BlueHost stands the test of time, a popular choice for marketers and those new to online marketing. With a smooth design, quality service, bright fun branding and simplicity BlueHost has a the makings of a hosting powerhouse.
They claim to be the best hosting on the planet, we take a look at what they do to qualify for that claim to fame.
Our Detailed Review of BlueHost
Designed with brains and brawn. BlueHost claims they have the solution to making hosting simple.
About The Company
BlueHost is a big name is hosting, mentioned by marketers like Pat Flynn and Ryan Moran. Having a very reputable corporate image and clean design BlueHost stands out as a professional brand in the hosting market place. I will say this multiple times during this review "I am impressed with the marketing of BlueHost".
Founded in 2003 and hailing from Utah, BlueHost is part of the Endurance International Group or EIG for short. EIG is a large collective of brands that empower the small business owner. In 2010 BlueHost was added to the EIG family, along with many other hosting providers.
The company began to provide small business owners with focused business website hosting services. The features and functions BlueHost provides, even on the most basic shared hosting plan customers will see benefits of its use. Super fast hosting and completely scalable, they have made the service as newbie friendly as possible with 1 click installs.
Who Would Use BlueHost?
Narrowing down the appeal of BlueHost to a particular demographic, doesn't do the hosting provider any justice. BlueHost is one of the best all rounder in the hosting space. Perfect for those starting their first blog, small to medium businesses and ecommerce and larger businesses on a the more robust hosting plans.
Simple To Use, Neat User Interface
Jam packed with features
Signing up grants you $150 in advertising vouchers
Part of a holding corporation EIG
Security features are not as in-depth as led to believe
Speed, higher plans return the best speed benefits
Website migration assistance is expensive
Advertised as the number 1 hosting available online. It's not
Features and Functions
The main dashboard control display is a simplistic visual array of colorful icon buttons. I mean no offense with this comment, but a simpleton could navigate and setup a website using the BlueHost dashboard.
- Add - Ons
Backups - Daily, weekly or monthly auto scheduled backups. simple one click of a button backups.
Domains - Options include tracking, updating, transferring and purchasing domains. Domain manager function is robust but simple to navigate, complete administrative ability.
Email Accounts - Ability to create and manage an unlimited number of accounts. The advanced features allow for creating rules, filters and forwarding. Everything you need for email management.
CPanel - Simple UI design allows for even the newest of CPanel users to navigate the control panel with ease. Enhanced display, simple management of all features and functions. Full control over your account.
Resource Protection - Reducing the risk of website downtime, uses auto detect to find resource heavy domains in your network and temporarily assigns these domains to an isolated system. This sounds amazing but does it really exist.
Scalability - As your business grows you will need to scale up your hosting solution. BlueHost makes it simple with the click of a button.
Access Control - Control account access levels, segment user access permissions, seperate billing, account and CPanel access by authorised levels.
CDN - CloudFlare content delivery network built in with no additional coding required.
Multi Server Management - Running more than one account, you can utilise multiple servers. This also works if running shared hosting while also running a VPS account.
Advanced Capabilities - Add Secure Shell Access (SSH), web based managers for files, databases, log files and email accounts. Customized .htaccess files, php.ini files and cron jobs.
Domain Privacy - Protect against identity theft, spam and being bombarded by 20 thousand "rank 1st on google" emails by using domain privacy.
Sitelock - Using top of the range security systems to reduce vulnerabilities and threats before they happen.
Site Backup Pro - Comprehensive backup manager, recover full sites or specific items.
SSL Certificates - Encrypted connection between your server and your visitor to provide a secure channel for exchanging information.
Spam Protection - Google powered, Postini allows for custom filters to scan unwanted and potentially harmful emails before they get to the inbox, option to quarantine unknown emails until manually approved.
Unique IPS - Allows for advanced control of ports to protect your accounts by using secure IP's *websites only.
With BlueHost, you have access to "unlimited" domains hosted on your subscription plan. The $3.95 monthly plan allows for an unlimited number of domains to be hosted. Be warned that you should look at your monthly resources used to see if your resources used are going to extend past the subscribed amount.
A sneaky sales tactic used by some hosting companies is to flaunt the unlimited domains, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited everything.
The benefit of hosting additional domains in your BlueHost account is that you have one access point. Your domains are all shown in the one account and you don't have to pay for seperate hosting for each domain. This feature has saved me thousands of dollars by not having to pay for each seperate domains hosting.
