BlueHost Review: Just Because They're Popular Does That Mean They're the Best?
Bluehost was started in 2003 and has since evolved to become one of the world's largest providers of dependable and affordable web hosting.
From shared and WordPress hosting to website builder tools, Bluehost has a variety of products and services to help you get started with your website or online shop.
They put a specific emphasis on helping small businesses with digital marketing and training.
Their low-cost hosting plans include unlimited bandwidth, free global CDN and SSL certificates, as well as free daily, weekly, and monthly backups, all on a robust and reliable infrastructure that is built to scale and optimised for performance and security. Their most affordable hosting package costs $2.95 or Rs 175 per month.
WordPress recommends it.
If you're thinking about starting a website or blog, Bluehost is one of just three hosting companies recommended by WordPress.
For a single name, their cheapest shared hosting package costs only a few dollars per month. You can add an unlimited number of domains and subdomains for a small fee.
However, Bluehost isn't just for newbies. They are strong proponents of Open Source and offer powerful developer tools such as SSH access, FTP, and a fully customised Linux kernel.
Bluehost's corporate objective is to create "a better, safer web for everyone." They accomplish this by investing in open source projects, supporting web civility, and making their service simple to use for people of all ages.
What sets Bluehost apart from the competition?
More Than Shared Hosting
Types of Hosting, Features, and Plans
- Easy-to-use, customized cPanel
- Dozens of site tool add-ons
- Free site builders
- Free domain-specific email addresses
- 99.99% uptime
- Technology to support fast page load times
- Cloudflare integration (speeds your site loading)
- Free SSL certificate
- Above-average security features.
The Basic shared hosting package starts at $2.95/month and it includes 50GB of storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, free domain name for the first year, free domain name transfer, SSL certificate, and the ability to host one website.
The Plus package starts at $4.95 and adds unlimited storage, an anti-spam tool, unlimited websites, and unlimited mailboxes to the Starter package features.
Top Tier Packages
The Choice Plus plan also includes domain privacy and Codeguard Basic. The Pro plan adds a dedicated IP address.
Packages for VPS and Dedicated Hosting
The trend of low costs is carried over to the other hosting options. A Linux-based VPS hosting package with 30 GB SSD storage, 2 GB memory, 2 CPU cores, and monthly data transfers capped at 1 TB is available from Bluehost.
The Linux operating system, 500 GB SSD RAID storage, 4 GB of RAM, 4 CPU cores, and 4 TB of monthly data transfer are all included in their dedicated server beginning package.
Optimized WordPress Hosting
They all run on VPS.
This Is Managed Hosting
They come with a wide range of features including pre-installed CMS, plug-in updates, enhanced cPanel, CDN, automatic site backups, among others.
Bluehost states that these WordPress plans are “managed” hosting, adding “our users have SSH access to the virtual instances. Our support technicians ensure that the servers are online and available to the user at all times.”
E-Commerce Hosting for WordPress
- The WooCommerce storefront pre-installed
- Free onboarding call
- Free dedicated IP address.
Bluehost Control Panel
All shared packages come with the Bluehost Control Panel. The Bluehost Control Panel is a customized and enhanced version of the popular and easy to use cPanel Control Panel. The redesign of cPanel makes it even more intuitive to use.
What Is the Control Panel For?
The control panel is where you go to manage everything related to your website’s hosting and accounts, including domain name management (hosting, registration, renewals, or transfers), email address/inbox configuration, and payments/billing for the services you receive.
Whether you run a blog or business website, you’ll eventually need to use the email platform. Bluehost allows you to create up to 5 email accounts with its basic plan and unlimited email addresses with the other plans.
You can also add Office 365 to your Bluehost plan. A 30-day trial comes with many plans.
Performance and Uptime
Security and Backups
Bluehost uses SiteLock to scan your website daily for viruses and malware and also performs 24/7 network monitoring on company servers.
Backups: Complimentary but Not Guaranteed
According to the Bluehost knowledgebase, "we do offer complimentary backups for our customers." They are made every day, every week, and every month. These backups are in no way guaranteed. We strongly advise all Bluehost customers to make and manage their own backups.”
Protecting Your Data
Additional Security Options
In addition to going out of its way to ensure the security of your website, Bluehost also allows you the freedom to take whatever security measures you want. You can create IP address blacklists, password-protected directories, manage private keys and digital certificates, create filters for email accounts and users, plus so much more.
The only possible downside to Bluehost’s security is that the company does backups at its own discretion. Therefore, you must do your own daily backups for full security.
We have briefly mentioned above that even shared hosting packages come with a free SSL certificate, but what is this? Why is it important? Do you, as a small business owner, need one for your website?
SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, is an encryption protocol. You can think of SSL as the series of instructions your server and a user’s web browser must follow when sending and receiving information to make sure that the data being transferred is not intercepted by and read by unauthorized parties.
How do SSL Certificates Work?
SSL certificates are small data files installed on website pages (login screens, payment pages, or online forms) that require users to submit sensitive information, such as name, credit card information, or passwords. SSL certificates can also be installed on web servers, which enables the use of the more secure HTTPS protocol and therefore a secure connection.
Essentially, SSL certificates serve one purpose: to bind together an identifier (domain name, server name, or hostname) and the identity of an organization. This serves as “proof” that the originator or the recipient of the files is who they say they are.
Do You Need an SSL Certificate?
Help and Support
Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s vital that you read all terms and conditions because this is not straightforward. When you first sign up, you’ll get a promotional hosting price. But the promotional price applies to the first term Then it changes back to the regular pricing.
No Questions Asked
If you cancel within 30 days of joining, you get a 100% refund. If, however, you decide to cancel after that, you’ll only receive a pro-rata rate for what’s left on the term.
The money-back-guarantee only applies to the hosting plans. It does not cover most add-on products, including domains (see below).
Your account has no terms that you commit to following. There are no other penalties or hidden costs if you need to cancel your plan early.
Domain Fees are Not Refundable
You may get a free domain name with your hosting. If you cancel the hosting, you’ll be charged for it. But you will still own the domain name and be able to do with it as you please. After the obligatory lockdown period, you can transfer it. It remains yours as long as you keep renewing it.
There are no term commitments associated with your Bluehost account. There are no hidden fees or penalties for ending your term early should you elect to do so.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
Before selecting any hosting provider, do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal to suit your needs. So, is Bluehost any good?
- Beginner-friendly: Bluehost is an excellent choice for anyone who is just getting started with building and maintaining a website. This is because you won't need any advanced web management or coding skills to build up your site with it. To sweeten the bargain, they've worked with WordPress and made sure that WordPress installation is a breeze.
- Over 2,000,000 sites worldwide are hosted by Bluehost so the company is obviously doing something right
- Offers a wide range of web hosting options
- Easy to upgrade your plan to VPS or dedicated server without having to move your website
- Offers free anti-spam solutions built right in cPanel
- Provides you with integrated Cloudflare support
- Includes several security features such as unique IPs, SSL, & SiteLock protection
- Allows a 30-day (no questions asked) money-back-guarantee for all hosting plans
- 99% uptime guarantee.
A few users have complained that tech support wait times are long and that the staff does not give customers much personal attention
Charges a fee to have your site migrated from a different hosting company to Bluehost. Most hosting companies offer this service at no cost
You must do your own daily backups for full security
Bluehost makes it easy and quick to get a website up and running, has an easy-to-use cPanel interface that’s ideal for beginners, features a wide array of great features, is generally fast, has reliable servers, and has some pleasantly surprising security features for a budget-friendly web host.
The digital marketing services it offers are a strong plus for small businesses.