Review SummaryUpdated: July 10, 2020
- Plan and server scalability.
- New customer discounts.
- WordPress tailored plans and support.
- Free Domain for your first year.
- 24/7 Customer support + International phone support.
- Range of hosting add-ons for easy site optimization.
- Purchased add-ons not included in the money-back guarantee.
- High price point for site migration service.
- No month-to-month hosting options.
Shared Hosting Review
Best for Portfolio and Basic websites
Plans & Pricing
Bluehost offers a wide range of shared hosting solutions suitable for all business sizes and experience levels. Overall, their hosting packages are some of the most inclusive available on the market and also come at a competitive, discounted price point for new customers.
Bluehost’s basic plan is a great entry-level option for those wanting to create a new website or even transfer one over. Basic’s best features include unlimited bandwidth, 50GB SSD storage, a free SSL certificate, and free domain registration as well. To give you an idea, the average business website is roughly 1GB in size – including any software or plugin installs. So you’ll have a lot of room to work with, even if you want to host a blog with a lot of media or a small eCommerce site.
Unless you purchase the Codeguard Basic add-on at checkout ($2.99/month), you will have to manage any backups and site monitoring yourself. Across all plans, this can be done via cPanel in the user dashboard. Keep in mind; a backup will use up some of the 50GB storage you’re allocated.
Across the market, this is the average amount of storage offered on entry-level plans. Only beaten by hosts with ‘unlimited’ storage options. Though, some customers may appreciate knowing the exact resources allocated to their site over an ‘unlimited’ option – which will have usage limitations.
If you’re looking to migrate your website, unlike other hosts, this is a paid service with Bluehost. Priced at $149.99, Bluehost’s team of technicians will transfer up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts as part of the service. At this price point, it may be more economical for some customers to opt for a host that includes free site migration as part of the signup process.
Choice and Choice Plus
Both the Choice and Choice Plus plans provide virtually unlimited resources, including websites, storage, MySQL databases bandwidth, and domains. Like Basic, both plans would be a great fit for those looking to start a blog, business, or eCommerce site. Though now, with unlimited domains and a few extra security add-ons (SpamExperts, CodeGuard, and Domain Privacy), professionals will have more liberty to host client sites on a single plan. Of these add-ons, CodeGuard basic will give you the most bang for your buck, handling essential server operations such as daily site backups and monitoring.
Moreover, both plans also allow for a high ceiling for growth if you are looking to upgrade or run an individual site. With this only being limited by the resource usage outlined in BlueHost’s fair use policy:
“If your account’s bandwidth or disk space utilization causes any concern, you will receive an email asking you to reduce usage. We strive to provide at least 48 hours’ notice to allow customers to make adjustments before we take any corrective action.”
For most customers, this is a non-issue and will only affect those with high-demand or high-traffic sites.
Compared to other plans across the market, Bluehost’s unlimited resource plans beat out a lot of their competitors, doing so at a slightly cheaper price point too. Currently, Bluehost is offering the Plus and Choice Plus plans at a discounted price of $5.95/month. Without discounts, plans renew at $10.99 and $14.99, respectively – so go with the latter option if you don’t mind paying a slightly higher renewal price.
The Pro plan offers customers the highest possible level of performance and security on Bluehost’s shared servers. Under their “High Performance” banner, the Pro plan allows an extra 100,000 hosted files (capped at 200,000 on other plans) and includes a free Premium SSL Certificate (valued at $50/year).
Overall, Bluehost’s Pro plan is best utilized by professionals handling multiple client sites that see low to medium monthly traffic. Additional files mean you have more breathing room in terms of storage, though in-terms of speed and performance, you’ll still be limited to the maximum capabilities of Bluehost’s shared environment.
For those looking to increase the resources for a single site, upgrading to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) could be a better solution. With a VPS, you’ll get dedicated server resources and more scalability for a similar price point.
Comparing Bluehost’s Shared Hosting pricing to other plans across the market, we found both the discounted and renewal prices to be slightly cheaper than the market average. Taking into consideration the free domain, free add-ons (on higher plans), amount of resources, and new customer discounts available across all plans. Bluehost’s Shared Hosting is a generous offering for the price you’ll pay.
