Bluehost is a popular web hosting provider that was founded by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in Provo, Utah back in 2003.
The company provides comprehensive tools to millions of users worldwide and today its web hosting services power more than two million websites.
In 2010, Bluehost became a part of the Endurance International Group which also owns a number of big names in the web hosting business including Domain.com, iPage, HostGator, SiteBuilder.com and more.
So let’s take a closer look at the plans, pricing and features offered by Bluehost to see if this web hosting service is the right fit for your website.
Bluehost has a wide variety of plans available including ones for shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, WordPress hosting and even e-commerce hosting powered by WooCommerce. In this review we’ll be looking at its shared hosting packages as they’ll likely appeal to first-time users while also providing a good overall view of the services offered by this web host.
Bluehost offers four different shared hosting plans depending on the needs of your website. The ‘Basic’ plan includes one website, 50 GB of SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate and one domain for just $2.95 per month. This plan is geared towards beginners just getting started with their first website and as such its features are limited compared to the higher tier plans.
Next up we have the ‘Plus’ plan for $5.45 per month that gives you unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth and unlimited domains.
Bluehost’s ‘Choice Plus’ plan includes all the ‘Plus’ plan has to offer along with domain privacy and extended backup functionality.
Finally we have the ‘Pro’ plan that includes everything the 'Choice Plus' plan does as well as dedicated IP and two spam experts.
If these prices seem too good to be true, that’s because they are the prices shown for what you would pay monthly if you decide to sign up for a three-year plan. If the length of your plan is shorter, say monthly, expect to pay more than this.
Bluehost’s signup process begins with the company asking you to choose a domain for your site. You can either enter a new one if it’s available or use an existing domain you already own. There is even an option to transfer your existing domain to Bluehost though it’s not required as you can easily update your name servers later.
To create an account, you’ll have to provide the usual details which include your name, physical address, email and phone number.
From there you’re taken to the package information section where you can see the prices for the plan you’ve chosen as well as its features and extras. Remember how we mentioned the low monthly prices shown on Bluehost’s website require you to sign up for a three-year plan? If you are unsure about committing to this web host for that long of a time period, you can instead opt for the 12-month contract which costs $71.40 annually or $5.95 monthly.
Another thing worth noting is that the ‘Pay by credit card’ option is checked by default but there is actually a ‘More payment options’ section where you can pay using PayPal if you prefer.
Creating a site
Bluehost provides you with a simple Weebly-based website builder to help you get started creating your website which is more than some other web hosts offer with their basic plans.
You can also choose to have WordPress and other popular web apps automatically setup for your account. This feature is powered by a Mojo Marketplace system and after providing a few details, your app is installed.
If you’ve used WordPress in the past and want to use its content management system to create your site, Bluehost offers a one click install and is even listed as the top web host on WordPress’ site.
Other web hosting services choose to be either easy-to-use or powerful but Bluehost managed to do both which is why it is a great choice for first-time and experienced users alike.
The first thing we do when evaluating a web host’s performance is to take a look at the support options available as even the most experienced users can run into difficulties when configuring their sites. Bluehost’s support begins with an extensive knowledgebase filled with tutorials on WordPress, email, domains, your account and the control panel to provide you with guidance on any issues you might encounter.
The company also has a regularly updated blog with articles on a variety of topics such as online marketing, web hosting, WordPress and news about the company.
If you’re unable to find the help you need in its knowledgebase or blog, Bluehost also offers live chat for urgent issues. We tested the company’s live chat feature out for ourselves by asking a question and we were connected with a company agent in less than a minute. Bluehost even offers 24/7 support over the phone for those who prefer to speak to a person directly.
Finally we conducted some performance tests on our site by running Bitcactcha on Bluehost. Response times from the US were excellent and we would expect nothing less from a site based in the US. Ping times from the US and Europe were more than acceptable but we did see some slowdowns when connecting from locations outside the US such as Singapore and São Paulo. Overall though, Bluehost performed quite well in all of our tests.
Verdict and Conclusion
Bluehost’s prices are a bit higher than the competition but the company does offer a wide range of services and provides excellent customer support. Pricing on the company’s site lacks transparency which could potentially be a turnoff for new customers but Bluehost makes up for this with its powerful site management and slew of extra features.
- How does BlueHost shape up? See our guide to the best web hosting