Did you know that Bluehost is home to more than 2 million websites?
That’s a lot.
Having such a vast customer base is enough evidence that they are doing something right. Their uptime is reliable, server speeds are good, and all of their hosting plans pack useful features for beginners and intermediates alike.
Bluehost also has helpful 24/7 live chat and phone support, and you can safely give them a try with their 30-day money-back guarantee.
However, there are a few downsides, too, like higher renewal prices and some restrictions on the cheapest plan.
We base all our reviews solely on real data like uptime, speed, and cost.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Bluehost and find out if they can provide the high-quality website hosting service that you need.
Pros of Using Bluehost Hosting
Bluehost has been around since 2003, so they have plenty of experience to know what makes a hosting service excellent.
Their introductory prices are affordable, customer support is easy to reach and helpful, and you get many useful features to go with your hosting plan. In addition, they provide reliable uptime and fast server speeds.
Let’s take a more detailed look at Bluehost’s strong points.
1. Good Uptime (99.95%)
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. So, consistent uptime should be one of your top priorities when looking at hosting services.
After reviewing many web hosts, our benchmark for “good” uptime is between 99.91% and 99.93%. So ideally, we don’t want to see anything less than that.
The good news is that Bluehost easily surpasses this benchmark, comfortably keeping our test site live for 99.95% of the time during the last 6 months. The total downtime was a bit less than two and a half hours. There were some poor months (May 2022) where the uptime was below average but overall Bluehost kept our site up and running without any bigger outages.
Here’s the breakdown of Bluehost’s average uptime in the past 6 months:
- June 2022: 99.98%
- May 2022: 99.81%
- April 2022: 99.92%
- March 2022:100%
- February 2022:99.99%
- January 2022:99.99%
2. Decent Page Loading Speed (638 ms)
Research conducted by Google found:
“As page load time goes from 1s to 3s the probability of bounce increases 32%.”
This translates to your visitors being 32% more likely to leave your site. And it only gets worse with longer page load times.
Furthermore, Google is more geared towards mobile-first indexing. This means that your site also needs to be optimized for mobile users, or otherwise, you’re losing traffic.
Either way, a slow website almost always means less traffic and, therefore, lower sales numbers. So right after uptime, page loading time is the second most important thing that can make or break your website’s success.
Our test site with Bluehost has offered an average load speed of 638 ms over the past half a year. This isn’t the fastest speed we’ve seen among other hosts, but it’s still good enough to keep visitors on your site. Moreover, they have been improving their loading time month to month.
3. Low Introductory Pricing ($2.75/mo)
Bluehost’s default pricing starts at $3.95/month, which is an introductory price from the regular $9.99/month rate.
However, the good news is that we’ve been able to work out a deal with Bluehost for our readers that takes the starting price down even further to $2.75/month.
For this price, you get pretty much everything you need for a single website. That includes 50 GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and more. So you’d be getting a pretty good value for the price, plus their consistent uptime and page loading speeds.
Still, the cheapest plan does have a few restrictions that we’re not entirely happy with – but more about this later on.
4. Packed with Security Options and Features
Since Bluehost is one of the “cheapest” options on the market, we are pleased to see that they don’t cut too many corners on critical security options and features.
Already with the cheapest plan, Bluehost provides your site with a free SSL certificate. You also get access to great features like a free CDN (Cloudflare), a one-click WordPress install, multiple CMS integrations, and additional eCommerce plugins.
Higher-tier plans come with the Spam Experts add-on, domain privacy protection, and server backups. Also, you get more advanced security features such as SiteLock, which helps prevent malware attacks.
Codeguard is another form of protection, which provides daily backups so you can roll back previous versions of a site, should it get hacked.
Postini, from Google, is the final security tool worth noting. It provides spam protection for your email, so anything suspicious is prevented from getting into your inbox.
5. Easy to Use for Beginners
Some of the web hosts we’ve seen can be considered the best only if you’re an advanced user. But, Bluehost is great for beginners, too.
