BlueHost vs HostGator

BlueHost vs HostGator

BlueHost and HostGator are two well known web hosting companies. They’ve both been reviewed here at Clickfire and are both regarded as leaders in the web hosting industry. Each company received a 5 star rating in its respective review and both companies had far more pros than cons listed.

So which one is better? This little analysis will hopefully help answer that question.

Features

The features offered by the two companies are essentially the same. You can get a fully functional cPanel account with things like a site builder and Fantastico from either company. Both BlueHost and HostGator support Ruby on Rails and PHP5. You can get as many email and FTP accounts as you need and the way you manage them is pretty much the same. Each company has detailed plan pages that outline exactly what they do and don’t support.

BlueHost does not offer reseller or dedicated hosting. HostGator, on the other hand, has fairly extensive offerings for customers who require reseller or dedicated hosting accounts.

Guarantees

One thing that can be of concern is that BlueHost does not have any meaningful uptime guarantee. According to a sales representative I spoke to, all their uptime guarantee (99.9%) allows you to do is cancel and get a pro-rated refund. They won’t compensate you if the site is down. At HostGator, most of their plans have a 99.9% uptime guarantee. If they fail to meet it, you receive a refund for that month.

Both companies offer 30 day money back guarantees. The guarantees allow you to cancel at any time if you aren’t completely satisfied with your experience.

Pricing

HostGator’s pricing is pretty straight forward. Shared plans range from $4.95 per month (paid yearly) to $14.95 per month (can be paid monthly). Reseller hosting plans range from $24.95 per month to $99.95 per month. Dedicated servers are priced from $174 per month to upwards of $374 per month. None of HostGator’s plans have any setup fees.

To find pricing for BlueHost, you have to dig a little bit. It also takes a little bit of thinking to figure out what you’ll end up paying at the end of the day. BlueHost only offers one plan (a shared hosting plan). You simply cannot purchase anything shorter than a 1 year commitment.

BlueHost’s one plan provides customers with “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth, but BlueHost reserves the right to put a soft cap on anyone they feel is adversely affecting their other customers.  HostGator’s smallest plan matches the “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth with similar soft restrictions.

Assuming you stay with the companies for the following amounts of time, here is what you’ll pay (including setup fees, if they apply):

How Long HostGator BlueHost
1 Month $8.95 N/A
6 Months $53.70 N/A
12 Months $83.40 $83.40
24 Months $142.80 $166.80
36 Months $178.20 $250.20

As you can see, BlueHost and HostGator have the same price at the 12 month mark, but in all other cases either HostGator is cheaper or BlueHost doesn’t even offer service for that length of time. If you’re getting close to a decision on one of the two, check each hosts review at Clickfire as HostGator and BlueHost both regularly offer coupons (HostGator) or special discount promotions (BlueHost) that can lower your cost. You can also check the Clickfire web hosting review top list for this stuff.

Customer Service

I called BlueHost’s sales department to ask if they had an uptime guarantee. The call was answered in about 30 seconds. The representative’s answers and tone didn’t give me a lot of confidence, but he managed to answer the question. A call to HostGator was answered within about 30 seconds as well. The representative seemed to be more knowledgeable and was more confident about his answers.

I sent emails to each company’s support department in the late evening on a Sunday. BlueHost doesn’t let you send a ticket in via email – you must use their web-based interface. The web-basted interface offers a lot of categories (which can be confusing) and forces you to look through a knowledge base before submitting a ticket.

I heard back from HostGator after 14 minutes. Their response was good and provided the information needed. I heard back from BlueHost about two and a half hours later. Their reply was helpful, but not as good as HostGator’s.

Both companies provide customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to all of their customers over email and live chat. HostGator also offers support over live chat.

Extras

New BlueHost customers receive $75 in advertising credits from Google and Yahoo. HostGator does not offer an equivalent to this. BlueHost also includes a domain with certain purchases (when you pre-pay a year or two in advance). HostGator does the same thing, but only at $50 in credits and only for Google. Not a huge perk, but it’s not a bad thing. Both hosts will help you move your sites over from other web hosts.

Bottomline

If it is between BlueHost and HostGator, you can’t make a bad choice. Both companies are well known and reputable companies that offer pretty much the same service for similar prices. Their customer service is consistent, effective, and easily available.

