Utah-based Bluehost is a popular web hosting company that has been in business for over 17 years. Owned by industry giant Endurance International Group (which also owns HostGator, SiteBuilder.com, Domain.com, iPage, and more), it’s up there with the best hosting providers in the world.
We particularly like Bluehost because of its honesty. Its shared hosting plans are clear and transparent, with an impressive amount of information available about each one.
On top of this, it doesn’t attempt to draw you into purchasing a low-quality plan by offering rock bottom prices. Even the cheapest Basic plan comes with an impressive 50GB of storage, a free SSL certificate, a free domain, and unmetered bandwidth.
Only five email accounts with up to 100MB of email storage are available, but there are very few other apparent downsides. At just $2.75 per month for a three-year subscription, it’s up there with the most affordable shared hosting around. A one-year plan costs $5.95 per month, and renewal prices rise to $7.99 per month.
The more advanced Plus plan includes unlimited storage, unlimited website connections, and the powerful SpamExperts email spam filtering tool. It costs from $5.45 per month for an initial three-year plan, with prices rising to $10.99 per month after the initial term.
You can also add site backup and domain protection and privacy with the Choice Plus plan, which also costs $5.45 per month for an initial three-year subscription. Note, though, that it renews at a higher $14.99 per month.
Finally, the high-end Pro plan promises even better performance, comes with a dedicated IP address, and even includes an upgrade to a premium SSL certificate. It costs $13.95 per month for a 36-month plan and renews at $23.99 per month.
All new users will benefit from a comprehensive 30-day money-back guarantee. Although 30 days is normal across the industry, some providers do offer more than this. For example, InMotion Hosting is backed by an industry-leading 90-day guarantee.
- The best web hosting services for your website
Although Bluehost doesn’t have very many application hosting options, it still covers the basics. Both WordPress and simple eCommerce options are available, although they are somewhat limited.
For example, Bluehost’s basic WordPress plans are basically identical to its shared plans. They cost the same (from $2.75 per month), but focus slightly more on specialist WordPress features. For example, there’s an impressive range of WordPress self-help documentation, and all WordPress plans include automatic updates to ensure your site remains secure at all times.
The higher-end WordPress Pro plans add significantly more powerful features, including spam filtering, an integrated CDN, and unlimited bandwidth, websites, and storage.
Another notable WordPress-specific feature included with the WordPress Pro plans is the powerful staging environment. This allows you to create a copy of your site that you can edit in real-time without affecting the live version. For example, this is a great way to test new plugins or theme changes without risking major problems with your actual site.
On top of this, WordPress Pro plans come with a resource-rich marketing center, PayPal support, and Jetpack Site Analytics. Prices for the three options range from $17.95 to $47.95 per month for an initial three-year subscription. Note, though, that prices do increase to $29.99 to $59.99 per month on renewal.
Those with a single WordPress site may be better suited to IONOS WordPress Pro. It does come with slightly limited storage and restricts the number of websites you can link, but you will have dedicated resources from just $15 per month. And what’s more, IONOS doesn’t make you sign up for three years to access its advertised prices.
Meanwhile, Bluehost offers basic eCommerce hosting that’s essentially the same as its shared hosting. However, the eCommerce plans do come with pre-installed WooCommerce, WordPress, and the Storefront theme, marketing credits, and a dedicated IP address.
Prices for these start from just $6.95 per month, renewing at $13.99 per month. If you’re an eCommerce beginner, you may benefit from Bluehost’s eCommerce plans, but understand that you could achieve the same results with shared hosting and the Softaculous installer.
Although Bluehost’s virtual private server (VPS) hosting appears slightly expensive at first glance, it actually offers great value for money. The company doesn’t provide ridiculously low prices by removing everything except for base-level hosting, which means that it’s actually a great choice.
Prices start from a relatively high $17.99 per month for a three-year plan (renews at $29.99 per month). However, this includes 2GB of RAM, 2 CPU cores, and access to Bluehost’s intuitive custom dashboard—much more than you would get with most other providers.
If you do want something cheaper and more basic, consider Hostwinds' starter VPS plans. These start from $4.49 per month, but note that this price only gets you 1TB of bandwidth, 1GB of storage, and 1 CPU core. For a 2 core, 2TB bandwidth, 4GB RAM plan, Hostwinds charges $17.09 per month, similar to Bluehost’s cheapest price.
Meanwhile, Bluehost offers very few dedicated server hosting options. There are three base servers available, with very limited customizability. However, they do offer a decent amount of server resources and advanced features, and prices start at a relatively-low $73.99 per month for a three-year plan. This is cheaper than many high-end VPS solutions and could definitely be an option worth considering.
The Bluehost website is very well-designed, allowing you to compare every aspect of its various hosting plans before signing up. Each product page comes with comprehensive comparison tables and transparent price structures. There are also extremely detailed support pages available in the help center that provide even more information.
