Bluehost vs WordPress – Which is Better for Beginner Bloggers?

by | Aug 1, 2022

This Bluehost vs WordPress comparison is between Bluehost web hosting provider and WordPress.com – a fully hosted CMS or content management system.

Bluehost is a web hosting company that will allow you to host websites powered by different software like Joomla, Drupal, OpenCart, Magento, HTML, Laravel, Ruby on Rails, WordPress, etc.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is one particular hosted implementation of the popular web development software – WordPress.

You can download WordPress separately from WordPress.org and install it on any web server (including Bluehost) that supports WordPress.

Since WordPress.com only hosts WordPress, you cannot build any site other than a WordPress website on the WordPress.com platform.

As a solopreneur or digital nomad looking to start a blog, which platform should you select? This Bluehost vs WordPress comparative review will help you decide.

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself and believe can add value to your business. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊

Bluehost vs WordPress: TL;DR

Pros of Bluehost

  • Allows building websites with self-hosted WordPress. This allows endless customizations.
  • Offers scalability as the website grows. Shared hosting users can switch to VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting as required.
  • Offers a free SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt.
  • Provides a simple website builder that integrates with WordPress.
  • No restrictions on installing WordPress plugins and premium themes.
  • Provides Cloudflare integration for CDN services.
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Pros of WordPress

  • Since it is a fully hosted WordPress CMS hosting, WordPress.com takes care of all technical issues related to WordPress updates and errors.
  • Provides a free plan that users can use to create a free personal blog.
  • Takes care of SSL certificates.
  • WordPress and certain plugins come preinstalled. Users can start creating a WordPress site straightaway.
  • Allows uploading video for all plans except the Personal plan.
  • Offers advanced SEO tools from the Business plan onward.
Try WordPress

Bluehost vs WordPress: Detailed Comparison

Bluehost and WordPress comparison breakdown by features:

  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Personalization
  • eCommerce
  • Security
  • Monetization Tools
  • Customer Support
  • Pricing

Bluehost vs WordPress: Features

Features offered by a hosting service can have a big impact on your online business success. Both Bluehost and WordPress offer various features but who wins?

Bluehost:

Bluehost allows scalability that WordPress cannot. If your website outgrows the resources of a Bluehost shared hosting, you can seamlessly switch to their VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting.

Additionally, Bluehost provides features such as:

  • Website management and certain aspects of web hosting management through cPanel.
  • Free domain for one year.
  • Free SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt.
  • CDN feature through Cloudflare integration.
  • Unlimited bandwidth.
  • Access to free and premium WordPress themes and plugins.
  • Unlimited websites (except for the Basic plan).

Moreover, Bluehost offers 16 different web hosting pricing plans that cater to people with different needs and budgets.

WordPress:

WordPress web hosting service offers only shared hosting. Thus, if your website grows big, you must migrate to another hosting provider that can scale with your growing needs.

Some of the prominent features that WordPress.com offers include:

  • Free domain registration for a year across all plans.
  • Limited storage (depends on the plan) and unmetered bandwidth.
  • Jetpack plugin with essential features.
  • Free SSL.
  • Unlimited websites on the free hosting plan, but the paid plans allow only one domain.

The pricing plans of WordPress.com are simple. There are only four plans available, making it easy to choose.

Winner: Bluehost because it allows scalability and offers a wide range of pricing plans suitable for different budgets.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: Ease of Use

Web hosting services must make it easy for rookie users to build and launch websites.

Bluehost:

bluehost-vs-wordpress-bluehost-guided-wordpress-installation

To use WordPress CMS with Bluehost, you must install WordPress on your server. Bluehost makes it easy with a guided installation process. You just need to answer a few questions and Bluehost will install the software in the correct server folder.

During the installation process, you can select one of the many free themes or stay with the default theme.

bluehost-wordpress-dashboard

Once the installation is complete, you can visit the dashboard of your WordPress website and start customizing your site with free or premium themes and various WordPress plugins directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Depending on your hosting plan, you can install multiple websites on the same hosting account. And yes, you can use a custom domain irrespective of the hosting plan you select.

WordPress

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-dashboard

Building a WordPress website with WordPress.com is easy. You don’t need to install WordPress CMS because it is already installed.

With the free hosting plan, you only need to create your account and you will enter the WordPress dashboard with pre-configured WordPress plugins and some free themes.

The user dashboard on WordPress.com is neatly organized and you can start creating your blog posts right away.

However, the dashboard is dramatically different from self-hosted WordPress installations (that is, you install WordPress CMS using hosting services like Bluehost).

That doesn’t mean that the dashboard is complex. It is very simple and you can easily find everything you need to start your blog within a few clicks.

The free plan will not allow using any custom domain. Your WordPress website’s domain will be at WordPress.com (something like yourblog.wordpress.com). To use a custom domain and remove WordPress.com ads, you will need at least the Personal Plan.

