Whether you’re ready to create a blog or a storefront for your new side hustle, choosing a website host is a critical decision that requires plenty of consideration. Web hosts are far more than a place to host WordPress, and even as that might be the use case for millions, there are some important factors that should be considered like uptime, customer support, and cost.
Bluehost and iPage are two of the most prominent web hosting providers on the market and both have been around since the late 1990s. Interestingly enough, both Bluehost and iPage have found their way into the portfolio of Endurance International Group, which not only owns these two hosting sites but other popular options like HostGator. Given that, you’d think these two might be clones of one another but there are some key differences that might sway you in the direction of one platform or the other.
Let’s discuss them in greater detail below!
Bluehost vs. iPage: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Year Founded||2003 (went by 50megs.com from 1996-2003)||1998|
|Location||Jacksonville, Florida||Jacksonville, Florida|
|Price||Introductory pricing begins at $2.95 a month, renewal pricing starts at $10.99 monthly||Introductory pricing begins at $1.99 a monthly, renewal pricing starts at $7.99 monthly|
|Security||Free SSL for the first year plus malware scanning, 24/7 server monitoring, and CloudFare DDoS protection||Free SSL certificate, DDoS protection, SiteLock security|
|Websites Hosted||2 million+||1 million+|
|Number of Employees||750+||300 (estimated)|
|Customer Support||24/7 support||24/7/365|
|Free Domain||One year||One year|
|Storage Space||Begins at 10GB for the lowest monthly plan, and goes up to unlimited with higher tier plans||Unlimited|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days|
Bluehost vs. iPage: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to hosting your website, WordPress or otherwise, Bluehost and iPage are both standout choices. However, it’s essential to know what the differences are between these two, parent company notwithstanding, that will help influence you to choose one over the other.
For a website, regardless of whether it has 1,200 monthly visitors or 12 million, uptime and reliability are the names of the game. Uptime is basically the idea that whenever a user or visitor wants to go to a website, it’s available for viewing, shopping, etc. Bluehost doesn’t provide any specific guarantees about uptime but online user reviews have all indicated that 99% and above uptime is standard.
Where Bluehost gains a little momentum is their outright acknowledgment that they are able to fix “most issues” within 15 minutes of their discovery. However, they also acknowledge the possibility, though rare, that some issues can take more than 15 minutes to resolve (up to a day) to get a server back up and running.
iPage takes a different route and guarantees a 99.9% uptime for its users. In fact, it goes as far as to say that “reliability is our mantra,” which is a pretty bold claim, but they have lived up to it as far as recent online user reviews have indicated. Historically, iPage had faced criticism around uptime but it’s made significant progress in this space and now commits to the 99% number directly on its homepage.
With any website host, customer support is one of those important aspects you hope you never need but always feel comfortable knowing is there. For its part, Bluehost offers 24/7 support through its support team for any “questions, concerns, or challenges.”
While they don’t immediately specify if that always-on support is through phone or chat, both are provided as options, though it’s noted that phone support is international so international calling fees may apply. As it’s a toll-free “888” number, that shouldn’t be the case for most residents of the United States, but it’s worth noting.
Customer support through iPage, even as it’s the same parent company as Bluehost, works somewhat differently. They do not offer any type of contact number, toll-free or otherwise, for use as a support option. Instead, iPage indicates 24/7/365 support through chat but even as you walk through those steps, there are no additional indicators provided that you can contact iPage via a telephone number or email.
Of all web host considerations, pricing is arguably the most important as costs can weigh heavily on anyone starting a website for the first or seventh time. Bluehost begins its hosting services at $2.95 a month for the first 12 months with its “Basic” plan with the auto-renewal rate jumping to $10.99 a month. Their Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro pricing jump to $5.45, $5.45, and $13.95 a month, respectively, for the first 12 months with each price point increasing after the first year expires.
The biggest differences between the plan surface around how many website visits per month the plan offers to support as well as available SSD web storage on Bluehost servers. Additionally, the Choice Plus and Pro plans receive increased security features like Malware scanning as well as staging sites for testing out new web features before pushing live. One important takeaway is that the prices here are the same whether you are looking to host a WordPress domain or a different option.
iPage takes a different approach to price and offers three different tiers based on how long you want to purchase a plan. For general hosting needs (think non-WordPress), iPage pricing begins at $1.99 per month for 36 months and then jumps up to $2.66 per month for 36 months after the first year expires. A two-year plan starts at $2.49 a month and jumps to $4.49 monthly after that while their one-year plan begins at $2.99 monthly and auto-renews at a whopping $9.99 after the first year expires.