BlueHost has a soft spot of education users, there is a slight discount available for students and faculty. There are several reason why Im impressed with BlueHosts marketing. Im impressed by their marketing more, than I am with the actual features and functions of the hosting service
another bonus within the unlimited allowances is email addresses. Most hosting plans come with unlimited websites, unlimited parked and sub domains. Lower priced plans will not come with unlimited space but do have unmetered bandwidth available.
with all things BlueHost the higher the plan the better the features you get allocated. BlueHost allows higher priced subscriptions to run with unlimited and unmetered email accounts and storage. Important for businesses that need multiple email addresses and cross communication.
BlueHost does provide a very fast hosting solution, but it could be better. The statement here is yes the BlueHost service is fast but, you want to be using the mid and top tier plans to really see the benefits of BlueHost. I am saying BlueHost provides a fast hosting solution, but if you want blazing speeds then the higher priced plans will allow for improved speed.
We tested a standard WordPress installation with 8 pages and using images and video embeds. The result was a 8ms load time, faster than a snap of the fingers. Ecommerce websites and those running extensive applications and resource heavy items may experience different results.
running a larger website with hundreds of pages, resource heavy CMS look at combining BlueHost with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to reduce the load. If you are doing a lot of business online, and serving your website to people located mainly in the US consider using a CDN. This is not required but would compliment your website if it is running slow. The BlueHost central servers can be enough for most websites but you should assess your needs and work out if you need to run a CDN.
I like to see a hosting provider have a transparent window in regards to uptime. There are a handful of providers that do have a built in uptime monitoring page, BlueHost has a uptime status page for your reference. This gives me a sense of relief knowing that are publicly putting their product quality on show with no curtains. BlueHost says that they can provide a 99.98% uptime, read Security section below for more information on how they can do this.
There is a dedicated page for monitoring the BlueHost servers, this is kind of a standard feature for most hosting companies but it is a useful resource to supply customers with.
BlueHost provides Free SSL Certificates. A secure alternative for eCommerce sites and adds a boost in conversion rate for your website just by having secure browsing enabled. Consumers want to know they are safe online especially when it comes to exchanging bank details. The free SSL certificate is available for selected plans, these will not be the shared basic accounts.
BlueHost has a website migration service for $149.99. This is aimed at new customers and those not technical enough to migrate a website.
If you are already a customer of BlueHost the migration process is much more simplified and almost automated for you. The fees don't apply and you can get it done in 20 minutes, maybe longer if you need more technical assistance.
Security & Backups
Website backups are scheduled once daily, can be set to weekly and monthly. The simplicity of scheduling when you want to have your websites backed up is a very nice addition to have.
One of the negatives about BlueHost is the parent company seems to have had a slight issue with hackers targeting their hosting solutions. BlueHost has reported far less problems with these hacks than their umbrella groups other acquisitions. BlueHost uses a tier network to increase security of the network and reduce significant threats to customers.
Using a complete layer connection BlueHosts enabled a more secure service for all customers. The deploy a tier class setup across the network, what this means is that they can see the bigger picture for how their systems are performing. Monitoring the uptime and redundancy capabilities of the network hardware, allowing for a more controlled service provision and less downtime. BlueHost claims that by utilizing this system, they can estimate the downtime and uptime of your website. According to BlueHost your website will incur a downtime of around 1.6 hours per year and they can deliver a uptime of 99.98%.
Nice stats and if using their tier system means we the customer get these kind of results then yes BlueHost you keep on using that system.
The benefits of this protective barrier type of setup is in theory very secure. I like it and I think it should be utilized more large scale. I don't have blind faith in hosting providers to protect my assets. Always secure your websites and ask questions to your hosting provider if you are suspect of their security procedures. Can you recover your data if they are compromised? How fast will your website be back operating if the hosting company suffers an attack? valuable business questions to ask.
The word on BlueHost security is that it is far more secure than other EIG controlled hosting providers. Follow best practises and monitor your network and your website will run as normal. The integrity of any EIG controlled hosting provider should be monitored regularly for peace of mind.
Based in Utah and part of the EIG group. BlueHost runs a second not so advertised data centre in central Mumbai located in India. BlueHost also has two divisional data centres set up in China although they are significantly smaller in scale to the US and India based data centres.
BlueHost Data Centres:
There has been some concern over hosting companies owned by the Endurance Group. The concerns stem from lower quality customer service, infrastructure and security. The concern is warranted but it should be taken on a case by case approach. If you run your website like a legitimate business, you would surely have processes and supporting plans for online security.
The BlueHost brand in my mind, has not been given the same treatment as other hosting providers. One such hosting provider that suffered the EIG treatment was popular hosting brand HostGator, notorious for poor customer service. The advice I have is try BlueHost and see for yourself, having used many EIG owned brands HostGator is not in the same league as BlueHost with every facet of hosting.
