Bluehost Reviewby Jerlynn
“While Bluehost is not necessarily our first choice when it comes to web hosting providers, it is still a decent option.”
If this is not your first foray into web hosting — or if you simply spend a lot of time online — you likely already know about Bluehost.
Or, at least, you have heard of it.
One of the biggest names in the web hosting world, Bluehost was founded by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in Utah in 2003.
Today, it powers over 2 million websites all over the world.
Besides that, it also has a spot in the coveted list of WordPress-approved providers.
In fact, it is one of only 3 web hosting providers on the list.
The other 2 providers are SiteGround and DreamHost.
According to WordPress, these are some of the best hosts around.
A pertinent piece of information to note here is that Bluehost is now a subsidiary of Endurance International Group (EIG).
EIG also owns HostGator, Domain.com, and HostMonster.
Now, we are not one to jump on the bashing bandwagon. But, we are also not one to bury our heads in the sand. We only do that at the beach.
One of the largest technology companies in the world, EIG’s reputation is somewhat … less than stellar.
There are complaints about lack of transparency, problems with billings, and issues with customer support.
So, how does Bluehost fare?
Is it as problematic as its parent company?
Or are its fame and popularity deserved?
In that case, how do that fame and popularity really translate into a practical experience?
Well, let’s find out.
Today, we are going to explore everything Bluehost.
1. Server Response Time
According to Google, you should aim for a server response speed of under 200 ms.
Unfortunately, in the three tests, we ran via Sitespeed.me, Bluehost fell short of 200 ms.
The tests returned the results of 407 ms, 464 ms, and 494 ms.
While the results are not terrible, they could do with some serious improvement.
As a benchmark, an average response time of below 180 ms is wonderful.
Anything above that to 450 ms is still excellent. But, anything north of 450 ms is less than ideal.
And if you see the result hovering around 1s, there are some serious problems there.
In Bluehost’s case, its results are pretty much average, at best.
A2 hosting has the fastest response time from our monitoring.
2. Server Locations
With Bluehost, you do not have the option to choose your server location.
Which is strange, to say the least. Most web hosting providers allow their users to pick their server locations.
For example, SiteGround allows you to choose between its 5 data centers all around the world when you are signing up.
This is because the closer the server location is to your visitors, the better the response time will be.
And who knows best where your visitors are located?
You, of course.
Hence, this lack of option when it comes to server location can potentially affect the performance of your site.
Which is a shame because nobody likes a slow website.
Let’s start with the bad news: Bluehost does not have an uptime guarantee.
That is rather alarming. Not to mention, a red flag — a big fat one.
This means that Bluehost will not offer any compensation for prolonged or unexpected downtime.
Again, this is something most big and established providers offer.
Bluehost, on the other hand, only has somewhat broad statements on its website.
According to the provider, most issues are resolved in 15 minutes and more serious ones may require more than 15 minutes.
Apparently, these issues could take anywhere from several hours to a day. Um, yeah, a little more specifics would be nice.
Now, as for the good news, over a period of 5 months, we observed that Bluehost presents an excellent uptime of 99.99%.
Of course, you want a result as close to 100% as possible for uptime. Thus, Bluehost’s 99.99% is definitely one for the win column.
So, while there is no explicit uptime guarantee, it appears that Bluehost still delivers when it comes to uptime.
Bluehost provides the typical support options if you need to get in touch with customer support: 24/7 live chat and phone call, email, and ticketing system.
There are also, of course, its knowledge base articles.
However, bear in mind that there are certain caveats when it comes to the support options.
For example, Bluehost’s email support is only for media and press, affiliate programs, and legal inquiries.
You will have a hard time finding its email address for things like technical support or billing.
Now, let’s first explore its live chat option further.
We got in touch with its customer support live chat when we had trouble installing WordPress on our site.
This should be an easy fix from their end.
However, while the agents — yes, plural “agents” — who helped us were very polite, it took multiple agents over the course of 4 conversations to solve our issue.
What should be resolved in minutes took 2 days instead.
Not exactly the stellar customer support we had hoped for.
Its knowledge base articles, on the other hand, are quite comprehensive.
You have articles covering things like FAQs, troubleshooting, tutorials, policy, and more.
As we all know, this is a pretty common marketing strategy.
Most web hosting providers will include something for “free” to attract more users.
For Bluehost, all of its plans come with free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate which helps to secure the connection between your website and your visitors.
This should help with safeguarding your visitors’ personal information and other sensitive data.
Apart from that, all of the plans also include at least one domain.
Scaling up, the plans also come with unlimited domains and park domains, spam experts, and free 30 days use of Office 365 Mailbox.
Sadly for our wallet, Bluehost does not offer more in terms of freebies.
Anything else and you will have to fork out a pretty penny for it.
Everything in the dashboard is neatly arranged on the left sidebar.
In the center of the page, you will see a basic to-do list on creating a website. While not exactly extensive, the list does come in useful in ensuring that you do not skip vital steps.
As for Bluehost’s dashboard functionalities, there are quite a few things you can do with it.
You can manage things like themes, plugins, updates, backups, security, and performance.
If you need more control and flexibility, Bluehost utilizes the familiar cPanel — but with little tweaks to it.
Here, it reflects Bluehost’s color scheme. Rather than cPanel’s default dark color scheme, Bluehost’s cPanel has taken on Bluehost’s bright blue color.
As a whole, we have no complaints about Bluehost’s dashboard or its cPanel.
Bluehost’s prices are pretty affordable.
For shared hosting, it offers 4 plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. All of these plans come with unmetered bandwidth and free SSL certificates.
Bluehost’s entry plan, Basic, is priced at $2.95 per month.
This plan is perfect if you are running small blogs or need a website for personal projects. It comes with a website and domain, 50 GB SSD storage, 5 parked domains, and 25 subdomains.
Next up are Plus and Choice Plus at $5.45 per month.
For marketing purposes, Bluehost opts to offer 2 plans at exactly the same price.
Both the plans come with unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, unlimited domains, unlimited parked domains, unlimited sub-domains, spam experts, and access to 30 days of free Office 365 Mailbox.
The only differences between the two plans are that Choice Plus includes CodeGuard backup and domain privacy registration.
Oh, and also its renewal price is much higher.
Finally, there is Bluehost’s most expensive shared hosting plan, Pro. Pro costs $13.95 per month.
It pretty much comes with the same features and tools as Choice Plus.
The only significant addition is higher performance (according to Bluehost) and a dedicated IP.
Now, these additions do not seem like all that much especially if you consider that Pro is more than twice the price of Choice Plus.
Another thing worth highlighting is that Bluehost’s renewal prices are extremely high.
We know that this is yet another common trick of the industry to lure people in.
But, in Bluehost’s case, the difference between the introductory prices and the renewal prices seems unusually big.
For example, Choice Plus costs $5.45 per month now but its renewal price is at $14.99 per month.
Another example, Pro currently costs $13.95 per month but when you renew it, you will have to shell out $23.99 per month.
However, the web hosting provider does at least offer the standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
This guarantee does not extend to domain registrations fees, set up fees, or add-ons. Which is pretty standard.
But still, nothing beats Hostinger from our observation in terms of pricing and offers.
While Bluehost is not necessarily our first choice when it comes to web-hosting providers, it is still a decent option.
Especially since its introductory prices make the plans pretty affordable.
Our only hope is that Bluehost improves on its customer support and renewal prices.
If you are looking for stellar customer support from a web hosting provider, make sure you check out Siteground.