Bluehost web hosting review: beginner-friendly hosting for business?
Bluehost is a WordPress-centered hosting provider that’s extremely popular amongst those running small to medium-sized websites. In many cases, it’s the first provider for many users, no matter if you're building a blog or an online store.
Two conclusions about Bluehost immediately jump to my head. Either it’s very good or it’s so heavily marketed you have few ways to avoid it.
And knowing how many ads and Bluehost reviews on YouTube I’ve seen lately… Well, I’d vote for the marketing aspect.
But that’s just speculation.
Call me cynical, but I’d rather have some scientific-level testing done. That’s why I’ve purchased a hosting plan from Bluehost and put the provider through its paces.
In this Bluehost review, I've thoroughly analyzed this provider’s prices, interface, performance, security, customer support, and all the tools offered. As it turns out, it is a very solid option – easy to use and packed with features designed to help businesses.
But honestly, this review is very detailed. To be exact – 6,500 words detailed. So I won't blame you if you want to jump straight to the conclusion.
|💲 Price:||Prices start at $2.95/month|
|🏘️ Hosting types:||Shared, WordPress, VPS, dedicated|
|🌎 Server locations:||The US|
|👨💻 Support:||24/7 live chat, phone, ticketing, and email|
|🔥 Current deal:||Get up to 71% OFF Bluehost!|
Pros and Cons of Bluehost
- Free domain and SSL certificate
- Convenient business-focused tools
- Modern and easy to use interface
- Highly reliable servers
- Website staging area
- Introductory prices increase on renewal
- Servers could be faster
- Servers only in the US
Bluehost video review
Bluehost prices range from cheap to enterprise-grade with shared hosting packages starting at $2.95/month. For different needs, there’s also VPS (from $18.99/month), managed WordPress (from $9.95/ month), and dedicated servers (from $79.99/month). Generally, Bluehost hosting services are priced very much average in comparison to other providers.
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Shared hosting ($2.95/month)||Beginners looking to create a small-to-medium website. Very easy to use. Get up to 71% OFF Bluehost!|
|Managed WordPress ($9.95/month)||Fully managed WordPress websites.|
|VPS hosting ($18.99/month)||Bigger sites. A slightly more advanced option.|
|Dedicated server ($79.99/month)||Big corporations. Very advanced option.|
As is pretty standard in the hosting industry, shared hosting is the most popular option — especially for beginners and those with small to medium-sized websites. And, coincidentally, shared hosting is also one of Bluehost’s specialties. So, let’s delve deeper into what the provider offers when it comes to this solution.
Bluehost offers 4 shared hosting plans. All of them come with unmetered bandwidth. Plus, they also include a free SSL certificate and a free domain for a year. That’s a good starter pack.
- Basic ($2.95/month), Bluehost cheapest plan, is best for a small personal website such as a blog. It allows you to host 1 website and gives generous 50GB SSD storage.
- Plus ($4.95/month) is an economy option for small business websites. It comes with unlimited websites and storage.
- Choice Plus ($4.95/month) will be great for small business websites that need security as it adds domain privacy and daily backups for the first year.
- Pro ($13.95/month) is the best option for websites working in competitive markets. It gives more server resources for better performance and adds daily backups, dedicated IP, and domain privacy.
Don’t be fooled by the same pricing of Plus and Choice Plus. It’s only the same for the initial billing cycle. After that, Plus will be way cheaper than Choice Plus.
Other than that, the pricing is very much standard. The entry plan is cheap, but that comes with the 1 site limit. It’s enough for a personal website but can be a drawback for businesses wanting to expand.
The biggest advantage though is the Bluehost free domain for a year. This means you won’t have any additional costs apart from hosting in the first year.
In any case, I think that only two options are worth considering:
- Basic – for when you want to test out waters, create a personal blog, portfolio, or maybe bring a piece of your business online. Basically, the best option to start a website and then you can go from there.
- Choice Plus – the best option for bigger sites and small businesses as it adds an additional layer of privacy and security via domain privacy and automatic backups. The drawback is that you’ll either need to pay high renewal price or switch hosts (but that’s not difficult, really).
