Bluehost, InMotion, and Hostgator together have a really large chunk of the hosting services market share with millions of websites running on their servers. But when pitted against each, which hosting provider is the best in 2019?
In this comparison review, we are looking at the pros and cons of using each of these services, which is the fastest, which offers the best security, reliability, ease of usage, and a few other factors.
What is Bluehost?
Bluehost is one of the most famous shared hosting providers out there and more often than not, beginners choose this platform for their first website for a mix of good customer service, affordable pricing, fast speeds, and a good range of features.
It’s not the absolute best when it comes to features but it offers a very smooth user experience and when you’re a beginner, the latter is arguably more important.
Here are the pros and cons of Bluehost:
Pros of Bluehost
- Excellent customer service
- Reliable servers
- Superior WordPress integration out of the three
- Budget pricing
Cons of Bluehost
- Base plan not enough to host more than one WordPress website
What is InMotion Hosting?
InMotion started in 2001 and has since then become one of THE best web hosting providers with an unbeatable feature list and exceptional performance. The feature list from InMotion is especially suitable for businesses and enterprises that do not want to compromise on performance.
Of course, all of this performance means that InMotion costs a bit more than its competitors.
Here are the pros and cons of InMotion Hosting:
Pros of InMotion
- Blazing fast SSD storage for free (SSDs are up to 3x faster than regular HDDs).
- Unlimited SSD disk space
- 90-day moneyback guarantee
- Free zero downtime website transfer
- Free backups
Cons of InMotion
- More expensive plans than competitors
What is Hostgator?
Hostgator is one of the oldest hosting providers out there as well as the biggest. Their size allows them to use economies of scale and offer very affordable plans that are especially beneficial for beginners. Hostgator also has a very good track record of stable uptime with their uptime staying between 99.99%-100% since December 2017. Reliable hosting also makes Hostgator a great choice for small businesses.
Here are the pros and cons of Bluehost:
Pros of Hostgator
- Affordable long-term pricing
- Stable Uptime (99.98%)
- 45-day moneyback guarantee
- Cons of Hostgator
- The base plan works with just 1 WordPress website
- Dramatic price increase after the initial year
1. Loading Times
Location times for New York
A combination of factors including SSDs and Xeon processors make loading times of InMotion hosted websites significantly faster. BlueHost comes second and Hostgator is the slowest.
A few hundredths of a second might not seem much but as your website grows, the loading times will increase as well, so this is a critical factor. On top of this, Google’s SEO algorithm favors websites with fast loading times.
2. Free Domain
Pretty straightforward. The only one here not offering a free domain in any of its plans is Hostgator.
3. Advertising Credits
Every large search engine has ads on it, which means you can run your ads as well, at a cost. Many hosting providers have teamed up with search engines to provide free advertising credits with hosting plan purchases which can later be used to run ad campaigns.
Usually, there will be terms and conditions to redeeming these credits. For instance, in order to use the $100 Google Ads credit on either Bluehost or Hostgator, you must’ve already spent $25 on your Google Adwords account. But if you’re going to invest in an ad campaign anyway, free advertising credits are generally a good deal!
4. Moneyback Guarantee
This part is a bit tricky because of terms and conditions but let’s start with Bluehost. Bluehost offers the shortest refund period of just 30 days but in most cases, 30 days should be enough for you to decide whether or not you like the company’s services. But if you had a free domain as well, a $15.99 fee will be deducted from your total refundable amount but you’ll still have your domain name.
InMotion offers the longest refund period out of the three. In fact, it’s the longest refund period in the entire industry – something that definitely instills confidence. We found that the moneyback policy of InMotion was a bit vague. That said, the company does state that “Other companies will usually give you a partial or no refund at all. We know you will love our services, and we guarantee your satisfaction.” which should mean a full-refund should you want it, although they might keep the free domain.
Hostgator comes second with a 45 day refund period. The policy is similar to Bluehost in that there is a no questions asked refund policy and a non-refundable domain fee of $15.00 if you opted for a free domain name.
5. Hardware and Performance
The clear winner in terms of raw performance and hardware is InMotion. They offer support for two websites (something rare with other providers in the industry) and also have unlimited SSD storage across all of their platforms.
Bluehost base plan users will have to do with their 50 GB SSD storage but in most cases, 50 GB of disk storage is more than enough.
Hostgator is last in terms of raw performance and hardware as they do not offer SSD storage to their shared hosting plan users.
CDNs are content delivery networks that improve performance and loading times. Both Bluehost and Hostgator have built-in CDNs. InMotion has a feature called Max Speed Zones which is a peering based network-level feature that acts as a CDN.
