BlueHost Review – Worth the Hype?

Rohit Palit by | Updated:

BlueHost is a very popular name in the web hosting space — it could even be the most popular shared hosting company on Earth. 

But, as is the case with many other fields apart from web hosting, the most popular option isn't necessarily the best one in terms of quality. Is this true for BlueHost as well? I decided to find that out in this unforgiving BlueHost review.

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Speed

Decent server performance, especially for the price. Not for very heavy sites.

Uptime

Downtimes are rare, and usually don't last long. Good enough for most sites.

Support

Lots of readily available answers in knowledge base, but support is slow at times.

Price

Prices are low at first, but renewals are expensive.
No monthly payment option.


Speed - Page Load Times

In my testing, I've found BlueHost's servers to be fairly fast. It's certainly not the fastest among all shared hosts, neither does it manage to make the test site load under 300ms unlike A2 Hosting, but at that entry-level price point, the performance is more than you'd expect. The initial server response time (<200 ms on average) is pretty impressive for a shared host, too.

It seems like BlueHost have recently upgraded their server hardware adequately and thereby improved performance for end-users. This is good to know, considering they were at one point in the past accused of overselling and overcrowding their servers.

Still, BlueHost's shared hosting servers aren't equipped with cutting-edge technologies like LiteSpeed. At the end of the day, they're a budget host and will do the job just fine for most small to medium websites, unless your site is rather heavy or resource hungry.


Uptime Stats

In my testing period with BlueHost, the test site experienced just a single instance of downtime, and that was for 2 minutes. This is really impressive for a cheap shared host.

Downtime can be really bad for your website. Not only can it frustrate its visitors and hurt its conversion rate, but it can also have a negative impact on the performance of your site on search engines like Google.

With most shared hosts, uptime is a major concern. Most of them fail to keep their servers up as much as they promise their customers.

Some others impose such heavy restrictions on resource usage that as soon as users' sites receiving any significant traffic, they start getting 'throttled' and in some cases, even taken down, often for prolonged periods of time.

In short, from my testing, it seems that uptime is unlikely to be an issue if you decide to host your site on BlueHost's platform.


Price – BlueHost's Shared Plans

BlueHost's shared hosting plans are very competitively priced. The plans mainly vary based on the number of add-on domains (i.e. the number of unique websites) that you can host on them. BlueHost currently has 3 main shared hosting plans, and they are as follows:

Their Basic plan, coming in at $3.49/mo is the most popular one with beginners. It gives you the option to host only one unique domain and offers 50GB of storage space. It's a practical plan for many, because not everyone has multiple websites to host.

Their mid-range plan, Plus, costing $5.95/mo, is the most value for money one of the lot. It allows you to host an unlimited number of websites, with no storage or bandwidth limits whatsoever.

They also have another version of the Plus plan called Prime, which is essentially the same plan as Plus (even costs the same after discounts), but comes with some of their premium features like SiteBackup Pro and Domain Privacy (in case you grab a free domain from them or register a new one with them).

Their highest offering is called Pro, and it is priced at $13.95/mo, which is more than a shared hosting customer usually spends. It comes with a dedicated IP, an SSL certificate bundled-in, a complimentary subscription of their optional SiteBackupPro service, and a few other perks.

It also offers significantly more server resources than the lower-end plans, which allows you to keep hosting your site on a shared hosting platform even when it outgrows their entry-level and mid-range plans.

BlueHost claims that the Pro plan achieves this by hosting around 80% less accounts per server compared to their entry-level plans.

For most users, the Plus, or even the Basic plan would be more than sufficient, as even any serious blogger or webmaster hardly gets time to handle more than a couple of sites.​ For the more hard-core users out there, however, BlueHost has the Prime plan on offer.


Exclusive BlueHost Coupon for 2018

BlueHost usually doesn't like offering too much discount to its users, as the default prices are already very competitive. I still managed to get hold of an BlueHost discount link that offers dynamic discounts for different plans of BlueHost. You just need to click the button below, and your discount will be activated and will remain valid for a month.


Support

BlueHost are one of the few web hosts that offer 24x7 phone, live-chat and email support. I've found their support department to be adequate when it comes to answering general tech queries or looking up for site-specific issues.

The support response times aren't that impressive, however, and they varied quite a bit, from 10 minutes to two hours (in case of support tickets). The first response has been an auto-generated response in quite a few cases, too.

BlueHost couldn't remind me of the fact that they're actually a very cheap shared host when I tested out the other parts of their overall service, but support was an exception. I really missed the efficient, fast, 100% skilled human-powered support that hosts like InMotion Hosting provide.

BlueHost, like many other EIG-owned companies, is known for outsourcing technical support to developing countries like India, which result in a rather frustrating experience at times. It's not as easy to communicate about technical troubles with a non-native English speaking person who often has a hard time understanding your problem.


