Bluehost Review 2023: web hosting features and performance
Bluehost is a widely known hosting provider that offers shared, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting services. With so many options, it might be hard to decide if this host is suitable for your needs – whether it’s a first-time site, blog, portfolio, or online business.
Likewise, we’ve tested this provider’s features, performance, pricing, security, customer support, and additional tools. So read this Bluehost review to find out about its benefits, disadvantages, and best use cases.
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|💲 Price:||Prices start at $2.95/month|
|🏘️ Hosting types:||Shared, WordPress, VPS, dedicated|
|🌎 Server locations:||The US|
|👨💻 Support:||24/7 live chat and phone|
|🔥 Coupons:||Bluehost coupon 75% OFF|
Pros and Cons of Bluehost 2023
Visit Bluehost to learn more about the features
Hosting management: is Bluehost easy to use?
Yes, Bluehost is easy to use. The host combines its own website management tools and cPanel, which results in great functionality and comfort of use.
The website setup process proves how simple Bluehost really is. The first time you log in to your account, Bluehost will prompt you to create a website. All you have to do is follow 6 steps answering questions, choosing a name for your site, and even picking a theme.
Additionally, the provider also offers 1 free WordPress website migration that you may find useful.
Of course, you can skip all this and go through a manual website set up on your own.
In any case, you’ll end up in the main user area in no time.
As you can see, it’s clean, organized, and straightforward. There’s also a checklist on website creation that could be very helpful if you’ve never built a site before.
A lot of day-to-day stuff can be found in the left side menu. For example, in the Domains section, you’ll be able to purchase new domains, transfer them, or simply add a domain that’s hosted elsewhere.
Meanwhile, My Sites is where all the main features for site management are located. More so, this is where you can add new sites too.
Lastly, don’t be scared off by the Advanced menu option – by clicking this you will be led to a standard cPanel.
cPanel is still one of the most used control panels for hosting management. However, Bluehost simplified it and made it look more modern by adding its own skin.
For those familiar with cPanel, there's one little difference in functionality. Stuff like domain management is now a part of the native interface, so you won’t find them in the cPanel.
So what is Bluehost cPanel used for?
Mostly, it is used for hosting and website management tasks such as changing PHP versions or accessing databases. Also, you'll find free email accounts there.
Website management tools
Once you’ve created a website or simply installed WordPress, there are a dozen other tasks you can do. Bluehost now serves us performance and security optimizations, plugin management, and general WordPress settings. You can do all of this through the My Sites management area, which is one of the most convenient tools I've tested.
This area can be reached through My Sites, where you’ll be able to find all the main settings to run and monitor your site:
- In the Performance section, you’ll be able to configure site caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDN can slightly boost website speed for people who are not close to the physical server of your website. Also, it’s a DDoS protection measure too.
- In the Security section, you can enable or disable free SSL, add extra services, and check if WordPress core files are intact. There’s also the Check core WordPress files tool. It can help you find flaws after updates or if you decided to tweak something in the file manager.
- The Plugins tool allows you to activate, deactivate, and update WordPress plugins from your dashboard. So if you don’t have auto-updates enabled on your WordPress dashboard, this offers a quick way to update all plugins at once.
- The Settings tool is by far the most convenient for WordPress sites, as it has a ton of useful settings for you to configure. Here you can update the site URL if you’ve changed it, set the limit of post/page revisions that are saved in your WordPress, disable the comments after a certain time and choose how many of them to display per page, set up a Coming Soon Page, or even delete your site easily.
Honestly, this section alone would require a separate Bluehost WordPress review – you can manage almost every aspect of your site in one place, which makes the site management process that much easier.
Bluehost email: is business email included?
Yes, you can get a professional email address for free with Bluehost. All you’ll need to do is go to cPanel and create your webmail account there. It’s truly that simple.
All you need to do is to go to cPanel and click on the Email Accounts icon. Find the Create button and fill in all the necessary details such as username as well as password and set the allocated storage space for the email account.