I wouldn’t choose Plus for as long as it costs the same as Choice Plus. That might not be the most ethical thing to tell you... But I’d simply migrate before renewing. Meanwhile, Pro is wayyyy more expensive but doesn’t add much value.
Talking of value…
Pricing need to know
The key to the cheapest price with Bluehost is purchasing a plan with in-advanced payment and minding renewals. Plus, you should avoid extra costs during the checkout process too. The regular stuff.
You’ll get the cheapest price by purchasing the Basic plan with a 3-year billing cycle. That’s a pre-payment of $106.20. When checking out, make sure that extra services like CodeGuard or SiteLock have not been added to the cart automatically.
In-advance payments are pretty much regular in order to get that cheap advertised price. For example, if you were to get the same features as Bluehost offers with other popular providers, it would cost you:
|Provider||Plan||3 year total|
|InMotion Hosting||Lite (no domain)||$89.64|
So Bluehost is a tiny bit more expensive, but generally – on the same level as other cheap hosting providers.
Now, don’t forget the renewal. It’s unavoidable unless you switch through providers.
Steep increase, huh? Especially for Bluehost, which would turn out to be the most expensive option in the long run. Did not expect that, honestly. But again, that’s why I’m doing this – to find all these things hiding in plain sight.
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, its regular price 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.
- Check out all available Bluehost coupon codes to get the best deal!
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.
Hosting management: is Bluehost easy to use?
One of the things that might lead me to tolerate pricing increases is just how easy Bluehost is to use and how many useful tools it offers. The provider combines its own website management tools and cPanel, so it has both the functionality and the comfort of use.
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.
Of course, you can skip all this and go through a manual website set up on your own.
By the way, Bluehost offers 1 free WordPress website migration. So even if you already have a site, moving to Bluehost will be easy.
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. To your left, you’ll find things like your sites, marketplace, domains, and more. And right smack in the middle of the page is a checklist on website creation.
The list is meant for WordPress and is pretty basic. Nonetheless, it can be a very good guide if you’ve never built a site before.
Altogether, it’s very easy to find everything in this neat interface. 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.
As you can see, my domain is Addon – I have it hosted with another provider but linked to my Bluehost website with the Assign function that’s on the left side menu.
Meanwhile, the Sites interface is among the most useful ones. There you’ll find your newly created website and the possibility to reach its own management area with even more tools.
This is also one of the places where you can add a new site.
However, another useful tool is hiding under the Advanced menu option. And honestly, don’t be scared off by all the advanced-ness – it’s easy to use. If you click on it, it’d lead you to cPanel.
cPanel is still one of the most used control panels for hosting management. But 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. Because stuff like domain management is now a part of the native interface, 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 in there.
So far, the interfaces look great. But there’s so much more that I tested for this Bluehost review – from day-to-day stuff to email accounts and website builder.
How to add a second website to Bluehost?
There are several ways to add a second website to your Bluehost account if your plan allows that. You can install WordPress automatically through the main dashboard or My Sites area, build it with a website builder, or install any other content management system that you like through Marketplace.
So if you choose to add another WordPress installation, the simplest option is to select Add a new site from the drop-down menu in the main dashboard. You’ll need to answer a couple of questions and the rest – Bluehost will take care of.
Basically, you enter your site name, select a domain, and that’s it.
Don’t forget to deselect the offered plugins if you’re not going to use them. The more plugins – the heavier and slower your website will be.
Another option is almost the same. In the My Sites area, you can click on the Add New button. The only difference – Bluehost will let you choose a website builder.
If you choose WordPress, the usual installation wizard will follow. If you choose the builder – the builder’s setup wizard will greet you.
The third and final option – Marketplace. Head there and scroll down till you find Featured Products and a very small, almost invisible One-Click Installs option. Here you can choose the same WordPress or other content management systems like Joomla, Drupal, or OpenCart.
No matter what you select, Bluehost will guide you through the installation steps. No worries there.
So it is obvious that Bluehost focuses on WordPress, and it’s the first option that’s being recommended. However, you can find other applications, if that’s needed, too. Plus, the installations are easy – you just need to follow the steps provided.
