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Founded in 1996, Bluehost is now among the top 20 largest web hosts in the world. Shared hosting is its most popular product because the company didn’t begin offering VPS and dedicated server hosting until the middle of 2013. From cloud hosting and a respectable script library to daily backups and its lack of notable downtimes, Bluehost is a solid choice of web hosting companies.
- Extensive help and support
- Unbeatable features
- Massive script library
- Daily backups
- Uncompetitive pricing and contract lengths
- Potentially restrictive hosting packages
Hosting Package: (Rating: 6/10)
Bluehost’s Starter package comes with one free domain registration and hosting. It doesn’t come with a free dedicated IP or SSL certificate, but these add-ons are available. MySQL databases are restricted to 20 on Starter accounts but “unlimited” on Pro and Plus accounts. Every account has a hard limit on database tables.
Although their storage capacities on Plus and Pro accounts are technically unlimited, Bluehost notes that Plus accounts shouldn’t exceed 50,000 files. They generally don’t take action until a Starter or Plus account reaches 200,000 inodes (the total file count of everything associated with a Bluehost account, including email). Pro accounts have a limit of 300,000 files, and the company doesn’t mention having the same flexibility.
Overall, Bluehost offers standard hosting services; however, instead of relying solely on a Fair Use policy, the company is forthcoming about what they consider acceptable use of their services. Some customers might feel restricted by these limits.
BlueHost offers dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress hosting and shared hosting plans.
Features: (Rating: 10/10)
Unlike some cheaper hosting companies, Bluehost has a comprehensive script library. Customers can easily build a forum, social network apps, or support ticket help desks. WordPress, shopping carts, and poll/survey software are also readily available with 1-click installs. This is merely a few of Bluehost’s features. Their support for CGI/databases and multimedia features alone surpass many a competitor.
Just some of the features you get with BlueHost plans include unmetered bandwidth, storage space and websites (on some plans), excess amounts of RAM, marketing offer credits, email accounts, one-click resource scaling, local caching, spam experts, private domain, SSL-certificate, site backup and restore (on higher end plans only), CDN, cPanel, 24/7 support and even WP management for WordPress sites.
Security: (Rating: 8/10)
Bluehost offers daily backups and secured FTP access without charge. Every account has a free shared SSL certificate, but they're only useable with dedicated IPs. Pro accounts come with one dedicated IP. Additional IPs, or IPs for Starter and Plus accounts, cost $3.33/month.
Like all web hosting companies, Bluehost has experienced downtime in the past. The company promises to end contracts without penalty if customers wish to cancel due to server downtime. Since Bluehost customers are required to pay in full upfront at the start of their contracts, the company issues a pro-rated refund for the remaining months. Unfortunately, canceling is the only recourse customers have when experiencing downtime with Bluehost. The company has a firm policy of not giving pro-rated refunds; for example, if the server is down for 8 hours, customers will not be refunded for that time.
Ease of Use: (Rating: 10/10)
With .htaccess, SSH, and secured FTP, Bluehost has all the standard ways to upload a website. Although past customers report a weak Control Panel experience, Bluehost has worked hard to improve it. Today, Bluehost is one of the friendliest toward new webmasters. They offer simple explanations for most functions of their website.
Help and Support: (Rating: 8/10)
Bluehost customers report hit or miss help and support. The company offers support through the usual channels: live chat, phone, and email. The complaints generally stem from server issues, which support staff can only do so much about.
For simpler issues that support can easily aid with, Bluehost receives rave reviews. The company seems more than willing to handhold new customers until they gain a better grasp of how hosting works, how to manage their website, and even how to switch to and from Bluehost.
Starter Plan: One domain, five parked domains, and 25 subdomains with 100 GB disk space. 500 MB for email storage, limited to 100 accounts. Starting at $4.95/month
Plus Plan: Unlimited domains, email accounts, disk space, and bandwidth. Free global CDN and one free SpamExpert. Starting at $6.95/month.
Pro Plan: Same as Plus Plan, but comes with two free SpamExperts, one SSL, a dedicated IP, domain privacy for one domain, Site Backup Pro, and prioritized site performance. Starting at $14.95/month.
All Bluehost accounts are paid in full in 12 month increments. Prices shown are for 3 year hosting terms. Bluehost customers can cancel without penalty for downtime issues. With no contracts, BlueHost will provide a pro-rated refund for the remainder of your hosting term if you cancel early.
Starting Monthly Price: $4.95
# of Domains: 1 to Unlimited
Money Back Guarantee: AnyTime
Disk Space: 100 GB - Unlimited
# of MySQL Databases: 20 - Unlimited
Data Backups: Daily
Unique IP Address
# of Email Addresses: 100 - Unlimited
Email Storage: 100 GB - Unlimited
1-Click App Installs
Custom Cron Jobs
Dedicated SSL Certificate
Shared SSL Certificates
Help and Support
What we Like About BlueHost
Extensive Help and Support: Bluehost goes above and beyond technical support. Their support staff also play a role similar to small business coaches. They help new customers design, optimize, and tweak their websites to perfection. Most of this is free, but the company also offers 1-on-1 training for $29.99/45 minutes. These training sessions cover WordPress, building good website content, a guided cPanel tour, and much more.
Unbeatable Features: Bluehost boasts a website builder, site statistics, 1-click installs, and custom cron jobs. They also have hotlink and spam protection, customizable error pages, and four different shopping carts for the e-commerce businessperson who needs options. Bluehost also has support for three email providers in case gmail isn’t your preference. From Moodle to Drupal to help ticket systems, Bluehost has it covered.
Massive Script Library: The company’s script library includes forum, social networking, and project management scripts. Many of these scripts are simple to install, requiring only a few seconds of your time.
Daily Backups: Bluehost offers daily, weekly, or monthly backups. Users can recover single or multiple files with one click.
NO Contracts – Cancel at any time: With Bluehost you can cancel at any time and get a pro-rated refund for the remainder of your hosting term. You are not locked in to a hosting company for a specified time period.
What we Don't Like About BlueHost
Uncompetitive Pricing and Contract Lengths: Bluehost isn’t the most competitive company considering their prices and contract lengths. Their Starter package is $4.95 when purchasing 36 months upfront ($178 without addons). For 12 months, the price is $84.
Potentially Restrictive Hosting Packages: Some hosting companies offer more disk space, domains, and fewer fine print details than Bluehost for less money and no contract. Granted, Bluehost says customers can cancel any time to receive a refund of their unused months.
Who is This Web Host Best Suited For?
BlueHost offers simple domain packages and hosting options, but they are still competitive nonetheless. If you want a company that keeps it simple, operates solely in-house and offers one-click installations, then BlueHost may be the online solution you've been looking for. However, if you expect to have sudden spikes in your server load, the limited capacity of BlueHost may make your site less optimal – so we recommend paying more for a more complex host in that instance.
In general, people aren’t signing up for Bluehost because of their prices. Instead, customers are attracted to the company’s specialized support and impressive list of features. It also helps that Bluehost has never experienced notable downtimes across the board. If you need help with SEO optimization or want a comprehensive script and template library to set up a website, Bluehost is the way to go.