Our speed test uses the website bluehost.com as the target and has been tested with the Bitcatcha server speed checker.
Average Load Time / Uptime
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.
Not only the total page load time, the initial server response time (<300 MS on average) was pretty impressive for a shared host, too. It seems like BlueHost hosting has upgraded their server hardware greatly and thereby improving performance for the end-user. This is good to know, considering they were at one point in the past accused of overselling and overcrowding their servers. In my testing period with BlueHost web hosting, 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. So, in short, uptime shouldn't be an issue if you decide to host your site on BlueHost's platform. For a faster website, you will need to choose a fast web hosting company. Keeping this in mind, we created a test site to see how fast Bluehost web hosting really is. Our test site was created using WordPress with default Twenty Seventeen theme. We imported dummy content for theme development including images. After that, we used Pingdom to test the website speed. To test how Bluehost servers would respond with increased traffic, we used a testing tool called Load Impact to send virtual users (VU) to our site. They gradually built up to 100 visitors to see how the server would handle increased requests from multiple connections at once. [/av_textblock] [av_hr class='invisible' height='50' shadow='no-shadow' position='center' custom_border='av-border-thin' custom_width='50px' custom_border_color='' custom_margin_top='30px' custom_margin_bottom='30px' icon_select='yes' custom_icon_color='' icon='ue808' font='entypo-fontello' admin_preview_bg=''] [av_textblock size='' font_color='' color='' admin_preview_bg='']
Bluehost offers five main types of hosting plans:
- Cloud Hosting
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
If you are looking for something inexpensive and basic, BlueHost shared hosting is probably what you need. This is what most beginners and small businesses are shopping for. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option, appropriate for large commercial firms that need full control of their resources.
With dedicated hosting, you are essentially renting a physical server. VPS hosting is a middle-ground option where you share a physical server with others, but you have your virtual operating system, so the server functions as if it is physically yours. WordPress hosting is of course what it sounds like—hosting optimized for WordPress customers. Let’s take a look at the plan tiers for each.
Cloud Hosting Package
The BlueHost pricing for all of these plans assumes a 12-month term, billed annually, You can drop the price a little bit if you’re willing to move forward with a longer-term, like two or three years. (This might not be a bad idea considering the renewal cost might go up after your initial term.)
- Starter plan (the one we used for our test site): For only $6.95 per month (with our exclusive pricing), 100GB of storage right out of the gate. Plus 100 email accounts.
- Performance plan: $8.95 per month gets you unlimited websites, unmetered bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts.
- Business Pro plan: Their largest plan comes in at $15.95 per month. Not cheap, but you get ‘unlimited’ and ‘unmetered’ everything pretty much. Including storage, email accounts, etc. You also get a bunch of extras like an SSL certificate, backups, site restoration, domain privacy, dedicated IP address, and more.
Shared Hosting Package
Bluehost provides three shared hosting options to choose from.
- Basic plan: For $2.95 per month, you get one website max, 50GB storage and ‘unlimited’ bandwidth. You also get 5 email accounts (with a max storage of 100MB each).
- Plus plan: $5.95 per month provides unlimited websites, unlimited storage, and ‘unlimited’ bandwidth. You also get unlimited email accounts.
- Prime plan: Their largest plan comes normally at $5.95 per month, providing ‘unlimited’ websites, storage, bandwidth, email account and email storage. They provide also a better backup solution and a free whois protection for your domain.
You need to pay for three years at once to enjoy the advertised price for their BlueHost shared hosting plans. It will cost much more if you choose a shorter duration, and the minimum duration you can pay for is 12 months.
VPS Hosting Package
- Standard: $19.99 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 typical costs for VPS hosting industry-wide. The speed of the first two plans is 2 CPU cores, up to three and four cores for the top two plans. You get 30GB SAN storage at the lowest tier, up to 240GB at the highest level.
RAM ranges from 2 GB up to 8 GB. You get 1 TB of bandwidth at the Standard level, up to 4 TB at the Ultimate level. Each tier includes one domain. The Standard tier includes one IP address; you get two with the rest. Every plan is backed by 24/7 support and a money-back guarantee.
Dedicated Hosting Package
- Standard: $79.99 your first month, $109.99 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.
With the Standard plan or Enhanced plan, you get a 4 x 2.5GHz CPU. The Premium plan offers you a 4 x 3.3GHz CPU. Storage is 1 TB (mirrored), and RAM starts at 4 GB at the Standard level, ranging up to 16 GB at the Premium tier.
You get 5 TB of bandwidth at the Standard tier, 10 TB at the Enhanced tier, and 15 TB at Premium. One domain is included with every plan. You get three IP addresses at Standard, four at Enhanced, and five at Premium. All plans are backed by 24/7 service and a money-back guarantee.
WordPress Hosting Package
- Standard: $19.99 your first month, $29.99 after that
- Enhanced: $29.99 your first month, $59.99 after that
- Premium: $39.99 your first month, $89.99 after that
- Ultimate: $49.99 your first month, $129.99 after that
These plans are quite expensive compared to what some competitors offer (many hosts sell WordPress hosting plans at the same prices as general-purpose Blue Host shared hosting plans).
