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Bluehost hosting review 2024: features and performance


Bluehost is one of the best known hosting providers. It is also most often recommended for WordPress hosting, as it offers easy installation and migration. Bluehost is also an affordable hosting service provider, and together with hosting plans, it offers some unique features, such as a website builder and marketing tools. It also offers excellent performance and good website security features.

But is Bluehost good for beginners, or does its solutions work only for seasoned users? In this Bluehost review, we present a comprehensive overview of all that Bluehost has to offer. By combining user reviews and in-house testing and evaluations done by the expert Cybernews research team, we guide you through the Bluehost setup process, performance review, ease-of-use, support, pricing, and more.

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⭐ Rating:
4.5
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📑 Uptime guarantee:99.9%
⚙️ Hosting types:Shared, WordPress, WooCommerce, VPS, and dedicated hosting
🌎 Server locations:The US
👨‍💻 24/7 live support:Yes
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Bluehost pros and cons

Visit Bluehost to learn more about the features

Hosting management: is Bluehost easy to use?

When it comes to ease of use, Bluehost is up there with the best hosting providers. It combines in-house website management tools with cPanel. This results in excellent functionality, features, and tools that are easy to find, and a simply comfortable hosting experience.

Bluehost setup process

The Bluehost setup process is simple and uncomplicated, and you as the client are given guidance every step of the way:

  1. Once you create your account or log in, head to the Domains section on the left-hand side menu. bluehost main menu
  2. Here, you will see the status of your domains, as well as the options to buy or transfer domains.
  3. Under Domain Connections, you can choose to connect a website, an email, or a hosting service to your domain. Choose whichever, and add a name and domain. adding a domain bluehost
  4. Bluehost will create a site, and take you to the control panel. Here you can see the basic site information, edit the site, adjust settings, and more. Server information is also there. bluehost websites control panel
  5. If you choose to create a custom site (instead of using WordPress, for example), the main menu will be emptier and contain the Content Management System (CMS) and the phpMyAdmin panel. The phpMyAdmin panel is where you can develop and edit your site. However, this option is not recommended for beginners, as you need to know PHP, understand environments, hosting options, and more.

Bluehost control panel

For site management, Bluehost uses an in-house system called My Sites in combination with the well-known (and well-loved) cPanel. My Sites is one of the most convenient hosting management systems we’ve tested. It’s where you can find the performance optimization section, security, the plugin dashboard, and settings. Here’s what you can do with Bluehost’s My Sites:

  • Configure site caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Enable or disable free SSL, add extra services, and check if WordPress core files are intact
  • Activate, deactivate, and update WordPress plugins from your dashboard.
  • 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.

In the Advanced menu option on the My Sites page, you will find cPanel. Here you can find the more technical side of hosting management – changing PHP versions, accessing databases, or configuring free email accounts. Things like domain management, however, are part of the native Bluehost management system.

Bluehost cPanel interface

Bluehost for WordPress

Bluehost is one of the best WordPress hosting providers. It offers one-click WordPress installation, and one free WordPress site migration for any user. During our research, we found Bluehost WordPress hosting (installation and migration included) intuitive and easy to use. The site migration is especially easy to conclude, as the native Bluehost Site Migrator does most of the work.

Here’s more information on how to install or migrate a WordPress site on Bluehost:

Install WordPress:

  1. After creating your account or logging in, choose the “Install Wordpress” option in “Add Website” panel.
  2. Create your site name, connect a domain, or use a temporary domain. You can also skip this step.
  3. Wait for the WordPress site to be installed. It took us less than a minute.
  4. After the installation finishes, you will be taken to the summary page. Click on “Edit Site” to edit your WordPress site. Here you can choose to migrate a site, or to just start fresh.

If you want to start a fresh WordPress site, you will be prompted to use the Bluehost website builder. The builder offers plenty of design and template options, and offers guidance in the form of questions about your site’s purpose (wether it’s a shop, a blog, a portfolio, and more).

If you want to migrate an existing site, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the URL of your existing WordPress site that you want to migrate.
  2. Install the Bluehost Site Migrator.
  3. Copy and paste the transfer key to complete the transfer.
  4. After that, the Site Migrator will do most of the work to migrate your WordPress website.

