Dozens of reviewers claim that industry-giant Bluehost offers the best hosting service in the world. But what you might not know is that it pays reviewers handsomely to draw in new clients.
I’ve researched and tested both Bluehost and InterServer extensively to give you an unbiased, expert opinion. From pricing to features, performance to security, InterServer is a far superior service across the board. Bluehost, on the other hand, is mediocre at best.
Click here to see InterServer’s best plans, or read on to find out why it’s the clear winner of this comparison.
1. Plans and Pricing
Bluehost Seems Cheaper but Could End Up Costing You Double
Both InterServer and Bluehost have a selection of plans that cover shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers. At a glance, Bluehost appears to be the more affordable option, but if you look beyond its tempting first-time offers, InterServer is actually cheaper. It even offers a price-lock guarantee that ensures that the cost of the plan you’ve chosen will never change. Not only that, but it offers you more.
Take shared hosting, for example. InterServer has a single Standard plan for a fixed price. With this plan, you get unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, and you can host an unlimited number of websites and databases. You also get an excellent set of performance and security tools, which I’ll discuss more below.
InterServer Web Hosting
Bluehost, on the other hand, has four shared hosting plans. The Basic plan offers only 50GB of storage, 20 databases, and 5 email addresses, and you can only host 1 website. It is advertised at half the cost of InterServer’s Standard plan, so if you don’t need unlimited resources, this might seem like a good deal – but there’s a catch.
You can buy Bluehost’s Basic plan for the advertised price only if you are willing to pay for three years up front. If you opt for a yearly billing cycle, the cost is almost double.
Bluehost Web Hosting
It’s also worth noting that InterServer offers more payment options, with one-month, three-month, six-month, and yearly payment periods, while Bluehost doesn’t have any monthly shared hosting plans.
Then there’s the renewal fee. Bluehost’s Basic shared hosting plan renews at three times the initial cost, which makes it 50% more expensive than InterServer’s Standard plan in the long run.
With VPS hosting, the difference is even clearer. Bluehost’s Standard VPS plan includes 2 vCPU cores, 30GB of storage, and 2GB of RAM. But for the same price, you get approximately three times the resources with InterServer. InterServer also offers more premium configurations with a lot more resources than Bluehost.
If you need a dedicated server, again, InterServer gives you more choices at about half the cost.
In terms of plans and pricing, InterServer is more versatile and more affordable. By far.
Neither Host Is Great with Live Chat Support
Both Bluehost and InterServer offer 24/7 customer support through live chat and phone, but InterServer also gives you the option to get in touch through email or support tickets. I’ve tested the live chat function for both, and I have to say, neither was very good.
With InterServer, I was happy that the support agent didn’t try to upsell any features I didn’t need. When I asked for his recommendation, Jose proposed the Standard shared hosting plan, which was more than enough for my simple landing page website.
I appreciated that Jose took the time to explain how WordPress works on InterServer and that I could easily install it via Softaculous. He also provided a link to a step-by-step guide.
However, when I asked the support agent a couple of questions that were more technical, he no longer had the right answers. For instance, I wanted to know what loading speeds I could expect for my website and whether visitors from Asia and Australia would be able to load it quickly. Jose enthusiastically assured me that I could expect “the best” but provided no additional explanation.
InterServer actually offers several speed-boosting features with its Standard plan – including a CDN – and I expected the support agent to name a few. Jose’s answer was brief and lacking, which made me question whether he would actually be able to help me with a more technical issue.
I had a similar experience with Bluehost when I asked the same question about website loading speeds. Guy replied that Bluehost’s servers are in the US and that my site would be “fast,” but he offered no further details.
Plus, I didn’t like the fact that Guy was constantly trying to pressure me into making a purchase on the spot, as well as into buying an add-on I didn’t necessarily need. His initial recommendation, for example, was for me to go with the Basic shared hosting plan but to also add SEO Tools to my cart.
Later on, when I asked if WordPress could be easily installed on the recommended plan, he offered to help me through the setup, but only if I closed the deal right then. He reiterated this when I tried to end the conversation without having made a purchase.
If you prefer to fix things yourself, you’re in luck. Both InterServer and Bluehost have extensive knowledge bases with guides and tutorials. Bluehost even has an official YouTube channel with decent guides.
InterServer Gives You Freebies, While Bluehost Makes You Pay Extra
We’ve already established that InterServer gives you more resources on its Standard shared hosting plan compared to Bluehost’s Basic plan, but what about features? The fact is, InterServer offers more features across the board, and at a fraction of the price.
For example, if you already own a website, InterServer will transfer it for free, whereas Bluehost will make you pay a steep fee for the same service.
If you’re starting a website from scratch, you can use InterServer’s SitePad website builder to design it even if you have no coding experience. SitePad offers over 300 responsive themes in addition to a drag-and-drop editor. With Bluehost, WordPress comes preinstalled on your account, but there is no alternative website builder.
Since InterServer doesn’t offer managed WordPress hosting, you have to install the CMS yourself, but you can use Softaculous – a one-click installer included for free in the Standard plan – to quickly set it up. In fact, InterServer allows you to install more than 300 scripts, including several popular CMSes and useful plugins, with just a couple of clicks.
Bluehost does give you a free domain for one year on all yearly plans, but this doesn’t compare to InterServer’s feature-packed plan.
Bluehost’s top-tier Pro offer is the only option that comes close to InterServer’s Standard plan in terms of resources and features, but it’s four times more expensive after renewal.