If it were my web site and my money, I think I’d go with HostGator. The company has always impressed me with their very straight forward, no hype attitude. I like that they offer more choices when it comes to plans and payment terms and I appreciate that flexibility.

The choice is yours, though. One of the great things about the web hosting industry is that there are lots of choices and lots of great companies to choose from.

–June 2007, Douglas Hanna

–Updated: March 2010, Steve Miller

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Douglas Hanna

Douglas Hanna is a former writer for Clickfire and other publications who went on to become CEO of a major web hosting company.

48 comments

  1. Jon

    Important for anyone with international contacts!

    One day, all of our email sent to our vendors in China stopped being received. After many hours of trying to pinpoint the problem, I discovered that Hostgator allows adult content (porn) websites. Apparently, The Chinese government blocks any servers that it knows has or once had adult content, thus there was no way for us to contact anybody in China via email. Hostgator told me there was nothing they could do. They said they don’t know what servers are being blocked and didn’t offer to try help further, hence now I’m out searching for another host.

    Lesson – If you have Chinese partners, vendors, customers, stay away from Hostgator or you will always be a 404 error to them.

  2. Jason

    HostGator actually does provide better pricing on their shared hosting if you are willing to prepay. Below is a list of the plans and prices :

    Hatchling Plan

    * $8.95 (monthly)
    * $83.40 (12 months @ $6.95)
    * $142.80 (24 months @ $5.95)
    * $178.20 (36 months @ $4.95)

    Baby Plan

    * $9.95 (monthly)
    * $214.80 (24 months @ $8.95)
    * $282.20 (36 months @ $7.95)

    Swamp Plan

    * $14.95 (monthly)
    * $334.80 (24 months @ $13.95)
    * $466.20 (36 months @ $12.95)

    Refer to hostgator.com/shared.shtml

  3. Daniel

    Hello i wanna say something about blue host.
    I dunno how they behave to others customers but to me they lied a lot.

    I had a web forum hosted by bluehost last year.

    First of all they decreased resources allocation without informing me;
    I got my forum suspended because an user shared on it porn material, and according they rules they suspended my account. I am not complain for this, it was my mistake, i asked sorry and they replied me that they found porn material thanks to an automatic program wich scan the conents of all customers to find rules infraction. so i transferred my web forum to another host company.
    After 2 months i discovered in my forum an account with Administration permission. I checked the registration ip and i found it was from bluehost office!!!
    This is the emails that i wrote with blue host (i censored personal informations for privacy law)

    Email 1 by me:
    On Wed, 15 Aug 2007 07:06:38 -0600, ****@****.com wrote:

    Hello, i had an account on your webhost:

    Main account: *****
    domain name parked: *****.com

    In my forum, at this url: *****.com which was hosted with
    bluehost 2 months ago i have found a security infractions:

    Username:* borkbork*
    Joined: *29 Jun 2007*
    borkbork registered from IP: *74.220.***.*** *
    Host: ****.bluehost.com*
    borkbork’s email address is: ***.****@gmail.com*

    I have found this username with Administration permissions… need
    explains please.

    This email will be sent to: ****@bluehost.com
    and to **.****@gmail.com

    —————————————————————————-

    Their reply:

    ****@bluehost.com wrotes:
    Hello,

    This would have been for testing purposes. One of our technicians would have created this user to test and perhaps resolve and issue that you had with the forum. You can simply delete this user information.

    Please let me know if you have further questions.

    Thanks,

    **** ****
    BlueHost.com
    Support Team
    ****@bluehost.com
    888.***.****

    —————————————————————————-

    My reply:

    On Thu, 16 Aug 2007 10:34:43 -0600, ****@revoxlu3s.com wrote:
    1) It could be a privacy violation, i should be informed about that
    account, which has been for 2 mouths set as administrator user,
    specially when my account has been transfered to another host company.
    2) When my account has been suspended from bluehost company, for porn
    material, they said me that an automatic program scan periodically the
    server to find irregular contents and it found that content, but nobody
    told me that one of bluehost technician made an account to browse the
    board and so to find the irregular contents, i do not complain for it,
    but bluehost lied about that account and it seems bluehost tried to hide it.

    Anyway i am forced to inform all my friends that are still hosted with
    bluehost about this behavior.

