Bluehost Review — Updated January 2020
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Bluehost started in 1996 when a group of developers saw the trends within the tech space and correctly forecasted the massive increase in the demand for web hosting.
Seven years later, these developers turned their idea into what we know today as Bluehost. Bluehost has taken the hosting market by storm, becoming one of the largest hosting companies available online, as they host well over 2 million websites.
Bluehost is also one of the few web hosting companies that are recommended by WordPress. Since WordPress is used to build almost half of all websites on the internet, being recognized by WordPress is a pretty big deal.
In this article, we’ll look at Bluehost’s pros and cons, pricing, and wrap up our Bluehost review with our rating of Bluehost’s hosting services. We will help you understand why we chose Bluehost as one of the best hosting companies you will find.
Benefits of Bluehost Web-Hosting
Let’s kick off this Bluehost review with an overview of Bluehost’s benefits. We’ll look at which features help Bluehost to stand out from the crowd. This Bluehost review will provide you with a clear understanding of how you can benefit from using Bluehost. These are some of the benefits and features that Bluehost has to offer:
1. Impressive Uptime
If you are wondering why excellent uptime is essential, imagine this: You just got a brand new shop to show off your business. But now, every time a customer comes to your shop, the front door won’t open. This brings up two huge issues: One, your customers are going to start going to the shop on the next block, and two, you now have the hassle of trying to figure out why your front door will not open. A website that’s not working will create the same upset.
As you start with your website, you will want to make sure it is up and running as it should be. You don’t want your site to be down for long periods because it’s bad for business. If you’re paying for web hosting, make sure you’re working with a hosting company that has excellent “uptime.”
Bluehost provides an impressive uptime of 99.99%. With a business, it is essential that people can access your website. If it is up and running almost 100% of the time, this should be easy and free of frustration.
Keep in mind that the 99.99% uptime is Bluehost’s bare minimum guarantee. In reality, your website will likely have an even higher uptime than this. However, if your uptime is lower than Bluehost’s guarantee, they offer you a full refund for the month in question.
2. Speedy Load Time
Site load time is an oft-overlooked factor in choosing a web hosting partner. However, we’re here to explain why load time should be one of your top hosting priorities. Scroll back a few years, and people didn’t mind waiting for a slow website, because slow websites were the norm. However, nowadays, if your site takes too long to load, you’ll quickly find yourself losing customers. People have become accustomed to fast websites, and slow websites are an inconvenience most consumers are not willing to tolerate.
Website load time wasn’t that important a few years ago, but that has changed with changing user perceptions and expectations. Load time will not only keep a customer engaged in your website, but you will also find it is easier to rank on specific search engines such as Google.
Keeping your customers engaged with fast loading times is an essential step in creating a successful website.
The average load time for most websites is about 749ms, which isn’t bad. However, Bluehost has a loading speed of 427ms, crushing industry norm and setting our expectations higher. Bluehost deserves a golden star when it comes to their website speeds.
3. Cheap Web Hosting
Bluehost understands starting a website is not always easy and sometimes even risky. This is why Bluehost offers affordable, high-quality hosting when you start with them as your hosting provider.
Bluehost’s base pricing begins at about $5.99 per month. However, Bluehost loves its loyal customer base. This is why if you commit to using their web hosting for a more extended period, you can receive your hosting services for as low as $2.95 per month. This is a steal of a deal and another reason why we love Bluehost.
Not only is the base plan amazingly affordable, but it packs a punch as well. The base plan offers 50GB of data, which is a lot more than most sites need in a month. Plus, if you ever find you need more, it is effortless to upgrade your plan.
4. Website Security
Most of the time, I would say be careful when purchasing cheap products because you usually get what you pay for. Although, with Bluehost, I am proud to prove myself wrong. On top of Bluehost offering affordable web hosting, they also care about their customers. Bluehost pushes themselves to ensure you and your website are safe and secure online on a 24/7 basis. Bluehost offers a lot of security add-ons when you purchase their hosting services.
Domain privacy is a beneficial security add-on offered with every single Bluehost plan. This hides and protects your personal information from your domain registry. When your personal information is available on your domain registry, it makes you vulnerable to hackers and scammers who will use your personal data for schemes.
Bluehost will provide an SSL (Security Sockets Layer) certificate to their customers, encrypting any communication between the browser and the server. The SSL certificate decreases the risk of any of your personal information being leaked. Having an SSL certificate will also authenticate your website identity so that your visitors can know they are safe using your site.
Sitelock is yet another security feature available to all Bluehost users. This feature continuously monitors your site for any vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks. Another feature available in higher tiers is CodeGuard. This tool is used to backup and store websites. This premium feature protects you from hackers by allowing you to restore your website with only one step.
