Bluehost Review

BlueHost Review: Everything You Need to Know (2021)

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Rating
3.9/5
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Starting At
$3.95/mo
Bluehost logo
Rating
3.9/5

Contents

You don’t need to be a world class internet expert to choose the right web host. In fact, you should already be online. But here you are reading ANOTHER web hosting review.

Lucky for you, I’m going to make sure this is the last Bluehost review you ever read — so you’ll know for certain by the end of this Bluehost review whether it’s the right web hosting company for you or not. I’ll even offer you alternative options if it doesn’t make sense for your budget or needs.

Now, let’s get started on the most honest Bluehost review (and last review) you’ll ever read, so you can FINALLY start creating a website you’re proud of.

What Is Bluehost?

Operating out of Orem, Utah — Bluehost is a web hosting provider that offers multiple hosting solutions including but not limited to: shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting, Dedicated, VPS, and WooCommerce hosting.

Bluehost was founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton and currently powers over 2million+ websites across the web. In 2012 they were acquired by Endurance International Group, an IT services company specializing in web hosting.

The Bluehost company mission is: “to empower people to fully harness the web.” And they sure do have the power to back that statement up. Enough to fill a 50,000 square foot facility with servers powered by PHP 7, HTTP/2, and NGINX+ caching. That’s a lot of servers!

If that wasn’t enough of a resume, Bluehost has been mentioned as a recommended web host by WordPress since 2005!

One thing is for certain — Bluehost is a titan in the web hosting industry and are a great WordPress hosting option to manage your website, but are they the best choice for your needs?

Is Bluehost Good for You?

Before we get into the thick of this Bluehost review, consider the following features to see if Bluehost is good fit for you.

Recommended If

Bluehost is good for beginners. If you’re on a budget and want create a simple blog, share photos online, or maybe own a small business and want to create a small business website, then Bluehost is a great hosting provider to go with.

Wouldn’t Recommend If

If you’re working with a client or know that your website is going to be getting hundreds of thousands of visitors per month and want fast a fast loading website, then Bluehost is not the best option for you. You’re going to want a hosting provider with more features as well and would be better off going with managed WordPress hosting.

Pros and Cons of Bluehost

I’d be lying to you if I said that one of the biggest names in the WordPress space had zero flaws. Every hosting provider has their advantages and disadvantages.

Take a look at the table below and check out the pros and cons of Bluehost.

Pro’s Con’s
30-Day Money Back Guarantee Upselling Everywhere
Free Domain Name for 1-Year No Uptime Guarantee
PHP 7, HTTP/2, NGINX+ Caching Poor Customer Support
User Friendly Interface Expensive Renewals
Plenty of Storage Slow Load Times
Free SSL Certificate No Free Site Migration
“Unlimited” Bandwidth No Free Backups/Restore
Recommended by WordPress.org
Shared, VPS & Dedicated Hosting

Let’s break this down in more detail so you get a cleaner picture of what to expect if you decide to choose Bluehost as your hosting provider.

Pros

Bluehost hosting is going to come with a lot of great perks and features for your WordPress site. Here are the best features you can expect to get with Bluehost.

30-Day Money Back Guarantee

One of the best features of Bluehost is their money back guarantee. If for whatever reason you’re not satisfied with their services, you get your money back.

Free Domain Name for 1-Year

Bluehost offers a “free” domain name in all of their plans. So if you don’t already have one, you’ll be good to go. Registering for additional domain names is super easy as well.

Modern Technology

All of Bluehosts servers are powered by PHP 7, HTTP/2, and NGINX+ caching. To keep this simple, these are all performance features that help to enhance your site speed.

Control Panel

An easy to navigate control panel makes life a lot easier when managing your WordPress sites. Bluehost has done a great job at creating a nice visual experience for its users.

Storage

Bluehost offers a generous amount of storage. Their basic plan comes with 50 GB SSD storage and every plan above has unlimited SSD storage.