Other Points

With the main aspects of BlueHost's hosting covered, let's take a look at a few other things I found out about BlueHost while trying them out.

Pre-made Support Videos & Text Tutorials

BlueHost has a pretty extensive knowledge base, which has information about almost anything and everything related to BlueHost's offerings. This is particularly useful if you're good at searching your way to find what you need, rather than chatting with relatively slow-to-respond support staff to get even the most basic queries answered.

Apart from their knowledge base, they also have a pretty active YouTube channel which covers a lot frequently-asked support topics. So, if you're more comfortable with videos than plain text, their YouTube tutorials should come in handy. Take a look at the video below to get an idea of the kind of support videos they upload on their YouTube channel:

Limited 'Unlimited' Hosting

Just like many other hosts that claim to offer 'unlimited' hosting, BlueHost's 'unlimited' does come with several limitations. They include the following:

  • 50,000 files (INODE) limit per account
  • 2GB per MySQL server limit
  • 1,000 database tables limit

Hefty Renewal Rates

BlueHost's discounted prices are only good for the first year (or till the time you bought it for). Whenever your plan is due for renewal, you'll be forced to pay their 'default', non-discounted price for that respective plan, which tends to be quite hefty compared to what you'd have paid the first time.

For example, if you're a user of their basic plan, you'll be billed at $7.99/mo when it's time to renew, instead of the discounted $3.95/mo rate.

Great Security Options Out of the Box

If there's one area where you can't complain about BlueHost, it's the security of the overall hosting environment. BlueHost is very serious about security, and it shows in the number of their security-related features, even in the low-end plans.

SpamAssassin, Spam Hammer, and Spam Experts are three effective tools to fight email spam.

They also offer hotlink protection to prevent someone from stealing or otherwise using your hosted images (and other files) and draining your bandwidth.

You can also block/unblock specific IPs and IP ranges, in case you suspect any specific IP or range being harmful for your website.

With its two-factor authentication (2FA) setup, it'll be an additional peace of mind knowing that no one else can log into your BlueHost account and make unintended changes, without having access to your phone.

A similar safety feature is the 'account token validation' feature, which requires you to submit a six-digit account security token code to BlueHost's support staff to validate your identity as the rightful owner, before you submit any confidential information, like passwords, to them.

Auto-installers and App Integrations

BlueHost's customized cPanel comes with a ton of app integrations and allow you to install almost any popular script (be it WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and anything else you could possibly imagine) with just a few clicks.

This saves beginners, who don't need the extra flexibility of a manual installation the, a considerable amount of time and help them get started with a new website much quicker.

Apart from auto-installers, there's also Google Apps integration built into cPanel. This is helpful if you want to use Google Suite for your email or your corporate Google Drive cloud storage, for example.

Setting up a CDN is fairly easy, too. You have a CloudFlare integration built into cPanel, which lets you setup CloudFlare on your websites with a few clicks. CloudFlare can help a lot in reducing  your website's load time and resource consumption by serving your website from the closest CloudFlare server from a visitor.

For e-commerce sites hosted on BlueHost, it's easy to get a free SSL certificate, as well as more advanced things like OpenPGP/GPG Encryption.

Site Migrations Aren't Free

Most shared hosts will happily transfer your website from your existing host's server to your new server for free. Not BlueHost!

They charge a hefty fee of $149.99 PER site if you don't know how to do the site migration yourself. Even then, they have a condition citing that they won't transfer more than 5 websites for you in any case.

This is extremely unusual for a company growing as fast as BlueHost, especially because a constant influx of new customers is crucial for their business.

Tons of Upsells

While it's not uncommon in the web hosting world to observe almost every web host pushing endless upsells, with BlueHost it just seems a bit too much at times.

Due to your first invoice with them being heavily discounted, they don't make any compromise in trying to sell you as many additional upgrades and add-on services as they can. This can include SEO services, extra site security services, domain registration, advanced site backup service, and many more.

Want an SSL certificate? Pay just fifty bucks per year. Want to restore individual files from your daily site backups? Pay $35.88 per year. Want to re-activate your expired account? Pay thirty bucks for nothing.

Some of these are extremely disappointing, because things like free SSL certificates (by courtesy Let's Encrypt) and individual file restoration from backups are offered for free by many BlueHost alternatives, like MDDHosting, StableHost and others.

Fast Setup & Onboarding

Unless your transaction is flagged as fraud, your purchased plan will be instantly set up and you'll shortly receive an email from BlueHost with your account details as soon as you finish signing up.

Once you log in to cPanel, you'll find a familiar, but visually tweaked interface of cPanel which is fairly easy to understand and use. Unlike other budget hosting brands like iPage who use cheaper solutions like vDeck, the use of a standard control panel like cPanel definitely makes me recommend BlueHost more.


