FatCow gives you a fat, happy cow that lets you know that using his service will be good for the environment. BlueHost gives you no mascot at all, offering a straightforward, no-nonsense offering of solid web hosting at a competitive price. Which one really has the best offering?
For the scrupulous web hosting shopper, features can easily make or break a deal. Knowing when, and for what, one web host will work and another won’t can be the key to running a successful website. The table below highlights a few main areas where the features of the two web hosts differ:
|Additional FTP Accounts||Unspecified||Yes (1000)|
|Shell Access (SSH)||Unspecified||Yes|
|Override .htaccess Support||Unspecified||Yes|
|Custom PHP.INI File Support||Unspecified||Yes|
|Powered by Wind Power||Yes||No|
Don’t misunderstand, FatCow does provide a fair amount of information about what it can and can’t do, but it simply doesn’t state as much information as BlueHost does.
FatCow offers more ad coupons, more MySQL databases, and they are definitely greener than BlueHost, who clearly opts to be blue instead. BlueHost clearly supports PostgreSQL and shell access, both potentially very big deals, while FatCow may or may not support them. On average, BlueHost is clearly in the lead when it comes to features.
FatCow prides itself on having a single and simple price point and calls the rest of the web hosts “complicated” for offering a variety of options at different feature levels. Well, FatCow, it would seem that BlueHost agrees with you, because they only offer a single price point as well. As ClickFire’s BlueHost review shows, BlueHost used to offer multiple price points, but later switched to a single price plan. Here are the prices for FatCow and BlueHost, both of which only offer unlimited storage and bandwidth plans:
|$6.95 per month||$6.50 per month|
|$83.40 per year||$78.00 per year|
Thanks to a recent price drop from FatCow (from a previous $99/year), they are now cheaper than BlueHost while still managing to run off of 100% wind power. It is worth noting, however, that both FatCow and BlueHost do not offer any plans that last less than a year, but FatCow openly offers a 30 day money back guarantee just in case you are not satisfied with their service. BlueHost does not seem to offer any such money back guarantee at the time I’m writing this BlueHost versus FatCow article.
Note: Hosting providers are very competitive. Check the web hosting reviews to see if coupons or price cuts are available. We try to list the best and most current specials in the list and on the review pages.
Terms of Service
If BlueHost has a long terms of service agreement, FatCow has a colossal one. But neither of them have anything really unusual in them. Both of them explain that their unlimited services are not without limits. If you’re confused, let me explain: for both web hosts, you can’t use their services as an unlimited storage area for personal backups, the content you upload needs to be for the site you are running. You can’t create a download portal because they are very resource intensive and typically edge on illegal, depending on the content being offered for download. Also, if you use so many resources that it is slowing down other users, your per second bandwidth and resource usage will be temporarily capped, and if you constantly use too many resources, your account can be deactivated. These are almost universally true among all “unlimited” web hosting offers.
So, in short, despite length differences, their terms of service are approximately equal for the typical web hosting customer.
Type of Control Panel
If you’re looking for a control panel that you already know, you’re probably looking for cPanel. In short, BlueHost uses cPanel, FatCow does not. In long, however, while BlueHost does use the real cPanel, FatCow uses a control panel that is very similar to cPanel, so much so that you really just need to figure out the name differences between the two, then you’ll feel right at home.
However, FatCow loses a significant number of points due to the occasional full-screen advertisement you’ll get when accessing your control panel. This is bordering on unacceptable for a paid service like web hosting.
Customer support can be a hot-button issue for many webmasters who find themselves with unusual problems while trying to run their websites. If you’re an expert, then perhaps this isn’t important to you, but even then there are sometimes settings that only customer support can change.
Both companies offer USA based customer support, so there are no worries about misunderstandings due to accents or poor language skills. However, FatCow falls short in that they use scripted answers that they do not deviate from, even when the scripted answers are not answering the question. Check out the FatCow review to see an example of how these scripted answers can fail.
The Bottom Line
For basic web hosting, both are just fine. If you want to be green and don’t need too many fancy features or programming languages, then go with FatCow and save around 50 cents a month. If you want to be sure to have the features you need, or might need in the future, BlueHost seems to be the better choice.