Free SSL Certificate

This stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It provides a cryptographic key to validate your server. In short: it shows that your site is secure and legit. This is something search engines like Google want to see. Oh, and a free SSL certificate comes included in all plans.

Free Email

You also get a free email address when you use Bluehost. This is a great feature to have, especially if you’re running a small business or just want a more professional way of contact. Email accounts usually don’t come standard across the industry so this is definitely a plus.

Unlimited Bandwidth

Okay, so the term “unlimited” actually means unmetered. Bluehost doesn’t have a defined limit on the amount of bandwidth you can use, so long as you’re using a general amount of bandwidth that you’d see on a normal website. If you do start to go over their “unlimited” bandwidth feature, you’ll see your account constrained. But 99.95% of websites using Bluehost don’t see this happen so you should be okay.

WordPress Recommended Hosting

The worlds largest and most trusted content management system — WordPress — has been recommending Bluehost since 2005. It’s safe to say that they trust the blue dudes over in Utah.

Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Hosting Options

If you see a hosting provider offering a one-size-fits all hosting service — run. Bluehost offers various plans for all levels of traffic, so no matter how big (or small) your audience is, you can always upgrade or downgrade your servers. Unfortunately, Bluehost no longer offers cloud hosting.

Cons

As with every WordPress specific host, there are drawbacks. Here are the cons of Bluehost. Some may not be a big deal to you and others might be a dealbreaker.

Upsells Everywhere

At the end of the day Bluehost is in the business of business. The ultimate intention is to turn a profit while of course providing a great user experience. Unfortunately, you get upsold at every corner throughout the Bluehost platform, especially at your initial checkout. Tons of upsells for products you won’t really need (or understand).

No Uptime Guarantee

While most hosting companies can’t guarantee server uptime, they at least have guarantee’s on the guaranteed minimum uptime. Bluehost on the other hand doesn’t actually have any sort of uptime guarantee. They just say that your server, if down, will be resolved in about 15 minutes. Or in more serious cases, within a day.

Poor Customer Support

Bluehost currently has a 2.2 out of 5 star rating on Trustpilot. It seems like they haven’t fully invested in their customer service department as a majority of the Bluehost reviews revolve around poor customer service. I myself had some shady billing practices happen and part of it was due to a customer service rep not doing their part, which lead to my account getting overcharged numerous times.

Expensive Renewals

The initial upfront cost of doing business with Bluehost is definitely a deal, but where they get you down the road are with marked up renewals. After doing the math, the markup for the basic plan (36/mo hosting renewal after an initial 3-years) is an increase of 226.90% from the original price point. These are considered to be their “original” prices.

Slow Load Times

According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. In fact, 40% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. If you don’t have super fast loading times, it may cost you, and that’s something you can’t afford.

No Free Site Migration

Switching hosting providers and need to move a website to Bluehost? No problem, they’ll migrate 1-website for free when you purchase a new hosting plan. Have more websites to migrate over with all of the data along with it? That’s going to cost you an additional $149.99 for their site migration services.

No Free Daily Backups & Restore

While they do offer complimentary daily, weekly, and monthly backups — they aren’t guaranteed. Instead, they encourage you to do your own manual backups via cPanel or on your own computer. Also, if your payment fails on your account, Bluehost reserves the right to let your website backup expire. They also don’t back up sites over 30 GB.

Performance Tests

As with all of the web hosting companies I test, I always run the test site through Google Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix. and Pingdom. For testing purposes we always use a bare bones WordPress site just after the installation. This way we can see what the standard load times will look like. Here’s how the results came back using a Bluehost Choice Plus plan.

Bluehost Speed Results

Google Page Speed Insights returned an overall score of 93. Overall this is a pretty good rating but the speed index returned at 4.2 seconds to load the site. Decent overall so the 93 seems a bit generous.

Bluehost Google Page Speed Insights Test

GTMetrix on the other hand said the website loaded within 2 seconds. They pull their data from Google Lighthouse which is essentially where Google Page Speed insights also pulls their data. The load times are definitely off.

GTMetrix Bluehost Speed Test

Pingdom returned a load time of 1.69 seconds for the fully loaded website.

