Bluehost Review

 Harper Wilson | Updated: June 6, 2020

Bluehost is one of the most frequently recommended web hosts on the market today. It boasts admirable uptime numbers, competitive speed and good security measures with features such as SSL certificates.

One of Bluehost's chief attractions is that it is so easy to use. Even beginners who do not have experience as the administrator of a website will be able to manage the host's straightforward yet robust cPanel. Plus, Bluehost customer service is pretty reliable, proving that they are prepared to help when the going gets tough.

This doesn't mean that Bluehost is only recommended for novice webmasters. Plenty of advanced features for more seasoned users make Bluehost a natural choice when you need sophisticated web hosting abilities.

Further, don't overlook the fact that Bluehost is one of only three web hosts that is an official partner of WordPress. If you're a WordPress fanatic, then you probably can't go wrong with a managed Bluehost WordPress hosting package.

Unfortunately, Bluehost isn't perfect. Its parent company is Endurance International Group, a company that doesn't have the most trustworthy privacy policy. In addition, there's no free website migration, and the price hike between the introductory period and the regular cost is fairly steep.

Those minor drawbacks do not deter many users who find that the company's reliable web hosting solutions are exactly what they need.

This Bluehost review highlights the things to love and the things to be wary of if you choose this host.

What is Bluehost?

Founder Matt Heaton first conceptualized Bluehost in 1996. Other projects distracted him for a few years before Bluehost was officially launched in 2003. Endurance International Group acquired the company in 2010.

Today, the web host is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and it operates its servers in an in-house facility in nearby Provo. Other Endurance International Group web hosts also have servers in this facility where more than 700 employees work.

About Bluehost

While Bluehost takes important steps to protect the privacy and security of the websites that it hosts, the same cannot necessarily be said of their customer data. Potential customers are encouraged to review the Privacy Notice at parent company Endurance International Group to determine if this policy is acceptable.

Essentially, privacy advocates take issue with Endurance's practice of collecting and selling all user data to vendors such as Bing, Verizon, Facebook, Google Ads, WPBeginner and many others. This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but if you are wary of having your personal data used as a commodity, this may not be the web host for you.

Still, Bluehost shows that it's pretty dedicated to helping people craft a better website. As an example, consider the Bluetopia event that the company sponsored over three days in New York City.

Bluetopia event
Bluetopia in New York from May 2 - May 4

The Bluetopia experience was designed so that people could immerse themselves in the digital world in a tangible way. Divided into three sections, each of which represented a different type of website, visitors were able to wander through Bluetopia while using iPads to enhance the experience. The company's Blue Flash experts were on hand to field questions and help customers to start building their own unique websites.

It's events like these that can convince the public that their web host cares about their experience with building and maintaining a website.

Bluehost's Fantastic Uptime Numbers

It's impossible to overstate the importance of uptime when considering a web host. In fact, it's probably the top metric that must be considered before you commit yourself to a one-, two- or three-year contract.

The good news in this Bluehost review is that data from our server shows they have consistent uptime; maintaining a whopping 99.99% uptime over an entire month.

Bluehost's uptime performance is roughly 5x the average uptime that prevailing hosting providers in the industry have for the same period!

Bluehost Uptime

Curiously, and unlike many of its competitors, Bluehost offers no uptime guarantee. This means that there is no compensation if the servers go down and take your website with them.

While it appears like a significant oversight not to offer a guarantee, Bluehost seems to have reliable servers and genuinely competitive uptime, so this may not be a critical problem.

Bluehost Delivers Speed

Another metric at which Bluehost excels is speed. Next to uptime, speed is the most critical factor that contributes to either make or break a website. Visitors expect websites to load within a fraction of a second. If your website takes too long to load, that visitor is off and running to your competition.

Bluehost Speed
Credit: Bitcatcha | Bluehost's Speed

Fortunately, the average load time for a Bluehost website is 406 milliseconds. Keep in mind that these numbers can vary depending upon numerous factors. These include caching, visitor distance from servers, images and videos on the website and server maintenance. Still, Bluehost's speed ranks it among the top web hosts.

Servers and Server Location

Along with other web hosts in Endurance International Group's portfolio, Bluehost's servers are located in a proprietary facility in Provo, Utah. They include PHP 7, NGINX+ caching and HTTP/2, which makes them competitive with other web host servers.

However, this is another place where Bluehost is distinct from some of its competitors. On its website, it makes no note of the physical and electronic safeguards that are in place at the server facility to guarantee the security of the premises.

