Today, Bluehost and WPEngine are sought-after hosting companies in the market. However, choosing between the two can be a daunting prospect.
Good news! The difference comes in when it comes to pricing. Bluehost offers scalable plans for shared hosting, while WPEngine’s plans and pricing are premium managed.
These two providers, however, are WordPress specific, meaning they are excellent for WordPress sites.
Not to worry, though, we’ll provide you with an in-depth comparison to help you choose the right hosting for your site. And hey, we’re not to focus on features because that’s something you can find easily by reading each host’s reviews.
We’ll take you through each host’s performance and provide you with extensive information to help you make the right choice.
Bluehost vs WPEngine Comparison
Opting for a website with poor performance is less of driving a car with an old engine. So, to compare each host’s performance, we conducted a test using the Avada theme. Afterward, we installed some popular plugins, such as SEO and Yoast, along with a full Avada demo site.
The main aim of doing this was to create a generic WordPress site and see how it works. The performance for each host was reasonably good, and as such, we had to make some observations.
- Bluehost-: Bluehost comes in handy with the Endurance Cache solution. So, to observe its functionality on different servers, we had to enable the Cache feature at an average level. The data center we used to conduct this test is Utah-based.
- WPEngine-: It comes with page and object caching through its EverCache solution. The data center we used for WPEngine, was based in South Carolina.
But, before performing the above tests, we had to run Bluehost and WPEngine through a WebPageTest. Below are some of the configurations we did:
- We ran nine separate tests and picked the median value.
- Test Server-: On a server-based in Chicago, IL, establishing connections was hard, and as such, we had to locate data centers for both hosting providers.
- Connection-: both hosting guarantees download speeds of 20Mbps.
Afterward, we performed a Load Impact test on these two hosting companies. Below are the reports for load speeds we recorded:
- A maximum of 50 site visits
- An average of five minutes of loading time
- It exhibits high uptime in a server located in Columbus.
For excellent results, we had to perform those for four subsequent days. In short, the recorded data is based on four different Load Impact tests and 36 various speed tests.
Web Pages Test
WPEngine takes pride in the fast speeds it offers. This is what you’d have expected due to the pricing difference between the two hosts.
From each test we performed, WPEngine loaded half-time faster than Bluehost. The difference is even more significant, according to the first byte data. This is a technique used to determine the delivery time from the server. In other words, it helps you understand the responsiveness of your server.
That said, WPEngine guarantees excellent delivery time compared to Bluehost. WPEngine takes about 10 percent of what Bluehost takes to respond. Bluehost, on the contrary, takes about 1.4 seconds before configuring your site.
Load Impact data determines the effectiveness of a host on a given scale. For instance, we analyzed the performance of each host under a range of 50 visitors browsing a site in five minutes.
The results? First, a single visitor would browse through the site, after which the number slowly increases within the five minutes. In the long run, all 50 visitors are browsing at the same time.
But, the big question: Is the host in the picture capable of loading faster for the 50th visitor as it does for the first visitor?
We tested Bluehost with our caching system, and the results were promising compared to their own caching system. At the 40th visitor, the difference in page load times was despicable. It kept on increasing, thus a good show.
However, having enabled Bluehost’s built-in caching system, the page load speeds kept on increasing. Bluehost maintained its page load speeds for all the 50 visitors.
That being said, it’s no doubt that WPEngine wins in all the three tests with an average load speed of 500ms for all 50 visitors. Bluehost, on the other hand, took around two seconds for a page to load.
To sum up, with Bluehost’s caching system enabled, handling up to 50 visitors is a no brainer even with the cheapest package. But WPEngine still surpasses Bluehost in this category.
So far, so good, WPEngine guarantees faster speeds than Bluehost. However, that brings us back to another interesting question: Is Bluehost fast enough?
As discussed earlier, Bluehost takes an average of 3ms to deliver a site while WPEngine takes half of Bluehost’s time before it can start running. But, does this difference matter?
Well, according to John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, says; ‘I often check http://webpagetest.org and aim for <2-3 secs.’ That’s okay because Google is something that needs maximum attention.
Things are a little bit different with Pingdom’s data. Its site loading time is 3.21 seconds – roughly what Bluehost takes to load.
Having plotted a bounce rate against page load times for Pingdom’s data, the average load time wasn’t good. Here is what we observed:
- In two seconds, the average bounce rate for pages is 9 percent.
- Once the page load time gets above the third second, the bounce rates start increasing.
Typically, going below the two-second mark is critical, especially when it comes to bounce rates. While Bluehost doesn’t guarantee that, WPEngine does pretty well.
That said, investing in WPEngine is the right decision you can ever make while looking to make an impact on your website.
Having gone through the entire post, we believe that you find answers to your questions. We’ve discussed each of the hosts and even narrowed down to its performance to make things easier for you. So, very quickly, let’s do a brief wrap up on some of the things you may want to consider when choosing a hosting company.
WPEngine, being a managed WordPress host, it offers other notable features such as daily backups, easy-to-use platform, among others. Also, these two providers operate on different dashboards. WPEngine works entirely on a custom dashboard, whereas Bluehost uses a custom dashboard along with cPanel.
Lastly, payment methods also vary. While WPEngine allows you to pay monthly, Bluehost makes you pay for a year upfront.