bluehost review

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  • VPS: A Virtual Private Server is something in between a shared hosting and a dedicated one (read below). You’ll share a server with other clients, but there’s a (virtual) wall between your projects and theirs. This type of hosting is recommended for those needing special server configurations (e.g. using a particular programming language). VPS hosting plans go from $29.99 to $119.99 a month at Bluehost.
  • Dedicated servers: Adequate for those websites that generate tons of traffic and/or need a top-performing server. You can think of this as having your own house; no neighbors or roommates to bother you. Dedicated hosting plans start at $124.99 per month.
  • These are the most important hosting related products that Bluehost offers. I was surprised to see that they don’t have cloud hosting services.

    Note: This Bluehost review focuses on their shared hosting services, so from now on I’ll be sharing my own experience and knowledge about this Bluehost product.

    Bluehost Pricing: What Do Their Shared Plans Include?

    The first thing to notice about Bluehost prices is that they have enormous discounts during the first year. Bear in mind that the renewal costs are much higher and they may put you off. Here I mention both prices so you can compare them and decide.

    Basic Plus Choice Plus Pro
    Websites 1 website Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
    Allowed domains 1 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
    Support Phone and live chat Phone and live chat Phone and live chat Phone and live chat
    Performance Standard Standard Standard High
    Max. files amount 200,000 200,000 200,000 300,000
    Storage 50 GB Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
    Email accounts

    Email storage

    5

    100 MB

    Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
    Database

    Max. DB size

    20

    5GB

    Unlimited

    5GB

    Unlimited

    5GB

    Unlimited

    5GB

    Max. concurrent MySQL connections 150 150 150 150
    Backup Basic Basic Advanced *

    (for 1 year)

    Advanced *
    Dedicated IP No No No Yes
    First-term prices $2.95/month $5.45/month $5.45/month $13.95/month
    Renewal price $9.99/month $13.99/month $18.99/month $28.99/month

    * Integrated system that lets you create and restore your own backups.

    The Basic plan is good if you are only going to have 1 website and 50 GB of storage is enough for your project. It also has limitation on the email storage and accounts you can have, and the databases you can create.

    With the Plus plan, you can have as many websites as you need and the storage is unmetered. It also comes with unlimited email accounts.

    If you get the Choice Plus package, you’ll be awarded with the Plus features, plus free domain privacy and better backup options (for 1 year).

    The Pro tier is suitable for those looking for higher performances. The maximum files you can host with this plan jumps from 200,000 to 300,000. Permanent advanced backup options.

    For more information about Bluehost’s products and prices, please check our guide.

    Bluehost Pros & Cons

    Let me quickly tell you what I think are the most important advantages and disadvantages of Bluehost shared hosting:

    Pros Cons

    • The first term is cheap: But be aware of the renewal rates, they are high.
    • Solid uptime: Generally speaking, my uptime tests with Bluehost have always been good. But unlike other providers, they don’t offer an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that guarantees a minimum uptime.
    • Generous storage: Their shared hosting plans offer loads of storage.
    • Unmetered bandwidth: Bluehost won’t limit the traffic that your website(s) can get.

    • Constant upsells: Their system is packed with continuous upsell pitches, which gets annoying.
    • Speed could be better: In our tests, Bluehost’s speed didn’t exactly come out at the top of the table, the speed needs to be improved.
    • Only US-servers: Unlike other providers, you only have the option to host your site in the US. If your readers come from other regions, they could face having a (very) slow site.
    • Poor backup options: The entry-level plans don’t have a good backup solution.
    • Entry-level plan limitations: The cheaper plan comes with a lot of limitation in the sites, database and email accounts you can create.

    When to Use Bluehost Hosting?

    If you are looking to host a small-medium project (e.g. a bakery site) and you won’t be getting tons of traffic, Bluehost can be an OK alternative.

    But being 100% honest, I think there are similar alternatives with better prices.

    When Not to Use Bluehost?

    If you are managing a project that depends on your website, and you need the best performance, Bluehost isn’t for you. Look for alternatives if you own an ecommerce, are a thriving blogger or provide Software as a Service.

    Bluehost shared hosting won’t be for those looking for advanced hosting features like staging areas or Git repositories either.

    Bluehost Shared Hosting Details

    criterion rating comments

    Ease of Use

    The registration process is somehow challenging, I find their form not intuitive and designed to trick you into buying expensive extras that you won’t need. Their backend was redesigned in 2019, it’s an easy-to-use cPanel customized version. But I really dislike their constant upsell proposal banners, popups and sneaky links. Once you are used to all these, it’s fine.

