Bluehost Review: In-Depth Look & Speed Test

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

Bluehost is home to over 2 million websites, in case you didn’t know.

That’s a lot of information.

The fact that they have such a large customer base is sufficient proof that they are doing something right. Their uptime is consistent, server speeds are fast, and all of their hosting plans include features that are beneficial to both beginners and intermediates.

Bluehost also offers live chat and phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

However, there are some drawbacks, such as higher renewal costs and limitations on the cheapest plan.

All of our reviews are based solely on real-world data such as uptime, speed, and cost.

So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Bluehost to see if they can provide you with the high-quality website hosting that you require.

Pros of Using Bluehost Hosting

Bluehost has been in business since 2003, so they know a thing or two about what makes a good hosting service.

Their introductory prices are reasonable, their customer service is responsive and helpful, and you get a lot of useful features with your hosting package. They also provide dependable uptime and fast server speeds.

Let’s look at Bluehost’s strong points in greater depth.

1. Good Uptime Through 12-Months (99.95%)

1. Consistent uptime over a 12-month period (99.95 percent )

Uptime is one of the most critical aspects when choosing a web host — after all, if your site is down, your users can’t access it. When looking for hosting services, consistent uptime should be one of your top priorities.

Our benchmark for “good” uptime after reviewing a number of web hosts is 99.93 percent. We don’t want to see anything less than that in the ideal world.

2. Fast Page Loading Speed (713 ms)

According to Google’s research:

“As the time it takes for a page to load increases from one second to three seconds, the likelihood of a bounce increases by 32 percent.”

This means that visitors are 32 percent more likely to abandon your site. Longer page load times exacerbate the problem.

In addition, Google is focusing more on mobile-first indexing. This means that your website must also be optimized for mobile users, or you will lose visitors.

In either case, a slow website will almost always result in less traffic and, as a result, fewer sales. So, after uptime, the second most important factor that can make or break your website’s success is page loading time.

Over the last year, our test site with Bluehost has averaged a load time of 713 milliseconds. Even though their speed isn’t the fastest, they’ve earned a spot in our pros section.

3. Low Introductory Pricing ($2.95/mo)

Bluehost’s standard pricing starts at $2.95/month, which is a discount from the regular rate of $8.99/month.

The good news is that we were able to negotiate a deal with Bluehost for our readers that reduces the starting price to $2.95 per month.

You get almost everything you need for a single website for this price. This includes 50 GB of SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate, among other things. As a result, you’d be getting a good deal for the money, especially considering their consistent uptime and page loading speeds.

Even so, the cheapest plan has a few limitations that we don’t agree with — but we’ll get to that later.

4. Packed with Security Options and Features

We are pleased to see that, despite being one of the “cheapest” options on the market, Bluehost does not skimp on critical security options and features.

Bluehost already includes a free SSL certificate with their most basic plan. You’ll also get a free CDN (Cloudflare), a one-click WordPress installation, multiple CMS integrations, and additional eCommerce plugins.

Spam Experts, domain privacy protection, and server backups are included in higher-tier plans. You also get more advanced security features like SiteLock, which helps protect you from malware attacks.

Another type of protection is Codeguard, which provides daily backups so you can restore previous versions of a site if it is hacked.

The final security tool worth mentioning is Google’s Postini. It protects your email from spam, preventing anything suspicious from getting into your inbox.

5. Easy to Use for Beginners

Only advanced users should consider some of the web hosts we’ve seen as the best. Bluehost, on the other hand, is excellent for beginners.

Their customer portal is simple and easy to use (although, we have experienced it is a bit slow at times). Bluehost is even easier to use thanks to the layout of the cPanel control panel. cPanel makes it simple for beginners to install and use WordPress. In most cases, all you have to do is point and click.

You can start building a website with a website builder tool if you don’t want to use WordPress (such as Weebly or Drupal). You can then customize a template by just dragging and dropping elements on your page.

Advanced users who want to create their own website with their own code can use Bluehost’s features.

6. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

All of Bluehost’s hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

You can test out the service for yourself and request a refund if you aren’t completely satisfied. However, there are a few words of caution.

