If you run, or are thinking of running a website, then hosting will be one of the most crucial decisions that you will make.
If you are in the market for managed WordPress web hosting, or are looking to switch from your current provider, WP Engine (or WPE) is often recommended.
Its a popular choice that many bloggers, entrepreneurs and site owners opt for.
But whilst WP Engine is a great hosting provider, there are many reasons why you would want to consider a an alternative To WP Engine.
This article will present you with our best found and top rated hosting that will help you improve your sites performance, resulting user experience and reduce your monthly expenses in the process. This is why you need to swap hosting providers.
Why Would You Want an Alternative To WP Engine?
Before we begin and look at some other providers available, we must start out by stating that WP Engine is a great and effective hosting provider. If you are looking for hosting that is superior to standard shared hosting, then WP Engine is definitely an upgrade.
However, from our personal experience, WP Engine has a number of negatives which is why other alternatives may be better for you.
From our own experience, here are some of the pain-points we experienced when we ran our site through WP Engine:
- The hosting package prices are considerably higher than whats available elsewhere. Even their most affordable and cost effective solution will set you back $35 a month. This is a pretty basic plan, and to upgrade will cost you $115 a month. If you’re a larger business, then you will be looking to pay around $290 each and every month.
- Unlike other hosting provider packages, the cheapest plan is limited – only letting you host one WordPress site on a $35 a month plan. This doesn’t make financial sense if you own or run several sites.
- If you wanted to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN),you will not receive this on the cheapest $35 a month plan. You will be expected to pay an extra $19.95 a month to utilize this service which can be very effective.
- WP Engine is limited in terms of its application – some WordPress plugins and themes cannot be installed.
The Best Alternative To WP Engine
Having run several of my personal and business WordPress websites through Bluehost, I’ve been able to benefit in many ways from this reliable and much more affordable hosting provider. In the Bluehost Review that follows I will outline why this is the ideal web hosting provider, by outlining the performance metrics (uptime and load time).
Our #1 Recommendation: Bluehost
Who Are Bluehost?
Bluehost is one of the most reputable hosting services, that enables over 2 million websites to run online, from all over the world. They provide some of the best packages and most cost-effective shared hosting services, since they went live in 1996. They employ 750 employees who work across all the different time zones to ensure that they are always able to provide you with customer support.
But whilst they provide leading customer service support, and have many years of experience hosting, many of the Bluehost reviews simply regurgitate the companies website without looking at the real data (like load time and uptime).
Thats why we initially signed up to Bluehost, and why we chose them following our time with WP Engine. Below we will discuss why we believe it is such a great hosting provider.
Our following recommendation comes backed with real-life stats that has been collected from our sites that have been hosted via Bluehost’s most affordable ‘shared’ plan.
So without further ado, lets get started.
Benefits of Bluehost
Below are some of the benefits that we have experienced using Bluehost’s services (supported by data). These are the benefits that WP engine struggled to rival.
1. Incredible Up-time
We have experienced an average up-time of 99.9%. But most of the year, and for several of the individual months, it was at 100%. Thats right, only 0.01% of the year was our site down.
We only experienced 3 outages in the whole of last year. This up-time figure compares very favorably to the industry standard which lies around 99.94%.
Our sites were only down for about 30 minutes across the span of the entire year – and we made some pretty drastic changes to our sites in that time including theme changes, mass uploads and more.
As up-time is so essential when hosting a site, the below stats will be of particular interest:
Last 6 month average up-times:
December 2017 : 100%
January 2018: 99.9%
February 2018: 100%
March 2018 : 99.9%
April 2018: 100%
May 2018: 100%
2. Insane Page Speed Loading Times
Since we purchased our Bluehost plan, we’ve seen some pretty impressive page speed loading times across the range of posts and pages of our sites. These actually increased from our previous WP Engine plan.
On average our sites are loading in about 406 ms.
Bluehost continually invest in their infrastructure and have invested heavily in the last few years in their servers.
As such we have been able to record the following site speed load times
Last 9 month average load times:
November 2017: 402ms
December 2018: 387ms
January 2018: 410ms
February 2018: 473ms
March 2018: 439ms
April 2018: 419ms
May 2018: 420ms
3. Affordable and Competitive Pricing ($3.95/mo)
When you compare Bluehost pricing plans to other hosting providers like WP Engine; they are much more competitively priced and offer some of the most cost-effective packages.
By signing up with Bluehost, not only are you benefiting from the uptimes and page speed load times, but the lowered prices make them an excellent hosting provider. Your also get a free SSL certificate included with your order.
We have been able to negotiate a striking stellar deal for unrivaledreview.com readers. By clicking this link, you can get about 65% off of Bluehost’s retail price and host your website for only $3.95 a month! This compares very favorably to WP Engine, where there basic start up plan starts at $35 a month!
4. Enhanced Security
Something that is often ignored when purchasing a web hosting plan is security. This naivity can prove costly – just look at the major data breaches that some of the worlds largest companies and websites have faced. It follows using a web host that prioritizes security is essential.
Thats why Bluehost provide a range of tools that will help defend your site against the growing lethal attacks that criminals are trying to conduct on popular sites.
First and foremost, every WordPress hosting plan comes with a free SSL certificate. These are beneficial for your site in many ways – helping to secure you and your visitors information and helping you to rank higher in the search engines (google trust factor). An SSL certificate provides your site with the trusted padlock and “secure” confirmation. SSLs bought on their own often cost upwards of $20 a year, so this in itself is a valuable feature of a hosting plan.
