Taylor Hawkes

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Updated: Sept 28, 2013

BlueHost vs Host Gator - An In Depth Comparison



Both Bluehost and Hostgator shared hosting packages have their pro's and cons. In general I would recommend Bluehost shared hosting packages over HostGator shared hosting packages. If you do go with Bluehost I would recommend the "Standard" package not the "Pro" package. If you go with HostGator I would usually recommend the "Baby" plan over the "Hatchling" or "Business Plan", however it depends on what you need. Out of all these packages I believe the bluehost "Standard" is generally going to be the best option for most small businesses and individuals.

I recommend Bluehost over HostGator for a few reasons

  • Bluehost has much easier to use interface for managing hosting features; all features can be managed from one centralized location. For example if you need to request a dedicated IP you click a button, pay and have a dedicated IP. But with Hostgator you have to google around and find a form, fill out a "request form" which may or may not actually get you a dedicated IP.
  • Bluehost always allows for multiple domains and has a easy to use interface while HostGator only allows multiple domains on some packages and their interface for managing multiple domains is very difficult to use.
  • Bluehost offers some really nice "Freebies" which can get you started with various advertising campaigns.
  • Bluehost offers more hosting features such as: Multiple PHP versions, SSH access, Postgres and a much better system for backing up and restoring websites.

Exceptions to choosing HostGator over Bluehost

  • HostGator does not put as high of restriction around the size of your website database as Bluehost. Meaning if you plan on having a really large database, HostGator might be better option.
  • HostGator websites generally load just a little bit faster than Bluehost. My guess is they don't put quite as many shared accounts on each physical server as Bluehost does. This gives HostGator a small edge when it comes to  website speed.
Shared Hosting Comparison Of BlueHost vs Host Gator
BlueHost Host Gator
Package Shared Web Hosting (Standard) Shared Web Hosting (Pro) Shared Hosting (Hatchling) Shared Hosting (Baby) Shared Hosting (Business)
Price(1 mo) N/AN/A$7.16/mo$7.96/mo$11.96/mo
Price(3 mo) N/AN/A$7.16/mo$7.96/mo$11.96/mo
Price(6 mo) N/AN/A$7.16/mo$7.96/mo$11.96/mo
Price (12 mo) $7.99/mo$24.99/mo$5.56/mo$7.96/mo$11.96/mo
Price(24 mo) $6.99/mo$24.99/mo$4.76/mo$7.16/mo$11.16/mo
Price(36 mo) $6.99/mo$24.99/mo$3.96/mo$6.36/mo$10.36/mo
Price(48 mo) $6.99/mo$24.99/mo$3.96/mo$6.36/mo$10.36/mo
Setup Fee FreeFreeFreeFreeFree
Free Domain Period 1 Year FreeFree for LifeN/AN/AN/A
Domain Cost $14.99/yearFree for Life/year$15.00/year$15.00/year$15.00/year
Operating System LinuxLinuxLinuxLinuxLinux
Control Panel cPanelcPanelcPanelcPanelcPanel
Allowed Domains UnlimitedUnlimted1UnlimitedUnlimited
Emails UnlimitedUnlimtedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Max File Count 50,000300,000100,000100,000100,000
Disk Space Unspecified /Unlimited Unspecified /UnlimitedUnspecified /UnlimitedUnspecified /UnlimitedUnspecified /Unlimited
Max Database Size 3GB3GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Bandwidth Unlimited (Shared)Unlimited (Shared)10 TB (Shared)10 TB (Shared)10 TB (Shared)
Mysql Databases 10003000UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
FTP Accounts UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Site Backup/Restore Yes
$19.99(For Pro)
Yes
$19.99(For Pro)
YesYesYes
Dedicated IP $3.33/moFreeIneligible$2/moFree
SSL Certification $49/yearFreeIneligible$39.95/yearFree
Domain Privacy $10.99/yearFree$9.95/year$9.95/year$9.95/year
SSH Access YesYesNoNoNo
Root Access NoNoNoNoNo
Programming
  • PHP 5.2
  • PHP 5.3
  • PHP 5.4
  • Perl
  • Ruby on Rails
  • PHP 5.2
  • PHP 5.3
  • PHP 5.4
  • Perl
  • Ruby on Rails
  • PHP 5
  • PHP 4
  • Ruby on Rails
  • PHP 5
  • PHP 4
  • Ruby on Rails
  • PHP 5
  • PHP 4
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Databases
  • Mysql
  • Postgres
  • Mysql
  • Postgres
  • Mysql
  • Mysql
  • Mysql
  • One Click Installs
  • Wordpress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • b2evolution
  • Xoops
  • PHP-Nuke
  • many more..
  • Wordpress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • b2evolution
  • Xoops
  • PHP-Nuke
  • many more..
  • Wordpress
  • LifeType
  • B2evolution
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • PHP-Nuke
  • many more...
  • Wordpress
  • LifeType
  • B2evolution
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • PHP-Nuke
  • many more...
  • Wordpress
  • LifeType
  • B2evolution
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • PHP-Nuke
  • many more...
  • Freebies
  • $100 Adwords
  • $50 Twitter
  • $50 Facebook
  • Free Yellow Pages
  • $25 Bing
  • $100 Adwords
  • $50 Twitter
  • $50 Facebook
  • Free Yellow Pages
  • $25 Bing
  • Gotchas



