Bluehost Web Hosting Review 2021
Do popularity and brand recognition indicate quality?
Bluehost is one of the most popular web hosts in the world, currently hosting over 2 million websites. They are one of the most well-known names in web hosting, and they’re able to offer low prices for services because of their widespread success.
Bluehost offers a wide range of internet services: shared, dedicated, VPS, WordPress, and eCommerce hosting, along with domain registration, specialized marketing, SEO assistance, email, and local business listings for audience growth.
Bluehost is very accessible and beginner-friendly, and they’re also great for experienced webmasters.
Bluehost was founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth and was acquired by the Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2010. EIG is an internet services company that has grown exponentially by acquiring over 80 web hosting companies since 1997.
Today, Bluehost boasts over 750 employees in their office and data center in Utah.
Bluehost’s basic shared hosting plan starts at an affordable price of $2.75 per month (renewal price $7.99 per month) includes 50 GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, free domain for 1 year, SSL certificate, and monthly backups. Bluehost’s platform is very easily scalable, and optimized for security as well as speed.
Aside from web hosting, Bluehost assists with site building, and they also offer digital marketing and SEO services for small businesses.
Over the years, their hosting service and user support have been the subject of thousands of user reviews both positive and negative. In this review, we take an in-depth look at this web host’s plan tiers, their offered add-ons, and the corresponding price, test their website builder and server response times, and the effectiveness of their user support.
Bluehost Hosting Features and Tiered Plans
Bluehost offers a wide range of hosting services: shared, dedicated server, VPS, and even managed WordPress hosting.
Bluehost no longer offers cloud hosting plans.
Some top Bluehost features are 99.9% uptime guarantee, Bluehost cPanel, site builders, free email addresses, Cloudflare integration, SSL certificate, security features, and one-click web application installation.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared web hosting is generally cheap because server resources are shared among multiple websites. Traffic surges in one site can affect another’s performance.
Bluehost offers 4 tiers of shared hosting plans with prices ranging from $2.75 to $13.95 per month for the first 36 months (renewal prices are $7.99 to $23.99 per month).
All plans include unmetered bandwidth, SSD storage, free SSL certificate, 1 year of free domain, free site builder, Cloudflare CDN, and the industry-standard cPanel.
The Bluehost Plus plan starts at $5.45 per month (renews at $14.99 per month) and offers unlimited SSD storage, unlimited websites, and SpamExperts.
The recommended Bluehost Choice Plus plan starts at $5.45 per month (renews at $14.99 per month) and includes 1 year of daily backups and domain privacy and protection.
The Bluehost premium shared hosting Pro plan starts at $13.95 per month (renews at $23.99 per month) and includes high-performance server quality and dedicated IP.
2. VPS Hosting
VPS (virtual private server) hosting is similar to shared hosting in that server resources are shared, but there are fewer websites in one server, and they are guaranteed a certain amount of resources. VPS hosting can more easily handle sudden traffic increases, more secure than shared hosting but not quite as expensive as all-out dedicated hosting.
Bluehost’s VPS hosting plans range from $18.99 to $59.99 per month (renewal prices are $29.99 to $119.99 per month). VPS plans come with 30+ GB disk space, 2+ GB RAM, 1+ TB bandwidth, and 1 or more IP addresses.
3. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated web hosting gives websites full server access and resources, with full privacy and control. Server performance is more stable and predictable, as only one website is hosted per server.
Bluehost’s offered dedicated hosting plans have prices that range from $79.99 to $119.99 per month (renewal prices are $119.99 to $209.99 per month). Dedicated plans come with include mirrored storage, 4+ cores, 4+ GB of RAM, 5+ TB bandwidth, and 3 or more IP addresses.
4. WordPress Recommended Hosting
Bluehost is one of only three web hosting companies that are officially endorsed by WordPress.
WordPress currently powers over 450 million websites and is still growing. WordPress criteria for web host recommendation include customer base, WordPress auto-install and auto-upgrade, design, tone, and contributions to WordPress.org.
Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting promises optimal security, speed, and ease for WordPress site owners. Social media, digital marketing, and SEO tools are included.
Plan prices range from $19.95 to $49.95 per month (renewal prices are $29.99 to $59.99 per month). Features include unlimited storage, no traffic limits, daily backups, malware detection and removal, free WordPress themes, basic site analytics, Marketing Center, and domain privacy and protection. Bluehost is optimized for WordPress with services backed by in-house WordPress experts that are available 24/7.