Last thing to do is to select an email client. You have 2 options: Roundcube and Horde. While these email clients are somewhat outdated, they get the job done.
Just be aware that Bluehost email hosting works on the same server as your website. This means that these email accounts should not be used for big marketing campaigns or frequent advertising.
And that’s really all there is, making the email account creation process as fast and as simple as it gets.
Bluehost site migration
When it comes to website migration, Bluehost offers both a free and a paid option. However, while paid migration is accessible to everyone, free migration has its own requirements. So let’s explore each option in more detail.
|Price||For whom?||How many migrations are available?||What’s not transferable?|
|Free migration||Free||First-time users||1 WordPress site||Email and domain name|
|Paid migration||$149.99||New or existing users||5 websites on any CMS and up to 20 email accounts||Domain name|
Requirements for free migration:
- Free migration requires a new (first-time) shared hosting account,
- The migration has to take place sometime within the first 30 days of purchasing a shared hosting plan,
- The site itself has to be a WordPress version no older than 4.7 and run on at least PHP version 7.0 or later,
- The website (filesize) must be no larger than 2GB in size,
- The database size must not exceed 40MB,
- The website must be free of malware.
Lastly, be aware that Bluehost does not offer migration support for VPS, Reseller, or Dedicated Server hosting accounts. Also, just like the free migration, this one also does not include domain name transfer.
WordPress staging tool
Bluehost includes a staging tool for your WordPress website. It allows you to fix issues or test updates on a demo website without affecting your live site. That’s an excellent addition that can save a lot of headaches when building or updating your site.
To create a staging copy, simply hit the Create Staging Site button. This will duplicate your website.
One quick piece of advice – before doing any changes to the staging site, you might want to click the Clone to Staging button. This way you’ll know for sure that you’re working with the latest copy of your site.
Bluehost Website Builder
Bluehost offers you a chance to build a website using its own builder. All it takes is to answer a couple of questions, pick colors, fonts, and replace the demo content with your own.
The setup wizard looks very similar to the WordPress one. It’s just that now you have more design-related choices.
So Bluehost has built a plugin that works as a website builder in WordPress.
The builder itself has different layouts for each website block – you can choose from 8 different design options.
You can also choose what elements go in each particular block of your website – images, titles, subtitles, descriptions, and buttons. All of them have pre-designed places for a tidy look. Most importantly – they translate to the mobile version seamlessly.
It’s even possible to configure SEO for each page separately without going to the main WordPress dashboard.
All things considered, Bluehost makes it extremely easy to manage your website regardless of if you’re a beginner or an experienced user. Every tool is easy to understand, and most processes are almost automatic.
The Marketing Tools section is a functional yet simple user interface where you can set up the foundation for your online business visibility – order SEO Tools, integrate Google Ads, and list yourself on Google My Business.
So let’s take a quick look at how these tools can help your business succeed:
- SEO Toolkit – Bluehost makes its own tool that can help small business owners to figure out SEO themselves. This is a paid option starting at $5.95/mo that gives you a detailed SEO plan and tracks your progress. While it’s not as detailed as Ahrefs, it’s much more affordable.
- Google Ads – Ads will make you visible to a particular audience that you want to target, making them one of the most efficient marketing strategies. So Bluehost makes it simpler by integrating an intuitive platform to set up and track the ads as well as do A/B testing. Plus, Google Ads match up to $150 on your first campaign.
- Google My Business – Google My Business is an easy way to get your business listed on Google Maps, and such queries like “pizza near me.” Usually, you’d do that from a Google account, but Bluehost integration makes it possible to set up from your hosting account.
All things considered, Bluehost makes it extremely easy to manage and promote your website regardless of if you’re a beginner or an experienced user. Every tool is easy to understand, and most processes are almost automatic.
Bluehost uptime and response time
In terms of long-term monitoring, Bluehost scored 99.99% uptime over more than 2 months. To be honest, it's pretty surprising, yet very reassuring, as Bluehost does not have a written uptime guarantee.
