Hostgator: VPS & Dedicated Hosting Plans
When comparing dedicated and VPS hosting to shared hosting, we must note that we’re not comparing apples to apples here.
- Shared hosting uses a single server and hosts multiple websites on it. It means your website is open to vulnerabilities affecting the other websites on the same server.
- VPS hosting uses a virtual environment that imitates a dedicated server. It’s still shared hosting, but you get a partitioned space with all its resources to yourself.
- Dedicated hosting allows you to have your own server and is recommended for sites with loads of traffic coming to them every month.
Make sure you read the fine print to know what type of server situation you’re getting into with your web host.
|Promotional Pricing||Renewal Pricing|
However, we’ve chosen Bluehost for this round because of their significantly cheaper renewal prices. You could save up to $50 a month!
In saying this, if you’re looking for more SSD storage, Hostgator offers significantly more and with unmetered bandwidth to boot!
Check out side by side if you’re looking for specific features for any of your WordPress websites.
|Promotional Pricing||Renewal Pricing|
Once again, at first glance, it appears that Bluehost is significantly cheaper than Hostgator. However, for the value that Hostgator’s dedicated hosting plans include, the additional price may be worth it to you.
Honestly, if you can afford to pay that much upfront, your website will likely need a better-performing solution than what either Bluehost or Hostgator can offer.
So, on this note, let’s dive into the features and performance of each of these hosting companies next.
Bluehost vs Hostgator: Hosting Features Compared
We think that price should not be the only deciding factor when shopping for hosting. But, for most customers using Hostgator or Bluehost, the reality is that price is usually the only factor considered.
So if that’s all you care about, you already have all the info you need.
Read on if you also care about getting the best performance and in-built features for your website.
As much as possible, we share the data from tests we’ve run to quantitatively prove which is the better option between Bluehost and Hostgator.
Ease of Use: Both Hosting Companies Are Easy And Intuitive
Both Bluehost and Hostgator offer classic cPanel based solutions. It can seem a little daunting for people just starting to navigate a cPanel dashboard. You can also feel overwhelmed with all the upsell offers that show up.
However, there are many features and actions you can perform in this space once you get the hang of it.
Speed: Bluehost Scrapes By With Faster Loading Times
With website speed being among the most critical factors for user experience, it’s no surprise Google has also made it an official ranking factor.
Thanks to studies by Amazon and Deloitte, we already know that slow-loading websites are constantly losing money.
In Amazon’s case, 100ms extra in load time costs about 1% of revenue. Back in 2006, when Amazon’s engineers first discovered this, 1% of revenue amounted to about $107 million. Today, that’s over $3.8 billion in annual revenue!
Poor web hosting services could also be costing you a tonne of hard-earned cash.
So we put Bluehost and Hostgator to the test to see who puts their money where their mouth is.
|Performance Score||TTFB||Fully Loaded Time||Performance Score||TTFB||Fully Loaded Time|
|Pingdom Performance||Pingdom Load Time||Pingdom Performance||Pingdom Load Time|
But, we’re not gonna lie; we weren’t super impressed by either of these companies as far as speed performance is concerned.
If speed is an essential feature for your website, check out our post on the fastest web hosting companies. Compared to other companies on this list, Bluehost does offer a nice balance between affordability and performance.
Uptime: Bluehost Averages 99.98% Uptime In Recent Years
After speed, the next performance factor that plays a critical role in making money online is uptime.
Any decent hosting service should be able to put their money where their mouth is and deliver the uptime levels they guarantee.
In saying that, no web host can guarantee 100% uptime. Hostgator guarantees 99.90%, whereas Bluehost guarantees 99.98%.
Let’s take a look at whether they live up to these guarantees.
Historically, Hostgator had the highest uptime guarantee for shared hosting at 99.99%.
We’ve noticed that Hostgator’s servers’ performance was unable to meet this level of uptime over recent years. Instead of improving its server infrastructure, Hostgator has opted to reduce their uptime guarantee to 99.90%.
This allows Hostgator’s servers to experience up to 8 hours and 45 minutes of downtime per year instead of just 52 minutes – per the original guarantee.