    BlueHost Review

    Bluehost is the most well known and largest shared hosting company in the world. Bluehost is operated by Endurance International Group which owns many other hosting companies, so they are not going anywhere. In my opinion bluehost is the best all around shared hosting provider available. Their hosting service is robust enough for the vast majority of websites, but is still offered at a reasonable price.

    The bluehost interface is incredibly intuitive and the amount of hosting services that they offer obliterates the vast majority of other hosting companies. The reason I recommend Bluehost so highly is that they have been setting the standard for shared web hosting for years. Meaning they offer a new feature and all the other hosting companies scramble to catch up with them. Their hosting system is well tested so they rarely have server issues or bugs in the hosting management system (cPanel).

    At the end of the day Bluehost is the go to shared hosting provider, they simply understand what people when hosting a website. They also offer VPS and dedicated server hosting, but if that is what you are looking for I think their are better options than Bluehost - they are simply built around shared hosting and the VPS/dedicated options are more just there for shared hosting customers who may start getting really high traffic.

    The downsides to Bluehost

    Enough praising Bluehost - like everything they also have some downside. My biggest quam with Bluehost is that even though they offer an incredibly wide range of hosting services their services are not too deep.

    So what do I mean by wide but not deep? Bluehost has tons of services but some of the services have limitations. For example they offer all the latest and greatest Database systems, BUT they do not allow you to have a database bigger than 2GB - see here . Although the majority of websites will not have that large of a database a decent amount will hit that size and then you have a problem? They also put limitations around the number of files you can have on your websites, which again are generally not an issue, but for some can be. Another example of this is limited technical support, I admit that the technical support team does a very good job TRYING to help but often times they simply do not have the technical know how or access to solve your problem.

    To be fair you can only expect so much paying out of a shared hosting company, and if you database is getting bigger than 3GB it might be time to go VPS anyway. All in all I still think Bluehost is the best shared hosting company out there for that vast majority of businesses.

    Shared Web Hosting (Standard) Hosting Plan Review

    To put it simply this is the best all round shared web hosting package available in the world. It is the de-facto web hosting package and the safest bet you can make when purchasing web hosting. It's not as cheap as some other package, but it's still cheap and it offers everything you will ever need in a web hosting package. If you are unsure of exactly what you need in web host then get this package.

    This package offers all the industry standards including: Wordpress, Linux, Mysql, PHP, Apache, cPanel, phpMyAdmin, unlimited email, site backup's and tons more features. This should be the go to package for small businesses, web developers and individuals looking to build a website for the first time.

