In today’s digital age, having a reliable and high-performing web hosting provider is essential for any online business or personal website. With numerous options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. That’s where Bluehost comes in.
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It’s almost been a year since I first started hosting my WordPress websites in Bluehost, So I thought this might be a good time to write a Bluehost hosting review. But before you go deep into this review I’ve left a Quick overview of my take on Bluehost Shared hosting in case you’re in a hurry.
As one of the most popular web hosting providers in the industry, Bluehost offers a variety of hosting plans to suit the needs of any website owner.
However, In this article, I will provide an in-depth review of Bluehost’s shared hosting plan, share my experience with the platform, and outline the key features and benefits of using Bluehost.
Whether you’re a blogger, small business owner, or entrepreneur, this review will help you make an informed decision when choosing a web hosting provider for your website.
Bluehost Shared Hosting Review
To begin with, Bluehost is a platform that provides WordPress web hosting services to its customers since 2003 and it is also one of the biggest three web hosting companies that WordPress itself recommends.
And if you are looking for its capability as a host, Bluehost hosts around 2 million domains or you can say websites around the world. Which is one of the most when it comes to website hosting.
Now, let’s have a look at the shared hosting plans Bluehost offers and then we will move on to the features and my experience and thoughts on those features followed by the other general hosting plans you can consider.
Shared Hosting Plans offered by Bluehost
The Bluehost shared hosting comes with four different types of plans you can choose from, Basic, Plus, Choice Plus and Pro. here’s how the hierarchy of these plans works:
Bluehost shared hosting pricing plans
The pricing plan for the shared hosting is a bit tricky, you get the below rate when you opt for the 12-month plan, and it will be a bit higher for the 36-month plan. And when you reach the renewal stage of your plan the pricing moves to the regular plan.
- Basic: $2.95 per month.
- Plus: $5.45 per month.
- Choice Plus: $5.45 per month.
- Online Store: $9.95 per month.
Now, before we move further, just to clear things out and let you take the right decision on whether shared hosting is right for you, here’s how shared hosting works:
Shared hosting is the cheapest option available when it comes to hosting a website in Bluehost or any other WordPress hosting provider. In this hosting environment, you will be sharing a single server space with other websites.
It is cheap but a little bit slower and comes with limited options when it comes to optimizing your server compared to other higher-end hosting plans.
Plus you don’t have any control over the other users that are sharing the server with your website which leads to slower performance of your website sometimes, however, it’s good enough to host a small blog or a business website.
Features I took into Consideration to Make This Review
Here are the key features I took into consideration to make this review as much as resourceful and helpful to you:
- Performance and Speed: We’ll look at if the server is good and the website is fast enough by testing the website performance in GT Metrix and Pagespeed insights.
- Reliability and uptime: The website needs to be up and running all the time with at least an uptime of 99.9%.
- Onboarding and Ease of Use: We’ll also have a look at the onboarding process and how intuitive the backend dashboard is.
- Customer Support: How good is customer support? If you run into any issues with your web hosting, you want to be able to get help quickly. Look for a provider with good customer support that’s available 24/7.
- Security features: Check if there are good security measures in place to protect your website and its data. We’ll look at things like SSL certificates, daily backups, and other security features available.
- Cost: We’ll also consider the cost of the web hosting plan. Look for a provider that offers a good balance of features and costs that meets your budget.
- Scalability: Lastly, Your website should be able to grow with your business. And that’s why we’ll also look at if we can easily upgrade to higher plans as the website traffic increases.
Now let’s move on…
Features and Performance Tests – [Bluehost shared hosting plan]
Performance and Speed:
For better performance of your website, Bluehost offers a free version of Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN). But how good is it? Let’s check it out.
Speed Test GTMetrix:
The speed test on GTMetrix came with a bit lower performance of Grade B and a performance of 71% while the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) was 2.5s and the full load time of 2.7 seconds which is not so bad at all.
And, The LCP can be made better if I optimize the featured image because it’s happening because of its size.
Speed Test Pagespeed Insights:
- Performance of 99 for mobile devices, and
- 100 for web-based devices.
