Bluehost, a popular Utah-based web hosting company, was founded in 2003 and is now owned by Newfold Digital.
Bluehost’s shared hosting plans are well-described on the company’s website, with plenty of details about what you get with each of them.
The business does not try to deceive you by offering a weak starter plan in exchange for a low headline rate. Even the cheapest Basic plan includes 50GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and a free domain.
Cheapest Bluehost Shared Plan | $7.99 $2.75 p/m | 65% off
With only 5 accounts and a small 100MB inbox for each, email hosting options are limited, and this isn’t mentioned in the website comparison table. Still, for many users, it’s a perfectly adequate product that’s reasonably priced at $2.95 per month for 36 months, rising to $7.99 on renewal. (Pay an initial $4.95 if you sign up for a minimum of 12 months.)
The Choice Plus plan includes unlimited email accounts, as well as site backup, domain privacy, and protection. It can also be used with as many domains as you need. It’s available for $5.45 per month for 36 months, which is appealing, though it renews for $14.99 (if you choose the annual plan, it’s initially $7.95 per month).
The Pro account boosts performance, includes a dedicated IP address, and includes a premium SSL certificate for $13.95 per month for 36 months ($14.95 annually), with a renewal fee of $23.99.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is in place to protect payments. This is the industry standard and should be sufficient to determine whether Bluehost is the right host for you, but some providers go even further. For example, InMotion Hosting offers a remarkable 90-day money-back guarantee.
If you need more information, there’s an in-depth list of what’s included in every shared hosting plan on Bluehost’s support page.
Bluehost only offers a small number of application hosting plans, but they just about cover the basics: WordPress and basic e-commerce.
The WordPress hosting plan is essentially the same as the shared hosting plans, with the same pricing (from $2.95 a month to $7.99 on renewal) and a greater focus on WordPress-specific features (Bluehost automatically updates WordPress, and there’s some decent WordPress documentation and support).
The WordPress Pro plan from Bluehost is more powerful, with unlimited storage, bandwidth, and websites, as well as spam filtering, CDN integration, and other features.
A staging environment, a convenient way to create and work on a copy of your existing site, is one of the more powerful WordPress-related extras. If you’re making major changes to your site, such as replacing a theme or switching plugins, the staging feature allows you to test them out without risking breaking your live site.
Jetpack Site Analytics, Premium or Pro (depending on your plan), a marketing center, PayPal integration, and more are among the business-oriented features.
These are capable products with reasonable prices ranging from $19.95 per month for three years ($29.99 on renewal) to $49.95 for five years ($59.99).
If you only have one site to manage and don’t require the business features. The Pro plan gives you dedicated resources (from 1 vCPU and 1GB RAM) and Varnish-based caching, but it limits your storage and only supports one website. Prices start at $18 per month with no long-term commitment.
Bluehost’s e-commerce offering is essentially shared hosting with pre-installed WordPress, WooCommerce, and Storefront themes, a dedicated IP address, and a few marketing credits (spend $25 on Microsoft Advertising or Google Ads, get a $100 credit).
The prices are once again reasonable, starting at $6.95 per month (renewal at $13.99). The plans may be useful if you’re a newcomer to e-commerce, but experienced users can achieve similar results by finding their preferred shared hosting package and installing Softaculous (or another auto-installer) to create a web store.
Bluehost’s VPS plans may not appear to be inexpensive at first glance, but this is because the company does not try to cut corners in order to achieve a low headline price.
VPS products, for example, start at $18.99 per month for 36 months ($29.99) on renewal, which is more expensive than some. However, the specs are decent, with 2 CPU cores and 2GB RAM, which is twice as much as many starter VPS setups, as well as 30GB storage and 1TB bandwidth. Bluehost’s custom control panel makes it simple to manage your service.
If you’re willing to accept a less powerful system, Hostwinds’ managed VPS plans start at $5.17 per month (renewing at $10.99). However, you only get 1 CPU core, 1GB of RAM, 30GB of storage, and 1TB of bandwidth for that price. Upgrade to a Hostwinds plan with 2 cores, 4GB RAM, and 2TB bandwidth for $18.80 per month, renewable at $39.99, which is comparable to Bluehost’s price.
Bluehost’s dedicated hosting options are limited, with only three basic plans and few configuration options. The hardware specs are decent, and with prices starting at $79.99 per month for a four core, 500GB storage, 4GB RAM, and 5TB bandwidth setup over three years (renewing at $119.99), they’re less expensive than high-end VPS products from some providers.