Here’s what does and doesn’t fall under that guarantee, according to Bluehost’s terms:

  • You can only get refunds on the web hosting cost, not any other products like domains or other add-ons.
  • Bluehost would deduct $15.99 if you received a free domain name in your plan.
  • Bluehost does not refund any requests after 30 days.

Some hosts have a no-questions-asked policy, but this isn’t one of them. So, before you sign up, make sure you agree with these points.

7. 24/7 Customer Support

Bluehost offers live chat, phone, and email ticketing support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also have a large knowledge base with answers to frequently asked questions and useful information.

We tried out their live chat option, and it was a pleasant experience.

We received prompt responses to our questions from a knowledgeable representative. Although some of the responses appeared to be copied and pasted, the follow-up questions elicited improvised and helpful responses.

8. One Free WordPress Site Transfer

This benefit is for you if you already have a website and want to switch to Bluehost’s hosting plan.

Bluehost has only recently begun to include a free site transfer with all of their hosting plans.

However, there are a few conditions attached to this free service. The site must first be a WordPress site. Second, the migration must be requested within the first 30 days of signing up for a hosting plan.

All you have to do is get in touch with their customer service department and follow their instructions. It usually takes 1–3 business days to complete the migration.

It costs $149.99 if you don’t have a WordPress website or if you have more than one. This allows you to migrate up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts.

9. The Official WordPress.org Recommended Host

WordPress is the most popular website platform on the market, accounting for 44% of all websites on the Internet.

When it comes to hosting solutions, it’s safe to say they have the final say. Only three hosting partners are officially recommended by WordPress for use with WordPress sites:

  • Bluehost
  • DreamHost
  • SiteGround

To create a WordPress site, you can, of course, use almost any web hosting provider. Bluehost is one of the few officially recognized partners, which is encouraging.

Cons of Using Bluehost Hosting

Bluehost’s hosting service has some great features, but there are a few flaws as well.

Although we appreciate the low introductory prices, the renewal rates can be quite high.

Let’s look at these drawbacks in more detail.

1. Higher Renewal Rates

Prepaying for one, two, or even three years in advance is the best way to get the best hosting deal. Although the average monthly price drops, you are still committing hundreds of dollars up front.

If you don’t like their service, you can get a refund using their 30-day money-back guarantee. However, once the initial plan period expires, you can expect a significant increase in rates.

Let’s say you sign up for the cheapest three-year plan, which costs $2.95 per month. Following the initial period, the renewal price for the following period begins at $8.99/month with a three-year commitment.

The subsequent period is three times more expensive than the first in this case.

2. Cheapest Plan Restrictions

Bluehost’s cheapest shared hosting plan has a lot of limitations.

Only one website is allowed, storage space is limited, and the only security feature is a free SSL certificate. So, if you have multiple sites or want more security, you’ll have to pay at least twice as much for the next pricing tier.

Regrettably, such limitations on the most basic plan are all too common in the web hosting industry. Companies compete to see who can attract customers with the lowest price, only to upsell a good hosting service at a higher cost.

Quick Facts

  • Money-Back: 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Website Migration: Free transfer for 1 WordPress website. Other migrations are $149.99 for up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts.
  • Free domain? Yes, for the first year. Then renews at $15.99 per year.
  • Ease of Sign-up: Easy and guided sign-up process.
  • Payment Methods: Major credit cards and PayPal.
  • Hidden Fees and Clauses: No refund on domain names. Renewal rates for both domains and hosting are much higher than the introductory rates.
  • Upsells: Some upsells during sign-up, but nothing too aggressive.
  • Account Activation: Instant activation in most cases. If the information is inaccurate or there’s suspicion of fraud, activation might get delayed.
  • Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: Easy-to-use cPanel
  • Installation of Apps and CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Mojo Marketplace makes app installation quick and easy.

Do We Recommend Bluehost?

We do, in fact.

Bluehost has done slightly better in the past, but they continue to provide a dependable service with reasonable server speeds.

They also provide strong security features, a fantastic money-back guarantee, a plethora of user-friendly apps, and multiple tiers of hosting packages to suit different customers. The monthly price starts at $2.95.

However, Bluehost isn’t without flaws. After the initial signup period, the hosting plans’ renewal rates will skyrocket, and the cheapest plan has some significant limitations compared to the higher tiers.

Bluehost, on the other hand, provides adequate service and good value for money.

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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