Bluehost is my personal recommendation for most new bloggers looking to create an income generating web property. In this Bluehost review I’m going to break down the pros and cons of the #1 recommended web host by the team behind WordPress.
First off, I actually use Bluehost and have created numerous tutorials with them. I find their overall platform to be an excellent choice as it is beginner friendly, easy to navigate, they take care of the SSL certificate for you and they provide good, reliable hosting.
Their support is good for beginner level questions, you get full access to cPanel on the backend for running scripts, installing software than WordPress, setting up emails and they provide an outstanding website builder.
Bluehost Review Summary
Bluehost is an outstanding web host for websites that get 200,000 or less pageviews a month. Their uptime is 99.99% which is industry standard and what you should expect from a quality web host.
The support they provide is acceptable with basic questions like making sure your SSL is setup properly or that you have the latest version of PHP running on your account. But for more technical questions I found them to be unhelpful.
Last, they provide great hosting at a good price with very compelling introduction rate that you can lock in for a few years if you’re willing to sign a longer term contract. Last, they provide a domain name for free for the first year with purchase of any one year hosting plan.
Pros of Bluehost
WordPress blogging made easy: With Bluehost, you can quickly get your website up and running. With their easy and guided step-by-step setup, you can have your site up and running in no time. You can also utilize their real-time chat assistance if you run into any problems.
Made for non technical users: Bluehost is a great place to start if you’re new to website building and maintenance. This is because there’s no need for sophisticated web administration skills or code when you set up your site with it. To sweeten the deal, they’ve teamed up with WordPress and made sure that setting up WordPress is simple.
Free domain for the first year: Bluehost’s big selling feature is the free domain name you receive for a full year. This eliminates the need to go through a third-party domain seller or spend more money at the beginning of your site’s existence.
SSL certificate done for you: An SSL certificate, often known as a Secure Sockets Layer certificate, verifies your website’s identity and encrypts critical site data. In other words, it’s a must-have for every website you create. Bluehost, thankfully, provides a free SSL certification that they renew on your behalf.
Customer support: Bluehost offers 24/7 customer service. Bluehost’s customer care is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and on weekends with no exception.
Cons of Bluehost
Support could be more tech savvy: There support is fine if you’re a beginners setting up a blog. But when it comes to questions outside of WordPress I found their support to be unhelpful.
Not the best choice for high-traffic sites: If you want to scale an existing high-traffic site and need hosting to meet those requirements, an entry-level Bluehost shared hosting plan won’t work. You can always upgrade to their more costly managed WordPress tiers, which I’ll discuss below.
The #1 recommended web host for WordPress websites.
Bluehost Hosting Prices
Bluehost is first and foremost a shared hosting company but they do offer other services like VPS hosting, dedicated servers, a website builder, domain name registration and an online store builder.
In general you should consider getting a one year hosting package at a minimum to get a cost effective price. The longer the hosting package you sign however the bigger the overall discount you’ll get.
Blue Host’s pricing plans for shared hosting (the most popular hosting they provide) are as follows:
- Basic: $7.99 a month. Expensive and can only have 1 website on the account.
- Plus: $10.99 a month.
- Choice Plus: $14.99 a month. This is the one I suggest getting. It’s perfect for growing a medium sized website.
- Pro: $23.99 a month.
Each plan comes with a nice introduction rate that you can lock in for up to 3 years. The basic plan starts at $2.95 while the choice and choice plus start at $5.45 a month. The pro plan’s intro rate is $13.95 a month.
I like Blue Host’s pricing because they provide a nice middle of the road plan unlike SiteGround. SiteGround has plans for either small websites or big websites. At nearly $35 a month for SiteGround’s GoGeek plan compared to Blue Host Pro plan, Blue Host is simply better for medium sized websites.
Free domain from Bluehost?
Bluehost currently offers a domain name for free for the first year with your purchase of any one year hosting plan. The only catch is that the price is free for the first year, after which you’ll need to pay a renewal fee that is a bit higher that you would be paying at a domain name registrar.
Dedicated server hosting
Bluehost offer dedicated server hosting where you website or web properties exist on a single server with no sharing of resources with anyone else.
- Standard: Powerful server for a high traffic website.
- Enhanced: This level of hosting is great for a few high traffic websites.
- Premium: An enterprise ready hosting package for very high traffic websites and blogs.
Security, privacy, and even more control are all important aspects of dedicated hosting. If you know you’ll need the best of the best to host your site for scale and dependability, a Bluehost dedicated hosting plan is the way to go.
Is your site shooting up in popularity? Is there a lot of traffic coming in every day? Is your site becoming a massive resource hog and a VPS is no longer cutting it? Then consider upgrading.
They provide a basic illustration of the value of a dedicated hosting plan by starting you out with 500 GB of storage, 4 GB of RAM, and 5 TB bandwidth for only $79.99 per month. Even for their more expensive hosting tiers, Bluehost is putting itself forward as a premium option in the market.