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.
To reach this area, you can go to My Sites and select Manage site on the website that you want to control. It will open this nice area with all the tools listed at the top menu:
The main tools that you should try out are Performance, Security, Plugins, and Settings.
In the Performance section, you’ll be able to configure site caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN).
You can use either just your Bluehost server or flick on CDN so that your website is cached in global server infrastructure. CDN can slightly boost website speed for people who are not close to the actual server. Also, it’s a DDoS protection measure too.
The setup is as simple as it can be – you just need to select Cloudflare and wait for it to automatically activate.
In the Security section, you can enable or disable free SSL, add extra services, and check if WordPress core files are intact.
SSL certificates are automatically activated for every domain you add. So there’s no need to do anything there unless you want to have a paid SSL.
Meanwhile, SiteLock is a third-party site scan for malware that Bluehost is selling. After reading a couple of Bluehost reviews of users that do use SiteLock, I think there’s no need for you to purchase it. It does the same simple stuff that any reputable WordPress plugin can do for free.
Also, Check core WordPress files is a nice tool to have. 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.
I believe this tool is a little outdated – since the 5.5 version of WordPress, auto-updates are available for all themes and plugins in the native interface. However, if you don’t have that enabled, this is 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.
- Starting from the top, you can easily update the site URL if you’ve changed it.
- The automatic updates tool allows changing the global update settings for WordPress, its plugins, and themes.
- The Content section allows you to set the limit of post/page revisions that are saved in your WordPress. This helps to keep a website lightweight and fast.
- With Comment management, you can disable the comments after a certain time and choose how many of them to display per page.
- Coming Soon Page flick is a useful tool that is automatically on for all new WordPress websites. This prevents visitors from seeing the site that’s still in construction or for Google indexing it. Once you are ready to publish, just switch it off.
- Finally, you can delete your site easily.
Honestly, this section alone would require a separed Bluehost WordPress review – you can manage almost every aspect of your site in one place. It’s definitely one of my favorite things about the provider.
Can I get a professional email with Bluehost?
While Bluehost does not advertise this, you can get a professional email for free. All you’ll need to do is go to cPanel and create your webmail account there.
Before I show you how to do this, I must warn you. The free Bluehost email hosting works on the same server as your website. That’s not ideal for a couple of reasons:
- You share this server with a ton of other people. This means that the reputation is shared – if you have spammers on the same server, you can get flagged as spam as well.
- The email clients are quite outdated and not very functional. Don’t look for fancy Google stuff in there.
Nonetheless, this free email can still be useful. It’s an option to collect your contact form submissions or do some casual emailing with clients. It’s just a no-no for big email campaigns as they simply won’t get delivered.
So to get your email account, go to cPanel and click on the Email Accounts icon.
This will open the section where you can see and reach all your email accounts. But now we need the Create button.
Once you click on that Create button, a form will appear that allows you to create a mailbox.
Fill in all the necessary details such as username as well as password and set the allocated storage space for the email account.
When you’re done, you’ll need to select an email client.
Alas, the selection here is very limited. You have 2 options: Roundcube and Horde. While these email clients are somewhat outdated, they get the job done.
The 2 options are pretty similar, but most people prefer Roundcube. Among many other features, it has a rich text HTML composer and the ability to import/manage the address book. On top of that, Roundcube allows you to set up preset email responses as well.
If you prefer a multitasker, Horde is a good option. In addition to emails, it also offers calendars, tasks, and more. You can even share the calendars, tasks, and notes with others via its collaboration tool.
Overall, setting up a professional email account with Bluehost is pretty straightforward and fast — as long as you can locate it in the first place.
WordPress staging tool
Bluehost includes a staging tool for your WordPress website. That’s an excellent addition that can save a lot of headaches when building or updating your site.
Imagine that your site is now live. Everybody can see it. But scrolling through it, you come upon a huge design quirk. Like an image that just pops over the text. But you don’t exactly know how to fix it. Trying to do that and updating the site every 5 minutes can seriously affect your visitors’ experience.
