Bluehost Review: 7 Things They Don’t Tell You

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

Bluehost is a web hosting company based in Provo, Utah, founded by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth. They employ 750 people who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because they are a WordPress.org recommended web host, all of their plans include 1-Click installations.

Comparison: Features and Pricing

Bluehost, along with Inmotion and GreenGeeks, is probably the most well-known name in the world of web hosting. It was founded in 1996, which makes it old by web standards, but I like it all the same.

Years ago, I published the first version of this review. Bluehost was and continues to be one of my top web hosting recommendations. They’ve continued to reinvent themselves by adding new features and services.

In this post, I’ll take you behind the scenes of my account and show you some of the features. At the bottom of this page, I’ll also share a special offer for Hosting Manual visitors only (you can get $2.95/mo instead of $3.95/mo).

By the time you’ve finished reading this review, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from Bluehost and, more importantly, what not to expect.

Without a doubt, they have established a solid reputation over the years, particularly when it comes to WordPress hosting.

They are listed as one of the official recommended hosting providers for WordPress blogs, and they provide WordPress customers with a wealth of useful tools, bonuses, and resources.

Are you interested in learning more? In our Bluehost review, we’ll go over everything in depth. But first, let’s go over a couple of quick facts.

  • Plans appear cheap at first glance, but not all of them are as cheap as they seem. You can get started for as little as $2.95 per month with shared hosting. Otherwise, the Starter plan usually costs $7.99 per month, which is still quite reasonable. But WP plans are pretty expensive, starting at $12.49 monthly.
  • Get unmetered bandwidth with all accounts.
  • The starter plan comes with 100 email accounts. The Plus and Business Pro plans offer unlimited email accounts.
  • Get up to $200 in marketing offer bonuses.
  • Enhanced cPanel makes it easy to configure and control your sites.

Decision: Which Level of Service Should You Choose?

Bluehost offers five main types of hosting plans:

  • Shared hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Dedicated hosting
  • WordPress hosting
  • Cloud Sites

If you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive, shared hosting is probably what you’re looking for. This is what the vast majority of newcomers and small businesses are looking for. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option, and it’s best for big businesses that need complete control over their resources.

You are essentially renting a physical server with dedicated hosting. VPS hosting is a middle ground option in which you share a physical server with others but have your own virtual operating system, allowing you to use the server as if it were your own. WordPress hosting is exactly what it sounds like: hosting designed specifically for WordPress users. Let’s look at the various plan tiers for each.

Shared Hosting

  • Basic: Beginning at $2.95 per month, this plan jumps up to $8.99 per month at the regular price.
  • Plus: This plan is regularly $11.99 per month, now only $5.45.
  • Choice Plus: This plan is $16.99 per month, now only $5.45.
  • Pro: Normally $26.99, now only $13.95.

These are all reasonable prices. However, with this deal, you can be certain of getting the best price! You get one website, 50GB of storage, and unmetered bandwidth with the Basic plan. One domain, five parked domains, and 25 sub-domains are also included. 5 email accounts with 100 MB of storage each are included as well.

You get unlimited websites and unmetered space and bandwidth with the Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro plans, which is fantastic. You can have an unlimited number of domains and subdomains.

Email accounts and storage are unlimited, as are marketing offers worth $200. Plus, it comes with a Global CDN and one SpamExperts (worth over $24 per year).

Pro is the most expensive plan. It comes with up to $180 in additional annual benefits, such as improved performance and a dedicated IP address, both of which are important for SEO.

VPS Hosting

  • Standard: $18.99 your first month, up to $29.99 after that
  • Enhanced: $29.99 your first month, up to $59.99 after that
  • Ultimate: $59.99 your first month, up to $119.99 after that

These prices are in line with industry averages for VPS hosting. The first two plans have two CPU cores, while the top plan has three and four cores. The lowest tier offers 30GB of SAN storage, with the highest tier offering 120GB. RAM is available in sizes ranging from 2 GB to 8 GB. At the Standard level, you get 1 TB of bandwidth, and at the Ultimate level, you get 3 TB. One domain is included in each tier. The Standard tier comes with one IP address, while the other tiers come with two. Every plan comes with 24/7 customer service and a money-back guarantee.

