Deciding between Bluehost vs. HostGator for web hosting is a challenging task, but we ultimately believe that Bluehost is the best option for most people.
These two companies are two of the biggest names in the web hosting business.
They’re also highly comparable to one another in terms of the features they offer to all levels of website owners, from beginner to expert.
As website managers ourselves, we know a lot about comparing and contrasting the features of different web hosting companies to find those that give each site the tools they need most. This was a very close comparison! Comparing Bluehost and HostGator came down to the finest details as we considered features like uptime, managed hosting, traffic volume, and customer support.
Bluehost ultimately edged ahead of HostGator in a few key areas, like traffic volume, speed, and higher-tier hosting plans for large websites and businesses. Read our comparison guide below to learn where each hosting company excels.
Bluehost Pros and Cons
- Reliable uptime
- High-level security features
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Easy for beginners
- CPU protection
- Free domain
- Excellent storage space
- Lacks pricing flexibility
- Costly upgrades
- US-only servers
- Customer service needs improvement
HostGator Pros and Cons
- Affordable, flexible pricing
- Several data centers
- Guaranteed 99.9% uptime
- Responsive customer support
- Free domain
- One-click app installation
- Simple interface
- Expensive renewals
- One standard backup
- Customer service upsells
- Pricey for large sites
Site Uptime: Tie
Site uptime is one of the most important factors to consider in a web hosting company. Your visitors rely on your site to be available when they need it.
What happens when someone goes to your site to find an answer to their question but can’t access it? They’ll go somewhere else, and you’ll lose out on potential traffic, leads, or sales, depending on your website’s goal.
Bluehost and HostGator are two of the better web hosts for site uptime.
HostGator is one of several companies that guarantee uptime with its 99.9% uptime guarantee. And Hostgator gives you a month of hosting for free if their uptime ever drops below 99.9% during that month.
Bluehost doesn’t have an uptime guarantee like many similar hosting companies. But its reliability tracks right alongside those companies that do offer uptime guarantees, including HostGator. Bluehost’s servers almost always hit at least 99.9% uptime each month, making a guarantee unnecessary.
Site Speed: Bluehost
A slow-loading site can turn away visitors faster than just about anything else.
Not many people are willing to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load. They’ll expect navigation on your site to be snappy, too.
No hosting company has perfect servers with fast speeds at all times. Instead, we put more of an emphasis on consistent speeds than a month or two out of the year with fast speeds.
Bluehost and HostGator are close to tying in the speed category, but Bluehost’s loading speeds are generally faster and more consistent than HostGator’s speeds. Bluehost’s speeds have taken a slight hit recently, but you can still expect around a response time of 692 ms, its average for the past nine months.
HostGator, while experiencing better times than usual lately, has an average response time of 731 ms.
That’s not a huge difference at a glance, but when you consider its wide range of numbers on consecutive months—798, 836, 738, and 659 ms—you can see that its speeds lack Bluehost’s consistency. For comparison’s sake, Bluehost’s speeds for the same months are 724, 628, 670, and 655 ms–much more consistent.
Bluehost December 2020 speeds
HostGator December 2020 speeds
Customer Support: HostGator
Bluehost and HostGator both have comprehensive support systems to assist customers with any questions, concerns, or issues they have with their hosting and other services. Each company offers 24/7 customer support in addition to a knowledge base complete with answers and tutorials for common questions and problems.
HostGator takes a modest edge over Bluehost for customer support, namely for its responsiveness and dedication to handle problems as quickly as possible. Although you’ll sometimes need to wait the typical few minutes in a phone or live chat queue for a response, you can expect to get an answer or resolution quickly once your session starts.
Additionally, HostGator’s peer support forums are a stand-out feature for customers. Hop on to ask a question for other experts in the community to answer. You might even end up with a faster response there than you would contacting customer support, especially for small-scale issues, like adding security to your site or web design questions.
Traffic Volume: Bluehost
Even owners of small websites need to consider traffic volume. One day, your site might grow into a larger one that requires more bandwidth to allow a steady flow of traffic without compromising your site’s performance and user experience.
Bluehost and HostGator both offer unmetered bandwidth, meaning that they don’t cut off your traffic or charge you extra if you happen to use a lot of it. However, your speeds might drop as a result of heavy traffic to avoid bogging down servers.
You can avoid slower speeds that may harm your traffic by opting for a virtual private server (VPS), a dedicated server, or a WordPress hosting plan. Again, both companies have these options, but Bluehost’s plans are among the best.
With a WordPress site and an optimized starter WordPress plan on Bluehost, you can expect your website to handle up to 450,000 monthly visits. A similar plan on HostGator allows you 100,000 monthly visitors.
For a non-WordPress standard VPS hosting plan on Bluehost, you can also expect up to 450,000 monthly visits. Even an upper-tier HostGator VPS plan—Snappy 4000—lags behind with up to 360,000 average monthly visits.
Bluehost VPS plans
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to web hosting. Hosting needs vary between people and businesses, and web hosting companies usually make their plans flexible to meet those needs.
HostGator has some of the most affordable plans with plenty of flexibility to allow you to scale at your own pace. Starting as low as $2.75/month for shared hosting and $4.95/month for individual hosting, you’ll get unmetered bandwidth, one-click WordPress installations, a free SSL certificate, and a free domain when you sign up for at least 12 months.
