Updated: July 24 , 2019
It can be a challenge to select the right web hosting company because it seems like they all promise the same benefits: good uptime, fast servers and speedy websites at a low cost. But as we all know, often you make a purchase and find out later that the quality is less than what you expected when you bought the product.
In the case of web hosting, making the wrong decision can impact your life on several fronts – often your website is the core of your entire marketing effort. This article will help you understand the features and benefits of two of the most popular web hosting services on the market: WP Engine vs Bluehost:
- WP Engine is an Austin-based web hosting company that was founded in 2010. Rather than work with several software packages, they have solely focused on WordPress hosting services. WordPress is the most popular content management system on the Internet, currently making up around 18% of total websites.
- Bluehost is a popular web hosting company founded in 1996 and currently owned by Endurance International Group, who also own web hosting services like HostMonster and iPage. Based in Provo Utah, they currently have over 1 million hosted domains on their system.
Also read: Bluehost Vs HostGator In-depth Review
WP Engine Vs Bluehost – Uptime Report
Perhaps the most important part of a web hosting service is that the system is reliable and the website delivers web pages when customers and prospects logon to your site. The term “uptime” refers to the amount of time that a web hosting company keeps their servers online and working for clients. As a customer, you want a service that has a very high uptime percentage.
WP Engine has a highly competitive uptime percentage rate of 99.9%. They are able to achieve this number due to a variety of technical advancements:
- Closely managed upgrade paths and daily backups.
- A unique staging area where clients can pretest themes, plug-ins and new webpages without affecting their lives site.
- A curated list of useful themes, plug-ins and other tools that help clients assemble the best WordPress features for their use case.
- Snapshots of your entire website that can be restored with one click of a mouse.
- Unlimited storage and data transfer ability.
- A powerful caching system called EverCache which greatly speeds up large files like images.
Here are their respective results for a typical six-month uptime period for WP Engine and Bluehost:
- Average 6-month uptime for WP Engine (tested for 10 sites based in different parts of the world): 99.99%. That means your site would possibly be down almost 4.4 hours over 6 months of service.
- Average last 6 month uptime for Bluehost (Tested for 10 sites based in different parts of the world): 99.99%. That means your site could possibly be down almost 4.4 hours over 6 months of service.
It is plain to see that WP Engine and Bluehost has great uptime.
To see different estimates for uptime percentage, you can plug-in various data points into the following interactive graph, which shows uptime of 150 websites hosted under these hosting ompanies.
Winner:- WP Engine and Bluehost. Both these hosting companies were very reliable and scored high uptime during our above monitoring process.
WP Engine Vs Bluehost – Speed Test
Along with a good uptime report, your web host should be able to demonstrate that their services are fast and efficient. Site speed is a common quality people look for in a good web hosting firm, and for good reason. The search engine Bing recently finished a study where they determined that an additional 1.5 seconds wait results in up to 4.4% reduction in revenue, clicks and customer satisfaction. Without a doubt, fast site speed is a major factor in the success of your website.
WP Engine is able to deliver speedy websites mainly because they concentrate on optimizing their servers for the WordPress platform. If you’re not familiar with WordPress, it is an open source content management system. Originally only for blogs, it has grown into a robust website manager. However, it does use a lot of resources and a web host that is specifically geared to maximize its speed and effectiveness has lots of value.
On the other hand, Bluehost is not specifically optimized for any content management system. They provide users with their SimpleScript installation system, which installs popular CMSs like Drupal and Joomla with one click. Another obstacle to Bluehost speed is their CPU throttling scheme.
What this means is that if they find that a website on their system is using too many resources, they will throttle that site, severely impacting its speed and service. However, Bluehost says that throttling will only happen when a specific website is using more than 10 percent of the server’s overall capacity. The goal is to prevent all of the websites on that server from going down. Many users say it slows all the sites on the same server, however.
