Bluehost Review: Is It The Best Option For Your Site?

Bluehost is part of a massive corporation, Endurance International Group (EiG), which owns several hosting providers (eg HostGator or iPage) and has a colossal market share.

They obviously have the financial muscle to spend millions on marketing. That probably accounts for the huge amount of (too) positive Bluehost reviews online.

I’ve read several of those reviews and most of them talk about great support (really?), good prices and scalability options. But in those reviews, there is very little about its actual flaws.

But does this mean that Bluehost is a reliable service and a good match for your project?

Take a look at this Bluehost video-review if you don’t feel like reading the whole article:

Let’s take a look under the hood of Bluehost and give their (shared) hosting an extensive test.

What products does Bluehost offer?

This hosting provider based in the USA. The US offers a ton of different hosting-related products, from domain names to dedicated servers. Let me quickly review your great catalog.

  • Domain Names – Although they are not the cheapest domain name registrar, you can purchase domain names directly from Bluehost. They start at $17.99 a year on renewal. An all-time personal favorite for domain names is  Namecheap , as it’s cheaper and easier to manage.
  • Shared Hosting : Unless you’re managing a really big project or need to geek around with your server setup, a shared hosting plan is the one to consider. Think of this like sharing a flat; you will share a server (flat), but you will have your own hosting space (room), cheaper but noisier. At Bluehost their shared prices range from $8.99 to $25.99 per month.
  • WordPress Hosting : Bluehost has a hosting service focused on WordPress. It is optimized for WordPress sites and comes with various perks like a staging area. It’s a bit pricey as it starts at $29.99 per month, more expensive than SiteGround.
  • VPS : A virtual private server is something between shared and dedicated hosting (read below). You will be sharing a server with other clients, but there is a (virtual) wall between their projects and yours. This type of hosting is recommended for those who need special server configurations (for example, using a certain programming language). VPS hosting plans range from $29.99 to $119.99 per month at Bluehost.
  • Dedicated Servers – Suitable for those websites that generate tons of traffic and/or need a high performance server. You can think of this as having your own house; no neighbors or roommates to bother you. Dedicated hosting plans start at $124.99 per month.

These are the most important hosting-related products offered by Bluehost. I was surprised to see that they don’t have cloud hosting services.

Note:  This Bluehost review focuses on their shared hosting services, so from now on I will share my own experience and knowledge about this Bluehost product.

Bluehost Pricing: What Do Their Shared Plans Include?

The first thing to note about Bluehost pricing is that they are hugely discounted for the first year. Keep in mind that the renewal costs are much higher and that they can postpone. Here I mention both prices so you can compare them and decide.

basic Plus ChoicePlus For
Websites 1 website Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
allowed domains one Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Support Phone and live chat Phone and live chat Phone and live chat Phone and live chat
Performance Standard Standard Standard High
Max. number of files 200,000 200,000 200,000 300,000
Storage 50GB Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Base Max.DB size 20 5GB Unlimited 5GB Unlimited 5GB Unlimited 5GB
backup basic basic Advanced * (for 1 year) Advanced *
First term prices $2.95/month $5.45/month $5.45/month $13.95/month
renewal price $8.99/month $12.99/month $16.99/month $25.99/month

Integrated system that allows you to create and restore your own backups.

The basic plan  is good if you are only going to have 1 website and 50 GB of storage is enough for your project.

With the Plus plan,  you can have as many websites as you need and the storage is unmetered. It also comes with unlimited email accounts.

If you get the Choice Plus package , you’ll  receive the Plus features, plus free domain privacy and better backup options.

The Pro level  is suitable for those looking for higher performance. The maximum files you can host with this plan jump from 200,000 to 300,000.