    —————————————————————————-

    Their reply:

    If you inform your friends it will help us out becuase it is again the law for us to have any adult content or illegal content hosted on our servers. We are in the state of UTAH and it is against the law. So if you know any other bluehost customers that have this please inform them about it that will help us out alto and will help them from having there service interrupted. If your or them have any questions about this they can read or Terms of Service at ****.bluehost.com/****

    Please contact us if you require any more assistance.

    **** ****
    Support Level 3

    BlueHost.com
    888.***.****

  4. Pingback: Host vs Host Comparisons at Clickfire

  5. yilamz

    bluehost Sucks
    they will cancel for no reason your website domain and hard to deal w/ guys there -very aggressive not so helpful people !!!!!!

  6. I like Hostgator. Fast, great uptime.

    The ones in Utah (Bluehost and WestHost) have to abide by a no nudity law. I think I’ve said it before, but I don’t like that. Not because I want to post pornography or anything, I just don’t like that kind of censorship and the possibility of having my hosting totally shut off without warning just because one of their workers happens to think something I post on my site is considered nudity or something. The law also applies to sheer see through outer-wear and I’ve already been told that one of my pictures in my portrait gallery is against the rules.

    This is all crazy IMHO especially when they have no problem with pictures of murders. Go figure.

  7. I have had very short experience with bluehost because I their server had uptime problems with for 4 days right after I signed up, I canceled my subscription and have not tried them after that. They might be a good host but I it doesn’t leave a good first impression if a host can’t solve server uptime problems in 4 days. I use Hostgator ever since for majority of my projects. I have 6 accounts with them, 4 shared and 2 dedicated and I’m very happy so far. I also recommend them to my clients because they can risk-free test their services if they use a hostgator coupon during the order process.

  8. Moshe

    In terms of customer support – I’ve been using Blue HOst for years on a variety of projects. Many times I’ve had to call customer support and 9 times out of 10 there support was tops (the other time is was above average). I’ve always found them to be knowledgeable and helpful.

    With that said, I’m now looking for a reseller account and will have to look elsewhere besides Blue Host. As such, I’ll probably check out Host Gator. But I just did not want years of quality service to not get a good comment.

  9. Moshe

    Hmmm… after reading some of the comments about Host Gator allowing porn sites on their service I think I will NOT after all be checking them out.

  10. Pingback: 5 Things You Should Know About BlueHost

  11. paul

    sounds like blue host is the one then! always better to have more bandwidth and they call you back quicker! and it gets cheaper has you go. :-) or build more clients,

  12. Emory Rowland

    Paul, Both HostGator and BlueHost offer “Unlimited” hosting packages now.

  13. Thanks for the helpful information guys, I’m just looking at a hosting package now and the information you’ve included on this site about both hostgator and bluehost has been very helpful to me, so thanks again.

  14. Turbo408rx8

    Moshe- It seems a bit shallow minded of you to instantly dismiss hostgator as a prospective service just because they allow pornagraphic material.

    Well having said that, I’ve been with both providers. I think they are both very good in terms of service and reliability. Leaning a bit towards hostgator though because my website won’t get shutdown because a forum member posted something with nudity.

  15. john

    i tried subscribing to hostgator last oct. 5. they told me that they had refunded my payment pending verification of account (which i did within 2 hours from receipt of their email) and had asked me to pay again. as of today (oct. 20) my bank still hadn’t received the refund of USD 95.52 (1 year subscription) from hostgator yet. 1 week ago, i had decided to forego hostgator and tried out bluehost. they are cheaper on a feature to feature basis (bluehost – USD 3.95 vs hostgator – 7.95 on a 1 year basis for the unlimited domain package. so for my 2 cents worth, i’d go for bluehost anytime, anyday.

  16. daniel

    BLUEHOST.COM WILL RIP YOU OFF, I aquire both services, bluehost.com and hostgator.com
    By far hostgator is better, faster and will not rip you off like bluehost.com.
    see the terms of service of bluehost.com, they will rip you off and will not even have to give you reasons…
    Go hostgator.com

  17. While Hostgator might not offer long-signup incentives, they do, on accassion, offer huge discounts. I signed up for several years at a very low and reasonable rate.

