If your website or business needs a little bit of hand-holding, then you might want to consider BlueHost.
There are thousands of BlueHost reviews out there but most of them talk about the usual stuff, like unlimited hosting features, free domain, and the ever-present money-back guarantee. Sure, these are important factors a consumer should know but there are many other things a good web host offers. And that’s exactly what I’m about to share with you in this in-depth BlueHost review.
BlueHost does a pretty good job of balancing features and pricing, particularly with their cheaply priced shared hosting plan. For this reason, I rated them as one of my top recommendations for budget web hosting.
Why Choose BlueHost?
There are many web hosting providers in the market, each of which comes with pros and cons.
As a web developer, I mostly handle shared web hosting and WordPress hosting.
When it comes to budget web hosting, there are a handful of excellent web hosts to choose from. One such web host is BlueHost.
BlueHost made it their mission to provide hosting plans that come packed with the necessary features for building a fully functional website. Hosting millions of client websites and keeping a solid reputation since its inception in 1996, BlueHost is a highly recommended web host for individuals and small business looking for reliable web hosting.
Indeed, BlueHost has created a name for itself with outstanding performance and customer support. If you’re looking for a real, honest-to-goodness review of this web hosting provider, then you’ve come to the right place because I myself am a BlueHost client (for nearly 4 years!). Today, I will be sharing a complete review of BlueHost and their hosting features, and why you should choose them for your hosting needs.
Are you ready? Let’s dive right in!
BlueHost Web Hosting Plans
BlueHost offers website hosting plans under several categories, such as Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, and Managed WordPress Hosting.
Shared Web Hosting for Small Business Owners on a Budget
BlueHost’s Shared Hosting plans are ideal for small business owners who are just about to launch a website and want to save up on web hosting costs. They offer three different shared hosting plans – Starter, Plus and Business Pro – with monthly pricing as shown in the screenshot below:
Even with BlueHost’s most basic hosting plan, the specs are far from typical when compared to industry standards. Their Starter plan (special intro price of $3.95/month with a one-year contract) already comes with free domain name for life, as long as you have a BlueHost account. They also offer free domain transfer, 100GB worth of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to host a single website.
On the other hand, another popular host, Arvixe, lets you host 6 domains with their basic plan so make sure to check them out, too.
The Plus plan (starting at $6.95/month with a one-year contract) comes with a handy anti-spam tool, along with unlimited storage, emails, and websites. If you want more advanced features without breaking the budget, you should definitely go for BlueHost’s state-of-the-art Business Pro plan (currently at $14.95/month for a one-year contract), which already comes with features and services that you can pay a lot of cash for elsewhere. This particular hosting package already comes with an SSL certificate which protects sensitive data on your site through encryption. If you check out other web hosting companies, you could pay up to $600 for this service alone!
On top of the SSL certificate, you’ll also get a dedicated IP address with your purchase. This feature provides higher stability for your site and in certain circumstances, also supports search engines by making your site easier to catalogue and rank in the search engine results. What’s more, BlueHost provides domain privacy service to mask certain private information associated with your website address. This is a big plus for those who value their online privacy. These features alone are unparalleled, leaving some of BlueHost’s competitors trailing in their wake.
But like any other web host, BlueHost comes with a few minor flaws. For example, the company doesn’t offer monthly payment options. This means that you will be required to sign up for an annual hosting plan. If you really want to save up on web hosting costs, I recommend that you sign up for their two-year or three-year plan in order to get bigger discounts. If you’re pleased with their service and can stay put for three years or more, BlueHost’s $3.95 monthly rate is a pretty decent price. But if you don’t want to be tied to lengthy commitments, you should probably go for eHost since they offer month-to-month hosting options.
Next-Gen Virtual Private Server (VPS) Web Hosting for Extreme Flexibility
If you’re running a medium- or large-scale business, then you might need more power to your website. You don’t want your site to throttle when customers and site visitors start flocking to your site, right? Besides, larger sites often have specific compliance requirements that could prevent you from using a shared server. In short, a shared hosting plan just won’t do! If you want the ultimate flexibility for your site, then you should definitely consider BlueHost’s affordable VPS hosting plan.
BlueHost is one of the very few web hosting providers that offer next-generation VPS servers built upon cloud technology. Starting at just $14.99 per month (based on a one-year contract), you can enjoy increased power and control for your site.
BlueHost offers four VPS plans: Standard, Enhanced, Premium, and Ultimate. Simply choose one and enjoy even more powerful server resources as you need it. And like their shared hosting plans, all VPS plans come with limited-time discounts if you choose to sign up for a longer-term contract. The higher package you choose, the more savings you’ll get!
BlueHost does not offer Windows-based VPS servers. This particular feature is required if you plan to create or transfer a domain that’s built on an ASP.NET framework.
Get past that, however, and you’ll be amazed with the cloud technology that comes with BlueHost’s VPS hosting plans. With their VPS plans, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
Not all web hosts can provide cloud technology to their hosting packages but with BlueHost’s game-changing cloud solution, you’ll get a faster, better, and more secure website!
Dedicated Web Hosting for Managing Large, High-Traffic Websites
Large companies and enterprises would want the ultimate in website performance, control, and security. For that, you need to have your very own server. And with BlueHost’s dedicated hosting package, you’ll have an entire server to yourself!
With a dedicated server at your disposal, expect your website to run at optimum performance while enjoying the advanced security and control you need. You can choose from three tiers: Standard, Enhanced, or Premium. The regular rates are quite costly, and BlueHost’s plans can be a bit more expensive when compared to other web hosts. Thankfully, they are now running a limited-time promo for all their dedicated hosting plans. Now, you can get the standard dedicated hosting plan for as low as $74.99 per month!
BlueHost’s dedicated hosting plans share almost the same pricing and specs as its sister company, Just Host. Make sure to check out my in-depth review of Just Host for a better comparison.
Optimized Hosting for WordPress
Fans of the ever-popular and powerful blogging platform, WordPress, will surely love this offer from BlueHost. Built on state-of-the-art VPS technology, BlueHost has successfully created and designed a unique infrastructure to make your WordPress-based blog or website even more powerful. Everything you could possibly need to make your WordPress site more secure, user-friendly, and fast is readily available with their Managed WordPress Hosting plan.
There are four WordPress hosting plans in total: Blogger, Professional, Business, and Enterprise. And with BlueHost’s latest promo, you can get a 50% limited-time discount on any of their WordPress plans, starting at just $12.49 per month!
As with any managed WordPress hosts, BlueHost does not require you to manually install the CMS because it already comes pre-installed with the package. Once you log into your WordPress account, you can immediately create posts, pages, and galleries – just like a self-hosted WordPress site!
BlueHost puts a limit on your site’s traffic based on the number of visitors. However, this limitation is removed if you choose to sign up for the Enterprise plan. On the other hand, my second favorite web host, InMotion Hosting, has no such traffic limitation at any of their WordPress hosting tiers. That said, you might want to check them out if you’re in need of a more comprehensive WordPress hosting plan.
Besides the managed WordPress hosting plan, BlueHost also lets users install and set up a non-managed WordPress site. From the control panel (which we’re going to talk about later), simply click Install WordPress and install away!
You can set up a brand-new WordPress installation or migrate an existing site to BlueHost. You don’t even have to worry about installation because it’s simple and easy. Make sure to browse through the marketplace to find more applications and themes that you can use to expand your site’s functionality!
eCommerce Support for Business Owners
An online business is comprised of many different parts, like marketing, advertising, administration, etc. These components must be taken into consideration in order to create a successful eCommerce site. Fortunately, creating an eCommerce site is easy with any of BlueHost’s hosting packages.
BlueHost has integrated the MOJO Marketplace where you can install one of the many shopping cart software available. You can choose to manually install a shopping cart software or hire a professional to do it for you.
A shopping cart is an integral part of your eCommerce site. Once you’ve picked and installed a software, you must configure it to display your products and/or services. There are hundreds of different shopping cart software available, each of which comes with their own unique interface and configuration style.
Besides the shopping carts, you can also grab email marketing tools like DaDa Mail, an application that allows you to send email-based newsletters to your list of subscribers. You can also easily accept payments by installing applications like Magento, ShopSite, and Transfirst. With Magento, you can create a professional-looking site just by dragging and dropping site elements. It has more flexibility than ShopSite. However, if you’re looking for simplicity, then ShopSite’s interface may get you up and running faster. Whatever your choice, rest assured that BlueHost has something to meet your needs.
I also like the fact that BlueHost supports both MySQL and PostgreSQL. With both database management systems in your account, you have an even wider option of applications that can be installed to your site!
Other eCommerce features you might find useful include the following:
What I Love – Easy-to-Use Control Panel and Scripts
For those who want to handle backend administration, you’ll find it easy to do so with BlueHost’s enhanced cPanel control panel. cPanel is an industry favorite and with its features and intuitive design, you’ll have everything you need to create and manage your sites.
On top of an extremely easy to use control panel, BlueHost also has the popular SimpleScripts one-click installer. With it, you can easily install dozens of popular scripts and applications, including CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, phpBB, bbPress, and many more besides.
For the nerds who want more advanced features, you’d be happy to know that BlueHost also supports popular scripting languages, such as:
- Perl 5
- Ruby on Rails
- PHP4 and PHP5
- CRON jobs
- Custom php.ini
- AND MORE!
Special Mention: Weebly Drag-and-Drop Website Builder with BlueHost
For those who find WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other website builders a bit complicated to use, don’t worry because BlueHost offers plenty more options for you to build your site on. For instance, they happen to be one of the (very) few web hosts that provide the easy-to-use drag-and-drop solution for website creation – Weebly. With it, you can create a website that’s hosted by BlueHost!
To get to Weebly, just log in to your cPanel account and scroll down to the Site Builders section. From there, you’ll see the option to use Weebly. Select the domain you wish to use and click Login. Easy-peasy, right?
Anytime Money-Back Guarantee for Your Peace of Mind
All of BlueHost’s hosting plans come with the industry-standard 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. This means that you’re allowed to cancel your account within the first 30 days upon registration and get a full refund.
BlueHost is so confident that you’ll be satisfied with their service. To prove that, they are even throwing in an Anytime Money-Back Guarantee for those who wish to cancel their account after the 30-day trial period. This means that you are allowed to cancel your account at any given time, and BlueHost will give a prorated refund for the remainder of your hosting term. You won’t be constrained to any term commitments, and there won’t be any hidden fees or penalties for ending your term early. Talk about complete peace of mind!
Around-the-Clock Customer Service
BlueHost is committed to providing the best service to their clients. I don’t think you’ll be needing their help anytime soon but they do offer 24/7 customer support via toll-free telephone, live chat, email, as well as a ticket-based system. They also have an extensive knowledgebase filled with self-help resources like how-to guides, video tutorials, etc.
I went ahead and tested BlueHost’s live chat at around 8AM on a weekend and asked about their shared web hosting plan. I got a response after 7 minutes and I was more than satisfied with the rep’s response. She was able to give me the answers I were expecting, and she even provided me some useful links related to their hosting plans.
Next, I called phone support at 7PM on a weekday and asked about how I could import my WordPress site into BlueHost. I wasn’t on hold for more than a couple of minutes (which is quite amazing), and the rep walked me through the steps very carefully. I know the process myself and from the rep’s response, I could safely say that BlueHost have hired the right people to do the job of providing expert help to their clients!
- Affordable web hosting
- Unlimited resources i.e. bandwidth, disk space, and email accounts
- Free add-ons including domain name, website builder, and instant setup
- Offers different types of web hosting packages
- Uses the user-friendly cPanel control panel
- Friendly and knowledgeable customer support staff
- Does not offer Windows-based hosting
- Some customers report frequent downtime
Final Verdict – A Great Web Hosting Option
BlueHost is a superb choice for those looking for affordable web hosting and reliable customer support.
They don’t leave their clients hanging and they are able to stand up to their promise of providing market-leading features and services.
Offering a wide range of features at an incredibly low cost, BlueHost definitely deserves a top seat in terms of value for money. They even offer an anytime money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
We highly recommend BlueHost.