Wix vs Bluehost: a web builder versus the web host
In this Wix vs Bluehost comparison, I’ll look at the two online services giants and find out how they stack up against each other. Here, you’ll find a comparison of Wix’s and Bluehost’s pricing, ease-of-use, extra features, performance, security, and support.
At first glance, this may strike you as strange — comparing two entirely different services.
After all, Wix is a popular website builder that allows you to quickly and easily create eye-catching websites.
Bluehost, on the other hand, is a hosting provider that lets you build a website using the content management system (CMS) of your choice. Though the focus lies on the ever-so-popular WordPress.
Well, it is actually very much possible to compare Wix and Bluehost. In fact, this is a choice many people face when they want to create their first website. Especially considering the popularity of both companies. Also, the fact that both target beginners.
So which one is better? Is there even a better one? There’s only one solution to this: let’s put these two companies to the test.
Wix vs Bluehost: general info
Wix and Bluehost are leaders in their industries targeting beginner users who need to easily build a site. Website builder Wix is easier to use and offers stunning templates to quickly build your site. Bluehost, meanwhile, offers much cheaper hosting plans which utilize a powerful control panel.
Before we jump into the deep end of things if you’re just looking for the final verdict, here’s your ticket to the conclusion. Alternatively, you can join me on this wild journey.
|Pricing:||from $3.95/mo||Free option exists|
|Ease of use:||Native dashboard and cPanel||Intuitive website builder|
|Performance:||99.99% uptime and 361ms response time||99.99% uptime, 461ms response time|
|Security:||Free SSL and server monitoring||Free SSL, automatic backups, server monitoring, DDoS protection|
|Support:||24/7 live chat and phone||Ticketing system and callback requests|
When it comes to price Wix vs Bluehost has a clear frontrunner. Wix is considerably more expensive than Bluehost. Its paid plans range from $14.00/month to $39.00/month. It has many plans ranging from simple sites to plans offering eCommerce functionalities. Wix also conveniently offers a free plan, unlike Bluehost. In contrast, Bluehost’s most popular plans — shared hosting — range from $3.95/month to $13.95/month.
To get a better understanding, let’s see how both providers’ cheapest plans stack up against each other.
First, there are a few similarities between the two: both providers offer a free domain and a free SSL certificate and allow hosting one site. That’s where the differences begin:
- Wix Combo ($14/mo) comes with 3GB storage, 30min video time, and no Wix ads on the website.
- Bluehost Basic ($3.95) comes with 50GB storage and 5 email accounts.
Just by looking at the entry plans, it is clear that Bluehost provides significantly more storage than Wix. However, at the end of the day, you buy just hosting services with Bluehost. With Wix, you get an advanced and modern website builder as well as hosting services.
One more important thing - Wix has a free plan. The resources are pretty limited, with only 500MB bandwidth and 500MB storage. Plus, you cannot use custom domain names, and Wix’s ads are displayed on your website. But, the plan allows you to try the builder without charge.
When it comes to the renewal, it seems that only Bluehost applies increased rates. And that’s very common in the hosting industry. So it’s no surprise that Wix (website builder) doesn’t succumb to that.
Here’s what the prices would look like:
|Provider||Plan||Billing period||Total initial price||Total renewal price|
Overall, Bluehost is significantly cheaper than Wix for the first term, but renewal will bring the prices closer.
Now that we’ve looked at the cheapest plans - let’s see which ones are truly worth your time.
Wix offers 2 packages of plans - Website plans and Business & eCommerce plans.
Website plans have 4 options to choose from, ranging from $14/mo to $39/mo with an annual billing period. Wix’s Business option has 3 plans ranging from $23/mo to $49/mo with an annual billing period.
Depending on your needs, there are two plans I suggest you take a look at:
- The Combo ($14/mo) plan will be great if you’re looking to run a personal website or a small business site. It offers all the needed basic features for such websites.
- Business Unlimited ($27/mo) is the best fit for small businesses looking for eCommerce functionality and extra security. It includes more storage, assigned ad credit, and extra marketing tools.