So the website speed for shared hosting is pretty decent in Bluehost as you can see in the screenshot above. I tested the speed both on GTMetrix and PageSpeed Insights for my test website. The scores look good for a site that hasn’t been optimized for speed yet.
And apart from that, I am using 25 twenty-five plugins on my website, but it hasn’t affected my website speed much. I don’t know how many plugins there are but I think 25 is more in the case of a simple blogging website.
Reliability and uptime:
One thing I didn’t mind doing before when I started out on my website is tracking the server uptime of Bluehost. And I only started it just recently. So I will be sharing the server stats from the time I started tracking it.
Update: This one is still from my previous record as I haven’t recorded the uptime after this test.
But this test says all about the server uptime that Bluehost promises which is 99.9% uptime. And this is where I’m a bit sceptical about the performance.
However, we’ll also take into consideration that, I remember during this testing period, I was also having some unexpected downtime, I thought it was having to do something with the server but when checked it was happening because of some misconfiguration from my side.
Apart from that, there were times when I got some downtimes at Bluehost, some just for a few seconds to minutes, and the others one was because of the server maintenance initiated by the Bluehost team, for which I was mailed and I think that’s understandable.
So, the overall server uptime stands at 99.8%
Onboarding and Ease of Use:
About the onboarding process, I really liked how simple Bluehost makes it for new website builders, as Bluehost was the first hosting where I built my website and I didn’t have any problems at all with getting started.
If it’s also the first time you’re thinking of setting up your website, here’s a post that I shared as a How to guide on setting up your website on Bluehost.
Now, a simple rundown of which is where the Bluehost dashboard:
Bluehost Dashboard Guide
- My Sites: All your sites in one place.
- Marketplace: You can purchase extra services from here which includes security features, Marketing tools, Add-ons, Additional hosting package and PLugins etc.
- Email and Office: Here you can buy professional email for your domain, add Google workspace or create an email using your domain in the Cpanel.
- Domain: This section is where you manage all your domains, sub-domains and DNS settings etc.
- Advanced: This tab leads you to the CPanel where you can work on your database, install web apps and more (Not advisable to try if you’re not experienced and have no knowledge about it).
The login option to your WordPress dashboard is on the right side. You can log in directly without using your admin username and password.
I found the admin dashboard to be simple, easy to use and user-friendly.
Bluehost boasts of having 24/7 customer support with technical experts and I can testify to that as I had been in trouble with my website quite a few times, 3 times to be precise.
And all three times their customer support was prompt in response but not as fast as the guys I experienced with WPX (Where I host my main website), another web hosting company with excellent customer support and reaction time.
However, I found their support once, to be a bit inexperienced technically, but I’ll still rate it as good because my problem was solved and they were quite polite.
When it comes to security measures, Bluehost offers things like SSL certificates, free automatic daily malware scans and daily backups in the Pro plan which is the costliest of all the shared hosting plans.
The other three, Basic, Plus and Choice Plus get the first two which are the SSL and malware scan but don’t get the daily backup.
Additional Add Ons
All the things that I mentioned above like malware scans etc. come under the purview of add-ons that Bluehost offers with each plan. The other add-on that you get is a free domain for a period of one year included with free SSL and domain privacy.
The advantage of choosing your hosting with Bluehost is that you get a dot com free domain name for the first year if available. You pay for it starting the next year.
Which I think is a great benefit for someone new who’s just starting their first website and is low on budget.
About scalability, Bluehost lets you easily upgrade your plan without any hassle, you can get it done anytime if you’re upgrading your hosting inside of the shared hosting plans available.
They do change the server with each plan but everything is automated so you won’t have to worry about your site breaking up.
However, if you want to upgrade to a managed or a VPS hosting (I’ll talk about that later) you’ll need to contact their customer support which I think will be necessary at any other hosting provider.
Apart from that, Bluehost gives you an unlimited visit on every shared hosting plan and I don’t think as a new website you will be needing to upgrade your server soon enough.
It will take months if not years for your website to reach a traffic level where your shared server will need an upgrade.
Lastly, when it comes to the cost and the features a web hosting service could offer, there’s no hosting service that I could find more reliable, trustworthy and with excellent performance.
