HostGator vs Bluehost

HostGator and Bluehost are two top contenders. Both are great hosts but there are a few key differences which could make one a better option than the other.

Steven Johnson
by | Posted: June 12, 2013 | Updated: September 25, 2014
$6.95
$10.95 $5.95
GO
GO

Why BlueHost?

Why HostGator?

  • Unlimited space and bandwidth for $6.95/Month
  • An attractive array of pre-installed scripts
  • Easy to reach phone tech support
  • 15 years of hosting experience
  • No VPS or Dedicated Server plans
  • Fast Reliable Servers
  • Excellent Prices
  • Wide Range of Plans -- shared hosting to dedicated servers
  • Helpful Customer Support
  • Excellent Reputation -- over 10 years experience
Editor Rating: 9.3 
User Rating: 8.1 
Disk Space: Unlimited 
Data Transfer: Unlimited 
Refund Policy: Anytime 
Customers: Millions 
Editor Rating: 9.1 
User Rating: 8.5 
Disk Space: Unlimited 
Data Transfer: Unlimited 
Refund Policy: 45 Day 
Customers: 400,000 

Detailed Comparison

1.Company Info

HostGator and Bluehost are both veterans in the hosting industry. While some may view them as offering the same service, there are a several key differences between the two. HostGator has a wider range of plans to accommodate customers with larger server requirements.

HostGator

Started in 2002 and based in Austin, Texas, HostGator has more than a decade of hosting experience. Since then they have grown to more than 500 employees, 400,000 customers, and host more than 9 million domains. They continue to grow as one of the most well known and trusted hosting companies.

Their customers are primarily smaller websites on shared hosting plans. The also host tens of thousands of sites on dedicated and virtual private servers (VPS) which allows sites to start small and grow without having to change hosting companies.

If your site gets 5 to 50,000 page views per day, HostGator is an excellent option. If you are planning on spending thousands of dollars per month there are other high end solutions worth considering, for the rest of HostGator is a great fit.

Bluehost

Founded in 1996, Bluehost was one of the first hosting companies and they remain one of the best. Headquarters and datacenters are located in Provo, Utah.

Over the past 15 years they have grown to over 200 employees and host over 2 million websites, and are considered one of the most well known hosting brands.

For years Bluehost offered only shared hosting plans. In spring of 2013 they began offering VPS and dedicated servers. 

2. Plans & Prices

Between the two, HostGator has a more versatile set of hosting plans, ranging from shared to dedicated plans at a lower price point. Bluehost now offers VPS and dedicated alongside their shared hosting plans. 

Both companies use the industry standard control panel known as cPanel. cPanel servers work perfectly with Joomla making your life (or your web developers bill) better. 

For small to medium sites the plans offered by both companies are more than adequate. If you have a more advanced setup, expect to grow rapidly or have special circumstances, HostGator will be the better option.

HostGator Plans

Shared Hosting

  • Hatchling plan - $3.96/Mo. Host one domain with unlimited diskspace, bandwidth, emails, databases.
  • Baby plan - $6.36/Mo. Host UNLIMITED domains with unlimited diskspace, bandwidth, emails, databases.
  • Business Plan - $10.96/Mo. All features of the Baby plan along with Free a SSL & dedicated IP address and Toll Free Number.

VPS Hosting

  • VPS Plans range from $19.95/month to $225/month. Resources start at 10GB space, 250GB bandwidth, unlimited domains, email and databases and go 250GB disk space with 3TB of data transfer.

Dedicated Hosting

  • Dedicated Server range from $174/month to $374/month. Resources start at 500GB disk space, 10TB bandwidth and go to 1TB disk space, 10TB bandwidth with unlimited domains, email, and databases, 5 free dedicated IP addresses.

Discounts

  • For shared hosting plans you can get a $1 removed from your monthly payment by signing up for two years or $2 removed by signing up for three years.
  • For VPS plans, the first month is reduced which gives you a varying discount.
  • For dedicated, the first month gives you 20% off the original price.
  • HostGator has frequent sales which save you 20% to 40% Check our HostGator Coupon page for any deals.

Bluehost Plans

Shared Hosting

  • Professional Web Hosting $6.95/month for unlimited storage, bandwidth, domains, unlimited email accounts.

VPS Hosting

  • VPS plans range from $29.99/month to $119.99/month and resource start at 30GB storage, 1TB bandwidth, 1 domain name, and 1 dedicated IP.

Dedicated Hosting

  • Dedicated hosting plans range from $149.99/month to $249.99/month and resources start at 500GB storage, 5TB bandwidth, 1 domain name, 3 dedicated IP's.

Discounts

  • For shared hosting plans you can get a $1 removed from your monthly payment by signing up for two years or $2 removed by signing up for three years.
  • For VPS plans, the first month is reduced which gives you a varying discount depending on plan type.
  • For dedicated hosting plans, the first month gives you 50% off the first month.
  • Bluehost vary rarely runs specials or has coupons. Check our Bluehost Coupon page to see if any deals are available.

3. Control Panel & User Experience

Both HostGator and Bluehost have separate billing and website control panels. Tech support is found in the billing control panel. They both use cPanel for to manage the technical details of your website.

HostGator has opted to go with the standard cPanel design while Bluehost has applied their own design to cPanel. Bluehost has also included a toolbar at the top with shortcuts to the main features as a nice touch. 

If you are familiar with cPanel, then you are familiar with both company control panels. If you are new to cPanel, it is not too hard to figure out.

HostGator Control Panels

HostGator provides all the apps that normally come with cPanel including the ones you'll need to install Joomla; MySQL Databases, File Manager, and FTP Accounts. They have also developed an one-click installer called QuickInstall which is better than the alternative, Fantastico.

