Most Weebly users build their websites through the drag and drop builder through Weebly Inc.
But what most users don’t know, is that you can actually use Weebly with Bluehost to build your website as well!
I’ll get into the pros, cons and pricing differences of using Weebly on Weebly Inc. vs Bluehost.com, but first let me quickly explain some key differences and who or what is Bluehost.
Note: To reduce confusion, I’m going to refer to Weebly (the Company) as “Weebly Inc.”, and the actual website building technology that you use to build websites as “Weebly”. So both Weebly Inc. (the company) and Bluehost use Weebly (the website builder).
Who and What is Bluehost?
Bluehost is a very large and reputable hosting service. They’ve been around since 1996 (even before Weebly was created) and they provide hosting services for millions of users.
Most people use Bluehost to set up other websites using WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. Basically it’s a general platform where people build a variety of websites using other website building platforms.
In fact, Bluehost is a recommended host by WordPress since 2005 – this just goes to show that Bluehost is credible and is a trusted company.
Hosting with Weebly Inc. vs Hosting with Bluehost
When you sign up with an account with Weebly Inc. to create your website, your website is hosted with Weebly Inc. That means all your pictures, text, slideshows, everything in your website, reside or is stored with Weebly Inc. You will login and access your website by going to the Weebly Inc. website (www.Weebly.com).
If you use Weebly through Bluehost.com, this means everything in your website is stored with Bluehost.com. You will access your Weebly website by going to Bluehost.com.
Why is Weebly in Bluehost?
Inserting Weebly into Bluehost allows Weebly Inc., as a company, to reach millions of additional users. Given that Bluehost is a reputable company and has a great branding, this gives Weebly Inc. an opportunity to increase their number of users.
On the other hand, it also gives Bluehost an opportunity to provide a user-friendly, drag and drop website builder to their customers.
As I mentioned above, Bluehost traditionally caters to WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, and they are much more complicated website builders to use. Adding a drag and drop website builder such as Weebly to their product offering makes a lot of sense.
Is Weebly with Bluehost the same as Weebly with Weebly Inc.?
Yes and no. What we have noticed is that there is a time delay between when Weebly Inc. releases new features, and when Bluehost updates their version of Weebly.
Also, there are certain administrative functions that are available with Weebly Inc., but not available with Bluehost.
While Bluehost may not have all the newest Weebly features, there are a lot of benefits if you use Bluehost. I’ll go over these below.
Bluehost Slow to Update with New Weebly Features
What we have noticed is that whenever Weebly Inc. releases new features, it takes a while for Bluehost to update their version of Weebly.
For example, at the time of this article, Weebly Inc. recently released new features such as:
- Site search
- Header slideshows
- Custom footers
- Expanded social icons element
At the moment, Bluehost’s version of Weebly has yet to include these new updates. It has been around 3 months since the new features were released by Weebly Inc., so hopefully Bluehost will incorporate these soon.
Other than that, all the other basic website building tools work the same. You can still build a website using Bluehost’s Weebly quickly and easily.
Bluehost Limits the Number of Pages You Can Build
With the Basic version of Weebly with Bluehost, you can only create 6 pages per website. If you want to create more pages, you will need to upgrade to their “Professional” plan. (I’ll go over the pricing differences between Weebly Inc. and Bluehost below).
Missing Important Administrative Functions with Bluehost’s Weebly
There are 2 important administrative functions that are missing with Bluehost’s version of Weebly.
Normally with Weebly Inc., it gives you the ability to invite Editors to help you build your website. So if you hire a developer or designer on contract to help you, you can just invite them without giving them full access to your website. I go over this feature in this video tutorial here.
With Bluehost, you cannot invite Editors to edit your website as this feature is missing. So if you want to give someone access to your account, you will have to give them your Bluehost login name and password, which some people may resist as the editor will now have full access to your account, including the ability to reset your password and change other important information.
Many of you may not be comfortable with this, even though you can always change your password afterwards.
2) Import External Templates
With Weebly Inc., you can import external Weebly templates with just 1-click. You have access to this feature whether you are using the free version of Weebly or the paid version.
With Bluehost, you can import external Weebly templates, but this option is only available if you upgrade to their “Professional” package (I’ll go over the pricing differences between Weebly and Bluehost below).
What Benefits do Bluehost Offer that Weebly Doesn’t?
Weebly Inc. offers you a drag and drop website builder – that’s it. While the website builder is simple and intuitive to use (read our comprehensive review on Weebly), Weebly Inc. really doesn’t offer other services.
They do one thing very well and offer you only one thing – enabling you to build websites easily.
But for those who want more than just the ability to build a website, using Weebly through Bluehost is an excellent option.
So what does Bluehost give you that Weebly doesn’t?
1) Unlimited email accounts
You can set up as many email addresses as you want using your domain name.
For example, if your website address is www.example.com, you can create your own custom email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org
This comes with the basic package from Bluehost, and they help you set it up (more on Bluehost help below).
