Bluehost vs. Weebly
Bluehost vs Weebly is an easy match-up to settle in terms of web hosting. As you’ll see in a few moments, when I compare their plans side-by-side, Bluehost is a better host by far. But there’s a catch: Weebly has a fantastic drag-and-drop website builder that can help you get online in a matter of hours. Even if its hosting is not as good, the site builder itself is a strong argument for Weebly.
So which should you choose?
I’m here to help you decide. I’ve tested both Bluehost and Weebly extensively – over a period of several months – and I’ve used the results to compare the two services head-to-head. Both providers have their advantages, which can make it tricky to settle the dispute between them. However, once you find out what each host does best, you’ll be able to choose the one that best suits your needs.
I’ll tell you right now that there are a few surprises on the way. In fact, you might not have to choose between Bluehost and Weebly at all. Depending on what you hope to accomplish with your website, you could integrate the two and get the best of both worlds.
Read on to find out more.
Let me be brutally honest: no matter how good your content is, visitors won’t stick around for it if your website doesn’t load quickly enough. In a fast-paced world where people use their phones to browse on-the-go, performance is everything. From user engagement to conversion, retention, and sales, your website depends on the level of performance delivered by your web host.
If your speed or uptime are bad, your product or service won’t matter. Even the BBC found that they lost a massive 10% of users for every extra second that their site needed to load.
No matter the website you want to build – whether it’s a personal online resume, a presentation of your business, a blog, or an online store – you deserve a host that can keep up with your growth. You’ll be putting a lot of work into your online presence, and you don’t want your hosting provider to hold you back.
Don’t worry: I’ve tested both Bluehost and Weebly, and I have the numbers that will help you decide which of the two can better support your website. Let’s see how they did.
Bluehost vs. Weebly: Server Infrastructure
There are a few major differences between Bluehost and Weebly when it comes to their server infrastructures, and you should know about them before you make any final decisions. For one, Bluehost offers ample information about your hosting environment, whereas Weebly is more secretive.
Bluehost has a single US-based data center, but servers are equipped with the latest technologies and SSD storage, which is much faster than traditional HDDs. In addition, you know exactly how much bandwidth, storage, and computing resources are included in every plan, so you can easily find the best solution for your needs.
With Weebly, things are a bit more complicated. Weebly emphasizes its website builder, but leaves out many important details about the web hosting included in its plans. There are a few suggestions that storage space is unlimited on some plans, but this is only true for as long as you abide by the “fair use” policies. How much storage is too much according to Weebly? They don’t say.
Nor does Weebly offer any information regarding bandwidth or its server infrastructure. We know that Weebly hosts websites in the cloud, but the company doesn’t specify whether it uses its own infrastructure or that of a third-party provider like Google Cloud Platform.
Weebly says nothing of its server stack, either. If you like to be in control of your hosting environment and tweak with software to obtain the best possible loading speeds, you’re out of luck. Weebly won’t give you a lot of useful information in this respect, nor will it let you install your own web server or cache plugins.
This can become a problem quickly. For instance, remember how I said that Bluehost has a single data center located in the US? This means that if you audience is primarily US-based, you can expect excellent performance for your website by default. If, however, you have visitors from around the world, you’ll want to use Cloudflare CDN to improve your site’s loading speeds in different regions.
With Bluehost, Cloudflare CDN is integrated straight into your dashboard, so it’s super easy (and free) to activate it for your website. With Weebly, you can’t use Cloudflare or any other CDN due to compatibility issues. Since most of Weebly’s servers are also located in the US, this can be a dealbreaker for non-US websites.
Page Loading Speed
If I had to pick the main drawback with Weebly, this is it: the websites built on its platform are pretty slow. Having read the complaints of dozens of other users, I wanted to try the host for myself, hoping that I would get different results. Unfortunately, my tests only confirmed what so many other customers were already saying.
Especially when compared to Bluehost, Weebly had significantly lower site loading speeds. The difference was even more compelling when I ran a load impact test to see how the two hosts would handle higher traffic. Bluehost came out on top across the board, while Weebly fell behind quickly.
This makes sense. With Bluehost, not only is the infrastructure better optimized, but you can make tweaks to help your site load faster. For example, you can turn on your CDN and/or install plugins that cache your website for improved performance. In addition, you have more control over the exact content that goes on your website, whereas with Weebly, you don’t.