Wix two very well-equipped plans - Combo and Business Unlimited. By choosing an annual billing, your yearly total would be $168 with Combo and $324 with Business Unlimited. Keep in mind that you can score a discount during the purchase.Check Wix Pricing Now
Alternatively, Bluehost offers 4 shared hosting plans with prices between $3.95/mo and $13.95/mo with an annual billing period.
Even though Plus and Choice Plus come for the same price point, Plus renews for $13.99 compared to Choice Plus for $18.99. For that reason, I believe Plus to be the best option.
- Plus ($5.95/mo) allows connecting an unlimited number of websites and offers unlimited SSD storage in comparison to the Basic plan.
Talking about the Pro plan, it is simply not worth it for the price point it comes. For that cost, you could purchase a cheap yet much more powerful VPS.
Bluehost’s Plus plan offers the best value for money. With an annual billing term, the plan will cost you $5.95/mo or $71.40 in total. The renewal brings it up to $167.88 per annum.Check Bluehost Pricing Now
One more thing to mention - both providers also have slightly different money-back guarantees. While Bluehost offers the standard 30-day money-back guarantee, Wix only gives you 14 days to make up your mind. Then again, it does have a free plan for you to test for as long as you wish.
All in all, Bluehost is much cheaper when it comes to hosting and offers more server resources. On the other hand, Wix might turn out more budget-friendly in the long run as it’s an all-included platform, and you won’t need to invest in anything else.
Hosting management: ease of use
In this Wix vs Bluehost comparison, both providers pull through when it comes to ease of use. Wix utilizes a stylish custom-made control panel to let you manage your website. Bluehost, on the other hand, opts to provide its users with a native management area with a customized cPanel integration. Both companies also have tools to easily build websites.
Setting up a website
Both Wix and Bluehost make the website-making process as easy as possible. The two have very automated processes where only in a few clicks you’re able to see your website ready to go live.
Once you sign up to Wix, you’ll be faced with choices right away. But don’t worry, the process is truly simple. You can choose how you’d like to set up your website.
You can choose a template and play around with the layout yourself. Alternatively, you can rely on Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) to make those choices for you.
If you pick the ADI route, all you’ll have to do is make a few choices like what kind of website you plan to run, the color scheme, and general style.
Once that’s done, you just have to add your content. Keep in mind that this approach only allows you to choose between existing templates and their layouts. This is a much faster way to build a website, than editing every detail. However, it has much more limited customization options.
You get to choose the layout of your site and edit the existing blocks, but it's not a drag-and-drop.
However, if you choose to set up the site yourself, you get to choose a template of your liking first. Wix offers over 400 modern-looking templates, and every single one is as sleek as you can imagine.
And then, you are free to customize the site as you like with a drag-and-drop. This way, you have a much wider customization spectrum. You can drag and drop any element to anywhere you like. There are no rules.
Bluehost’s website setup, similarly, is just as easy. The very first time you log in to your Bluehost account, you’ll see this screen.
Here you can start setting up your website. All you have to do is answer a few questions, name your site and pick a theme for the site. And, that’s it, it’s that simple. Your site is ready. Keep in mind that this automatic setup installs only WordPress.
Simply put, Wix and Bluehost are very quick and easy to use when it comes to setting the foundation for your site.
Website management area
Now, talking about the service/site management area, both Wix and Bluehost are just as easy to use. Wix is an intuitive builder, and its service management area mostly features your account-related information. Meanwhile, Bluehost combines a custom dashboard with cPanel integration for all hosting management-related settings.
With Wix, the whole site and account management can be found on one page. In the left side menu, you can find tools like Marketing & SEO to set up and manage your advertising campaigns. By choosing Settings, you’ll find the main account information. Here you can also connect your domain.
At the same time, the most important settings are right there in the central part of the panel. The "Site Actions" card has the plan and email settings, while there's also a guide that will help you navigate the many features that Wix has.
As for Bluehost, the first thing you see when you log in is an extremely clean and minimalistic setup wizard. To your left, you will see a sidebar with a couple of vital items — site, app, email, and domain management options, as well as the Advanced tab to reach cPanel.