Here are the hard numbers we determined from our research:
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
WP Engine Speed
|Testing Location||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3|
It is plain to see that WP Engine beats Bluehost in website speed by .5 seconds on average from all the tested locations. While this may not seem like a long time, when you are talking about serving thousands of pages it adds up fast.
Winner:- WP Engine – WP Engine is optimized for WordPress site, this helps in serving a WordPress website with better speed than other hosting.
Server Quality Test
A server is where your website and its files are hosted. Each time someone visits your site, a request is sent to the server for fetching the website files.
We can determine the server quality by applying pressure on the server and calculating its efficiency in handling that pressure. For this, we started sending high concurrent traffic to a website and measured its load time.
The load time was calculated as we increased traffic from 1 to 100 visitors.
WP Engine test result
Bluehost test result
WP Engine was able to deliver a fast server response time consistently throughout the test. They loaded twice as fast as Bluehost until 100 concurrent traffic for mainly due to its optimization technology centered on WordPress. WordPress has unique characteristics that need tweaking in order to get the most out of it. WP Engine has learned all of those quirks and tuned their servers to take advantage of them.
Bluehost is positioned as a premium service compared to HostMonster and other services under the Endurance International Group umbrella. However, their load times are not that different than their sister hosting services. Moreover, after 50 visits, their servers were not able to handle the pressure and was taking over a minute to load as you can see from the above graph.
Again, WP Engine has a clear lead over Bluehost. WP Engine clocks in at 280 ms for average server response time during our study, while Bluehost came in at 580 ms.
This interactive graph will let you take a look at different date ranges and the relative response times for each company during those time periods.
Winner:- WP Engine. They were consistently faster than Bluehost throughout the test.
WP Engine Vs Bluehost – Benchmark Test
For each web hosts, I’ve identified a set of 10 websites all hosted on different web servers. A total of 825 requests were then sent to each host in order to measure the performance of their servers.
|Requests per sec.||7.15||6.46|
|Time per request||220.89 ms||165.09 ms|
|Average transfer rate||63.83 Kbytes/sec||55.8 Kbytes/sec|
|Median connect time||19.8 msec||12.8 msec|
|Median processing time||200.08 msec msec||144.49 msec|
|Median waiting time||250.71 msec||145.77 msec|
WP Engine is a dominant leader over Bluehost in our benchmark tests. They have a fraction of the failed requests that Bluehost had, and are significantly faster in median connect, processing and waiting times. In processing time alone, WP Engine is almost twice as fast as Bluehost.
Winner: WP Engine – with international data centers around the world and extreme focus on WordPress optimization, WP Engine is able to deliver processing speeds much faster than Bluehost, making them a clear winner in our benchmark tests.
WP Engine tries to make it easy for potential clients to sign up for their service by concentrating their hosting plans under for designations: Personal, Professional, Business and Enterprise. If you are an individual service provider or creative worker, the Personal level will fit your needs best. It allows you to have up to 25,000 visitors per month, which should be plenty for a beginning business. If your operation is more mature, you might consider the Professional level in order to get more bandwidth and website space for your files.
This table has a detailed look at all of the prices and plans of both WP Engine and Bluehost.
|Regular Price||$ 2.95 per month||$ 5.95 per month||$ 29 per month||$ 95 per month|
|Plan Name||Basic||Choice Plus||STARTUP||GROWTH|
|Visitor Per Month||Unmetered||Unmetered||25k||100k|
|Free Domain Included||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Money Back Guaranatee||30 Days||30 Days||60 Days||60 Days|
|Server Location||Not Disclosed||Not Disclosed||18 Locations||18 Locations|
|Free CDN||Cloudflare base plan||Cloudflare base plan||Max CDN premium plan||Max CDN premium plan|
|Google Adword Credit||$100 Google Adwords||$100 Google Adwords||No||No|
|Free Site Backup||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Backup Restore||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Backup On Demand||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Premium Themes||No||No||35+ StudioPress Themes||35+ StudioPress Themes|
|Free Site Transfer||$149||$149||Using WP Automated Migration Plugin||Using WP Automated Migration Plugin|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
Bluehost offers shared, WordPress, VPS and dedicated hosting levels. Their most popular option is the shared hosting which starts at only a few dollars per month. VPS hosting starts at around $30 per month, and dedicated hosting begins at approximately $150 per month. The starter plan for shared hosting includes one domain, 25 subdomains, 100 GB of web space, and 500 MB of e-mail storage. The Plus plan has unlimited webspace, subdomains and bandwidth.
