WPEngine vs. Bluehost

The Wordpress Hosting Matchup

The Contenders

Last updated: Wednesday, August 23rd 2017

WPEngine

WP Engine provides best-in-class customer service on top of innovation-driven technology. Over 60,000 customers in 120 countries have chosen WP Engine for their mission critical WordPress hosting needs.

Bluehost

#1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org. Every account features 1-click WordPress installation.

What you’ll see in this guide:

First, we’ll combine quantitative data (real speed tests) with our own experience working with support, fixing bugs, and building websites on each platform.

We don’t pretend to be “unbiased” or “objective” in our assessment. The feedback you’ll get has been hard earned in the trenches building out websites.

That said, we promise to be accurate in our assessment with the goal of getting you the best hosting provider for your money.

The Factors:

Here are the main factors we’ll use to rate our hosting providers:

  • Speed
  • Uptime
  • Support
  • Easy-of-Use
  • Features

Using these factors, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each of the hosting providers.

Ready? Let’s go.

The Wordpress Hosting Test Methodology

Selecting the best Wordpress hosting can be complicated and frustrating. With so many hosting providers vying for your attention, which one do you use?

In this guide, we’ll hope to answer that question. We use Wordpress for virtually all of our websites. This includes this website (analytive.com), our affiliate sites and portfolio businesses, as well as client work.

Needless to say, we use Wordpress for a lot.

The Hosting Test Results

If you’d like to read the full review, scroll down. But here is the short version

1st Place: WP Engine

Speed
Uptime
Support
Ease-of-Use
Features

2st Place: BlueHost

Speed
Uptime
Support
Ease-of-Use
Features

Use WP Engine if:

  • You have one or two main sites that get most of your traffic
  • Speed, easy-of-use, and simplicity are key features
  • You don’t mind paying a little extra every month.
  • You want to automate backups, get free SSLs, and otherwise not worry about website headaches.
  • You don’t want to worry about setting up a CDN or caching

Overall Review:

Hosting Speed

We found WP Engine to be significantly faster than our dedicated BlueHost VPS or Bluehost shared hosting. Loading times for individual components we’re significantly different, but the server response times were much slower on Bluehost. This has been an issue as long as I’ve been a Bluehost customer.

The slow server response means that pages load much slower overall – causing us to give WP Engine the win.

Uptime:

Also, we routinely see small amounts of downtime with Bluehost – especially during some of their noted hosting snafus. This is often less than an hour a month, but it’s still real downtown that isn’t acceptable.

Recently Bluehost’s servers were down for nearly 36 hours. That means lost business and attention. Every couple years they have a MAJOR outage like this last one. 

Support:

The support at WP Engine is also amazing. They have some of the most knowledgable staff I’ve ever worked with on the end of a support line. They work with their clients to help with support and hosting issues. We’ve worked with them on everything from SSL issues to caching problems. Plus, the wait times are usually less than 10 minutes. 10 minutes is still longer than I’d like to spend on the phone, but it’s better than most competitors.

Ease Of Use:

WP Engine is the easiest out of all the major hosts to use. They remove the clutter from the traditional CPanel view, and just give you the things you need. Even if you’re new to hosting and websites, I’m confident you’ll be able to navigate the admin interface.

Use Bluehost if:

  • If have a lot of small sites you need to host
  • Flexibility and hosting customization are important
  • You need to host CMSs or apps other than Wordpress
  • You’re familiar with CPanel and traditional hosting interfaces
  • You don’t mind setting up your own caching and backups

Overall Review:

Hosting Speed

The hosing speed at Bluehost isn’t amazing, but it’s not terrible either. It’s useable for most websites, but isn’t optimized for top performance. If you’re hosting a lot of sites or using simple small business sites, it can be adequate, but keep Bluehost away from any of your important sites.

Uptime: 

This might be where Bluehost suffers the most. Throughout the month, we routinely see small amounts of downtime. Although not noticeable to most folks, over time it can add up to some real down time with real potential for lost leads.

Bluehost also has had some major problems with downtime over the past few years. Although major outages are rare, they do seem to happen more with Bluehost than most other providers.

Support:

Support at Bluehost is pretty good. Not great, but not terrible. If you’re on the shared hosting plan, good luck getting virtually any support at all. If you upgrade to a VPS, you get a more dedicated hosting team that can help you solve your issues.

But if you have a complicated issue, you’re likely going to need to solve it yourself.

Ease Of Use:

Bluehost uses the more traditional CPanel interface rather than adding major custom features. If you’re familiar with CPanel, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re new to hosting, the traditional feel can be a little overwhelming.

They do have partnerships that allow one-click installs of most major CMSs and applications – this can save you a ton of time. But it’s still not as easy to use as WP Engine’s one-click install.

On our current VPS, the one-click installs don’t even work, so we end up using a manual method to install the software. Not a big deal as it’s virtually as fast for us to do it by hand, but it is a big deal if you’re just starting out building your website.

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