Dedicated Hosting

  • Standard: $79.99 your first month, $119.99 per month after that.
  • Enhanced: $99.99 your first month, $159.99 per month after that.
  • Premium: $119.99 your first month, $209.99 per month after that.

A 4 x 2.5GHz CPU is included in the Standard or Enhanced plans. A 4 x 3.3GHz CPU is included in the Premium plan. RAM starts at 4 GB at the Standard level and goes up to 16 GB at the Premium level, with storage ranging from 500GB to 1 TB (mirrored). At the Standard tier, you get 5 TB of bandwidth, 10 TB at the Enhanced tier, and 15 TB at the Premium tier. Every plan comes with a free domain. Standard gives you three IP addresses, Enhanced gives you four, and Premium gives you five. All plans come with 24-hour customer service and a money-back guarantee.

WordPress Hosting

  • Basic: Starts at $2.95 with a 36 months subscription
  • Plus: Starts at $5.45/mo with a 36 months subscription
  • Choice Plus: Starts at $5.45/mo with a 36 months subscription

These plans are identical to their shared hosting plans in appearance and cost.

Bluehost, on the other hand, introduced a new category at the end of 2018: Managed WordPress Hosting.

Managed WordPress Hosting

When compared to their basic WordPress hosting and what some competitors offer, these plans are quite pricey (many hosts sell WordPress hosting plans at the same prices as general-purpose shared hosting plans).

Bluehost’s managed WordPress is a big deal, and it’s one of the company’s most popular services (with more than a million sites hosted by the company).

The Pro plans use a high-performance VPS and provide faster site loading times.

Basic Jetpack Site Analytics, Marketing Center, 100 Free Premium Themes, daily backups, and Malware detection and removal for added security are all available at the Build level.

With Jetpack Pro, the Grow plan is a step up. Your visitors can leave positive Yelp, Google, Yahoo, or Bing reviews for your business directly from your website using the Business review tools. The SEO tools provide you with real-time optimization suggestions for improving your search engine rankings. It’s part of the Marketing Center, where you can see how you’re doing in the major search engines.

Paypal integration and Elastic Search are included in the top-tier Scale plan.

It’s worth noting that Grow and Scale comes with live support. It provides you with hands-on help with design, functionality, and general questions from real WordPress experts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All plans include Positive Wildcard SSL, as well as 24/7 customer service and a money-back guarantee. Automatic plug-in updates and regular backups are also included in these plans, as well as a staging environment where you can build and test your WordPress website before publishing it.

The unlimited video compression is a feature that probably few people use. You don’t have to optimize your videos for the web before uploading them. It’s taken care of by Bluehost. I haven’t used Bluehost for streaming and couldn’t find a review of it, but customer service told me there are no limits to how many videos you can stream.

Even though these are all great features, you might be wondering, “Why would I pay this much for WordPress hosting?” Bluehost is an active member of the WordPress community and has a dedicated development team. That means Bluehost can provide first-rate customer service and troubleshoot even complex WP-specific issues.

This isn’t to say that Bluehost is the only or best option available. Siteground, for example, can easily compete and at a lower cost.

Free Expert WordPress Migration

The hassle of the migration is sometimes the only barrier to moving your website to a better host. I’ve done it numerous times. Still, I’m not a huge fan of it. If you have a WordPress website, Bluehost can take care of it for you. This service is available to you for free once you sign up for one of their plans.

First, go to the Bluehost Marketplace and search for Site Migration. Then, fill out the site migration form.

Bluehost has created a WordPress plugin that will walk you through the last few steps. When you’re finished, you should see something like this:

You will receive a link to your new site, which you can use to verify that everything is working properly. If everything checks out, you’ll just need to contact your registrar to update your DNS settings, and you’ll be good to go.