No hosting provider can guarantee an uptime of 100% because there’s a constant threat of DDoS attacks, malware, maintenance, and so forth. But our three contestants have done a tremendous job of maintaining exceptional levels of reliability.
The percentages might be hard to understand but an uptime of 99.982% roughly translates to downtime of 1.7 hours per year. Similarly, an uptime of 99.97% translates to downtime of 2.6 hours in a year.
For most businesses, the uptime difference between these three providers will make no difference but if you really want the creme de la creme, Bluehost would be the best choice.
7. WordPress Integration
Bluehost is officially recommended by wordpress.org which means Bluehost’s plans and features are made with WordPress integration in mind. So if WordPress your top priority, it makes sense to go with Bluehost since it would be the smoothest.
InMotion and Hostgator are more or less the same in this aspect with the only difference being that there would already be an installation of WordPress in your account when you buy from InMotion. If you buy from Hostgator, you’ll have to manually install WordPress from cPanel – which takes just a few minutes.
Bluehost is the clear winner in WordPress integration.
8. After-Sales Support
Being at the top of their games, all of these hosting providers offer exceptional customer support and after-sales service. That said, there are some differences.
For instance, Bluehost is the only company out of the three that offers 24/7 support via phone (but not sure why a beginner would need support at 3 am). There are also support tickets that you can send for queries related to Account Management, Sales, Tech Support.
InMotion is a bit different. It’s the smallest out of the three in terms of customer base and serves users mostly from North America which means it only has 24/7 phone support in the US. If you’re outside the US, you’ll have to wait for business hours.
Hostgator has award-winning after-sales support and is known for having exceptional support in all departments. It also has something the other two companies don’t – an online forum. The perk of being one of the oldest companies in the business is that you have an established community with tons of helpful users and hundreds of tech support videos and tutorials.
9. Website Backups
Bluehost doesn’t offer automatic daily backups or scheduled backups in its lower-tier plans (Choice Plus and above only). That said, you can buy the Site Backup Pro addon for an additional cost. Bluehost will also make courtesy backups of your site. But you don’t have to depend on Bluehost for backups as you can make your own from cPanel and store them offline.
InMotion does offer free daily backups but there’s a small caveat. If your website is more than 10GB in size, you will not be able to create a backup and store the backup file on the server. You’ll have to contact InMotion for a backup (at an additional cost). You are also limited to restoring large websites only once every 4 months.
Hostgator’s backup policy is a bit more complicated. First of all, they do not offer free daily backups but they will make an automatic backup of your website every week (at a random day). You can also make a partial backup of your website and store it on the servers (as long as it’s under 1GB). Restores are different. A partial backup, such as a MySQL database or home directory can be restored from cPanel but for a complete restore, you’ll have to pay Hostgator a restore fee of $25.
10. SSL Certificates
On the base plan, only Bluehost and InMotion provide free SSL certificates.
Plans and Prices
It’s a common industry practice to advertise monthly prices for lump-sum payments for multiple years. Since most people prefer buying hosting services for just 1 year at first, we’re sticking to the yearly prices of all plans.
Bluehost Plans for Shared Hosting
Hatchling Plan: 1 year @ $8.95
Baby Plan: 1 year @ $11.95
Business Plan: 1 year @ $16.95
InMotion Plans for Shared Hosting
Launch Plan: 1 year @ $8.99
Power Plan: 1 year @ $10.99
Pro Plan: 1 year @ $15.99
Hostgator Plans for Shared Hosting
Basic Plan: 1 year @ $8.99
Choice Plan: 1 year @ $12.99
Choice Plus Plan: 1 year @ $16.99
Pro Plan: 1 year @ $25.99
It’s important to remember that these prices are without promotions and you’re almost guaranteed to be offered some kind of discounts during checkout that will change the price you’ll actually pay. That said, these prices are an accurate reflection of what you would be paying after the initial year.
Conclusion: Which is the Best Hosting Provider in 2019?
Bluehost and InMotion both offer tremendous value for money but which one should you choose? Well, if you’re in North America or need better raw performance, InMotion is better. If you’re looking for smoother WordPress integration and are based in any other part of the world, Bluehost should be a better choice.
When it comes to Shared Hosting Plans, Hostgator hasn’t been able to keep up with the more competitive prices of Bluehost and InMotion. But don’t dismiss all of Hostgator just yet. Hostgator also has plans specifically for WordPress which are a bit more competitive – something you might be interested in if you’re going to be creating a WordPress website.