As far as WordPress pricing, iPage offers an entirely different set of pricing beginning at $3.75 a month for 12 months for a single WordPress site or $6.95 a month for 12 months for unlimited WordPress websites. While iPage’s pricing isn’t nearly as complicated as it might sound with its multitude of options, Bluehost’s singular pricing model does feel more user-friendly.
Bandwidth is one area of consideration that both iPage and Bluehost are very similar. It’s also important to note that bandwidth and data transfer are not the same.
In the case of bandwidth, or the amount of data transferred within a set period of time, Bluehost offers what is called “unmetered bandwidth.” What that means is that Bluehost is providing its customers with “a set amount of bandwidth” but you can “transfer as much data as you want within that rate.” Ultimately, Bluehost will limit your available server speed but they will not put a limit on the data being processed with unmetered bandwidth.
iPage, for its part, has no limits on either disk space or data transfers that are provided in their hosting plans. They do place a caveat with the understanding that 99.95% of users will have all of the necessary disk space and bandwidth to meet the needs of their websites. Should you exceed what is considered “normal” bandwidth usage (which isn’t clearly defined), iPage will give their customers 48 hours to make adjustments before taking a website offline.
This is a hugely important part of any host decision as you want to make sure you are well protected against any type of website attack. Security really has two different considerations with the first being any type of malicious attack and the second being a series of backups designed to keep your website up and running.
Bluehost offers malware scanning and DDoS protection as its primary security options across all of its available price points. At the Choice Plus and Pro levels, Bluehost customers are able to take advantage of both daily website backups as well as domain privacy. Every price level offers SSL encryption and HTTPS security as standard features. Bluehost also adds the ability to add SiteLock’s security suite that includes a variety of extras with prices starting at $35.88 per year.
iPage also offers its own SSL encryption plus SiteLock signup as well as redundant backups to avoid site downtime. That means that if a server goes down in one of iPage’s server locations, another server in a different location is ready to take on the load and your users/readers will never be aware of any issues. Both iPage and Bluehost offer protection against DDoS attacks which also speaks to the host’s claims of around 99.9% and above uptime.
Right from the start, Bluehost starts off with a win thanks to its ease of use and incredibly easy-to-follow cPanel (control panel) which makes navigation very easy. Bluehost also adds a very user-friendly website-building tool with automatic WordPress installation as well as support for installing WordPress plugins and themes. Add in SSD storage, free CDN, Microsoft and Google Ad credits, and spam protection, and you quickly see that Bluehost stands out over iPage in this category.
iPage is also very feature-heavy but loses a little territory due to its lack of a free CDN, no automatic backups, and no SSD storage. WordPress installation is also one-click and an easy-to-use tool will help you navigate many of the initial functions you need to know in order to bring a site online. Even if iPage is lacking a few of the helpful features of Bluehost, it’s hard to say that iPage is not feature-rich, just not as feature-rich as Bluehost.
Bluehost vs. iPage: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Both Bluehost and iPage are owned by Endurance International Group headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.
- Bluehost has been around since 1996 when it was known as 50megs.com and changed its name to Bluehost in 2003, years before it was acquired by Endurance International in 2010.
- Bluehost offers one set of pricing for both regular web hosting as well as WordPress hosting whereas iPage has two different sets of pricing depending on your hosting needs.
- iPage does not offer phone call-based customer support which might be a dealbreaker for some, while Bluehost offers phone support between 7 am and 12 am (Eastern standard time).
- Bluehost provides a stronger range of hosting capabilities including WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, shared hosting, and dedicated hosting. iPage only offers web hosting, WordPress hosting, and a website builder.
Bluehost vs. iPage: Which is Better?
At the end of the day, these are two strong web hosting services but only one can be the winner. Bluehost is a recommended host from WordPress.org which makes it an easy recommendation over iPage. While it’s a pretty close call in a number of categories, Bluehost stands out thanks to its stronger customer support options, deeper range of hosting categories as well as easier-to-follow pricing that is good for both WordPress and non-WordPress sites.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Photon photo/Shutterstock.com.