Bluehost provides a lot of security protection, offered for free just for purchasing your Bluehost plan.
5. Educated Customer Service
At times, it can feel like contacting customer service can be a dead-end. This is because sometimes the support staff isn’t very knowledgeable about their products or services. If you are running into problems, this can be extremely annoying. However, Bluehost takes time and resources to educate their support staff properly. When you contact them with a question, their team is usually able to provide a prompt and well-informed solution.
There are many ways to contact Bluehost’s customer service representatives. This could either be phone, email or live chat. We have found their live chat to be convenient and responsive. Keep in mind that they have to troubleshoot your problem, so receiving a reply may take a few minutes.
6. Thoughtfully Designed c-Panel
Bluehost is one of the most customer-centric hosting companies around. They keep their users in mind in every aspect of their hosting offering, and their c-Panel (control panel) is no different.
Bluehost’s c-Panel is made to be user-friendly. Even if you’re a complete beginner in the tech space, their cPanel is exceptionally intuitive. This makes setting up your site and managing it a breeze.
If there is anything you don’t like about Bluehost’s c-Panel, it’s not a problem; Their cPanel is fully customizable, so you’re able to set up your cPanel dashboard to your liking.
7. E-Commerce Compatibility
Bluehost provides you with the ability to create an e-commerce compatible website. If you are looking to develop an e-commerce website, Bluehost will offer you all the features you’ll need.
The WooCommerce plan provided by Bluehost offers e-commerce compatibility. This allows you to create and manage an online store. Bluehost maintains a vast repository of e-commerce themes, so you’ll be able to create your ideal online store.
8. Money-Back Guarantee
As is typical with most web hosting companies, you’ll receive better pricing options when you purchase hosting on a long-term contract. These contracts usually extend up to 36 months or more. However, it’s difficult to decide if you’re willing to commit for that long if you’re unfamiliar with a particular hosting company.
To fix this issue, Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who want to test their hosting services. This gives you 30 days to test the service and decide if it is right for you. This way, you will receive a refund and not be held to your hosting contract.
Keep in mind that there are a few terms to this agreement. According to Bluehost, these are the following:
- You will receive a refund on the amount of money that you paid for hosting costs, not including add-ons, which you purchased.
- Your refund would be deducted $15.99 if you were given a free domain name by Bluehost because you will still keep the domain name.
- If your refund request is filed after 30 days, then it will not be accepted.
In our opinion, these terms are reasonable. However, if at any time you are uncomfortable with the terms of the agreement, you should refrain from purchasing a long-term contract until you’re ready to work with a company over the long term.
9. Variety of Hosting Plans
Not everyone’s hosting needs are the same. Bluehost realized this and built their hosting plans to reflect the different needs of their customers. They offer a wide variety of pricing tiers, with plans to suit almost anyone.
Flexibility with a hosting provider can make your web hosting experience so much easier. If at any point, you need more from your hosting provider, you can upgrade to a plan that offers what you need. As your website grows, you need your hosting provider to grow with you.
10. Experienced and Trusted Hosting Provider
Bluehost has been providing hosting services ever since 2003. They have provided high-quality service for over 16 years and counting. Bluehost knows what they are doing, and they are doing it well.
Over 2 million users are happy with the service that Bluehost has provided. If anything is going to draw you to purchase from Bluehost, it should be there track record. They have proven their high-quality service over decades of service.
Disadvantages of Using Bluehost Web Hosting
In this Bluehost review, we have looked at a lot of the many benefits that Bluehost has to offer. But with the pros also come the cons.
There are disadvantages to every single web-hosting service. If you have ever used a hosting service, you will fully understand this. Fortunately, with Bluehost, the disadvantages are few. Even still, we’ve found that most disadvantages are situational, and dependant on your specific needs.
Bluehost has been trusted by many for years. However, we critiqued them like we would any other hosting company, and we did find a few problems with their hosting service.
We will study the disadvantages of using Bluehost as your hosting provider. Keep in mind these cons are likely to be found with other hosting providers as well. These are the disadvantages we have found to hinder our experience with Bluehost:
1. Regular Rates
Bluehost has phenomenal promotional pricing rates that offer some of the cheapest and best web hosting you can find. However, after your promotional period ends, you will find their regular prices are a bit more pricey.
Now, this shouldn’t be taken as a scam on Bluehost’s part. They are offering great prices for an excellent service for an extended period. However, you should take into consideration and be aware of what the regular rate you’ll need to pay after your initial contract term is over.
2. Your Hosting is Not Unlimited.
Bluehost promotes its “unlimited” resources. However, if you think this means you can run a large website on a shared hosting plan, without limitations, you are sadly mistaken.
