Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Jay
In this article I want to share how I migrate this WordPress blog from Bluehost to Linode, a self-hosted service. I hope to use this post to share my blog hosting experiences that might be helpful to others. This is my unbiased opinion, and I don’t mean one approach is better than the other.
If you want a tl;dr – Bluehost (or similar services) is good for beginners. Self-hosting for more experienced bloggers and those with technical know-how.
Signed up with Bluehost back in March 2020
I registered my domain and signed up for a 3-yr WordPress hosting with Bluehost around the end of March 2020. Now my renewal is coming up, and I’ve decided to move away from Bluehost to a self-hosted solution, which I’ll discuss later.
Why migrate my WordPress site away from Bluehost?
Two reasons: 1) the renewal cost and 2) the site speed.
Renewal cost (Canadian dollar)
I use their “Basic” shared hosting plan. The renewal cost is:
- $15/mo, or $180/yr for hosting. I have to pay for 1-yr in full upon renewal.
- $25/yr for domain registration and $20 for privacy protection.
- The total comes to $225 per year.
- This is A LOT higher than the cost when you first signup with them, which is their typical marketing strategy, and I’ll talk about that later.
I have a simple blog with a few add-ins, but the site speed is not ideal with Bluehost. I thought about upgrading to higher-tier plans but didn’t act on it, so not sure if paying more will help. Google search console says that many of my site pages have LCP over 4 seconds. A large LCP number means your content will take longer to load on a webpage.
Self-hosted WordPress Site
Bluehost is a managed WordPress hosting service, which means you don’t have to worry about anything other than writing content. Register your account, one-click install WordPress, then off you go.
On the other hand, setting up a self-hosted WordPress site involves the following steps:
- Set up a server—usually a Linux machine from a cloud provider.
- Install WordPress on the server.
- Install SSL and enable HTTPS
It turns out a lot easier than I thought, but I appreciate that for someone who’s just starting out blogging, it will be easier to stay with a managed WP service if you don’t have the technical knowledge.
Since I have an existing domain, I transferred it to another registrar called Namecheap, and migrated my WordPress site content from Bluehost to Linode. There was 0 downtime during the transfer & migration.
My new site costs:
- $7/mo or $84/yr for hosting. I can cancel anytime if I’m not happy with the hosting. This is also a shared hosting, but it should be faster than Bluehost.
- $15/yr for domain registration. The domain privacy protection is free.
- The total is about $100 per year.
I spent about 1 hour researching, registering, transferring, migrating, and setting up new sites. I saved about $120 annually, which I think is a good deal. Here’s a comparison chart of the Bluehost vs Self-hosted cost:
|Cost per year||Bluehost (Managed)||Self-hosted WP|
The new site speed is perfect. Most of the pages are under 2 seconds LCP, which is considered good speed by Google.
Why I chose Bluehost 3 years ago
When I first started blogging 3 years ago, I saw Bluehost advertising everywhere. They were offering a special discount for a 3-year sign-up. I didn’t know any better, so I went with Bluehost.
Over the 3-year period, my costs were:
- $143 for WP hosting
- Domain registration: $47 (first year free)
- Domain privacy protection: $54 (this is not free)
- The total comes to $244 for THREE years
Regarding their customer service, I didn’t experience many issues with my site, so I rarely contacted them. Maybe only 3 times during the 3-year period I’m with them. Each time I got a human staff to help with my issues, their response time was not bad. The only issue was that the last time I contacted their support in early March, customer service was constantly trying to sell me stuff. Over my 10-min chat with him/her, “would you like to take the offer” appeared at least five times. It was annoying, but I’ve already decided to move before contacting them.
I’ve used Linode a couple of times to host my other (non-WP) websites in the past. They offer pretty much any kind of server, and they are fast.
Cost: The low hosting cost at Linode reflects that it’s not a managed service, and we have to manage the site ourselves. Therefore, it’s cheaper. WordPress is mature software, and I don’t expect to have many issues even with the self-hosted option.
Speed: When I work in their server backend (Linux machines), I often see download speeds exceeding 300MB/s.
Customer service: Again I didn’t have many issues with other sites at Linode. I’ve contacted their support team once, and they resolved my issue quickly.
Do I regret choosing Bluehost to start blogging? No. I’d say it’s pretty easy to use Bluehost (or any other similar managed WP hosting site) to get started fast without knowing all the technical details. You can focus on creating content rather than worrying about your servers, etc.. The new signup cost was reasonable, but the renewal cost is questionable and they seem to overcharge customers. The downside with Bluehost is that your site might be slow.
For renewal, I do not recommend sticking with Bluehost, unless you don’t care about spending the extra hundreds of dollars, and continued slow speed. I was using the most basic plan, it’s possible that they overcharge much more for higher tier plans. You have plenty of time to master the craft (including website hosting, etc.) during the first few years of your blogging journey, and you should probably take the time to learn how to self-host your website in longer term.