5. WooCommerce Hosting
WooCommerce is a WordPress-owned plugin used to set up online stores. WooCommerce covers all eCommerce needs such as inventory management, multiple secure payment options, shipping, and tax deductions.
Bluehost’s WooCommerce online store plan prices range from $6.95 to $12.95 per month (renewal prices are $13.99 to $31.99 per month). Features include Woocommerce auto-installation, unmetered bandwidth, 100+ GB SSD storage, fully customizable stores, secure payment gateways, Google My Business verification, and Google Ads marketing credits.
6. Building A Website
Many web hosts out there are for users already familiar with running websites and aren’t very friendly for beginners.
Bluehost provides all the necessities for starting a website or a blog. You don’t need to be a coding expert or be an advanced developer to build a great website.
Bluehost’s onboarding process is great if you’re a newbie. Your account is activated immediately after payment, and a website creation wizard pops up. It will then guide you through a series of questions about your desired functionality. What site are you creating? Who are you creating it for? Would you like to add a blog, a store, or an about me section? You’ll then be taken through the first steps of website building — your site name, tagline, and theme. After this series of questions, WordPress is automatically installed.
You can build your website through WordPress’s builder or Bluehost Builder. Bluehost Builder uses an easy drag-and-drop interface for easy website creation and includes hundreds of design tools, images, and themes for your chosen aesthetic.
Bluehost also offers access to MOJO Marketplace, where hundreds of free, open-source applications are available via one-click installation. You can install website themes and apps for just about any function you can think of: content management systems, image galleries, forums, social media integration, event bookings, and more.
7. Bluehost Control Panel
The Bluehost control panel is an improved version of the industry-standard cPanel. It’s great for beginners, very easy and intuitive to use.
All website management functions are consolidated in one well-organized command center, including management tools for databases, file manager, domains, email address, security, SEO tools, even payments, and billing. WordPress management such as themes, security, and backups are easy to access. There are also options to increase your plan’s resource allocation with just a few clicks.
All Bluehost accounts can be accessed through one customer’s username and password. The control panel is integrated even with Bluehost’s knowledge base and tech support resources.
8. Bluehost for Small Businesses
Aside from web hosting and site-building, Bluehost goes further with their offer of professional marketing services.
Digital marketing is a broad and complicated field that’s expanding every day. Digital channels are multiplying rapidly, and marketers always have to be in the know, to keep up with how these channels work, and how to use them to market their products and services effectively.
Outsourcing digital marketing services can cost a lot of money, and may not be something that small businesses can afford. With the digital landscape changing and evolving almost daily, it can be difficult to decide what channels are worth investing in, and what isn’t.
Bluehost’s professional marketing services try to help with that.
- Website design – The first major step in digital marketing is building a professional and aesthetically pleasing website. Bluehost’s professional designers will build a website that’s optimized for mobile devices, and fill it with search engine optimized content. They will take care of business listings on Google, Yahoo, Yelp, and other appropriate channels. This service will be ongoing, with social media posts and blog articles posted regularly.
- SEO services – Search engine ranking is crucial for more traffic and to get visitors to discover your product or service. Bluehost fine-tunes websites for more visibility and optimizes site content with the most efficient keywords for more exposure. This service provides weekly SEO keyword reports and advanced website analytics to keep track of periodic traffic and where they’re coming from.
- Pay-per-click services – Pay-per-click (PPC) is an internet marketing model where advertisers pay a fee when their ad is clicked. Bluehost experts will build ad campaigns for the most effective marketing and will choose the best areas where ads will be displayed. Customers will be able to control the monthly budget depending on a campaign’s efficiency. Bluehost promises instant traffic once ads go live.
9. Bluehost Webmail
Bluehost offers professional email addresses with all hosting plans. The Basic plan comes with 5 email accounts, and all the rest allow unlimited email accounts.
Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro accounts also have access to a free 30-day trial for 1 Microsoft 365 Mailbox.
Bluehost Webmail can be accessed directly through the Bluehost website or webmail clients (Roundcube or Horde) on the control panel. Advanced users can create a custom subdomain that will redirect to their webmail URL. Email account management can all be done via the control panel.
1. Server Uptime
Uptime is the measurement of how much time a server is up and running. It is perhaps the main priority when choosing a web host, and the most important indication of a server’s dependability.
With most of our lives now spent online, data centers and servers are expected to deliver 0% downtime, especially through peak traffic periods.
