Bluehost was founded in 2003 and has since grown to become one of the world’s largest providers of reliable and cheap web hosting.
Bluehost offers a range of products and services to help you get started with your website or online shop: from shared and WordPress hosting to website builder tools. They have a special focus on meeting the digital marketing and training needs of small businesses.
Their value-priced hosting packages come with unmetered bandwidth, free global CDN and SSL certificates, and free daily, weekly and monthly backups on a powerful and proven platform that is built to scale and optimized for speed and security. Their cheapest hosting plan is $2.75/mo.
ENDORSED BY WORDPRESS
If you’re planning to create a website or blog, you’ll want to check out Bluehost because it’s one of only three hosting companies endorsed by WordPress.
Their cheapest shared hosting plan for a single domain costs only a few dollars a month. For a little bit more money, you can add unlimited domains and subdomains.
But Bluehost isn’t solely for beginners. They are staunch supporters of the Open Source community and they provide advanced developer tools like SSH Access, FTP, and a fully-customized Linux kernel.
Their corporate vision is to create “a better safer web for everyone.” Bluehost supports this vision by investing in open source projects, promoting web civility, and making their service easy for people of all ages to use.
WHAT IS BLUEHOST?
Bluehost is a large web host known for its WordPress expertise, variety of “one-stop-shop” services, and bargain prices. It has engineers who work on the WordPress core software itself.
Founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in Utah, Bluehost was acquired by conglomerate Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2010. Suhaib Zaheer became the CEO in 2017.
That same year, EIG announced layoffs of over 400 people and a shuttering of Bluehost’s Orem, Utah office in favor of consolidating customer service operations. They are now officially located in Burlington, MA. They currently host over 2 million websites.
- Endurance International Group
10 Corporate Drive, Suite #300
Burlington, MA 01803
- 888 401 4678
- Official website
- Founded by Matt Heaton in 2003.
WHAT MAKES BLUEHOST STAND OUT?
There are plenty of bargain hosts. So what’s the big picture of Bluehost’s offerings?
MORE THAN SHARED HOSTING
This company provides nearly every web hosting service that you could possibly need including advanced hosting like VPS, dedicated server, and managed WordPress hosting.
The “managed” part means they handle the technical details, like keeping those pesky WordPress plugins updated for you, updating the core, handling security, and optimizing performance.
ONE-STOP-SHOP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Digital marketing services can easily cost five figures per project. There’s plenty of false and outdated information on the web about marketing tactics you should use. Add to the mix the numerous solicitations that small business owners receive and the result can be frustration and lack of progress.
The good news is that some critical digital marketing services can be commoditized and delivered at bargain costs. That’s a core part of Bluehost’s strategy.
These are some of their services:
- Websites: You can use their easy DIY site builder to create your own or you can get their design pros to build a site for you.
- SEO, advertising, social media marketing, and local business visibility: Bluehost provides professional marketing services, including creating content for your site. You can get monthly consultations with a marketing professional. And they measure progress so you can see your ROI.
- Domains, email, and helpful tutorials: Including how-tos on website management, hosting, and marketing topics.
Additionally, Bluehost boasts of excellent uptime, a clean intuitive control panel (called cPanel) that allows you to create attractive and functional pages for your business.
So, if you have a business website, or need one, Bluehost is a solid web host that’s worth checking out. Find out what to expect from this web hosting provider by reading the following Bluehost review.
HOSTING TYPES, FEATURES, AND PLANS
The company provides you with more than what you can normally expect from bargain-priced hosting plans.
Here are the top Bluehost features:
- Easy-to-use, customized cPanel
- Dozens of site tool add-ons
- Free site builders
- Free domain-specific email addresses
- 99.99% uptime
- Technology to support fast page load times
- Cloudflare integration (speeds your site loading)
- Free SSL certificate
- Above-average security features.
