WP Engine vs Bluehost: General Info
Let’s first, get the basic overview of these two top WordPress hosting companies.
WP Engine is a managed WordPress hosting provider. It specializes in offering hosting services specifically tailored for websites powered by WordPress, one of the world’s most popular content management systems (CMS).
WP Engine’s hosting platform is designed to provide optimal performance, security, and scalability for WordPress sites.
One of the key advantages of this premium WordPress hosting is its WordPress optimization. Their hosting platform is specifically optimized for WordPress, which can result in faster loading times and better overall performance for WordPress websites.
My personal favorite- Bluehost is the cheapest shared WordPress hosting service on the planet.
Bluehost is a popular web hosting company that provides a range of hosting services for individuals and businesses. They offer shared, VPS, dedicated, and WordPress hosting plans.
Bluehost is known for its user-friendly approach, making it a suitable option for beginners and those without technical expertise.
Also Read: Pressable Hosting Review
WP Engine vs Bluehost: Pricing Comparison
When it comes to pricing, Bluehost is extremely cheaper in comparison to WP Engine.
There is a significant disparity in prices between the two options. However, what truly matters is the value you receive at each price point.
To gain more understanding, let’s compare the plans offered by the most affordable providers.
WP Engine Prices
With a base plan that costs $25 a month, WP Engine is not what you’d call a budget hosting option. However, you get a two-month discount if you take an annual package. But it would be best if you also were sure of the fact that it only supports a single website.
On the other hand, Bluehost offers one of the most pocket-friendly hosting packages you can find. The base plan starts at $5.45 a month.
Further on. you get to host unlimited websites with higher plans, something anyone looking for a budget hosting service would go for. Bluehost is the best in the ‘budget hosting’ category.
If you are looking to save on WP Engine hosting, check out our WP Engine discounts.
But there is one more thing you should know. It often happens that the services that offer such cheap plans may not end up actually being that cheap unless you sign up for a long contract, which is exactly the case Bluehost.
You only get that cheap sticker price with them if you sign up for a three-year contract. With the Basic plan, this means spending $106.20 upfront!
One thing to also note with Bluehost hosting packages is that they do not offer monthly billing.
The shortest period you can sign up for is 12 months, which means you’d be paying $59.40 for a year of the Basic plan!
But, if you think this amount is too much, just remember it’s the equivalent of fewer than two months of WP Engine’s basic plan.
WP Engine vs Bluehost: Features
Managed WordPress hosting is an area that WP Engine specializes in.
But while comparing, Bluehost comes out on top, offering a broader range of services including shared and dedicated hosting, as well as private virtual servers (VPSs). They also provide daily hosting plans for WordPress, which they operate themselves.
I have a quick highlight features for comparing WP Engine with Bluehost. Let’s look at these features.
WP Engine Features
- Basic plan supports one website
- Staging and production environments
- Nightly automated backups
- 24/7 support via chat (more options available for higher plans)
- Integrated content delivery network (CDN)
- Secure your site with free automatic SSL certificates
- Green padlock
- Includes free Genesis Framework, including over 35 Genesis child themes
- Multiple add-ons available for all plans
- Basic plan supports one website with Basic plan
- Unlimited plans support multiple websites
- Free domain for one year
- 50 GB SSD storage
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth for higher tiers
- Automatic WordPress installation and updates
- All plans come with staging functionality
- Free SSL certificate
- 24/7 support via chat
Considering the price difference, it should not surprise you that the shared hosting offered by Bluehost does not deliver as much by default as the WP Engine.
Bluehost does offer staging features, though, which is something you almost never see among WordPress hosts on a budget.
Plus, as part of the contract, it offers free domain registration, which might seal the deal for you compared to WP Engine.
Control Panel Comparison
While Bluehost has added a customized cPanel alongside its native management panel, WP Engine has opted to create its own control panel.
When you select the site you want to manage on WP Engine, you’ll see a menu on the left where you can oversee all three environments (Production, Staging, and Development).
Each of these environments has its own menu options, such as SSL, Domains, CDN, and more, and they can be managed separately from each other.
It’s important to note that WP Engine takes care of performance, automatic updates, and security measures, so you don’t have to worry about those aspects.
Now, let’s talk about Bluehost. It has incorporated a custom cPanel alongside its native management panel.
