HostGator and Bluehost are two of the largest hosting companies out there and are also two of the most highly recommended. Both feature excellent customer support and a range of hosting options, but which one is best for you?
HostGator and Bluehost both have a proven track record of keeping their websites up and running. Both offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. So how often do HostGator or Bluehost have issues?
According to downdetector.com, HostGator has only had two recent downtimes.
Bluehost has had 3 recent downtimes
Both sites seem to have almost no downtime issues.
One of the things that I love about HostGator is the fact that they have a twitter account dedicated exclusively to downtime alerts.
04/15/2016 9:00PM CDT :: Multiple Windows Shared – Friday, 04/15/2016 at 9PM, we will be performing Windows Upd… https://t.co/xhF5ZHSINE
— HGstatus (@HGstatus) April 13, 2016
The twitter acount is the first place I look whenever I have issues with my hosting account (which is very rare).
The biggest difference between the two is in the Uptime Guarantee agreement.
Below is an excerpt from Bluehost’s uptime guarantee agreement:
We at Bluehost, unlike most hosting companies, will not charge you for leaving your hosting agreement early due to server downtime. Furthermore, we allow you to cancel your account at anytime without any penalties and with a pro-rated refund of the unused portion of your hosting agreement.
And the following is from HostGator’s agreement:
If a shared or reseller server falls short of the 99.9% uptime guarantee, you may receive one (1) month of credit for that package on your account.
If your site suffers from downtime then HostGator will give you a credit for 1 month of free hosting while Bluehost will refund of the unused portion of your money. You will almost certainly never have to use these uptime guarantees, but it’s reassuring to know that you can get your money back.
Overall, HostGator and Bluehost are two of the most reliable hosting providers out there.
I ran a few speed tests to compare the speed of Bluehost.com to HostGator.com. Obviously there are many factors that would cause the speed of the sites to vary such as location of the server, page size, and more. In order to be as fair as possible I tested from a location that was a long distance from where both sites were hosted and made sure that both sites were similar in size (they were within 100k of each other). I then tested each site using loadimpact.com.
Hostgator was between 1-2 seconds for almost every load test.
Bluehost was around 4 seconds for most tests.
HostGator was clearly faster than Bluehost. I found a few other users that said they significantly increased the speed of their site by switching from Bluehost.
The prices HostGator and Bluehost show look cheap (under $4 per month!) but those prices are actually for a 3 year commitment. The price for a 12 month commitment for the basic hatchling plan is $5.95 for HostGator and $4.95 for Bluehost.
If already have a website and you’re planning on hosting your own domain then the Hatchling Plan is the way to go.
If you’re planning on hosting multiple domains, then the Baby Plan is the one you should choose.
HostGator frequently runs special deals (like the free upgrade to the Business Plan). The advantages of upgrading to the business plan include a free SSL and a dedicated IP. An SSL is important (especially if you are collecting any type of personal information). The dedicated IP could also be important for certain web apps.
If you’re accustomed to using a cheap hosting provider then prepared to be blown away by the level of support offered by HostGator and Bluehost. This is one of the greatest benefits of using these providers.
HostGator vs. Bluehost: Who should you choose?
HostGator and Bluehost offer very similar services. Bluehost is slightly cheaper and offers a free domain. HostGator appears to be faster and is more reliable. If you haven’t bought a domain yet then Bluehost is a great deal, but if you already have a domain then I would stick with HostGator.