They obviously have the financial muscle to pour millions into marketing. That probably accounts for the huge amount of (overly) positive Bluehost reviews online.
I read several of those reviews and most talk about their fabulous support (really?), good prices and scalability options. But in those reviews, there’s very little about their actual flaws.
What Products Does Bluehost Offer?
- Domain names: Although they are not the cheapest domain name registrar, you can buy domain names directly from Bluehost. They start at $17.99 a year at renewal. A personal all-time favorite of mine for domain names is Namecheap as it’s cheaper and easier to manage.
- Shared hosting: Unless you are managing a really large project or you need to geek around with your server’s configuration, a shared hosting plan is the one you ought to consider. Think of this as sharing a flat; you’ll share a server (flat), but you’ll have your own hosting space (room) – cheaper but noisier. At Bluehost their shared prices go from $9.99 to $28.99 per month.
- WordPress hosting: Bluehost has a WordPress focused hosting service. It’s optimized for WordPress sites and comes with several perks like a staging area. It’s a bit pricey as it starts at $29.99 a month, more expensive than SiteGround‘s ($14.99).
- VPS: A Virtual Private Server is something in between a shared hosting and a dedicated one (read below). You’ll share a server with other clients, but there’s a (virtual) wall between your projects and theirs. This type of hosting is recommended for those needing special server configurations (e.g. using a particular programming language). VPS hosting plans go from $29.99 to $119.99 a month at Bluehost.
- Dedicated servers: Adequate for those websites that generate tons of traffic and/or need a top-performing server. You can think of this as having your own house; no neighbors or roommates to bother you. Dedicated hosting plans start at $124.99 per month.
The Basic plan is good if you are only going to have 1 website and 50 GB of storage is enough for your project. It also has limitation on the email storage and accounts you can have, and the databases you can create.
With the Plus plan, you can have as many websites as you need and the storage is unmetered. It also comes with unlimited email accounts.
If you get the Choice Plus package, you’ll be awarded with the Plus features, plus free domain privacy and better backup options (for 1 year).
The Pro tier is suitable for those looking for higher performances. The maximum files you can host with this plan jumps from 200,000 to 300,000. Permanent advanced backup options.
It has more cons than pros, but start first with pros:
- The first term is cheap: But be aware of the renewal rates, they are high.
- Solid uptime: Generally speaking, my uptime tests with Bluehost have always been good. But unlike other providers, they don’t offer an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that guarantees a minimum uptime.
- Generous storage: Their shared hosting plans offer loads of storage.
- Unmetered bandwidth: Bluehost won’t limit the traffic that your website(s) can get.
- Constant upsells: Their system is packed with continuous upsell pitches, which gets annoying.
- Speed could be better: In our tests, Bluehost’s speed didn’t exactly come out at the top of the table, the speed needs to be improved.
- Only US-servers: Unlike other providers, you only have the option to host your site in the US. If your readers come from other regions, they could face having a (very) slow site.
- Poor backup options: The entry-level plans don’t have a good backup solution.
- Entry-level plan limitations: The cheaper plan comes with a lot of limitation in the sites, database and email accounts you can create.
- The registration process is somehow challenging, I find their form not intuitive and designed to trick you into buying expensive extras that you won’t need. Their backend was redesigned in 2019, it’s an easy-to-use cPanel customized version. But I really dislike their constant upsell proposal banners, popups and sneaky links. Once you are used to all these, it’s fine.
- Bluehost includes a free domain name registration the first year. After that, you’ll have to pay $17.99 per year. Be aware that their Basic plan only allows you to have 1 site (domain name), the other plans offer unlimited sites (domains).
- With the Basic tier, you are limited to 5 email accounts and 100 MB of email storage, unlimited with higher plans. Be warned that you won’t be able to send more than 500 emails per hour – not suitable for sending bulk emails.
- With the Basic package, you can create up to 20 databases. Unlimited databases with the other plans. There is a generous maximum database size of 5 GB.
Using their automatic installer, you can add all sorts of software: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and many more.
Bear in mind that their WordPress installer will add some plugins you most likely won’t want, make sure you delete them after the installation.