Bluehost Alternative: The Benefits of Choosing Kinsta

If you’re looking for a Bluehost alternative, look no further than Kinsta. We’re powered exclusively by Google Cloud Platform and offer a unique approach to managed WordPress hosting that we promise you’ve never seen before.

Introduction

Bluehost’s been in business for a while now, and it can be a handy budget-friendly host if you’re starting out with your first website. However, it doesn’t use the same innovative technologies that we do here at Kinsta, nor is it specialized in WordPress.

There are, in fact, some huge fundamental differences between how Bluehost and Kinsta’s infrastructures are built and operated. Every day, we hear from clients and growing businesses interested in a Bluehost alternative, curious to learn more about how we’re distinct.

That’s the question we’ll answer here. We’ll dive into the specifics of what makes Kinsta so powerful and unique when compared to Bluehost, as well as the major benefits we have to offer!

How Kinsta Compares to Bluehost in a Nutshell

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we want to start by giving you a general overview of Kinsta vs Bluehost. We are the highest-rated WordPress host on G2, which is the world’s leading software review and comparison site:

#1 WordPress Hosting Provider by G2

Users Love Us G2 awardMomentum Leader G2 awardBest Relationship G2 awardBest Usability G2 awardEasiest Admin G2 award

This is something we are incredibly proud of, because we work hard to deliver unparalleled performance for each of our customers. Kinsta is powered by the Google Cloud Platform and Google’s premium tier network, in order to maximize website performance.

Unlike Bluehost, Kinsta is not a general host. We work only with WordPress, and our support engineers are all WordPress experts. 

Some of the additional major differences between Bluehost vs Kinsta, which we’ll be discussing in more detail below, include:

The last thing we want to highlight before we get into more detail is billing structures. For all of our plan tiers, Kinsta offers monthly and yearly pricing. Bluehost, on the other hand, doesn’t offer monthly billing for “new” customers. You can only get it after your first annual term.

Try it out for yourself with our free MyKinsta dashboard demo! Register your account to see the user-friendly interface and explore our various tools.

Kinsta is Built for Performance and Scalability

When you experience sudden spikes in traffic, it’s of the utmost importance that your site is able to handle that uptick and stay online. With Kinsta, that is never a concern.

Our hosting platform was built unlike any other, to ensure that the sites hosted here always benefit from the best performance possible. We defy traditional hosting categories and have paved our own path, unlike conventional hosts who simply offer shared, VPS, and/or dedicated infrastructure.

In fact, we are the first managed WordPress host to exclusively use the Google Cloud Platform. We use LXD-managed hosts and LXC software containers on every site.

To put it in simpler terms, each WordPress site has its own isolated container that includes all of the resources needed for it to run. That includes Linux, Nginx, PHP, and MySQL. Also, since we don’t offer shared hosting, your resources are always completely private.

With our scalable infrastructure, you can upgrade or downgrade with ease. Your MySQL databases are hosted at localhost rather than an overloaded remote server, which provides quicker loading times and faster queries. Each month, we support billions of bytes and page views with constant uptime and stability — all with state-of-the-art security.

The speed and performance of our platform is also fueled by our unique caching system, which eliminates the need for a third-party caching plugin. To reduce server load and accelerate the speed of the sites we host, we use five types of caching:

Most hosting providers, including Bluehost, simply use a standard CDN such as Cloudflare. At Kinsta, our CDN solution is one of the fastest in the industry.

Thanks to our new compute-optimized C2 machines, all Kinsta customers are able to see significant improvements in average response times. In fact, depending on the type of site you have, simply moving to Kinsta could lead to a speed improvement of between 30% and 200%! 

Seth Kravitz
Seth Kravitz from PHLEARN

Switching to Kinsta turned out to be the best decision we’ve ever made when it comes to our website infrastructure. We saw a 60% drop in server response times, faster delivery of our pages, and nearly 100% uptime. The most insane part of it all was that this came at nearly 40% lower cost than the previous host.

This isn’t the case with Bluehost. Although the server uptime agreement states that “most issues are resolved in approximately 15 minutes”, they don’t offer an uptime guarantee.