Bluehost Pros & Cons , advantages and disadvantages

Let me quickly tell you what I think are the most important advantages and disadvantages of bluehost shared hosting:

pros cons
The first term is cheap: But be aware of the renewal fees, they are high. Solid uptime – Generally speaking, my uptime tests with Bluehost have always been good. But unlike other providers, they do not offer an SLA ( Service Level Agreement) that guarantees a minimum uptime. Generous Storage – Their shared hosting plans offer plenty of storage. Unmetered Bandwidth : Bluehost will not limit the traffic your websites can get. Constant sales : Your system is full of continuous sales pitches, which gets annoying. Speed ​​could be better: In our tests, Bluehost’s speed didn’t exactly come out at the top of the chart. However, it is not terrible. US Servers Only – Unlike other providers, you only have the option to host your site in the US. If your readers come from other regions, they might face a (very) slow site. Poor backup options – Entry-level plans don’t have a good backup solution.

When to use Bluehost Hosting?

If you’re looking to host a small to medium project  (eg a bakery site) and you’re not going to get tons of traffic,  Bluehost may be an acceptable alternative.

But being 100% honest, I think there are similar alternatives with better prices.

When not to use Bluehost?

If you are managing a project that depends on your website and you need the best performance, Bluehost is not for you. Look for alternatives if you own an e-commerce, are a successful blogger, or provide software as a service.

Bluehost shared hosting will not be for those looking for advanced hosting features  like staging areas or Git repositories.

Bluehost Shared Hosting Details

Criterion Classification Comments
Easy to use The registration process is somewhat challenging, I find its way non-intuitive and designed to trick you into buying expensive extras you won’t need. Its back-end was redesigned in 2019, it is an easy to use cPanel custom version. But I really don’t like their constant proposal banners, popups and sneaky links. Once you’re used to all of this, it’s fine.
domain names Bluehost includes a free domain name registration for the first year. After that, you will have to pay $17.99  per year. Please note that your basic plan only allows you to have 1 site (domain name), the other plans offer unlimited sites (domains).
Email Classification With the Basic level, you are limited to 5 email accounts, unlimited with higher plans. Please note that you will not be able to send more than 500 emails per hour – it is not suitable for mass emailing.
Bases With the Basic package, you can create up to 20 databases. Unlimited databases with the other plans. There is a generous maximum database size of 5 GB.
Applications Using its automatic installer, you can add all kinds of software: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, and many more. Keep in mind that your WordPress installer will add some plugins that you most likely don’t want, make sure to remove them after installation.
Web space limit The basic shared plan comes with 50 GB of web space, not bad at all. The other plans do not measure storage. However, the maximum number of files allowed is 200,000 (300,000 files for the Pro plan).
Monthly data transfer limit Not measured.
FTP accounts and secure FTP Create as many FTP accounts as you like. However, note that SFTP (secure) is only allowed with the primary FTP account.
server location They only seem to have data centers in the US This may not be ideal for customers outside of North America – your site could load very slowly outside of the US and Canada.
security features Bluehost offers a couple of additional payment plugins to improve security. For example, SiteLock prevents Tipser attacks and CodeGuard gives you more backup options. I liked the fact that they have an optional two-factor authentication system, even if a Tipser breaks your password, you won’t get automatic access to your bluehost account.
server speed In my experience, Bluehost’s speed isn’t terrible, but it’s not the best either. It’s hard to understand their poor performance as they are quite expensive, more on this below.
Uptime In our tests, Bluehost showed solid uptime results, however, it wasn’t the best. This is important for delivering strong SEO and user experiences.
Backups “As a courtesy,” Bluehost creates monthly, weekly, and daily backups that you can download and restore. So yes, only 3 backups and they can’t guarantee they will have them – other providers offer 20+ backups to choose from. If you want additional backup options (for example, on-demand backups), you can purchase their expensive backup plugin.
cdn Bluehost does not offer a RED CDN itself, however CloudFlare is pre-integrated so you can easily enable it – I highly suggest doing so.
server features It is possible to use PHP 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4. The databases run on MySQL 5.6. Other programming languages ​​such as Perl or Ruby on Rails are also allowed.
Refunds and guarantees There is a 30 day money back policy, no questions asked. Unlike the major hosting providers, they don’t seem to offer uptime guarantees.
Assistance and support You can contact technical support via live chat and phone. The support agents were nice and helpful, I wish there was an easier way to verify account owners.
General ranking 4/5 Although Bluehost’s performance is acceptable and their system OKish, I think they are a bit pricey. But for me, their support is a definite no-go if you think you’ll need their help often.

