Comparison Review: Wix vs Bluehost
Bluehost vs Wix – how do you choose between them?
If you are looking to set-up a website for the first time, it can be a little bit overwhelming. There are so many different web services out there, and it can be tough to know where to begin! What’s a web host? What’s a domain name? Where do I get them? How do I build a website? These are some of the many questions that people ask me when they are trying to start on their online journey.
If you have started doing a little bit of research online, you may have noticed that two big names in the industry are Bluehost and Wix. Both platforms provide a wide range of web services, enabling you to get online quickly and effectively. However, they are not structured in the same manner. Bluehost is predominantly a web host, whereas Wix is mainly a website builder.
Both provide a wide range of services that can help you create and maintain your online presence, although some people do decide to integrate other apps and platforms. Whether Wix or Bluehost is right for you will depend on your main goals and objectives.
I have used both platforms for several years now, and below, I will talk you through my thoughts on each one so that you can determine which one is going to be right for you.
Background information on Wix
Before I delve into the specifics of what each platform has to offer, let’s dig up some background information for you! So, Wix was established back in 2006. At the moment, there are more than 154 million Wix users, of which 4.3 million are premium users. The company was founded in 2006 by Israeli developers Giora Kaplan, Nadav Abrahami, and Avishai Abrahami. You can take a look at some examples of different websites that have been designed by Wix. This will give you a good insight into what is capable when using this solution.
Background information on Bluehost
Bluehost was established a few years before Wix, having been founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton, who left the company in 2011. It is owned by Endurance International Group, which hosts more than two million domains around the world. All the servers are operated in-house in Orem, Utah, at their own 5,000 square-feet facility.
Wix is a cloud-based platform that gives you the ability to create your own website from scratch. You can either use the ADI system and Wix will create a website for you, or you can use their templates and build your own website from scratch. Both options are straightforward.
Wix operates a drag-and-drop system for those creating their websites, and I personally prefer this way of building a site. It’s just a lot easier and more enjoyable! You can drag elements to the screen, and you can view your website exactly how it will appear in the eye of the viewer. They also have a great selection of templates to pick from as well.
As I touched upon earlier, you can use Wix ADI to have a website created for you. This is a great option for beginners who aren’t familiar with website building. ADI stands for Artificial Design Intelligence. Basically, Wix will ask you a few questions, simply select the answers that fit, and they will automatically put together the most appropriate website for you. You can still edit the site, but it gives you a good place to start, especially if you’re unsure about what is going to work for your online presence.
If you’re at the other side of the spectrum, i.e. you’ve got a lot of site building knowledge, you may want to check out Corvid by Wix, which allows you to get into the coding side of things.
What are the main features you can expect on Wix?
- Media galleries
- Scroll effects
- Unlimited fonts
- An app market
- Mobile optimization
- Advanced design features
- Stunning templates
- SEO options
- Complete design freedom
So, is Wix right for the sort of website you’re going to be building? Well, what I love about Wix is the versatility! From e-commerce stores to hotel booking websites, they have ensured there are designs and features for all types of businesses. Of course, you can also create personal blogs using Wix as well.
Wix does not only offer the ability to build your own website, but you have plenty of extras as well, including SEO features, domain names, and more.
So, hopefully, you can see that Wix is primarily a website builder. However, this is not the case with Bluehost. Website hosting is the main service provided by Bluehost, yet they do provide other features for users to take advantage of. For example, by signing up with Bluehost, you will be able to use the Weebly site builder to create your website. However, you don’t need to do this. If you want to create a website on WordPress and simply host it via Bluehost, you are able to. Bluehost purely makes your site accessible on the web, you don’t need to build your website on this platform, but it is good that the option is there for those who want to.
If you do want to use the Weebly site builder to create your website, it offers everything you would expect from a typical site builder. It also has a drag-and-drop set-up. Aside from this, other features you can expect include the likes of:
- SEO tools
- Photo galleries
- An app market for further features
- Email marketing
- Premium and free templates
- Mobile apps
- An integrated e-commerce platform
- Full HTML/CSS control
Performance, Bluehost vs Wix – Who is Best?