Virtual private server
A step up from shared hosting is getting a virtual private server (VPS). This is where you share a server with less websites and it’s structured in a way where it’s similar to having your own private server.
- Standard: An affordable VPS for high traffic, single website.
- Enhanced: A great choice for a single high traffic website and a few smaller websites.
- Ultimate: If you’re almost at the need for a dedicated server but want to hold off.
When you use a VPS service, your site is hosted on a shared server but exists as a separate virtual machine. VPS hosting has grown increasingly popular because it is less expensive than dedicated hosting while still providing greater security and potentially increased performance.
When it comes to Bluehost’s VPS Hosting solutions, guaranteed resources are the name of the game. They compare favorably against their competition, as they charge only $18.99 for the basic VPN feature. This includes 2 GB of RAM and an additional 1 TB of bandwidth.
Last, you get multi-server management, root access to your account, an easy to navigate dashboard (not WHM) to manage your VPS and all the accounts on it and unlimited bandwidth.
All Bluehost managed WordPress hosting plans feature incredibly quick speeds, marketing tools, and multi-tiered security measures at no extra cost. This is a comprehensive managed platform that can scale to meet the demands of your website.
- Build: 50,000 visitors a month.
- Grow: 150,000 visitors a month.
- Scale: Up to 500,000 visitors a month. Beyond this you’ll want a VPS or a dedicated server.
As a managed offering, Bluehost staff will take care of everything on the backend for you. If you’re never had a managed hosting account it’s where you request something and the support staff does it for you.
Need a new email account? Send Bluehost a message and they will get it done. Want your website automatically updated and to not have any conflicts or issues? You’ll love a managed account then.
What I really like about these plans is that they are similar to Bluehost’s VPS offering with regards to resources you get. The only downside is these plans are for single, high traffic websites. Last, you get the ability to setup staging. This is essential for high traffic websites as you can make changes in the staging environment before they go live on the actual website.
While you can totally use the WooCommerce plugin on a shared hosting account, online stores do tend to require different infrastructure needs. Particularly if we’re looking at high traffic online stores with a lot of products and variations.
- Standard: WooCommerce and various plugins pre-installed.
- Premium: Same as above, just more resources to help with increased traffic levels.
If you have a modest ecommerce store powered by WooCommerce with little to no payment processing infrastructure, or if you’re looking for a company that provides a strong payment processing system with plenty of analytics and the capability to make basic store backups, go with the Basic plan at $15.95 per month.
If your store may be considerably more sophisticated than a basic standard storefront with only a handful of product listings, the Premium level is ideal for handling caching required for multiple product pages, variations and customer account customizations.
This is my top selection for a multifaceted internet store with a lot of moving parts. I’d rather pay a little more for all the Premium features and have them than need them but not have them because of money savings.
Did you know Bluehost has an excellent website builder? You can checkout my full Bluehost website builder review for more. In short, they provide a very intuitive, easy to use website builder.
- Online Store:
It’s a mix of blocks and templates and you simply drag and drop what you want into place. You can blog, create a basic static website that’s 10-20 pages or you can build a simple online store.
The “Bluehost builder” as it’s called I found to be a great choice for anyone looking to quickly build a small business website with blogging and ecommerce functionality thrown in.
Bluehost builder is WordPress
I just want to mention that the Bluehost builder is actually a piece of software built on WordPress that uses a proprietary. The only risk with using their website builder is that you’re locking yourself into Bluehost.
If you ever want to move your website or sell it to a buyer, it’s going to be cumbersome to do as you’ll need to switch to a new theme and redesign your website from the ground up.
Bluehost is only a hosting company, they are a domain name registrar and all you to register a wide variety of top level domain names like .com, .net, .co and so forth.
Overall I do not recommend using Bluehost as your domain name registrar as their prices are a bit high. Not anything unreasonable, but a .com starts at around $15 a year and additional WHOIS protection will run you around $11 a year. Resulting in you needing to spend over $25 per year for a domain name.
By contract you can get your domain names at Namecheap and pay half the price and get free WHOIS protection. The only advantage of going through Bluehost is if you want that free domain name for the first year.
Free SSL certificate
All web hosts now offer a free SSL certificate through let’s encrypt. What an SSL does is that it encrypts any information sent between your website and the end user. SSL certificates are a slight ranking factor with Google so now it’s industry standard to get a free SSL.
With Bluehost, make sure your SSL is working. If you have any issues just reach out to support for them to get you up and running. They should take care of it quickly.
Web Hosting Speed Test
First let’s take a look at their web hosting speed. Most reviews and YouTubers use tools.pingdom.com to review speed but this is an unfair and inaccurate test as it depends on how the website is designed.
