How do you pick a shared web hosting company when you're not sure what you're looking for? For WordPress website owners, finding the right hosting plan can be a daunting task. Two of the largest competitors in today's market are Hostgator and Bluehost. Which of them is better?
Both of these services come with the same basic affordability and hosting options. I've broken down how they compare in terms of speed, offered features, plan choices, and customer support.
Overview of Hostgator and Bluehost
Unique Hostgator Features
Unique Bluehost Features
When undergoing basic speed tests, Hostgator is one of the fastest and most efficient shared hosting services.
One big concern with shared hosting is slowed loading speeds. Since all customers share the same servers, high traffic can lead to lag. The faster a website loads, the more revenue it tends to generate.
On average, when tested from places throughout the United States and Europe, Hostgator could load in about 2.5 seconds. It didn't fare as well in tests from Asia, though.
Bluehost's speed tends to be a little less impressive. While the service isn't extremely slow, especially for a shared hosting option, there are faster choices available for similar price points.
In the United States, a common loading time for Bluehost sites is around 3.9 seconds.
However, Bluehost does tend to have faster loading speeds in Asia than the competition.
Hostgator is measurably faster when tested from most areas against Bluehost. The exception is from Asian locations.
Hostgator has two extremely basic plans. The cheapest is the Hatchling plan, which provides hosting for one domain. The Baby plan comes with unlimited domains.
The Hatchling plan begins at $2.75 per month and includes the following features:
The Baby plan starts at $3.95 per month and has all of these features; it's differentiated only by the unlimited domains hosted.
Bluehost's Basic plan is priced starting at $2.95 per month. For that price, the following features are included:
The plan is also promoted with the potential for a two hundred dollar marketing credit. If you create a Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising account through Bluehost, you'll get a $100 credit for each of these services after the first $25 you spend.
This plan doesn't come with unlimited email, but it does have parked and subdomain options that the Hostgator plan lacks.
Both services have basic plans with many of the same features. Bluehost's is more versatile for managing parked domains and subdomains, though. It also has 50 GB of storage and an included domain name.
If you want a plan that offers unlimited email or an unlimited number of domains, though, Hostgator offers the better value for your money.
Other Available Plans
Hostgator's other available plan is the Business plan. It starts at $5.95 monthly and is outfitted with some extra e-commerce features for business owners directing consumer traffic through their websites.
In addition to the same features offered in their basic plans, the Business plan includes:
VoIP phone service is the technology that allows you to make and receive telephone calls through the internet. This inclusion in the package can help to lower your overall costs and make your business run more efficiently if you often talk to clients on the phone.
A dedicated IP address is one IP that's given to your account alone, rather than being shared between multiple customers on the server. Some of the benefits from this include:
This can be ideal for business owners who want the convenience and affordability of a shared hosting plan, but who have growing website traffic due to advertising campaigns and SEO efforts.
Bluehost has two more expensive plans that both start at the same price: $5.45 per month.
The Plus plan includes the same basic features as the Basic plan, with the addition of:
This basically removes all of the limitations on the most Basic plan, and it also gives you a short amount of free email access.
The Choice Plus plan is identical, except it also includes CodeGuard basic backup. CodeGuard is a cloud backup service that can reliably store your website's information in case of a loss of data.
Hostgator comes out on top for business owners because of its dedicated IP address and private SSL certificate. These are particularly important elements for e-commerce merchants in terms of managing website traffic and protecting customer information.
Customer Support Options
Hostgator's customer support options are fairly comprehensive.
There's an online knowledge center that provides resources regarding information about domain hosting, frequently asked questions, troubleshooting, and helpful tips.
In addition, customer service representatives are available to help 24/7 through both phone calls and online chat. You can send a help desk ticket for issues requiring more advanced technical support.
Bluehost comes with all of the same customer support options, except that the live chat isn't always available during certain hours.
One of the nice things about Bluehost's setup is that you can connect to different customer support teams. That means that whatever issue you have, you'll be working with someone specialized in it.
Some of the support teams include:
Both service providers have a comprehensive number of support options and online tools. However, Bluehost is advantageous because the customer service representatives all have specialized areas that they work with.
Pros and Cons of Hostgator
Pros and Cons of Bluehost
Final Thoughts: Which is Better?
Both of these web hosting services are fairly evenly matched in terms of quality and reliability. They're also both affordable, with multiple monthly pricing options based on your specific hosting needs.
Bluehost is best for those for whom speed is a priority. When compared to HostGator, it tends to have significantly better loading speeds across a variety of locations. In addition, it's a friendly option for WordPress site integration, and it comes with a free domain name.
HostGator is the best choice for people who are new to maintaining their website. The interface is fairly easy to use, and setup doesn't tend to be complicated. In addition, they have the best customer support options on the market.