Then, right smack at the center of the page is a to-do list to get you started. This list covers important web-creation steps if you’re using WordPress.
My Site will be the main area to manage your websites.
Here each website will have a separate management interface where you’ll access all the settings like backups, performance, security, and many more. You can manage your whole site without leaving this interface.
However, for more advanced settings, Bluehost has cPanel seamlessly integrated into the native panel. You can find it under Advanced in the side menu.
And it’s really for advanced settings. More simple tools like WordPress installer, or domain management, which are typically in the cPanel, are brought out to the main dashboard. In cPanel, you can create and manage free email accounts, reach databases, or a file manager.
Altogether, there are some similarities between the Wix builder management and Bluehost hosting management, but the concepts are completely different. Wix only provides you with the front-end tools, while Bluehost gives way more control into your hands.
Extra hosting management features
In this part of Bluehost vs Wix comparison, I reviewed the extra features each provider offers to help you manage your site. Wix has App market and allows adding different roles to the site management. Alternatively, Bluehost has staging and marketing management to offer.
Wix offers hundreds of apps to add functionalities to your website. These apps cover various categories, including analytics, business tools, events, and online stores. At the bottom of each plan’s icon, you will see a brief description, the rating, and how many times it was downloaded.
Another great function that has been incorporated by Wix is Site Roles.
Here you can invite people to get access to your site’s management and assign them specific roles. Each role also specifies the level of control that person has over your site.
At the same time, Bluehost offers staging. Staging allows you to create a copy of your site where you can test all the changes and updates before you release them to the live site.
You can access this tool from your WordPress admin panel in the Bluehost plugin. To create a copy, all you need is a few clicks. The same applies to punching those changes to the live site. Easy as one-two.
Bluehost also offers marketing tools like Google My Business and Google Ads. You can easily set up a marketing campaign without leaving the dashboard.
- Google My Business allows your site to appear on Google maps by indirect queries like “best coffee place.”
- Google Ads allows managing the ads.
Overall, Wix and Bluehost have equally useful extra features to enhance your site’s functionality.
To sum up, both providers are very easy to use. Wix is one of the simplest and most flexible website builders out there. Bluehost, alternatively, is the most beginner-friendly hosting provider. More so, the two offer very useful extra features.
Wix vs Bluehost performance
Performance is what can really make or break the site. So to see which one is faster, I’ve put both providers through 3 reliability and speed-related tests. And it seems that both providers are equally reliable. However, while Bluehost was much faster, Wix managed to uphold bigger traffic.
Let’s look at a more detailed breakdown of the results.
Uptime and response time
Both Wix and Bluehost were examined over a different time. Bluehost was monitored for 2 months, while Wix had just over a month.
In that month, Wix experienced 5 outages which totaled 7 minutes of downtime. Overall, that rounds up to a great 99.99% uptime.
Talking about the average response time, Wix demonstrated a very reasonable result. Its average response time was 461ms. That, in itself, is a good result. As a reference, the average response time in the hosting industry stands at 600ms.
Bluehost, just like Wix, has demonstrated a very trustworthy uptime of 99.99%.
However, its response time was significantly faster than Wix's. Bluehost showed an average response time of 361ms. This is a very good time, and if it wasn’t for one significant jump in the middle of the examination period, it would be even more impressive.
All in all, Wix vs Bluehost faceoff came to a tie in terms of reliability. Both providers were great, with an uptime of 99.99%. Yet Bluehost gets few extra karma points for its faster average response time.
Now it’s time to see how both Wix and Bluehost would perform as fully built websites.
For that, I’ve installed templates and their demo content onto each provider’s website. However, since Wix does not use WordPress and Bluehost does, the templates are slightly different.
To create more equal conditions for this Wix vs Bluehost battle, I tested both providers from the US, and both are hosted in the US data centers.
Server location can have an impact on the website’s performance. Bluehost has data centers only in the US. And while Wix has numerous centers in the US and Europe, you don’t get to choose the location.
Now to better read the final results, here are 3 measures I pay the most attention to:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – time in which the biggest chunk of content is loaded. Best to keep it under 2.5s.