Now talking about server response time, it shows how long a server takes to react to a visitor’s browser trying to reach the website.
Our testing proved that Bluehost servers are very speedy, with the response time averaging at 361ms. And everything up to 400ms for shared hosting is near perfect.
In short, Bluehost showed very reliable uptime results and just as good server responsiveness.
The next test shows how fast an empty WordPress website can load when tested from different locations. My Bluehost website is hosted in the US, so that’s where I get the fastest result – the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is 920ms. The further we go, the slower it gets – the UK result is 1.6 seconds while for visitors in India this website would take 2.3 seconds to load.
Largest Contentful Pain is the most important result as Google takes it into consideration when ranking your site. Also, it’s an indicator for the visitor that the website is loading properly. The benchmark for LCP is up to 2.5 seconds.
In the US, Bluehost passes with flying colors. Meanwhile, other locations are slower yet still fit in the recommended time.
Bluehost has servers only in the United States. This means that the provider will be best for those websites that have their target audiences in the US. In order to prevent website slowdowns in other continents, you should implement Content Delivery Network.
But that’s just with an empty website. How do the results change if we make it more real? I’ve set up a website with a nice theme and all of its demo content to pass as a real website. LCP increased to 1.8 seconds which still is considered fast.
However, in speed visualization, we can see that Bluehost’s server took pretty long to respond. Nothing to be worried about though.
To sum it up, when it comes to website loading time, Bluehost delivered very good speeds.
Bluehost stress testing
As the last test, I’ve sent 50 VUs (virtual users) to my website to see how well Bluehost can handle increased traffic on the site.
Unfortunately, 50 visitors were too much.
The response time (blue line) was all over the place. In the best-case scenario, it should remain flat as the number of visitors (grey line) increases. Also, more than half of the requests failed, meaning that the server did not perform some of the tasks correctly.
But that’s not a big deal. Let me remind you that we are on a shared server. 50 visitors each minute would total a huge monthly sum of traffic. Way more than a small-to-medium-sized website would attract.
Yet the question remains – how much is not too much? Reducing the number by 5 with each test, Bluehost confidently handled 15 visitors over 5 minutes.
Looking at the graph we still see that response time increases but this time, there are no HTTP failures. And that’s what we are looking for.
In the end, Bluehost’s Plus plan will be able to support any regular personal or small business website that’s generating up to 20 000 monthly visits.
All in all, Bluehost’s performance is well above average. It loads websites quickly and there are no issues with downtime. At the same time, servers could use an upgrade to take the provider to the next level.
Bluehost has plenty of security features. However, to access and activate these security measures, you’ll either have to purchase them via Bluehost or a third-party provider.
Let’s have a peek at what is Bluehost doing when it comes to the more vital security measures. This includes SSL certificates, DDoS protection, and firewalls.
- SSL certificates – all Bluehost’s shared plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, additionally there are a few paid options. However, the free version should be sufficient for most Bluehost users.
- DDoS protection – Bluehost provides protection against DDoS via Cloudflare. A DDoS attack is a malicious attack where your site is flooded with traffic from a compromised system to overwhelm and disrupt it. By activating Cloudflare, you can hide your origin IP address from a direct attack by proxying traffic to Cloudflare.
- Firewalls – while there seems to be no default firewall for shared hosting, Bluehost does use iptables as a firewall for its dedicated and VPS plans. So if you’re using shared hosting, my suggestion is to turn to free plugins. For instance, Jetpack and Wordfence will get the job done at zero cost.
- Automatic backups – this is a useful tool that can save you in case of an emergency. Basically, it takes a snapshot of your website daily and you can restore it at any time. They are included in Choice Plus and Pro plans but otherwise cost $2.99/mo via a third-party tool.
Overall, Bluehost definitely doesn’t have the best or most comprehensive features when it comes to security. It’s a shame that it charges for security measures that are pretty much essential.
|24/7 live chat||✅|
Bluehost offers support via 24/7 live chat and phone, plus an extensive knowledge base covering a variety of topics.
