Bluehost is a reliable and user-friendly web hosting company with a variety of features. It offers flexible and affordable hosting packages, a free domain name, and a user-friendly control panel. It also offers excellent customer service and a 30-day money back guarantee.
- Free domain
- Variety of hosting plans
- Performance is ok, but not stellar
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You’ve probably already heard about Bluehost – it’s a very big company and very popular these days. It was founded by Matt Heaton way back in 1996 and is now hosting over 2 million websites with its sister companies – HostMonster, FastDomain, and iPage (Bluehost is the most popular, of course).
The Endurance International Group (EIG) bought Bluehost in 2010 and it has maintained its quality of service up to the present. Their main office is located at Provo, Utah, but they have servers strategically located all across the world – namely, UK, China, and India. This means that not only are they a suitable host for those looking for hosting in the US, they’re also quite reliable for Canada web hosting, or those searching for the best web hosts for the UK. That being said, we probably wouldn’t use them for Australian website hosting purposes though, for that they’d have to setup a server in Singapore probably.
In this review, we’ll focus on their most popular hosting plan – their shared hosting packages. Note, however, that they also have WordPress, Cloud, VPS, and dedicated servers to cater to their customers’ needs.
When you choose Bluehost as your hosting provider, you’ll have 4 shared hosting options to choose from.
New accounts can get the Bluehost Basic plan for only $3.95 per month. However, the renewal rate for this particular package is $7.99 per month.
As their cheapest plan, this package only allows for 1 website (remember, it’s their starter plan) and promises standard performance on their features. You’ll get 50GB of SSD storage space for it along with unlimited bandwidth. It also includes 1 domain, 15 parked domains, and 25 subdomains.
This plan has an introductory price of $5.85 per month, but its renewal rate is $10.99 per month. As Bluehost’s second cheapest plan, you’re already allowed to host an unlimited number of websites with it (which is really cool).
You can expect standard performance from its built-in features which include unlimited SSD storage space and unlimited bandwidth as well. You’ll also get unlimited domains, unlimited parked domains, and unlimited subdomains with the plan. And so, it really comes with a lot of unlimited features compared to their Basic (and cheapest plan). It even comes with Spam Experts, which is not included in the Basic package.
3. Choice Plus
This is actually Bluehost’s second most expensive shared hosting plan and it’s regularly priced at $14.99 per month. However, as an introductory offer, they’re only selling it for $5.95 per month for new users.
While this plan still offers standard performance, it comes with A LOT of unlimited features. It comes with unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, unlimited parked domains, and unlimited subdomains. Its bonus features come in the form of Spam Experts, domain privacy, and CodeGuard Basic site backup, among other things.
As Bluehost’s most expensive plan, the Pro package regularly costs $23.99 per month. Right now, however, it has an introductory price of only $13.95 per month.
Again, it comes with unlimited everything – websites, SSD storage space, bandwidth, domains, parked domains, and subdomains. Its bonus features include 2 Spam Experts, domain privacy, CodeGuard Basic site backup, and dedicated IP.
This is Bluehost’s only high-performance plan.
Here are some things to take note of with regards to Bluehost’s pricing plans:
- All plans come with free SSL certificates. This feature has been deemed important by Google as websites need to be careful about their site visitors’ information and sensitive details (IP address, email address, credit card information, etc.). Bluehost includes SSL for free, which is good, as some web hosting providers charge for this feature (it costs around $20 per year).
- Note that only the Pro plan comes with high performance from their servers. The rest comes with standard performances.
- Bluehost gives a free domain name for annual payments – but only for the first year. You’ll have to pay for the renewal fees every year (right now they charge $15.99 per year for this).
- When signing up, expect to fill up 2 pages of information and details. However, it’s going to be painless and easy – so no need to worry about this point.
- You can expect instant activation upon signing up. There are very few instances of delayed activation and these usually involve suspicions of fraud and the like.
- You can decide to cancel your chosen plan at any time. However, don’t expect to get a refund on domain names.
Bluehost has good customer support. They have the standard knowledge base on their site – so you can do your own research there if you’re stuck on something. These days, the internet is also a huge source of help and information as articles and video tutorials can be found everywhere.
You can also reach Bluehost’s support team via e-mail, phone, and live chat.
While their overall customer service setup is good, however, we’re not that happy with their actual performance on this aspect of their business. First of all, their response times are not consistent. When you e-mail them, it can take minutes or hours to get a reply.
