Bluehost vs HostGator (7 speed tests): same slow TTFB, same EIG brand with awful support and malware scams – alternatives below

When comparing Bluehost vs. HostGator, you’re comparing apples to apples since both are owned by the same parent company – Endurance International Group (EIG).

That’s why they have near identical pricing structures, support, and features.

While most other Bluehost vs. HostGator reviews rave about them in hopes of getting an affiliate commission, I want to shed light on why you should never use either of these hosts.

Bluehost and HostGator and mainly promoted by affiliates who just want to make a commission. You need to look at Bluehost’s and HostGator’s awful TrustPilot reviews, Facebook polls, and get unbiased opinions in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. You’ll quickly find there are many complaints about malware scams, terrible support, and slow TTFBs.

TLDR; Bluehost and HostGator are awful. Cloudways (who I use) and A2 Hosting are much better, significantly faster in speed tests, and highly rated in the most recent Facebook polls.

Bluehost-vs-HostGator

 

1. Bluehost vs. HostGator In 7 Speed Tests

In this speed test, I signed up for Bluehost’s Plus plan and HostGator’s Standard plan, installed the same Astra Starter Site on each, then measured key metrics in multiple speed testing tools. Bluehost was faster than HostGator in all speed tests (TTFB, load times, server response time).

Bluehost Reports

Bluehost TTFB GTmetrix

Bluehost TTFB KeyCDN

Bluehost WebPageTest 1

Bluehost Server Response Times

HostGator Reports

HostGator TTFB GTmetrix

HostGator TTFB KeyCDN

HostGator WebPageTest

HostGator Server Response Time

In the Pingdom test, I measured each website’s load time for a period of 7 days at 30 minute check intervals, which means the average load time is based on 336 individual Pingdom tests. HostGator had an average load time of 2670ms while Bluehost averaged a 1560ms load time.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

Here’s what you get when you put it all together:

Bluehost-vs-HostGator-Speed-Test-2020
Learn more about the test here including a full comparison of 16 hosting plans

Conclusion – Bluehost is faster than HostGator, but they’re still not fast. A 824ms TTFB is very slow according to Google, and a 1560ms load time isn’t great especially when it’s an out-of-the-box Astra Starter site with only a few plugins. There are better, faster hosting options available.

 

2. Overcrowded Servers With Strict CPU Limits

Why are Bluehost and HostGator slow?

They overcrowd servers which is how hosting companies can offer cheap hosting.

Both Bluehost and HostGator have strict CPU limits. In other words, they limit the amount of server resources (linodes and database queries) dedicated to your site. These CPU limits can be found in Bluehost’s user agreement as well as HostGator’s. If you exceed them, both Bluehost and HostGator will throttle your bandwidth which results in a slower site and even 503 errors.

Bluehost CPU Limits

  • 200,000 inodes
  • 5000 tables
  • 10GB total database usage
  • 5GB usage in a single database

HostGator CPU Limits

  • 100,000 inodes
  • 5000 database tables
  • 10GB total database usage
  • 5GB usage in a single database

HostGator says their inode limit is 250,000, but at 100,000 linodes your website(s) will automatically be removed from their backup system to avoid over-usage. These are low limits.

 

3. Both Are Owned By EIG

Both Bluehost and HostGator are owned by EIG who is infamous for:

  • Overcrowding servers
  • Reducing support staff (long wait times)
  • Not coming with new technology/innovations
  • Buying hosting companies and running them into the ground

EIG owns of 80+ hosting companies, so I suggest scanning the full list so you’re aware:

EIG Hosting Companies

 

4. Support Is Awful On Both

Both Bluehost and HostGator’s support are awful, but HostGator’s is even worse.

There is no option to cancel your account in the HostGator dashboard, and even if you do, you could still be charged (you may need to call your bank and block them from charging you again).

HostGator and Bluehost’s poor support comes down to poor billing, overcharging, suspending accounts, and long wait times. If you need a WordPress host with good support, look elsewhere.

