Deciding between Bluehost and Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting?
If so, you're a rare breed.
The reason is because these are two completely different approaches to web hosting. Bluehost is a more traditional low-cost host with the basic features and standard ControlPanel interface that you might be used to. AWS is built for developers, with their own interfaces and a different pricing model.
That being said, there are some key points to consider when choosing between these two hosts. Let's dive in.
If you’re new to web hosting, or switching hosting provider for the first time in awhile, the task can be daunting. Selecting a web hosting service is a difficult decision. Several factors play a part in your decision-making process. You must think about things such as price structure, service downtime and the available features that a hosting service provides you.
Customer support is a significant factor as well. You want technical support available instantly when something goes wrong, whether that happens at the busiest time of day or in the middle of the night. We’re going to break down both Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hosting and BlueHost companies to determine which one provides a better option for your web hosting needs.
[box type=”info”] Quick aside: want a perfect hybrid of AWS pricing with Bluehost support? Check out Cloudways – a hybrid hosting solution with scale, pricing, and customer support in mind.[/box]
AWS vs BlueHost Comparison Grid
|wdt_ID||Feature||Amazon Web Services||BlueHost|
AWS vs Bluehost
2.4 11 votes
3.7 22 votes
Comparing the top Features of AWS vs Bluehost
There are so many features to compare when looking at hosts, it’s not even funny. There’s so much jargon it could make your head spin! Since our site aims to break down hosting companies for your average marketer or entrepreneur – rather than a seasoned developer – we want to focus on the aspects that matter most for you.
AWS has so many hosting options, that it’s impossible to compare all their products in this review. We’ll be focusing on AWS in general, with their EC2 and S3 hosting offerings, as well as their Amazon Lightsail product which is focused on the small business/non-technical market.
Should You Even Be Comparing AWS and Bluehost?
Here’s the thing – if you’re comparing these two companies, you may want to rethink what your goals are. These really are two different beasts.
You should go with AWS if you have a development team or agency that’s helping you with your hosting setup. AWS provides great scalability, pricing, and options, but their product is not built for your average user. For that reason, I want to caution you now to consider if you have the development resources to manage AWS, or your own technical skill. That being said, they do have a fairly new Amazon Lightsail product that is a lot friendlier to the beginner, yet this is still somewhat tailored to someone with some basic development or technical skills.
If you’re not super technically oriented, and just want a good host with great support, I would recommend comparing a few other hosts first. First, if you’re looking for amazing support and can spend about $15/mo I’d recommend comparing Bluehost vs SiteGround. If you’re looking for a solid host with great reviews, check out Bluehost vs A2 Hosting. If you can spend between $30-100 a month for what some consider as the best WordPress hosting, check out the Bluehost vs WP Engine review.
Alright – just had to give that context because there really is a big difference here between AWS and SiteGround, so you need to get context.
When comparing the downtime/uptime reports, one of these hosts provides it and the other doesn’t – which should give some indication of quality.
AWS provides their service health dashboard for the public to view at any time. Bluehost doesn’t provide anything similar to that.
Bluehost doesn’t make any claims of their uptime percentages on their marketing pages, although they do promise great quality overall. They stop just short of providing an actual percentage of time that their service is available. Current customers do state that their service is up and running 99.9 percent of the time. You also have the ability to add SSL and SSH encryption to your website which will enhance security and help establish a stronger connection as well. The company employs a UPS power backup system and strong server combination to help keep your service up and running as efficiently as possible.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hosting is perhaps the true industry leader in regards to the uptime percentage that their servers provide. The company utilizes the same network of servers as their online retail store, so ever time the company invests in technology to improve Amazon.com, in theory that same technology trickles down to the AWS servers that you the business can purchase. The company also provides full site redundancy and automatic backup systems, which work to ensure their servers are up and running at all times. To help with service availability they offer data centers from around the world including Sao Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo and California. Amazon Lightsail promises 99.95% uptime in their service level agreement (SLA).
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hosting gives you scheduled backups and virtual cloud storage which are beneficial when something goes wrong, and you need to pull up information from when your website was working correctly. Their hosting service fully supports various platforms including Joomla, Ruby, WordPress and Magento. You can also use Windows and Linx hosting options if you prefer.