While Hostgator’s web hosting packages were unable to meet the original guarantee, uptime is generally relatively stable, with only 4 downtime events in 2021. According to Pingdom’s uptime monitoring, Hostgator’s average uptime has been 99.89% since 2015.
Bluehost has experienced a few more downtime events than Hostgator in recent years. In 2021, there were 22 minutes of downtime in total, and most downtime events lasted longer than 3 minutes.
This means that Bluehost occasionally is unable to meet its guarantee. However, historically, Bluehost has a higher uptime rate than Hostgator even when it is unable to meet the guarantee.
Here’s the data in a head-to-head format.
|2018 Uptime||2019 Uptime||2020 Uptime||2021 Uptime|
Customer Support: Bluehost And Hostgator Leave A Lot To Be Desired
Given that Hostgator and Bluehost are both hosting aimed at beginner markets, customer support is another crucial feature that their audiences will need to rely on.
Building a website isn’t easy!
The last thing you want is to be left high and dry by your hosting provider when something goes wrong.
That’s why we always look at the level of support each company offers to their customers. Good customer service is what enables a web host to reach excellence in our book.
Bluehost’s rating on Trustpilot
Hostgator’s rating on Trustpilot
If we had to pick one, we’re going with Hostgator only because there is a smaller percentage of bad reviews. The overall average is also higher so that helps.
But, making this decision is like voting for a politician based on who you hate the least. Thankfully with hosting, you can look beyond these two choices and go with a company that offers MUCH better support.
Check out our list of the best small business hosting companies for alternatives if customer support is as important to you as it is to us.
CDN: Both Web Hosts Offer Free CDN Options
To help deliver your content to audiences worldwide, hosting companies rely on content delivery networks (CDN).
Both Hostgator and Bluehost offer free CDN options, and you can choose between SiteLock CDN or Cloudflare.
As far as the best free CDN service available, Cloudflare is firmly the lead. Offering incredibly fast content delivery for both static and dynamic content, Cloudflare can help businesses reach global audiences without sacrificing the loading speed of their websites.
Compared to Cloudflare, SiteLock leaves a lot to be desired.
Servers & Locations: Both Bluehost And Hostgator Have US-Based Servers
For anyone targeting audiences in a specific location, it’s worth looking at where your website’s servers are located.
Both Hostgator and Bluehost have servers in the US.
The locations of Bluehosts’s data centers are unclear on their website. So we reached out to support and confirmed they are only available in Utah, US.
Hostgator’s data centers are located in Utah and Texas. You can find out more about Hostgator’s servers here.
If you have an international audience, you’ll definitely need to use a CDN service to help readers from other countries access your content easily and quickly.
Storage: Hostgator Offers More Storage For Lower Prices
For anyone with a media or data-heavy website, storage will be a big factor for you to consider. Most website owners won’t reach their storage limits; however, if you know you’ll need more storage space than the average website user, here’s what we’ve found.
Hostgator offers unmetered storage on all shared plans. Bluehost offers only 50GB on their lowest tier of shared hosting and unlimited on the rest.
A quick word about unlimited vs unmetered bandwidth. Essentially, it’s the same thing. No hosting company can truly offer unlimited storage since every server has a storage capacity.
However, instead of only allocating you a fixed amount of the disk’s storage space, with unmetered hosting, you can use as much as you need. Fair usage rules apply, but most websites won’t come close to reaching those limits.
Regarding VPS and dedicated hosting, Hostgator offers more storage and RAM for lower prices.
Security: Hostgator’s Security Features Outperform Bluehost’s
If you look on the website of any web hosting company, you’re bound to find some version of “we offer the best security” on there.
It can be challenging to look beyond the sales pitch and know for sure that they will stand by their words. There’s also the matter of how each company defines “best” and to what lengths they will go to ensure your website is safe.
|Free SSL Certificate||Yes (Let’s Encrypt)||Yes (Let’s Encrypt)|
|Free Domain Privacy||Only on Expensive Tiers||Paid Option|
|Spam Protection||Yes (Akismet)||Paid Option - Spam Assassin|
|Free Automatic Backups||Only on Expensive Tiers||Yes (Weekly)|
|Web Application Firewall||Yes||Yes|
|Brute Force Protection||Yes||Yes|
|Bot Blocking||Yes||Yes - Manual|
|Malware Protection||Yes (Daily Automated)||Paid Option|
|24/7 Server Monitoring||No||Yes|
|WP Security Plugin||No||No|
We like that they include free backups on all tiers of their shared hosting. Backups are crucial in case something goes wrong!
