In this Bluehost vs Hostgator post, I’m going to show you why I chose to ditch Hostgator and keep my Bluehost Plus subscription for another year. But before that, I’d like to give a not so quick background on why I cancelled my Hostgator subscription just a few hours after signing up.
Table of Contents
- My Bluehost Auto-Renewal Fiasco
- Why I cancelled my Hostgator account within 24 hours of signing up
- My 5 reasons why I remain a Bluehost customer:
- And that’s my Bluehost vs Hostgator story…
My Bluehost Auto-Renewal Fiasco
1. My Bluehost Plus account got auto-renewed for another year and this time I paid the full non-discounted price of $155.88 (Bluehost offers great discounts for first timers!).
Now I know when I signed up for my hosting services last year (2016) that I was going to get charged more this year because I only chose the 1-year subscription so my first-time customer discount was only good for 1 year.
I could have saved more with the 3 year plan but unfortunately at that time I didn’t have the cash to pay for 3 years at once (sad right?).
But still the $48.60 difference ($155.88 – $107.28 = $48.60) is still quite a significant amount especially since I’ve purchased some costly software in the past 2 weeks (I think of my online tools as investments – which they truly are!).
Here’s the email screenshot:
2. Being the cheapo I am, I wasn’t too happy with the price increase and looked to change web hosting providers. Saw a great deal on Hostgator (which I’ve used way back) and decided to sign up then and there (I paid $174.74).
3 days later I got a refund from Hostgator (scroll down for the juicy details and why impulse buying is not cool!).
Hostgator’s web hosting plans are priced very attractively. For the business plan, I got a 3-years-for-the-price-of-2 discount code which effectively means $4.30/mo for 36 months or 71.24% off! Fantastic deal right?
For 3 years, I only need to invest $154.80 for a shared hosting plan which when compared to Bluehost ($155.88/year) means I am essentially getting two years for free. Here’s why:
Bluehost: $12.99/mo for 12 months = $155.88/year
HostGator: $4.30/mo for 36 months = $154.80 (or $51.60/year)
Pretty awesome deal, right? Plus the Business account comes with the following freebies:
1. Unlimited Domains
2. One Click Installs
3. Unmetered Bandwidth
4. PRIVATE SSL & IP
5. Free VoIP Phone Service
Seeing how I was saving over $300 over the next 3 years, I decided to also buy the SiteBackUp addon which costs an extra $19.95 per year.
The Hostgator agent I was chatting with said this handy addon is good for one account. So this means that all the websites I have in my Hostgator account gets backed up automatically.
This will be an absolute time saver for me since I don’t need to worry about manually backing up my files via FTP/FileZilla. Another great feature about SiteBackUp is if anything ever happens to my sites I can restore the files with just one click. Awesome!
The only downside to this whole hosting adventure is the fact that in 3 years, my hosting expenses will go up from $51.60/year to $538.20! That, my friends, is a 943% increase.. so it’s definitely something to think about when renewal time comes!
Now, how to migrate my websites from Bluehost to Hostgator?
I simply submitted a ticket by logging in to my Hostgator account and then clicking on Support and then Request Migration. I got an email saying it may take up to 72 hours to transfer over everything.
Okay great, I still haven’t cancelled my Bluehost account (I’m paid until 14th May). Once all my sites are working on HostGator, it’s bye bye Bluehost (OR SO I THOUGHT!).
Why I cancelled my Hostgator account within 24 hours of signing up
You know how Google is now strict with the SSL encryption on websites?
Well, Hostgator includes a FREE SSL for 1 domain and then it’s another $79.95 for another 3 domains and $25 each on your 5th, 6th, 7th and so on domains!
Apparently they DON’T include a free SSL encryption for all your domains like Bluehost and other popular web hosting companies.
This was a HUGE DEAL-BREAKER FOR ME since they did not make it clear on their sales page the free SSL was only for 1 domain!
If you want to know more about why SSL is very important if you are serious about your online business, check out this article on Hubspot.
Apparently, it seems that Hostgator has been dodging the LetsEncrypt support as evidenced by this thread on their Twitter: https://twitter.com/HGSupport/status/694292490485133313
So, if I were to factor the SSL fees into my annual Hostgator hosting fees, it would now be more expensive than Bluehost.