Bluehost Support:

  • Long wait times (up to 72 hours)
  • Crashed websites from CPU overages
  • Deleting websites under their “sole discretion”
  • Incompetent outsourced workers who do not solve issues
  • Suspending accounts and blocking emails because of fake malware

Bluehost-Deleted-Websites

HostGator Support:

  • Charges you money even if canceling account
  • Reports of lacking help if autopay is turned off
  • There is literally no option to cancel your account
  • Overcharging for unwarranted “miscellaneous fees”
  • Incompetent outsourced workers (same as Bluehost)
  • Charges for Codeguard and SiteLock even if not purchased

HostGator-Support-TrustPilot

 

5. Bluehost Uses cPanel, HostGator Uses A Custom Dashboard

For a user-friendly dashboard, Bluehost wins.

Bluehost uses cPanel which is straightforward. Everything is easy to locate: backups, SSL, installing WordPress, and upgrading PHP versions are easy to locate. There are lots of unnecessary options and upgrades, but it should be easy to navigate if you have used cPanel.

Bluehost cPanel

HostGator uses a custom dashboard where it’s impossible to perform certain tasks. It is too basic and some functions are completely missing. Even something as simple as upgrading PHP versions or your canceling account, you would need to contact HostGator’s support to do this.

HostGator-Dashboard

 

6. Outages Are Common On Both

Neither Bluehost or HostGator have fantastic uptimes.

You can visit the Down Detector profile for Bluehost and HostGator. More often than not, there are downtime issues once every couple months that are related to their hosting services.

However, most “downtimes” are caused by issues inside your Bluehost and HostGator account. For example, if you exceed CPU limits and they decide to take down your website because it’s consuming too much bandwidth, your website will be down. Or if your account contains malware since neither Bluehost or HostGator do a great job in protecting against this, they could not only take down your website, but it has been reported they can delete it completely.

That’s why it’s important to take frequent backups especially if you plan on using Bluehost or HostGator. If something happens to your site and they delete it, at least you will have a backup.

 

7. They Extort Money For Malware Cleanups + SiteLock

Read this post: How HostGator Attempted To Extort >$200 Out of Me for SiteLock

There is a horrible scam going on with both Bluehost and HostGator.

  • Bluehost and HostGator will say your website(s) are infected with malware
  • If you don’t fix the problem (pay for SiteLock), they will suspend your account
  • You must pay them $200 per site, otherwise your website will get taken down
  • Even if you fix the problem and clean malware, your account will be suspended
  • When you continue to contact support, they will keep telling you to buy SiteLock

And FYI, GoDaddy does the same thing. They purposely don’t protect against malware but do have a malware scanning tool that says your site is infected with options to purchase upgrades.

It’s a scam, don’t fall for it.

HostGator-Sitelock-Scam

 

8. Bluehost vs HostGator TrustPilot Reviews

TrustPilot is a great place to see how good (or bad) a host’s support is. The majority of TrustPilot’s reviews are related to support and this is especially true for hosting companies.

Bluehost’s TrustPilot Rating:

Bluehost TrustPilot Review 1

HostGator’s TrustPilot Rating:

HostGator TrustPilot Review

 

9. Neither Host Is Innovative

One of the biggest downfalls of Bluehost and HostGator is how they are stagnant.

Simply put, they don’t come with new technologies to improve the level of service for their customers. While other hosts use LiteSpeed servers, Vultr High Frequency, Linux containers (LXDs), newer PHP versions, or they have cache plugins like SG Optimizer, Bluehost and HostGator do very little in terms of innovation. In fact, aside from releasing new PHP versions, they do close to nothing.

HostGator is worse than Bluehost; they still haven’t added PHP 7.4, plus you have to contact HostGator support if you want to upgrade. Bluehost at least supports PHP 7.4 which you can upgrade to inside their cPanel. However, most hosts also let you do this so it’s nothing special.

Adding features and keeping up-to-date with latest technologies has become super important. Bluehost and HostGator need to get better at improving their infrastructure.

 

10. Bluehost vs. HostGator WordPress Features

You can find all of Bluehost’s features there as well as HostGator’s.

HostGator is more limited than Bluehost. Weekly backups cost $25 on HostGator, while Bluehost is free. HostGator supports PHP 7.3, while Bluehost supports PHP 7.4, there is no staging on HostGator, and you’re limited in the number of websites hosting on your account.

