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): 99.75%. Your website could be down potentially up to 10 hours with this uptime percentage. This is the worst uptime we have tested in our series of web host reviews. It affects you directly because every minute your website is down it costs you money.
It is plain to see that WP Engine has a much better uptime percentage then Bluehost. 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
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:
- Average speed of website running with WP Engine (Optimized 10 sites): 1.3 seconds.
- Average speed of website running with Bluehost (Optimized 10 sites): 1.8 seconds.
It is plain to see that WP Engine beats Bluehost in website speed by .5 seconds. While this may not seem like a long time, when you are talking about serving thousands of pages it adds up fast. Below you’ll find the speed test result of Wpengine.com and Bluehost.com. Wpengine.com loaded much faster than Bluehost.com even after having a much higher page size.
Winner :- WP Engine
Server Response Time
What is server response time? It is the amount of time it takes for a web host server to deliver all of the elements of a webpage to your browser. WP Engine is able to deliver a fast server response time mainly due to their 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 server response times are not that different than their sister hosting services. This is a breakdown of the server response times for both Bluehost and WP Engine:
- Average server response time of WP Engine for last 6 months (10 optimized sites): 200 ms.
- Average Server response time of Bluehost for last 6 months (Same 10 optimized sites): 290 ms.
Again, WP Engine has a clear lead over Bluehost. WP Engine clocks in at 200 ms for average server response time during our study, while Bluehost came in at 290 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.[visualizer id=”2049″]
Winner :- WP Engine
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.
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.
This chart has a detailed look at all of the prices and plans of both WP Engine and Bluehost.
|Features||Wpengine Personal Plan||Wpengine Professional Plan||Bluehost Shared||Bluehost Plus|
|Disk Space||10 GB||20 GB||100 GB||Unlimited|
|Control Panel||Its Own Panel||Its Own Panel||cPanel||cPanel|
|For 1 Month||$29.00/mo||$99.99/mo||No Monthly Plans||No Monthly Plans|
|12 month Plan||$29/mo + 2 month free hosting.||$99/mo + 2 month free hosting||$6.99||$8.95|
|2 Year Term||Nil||Nil||$6.55||$8.95|
|3 Year Term||Nil||Nil||$5.55||$8.95|
|Sign Up Now!||Sign Up Now!||Sign Up Now!||Sign Up Now!|
Winner :- Bluehost
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.
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 theirproject 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 make 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.
Winner:- Bluehost, cPanel is the most used control panel and easiest of all.