Also, as some users have pointed out, loading times can be slow. As with many shared hosts, they can even freeze your CPU usage to put a limit on your server resources.

A review of Kinsta WordPress hosting from @averagehiker on Twitter.

MyKinsta: A Custom-Built Dashboard for Powerful Site Management

As with many hosting providers, Bluehost provides cPanel to its clients. This comes with many limitations we didn’t want our customers to be faced with.

That’s why we created our own user portal. The MyKinsta dashboard is designed specifically for WordPress site management:

MyKinsta is Kinsta's fully custom dashboard for managing WordPress sites.
The MyKinsta dashboard.

Some of the unique features of our MyKinsta dashboard include:

  • Detailed analytics, including performance analysis data, CDN usage and insights, bandwidth and visitor data, and cache HIT and MISS ratio.
  • The ability to restart PHP as needed, as well as the option to toggle between different PHP versions with one click. 
  • A search and replace tool to perform bulk updates.
  • The ability to purge site cache within the dashboard.
  • Easy features for pushing staging sites live and restoring backups to staging.
  • The option to add your SSH keys to the MyKinsta dashboard to heighten login security.
  • An IP Deny tool that lets you quickly and simply block IP addresses.
  • New Relic integration for a deeper dive into site performance issues.
  • Quick phpMyAdmin access.
  • The option to install your own custom SSL certificate in the dashboard (or use our automatic Cloudflare SSL certificates for free).
  • A multilingual MyKinsta Dashboard available in 10 languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish.
  • A built-in Cloudflare integration with optimized settings to secure and boost the performance of your site without the need for a separate Cloudflare subscription.
  • Premium Amazon Route 53 DNS included, so you can manage your DNS records directly within the dashboard.

Kinsta have also done a great deal of work to make their control panel and domain management interface very easy to navigate and simple to manage. All of our future WP sites will be hosted on Kinsta.

To truly understand the MyKinsta dashboard and all the powerful features it comes packed with, we recommend giving it a try for yourself! With the MyKinsta Demo, you can simply register for an account and check it out for free. This way, you can see first-hand how the friendly interface and wide selection of tools can make managing your site easier.

We care deeply about our clients’ feedback and opinions. This is why we’re constantly taking feedback and requests, and using them to add and improve our features. We’re always looking for new and better ways to make your lives easier!

Optimized for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads

Kinsta understands how essential ecommerce is for many businesses. We also know that ecommerce sites can be particularly demanding and tricky, often requiring a lot of cache-bypassing dynamic page loads. That’s why our platform is optimized for ecommerce sites. 

If you use WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads on a daily basis, we can help you increase the speed and performance of your online store. We do this in a variety of ways, including: 

When it comes to ecommerce experiences, speed is of the utmost importance. While Bluehost does offer ecommerce hosting and WooCommerce autoinstallation, it doesn’t provide the speed and advanced features needed to handle a robust online store.

Kinsta, on the other hand, is the fastest WordPress host you’ll find. Review Signal regularly releases an annual review detailing the performance testing of some of the biggest hosts in the industry. For five consecutive years, Kinsta scored “top tier” performance!

Bluehost did not participate in the latest 2019 round. In the prior four years (2014 to 2018), they did not achieve honorable mention or top tier status. In 2018, Bluehost’s entry shared hosting plan ($10.99/month) was tested. So we’ll be comparing that below with the Kinsta starter plan ($30/month).

Web Performance Benchmarks (Starter Plans)

These web performance benchmarks tests were run using identical WordPress dummy websites with the same plugins installed (aside from ones needed for the provider’s particular caching mechanisms).

WebPageTest.org was used to measure in seconds the overall loading time for the first view only, from 11 different geographical locations. Note: The lower the loading time is, the better:

KinstaBluehost
Dulles0.3870.605
Denver1.2871.45
Los Angeles0.8330.924
London1.0761.697
Frankfurt1.0142.552
Mauritius2.4363.493
Singapore1.9021.845
Mumbai2.1142.341
Tokyo1.1861.364
Sydney1.6091.608
São Paulo1.5131.756

As you can see, Kinsta beat Bluehost in 9 out of the 11 tests. What’s more, the Sydney test showed a difference of just a fraction of a millisecond.