For a small, low-traffic website, Weebly might be a good idea. In fact, it’s one of the best performing website builders out there. For everything else, however, I’d sooner trust Bluehost to deliver the necessary performance.
Bluehost promises an average uptime of 99.9%, and my tests show an even higher number of 99.98% over the course of an entire year. While the guarantee is pretty much standard for the web hosting industry, the uptime history itself is outstanding and considerably better than what you would get with most hosts.
Weebly also demonstrated decent uptime throughout the testing period, but I was slightly worried about the fact that an uptime guarantee is not mentioned anywhere on their website. That can’t be a good sign.
Even so, outages are very rare with both Weebly and Bluehost. Whether you go with one or the other, your website shouldn’t be offline for more than a few minutes every month.
Bluehost vs. Weebly: Which Host Has Better Performance?
Weebly has its strengths – especially since its website builder is so easy to use – but when it comes to performance, Bluehost is by far the superior host. The latter uses an infrastructure that is better optimized, and it gives you more control over your hosting environment. If you want to make changes to improve your site’s performance, you can, which is not the case with Weebly.
Don’t get me wrong: you can still use Weebly if you don’t care that much about performance. Just keep in mind that what you gain in simplicity, you’ll likely lose in user retention, and this can hurt your website in the long run.
There’s one other catch, too: if you realize that you need better loading speeds later down the line, moving from Weebly to a better host can quickly turn into a nightmare. More about that below.
Pricing and Value
It’s pretty simple to compare Bluehost’s and Weebly’s prices side-by-side, but these numbers never tell the full story. You have to ask yourself: what do I get for the cost? If one host has extra features compared to the other, you have to determine whether the added price is worth it. Perhaps you don’t need these features in the first place, and you could get away with a cheaper plan.
|Pricing||from $29.99/month||from $25/month|
|1 Click WordPress Install||Yes||No|
|Ideal for||Small to Medium Enterprise||Ready-to-go websites|
The research can take quite a bit of time, especially since web hosts don’t exactly advertise their downsides on the pricing page. Sometimes, you have to dig deep into Terms and Agreements to find the information you need. Which is exactly what I’ve done. Let’s take a closer look.
Free Web Hosting and Site Builder from Weebly
Weebly’s free plan is a great way to test the platform before you commit, as well as a suitable option for a personal website or blog. You have full access to the Weebly website builder and all of its themes, and you get plenty of features like a free SSL certificate and a “.weebly.com” domain.
However, before you get too excited, you should know that there are some important limitations. For one, you won’t be able to connect your own, custom domain. If you’re building a professional website for your business, this could be a major drawback.
Unlike with most free hosting options, you don’t have to accept random ads on your site, but the Weebly logo will be displayed at the bottom of each page. Again, this could look pretty bad on a professional site or online store.
And speaking of online stores, Weebly’s free plan doesn’t include any ecommerce features. The latter are locked behind the Pro and Business packages, which means that if you want to start selling products (or memberships), you’ll have to upgrade sooner or later.
Finally, there’s one more essential limitation: with the free plan, you only get 500MB of storage space. Now, I’m not saying that you need unlimited storage for a regular site, but 500MB is very little to work with. You won’t be able to include a lot of media, and if you do use images, you’ll have to downsize them quite a bit.
Bluehost Basic vs. Weebly Connect
If you want to create a professional website on a budget, you’ll likely have to choose between these two entry-level plans. Both Bluehost’s Basic and Weebly’s Connect are fairly affordable, but keep in mind that you can get some fantastic deals with Bluehost for your first term using this special offer. Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t have any first term discounts, which makes it roughly 60% more expensive than Bluehost.
So, what do you get with each plan?
If you opt for Weebly’s Connect package, you get pretty much the same resources and features as you would with the free plan – plus the ability to connect a custom domain. The Weebly logo will still appear on your website, and you’re stuck with the same 500MB of storage.
With Bluehost’s Basic plan, you get one website, a generous 50GB of SSD storage, a free domain name for one year, and unlimited bandwidth. You also get full control over your account, which means that you can use your favorite content management system (CMS), as well as the plugins you’re most comfortable with.
