If you’re new to the world of website building and hosting, or even if you’re a seasoned techie just looking to switch providers, the search to find the best hosting service can seem daunting. With so many options available, it can be hard to decide on just one.
You want the best for your site, and so do we! That’s why we took two of the biggest hosting providers, Bluehost and HostGator, and did some in-depth research to see which is actually the better option.
At first glance these two providers seem very similar in terms of what they offer. Overall though, HostGator came up the winner over Bluehost, with stronger scores in help and support as well as value for money.
Both are extremely strong though, hosting millions of websites across the globe, so you’ll be in good hands whichever one you choose. If you’d like to know more and really get to grips with these two providers, check out our in-depth reviews:
If you’re in a hurry, compare the two below. You can click on the link to sign up, or read on for a breakdown of both providers, to help you decide on the perfect hosting service for your site. Will it be Bluehost or HostGator? Let’s find out.
First of all, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each provider side by side, to clear up any headaches that have been brewing so far. They both have strengths and weaknesses which will affect your decision depending on your needs.
|#2||Beginner friendly, very easy to use|
|#3||Best host provider for WordPress integration|
|#1||Less customer support than some competitors|
|#2||Lots of add-on options in checkout which could hike up your price plan if not deselected|
|#1||Great value for money|
|#2||Beginner friendly, very easy to use|
|#3||Excellent uptime: 99.99%|
|#4||Comprehensive customer support|
|#5||Best all-rounder in our rankings|
|#1||No free domain|
|#2||Interface could be more simple and modern|
As you can see, they’re both evenly balanced and your choice will really depend on what you want to get out of your host provider, and what is important for your site or business.
Verdict: Although on pretty equal footing here, HostGator steals the win, coming up top as our best all-round provider over Bluehost.
The features are the key difference between the two, and is the main area where Bluehost scored higher than HostGator in our rankings. As you would expect with such popular providers they both offer excellent features and overall they are pretty well matched.
The main difference here is that Bluehost offers a free domain name. You do still have to pay the registration fee, but from that you get your own domain name which lasts for one year and is yours to manage or transfer. You have ownership until it expires, at which point you can simply renew or extend it at the regular price (this varies depending on what type of domain you have, for example .com, .org, .blog etc).
Both providers use cPanel, which is a popular, reliable and standard control panel for hosting providers. The interfaces are user friendly and simple, especially on Bluehost – it’s less cluttered and more modern than HostGator’s.
Uptime is great for both, with HostGator just taking the lead with 99.99%, closely followed by Bluehost’s 99.98%. Considering 100% uptime just isn’t possible, both these providers are working very hard to make your site as available to your users as they can.
This is really important for your website, especially if you are trying to run a business. You can’t reach clients or grow your reputation if your site is always down. It’d be like handing out blank leaflets to advertise your business, there’s just no point!
Verdict: Although pretty evenly matched here, Bluehost’s cleaner interface and offer of a free domain name tips them ahead of HostGator in regard to features. A special mention goes to HostGator for their industry-topping uptime score of 99.9% though.
WordPress is very popular for bloggers and developers (and everyone else!). Approximately 30% of the internet is built on WordPress, so it’s worth including as a factor here.
The winner is clear so we’ll get straight to it: Bluehost are the best for WordPress integration.
WordPress themselves have chosen Bluehost as their most highly recommended host provider. In their own words, “Bluehost offers the ultimate WordPress platform”, which sounds pretty good to us! This strong relationship will definitely benefit you if you’re looking to use WordPress, and with their one-click set up process and in-house WordPress support experts it’s never been easier.
HostGator also offers WordPress hosting, of course. With three levels of price plans (hatchling, baby and business), and the offer of transferring your existing WordPress website for free on sign up, they’re certainly not neglecting their WordPress users by any means.
Verdict: Bluehost, definitely and undeniably. Bluehost and WordPress are the dream team, we would never try and tear them apart.
If you’d like to know more about WordPress you can read our WordPress 2018 Review to see if it’s something that would be suitable for you.
Getting hosting is easy. And things rarely go wrong but if or when they do, you don’t want the stress of feeling like you’re dealing with it on your own, especially for those of you who are new to the world of hosting.
HostGator and Bluehost both have most areas of support covered, so you can sleep easy at night knowing that their team of tech-experts is only a click or a phone call away. With so many users relying on them, neither can afford to neglect their customer support – just look at that table!
|24/7 Live Chat||No||Yes|
In all seriousness though, customer support is so important for giving you the best experience possible of hosting your site – you wouldn’t buy a car without seat-belts or air bags, and this is the tech equivalent!
