BlueHost Review

BlueHost Review
Plan in review: Basic
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Last Updated: February 01, 2018
Summary
Recommended by WordPress.org. A popular hosting choice since early 2000.

 

I am sure you have seen dozens, if not more, of BlueHost reviews on the Internet. Many of these reviews talk about the same stuffs – BlueHost’s unlimited hosting features, free domain offer, and the 30-day money-back-guarantee.

This is not one of those reviews.

I have been using BlueHost shared hosting service since 2005 (very old BlueHost plan – BlueHost Platinum Pak, server Box508.Bluehost.com). That was before the company were sold to Endurance International Group (EIG), before the company redesigned their website, and way before the company added VPS and dedicated plans into their hosting services.

In this review, you’ll get the inside scoop from a 10+ years BlueHost customers.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

About BlueHost Hosting

  • Headquarter: Burlington, Massachusetts, U.S.
  • Established: 2003, by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth
  • Services: Shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting

(Quick Jump) Review BlueHost Hosting in:

 

 Special Discount: BlueHost Basic at $2.95/mo

No coupon or promotion code is needed. Just purchase via our promo link (see below) and you’ll get 55% discount from your first BlueHost bill.

BlueHost Basic starts at $2.95/mo, Plus $5.45/mo, and Prime $5.45/mo (36-month subscription).

BlueHost Discounted Price vs Non-discounted Price

Not all BlueHost prices are the same. As BlueHost’s exclusive partner, we are able to give you the best BlueHost deal. This special discount is applicable to all shared hosting plans – Starter, Plus, and Business Pro.

For easy reference, here’s the before- and after-discount prices (36-month subscription) in comparison.

BlueHost Shared Hosting Without Discount With Discount Savings (in 3 yr)
Basic $7.99/mo $2.95/mo $181.44
Plus $10.99/mo $5.45/mo $199.44
Prime $14.99/mo $5.45/mo $343.44

 

 Get this exclusive BlueHost discount, click here

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BlueHost Server Performance

 

Our Experience & Thoughts:

Average hosting uptime above 99.95%

Time-to-first-byte (TTFB) below 500ms

Rated B / B+ in multiple Bitcatcha Speed Test

Resource protection against bad neighbors 

Server location only in United States

 

BlueHost basic shared hosting service is stable and quick to respond. Test site hosted at BlueHost scores 99.95% and above uptime constantly; site response time, tested from different continents, were all below 500ms

There were two major BlueHost outages (reported in August 2013 and December 2013) due to router issues in the EIG-owned data center located at Provo, Utah. The incident affected a number of other EIG brands including Hostmonster and Hostgator.

BlueHost shared servers are guarded by the company’s Resource Protection Technology (aka. CPU Throttling) – where websites using excessive resources will be isolated and refrained from pulling too much server resources.

BlueHost Hosting Uptime Record

Besides the two major network outages in 2013, BlueHost server has been stable and rarely went down for more than 10 minutes.  recorded downtime at BlueHost was less than 10 minutes most o Test site hosted on BlueHost has not go down for more than 1637+ hours ).

* Click image to enlarge. 

Mar 2017: 99.99%

Jul 2016: 100%

bluehost uptime 072016

Mar 2016: 100%

bluehost - 201603

Jan 2016: 100%Uptime of our test site on BlueHost hosting (December 30th, 2015 - January 29th, 2016) - 100%

Sept, 2015: 100%

bluehost sept uptime - site has not down for 1637 hours

Apr 2015: 100%

BlueHost Uptime Score for the past 30 days (Mar / Apr 2015)

Jan 2015: 99.97%

BlueHost Uptime Score for the past 30 days (Dec 2014 / Jan 2015)

Aug 2014: 99.98%

BlueHost Uptime Record for the past 30 days (August 2014)

BlueHost Speed Test

Bitcatcha Speed Test, March 2017: B+

Longer load time for request from US (w) and (E); but better result in general when compared to previous test.

Bitcatcha Speed Test, February 2016: B

bluehost feb 2016 speed
BlueHost took 23 and 26 milliseconds to respond to United States West and East Coast test servers. Web host rated as “B” when compared with Bitcatcha’s benchmark.

 WebpageTest.org Speed test 

Speed test on Jan 29th, 2018: Test site returned first response in 488ms.

