I've been a WordPress and web hosting user for many years, and a question the other day stumped me. Someone mentioned a recommendation for Bluehost, but the question was whether Bluehost was a better choice than WordPress for new bloggers.
Why Compare Bluehost with WordPress?
New bloggers often need help with many tough decisions, especially when unfamiliar with the technologies and services available. One of the most important decisions you'll face is the platform on which to create your blog.
That's especially true since Google has become increasingly demanding on websites, insisting on speed, design formats, and other foundational elements that make it hard to “fix” websites later in the game.
While it may seem like a comparison of apples and oranges, the core infrastructure you choose can contribute much to your blog's success.
When choosing between Bluehost vs. WordPress, understanding the details is essential.
Bluehost or WordPress – What to Compare?
Now that we know the difference between these properties, we can see the actual comparison between Bluehost and WordPress.com. The latter may sound much more convenient than Bluehost for new bloggers on the surface since it's an “all-in-one” service. However, the devil is in the detail.
After all, Bluehost is one of only three web hosting companies that WordPress.org recommends to run the CMS.
Let's take a closer look at factors that may sway your choice.
1. Ease of Use
Both WordPress.com and Bluehost plans are incredibly user-friendly. You get a “ready to go” experience and can start using the CMS out of the box once you've happy with the customizations. There's almost no technical requirement to get started on either side.
Bluehost is notably known for its user-friendly interface, which is easy for the newest web hosting users. They provide an impressive array of tools to help get anything done faster. Good examples include a website builder, a 1-Click application installation utility, and many helpful resources.
With WordPress.com, you can create an account and jump right into the WordPress CMS dashboard without needing to tweak anything else. I guess that's what they mean when referring to a “running start.”
Between WordPress.com and Bluehost, the latter's performance has been proven multiple times over the years. From high user opinions to our test metrics, Bluehost servers regularly top speed trials.
The overall performance of your WordPress blog will depend on many factors. However, one metric that depends primarily on the host is Time to First Byte (TTFB). That's the time the web hosting server initially takes to respond to any query.
Unless you're on one of their higher-tier premium plans, customizing your blog on WordPress.com is an impossible nightmare. Conversely, even the most basic WordPress hosting plans on Bluehost allows you great control over your blog.
Bluehost allows customers lots of freedom for their WordPress blogs. You'll be able to run ads, install and customize any theme, plus choose from any of the thousands of WordPress plugins available online.
WordPress.com offers you five plans (including the free one). These plans are segmented primarily by price and features included. However, that's different from what scalability is about. Scalability means room to grow, which lets your blog cope with more significant visitor volumes.
Because of how WordPress.com plans are structured, it's nearly impossible to anticipate the limits of what those plans can support.
Bluehost offers a formidable range of web hosting plans, almost all of which can run WordPress. Smaller blogs can use their cheap shared hosting plans on a lower scale. Once you outgrow that, move on to Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting or even an entire dedicated server.
The price of web hosting concerns almost all new bloggers. After all, it's an ongoing expense, not just a one-off affair. WordPress.com may sound highly appealing with its free plan, but unless you don't plan to grow your blog, it's best to avoid getting too attached to the term “free.”
Bluehost plans start at a low price of $2.95/mo, while WordPress.com starts free. However, remember that the WordPress.com free plan comes with many restrictions. To give you an idea of how cost affects the plans at WordPress.com, let's compare a few areas;
Bluehost offers all WordPress plan users a free domain name. Comparatively, free plan users on WordPress.com can't even connect a custom domain name.
Bluehost allows all WordPress plan users to run website ads. WordPress.com not only disallows that on free plans but they force you to run their ads on your website.
Bluehost offers comprehensive multi-channel support to all its customers. WordPress.com only provides support to users of its Premium tier and above.
Bluehost allows all users to connect Google (or other) analytics platforms to their websites. At WordPress.com, this is only available on their Premium tier and above.
As you can see, unless you're ok with a highly crippled website, it makes more sense to start your WordPress blog at Bluehost instead of WordPress.com, even if it costs a bit more upfront.
Final Thoughts – We Recommend Bluehost for New Bloggers
The primary concern I have with new bloggers comparing Bluehost vs. WordPress is how easy it is to get seduced by the thought of running your blog for free. However, unless you seriously can't afford Bluehost's $2.95/mo starting price, I don't advocate choosing WordPress.com.
The long-term prognosis of using WordPress.com is that it will cost you a lot more once you get fed up with the restrictions imposed. Realistically speaking, WordPress.com becomes practical only at the Premium tier and above, which will cost you $8/mo, more than double what Bluehost charges.
Be it in price, scalability, or anything else; I highly recommend considering Bluehost for hosting your new WordPress blog. Meanwhile, have fun, and remember to prioritize performance over design when building your blog.
More About Bluehost
As you can see by now, WordPress.com and WordPress.org revolve around the WordPress application. The main difference is that one includes web hosting while the other does not. Bluehost, however, is an entirely different matter.
Bluehost is a company that provides web hosting services. The term is quite generic, but it means you can run any platform on Bluehost plans. While WordPress is fantastic, it's only one (albeit the most popular) of many blogging platforms available.
For example, you can use Bluehost to host a blog that runs on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or anything else you prefer.
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More About WordPress.com
WordPress is most commonly known as a Content Management System (CMS). It's a web application that allows users to quickly and easily create and manage websites, blogs, or even online shops.
Once you've built your WordPress website, you can use its tools to easily create, edit, and manage your blog content. The best part of all is that WordPress is free to use. However, the part that may lead to some confusion is that there are two versions of WordPress.
WordPress.org – The Official Website for WordPress
WordPress.org is the official website for WordPress. Here you can download the WordPress application and access development and other information. Obtaining your copy of WordPress from this website means you need a web hosting plan on which to run the application.
With this self-hosted version of WordPress, you will have to take care of the application's installation, configuration, security, and updates. The upside is that you can choose any web hosting service provider and gain complete control over your WordPress website.
Since WordPress.org doesn't offer web hosting, you shouldn't worry too much about this option in comparing Bluehost and WordPress.
WordPress.com – Official WordPress Hosting
WordPress.com is a website run by Automattic, the company behind the original development of WordPress. It provides hosting services centered around WordPress. Here you can run a WordPress website for free and upgrade to paid plans when your site becomes more established.
While that may sound appealing, WordPress.com imposes many restrictions on users of its free service. For example, you can't connect a custom domain name, run ads on your website, and have limitations on plugin use.