Best Overall Web Hosting Genuine Reviews
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This is one of the most common questions asked to people that have experience of using hosting services and have their own blog or website. Bluehost has to be up there as one of the best web hosts out there today.
There are a dime a dozen these days, but you need a hosting provider that offers consistent performance, is available whenever you need them, and most importantly, comes with a large number of features included in your chosen plan.
As a part of our review series, here we will take a look at the popular web hosting service, Bluehost, which has been in demand since their inception. With a variety of hosting providers available globally, Bluehost manages to impress customers with their wonderful, affordable, and reliable services.
Bluehost is a U.S. based web hosting provider, headquartered in Provo, Utah, and hosts over 1.9 million domains. This number includes websites registered with sister companies such as HostMonster, FastDomains, and iPage. Founded by Matt Heaton, it was later acquired by the Endurance International Group.
Since 2003, Bluehost has been serving web customers and improving its own services gradually. It helps that they have been in the business for so long, due to which they have managed to achieve a reputation where webmasters or bloggers can easily rely on them to fulfil most hosting requirements.
Let’s take a look at some of the key features that have made Bluehost a reliable and quality web hosting service provider.
Excellent Security Features
Bluehost offers some great security tools to help keep your website safe from cyber attacks and hackers.
With CloudFlare, Bluehost offers enhanced security features. CloudFlare is suitable for webmasters that need SSL to ensure better security against DDOS attacks on their website. CloudFlare also protect against excessive bot crawling and malicious attacks like SQL injection.
It offers hotlink protection along with three anti-spam tools in the form of Spam Experts, Spam Hammer, and Apache Spam Assassin. If this was not enough, it allows users to create and set filters for email accounts and users.
It empowers users with a host of comprehensive security features such as password protection for directories, potential to create IP address blacklists, manage digital certificates and private keys, and SSH (Secure Shell Access) for secure admin access to specific configuration files.
Other Security features offered by Bluehost are:
2 Factor Authentication
You can turn this on at anytime to provide additional security in accessing your dashboard and Bluehost account. 2- Factor authentication is a great step for preventing unauthorised access to your account.
Up to 80% off the RRP of SiteLock Products
If you are setting up a business or ecommerce site, Bluehost offer a missive discount on Sitelock products to help small or medium size businesses keep their content and sign up pages secure. Like CloudFlare, SiteLock also provide a suite of tools and applications to keep any vulnerabilities at bay. Having a security seal on your site is also believed to improve conversion rates and that’s something to consider.
Every webmaster hopes to receive good support from the hosting provider without any delays. It is here that Bluehost proves more beneficial than other hosting providers.
The self-help section is quite comprehensive with lots of blogs, articles and pre-answered queries ready to view in the detailed knowledge base. If you can’t immediately find what you are looking for the search bar can filter down to your particular issue based on your query. As far as self-help sections go, I’ve put in a variety of curve balls to this for rare little queries and in comparison to similar tools on alternative sites, Bluehost’s version performs rather well as a ‘first level’ of support. The self-help is complemented by Bluehost’s You Tube page which is packed full of useful tutorials and walk throughs.
Bluehost’s live chat support is significantly better with a lower wait times for users at different hours of the day. In addition, Bluehost also offers technical support over the phone, email and maintain a detailed knowledge base.
In fact, it is even possible to reach out to experts via a social networking site like Twitter or by simply joining the Bluehost community.
After prior experiences with Bluehost and other hosting support teams, we can confidently say that significant improvements have been made and Bluehost impressed us with their quick support via different channels.
Performance – Speed and Uptime
A key criterion that often influences the decision to choose a hosting provider is the performance delivered by the website in terms of speed of access, as well as server uptime.
No hosting provider can ever provide 100% uptime as servers are expected to go down, at least for maintenance operations. What matters is how quickly the support team can bring the server back up.
With Bluehost’s claims of 99.99% uptime backed by similar Bluehost reviews of website owners who have used their hosting plans, this service provider seems to have delivered the most vital feature effectively.
One of our websites hosted on a Bluehost plan for the last 15 months is a testament to the significant uptime on offer. Additionally, CloudFlare functionality offered for every Bluehost account improves the hosted website’s performance even more.