BLUEHOST SHARED HOSTING COMPARISON
|Disk space||50 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Email storage||100 MB / account||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Extras||Free domain. Free website builder.||Free domain. Free website builder. 1 SpamExperts.||Free domain. Free website builder. 1 SpamExperts. 1 Domain Privacy. 1 SiteBackup Pro.||Free domain. Free website builder. 2 SpamExperts. 1 Domain Privacy. 1 SiteBackup Pro. Dedicated IP. Domain Privacy.|
The Basic shared hosting package includes 50GB of storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, free domain name for the first year, free domain name transfer, SSL certificate, and the ability to host one website.
The Plus package starts at $4.95 and adds unlimited storage, an anti-spam tool, unlimited websites, and unlimited mailboxes to the Starter package features.
Top Tier Packages
The Choice Plus plan also includes domain privacy and Codeguard Basic. The Pro plan adds a dedicated IP address.
VPS AND DEDICATED HOSTING PACKAGES
This trend of affordable prices trickles down to the other hosting plans. Bluehost offers options such as a Linux-based VPS hosting plan with 30 GB SSD storage, 2 GB memory, 2 CPU cores, and monthly data transfers capped at 1 TB.
Their dedicated server starter plan comes with a Linux operating system, 500 GB SSD RAID storage, 4 GB of RAM, 4 CPU core, and 4 TB of monthly data transfer.
OPTIMIZED WORDPRESS HOSTING
On the Bluehost website, you’ll see three categories of “WordPress hosting.” The first category is more or less just their shared hosting plans. The second category is “WP Pro.”
WP Pro is focused on providing hosting and related services that provide optimal speed, security, and ease of use for WordPress site owners.
Choose From Three Packages
The four Optimized WordPress hosting packages are called:
They all run on VPS.
This Is Managed Hosting
They come with a wide range of features including pre-installed CMS, plug-in updates, enhanced cPanel, CDN, automatic site backups, among others.
Bluehost states that these WordPress plans are “managed” hosting, adding “our users have SSH access to the virtual instances. Our support technicians ensure that the servers are online and available to the user at all times.”
E-Commerce Hosting for WordPress
If you already have a WordPress store running WooCommerce, or want to create one with your Bluehost account, you’ll want to opt for their “E-commerce” hosting, which you can find under their “WordPress Hosting” navigation tab. This is the third type of WordPress hosting offered by Bluehost.
- The WooCommerce storefront pre-installed
- Free onboarding call
- Free dedicated IP address.
BLUEHOST CONTROL PANEL
All shared packages come with the Bluehost Control Panel. The Bluehost Control Panel is a customized and enhanced version of the popular and easy to use cPanel Control Panel. The redesign of cPanel makes it even more intuitive to use.
What Is the Control Panel For?
The control panel is where you go to manage everything related to your website’s hosting and accounts, including domain name management (hosting, registration, renewals, or transfers), email address/inbox configuration, and payments/billing for the services you receive.
Easy to Manage Your Services
This means you get a unified login (one username and password combination will get you access to all your Bluehost accounts), integration with and hotlinks to Bluehost’s help features and technical support resources, full-featured domain and email management features, and easy upgrades and scalability so that you can make changes to the hosting that backs your website.Bluehost provides 24/7/365 customer support, including assisting with WordPress website launches.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH THOUSANDS OF APPS
With Bluehost, you’ll have an easy and smooth time building, customizing, and managing your website whether you’re a newbie who needs a bit of hand-holding or an experienced individual who knows their way around the nooks and crannies of website creation and management.
And this is all thanks to the multiple site tools that Bluehost puts at your disposal.
Different Ways to Create a Website
When creating a website, you have the option of using the WordPress content management platform, the Weebly website builder, the goMobi Mobile Web Builder, or uploading files using FTP or File Manager.
Do More With Your Website
Through your control panel, you can get one-click access to thousands of add-ons or “apps” in something called the MOJO Marketplace. These apps include themes (to change the design of your website) and other website builders.
Plugins or apps can be used to extend the functionality of your site.