Steps to High Performance
WP Engine has focused their brand on customer service and reliability. Some may feel that their focus on stability might come at the expense of overall performance. However, WP Engine has powerful stats for both uptime and site speed, indicating their commitment to speedy service for both small customers and enterprise clients alike.
Bluehost seems to be more suited to clients looking for an economical solution. While they have low rates for entry-level services, it comes at the expense of many sites on the same server. This can be a problem ultimately if one of these sites is throttled, or one of the sites goes down for any reason. The technology at Bluehost should accommodate these events without interruption, but their uptime numbers reflect that they have more difficulty with stability and reliability than WP Engine.
WP Engine works with a number of prominent clients in tech, publishing, media, and other high-profile fields. These companies include SoundCloud, GeekWire, Constant Contact, Maxcon, and AMD. These clients have provided a variety of positive testimonials to WP Engine based on their good experiences in better security, faster websites, and better customer support than their previous web hosting service.
Bluehost offers e-mail support, an extensive knowledge base, a user forum, video tutorials, ongoing system status reports, online chat, and a ticket support system. However, there are a number of reports on the web about poor or slow customer support from the company.
Let’s calculate the efficiency of both hosting’s support by actually contacting them.
WP Engine support
Both these hostings were very fast in responding to our requests. They were easily reachable. However, WP Engine support had more expertise and was quick and efficient compared to Bluehost.
Winner:- WP Engine.
Last Two Years
WP Engine is a company built by lovers of technology. They enjoy pushing the boundaries of the services and products they work with on a daily basis. As evidence, you only need to look at their project Mercury. This is an innovative new platform that will deliver WordPress website server speeds at 10 times the current rate. While still in testing, it shows the commitment WP Engine has to developing the best service possible for their clients.
Bluehost offers a variety of features, and their upper-level hosting packages include the use of open source programs like OpenStack, instant provisioning, RAID storage and the ability to add storage on-the-fly. However, their technological advancements do not match up to the achievements WP Engine has been able to present in the last few years.
WP Engine has had several comments about their fairly functional control panel. Many customers come from other web hosts that use more elaborate control panels like cPanel. When they come to WP Engine, it takes them a little time to get used to the custom control panel the company uses. However, most customers agree that the unique benefits of the WP Engine systems like pre-staging more than makes up for the plain look of the control panel itself.
Bluehost has adapted and modified the cPanel control panel to come up with a unique design. With a single sign-on, clients can access a single location to manage their email, billing, domains and much more.
Bluehost cPanel: Try Demo
Winner:- Bluehost, cPanel is the most used control panel and easiest of all.
WP Engine Vs Bluehost – My Recommendation
After extensive testing over several months, and closely evaluating the strengths of WP Engine vs Bluehost, my recommendation is to use WP Engine. While the entry-level cost is a little higher than Bluehost, the gains in speed, stability, reliability, customer support and advances in technology far outweigh the potential savings at a mass web hosting company like Bluehost.
If you are not looking for a WordPress CMS hosting and are on a tight budget, Bluehost is a better choice.
As you can see from the above result, Bluehost is a very reliable hosting for the price you pay, considering WP Engine is 3 times expensive than Bluehost.
Also Read:- Bluehost Or HostGator comparison review.
Noor is a well-known webhosting blogger and industry analyst. Since 2006, he has tested a wide variety of web hosting services and posted the results on his popular blog, InlineHostBlogger.com. For each review, he extensively tests each web hosting company personally, or with his hand-picked team of technicians.