Thankfully, the staging tool allows fixing issues or updating a website without anyone noticing that you're doing that.
That works with updates, adding new functionality, building a new page, or basically anything you can imagine.
The best part is, Bluehost staging tool is very easy to use and you’ll find it in your WordPress admin dashboard.
To create a staging copy, simply hit the Create Staging Site button. This will duplicate your website.
As you can see, I now have both copies and can easily work with them both. So if you want to make changes to the staging site, simply select it and use WordPress as usual. Once you are ready to get those changes live – click on the Deploy All Changes button.
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.
Altogether, it’s very simple even though staging is usually labeled as “developer” stuff. Na-ah, even us, simple users, can take advantage of it. I’m super impressed with Bluehost here. Staging is one of those tools that can really save your day.
Bluehost Website Builder
Bluehost offers you to build a website using its own builder and promises that to be the easiest way. And truth be told, it might actually be as you'll see from this quick Bluehost website builder review.
All it takes is to answer a couple of questions, pick colors, fonts, and replace the demo content with your own.
So to start with, you can go to the My Sites area and click on add site and then select the builder or find it in the Marketplace.
The setup wizard looks very similar to the WordPress one. It’s just that now you have more design-related choices. You can pick the industry, colors, fonts, main image, logo, and so on.
If you don’t have a clear vision of how you want your site to look like – don’t fuss over all the choices. That’s customizable later, in the actual website editor.
Once you finish that… Surprise surprise. The Bluehost Website Builder opens up in… WordPress.
So Bluehost has built a plugin that works as a website builder in WordPress. Isn’t this genius? Mind-blown. Not only you’ve just laid the foundation for your website in like 5 minutes, but you did that on WordPress. That makes the website so much more powerful than any existing builder can do.
Anyway, let’s go back to customizing that website.
The builder doesn’t actually have “themes” or “templates.” What it does have is different layouts for each website block. So if we go for a header – there are 8 different options on how the stuff can look. If we go for testimonials – some more options on how it can look.
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, so your website will look tidy.
More to add, each of these blocks is stacked vertically. You can add as many as you like. But most importantly – they translate to the mobile version seamlessly. And that’s important, as a lot of people don’t even use desktops anymore.
Also, if you click on the text or image – you’ll be able to change it into your own right here and now.
So as far as website design and layouts go, all is super easy. The menu on the left has even more settings. There you can add menus and pages, change global colors and fonts in the Appearance section, and configure other settings under the Settings menu option.
It’s even possible to configure SEO for each page separately without going to the main WordPress dashboard. You can do that by clicking on the 3 dots icon by the name of each page.
Once you are happy with the results, you can simply click on the Publish button, and your Bluehost Website Builder/WordPress website will go live.
Honestly, I can hardly believe how seamless this integration is. You can do all the stuff in the builder. That’s amazing for beginners, as everything is easy to understand. Meanwhile, there’s a button to go to the WordPress Admin area, where the whole new world of development and functionality freedom will open up.
I’m not easy to impress, but Bluehost Website Builder might be one of the best things I saw here.
All things considered, Bluehost makes it extremely easy to manage your website regardless of if you’re a beginner or an experienced pro. Every tool is easy to understand, and most processes are almost automatic.
Performance: is Bluehost fast?
Bluehost delivers solid performance results. It might not be the fastest web hosting provider out there, but you can expect rock-solid reliability which is needed by all websites. In this part of Bluehost review, let me guide you through extensive performance testing to see whether this is what you’re looking for.
In terms of long-term monitoring, Bluehost scored 99.99% uptime over more than 2 months. If such a pattern persists, we will be left with barely 52 minutes of yearly downtime. You can’t expect a better result. It's pretty surprising, as Bluehost does not have a written uptime guarantee.
Meanwhile, server response times are also more than okay, averaging at 361ms. What does this mean?
Server response time shows how long a server takes to react to a visitor’s browser trying to reach the website. Until it shows that first reaction, your website is blank and nothing is loading.
It’s like if I’d pinch you – how long would it take for you to say ‘ouch!’? In very simple terms, this is how communication between the server and the browser looks like.