- Add image galleries
- Create customer forums
- Add a calendar
- Integrate your site with a CRM
- Allow customers to pay by SMS (text message)
- Hotel booking plugin
- Event registration and ticketing
- A pricing table display
- An app to create and sell online courses.
All Bluehost hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You can also purchase professional services such as:
- Graphic design of flyers, posters, brands, and more
- Website technical work like PayPal integration, blog set up, adding Google Analytics or a map to your site, etc.
Whether you run a blog or business website, you’ll eventually need to use the email platform. Bluehost allows you to create up to 5 email accounts with its basic plan and unlimited email addresses with the other plans.
You can also add Office 365 to your Bluehost plan. A 30-day trial comes with many plans.
PERFORMANCE AND UPTIME
While there are a few complaints from users about several server outages and a server team that is slow to respond, a great number of Bluehost users claim that the company has solid server performance.
According to these users, Bluehost scores a 99.99% uptime on average and occasionally outdoes itself to deliver a 100% uptime. The company itself also allows you to cancel your hosting agreements because of downtime without having to pay any cancellation fees.
Our tests indicate that last year Bluehost had an average uptime of 99.97%, which is excellent.
Site Loading Speed
Bluehost also provides good page load times. Last year, they had an excellent 422 ms page load speed with a static website using their Basic shared hosting plan. This year, we installed WordPress and the page load speed has increased to a still respectable 650 ms. This does, however, indicate that if you have a computationally demanding site, you may want to upgrade to a more advanced Pro plan that offers high-performance servers.
Fast page load times are important for everyone, especially for e-commerce owners. Slow pages are a major contributor to high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and loss of profits. That is where Cloudflare comes in.
Bluehost packages come with Cloudflare integration. Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN), or a network of servers that store cached versions of your website.
When someone navigates to your website, their browser receives content from the CDN point closest to them, reducing the amount of time it takes for the data to travel (shorter distance = shorter travel time).All of Bluehost’s hosting plans come with a free domain.
It’s easy to start using Cloudflare. You’ll simply create a Cloudflare account, enable the CDN integration in the control panel, and provide your Cloudflare credentials to Bluehost.
SECURITY AND BACKUPS
Bluehost uses SiteLock to scan your website daily for viruses and malware and also performs 24/7 network monitoring on company servers.
BACKUPS: COMPLIMENTARY BUT NOT GUARANTEED
The Bluehost knowledgebase states: “We do offer complimentary backups for our customers. They are created on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. These backups are not guaranteed in any way. We highly recommend all Bluehost customers create and manage their own backups.”
To create and manage your own backups Bluehost recommends that you use the cPanel control panel to access the third-party software tool called Site Backup. Bluehost recommends that you set up backups to be stored offline. You can purchase the “Pro” version of Site Backup for a fee.
INFRASTRUCTURE: WHERE ARE BLUEHOST’S DATACENTERS?
The company doesn’t publish information about its datacenters, their locations, or their security measures to protect their infrastructure. We asked Bluehost, via live chat, for information about their infrastructure. We communicated with two representatives and got two answers.
One said that the company does not release any information regarding datacenters or security of their centers. The other representative said the company operates a datacenter in Provo, Utah.In 2019 Bluehost launched a free service for their customers called Blue Flash. This service pairs up WordPress users with Bluehost experts who help them understand the basics of WordPress and select the right themes and plugins.
Prior to the shutdown of their facility in Orem, Utah (referenced at the beginning of this review), Bluehost had published a video emphasizing the fact they build their own servers in-house from carefully chosen components, and that this significantly boosts their reliability. We asked Bluehost, via live chat, whether they still build their servers in-house and they replied that they do.
If you use the Cloudflare CDN, that gives you access to Cloudflare’s network of datacenters across the globe in addition to Bluehost’s datacenters.
Continuity of Operations
The Bluehost website does state that they have:
- UPS power backup
- Diesel generator power backup
- 24/7 network monitoring.