Summary - BlueHost Advantages

BlueHost have been around in the shared hosting game for more than 20 years since they were originally founded in 1996. Not only have they managed to stick around all these years while becoming one of the most well-known shared hosts worldwide, they've also successfully managed to keep their quality of service consistent through all these years. Though, they did have to overcome a few minor hiccups along the way, like aggressive CPU-throttling.

BlueHost is your typical budget-friendly web host that offers a standard cPanel and LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) setup for people looking for a budget host without too many bells and whistles. With that in mind, let’s take a look some of BlueHost's most prominent features:

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    Free domain (for 1 year) along with your shared hosting plan.
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    Feature-packed cPanel – integrated with CloudFlare, Page Speed Grader, Google Apps and a lot of other tools. Their custom user interface looks a lot better than the regular cPanel default skin.
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    Premium anti-spam solutions available right on cPanel.
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    Free, unlimited email accounts for the top-end plan. Email storage is within your total account storage. There are some limits as to how many emails in an hour you can send, so if your site is demanding in terms of sending emails, you can still use some third party solution.
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    Automatic daily backups for all your website data, and stored files.
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    Highly configured servers. Regular hardware upgrades. Replacement parts always ready for quick replacement in case of failed hardware.
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    24×7 Live Chat & Phone Support. The latter, especially, isn’t offered by most shared hosts out there.
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    Hassle-free scalability allows you to upgrade your plan to a VPS or a dedicated server without having to face the hassles of moving your website.
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    Account isolation technology isolates accounts that consume too much resources, to ensure that the overall performance of the server doesn’t degrade and affect all customer sites on that server.
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    Decent level of customization for a shared hosting plan – including SSH (Secured Shell Access), Server Side Includes (SSI), PHP.ini modification support.
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    Multiple user-access control mechanism to assign multiples users and restrict their access to specific sections of the same hosting account (like one account may access only the billing section).
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    Built-in CDN (Content Delivery Network) support with CloudFlare integration. Hassle free setup ensures that all your static resources load faster from CloudFlare’s worldwide network of servers.
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    Unique IPs, SSL, and SiteLock protection are some optional features that are handy to have.
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    30-day Money-back Guaranty.

Check out the FULL list of BlueHost's shared hosting features:

https://www.bluehost.com/shared

More on BlueHost

BlueHost first started operating in 1996, primarily offering shared hosting services. It was founded by Matt Heaton, who was the CEO from 1996-2011. In 2010, amidst much controversy and speculation, EIG (Endurance International Group) acquired BlueHost. Since 2011, Dan Handy operates as the CEO of the company.

BlueHost specializes in shared hosting, but they’ve now started offering additional types of hosting like VPS, dedicated servers, and managed WordPress hosting. BlueHost claims to host over 2 million websites worldwide, making them one of the top hosting companies on the basis of the volume of hosted sites.

Concluding this BlueHost Review

By the looks of it, this review has already become the most comprehensive BlueHost review on the internet. Since I’m very passionate about web hosting, I could go all day about the different aspects of BlueHost's shared hosting. But, since this has already become so long, I’d like to quickly conclude this review.

BlueHost's hosting plans are quite cheap compared to most of their competitors. But, apart from the not-so-great support department, I found BlueHost to be decent in most other aspects.

One negative point to consider is the limited availability of add-on domains in their most basic plan. But, that probably wouldn't concern the target audience (new bloggers / webmasters who are just starting on their web journeys) much.

Overall, BlueHost is a decent host, especially for the money. I would definitely give them a try if I were looking for a reliable, feature-packed, aggressively priced shared web host without wanting to know too much about the technical tidbits that go behind hosting a website.

If you're looking for a higher-priced, better alternative, however, I'd definitely recommend InMotion Hosting (a tad bit pricier) without thinking twice. Because they offer everything that BlueHost does, and only perform even better in most aspects.

  • Hi. This bluehost review is helpful to me. i seen many features in this hosting service. now, my mind is to try this hosting service.

  • Bluehost is a SCAM. Why? Because when you cancel and delete your account they continue to bill you for additional products such as $24 for Site Lock service and they do not provide nor show any options online to delete or cancel it. YOU HAVE TO CALL THEM AND THEY STOP THE AUTO RENEWAL BY REMOVING YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO. Just to remind you guys, this is a website hosting company that does not allow you to fully cancel services ONLINE and misleads you into thinking the account is actually DELETED and CANCELLED. RIPOFF SCAMMERS. STAY AWAY!!!