WordPress hosting on Blue host is a big deal, however, and one of the company’s most popular services (with more than a million sites hosted by the company).
Features at the Standard level include 100 million visits per month, 30 GB of storage, 30 GB of backup space, 2 GB of RAM, and up to five sites. You get one included domain and one IP address. Additional features include enhanced cPanel, SiteLock CDN, and SiteLock Pro for added security.
The top-level Enterprise plan gives you unlimited monthly visits, 240 GB of storage and backup space, 8 GB of RAM and up to 30 sites. You get one included domain and IP address.
Along with enhanced cPanel and SiteLock CDN/WAF Pro, you get SiteLock Enterprise and Positive Wildcard SSL. All plans are backed by 24/7 service and a money-back guarantee. These plans also include automatic plug-in updates and regular backups.
These are all excellent features, but still, you may be asking, “Why would I pay this much for WordPress hosting?” Blue Host plays a very active role in the WordPress community and has a core staff of developers.
That means that Bluehost can offer first-class customer support and troubleshoot even complex problems which are unique to WP. This is not to say Bluehost is your only or best option.
Our entire in-depth web hosting reviews is based on research and data to provide transparent accuracy. In that vein, Bluehost does have a few good features going for it. It’s affordable. And you can get started relatively quickly. Here they are in detail:
Good Security Options
Bluehost’s security options are good, offering tools that combat some of the most common website risks. For example, you can prevent spam with tools like SpamAssassin, Spam Experts, and Spam Hammer.
They support CloudFlare, which helps prevent pesky DDoS attacks that can bring a site down with an overwhelming amount of traffic from different sources. They also offer hotlink protection (preventing people from stealing your images or content), IP address blacklists to block problematic individuals and SSH access to secure web sessions.
Security is an area where Bluehost excels. You get three layers of anti-spam protection in the form of Spam Experts, Spam Hammer, and Apache Spam Assassin. You get protection for your inbox as well; it is easy to set up filters. Your directories are all password-protected.
If you need to block access to your site, you have the option to blacklist IP addresses. Another top-notch feature is secure shell (SSH) access. This allows you to access configuration files individually and securely.
Bluehost also offers single-click integration with CloudFlare, which provides even more excellent security features and speeds up your site! CloudFlare is particularly good for thwarting DDOS attacks.
Many Integrations and Apps
Bluehost also comes with a dashboard full of applications so that you can integrate various services, like Google Apps and the aforementioned CloudFlare, to increase the possibilities of your site.
Bluehost makes it a breeze to set up your website and manage it. The enhanced cPanel interface is as easy to use as it gets—you just click on the icons to get to where you need to go.
You can take care of everything with your websites and email addresses in one central location. You can customize the layout of the control panel to your needs. That way you can get quick access to your favorite features.
Enhanced User Control Panel + Useful Addon
I like how user dashboard works on BlueHost (this is a personal preference though). BlueHost hosting runs on a standard cPanel with a custom-designed user interface, which makes BlueHost a lot easier to start with.
It’s also worth mentioning that BlueHost offers plenty of handy add-on features that you can’t get from others (though some of these mean additional charges) – including phpPgAdmin, language preferences, 404 settings, dedicated domain management system, Spam Hammer, goMobi, Weebly, Cloud Flare, Solo SEO, and so on.
Bluehost has a lot of tools for building sites, filtering spam, managing email, collecting site statistics, and managing domains. For building a website, you can use the WordPress content management platform, create a website using Weebly (an excellent website-builder), upload files using FTP or File Manager, or use the goMobi Mobile Web builder if you bought the add-on.
Weeby’s drag-and-drop functionality let me quickly build an attractive page complete with slideshows, contact forms, social media links, and more. Weebly’s free version gives you basic functionality (you can create six pages and add custom HTML), but upgrading to the $8.99 per month Professional tier offers even more flexibility (custom themes, password protected pages, and more).
You can also go to the Mojo Marketplace to download other content-management systems or site builders. It’s an entirely separate interface, but if you want to expand your site’s capabilities, the marketplace is a good place to start.
You can grab email-marketing tools such as DaDa Mail (starting at $34.95 per year), software that lets you send email-based newsletters to a subscriber list. For an online store or the ability to accept payments, you can get e-commerce applications such as Magento, ShopSite (for shopping cart software), and TransFirst payment gateway.
With Magento, I was able to create an attractive store by dragging and dropping website elements. Magento has more flexibility than ShopSite, but if you aren’t looking for an elaborate online storefront, ShopSite’s simpler interface may get you up and running faster. For small businesses, that time savings may be worth it.
I also like the fact that Bluehost supports PostgreSQL along with the more popular MySQL. This means I’m not limited to installing software that runs only on MySQL.
Easy To Use
Another detail they have mastered is ease of use. Perhaps the reason you have so many small sites and personal blogs singing BlueHost’s praises. Sign-up is an easy step-by-step process. Once you are signed up, you can jump right in with making your BlueHost site.
If you’ve prepared your site in advance, the process that BlueHost recommends is using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). They offer a simple guide if you’re a first-timer, and have different walkthroughs depending on your OS and FTP of choice.