Meanwhile, Weebly has strict customization limits. Although you can download and install scripts from the Weebly marketplace, many of these are paid add-ons, and some important functionalities are missing altogether. To give you just one example, I wasn’t able to find a script for invoicing, which could be pretty inconvenient for an ecommerce site.
Nor will you be able to fully customize your website. Weebly’s themes are beautiful and very well designed, but unless you know how to edit code, you won’t be able to change much apart from the text fonts and colors. Given these restrictions, it might be difficult to create an exclusive-looking website.
And there’s one more essential thing to consider in terms of pricing: both Bluehost and Weebly offer domain registration services, but only Bluehost will also host your email. In fact, Bluehost gives you five email addresses @yourdomain for free. If you opt for Weebly and you want to create a professional email, you have to buy email hosting from a third-party provider, which will add to your overall costs.
Finally, you have to know that Weebly owns all of the code that is generated through its website builder. Regardless of the plan you choose, you’ll only be able to transfer text and images if you want to switch to a different provider. Everything else – including your design and SEO optimizations – will stay with Weebly.
Bluehost Plus vs. Weebly Pro
For a few extra dollars, Bluehost Plus comes with unlimited websites, storage space, bandwidth, and email. You also get $200 worth of marketing credits for Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads, which can help you spread the word about your new blog, business, or online store.
On the other hand, Weebly’s Pro plan comes with 10 websites, unlimited storage and bandwidth, but no email. A free domain is included for your first year in addition to $100 of advertising credits, but you have the same limitations when it comes to customizing your website. The only significant advantage in terms of design is that Weebly ads are no longer posted on your site.
Regarding the functionality of your website, Weebly’s Pro plan has some decent improvements. For one, you get a search function that visitors can use to find specific information on your site, and you unlock ecommerce tools like a built-in shopping card and payment gateway. You also get advanced site statistics, which can help you improve your store’s visibility in search engines.
That said, you can add all of these features to your Bluehost website by default. Given that Weebly’s Pro is roughly double the cost of Bluehost’s Plus package, it makes you wonder whether the extra cost is worth it. Having tested both platforms, I’m inclined to say that it isn’t.
Bluehost Choice Plus vs. Weebly Business
If you expect your website to grow quickly, you might want to consider one of these two top-tier plans. But before I get into the extra features they offer, I have to mention that Weebly’s Business package is no less than five times more expensive than Bluehost’s Choice Plus. This is a pretty significant discrepancy in cost, so I was expecting a lot from Weebly’s plan. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I was getting my money’s worth.
What was included? With Weebly Business, you get additional ecommerce functions. More specifically, the Business package lets you add multiple options per product, advertise items that are on sale, manage your inventory, calculate taxes and shipping, and receive reviews from customers.
It’s certainly a big upgrade from the Pro plan, but I’ve seen turnkey eCommerce platforms like Shopify that include these services in their cheap, entry-level plan. To find out more, you’ll have to check out my Bluehost vs. Shopify comparison.
On the other hand, Bluehost’s Choice Plus is just slightly more expensive than the Plus option, and it includes all of the same features – plus some great security improvements. For instance, CodeGuard Basic is included in the plan, which means that you no longer have to worry about website backups. These are performed daily, and can easily be restored in case something goes wrong.
High-Performance Solutions: VPS and Dedicated Servers from Bluehost
Weebly’s plans all run on cloud hosting, which is generally considered to be faster and more reliable than traditional infrastructures. However, one issue with public clouds is security, so if you have a mission-critical website or a high-traffic online store, you might want a more private solution.
Weebly doesn’t give you any other options, but with Bluehost, you can always upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server. Not only can you expect better performance from these infrastructures, but they are also more secure.
In a shared hosting environment, a server is used by multiple tenants. This means that security breaches can extend from one website to another, while high traffic on a neighboring site can affect your performance. With a VPS plan, you get your own, virtual machine. Although you’re still sharing a server with others, your resources are now your own, and your account is safely isolated.
Alternatively, if you want even more control over your server, you can opt for dedicated hosting. This way, you can provision a single-tenant, bare-metal machine that only you can access. I don’t recommend this solution unless you already have a very popular website, but it’s good to know that the option is there in case you need it later down the line.