Even with a shared hosting plan where multiple sites are hosted on a single server, the performance is competitive, but it is VPN, WordPress Optimized or Dedicated hosting where Bluehost really perform well. Hence, one can safely say that Bluehost scores full marks in this category.
It offers a very user-friendly control panel that is built as per industry standards. The intuitive UI helps users manage websites on their own very easily, and it is full of applications to help you easily integrate a variety of different services depending on your needs. It is possible to manage domains, emails, databases and install important software like WordPress and Joomla, from the control panel itself.
It also offers an effective drag-drop, website builder tool like Weebly, or mobile site builders like goMobi. Additionally, the WordPress platform is always a great platform to create a website. From the accompanying Mojo marketplace, users can download other tools and CMS such as Joomla! and Drupal as well.
Although Bluehost takes automatic backups on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, users can backup their website manually as well, and change the automatic backup frequency to suite their own pattern from the control panel. For what you get under the hood and in the range of apps available in your dashboard, Bluehost’s packages are hard to beat.
WordPress Optimised Hosting – Officially Recommended By WordPress
WordPress.org recommends using Bluehost plans themselves. Bluehost offers optimised or managed WordPress hosting plans with automatic backups and updates. WordPress recently published a post on WordPress.org on the 4 best WordPress hosting companies. This included Bluehost along with Siteground, Dreamhost and Flywheel.
The best part is that WordPress comes pre-installed, freeing the webmaster from having to install it themselves. WordPress-based hosting is built on top of Bluehost’s virtual private server platform and some of those related plans are cheaper than regular VPS hosting plans. Bluehost’s Optimized Hosting for WordPress might not be as customizable as some others, but the focus is on simplicity and speed, two major factors for first time users and bloggers. All of the WordPress Optimized Hosting packages come with the advanced cPanel, Sitelock CDN, SiteLock Pro security features and free SSL certificates as well.
Email Marketing and Ecommerce
Bluehost offers eCommerce applications such as ShopSite, Magento and WooCommerce to create online stores and sell products to consumers. Though ShopSite is comparatively easier to operate, Magento offers more flexibility. However if you are looking to build an eCommerce site yourself then something like WooCommerce or Shopify might suit your needs better.
Both the ShopSite and Magento applications enable users to set up online eCommerce stores through simple drag and drop options. Bluehost even offers a good payment gateway for the eCommerce sites in the form of TransFirst. WooCommerce however, has had a long relationship with WordPress and of the three, this provides the most seamless ecommerce setup on a wordpress installation. You can have a store up and running in no time without having to invest in any further products, shopping cart or security applications. There are lots of WordPress themes that come ‘WooCommerce ready’ and are very easy to set up. Bluehost even offer hosting packages that are tailored for a WordPress with WooCommerce setup.
Every webmaster requires email-marketing software at some stage for sharing updates about the site or for promotions. So Bluehost offers email marketing tools such as DaDa Mail (paid service available for $34.95 per year) that can be used to send emails to readers who have subscribed through the website’s email subscription link. DaDa is pretty good to be fair, but there are alternatives available too. Bluehost are pretty versatile that way if you have another preference.
Depending on the package that you take, Bluehost will also provide up to $200 in free marketing credits and up to $80 per year in extras to help get you started.
Money Back Guarantee
The provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means that first-time Bluehost users can try out their preferred hosting package for a period of 30-days and continue with it only if they like.
They can choose not to continue with Bluehost services within 30 days and get their money back as a refund. This is a great confidence builder by Bluehost and if the user reviews are anything to go by, very few opt out of their services.
The money-back guarantee just helps build trust with users who have never dealt with the Bluehost team before.
Various Hosting Plans and Pricing
There are several hosting plans available such as, Shared, VPS, Dedicated Server, and Optimised WordPress. Here is a summary of their plans.
With the Shared hosting plan, the pricing and features are as follows:
With this hosting plan, the starter package begins at $2.95 per month, the plus package starts at $5.45 per month, and the business pro plan starts at $5.45 per month.
At the moment, if you are considering taking a plus package you are better off taking prime. It is the same price just now, but with added benefits of additional value of extras, domain privacy and SiteBackup Pro. It is always worth checking the site first to make sure the offer still stands and get fresh up to date prices. If you are looking for more, a pro package comes in at the following price:
One of the benefits of a Pro account is the dedicated IP which provides some advantages.
