Bluehost Review

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Paul Mahony

32 comments

2019 November 28th

In this Bluehost review, I tested the services of perhaps the most popular hosting provider in the industry.

Promising speed, security, and affordable pricing, Bluehost has a wide list of services. It includes shared, Cloud, VPS, and dedicated server hosting packages with optimizations for WordPress.

So if you were ever looking for an affordable host, Bluehost has definitely popped up in your search results. Backed by the biggest hosting corporation, Endurance International Group, Bluehost is a popular option to host WordPress blogs, business sites, and eCommerce stores.

After all, it's a true one-stop-shop. Users can get not only hosting but security, marketing, and web design services.

So is it all worth it? I purchased and tested the provider to see whether its popularity matches the quality. And as far as I can see right now, there are more pros than cons.

Before we start, Emit shared the most important aspects of hosting with Bluehost in his Youtube video:

Bluehost Pros

Bluehost has a bunch of pros. It's pricing is very much affordable, user dashboard is intuitive, performance - outstanding, and extra features - useful. And I'm not even talking about its professional customer support. 

Let's review these features in more detail.

1. Bluehost Pricing is Affordable 

Bluehost has 4 affordable shared hosting plans starting at $2.95/month. The Plus plan and Choice Plus cost the same for the initial period - $5.45/month. You can upgrade all the way to the Pro plan with some extra features for $13.95/month.

Bluehost-review-Bluehost-pricing

All of the plans include SSL certificates, unmetered bandwidth, and registration for one domain. Differences come in other features.

  • The Basic plan allows you to host 1 website with 50GB storage.
  • Both Plus and Choice Plus plans allow unlimited websites, storage, and email accounts. However, with Choice Plus you also get domain privacy service and CodeGuard basic for auto backups.
  • The Pro plan gives you unlimited websites, storage, and emails. Bluehost also claims to have it hosted on low-density servers for better performance. You'll also get domain privacy and CodeGuard Basic services, as well as a dedicated IP.

All in all, Bluehost offers quite a lot for the price. You can compare all the plans here:

Basic Plus Choice Plus Pro
Disk space  50GB Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth limit Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered
Websites hosted 1 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
SSL Yes Yes Yes Yes
Email accounts 5 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Customer Support 24/7 chat, email, phone 24/7 chat, email, phone 24/7 chat, email, phone 24/7 chat, email, phone
Free Automated Backups Extra fee Extra fee Yes Yes

Bluehost includes quite a lot even in its cheapest Basic plan. 50GB of disk space is more than enough for a website. In fact, if you're launching a blog you'll hardly step over 2GB of disk space.

Also, essentials like a domain name, SSL, and email accounts are included for free - that's 3 main things you need for a professional website.

But there's one thing. You'll get the best price choosing the longest billing period. The 3-year plan is the cheapest, the 2-year plan adds $1 extra per month, and the yearly plan is $2 more expensive.

So in case you need a site for a couple of months, Bluehost is a very good option.

Bluehost has very affordable pricing and scalable plans with a bunch of tools and features included. That includes optimizations for WordPress, essentials like domain names, and security services.

2. Ease of Use

Bluehost has one of the best-designed dashboards in the whole industry. If you're creating a WordPress site, it's even better.

The first sight you see once logged in to the Bluehost account is an interactive step-by-step guide for launching a WordPress site. It comes pre-installed - all that's left to do is filling-in personal information, designing the site, and publishing content.

Bluehost Review: Bluehost Dashboard and Interactive WordPress Tutorial

The tutorial is not limited to basic design and article writing tips. There are also instructions for setting up an email account and using SEO tools.

But if you're not interested in WordPress specifically, there's also Bluehost's version of cPanel.

Bluehost Review: Bluehost cPanel

From the cPanel, users have much more flexibility - from the choice of different CMSs to file manager and database management. At the same time, it's intuitive and easy for beginners to use. Bluehost implements Softaculous - 1-click script installer for hundreds of applications like Joomla or Drupal.

So while Bluehost is primarily a WordPress host, it has options for the needs of all users.

For complete beginners who might feel overwhelmed with WordPress customization options, there's a marketplace. There, premium website builders can be used for free.

Bluehost Review: Bluehost Marketplace

Weebly's premium features are included completely for free and Constant Contact business website builder is free for 3 months.