PROTECTING YOUR DATA
If you opt for their dedicated servers, you’ll get what’s known as “RAID Level 1” support. This means that your data is mirrored to multiple disks. This increases the reliability and security of your data. (RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.)
ADDITIONAL SECURITY OPTIONS
In addition to going out of its way to ensure the security of your website, Bluehost also allows you the freedom to take whatever security measures you want. You can create IP address blacklists, password-protected directories, manage private keys and digital certificates, create filters for email accounts and users, plus so much more.
The only possible downside to Bluehost’s security is that the company does backups at its own discretion. Therefore, you must do your own daily backups for full security.
We have briefly mentioned above that even shared hosting packages come with a free SSL certificate, but what is this? Why is it important? Do you, as a small business owner, need one for your website?
SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, is an encryption protocol. You can think of SSL as the series of instructions your server and a user’s web browser must follow when sending and receiving information to make sure that the data being transferred is not intercepted by and read by unauthorized parties.
How do SSL Certificates Work?
SSL certificates are small data files installed on website pages (login screens, payment pages, or online forms) that require users to submit sensitive information, such as name, credit card information, or passwords. SSL certificates can also be installed on web servers, which enables the use of the more secure HTTPS protocol and therefore a secure connection.
Essentially, SSL certificates serve one purpose: to bind together an identifier (domain name, server name, or hostname) and the identity of an organization. This serves as “proof” that the originator or the recipient of the files is who they say they are.A free SSL certificate is provided on all Bluehost hosting plans.
Do You Need an SSL Certificate?
The current best practice, as set by Google, is for every site to have an SSL certificate, regardless of whether it’s selling or not. But SSL certificates are particularly important for online businesses. Here are a few of their benefits:
- Help you keep your site and data secure — in fact, compliance with regulations may require the use of an SSL certificate
- Increase your customer’s trust in your site (which can increase your conversion rate)
- Improve your ranking in search engine results — many search engines downgrade results that appear insecure.
Bluehost, by including an SSL certificate in its packages, is saving you money and saving you the work required to procure a certificate and then install it for use with your website.
HELP AND SUPPORT
When it comes to web hosting, the best type of customer support is one that’s available 24/7 and covers all support avenues including live chat, support tickets, telephone, and email. This is exactly what you get from Bluehost with the addition of a help desk and trained in-house experts manning all customer support avenues.
TEST DRIVE THEIR LIVE CHAT
User reviews of Bluehost support are mixed. You could try out their live chat without signing up for an account, to see how you like the response time and quality. Bluehost does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, however.
If you don’t care for Bluehost’s live chat, you could explore using SiteGround. They have a somewhat different approach: when you live chat with their support team, you’ll see a photo of the individual, their name, and their star rating from the customers they’ve helped so far.
EXTENSIVE ONLINE SUPPORT MATERIALS
But whatever the case, we believe Bluehost more than makes up for its shortcomings with a very helpful user support portal. This portal includes a wide range of how-to-guides, video tutorials, FAQs, and articles on a wide array of web hosting topics.
This extensive knowledgebase can be used as a reference to solve a wide range of possible issues that users may experience. Therefore, you’ll not even need to take your questions/issues to Bluehost’s customer support staff.
CONTACTING THE CORRECT BLUEHOST TEAM
One way to ensure that you get the fastest possible response is to contact the correct Bluehost team from the get-go.
- The Sales team helps those with general inquiries, potential customers, as well as customers new to Bluehost.
- The Technical Support team is who you want to talk to if you have any support-related questions.
- The Account Management team handles inquiries related to billing, the terms of service, and account verifications.
Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s vital that you read all terms and conditions because this is not straightforward. When you first sign up, you’ll get a promotional hosting price. But the promotional price only applies to the first term. Then it changes back to the regular pricing.
NO QUESTIONS ASKED
If you cancel within 30 days of joining, you get a 100% refund. If, however, you decide to cancel after that, you’ll only receive a pro-rata rate for what’s left on the term.
The money-back-guarantee only applies to the hosting plans. It does not cover most add-on products, including domains (see below).