If you expect your website to grow quickly, my advice is that you go with Bluehost. The platform is better optimized to support high traffic, and you can always switch to VPS if your website outgrows the limitations of a shared environment.
Which Is Cheaper, Bluehost or Weebly?
There’s no doubt about it: Bluehost is cheaper than Weebly across the board, especially if you take advantage of this special discount for your first term.
There is, however, a more important question: which of the two hosts gives you more value for your money? As you’ll see in a moment, Weebly is super easy to use, and its website builder is one of the most popular in the industry, but when it comes to its web hosting packages, they are fairly poor compared to what you get with Bluehost.
From extra storage space to more websites and email hosting, Bluehost’s plans pack a serious punch. In other words, Bluehost is not only cheaper than Weebly, but it also gives you more bang for your buck.
Ease of Use
This is the one category where Weebly truly shines. Although there are a lot of website builders out there, Weebly has the simplest drag-and-drop interface, which makes it really easy to create, design, and publish a site. If you’re looking for the quickest way to get online, Weebly is it.
However, there are some drawbacks. Weebly’s simplicity comes at the cost of performance and creative freedom. For instance, once you’ve chosen a theme, you can’t customize as many elements as you would with other website builders. Plus, there aren’t that many themes to choose from, which means that you might end up with a rather stock-looking website.
To this, you have to add the fact that Weebly doesn’t let you install any plugins. You can easily add most functions to your website by using the Weebly marketplace, but if something’s not there, you’re out of luck. In addition, many of the best scripts are paid.
Bluehost might not have a website builder by default, but that doesn’t make it difficult to use. Whether you prefer WordPress or some other CMS, Bluehost lets you set up your favorite framework with just a couple of clicks. If you choose WordPress, you also get automated software updates.
But perhaps the biggest advantage with Bluehost is that you can install whatever website builder you want on your account. If you want a WordPress website, you can use Elementor or BoldGrid to create a beautiful design in minutes. Both of these builders have a drag-and-drop interface that is just as simple as Weebly’s. They’re also free and easy to install.
You can even set up Weebly on your Bluehost account and get the best of both services for no extra cost. You’ll be able to use the same themes and drag-and-drop interface in addition to your own plugins. And if you don’t like Weebly’s limited customization options, you can always switch to a different site builder.
Whatever website you build on Bluehost is entirely your own. If you ever want to switch to a different provider, you don’t have to design your site from scratch.
You need a decent amount of storage space and bandwidth to host a website, but it’s the extra features – like managed software updates and caching – that can make your life easier in the long run. Sometimes, it’s worth settling for fewer resources in exchange for an outstanding platform, but is this the case with Bluehost or Weebly? Let’s find out.
As far as Weebly is concerned, its best feature is the drag-and-drop website builder. With this tool by your side, you can create a professional-looking website in a matter of hours – no code required. Here are some other important features that you get:
- A free SSL certificate for your website,
- A free “.weebly.com” domain,
- A free custom domain for one year (with the Pro or Business plan),
- An integrated site search function (with Pro or Business),
- An integrated shopping cart (with Pro or Business),
- Built-in contact forms,
- Email marketing through Weebly Promote,
- Free advertising credits,
- Advanced ecommerce tools like item options and sales, tax and shipping calculator, inventory management, customer reviews, and more (on the Business plan).
Bluehost’s best feature, on the other hand, is the hosting platform itself. You should choose Bluehost if you want to make sure that your website loads quickly, because you can add other functionalities yourself. Other features include:
- Free SSL certificates for your websites,
- A free custom domain for one year (on all plans),
- Completely ads-free websites,
- A one-click installer for WordPress and hundreds of other scripts,
- Automated WordPress updates,
- Full control over your account, websites, CSS, plugins, and security,
- The ability to work with your favorite website builder, including Weebly,
- Free advertising credits,
- Email hosting and at least five free email addresses,
- Spam protection,
- Integrated Cloudflare CDN,
- WooCommerce hosting, which includes built-in storefronts, item options and sales, inventory management, a tax and shipping calculator, an analytics dashboard, and more.
All in all, it might be easier to get started with Weebly, but between the expensive plans, the mediocre performance, and the limited control over your website, it’s not really worth it. Bluehost makes it possible to integrate almost all of the same features – including the Weebly website builder – without having to compromise on loading speeds or creative freedom.