As far as using hosting services goes, you will hardly find anything much simpler than Bluehost.

Bluehost has designed an intuitive dashboard with a lot of options for users of various experiences. Primarily focused on WordPress, the provider has both more advanced options and beginner-friendly website builders too.

3. Excellent Server Speed

Bluehost server speeds are impressive. And although it's located only in Utah, USA, I've got excellent results when testing from different locations.

To get accurate results, I used an advanced speed testing tool imitating virtual visitors to see the performance changes when the traffic peaks.

The first location from which I tested for this Bluehost review from was Columbus, USA and response times were excellent, remaining at around 125ms even with 50 virtual visitors. 

Bluehost review: Bluehost speed test USA

The result is great - it fits in Googles recommended 200ms to be seen as fast by the search engine.

However, the result of testing from Europe was very unexpected. It actually performed better than the US location. Testing from Frankfurt, I've got an average response time of 88ms. 

Bluehost review: Bluehost speed test Europe

This shows how well Bluehost services and especially the Content Delivery Network (CDN) works. This means, that even if your targeted audience is scattered all across the globe, the website will load equally fast for all of them.

Bluehost response time is impressive across multiple locations across the globe. The average response time barely reaches 100ms making Bluehost one of the fastest providers I've ever tested.

4. Cloudflare Integration

Bluehost cannot offer multiple server location choices but it compensates the lack by including Cloudflare services for free.

What does it do?

It caches your static website content across the network of global servers.

And when a visitor somewhere on the other side of the world visits your page, the contents are loaded from a closer server. This way, you can see the increase in page speed.

Furthermore, CDN protects you from outages.

Should something happen, your website will simply load from another server.

Bluehost includes Cloudflare CDN to increase website loading speed in locations further from the datacenter. CDN also helps avoiding outages as multiple servers (rather than one) are capable of delivering site content.

5. Security and Backups

Bluehost does not include premium security features to its low-end plans but that does not mean, it takes care of security poorly.

Bluehost installs SSL certificates on each and every website. It also uses technology that prevents websites from using extensive resources by accident.

And it does not stop there.

Google Postini is used to filter spam out. You can also purchase additional services like SiteLock for $23.88/year protecting from vulnerabilities or CodeGuard for $2.99/month taking daily backups.

Bluehost also performs courtesy daily, weekly, and monthly backups. However, they are not guaranteed and the provider does not take the responsibility of damaged backups. That's why users are encouraged to use paid services or perform backups themselves.

Bluehost-review-security-features

Apart from website security, Bluehost is very serious about account privacy too.

Users can protect their accounts from someone else logging in by using Bluehost two-factor authentication. It's an extra layer, that, combined with difficult passwords will definitely protect accounts from being hacked.

Bluehost also uses account validation by a 6-digit token. To initiate any kind of contact with customer support or perform actions that require a higher level of account authority, you'll need to use the token. It is sent to email and also can be generated using a special link available to website owners.

Bluehost takes care of the security seriously - SSL certificates, account security, and high-level account privacy are included. It also encourages using premium services to take website security even further.

6. Professional 24/7 Customer Support

Bluehost has live chat, phone, and email ticket support available 24/7 and it is serious about it.

For the majority of the time, it takes less than a minute for an agent to join the chat.

Bluehost customer support

The software often says you'll have to wait around 5 minutes, only for an agent to join immediately.

Representatives are professional and helpful as well. They had all the answers immediately.

The sales team impressed me as well. They were not nagging me to buy a plan, which often is the most annoying part about contacting the support before purchasing the service.

Talking about ticket support, it's a story worth mentioning.

So let's remember the prehistory.

Back in 2017, when we first registered with Bluehost, it took them on average 2 days to reply to a support ticket.

bluehost review ticket example

So obviously you wouldn't see customer support as a pro if the response times remained like this.

We kept checking and by November 2018 the issue was solved. Right now, Bluehost routinely answers the request in less than an hour.

That's not even an improvement. That's a Cinderella story.

Bluehost has all the possible support options available 24/7 and currently the response times are amazing. Although a couple of years ago the support was slower, the provider has improved a lot.

7. Weebly Website Builder

One of the best extra features Bluehost offers is a premium Weebly website builder. It means you can build your site without any coding knowledge. For free.