Now, let’s move on to the pros and cons
Pros and Cons of Using Bluehost
- Affordable pricing
- Reliable uptime
- User-friendly interface
- Average customer support.
- I liked the free domain Add-on.
- Intuitive user interface with easy-to-use dashboard (Even for beginners).
- With the base (Basic) plan you can just host a single website.
- Customer support can be slow at times.
- The domain verification sometimes takes time.
- The staging environment freezes sometimes.
My Experience with Bluehost
Setting up an account
Setting up my account and WordPress website was easy, even as a first-time user. However, it’s important to have a basic understanding of hosting before getting started.
Navigating the dashboard
Navigating the dashboard is straightforward and user-friendly.
For WordPress installation, I opted for the manual process, which was simple to follow. Alternatively, beginners may find the website builder option useful.
Using Bluehost customer support
The Bluehost customer support was generally good, with the exception of one instance where I encountered an inexperienced representative. However, they were able to resolve the issue. The waiting time for support was reasonable, usually ranging from 1 to 5 minutes.
Problems I had with Bluehost
The problems I had with Bluehost were with the contact verification process for my domains and when I used the staging environment feature once.
Now if you’re not sure what a staging environment in web hosting is, it refers to a testing or development platform within a hosting that is used to make changes, updates, and modifications to a website before they are applied to the live or production environment.
The staging environment is an exact replica of the live website and allows website owners, developers, and designers to test new features, updates, themes, plugins, and other changes without affecting the live website’s functionality or performance.
Domain verification problem
The first one I had this problem with is with one of my domains where I tried multiple times to verify it by clicking the link I receive on my email but to no avail.
However, when I contacted Bluehost support, the support team was quick in response and sorted my problem out very quickly.
Maintenance in the staging mode
Regarding the staging process, I was making changes to my website while in staging mode. These changes included modifying the theme, redesigning pages, and addressing other issues that typically arise after a theme change.
Once I finished the staging process, I launched the updated website, but it immediately experienced technical difficulties. To resolve the issue, I had to contact customer support and work with them to restore my website using available backups.
Unfortunately, the backups only contained data up to one week prior to the update, so I had to recreate lost content and make additional updates.
Although I thought I followed the steps correctly during the staging process, it’s possible that I overlooked something and contributed to the issue.
That’s it with the problems I faced with Bluehost, now here’s my overall experience and rating.
My Overall experience and Rating:
My take on the hosting Bluehost provides is positive. First of all the recommendation tag that it has got from WordPress itself shows its dominance in the hosting market.
The other positive thing about it is the competitive pricing options in its various hosting plans which are very cheap. Also, the one-click WordPress install option with the drag-and-drop website builder might be very helpful for new website owners.
When it comes to the speed, I think the site speed is decent enough for shared hosting which is between 2 to 3 seconds. And I also think the speed can be optimized for better performance if other things like image, Html and CSS are maintained.
I’m not using any speed optimization plugin as of now, I think the test results would have been a bit better if I’d optimized the site using speed plugins like 10Web booster or WP Rocket.
I have also found their customer service to be quick and very responsive, and if you are someone looking to start a blog or a business website, Bluehost might be the perfect option for you.
Now that you have my review, I’ll leave an additional section below where you’ll find all the other types of plans Bluehost offers. It might as well be of some help to you.
Other Hosting Plans By Bluehost
If you would like to have a little bit of control over your server, VPS (Virtual private server) will be a good option.
Just like shared hosting, you will be sharing your server with others in this type of plan too, however, you will be given a portion of fixed space from that server for your website.
This gives you the option to control much of your server, and how it works with improved speed for your website.
You will require a bit of technical knowledge while installing WordPress in a VPS. Or maybe a quick search often on Google or YouTube but it’s doable.
VPS Hosting Plans
- Standard: $18.99/Month
- Enhanced: $29.99/Month
- Premium: $59.99/Month
The pricing is a little bit higher than the shared hosting plan, but if you want control over your server and a much better speed, VPS will be a good option for you.
Now dedicated servers are costly, and most probably good for large businesses and organizations. In this plan, the owner has the freedom to manage their own servers with no limitations.