    Domain Names

    Bluehost includes a free domain name registration the first year. After that, you’ll have to pay $17.99 per year. Be aware that their Basic plan only allows you to have 1 site (domain name), the other plans offer unlimited sites (domains).

    Email Rating

    With the Basic tier, you are limited to 5 email accounts and 100 MB of email storage, unlimited with higher plans. Be warned that you won’t be able to send more than 500 emails per hour – not suitable for sending bulk emails.

    Databases

    With the Basic package, you can create up to 20 databases. Unlimited databases with the other plans. There is a generous maximum database size of 5 GB.

    Applications

    Using their automatic installer, you can add all sorts of software: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and many more.

    Bear in mind that their WordPress installer will add some plugins you most likely won’t want, make sure you delete them after the installation.

    Webspace Limit

    The Basic shared plan comes with 50 GB of web space, not bad at all. The other plans don’t meter the storage. However, the maximum amount of files allowed is 200,000 (300,000 files for the Pro plan).

    Monthy Data Transfer Limit

    Not metered.

    FTP Accounts and Secure FTP

    Create as many FTP accounts as you wish. However, be aware that SFTP (secure) is only allowed with the main FTP account.

    Server Location

    They only seem to have data centers in the US. This may not be ideal for clients outside North America – your site could load very slow outside the US and Canada.

    Security Features

    Bluehost offers a couple of extra paid add-ons to enhance security. For example, SiteLock prevents hacker attacks and CodeGuard gives you more backup options. I liked the fact that they have an optional two-factor authentication system, even if a hacker breaks your password, they won’t gain automatic access to your Bluehost account.

    Server Speed

    In my experience, Bluehost’s speed is disappointing, at this price range it should offer more.

    Uptime

    In our tests, Bluehost showed solid uptime results. This is important to offer solid user experiences and SEO.

    Backups

    ‘As a courtesy’, Bluehost creates monthly, weekly and daily backups that you’ll be able to download and restore. So yes, only 3 backups and they can’t assure you they’ll have them – other providers offer over 20 backups to choose from.

    If you want extra backup options (e.g. on-demand backups), you can purchase their pricey backup add-on.

    CDN

    Bluehost don’t offer a CDN themselves, however, CloudFlare is pre-integrated so you can easily enable it – I would suggest you do.

    Server Features

    It’s possible to use PHP 7.3, 7.4 and 8.0. Databases run on MySQL 5.6. Other programming languages like Perl or Ruby on Rails are also allowed.

    Refunds and Guarantees

    There is a 30-day money-back policy, no questions asked. Unlike top hosting providers, they don’t seem to offer any uptime guarantees.

    Assistance and Support

    You can contact support via live chat and phone. The support agents were nice and helpful, I wish they had an easier way to verify the account owners.

    Overall Rating

    4/5

    Although Bluehost’s performance is acceptable and their system OKish, I think they are a bit overpriced. But for me, their support is a clear no-go if you think you’ll need their help often.

    Bluehost Performance Tests

    Is Bluehost a slow provider? Is their uptime OK?

    To be able to answer all these questions, I’ve closely monitored Blueshot speed and uptime for months. Let me show you my findings.

    Bluehost Speed Test

    As a website owner, I don’t have to tell you how important speed is for providing the best user experience and improving your search engine rankings.

    I compared Bluehost speed to the most popular (shared hosting) competitors. I used GTmetrix, Pingdom and Webpagetest to check their loading times.

    Provider GTmetrix Pingdom Webpage test PageSpeed Insights Total
    SiteGround 0.71 0.71 1.78 2.94 1.54
    GreenGeeks 0.81 1.49 1.79 2.2 1.56
    Namecheap 0.99 1.40 1.92 2.08 1.6
    Hostinger 0.97 2.07 1.77 1.62 1.61
    WP Engine 1 1.99 1.46 2.2 1.65
    Cloudways 0.80 1.39 1.89 2.84 1.73
    Kinsta 0.78 2.18 2.17 1.98 1.77
    DreamHost 1.16 1.72 2.56 1.92 1.84
    GoDaddy 1.14 2.27 2.23 2.1 1.94
    IONOS 1.21 2.08 1.74 2.78 1.95
    A2 Hosting 0.96 1.40 3.78 1.9 2.01
    InMotion 2.02 2.86 2.61 3.52 2.75
    iPage 1.76 2.82 2.73 3.74 2.76
    HostGator 2.4 5.21 1.87 1.65 2.78
    Bluehost 1.74 4.5 2.42 2.82 2.87

    Results in seconds 2021

    These tests were carried out under the same circumstances (e.g. same page and content) spread out over almost 2 months.

