Bluehost and Hostgator (both owned by EIG) are two of the most popular hosting solutions out there.
But popularity isn’t the best metric on which to base your choice of hosting company. Instead you want to take into account their ease of use, page speed, uptime, features, customer support, and pricing to make an informed decision.
In this article, we’ll conduct a four-step comparison of Bluehost vs Hostgator to help you pick the right web hosting provider for your website based on our testing results. We’ve previously compiled thorough reviews of both Bluehost and Hostgator which are worth a look too.
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For the purpose of this head-to-head comparison of, we signed up with Bluehost’s Basic Plan and Hostgator’s Hatchling Plan which are the cheapest entry level plans offered by each host.
Comparison of Technical Performance
One of the first things you’ll need to compare when deciding between Hostgator vs Bluehost is technical performance. Specifically, how easy is it to get everything set up, which web host is the fastest, and which one delivers the best uptime.
Provisioning and Installation
Bluehost makes it incredibly easy to sign up and get started. Provisioning is instant around the clock. Bluehost has partnered with Mojo Marketplace to take the heavy lifting out of WordPress installation though, for some users, it might be more confusing than the traditional cPanel installation wizard.
Provisioning with Hostgator is instant. In addition to cPanel, you also get access to the traditional WordPress installer which makes it easy to get set up in no time.
The provisioning and WordPress installation experience is pretty easy and straight forward with both hosting providers.
Load Impact Test Results
Our performance testing of Bluehost revealed excellent results and consistent performance over the last 6 months. The average user load time remained under 1 second up to 100 concurrent users (0.928 seconds to be precise). In addition to this, no server request failures were recorded.
Our latest performance testing of Hostgator on Load Impact revealed good results. Though the test didn’t get off to a good start, the test site’s performance quickly improved even though the number of concurrent users on the site was on the rise. The average user load time remained under 1 second up to 100 concurrent users. The end result of our latest test showed Hostgator with an average page load time of 0.643 seconds.
Both Bluehost and Hostgator deliver consistent performance and excellent average user load times, but in our latest testing Hostgator does get a lower average page load speed over the duration of the load impact test. Though in fairness to Bluehost the difference of 0.285 seconds would not be noticeable to most people.
Pingdom Page Speed and Uptime
Which is faster and has better uptime? Bluehost or Hostgator?
|West Coast Load Time||0.682s||2.0s|
|East Coast Load Time||0.624s||1.64s|
|Average Page Load Time||0.653s||1.82s|
We have been monitoring test sites on both Bluehost and Hostgator for more than a year. These figures represent the performance of these sites in the past month.
Bluehost scored quite a bit better in our Pingdom tests with an impressive YSlow grade of 88 for an out-of-the-box installation of WordPress. It consistently scored under 1 second in Pingdom’s average homepage speed tests compared to a less than impressive 1.82 seconds for Hostgator which is nearly a second slower than Bluehost according to Pingdom. In contrast to to the close finish in the Load Impact tests, this is a significant difference and would indeed be noticeable.
Comparison of Features
Here’s a quick breakdown of the technical specs and features you can expect from Bluehost vs Hostgator:
|Domain name registration||Bluehost gives customers a free domain name at the time of registration and renews when they renew their web hosting plan.||Hostgator doesn’t give customers a free domain name.|
|Email accounts||Bluehost allows users to create up to 5 email addresses each with 100MB storage space.||With Hostgator, you can create an unlimited number of POP3 email accounts with SMTP.|
|Website caching||Bluehost hosting plans offer a proprietary caching solution to improve page loading times.||Hostgator pre-installs the WP Super Cache plugin to improve website speed.|
|Backups||Bluehost automatically creates backups of your entire account on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You’re able to restore all of the data with one-click.||Hostgator offers automatic weekly off-site data backups as part of its CodeGuard feature. Customers get 1GB of backup storage space along with the option to decide when old backups should be removed.|
|Automatic WordPress updates||Bluehost gives you the option to enable automatic WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates if you’d like.||Hostgator runs a script that automatically updates the WordPress core, themes, and plugins in the background. Although you can delay the updates, there’s no option to completely disable them.|
|Plugin restrictions||Bluehost lets you install all WordPress plugins.||Hostgator has a list of disallowed plugins that can’t be installed on its platform due to duplicate functionality, performance detractors, security vulnerabilities, or spam.|
|Content Delivery Network (CDN)||Bluehost recommends customers install the free Cloudflare CDN.||Hostgator is compatible with just about any CDN.|
|Malware removal||In case of a hacked site, Bluehost will give you a list of affected files.||Hostgator offers automatic malware removal in case your site gets hacked.|
|Staging sites||Bluehost offers a staging site tool to its customers that can be accessed directly from the cPanel.||Hostgator doesn’t let customers set up a staging environment.|
|Migration||Bluehost charges $149 for WordPress website migrations.||Hostgator offers free website migration.|
|Data center locations||Bluehost has data centers in Provo, Utah.||Hostgator’s data centers are located in Provo, Utah and Houston, Texas.|
With Bluehost, you get a free domain name, access to their proprietary caching solution, daily automatic backups, and ability to create a staging site.
Comparison of Pricing
For this hosting comparison, we signed up with Bluehost’s Basic plan which starts at $2.95/mth. This comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
For the purpose of this hosting comparison, we signed up for Hostgator’s Hatchling Plan which starts at $3.82/mth. Hostgator offers a 45 day money back guarantee.
Bluehost’s entry level plan costs less than Hostgator’s entry level plan.
Comparison of Customer Support
One of the reasons Bluehost is the go-to hosting solution for many WordPress users is that they offer 24/7 live chat and phone support. In addition to this, customers can also submit support tickets or access their knowledge base.
Hostgator also offers 24/7 live chat and phone support. However, Hostgator does have a lot of negative reviews in its online forums. Hostgator customers can also watch helpful video tutorials for information.
Based on performance, page speed results, and features, we’d recommend going with Bluehost. You can expect excellent (and consistent) performance from Bluehost in addition to speedy page load times thanks to their proprietary caching solution.
In addition to this, Bluehost gives you the option to set up a staging site and lets you opt-in to automatic WordPress updates. It’s also worth mentioning that Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress.org.
Although Hostgator hosting plans come with neat features (like free site migrations and malware removal), we think Bluehost is the overall winner in terms of performance, page speed, uptime, and price.
Comparing Bluehost vs Hostgator comes down to performance, page speed, and features.
Although both hosting providers delivered 100% uptime, Bluehost was the clear winner with impressive, consistent performance and an average home page loading time of under 1 second.
In terms of provisioning, WordPress installation, and customer support, both hosting providers offer similar experiences.
So that is our assessment, which hosting provider are you leaning towards and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.