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BlueHost Customer Support

 

Our Experience & Thoughts:

Comprehensive support documents 

Good live chat support

Ranked #2 in WHSR Web Hosting Survey 2013

Good billing practice – users can refund or cancel account easily

Does not host a support forum

 

Good live chat support

I spoke to BlueHost and 27 other hosting companies via live chat in the past.

The overall experience with BlueHost live chat support was good. My request was answered at first attempt after 2+ minutes of wait; and my issues were solved on the spot by the support staff.

BlueHost Education Resources

BlueHost’s support knowledgebase – with hundreds of articles and dozens of video tutorials, is a big time-saver. I was able solve several simple issues by just reading their articles or watching the video tutorials in the past

BlueHost tutorials on YouTube.

BlueHost in WHSR’s 2013 Survey

We did a survey in December 2013 and asked 35 web experts for their hosting advice. BlueHost came up as the #2 most recommended web host in the survey.

Lori Soard, Paul Crowe, Kevin Muldoon, and Sharon Hurley recommended BlueHost hosting.

WHSR Web Hosting Survey 2013

BlueHost in WHSR’s 2016 Survey

We did another survey (bigger sample) in 2016. BlueHost stood out as the #3 most mentioned brands and was rated average (score 2.2) by 13 users.

Numbers of web hosting brands mentioned in the survey.

BlueHost User Feedback (From WHSR’s 2013 Survey)

We asked “If you could recommended only one web host, who would it be?”

Lori Soard – Radio personality, published author, LoriSoard.com

For a first-time blogger, I would recommend BlueHost.Lori Soard

Although this hosting company gets a few mixed reviews, they come recommended by WordPress, which is one of the most popular blogging platforms. The hosting company also offers a WordPress auto-install, which makes getting set up quick and easy for someone without a lot of webdesign experience. Unlimited disk space and bandwidth transfer are also a nice addition. Rates start at $4.95/month (if you pay in advance), so it is also reasonably priced for someone trying things out. I also like the fact that newbies can get support 24/7 in a variety of ways (online, via telephone or via e-mail).

Kevin Muldoon – Pro-blogger, KevinMuldoon.com

Kevin Muldoon

First time bloggers should not use a lot of resources at first.

Due to this, I would recommend a good shared hosting company such as BlueHost. Once their website has started generating more traffic, they can then review their hosting requirements.

Sharon Hurley – Professional web writer,  SharonHH.com

Sharon HH

I’ve used 5 or 6 web hosting service providers over the last 7 years, including many of the popular shared hosting providers.

The one I keep coming back to is Bluehost, where I currently host more than ten domains. It’s a great host for sites with low to medium traffic and everything you want is easy to set up. I’ve been impressed with their uptime and their tech support department is extremely responsive and helpful if there’s ever an issue.

Michael Hyatt – NY Times Bestseller Author, MichaelHyatt.com

Michael

If you use WordPress as I recommend, you will need a hosting service too.

And, BlueHost is the best web host for WordPress.

 

Note: I wasn’t able to reach Michael Hyatt in person. His personal assistant, Trivinia Barber, replied my email and pointed out that Michael has repeatedly recommended BlueHost on his blog in the past. The feedback above is quoted from Michael’s blog. 

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BlueHost Hosting Features

 

Newbie friendly / Easy to use control center

Full account daily backup & restore

Easy upgrade for high performance server

Tons of useful built-in features (at additional cost)

Recommended by WordPress.org

Normal hard disk storage (no SSD) only

Shared hosting does not support NGINX and HTTP/2 

 

Recommended by WordPress.org

BlueHost is on top of WordPress.org’s host recommendation list.

WordPress.org’s official statement: ” Easily scalable and backed by legendary 24/7 support by in-house WordPress experts.” (source)

Newbie-Friendly Web Host

The overall onboarding experience at BlueHost was smooth. And I like how BlueHost custom-designed dashboard works.

All frequent use apps and features are grouped into “website” section at BlueHost dashboard.

 

Flexible Hosting Choices

As mentioned, BlueHost now provides all four level hosting plans – shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting. You no longer have to worry about server upgrades or out-growing your hosting company with BlueHost.

For beginners, the change in shared hosting plans mean you can now start with a much cheaper (but less powerful) shared hosting plan.

Basic Plus Prime
Websites 1 Unlimited Unlimited
Storage 50 GB Unlimited Unlimited
Email Account 5 Unlimited Unlimited
Free Domain 1 1 1
Addon Domains 0 Unlimited Unlimited
Inodes Limit 50,000* 50,000* 300,000
 Private SSL  – 1
Promo Price
(36-month term)
$2.95/mo $5.45/mo $5.45/mo
Renewal Rate
(24-month term)
$7.99/mo $10.99/mo $14.99/mo

 

* Official ToS indicates that in most cases actions will not be taken until Basic and Plus users exceeds 200,000 inodes.