Uptime monitoring testing was conducted using two services: UptimeRobot and StatusCake. On both, Kinsta had a perfect uptime:

KinstaBluehost
Uptime Robot100%99.98%
StatusCake100%99.94%

The Load Impact test scaled from 1 to 1,000 users over 15 minutes, with the error count capped at 5,000. This testing is used to detect whether a site is caching from the front page, and helps assess the performance of the caching system:

KinstaBluehost
Requests337,03182,052
Errors05,000
Data Transferred (GB)18.051.97
Peak Average Load Time (seconds)0.418.08
Peak Average Bandwidth (Mbps)30425.2
Peak Average Requests/Sec694138

While Bluehost maxed out at the 5,000 cap for errors, Kinsta produced 0. Kinsta also showed a significantly better peak average loading time. 

The Load Storm tests scaled from 500 to 2,000 users over 30 minutes, with 10 minutes at the peak:

KinstaBluehost
Total Requests294,176293,146
Total Errors3143,830
Peak RPS225.5245.68
Average RPS163.43162.86
Peak Response Time (ms)10,03615,263
Average Response Time (ms)3551,507

As pointed out by Kevin Ohashi, Owner of Review Signal, Bluehost’s uptimes were “perhaps the highlight of their results”. He also added that there were security measures within the Bluehost network present that they were unable to bypass, which “led to some of the strangest-looking LoadStorm tests I’ve ever seen”.

On the other hand, Kinsta generated results to be expected from a top-tier WordPress host. This includes perfect uptime, 0 Load Impact errors, and a mere 3 Load Storm errors.

Code Review Tools

Kinsta is Developer-Friendly

Most of us here at Kinsta are developers ourselves. Therefore, you can feel confident knowing that everything from the tools we use to the dashboard we created is built with developers in mind.

Our goal is to deliver a developer-friendly experience, and help you improve your workflow efficiency and overall productivity. As a managed WordPress host, you’ll have access to a wide variety of unique developer-friendly features designed to support workflow efficiency, not all of which are offered by Bluehost:

  • Kinsta provides unrestricted access to your site’s critical files. 
  • To further improve your database performance, we also offer the Redis add-on. This can be particularly helpful for large websites and retailers that receive a lot of queries. Although Bluehost offers add-ons, they tend to be pricey. 
  • Kinsta offers five different types of backups: automatic daily backups, optional hourly backups, manual backups, system generated backups, and downloadable backups. Bluehost doesn’t include free automatic backups. Instead, they offer Site Backup Pro, an add-on you have to pay for. Alternatively, you can back up your site yourself via cPanel. Another downside to Bluehost backups is that you can only access the most recent backup. Any other data backed up within the past 30 days is overwritten.
  • At Kinsta you can load your site over reverse proxy. 
  • Kinsta lets you run a different version of PHP for every live and staging site. Plus, you can switch between PHP engines with a single click.
  • Regardless of your plan, Kinsta includes SSH access, Git, and WP-CLI.
  • Post and page revisions are enabled by default. 
  • Kinsta provides access to phpMyAdmin, so you can manage and run queries against your MySQL database. However, on Basic plans, your default amount of allocated memory will be limited.

Unlike Bluehost, Kinsta doesn’t offer email hosting. There’s a good reason for this, however. We understand that emails can bring about a whole range of issues, including blacklisted IPs, email deliverability issues, complex email authentication configurations, and so on.

Plus, this feature can also put a strain on your server resources. Therefore, we prefer to focus on what we do best, which is delivering superb, high-quality managed WordPress hosting services. Of course, we handle all your basic transactional emails.

Free Performance Monitoring Tool

WordPress is a dynamic CMS, which means it’s constantly executing PHP code in the background. Depending on your theme and plugin configuration, it’s possible for your site to get bogged down with bloated and inefficient code.