It’s useful to know that Bluehost does have a minimum 12-month term on all plans, so expect to pay for your first year(s) upfront. Moreover, watch out for the pre-select ‘Package Extras’ on checkout – just to avoid any unwanted purchases. Finally, if you aren’t happy with Bluehost’s service, you’ll also have a 30-day moneyback guarantee. The refund doesn’t include the free domain, if claimed on signup, which will be deducted from the final sum.
WordPress Hosting Review
Best for: Blogs and eCommerce sites
Bluehost’s WP Pro plans are an extension of their Shared’ Pro’ plan, but with a suite of WordPress optimizations included as well. WP Pro is tailored to help customers get a new WordPress site off the ground or even keep an existing site growing. A fully-managed hosting solution, you can expect all aspects of your WordPress installation, updates, and backups to be performed automatically, saving you time and ensuring your site is kept secure year-round.
Unlike other hosts, you’ll have virtually ‘unlimited’ resources at your disposal on all plans (that includes traffic limits too) and, if you’re new to WordPress, you can even request a 1-hour onboarding call to help you get started. However, the downside of having ‘unlimited’ resources is your site is largely at the mercy of the disk usage performance Bluehost’s shared environments can offer. Moreover, sites won’t have dedicated resources or flexible scaling at their disposal, which can be a downside for websites that constantly see growing or spiking traffic.
With Bluehost, the primary difference between the WP Pro plans are the included integrations you’ll get at each level. So, which one’s right for you?
WP Pro – Build
As the name suggests, ‘Build’ is best used by customers creating a new blog or store, and looking for an assisted WordPress solution. While we wouldn’t say this is the most economical option, it does provide a great platform for new users to focus more time creating content and less time managing the nitty-gritty side of web-hosting.
This is due in most part to the free version of Jetpack (a WordPress plugin) pre-installed on your site. With its best features being the security and performance optimizations that help to protect your website from attackers and better serve your content.
WP Pro – Grow
This plan is where users can really start to see the benefits of Bluehost’s managed WordPress offering. It’s best utilized by customers with blogs that are already seeing some good monthly traffic and/or want to monetize their website.
To start, Jetpack Premium is included as part of your hosting plan ($99 per year otherwise). With it, you’ll get a suite of security, performance, and traffic features that are sure to help optimize and grow your website efficiently. Here are a few of the best features Jetpack Premium offers:
– Unlimited Content Delivery Network (CDN) hosting: On-top of unlimited media hosting and lazy loading images, you’ll also have your content hosted and served through Jetpacks CDN. Essentially, this will increase the speed of your websites.
– Ad Network access: Allows you to display high-quality ads with minimal setup. This is a customizable feature, and you’ll earn a commission on each ad click.
– Accept Paypal Payments: A customizable widget that lets you add a payment button to any post or page, and can be used for just about anything.
Keep in-mind Jetpack premium will only be applied to the first website you create on your Bluehost account and doesn’t carry over onto your additional sites. Aside from Jetpacks benefits, you’ll also get better access to Bluehost’s Marketing Center with their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Business Tools. Bluehost’s SEOTools suite is a good starting point for those new to SEO and provides you various SEO related insights to improve your website. That being said, for most users with some experience growing website traffic, it’s likely you’re already using another SEO tool that can achieve the same results.
Support wise, Bluehost’s WP Pro plans provide you many options. Perhaps even too much. Why? At this level, you’ll now have access to Blue Sky Support (ticket support only), a third-party service partnered with Bluehost. You’ll also have the standard Bluehost’s 24/7 customer support and, not to forget, Jetpacks priority email support as well. While you could essentially outreach to all of these channels for customer support, the perceived benefits are diminished considering most users are best to contact Bluehost directly for most issues. This is because Bluehost’s support technicians will have better access and insight into troubleshooting your account or website.
WP Pro – Scale
As advertised, ‘Scale’ is best suited for eCommerce websites and comes with a subscription to Jetpack Professional for your first website (valued at $299 per year). That’s not to say a high-traffic blog couldn’t benefit from this plan as well. Like the other plans, a lot of the additional features advertised for the plan are benefits you’ll be getting from your Subscription to Jetpack Professional. These being:
– Elastic Search: Optimizes and speeds up search functions on your website, better serving content, and helping users find what they’re looking for
– Real-Time Automated Backups: Ideal for constantly changing eCommerce sites or blogs that update daily, this feature will ensure the latest version of your site is always kept on hand.
