Bluehost and Hostgator both provide a popular shared hosting service, but there are a few key differences you may wish to compare before committing your website’s hosting needs to one brand or the other. This guide will help explain the strengths, weaknesses, and advantages each respective host. In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I am both a customer and affiliate of both hosting providers! Regardless of which host you go with, I recommend signing up for their affiliate programs to earn back some of the money you spend on hosting fees. As a customer, you’ll have good insight in to the particular strengths and weaknesses of each service.
Hostgator and Dreamhost Similarities
Both hosts provide an affordable and reliable shared hosting service. All Bluehost accounts can host an unlimited number of domains, and most Hostgator account options also allow unlimited domains. Both services have a reputation for quality and ease-of-use, so you can build websites quickly even if you don’t have much experience coding in HTML and PHP.
All Bluehost plans are one-size fits all, on the other hand Hostgator provides multiple choices depending on your website(s) needs. If you want to host a single site and save some money, Hostgator does provide an option for that. If your site gets huge and you need a dedicated hosting solution, Hostgator can continue to provide hosting with an upgraded account.
Bluehost hosting accounts are unlimited and unmetered. There is no hard cap on monthly bandwidth, disk storage, or even CPU processing time. While most unlimited hosts rely on CPU time as the main limiting factor, Bluehost is now trying out a form of CPU throttling that will allow busier sites to stay online despite how much traffic they receive. This is great for surviving those rare bursts of insane traffic from the front pages of Digg & other social bookmarking websites. Learn more about Bluehost or signup here.
Bluehost’s main limitation is in the type of content you can host with them. Anything adult, related to something illegal, or remotely pornographic will not be welcome at Bluehost. So if you have anything on your site that you wouldn’t show your grandmother or church group, you probably shouldn’t host it with them. In fact, this is probably the only reason I would advise a webmaster to avoid their otherwise superb service. Conversely, this can be a potential advantage if your site is rated G or PG – you won’t have your IP address associated with more questionable content and domains.
The other potential problem with Bluehost is that busy sites can slow down under CPU throttling and there is no premium account service you can sign up for (yet.) While they have been toying with the idea of adding a VPS option, sites that get extremely big and popular will probably have to move to another host eventually. Learn more about Bluehost or signup here.
Any type of legal content is allowed at Hostgator: And yes, this means adult web-hosting is OK with them. Regardless of the size of your online projects, there is a service level at Hostgator that fits those needs. Between high uptime, lots of positive reviews, and a more easy-going approach to acceptable content, Hostgator provides a service that results in a lot of satisfied webmasters. Hostgator also has some coupon codes that you can use to get a discount on the initial costs of hosting, but the introductory prices won’t last forever. Click here to sign up or learn more about Hostgator.
The extra options and upgraded accounts can get a bit more expensive than Bluehost. Also, all shared hosting accounts are limited to 50,000 inodes (files & folders) and 20 GB of data before they are removed from the automatic backup services. After 250,000 inodes, an account is at risk for suspension. But that is a lot of files after all, and most websites won’t ever become so bloated.
Learn More about Bluehost and Hostgator
If you’re looking for even more information about Hostgator & Bluehost, check out my full reviews of their webhosting services. I’ve written up a response to my first year hosting with Bluehost – and I’ve also set up a page to review the various hosting options available at Hostgator.