That’s where APM (Application Performance Monitoring) tools can help. An APM monitors requests to your site, and tracks various metrics like external API requests, database queries, PHP execution time, and more. This information allows you to quickly debug and troubleshoot performance bottlenecks.

All Kinsta plans come with a free custom-built APM tool that can be easily accessed right in the MyKinsta dashboard. Kinsta APM provides you with key WordPress performance insights without the need for expensive third-party subscriptions to New Relic and other APM services.

Learn how to use Kinsta APM to debug a WooCommerce site.

With Kinsta APM, you can debug the following and more:

  • Slow WordPress plugins and themes.
  • Long calls to external APIs and domains.
  • Unoptimized MySQL database queries.

Bluehost plans do not come with a free APM tool, which makes it very difficult to quickly troubleshoot performance issues on your WordPress site. With Kinsta APM, you get a custom-built performance monitoring tool specifically built for WordPress – for free.

Feature Comparison Overview

At this point, let’s take a moment to review some of the key differences between Kinsta and Bluehost:

KinstaBluehost
PricingPlans start at $30/monthPlans start at $3.95, but there’s no monthly billing
Money-Back Guarantee30 days on all plans30 days on all plans
Plan Tiers10 (not including custom)3
Premium 24×7 SupportAll plansAll plans
Core Infrastructure (GCP)Same across all plansVaries by plan
SSH AccessAll plansAll plans
Global Data Centers26 locations6 locations
Different location for each of your sitesX
Firewall Powered by CloudflareX
Free DDoS ProtectionX
Continent Locations5Not disclosed
NetworkLow-latency and redundant premium Google Platform network on all plansLimited carriers
Bandwidth LimitsNo limits (within AUP)Unmetered
Container Technology100% resource isolation on all plansShared, VPS, Dedicated
Free MigrationsAll plans$149.99 for up to 5 websites
WooCommerce optimized infrastructureX
Weekly automatic MySQL database optimizationX
Staging EnvironmentAll plansVaries by plan
PHP VersionsPHP 7.3, 7.4, 8.0PHP 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, or 7.3
Switch PHP EngineOne-click change in dashboardOne-click change in dashboard
Free CDN34 (All regions)Cloudflare
Free Premium DNSAmazon R53X
Free SSL CertificatesAll plansAll plans
Free Hack FixesAll plansX
Uptime MonitoringAll plansNo uptime guarantee
Resources LimitsOnly limited by PHP workersLimits on connections, CPU, memory
Multisite SupportPro plans and higherPrime and Pro plans
Additional Backups + Frequency Add-onX
Free APM ToolKinsta APMNot specified
Detailed Performance AnalyticsX
IP GeolocationX
Reverse Proxy Support
Redis Add-onX
New Relic APM SupportX
Site Transfer featureX
Multilingual DashboardEnglish, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, French, Swedish, Danish, JapanEnglish

At Kinsta, we only let you access your WordPress sites directly via encrypted SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) and SSH connections. On the other hand, Bluehost also allows less-secure FTP connections.

Another point we want to mention is in regards to pricing structures. At Kinsta, in addition to yearly plans with two months free, we also offer monthly billing. However, Bluehost doesn’t offer the monthly option until after the first term (starting at 12 months).

In a nutshell, what this means is that when you first sign up with Bluehost, you have to pay for a full year’s worth of service upfront before you can eventually switch to monthly billing. At Kinsta, you can start out with monthly billing right away.

Free Migrations

Another aspect of Kinsta that sets us apart from Bluehost is that we include one or more free premium migrations with all of our plans. Our experienced and skilled migration team will handle the entire process for you, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with complex technology or run the risk of losing critical data. 

Our hassle-free migrations can deliver a seamless and effortless process, whether you’re looking to move one website or 100. All you need to do is fill out our site migration request form.

Our team will be in touch ASAP to schedule a migration time to minimize disruptions and downtime. You’ll also be able to track the status of your migration directly from your MyKinsta dashboard.