It’s worth mentioning that the native management panel remains the primary control area. cPanel serves as an advanced management tool for tasks like managing files, databases, and free email accounts.
This means you might not even need to use cPanel since most features, including installing WordPress and other apps, can be found in the main management panel. Even domain management is available in Bluehost’s native management area under the Domains section.
Choosing a winner between the two options is a subjective matter.
Both WP Engine and Bluehost offer users a user-friendly and intuitive experience, making their services attractive. However, Bluehost also provides an integrated cPanel, which may be more familiar and comfortable for some users.
More Hosting Management Features
Both WP Engine and Bluehost have user-friendly dashboards along with extra hosting features.
WP Engine offers three different environments:
- Production (the live website everyone sees),
- Staging (for testing and fixing issues), and
- Development (for building and experimenting).
These environments let you work on your site safely before making changes to the live version.
Bluehost also has a staging feature for WordPress sites, and it’s easy to use. To create a staging environment, you just need to find the Bluehost plugin in your WordPress Admin area and select “Staging.”
It’s as simple as a few clicks, and you can start working on a copy of your site.
Bluehost offers marketing tools like Google Ads and Google My Business integration. You can use these tools to run ad campaigns and make your business visible on Google Maps.
Performance: Which web host performs better?
Typically the biggest differences in functionality and output between managed and shared WordPress hosts lie.
I have already compared the former to WP Engine vs Bluehost, so let’s think about the latter.
WP Engine offers out-of-the-box and integrated CDN and boasts fast loading times as one of its key selling points.
Having that in mind, I went to the exam with high hopes.
Here, I set up two identical websites, one for each web host to begin with. Then, I installed the Twenty Nineteen theme, loaded it with Test Data for the WordPress Theme Device, and enabled an identical set of common plugins. (Yoast, Wordfence, Jetpack, and Communication Type 7).
I tried to simulate a real-world website to verify the results.
I used Pingdom Software for the tests and averaged three tests at five server locations. The results I obtained were as follows:
- Washington, D.C.: 5.11 seconds
- San Francisco: 2.24 seconds
- London: 3.13 seconds
- Sydney: 3.63 seconds
- Tokyo: 2.70 seconds
- Washington, D.C.: 648 ms
- San Francisco: 430 ms
- London: 989 ms
- Sydney: 1.17 seconds
- Tokyo: 763 ms
The results speak for themselves when it comes to efficiency, WP Engine takes a commanding lead. On the other hand, Bluehost drops the ball significantly, particularly though you take the price difference between the two hosts into consideration.
As a rule, you don’t want websites to take longer than two seconds to load, no matter how complicated they might be. The test websites I set up were amazingly straightforward and under no circumstances could they take up to five seconds to load.
Apart from loading times, you do want to ensure that the uptime of your web host is as near as possible to perfection. Bluehost and WP Engine rated 100 percent in this field
For every website, performance and efficiency are critical, and because both web hosts get perfect scores when it comes to uptime, it all depends on loading times. As such, WP Engine does manage to get the upper hand over Bluehost!
Uptime and Response
Let me explain how I like to assess these measures. An uptime between 99.9% and 99.95% is good, anything higher is excellent, and anything lower is not so great. 100% uptime is perfect, of course.
When it comes to average response time, 200-450ms is great, anything over 1s is quite slow, and everything in between is acceptable.
I examined both providers for a similar period, which was around two months.
During this time, WP Engine delivered outstanding results. Despite promising an uptime of 99.95%, it actually provided even better performance. In those two months, WP Engine had no downtime at all, achieving a flawless 100% uptime.
When it comes to response time, WP Engine’s average was 489ms. It’s not bad by any means, but I had higher expectations. Especially when you consider that the industry average response time is 600ms.
To be fair, Bluehost also performed very well. It ranks among the top-performing shared hosting providers.
Over the same two-month period, it experienced 6 outages totaling 11 minutes of downtime. This still resulted in an impressive 99.99% uptime, despite not offering any uptime guarantee.
Bluehost’s average response time of 361ms is also very good!
WP Engine showed slightly better results with its reliable 100% uptime and very good response time.
On the other hand, Bluehost was also impressive with a slightly better average response time and a very reliable 99.99% uptime.