However, there are caveats with both Hostgator and Bluehost when it comes to their backup policies. Let’s look at that next.
Backups: Hostgator Offers Free Automated Backups, Bluehost Doesn’t
Since most people using Hostgator or Bluehost are beginners, backups will be an essential feature.
If anything ever goes wrong, being able to restore a backup easily will make all the difference.
However, upon researching the backup policies of both Hostgator and Bluehost, we’re a little disappointed with what we found.
Bluehost’s Backup Policy
Bluehost makes it very clear that they take no responsibility for failed backups. They do offer free backups for customers, but they’re “not guaranteed in any way.”
Since most people buy Bluehost’s cheaper plans, likely, they won’t receive any backups at all. Free backups are only included in Bluehost’s more expensive plans.
Customers on the cheaper plans need to pay extra for a third-party service to take care of daily automated backups.
Also, Bluehost doesn’t offer redundant or mirrored backups.
- Redundant data storage provides a real-time fail-safe against hard drive failure.
- Mirrored backups are exact copies of your data. Another failsafe in case something goes wrong.
Hostgator’s Backup Policy
Hostgator’s approach to backups is also very similar to Bluehost’s.
Hostgator makes it very clear that they take no responsibility for failed backups. They do offer free backups for customers, but they’re also “not guaranteed in any way”.
Besides, they only take backups once a week on a random day. This can make it hard to plan big updates to your site without manually backing up your site every time.
But hey, if it’s a choice of a random backup vs no backups at all, the former wins every time.
With both companies, the option to buy a third-party service to handle daily, automated backups is available. We advise you to factor this into your costs as it is an essential service!
Domains: Bluehost Offers A Free Domain Name With Many Plans
Both Bluehost and Hostgator offer a free domain name for the first year. This offer is bundled with their hosting plans and cannot be added separately to other plans.
Bluehost also offers free domain privacy on its expensive hosting tiers. Hostgator doesn’t.
If you get a free domain name with your hosting plan, it will renew for around $18 per year. We recommend looking at cheaper places to buy domains if budget is a concern for you.
Both Hostgator and Bluehost offer unlimited domains for parking and unlimited sub-domains on comparable plans. So for these domain features, we’ve considered them equal.
Migrations: Hostgator Offers Free Migration Services For Most Customers
If you have an existing website and want to switch hosting providers, you’ll need to factor in the cost of migration.
Hostgator offers free professional migrations, whereas Bluehost charges a fee.
Bluehost’s free migrations are limited and not available to all users. Even so, they are through a website migrator plugin which can often be hit or miss. You can, however, pay to migrate up to five websites.
|Number of Sites||Up to 5 sites||Depends on your plan|
|Emails||Up to 20 Emails||Manual|
|Downtime?||No downtime, guaranteed||Not Mentioned|
|Availability||Not available on Reseller, VPS, or Dedicated Accounts||Available on all accounts with restrictions|
Hostgator vs Bluehost Comparison: Pros & Cons
Hostgator vs Bluehost: The Ultimate Winner
If you have a WordPress website and are choosing between these two popular web hosting companies, our top pick is Hostgator.
Hostgator is a better option for you if you are making a price-conscious decision. Not only are the dollar values lower on most accounts, but Hostgator also squeezes more into their hosting plans than Bluehost does.
However, it had some significant shortfalls too.
The main difference between Bluehost and Hostgator is Bluehost performed much better in our performance tests than Hostgator did.
As supported by the data shared in our Hostgator vs Bluehost review, most other features are equal between these two hosting companies.
If you’d like to get up to 60% off your Hostgator subscription, use this link to Hostgator’s website!
Decided Bluehost is the better option for you?
No worries! Click this link to Bluehost’s website to secure up to 63% off your initial purchase with Bluehost.