Blue Flash Launch Support

Are you new to Bluehost as well as WordPress? With a feature called Blue Flash Launch Support, Bluehost makes it simple to get started. This service is included in your hosting package at no additional cost. It takes the form of a professional consultation with a WordPress expert over the phone.

You can take a guided tour of the dashboard with Blue Flash Launch Support to quickly identify all of the features and options available for posting. During the orientation phase, you will have the opportunity to get answers to your questions. Because WordPress can be intimidating to newcomers, this is a huge time saver and makes the process of getting started a lot easier.

During your call, you will be quickly set up with your account and given the opportunity to select a theme that is appropriate for your site’s style and purpose. The options that are presented to you have already been vetted in advance to meet your needs.

Blue Flash Launch Support’s experts will even make recommendations for appropriate plugins. That way, you’ll be able to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer for your specific requirements.

Every day of the week, the Blue Flash team is available around the clock. That means you can get up and running with WordPress quickly, no matter where you are, and start working on your website right away.

If you need more help with WordPress after using this free service, you can sign up for WP Live support for $99 per month.

Domain Name Email Address

A domain name email address can go a long way in terms of increasing brand awareness and establishing trust and relationships in the workplace. When you sign up for a Bluehost hosting plan, you have the option of getting your own domain name email address.

Email Essentials is the most basic plan, with emails and calendars, Outlook Web Access, and 15 GB of email storage. If you choose the Business Plus plan, you’ll get all of the above plus Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Office Online, as well as 1 TB of OneDrive storage.

Microsoft Office for Desktop, Access + Publisher for Desktop, Outlook Customer Manager, and tools for bookings and invoicing are all included in the Business Pro plan.

With all plans, your software is automatically updated, and you have access to Microsoft Office 365’s security and recovery services. It’s easy to manage your account with a single login thanks to a simple, user-friendly interface. Your plan is backed by 24/7 customer support and comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Furthermore, you are permitted to access these programs and tools from multiple devices. That means you can log in to manage your account and work on your projects no matter where you are.

Email plans with a domain name start at a few dollars per month. This is a fantastic deal that adds a lot of value to your hosting package.

eCommerce Features

Bluehost makes it simple to set up an online store by providing a variety of shopping carts, including Zen, Cube, Agora, and OS Commerce. You get SSL encryption for your transactions, as well as a free certificate and OpenPGP/GPG encryption.

Bluehost launched a new Woocommerce service in 2021. Woocommerce is a WordPress-based e-commerce platform that is probably the most popular non-vendor-locked alternative to Shopify.

Not only can you install Woocommerce with a single click, but Bluehost also makes it simple to add payment processing (1-click install), multiple shipping options, built-in calendar bookings, and daily backups with the new service.

The plans range in price from $12.95 per month to $19.95 per month, depending on your commitment and add-on services.

Unlimited bandwidth sounds great, but if your website has consistently high traffic, I’m pretty sure they’ll limit your account based on their fair use policy. The term “unlimited bandwidth” is a misnomer. Bluehost is responsible for the bandwidth you consume. This holds true for all web hosts.

If you own a store, the $200 in free marketing credits will come in handy. These can be used to advertise your company on Google, Facebook, Bing, and Twitter.

Having said that, Bluehost isn’t known for its eCommerce capabilities, and some sites make it easier and faster to set up a store. However, Bluehost is a cost-effective option that comes with a slew of useful features to help you sell online.

Security Features

Bluehost excels in the area of security. Spam Experts, Spam Hammer, and Apache Spam Assassin provide three layers of anti-spam protection. Filters are simple to set up, and you get protection for your inbox as well. Each of your directories is password-protected.

You can blacklist IP addresses if you need to restrict access to your site. Secure shell (SSH) access is another excellent feature. This allows you to access configuration files on a per-file basis and in a secure manner.