Stage Testing results:
To check for traffic management, I had to run the experiment on the staging sites.
So, I sent 50 virtual users to the site all at once for five minutes. To put it simply, having 50 users on the site simultaneously is a lot of traffic. If this continued for a month, it could result in around 50,000 visitors.
I tested WP Engine with 30 virtual users, which was expected. WP Engine’s cheapest plan claims to support up to 25,000 monthly visitors, and it seems to hold true. Even with such high traffic, the response time remained stable, showing that the server can handle many visitors without slowing down.
On the other hand, Bluehost managed to handle 15 virtual users. However, it’s clear that the response time depended more on the number of visitors.
While the server did slow down to accommodate the visitors, 15 virtual users is still quite a bit, equivalent to around 15,000 unique monthly visitors.
Here’s what I found: WP Engine handled larger traffic loads and lived up to its promised number of monthly visitors. Bluehost also managed intense traffic but showed a stronger correlation between response time and visitor numbers.
Bluehost vs WP Engine: Customer Support
Bluehost and WP Engine also have knowledge bases that anyone can access to their platform for instant support. WP Engine is much more in-depth, however, and it contains hundreds of support papers for WordPress users.
For our WordPress hosting survey, I polled hundreds of users every year. I called on users to rate the big WordPress hosts’ support level.
I like using live chat whenever I have questions because it’s the fastest way to get answers. So, I decided to test their live chat support for this comparison between WP Engine and Bluehost.
My main concern was to know about their money-back guarantee, so I asked about it.
First, I contacted WP Engine’s sales team, and they responded almost immediately. The conversation was short but pleasant, and they answered my question without any attempts to sell me something. I was very pleased with their quick and straightforward response.
- WP Engine’s overall support rating: 4.69/5
- Bluehost’s overall support rating: 3.42/5
Then, I reached out to Bluehost with the same question, and I got connected very quickly too. The agent gave me a detailed summary of their money-back conditions, without any pushy advertising. It was exactly what I was looking for.
While both conversations were brief, I noticed that WP Engine’s replies were slightly faster than Bluehost’s, but not by much.
Apart from live chat, both providers have excellent knowledge bases with useful articles on various topics.
Generally, users find that workers at WP Engine are well-prepared to deal with WordPress-specific problems.
However, this may not be surprising considering the entire business of WP Engine is based around WordPress, while Bluehost provides many other forms of hosting plans.
Verdict on WP Engine vs Bluehost
It brings end to my WPEngine vs Bluehost comparison.
On one side you get better performance with WP Engine, and on the other side, you get the best budget hosting plans with Bluehost.
It really does depend on what your requirement is for hosting a website.
Bluehost offers the best WordPress shared hosting plans, and the prices are such, you get exactly what you pay for. Bluehost is a budget hosting service and does offer some nice functionalities like staging functionality.
However, it doesn’t really come to par with managed hosting plans of WP Engine.
Even though the packages of WP Engine come at a higher cost, you do get lots of advanced functionality along with blazing-fast performance.
If you can afford that price and the features that come with it, you can definitely go for one of their controlled hosting plans.
WP Engine vs Bluehost FAQs
Is WP Engine better than Bluehost?
In terms of performance, WP Engine is better than Bluehost. WP Engine promises 99.95% uptime and has a fast response time of 180ms, whereas Bluehost doesn't offer a specific uptime guarantee and has a slower average response time of 501ms. Both do well in terms of uptime, though.
Is Bluehost cheaper than WP Engine?
Bluehost is less expensive than WP Engine. Bluehost offers shared hosting plans starting at $2.75/month for the Basic plan, while their Plus and Choice Plus plans are both $5.45/month. The most expensive Bluehost plan, Pro, costs $13.95/month. In contrast, WP Engine's shared hosting plans start at $20.00/month and go up to $194.00/month.
What is the WP Engine best for?
WP Engine is primarily designed for hosting WordPress websites and excels in this domain. It offers top-notch performance, speed, and security for WordPress users. As a managed WordPress hosting provider, WP Engine takes care of technical aspects such as updates, backups, and security, making it an ideal choice for users seeking a hassle-free hosting experience.
Is Bluehost easy to use?
Bluehost has built its reputation as a user-friendly platform which is particularly well-suited for beginners and those without technical expertise who are in the process of creating straightforward websites.