While a shared IP address is a single address used by multiple websites within one web server, a Dedicated IP address ensures that a website has its own unshared IP address. Why might this be important?
Well here are two very good reasons:
1. Maintains an email sender’s reputation
Say someone else hosts a website on the same shared server as your site, and that person gets banned or blacklisted for spamming. That could impact your email service as well as you share an IP address, and the negative reputation can carry on to your site. With a dedicated IP address, particularly for email, your website is isolated from any abuse carried out by an offending site on the same server, and therefore isolates you from the consequences and penalties dished out to the offender.
2. Some Third Party applications and scripts require your site to have a dedicated IP address.
Again it really depends what your website is going to be for and what you need it to do. Some apps won’t run on your server without a dedicated IP. This is not a Bluehost restriction, it applies to any host as it is just simply the nature of the call that the application, API or script is trying to make. A simple site won’t need this, but if you are for instance, looking to hook your site up to connect to ERP or CRM systems then you might need a dedicated IP.
Who is it for and what are the advantages of Shared Packages?
I would say that if your website/s are unlikely to have a high demand of traffic, or unlikely to be displaying streaming content or require any great bandwidth, then a shared hosting plan would be suitable. From the shared hosting plans, a single site with no PCI or PII data security needs would be fine on the Basic package. Same rules but for a few websites, then the Plus or Prime packages would be suitable. If you are going to be collecting any customer data, PCI or PII, need a good bandwidth or are likely to be using frequent e-mail marketing campaigns then the Pro package would be the most suitable.
VPS hosting essentially provides you with a dedicated portion of a server, dedicated resources and space that is private rather than sharing those resources with every other site owner hosted on that server. Unlike shared hosting, with VPS, a server is effectively compartmentalised into several private sections. When you need scalability, space to grow your site to meet demand and more control over what you can upload and store on the server, VPS hosting is what you want.
With the VPS hosting plan, the pricing and features are as follows:
Who is it for and what are the advantages of VPS Packages?
Bluehost VPS is versatile and reliable. It can handle large volumes of traffic and it is incredibly competitive on pricing amongst its peers.
Some of the advantages of hosting on VPS is that there are less restrictions on what you can upload or modify on your virtual server. The SSD storage is ridiculously fast compared to storage on a shared server as Bluehost set VPS up on much better machines. If you are looking to heavily customize your site, or carry out mass mailing campaigns then Bluehost VPS can accommodate this and for mass emailing campaigns you really need VPS as a minimum.
Dedicated Hosting is exactly what it says on the tin, it is hosting on your own private dedicated server. With Bluehost, those servers are available on demand without having to wait hours or days as with some providers.
With the Dedicated Server hosting plan, the pricing and features are as follows:
Who is it for and what are the advantages of Dedicated Server Packages?
Dedicated server hosting is for those that want full control of their server, full allocation of the storage available on that server and sole use of the full bandwidth available to that server. Dedicated hosting sits at the top end of hosting solutions whereas shared hosting sits at the bottom. It is for those that require the ultimate in control, space and freedom for their website or websites to grow.
The advantages of having a dedicated hosting solution with Bluehost, are firstly, that the service is available on demand, easy to scale and when you ask for it you get it there and then. There is a dedicated support team, competitive price and from our experience the support and uptime are incredibly good.
Optimised WordPress Hosting
Bluehost’s Managed WordPress hosting plans are cloud based solutions, that are geared toward providing everything you need to make your WordPress site secure, fast and easy to manage or use.
With the Optimized WordPress hosting plan, the pricing and features are as follows:
Who is it for and what are the advantages of WordPress Hosting Packages?
Bluehost have many custom-built tools on an advanced cPanel for Optimized WordPress Hosting. This is great for any serious blogger or ecommerce start up loaded with security features and addons, ample storage and from what we have experienced, very reliable uptime. There are even hosting packages available that are optimized for a WordPress with WooCommerce combination for those that want the ability to build a customizable ecommerce site.
With the Cloud Hosting plan, the pricing and features are as follows:
Who is it for and what are the advantages of Cloud Packages?