– More themes and premium theme support: You’ll now have 200+ premium themes at your disposal, plus premium support to help customize them to suit your site.
– Blue Sky Chat Support is also included with this plan, although, as mentioned in the previous plan review – customers will most likely benefit from contacting Bluehost support directly.
For a managed WordPress hosting solution, Bluehost’s WP Pro plans are slightly higher than the market average. That being said, a special case has to be made for these plans as they do come with ‘unlimited’ server resources, ‘unlimited’ site traffic, and a premium subscription to Jetpack (on the higher plans).
This is quite a unique offering from Bluehost, and the plans might not be the most economical option for all customers looking to start a WordPress site. As we mentioned at the start of this review, with WP Pro utilizing Bluehost’s shared server environment, those looking for a more dedicated hosting solution might be better off seeking a Cloud or VPS WordPress plan for a similar price.
VPS Hosting Review
Best for: High Traffic and Fast Growing sites
Bluehost’s VPS hosting plans boast extreme flexibility, allowing for dynamic resource allocation and resource instant provisioning. These plans are best for sites outgrowing their shared hosting packages, professionals hosting multiple client sites, or even high-content sites or heavy resource applications.
Each of Bluehost’s three VPS plans essentially double the included resources of the tier below. ‘Standard’ is the lowest plan and offers an ideal amount of resources for customers looking to scale a growing blog or eCommerce site. At most, you’ll be able to utilize 4 CPU cores, 120 GB SSD storage, 8 GB RAM, 3 TB Bandwidth, and 2 Dedicated IPs.
As you might expect, a free domain (for the first year only), free SSL, Root access, and 30-day money-back guarantee that is standard with most of Bluehost’s plans are also included with all VPS packages. Servers also utilize OpenStack and KVM for the speed and performance you’d expect from a VPS solution. What’s more, via cPanel you’ll have enhanced controls to manage your VPS resources and WHM control. VPS plans also included dedicated technical support.
Comparing Bluehost’s VPS packages to others on the market, new customers will find that with the discounted rate. Hosting works out to be cheaper than most, for the included resources. Having better resource flexibility than most competitors makes Bluehost’s VPS plans an attractive offering. Unlike some hosts, Bluehost does have highly flexible payment terms for their VPS packages as well. Having your choice of 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, or 36 terms, just expect to pay the full sum of your term upfront.
However, when it comes time to renew, you will find that Bluehost’s non-discounted prices are slightly higher than the market average for the resources included. So you’ll have to consider whether the included features and the initial discount is worth the slightly higher than average renewal rates.
Dedicated Hosting Review
Best for: High traffic sites, maximum resources & security
Bluehost’s dedicated packages are fine-tuned for high performance, private hosting and allow for much more resources and scalability – in comparison to their VPS plans. Dedicated servers are best for sites outgrowing their VPS hosting packages, professionals hosting multiple high-performance client sites, and high-performance applications that require the best hosting environment. Bluehost’s dedicated offering is a self-managed solution, so if you’re time poor or have low experience with managing your own server, you may want to opt for dev support or go with a managed solution from other providers.
‘Standard’ plan starts at 4 CPU cores, 500 GB (Mirrored) SSD storage, 4 GB RAM, 5 TB Bandwidth, and three dedicated IP addresses. At the end of the spectrum, ‘Premium’ offers customers an up to 1TB storage, 16GB RAM, 15 TB Bandwidth, and 5 IP addresses on-top of ‘Standard.’
Fast provisioning for new accounts
Bluehost can build and rack your new web hosting server within 24-72 hours. This is an average wait time for hosting providers that offer physical, dedicated CPU plans. Those looking to have access to their account sooner should consider virtual private server hosting for instant provisioning.
RAID and SAN Storage
Bluehost includes RAID1 mirrored storage that retains identical copies of your data onto two hard drives to keep your data secure and your website running continuously. If one disk fails, your website will serve your website from the second hard disk to continue running normally. What’s more, you can also add-on 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB SAN Storage with your dedicated package for an additional monthly fee.
Unmanaged backend access with cPanel, FTP, and SSH
Bluehost’s dedicated hosting packages give you complete control of your website’s backend with unrestricted root, SSH, and FTP access. For those familiar with cPanel, Bluehost also includes an easy-to-use dashboard to install SSL certificates, manage DNS, create email accounts, and more. Your dedicated servers will also come with server-side includes, log file access, and managers for files, databases, and email accounts. These hosting plans also come with the ability to edit .htaccess files, cron jobs, and php.ini files.