If you load up any web page with a ton of images and video of course it’s going to load slowly. Instead, let’s use Bitcatcha to test the actual server response time for Blue Host:
Unlike other reviews, I actually have a shared hosting account with Blue Host and built a website with them. The results from Bitcaptcha were “exceptionally fast.” Are there faster web hosts out there? Yes, but Bluehost is the right combination of name brand, good hosting and ease of use beginners need.
Again, I would recommend you start your website or blog with Bluehost, lock in a quality hosting plan for a few years and focus on growing your website.
Blue Host Uptime Results
The whole point of a web host is to make your website available 24/7. This is why web hosts exist in the first place as it’s their business to manage servers and provide quality, reliable web hosting for websites and business.
What up-time specifically means is that your website is up and available for access. Blue Host did not disappoint in this regard. Their up-time overall was 99.99% which is industry standard. No web host can guarantee 100%, but 99.99% is what you should come to expect.
After using Blue Host their up-time per month varied from 99.98% to 100% which averages out to 99.99%. The reasons a server would be down would be server maintenance, a website or websites on the shared server get a spike in traffic which can cause an over load or worse some major issue with the server itself happens.
Typically though, down time is due to server maintenance and your website is down it’s normally for only a few minutes.
Not just for WordPress
What if you want to use a different script with your Bluehost account? Bluehost through CPanel provides your standard app and script integration. You can install Joomla, Drupal or run specific e-commerce software on your hosting account with ease.
They also allow you to setup a CDN through Cloudflare integration. A CDN stands for “content delivery network” and allows your website to load more quickly for a global audience by hosting your content and images through a network of servers.
Overall, while Blue Host is closely associated with WordPress they are still a web host and can support websites that want to use something other than WordPress like Drupal, Joomla.
Bluehost is Designed For Beginners
One thing I quite liked about Blue Host was the entire on-boarding process for creating a WordPress powered website. After you submit payment you’re giving a helpful walk through in creating your blog.
Their support is also quite helpful in this regard for being able to answer various newbie questions when it comes to creating a website with WordPress.
In addition to an easy to use, easy to navigate dashboard, they do give you access to full CPanel as well. So more seasoned users can have more control over their hosting account.
30 day money back guarantee
Blue Host offers a straight forward 30 day money back guarantee. You can try their hosting for up to 30 days. If you’re not happy for whatever reason you can get your money back. There are some things to note:
- You must request a refund in the first 30 days. After this initial period, your refund will be pro-rated for what you use.
- If you decided to get a “free” domain name, $17.99 will be deducted from your refund.
Free website migrations
Bluehost has finally changed their policy about website migrations. Previously, if you did not start with Bluehost and wanted to move over to them you would have to migrate your website yourself or pay $149.
Now, Bluehost offers free site migration. Again, they will examine your website to see if it qualifies. If your site is complex with large database and file size you may have to pay. But for average users with small websites you can move your website over for free now.
Bluehost Support is Average
With your hosting account, you can have multiple websites. I went ahead and added another website called the chemistryofattraction.com to my shared hosting account. As the primary domain on the account was davidutke.com, the addon domain as it’s call must be added as a sub domain for cPanel purposes.
For this second website, I made it coa.davidutke.com. The small problem I had was that Bluehost it did not redirect coa.davidutke.com to chemistryofattraction.com. That means you could go to both URL’s and find the same website and content.
This is duplicate content and can seriously hurt your performance in the search engines. When I contacted support asking them to make coa.davidutke.com not available they had no idea what I was going on about.
Asking run around questions for 20 minutes and not actually solving the issue I ended up leaving the chat and having to solve it myself (which I know how to do, but I wanted to test Bluehost and they utterly failed).
Setup a redirect properly
- Navigate over to “domains’ within your Blue Host account.
- Click on “redirects.”
- Redirect your subdomain for your addon domain to the addon domain.
- Redirect with or without www and make it a wild card redirect.
Visitors who visit your subdomain for your addon account will now be redirected to your addon domain. While it’s nice that Blue Host offers 24/7 support via email, chat and phone if they are not actually able to solve your problem it’s not much of a benefit.
Overall I’m happy with the support. They are fine for the vast majority of users and I’ve only had small issues with anything technical and beyond the scope of WordPress.
Bluehost Review Conclusion
So do I recommend going with Blue Host for your new website or blog? Yes, without hesitation. No web hosting provider is perfect, but Bluehost is a good choice for new websites and blogs.
Their “choice plus” plan is an ideal plan for blogs because it provides enough resources to allow your website to grow to around 2000 visitors, or around 60,000 page views a month. Then, you can always upgrade your account to a managed WordPress account or a VPS.
With your hosting account, you get good hosting that is fast, a free domain for the first year and a free SSL certificate. If you’re new to creating websites and blogs, you can feel comfortable going with the #1 recommended web host from WordPress.