No matter how great a web hosting service might look on paper, you can’t know who you’re dealing with until you have to get in touch with customer support. When you need urgent help with your website or account, will someone be there to take your questions? If so, will they be able to reply in an effective manner?
To find these answers for you, I’ve contacted both Bluehost and Weebly on several occasions while building my test websites. In most cases, I was able to reach an agent in under a couple of minutes, and my issue was resolved not long after that.
There were some notable differences, though. For one, Weebly only offers live chat and email support on the Free and Connect plans. To get direct help through phone, you have to upgrade to either the Pro or the Business package.
Bluehost, on the other hand, has live chat, email, and phone support on all plans. In addition, while both hosts offer help with basic, platform-related issues, you have the option to buy additional assistance with WordPress debugging from Bluehost. It’ll cost you extra, but it’s good to know that the option is there.
As with most web hosts, you shouldn’t expect help with web design or coding. Support only covers problems that are related to each host’s platform, although sometimes I did get lucky enough to be put in contact with a more knowledgeable agent.
Search Engine Optimization
No matter the website you build, if you want people to find your content, you have to tackle the issue of SEO (search engine optimization). Although SEO is just one aspect of a complete digital marketing campaign, it’s actually the best way to draw organic traffic to your website.
In a nutshell, people are about 20 times more likely to visit your website thanks to good SEO than they are to click on it through a PPC ad. In addition, SEO is cheaper than PPC in the long run, and you can even optimize your website without the help of an expert. This is where your web host can help.
Both Bluehost and Weebly offer several SEO tools for free, but there is a fundamental difference between them. With Bluehost, you get to choose your own SEO plugins based on the CMS you use. If you work with WordPress, for example, you might want to install Yoast for page statistics, an SEO audit, and other useful features.
With Weebly, you don’t have as much control over your SEO project. As you design your website, Weebly writes the code for you, and ensures that the latter is SEO-friendly by default. You also get site statistics and an SEO checklist with useful pointers about keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, and other on-page elements, but you can’t use your own plugins.
There’s also the issue of website loading speeds, which tend to be pretty slow with Weebly. This can have an impact on your website’s ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages) because it usually leads to a higher bounce rate. And since you can’t install your own SEO or cache plugins, you won’t be able to do much to fix it.
Optimizations won’t have as much of an impact on your website’s ranking in SERPs if the site takes forever to load. For outstanding performance, try Bluehost and see how a fast website looks like.
Especially if you’re a beginner building your first website, security might be the last thing on your mind. It shouldn’t be. Statistics show that more than 1% of the global GDP (roughly $600 billion) is lost to cybercrime every year. You might feel like your website is safe. You might think that it’s too small for hackers to bother with it. But you’d be wrong.
In a world where cybersecurity is quickly becoming a primary concern for all businesses, you need a web host that can keep your website and online data safe. So what about Weebly and Bluehost? How did they fare in this category?
Unfortunately, they could both do better. Weebly, for example, offers free SSL certificates and DDoS protection, but does little in the way of malware scanning and backups. You can create your own backups – and there is a guide in Weebly’s knowledge base that can help you do it – but don’t expect it to be done for you.
SSL encryption is, indeed, absolutely necessary these days, not only for websites that handle sensitive customer information, but also for SEO. Search engines like Google have cracked down hard on websites without SSL, and you don’t want your competitor’s page to appear above yours just because your website isn’t padlock protected.
Thankfully, this isn’t a problem with Bluehost, either. The provider offers free SSL certificates on all plans, and it’s very easy to activate them from your dashboard. If you opt for the Choice Plus plan, you also get automated daily backups via CodeGuard. I wouldn’t underestimate the peace of mind that comes with this add-on. If anything ever happens to your site, you can always restore a previous, working version of it.
And there’s one more advantage with Bluehost. For a modest fee, you can buy the SiteLock Essentials add-on, which includes a complete malware scanner and removal tool, DDoS protection, and other essential security features. Granted, it’s an extra cost, but at least the option is there, which is not the case with Weebly.