I hope that you now understand the differences between how Wix works and how Bluehost operates. Now, it is time to get into the nitty, gritty, and determine which service operates better.
Performance is an obvious place to start. After all, if your website is slow to load, it is going to hurt your search engine ranking. Viewers can end up getting frustrated with slow-loading sites, resulting in a high bounce rate, which will hurt the overall performance of your website.
To determine which platform operates better, I carried out a number of different tests, and I will give you an overview of my findings.
Full-page load speed
I started off by analyzing how long it took entire pages to load. There was a clear winner in this department; Bluehost. In fact, Bluehost outperformed Wix by several seconds. The underlying structure really is at play here. After all, Bluehost is a host; its job is to get your website up and running quickly. That’s their specialty. Wix isn’t so focused on this, but it does not mean that you should not be! If you do decide to use Wix, you need to optimize your site so that load speed is not a problem. You can optimize your images, for example, to boost speed.
Time to Interactive
More and more people are using their smartphones to access the Internet, and this is a trend that does not show any signs of slowing down. With the Time to Interactive test, I am looking at cross-platform compatibility. The results were very similar to the former; Bluehost was a lot quicker. If you expect a lot of mobile traffic, you’re going to really need to consider your strategy while using Wix, otherwise your site is simply going to be too slow.
Load Impact Test
The Load Impact Test is always my favorite to carry out because it assesses the performance of a website when things aren’t quite perfect! After all, you cannot guarantee perfect conditions all of the time, can you? If a lot of people are trying to visit your website at the same time, will it be able to handle it? That’s what I am trying to find out! I decided to carry out the test with several hundred visitors. I was actually surprised to see that Wix outperformed Bluehost here.
The final piece of the puzzle is uptime. After all, you need to make sure that you are available to your customers as much as possible, otherwise, you are going to be missing out on opportunities. The good news is that there is not a lot to report here; both platforms deliver exception uptime of over 99.9 percent most months, so you can be sure that your website is going to be up and running all of the time. It is impossible for 100% uptime to be offered – do keep that in mind!
Bluehost vs Wix – Overall Features Comparison
I’ve spent a lot of time using the different features that are available on both Wix and Bluehost.
Bluehost is a platform that is very flexible, as you can use it as either a framework or a CMS. Either way, you get a feature-rich set of tools.
No matter whether you do decide to go for Bluehost or Wix, the level of plan you select will dictate the features you receive, so it is vital to make sure the plan you choose provides you with the level of features you are looking for.
Here are some of the different things you can expect when choosing Bluehost:
- Numerous security features – As a hosting provider, I expect security to be of a high level with Bluehost, and it does not disappoint. The company uses a whole host of advanced security measures to prevent your projects from DDoS attacks and other security threats, as well as monitoring the web environment.
- Ecommerce functions – There are also a number of different features included that can help you to set-up an online store. Examples range from the product management system to payment options integration and shopping cart functionality.
- Optimize your website for the search engines – You can incorporate SEO plugins and features to your website with Bluehost. In fact, the company has its own team of SEO experts, which can help you to boost the visibility of your website.
- App Market – There is a marketplace on Bluehost where you will find a lot of widgets and applications that can be installed with just one click. This includes live chat, shopping carts, galleries, and contact forms.
So, what about Wix? Well, Wix has a lot of features, which are integrated already. This means you do not have to go through the process of setting up this feature manually, which is always a plus. Take building an ecommerce store, for example. To do this, all you need to do is make sure you select the relevant plan. You won’t need to go through the process of adding all of the elements manually, so it really does make it straightforward.
Here are some of the different things you can expect when choosing Wix:
- Wix Ascend – Wix Ascend is an all-in-one package, which enables you to promote and market your project effectively. You will get everything from automated lead generation services to integrated payment options with this ecommerce functionality solution.
- App Market – Like Bluehost, Wix also has an app market. You can find any widget or app you require here. This not only includes add-ons that have been developed by Wix, but applications from third parties as well.
- Wix Mobile – Another key feature that Wix offers is Wix Mobile. This gives you complete control over the mobile version of your website, ensuring that your site operates just as effectively on a smartphone as it does on a desktop computer. You can tweak this version of your website without needing to edit the desktop version.