- Fully Loaded Time – any more than 3 seconds to load, and the visitors start to feel a difference.
- TTFB – this shows how fast the server recognizes and reacts to the first request. Best if it’s under 200ms.
Taking this into consideration, Wix may look worse than it really is. It’s no surprise that website builders add many elements to the website, which makes it load longer.
However, Wix barely surpassed the recommended 2.5s. Its LCP is 2.6s, and that is a very reasonable time for a fancy-looking site.
The Fully Loaded Time (8.4s) may seem very daunting at first, but it’s not as bad as it looks either. The website becomes fully interactive at 3.5s (time to interactive.) At this point, it looks like the site is fully loaded and functional, even though GTMetrix fails to label it as that.
Wix’s TTFB is just 304ms. It is just barely over the recommended 200ms, and it’s a very good time overall.
Honestly, for a website builder using so many design elements, Wix is doing great.
On the other hand, while not perfect either, Bluehost demonstrated much better results. Its LCP and Fully Loaded Time were the same - just 1.8s. Both measures are very much within the recommended time-slots.
Bluehost’s TTFB, which is at 1s, could definitely be better. This means that if the server was any quicker to react, the site might have loaded much faster.
All in all, both providers were quick, yet it is pretty obvious that this Wix vs Bluehost match had a clear winner. Bluehost was faster, yet the server responsiveness was better with Wix.
Stress testing results
The last test examines how well both providers can handle increased traffic on the site. To begin with, I send 50 virtual users (VUs) to each site and let them roam around for 5 minutes.
As 50 visitors is a relatively big number, which could seriously disrupt the server’s work or overwhelm it entirely, I usually have to repeat the test. I drop the number by 5VUs and run the test until I get a pass.
Wix passed the first test with 20 visitors. Such continuous traffic could approximately result in 20 000 monthly visits.
And it seems like that’s the max it can take. Although, the stillness of the response time (blue line) is impressive. It had no jumps and remained very flat, regardless of the increasing number of visitors (grey line.)
Yet, the red line signifies that 248 requests have failed. And that is surely not what we want.
Bluehost’s first pass was with 15VUs.
The response (blue line) is far from stable. This means that the response time is very much dependent on the number of visitors (grey line) on the site. A jump in visitors slows down the server.
However, none of the requests have failed.
In sum, both providers handled relatively similar traffic, with Wix being just a tad bit better.
Overall, both providers are similar in terms of reliability. Yet, the performance was far from equal. Bluehost was much faster, while Wix handled slightly bigger traffic.
When it comes to security, both Wix and Bluehost are quite different. Bluehost, as a hosting provider, allows you to access and manage most of the security measures. However, quite a lot of those features must be purchased separately. Wix, alternatively, has many security features already integrated, yet you have little access to them.
Both Wix and Bluehost include free SSL certificates and DDoS protection.
Wix security features:
- 24/7 website monitoring helps to prevent any malicious attacks on your site.
- PCI compliance allows keeping all the card payment transactions on the site safe.
- 2-Step Verification secures your site with an extra layer of security when logging in.
- Automatic backups work through the Site History feature. You can restore the last version very easily if needed.
Besides the free tools, most other Bluehost security features come for an extra charge:
- There is no default firewall or malware protection with Bluehost. However, you can buy it for $5.99/mo.
- To receive backup options with Bluehost, you have to purchase at least Choice Plus. Otherwise, it costs $2.99/mo extra.
All in all, it seems that Wix is much more equipped when it comes to security. It has all the features you might think of and more, yet you don’t get to manage them all. Bluehost, however, offers only the most basic features for free. Anything else can be purchased as an extra.
In terms of customer support, Wix and Bluehost are quite different. You can contact Wix’s customer support through a ticket or by requesting a callback. There is no live chat option. Meanwhile, Bluehost offers various support options, including 24/7 live chat and phone. Both companies also have a wealth of knowledge base articles on their websites.
To reach Wix's support, you’ll have to chat with a bot before you can submit a ticket or request a callback. Which is not the speediest way to deal with things.