Scalability refers to whether or not a web host can keep up with a growing website. For example, say that you want to build a personal website – maybe a blog about your line of work. Soon enough, your content gathers steam and you get dozens or even hundreds of visitors per day. You might even want to add a small online store or set up memberships for paid content. But can Weebly or Bluehost handle this kind of traffic?
Weebly has four regular web hosting plans and a Business Plus package for medium online stores. All of the plans are hosted in the cloud, which is great for speed and reliability, but there are no enterprise-grade solutions. If your website ever goes viral, you’ll likely have to switch to another provider.
Which brings me to my next point. Weebly makes it very difficult to transfer a website built on its platform. If you need to move, you can only take your text and images with you, which means that you have to design your entire website from scratch. Not a great prospect.
This is not the case with Bluehost. What you create on Bluehost’s platform is yours, so it’ll be easy to transfer your site if needed. That said, you might not need a migration in the first place because Bluehost has a wide range of services suited for all types of websites.
If you outgrow the limitations of its shared hosting plans, you can upgrade to VPS, which comes with dedicated resources, improved security, and additional control. Even if you’re building a massive ecommerce website, you still have options. Bluehost’s dedicated servers are fairly affordable, and they come with the highest level of performance in the industry.
Now that we’ve broken down every aspect of this Bluehost vs. Weebly comparison, it’s time to zoom out for the bigger picture. There are a few essential differences between the two hosts, and these could help you make the right decision:
- Performance and control. Customers have said it, and our tests have confirmed it: no matter how you look at it, Bluehost is faster and more reliable than Weebly. In addition, Weebly is pretty strict regarding what you can and cannot do with your website. Theme customization is limited, and you can’t install any plugins that you don’t find using the Weebly marketplace. This, in turn, can affect both your website’s performance and its SEO score.
- Ease of use. This is Weebly’s forte. Although restrictive, its website builder is one of the simplest to use out there. If you just want to get online quickly, this is the way to do it. But the thing is, you can use the Weebly site builder for free on your Bluehost account. This way, you get ease of use and decent performance, all in one neat package.
- Scalability and pricing. Weebly can only go so far in terms of its hosting infrastructure, and it can be difficult to migrate to a better host later on. With Bluehost, you know that there is plenty of room to grow. Plus, Bluehost is cheaper across the board.
Not yet sure if Bluehost is right for you? You can learn more about this provider, its plans, performance, and customer support in our in-depth Bluehost review.
Bluehost vs. Weebly: Our Pick
I’ll be honest with you: although Weebly is a great website builder, it doesn’t do that well in terms of performance. Bluehost, on the other hand, came out on top in almost every aspect of this comparison. As far as I’m concerned, that makes it the clear winner:
- Performance: Bluehost’s platform is better optimized, and the provider gives you more freedom to customize your stack. If you want to use cache plugins to speed up your site, you can. A CDN is also included, none of which is the case with Weebly.
- Pricing and Value: Weebly is more expensive than Bluehost, and it doesn’t have any special deals for your first term.
- Ease of Use: The Weebly website builder is overall easier to use than Bluehost, but the added simplicity is not necessarily worth it. You can install any website builder, including Weebly, on your Bluehost account, and get the best of both services.
- Features: Weebly has more features integrated straight into its dashboard, but it won’t give you anything you can’t set up yourself with Bluehost.
- Customer Support: Bluehost offers 24/7 customer support through live chat, email, and phone, whereas Weebly doesn’t have phone support for its entry-level plans.
- Search Engine Optimization: Weebly has built-in SEO features, but slow page loading speeds can negatively affect your ranking in SERPs. This isn’t a problem with Bluehost, and you can use your favorite SEO plugin to optimize your site.
- Security: Neither Weebly, nor Bluehost has great security, but at least you can buy additional tools with Bluehost. SSL certificates are included for free in both cases.
- Scalability: There’s more room to grow with Bluehost than there is with Weebly. In addition, Weebly makes it pretty difficult to transfer to another host.
At the end of the day, you have to make the choice that is best for your needs. For a small personal website, you could go with Weebly, but for everything else, I’d go with Bluehost instead.
Compared to Weebly, Bluehost has better performance, features, customer support, and security. What’s more, you can fully customize your website, and you can even install the free version of Weebly to get the best of both worlds. Since Bluehost has a generous 30-days money-back guarantee, you can try the service without taking any chances.