  18. I do have one complaint with Hostgator. It is about their iNodes. It shows a limit. While I comprehend the concept, I am curious how they can advertise – Unlimited. They do, in a sense, limit the number of domains, etc. if they are monitoring and controlling the inodes. I have tried to learn more about inodes and to determine how they affect their system. BTW – Mine are in the RED and I really have removed all non-essential files.

  19. Frisbe

    1) Bluehost representatives sounded like they didn’t want to help me, made me feel inferior
    2) I DID NOT GET MY PROBLEM SOLVED because “it was not in his job description” when another person from bluehost walked me through it after a long and lengthy being on hold

    I’m not very fond of Bluehost’s customer service!!!!!
    :(

  20. stian

    Daniel, I enquired about this 50.000 inodes limit to Hostgator support and was told you can store as many files you like, but you wont be backed up if you reach the limit. Ie. you can have as many inodes (singele email message, files, etc) as you like if youre prepared to backup your domain yourself.

  21. I asked the same question on the HostGator review page, but I’ll put it here as well — maybe I’m missing the point, but I thought this site went out of its way to ensure unbiased reviews. If that’s the case, why is this review written and performed by the HostGator Customer Service Manager, Douglas Hanna?

    http://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.com/featured-articles/10-questions-with-hostgator/

    I’m sincerely concerned because I’m looking for a good, basic hosting company where I can reliably host a few domains under one plan. I really don’t want to give my money to GoDaddy, as I don’t appreciate their sleazy advertising.

    I’ve done a lot of reading about BlueHost and HostGator – - a lot of it on here. I’d been pretty much sold on HostGator, but now have to call that to question because of the author of these reviews.

    Thoughts?

    • Emory Rowland

      Hi Halt, I’d chimed in on your previous comment and I’ll echo here as well. Douglas wrote this review and later went to work for HostGator. He has since moved to another company. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to make that clear. In my opinion, the reviews here are fair and accurate. I’d just like to add more and perhaps update some of the older ones. I would never allow someone who worked for a hosting company to review their company here. Thanks again for noticing and best of luck finding the host you need. If you have any more concerns about this, please feel free to post a reply here.

  22. Thanks Emory! I appreciate your swift response and for clearing it up! This whole world of web hosts seems overwhelmingly confusing and like there’s a lot of schucksters out there. Is that even a word?

    Anyway, I guess I’ll give HostGator a try. I appreciate your site very much, as it does seem genuine.

    On a related note – any suggestions about a good resource to understand the reasons behind the most basic aspects of a good web hosting service, like WHY you want to be able to do mod_rewrites, etc? Perhaps that’s on clickfire.com, but I just missed it.

    Thanks again!

    • Emory Rowland

      Halt, you are welcome. If you get a chance, post your experience back here for us to read. I’m always interested in hearing how these hosts work out for users.

      WebHostingTalk.com is a great forum for learning about stuff like that. I’d like to post more articles here to cover the basics of hosting, in fact, I am looking for expert writers on the subject now. As to the why of mod_rewrites, I’ve only used it for SEO reasons, that is, rewriting URLs that have parameters to make them appear static. Thanks to you again!

  23. Hey,
    We are using hostgator (shared hosting). We got problem about cpu using.
    What about Bluehost for cpu using?
    Or can you suggest good hosting company for shared hosting?

    • Emory Rowland

      Alex, BlueHost says that “Accounts with excessive number of files negatively affect the performance of the server and BlueHost.Com may request that the number of files be reduced to ensure proper performance.” I can’t find specific resource usage quotas or anthing like that. If you have a resource usage issue with HostGator, then I would imagine you would risk the same for most any shared unlimited host.

  24. paul

    not heard of these companies before! but i got to hand it to you for all your effort! what do u think of 1 and 1 the german company? in comparison to these web hosting companies?

    • Emory Rowland

      Good to hear from you again, Paul! These two hosts are indeed very popular in the U.S. We published a 1&1 review some time ago and the reviewer rated them 3/5 stars. There are tons of user comments listed if you want to read them (http://www.clickfire.com/1and1-review/). Most seem to fall on the negative side.

  25. Tessa

    I noticed Douglas Hanna wrote this review. Is this the same Douglas Hanna who is the CEO of asmallorange.com? If it is why is he writing reviews for Bluehost and Hostgator? It makes no sense to me. It seems like a conflict of interest.

    twitter.com/douglashanna

  26. Tessa

    Oh, I see.