This isn't necessarily a huge concern, but if you're really worried about maintaining near-perfect uptime numbers, then you might want to know more about how the servers are protected in the real world.

Bluehost Doesn't Put Limits on Bandwidth

Storage and bandwidth are unmetered on all Bluehost plans. This means that your website can have as many visitors as it can handle without the host putting restrictions on it. This is excellent news, particularly if you are building a new website and have no idea how many visitors you may have.

Bluehost unlimited bandwidth terms
Bluehost unlimited disk space terms
Bandwidth and disk space disclosure

Furthermore, that unmetered bandwidth ensures that you can upload as much content to your website as you like without penalty. That's especially valuable when making major updates and improvements.

Bluehost Customer Service Is Reliable

Whether you are a novice or seasoned webmaster, you will occasionally have questions that require an answer from an expert. Fortunately, Bluehost customer service is there for you in numerous ways.

With a knowledge base, live chat, email ticket system and phone support, you'll be able to get expert advice whenever you need it and however it's convenient for you.

Bluehost Support Resources

Bluehost's knowledgebase is well planned and accessible, offering step-by-step instructions and screenshots to walk you through even the most complex operations. Written in plain language, users don't have to be an expert to get familiar with the features and settings that will make their website more responsive, secure and functional.

Nonetheless, there may come a time when the knowledge base isn't sufficient to answer all of your questions. That's when you might turn to live chat.

Bluehost Customer Support

Testing revealed that Bluehost's customer service via live chat was prompt and helpful. It's not really designed for the more complex questions, which is why the email ticketing system is handy too.

The ticketing system proved just as helpful as the Bluehost chat. Of course, it does require some more time while your email is processed and answered, but that's appropriate and expected with more complicated issues.

When Bluehost chat and the email ticket system won't do, users are free to call phone support. Once again, testing the system revealed quick responses and friendly personnel who seemed more than happy to lend a helping hand.

Bluehost Features You Need to Know About

Before you sign up for a HostPapa login, it's wise to know what you're getting. This deeper exploration of some of HostPapa's features will help you get to know this web host better.

You Can Get a Bluehost Domain

All Bluehost plans feature a free domain for the first year.

Bluehost provides an easy-to-use domain name lookup tool so that you can find the perfect address for your new website. If you like, you may enable auto-renewal to ensure that your domain name never accidentally expires.

free domain name with bluehost

Additionally, Bluehost uses a domain lock feature that prevents the unauthorized transfer of your domain. If you ever want to transfer your domain to a new owner, you can just as easily unlock it.

Build a Website with Weebly

While Bluehost is most frequently used with WordPress, users are not locked into this content management system. You can choose to use the free Weebly website builder that comes with your plan. Weebly is a robust and highly recommended website builder that uses drag-and-drop functionality to make it possible for anyone to quickly and easily build a sophisticated site.

Keep in mind that the free version of Weebly is fairly limited. Increased functions are available if you upgrade to a paid version. You may not need this extra expense, but it's worth knowing that it's available.

Apps and Integrations

Thousands of apps and integrations like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, e-commerce capabilities and much more are available with Bluehost. People who want to use mailing lists, image galleries and survey software, you're definitely in luck.

Bluehost also works for you if you want to run an e-commerce website. Options include Agora Shopping Cart, Zen Cart and Cube Cart.

Bluehost Keeps Your Website Secure

One thing that this web host takes seriously is website security. Several safeguarding features are either included in Bluehost plans or are available at an extra cost. One of these features is SSL Certificates, which are included in every package.

SSL certificates encrypt website data and ensure that connections between your website and its visitors are secure. Accordingly, e-commerce transactions are private and trustworthy as is the sharing of all personal information.

Additionally, every Bluehost domain is equipped with Cloudflare CDN. A Content Delivery Network like Cloudflare CDN makes websites load faster and adds another layer of safety for the website and the people who visit it. Cloudflare CDN even makes websites more stable so that they enjoy better uptime.

Bluehost further offers a domain privacy feature to protect owners from phishing attacks. This feature effectively replaces the website owner's actual information with proxy data that protects their identity and other personal facts.

SiteLock similarly is available to guard against malware attacks. Think of it as an antivirus that constantly scans your website for malware and removes it when it's found.

Further, Bluehost provides access to CodeGuard with daily backups to restore the website to its previous version if it gets hacked along with Google's Postini to prevent spam from infiltrating your Bluehost email.

Special Tools for WordPress Users

If you love WordPress, then you'll definitely want to know about Bluehost's Blue Sky initiative. Essentially, this program teams up webmasters with WordPress experts who can help them to make the most of their website. It's just another example of the close Bluehost WordPress connection.