Using shared hosting will inevitably affect the quality of the service you are provided, especially as your site grows. You will see your loading times start to skyrocket and even experience pages not loading correctly. You’ll need to stay on top of this, as a website owner, and upgrade your hosting plan at the appropriate times.
3. Website Migration is Costly
If you ever want to swap your hosting to Bluehost, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised by the cost of their migration service. Website migration is a service offered for free by many hosting providers — but not Bluehost.
This might not be a problem if you’re tech-savvy and are capable of migrating your website from your previous hosting provider over to Bluehost’s servers. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay for Bluehost’s support team to perform the migration for you. This migration service comes at a cost of about $150 per website.
Now, don’t get me wrong; Bluehost does a great job of their site migrations. It’s a seamless and straightforward process that is well worth the cost. It’s just that some of their main competitors offer this service free of charge as part of their customer onboarding process, and it’s unfortunate that Bluehost doesn’t also provide this complimentary service.
Plans, Features, and Pricing with Bluehost
While studying Bluehost’s pricing plans, we have noticed a wide range of pricing options available. Bluehost does a great job of segmenting their ordinary customers and providing packages to meet the needs of their typical customer. There are many different hosting tiers, with a variety of plans and prices to suit everyone’s needs and budget.
Bluehost offers four different hosting options, and each one offers multiple pricing tiers with unique features and pricing. The following are the four hosting types of hosting provided by Bluehost:
We have broken down each of these hosting options to help you understand all of their unique features. By the time this piece concludes, you will know which plan is best suited to your needs.
Shared hosting is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It consists of one hosting server sharing all of its resources with many different websites on the same server.
Not everyone likes sharing, and this is understandable, given its many drawbacks. Shared hosting can cause multiple problems when it comes to the performance of your website. Since shared hosting shares the server resources with all sites on the server, it’s common for several websites to hog server resources, leaving nothing for the other websites on the server. This can cause dramatic performance problems for your website.
If you are looking to benefit from shared web hosting, there are particular upsides — the most prominent being the cost. Despite its performance woes, shared hosting is the most economical form of web hosting. If you run a simple website that does not require a lot of features or server resources, you can undoubtedly benefit from shared web hosting.
As it stands now, there are four tiers in Bluehost’s shared hosting:
- Basic Plan — monthly fee as low as $3.95
- Plus Plan — monthly fee as low as $5.95
- Choice Plus Plan — monthly fee as low as $5.95
- Pro Plan — monthly fee as low as $13.95
In reality, there is nothing wrong with shared hosting. It is some of the cheapest hosting services you can find anywhere. Many websites do not need a lot from their hosting provider. If you have a smaller website without a ton of traffic, Bluehost shared hosting is likely the most affordable option for you.
Who Would Find Shared Hosting Through Bluehost Beneficial?
Many people rely on Shared Hosting through Bluehost. So many that it has become Bluehost’s most popular form of hosting. Why? Because it is affordable, simple, and for many, it works just fine.
As a standard, if your site has fewer than 10,000 visitors every month, you can likely get away with shared hosting and not run into issues. However, if your site receives more than 10,000 visitors a month, you may want to switch to the highest tier. Or for even more benefits, switch to a VPS hosting plan.
VPS stands for “virtual private server.” A VPS is somewhat similar to shared web hosting, but there a few essential factors that set it apart.
When you are paying for shared hosting, all the resources are shared, but this does not mean they have been divided evenly. With shared hosting, there is no guarantee as to what portion of server resources you will be allotted. This means one malfunctioning website can affect all the other sites on that server.
As you switch over to VPS hosting, there is one enormous difference. Instead of the server resources being shared, as with shared hosting, a VPS reserves a guarantees portion of server resources for your website. Other websites will not be able to negatively impact your site performance.
As it stands now, there are three tiers in Bluehost’s virtual private server (VPS) hosting:
- Standard Plan — monthly fee as low as $18.99
- Enhanced Plan — monthly fee as low as $29.99
- Ultimate Plan — monthly fee as low as $59.99
Bluehost works hard to provide you with competitive pricing and premium features, making it stand out from other hosting services.
Who Would Find VPS Hosting Through Bluehost Beneficial?
Try giving the highest tier of shared hosting a shot. If it is still not providing you with what you need, you may want to consider VPS hosting.
The great thing about hosting is you can upgrade as you find it necessary, so start small and work your way up. Shared hosting is a lot more affordable than VPS hosting. If you can get away with using shared hosting, it would be a smart financial decision to do so.