    I recently signed up with A Small Orange and I hope they are a good company.

    After rereading the article I noticed,”If it is between BlueHost and HostGator, you can’t make a bad choice.” Well,in my case Bluehost was a bad choice. They were terrible. Since Douglas Hanna recommended Bluehost, I am having second thoughts on picking A Small Orange? I hope I didn’t pick another bad hosting company again. Now, I am worried. I guess time will tell!?

    Thanks Emory for the reply and for your nice informative site.

    • Emory Rowland

      Thanks, Tessa. You’re in good hands with Doug. I have a dedicated server with ASO, myself. Please post back and let us know how things work out.

  27. I’m looking for new hosting but did anyone notice HostGator and BlueHost have the exact same Control Panels? This would lead me to believe on of them are a reseller from the other or they are both resellers from a host higher up the chain.

    • Emory Rowland

      They both use cPanel which is very common for even large hosts. Neither HostGator nor BlueHost are reseller hosts. They are two of the biggest.

  28. Emory Rowland

    @Daniel Some of us have some doubts as to the authenticity of the email you posted. I seriously doubt that BlueHost would make a statement that it is illegal to host adult content, then ask you to spread the word to others using misspelled words. Please respond with some verification or I’m going to delete the email. Thanks.

  29. Ray

    What state law is this in Utah? This would seem to go against the Supreme Court decision in ACLU v. Reno, from 1997, which found the federal Communications Decency Act too restrictive. It would have pretty much banned all nudity, or so the argument was made, for any purpose. So why does Utah get a pass? This is either a 1st Amendment case waiting to happen, or some people here are looking for any reason to excuse bluehost’s appalling behavior here.

  30. Brad Thomson

    Interesting to see that the administrator of this site is warning a user for a comment posted in February 2008 (!) That makes it 3 YEARS to react! :-)

  31. Emory Rowland

    LOL, don’t give up as I’ll eventually get around to it. I was wondering if anyone would notice that :)

  32. Sam

    Lolzzz. Three years even a child would have taken the first step : ) Anyways, this review has helped me a lot into the history of Bluehost and Hostgator.

    I would request the admin to take a look at the latest offerings by the two again and tell us which is best as of 2011.

    Thanks
    Sam

  33. Emory Rowland

    We’re planning on doing more up-to-date hosting reviews because I know things change over the years with these companies. Appreciate the suggestion, Sam.

  34. Raj @ Android Tips & Tricks

    what counts for me is the service an uptime, so which one do u suggest

  35. Cynthia Angeles

    My art website is with Office Live Small Business which converts to Office 365 ($6/mo)in Feb 2012. I am looking for an alternative and inexpensive hosting company but don’t know which to pick since I don’t know HTML. I built my fairly simple website with OLSB via templates and drop-down menus. I don’t use my website actively for commercial purposes but it is convenient to have when interested parties ask about my artwork. Help, please?

    • Emory Rowland

      Cynthia, are you wanting to stick with a Microsoft host?

  36. Cynthia Angeles

    @Emory Rowland:

    Not if I can help it. I am so confused right now. I have another website with OLSB (cynthiaangeles.com/). I own the domain which is registered with GoDaddy but I also need to redirect it before OLSB transitions into Office 365.

    • Emory Rowland

      @Cynthia Angeles – I had not even heard of Office Live Small Business Websites, had to look it up. We’ve tested all of the low cost Linux hosts listed here:

      http://www.clickfire.com/viewpoints/reviews/webhosts/

      I’d say the 4 and 5 star rated are the best bets. The most recent ones we reviewed are GreenGeeks and ClickHOST. Whoever you decide on, you may want to hit them up on chat and ask if they will help you transfer your existing site and if there will be any issues with OLSB (looks like your file extensions are aspx). Normally, hosts are glad to help you switch to their service. Please post back and let us know it goes.

  37. Cynthia Angeles

    @Emory Rowland:

    I chatted with someone from Hostgator and he said they would help me switch my website to their service. I’ll keep you posted.

  38. Emory Rowland

    @Cynthia Angeles please do and hope it works out for you!

  39. I have been with Hostgator for some time. They are hardly ever down and have been great to work with. I would recommend them!

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