Updated: July 25, 2019
As webmasters, choosing a highly reliable web hosting company that fits into all our requirements has been the most difficult task. There are so many web hosting companies on the market that finding the right one can sometimes be overwhelming.
All three are great choices to go with, but each one provides something different from the other, and this review of HostGator vs Bluehost vs DreamHost will help make your selection process much easier.
In this post, I’ll compare performance (which includes uptime and speed), pricing plans and features, customer support, and control panels.
It wasn’t easy comparing the performance of these three high-quality web hosting companies because they all provided adequate performance tests that are better than a number of others out there.
All three also boast world-class data centers to ensure security and stability for their users. HostGator runs on Dual Xeon E5520 2.26 GHz Quad Core Processors whereas Bluehost runs on AMD Opteron™ 6200 Series Processor. DreamHost uses AMD and Intel, which varies with the plan you choose.
Let’s look at the PHP version used by the servers of these 3 web hosting companies. PHP is a server-level programming language which plays a crucial rule in the development of your website. Higher PHP version ensures better speed and security compared to lower versions.
HostGator: PHP 7.2
Bluehost: PHP 7.3
DreamHost: PHP 7.3
All these hosting companies use the latest PHP version and this makes them a safe choice for hosting your website.
Which hosting among these performs better overall?
Now, let’s make some real test with website hosted on these web hosting companies to conclude which hosting performs better.
HostGator Vs DreamHost Vs Bluehost -Server quality test
A Server is where your website files are stored. Server quality is an important aspect as better servers will ensure a reliable and smooth experience for your website visitors.
How can we determine server quality?
We measured the speed of the website as traffic was increased from 1 to 100. A high-quality server will be able to handle more visitors that come to your site at the same time with consistent speed.
We tested load time and server response time of websites hosted on HostGator, Dreamhost and Bluehost using Load Impact App.
The Green Line indicates the number of visitors and Blue line represent the adjacent response time as the traffic increase. The traffic was steadily increased from 1 to 100 visitors and the load time was noted.
For this comparison, let’s consider load time up to 50 visitors as that’s the benchmark for shared web hosting plans. Shared servers are not well known for maintaining higher concurrent traffic than that.
HostGator’s server performance seems to be solid, healthy and consistent. The only problem is that we don’t want to see a graph with lots of ups and downs, flat lines are great for any hosting company.
HostGator returned an average load time of 400-500ms until 50 visitors. After that, load time started recording above 1s and was inconsistent. Considering its a shared server which costs only $2.75/mo, a consistent load time of 500ms for up to 50 visitors is a good performance for HostGator.
Bluehost’s performance was excellent too. Response time was consistent with an increase in traffic. Like HostGator, after the traffic of 50 users, the response time started varying between 1000ms to 3500ms. Their performance was highly consistent with an excellent average load time of 500ms.
DreamHost performance was solid from start to end. It was consistently showing good response time without having massive jumps in response time. However, their average load time of 800-900ms was higher than that of HostGator and Bluehost.
Winner: Bluehost and HostGator- Bluehost, HostGator was very fast and consistent in providing great server response time followed by DreamHost.
Bluehost Vs DreamHost Vs HostGator – Uptime Test
Some companies promise impressive uptimes just to make a sale, all three prove that users do get decent uptimes. As promised, HostGator and Bluehost offer 99.99 % uptime, and this occurs for most of the month. Bluehost has experienced some major downtime in the past, however, that’s not the case now as heavy investment in new servers and infrastructure has helped them maintain a solid uptime recently.
Finally, we’ve found that DreamHost is very stable and readily up during the majority of the month and we didn’t find any major recent outages that justify rating it lower.
Our analysis team were tracking uptime of around 150 websites using Host-tracker hosted under HostGator, Bluehost And DreamHost. To see different estimates for uptime percentage, you can plug-in various data points into the following interactive graph.
Uptime of sites hosted on HostGator
Uptime of sites hosted on DreamHost
Uptime of sites hosted on Bluehost
Winner: Tie. As you can see from the above result, all these hosting companies are rock solid when it comes to providing a reliable website for your visitors.
Just 1 second decrease in site load time improves 7% in conversion rate and 11% in page views. If your website is not fast enough, it’s killing your website business.
We tested the speed of these web hosting companies from New York, Netherlands and Melbourne. Test websites were similar in theme, size, and requests.
Here is the result.
Bluehost speed test result
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
HostGator speed test result
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
Dreamhost speed test result
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
According to our results, the websites running with Bluehost appear to be loading faster than HostGator and Dreamhost from all 3 locations.
Winner: Bluehost followed by HostGator and DreamHost dominates the test conducted with regards to Speed
Prices, Plans, and Features
There are several different types of web hosting services and plans available, your choice will depend on your requirement for your website.
The prices and features of shared and advanced plans of HostGator, Bluehost, and DreamHost are given below.