- Create a blog with ease – It takes just one click to add a blog to your website. Whether you want a standalone blog or you’re looking to add one to your professional website, Wix makes it very easy for you to do so.
- Optimise your site for SEO – You get a set of basic tools so that you can create a website that is SEO friendly. The SEO Wizard comes with different optimization tactics that are ready to go.
Ease of use - Wix vs. Bluehost
I don’t know about you, but if I am using a platform on a daily basis, I want it to be straightforward and easy-to-use.
If you are planning on using WordPress and then powering your site through Bluehost, I think you will find that the host offers some great functionality to make your experience as seamless as possible. There are plenty of great add-ons that make the CMS easier and more enjoyable.
In terms of ease-of-use, there are a lot of boxes that Bluehost ticks, including the following:
- A custom website builder – As mentioned, you can use the Weebly site builder on Bluehost to create your website. While it is not as comprehensive as Wix, it has the desirable drag-and-drop set-up, which makes it a pleasure to use. This is included with some plans. However, you will need to buy it as an add-on for any of the cheaper and more basic plans.
- Seamless WordPress integration – Easy and quick integration with WordPress is offered. As WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System, this is a vital benefit to say the least.
- A simple and easy sign-up process – I would say that nothing is too difficult with Bluehost. It is very straightforward to use, and there are some great resources on the site if you do find yourself needing any extra help or assistance.
What about Wix? Well, Wix has ease-of-use at the core of its operations. They have ensured that those without site experience can get a website up and running with ease. This is because they provide two key ways of building a website, either via Wix ADI or through the use of Wix Editor. Let’s take a little look at both of these options…
- Wix ADI – This is a system that capitalizes on Artificial Intelligence (AI) so that a website can be created automatically for you within a matter of minutes. After signing in, the system will ask you a number of questions to determine the type of site you need, your business niche, and any features you may require. You will be provided with a ready-made website, which is good to go – all you need to do is paste your content in. Of course, if you are not happy with the end result, you are still going to be able to make changes. However, Wix ADI works very well when you have little experience and/or you need to have a site set-up as quickly as possible.
- Wix Editor – If you want to have more control and you do not like the thought of a machine doing all of the work for you, there is the option of using the Wix Editor. This will mean you can choose from the hundreds of themes that are available. These themes are split up into different categories, making it easy for you to find one that is suitable for your store. If you do not like any of the themes that are available, you can make your own!
If you do have coding knowledge and you consider yourself advanced from a technology point-of-view, Wix Corvid is worth checking out. This enables you to get involved in the coding process. Whether you want to edit template designs or create an element of your own, Corvid will give you the ability to do so. I should point out that you do not get as much freedom as you would if you used WordPress, however, a lot of the beginner site builders on the market do not enable you to get involved in coding, so it is certainly a nice touch that Wix have incorporated this.
Pricing - Bluehost or Wix?
Of course, one thing you will want to know is how much it is going to set you back every month if you sign up with either Wix or Bluehost.
Both solutions offer a number of different packages and plans for you to make the most of, so you can tailor your options to suit your needs and your budget.
How much does Wix cost?
Wix offers many different plans for you to choose from, and there is a 14-day money-back guarantee, which is always a nice touch.
As is the case with most website service providers, you are going to save money if you sign-up for a longer-term contract, so do keep this in mind.
These are the plans that Wix offers at the moment:
- Free plan – This plan is always $0, yet it has a lot of limitations. For one, you will be stuck with the Wix branding. I only ever recommended going for this option if you want to create a website for your hobbies or you’re simply looking to test a site prior to building it properly.
- Combo plan – This plan costs $18 per month, yet you can save 22 percent and reduce the cost to $14 per month if you go for the annual plan. This option will enable you to remove the Wix ads, which is very important for branding purposes!
- Unlimited Plan – This plan costs $23 per month, yet you can save 22 percent and reduce the cost to $18 per month if you go for the annual plan. You get increased storage with this option, so I recommend it for anyone who has a growing website.
- Pro Plan – This plan costs $28 per month, yet you can save 18 percent and reduce the cost to $23 per month if you go for the annual plan. This is the next step-up if you’re looking for features that will help you to brand and market your company effectively.