 

BlueHost “Unlimited” Hosting

Like all “unlimited” hosting provider, BlueHost’s unlimited hosting offer is limited by a number of terms and conditions. BlueHost users need to understand that the unlimited data transfer and storage only stays unlimited up to certain level. For better server performance (as your site grows), you are recommended to upgrade your web host.

For your reference, the following paragraph is quoted from BlueHost’s User Agreement, Clause 7 Usage Policies and Definitions, #1 “Unlimited” Usage Policies and Definitions.

b) What “Unlimited” means

Bluehost does not set an arbitrary limit or cap on the amount of resources a single Subscriber can use. In good faith and subject to these Terms, Bluehost makes every commercially reasonable effort to provide its Subscribers with all the storage and bandwidth resources needed to power their web sites successfully, as long as the Subscriber’s use of the service complies with these Terms. By not setting limits on key resources, we are able to provide simple, consistent pricing to our Subscribers as they grow their websites. As a result, a typical website may experience periods of great popularity and resulting increased storage without experiencing any associated increase in hosting charges.

d) Unlimited Hosting Space; excessive MySQL files

… Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse affect on server performance. Similarly, accounts with an excessive number of MySQL/PostgreSQL tables (i.e., in excess of 1000 database tables) or of database size (i.e., in excess of 3GB total MySQL/PostgreSQL usage or 2GB MySQL/PostgreSQL usage in a single database) negatively affect the performance of the server. Bluehost may request that the number of files/inodes, database tables, or total database usage be reduced to ensure proper performance or may terminate the Subscriber’s account, with or without notice.

 

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Price – Is BlueHost Hosting value for money?

 

Our Experience & Thoughts:

Plus starts at $5.95/mo with one free domain

Cheap entry price: Basic starts at $2.95/mo

90% price increase during renewal

 

 

BlueHost Special Discount: 55% Discount

No coupon or promotion code is needed. Just purchase via our promo link (see below) and you’ll get 55% discount from your first BlueHost bill.

BlueHost Basic starts at $2.95/mo, Plus $5.45/mo, and Prime $5.45/mo (36-month subscription).

BlueHost Expensive Renewal Rates

BlueHost’s renewal prices are much higher (up to 90% increase) than the signup promotion price.

While this is a norm in hosting industry nowadays (hosting companies jacking up renewal prices) – a 90% jump in renewal cost is still not a very pleasant experience for the users.

As mentioned in my cheap hosting guide, there are basically two ways to handle this issue:

  1. Keep switching web host to enjoy the low entry promotion price; or
  2. Stick with a web host that does not increase renewal price (in case you wonder: Interserver is the unicorn which charges a flat $5/mo rate and does not jack up the renewal rate later).

 

 

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Verdict: BlueHost – A Pay for Performance Host

Given the fact that you are only paying ~$5/mo on signup, BlueHost shared hosting services are considered okay. The web host scored 52 in our 8-point rating system.

It’s also worth noting that BlueHost offers tons of latest security and performance features – NGINX architecture, custom server cache, HTTP/2, SSD storage, etc. However, these features are only available for those who are willing to pay extra. GoPro, BlueHost’s highest performance shared hosting plan, costs $13.95/mo on signup ($23.99/mo on renewal). WordPress Hosting, now with a new dashboard and integrated marketplace, costs $19.99/mo ($39.99/mo on renewal).

 

Pros

  • Recommended by WordPress.org.
  • Excellent server performance – average hosting uptime above 99.95%, TTFB below 500ms.
  • Web host with almost 20 years of proven business track record.
  • Plenty of room to grow – users get to upgrade their hosting servers to VPS and dedicated hosting at reasonable price.

Cons

  • Price increases during renewal.
  • Most server upgrades come in additional cost.

For more details or to order BlueHost, visit (link opens in new window): http://www.bluehost.com

 

(P/S: The links above are affiliate links – if you purchase via this link, it will credit me as your referrer. This is how I keep this site alive for 8 years and add more free hosting reviews based on real test account – your support is highly appreciated. Buying via my link doesn’t cost you more – in fact, I can guarantee that you’ll get the lowest possible price for BlueHost hosting. )