2) Free domain name
If you use Bluehost, they give you a free domain name for 1 year. A typical domain name will cost you around $12 a year. So that’s a little bit of savings in your pocket.
3) 24 Hours 7 Days a Week Live Support
Weebly Inc. currently only offers you email support. With Bluehost, they provide you with 24/7 phone, live chat or email support.
This is really a nice perk that Bluehost offers, as different people have different learning habits and learning speed. Some people are not afraid of technology, while some need a bit of hand holding, which Bluehost provides.
Although in our experiences, Weebly Inc. usually responds to email in a day, for some of you who prefer speaking with someone on the phone or on internet live chat without waiting, Bluehost will cater to your needs.
Pricing Difference Between Weebly Inc. and Bluehost
Weebly Inc. recently changed their pricing structure for Weebly Pro. So the following pricing information is taken from the most recent packages from both Weebly and Bluehost.
Weebly Pro and Starter Plans
The price for Pro and Starter Plans range from:
- Pro – $6.63 to $9.83 / month
- Starter – $3.29 / month to $4.83 / month
The price range depends if you sign up for a 6 month plan or up to 2 years.
Bluehost Weebly Plans
A basic Bluehost plan starts at $6.95 / month (you can get it for $4.95 per month if you sign up for 36 months – but you can cancel and get your money back any time).
With just the basic plan, you get access to use their Weebly website builder, but as mentioned, they limit you to only 6 pages per website.
Other additional benefits you receive include:
- Unlimited customized email addresses
- Free domain name for 1 year
- 24/7 live support
If you want more features, you will need to upgrade to their “Professional” plan for $8.99 / month.
You can also sign up for their e-Commerce plans for $2.99 per month as well.
Illustration of Pricing Differences
So let’s piece this all together in an illustration.
Depending on which plan you sign up with Weebly Inc., for the sake of illustration, your monthly investment will be around $4 to $10 (rounded to the closest dollar).
If you were to sign up with Bluehost, with their Professional Plan (most people will likely do so to access more features), the monthly fee will be around $14 to $16 (rounded to the closest dollar).
In appearance, it’s cheaper to register with Weebly Inc., than with Bluehost.
However, you should consider the other “value added” services that Bluehost gives you:
- Email address – We pay $4.16 a month with Google Business Apps to get 1 customized email address. With Bluehost, you can have unlimited number of custom email addresses.
- Free 1 year domain name – that’s around a $12 per year value (so $1 a month, but only for 1 year)
- 24/7 live support – hard to put a value on this, but it’s worth good money to some people
So if we take the approximate Bluehost monthly price of $14 – $16, and adjust for the 2 quantifiable benefits above (email and domain name), the adjusted monthly price will then be approximately $9 to $11.
Not too far off from Weebly’s plans, not to mention you will receive 24/7 support from Bluehost.
Here’s a quick table to help illustrate:
Even after adjusting for the free email and 1 year free domain name, Bluehost is still a little bit more expensive. But you have to consider the 24/7 live support they provide you. We didn’t include this in our calculation as it is not easy to put a price tag on it.
If you tend to like instant support at any time, rather than waiting for email support, this Bluehost support benefit could be worth a lot to you.
Money Back Guarantee
If you sign up with Weebly Inc’s Pro / Starter package, you have a 30 day money back guarantee period.
For Bluehost, you can also cancel at any time during the first 30 days and get all your money back.
Once you past the 30 days, you can get full refund for any unused portion of the remainder of your contract. So it’s pretty fair.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
Choosing between using Weebly Inc. or Bluehost’s Weebly is a very personal decision. Both offer you the easy to use drag and drop website builder, but here are my summarized pros and cons for each:
- You are using Weebly directly from its creator (Weebly Inc.)
- You get faster updates when Weebly releases new features
- It’s slightly cheaper on a per month basis
- No email package – you have to set it up yourself
- You have to set up your own domain name
- They help you set up your own custom email address
- They give you a free domain name for 1 year and help you get it set up
- 24 / 7 live support (phone, chat or email)
- You have to wait a bit for new updates from Weebly Inc.
- Slightly more expensive
I think the best way to compare whether you should use Weebly through Weebly Inc. or Bluehost, is whether you feel comfortable working your way through getting your administrative account settings up and running by yourself (such as account set up, connecting your email and domain name, and other technical issues), or paying a few dollars more to have someone live guide you through the process.
If the first option is okay with you, then using Weebly with Weebly Inc. is a great option.
If you are afraid of anything technical, and would like instant support available to you, using Weebly with Bluehost is the way to go. At the end of the day, the extra few dollars per month may go a long way in terms of live support.
If you have any additional questions about Bluehost, feel free to use their Live Chat a try! They can answer all your questions, and at the same time, gives you an opportunity to test out their support services.
In my own experience, their instant support works great and I feel like I get my questions answered right away, which saves me a lot of time and keeps me productive.
Either way, both Bluehost and Weebly Inc. offer 30 days money back guarantee, so that removes a lot of risks from you.
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