We tested Bluehost’s server performance by purchasing their basic shared hosting plan and setting up a simple text-based website below 1 MB in size. We then used Uptime.com to check statistics for over 3 months.
Bluehost delivered an average of 99.98% uptime over that period. It’s an impressive performance for a site that uses shared resources.
2. Page Loading Speed
Page speed is arguably the most central factor in a visitor’s engagement with a website. Statistics show that over 50% of people click out of web pages that take more than 3 seconds to load. A delay of 2 seconds can result in webpage abandonment rates above 80%. Conversion rates drop nearly 10% in the event of a 1-second delay in page response.
Slow websites bounce visitors at a greater rate, and search engines clock that against its ranking. A drop in search engine ranking naturally leads to significant drops in site traffic.
Our test site under Bluehost’s basic shared hosting plan clocked excellent response times that averaged 455 ms over 3 months.
3. Cloudflare CDN Integration
One way to optimize page speed is to use a content delivery network (CDN). CDNs are geographically distributed servers that allow for a much quicker transfer of internet content. CDNs store cached versions of websites across multiple proxy servers and the cached content is delivered to the website visitor from the nearest caching box. This method of delivery is a great help in loading websites more quickly and even reduces downtime.
CDNs also reduce bandwidth costs and increase website asset availability through caching. Some CDNs also provide DDoS mitigation and optimization of some security features.
Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDN services worldwide, supporting over 25 million websites.
All Bluehost hosting plans come with free Cloudflare integration via the Bluehost control panel.
4. Site Migration
Bluehost offers site transfers for all shared hosting accounts.
Bluehost’s in-house site transfer team will migrate all websites and emails, along with all other website files and databases from your previous host. Bluehost’s specialists ensure an uninterrupted transition with little to no website downtime.
A complete review will be performed post-migration to ensure that the transferred website has retained full functionality. A support team will remain available 24/7 for the transferred website long after migration.
Bluehost’s site transfer service can migrate 5 websites and 20 email accounts, and its price is $149.99.
Bluehost offers complimentary daily, weekly, and monthly backups for shared hosting customers. However, as stated in their terms of service, these backups are not guaranteed. Bluehost will not be responsible for lost data or any failed backups. Customers are encouraged to create and manage their regular backups and store them off-site for maximum data protection.
Bluehost’s Control Panel offers access to the third-party tool Site Backup and Restore. This tool protects all website files, email accounts, and databases. Backups are created automatically, and file restoration is quick and simple. Site Backup and Restore Pro costs $9.99/month.
Bluehost offers regular backups with their managed WordPress hosting plans and backup features are available via the Bluehost Control Panel.
1. Bluehost Server Infrastructure
Bluehost only has 1 data center in the United States, located in Utah. All servers are built in-house from high-end hardware, and this boosts their reliability significantly. Their data centers employ 24/7 network monitoring, diesel generator power backups, and UPS power backups.
2. Security Options
Bluehost’s dedicated servers get Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) Level 1 support. All data is mirrored on multiple disks for security and reliability.
Shared hosting accounts also feature all-important security for your website and your data.
All personal details and passwords used to sign up for Bluehost are protected by a two-factor authentication system to prevent hackers from accessing your information. Other security features included are Secure Shell access, Spam Assassin, and hotlink protection.
3. SSL Certificate
All Bluehost plans include a free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. SSL certificates trigger the HTTPS protocol that creates an encrypted link between the website visitor and the host server and ensures that all data within that connection remains private. This is crucial in protecting customer information from being accessed by other parties.
In an age of very sophisticated hacking schemes designed to steal sensitive data, HTTPS protocol makes every site trustworthy. Your website’s visitors need to know that their data is safe with you.
SSL certificates have become a basic feature expected from all web hosts. Google Chrome flags any website without SSL encryption and warns its users that the site isn’t secure.
Search engines downgrade results coming from unprotected websites, so your website with enhanced security will end up ranking higher in search results.
Email spammers are always finding ways to outwit conventional email filters. SpamExperts employs an advanced spam detection mechanism that adapts to emerging spammer techniques and has a self-learning filtering mechanism that adjusts to what kind of emails you mark as spam. It’s all automated, and you will never have to spend manually deleting spam from your inbox.
SpamExperts is included with Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro shared hosting accounts. It can be installed through the Control Panel and Bluehost Marketplace.
Bluehost has partnered with SiteLock to provide enhanced protection for websites. SiteLock offers daily malware scans for unlimited web pages, automated malware detection and removal, and Google blacklist monitoring.