With this plan, you have the full power to customize your server as your will. You can even create a VPS or shared hosting within the server to host your multiple websites.
Dedicated Hosting Plan
- Standard: $79.99/Month
- Enhanced: $99.99/Month
- Premium: $119.99/Month
The pricing is much higher in this plan as a single server will solely be dedicated to your websites.
If you are new to WordPress or maybe you just want to concentrate on your blog or business and leave the maintenance side of the website and server out, this service will be the best one for you.
It’s also good for beginners who don’t know much about websites and WordPress installation, you get all the support while building your website from Bluehost experts.
This plan Is available for a single website and comes with offers like multi-layered caching, SSL, site staging and free website migration. You also get free server and WordPress updates and optimization which leads to a clean server and enhanced speed.
You can opt for this plan if you are all in for a single website and if you want less about your website maintenance and also a reliable performance for your website.
Bluehost managed hosting pricing plan
- Build: $19.95/Month
- Grow: $29.95/Month
- Scale: $49.95/Month
These prices are offered for an upfront cost of 12 months, the price increases if you go for the 36-month plan, it would be wise for you to go for the 12-month plan in case you opt for the hosting.
The other thing is that after your hosting plan’s term is completed, Bluehost charges the usual rate for the hosting which will be a bit higher than when you first purchase any hosting plan.
In my case, I am just hosting my blog websites, so I am on a shared hosting plan. Also, the traffic of my website is pretty low, so the starter plan is enough to run my website as of now.
If you are looking forward to building an eCommerce store, Bluehost does also have an option for an eCommerce website plan.
This plan comes with 24/7 support to build your store, their team will help you with setting up your store, and adding your products while also helping you with customizing your website and utilizing the important plugins for an eCommerce website.
The premium plan also comes with additional features like Jetpack premium installed, booking and appointment scheduling, subscriptions and tax management.
If you are someone just starting out and have a little knowledge about setting up a WordPress website and especially an eCommerce store, this plan might be the perfect one for you.
The eCommerce option has two plans available, standard and premium. For someone who’s just starting out, I think you can go for the standard plan and scale it up later.
E-commerce hosting pricing plans
- Standard: $12.95
- Premium: $32.95
In my view, I think the eCommerce plan is good when compared to other eCommerce website platforms, for example, Shopify has plans starting with $29 but it has limited options for the business owners in the table.
And if you go for bigger plans it goes from $79 to up to $299 per month, not to mention the vast array of possibilities and options that comes with self-hosted websites in comparison to Shopify.
This service was recently added to Bluehost’s list of products. The website builder helps you build your website really quickly with an AI-driven guide. The option is available with any plan you choose.
I believe a single product must not be your last step especially when it comes to important things like choosing a hosting. So here is a list of Bluehost alternatives you can check out.
- IPage (Shared hosting): A sister product of Bluehost functioning under the same company.
- Namecheap (Shared & Managed Hosting): Namecheap is also a great alternative to Bluehost. It’s cheap and has got lots of hosting options.
- WPX (Managed hosting): One of the best Customer support I’ve come across in the web hosting space and has great features too.
- 10Web (Automated WordPress hosting and page speed plugin): If you want to go for managed WordPress hosting, 10Web would be one of those I’d request you to check out.
- WPEngine (Managed hosting): This one made it to my alternative list because of its awesome customer support and amazing themes that come with their hosting.
In conclusion, my experience with Bluehost has been overwhelmingly positive. Their user-friendly interface, affordable pricing, and reliable customer support make them an excellent choice for web hosting. Especially for beginners.
To recap, Bluehost offers a range of features including easy WordPress installation, automatic updates, and a variety of hosting options to suit your needs. Their pricing is competitive and affordable, making them a great choice for those on a budget.
I would highly recommend Bluehost to anyone looking for a reliable and affordable web hosting provider. They are good overall in terms of functionality, ease of use, and customer support.
In final thoughts, if you are looking for a web hosting provider, Bluehost should definitely be on your list of considerations. They are an excellent option for both beginners and experienced users alike, with a range of features and competitive pricing.
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