So as we can see the Bluehost shared hosting plan page speed got faster and faster with each tool we tested it with. This gives us an average page speed of 2.63 seconds for Bluehosts Choice Plus shared hosting plan.

Fast enough to have a basic website but probably wouldn’t hold up with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming to your page every month. Again, shared hosting has its compromises.

Bluehost Uptime Statistics

We use UptimeRobot to track all of our test sites uptime. Bluehost has an uptime of 99.98% which is actually very good as far as shared hosting goes.

While it would be amazing to have 100% uptime 24/7, it’s just not realistic for most hosting providers. There are typically things out of control when it comes to technology. It really comes down to risk management and making sure any problems that could go wrong are minimized.

Web Host Uptime Guarantee
WPX Hosting 100%
Kinsta 100%
Cloudways 100%
Flywheel 100%
DreamHost 99.99%
A2 Hosting 99.99%
WP Engine 99.99%
GreenGeeks 99.98%
BlueHost No Uptime Guarantee
HostGator 99.98%
SiteGround 99.97%
GoDaddy 99.96%
iPage 99.96%
Hostinger 99.95%
InMotion 99.95%
HostPapa 99.95%

The only downside as previously mentioned, is that Bluehost doesn’t offer an uptime guarantee. Most other hosting services offer this, so if that’s important to you, I’d recommend checking out other hosting companies.

Bluehost Security

One of the most important areas of your website is security. The last thing you want is a hacker compromising your data or worse — your visitors. However, the chances of someone wanting to hack your tiny upstart website are slim to none.

SiteLock Security

Bluehost offers a third party company called Sitelock Security. They offer it as an add-on at the check out with all of their plans. As far as features go, this one should be included.

SiteLock Security Features

  • Automated Malware Detection

  • Unlimited web page scanning

  • Google Blacklist Monitoring

  • Automated Malware Removal

  • File-Level Scanning

  • XSS Scripting Protection

  • SQL Injection Protection

  • Plugin/Web App Scanning

  • Weekly Scan Report

  • 12 hr Ticket Response Time

Do you absolutely need Sitelock Security for your website when signing up for a Bluehost account? Not really. Especially if you aren’t going to be selling any products on your website, it doesn’t really make sense.

You’re good to go with the SSL certificate that’s included with all Bluehost plans. If you really want to have extra peace of mind, go ahead and add it. You can also check out Sucuri or Wordfence (WordPress security plugins) if you really want to take extra security measures.

Support

Support over at Bluehost honestly isn’t the greatest but it isn’t the worst. It’s average at best. Customer support is definitely something you’ll want to consider, especially if you think you could use some guidance every now and then.

The benefit of Bluehost is that they do have phone support. As someone who prefers using the live chat support, having someone to speak with over the phone can be a life saver, especially is something is going on with your WordPress site.

Bluehost Support Chat

Accessing the Bluehost chat is fairly easy. They have a support question mark at the bottom right hand side of the screen. You can also access support through the main menu by clicking on where it says chat.

Here’s what it will look like when the prompt pops up.

Bluehost Support Chat

Bluehost customer support is kind of like the sour patch candy commercial — they do something horribly wrong and then follow up by being extremely sweet. Nevertheless, there’s no hosting service that has a 100% track record on all fronts.

Remember the TrustPilot rating I mentioned at the beginning of this article? Here are a few images of real user reviews revolving around their customer support experiences.

This Host Is a Joke

bluehost reviews bad customer support

I wouldn’t call Bluehost a joke but I can definitely resonate with this Bluehost review as something similar happened to me. I was also double charged 2-days in a row after already having canceled my products. The support agent apparently didn’t toggle my auto-renew off as they claimed and so I was charged again. Negligence on the Bluehost side for sure.

Bluehost Is a Significant Partner In My Business

Bluehost Reviews: Excellent Customer Support

Robin seems to be stoked on the Bluehost support and highly recommends them. From what we’ve seen on TrustPilot, only 19% of Bluehost reviews are rated as excellent. At least someone is happy with them!