Customer Support Comparison
Bluehost has room for improvement in the customer service department. Their website states that customer service support is readily available through 24/7 live chats, email tickets, and phone calls. There is also a video library available to provide assistance for common technical support issues. However, lack of customer service support availability is a common complaint with former and current clients alike. There are reports of long wait times and inconsistent support quality. The best thing to do is initial a chat with one of their salespeople first to help determine the quality.
Customer service support is a bit confusing with Amazon Web Services (AWS). On the outside, they don’t make many customer support quality claims, but prompt you to log in to the console to get started. They also discuss choosing a customer support plan, which is not reassuring. Given that AWS aims at the developer market, they need to tailor customer support to match one of their many products. In short, their customer support quality is uncertain.
Bluehost has some pretty cheap starting plans to get you in the door, but the pricing rises after some time, while AWS has more consistent pricing that’s also cheap.
The price structure for Bluehost is built with your standard multi-tiered plans encouraging you to choose the middle option. Shared hosting plans start out at $3.95 per month (with a discount) and provide you with one website that has 50Gb of space available. You also receive five email accounts that have 100MB of storage each and a standard performance guarantee. The next price structure is for a VPS plan that starts at $29.99 per month. For that price, you receive 2 CPU Cores, 30GB SAN and 2GB of storage.
Bluehost has a 30-day money-back guarantee:
“If you cancel within 30 days you receive a full refund on your hosting service only. The money-back guarantee does not apply to most add-on products, such as domains, given the unique nature of their costs.”
This is helpful for those that want to test out the quality without losing money in the end.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hosting has a few different hosting products, so pricing varies widely on needs. The simplest plan for business owners would be their Lightsail option that starts at $5/mo. This simplifies the pricing compared to some of their other products which charge by the minute or the hour. If you need to switch or upgrade features, they offer almost every conceivable feature under the sun. Lightsail offers a one month free trial as well.
Final AWS vs Bluehost Recommendation
When comparing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hosting and Bluehost, it’s like comparing apples to oranges for the most part.
Bluehost is aimed at first-time bloggers and entrepreneurs looking to set up a website in a simple way. AWS has a complex and confusing amount of options for beginners, although their Lightsail offering is a good simple way to start.
If you had to pick between the two, and you wanted cheap and simple hosting, Bluehost is the way to go. Although that comes with the strong recommendation to look at some other higher rated entry-level hosts like Siteground or A2 Hosting.
AWS is cheap, fast, and highly flexible and would be recommended for a first-time beginner if they were somewhat technically savvy. If you’re not intimidated by learning a new system, and can generally Google your way around problems, then you may find the technical innovations of AWS appealing and a strong long-term solution. If you’re just starting you, you should start with Amazon Lightsail.
Another option? Check out Cloudways. They offer managed web hosting based on the AWS or Google Cloud platforms. The perfect hybrid of price and support. Our full Cloudways review dives into all the details.
Bluehost Review Recap
Below is the summary of our full Bluehost review.
- Some of the cheapest prices
- Tons of features
- Good for beginners
- Great security features for budget hosting
- Speed can be an issue
- Uptime not guaranteed
- Some support problems
AWS Review Recap
Below is the summary of our full AWS review.
- Automatically Scalable Storage
- Offer a Pay-Per-Use model in Low Cost
- Excellent Support Options
- A Free Plan for New Users
- Large Terabyte Files
- Standard Packages Are Not Available
- Prices Vary by Location
- You Must Estimate and Calculate Your Usage
- Support harder to contact
Last Updated on October 21, 2020 by Joe
Great article. I agree that AWS is the clear winner. I’ve been switching all my web properties from BH to AWS and the difference is night and day. A couple other important differences:
1. AWS is much faster than BH, I haven’t personally done benchmark tests but if you search Google, they’re out there
2. AWS pricing is different for everyone. A T2 Micro instance is $.01 per hour and the first year is free.
3. If you purchase a reserved instance of 12, 24 or 36 months the rate comes down substantially. That’s probably the best apples-to-apples comparison with BH because their minimum term is 12 months.
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