Talking about personal experiences, mine, with live chat support, was pretty good. It took mere seconds for an agent to log on. There were some upselling attempts, but the replies were polite, quick, and knowledgeable.
Now if you wish to get even higher quality service, Bluehost offers Blue Sky – a premium customer support option. For an additional cost, you can get on-demand ticket support, account access assistance, website backup assistance, design guidance, and many more.
As a whole, Bluehost customer support is good. You can easily get a professional to help with issues at hand. Plus, you can always find relevant information by browsing the knowledge base on your own.
Bluehost hosting plans and pricing
Bluehost prices range from cheap to enterprise-grade with shared hosting packages starting at an introductory price of $2.95/mo. For different needs, there are also VPS, managed WordPress, and dedicated servers.
|Hosting type||Best for||Price|
|Shared hosting||Beginners looking to create a small-to-medium website. Very easy to use. Get up to 75% OFF Bluehost!||From $2.95/mo|
|Managed WordPress hosting||Fully managed WordPress websites.||From $19.95/mo|
|VPS hosting||Bigger sites. A slightly more advanced option.||From $19.99/mo|
|Dedicated server hosting||Big corporations. Very advanced option.||From $79.99/mo|
In-advance payments are pretty much regular in order to get that cheap advertised price. So in terms of introductory prices, Bluehost is on the same level as other cheap hosting providers.
By the way, a 30-day money-back guarantee is available but there are certain conditions:
- The payment has to be made via credit card.
- Extra services are non-refundable.
- If you’ve got a free domain, the regular domain fee will be deducted from the refund, and you’ll keep the ownership of that domain.
It's a pretty regular set of terms. Just keep in mind that you’ll only be able to use the money-back if you paid with a credit card.
Bluehost shared hosting
Bluehost offers 4 shared hosting plans that come at an affordable price. All include unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, CDN, and a custom domain registration.
|Basic plan||1 website and 10GB SSD storage. The cheapest plan is best for a small personal blog or business landing page.||$2.95/mo|
|Plus plan||Unlimited websites and 20GB storage. It's a good option for small business websites.||$4.95/mo|
|Choice Plus plan||Unlimited websites and 40GB storage, plus domain privacy and daily backup. The plan is great for small business websites that need security.||$4.95/mo|
|Pro plan||Unlimited websites, domain privacy, 100GB storage, daily backup, and dedicated IP. This is is the best option for websites working in competitive markets.||$13.95/mo|
All in all, Bluehost pricing is standard but plans are generously packed with resources. It’s a good option to start a website as you won’t have any additional costs in the first year. Take a look at our list of Bluehost Black Friday deals for great discounts.
Bluehost VPS hosting
VPS (virtual private server) is the next step when a business outgrows shared hosting. Provider’s VPS hosting plans start at $19.99/mo and go up to $59.99/mo.
|Standard||2 cores, 30 GB storage, 2 GB RAM, 1 TB bandwidth, 1 IP address, and cPanel/WHM.||$19.99/mo|
|Enhanced||2 cores, 60 GB storage, 4 GB RAM, 2 TB bandwidth, 2 IP addresses, and cPanel/WHM.||$29.99/mo|
|Ultimate||4 cores, 120 GB storage, 8 GB RAM, 3 TB bandwidth, 2 IP addresses, and cPanel/WHM.||$59.99/mo|
VPS plans are managed, meaning that the provider launches the server for you and takes care of the software/maintenance, not just the hardware. You also get a customer dashboard and cPanel for server and website management. Plus, full root access is provided too. Many other providers offering managed services do not give you full control over the server.
So Bluehost's VPS is good both for less experienced users that need guidance and developers alike. It’s a very attractive VPS option – easy to use, flexible, and the server is made to be powerful.
