Last Updated on January 18, 2022
The main difference between Bluehost and Google Domains is that Bluehost provides an all-in-one suite of solutions for your website needs, including a domain registry, web hosting and website builder. On the other hand, Google Domains provides only domain registry services.
Aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, large corporations, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, governments, and militaries alike all have at least one thing in common. They all need a unique domain.
Whether it’s so that their website can be hosted, or so their members can simply correspond via email – it can be argued that a domain is just as important to institutions today as a phone number was pre-internet.
According to Verisign, a company that tracks such statistics, there are over 366 million domain name registrations across the world as of the end of March, 2020. And that only includes what are called top-level domains, or TLDs, with .com and .net combining for about 160 million of those registrations.
If you are interested, for whatever reason, in adding to this gigantic pile of domain registries, then you have a respectable handful of options at your disposal. There are a number of major registry tools on the market today, and among the leaders are Google Domains and Bluehost.
In this article we will first start by introducing Google Domains and Bluehost, and then get into a direct comparison of the two based on building websites, security, and price, so that you can be even more educated when you decide to choose a domain registration provider.
Google Domains is part of the Google Workspace suite of productivity tools, which also includes Gmail, Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets. This comes as news to most people, as they are familiar with the latter 5 tools, but not at all with the former Domains. This is a staggering thought considering hundreds of millions of people use their Google Workspace daily.
Google Domains offers domain registration, DNS hosting, domain forwarding, and email forwarding as services. It has been under a beta test mode since January of 2015, and remains in beta as of today.
Bluehost, unlike Google Domains, is not part of a well-rounded, comprehensive suite of productivity tools for business. However, it certainly stands toe to toe with Google when it comes to domain registry and web hosting.
Bluehost is a dedicated domain registry and hosting platform with dedicated servers and virtual private servers (VPS). It also has a major leg up on any other competitors because it is the official partner of WordPress, the world’s leading content management system (CMS), which has been used to build over 64 million active websites to date.
After getting a brief rundown of each platform, it’s time to compare those two services against each other in various important metrics to determine which one would be better for you and your sites.
We’ll start with what’s typically a universal concern, no matter the product or service: how much does it cost?
There are a number of similarities between both Bluehost and Google Domains, most of which we will cover further down in this article, but a critical difference lies in the price.
Because of their wide array of offered services, Bluehost has a relatively complicated pricing model. But we’ll focus on what it costs specifically for a domain. For original top-level domain names the pricing is as follows:
- Registration: $14.99
- Renewal: $18.99
- Privacy add-on: $15.00
- Registration: $12.99
- Renewal: $18.99
- Privacy add-on: $15.00
- Registration: $9.99
- Renewal: $16.99
- Privacy add-on: $15.00
From there you will have the choice of subscribing to any of Bluehost’s additional services. Their shared hosting costs anywhere between $8.99 to $25.99 monthly, which includes at least one free domain. Their WordPress hosting starts at $39.99 monthly. VPS is $29.99 and a dedicated server starts at $125 monthly.
Google Domains is a little more straightforward. Domains start at $10 per year and include email forwarding, privacy protection, Google 2-step verification, support, and more. Of course, depending on the domain that you require, this price could scale into the hundreds. For example, .new is currently listed at $519.
The common beginner may think that once they have a domain name, they have a website. This is not the case. The road to having a website is multi-faceted: you must have a domain, you must build a website, and you must employ a service to host your website. Check all three boxes and only then will you have an accessible website.
There are providers out there that specialize in one of these three services, and there are those that bundle all three.
Google Domains provides one of these services: domain registry. With Google Domains, you can purchase and register a domain for your business or institution. In typical Google fashion, the service is sleek, simple to use, and fast.
To kill two birds with one stone, you also have the option of upgrading to a Google Workspace. This upgrade will offer you the aforementioned wide range of additional productivity services, including Google Sites, which allows you to create a website.
By using Google Domains and upgrading to Google Workspace, you can check two of the three boxes required to have a website. The last box, hosting your website, cannot be facilitated by Google as they do not provide web hosting directly.
But, if you’re looking for all three services in one, Bluehost is certainly worth looking into. You don’t necessarily have to avail of all three services from one provider, but it definitely makes for a seamless approach. Each of their services, however, are also available on their own, without the bundle.
With Bluehost, you can purchase a domain, build a website, and host that website on their servers. They have a partnership with WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system, to make for a seamless transition from domain to website. Considering their popularity, this smooth integration with WordPress is worth pondering.
Privacy and security is becoming an ever present issue in the digital world that we live in, so this is surely an important consideration when buying your domain.
No matter the provider that you choose, you will have to provide personal information such as your name, email, phone number, and address, whenever you register a domain. By law, this will be made public as per the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). However, there are ways to bypass this broadcasting of your personal information so that you protect yourself from scammers and hackers around the world.
Bluehost provides a Domain Privacy and Protection service, for an additional cost, that will hide your personal information and replace it with generic Bluehost contact information. This add on typically goes for $15/year.
Bluehost also offers a Virtual Private Servers (VPS) service as an add-on to your domain. This provides an additional layer of security as you will be in the driver’s seat with full control over your server, website, and information.
Google on the other hand, being the masters of simplicity that they are, have cut down on the complexity of this issue by simply including all of their security measures in each of their Google Workspace plans.
Google Workspace operates on the same infrastructure as Google, so they promise a secure, reliable, and compliant environment. This means meeting stringent privacy and security standards based on industry best practices, and giving you, the owner of your domain, full control over system configuration and application settings such as multi-factor authentication and security keys for added protection.
I don’t think you can go wrong when purchasing a domain from either Bluehost or Google Domains. They both offer a reliable service at comparable prices when purchasing a domain for your website. The question then becomes about additional services that you may or may not need.