Bluehost Review – Unraveling The Pros and Cons of this Host

David Utke •  Updated: October 13, 2023 •  Web Hosting

Bluehost used to be my top recommendation for anyone looking to create their first for profit website. I’ve since switched my recommendation to Dream Host. Don’t get me wrong, Bluehost is still a good host and an excellent option for the right person (more on later). But many things about their service could be better, which has forced me to switch my recommendation.

In this honest Bluehost review based on my experience using them to create websites, blogs, and online stores for my helpful tutorial videos, I will break down the pros and cons of the #1 recommended web host by the team behind WordPress.

First, I use Bluehost and have created numerous tutorials like this one. Their overall platform is a good choice for a beginner as when you sign up, they have an easy-to-follow on-boarding process that makes creating a WordPress website fast and easy.

Bluehost

The #1 recommended web host for WordPress websites. Free domain, and an easy, done for you setup process.

Bluehost Review Summary

Bluehost is a WordPress-focused web host recommended by the team behind WordPress (alongside Dream Host). They provide shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting. They also offer plans for websites that will run WooCommerce, as online stores are more resource-intensive.

With a one-year hosting account purchase, they will also give you a free domain name for the first year. After the first year, you’ll need to pay an expensive domain name renewal rate, and you’ll also need to pay for WHOIS protection as well.

Their support is acceptable with basic questions like ensuring your SSL is set up correctly or that you have the latest version of PHP running on your account. But for more technical questions, I found them to need to be less helpful.

Last, they have a visual on-boarding process when setting up your website. This is fine if you’re a total beginner and it’s your first time setting up a website, but once you understand WordPress, you’ll find this process quite annoying to go through every time you want to launch a website.

Pros of Bluehost

Done for you WordPress setup process: With Bluehost, once you submit payment and setup your account you’re immediately thrust into the website setup process. This guided step-by-step setup is perfect for a total beginner who want’s their website and blog up fast without being overwhelmed.

Wonder theme and the WordPress block builder: The Wonder theme for Bluehost is built to leverage the block builder from WordPress. After you go through the setup process, you’ll have a custom design of the Wonder theme ready to go which you can then edit using the “full site editor” from WordPress.

Made for nontechnical users: Bluehost is moving to being sort of like a Squarespace for WordPress where all your services are handled through them. The platform is setup in a way where you manage your website services through your Bluehost dashboard. Instead of logging into your website, you log into your Bluehost account and then access your website. This is great for non-techy users.

Free domain for the first year: Bluehost’s prominent selling feature is the free domain name you receive for an entire 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, seven days a week, and on weekends, with no exception.

Temporary domains – I like that with Bluehost you can now create your websites on a temporary domain name if you’ve not yet decided on a domain name you want to register. This is useful because you can play around with ideas and build your website first as you search for that perfect domain name.

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. Bluehost does offers dedicated plans and a VPS, but there offering is expensive compared to the competition.

Domain privacy not included: WHOIS protection is provided for free by Dream Host and my top domain registrar, Namecheap – yet Bluehost charges an expensive fee for this on top of their already expensive renwal rates. This makes registering your domain names through them quite expensive long term.

On-boarding process is non skippable: Each and every time you add a site to your Bluehost account you’ll need to go through the on-boarding process of developing a WordPress website using the Wonder theme. You can switch to a different theme, but it’s annoying this process is non-skippable. Particularly if you’re familiar with WordPress.

Discouraged from using domains you own: Domains at Bluehost are too expensive with not providing WHOIS protection. So I always suggest everyone use Namecheap. Now, when purchasing a hosting account, even if you select “use a domain I own” it pops up with an error telling you to search for a different domain.

Constant up-sells: Up-sells are fine when I’m going through the sales funnel process. Heck, I use up-sells and bump offer myself. But don’t annoy me with an offer for Site Lock each and every time I log into my hosting account, which I have to do in order to manage my websites.

Limited to 3 websites – Bluehost went from offering “unlimited” websites on your account to now only three. This is way to limiting and it should be five. The reason is because when you start setting up your marketing funnels like using sales pages and landing pages you’ll sometimes need to use a subdomain like pages.example.com. Guess what? That subdomain counts as a website. Having only three sites is just too limiting and prevents you from exploring various business ideas.