Want all that in numbers? Everything up to 400ms for shared hosting is perfect.
Now, let’s continue to more tangible results, which is page loading time.
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 – 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.
Okay okay, numbers are numbers and Bluehost load times are pretty good. But what does this all mean?
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 or pick a provider with servers near your visitors.
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.
In fact, the website fully loads in the same 1.8 seconds. Which is very fast.
On the other hand, there’s an area that can be improved. In speed visualization we can see that for a full second after a visitor clicks on your website, nothing happens. For some reason, Bluehost’s server took pretty long to respond. If that was not the case, we could have seen a website fully loaded in less than a second.
But these are just lab tests with no visitors on the website.
In real life, we want people to come in and browse our creations, right? In turn, that means more work for the server. In the following test, I checked how Bluehost acts when there are 50 visitors on the page.
And unfortunately, 50 visitors were too much.
First things first, the response time (blue line) was all over the place. In the best-case scenario, it should remain flat as the visitors (grey line) increase. 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.
So what’s the actual number that Bluehost can handle?
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 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. Unfortunately, many of them are not included in the plans. To access and activate these security measures, you’ll either have to purchase them via Bluehost or a third-party provider. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
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.
Bluehost provides a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate in all of its hosting plans — including the entry ones. That’s great. However, advanced options have to be purchased. Fair enough. In fact, that’s pretty much a given with most providers.
The free version should be sufficient for most Bluehost users. Ultimately, there isn’t a technical difference (including encryption method) between a paid and free basic domain level certificate with the exception of the issuing authority and insurance if data gets breached.
So unless you need a different validation level or a trust seal, the free version by Let’s Encrypt is more than enough.
Bluehost provides protection against DDoS via Cloudflare. A DDoS attack is essentially a malicious attack where your site is flooded with traffic from a compromised system to overwhelm and disrupt it. Using Cloudflare, you can hide your origin IP address from a direct attack by proxying traffic to Cloudflare. You’ll need to activate and set up Cloudflare in the website management area in the Performance section as it also works to speed up your website a little bit. It’s not the strongest measure, but good to have nonetheless.
Additionally, SiteLock also automatically scans your website for DDoS attacks. Unfortunately, it’s a paid tool where prices start from $5.99/mo.
I wasn’t able to find much information on firewalls for Bluehost’s plans except that it offers iptables as a firewall for its dedicated and VPS plans. So, I checked with a customer service agent who confirmed that there isn’t a default firewall for shared hosting.
Instead, the agent redirected me back to SiteLock and its plans.
My suggestion is to turn to free plugins instead of paying for these plans. For instance, Jetpack and Wordfence will get the job done at zero cost.
Automatic backups 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 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.
Customer support: will Bluehost help me?
You can get in touch with Bluehost’s customer support team via a few options. This includes 24/7 live chat, phone calls, ticketing, and email. Beyond that, Bluehost also offers an extensive knowledge base covering a variety of topics.
On the whole, Bluehost’s live chat support is a bit of a hit or miss. One day you could enjoy the best customer service in the market and the next you could be left hanging with no responses.
For instance, I had difficulty viewing the shared hosting page when I was trying to decide between plans. So, I got in touch with customer service. It took mere seconds for an agent to attend to me, and the first couple of replies came very quickly. I thought I was in for a treat.
But things went downhill promptly. In fact, I was even ghosted by the agent mid-conversation. Bear in mind that I didn’t ask difficult questions or anything like that. All I did was explain to the agent that I couldn’t view the page and he was gone.
At first, I thought the agent was checking on the issue or simply multitasking and answering another customer. That happens, and it’s no big deal. But the agent never came back and, after a while, the chat window automatically closed. It was frustrating, to say the least.
However, another experience with a different customer service agent was great. This was when I was trying to find out if Bluehost includes firewalls in shared hosting plans. I shot some quick and relatively easy questions her way just to see how she fares.
Sure, there were some upselling attempts, but the replies were polite, quick, and knowledgeable. When the agent needed to check on certain things, she informed me beforehand.