Okay-ish

Average Bluehost support

Once again, Bluehost live chat support is poor and decent at best. The proof is in the Bluehost reviews. I saw another review where a guy said that the hosting is great but the service is terrible.

This is where their 30-day money back guarantee comes in handy. If you want to take advantage of some affordable hosting just to test the waters, then Bluehost might be worth checking out.

Also, I wanted to include a blend of Bluehost reviews as to not make this a biased web hosting reviews. There are people who had poor experiences, great experiences, and average experiences.

The experience you have with choosing Bluehost to host your website can go in any direction. Keep this in mind when making your final decision.

Ease of Use

One of the great things Bluehost has going for itself is their easy to use dashboard. They did a great job keeping it as simple as possible, making the navigation experience very pleasant. Even if you’re a beginner, you’ll have no problem navigating around.

Bluehost Portal

Getting to your WordPress site through the Bluehost dashboard is actually really easy. Once you sign up for one of their plans, you’ll land on the Bluehost portal.

Bluehost portal

From here you’ll have access to your sites, the Bluehost marketplace, managing your emails, keeping track of your domain names, managing renewals and even access to more advanced areas like FTP and cPanel.

Bluehost Pricing and Plans

Bluehost shared hosting plans start as low as $3.95/mo. Now as mentioned earlier, shared hosting does come with its drawbacks as you’re technically sharing servers with other websites. This is why the speed can be so slow at times.

Thankfully, Bluehost offers a variety of plans to host your site. If you want a faster hosting option, you may want to consider going with a Bluehost managed wordpress hosting, VPS, or a Dedicated hosting plan.

All Bluehost plans feature a free domain nam for the first year, a free SSL certificate, and of course a 30 day money back guarantee.

Bluehost Shared Hosting

Who is shared hosting best for? The beginner. If you’re creating a simple blog or site and expect low levels of web traffic, this is the way to go for the entry level user.

Bluehost Pricing for Shared Hosting
  • Basic Hosting starts at $3.95/mo and renews between $8.99 – $10.99/mo

  • Plus Hosting starts at $5.95/mo and renews between $11.99 – $16.99/mo

  • Pro Hosting starts at $13.95/mo and renews between $26.99 – $32.99/mo

The renewal rate is going to vary depending on how much longer you have your auto-renew set to. For example, the longer you have your renewal set for, the cheaper the renewal rate will be. That’s why you see the renewal rates varying.

Bluehost Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is typically the best option for small to medium-sized businesses and sites that expect to get a lot of web traffic. If you’re expecting a good amount of people to be visiting your site, this is definitely worth the investment.

Bluehost managed wordpress hosting plans
  • Build Plan starts at $19.95/mo and renews at $29.99/mo.

  • Grow Plan starts at $29.95/mo and renews between $39.99/mo.

  • Scale Plan starts at $49.95/mo and renews between $59.99/mo.

As you can see, the plans do come at a bit more of a premium, but you’re going to get much faster load times, increased bandwidth, access to SEO tools, and reliability when it comes to your server uptime. You also get priority customer support, so it definitely has it’s perks.

Renewal rates increase by $10 per month for each plan after the initial term. Initial terms range from 3-months to 36-months paid up front at the discounted rates shown above.

Bluehost VPS Hosting

VPS stands for virtual private network. This is a great Bluehost option to go with if you’re a medium-sized business looking to handle a lot of web traffic.

Or if you’re a photography or videographer with a lot of visuals, want to host your videos directly from your own server, or run an e commerce store with great uptime, this is a great plan to go with. In short: You’ll get speed, more bandwidth, security, reliability, and premium live chat support.

Bluehost VPS Hosting Plans
  • Standard starts at $19.99/mo and renews at $29.99/mo.

  • Enhanced starts at $29.99/mo and renews at $59.99/mo.

  • Ultimate starts at $59.99/mo and renews at $119.99/mo.

One of the benefits of this plan is that you’ll always have a set amount of RAM, CPU and Disk space. So even if you’ve got loads of visitors on your site, you won’t compromise on site speed and overall performance.