The data centres used by BlueHost, are still very much advanced compared to many hosting providers online. The key with BlueHost is that they are a very successful brand with clever marketing, their infrastructure is effective at getting the results that your plan allows you to have. The BlueHost network is powerful and robust, they use
There is enough support to fix any problem that you will encounter. BlueHost boasts a support method for every channel. Support is provided in a multitude of ways with the focus being on ticket submission. You will have the option to contact BlueHost by live chat, email and knowledge base.
Ive contacted support 3 times with relatively easy to solve problems. What i can tell you is that each time I was greeted and then passed on to another team member. I believe this happens so that BlueHost can try to lower the support times of initial contact and it worked my wait time ranged from 4 minutes to 8 minutes. The first contact representative was processing my request, and sending me to another team member who was then able to help solve my issue.
BlueHost customer support team was equipped to answer my problems within two touch points. I found them to be pleasant and knowledgable, I cant complain about customer service. I also understand why they process requests as they do, being one of the most popular hosting companies they must get a metric tonne of requests daily.
The options to submit your support request are very easy to navigate and you have options. When it comes to problem solving and hosting its always good to have options. I prefer live chat and telephone contact for support issues.
One gripe I do have is having my customer service representative chew gum while on the phone. Its a small price to pay for problem solving my hosting issues. The representatives are very helpful and this was an isolated incident, BlueHost has very friendly and helpful support people.
Pricing and Subscriptions
BlueHost has several hosting variations available. When you need hosting the bulk of the hosting companies segment their services into Shared, dedicated, VPS, cloud and WordPress. BlueHost has a plan available that will work with most peoples budget and requirements.
Shared Hosting Plans1
100 MB per account
1 Spam Expert
1 Spam Expert
1 Domain Privacy
The VPS plans at BlueHost range between $19.99 and $59.99 monthly subscription. The lower plan is the basic and the higher plan is the more powerful, select a plan that is right for you.
The ability to upgrade your account at any time, is made very simple for you and can be completed in two clicks of your mouse. Scalability is important for businesses that are in the growth stage.
Money Back Guarantee
Offering a money back guarantee is a smart business move, BlueHost offers a 30 day money back offer. I find if a company is confident in their ability to service their core products the money back guarantees are 60-120 day range for cancellations and refunds.
Taking nothing away from BlueHost and how they manage their refund process. The 30 days isn't really long enough to fully measure their quality as a hosting provider.
In 30 days you would of only just had time to analyze a month of data. Measuring week by week with website traffic, uptime, load speeds and customer service is not quite enough time to get a clear picture. In my opinion this is not a strong sign of quality service.
On The Web
BlueHost has a solid reputation online, they have one heck of a smooth marketing campaign. Endorsed by many heavyweights in the online marketing industry. BlueHost seems to be like a nightclub where all the cool people hang out, but you cant get the same results that they boast of having.
BlueHost has developed an app for startups, small to medium business owners. The app is focused on helping provide business tips to new business owners. There is also a section where digital marketing tips are provided, for businesses becoming familiar with online marketing.
The app is labelled as "Business on Tapp" a place for business owners to find guidance. I like that BlueHost is going one step further to pursue the trust of business owners, very smart marketing indeed. I find businesses that at least attempt to help empower their customers use their products are worth following. They may not get it right the first time they offer the extra help but through testing and their commitment to refine their processes a smart company will review and refine what works and what does not, this provides the second and third releases with a more useable system.
Alternatives To BlueHost
My go to for business websites and websites that make money, WPEngine is hands down the best overall provider of hosting.
Read our Review on WPEngine | Visit WP Engine
Our number #1 recommended hosting provider is SiteGround a solid provider of quality hosting services.
Read our Review on SiteGround | Visit SiteGround
"BlueHost is the nightclub that you want to be at, but have to pay the bouncer to listen to the music"
In conclusion BlueHost is a very professional provider of hosting. They said they were designed with brains and brawn but possibly left some of the brawn sitting on the bench. BlueHost is pay to play, you get a very basic package on the shared plans.
All said and done, BlueHost is a very solid hosting provider and considered the best all rounder. I would not go as far as saying they are the best all rounder, they have some very good elements but need more work for that title.
They have extremely clever marketers working on their brand, I feel that there was many smoke and mirrors marketing techniques applied to get me to subscribe to a monthly plan. BlueHost is a smart choice for anyone marketing online, the product is almost as good as advertised.
Picking the right plan, I think if you want the best overall plan with BlueHost go with the Plus monthly plan.