Bluehost also has a one-click integration with CloudFlare, which adds even more security features and speeds up your website! CloudFlare is especially effective at preventing DDOS attacks. Almost every review I’ve seen for this has been positive.

Refund Policy

Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its plans. That means you’ll get a full refund if you cancel within the first 30 days. You will not receive a prorated refund for the portion of your hosting term that you have not used if you cancel after that. Domain registration fees are non-refundable. I have not attempted to obtain a refund from them, so I cannot comment on how simple it is.

Ease-of-Use

Setting up and managing your website is a breeze with Bluehost. The improved cPanel interface is as simple to use as it gets — all you have to do is click on the icons to get where you want to go.

With your websites and email addresses in one place, you can keep track of everything. The layout of the control panel can be changed to suit your needs. You’ll have quick access to your favorite features this way.

Customer Service

Bluehost receives mixed reviews in this area. Many customers have had positive experiences with customer service agents who are quick, helpful, and friendly. Unfortunately, many clients report that despite making numerous phone calls, they were unable to obtain the assistance they required.

Excessive upselling is another issue with Bluehost. This is a company that loves to try to sell you on upgrades and add-ons, and there are a lot of areas where you’ll need them for full functionality. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a problem.

Who is Bluehost Best For?

  • Customers who are looking for a reliable web host with a strong reputation. Bluehost is one of the oldest names in the business and has established trust.
  • WordPress customers who can pay extra to get access to more features and a dedicated support team of WP experts.
  • Owners of both large and small businesses. Bluehost is fine if you are on a budget and just want general-purpose shared hosting. Just watch out for the upselling.

Websites Hosted by Bluehost

Bluehost is best known for its shared hosting services, but it also hosts some extremely popular websites. Listed below are a few examples:

There are many more; I’ve just selected a few that most people can relate to.

A review isn’t complete without a list of advantages and disadvantages. They are as follows:

Pros of Bluehost:

  • Unlimited disk storage, domain hosting, email addresses, and bandwidth are all included in most plans.
  • With your purchase, you will receive a one-year free domain name.
  • The enhanced cPanel is extremely user-friendly and provides quick access to features.
  • Bluehost’s security features are simply outstanding.
  • MySQL, PostgreSQL, CGI-BIN, PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby on Rails, and many others are among the databases available.
  • Social networking scripts, blog support, mailing lists, message forums, Joomla and Drupal, and Tikiwiki are just a few of the free website scripts available.
  • With multiple shopping carts and SSL security, eCommerce features are excellent.
  • Bluehost is said to be fast by the majority of customers. You’ll get even better performance if you use CloudFlare.
  • If you can afford it, Bluehost’s WordPress hosting is considered to be excellent.

Cons of Bluehost:

  • While there are a lot of useful add-ons available, you’ll have to install a lot of them to get the full functionality.
  • Customers have mixed feelings about the customer service department.
  • Bluehost is constantly attempting to upsell its customers, which can be irritating if you are on a tight budget.
  • While the WordPress plans have a lot of nice features, they’re also very expensive when compared to other competitors’ plans. For example, Inmotion has a great monthly plan that starts at just $2.95. That’s less than half the cost of Bluehost’s cheapest WordPress hosting plan.

Conclusion

At every price point, there are plenty of exciting features and extras included, and the variety of plans provides a lot of flexibility for any budget. Whatever your requirements are, Bluehost’s packages will meet them.

Despite some negative feedback, Bluehost’s services are generally well received by its customers. There’s a reason this company has built such a solid reputation in the online world after 20 years!

To summarize, Bluehost is one of the top few hosting companies that I would recommend to anyone. If you’re looking for a reputable web hosting company, look no further than Bluehost. You can customize your solution with low-cost, scalable plans, and you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes.

Bluehost is a fantastic web hosting provider — if you can take advantage of it here, it’s a no-brainer!

Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links on my blog. If you click on those links and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

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