Best Overall Web Host
Editor’s Rating: 9.2 /10
We test web hosts thoroughly and often to give you the best overview of the hosting market. Bluehost came out on top overall and continue to be a market leader. A great all round web host with excellent uptime levels (99.97%), phenomenal customer support and fast instant load times. Ideal for small businesses and people wanting to start their first blogs or websites.
You can get BlueHost’s high quality hosting for special price of just $2.95 per month (36 months sign up)
+ a FREE DOMAIN NAME worth $15.
Here’s what you get for just $2.95 per month.
A FREE domain name
Fast, high quality & reliable web hosting
Free Site Builder
One-click WordPress Install and 24/7 support.
“Which web hosting service provider do you recommend?”
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.
Features and Advantages Of BlueHost
Let’s take a look at some of the key features that have made Bluehost a reliable and quality web hosting service provider.
Bluehost has very impressive and consistent uptime levels.
10/10 for support and assistance. Always very helpful and quick get in contact with them.
WordPress hosting which has 100% compatibility with all WordPress features and plugins.
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!
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