It is easy to manage multiple sites at Hostgator. You just have to remember that billing and tech support are at one control panel and the site technical details are a different control panel. If you are looking for a better implementation of multiple control panels then checkout Site5. They give you multiple website control panels for as many domains as you need.

Using cPanel with HostGator is easy once you get used to it. The only learning curve is understanding what the different apps do. Once you figure that out, it's very easy to navigate and find what you need.

Bluehost Control Panels

Like HostGator, Bluehost has a separate billing and technical control panels. We would prefer a combined solution to keep management simpler.

Bluehost also has its own one-click installer called SimpleScripts. It replaces Fantastico and is the only one-click install option offered.

Bluehost also gives you little in terms of multiple website management. You can have as many addon domains and subdomains but they will all point to directories within the same cPanel. This can lead to clutter and disorganization.

Bluehost's cPanel only takes a little getting used to. Once you get used to the apps, cPanel works very well.

4. Installing and Managing Joomla

Installing Joomla at HostGator and Bluehost is essentially the same at both hosts. The install process is straight forward and should not give you any server configuration issues.

HostGator offers QuickInstall, Fantastico and manual installation while Bluehost offers SimpleScripts and manual installation. 

HostGator Joomla Installation

HostGator's servers are configured to run Joomla so you won't run into any server compatibility issues. In my experience, once Joomla is up and running, it is very responsive and fast.

Using QuickInstall is better than Fantastico because the Joomla versions tend to stay up to date. One down side to using QuickInstall or Fantastico is that you cannot create custom databases or table prefixes. This may or may not be an issue. For most it is not a problem at all.

Bluehost Joomla Installation

Bluehost uses SimpleScripts, a custom install script they developed. SimpleScripts makes the Joomla installation much easier, but leaves out the ability to customize database names or table prefixes just like HostGator.

Bluehost should not have any server configuration errors when installing Joomla. Once Joomla is up and running it works great.

5. Server Performance

Speed and uptime on HostGator and Bluehost were very similar in our tests. We have to say HostGator was just a bit faster. Uptime was consistent between both at around 98%-99% up over a 6 month period.

HostGator Server Performance

Page load time with HostGator is very respectable for shared hosting. The test website I measured had .8 seconds average response time. This was a little bit faster than the tests with Bluehost. The site tested had around 150 pages of content with a typical amount of graphics and javascript.

Bluehost Server Performance

Our tests with Bluehost show that it performs moderately well. You won't feel any lag when viewing pages. This is a little bit slower than HostGator. The site I tested has around 75 pages and has a few speed enhancing plug-ins and no CDN.

6. Support Options

HostGator and Bluehost both have plenty of support options. They both offer 24/7 phone, chat, and ticket support. You can also find support info in their knowledge-base and forums and online tutorials. Support staff for both companies are smart knowledgeable and helpful.

HostGator

I usually stick to chat for simple questions, but in a pinch I will call technical support. In both cases the issues are resolved in a few minutes. On occasion the issue needed the attention of a server admin, who was quick to respond. We found HostGator support to be polite, respectful, and did not talk down to us for not knowing why the site broke.

Bluehost

My experience with support and Bluehost is great. Whenever I have needed to move a website or restore a website from a possible security breach, they helped me right then until it was back up and running. They are polite and respectful and go out of their way to answer any questions I have.

Conclusion

HostGator and Bluehost are both excellent companies. HostGator has slightly better prices, faster servers and a wider range of products, and will be a great host no matter how large your site grows.

Bluehost has a simpler pricing system and excellent service. I have had a great experience with both companies over the years, but in the long run, HostGator has been a better option because of their performance.

1.
9.6 / 10
 
2.
9.4 / 10
 
3.
9.3 / 10
 
4.
9.3 / 10
 
5.
9.3 / 10
 
6.
9.1 / 10
 
7.
8.
9.
8.8 / 10
 
10.
8.8 / 10
 

Feature Comparison Table

 
Bluehost
HostGator
Disk Space / Data Transfer 
Unlimited
Unlimited
Price: 
$6.95 
$5.95 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Editor Rating
9.3 
9.1 
User Rating
8.1 
8.5 

Company Info

BlueHost

HostGator

Company Headquarters: 
Provo, Utah 
Houston, Texas 
First Year in Business: 
1996 
2002 
Number of Employees: 
200 
Around 260 
Customers: 
Millions 
400,000 
Domains Hosted: 
 
Over 9 Million 
Datacenter Locations: 
United States 
United States 
Refund Policy: 
Anytime 
45 Day 

Technical Details

Control Panel: 
cPanel 
cPanel 
MySQL Databases: 
100 
Unlimited 
phpMyAdmin: 
Yes 
Yes 
Ion Cube Support: 
Yes 
Yes 
1 Click Installers: 
Yes 
Yes 

Support Options

BlueHost

HostGator

Email / Help Desk: 
Yes 
Yes 
Phone Support: 
Yes 
Yes 
Live Chat: 
Yes 
Yes 
Member Forum: 
Yes 
Yes 
Blog Support  
Yes 
Yes 
Knowledge Base  
Yes 
Yes 
FAQs 
Yes 
Yes 
Tutorials 
Yes 
Yes 
Video Tutorials 
No 
No 
Steven Johnson

Steven is a Joomla web developer and worked with Joomla since the Mambo days. He has built websites for startup businesses all the way to for Fortune 500 companies. A graduate of Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, he now happily spends his time building websites and reviewing all types of technology.

×

Get Hosting Coupons & the Best Joomla Guides and Resources

Sign Up for our newsletter and get access to Exclusive Hosting Deals, as well as montly Joomla tips, tricks & resources.