SiteLock’s Essential plan is available as an add-on with a price of $2.99/month through Bluehost.
Bluehost has a vast knowledge base full of articles, how-tos, video tutorials, frequently asked questions, and user guides on website building. There are articles detailing user support, the ins and outs of their website builder, add-ons and their corresponding price, setting file and user permissions, WordPress’s Theme Seller support, and hundreds more.
There is also a regularly-updated blog where users can read about a wide range of topics like writing a business plan, making the most of Bluehost’s website builder, a guide to SEO for website owners, how best to represent your company through your blog, and many more.
If you are having any trouble, they have a very helpful support team as well. 24/7 live chat is available through Bluehost. You can also contact them via email, or phone: 001-801-765-9400.
User reviews of any web hosting company’s offered support generally vary, with complaints about response times and lack of urgency being the most common. User experiences are very different, and while one may be forgiving about some lapses, others may not be.
We used the live chat option and were pleased to get connected to a representative very quickly. They were helpful and engaging and were able to answer all our questions.
For an extra cost, Bluehost also offers advanced WordPress support called Blue Sky. A team of WordPress experts is on call to help with detailed WordPress questions even after the launch of your WordPress website.
Bluehost Trial Period
All Bluehost plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is the norm for a web hosting company.
That means you are given the ability to test out their services, as well as the ability to ask for a refund if they don’t meet your expectations.
All payments will be fully refunded if you cancel within the first 30 days. Customers that cancel after 30 days will receive a prorated refund for the remainder of their plan term.
Domain fees are non-refundable if registered, and after the lockdown period, you can transfer your domain wherever you please. You will be able to keep it for as long as you want to renew it.
There are some caveats, as stated in their terms and conditions. These are commonly included in all contracts with web hosting services:
- No refunds after 30 days.
- All hosting service costs will be refunded. Domain registration fees non-refundable after 3 days. The customer retains ownership of the domain and will be able to transfer it elsewhere after the lock-in period.
- A $15 domain fee will be subtracted from users’ total refund amount.
Keep those conditions in mind before signing up and spending your money.
- All customers get a free domain name registration or transfer
- Drag and drop website builder
- Free SSL, Cloudflare CDN, SpamExperts
- No fees for plan upgrades
- $150 Google Adwords/Bing advertising credits
Bluehost User Agreement
Bluehost offers “unlimited” resources with their shared web hosting plans, and they say they don’t set defined limits on account disk space, but a peek at their terms of service says differently.
Accounts exceeding 200,000 inodes, 5,000 database tables, and/or 10 GB database usage can negatively affect server performance. Bluehost may request a reduction in resource usage or outright terminate any account for excessive use.
Bluehost Web Hosting Services Summary
- Excellent speed and performance
- 99% uptime guarantee
- Great customer support team with a wide range of contact options
- Extensive knowledge base with video tutorials and FAQs
- Free website builder and control panel are easy to use
- WordPress recommended
- Cloudflare CDN for faster page speeds
- Free SSL for security
- Plan scalability: in the event of a sudden spike in traffic, you can upgrade your shared hosting plan to VPS or dedicated servers very easily
- Affordable plans
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- The option to cancel your account and receive a prorated refund
- Popular web host for a reason
- High renewal prices
- No guaranteed backups
- Linux servers only
- Expensive site migration (but with full, long-term assistance)
- Many anecdotes from paying customers that tech support is unreliable
Bluehost Plans and Prices
Promotional introductory prices apply for the first 36 months. The prices listed are monthly.
- Shared hosting
- Basic – $2.75, renews at $7.99
- Plus – $5.45, renews at $10.99
- Choice Plus – $5.45, renews at $14.99
- Choice Pro – $13.95, renews at $23.99
- VPS hosting
- Standard – $18.99, renews at $29.99
- Enhanced – $29.99, renews at $59.99
- Ultimate – $59.99, renews at $119.99
- Dedicated server hosting
- Standard – $79.99, renews at $119.99
- Enhanced – $99.99, renews at $159.99
- Premium – $119.99, renews at $209.99
- Managed WordPress hosting
- Build – $19.95, renews at $29.99
- Grow – $29.95, renews at $39.99
- Scale – $49.95, renews at $59.99
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bluehost fast?
Our test site on Bluehost’s Basic shared hosting span clocked an average page loading speed of 455 ms over 3 months of testing. All Bluehost hosting plans include integration with Cloudflare CDN, which leads to further speed optimization.
Is Bluehost good for eCommerce?