However, even though there is no live chat option, Wix processes tickets very quickly. So you won't be stuck waiting for a reply for days.
More so, Wix’s callback is free and available in many languages — including English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The support in English is the only one available 24/7 while others keep different hours. Free callbacks and a variety of languages surely get Wix an extra karma point from me.
Bluehost, in contrast, is easier to reach and has more support options. Thankfully, it can be contacted via live chat. Even better, there isn’t a long wait time before an agent joins the chat.
The agent was quick and informative. The conversation was no longer than 5 minutes, and I got exactly what I was looking for. However, as these are real people, agents’ knowledge levels may vary greatly.
As for the knowledge base, both Wix and Bluehost offer an extensive library of articles. You will find articles, guides, FAQs, instructions, tutorials, and more.
These articles cover pretty much everything — including getting started, plans available, billing, managing your website, and troubleshooting.
That said, Wix's and Bluehost's customer support is okay. Wix only offers tickets and callbacks. However, the tickets are processed quickly, and callbacks are free. Bluehost’s support can be reached through live chat and phone. The agents are polite and informative, but the quality of the chat depends on who you’ll get connected to.
Wix vs Bluehost: final recommendation
When it comes to Wix vs Bluehost, they both are amazing options for beginner users and those with little to no web development experience. But even with that, Wix is much easier to use, while Bluehost can also be employed for advanced projects.
|Price||Bluehost is much more affordable, with prices starting at $3.95/mo, compared to Wix at 14/mo. Yet Wix has a free plan too.|
|Interface||Both providers are easy to use in their own industries. Wix is an intuitive website builder, and Bluehost - an easy-to-use hosting provider.|
|Performance||Both providers were reliable, with an uptime of 99.99%. However, Bluehost had a better average response time - 361ms compared to Wix 461ms. Yet Wix handled a bigger traffic surge.|
|Security||Both providers include a free SSL certificate and DDoS protection in their plans. Yet while Bluehost offers only the basic security tools for free, Wix adds much more security features to your site.|
|Support||Wix offers ticketing and callback options, while Bluehost has 24/7 live chat and phone support available. Both providers also have very detailed and informative knowledge bases.|
Both Wix and Bluehost are clear leaders in their industries. The two are easy to use and powerful. However, if we’re looking from the web hosting perspective, Bluehost was much cheaper and showed better performance results. So it’s the easy web hosting solution I recommend.
At the same time, if you’re looking for a platform to build a site and stick to it, Wix might be exactly that. It makes site building extra easy and provides a ton of tools for that. No matter if you need a portfolio or online store.
Alternatives to Wix and Bluehost
If Wix and Bluehost don’t quite suit your needs, there are always other options in the market. A few great alternatives worth a look at are Hostinger and HostGator.
Popular for its super cheap prices, Hostinger caters mainly to beginners and those who are budget-conscious. It has a simple and clean interface. Additionally, the performance you’ll get will be of top quality.
Its shared hosting plans range from $1.39/month to $4.99/month.
The sister company of Bluehost, HostGator, offers various hosting solutions. In fact, it caters to both newbies and professionals. Plus, HostGator also has its own custom website builder if you want to quickly set up your site. It features a drag-and-drop editor and is very easy to use.
Its prices are rather competitive and range from $2.75/month to $5.25/month for shared hosting. For its website builder, plans start from $3.84/month.
Wix vs Bluehost FAQs
Is Bluehost better than Wix?
Bluehost is better than Wix only when it comes to pricing, website speed, and the control it allows its users. In other aspects, Wix is more secure and easier to build a site with.
Which is easier to use, Wix or Bluehost?
Wix is easier to use than Bluehost. It’s a website builder platform that’s designed for beginners. You can create your website using a visual editor by dragging and dropping the design elements where you want them to go.
Can I use Wix for free?
Yes, you can use Wix for free. Wix has a free plan that comes with 500MB bandwidth and 500MB storage.
Can I use Bluehost for free?
No, you cannot use Bluehost for free. On the other hand, if you cancel within 30 days, you will receive a full refund for your hosting service but not for most add-ons. Keep in mind that only credit card purchases are refundable.