BluehostHostGator
Server TypeIn-HouseIn-House
SpeedVery SlowThe Slowest
CachingNoneServer Caching
CDNFree CloudflareFree Cloudflare
PHP Version7.47.3
BackupsFree DailyPaid
SSLFreeFree
StagingOn Managed PlansNo
SupportPoorPoor
SiteLock ScamsYesYes
DashboardcPanelCustom
Email HostingYesYes
# Of SitesUnlimited On Plus+1-3
Banned PluginsNoNo
MigrationsPaidPaid
Intro PriceCheapSlightly Cheaper
Renewal PriceAbout 2.7x Intro PriceAbout 2.5x Intro Price
TrustPilot Rating1.6/52.6/5

 

11. Pricing Is Similar On Both

Bluehost and HostGator have identical pricing structures.

You have to pay for 3 years upfront to get their advertised prices. But once it’s time to renew, you will pay about double the amount. In other words, Bluehost and HostGator offer an intro price which is attractive when you first sign up, but you will pay about double upon renewal.

Locking you into a 3 year contract is a recipe for trouble:

  • You may be dissatisfied with your hosting service
  • Your website may become sluggish and you will want to upgrade
  • Your hosting plan may not be able to accomodate more traffic or plugins

Bluehost Pricing:

Bluehost Pricing

Bluehost Pricing 1

HostGator Pricing:

HostGator-Pricing

HostGator Pricing

Many hosts lure you in this way, but there are a few others that don’t. For example, Cloudways offers monthly pricing with no yearly contract or higher renewal prices. That’s how it should be.

 

12. Only Promoted By Affiliates

Affiliates are the only people who give good ratings to Bluehost and HostGator.

They want to make commissions even if it means referring people to awful hosting. Tyler Moore, Pat Flynn, and most “how to start a blog” YouTube will usually refer you to Bluehost.

The only “raving reviews” are from affiliates, but a quick look at Bluehost’s and HostGator’s TrustPilot reviews shows you they are not great options. In fact, they’re some of the worst.

In Pat Flynn’s podcast, he spends more time explaining how to promote Bluehost than why. Bluehost also pays a pretty penny to be recommended by WordPress and seems to be more interested in spending money on marketing (affiliates) than taking care of existing customers.

Patt-Flynn-Bluehost

Bluehost HostGator Site5 EIG

 

13. What People Say In Facebook Groups

I encourage you to join the WordPress Hosting and WP Speed Matters Facebook Groups if you want to get real, unbiased hosting opinions about Bluehost and HostGator from non-affiliates.

Very few people, if any, recommend either.

What people say about Bluehost:

Bluehost Managed WordPress Hosting

What people say about HostGator:

HostGator-Feedback

 

14. Alternatives To Bluehost And HostGator

When it comes to Bluehost vs. HostGator, neither are good choices.

If you’re looking for cheap, you’re much better off at A2 Hosting and I wrote a review about them. But if you can afford $10/month for much faster hosting with great support, go with a $10/month Cloudways DigitalOcean plan.

Yes, it’s $10/month, but they are worlds faster than Bluehost or HostGator with much better support and a 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating.  With Cloudways, you have a choice of using DigitalOcean, Vultr High Frequency, Google Cloud, AWS, or Linode. These can also handle resource-intensive tasks much better (Elementor, Beaver, Divi, WooCommerce, AdSense, etc).

Cloudways makes it easy to test them out and see the difference in your load times: they do free migrations, monthly pricing, a Migrator plugin, and a promo code to save money: OMM25

Here’s what happened when I moved:

SiteGround vs Cloudways

GTmetrix tests are always different, but even posts with a huge page 2.70MB page size and 96 requests can often load in under 2s. I’ll also take a 148ms time to first byte any day of the week.

OMM-TTFB

The evidence is there:

Cloudways Response TimesCloudways-Migration-Result
Cloudways Google PageSpeed
WP Engine To Cloudways
DigitalOcean Pingdom Report
Hosting-Recommendation
Moving-From-WPX
SiteGround-Alternatives
Preferred-Web-Hosting
UntitledWPEngine-To-Cloudways
Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration
Cloudways Pingdom Load Times
Cloudways Pingdom Report
Elementor-Hosting
Web-Hosting-France
SiteGround-Alternative
VPS-Cloud-Hosting

 

I use Cloudways because:

  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
  • It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
  • Varnish, Redis, and memcached are all built-in for higher performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating and highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Mustasaam (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

Do your research and look at this Facebook thread.

Either way, I would avoid Bluehost and HostGator. There are so many untruthful hosting reviews out there, I try to make mine as honest as possible.

Sharing the truth would be appreciated :)

Cheers,
Tom

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