    As you can see, Bluehost isn’t top of the class when it comes to speed, in fact, they are bottom of the class. If you are concerned about speed, SiteGround and DreamHost are, in my experience, are good performing providers.

    Is Bluehost’s Uptime Good?

    Believe it or not, your hosting provider (most likely) won’t have a 100% uptime. Due to technical reasons (e.g. server maintenance), your site will be down for (hopefully) short instances of time.

    A bad uptime is terrible as your visitors and search engines won’t be able to reach your site. Your goal should be to have an uptime higher than 99.95%.

    Provider 2019 Uptime 2020 Uptime 2021 Uptime Starts at
    Kinsta No data 100% 100% $25/month
    Cloudways No data 100% 100% $10/month
    SiteGround 99.98% 99.97% 100% $14.99/month
    Namecheap No data No data 100% $2.40/month
    WP Engine No data 99.99% 99.99% $25/month
    Bluehost 99.98% 99.96% 99.99% $9.99/month
    HostGator 99.94% 99.91% 99.99% $8.95/month
    A2 Hosting 99.93% 99.99% 99.98% $8.99/month
    GreenGeeks No data 99.98% 99.98% $10.95/month
    DreamHost 100% 99.99% 99.96% $6.99/month
    GoDaddy 99.97% 99.9% 99.96% $8.99/month
    InMotion 99.97% 99.73% 99.95% $11.99/month
    IONOS – Uptime test 2 months No data No data 99.93% $4/month
    Hostinger 99.62% 99.48% 99.92% $5.99/month
    iPage 99.66% 98.45% 99.85% $8.99/month

    To monitor uptime I use StatusCake, a tool that checks each website every 5 minutes.

    As you can see, Bluehost offer solid uptime results. I am quite happy with Bluehost’s performance here. However, be aware that they don’t offer any uptime warranty, other hosting providers will compensate you (e.g. a free month) if their global uptime drops below certain levels (usually 99.9%).

    Bluehost Review: Do I Recommend It?

    You’ve probably noticed already that Bluehost is not my favorite provider. However, if you want a hosting service with unmetered storage and unlimited bandwidth, Bluehost could be a suitable option.

    As you can see in the above tests, their speed wasn’t the best. However, I was impressed with their uptime scores as they got similar results to top providers like SiteGround and DreamHost (compare it with Bluehost).

    Their (first-year) pricing is remarkably cheap, but please consider the renewal prices as these sky-rocket.

    > Try Bluehost 30 days for free

    Bluehost Alternatives

    Alright, if you go with Bluehost, your site is probably going to be OK, at least if your visitors are mainly located in North America.

    However, it’s not the cheapest option out there, and I think for the same money you could get better performing providers that come with advanced options (e.g. backup or staging areas).

    • If you are looking for a balanced hosting service (low price and good performance), I’d suggest you check out A2 Hosting or DreamHost. They are a bit cheaper and perform similarly or better than Bluehost.
    • In my experience, you’ll find the best support at SiteGround, InMotion and (again) DreamHost.
    • Without a doubt, the best (affordable) performing providers are SiteGround, A2 Hosting, GreenGeeks and DreamHost. In my opinion, SiteGround comes with a couple of features that make it slightly better (e.g. more backup options).
    • You’ll be able to run WordPress in all these providers. However, SiteGround has the best system to empower WordPress site owners (e.g. built-in caching plugin and speed optimization options).

    > But, if you still want to use Bluehost, remember that you can try Bluehost for free for 30 days

     

    Note: I’ve created a Bluehost and HostGator comparison so you know which EUG product is better for your project.

    Review Updates

    10 Sep 2021: Performance and General update
    23 Oct 2020: General and performance update
    02 Jun 2020: Video review added
    05 Sep 2019: New dashboard
    27 Jun 2019: First review

     

    Please note that we are using affiliate links in this review. Some of the companies mentioned in this text pay us a commission if you make a purchase. This doesn’t influence our ratings and we will never shy away from pointing out weak spots in a product.

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