My experience with migrations has been excellent – I didn’t wait days for this to happen – migrations happened within a few hours. When I tried to migrate sites myself and there were errors, I received instant emails from support suggesting the issues I should look at. Extremely helpful!

Comparatively, as with automatic backups, Bluehost only offers site migrations as a premium upgrade. You can migrate up to five websites for $149.99.

A Bluehost site migration offer.
A Bluehost site migration offer.

Expert Support

At Kinsta, there is no problem too big or too small for us to help you with. Our dedicated and highly-skilled support team of engineers and WordPress experts is available 24/7. 

We know how important your website is to your business, which is why we don’t have support tiers. Whether you’re running a small blog or a Fortune 500 company, we make sure to treat every single website as a mission-critical priority. 

In Q3 2019, our average ticket response time was 1 minute and 19 seconds! Moreover, we have a 100% solve rate. As you might recall, our team is made up of WordPress developers and Linux hosting engineers, so you can rest assured that you will always receive expert advice and knowledgeable support. 

For two consecutive years, more than 97% of our customers have ended a chat support session happy or satisfied:

Kinsta’s WordPress hosting support conversation ratings chart.
Kinsta’s WordPress hosting support conversation ratings chart.

If you have a question or problem with your site, you will receive help from us as fast as possible. It doesn’t matter where you’re located or what time of day it is, either. We offer multilingual customer support, as well as a knowledge base with guides you can access in 10 languages.

Since Kinsta monitors your site’s uptime every minute, our slowest response time is 5 minutes for any possible downtime. We receive instant alerts, and frequently have begun resolving an issue before a client even reaches out to us. 

I have been transferring a WordPress site to their servers with over 8,000 posts/pages and they have been extraordinary with their help. I am used to only ask for access with my previous host but have to do all of the work myself, and Kinsta goes above just giving me access and actually fixes my issues. It really feels like paying for more than just a hosting platform, but a service/support system that is available 24/7 to help me within minutes. This is amazing!

We also know that customer support should be convenient as well as fast. That’s why we use Intercom as our customer messaging platform, which lets us respond rapidly and log your communications to prevent you from having to repeat yourself to various support team members. Everyone is on the same page at all times.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Bluehost:

A Bluehost customer unable to get through to Bluehost's help desk.

As we mentioned, Bluehost isn’t WordPress-specific, so it’s not always a seamless experience resolving issues. They do offer 24/7 support via chat or phone. However, you don’t always get it within a couple of minutes:

A 30 minute wait time for Bluehost support.
A 30 minute wait time for Bluehost support.

In reality, response times can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Also, the only language Bluehost offers technical support for is English.

Safe and Secure

At Kinsta, we know that  protecting your website is of the utmost importance. That’s why we make security a top priority. Our secure WordPress hosting solution takes both active and passive measures to keep your website safe from security attacks. 

We do this by monitoring your site every two minutes for uptime, and putting tight software-based restrictions in place. We also detect DDoS attacks as they happen and proactively stop malicious code from entering our network. 

Additional security features include:

  • Two-Factor Authentication support
  • Cloudflare firewall with free DDoS protection
  • Automated backups
  • Isolated LXC containers
  • Self-healing PHP
  • Support for encrypted SFTP and SSH connections only (no FTP)

Once we are notified of a plugin or theme vulnerability on one of your sites, we will email you right away and let you know the next steps. We’re always informed and prepared and go above and beyond to make sure you’re kept in the know.

We also have a hack-fix guarantee. This means that, in the off-chance that your site is compromised, we will fix it for you free of charge!

All sites on Kinsta are automatically protected by Cloudflare’s firewall, which includes free DDoS protection. With our Cloudflare integration, you’ll get the benefits of enhanced security and performance without having to configure your own Cloudflare account. Bluehost doesn’t provide a free Cloudflare integration for all hosted sites, irregardless of plan tier.

Kinsta Has a Global Presence

Powered exclusively by the Google Cloud Platform, Kinsta offers 26 data centers around the world and spans five continents. Our data centers are available for all of our plans, and start at only $30 per month, with no extra fees or hidden charges. 