Bluehost dedicated hosting
Dedicated server hosting steps in when even the most powerful VPS plans are not enough. While pricey, this is the go-to option for large businesses and enterprises that need full server control, power, and security. Bluehost dedicated plans start at $79.99/month and go up to $119.99/month.
|Standard||2.3 GHz CPU with 4 cores, 4 threads, 3 MB cache, and 4 GB RAM. Plus, 500 GB storage, 5 TB bandwidth, 1 free domain, 3 dedicated IPs, and cPanel & WHM with Root.||$79.99/mo|
|Enhanced||2.5 GHz CPU with 4 cores, 8 threads, 8 MB cache, and 8 GB RAM. Plus, 1000 GB storage, 10 TB bandwidth, 1 free domain, 4 dedicated IPs, and cPanel & WHM with Root.||$99.99/mo|
|Premium||3.3 GHz CPU with 4 cores, 8 threads, 8 MB cache, and 16 GB RAM. Plus, 1000 GB storage, 15 TB bandwidth, 1 free domain, 5 dedicated IPs, and cPanel & WHM with Root.||$119.99/mo|
Bluehost provides managed dedicated service. This means that the launch, setup, and maintenance are the responsibility of the provider. Meanwhile, you get an easy-to-use control panel with root access. So while dedicated hosting is overall advanced, Bluehost aims to make it more user-friendly.
All in all, Bluehost offers a variety of web hosting options that are suitable for different needs, such as small blogs, portfolios, or even large online business websites. All plans include useful features that make web hosting easy so you can succeed on your online journey.
Bluehost video review
If you prefer video format over a detailed read, you can check out our detailed Bluehost breakdown on YouTube.
Bluehost review: the final verdict
In short, Bluehost hosting plans are affordable and inclusive, site management is very simplistic, and performance is very reliable and speedy. All these factors combined make the provider suitable for everyone – whether you're a beginner, an advanced user, or a web professional.
So taking each part piece by piece, how does Bluehost look?
|Feature||Beginner-friendly and business-oriented provider|
|Pricing||Bluehost plans are affordable, starting at $2.95/month. They include all essentials such as domain name, SSL certificate, and generous server resources for a smooth start.|
|Ease of Use||Most of the processes are automated, plus, the provider has many tools to make life easier, including business-focused integrations, staging, and a convenient website management area.|
|Performance||In the performance department, Bluehost showed good results. It was up 99.99% of the time and loaded websites quickly.|
|Security||Bluehost includes the ultimate basics that will help to keep your website secure. However, other security essentials like backups and malware detection are paid.|
|Support||The wait times are basically nonexistent, and Bluehost remains available even during busy times.|
So who do I recommend Bluehost to?
Bluehost shared hosting plans will be best for beginner users and small business owners. It’s a great, affordable, and easy-to-use option for new websites and small businesses.
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What exactly does Bluehost do?
Bluehost is one of the biggest web hosting providers that offers shared hosting, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting services. If you’re about to start your online journey, it might be useful to look into this provider as it has quite affordable hosting plans.
Is Bluehost a good web hosting company?
Yes, Bluehost is a pretty good web host. We enjoyed that the provider is investing in making web hosting as easy as it can be. It doesn't focus entirely on performance, yet delivers many helpful tools for businesses.
Is Bluehost good for beginners?
Yes, Bluehost is good for beginners since it’s easy to use. This provider combines its own website management tools and cPanel, so you get useful features and a user-friendly interface.
What are the cons of Bluehost?
The main con of Bluehost is that the host offers relatively small storage space for its shared hosting plans. Also, it only has servers in the US, meaning international audiences may experience slower site loading speeds.
How much does Bluehost cost per month?
Bluehost prices for the most popular shared hosting options start from only $2.95/month. The entry plan includes 1 website and 10 GB SSD storage, which is perfect for a small blog or a business landing page.
Is Bluehost worth the price?
Yes, Bluehost is worth your money since it has affordable and inclusive hosting plans, simplistic site management, and reliable server performance. Bluehost offers quite flexible web hosting options, which are suitable for both small blog writers and experienced business owners.
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