Their customer portal is intuitive and clean (although, we have experienced it is a bit slow at times). You can access your site under “My Sites” and get add-ons from the Marketplace. Everything is made very simple and the client area is very beginner-friendly.
If you don’t want to use WordPress, you can also begin creating a website with a website builder tool (such as Weebly or Drupal). You can then customize a template by just dragging and dropping elements on your page.
Bluehost also has features for advanced users who want to use their code to create their site.
6. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all of its hosting plans.
You can try out the service to see their performance for yourself and ask for a refund if you’re not completely satisfied. We have a few words of caution, though.
According to Bluehost’s terms, here’s what does and doesn’t fall under that guarantee:
- 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.
It’s not precisely a no-questions-asked policy like we’ve seen from some hosts. So make sure you agree with these points before signing up.
7. 24/7 Customer Support
Bluehost provides 24/7 customer support over live chat, phone, and an email ticketing system. On top of that, they have a vast knowledge base packed with answers to frequent questions and useful information.
We went ahead and tested their live chat option, and the experience was overall pleasant.
To start their live chat, you have to verify yourself by giving your first and last name, and then choose a topic you want to discuss. For our case it is pre-sales. We asked a simple question about site migrations and were first offered knowledge base articles by the bot. In case you can’t find the answer to your question, you can start a chat with a customer support rep.
Our conversation with the customer support rep was professional and all our questions were answered in a timely manner.
8. One Free WordPress Site Transfer
If you already have a site and want to switch to Bluehost’s hosting plan, then this perk is for you.
Bluehost only recently started offering a free site transfer with all of their plans.
There are a couple of terms to this free service, though. First, the site needs to be a WordPress site. And secondly, you have to request the migration within the first 30 days after signing up with a hosting plan.
All you need to do is contact their customer support team and follow their directions. The migration usually takes around 1-3 business days to complete.
If you don’t have a WordPress website or have more than one then it costs $149.99. This gets you up to 5 website migrations and 20 email account migrations.
Tip: It’s a good idea to check with their customer support whether your site built by any other builder than WordPress is supported by their servers for migration. For example, we know that sites built with Wix are not eligible for transfer.
9. The Official WordPress.org Recommended Host
WordPress is the most widely used website platform on the market – ~42% of the entire Internet is built with WordPress.
It’s safe to say that they have an authoritative word when it comes to hosting solutions. WordPress only officially recommends three hosting partners to use with a WordPress site:
Of course, you can use almost any web hosting provider to create a WordPress site. But the fact that Bluehost is one of the few officially recognized partners is encouraging.
Cons of Using Bluehost Hosting
Bluehost has some great perks going for their hosting service, but there are a couple of hiccups too.
Even though we’re happy to see such low introductory prices, the renewal rates can get a bit steep.
Let’s take a closer look at these downsides.
1. Higher Renewal Rates
The best way to get the lowest possible price for hosting is to prepay for one, two, or even three years upfront. The average monthly price decreases, but you’re also committing hundreds of dollars in advance.
Rest assured, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee to get a refund if you don’t like their service. However, once the initial plan duration is over, you can expect a steep rise in the rates.
Let’s say you commit to the cheapest plan for three years, which is $2.75/month. After the initial period, the next period’s renewal price starts at $8.99/month with a three-year commitment.
In this case, the subsequent period is three times more expensive than the first.
2. Cheapest Plan Restrictions
Bluehost’s cheapest shared hosting plan comes with some heavy restrictions.
You can only have a single website, the storage space is limited and the only security feature you get is a free SSL certificate. So, if you have multiple sites or want more security, you have to go for at least the next pricing tier, which is twice as expensive.
Sadly, such restrictions on the cheapest plan are quite common in the web hosting industry. The companies compete over who can lure the customers in with the lowest price, only to upsell a decent hosting service at a higher price.
- 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.