Our expansive global footprint makes it easy for you to choose the data center that makes sense for each website you run. Our current locations include: 

  • Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
  • London, UK
  • Sydney, Australia
  • St. Ghislain, Belgium
  • Changhua County, Taiwan
  • Mumbai, India
  • The Dalles, Oregon, USA
  • Ashburn, Virginia, USA
  • Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Seoul, South Korea.
  • Salt Lake City, USA.
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Jurong West, Singapore
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Montréal, Canada
  • Eemshaven, Netherlands
  • Hamina, Finland
  • Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Hong Kong
  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Las Vegas, USA
  • Jakarta, Indonesia

While Bluehost doesn’t provide any information on their website about their data center locations, it’s believed that they have six. They are primarily based in Utah, U.S.A., with additional centers in India, Europe, and China. Rather than letting you choose the data center you use, however, they automatically allocate the one they think will be most appropriate.

Turbocharging Your Content Delivery with Kinsta CDN

At Kinsta, we understand how vital your website’s performance is. This is why, in addition to including free bandwidth on all of our plans, we partnered with KeyCDN. KeyCDN is a premium HTTP/2 and IPv6-enabled Content Delivery Network (CDN), with content delivery architecture designed specifically for low latency and high throughput. 

Our CDN solution has 34 POPs around the world, which is where your content will be delivered and cached from. The locations encompass all major regions, including Europe, America, Australia, South America, Asia, and Africa!

Currently, Bluehost comes with Cloudflare CDN built in. However, you can only enable it for free if you have the Plus or Choice Plus plan.

Cloudflare has server proxies spanning the globe. Unfortunately, the free version of Cloudflare used by Bluehost can often experience outages and higher TTFB.

Develop Locally with DevKinsta

For developers and agencies, Kinsta offers a simple to use (but powerful) local development tool called DevKinsta. With DevKinsta, you can launch WordPress sites with a full hosting stack and SSL support on your local computer with just a few clicks.

Develop locally and push to Kinsta with DevKinsta
Develop locally and push to Kinsta with DevKinsta.

DevKinsta is fully integrated with MyKinsta and Kinsta’s hosting platform, which means you can develop locally and push updates directly to a staging environment on Kinsta! Bluehost doesn’t have an integration with a local WordPress development tool, which means there is no way to clone and push WordPress sites for Bluehost customers. If you’re a busy freelance or agency developer, DevKinsta’s advanced features and MyKinsta integration can be a huge time saver.

Best Affiliate Program in the Industry

Kinsta works hard to exceed customers’ expectations, which is why we love when our happy customers are willing and even eager to help us spread the word. It’s this high level of satisfaction that has helped make Kinsta one of the fastest-growing managed WordPress hosts. 

This is why we’re proud to offer true profit sharing through our affiliate program — one of the highest paying in the hosting industry. Whether you’re a blogger or an agency, we’re excited to give you the opportunity to partner with us to share our earnings!

Here’s how it works: With every signup you refer, you can earn between $50 and $500 (based on the plan). Additionally, you receive a 10% monthly recurring commission for the lifetime of your referred customers. This is a great opportunity to earn a passive income, especially considering that Kinsta customers have a low 4% churn rate.

What’s more, to make our affiliate program the best it can be, we didn’t want to have our partners deal with cluttered or confusing third-party platforms. Instead, we built our own unique WordPress hosting affiliate dashboard.

Bluehost also has an affiliate program, where you can earn up to $65 for every qualified signup you refer to them. In addition, they offer a tiered commission, which can range anywhere between $65 to $130 per sale.

Join Others Making the Switch to Kinsta

Kinsta is constantly evolving and innovating, to make sure we deliver our clients the fastest, latest technology possible. If you don’t believe us, simply check out our feature updates! We’re always releasing new tools, integrations, and features at a frequency and speed that’s unmatched in the industry.

We are confident in our service, and want you to be completely happy with your hosting. That’s why we always offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and no long-term contracts. If you’re ready to make the switch to a new hosting provider, try out Kinsta risk-free for 30 days!