    Shared Web Hosting (Pro) Hosting Plan Review

    I do not like this shared hosting package and I am a little upset that Bluehost even offers it - I think it mostly just hurts their brand. I think it a upsell and not much more.

    This is the exact same package as the "Standard" package except it includes a Domain ($1/mo) , Domain privacy ($1/mo), SSL ($4/mo), Dedicated IP ($3/mo). Assuming that you actually need all those things (which you probably don't) that is still only $9/month value and costs you about $18 more per month - the math just doesn't add up.

    The only purpose that "Pro" package might serve is for those account that have reached their max file limit and need to host more files. This is a bit of an odd upsell because those accounts are supposed to be "unlimited" anyway.

    Bottom line is the "Pro" package is almost certainly not worth the extra money. The Bluehost "Standard" package is great and you should just add on any features that you might need.





    Host Gator Review

    HostGator is another of the the well known shared hosting providers and they can actually be a good option for those looking for a slightly more robust and scalable web hosting option. I actually like HostGator because they do not use duplicitous sales tactics and what you see is what you get. They also have great options for upgrading your shared hosting to VPS or dedicated web hosting. Their VPS package is really flexible and allows you to only purchase exactly what you need.

    When it comes to shared hosting HostGator offers a good service, however I don't think its the best out there. The big issue with HostGator is their user interface for managing your web hosting account is all scattered about and can be difficult to navigate. They do use cPanel which is nice, but many features such as managing multiple domains are not managed within cPanel. You have to log in to an entirely different place to manage multiple domain names - which is a big hassle in my opinion. Other features such as setting up a website redirect or email forwarding are not as intuitive as they should be and the overall user interface looks a little outdated.

    Besides the lack of user friendliness in their hosting management panel HostGator is actually really solid. They have fast servers with flexible configuration options and do not put hard restrictions around database size. They have simple to use one click installs for many of the large CMS's including Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal. They are also really cheap given all the services they offer.

    All in all I would recommend HostGator for those that are somewhat experienced with setting up websites and those who plan on building a highly scalable or ecommerce website. HostGator is really good for website that need to scale up, they are not so good at building simple to use interfaces for those building their first website.

    Shared Hosting (Hatchling) Hosting Plan Review

    This plan is only going to be robust enough for those who only need one small website. I would almost never recommend purchasing this plan unless you have the intention of upgrading your plan in the next few months.

    My big problem with this plan is it does not offer the features that most websites need. The big limitation is the ability to only manage 1 domain. Almost every website will need to manage more than one domain. For example if you want to purchase the .net version of you domain name and redirect mywebsite.net to mywebsite.com you will not be able to do this. This is a huge issue and a deal breaker for me when it comes to this plan.

    Shared Hosting (Baby) Hosting Plan Review

    This is a powerful shared hosting plan and is going to offer everything you need to build/manage your website and emails. It's the bread and butter of the HostGator plans and is a very fair price for what they offer.

    I think this is a great plan for those who are planning to scale their website up or sell on their website, but currently don't have a huge website or sell stuff. That being said, for those who don't need a highly scalable or e-commerce website - I think there are better shared hosting plans out there.

    Other hosting plans offer all the same features at a cheaper price. The real value in HostGator does not come in until you need to start selling products on your website (Shared Hosting Business). HostGator offers really good deals on SSL certificates and more robust hosting solutions. If you are going to need to sell stuff on your website at some point, then HostGator is a really good option because you can upgrade to the "Shared Hosting Business" - which is one of the best ecommerce hosting solutions in the world.

    Shared Hosting (Business) Hosting Plan Review

    This is a awesome package and is the only reason I would ever use HostGator. The other packages that HostGator offers are simply not the best deals out there, however the business package is probably the best shared hosting ecommerce package in the world. You get a dedicated IP address and SSL certification for only$3 more a month. This is a really good deal, other hosting providers offer the same thing for more than three times as much.

    For businesses or individuals that are looking for an ecommerce or large scale website - this is your plan. You are simply not going to be able to find this same level of robust hosting and scalability for such a cheap price.




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