Overall, it appears that there’s quite a spectrum of quality when you get in touch with Bluehost’s customer service. If the first agent you connect with isn’t able to help you with the basics, exit the chat and try again.
At the same time, one thing deserves huge praise. You see, before publishing this Bluehost review, I have had my account for over a year. And I got to experience the havoc that Covid-19 caused in 2020.
But this is where Bluehost stepped up – while other providers were hitting brakes and disabling the live chat option altogether, this one here remained open and with relatively unchanged response times. That is impressive considering the number of people moving their businesses online.
Of course, you might not want to try your luck with an agent. For that, there’s a knowledge base.
The knowledge base is extensive enough, covering both basic and advanced topics. On the other hand, some articles found there could be slightly updated. They won’t mislead you, but sometimes the used screenshots come from the old Bluehost interface which makes the tutorials more difficult to follow.
All in all, Bluehost support is okay. There will always be some agents who either don’t take their jobs seriously or are overworked. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to find professionals who know what they are doing too. Meanwhile, the knowledge base needs some updates but is still good to use.
Bluehost for business
Bluehost might not be the fastest or the cheapest of them all, but it sure has a unique advantage – being very business-oriented hosting with multiple tools to help the owners out. That includes excellent scalability options and a marketing suite with Google ads integration in the dashboard, Google My Business, and SEO help.
VPS (virtual private server) is the next step when a business outgrows shared hosting. Or if you know that your website will be an instant success. Bluehost has managed VPS hosting plans that start at $19.99/mo.
Bluehost VPS plans are managed, meaning that the provider launches the server for you and takes care of the software/maintenance and not just the hardware. You also get a customer dashboard and cPanel for server and website management. The best this is, however, is that 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.
The resources go from 2 CPUs and 2GB RAM, 30GB storage, and 1 TB bandwidth to 4 CPUs, 8GB RAM, 120GB storage, and 3TB bandwidth. Dedicated IP address is also included.
The entry plan, honestly, looks very good. 2 CPUs and 2GB RAM is pretty powerful to host even more complex projects and apps.
Altogether, Bluehost does have a very attractive VPS option. It's easy to use yet flexible, and the server is made to be powerful.
Dedicated server hosting steps in when even the most powerful VPS plans are not enough. It gives the whole server machine dedicated entirely to you. 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/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.
The resources go from 4 CPUs (2.3 GHz), 3GB RAM, 2x500GB storage, and 5TB bandwidth to 4 CPUs (3.3 GHz), 16GB RAM, 2x1TB storage, and 15TB bandwidth.
CPU limit is a bit low, yet the threads are increased with other plans, making the server more capable. Additionally, you get a free domain name registration, which is surprising with dedicated hosting.
Overall, Bluehost makes dedicated hosting available to less techy people. This is a very nice change, considering how useful this type of hosting can be.
The Marketing Tools section is a functional dashboard 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.
As convenient as it might be, the SEO toolkit is a paid option starting at $5.95/mo. It gives you a detailed SEO plan and tracks your progress.
There are many 3rd-party SEO tools available, but most of them are known for being highly expensive or difficult to use. So Bluehost makes its own tool that can help small business owners to figure out SEO themselves for a relatively okay price. Of course, it’s not as advanced as solutions like Ahrefs, but also not as expensive.
Personally, I do not praise this tool as the only go-to option. But if you have no experience with SEO and need to make your business visible, it’s an okay tool to get you on the right track.
Sometimes investing in proper ads and building a client base is more important than having the fastest website out of all your competitors. Ads will make you visible to a particular audience that you want to target, making them one of the most efficient marketing strategies.
People usually spend years learning how to set up ads correctly. But Bluehost makes it simpler by integrating an intuitive platform to set up and track the ads as well as do A/B testing.
It’s really a nice tool to have directly in the dashboard.
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.
This will be an easy way to list your physical location or service area as well as manage business hours or reply to reviews.
Again, a super convenient tool to get you noticed.
Altogether, Bluehost scalability options for business are great and I really enjoyed trying out the marketing tools. When you move your business online or start it there, there’s always so much stuff to do. Moving through different platforms to get it listed can be tiresome. Bluehost steps up and helps you set up everything correctly so you have the best chance of succeeding.