Some of their first responses are also auto-generated – which is acceptable, as long as you’ll get a follow up from a real person in a matter of minutes (instead of several hours).
Talking to them via phone or live chat can also get a bit difficult. There are reports (from users) of talking with people who are not that knowledgeable about the situations at hand.
1. Great uptime
Bluehost is giving its users a 99.9% uptime guarantee. The good news is that they can deliver up to 99.99% uptime in a year. Of course, downtimes can be expected for maintenance and stuff – but that’s about it. Aside from being few and far in between (about once a year), there are no reasons (and causes) for downtimes as far as Bluehost is concerned.
2. Good speed
Expect good speed from Bluehost’s powerful and efficient servers and SSD storage. If you don’t know it yet, site speed is very important to SEO. Also, fast-loading pages will provide your users with pleasant experiences while they’re on your website. Yes, speed is tantamount to ranking and making a lot of sales.
3. Affordable introductory prices
If you’re just starting out and are on a budget, know that you can actually start a website with Bluehost’s cheapest plan (only $3.95 per month). It already comes with very large storage (50GB), so you really can stay on this plan for a very long time. The said plan also comes with unlimited bandwidth and free SSL certificate – yes, you basically have everything you need for the small price that you pay.
4. Good security features
Note that all of Bluehost’s plans come with free SSL certificates. Therefore, personal information and details are automatically safe on your website (without paying for this added feature). Their Choice Plus and Pro plans (their 2 most expensive plans) also come with free domain privacy feature to safeguard your own personal information (your signup info, to be exact). These plans also come with SiteLock features for malware attacks (WordPress sites are particularly vulnerable to this).
5. Recommended by WordPress
Bluehost is actually recommended by WordPress – so it must be good. Remember, WordPress only recommends 3 hosting companies by far – Bluehost, SiteGround, and DreamHost. Yes, in general, they’re all really REALLY good.
Bluehost (as with SiteGround and DreamHost) includes 1-click installation tools for WordPress and other CMS platforms like Joomla and Drupal. So, if you’re planning on using any of those, know that they’re easy to install on Bluehost.
6. Free CDN
We already told you about Bluehost’s strategically located servers which enable speedy and efficient delivery of data to all corners of the world. However, Bluehost also employs the use of CDN (Content Delivery Network) – which further assists in this set up. You see, having a CDN feature will ease the servers from working too hard as it can handle large files in itself. And as CDN facilities are located in different parts of the globe, this further enhances site speed and page-loading times.
One reason why a lot of people are using Bluehost is that it’s very easy to use (yes, even for newbies). It has a control panel with a simple design and you can basically point and click on features to enable them. Bluehost also comes with a website builder – it’s a drag and drop tool that allows you to design your site quickly and easily as well.
1. High renewal rates
We consider high renewal rates a con, but it’s actually normal as introductory prices are intended to be low to attract new customers. Yes, having low rates in the beginning and higher renewal rates are standard practices among hosting companies and you shouldn’t be surprised about it. We’re just pointing this out to you just in case you haven’t had the time to look at a lot of pricing plans (from different hosting providers) yet.
The trick to saving money on these plans is to pay long term (a year, 2 years, or 3 years) as your monthly bill will usually be lower on longer-term plans. Keep in mind that saving a few dollars every month can total to a hundred (or a few hundred) when computed in 3 years. Do your computations and you’ll see what you mean.
2. No free site migrations
A lot of web hosting providers offer free site transfers from another hosting company to theirs. For some reason, we somehow expect this bonus from Bluehost as well. However, they don’t.
Bluehost’s migration process involves a one-time payment of $149. We know, it’s pretty expensive – but it allows you to transfer up to a maximum of 5 websites. It also comes with 20 emails and database files for your websites.
What we really don’t like about this policy is that you’ll be forced to pay $149 even if you only need to transfer just 1 website. It’s quite ridiculous, to tell you the truth.
On a positive note, they do promise zero downtimes during site transfers.
All in all, we can say that Bluehost is a good choice for a hosting provider. They particularly excel in their uptime commitment and speed. However, they’re not so good on customer support and their site migration policy sucks.
We encourage you to check out SiteGround if you want a better version of Bluehost. They also have great uptime record and speed. Their prices and customer support are also better than Bluehost. You’ll also like SiteGround’s freebies which are usually paid on other web hosting companies.
And so, before deciding to go for Bluehost, make sure that you read our SiteGround review first.