Some hosts offer a middle-of-the-road service with flashy-looking features that appeal to beginners. How can you tell if features are actually useful or if they are just designed to entice newbies? It’s not easy.
Flywheel is a really interesting hosting option that was specifically designed for freelancers and creative teams. Offering managed WordPress hosting exclusively, Flywheel is trying to make a name for itself in a crowded market by offering good value and genuinely useful features.
On the other hand, you have Bluehost. It’s a big name in the world of web hosting, but do its plans really include enough decent value to earn that reputation? I have concerns that the generous affiliate package Bluehost offers has influenced most of the reviews you find online.
Flywheel outperforms Bluehost in practically every way. The range of features, the support quality, and the level of performance that comes with all Flywheel plans exceeds what Bluehost offers. Click here to get Flywheel’s latest deals, or read on to find out why I recommend any one of Flywheel’s plans over Bluehost’s lackluster offering.
Plans and Pricing
Bluehost Is Cheaper, but Performance Is Really Lacking
Sometimes hosting prices can be a pain point for would-be web designers. Low prices are attractive, especially when the packages come loaded with features. But it’s easy to be taken in by a host offering a lot of “non-features” – service details that are offered as premium options but are actually quite basic.
Flywheel’s four managed plans are all more expensive than the unmanaged options out there. When compared to other managed packages from competitors like Kinsta, however, they are relatively affordable.
Depending on your needs, you can choose from the Tiny, Starter, Freelance, and Agency plans, each one with its own additions to make it more useful to freelancers who need more resources to support their businesses.
Signing up for a year gets you two months of free hosting, even upon renewal. That’s a nice little bonus to bring costs down.
Bluehost offers two lower-tier managed WordPress plans that are less expensive than any of Flywheel’s packages. This might be attractive if you just want a site that runs itself and doesn’t cost too much. The problem is, you’re not really getting a lot for your money with Bluehost.
All three WordPress-specific Build, Grow, and Scale plans are generous with resources, but light on features. And while you can upgrade your bandwidth and SSD storage (which is great), I found that I could replace some of Bluehost’s higher-end features with WordPress plugins without spending quite as much.
PayPal integration and video compression are nice features that come with the most expensive plan, but are they worth paying more than double what the basic package costs? It’s a no from me.
Flywheel Won’t Leave You Waiting – Bluehost Will
Flywheel has really invested in its customer support team and it shows. I liked being able to reach out and get access to an expert within 15 minutes. The support team also seems to be knowledgeable about and well-trained in WordPress, so you can expect excellent advice.
If you need to get in touch with Bluehost, get ready for a) slow responses, b) outsourced support teams, and c) constant upselling. I found that getting a straight answer for my queries meant hearing the upsell, ignoring it, and asking the question again. It was just really disappointing.
Effective support is especially important for newbies. If you can’t rely on a knowledgeable support team, then I’m not sure the company is taking the needs of its users seriously. Although Bluehost has a decent knowledge base to turn to, it’s a real letdown after you’ve tried to get answers from a support agent.
But here’s something that really annoyed me – Bluehost is only guaranteed to offer you support with the more advanced plans. With the Grow package (middle-tier plan), you get access to Blue Sky Ticket Support. The premium Scale plan offers you Blue Sky Live Chat Support.
If you expect that you’ll need support to get the most out of your hosting plan, Flywheel is far superior. I don’t ask much from a support team. I just want support agents to get in touch quickly and I’d like them to know what they’re talking about. Flywheel’s team of WordPress specialists do that well (and you don’t even need to pay extra!).
Flywheel Offers Plenty – Bluehost Only Offers the Basics
I really don’t like the features we’d expect as standard to be advertised as bonuses. This seems to be a worryingly prominent part of Bluehost’s marketing – offering WordPress themes and cPanel (for example) as something that’s worth talking about.
Whereas Flywheel offers the intuitive Flywheel Panel and Fastly CDN services, Bluehost offers similar optimizations – 200 global edge servers and multi-layered caching – but significantly less detailed info.
And I haven’t even started talking about really useful Flywheel features like:
- Blueprints, a site cloning tool so you can use an existing site’s theme and plugins to make a number of similar websites
- Staging environments, so you can test changes without accidentally knocking your site offline
- Organizations dashboard, a team portal for collaborating across multiple sites
All these features make it a lot easier for agencies and teams to manage and run their sites.
|Hosting Types||Managed WordPress hosting: single-site, multisite, enterprise||Shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔||✔|
|Bandwidth||20-500GB||50K-500K monthly visitors|
|Automatic Backups||Daily||Daily with advanced plans|
|Control Panel||Flywheel Panel||cPanel|
|Free Site Migration||✔||✔|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days since you were last billed||30 days|
Bluehost offers some decent features – free SSL certificates, between 20 and 80GB of disk space (depending on the plan you go with), and automatic updates for WordPress – but they all leave me feeling quite underwhelmed. These are offered as standard with most hosting plans, so why would I be impressed?
That’s why, even though Flywheel is generally more expensive, it offers better value for what you are paying. Bluehost’s rather lackluster set of features make me feel it could be offering a lot more.
