Like most people who actually research things before buying, I was pretty suspicious when I saw so much positive praise for Bluehost Hosting across the internet and amongst all of the supposedly “independent” website hosting guides out there.
After all, when people only say good things, you kind of have to suspect it’s only because they’re either being paid to and/or someone at the company has scandalous pictures of them that they’re blackmailing to send to loved ones…
But after going through an unfortunate breakup with my former longtime shared hosting company relationship (A2 Hosting), I eventually gave Bluehost hosting a chance and it immediately became true love at first website.
“Hosting Startup Pro Tip: Shared hosting is usually a great option for websites who don’t usually exceed more than 1,000 total daily visitors and who aren’t likely to have substantial daily traffic spikes from going viral, being in the news, or major ad campaigns.”
Bluehost Shared Hosting Real World Review:
There are a number of important things to consider when selecting a shared hosting plan and I’ll run through them in hopefully the least boring way possible.
While you’re always going to sacrifice a little performance by saving money with having shared hosting (which means your website(s) share resources with other websites that aren’t yours), Bluehost’s shared hosting performance (99.98% uptime and average load time of 581ms) has been more than acceptable for the majority of small-to-medium traffic websites that I create for myself or small business clients.
Since Bluehost includes unlimited websites in all but their cheapest of shared hosting plans, I’m able to host as many websites as I can think of (I’m currently at 12), without having to pay for additional web hosting accounts.
While competitive pricing and solid performance are the most important things for my shared hosting provider to have, customer service and technical support are a close second, and Bluehost Hosting has some of the quickest available and most knowledgeable team members I’ve dealt with in any hosting company (usually being available in under 2 minutes via chat).
With a free domain name included with every shared web hosting purchase and Let’s Encrypt SSLs included for each of your websites, Bluehost’s entire setup process, from purchase to taking your website live to the internet, is one of the most user-friendly and convenient that I’ve seen.
But, if I’m being honest, my favorite part about using Bluehost Hosting is their extremely clean and simple-to-use dashboard interface that makes it super easy to setup your new websites and change settings for existing ones.
This is especially helpful for people who are newer at website setup and development, as they make it pretty straightforward on each of the steps you’ll do as you create your new websites.
(And, even if you aren’t new, I think we can all appreciate a good looking dashboard that doesn’t look like it’s from the late 90’s!)
Bluehost Hosting Pros:
- Bluehost offers impressive discounts when you first sign up, which will include the entire amount of time that you initially purchase (12 – 36 months).
- As your site grows, Bluehost makes it easy for you to simply upgrade to a more powerful package with the performance to match your website’s needs.
- Bluehost’s servers use SSD Storage (Solid State Drives) and include unlimited storage on all but the cheapest of their Shared Hosting Plans (which still includes an impressive 50GB of storage).
- Your hosting plan will included unmetered bandwidth, meaning Bluehost won’t place any limits on the amount of website traffic that your site(s) can receive each month.
- More than acceptable uptime. Most servers will have some occasional times where your website isn’t accessible — usually only a handful of minutes per month in total, and Bluehost’s overall uptime has been some of the best we’ve reviewed.
Bluehost Hosting Cons:
- Unfortunately for those who are on a small starting budget, you’re required to prepay for at least a year of hosting as Bluehost doesn’t currently offer a monthly pricing tier.
- While Bluehost offered steep discounts when you originally sign up, you’ll be renewing at normal pricing, which can be as high as double what you originally paid. In all fairness, “double” can be as little as $7.95 per month, but it’s worth keeping in mind that your rates will go up at some point.
- You’ll encounter a lot of “upsells” when signing up for new Bluehost hosting service (additional backups, CDN, etc), which, depending on if you choose any, can add up quick if you’re not careful.
If you have a significant amount of website visitors outside of the North America, they may experience slightly slower loading times since all of Bluehost’s servers are in the United States.
When Bluehost Hosting Is A GREAT Idea:
If your website averages less than 1,500 daily visitors (….which is actually the vast majority of websites on the internet), then a smart way to save money as you grow is to use one of Bluehost Hosting’s Shared Hosting Plans, which means your website will “share” server resources with other websites in order to have the cheaper price.
And if you’re like most people, one website usually leads to several other website ideas, so it’s always a good idea to have at least one shared hosting plan around that allows you unlimited websites within the plan that you’re already paying for.
(Real World Translation: Having a shared hosting plan that includes unlimited websites will help you avoid paying for a bunch of random hosting accounts for all of the business ideas you came up with while drunk at the bar).
As your website(s) grow and need more resources, Bluehost can help you easily graduate them into more appropriate hosting plans that the company offers.
When You Should Consider OTHER Options Than Bluehost Hosting:
Depending on the kind of website you’re building, Bluehost isn’t always the best option.
For those who want Managed WordPress, you’re better off using WPEngine since they offer substantially better load times, security, cloud hosting, and backup features for the same starting price of $29.99 per month.
If you’re building an e-commerce site and aren’t committed to Woocommerce, we’re actually huge fans of Shopify because of their stability and massive amount of available third party apps.
And if you’re expecting that your website will have a substantial amount of traffic for any reason (like going viral, being in the news, massive ad campaigns, etc), you’ll definitely want to avoid any kind of shared hosting plan (regardless of what company you use).
$ 3.95Per Month
- 1 Website
- 50 GB SSD Storage
- Custom Themes
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Free Domain – 1 year
- Free CDN Included
- Free SSL Certificate
PlusBest For New Sites!
$ 5.95Per Month
- Unlimited Websites
- Unlimited SSD Storage
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Free Domain – 1 year
- Free CDN Included
- Free SSL Certificate
- Free Office 365 – 30 days
Bluehost Shared Hosting Overview:
Money Back Guarantee: Bluehost offers a “no questions asked” 30 Day Money Back Guarantee for all web hosting plans. If you received a free domain, they’ll subtract $12.99 from your refund.
Customer & Technical Support: Both are available by chat or telephone 24/7 and typically have a very reasonable wait time (less than a few minutes) before you get to speak to them.
Domain Names w/ Shared Hosting: All new shared hosting plans come with a free domain name for the first year. But there’s a catch, as they charge $12.99 renewal each year after, which is a little pricier than most other registrars (GoDaddy is $14.99, Name.com is $10.99).
Included Email: Bluehost’s cheapest shared hosting plan includes a total of five (5) email addresses, while all other plans allow for unlimited email addresses.
File Storage: The majority of Bluehost’s plans don’t limit the total amount of storage (the basic plan includes 50GB), though you’ll want to consider the total number of files allowed in each plan as they are limited to 200,000 – 300,000, depending on which shared hosting plan you select.
Applications: Bluehost’s “one click installer” makes it easy to immediately install the most popular applications, like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento.
Databases: Bluehost includes a maximum database size of 5GB, with most plans allowing for unlimited databases (basic plan includes one).
Backups: All plans include daily, weekly, and monthly website backups. For an additional fee, you can upgrade to a more robust and frequently updated backup plan.
Security Features: While not included in their basic plans, you’ll have the option to upgrade to additional security and backup features that will help protect your website(s) and provide a sense of security.
FTP & SFTP: Your primary account will have access to SFTP, while all others will be limited to FTP. Server Locations: Bluehost currently has server and data centers in the United States.
Our Bluehost Hosting Review was originally written on January 15th, 2020 by Jack Colton.