- VIP Plan This plan costs $47 per month, yet you can save 17 percent and reduce the cost to $39 per month if you go for the annual plan. You will get maximum storage allowance, as well as access to priority customer support.
- Business Basic Plan – This plan costs $28 per month, yet you can save 18 percent and reduce the cost to $23 per month if you go for the annual plan. As the name indicates, this is a standard and basic plan for anyone who is looking to start selling products or services online.
- Business Unlimited Plan – This plan costs $33 per month, yet you can save 18 percent and reduce the cost to $27 per month if you go for the annual plan. This is ideal if you have started to grow your store, as you will get extra features and more storage. It is worth noting that you can easily upgrade your plan at any time, so you can start with a Business Basic Plan and then move up to a Business Unlimited Plan.
- Business VIP Plan – This plan costs $56 per month, yet you can save 13 percent and reduce the cost to $49 per month if you go for the annual plan. If you need even more storage and an unrivaled level of support, this is the plan for you.
- Enterprise Plan – Finally, there is the Enterprise Plan, and prices start from $500 with this option. With this plan, you will get a fully custom and tailored plan, with a dedicated account manager. You will need to get in touch with Wix to get a quote for this option.
How much does Bluehost cost?
Just like Wix, there are many different options for you to choose from when it comes to Bluehost.
The packages can be split into three different plans:
- Shared hosting – If you are just getting started with a blog or a website, shared hosting is all that is required.
- VPS hosting – VPS is suitable for sites that are growing. If you need more control and more power, consider VPS hosting.
- Dedicated hosting – Finally, there is dedicated hosting, which is the most expensive out of all of the options. This is for websites that have huge demands in terms of power and speed.
If you are just starting out, Shared Hosting will be sufficient. You have four different Shared Hosting plans available at Bluehost. So, let’s take a quick look at these…
- Basic Plan – This plan costs $8.99 per month, yet you can get it for as cheap as $2.95 per month if you go for a 36-month plan. Please note that you will always need to pay for the plan upfront for these longer terms, though, rather than paying monthly. The Basic plan is suitable for one website. You get 50 GB SSD Storage.
- Plus Plan – This plan costs $11.99 per month, yet you can get it for as cheap as $5.45 per month if you go for a 36-month plan. This is suitable when you have numerous sites that you want to host, as you will get an unlimited number of websites and an unlimited amount of storage when you opt for this package.
- Choice Plus – This plan costs $16.99 per month, yet you can get it for as cheap as $5.45 per month if you go for a 36-month plan. This plan is very similar to the former, although you will also get free domain privacy, as well as free automated backups for one year. Do note that last point; although you would be paying for a three-year plan, you would only get this feature for one year, which is a bit annoying.
- Pro Plan – The most comprehensive of the Shared Hosting plans is the Pro Plan. This plan costs $26.99 per month, yet you can get it for as cheap as $13.95 per month if you go for a 36-month plan. With this plan, you will get a whole host of extra features, which include a free dedicated IP, free automated backups for the length of your plan, and optimized CPU resources. I would recommend this plan if you are looking to get more web power with optimized web resources.
Final verdict: Wix vs Bluehost
When it comes to the battle between Wix and Bluehost, it is important to recognize that although the platforms are very similar, they do offer a different service. After all, one is a site builder primarily, and the other is a host primarily. However, with the added services that they provide, you are able to get your site up-and-running all in one place.
In my opinion, if you are looking to build a site from scratch and you don’t have much experience, I would always recommend Wix. Wix has more options in terms of templates and customization, and it has to be my favorite website builder overall if you are looking for those site builders that enable you to get up and running quickly without compromising professionalism or your own personal branding.
However, if you would prefer to use another platform to create your site, such as WordPress, then it makes sense to use a host like Bluehost for the hosting side of things. You can ensure quick load times and excellent performance. Of course, I do need to stress that Bluehost is not the only platform out there that offers a WordPress hosting solution. There are some free WordPress hosting options, yet I do believe that going for a paid one makes sense, as you’re going to be missing some key elements with a free host.