As of this writing, I have 6 domains in my Bluehost account. If I were to migrate everything to Hostgator, my annual costs would be as follows:
HOSTGATOR HOSTING + SSL FEES:
$4.30/mo for 12 months = $51.60
SSL Fee for main domain = Free
SSL Fee for 3 domains = $79.95
SSL Fee for remaining 2 domains = $50
Annual Hosting Costs = $181.55
Compare this to my current Bluehost hosting fees:
HOSTGATOR HOSTING + SSL FEES:
$12.99/mo for 12 months = $155.88
SSL Certificates for all domains = FREE
Annual Hosting Costs = $155.88
My Hostgator hosting fees would now be $25.67 more expensive than Bluehost. I knew then $4.30/mo was too good to be true.
I just didn’t know what the catch was (should’ve done my research instead of just going straight to the order form! Tsk, I impulse buy far too often.).
The good thing is that Hostgator has a 45-day money back guarantee.
Well, I was only a couple hours into my membership so I was well within the refund window. So I went ahead and requested a refund.
Also, since I submitted the migration request, I had to send a quick message to support asking them to stop the migration (good thing they haven’t started yet!)
And as you can see on the screenshot above, Hostgator refunded my full payment after 3 days.
Moral Lesson: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. AND Cheap isn’t always the best way to go.
My 5 reasons why I remain a Bluehost customer:
Reason 1: FREE SSL for all domains
As you read above, Hostgator wasn’t up front about their FREE SSL offer. They didn’t mention it was only for 1 domain and that you had to pay extra for all your other domains.
It came as a shock to me because I was, and still am, currently enjoying FREE SSL on ALL domains I am hosting on Bluehost!
With Google’s move to ranking sites with SSL higher on their search engine, I couldn’t afford risking NOT having SSL on my sites.
Reason 2: Bluehost support is top notch
I’ve contacted Bluehost live chat support on multiple occasions and I have never been disappointed. They have always resolved my concerns in a timely manner.
If you search on Google, there are mixed reactions to Bluehost’s support. A lot of people love it, a lot of people hate it.
But personally speaking, in the 12 months I’ve been a customer, I’ve been very happy with their 24/7 support.
Their knowledgebase is very helpful and full of step by step instructions on how to setup various tools and settings.
Their Youtube channel is also full of great instructional videos. Here’s their intro video:
The Bluehost Plus shared hosting plan allows me to have *unlimited* domains (purchased separately of course) and websites, email accounts, bandwidth.
The screenshot below is their offer for first time customers.
If you buy now at $5.45/mo, you can expect your rates to go up when you renew in 1, 2 or 3 years.
I suggest you go for the 3 year option if you can afford it because it will save you much more in the long run.
Of course, their ‘unlimited’ offers have got conditions attached to it. If you don’t intend on abusing the system and just be a regular website owner like me, then you should run into no problems with the Plus plan.
Oh, and I also used up the free $100 Bing ads coupon included in my account when I advertised some offers on Bing. But this deserves an entirely different post, I just wanted to let you know if you ever intend to advertise on Google Adwords or Bing Ads then you have a free $200 coupon included with your Bluehost Plus account. 🙂
Reason 4: Easy and free site backup and restore
It’s so easy to back up and restore your websites on Bluehost. All you have to do is go to CPanel > Files > Site Backup Pro > Site Backup and Restore.
Reason 5: Plenty of apps and integrations
It’s so easy to install WordPress with their 1-click install option. The MOJO marketplace integration is also nice although I haven’t bought anything there because I have a subscription to Elegant Themes and I know my way around WordPress. But for beginners and the not so technically inclined, it’s a huge time saver!
And that’s my Bluehost vs Hostgator story…
There you have it. The top 5 reasons why I chose to remain with Bluehost despite being more expensive than other similar hosting companies.
You’re probably asking, “will you renew next year?”. My answer would be, “Absolutely”.
My Bluehost Rating: 8/10
Bluehost is perfect for new website owners and even the more experienced ones.
It’s not perfect (hence the 8/10 rating) but it’s one of the best in the web hosting industry.
It’s relatively affordable and the support is top notch.
I’ve invested into the Bluehost system and based on my experience this year, moving hosts just to save a few bucks ultimately made me lose about 2 days of my time which translates to a loss of earnings considering I could have been working on profitable projects instead of thinking about how to save a few dollars.
What about you? Do you have any similar stories?
Feel free to let me know in the comments below!