If you need help with migrating your site, you can buy a Bluehost migration service for $149.99. A Bluehost expert will take care of the whole site migration process.

However, the Bluehost Site Migration is not a well-received tool. It only has 1,5 stars out of 24 reviews with >8K active installations. Our research shows that there are better migration tools, such as Updraft Migration Plugin, which has a 5star rating with >7K reviews and >3M active installations.

Essential features: SSL, marketing tools, staging, email, and site migration

Bluehost includes numerous features to make your hosting experience professional, smooth, and convenient. Security features, marketing tools, staging environments, email, and site migration are all available.

SSL is one of the most important security features that a hosting provider can offer. Bluehost offers a free SSL certificate that installs automatically when a domain is attached. An SSL certificate is essential in establishing a secure connection with your site’s visitors.

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.

Bluehost marketing tools

So let’s take a quick look at how these tools can help your business succeed:

  • SEO Toolkit: 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.

Bluehost also includes professional email accounts. In the cPanel, go to Email Accounts and find the Create button. Fill in all the necessary details such as username as well as password and set the allocated storage space for the email account. For the email client, you have 2 options: Roundcube and Horde. While these email clients are somewhat outdated, they get the job done.

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.

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:

  • 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.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between free and paid Bluehost migration:

PriceFor whom?How many migrations are available?What’s not transferable?
Free migrationFreeFirst-time users1 WordPress siteEmail and domain name
Paid migration$149.99New or existing users5 websites on any CMS and up to 20 email accountsDomain name

Bluehost does not offer migration support for VPS, Reseller, or Dedicated Server hosting accounts.

Bluehost also 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.

Bluehost Staging area creation in WordPress

To create a staging copy, simply hit the Create Staging Site button. This will duplicate your website. Before making 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.

Performance – Bluehost speed, uptime, and stress testing

To test the performance of Bluehost, we conducted a series of tests, including uptime and response time, as well as how fast a site loads, and how many visitors it can handle at once. All tests were done on a shared hosting plan, and with a fully built site to simulate how a host would perform in real-life scenarios as best as possible. Therefore, some results, such as load speed and server response time may be higher than with an empty site.

Overall, Bluehost’s performance is well above average. It loads websites quickly and there are no issues with downtime. It also handles spikes in traffic quite well, and provides and overall reliable performance, perfectly suitable for small-to-medium sites.

Bluehost uptime and response time

In hosting, uptime refers to the availability of your site to users, i.e. how long the site is up and running per set amount of time. In terms of long-term monitoring, Bluehost scored 99.63% uptime over 30 days of testing. Bluehost does not offer an uptime guarantee like other providers, and yet the uptime is near perfect, with the ideal goal being 100%, which is something that few providers ever reach. With that in mind, Bluehost uptime results are considered very good.

bluehost uptime and response time test results

Server response time, also known as TTFB, is how long it takes for the host server to process a website visitors’ request to reach the website. Server response time also includes latency (visible in the image), which is essentially the minimum time a server requires to produce any kind of response (not including processing time). Therefore, overall server response time (TTFB) will always be higher than latency.

In our Bluehost tests, the average server response time was 971ms, which is not a terrible but also not a great result. Considering that testing was done with a fully built site, this is a satisfactory overall result.

Bluehost speed test

The next test shows how fast a fully-built WordPress website can load when tested in different locations. Largest Contentful Paint is the main indicator of this site-loading speed. Our Bluehost website is hosted in the US, so that’s where we got the fastest result – the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is 1.3s. LCP results in the UK and India were 1.2s and 2.2s, respectively.

bluehost speed test results

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, and Bluehost passes with flying colors in all tested locations, as is fitting for one of the best and fastest hosting providers.

Bluehoost stress testing

In the last test, we wanted to see how well Bluehost can handle increased traffic on the site – this is called stress testing. We sent 50 virtual users (VU) to our Bluehost site and monitored the server response time and request handling.

Bluehost handled 50 virtual users without any failure.In the best case scenario, the blue line, which indicates server response time should remain flat as the number of visitors (grey line) increases. During our testing, we saw a few spikes in the response time, but overall it remained pretty consistent, which is a good sign. The server also handled all the requests just fine.

bluehost stress testing results

Bluehost security

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.