If you’re starting fresh and have decided to build your site right there on BlueHost, you get to use their website builder. Load it up, and you’ll notice it looks a lot like Weebly. That’s because it is Weebly, just stripped down to a certain degree.
Onboarding & Education
Even though setting up a website is nowhere near as complicated as it was in the early 2000s, it still can be a daunting process for anyone who has never set one up from scratch.
The process of moving a new customer through that process is called “onboarding.” There’s a lot of aspects to onboarding. It includes everything from how confusing your checkout process is to how clean your user interface is to the emails that a new customer receives.
Bluehost has done a good job making sure all the technical tools are available for customers who want them – while also maintaining a clean user interface. Their onboarding process is straightforward for new customers who may not want to see the technical tools right off the bat.
Additionally, Bluehost uses industry-standard tools such as cPanel. This makes problems simpler to solve because there is a lot more documentation around the Internet to guide you.
Account Add-ons & Extras
Bluehost does provide a lot of add-ons and Extras to all their products – from basic things like AdWords credits go to advanced features like Cloudflare integration. Now, I wouldn’t suggest choosing Bluehost just for these add-ons or extras themselves, but they do bring them up to par and even push them up beyond many low-cost competitors.
Bluehost offers unlimited hosting resources. This means that you can host unlimited files, and use unlimited bandwidth. Remember, however, that they have certain fair usage policies. But the fair usage policy limit is so high that you will probably find it to be the same as “unlimited”. For example, they allow MySQL size of 3Gb, and here at ShoutMeLoud we have only 400 MB of database after 8 and half years of usage!
Unless you are running an auto-script, or auto-blogging, you are very unlikely to reach that limit. They have a CPU limit, but again that’s high compared to other hosting services, and in most cases, Bluehost will transfer you to a more powerful server if necessary.
Control Panel Tools
After signing up for the starter web hosting service, we received an introductory email with all the links and information we needed to get started on building our website. At signup, you receive a free domain name for one year. Also, if you need to transfer a previous domain name to this host, it is also free.
The cPanel interface has a clean design and it’s intuitive. You are able to quickly log into the apps manager and download WordPress. Having the ability to utilize multiple website builders allows you to find a favorite builder and the template that works best for your site.
Support and Customer Service
BlueHost are one of the few web hosts that offer 24×7 phone, live-chat and email support. I’ve found their support department to be adequate at the very least, 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 an hour. The first response has been an auto-generated response in quite a few cases, too.
BlueHost couldn’t remind me that they’re actually a very cheap shared host when I tested out the other parts of their overall service, but BlueHost support was an exception. I really missed the efficient, fast, 100% skilled human-powered support that hosts like InMotion Hosting provides.
Another thing most hosting review sites failed to point out is that BlueHost runs a HUGE knowledge base for BlueHost customer service. The company provides extremely comprehensive documentation for its services and operates a YouTube channel to deliver video tutorials.
This is a huge time-saver for all BlueHost users as we don’t have to go to BlueHost support chat or phone support every time we have problems with the web host. I have checked several BlueHost video tutorials when I was writing this review and found them quite helpful.
Bluehost offers 24/7 telephone support, online web chat, a ticket-based system, and a knowledgebase.
I tested Bluehost’s web chat on a weekday morning to ask about the differences between regular Web hosting and optimized WordPress hosting. The rep quickly fielded my question. I called the phone support system later that day to ask a representative about how to import my WordPress.com setup into Bluehost. A person came to my assistance in just a few seconds, and the representative walked me through the steps. That’s another win for Bluehost support.
The promotional price is for the first term only and plans renew at the regular rate. Your satisfaction is their top priority and we’re confident you’ll be pleased with our services. Still, if you try them and decide your account does not sufficiently meet your needs, you can cancel within 30 days for a BlueHost refund as follows.
- If you cancel within 30 days you receive a full refund on your best clouding hosting service only. The money-back guarantee does not apply to most add-on products, such as domains, given the unique nature of their costs.
- If you cancel within 30 days and your plan includes a free domain, Bluehost will deduct a non-refundable domain fee of 15.99 from your refund. This not only covers our costs, but ensures that you won’t lose your domain name. You may transfer it to another registrar or simply point it elsewhere at your convenience. Please note newly registered domains cannot be transferred to another registrar during the first 60 days of the registration period. You retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period unless you renew it.
- Bluehost does not offer any refunds for cancellations that occur after 30 days.
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 different aspects of it. 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 add-on domains for their most basic plan. But that probably wouldn’t concern the target audience (new bloggers / webmasters who’re just starting their web journeys) much.
Despite some negative feedback, the majority of customers are quite happy with Bluehost’s services. There is a reason that this company has such a strong reputation over 20 years of online business!
In summation of this BlueHost review, it is literally one of the top few that I would recommend to anyone and everyone. If you’re looking for a web host with a rock-solid reputation, then look no further than Bluehost.
With cheap and scalable plans you can customize your solution, and in just a couple of moments, you’ll be up and running. Bluehost is an absolute knockout of a web hosting provider – if you can grab the occasional sale, it’s an absolute no-brainer!
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