Your account has no terms that you commit to following. There are no other penalties or hidden costs if you need to cancel your plan early.
DOMAIN FEES ARE NOT REFUNDABLE
You may get a free domain name with your hosting. If you cancel the hosting, you’ll be charged for it. But you will still own the domain name and be able to do with it as you please. After the obligatory lockdown period, you can transfer it. It remains yours as long as you keep renewing it.
There are no term commitments associated with your Bluehost account. There are no hidden fees or penalties for ending your term early should you elect to do so.
BLUEHOST EXTRAS AND ADD-ONS
Bluehost has several extras. These include:
- $150 worth of credits that you can use for Google Adwords, or Bing/Yahoo advertising.
- Free domain name registration or transfer. This offer allows you to pick from 15 different domain extensions include .COM, .ORG, and .NET.
- Free new drag-and-drop site builder.
- No charges when it comes to upgrading to a better plan mid-contract. (With other host companies, you’ll normally have to pay the difference between the current plan and the new one you want to upgrade to.)
- A few security and management features such as anti-spam filter, shared SSL, and CDN services which are rare to most hosting companies come standard with Bluehost.
WHAT DOES “UNLIMITED” REALLY MEAN?
Bluehost’s policy indicates that the company does not enforce any usage restrictions on plans and packages featuring unlimited websites, domains, and/or email accounts and that customers are free to utilize these features as desired.
Customers must be operating within the Terms of Service set out by Bluehost. The company claims that those who do not abide by the Terms of Service will come up against limits for some of these features.
Translation: there is the potential for some users to exceed the unstated scope of “unlimited,” and they may need to opt for a bigger and more expensive plan depending on how they are using their plan and what they are using it for.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
Before selecting any hosting provider, do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal to suit your needs. So, is Bluehost any good?
- Over 2,000,000 sites worldwide are hosted by Bluehost so the company is obviously doing something right
- Offers a wide range of web hosting options
- Easy to upgrade your plan to VPS or dedicated server without having to move your website
- Offers free anti-spam solutions built right in cPanel
- Provides you with integrated Cloudflare support
- Includes several security features such as unique IPs, SSL, & SiteLock protection
- Allows a 30-day (no questions asked) money-back-guarantee for all hosting plans
- 99% uptime guarantee.
- Does not offer month-to-month shared hosting options
- A few users have complained that tech support wait times are long and that the staff does not give customers much personal attention
- Charges a fee to have your site migrated from a different hosting company to Bluehost. Most hosting companies offer this service at no cost
- Bluehost only offer servers in Linux, Windows hosting is not available
- You must do your own daily backups for full security
BLUEHOST PLANS AND PRICES
Bluehost offers a wide range of hosting solutions; from shared, VPS and dedicated servers, to specialized WordPress hosting. Here is an overview of their plans and current price list. For the latest and most up to date prices visit Bluehost’s website.
|PLAN NAME||DISKSPACE||BANDWIDTH||MONTHLY PRICE|
|Basic Shared||50 GB||Unmetered||2.75|
|Choice Plus Shared||Unlimited||Unmetered||5.45|
|Choice Pro Shared||Unlimited||Unmetered||13.95|
|Standard VPS||30 GB SSD||1 TB||18.99|
|Enhanced VPS||60 GB SSD||2 TB||29.99|
|Ultimate VPS||120 GB SSD||3 TB||59.99|
|Standard Dedicated||500 GB||5 TB||79.99|
|Enhanced Dedicated||1 TB||10 TB||99.99|
|Premium Dedicated||1 TB||15 TB||119.99|
|Basic Shared WP||50 GB||Unmetered||2.75|
|Choice Shared WP||Unmetered||Unmetered||4.95|
|Choice Plus Shared WP||Unmetered||Unmetered||5.45|
|WP Pro Build||Unlimited||Unlimited||19.95|
|WP Pro Grow||Unlimited||Unlimited||29.95|
|WP Grow Scale||Unlimited||Unlimited||49.95|