As your website continually grows, you may need to upgrade to a VPS hosting service. Once your site is attracting up 50,000 visitors every month, it is probably time to switch to VPS hosting. VPS hosting is designed for medium to large sites with significant amounts of traffic.
Luckily, once you have settled into the lowest tier of VPS, you will have lots of room for growth before needing to upgrade.
Dedicated web hosting is the most extreme form of hosting Bluehost offers since you’re renting an entire server for your website. However, dedicated server hosting will not necessarily benefit you if it is unnecessary. With both shared and VPS hosting, you are splitting the cost of the server between multiple users, but with dedicated hosting, you are the sole user on the server. With this massive increase in server resources also comes a pricier hosting bill.
With the extra cost of the dedicated server, you will also have the ability to tweak the server to your specs. After all, you are the sole customer being hosted on that particular server. Another benefit of dedicated hosting is the increased security it affords. With both shared and VPS hosting, there are many different websites on the server. If one of these websites was hacked, it could make leave other websites vulnerable to hackers and malware attacks. Even while using security features, your site could still be susceptible.
With dedicated hosting, since your website is the only one on the server, you can avoid this risk altogether. If you are on a dedicated server, hackers would have to target your site directly. This is much less likely and makes it harder for hackers to access your data. This peace of mind may be enough for a user to switch to a dedicated server.
As it stands now, there are three tiers in Bluehost’s dedicated server hosting:
- Standard Plan — monthly fee as low as $79.99
- Enhanced Plan — monthly fee as low as $99.99
- Premium Plan — monthly fee as low as $119.99
Dedicated hosting is a fantastic option if you genuinely need it, but we suggest exhausting the capabilities of your VPS hosting plan before upgrading to a dedicated server. Note that dedicated hosting is not a necessity for most websites. Only the largest sites will ever need to consider dedicated server hosting.
Who Would Find Dedicated Server Hosting Through Bluehost Beneficial?
Like we mentioned earlier. You will not necessarily benefit from the most expensive hosting service unless you need it. So consider maxing out your VPS hosting plan before considering dedicated server hosting.
Dedicated server hosting is generally only necessary when experiencing mass amounts of traffic a month. We are talking about half a million users in traffic every month. If these numbers look familiar to you, you may want to consider dedicated server hosting. A dedicated server will give you exponential server resources and allow millions to view your site at once.
If you have built a WordPress site and are considering hosting it on Bluehost, you might be interested in Bluehost’s Shared WordPress hosting. These plans are professionally optimized for WordPress and will give you access to certain WordPress features that will help build your website.
As it stands now, there are three price plans in Bluehost’s Shared WordPress hosting:
- Basic Plan — monthly fee of $3.95
- Choice Plan — monthly fee of $5.95
- Choice Plus Plan — monthly fee of $5.95
With every WordPress hosting plan, you can expect the following features:
- Automatic WordPress Installation — When you purchase a shared WordPress hosting plan that the latest version of WordPress will immediately be installed.
- Endless Array of WordPress Themes — With the purchase of shared WordPress hosting, you will gain access to many WordPress themes to help with the design of your website.
- Automatic WordPress Updates — The newest version of WordPress will be installed at all times.
- WordPress Staging — This helpful feature allows you to view the changes you have made to your site before it goes live. This is a time saver.
Who Would Find Dedicated Server Hosting Through Bluehost Beneficial?
If you are hosting a WordPress website, then you will benefit from shared WordPress hosting.
If you are expecting your site to remain under 50,000 views a month, then shared WordPress hosting has a lot of added benefits for you. However, if you find your website is exceeding 50,000 views per month, you may have to consider switching over to VPS or dedicated hosting offered through Bluehost.
Do We Recommend Bluehost?
We’ve used Bluehost, and we definitely reccommend them, especially if you’re starting out with a new website. Bluehost has crushed industry standards and has provided competitive prices alongside years of reliable service.
Between Bluehost’s wide range of hosting plans coupled with its incredibly reasonable hosting prices, there is a hosting plan for you at Bluehost. Keep in mind all of the complimentary features provided at no extra cost to you.
With Bluehost’s performance and their years of experience, there is no reason why you cannot trust Bluehost as your hosting service provider.
Bluehost is one of the most reputable hosting companies on the market. They offer excellent speed, uptime, and support, all at a very reasonable price. Their one disadvantage is that they do not offer complimentary site migrations, but for the more tech-savvy customers (or those who don't need to migrate their website to Bluehost servers) this isn't a problem. They pros definitely outweigh their cons, and we definitely recommend them as a hosting provider.
- Great Uptime (Over 99.9%)
- Economic Pricing (Starting @$3.95/mo)
- Fast Load Time (404ms)
- Excellent Support (Live Chat & Phone)
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- No Free Site Migrations
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