Prices and features of these 3 hosting companies are similar. They all offer great value for the money you pay.
|Regular Price||$ 2.75 per month||$ 5.95 per month||$ 3.95 per month||$ 5.95 per month||$ 2.59 per month||$ 5.95 per month|
|Plan Name||Hatchling||Business||Basic||Choice Plus||Starter||Unlimited|
|Visitors Per Month||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered||Unmetered|
|Domains allowed||Single Domain||Unlimited Websites||Single Domain||Unlimited Websites||Single Domain||Unlimited Websites|
|Free Included Domains||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Money Back Guarantee||45 Days||45 Days||30 Days||30 Days||97 Days||97 Days|
|Email Accounts||Yes||Yes||No||Free 30 Days||$1.67/mo||Yes|
|Server Location||Provo, Dallas, Houston||Provo, Dallas, Houston||Not Disclosed||Not Disclosed||Ashburn Virginia and Hillsboro Oregon||Ashburn Virginia and Hillsboro Oregon|
|Google Adword Credit||$100||$100||$100||$100||No||No|
|Free Site Backup||Automatic backup on every week.||Automatic backup on every week.||No||Everyday||Everyday||Everyday|
|Free Backup Restore||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Backup On Demand||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||Yes||Yes||$149||$149||No||No|
|24/7 Support Live chat/ Phone and Email||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, but chat is available only during day||Yes, but chat is available only during day|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
Winner: Bluehost, HostGator and DreamHost – It really just depends on your budget and quality preferences, but all three offer adequate pricing for their services.
Customer support should never be disregarded since it’s an important aspect that helps you to easily build an error-free website. HostGator provides users with a 24/7 live chat, a ticketing system and a number of video tutorials to help you with any problems that might arise with your website. Nowadays, It’s true that their live chat team is not as fast as it used to be, long waiting time is a major worry for them. Nevertheless, HostGator has a very fast ticketing team which responds within an hour or two.
Bluehost has a decent support team. They are friendly and have a good live chat team, but they still need improvement in this area. Their support team is entirely outsourced and representatives lack high expertise, often tend to transfer the chat to higher authorities. Both HostGator and Bluehost provide a toll-free number and international call-in support, which can be used as an alternative if you have any trouble with their live chat team.
DreamHost comes with 24/7 email support. Their live chat is available only 5:30AM–9:30PM Pacific time. You can contact them through their ticketing system, and also they provide a limited number of call back options with a support team member reaching you at a later callback time. Nevertheless, DreamHost has a very fast and knowledgeable ticketing team to help with our problems.
Let’s test the effectiveness of these support channel by actually talking to them and measuring the response time.
Bluehost was the fastest of all with an instant response from their representative team followed by HostGator. DreamHost support took over an hour to get a response.
Winner: Bluehost- Even though Bluehost’s live chat team cannot be called as the best one, but they have a support which is easily accessible 24/7.
Both HostGator and Bluehost use cPanel as their control panel – and both feature similar options, so there’s not really a big difference between the two (especially if you’re familiar with cPanel).
cPanels comes with a 1-click installer for popular scripts like WordPress, Joomla and Weebly. These freebies initially help newbies in setting up their websites without having to deal with any advanced control panel functions. And HostGator provides users with easy-to-understand video tutorials to get users familiar with how cPanel works, speeding up the time it takes for users to get associated with the control panel.
DreamHost has a completely different control panel that they call a “web panel”. Those used to working with cPanel might find it difficult to adjust to DreamHost’s web panel since it has more features. It’ll definitely take some extra time for you to fully understand all of its functions, but after you’ve mastered it, you’ll come to love it.
Bluehost cPanel: Try Demo
HostGator cPanel: Try Demo
Winner: Bluehost and HostGator – We like how familiar cPanel is and how easy it is to use, even for newbies. It doesn’t take as long to master and it comes with a useful 1-click installer for popular scripts.
HostGator Vs DreamHost Vs Bluehost -My Recommendation
Which hosting wins the above tests?
Bluehost Wins: 6/6
HostGator Wins: 4/6
Dreamhost Wins: 3/6
Even though these three web hosting companies have similarities in some aspects of web hosting, clearly Bluehost outplays HostGator and DreamHost when we calculate the overall performance.
Here’s Why I Choose Bluehost?
- High-quality performance, 99.99% uptime, and a speedy server, which ensures great access for your readers.
- 30-day full money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk of losing your money.
- Excellent 24/7 customer support.
- An accessible control panel that newbies will love.
- Free CDN
- Free SSL
- Cloudflare security
- Free domain registration for one year.
After spending a lot of time researching and using all three web hosting companies, we’ve found that behind Bluehost, HostGator is the next best option to go with.
That doesn’t mean DreamHost is a bad choice. There is very minimal difference between these three hostings, and we would happily recommend DreamHost as they are a great web hosting like HostGator and Bluehost.
Also Read: Godaddy vs HostGator review
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Disclosure: This site is run by a group of like-minded webmasters, whose mission it is to provide the public with honest web hosting reviews to ensure they meet our expert criteria. We do receive compensation for all the products that we review, which in turn helps us finance our work and provide users with honest reviews. All the products mentioned on our site are tested and evaluated before any reviews are written.