  • Thank you for your review. Very eloquently written. 🙂

    I however feel compelled to stick up for Bluehost’s Support, as it is the one area that you have [albeit moderately] criticised. As a new [relatively un-tech savvy] website owner looking to establish my first site, I turned to bluehost as my first step on the rung with their shared hosting package.

    During my first few weeks, I encountered five major issues [all my fault] that for me [as an inexperienced new webmaster] were game-breaking ones, which left me feeling lost and completely out of my depth, not knowing how I was ever going to get my site working properly.

    All five times I used Bluehost’s excellent 24 hour live chat support system, to help me out of my seemingly insurmountable situations. On each occasion, my support request was answered by a real person, and in under a minute! And three of these were in the early hours of the morning.

    I cannot speak highly enough of the support I received. The chat service itself is wonderful in the sense that going by many of the staff usernames, they were likely working from a call centre on the subcontinent, which as many will understand, can make telephone communication very difficult in trying to understand different accents. This adds more frustration to the levels you already had from breaking your website. 😉 But with Bluehost 24 hour chat support, that problem is eliminated, as it is all text based.

    All of their support staff I’ve dealt with have been extremely helpful, friendly and professional at all times. And endlessly patient with my untechnical self. On one occasion I did something that seemed a catastrophic mistake, as my site was broken, so I reached out for their support. Having been answered in around 20 seconds, and explained my issues, the kindly staff member asked me to hold on for a few minutes whilst they checked my site — returned and said “try it again now” — and to my delights, they had completely fixed it for me in about ten minutes! I expected them to come back to me and guide me through all manner of difficult things I’d have to do to fix it, but no, they just did it for me, jjust like that.

    I am very grateful for Bluehost’s most excellent Support service, and give them my highest recommendations to anyone like me, who is just starting out, and needs a bit of quality and patient support whilst finding our feet in the world of web hosting.

    Thanks for reading. And thanks again to Bluehost!

  • Bluehost is the worst webhosting I have ever come across. They will just deactivate your account without notification or warning. Their server goes down way more than you expect. You may not even know they have deactivated your account or you website is no more working until you try to login. If you sell a lot per day, you will lose a lot of money. If you are unlucky, Google will just derank you from the first page and you lose all you traffics.

    I have finally decided to move out from Bluehost after a big company I wanted to promote paid my website a visit and found out that it was down and then they rejected my application.

    If you are really serious about your business I will advise you to stay as far away as you can from Bluehost.

  • I have a basic website up with blueHost, its a shared domain with one other website. The load time on the website is disgusting simply disgusting. Its a basic WordPress website so far, but literally the website takes 1 minute 40 seconds to load completely. It opens at about 20 seconds in with my mobile data but if I even try to connect over wi-fi the connection just times out! Horribly slow.

  • I have been a Bluehost customer for 9 years and am finally fed up enough to leave. I have had good customer service over the years until the last one. It takes forever to get an agent on the line when your website is down again–this is the 2nd time in 4 days. The problem–the nameserver information was completely deleted. I had started hosting at another company that was much faster as I get a lot of traffic–but kept my nameservers hosted at Bluehost. If you want reliability find someone else. During my time with Bluehost I could count on a couple lost days per year with the website being down. It was costing me way too much money so I switched hosts–and now with take all of my other domains out as well.

  • Bluehost is the worst!! I signed up for a VPS account and their system / admins put both myself and another user on the same VPS account… WTF? I’ve never seen incompetence like this before. I’ve been with Bluehost for about 4 days and have already spent over 15 hours of my time on hold with their terrible support team.

    They refuse to give me a time estimate on when this issue is going to be corrected so I can migrate my site off the host that I’m leaving. I tried explaining to the rep that I’ve rented a new apartment, but when I went to move in the landlord had rented it to two different people, and I only have a set amount of time to get out of my old place. He took that analogy and ran with it, responding with “Well I would say that you shouldn’t move in to a new place without an inspection?”

    He did one better though, and followed up with “Look, there is an admin that is working on your account, and he probably has other tasks and responsibilities that he’s supposed to be handling.”

    Wow dude! Your’e really terrible at customer service. You’ve got some balls, but you deserve to be fired for placing blame on the customer when the company you represent made a major mistake that is costing the customer time & money.

    I can’t speak to how well Bluehost servers run once everything is operational because I’ve yet to experience that. What I can speak to is their horrible support and customer service reps. The devs / admins are incredibly slow. The people or automation they’re using to create accounts is definitely incapable of the task.

    I’ve worked with at least 20 hosting providers over the years and have never experienced this level of incompetence. Nor have I been treated so rudely by a level 1 support agent.

    I’ll be sharing my story with everyone I can in hopes of preventing this from happening to another person.

  • Excellent review. Bluehost one of the leading web hosting services. It has some interesting features that attract the users. This review is really helpful. You have shared everything about Bluehost. Thanks.

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