What are the types of Bluehost hosting?

Like many other hosting services, Bluehost offers several types of hosting plans – shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting. Find short overviews of what each type of hosting includes, and whom it is for below:

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.

Bluehost VPS hosting

VPS (virtual private server) is the next step when a business outgrows shared hosting. Provider’s VPS hosting plans start at $31.99/mo and go up to $71.99/mo.

Based on the price, all Bluehost VPS plans include different amounts of CPU cores, storage, RAM, bandwidth, and IP addresses.

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.

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 $89.98/month and go up to $139.99/month.

All dedicated hosting plans include from 3 to 5 dedicated IPs, 1 free domain, and 4 core CPUs. The amount of storage, RAM, cache, and bandwidth all differ based on the plan.

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/month.

For different needs, there are also VPS, managed WordPress, and dedicated servers.

BasicPlusChoice PlusPro
Price$2.95/month$5.45/month$5.45/month$8.99/month
Websites1UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
SSD storage10GB20GB40GB100GB
Free SSL
Free CDN
Free Email
Custom Domain
Domain privacy
Daily Backup
Dedicated IP

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.

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 support

Bluehost offers support via 24/7 live chat and phone, plus an extensive knowledge base covering a variety of topics.

Bluehost
24/7 live chat
Email
Phone line
Knowledge base
FAQs

Our experience 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.

Bluehost live chat support about security

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.

Does Bluehost have a website builder?

Yes, Bluehost offers a website builder. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use tool that offers countless options for creating a nice-looking website. The starting process is simple – you need to answer a few questions about your site, and will get suggestions for layout, design, and more. Overall, Bluehost makes it extremely easy to build your website. Even if you have no prior experience with Bluehost or website building in general, you’ll be definitely set up for success. Everything you need to build a beautiful site is right there, displayed clearly and in an easy-to-understand manner.

Bluehost website builder setup

Bluehost website builder offers 7 preset options for a website. The other option is to take the design process into your own hands. The builder asks you to choose a template, and then you can customize the color palette, fonts, header menus, homepage layout, add other pages and customize them as well.

In terms of the site editor, Bluehost does not try to reinvent the wheel and takes the time-tested route. All the editor features such navigation, styles, templates, pages, and patterns are easy to find. As with most builders, you can also check how your site looks on desktop and mobile.

You can also easily install plugins. Some of the available plugins include SEO by Yoast, Forms by WP Forms, and Site Traffic by MonsterInsights. Once you are ready to launch your site, Bluehost will create your site in a few seconds.

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

Bluehost is one of the best hosting services, especially for WordPress sites. Among its best features is the website staging and marketing tools. Additionally, every Bluehost plan comes with a free SSL, CDN, email, and custom domain. The Bluehost performance also leaves little to be desired – with a 99.63% uptime and average response time of 971ms for a fully built site, you are bound to have an excellent hosting experience.

With the in-house Bluehost website builder, you also get the opportunity to have everything you need for website hosting in one place. The in-house + cPanel hosting management system is one of the most convenient systems we’ve seen, and the security suite is complete with the most necessary features.

The hosting plans are affordable and inclusive, with shared hosting plans starting from $2.95/month.

Bluehost is a near-perfect hosting provider, whether you're a beginner, an advanced user, or a web professional. It’s a great, affordable, and easy-to-use option for new websites and small-to-medium size businesses.

Here’s a quick summary of the Bluehost review findings:

Feature
4.5
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.

More web hosting reviews from Cybernews:


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Comments

Walt Gordon
prefix 2 years ago
You don’t mentions any tests of Bluehost’s phone support. I dislike chat and much prefer phone, since you can usually clear up any confusion or miscommunication faster. I’ve had some limited dealings with Bluehost — I have a few domain names registered with them which I am not actively using at the moment — and my phone conversations with them have always been helpful, with only modest, acceptable wait times. What is your experience of their phone support?
Kotryna Degutytė
prefix 2 years ago
Hey Walt, I did indeed use Bluehost phone support a couple of times to verify an account faster and didn’t run into any issues. The wait time was around 2 minutes, and all went smoothly. Sure, these are limited interactions too. We might need to do a bigger test to find out how they perform under stress. 🙂
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