Flywheel’s Superfast Speeds Outperform Bluehost Easily
Thanks to Google Cloud Platform, the proprietary FlyCache, and the Fastly CDN, Flywheel is able to offer speedy loading times as well as excellent uptime numbers. Compared with Bluehost’s results from my tests, Flywheel’s hosting platform has proved to be much stronger.
With Sucuri Load Time Tester, my homepage loaded in 0.085 seconds. That’s fast. And while Flywheel offers an uptime guarantee of 99.9%, my site had a very respectable score of 99.98%.
Bluehost offers a more disappointing set of numbers. When I tested out its server speed on a text-only WordPress page with no media, Sucuri Load Time Tester gave me 0.563 seconds as the average loading time. Just to be clear – this was a nearly-blank page. No images, no sluggish plugins.
I want to see my site is up at least 99.95% of the time – much lower than that and you’re looking at significant periods where people can’t visit. Running UptimeRobot on Bluehost showed that my website was up for 99.94%. There’s room for improvement, but that’s not a terrible score at all.
Flywheel’s speeds and uptime outstrip Bluehost’s. Flywheel makes use of some great technology to keep loading times down.
Bluehost Offers Only the Bare Minimum
When we talk about security I want to see two things in particular: an SSL certificate and some security-related add-ons (whether via plugins or something else). If you don’t get these, Google ranks you lower, and you could face hacking and malware attacks.
Flywheel offers an SSL certificate as standard, provided by Let’s Encrypt. That’s a good start, but it gets even better with various automated site maintenance functions. Making use of AI technology, Flywheel automates plugin updates to your site. Visual regression testing runs after each plugin update, and any changes to your site cause the update to roll back. A support ticket is then opened automatically.
Also, Flywheel’s auto-healing technology allows your site and the server to diagnose and repair minor issues with PHP, the language that runs all the most popular content management systems used on websites – such as WordPress.
Flywheel suggests you don’t need to use security plugins as it already has server-level security measures in place. This includes using IP recognition to identify and block intruders, limiting malicious login attempts on the site and server level, and if your site still gets infected somehow, Flywheel will clean it up for free.
Bluehost’s security features are pretty standard, however. I do like the Malware Detection and Removal feature. It scans and removes malware from your site, with the option to manually configure blacklists of blocked visitors. And best of all, it comes with every plan.
Additionally, all Bluehost plans include “multi-tiered security”. That includes a Web Application Firewall (WAF), DDoS and brute force attack defenses, and bot blocking tools. Along with standard features such as an SSL certificate and spam protection, Bluehost offers a solid range of basic security needs.
I was pleasantly surprised by the security stuff the user doesn’t have to do with Flywheel. Bluehost covers all the basics, but doesn’t offer enough advanced functionality in comparison.
New Kid on the Block Flywheel Already Outperforms Bluehost
In case it isn’t already clear, Flywheel clearly outperforms Bluehost. The only metric where Bluehost could be said to outperform Flywheel is in pricing, but even then, is it worth paying a few dollars less to get a vastly inferior product?
Flywheel’s features massively outstrip the rather disappointing, standard ones coming from Bluehost. Organizing and managing your websites as a freelancer or as a team becomes a lot easier thanks to some really unique features like Blueprints and the Organization dashboard.
Bluehost should offer better service after almost two decades as a web hosting provider. If Flywheel can put together plans that outperform Bluehost in half that time, I’m not sure why anyone would want to use Bluehost at all these days.
Is Flywheel any good?
Flywheel is a solid hosting option that provides four straightforward managed WordPress plans to sole trader professionals and agencies alike. Features such as daily backups, staging environments, and the Blueprints WordPress configuration cloning tool make Flywheel stand out. Still, Flywheel didn’t place as one of our 10 Best Web Hosting Services for October 2022, but it certainly makes the case to be considered over Bluehost.
Does Flywheel offer WordPress hosting?
Yes. In fact, WordPress is Flywheel’s speciality. Flywheel offers a number of features which improve the way the popular CMS runs, including FlyCache, the Fastly CDN, and auto-healing PHP technology.
Which host is better, Flywheel or Bluehost?
Highlighted by unique features and speedy loading times, Flywheel outperforms Bluehost in almost every respect. While Bluehost might have more effective marketing support, Flywheel’s easy-to-understand interface and setup process guides users to getting the most out of the platform’s excellent offerings.
Is Flywheel cheaper than Bluehost?
Bluehost’s entry-level Build plan is cheaper than any of Flywheel’s plans, but otherwise Flywheel is very competitive. This is primarily a battle of the expert vs the generalist. Flywheel’s WordPress expertise means that you get seasoned professionals working on your site. For that level of skill and knowledge, you need to pay a little more.
Is Bluehost’s WordPress hosting good?
It’s rather lacklustre. In fact, it really leaves a lot to be desired. Along with a few middle-of-the-road features like a free SSL certificate, Bluehost offers out “features” like a range of themes and an SEO plugin that are already available for free. Before making a decision, you may want to check out this list of the 8 best managed WordPress hosting providers. You’ll find a range of services which vastly outperform Bluehost’s meagre offerings.