Bluehost vs Hostgator: Compromises for a Lower Price

The biggest difference between Hostgator and Bluehost is that Hostgator is cheaper, but Bluehost uses SSD drives and has spike and resource protection. Hostgator uses SSD drives only for the MySQL database. Bluehost is also more friendly for parked domains with their basic plans.

Here, you can find the best Hostgator coupon code for your plan and this is a list of all Bluehost coupons.

Table of Contents:

Bluehost vs Hostgator: Pricing

Bluehost has an elusive $2.95/month offer for a 36-month renewal. This table shows the pricing difference between Bluehost and Hostgator shared hosting for 36-months.

Basic PlanAdvanced PlanPremium Plan
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator Shared Hosting
$2.64/m
$6.95
Discount 62% off
With Coupon code: TWEAKSOFFERS
$3.95/m
$9.95
Discount 60% off
With Coupon code: TWEAKSOFFERS
$5.95/m
$14.95
Discount 60% off
With Coupon code: TWEAKSOFFERS
Bluehost Logo
Bluehost Shared Hosting
$2.95/m
$8.99
Discount: 67% off
$5.45/m
$11.99
Discount: 55% off
$5.45/m
$16.99
Discount: 68% off

In 2019, Hostgator started offering a free domain along with all hosting plans greater than 1-year. Taking that into consideration, it’s now the cheapest plan out there, both for short term, and long term hosting.

Bluehost 12-month Pricing
Bluehost 12-month Pricing

Hostgator also has much more attractive deals if you want to host for a shorter period of time:

Hostgator 12-month pricing is much cheaper
Hostgator 12-month pricing is much cheaper

Here’s a comparison of their shared hosting features:

Hostgator HatchlingBluehost Basic
Monthly Price $2.64/Mo (12-Months)
With Coupon code: TWEAKSOFFERS
$2.95/Mo
Number of Domains 1 Domain 1 Domain
SSD Storage? No Yes
Disk Space Unlimited * 50 GB
Free SSL Yes Yes
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited
Free Domain Yes Yes
Subdomains Unlimited 25
Parked Domains None * 5

If you want a free domain with Hostgator, you can purchase the Gator website builder package instead. The prices are slightly lower than Bluehost for the equivalent service.

Verdict: Hostgator is definitely cheaper

Why is Bluehost More Expensive?

Even though both companies are owned by EIG, the price difference is because of two reasons:

  1. SSD drives
  2. Spike or Resource protection

Other than that, the two web hosts are pretty much the same in features and performance.

1. SSD Drives

Hostgator is one of the few web hosts today that still uses HDD drives for its file system. SSD drives can be three times more expensive than HDD for the same capacity. The advantage however, is much faster read and write speeds.

But it’s not so cut and dried. Hostgator still has its reasons to continue using HDD drives. The most important thing to remember is that Hostgator uses SSD drives for its MySQL database servers. Given that the bulk of frenetic disk activity comes from reading and writing to the database, Hostgator’s use of SSD drives in this scenario takes the best of both worlds. The HDD drives help keep Hostgator’s costs low, while still offering high speed HDD when it matters. This is what allows them to offer unlimited disk space.

There’s also a lively debate on whether or not the benefits of SSD drives are exaggerated when it comes to standard web hosting, where the database sizes are small enough to fit the most common queries directly into the cache!

Given all this background, the speed differences between Bluehost and Hostgator due to SSD drives is negligible. So while it’s nice that Bluehost offers this upgrade, you have to wonder how useful it really is – particularly in light of the fact that Hostgator’s databases already use SSD.

2. Spike or Resource Protection

For me, this is the real justification for higher prices compared to Hostgator. It explains why Bluehost is more expensive in concrete terms.