Blue Sky plans start at $29 per month. For the price, customers get expert advice five days per week from 8:30 to 5:00, mountain time. Higher tiers of the Blue Sky service cost more per month but also have enhanced features such as live marketing optimization, Bluehost SEO Tools, VideoPlay Button, Constant Contact email marketing and more.

Blue Sky is designed to help save you time by providing quick, easy answers and guidance when you need it. It can help you grow and maximize your website in a fraction of the time. However, it can cost as much as $99 per month, so be aware of this before you sign up.

If you're new to WordPress and need an introduction, then you may want to get the Bluehost Blueprint. It's a comprehensive electronic user manual for WordPress. Inside, you'll find everything you need to know to build, customize and publish your website.

Migrating to a Bluehost Domain

If you already have a website and you're ready to sign up for a Bluehost domain, then it's critical that you are aware that this host does not offer a free website transfer. This runs contrary to much of the competition, which frequently offers free transfers sort of as a welcome gift to new customers.

migrating a website to bluehost

Instead, Bluehost charges you a $149.99 fee for migrating as many as five websites, all related database files and 20 email accounts. This may be a reasonable price for people who have spent a great deal of time, money and effort building a successful website, especially if they really dislike their current host.

However, the price is high enough that you may want to consider whether or not it's worth it to move your website.

Exploring Bluehost Plans and Pricing

Like many web hosting companies, Bluehost provides a variety of packages. Also as is common in the industry, these packages are steeply discounted for an introductory period of one, two or three years. To get the lowest possible per-month price, it's necessary to sign up for the maximum term.

Bluehost pricing for shared web hosting is competitive, particularly in the initial period.

However, it's worth noting that there is a significant price jump when the renewal period rolls around. This is standard in the industry, but it's wise to keep these higher costs in mind as the renewal draws near.

Bluehost shared hosting plans
Bluehost shared hosting plans

Taking a closer look at Bluehost pricing reveals that some of its best features, including its robust security measures, aren't available at the lowest tier. The Bluehost webmail feature doesn't make an appearance in that package either. Instead, if you want a Bluehost email that has your unique domain in the address, you'll have to spring at least for
Bluehost's Plus plan.

Keeping Bluehost webmail outside of the Basic plan probably isn't much of an inconvenience for someone who is running a personal website. However, if you're selling online or have multiple employees, then you're certain to need Bluehost email.

Bluehost does provide a 30-day, money-back guarantee. This doesn't mean that it's a "no-questions-asked" policy. The refund is only applied to web hosting costs, so you'll have to do without a refund of the money you paid for adds-ons, apps and additional services. You won't get a refund on your free domain, either. You'll pay a $15.99 fee instead.

If you do sign up for Bluehost, be wary as you navigate the check-out process, especially if you're opting for the Basic package. Bluehost pre-selects many options on the checkout pages, and this is designed to get you to sign up for a more expensive package.

Hosting Solutions by Bluehost

While this Bluehost review has focused largely on the company's Shared hosting, this is not the only option.

Bluehost further offers Virtual Private Server, or VPS, hosting. These more robust hosting packages feature RAM and CPU that are allotted specifically to each account.

Other bluehost hosting solutions
Bluehost VPS hosting plans

If you want something with more power, Bluehost still has you covered. Offering dedicated hosting packages with huge amounts of power and root access control without costing an arm and a leg.

New Bluehost Dedicated Hosting Packages
Bluehost Dedicated Hosting Plans

One thing's for sure, if you you're looking for flexibility, affordability, reliability and raw power, the sheer abundance of Bluehost's different hosting packages will give you the hosting solution that you need.

Final Thoughts

Anyone who has been wondering, "What is Bluehost?" now has all of the data they need to make a wise purchasing decision. Bluehost has its limitations as far as the privacy policy is concerned. Other possible detractions include the paid website migrations and the lack of certain essential features in the Basic package.

Nonetheless, Bluehost protects its customers' websites with robust security measures. They also deliver incredible uptime and competitive speed. Coupled with their close partnership with WordPress, this is a reliable web host that can meet the needs of many small- to medium-sized businesses.

Having said all that, the Nomad Intel fully recommends Bluehost.

Check out our Siteground Review for another hosting powerhouse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bluehost does enable customers to buy domains through their website. All Bluehost plans come with a free domain for one year.

Alternatively, you may register a domain through Bluehost for a fee without signing up for their web hosting services.