Bluehost Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting with Bluehost is a super charged engine. You’re getting more storage, ram, and more IP addresses. You also get the luxury of having a dedicated server specifically for you.

This option is best for those who are running medium to large businesses and expect a lot of traffic coming to their site.

Example: You run an e commerce store using WooCommerce and want to make sure shoppers are getting the best web experience.

With features like this, you’ll be sure to have a super fast site that users will love to visit and can rest easy knowing visitors won’t leave your site due to poor page loading.

Bluehost dedicated hosting plans
  • Standard starts at $79.99/mo and renews at $149.99/mo.

  • Enhanced starts at $99.99/mo and renews at $199.99/mo.

  • Premium starts at $119.99/mo and renews at $249.99/mo.

If you have high amount of traffic coming to your site per month, dedicated hosting is a great choice to go with. You’re going to get more control over your server, privacy, and of course premium Bluehost support to go along with it.

Bluehost Alternatives

Bluehost offers a variety of hosting services, but there are many other hosting providers to choose from with better user experience, faster load times, and overall greater uptime.

If you want to explore other hosting providers, here are three Bluehost alternatives I recommend checking out.

• If you want the worlds fastest managed WordPress hosting, then I highly recommend going with WPX Hosting. You get their custom built CDN network included with your plan and a super easy to use interface.

Kinsta is very affordable, fast, comes with a great user interface and expert support. Great for beginners all the way up to advanced users.

• Although a bit steeper in price, WP Engine has excellent up time and super fast load times. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to compromise on performance, they’re worth the look.

Bluehost Reviews via Twitter

Here are some real Bluehost reviews from paying customers via Twitter. It’s one thing to read the information from me, but another to get real time feedback from customers who are paying a per month premium for the product you’re thinking of going with.

As you can see, you have a mix of happy customers and others who are fed up with their slow load times and poor service. Something I believe shouldn’t be that hard to deliver for a simple WordPress website.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have all of the information, you’ve got a decision to make. Should you go with Bluehost or should you check out other web hosts?

At the end of the day, Bluehost offers a lot of features, takes good security measures (although security features cost extra), you get a free domain name with any hosting package you decide to go with, live chat access, and an SSL Certificate to keep your site secured in the eyes of the web.

As someone who was a Bluehost customer, they did a great job during my early years of being on the web. When my sites grew and traffic expanded, I outgrew their services and decided to go elsewhere.

If you want an easy to use web host with one click WordPress installation and a simple user interface, then go with Bluehost. If you don’t like it, you have 30 days to get a full refund.

Try Bluehost for 30 Days.

FAQs

Yes, Bluehost includes email with all of it’s hosting plans.

Bluehost is currently owned by Endurance International Group. Their headquarters is in Burlington, Massachusetts.

A parked domain is a domain name you own but isn’t actually hosted.

You’re essentially saving this domain for later use or for resell purposes, hence the term “parked.”

Domain name registrant data is made publicly available unless protected with domain privacy. If you want your personal information protected — name, email, address — domain privacy protection is a great add on to protect your personal information.

Bluehost is a web hosting company whereas WordPress is a content management system (CMS) platform. You use WordPress to publish your content (blogging) but need a web host to access your websites files (the blog) when a user types in your domain name.

You can host as many domains as you want on Bluehost. However, Bluehosts entry level shared hosting plan only allows you to host 1 website. If you want to host unlimited websites, you’ll have to upgrade to their Plus, Choice Plus, or Pro hosting plans.

Bluehost headquarters is located at 560 Timpanogos Pkwy, Orem, UT 84097.

Both very popular web hosting companies, this is a debate that expands to the depths of the internet. For a full comparison, check out our Bluehost vs GoDaddy review.

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Written by:
Chris Altamirano

Chris is a digital nomad. He loves tacos, tech & traveling. His favorite soccer team is FC Barcelona. He created 2BW to help people navigate through the maze of getting online. Learn more about Chris.

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