For an overview of the most important features offered by both hosts, check out the following table:
|Hosting Type||Shared, VPS, dedicated server, reseller||Shared, managed WordPress, VPS, dedicated server, reseller|
|Free Domain||No||Yes, for one year|
|Free SSL Certificate||Yes||Yes|
|Disk Space||Unlimited||50GB on the Basic plan, unlimited on more expensive plans|
|Automatic Backups||Yes (weekly)||Yes, but these are “courtesy” backups (not guaranteed)|
|Email Accounts||Unlimited||5 accounts on the Basic plan, unlimited on more expensive plans|
|Free Site Migration||Yes||No|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 Days||30 Days|
InterServer Is Fast and Reliable, While Bluehost Makes No Real Promises
Visitors to your site ultimately care about two things: if it loads quickly and if it’s up when they need it. In this InterServer vs Bluehost matchup, InterServer is more likely to deliver on both counts.
InterServer and Bluehost both have SSD storage on all plans with the exception of dedicated servers, where you have to pay an extra fee to upgrade from the more traditional HDDs.
In addition, both hosts have Cloudflare CDN integrated into the dashboard so that you can quickly set it up.
The biggest difference between InterServer and Bluehost in terms of performance is that InterServer uses LiteSpeed server technology with built-in caching, which is much faster and more reliable than Bluehost’s Apache.
It’s also worth noting that Bluehost has been accused of overcrowding its servers, which can drastically reduce the performance of all hosted accounts. Meanwhile, InterServer uses only 50% of each server’s resources so that even if someone else hogs resources, you won’t experience any issues on your end.
All four of InterServer’s data centers are located in New Jersey (US), which means you can expect great website loading speeds in North America. For visitors from India, Asia, and Australia, your website is likely to load slower. Meanwhile, Bluehost’s data center is also located somewhere in the US, but the company refuses to disclose its exact location, which is peculiar, to say the least.
InterServer aims for at least 99.9% uptime and promises reimbursement if you experience more than 0.1% downtime in a month. But Bluehost offers no guarantees and no compensation in the event you experience excessive downtime.
InterServer achieved an almost perfect score in our performance tests. Find out more in our expert InterServer review.
Bluehost, on the other hand, scored very poorly. To understand how this might affect your website, read our in-depth Bluehost review.
InterServer Offers Ample Security for Free, While Bluehost Wants You to Buy Add-ons
Bluehost’s security is simply no match for InterServer’s. With Bluehost’s Basic shared hosting plan, you get almost no protection from attacks. The Lite version of SiteLock is included for free, but this is a meager malware scanner that only tests five pages per month. If you want a firewall, malware removal, and protection against DDoS attacks, you have to pay more for premium SiteLock.
In contrast, InterServer puts its proprietary security solution, InterShield, at your disposal for free. InterShield includes a smart firewall that uses AI technology to stay ahead of threats, a proper malware and virus scanner, anti-spam software for your email, and protection against DDoS and brute force attacks. If your website does get hacked, InterServer offers to clean up any malware for free.
Site backups are another problem with Bluehost, since the provider claims to offer backups only as a “courtesy.” In other words, you don’t know when or whether backups are created, and Bluehost assumes no responsibility for lost or corrupted data. For proper backups, Bluehost recommends the CodeGuard Basic add-on.
This is not the case with InterServer, which offers automated backups on a weekly basis.
InterServer Wins in Almost Every Category
From pricing to features, performance to security, InterServer’s Standard shared hosting plan beats Bluehost’s Basic by far. To get the features and resources of InterServer’s single plan, you’d have to upgrade to Bluehost’s most expensive Pro plan. And even then, you’d still have to pay extra to get a decent security add-on for your website.
InterServer could use some work in the customer support department, but while the live chat feature can be difficult to work with, I’ve had a significantly better experience with tickets.
This isn’t just my opinion – InterServer is one of the 10 hosts that made it onto our list of the best web hosting services, while Bluehost didn’t make the cut.
|Plans and Pricing||A single shared hosting plan with unlimited resources and an excellent set of features, cheaper than Bluehost across the board, price-lock guarantee||More expensive than InterServer, fewer resources, meager features on entry-level shared hosting plans, steep renewal fees|
|Key Features||Unlimited websites, storage, bandwidth, and email; free website transfer; SitePad website builder; Softaculous one-click installer; 30-day money-back guarantee||1 website, 50GB of storage, unmetered bandwidth, and 5 email accounts on the Basic plan (the cost equivalent of InterServer’s Standard); unlimited resources on more expensive plans; free domain for one year; 30-day money-back guarantee|
|Performance||SSD storage, Cloudflare CDN, LiteSpeed servers, US-based data centers, 99.9% uptime guarantee||SSD storage, Cloudflare CDN, US-based data center (exact location unknown), no uptime guarantee|
|Security||Free SSL certificates, automatic weekly backups, InterShield security included for free||Free SSL certificates, “courtesy” backups, added fee for proper security tools|
|Support||24/7 support via email, tickets, live chat, and phone; extensive knowledge base||24/7 support via live chat and phone, extensive knowledge base, official YouTube channel|
For example, to get unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, as well as the ability to host an unlimited number of websites and databases, plus the performance and security features included in InterServer’s Standard shared hosting plan, you’d have to buy Bluehost’s Pro plan, which is four times more expensive after renewal.
It’s no wonder that InterServer is one of the top 10 best web hosting services, while Bluehost didn’t even come close to making the cut.
However, if your audience is primarily in the US or Western Europe, you can expect excellent performance with InterServer. See the results of our performance tests in our expert InterServer review.
One VPS “slice” includes 1 vCPU, 2GB of RAM, 30GB of storage, and 1TB of bandwidth. You can include as many as 16 slices in one plan for an overall cost that is surprisingly low. If you opt for at least four slices, your VPS will be fully managed by InterServer.