Weebly has a bunch of user-friendly features - drag-and-drop editor, hundreds of professional themes, design elements like parallax sliders and more.

It's also great for online stores. Recently Weebly started focusing on eCommerce features and now has enough functions to build a full-fledged store. 

Bluehost-review-weebly-ecommerce

And this makes Bluehost an ultimate beginner choice. Designing a site becomes more like a game rather than a difficult chore.

You get professional and fast hosting alongside one of the biggest names in the website builder market.

One of the killer features for users not interessted in WordPress is a premium Weebly website builder. It's included for free and is designed for beginners with no web development knowledge. 

Bluehost Cons

A perfect hosting provider does not exist. Bluehost has some drawbacks as well - questionable uptime, aggressive pricing strategy, as well as lack of short term plans for shared hosting.

Check the details below.

1. No Uptime Guarantee

Bluehost does not have an uptime guarantee which leaves users unprotected in case big downtimes happen. But knowing the history of great server performance, that shouldn't happen. Right?

Apparently, not so much. During the last month, Bluehost had quite a few downtimes. To be exact - 8, resulting in 9 minutes of outage in total and 99.98% uptime rate. 

Bluehost Review: Bluehost downtime log

That's not a bad result itself. In fact, other providers struggle to keep their servers up for 99.9% of the time. However, with no uptime guarantee, users wouldn't be able to complain if there are more serious outages.

Beginners most likely won't even notice these downtimes. But larger websites are constantly striving towards 100% uptime and might feel insecure about a non-existing uptime guarantee.

Bluehost performs really well, however it does have regular micro downtimes. With no uptime guarantee that's not great and might cause some problems for big high-traffic sites.

2. Aggressive Upsells and Renewals

First of all, you'll only get the advertised pricing choosing the longest period plan. And after the initial period, prices will go up to their standard rates. 

For instance, the Basic plan costing $2.95/mo for an initial billing period will increase to $7.99/mo.

But that's not all.

Be careful with the upsells as well. Once I went to the shopping cart to purchase a plan for this Bluehost review, I noticed a big increase in the price. The reason? Quite a few paid services were automatically marked and put in my shopping cart.

If you don't want to pay extra - read all the conditions and uncheck the boxes.

There's one more thing where you might lose some cash.

What other hosts manage to offer for free, Bluehost cashes in. The service of website migration at Bluehost costs $149.99.

Bluehost-review-Bluehost-website-migration

Which is a lot, considering others do it for free.

Fortunately, Bluehost at least guarantees to do that without any downtime. But it's not that difficult to migrate the site yourself.

Or you might not even need the service in the first place to launch a brand new website.

Bluehost's biggest con is its pricing strategy. Pricing is designed to increase after the first billing period and the provider really pushes extra premium features at the check out.

3. No Month-to-Month Plans

Bluehost does not offer traditional month-to-month plans for its shared hosting services. And that's pretty inconvenient.

What does it mean for you?

You'll most likely have to stick with Bluehost for at least a year.

Even longer, if you want the advertised price.

Bluehost-review-bluehost-plan-periods

Offering this kind of pricing Bluehost makes sure you've got to stick with them for a long period even if the quality of the service is not what you've expected.

Also, you'll have to pay the whole amount immediately. So even with affordable pricing, this may hurt your budget significantly.

Fortunately, Bluehost has a 30-day money-back guarantee. You'll most likely be able to notice if the performance and quality of Bluehost are sufficient for your project.

Bluehost is not an option for short-term hosting. The shortest billing period is 12 months - payed in advance. And while the monthly pricing is affordable, paying the whole year in advance may be a burden of start-up budgets.

Bluehost Review - Our Verdict

As we figured in this Bluehost review, it's one of the best choices for beginners. Bluehost offers speedy and secure hosting service that can be managed easily, as well as affordable pricing. The list of premium services that include Weebly website builder is also impressive.

But is it the best choice for everyone?

Bluehost has some downsides that could become drawbacks for more experienced users hosting larger projects. It includes a no uptime guarantee, and a pretty inconvenient pricing strategy.

But putting everything together, Bluehost is one of the best hosts in the industry and it's definitely worth trying. Especially for beginners and WordPress users!