Price increases – I’ve noticed Bluehost prices going up and up the last few years. Their introduction rates have remained the same, but their renewal rates are getting a bit expensive for what they offer. If you go with Bluehost definitely lock in a plan for a 36 month term.

Bluehost

The #1 recommended web host for WordPress websites. Free domain, and an easy, done for you setup process.

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.

Shared Hosting for WordPress

Blue Host’s pricing plans for shared hosting (the most popular hosting they provide) are as follows:

Each plan comes with a nice introduction rate that you can lock in for up to 3 years. After the introduction rate, the plans renew at their standard rate.

Free domain from Bluehost? Yes but with a catch.

Bluehost currently waives the domain registration fee for the first year with your purchase of any one year hosting plan. The catch is that their renewal rates are quite high at $21.99 a year. They also don’t offer WHOIS protection, so you’ll need to pay for that too. A .com domain costs over $30 a year at Bluehost.

By comparision Dream Host charged $20 as a renewal rate and provides WHOIS protection for free. Namecheap renews around $15 with free WHOIS protection.

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.

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.

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.

Domain Names

Bluehost is not 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.

I do not recommend using Bluehost as your domain name registrar. They don’t have competitive prices on domains and they charge for WHOIS domain privacy.

Discouraged from using your own domains

When purchasing a hosting account you need to have a domain name assigned as the primary domain name on the account. All web hosts allow you to register a domain name through them or use a domain name you already own.

Bluehost is now a bit weird in that when you try to use a domain name you own, it pops up with a bit red warning box telling you to search for another domain. Then a popup appears telling you that you’ll get a free domain name if you buy a 1 year hosting plan now.

I find this all a bit deceptive honestly as you should be able to assign a domain name you own at a domain name registrar to your Bluehost account without Bluehost being a bit pushy to getting you to register through them.

WordPress website builder

Bluehost has the best, beginner friendly on-boarding process I’ve come across. Upon logging into your hosting account for the first time you’re presented with the following step by step setup:

All you have to do is click “start startup” and then answer a bunch of questions. Bluehost will then install various features you want and give you a custom design of the Wonder theme:

From this WordPress on-boarding process you can select the base theme style, colors, fonts, adjust the header and menu and change both the homepage layout and your individual page layout.

Once you launch your website you can of course edit it with the full site editor from WordPress.

Adding new websites to your account

Finally, Bluehost has made it incredibly simple and easy to add websites to your hosting account. Simply click on websites and then click “add new.” You’ll then be given the option to install WordPress or transfer an existing website.

If you select “install WordPress” you’ll then be given the option to install WordPress on a domain name (one that you ideally have at Bluehost) or a temporary domain.

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 numerous websites 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.

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 online stores.

Up-time means that your website is up and available for access. Blue Host was satisfied in this regard. Their up-time overall was 99.99%, which is the industry standard. No web host can guarantee 100%, but 99.99% is what you should expect.

After using Blue Host, their monthly up-time varied from 99.98% to 100%, averaging 99.99%. A server would be down because of server maintenance; a website or websites on the shared server get a spike in traffic, which can cause an overload or, worse, some major issue with the server itself.

Typically, though, downtime is due to server maintenance, and your website is down; it’s generally 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 easily install Joomla Drupal or run specific e-commerce software on your hosting account.

They also allow you to set up 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.

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.

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:

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 responsive but 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

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 find the support responsive, but not helpful for any real technical problem.

Note: You can now only have three websites on your account. You also no longer need to set any add-on domains as a subdomain of the primary domain. Just click “add a new site” and that’s it. Much easier now.

Bluehost Review Conclusion

Do I recommend going with Blue Host for your new website or blog? Yes definetly. Are they my top choice? No, that now goes to Dream Host.

Bluehost is excellent for the person who values ease of use above all else and is not interested in learning WordPress’s technical side. If you want to purchase a hosting account and have an easy onboarding process to launch a competently designed website, blog, or online store, you’ll love Bluehost.

However, if you’re already experienced with WordPress, you’ll find the onboarding process annoying. Bluehost also installs many plugins on your website, which I consider to be software bloat, and their price points for domain names are pretty high, but you get the domain name fee waived for the first year.

Bluehost

The #1 recommended web host for WordPress websites. Free domain, and an easy, done for you setup process.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!

Keep Reading