Control access levels with user-management
All dedicated hosting plans allow you to create unique logins for your development team, each with their own level of access.
Top security add-ons
Dedicated web hosting customers can rest easy when they upgrade to domain privacy and protection. Your domain registration information is kept safe by displaying proxy information to the public. Reduce spam and unwanted solicitations by keeping your contact information secure.
Again, the free domain (for the first year only), free SSL, Root access, and 30-day money-back guarantee offers available across Bluehost’s packages are included with dedicated plans.
Bluehost Server Performance
To test Bluehost’s hosting performance we used a few Pingdom reports. Over the span of a year, Pingdom’s probes (located across North America) performed daily checks, on a basic website (less than 100KBs) hosted on Bluehost’s shared server environment. Additionally, there was no throttling added to these checks, so slower response times can be expected for 3G or 4G connections.
Yearly Server Performance:
Average Response Time
Data shown as monthly Uptime averages for a basic Bluehost website
Server performance can affect all aspects of your site. Case studies have consistently found that customer wait times (page load and response times) directly affect everything from SEM, revenue, and traffic growth. By a lot too, here’s just one example:
For Mobify, every 100ms decrease in homepage load speed worked out to a 1.11% increase in session-based conversion, yielding an average annual revenue increase of nearly $380,000.
Bluehost includes SiteLock Lite with all of their hosting plans. This version comes with malware scanning for all websites within your hosting plan, free of charge. Early detection of malware within your site enables you to quickly remove or repair the infected files and avoid blacklisting or worse.
Users can greatly benefit by upgrading to SiteLock Find, Fix, or Prevent for a complete suite of security tools in their SiteLock dashboard. Premium SiteLock users can enjoy automatic daily malware scans, application scanning, vulnerability scanning, file change monitors and alerts, MySQL database scanning, targeted attack blocking, malicious bot protection, brute-force protection, SiteLock CDN, web applications firewalls, and even reputation management.
To protect your hosting account, Bluehost allows you to enable two-factor authentication to log in to the Bluehost dashboard. You can set up 2FA with either an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or your email account. Once configured, Bluehost will prompt your chosen method with a 6-digit code, in addition to asking for your username and password, in order to login to your dashboard. This keeps your account secure from hackers and bots trying to guess your login information.
- Malware Scanning – All plans come with free malware scanning for early detection.
- Vulnerability Scanning – For issues like out-of-date plugins and applications.
- File Change Monitoring – Bluehost monitors your website’s files and alerts you when there are any changes.
- Brute-force Protection – Bluehost includes brute-force protection from unrecognized and unauthorized logins.
- Web Application Firewalls – Firewalls secure your installed apps from threats.
- Two-factor Authentication – Bluehost’s 2FA secures your hosting login from hackers and bots.
Customer Support Review
Bluehost has all of the premium support features you’d expect from one of the top web hosting providers in the world. Whether you start with the ‘Basic’ shared hosting plan or the Premium dedicated hosting package, you’ll have access to Bluehost’s human customer service and technical support agents 24/7.
At the bottom of each page on their website, there are chat and phone icons that will get you to a person with very little wait time. Users have reported short wait times when using the chat option as opposed to speaking with an agent by phone or email. Dedicated hosting plans have their own technical support team to assist with any server or hosting issues customers may have.
For issues that are less urgent, Bluehost also has a support ticket system to resolve issues with your hosting plan. Although responses do take longer than phone or chat support, users can appreciate having the details of their support requests logged and on record for their own reference.
Bluehost also includes access to their extensive knowledge base with all of their hosting plans. Here you’ll find detailed walkthroughs and answers to frequently asked questions. Whether you need to set up an email client, migrate your website, or configure your server settings, chances are the Bluehost knowledgebase can help.
“ Good overall experience “
Overall good experience using Bluehost. Downside is charge you for backup..among other things. Other than that, good support and easy to navigate dashboard.
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“ Great option for those on a budget “
I have 2 sites with Bluehost for about 7 years and I've seen their ups and downs. It's perfect for the small site, blog, personal thing, but if you intend on hosting a site that brings in revenue for you, go somewhere else as it's not built for ecommerce and or anything more complex in the ecommerce world.
2 years ago
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