With a full range of WordPress, shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated, and reseller plans, there’s something for everyone. If your plan is quick growth, consider starting with the Baby Cloud plan with unlimited domains and subdomains, 4 GB available RAM, and unmetered bandwidth and storage, optimized for flexibility and scalability.
Bluehost’s prices are definitely solid, but they’re not quite as low as HostGator’s. More importantly, HostGator offers more flexible pricing options. You can choose to pay in 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, or 36-month increments, compared to Bluehost’s 12, 24, and 36-month options. If you only want to try a new web host on a shorter scale, HostGator will let you do so. However, be aware that the prices for 1-month and 3-month plans are much higher than long-term rates.
HostGator also has a 45-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to cancel within the first 45 calendar days of your order to get a full refund if you aren’t satisfied. Bluehost allows the same for 30 days, but those extra 15 days can be helpful for checking out the full breadth of features for your plan.
Also, it’s worth noting that both companies have introductory prices valid for the initial term you choose to buy. After that term, your price raises to the regular renewal rate, which is much higher than the introductory price. HostGator’s introductory and regular prices are generally lower than Bluehost’s, especially for shared hosting.
Migration Features: HostGator
Bluehost and HostGator both allow new customers one free migration of their WordPress website from its current spot on the web to their new host.
Unfortunately, that’s where the free service ends for Bluehost customers. For sites using a platform other than WordPress, Bluehost charges $149.99 for any additional site transfers, which includes migration for up to five websites and 20 email accounts. Bluehost also doesn’t offer migration support for non-shared hosting sites, like VPS or dedicated hosting accounts.
HostGator not only allows free transfers for WordPress accounts, but it also provides one free transfer for shared and cloud accounts, plus 30 free transfers for resellers and unlimited free transfers for VPS and dedicated hosting accounts.
Managed Hosting: HostGator
Managed hosting is a crucial factor to consider if you’re not a website whiz or want to take some time off your hands. Your hosting company will step in to help you manage server issues, updates, setup, and administration tasks as needed.
Bluehost does this well with its fully managed WordPress plans. Sign up for a WordPress plan, and you’ll get a dashboard fit for everything WordPress, tailored security and speed, WordPress installations, and general WordPress maintenance.
HostGator offers these services with its WordPress plans, too. But it takes a step further with its fully managed non-WordPress plans for shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated hosting accounts.
HostGator’s fully managed support includes services like package installations, speed optimizations, e-mail configuration, backup management, and firewall setup. You can also use it for setting up Google Workspace, upgrading software, and configuring DNS setups.
Virtual Private Servers: Bluehost
Like we mentioned earlier, a VPS is better than shared hosting for sites with high traffic volume. Bluehost is the clear winner in terms of handling traffic on a VPS plan, whether you have a WordPress or non-WordPress site.
Bluehost has a few other perks for VPS owners, too. Plans offer 2-4 CPU cores, up to 120 GB of storage, and 2-8 GB RAM. The top-tier plan, Ultimate, provides users with 3 TB bandwidth. All storage is on solid-state drive (SSD) storage, meaning fast load times for you,
Although HostGator offers unmetered bandwidth and more SSD storage space for its plans, its pricing is significantly more expensive upon renewal. The lowest-priced Bluehost VPS plan costs $24.99/month when you renew for a year, but HostGator’s introductory plan renews at almost $80/month for the same term. Bluehost’s Ultimate plan renews for 12 months for a slightly higher price of $83.99/month.
Bluehost VPS pricing
Dedicated Hosting: Bluehost
Flexibility is critical when you choose dedicated hosting. You should not feel stuck with a plan that promises to work for everyone. Having add-on options for scalability can help you tweak your plans to your needs. Bluehost’s dedicated hosting plans give plenty to start with, but also include options to give you what you need.
For example, if the regular SSD SAN storage amounts aren’t enough for you but everything else in your plan works, add up to 4 TB of additional storage for $50-$400/month. Bluehost also provides expert mail filtering, domain privacy, SiteLock, and an additional dedicated IP as some of its add-ons. HostGator has a few add-ons as well, but its options are limited compared to Bluehost.
Bluehost dedicated hosting add-ons
WordPress Hosting: Bluehost
WordPress sites fare best when they have optimized hosting plans built for speed and streamlined code. HostGator and Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans give WordPress users free installation, free site migrations, an optimized control panel, and advanced security.
However, Bluehost is one of the companies, along with SiteGround and DreamHost, that WordPress itself recommends. Bluehost’s WordPress plans are fully-managed by platform experts to take care of any issues that arise with your site.
Bluehost even includes an Ecommerce plan for online shops with secure payment gateways, unlimited product additions, product review capabilities, and other features from WooCommerce.
WordPress’ official recommendation
It’s easy to see from this comparison that Bluehost and HostGator have a lot going for them. They both have several hosting plans to choose from and offer a full range of features, whether you need an affordable site to grow with or a powerful plan build for high traffic and storage.
Still, Bluehost remains our top pick. If you have a WordPress site, you can’t go wrong with Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans. And with other sites, you’ll benefit from high allowable traffic volume, reliable speeds and uptime, and excellent scalability.