Some of the other tools of note are: SpamAssassin, Spam Experts, and Spam Hammer. These can be used to deflect spam on your site. Additionally, they have software and procedures in place to prevent your site from being targeted for DDoS attacks. If you are not sure or have not heard of what DDos attacks are – these are practices that crash sites by sending a level of traffic to your site all at once that your site (more specifically hosting) cannot support.
Moreover, you can use Bluehost’s hotlink protection (which disables the ability for individuals to steal your site content), IP address blacklists to to stop certain visitors from visiting your site and SSH access to secure your sites visitors.
And within your Bluehost account, you can password protect your directories – where you website files are stored and install digital certificates to increase the security of your site.
And theres more…
Bluehost have adopted the latest security measures to protect you with two-tiered measures. For example, two-factor authentication can be added when logging into your Bluehost account.
Security is at the centre of Bluehost hosting, meaning that your information, and those of your visitors are protected.
5. 24/7 Customer Support
Support for your web hosting is incredibly beneficial. There are a number of things that can go wrong when running a site. One that comes to mind is mis-installed plugins causing HTTP errors and the dreaded “maintenance mode”.
One of the standout reasons why Bluehost is a great hosting provider, is that they provide 24/7 support through a range of customer service options. The Bluehost customer support team can be contacted around the clock, regardless of where you are in the world, to help you out with any issue you may be experiencing.
Bluehost’s offer 24/7 specialized and trained WordPress support assistants. And you can access them in the following ways:
- Live chat support
- Phone support
- Email support
And the beauty is that their support service isn’t just for their customers on the higher-priced plans, nor do they try and sell you support. Instead, all Bluehost customers can access and ask questions to their knowledgeable customer service team.
And if you like to try and to tackle an issue yourself, you can always access their abundant library of help articles. These are incredibly easy to find and implement; they have been written with follow along step by step instructions. You can even view previously asked questions from other customers!
If you are a new website owner, or need some more basic support, Bluehost will provide:
- Help with setting up your website on WordPress
- Free assistance with website design including setting up a mobile-friendly site.
We’ve been in regular contact with the Bluehost support team to resolve our issues, and we found them to be incredibly helpful and have always been able to assist. Whilst WP Engine also offer dedicated support, from our experiences we feel that they are no better despite the considerably higher hosting plan fees.
6. ‘Official’ WordPress.org Suggested Hosting Provider
In reflection of the benefits we are bringing to you in our Bluehost review, its only fair to include an external review of the service. Look no further than WordPress themselves.
The WordPress official site (WordPress.org) listed Bluehost as one of their most effective hosting providers.
7. Clean cPanel and User Interface
Bluehost has been designed for ease of use – it doesn’t matter how much technical experience you may have.
The cPanel interface is clean and easy to navigate – you can click on the resource buttons that you need which have been intuitively organised into a number of themes:e.g. Helpful Resources, Marketing, Email
You can even edit the interface, and move things around to make it more user friendly.
Beyond just working with the interface, from your cPanel you can directly access the Marketplace.
Available at this marketplace are premium apps, themes and scripts which you can install directly on your site in just one click!
8. 30-Day Free Trial and Money Back Guarantee
If you wanted another reason to opt for Bluehost, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee for all hosting plans purchased. This way you can sign up and trial the hosting before you fully commit your site to their services!
9. Wide Range of Hosting Plans to Suit You & Your Business
Bluehost offer three hosting plans that have been designed to meet different levels of needs. It depends on your website traffic, number of sites you want hosted, the amount of storage you require etc. Anyone of the three plans would be a suitable hosting plan for your site.
And whilst the pricing below is for our negotiated rate, the prices reflect getting on a three-year plan. If you wanted hosting for a shorter period, which the math would tell you is going to cost more, it is worth bearing in mind that the minimum you can purchase is a 12 month plan.
Here’s an overview of the plans:
The Bluehost Basic Plan
As I’m sure it comes as no surprise, the basic plan is also the cheapest. And when I say cheap it really is cheap.
For the most part if you are looking to host one site, the basic plan will be all that you will need. You get:
- A free domain
- SSL certificate (a must for any eCommerce store, but all websites would be recommended to have one)
- One-click install of WordPress
- Automatic WordPress updates
- Unmetered bandwidth (ability to leverage large influx and spikes of traffic)
The Bluehost Basic Plan is great for a single website. If you are looking to run several website, or have or expect an insane level of traffic, the Plus or Prime Plan would be more appropriate.
Why Consider Bluehost?
This article has provided a lot of great reasons to sign up with Bluehost, and from our personal experience, is unrivaled to others we have used and research. For many reasons including site performance, cost, ease of use, 24/7 customer support and assistance, security and more, Bluehost is a fantastic and more affordable web hosting solution.
They have a number of plans suitable regardless of the number of sites, or size of the site you are looking to host.
How To Sign Up to a Bluehost Hosting Plan
You can click here to visit Bluehost and get receive up to 65% off your hosting plan, regardless of the plan that you choose!
If you are looking for a an alternative to WP Engine, than you should seriously consider Bluehost. The best part is you can trial your hosting plan and if it is not for you, you have up to 30 days to cancel and request your money back.
Bluehost continue to be a terrific hosting provider for us, and we are glad we switched from WP Engine.