Bluehost Performance Tests

Is Bluehost a slow provider? Is your uptime okay?

In order to answer all of these questions, I have been closely monitoring Blueshot’s speed and uptime for months. Let me show you my findings.

bluehost speed test

As a website owner, I don’t have to tell you how important speed is to providing the best user experience and improving your search engine rankings.

I compared the speed of Bluehost with the most popular competitors (shared hosting). I used GTmetrix, Pingdom, and Webpagetest to check their load times.

Let me summarize the results.

Test average charging time
5 GTmetrix tests 3.04s
5 Pingdom test 3.76s
5 PagesPeed Insights (Google) 2.84s

These tests were carried out under the same circumstances (for example, the same page and content) spread over almost 2 months.

As you can see, Bluehost is not the best in the class when it comes to speed. Several vendors outperformed them in our tests. If you’re concerned about speed, SiteGround and DreamHost are, in my experience, well-performing providers.

Is Bluehost uptime good?

Believe it or not, your hosting provider will (most likely) not have 100% uptime. Due to technical reasons (eg server maintenance), your site will be down for (hopefully) short instances of time.

Bad uptime is terrible as your visitors and search engines won’t be able to reach your site. Your goal should be to have an uptime greater than 99.95%.

2020 (Percentage) 2021 (Percentage)
Kinsta (3 month trial) No data 100
Cloudways (3 month trial) No data 100
dream host 100 99.99
Accommodation A2 99.93 99.99
wp-engine No data 99.99
GreenGeeks (3 month trial) No data 99.98
SiteGround 99.98 99.97
bluehost 99.98 99.96
hostgator 99.94 99.91
godaddy 99.97 99.90
inmotion 99.97 99.73
Host 99.62 99.48
iPage 99.66 98.45

To monitor uptime I use StatusCake, a tool that checks each website every 5 minutes.

As you can see, Bluehost offers solid uptime results. I am very happy with Bluehost’s performance here. Note however that they do not offer any uptime guarantees, other hosting providers will compensate you (eg a free month) if your overall uptime falls below certain levels (usually 99.9%).

Bluehost Review: Do I Recommend It?

You have probably already noticed that Bluehost is not my favorite provider. However, if you want a hosting service with unmetered storage and unlimited bandwidth, Bluehost might be a suitable option.

As you can see from the tests above, its speed was not the best. However, I was impressed with their uptime scores, as they scored similar to top providers like SiteGround and DreamHost (compare Bluehost).

Their (first year) prices are remarkably cheap, but please consider their renewal prices skyrocketing.

bluehost alternatives

Alright, if you go with Bluehost, your site is probably going to be fine, at least if your visitors are primarily from North America.

However, it’s not the cheapest option out there, and I think for the same money you could get better performing providers that come with advanced options (eg backup or staging areas).

  • If you are looking for a balanced hosting service (low price and good performance), I suggest you check out A2 Hosting or DreamHost. They are a bit cheaper and perform similar to or better than Bluehost.
  • In my experience, you’ll find the best support at SiteGround, InMotion, and (again) DreamHost.
  • Hands down, the best (affordable) providers are SiteGround, A2 Hosting, GreenGeeks, and DreamHost. In my opinion, SiteGround comes with a couple of features that make it slightly better (for example, more backup options).
  • You will be able to run WordPress on all of these providers. However, SiteGround has the best system to empower WordPress site owners (eg built-in caching plugin and speed optimization options).

> But, if you still want to use Bluehost, remember you can try Bluehost free for 30 days