Creating a website
Our Bluehost plan was simple to purchase, and after we handed over our money, a wizard guided us through the initial site setup. This was far more interesting than the standard ‘what’s the name of your site?’ inquiries, which included questions such as whether we needed a blog, where its posts should appear (the home page, elsewhere), and more. That’s great news, because it means Bluehost can do a much better job of tailoring the site to your specific requirements.
Another prompt inquired about the need for a web store. If you accept, the wizard will also install and activate WooCommerce, a powerful WordPress e-commerce platform.
The wizard finally installed WordPress and redirected us to Bluehost’s control panel after asking about our website goals and allowing us to choose a theme.
Bluehost starts with a simple task-based control panel, unlike many other web hosts, which either dump you into a bland home page with basic account information or a highly technical control panel.
The site, for example, presented us with five options: Customize the look of the website (colors, fonts, layouts), Add a contact page to your website. Content should be added. Create your store, Add a product or service to the mix (to the store).
This method will not be able to fulfill all of your needs. We were taken to the WordPress ‘Pages’ manual when we chose ‘Add content,’ for example, but it was up to us to figure out how to add or edit a new page. Still, that’s to be expected, and Bluehost’s system in general provides far more help and assistance to beginners than is typical.
Bluehost hasn’t forgotten about experienced users, who are unlikely to be interested in any of this handholding. Users can access a full-featured cPanel setup by tapping the Advanced option in the sidebar, which includes a file manager, FTP setup, phpMyAdmin and MySQL management, email account creation, metrics, security options, and more.
If you haven’t already installed WordPress, Softaculous can help you set up hundreds of popular apps, including Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, osCommerce, and a variety of other blogs, wikis, forums, image galleries, and more (check out the full list on the Softaculous site.)
Bluehost’s customer service begins with a handy system alert page on the website. You can use it to check information on any domain or server, in addition to getting general warnings about major outages (this even lets you see server load.)
The content in Bluehost’s knowledgebase is organized into a number of well-defined categories, including FAQs, Domains, Email, WordPress, Control Panel, Account, and more.
When you select a category, the site provides a good selection of articles to get you started. For example, if you go to Email, you’ll find articles like Create An Account, Setup An Email Client, and Manage Your Accounts, all of which are exactly what you need to know.
You can also use the engine to search for specific keywords, and it does a decent job of returning relevant results.
The site listed ‘How To Migrate An Existing WordPress.com Site’ and ‘How To Migrate A WordPress Site’ as its first two articles when we searched for ‘import WordPress,’ and there were other relevant articles just a little further down the list (‘How To Transfer Blogger To Your WordPress’).
There’s also some good content here. Articles like ‘How To Install WordPress‘ are brief but to the point, and (when possible) provide multiple solutions to your problem. They frequently link to related content as well, so once you’ve found one relevant article, it’ll almost certainly lead you to a slew of others.
If the website is unable to assist you, support is available via email, telephone, and live chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We used the live chat feature, providing our email address and other personal information as well as a simple product question. An agent arrived in a matter of minutes, told us everything we needed to know, and easily answered a couple of follow-up questions.
We set up a very simple static website to test Bluehost’s performance and used Uptime.com to monitor its availability and response time for a week.
The company achieved 100% uptime, which is ideal for us. Keep in mind that we were also testing Bluehost’s most basic shared hosting plan; if the company has issues, we’d expect them to show up here.
The company ranked 19th out of 27 providers we were monitoring at the time, with response times ranging from 257ms to 629ms and an average of 332ms. While this isn’t ideal, keep in mind that response times between good providers are typically very close (only 60ms separates the ten hosts immediately above Bluehost.) You might not notice any difference unless you run your own benchmarks.
Dotcom-Tools’ Website Speed Test, which measures site download speed from 16 locations across Europe and the United States, gave Bluehost a higher score. The average page load time was 748 milliseconds, which was faster than the best providers and twice as fast as some of the low-end competition.
On our test site, we ran Bitcatcha’s Server Speed Checker to round out our tests. Although a one-off test can’t tell us as much as continuous monitoring by Uptime.com, it was still encouraging to see Bluehost deliver excellent speeds, especially from US locations. Bitcatcha was blown away, giving our server a perfect score of A+.
The final word
Bluehost’s services aren’t as customizable as those offered by competitors. However, its plans are well-defined, with 100 percent uptime and quick download times during testing, as well as excellent live chat support if needed.
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