Bluehost offers WooCommerce hosting for online stores. All plans include unmetered bandwidth, secure payment gateways, customizable themes, free domain, Google business listing, and $100 in Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising. WooCommerce basic Starter plan prices begin at $6.95 per month.
Is Bluehost good for beginners?
Bluehost offers all basic website necessities: free domain name, email address, and SSL certificate. WordPress installation is automatic, and their site builder is intuitive and very easy to use. One-click installation is available for dozens of popular web applications with a wide range of functionality for any type of website. Bluehost’s enhanced cPanel is simple and unified. Their knowledge base covers just about any web hosting topic, and customer support is available 24/7.
How much does it cost to host a website on Bluehost?
- Bluehost shared web hosting plans range from $2.75-$13.95 per month for the first 36 months ($7.99-$23.99 upon renewal)
- VPS hosting: $18.99-$59.99 ($29.99-$119.99 upon renewal)
- Dedicated server hosting: $79.99-$119.99 ($119.99-$209.99 upon renewal)
- Managed WordPress hosting: $19.95-$49.95 ($29.99-$59.99 upon renewal)
Does Bluehost have a monthly plan?
Monthly payment options are available for Bluehost’s VPS and dedicated server plans. Monthly VPS hosting prices start at $29.99 per month, dedicated server hosting prices start at $149.99 per month.
Is Bluehost the best host for WordPress?
Bluehost is one of 3 official WordPress-endorsed web hosting providers. They offer a one-click WordPress installation with all their hosting plans. They also offer managed WordPress plans that are optimized for WordPress sites.
What are Bluehost SEO tools?
Bluehost SEO Tools create Marketing Reports that contain your website’s overall SEO score. They submit your website to Google, track visitors, provide search engine keyword rankings, check search optimization structure, analyze content for search engine ranking, optimize your mobile website, and track backlinks.
Does Bluehost offer 24/7 support?
Bluehost’s customer support team is available 24/7 through live chat, support tickets, and a toll-free phone number. Bluehost only offers customer support in English.
Does Bluehost offer a free domain name?
All Bluehost plans include free domain registration for 1 year. Bluehost’s Basic shared hosting plan includes 25 subdomains and 5 parked domains, and all other plans include unlimited subdomains.
Does Bluehost offer email?
Email accounts are included in all Bluehost plans. Bluehost’s Basic shared hosting plan comes with 5 email accounts, and all the rest allow unlimited email accounts. Email account management can be done through Bluehost’s cPanel.
Which Bluehost plan is best for WordPress?
Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting plans are fully optimized for WordPress sites. All plans include unlimited websites, domains, bandwidth, and storage. The cPanel features a staging environment to preview updates. Bluehost’s WP Pro managed hosting plan features solid-state drives (SSDs) and lower server density.
What is the Bluehost affiliate program?
Bluehost has a highly successful affiliate program that paid nearly $6 million in affiliate commissions in 2019. Any Bluehost account holder can earn affiliate commission by signing up and earning $65 for every visitor that purchases a Bluehost plan through custom banners and links. Tiered commissions can raise the amount to $130 per sale.
What are Bluehost’s security options?
Bluehost offers a free SSL certificate with all their web hosting plans. SSL certificates trigger the HTTPS protocol that initiates a secure connection between the website server and the visitor. All information entered by the visitor cannot be accessed by any third party.
SpamExperts is a self-learning email filter that scans for viruses, spam, and other email-related attacks. Their spam protection is continually updated through processing over 2 million domains daily.
SiteLock is a security service that scans websites for malware and automatically removes them. They provide weekly reports to all customers.
CodeGuard takes daily backups and stores redundant copies across several locations. Restoration can be done with one click. All backups are available to download via Zip files. Backup history is kept for 90 days by default, with options to extend. CodeGuard also sends instant alerts in the event of malware, viruses, trojans, or anything similar.
Does Bluehost have a trial period?
All Bluehost plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee that ensures a full refund for customers that cancel accounts within that time frame. If a customer avails of the free domain registration offer, the retail price of the domain name will be subtracted from the refund amount. The customer will retain ownership of the domain and will be able to transfer it elsewhere after the lock-in period.
Who owns Bluehost?
Bluehost is one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world. It was founded in 2003 and acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2010. EIG has acquired over 80 web hosting companies since 1997. Bluehost’s current CEO is Suhaib Zaheer.
Where are Bluehost servers located?
Bluehost offices and data center are located in their headquarters in Provo, Utah.