WordPress is both one of the easiest Content Management Systems (CMS) to use, and one of the most powerful. However, to unleash its full potential you need a good hosting provider – and while Bluehost may be popular, it might not be the best option for you. Here are the top Bluehost alternatives, and why you might want to try them out.
In this post, we’ll firstly explore Bluehost’s pros and cons, then look at the top four Bluehost alternatives for WordPress hosting. In case you’re in a hurry and just want a recommendation, here’s the short version:
What’s wrong with Bluehost anyway?
For a long time, Bluehost was the only host that WordPress.org recommended to its visitors, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s one of the largest hosting providers worldwide, and has over a decade of history under its belt.
Despite some past controversies, the company has maintained its spot as one of the most popular WordPress hosting providers out there, and has a good reputation among first-time users – as evidenced by our exhaustive WordPress hosting surveys.
Let’s take a look at what the survey said concerning Bluehost:
- It was ranked as one of the worst hosts from among several options when it came to WordPress optimization, only managing to beat HostGator.
- Support was found to be lacking when it came to WordPress-specific knowledge.
- Bluehost obtained the worst rating from among all surveyed hosts when it came to customer satisfaction in relation to cost.
- The host came in dead last when it came to reliability, but managed to beat out DigitalOcean on user-friendliness.
Suffice to say, Bluehost took a beating in that survey, which brings up an interesting question: How does it remain so popular when so many of its users are dissatisfied? The answer may lie in its popular affiliate program, which paid out a hefty $5 million last year alone to its participants. At $65 per referral, that comes out to roughly 77,000 new customers who found their way to Bluehost by way of paid recommendations.
Furthermore, since the service is so popular among first-time users, it stands to reason that a good chunk of them aren’t familiar with what constitutes a good hosting provider. Even if they do, migrating a website can be a tiresome business, and it may discourage unsatisfied customers from actively looking for Bluehost alternatives.
However, despite its downfalls, Bluehost offers solid security options and plenty of integrations with third-party apps. With that in mind, let’s discuss the alternatives.
What are the top Bluehost alternatives?
Before we dive into our picks, we want to take a moment to explain how we went about selecting them. These four Bluehost alternatives came out as some of the top picks from our WordPress hosting surveys, so it was actually you who helped us come up with this list.
Let’s take a look:
1. SiteGround (www.siteground.com)
SiteGround consistently ranks as one of the top Bluehost alternatives for all kinds of users. Its WordPress hosting plans are reasonably priced and can go blow-for-blow with most other providers when it comes to functionality.
Their WordPress plans are presented realistically, without making any promises of unlimited storage or traffic. For example, their cheapest plan – the aptly named StartUp – is recommended for approximately 10,000 visits per month, and comes with 10GB of space.
How SiteGround is better than Bluehost
|COMPANY||USER RATING||WILL YOU EXTEND?|
|Bluehost||3.0 / 5||46%|
|SiteGround||4.6 / 5||93%|
Pricing$4.99, $7.99, $14.99 per month.
- Fast loading speeds thanks to advanced caching techniques.
- Automated backups and WordPress updates (including plugins).
- Free CloudFlare Content Delivery Network (CDN) setup.
- Security monitoring of WordPress vulnerabilities.
- GrowBig and GoGeek plans enable you to create staging copies of your sites with a single click.
- A free SSL certificate.
When to use SiteGround
Use SiteGround when looking for a stable service that can handle the unique needs of your WordPress website, all the way from its infancy to maturity. SiteGround offers reasonable prices, an excellent support service, fast loading speeds, and fantastic all-around features for WordPress users.
2. WP Engine (www.wpengine.com)
Whereas both of the previous Bluehost alternatives provide hosting plans for various platforms, WP Engine is all about WordPress. They’re dedicated to providing the best possible experience for WordPress users, thanks to a support team that’s well-versed with the CMS, a robust architecture, and high security standards.
How WP Engine is better than Bluehost
|COMPANY||WORDPRESS OPTIMIZATION||WP-PROFICIENT SUPPORT|
|Bluehost||2.6 / 5||2.9 / 5|
|WP Engine||4.7 / 5||4.5 / 5|
Pricing$20, $44.25, $86.25, $217.50 per month, as well as custom plans for more demanding clients.
- Around the clock, WordPress-centric support.