Shared hosting has one big disadvantage – resource spikes. Normally, everyone on the server shares CPU cycles and memory harmoniously. But sometimes a website experiences a sudden surge and uses more than its fair share. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Like:

  1. Traffic spikes
  2. Misbehaving plugins
  3. Hacking
  4. Intensive processes like backups
  5. Updates and more

When this happens, all other accounts on the server suffer a slowdown for no fault of their own. It’s one of the main drawbacks of shared hosting on high-density servers. Most hosts try and mitigate this damage by imposing controls on how much each account is allowed to use through their usage policies. For example, here is Bluehost’s usage policy for shared hosting. If you fall afoul of these policies, your account is restricted.

Temporarily Reassigning Accounts

Of course, restricting your account means that your site won’t work as expected. Not all usage spikes are intentional or due to bad behavior. Sometimes you just get an unexpected burst of traffic. And if you’re restricted, your visitors will face slowdowns, and you lose business.

Bluehost mitigates this by temporarily moving high usage accounts to isolated servers which can absorb the impact for a short period of time. So when you have a spike in resource usage, your site won’t suddenly implode. It gives you a bit of breathing room, and time to fix the problem, or upgrade to a higher plan if necessary.

Of course, it goes without saying that you can’t stay on the isolated server indefinitely. Your usage policy still holds. But Bluehost’s resource protection gives you a chance to evaluate your options without taking down your site. It’s a graceful solution to a complex problem when it comes to shared hosting. And it’s this that sets Bluehost apart from Hostgator and justifies its higher pricing.

Free SSL with Both Providers

Just a few weeks before Google made HTTPS mandatory in their Chrome browser, both Bluehost and Hostgator announced free SSL for all their plans. Bluehost announced it first, and Hostgator followed suit a couple of weeks afterwards.

This reduced the total cost of ownership by quite a bit. Previously, you had to purchase SSL separately for both – adding up to a minimum of $50 a year or so. But now, that additional cost has been wiped out. Good times!

Additional Differences

Hostgator hosting also includes a free website transfer, whereas this is a separate package in Bluehost. In addition, the Hostgator business plan also includes a free dedicated IP address. This allows it to have what is known as a “Positive SSL”. Which means you can get the coveted “green bar” in addition to the lock symbol on your website. This inspires more trust in customers.

One interesting anomaly between Bluehost and Hostgator is when it comes to disk space. Whereas the advanced and premium plans of both offer “unmetered” disk space, the basic Bluehost plan caps it at 50GB. Hostgator on the other hand keeps it as “unmetered”. But one has to assume that there’s some upper limit here, since they mention compliance with their terms of service. So look out!

Are Bluehost and Hostgator the Same Company?

Both Bluehost and Hostgator share the same parent company – the Endurance International Group or EIG. EIG acquired Bluehost in 2010, and Hostgator in 2012.

However, the management of these two hosting companies remain completely different. I can attest to that because I’m in touch with the staff of each of them on a regular basis, and the entire modus operandii is different. They have different accounting, and different marketing campaigns. They don’t even share the same servers.

In addition, they both serve different niches. Hostgator is geared towards people searching for deals, and the cheapest hosting. Their list of coupon codes is far superior. Bluehost, on the other hand is more standardized. They have just one special discount for $2.95/m, and that’s that.

Opinions on Reddit Hostgator and Bluehost

Searching for opinions on forums like Reddit and Quora can be a mixed bag. For example, you can get genuine experiences like this one, or you can get outright shilling for specific companies.

But even among the various opinions, you usually end up looking at those that already suit your view. There are people who say both Bluehost and Hostgator are crap. Others who’ve had bad experiences with only one or the other. In all honesty, there’s no substitute for experience. Because the same company can give you differing levels of service depending on the reps, the available resources, and any other specific considerations at the time.

Customer service is more standardized on smaller hosting companies like NameHero for example. They have a more personalized touch, and a more direct line of communication to the management in case something goes wrong. I strongly suggest you try out NameHero if you don’t want to host with a conglomerate like EIG.

Affiliate Program Comparison

Bluehost’s affiliate program is in-house, whereas Hostgator goes through impact.com – at least for the global branch. Each regional Hostgator branch has its own affiliate system, payouts, quotas, and marketing. In fact, the various Hostgator companies around the world have nothing in common apart from the name.

It can be a bit of a hassle to sign up with Impact, as they’ll ask you a bunch of questions about how you plan to generate revenue. I even got personalized e-mails asking for more details about my marketing plans. Here’s a screenshot of the e-mail:

Hostgator affiliate application with Impact.com

Overall, the process took me almost 2 weeks from start to finish. With Bluehost, there are no such problems. You just sign up and start promoting their links immediately.

Hostgator Commission Structure

Hostgator’s very open about it’s commissions. Here they are:

1-10 sales: $50 each
11-20 sales: $100 each
21+ sales: $125 each

If you start generating just a few sales a month, there’s a good chance that a representative will reach out to you and boost your initial commissions to $90 per sale instead of $50. However, if this happens, you lose the other tiered commissions.

So when you start to reliably generate 10+ sales in a given month, ask them to switch it back to the regular tiered structure!

Bluehost Commission Structure

Unlike Hostgator, Bluehost’s commission structure is much more opaque. All they say is that they start payouts at $65 per sale. And when you start generating a few, they’ll bump it up to $85 per sale.

Otherwise, Bluehost’s commission tiers seem to be much more “ad-hoc” compared to Hostgator. I’ve heard of people getting $150 per sale, and others getting only $100. You’ll have to see for yourself what deal they give you.

Which is Better for WordPress: Hostgator or Bluehost?

For me, the choice is simple.

If you have a large WordPress site with thousands of visitors, and need enterprise level support, choose Bluehost.

If your site is on a smaller scale, but you still need special WordPress performance tweaks and benefits, choose Hostgator WordPress instead.

Bluehost VPS vs Hostgator VPS

Bluehost and Hostgator offer fundamentally different kinds of VPS hosting. It’s basically managed vs unmanaged, and that accounts for the price difference as shown here:

Price Comparison: Hostgator VPS and Bluehost VPS

Basic VPSAdvanced VPSPremium VPS
Hostgator Logo
Hostgator VPS
$29.95/m
$89.95
Discount 67%off
With coupon code: SNAPPYV2
$39.95/m
$129.95
Discount 69%off
With coupon code: SNAPPYV2
$49.95/m
$159.95
Discount 69%off
With coupon code: SNAPPYV2
Bluehost Logo
VPS Hosting
$18.99/m
$29.99
Discount: 37% off
$29.99/m
$59.99
Discount: 50% off
$59.99/m
$119.99
Discount: 50% off

As you can see, Hostgator’s VPS plans are a lot more expensive. Here’s why.

Features of Bluehost and Hostgator VPS

Here’s a list of what you get with the basic VPS plan for each:

Bluehost VPS vs Hostgator VPS Features
Bluehost StandardHostgator Snappy 2000
CPU Cores22
Disk Space30 GB120 GB
RAM2 GB2 GB
Dedicated IP12
Bandwidth1 TB1.5

A couple of interesting details. Hostgator offers a lot more disk space in their VPS plans compared to Bluehost. The flip side is that Bluehost’s disk space is SSD, unlike Hostgator’s.

Why the Difference in VPS Pricing?

At first glance, it’s obvious that Hostgator VPS is a lot more expensive compared to Bluehost. And the features are almost the same. Sure, Hostgator has a bit more bandwidth and a LOT more disk space. But that’s because Bluehost has SSD and Hostgator uses normal disks.

So why is Bluehost VPS cheaper?

The reason is that Hostgator’s plans are fully managed. That means you don’t need to have technical knowledge of how to install an Apache server for example. On a Bluehost VPS, you need to do all that by yourself. Hostgator takes care of your security, your firewalls, and all the mundane everyday tasks that go into keeping a VPS up and running.

So what you pay for is the essential “managed vs unmanaged” service. Personally, I feel that if your site is important enough to require a VPS, then it’s important enough to pay for management. But of course, that’s not for everyone and if you have the technical skills, you might want to d it all yourself.

It’s a question of personal preference.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!