For example, these let you check on pretty much everything related to your hosting plan, including all initial and renewal prices, the cost of any addons, key parts of the terms and conditions, and all technical specifications. This kind of transparency is quite rare in the hosting world, and it’s great to see.
We decided to sign up for a basic shared hosting plan and clicked through to start a new order. First, we were asked to choose a free domain. Note that this step can be skipped if you already have a domain or don’t know which one you want yet.
Next, input your personal details. Bluehost asks for standard details, including your address, name, mobile number, and email address. Pay for your hosting, and then get started.
The setup wizard was excellent, guiding us through pretty much every aspect of creating our new site. Some of the things it asked were if we needed a blog, where blog posts should appear, and how the site should be configured. Using the answers to these questions, Bluehost gave us an initial design that was already partially customized.
We were also asked if we planned to sell online. If you tick yes, Bluehost will pre-install WooCommerce, a powerful WordPress plugin that’s up there with the best eCommerce platforms in the world.
Once we’d worked through the setup wizard and chosen a template, WordPress was installed on our server and we were free to start building our new website.
When it comes to web hosting, companies tend to go to one of two extremes with their control interface. On the one end, some companies use an overly simplistic management page with extremely basic details. At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you will be taken directly to a cPanel control panel or another similarly complicated interface.
Bluehost’s native control panel stands out as simple enough for web development beginners, but complex enough to include a range of powerful tools. It simplifies things by listing a number of setup actions that could help you get started.
When we logged in for the first time, we were prompted with five tasks to complete: Customizing our design, creating a contact page, adding custom content, setting up our online store, and listing products and/or services in the store.
Although this is extremely useful, don’t expect to have everything done for you. For example, you will still have to create your own content, add or remove pages as required, and import custom graphics and other visual content. In saying that, Bluehost does offer a lot more help and beginner-friendly guidance than most of its competitors.
And, experienced users haven’t been ignored either. If you’re already familiar with the steps involved with building a new website, you can simply hit the advanced options button on the sidebar to access a range of much more powerful tools.
Bluehost offers comprehensive support services starting with a built-in system alert page. This is designed to help you stay up to date with major service outages and widespread hardware problems. On top of this, you can check the status of any server or domain.
To back this up, Bluehost also has a comprehensive knowledge base including a range of information in the form of FAQs, articles, how-to guides, and video tutorials. Everything is heavily categorized, and finding the self-help content you need is easy.
Simply click on a category to view a selection of articles. For example, if you click on the Domains category, you will be presented with articles on how to assign a domain name, transferring your domain name to Bluehost, registering a new domain name, and more.
More advanced help resources can be found with the built-in search engine, which tends to be accurate and reliable.
For example, searching for ‘import WordPress’ delivers articles like ‘how to migrate a WordPress site’ and ‘how to migrate an existing WordPress.com site’. Numerous other relevant resources are also presented, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you need.
And don’t worry, there’s plenty of high-quality information here. Some articles are quite short, but they get straight to the point and provide a range of helpful options for solving common issues. In general, each article or guide will link to other relevant information as well.
Meanwhile, Bluehost also offers a range of live support services, including email, phone, and 24/7 live chat.
At one point, we were locked out of our account, so we decided to test the live chat to see how good it really was. To do this, we had to provide an email address, details, and our question.
Initially, we were told that there would be a five-minute delay before we were connected with an agent. However, it didn’t even take this long, and we were chatting with someone within minutes.
Once the agent had checked our information and verified that we were who we said we were, they gave us login details that let us access most of our hosting tools.
Then, they explained that other people were experiencing the same issue and that they were looking into it. This wasn’t a big problem for us, because we could still access everything required. And, the problem was fixed very quickly and service returned to normal.
We created a basic website and monitored its performance with Uptime.com over a seven day period. There was absolutely nothing to complain about with the 100% uptime figure, especially since we were using the most basic shared hosting plan available.
However, server response times were a little slow, with a 241ms average, 205ms minimum, and 669ms maximum. This puts Bluehost in 10th position of the 21 hosting providers we were testing.
Note that even the best response times weren’t a whole lot faster than this. The fastest host we tested, Hostwinds, has a 139ms average, 126ms minimum, and 303ms maximum, only slightly faster. This is good to know, but you won’t even notice the difference unless performance is your absolute number one priority.
It’s also worth highlighting Bluehost’s consistent response times. There were only two significant peaks where the response time reached more than twice the average, suggesting reliable, consistent performance. Hosts with worse performance often have multiple peaks in one day.
Finally, we ran a quick Bitcatcha Server Speed Check. Although this test doesn’t say anything about long-term performance, it still returned excellent results. It was very nice to see an A+ rating, which is as high as you can get.
- The best web hosting services for your website