With Bluehost cloud hosting, the load time are more than twice as fast as Bluehost shared hosting packages. That itself is actually quite a plus. Your data is mirrored across three devices, so if one instance goes down, another is always available to prevent any impact from downtime. Another advantage is also that it is incredibly competitive on price. The Cloud solution is very easy to scale up or down on demand and you can pay – as- you – go effectively with monthly billing.
Apart from these benefits, Bluehost offers a free domain, free Adwords credit, and several other features in each package.
No hosting provider can ever be perfect, and the same is true for Bluehost. It is a Linux-based web hosting company and doesn’t offer any opportunities for ASP.NET or Windows hosting.
If a webmaster wishes to get their current hosting account (from any other service provider) transferred to Bluehost, their team can handle the entire transfer process. However, they charge a nominal fee for the service.
We have used the ‘Blogger’ Optimised WordPress Hosting plan from Bluehost and it has been a smooth ride so far. The best part about VPS hosting is its ability to handle massive traffic at such cheap rates. Customer support has been spot on, and overall website performance is better than expected.
So, which hosting provider do you currently use? Have you tried Bluehost yet? What is your opinion about their plans and services? Please, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below and thanks for reading!
More BlueHost Reviews
In the previous article we decided on which web host to use. In case you haven’t yet clicked on the sign up link, I am providing it here again.
Bluehost >> Discount Link (Up to 60% discount + free domain name)
Once you click on the above link, it would take you to homepage of Bluehost. The link will open in a new window so that you can continue reading our the guide here. Once you reach the Bluehost homepage, click on ‘get started now’
The Best Web Hosting
- FREE Domain Name Registration
- FREE SSL Certificate Included
- 1-Click WordPress Install
- 24/7 Support
The next page which you will see if the plan offerings from Bluehost. Select ‘basic’ plan if you want the cheapest offer or select ‘plus’ plan if you want more features. I always select ‘plus’ option as it allows unlimited websites and storage space. However if you plan to have only 1 blog (or a website), then I would recommend ‘basic’ plan.
Pick Your Domain Name
The next page is for selecting a Domain name for your blog. Domain name is the address for your blog on the internet and allows others to search or access your blog. In case you already have a domain then you can enter it here or create a brand new domain name.
If you wish to create a new domain name then enter it on the left side, select a suitable extension e.g. .com, .net (I personally always select .com as it is most popular though it maybe difficult to get the exact domain name which I would like) and then click on ‘next’. You may also be interested in checking out our article on 8 Tips for Choosing a Good Domain Name
Input Your Account Info
Enter your account information on this page. Please remember to use a valid email address as your hosting details and login information would be sent to this email address.
Once you have input your account information, scroll down to select your account plan. The longer duration plans work out to be cheaper but would require more money to be paid upfront. I typically enroll for 36 months as it works out to a very reasonable monthly amount.
What about add-ons? Uncheck all the add-on options except Domain Privacy Protection. If you have input personal details under account information then privacy protection is highly recommended.
Simply input your billing information in this section, agree to terms and click on ‘submit’ button.
I typically skip all the offered upgrades. Continue to complete your purchase.
Once have completed your purchase, check you mailbox for welcome email from Bluehost. This email will contain login details for your ‘control panel (cpanel)’.
Now that you have completed the sign up with Bluehost, its time to move to next step How to install WordPress.
Remember, if you sign up for Bluehost through our special offer then you will get up to 60% discount + free domain name.
(Disclosure: if you use my referral link to buy web hosting services then I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. In fact, using my referral link will get you a discount and help save money.)
Even with BlueHost’s most basic hosting plan, the specs are far from typical when compared to industry standards. Their Basic plan (
$7.99/month $2.95/month exclusive discount through our link) already comes with free domain name for life, as long as you have a BlueHost account. They also offer free domain transfer, 100GB worth of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to host a single website.
The Plus plan (starting at $5.95/month with a one-year contract) comes with a handy anti-spam tool, along with unlimited storage, emails, and websites. If you want more advanced features without breaking the budget, you should definitely go for BlueHost’s state-of-the-art Business Pro plan (currently at $14.95/month for a one-year contract), which already comes with features and services that you can pay a lot of cash for elsewhere. This particular hosting package already comes with an SSL certificate which protects sensitive data on your site through encryption. If you check out other web hosting companies, you could pay up to $600 for this service alone!