Winner: Tie because both hosts have incredibly simple and well-organized navigation.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: Personalization

Personalizing your blog is important. Customizations allow you to create your brand identity.

Bluehost:

bluehost-adding-themes

With Bluehost, you can endlessly customize your WordPress website whether it is a simple blog or an online store.

Since you get a self-hosted version of the WordPress CMS, you can use both free themes and premium themes right from the beginning.

There is no restriction on the usage of WordPress plugins, either. You can choose to use any from the massive repository of 50,000+ plugins.

If you want, you can even use premium plugins not available through the repository.

Bluehost will not restrict you from customizing or personalizing your website irrespective of the hosting plan you use.

You can also use Bluehost’s drag-and-drop builder from inside your WordPress dashboard and use the AI-driven themes that Bluehost offers.

WordPress

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-themes-gallery

Unfortunately, customization options are very limited with WordPress. With the free plan, you cannot use any premium theme or install any plugin.

Your WordPress instance will come pre-installed with some plugins that are necessary. Even the paid Personal and Premium Plans will not allow adding your own plugins.

Premium themes will be allowed only when you upgrade to the Premium Plan. Yes, even the Personal Plan will not allow premium themes.

Winner: Bluehost because it allows customization for any hosting plan you want.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: eCommerce Features

If you want to sell products or services online, you must select a hosting provider that can support an eCommerce site.

Bluehost:

bluehost-ecommerce-features

While none of the hosting plans of Bluehost will restrict you from creating an online store, it is ideal not to use the basic shared plans. They don’t have sufficient server resources to support advanced eCommerce features.

You can, of course, go for the most expensive shared hosting plan, or simply opt for their WooCommerce hosting plan.

If you don’t want your online store to be powered by WordPress, you can always use other software like OpenCart, ZenCart, Magento, etc. It is important that you select VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, or Cloud hosting.

If you choose a WooCommerce plan, you will get advanced features like email marketing, unlimited products, manual order creation, discount codes, online booking & appointment scheduling, customer product reviews, local & country tax management, subscriptions, etc. depending on the plan you select.

WordPress:

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-ecommerce-features

With WordPress.com, you will need their eCommerce plan for hosting online stores. No other plan will allow that.

Even that plan lacks some advanced features like email marketing, online booking & appointment scheduling, local & country tax management, subscriptions, discount codes, etc.

Of course, you can add plugins to extend the power of WooCommerce, but too many plugins can cause conflicts and errors.

They do have features like integrations with shipping carriers, payment acceptance in 60+ countries, etc. While they are definitely helpful, they are often not sufficient.

If you ever want to try different eCommerce CMS platforms like ZenCart or Magento, you cannot do that.

Winner: Bluehost because it offers more advanced features for WooCommerce and even allows other eCommerce CMS platforms.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: Security

Security of your WordPress website is important. Who provides better security?

Bluehost Security:

bluehost-security-features

To secure your WordPress websites hosted with Bluehost, you will need additional plugins and services.

Bluehost also provides security features like DDoS protection (via Cloudflare), SSL certificates, server monitoring, etc., but for additional features like email spam protection, automatic backups, etc., you must purchase and attach additional third-party services to your Bluehost account.

If you use WordPress to create websites, you can avoid purchasing the additional security features offered by Bluehost and use various free and premium plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, etc, to reinforce the security of your websites.

You can even purchase Cloudflare premium plans to build a nearly impregnable security layer.

Automated backups are available with their Choice Plus and Pro plans of shared hosting. If you opt for a cheaper plan, you must arrange for backs by yourself.

WordPress Security:

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-security-features

All hosting plans of WordPress come with a web firewall, SSL certificate, malware scanner, and anti-spam protection. Automated backups are available only for their Business Plan and eCommerce Plan.

If you need advanced security through Cloudflare, you can do that, but you must pay $5 a month to use the Automatic Platform Optimization plugin with the Personal and the Premium Plan. Business and eCommerce plans include this plugin by default.

Winner: Tie because you need to depend on third-party services for creating a security umbrella for the WordPress websites.

Try Bluehost Try WordPress

Bluehost vs WordPress: Monetization Tools

You may want to monetize your blog with ads to earn revenue and sustain your blog.

Bluehost:

bluehost-monetization-tools

There are no special monetization tools, but you can always use ad codes from ad networks like Google Adsense, Mediavine, etc. All hosting plans of Bluehost will allow you to monetize your blog.

Also, if you want to create gated content, you can do that by using any hosting plan. However, you will need some plugins to create gated content.

WordPress:

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-monetization-tools

The free plan of WordPress.com will force you to show WordPress ads. The paid Personal Plan will remove the ads, but you cannot monetize your content.

Monetization is possible only when you upgrade to their Premium Plan or Business Plan or eCommerce Plan.

Again, there are no special monetization tools. You can just insert ad codes to monetize your content.

With WordPress, gated content is possible only for paid plans using already available tools.