- High security measures, including multiple firewalls and regular malware scans.
- EverCache technology enables lighting-fast speeds.
- Provides site performance data to all customers.
- Daily backups for your WordPress sites.
When to use WP Engine
Considering its above average prices, WP Engine should be considered by customers who are serious about developing their WordPress projects, and need a hosting provider that will have their back the whole way through. They provide WordPress site owners with a reliable platform, the ability to scale up, and robust security for sensitive data.
3. Flywheel (www.getflywheel.com)
Flywheel is a bit of an oddity when it comes to WordPress hosting. While they do offer hosting packages for individual WordPress sites, the bulk of their features are geared towards freelancers and agencies. Their collaboration tools enable web developers and designers to work together on projects without sharing credentials, plus you can even transfer hosting bills directly to your clients.
Of course, these tools come with a premium price. Their individual packages are right around average for managed WordPress hosting services, but their bulk offerings start at $115 for freelancers that need to manage up to ten installs.
How Flywheel is better than Bluehost
|COMPANY||WORDPRESS OPTIMIZATION||WP-PROFICIENT SUPPORT|
|Bluehost||2.6 / 5||2.9 / 5|
|Flywheel||4.9 / 5||4.9 / 5|
Pricing$13, $25, $96, or $242 per month, with custom plans available.
- Powerful collaboration tools for freelancers and agencies.
- Transferable billings.
- Enables you to create staging sites and save custom WordPress setups for future use.
- Daily backups.
- A support team made up of WordPress experts.
When to use Flywheel
Flywheel is designed to simplify the lives of freelancers and agencies working with WordPress, but it’s also a stable hosting provider for regular users. Either way, you get a fantastic set of features, and a support team that knows their stuff when it comes to WordPress.
4. DigitalOcean (www.digitalocean.com)
No, that wasn’t a typo. We know DigitalOcean isn’t the first name that springs to mind when someone mentions WordPress hosting – and Bluehost alternatives in particular – but DigitalOcean actually garnered one of the highest scores in our WordPress hosting survey.
DigitalOcean focuses on providing SSD-only cloud servers for their customers. While that might scare first-time hosting users away, setting up a WordPress Virtual Private Server (VPS) server – called a ‘droplet’ – on the platform is not that difficult, as long as you’re comfortable getting your hands dirty.
How DigitalOcean is better than Bluehost
|COMPANY||VALUE FOR MONEY||RELIABILITY|
|Bluehost||3.0 / 5||3.4 / 5|
|DigitalOcean||4.6 / 5||4.7 / 5|
Based on a cost per hour until reaching a monthly cap of $5, $10, $15, $20, $40, or $80 per month.
- Deploy your custom VPS, and set up WordPress with a single click.
- Take advantage of team accounts to provide access to management resources, without sharing sensitive credentials.
- All droplets are designed to provide the highest levels of security and performance.
- Unique billing based on a cost per hour.
- A 99.99% uptime guarantee, and refunds for any time spent offline.
When to use DigitalOcean
Let’s not mince words here – DigitalOcean is a fantastic service, but it’s not for everyone. That said, if you’re comfortable with DIY solutions (and the thought of customizing your own VPS doesn’t send you running), you’ll be in good hands with DigitalOcean.
You may also be interested in:
- 9 “Fastest” WordPress Hosting Providers Compared
- [INFOGRAPHIC] The Good, Bad and Ugly of WordPress Hosting
- Does Serverless WordPress Make Sense? Shifter vs HardyPress – Top “Headless WordPress Hosting” Options Compared
Summing it all up
All things considered, Bluehost offers a decent hosting service for WordPress users. It’s stable, moderately priced, and comes with many additional features. However, it pales in comparison to the quality of service many of the Bluehost alternatives provide – so it’s definitely worth revisiting your options. Let’s recap:
Here’s the comparison table again:
|Rating (survey data)||3.0||4.6||4.6||4.2||4.7|
|Starter plans (per month)||$2.75||$4.99||$5||$20||$13|
|Number of WordPress sites||5||1||Unlimited||1||1|
What are your top Bluehost alternatives for WordPress hosting? Share your picks with us in the comments section below!
Also, check out the full results of our most recent WordPress hosting survey – the biggest such survey conducted on the web to date.
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%: