Bluehost Review – If you are planning to launch a new blog or a website, you are likely to be browsing through the internet in a quest to search for a reliable web hosting service provider, that has Reliability to keep the site always running, Affordability so that it doesn’t screw up our budget and Support when we face technical issues.
And that’s where Bluehost comes in, Bluehost is one of the most popular and, at the same time, most affordable web hosts on the market (considering the features they offer). They host over 2 million websites worldwide.
That is a lot, right?
Having such an enormous customer base is evidence enough that they must be doing something right. Well, in this Bluehost review, we take a look at what’s under the hood, how good the platform is, and whether it’s the best solution for your next website project.
Bluehost Review: About Bluehost and Their Hosting Plans
Over the years, Bluehost has evolved to be one of the most popular hosting companies in the market, especially for WordPress sites.
Just glancing at their homepage and all the various products that Bluehost offers tells you a lot about why Bluehost has won so many users over. First off, Bluehost has various hosting products in its portfolio – not just simple website hosting.
Second, their prices are super affordable. Additionally, you also get a handful of bonuses thrown in for free. This makes your overall cost of launching a site much lower compared to what you’d have to pay with the competition.
But let’s start at the beginning. Here are the different types of hosting they have in store, including one that is likely going to be the pick for most users.
Let’s divide the list into a couple of categories:
Entry-level web hosting
This is the budget solution in Bluehost’s portfolio of web hosting. These plans are usually chosen by users who are new to the concept of owning a blog/website and need a simple web host to make it happen.
Bluehost has two main plans that fall under entry-level hosting:
While it may seem like the latter is better if you want to use WordPress CMS for your website, in reality, both are the same product. From what I’ve seen, this is simply a different marketing framing, but the elements on the inside are the same.
Managed WordPress hosting
The basic WordPress hosting plans mentioned above are just that – basic. However, Bluehost also offers a more advanced package called Managed WordPress.
Compared to the Basic Plan, the managed variety takes care of all the technical aspects of the hosting setup and WordPress maintenance for you.
In other words, when you’re on managed WordPress hosting, you don’t have to worry about anything related to keeping your site operational. Rather, you can just focus on creating content and improving your site.
Managed plans also give you more control under the hood, which is important for sites with an established position in the market that get more traffic.
Bluehost also has a custom-made plan for WordPress websites running WooCommerce – for eCommerce stores. Those plans come with some WooCommerce-specific elements pre-installed (WooCommerce itself, an optimized theme, payment processing tools, security, extras).
If you’re looking for a host to use when you are planning to launch a WooCommerce store, this is probably the best option for you.
The last tier of their hosting plan is what we can call professional-level hosting. Two main products here:
The former is a very interesting concept that’s built around hosting virtualization. VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. What you are getting here is access to a web hosting setup that runs as a virtual machine on a bigger, physical server. It’s a setup beneficial when building web apps or other types of web-based products that are not necessarily standard websites.
If you do indeed need a whole physical machine at your disposal, that’s what dedicated servers are for. This type of web hosting is usually the most expensive and powerful hosting option available with most companies.
Bluehost Review: features and pricing
As you read above, Bluehost has many different hosting plans and tiers available, and each of them delivers a slightly different set of features. For this Bluehost hosting review, we’ll look at the entry-level plan called Basic Web Hosting.
It’s the most budget-friendly solution in the lineup and, for that reason, also the most popular one among customers.
Here’s a snapshot of the pricing page at the time of writing:
As you can see, Bluehost has a very affordable offering that starts at just $2.95/mo. However, the first thing you must know about this price is that you have to sign up for a three-year contract to get it. It is also paid upfront, which implies that you do have to shell out $106.20 at once.
There are options to pay for one year and two-year hosting package, however, the prices increase with those a bit. Below are the different pricing according to the term you wish to pay for
- 36 months: Basic $2.95/mo, Plus and Choice Plus $5.45/mo, Pro $13.95/mo
- 24 months: Basic $3.95/mo, Plus and Choice Plus $6.95/mo, Pro $15.95/mo
- 12 months: Basic $4.95/mo, Plus and Choice Plus $7.45/mo, Pro $18.95/mo
- Bluehost doesn’t offer month-to-month payment options
Okay, but what do you get for these prices?
Overall, Bluehost focuses on delivering two things:
- the basic set of features and server capabilities that most users will need,
- making those features easy to use and accessible.
Bluehost Review: Features for different plans
All the entry-level plans are very similar on paper, but there are a couple of fine differences.
First of all, none is “more powerful” than the other. Speaking in terms of computing power and the “scale of website,” they can all handle the same load. The differences are mainly in the size of the website and the number of websites you’re allowed to run.
- On the Basic plan, you are allowed only one website. Your disk space is also limited to 50 GB.
- All the other plans let you run unlimited websites and consume unlimited disk space while doing so.
This is great because what it means in practice is that if you want to build 2+ websites, Bluehost will only charge you $5.45/mo for that when you opt for the Plus. Below is what you get with the basic plan.
The Basic plan:
- 1 Website
- 50 GB SSD Storage
- 24/7 customer support via phone and chat (more on the quality of that later in this Bluehost review),
- access to custom themes from within the Bluehost panel,
- a free domain name for the first year(!) plus access to a domain manager,
- email hosting – albeit it’s kind of hidden in the panel,
- a $100 Google Ads credit and Google My Business integration,
- free CDN integration – a “content delivery network” hook-up means that your website’s data is served from multiple servers across the web instead of just one machine; this improves your site speed a lot,
- free SSL certificates.
The Plus plan
- Unlimited Websites
- Unlimited SSD Storage
- Custom Themes
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Free Domain – 1 year
- Free CDN Included
- Free SSL Certificate
- The Pro plan throws in a free Office 365 subscription for one month.
The Choice Plus
- Unlimited Websites
- Unlimited SSD Storage
- Custom Themes
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Free Domain – 1 year
- Free CDN Included
- Free SSL Certificate
- Free Office 365 – 30 days
- Free Domain Privacy
- Free Automated Backup – 1 year
The choice plus gives you additional access to free domain privacy (so that no one can check your personal data associated with the domain name) and free automatic backups.
The Pro plan
For the pro plan, you get everything in the choice plus, with and Optimized CPU Resources and an additional dedicated IP address (important when building web apps/tools, not so much for standard websites).
Overall, there is nothing here that’s missing. Bluehost has put some real thought behind what the essential web hosting features are and then put them all together in this plan.
The free domain is a huge deal in particular! You’d usually have to pay around $15 for a new domain name registration. While it’s not a lot, it still adds up to your overall website launch bill. The fact that Bluehost throws that in for free is great.
⚠️ PLEASE NOTE: Mind the renewal prices. Bluehost, like most hosting companies, will charge you a different price when first signing up for their service compared to what you will pay for renewing after a while. Those renewal prices are higher.
Take a look at that pricing screenshot above one more time. See the crossed-off price below the main price? That’s the renewal price – it’s what you’re going to pay after your initial contract is up.
Bluehost Review: ease of use
Bluehost does a lot to make the signup and website launch process as smooth as possible. They realize that whoever’s choosing the entry-level plan probably doesn’t have a lot of experience with web hosting. Bluehost tries to make it possible for that user to configure everything on their own without outside help. All within the Bluehost hosting interface.
Once you get through the purchase process on Bluehost’s website and finalize everything, you’ll be invited to your new user profile page.
Right away, Bluehost will ask you how you want to go about building your website and if you want to have WordPress installed on your setup. They will even ask you whether you want to work on your site in the classic model (by picking a theme and modifying it) or use Bluehost’s new builder interface.
I went with the first option since it’s more common for WordPress users to do so.
Next, right in the main dashboard, you get a couple of suggestions as to what you should do to make your site better:
You can log into your WordPress site directly from the dashboard as well – just click the Login to WordPress button in the top right corner.
If you take a look at the sidebar to the left, you’ll find links to other useful sections:
- Home. It’s where you are right now.
- My Sites. Since you can have more than one site on most Bluehost hosting plans, this is where you can see them all.
- Marketplace. Bluehost makes it easy to integrate your site with other third-party tools, add-ons, and also upgrade your hosting tier if needed. This section is where you can purchase and install those integrations with a couple of clicks.
- WordPress themes and plugins. This is a subsection under Marketplace, but I feel I should highlight it here. Bluehost gives you access to custom WordPress themes right from the dashboard. It also hooks up to your site directly, so that you can purchase and install those themes all from the Bluehost interface. This can be a huge timesaver.
- Email & Office. Bluehost gives you an option to integrate your site with hosted email via Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. This is where you can enable everything.
- Domains. This is where you can manage your website domain(s) and purchase new ones.
- Marketing Tools. This section is all about making it easier to integrate your site with popular marketing channels such as Google Ads, Google My Business, and others.
- Advanced. Go here if you want to access cPanel (if this doesn’t sound like English, then Advanced is probably not a section for you).
Let’s look into what’s possible when managing your site since that’s what most of us will want to do.
When you go to My Sites and select your site from the list, you’ll see the following panel:
This is a nice view of your site’s status all in one place. From here, you can access the themes you have installed, your plugins, and even oversee your marketing promotions, backups, user accounts, security, and more.
What’s great here is that everything is presented nicely, and you’re spared all the server lingo. You don’t have to be a pro to know what’s going on.
And I remind you that we are dealing here with the basic, entry-level hosting setup that did cost a mere $2.95/mo. So…impressive.
Bluehost performance and load times 📈
Okay, so we know that Their plans are cheap. But is it fast? There has to be a trade-off somewhere, right? Is it performance?
Let’s find out:
We did a very simple test. We set up a site using Bluehost’s tools, published some dummy content on it, added images, picked a theme and configured it, and made the site look real.
Then, we also added a couple of plugins for good measures, like WPForms, Yoast SEO, Jetpack, and a couple more.
Below are the results of the tests – done from several locations:
|LOCATION||LOADING TIME||TTFB||FIRST PAINT||INTERACTIVE|
|N. Virginia||0.77 s||288 ms||0.81 s||0.87 s|
|California||0.91 s||354 ms||0.93 s||0.99 s|
|Canada||0.92 s||385 ms||1.09 s||1.04 s|
|Frankfurt||1.36 s||576 ms||1.40 s||1.34 s|
|Paris||1.24 s||547 ms||1.19 s||1.19 s|
|Mumbai||2.05 s||849 ms||1.62 s||1.68 s|
|Sydney||2.21 s||911 ms||1.74 s||1.84 s|
I have to give it to Bluehost…considering this is budget hosting, the results are more than impressive!
Going below one sec for US traffic is pretty much all you can ask for with any hosting platform – even the more expensive ones.
Bluehost hosting review: customer support
Bluehost offers 24/7 phone and live chat support. Apart from that, there’s also a knowledge base where you can find tutorials and answers to the most common questions people have about Bluehost’s platform.
You can access the support chat from the main contact page on Bluehost’s site.
They ask a couple of questions to identify you as a customer and then get you through to a support agent.
From our experience when writing this Bluehost hosting review, a support agent got to us pretty much immediately after starting the chat. The interaction was positive, the agent offered advice and was willing to help.
Bluehost Review: Pros and cons
Before we give you our final rating in this Bluehost hosting review, let’s look at a quick list of pros and cons.
- The entry price is more than affordable ($2.95/mo).
- They give you a free domain for the first year.
- The setup is really easy to do, especially if you want to use WordPress.
- The user interface is great, making it easy to do simple modifications and/or maintenance tasks.
- The load times are really impressive, managing to go below the one-second mark.
- The support is quick to respond.
- The renewal prices are much higher than the entry-level ones. That’s why you’re better off going for the max-term contract right out the gate.
- While you can set up hosted email on the platform, it’s a bit hidden. You have to go to the cPanel view and set everything up there by hand.
- The reviews on the web are mixed. Some users seem to be having issues with their setups. However, many of those reviews are from a while back.
Bluehost review Final Verdict: Why use it over another host 💪
At the end of the day, Bluehost looks like a great solution for the budget-minded person who wants to launch a new site as quickly as possible and also fairly cheaply.
It has all the basic hosting features you might expect, and the performance isn’t lacking in any way either.
Granted, the tests we did haven’t been carried out over a long time, so you’re results may vary, but the early indicators are certainly more than positive!
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a host to take care of all your new website ideas in one place, consider the $5.45/mo plan at Bluehost. It’s the first hosting tier that Bluehost offers that allows unlimited websites.
What do you think of Bluehost web hosting? Are you going to try it out for your next website project?