BlueHost Review – Why It’s Simply Not Worth the Hype

Rohit Palit by | Updated:

Quick Summary

Speed

Below-average server performance. Not suitable for heavy, resource-hungry sites.

Uptime

Minor outages are frequent. Downtimes can often last for long periods of time (a few hours at a stretch).

Support

Support is sluggish, and not the most efficient at handling advanced issues. No free site migration.

Price

Initial prices are low, but renewals are a lot more expensive. No monthly payment option either.


BlueHost is a very popular name in the web hosting space — it might 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.



Performance

BlueHost's servers are fairly slow, even for an affordable shared host. A light page of a WordPress site, of just 338 KBs, needing only 15 HTTP requests, took 1.13 seconds to load.

In comparison, I could achieve a loading time of 287 ms for a 1.4 MB page needing 28 HTTP requests, on ExonHost (read my full review). 

What's more interesting is the fact that ExonHost is even more affordable compared to BlueHost, considering BlueHost's hefty renewal rates. They also offer way more server resources, and a lot better support.

BlueHost's shared hosting servers aren't equipped with newer, faster technologies like LiteSpeed. As a result, they're only suitable for very lightweight websites that aren't at all resource-hungry.


Uptime

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.

Though I didn't face a lot of instances of extremely long-lasting downtime with BlueHost, although minor outages are pretty common (see the screenshot below, my inbox is filled with downtime alerts for the site hosted on BlueHost). When servers do go down for the bad, however, it can easily last a few hours.

As BlueHost doesn't use SSD for storage, and still rely on traditional spinning hard drives, storage failures aren't that rare on their platform. And that can often result in extended periods of downtime.

This is an entirely different case from my experience with a similarly-priced shared host called MDDHosting (read my full review), where I've been hosting TechTage.com since 2011. As they're a much smaller, independent company (not a part of a bigger operation), they feel much "closer to the customers", and they proactively upgrade server hardware as newer technologies hit the market.

For example, two years ago, MDDHosting decided to upgrade their storage to StorPool-powered clustered SSD storage. Which not only offers super fast I/O, but is also self-healing and a lot less likely to cause issues due to drive failures, due to data redundancy.

In simpler words, your site's data is duplicated and synced across multiple individual SSDs in real time, which means even if a particular drive fails (which is very rare for SSDs compared to traditional HDDs), your site will be instantly back up live by utilizing the data from another SSD.

With most shared hosts, downtime is a major concern. Most cheap hosts, especially those part of a bigger holding company like EIG (which also owns HostGator, iPage, JustHost and a lot of other brands apart from BlueHost) fail to keep their servers up as much as they promise their customers. This isn't any different with BlueHost.

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. BlueHost has been accused of throttling server resources many times in the past.


Price

BlueHost's shared hosting plans are very competitively priced, but that applies only for the first-term, as they all renew at their regular prices, which tend to be around 2x costlier. 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 any 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.


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 inadequate when it comes to handling site-specific issues or anything other than answering generic tech queries.

The support response times aren't that impressive, either, and they varied quite a bit, from around 20 minutes to four hours (in case of support tickets). The first response has been an auto-generated response in quite a few cases, too.

BlueHost could easily remind me of the fact that they're owned by EIG when I tested out the other areas of their service, and support was no exception.

BlueHost, like many other EIG-owned companies, is known for outsourcing technical support to countries with much lower cost-of-living like India, which results 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 database size 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

More on BlueHost

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 didn't find BlueHost to be decent in most of the other areas, either.

Another 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 another one of those over-hyped hosts that are hugely popular thanks to expensive marketing, but fail to live up to the hype when it comes to actually delivering a solid service.

If you'd rather go with a much better alternative, I'd definitely recommend both ExonHost and MDDHosting. Because they not only offer much more than what BlueHost does for a similar price or in some cases even more affordable prices, but they also perform considerably better in crucial aspects like site speed and uptime.

BlueHost Review - Our Rating of BlueHost
  • Speed
  • Uptime
  • Support
  • Price
1.9

Summary

BlueHost is a budget shared host (although their renewal prices don’t suggest that), targeted towards beginners without a decent amount of technical knowledge. Their support department isn’t great. And their performance in key areas like site speed and uptime leave a lot to be desired.

11 thoughts on “BlueHost Review – Why It’s Simply Not Worth the Hype

  1. DO NOT use BLUE HOST…
    THEY took down my site when we are needing it up the most.
    They used to be ok I used to be able to call support and they would help with ANYTHING.

    In April there was PORN showing up on one of my sites, it happens to be a site that kids and families go to – unacceptable. They made be pay $500 to put it back up through Site Lock which I NEVER used to have to use. If I had a malware or virus issue they used to reset my site from a back up. I paid the money land 4 months later my site is hacked again. Screw this I am paying for them to take my site down because there is malware on the site, infact They just made me pay to fix this issue and prevent it and it is back a few months later. The malware isn’t EVEN on my site it is on another file some how connected because they host several domains for me.

    DO NOT USE THIS Company. THEY are the worst. THey used to be great I am not sure what happened. I have lost faith in them and plan to cancel as soon as possible.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!!!

  9. 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.

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