On top of the SSL certificate, you’ll also get a dedicated IP address with your purchase. This feature provides higher stability for your site and in certain circumstances, also supports search engines by making your site easier to catalogue and rank in the search engine results. What’s more, BlueHost provides domain privacy service to mask certain private information associated with your website address. This is a big plus for those who value their online privacy. These features alone are unparalleled, leaving some of BlueHost’s competitors trailing in their wake.
But like any other web host, BlueHost comes with a few minor flaws. For example, the company doesn’t offer monthly payment options. This means that you will be required to sign up for an annual hosting plan. If you really want to save up on web hosting costs, I recommend that you sign up for their two-year or three-year plan in order to get bigger discounts. If you’re pleased with their service and can stay put for three years or more, BlueHost’s $2.95 monthly rate is pretty compelling.
The purpose of this review is to give you a deeper look into what Blue Host has to offer while also providing some insight into what users have had issues with. After reading this, the hope is that you will have a much better idea about whether or not Blue Host will work for you.
Summary: Blue Host is a feature rich web host that has been in the industry since 1996. They are one of the 20 largest web hosts in the world, laying claim to hosting over a million domains. They offer solid customer support, 30-day money back guarantee, and a number of features that make them a great option for business owners looking to build their web presence.
- Allow unlimited domains, hosting space, file transfers, and email accounts
- Top notch 24/7 customer support
- Free domain name, site builder, and setup
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Experienced company that knows the ropes
- Uses cPanel
- Offers shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting
- Supports several different popular programming languages
- Limit CPU usage and may suspend your site if you use too much
- High site migration costs ($99.99)
- Do not offer Windows servers as they only use Linux
- Security issues (had major security breach in 2015)
- Reseller accounts tend to be slower than most other web hosts
Unique Benefits of Blue Host
As has been mentioned, Blue Host is known as one of the more feature rich web hosts in the industry. They also have several unique benefits that make them a tremendous value. Let’s take a look at a few:
Top Notch 24/7 Customer Support
For the most part, users have been very satisfied with the friendliness, professionalism, and helpfulness of the customer support staff. This is especially true for VPS and dedicated server customers, as Blue Host has advanced technical staff available to assist those users.
Free Domain Name, Site Builder, and Setup
While there are quite a few web hosts that offer a free domain name, it is always nice to know that an additional cost is taken care of. Users looking to start their own website from scratch will be happy to know that Blue Host also offers a free site builder and instant setup that makes it easy to get up and running.
99.9% Uptime Guarantee
The 99.9% uptime guarantee that Blue Host offers is up there with some of the best web hosts in the industry. While they have generally been good at keeping to this commitment, users that experience an uptime below 99.9% in any given month will receive a credit to their account for a free month of hosting.
Experienced Company That Knows the Ropes
Experience is important in every industry, and is especially so with web hosts as the needs of users are constantly changing. Blue Host has made a clear commitment to constant improvement that is generally only seen with an experienced company that understands the necessity of ensuring continual growth to satisfy the needs of customers.
cPanel is the most commonly used control panel in the web hosting industry. Blue Host offers the use of cPanel to make it easy to handle everything related to your account in one place. You can also choose to use their easy-to-use site builder to get your site up and running.
Offers Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Server Hosting
One of the more unique benefits of Blue Host is the fact that they offer so many different options to users. They have over a dozen different plans to choose from and their sales staff is always willing to guide you through the process of making a decision about which plan best fits your needs. They have even recently unveiled a cloud storage plan, although there is very little information from users on the plan at this point.
Supports Several Different Programming Languages
Web developers looking for a solid web host will be happy to know that Blue Host supports a wide array of different programming languages. From PHP 5 to Ruby on Rails, just contact their support team and they will help make sure you are setup with your programming language of choice.
Blue Host Reviews
Have you or someone you know had your website hosted through Blue Host? If so, we would love to hear about your experience with it. We encourage you to write up a brief review below to help other users make sure that they are making the right decision about which web host is right for them. Thanks!