Winner: Bluehost because ad-based monetization is available for all hosting plans whereas WordPress doesn’t allow that for their paid Personal Plan.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: Customer Support

Customer support is vital for any website owner to deal with technical issues.

Bluehost:

bluehost-customer-support

Bluehost offers 24/7 live chat support along with round-the-clock email and phone support for all hosting plans – even the cheapest Bluehost plan. You can also access their help articles anytime you need them.

WordPress:

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-customer-support

The free plan will not provide live chat or email support. The Personal and Premium plans will offer basic live chat support and email support only from Monday to Friday. 24×7 support is available only for their Business and eCommerce plans.

Winner: Bluehost because you get 24×7 support irrespective of the hosting plan.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: Pricing

For a solopreneur and a digital nomad launching a website for the first time, pricing is an important concern.

Bluehost Pricing:

bluehost-pricing-plans

Bluehost provides both WordPress and shared hosting at the same price. In fact, they have the same plans. Remember, free SSL certificates are available for all plans. Also, you get a free domain name for all plans.

Assuming that you want WordPress hosting, here is what Bluehost offers:

Basic Hosting Plan:

  • $2.95 a month for an annual plan but renews at $9.99.
  • $4.95 a month for a 3-year plan but renews at $9.99.
  • 1 WordPress website.
  • 10 GB SSD storage.
  • Website builder.

Plus Hosting Plan:

  • $5.45 a month for an annual plan but renews at $14.99
  • $7.95 a month for a 3-year plan but renews at $13.99.
  • Unlimited WordPress websites.
  • 20 GB SSD storage.
  • Website builder.

Choice Plus Hosting Plan:

  • $5.45 a month for an annual plan but renews at $18.99.
  • $7.95 a month for a 3-year plan but renews at $18.99.
  • Unlimited websites.
  • 40 GB SSD storage.
  • Website builder.

Pro Hosting Plan:

  • $13.95 a month for an annual plan but renews at $28.99.
  • $18.95 a month for a 3-year plan but renews at $26.99.
  • Unlimited WordPress website.
  • 100 GB SSD storage.
  • Website builder.

WordPress Pricing:

bluehost-vs-wordpress-wordpress.com-pricing-plans

WordPress offers a free plan with stifling restrictions. The free plan and the four paid plans offer free SSL certificates and unlimited bandwidth. All paid plans offer a free domain for one year. Here is what WordPress offers:

Free: $0 a month:

  • Unlimited websites.
  • 1 GB storage.

Personal: $7 a month:

  • 1 website.
  • 6GB storage.
  • No WordPress.com ads.
  • Payment collection.
  • Email support.

Premium: $14 a month:

  • 1 website.
  • 13 GB storage.
  • No WordPress.com ads.
  • Payment collection.
  • Ad revenue.
  • Premium themes.
  • Email & live chat support.

Business: $33 a month:

  • 1 website.
  • 200 GB storage.
  • No WordPress.com ads.
  • Payment collection.
  • Ad revenue.
  • Premium themes.
  • Install plugins.
  • Advanced search engine optimization tools.
  • Automated site backups.
  • Email & live chat support.

eCommerce: $59 a month:

  • 1 website.
  • 200 GB storage.
  • No WordPress.com ads.
  • Payment collection.
  • Ad revenue.
  • Premium themes.
  • Install plugins.
  • Advanced search engine optimization tools.
  • Automated site backups.
  • Shipping carrier integration.
  • Payment acceptance in 60+ countries.
  • Email & live chat support.

Winner: Bluehost because the entry prices are cheaper and offer more freedom with self-hosted WordPress.

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Bluehost vs WordPress: FAQ

Is WordPress free with Bluehost?

The open-source WordPress software is free to use with all web hosts including Bluehost. However, you must install the WordPress CMS unlike WordPress web hosting with WordPress.com. With WordPress.com, WordPress software comes pre-installed.

How do Bluehost and WordPress work together?

Bluehost is a hosting solution that allows hosting web applications. WordPress – a content management system, is essentially an installable software that can be installed on Windows or Linux operating systems with web servers (like Apache, Nginx, IIS, LiteSpeed, etc.) installed on them.

Even WordPress.com has servers with Windows or Linux operating systems and web servers. The WordPress CMS is pre-installed on those web servers. In fact, all hosting providers, by default, allow installing the WordPress software.

Which one is better – Bluehost or WordPress?

Bluehost is better than WordPress because it allows hosting various types of web applications including WordPress while WordPress.com allows hosting on WordPress sites.

Also, Bluehost allows more customizations. It also provides powerful WooCommerce hosting with more advanced features for online stores compared to WordPress.com.

Try Bluehost Try WordPress

Bluehost vs WordPress: Summary

The major pros of Bluehost vs WordPress.com include the ability to customize self hosted WordPress.org installations, better customer support, and being able to scale as your website grows.

As a solopreneur or blogger on a shoestring budget, Bluehost is likely a better choice if you want unlimited customizations, powerful eCommerce features, and the ability to scale as your business grows.

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