So, just what is it that each provider is offering? Most of them, such as the 24/7 live chat and phone services are pretty self-explanatory, but the knowledge center and tickets features may not be immediately obvious.
Basically, HostGator’s knowledge center is a support portal offering 24/7 live technical support and documentation. This includes a forum (covering such topics as customer reviews, suggestions, pre-sales questions, general announcements and more), video tutorials, as well as having live chat and telephone support options. You may find that it’s actually quicker finding your answer on the knowledge center rather than via the phone; but at least you’ve got the option!
The Bluehost knowledge base looks slightly more clean and professional than the HostGator site, although it takes a bit more navigating. It has a search function as its main feature, as well as educational resources such as articles and “how to” guides for different sections of the site (such as emails, WordPress, domains, etc.).There is also the essential FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, and a link to their contact page with information on how to contact the right department for your query.
If you have a more complex issue not covered by general advice online, you can submit a ticket. This is received by a team who will attempt to resolve the problem, offering a more personalised solution. It is worth noting that Bluehost no longer accepts tickets for tech support, as they are now focusing on other support channels.
Verdict: HostGator tops it here, with their 24/7 live chat, and extensive resources on the knowledge center.
Last but certainly not least, this is the section you’ve been waiting for. One of the most important things we look at as customers when we’re making decisions is the price. This is pretty sensible when you’re starting your own business or working to a budget!
Creating your own website should be exciting, not break the bank. Both Bluehost and HostGator give you great value for money, so whichever one you choose it’s a win-win in terms of price.
|Shared Hosting||$2.95 – $14.99||$2.75 – $5.95|
|Cloud Hosting||$6.95 – $25.99||$4.95 – $9.95|
|WordPress Hosting||$19.99 – $49.99||$5.95 – $9.95|
|VPS Hosting||$19.99 – $59.99||$19.95 – $24.95|
|Dedicated Hosting||$79.99 – $209.99||$119 – $149|
Both Bluehost and HostGator have a money back guarantee. With Bluehost this is if you cancel within the first 30 days, and HostGator within the first 45 days of purchase (this is only for their shared, VPS and reseller hosting packages). This is a great way of trying out your provider without the fear of committing long-term straight away.
The cheaper offers you find are usually for longer term contracts. For example HostGator are currently offering up to 75% off on some of their 36 month contracts. Bluehost also offers cheaper rates for pre-paying for a 36 month contract, and have promotional discounts for new customers too. At the moment their choice plus plan for shared hosting is $5.99 a month rather than the usual $14.99, or you can go Pro for $13.95 instead of the standard $23.99.
It is worth noting that neither money-back guarantee applies to add-ons or extra purchases (for example, domains). It is also worth being aware that often when promotional discounts are offered, this is usually just for your first term and when it renews this will be at the non-discounted price. This is really normal but something to look out for when renewal time approaches!
Verdict: As our best all-round hosting provider and with generally lower prices, HostGator is our winner in terms of value for money.
Both Bluehost and HostGator are established and reliable hosting providers, who deserve their great reputations. Both are suited to beginners as well as pros, and offer affordable and competitive price plans. Either way, you’re in a great place to start your journey into web hosting.
Our overall winner is HostGator, as it came up the best all-round hosting provider in our rankings at 97%, winning it a splendid 5 stars. It’s great value for money, extremely reliable with 99.99% uptime, and has a high level of customer support in place for advice and technical help.
Bluehost wasn’t far behind with an overall ranking of 91%, giving it 4.5 stars just behind HostGator. Its established reputation in both ease of use for beginners as well as its relationship with WordPress make it a strong contender, and its affordable plans make it a realistic option no matter what level your site is at.
The best option for you will depend on your needs – if WordPress integration and a free domain are big factors, Bluehost is the best for you. If in doubt, or if you want reliability and great value for money, or are thinking of launching more sites in the future, then HostGator is the better choice. As the best all-rounder, it’s sure to have all your needs covered.
Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Analyses and graphics in this article are based on authentic sources cross-validated by our in-house experts.
We take great care to ensure the information we publish is reliable and accurate. However, WBE takes no responsibility for any inaccuracy in information supplied to us by users, research participants, or other entities.
Please note the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. We’re glad to answer any questions you may have about this article and its supporting research. For further information, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.