Pros

  • Great server speed
  • WordPress optimised hosting
  • Additional security features
  • Premium Weebly website builder

Cons

  • No uptime guarantee
  • Renewal prices increase after the first contract
  • Shortest available plan is 12 months

Bluehost User Reviews

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User comments

na picture
na

2019 October 12th

Bluehost is among the worst hosting companies out there. It's appalling to see it recommended here. Type "bluehost sucks" into Google to find more accurate reviews. The company is owned... Read more

Bluehost is among the worst hosting companies out there. It's appalling to see it recommended here. Type "bluehost sucks" into Google to find more accurate reviews. The company is owned by EIG. You should also search Google for "EIG reviews" (the parent company) before risking your business.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Amir picture
Amir

2019 August 31st

I have many years of experience working with many Hosting & Server company, I think Bluehost is No.1 in Services, Price & perfect Support.

I have many years of experience working with many Hosting & Server company, I think Bluehost is No.1 in Services, Price & perfect Support.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Tom Goddui picture
Tom Goddui

2019 February 5th

I have been with bluehost for over 3 years, they were good and started to decline. Constant downtime, issues and slow page speeds.. After searching the internet, i moved over... Read more

I have been with bluehost for over 3 years, they were good and started to decline. Constant downtime, issues and slow page speeds.. After searching the internet, i moved over to SPeedy Dot and they've sorted the issue for me directled.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Wolf Manuel picture
Wolf Manuel

2018 November 3rd

Bluehost sucks. hey think because the have many clients that when an individual actually needs help due to Bluehost's own issues, they can just hang up the phone n you.... Read more

Bluehost sucks. hey think because the have many clients that when an individual actually needs help due to Bluehost's own issues, they can just hang up the phone n you. What's the point of 24 hour service when they don't truly care about customers. Do not listen to these blogs saying Bluehost is the best. If you're not an expert with the web such as SSL and caching, Bluehost will not help you correctly nor will they even give you a curtsy free month for their own problems. Stop listen to these fake blog reviews!

Lorna picture
Lorna

2018 January 17th

Prime plan is tempting but with those renewal prices I think I'm sticking with another provider.

Prime plan is tempting but with those renewal prices I think I'm sticking with another provider.

Pricing
Per Lunde picture
Per Lunde

2018 January 4th

First of all they never reply to emails, neither their sales or billing emails! Also be aware EU users that Bluehost charges incorrect tax to your hosting, which is not... Read more

First of all they never reply to emails, neither their sales or billing emails! Also be aware EU users that Bluehost charges incorrect tax to your hosting, which is not applicable. If you hold a VAT tax number, there is no tax between the US and UK/EU, but somehow they don't acknowledge that...

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Chuck Carmaicel picture
Chuck Carmaicel

2017 October 25th

I used this platform for several months. I personally believe that it is disqualified by the number of available functions. Beginners may have trouble finding themselves. The second issue is... Read more

I used this platform for several months. I personally believe that it is disqualified by the number of available functions. Beginners may have trouble finding themselves. The second issue is the 36-month plan. And if someone needs a hosing just for a year? Then he has to pay more. I personally use GetLark. Very simple client panel, cheap hosting packages (only $5 for one month, the more months the cheaper). Additionally, the hosting is free of charge for 3 months.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Alberto Rivero picture
Alberto Rivero

2017 October 16th

honestly a fan of how this host does the basic things. I've never been a big nerd on this stuff so hey...

honestly a fan of how this host does the basic things. I've never been a big nerd on this stuff so hey...

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
PhilTale picture
PhilTale

2017 October 4th

I love this host - perfect for WP stuff and i mean - we're all using that ,aren't we?

I love this host - perfect for WP stuff and i mean - we're all using that ,aren't we?

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
CC picture
CC

2017 September 2nd

impossible answer to an impossible question: is this host good? in short, yeah, sure. but can you give money to a corporation which singlehandedly ruined the business and then still... Read more

impossible answer to an impossible question: is this host good? in short, yeah, sure. but can you give money to a corporation which singlehandedly ruined the business and then still sleep at night? hope not. i've been putting this off for far too long but it's time to switch hosts. so can i recommend bluehost to you? sure. if you can sleep at night after that, of course? do your own sanity a favour, fellas.

    Anonnymous

    2018 October 5th

    Relax Snowflake. Cant believe they let people post fake reviews like these.

    Relax Snowflake. Cant believe they let people post fake reviews like these.