Bluehost review: the final verdict
In short, Bluehost is all about user experience. Hosting plans are affordable (starting at $2.95/month) and inclusive. Bluehost offers a free domain, SSL, email accounts, as well as cPanel management, and WordPress-focused tools like automatic setup and staging are included. It's a great hosting option for busy professionals.
So taking each part piece by piece, how does Bluehost look like?
|Pricing||Bluehost plans are affordable, starting at $2.95/month. It has options for both personal and business websites and includes all essentials such as domain name and SSL certificate for a smooth start.|
|Ease of Use||The ease of use and functionality of Bluehost are just outstanding. 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. At the same time, a couple of upgrades to the servers could make Bluehost even better.|
|Security||Bluehost includes the ultimate basics that will help to keep your website secure. However, other security essentials like backups and malware protection are paid.|
|Support||While many Bluehost reviews praise the provider for its support department, I can’t exactly agree. In one instance, the experience was great, while another agent simply disconnected. Nonetheless, 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 that are starting out.
Alternatives to Bluehost
While Bluehost has ticked the boxes on my checklist, it might not be the best option for everyone and every website. But that’s not a big problem because there are plenty of other providers in the market that can be a good alternative. Among them are HostGator, Hostinger, GoDaddy, and SiteGround.
HostGator is a popular web hosting provider owned by the same parent company as Bluehost. The provider offers a selection of solutions, including shared, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
HostGator is a cheaper BlueHost alternative starting at $2.75/month. In return, you'll get fewer business-focused features. Yet, it's still easy to use and is best for beginners.
Hostinger is one of the cheapest providers in the market — if not the cheapest. The pricing for its shared hosting plans starts at just $1.39/month. Its plans aren’t the most comprehensive ones around, but they cover the basics.
At the same time, Hostinger is focusing on performance. It's one of the fastest options for small business or personal websites.
An even bigger name than Bluehost, GoDaddy is an old-school provider that has gotten its start as a domain registrar company. The giant provider’s main appeal is that it offers almost everything you need for hosting under one roof. Plus, its custom website builder is a hit with many businesses because it combines advanced functionality with ease of use.
When it comes to performance, GoDaddy’s performance is almost in the same class as Bluehost. However, price-wise, GoDaddy has a steeper price tag — with plans starting from $1.99/month.
SiteGround is another WordPress-centred provider. Extremely well-known in its own rights, the provider offers a number of premium features and tools. Among them, there are some serious speed-boosting software, collaboration tools, staging environments, and more. On top of that, SiteGround’s customer support has a reputation for being one of the best ones around.
If we’re talking about price, SiteGround is more expensive with the cheapest price of 3.99. In return, you're given top-tier performance and advanced tools.
What is Bluehost?
Bluehost is one of the biggest web hosting providers that is popular for shared hosting. It also offers managed WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting options.
Is Bluehost a good web host?
Bluehost is a pretty good web host. I enjoyed that the provider is investing into making web hosting as easy as it can be. It doesn't focus entirely on performance, but delivers many helpful tools for businesses.
Is Bluehost reliable?
Yes, Bluehost is reliable. It's a company that's been around for decades gaining the trust of millions of users by offering constantly good service. The same can be said about the performance. Bluehost keeps uptime as close to 100% as possible most of the time.
Does Bluehost give free domain name url?
Yes, Bluehost gives a free domain for the first year. Bluehost waives the cost of registering a new domain name if you sign up for its hosting plan. But, if you cancel your plan within 30 days, Bluehost will deduct $15.99 from your refund as its money-back guarantee doesn’t cover domains.
Can I use Bluehost without creating a WordPress site?
Yes, you can use Bluehost without creating a WordPress site. While the provider is optimized for WordPress and comes with the tools/features catered to the CMS, you can install other apps via Marketplace or use a website builder.
Is Bluehost free?
BlueHost is not free and doesn't offer free trial. The provider has a 30-day money-back guarantee. In this time, you can try out its hosting services, cancel your subscription, and get a refund.