Had enough of all those glowing reviews with all perfect scores? Me too.
Imagine reading an honest review about Bluehost. Without all the perfect five-star scores, the bias, and the unnecessary and unhelpful fluff.
You are probably thinking, that this here is just another one of those Bluehost review sites.
No siree, uh-uh. This is not another one of those. Because this here is my personal, unbiased and brutally honest Bluehost review.
Give me ten minutes of your time, and I will give you all the must-know facts and answer questions like.
- How much does Bluehost cost?
- Is Bluehost any good, or should you choose another web host?
- If you signup with Bluehost, will you get your money back if you aren’t happy?
- What are the pros and cons of using Bluehost?
- Which is the best Bluehost plan to buy?
- What is (and is not) included in the hosting packages?
- Does Bluehost come with SSD? Unlimited storage & bandwidth?
- Can you host multiple websites on Bluehost?
- Are there any extras that are included for free?
When you have finished reading this, in about 10 minutes time or so. You will know if Bluehost is the right (or wrong) web host for you to sign up with.
What you need to know before you sign up
- Bluehost Pros & Cons
Here I’ll give you the pros and cons of using Bluehost. It’s not all bad news, there are loads of positives but the list of drawbacks is long.
- Bluehost Packages
Here I’ll give you an overview of Bluehost’s hosting plans. Find out what is (and what is not) included in Bluehost’s shared hosting plans.
- Bluehost FAQ
Do you have a particular question about Bluehost? Then it’s probably answered in my most frequently asked questions about Bluehost.
- Do I Recommend Bluehost?
Find out if I think Bluehost is a good web host. Should you sign up or are you better off signing up with a Bluehost alternative?
Pros & cons of using Bluehost
The saying that you should never put all your eggs in one basket also applies to web hosting.
I have lost many eggs over the years by not doing the initial research and checking the facts.
When you are getting web hosting make sure you do your research before you buy. You should weigh the pros and cons of using Bluehost and let the facts speak for themselves.
What does stand out about this company is that they’ve been around since 2003 and host over 2 million websites. They’re one of the most popular, inexpensive, shared hosting options available in 2017.
But are they any good?
As Bluehost originally just offered shared hosting plans, they now provide a variety of services including domains, cloud sites, and a variety of hosting options including hosting for WordPress and WooCommerce.
Bluehost has their bells and whistles, they do offer simple, easy to use standard services for non-techies. What sent Bluehost through the roof with outstanding (mostly biased, 5-star reviews), however, is their affiliate program.
People all over world are joining this program, of which Bluehost paid out over $5 million in commissions in 2015 according to the company’s affiliate page. With a generous program like that, who wouldn’t want to boast glowing reviews?
Like every company, Bluehost has their pros and cons. As being one of the largest hosting providers in the world, it proves many have faith in them. According to Consumer Rankings Bluehost review 2017, Bluehost is ranked at 9.7 out of 10 by users.
Some highlights were that Bluehost is easy to use, easy to signup, and their cPanel makes it easy to install WordPress and is very well organized. The reviews make it seem like Bluehost is, well, easy.
But it’s not all roses and sunshine.
There are some downsides Bluehost experienced of which they’ve learned their lesson. One being the two 2014 massive downtimes per their Utah data center and parent company, Endurance International Group (EIG).
With so many affiliates out there recommending Bluehost, it’s hard to find out the truth – meaning any negativity the company has.
So below are more of the good, the bad, and the ugly of Bluehost.
Pros of using Bluehost
Bluehost has a couple of really good things going for them.
Really cheap hosting
Bluehost has some of the most inexpensive initial hosting plans around. Plans start at $2.95/month at the time of this writing. They’re a really cheap web host.
Endorsed by WordPress
One of the largest hosting platforms, WordPress, recommends Bluehost. It is, of course, a paid endorsement (at least indirectly as Bluehost sponsors lots of the WP conferences), but nonetheless it’s an endorsement.
WordPress also endorses DreamHost, Flywheel, and SiteGround hosting providers.
Generous money back guarantee
Contrary to negative reviews, Bluehost is sticking behind their product and service by offering a 30-day full refund policy.
Even after 30 days, you receive a prorated refund of your plan. Since this is a monthly plan, there are no term commitments. You also won’t find pesky penalties or hidden fees.
I’m monitoring the uptime of 5 random websites that are hosted with Bluehost. 4 out of 5 websites have had zero outage, i.e. a 100% uptime, over the last month. 1 out of 5 has had a 99.6% uptime (this would equate to an approx 4h outage during the month).
Security is a priority
Bluehost offers good protection for your website. Bluehost has secure shell access (SSH) so devs and admins can access config files securely. Spam Experts, Apache Spam Assassin, and Spam Hammer are their anti-spam tools of choice.
They offer other security features such as an IP address blacklist, password protected directories, email account and user account filters, and access to manage digital certificates and private keys.
Helpful user support portal
Bluehost offers 24/7 technical support. In addition to that, they have a knowledge database where users can check out video tutorials, review supportive documentation, and more.
The knowledge database works well for those who don’t want to wait around for phone or chat support.
Bluehost is among one of the most sought after affiliate programs. It’s easy and free to sign up; no requirements are necessary to meet.
There is no cap on commissions, and they pay you $65 per referral.
A variety of hosting options
If you’re looking to stick with just one hosting company as your business grows, Bluehost has an answer for that. They provide four plans, so you don’t have to switch for server upgrades: shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting plans are available.
Quick Start Plan
For those that have no clue where to begin, Bluehost has a Quick Start Plan for $79.99. This 45-minute session gives you 1-on-1 training with a Bluehost expert.
You’ll learn how to use all the tools in the account such as a cPanel guided tour, web builder recommendation, theme and plugin installation assistance, page creation tips, email account guidance, and other general advice you may have.
Now many hosting providers offer free training, so some could consider paying for Bluehost’s Quick Start Plan as a bad feature. But if you don’t have time to wait around and need all of this training in one sitting, it could be a plus for you.
As a part of their hosting plan, you get a free domain name for the first year. Also, for those looking to boost their business, Bluehost offers advertising credits on Google’s AdWords, Bing, and other leading sites
Cons of using Bluehost
Bluehost got loads of positives, but they do have their drawbacks as well.
As cheap as $2.95 may sound, users often do not read the fine print to notice this is an introductory price based on a term of 36 months. You do have options to select 12 or 24-month plans, but they do increase.
For example, you can select the most popular Plus plan at $4.45 for 36 months. However, for 24 months or 12 months, the price increases to $5.45 and $6.45 respectively. There are no three and six-month deals to take at all.
No automatic backups
While Bluehost does offer backups, the backups are a courtesy so you can’t depend on your data to be backed up daily – so no guarantees here. You must set up and run your own backup via the cPanel and to your own local device.
Another bad feature here is that any data Bluehost backs up within the past 30 days is overwritten. Bluehost’s Terms clearly state that they will hold no responsibility for this.
Site Backup Pro is a paid add-on offered by Bluehost. It creates regular and automated backups of your site.
‘Unlimited’ really means ‘limited’
Bluehost’s Plus, Prime, and Business Pro plans boast of their unlimited number of websites, and “unmetered” storage, email accounts, email storage, and subdomains given to clients.
However, their User Agreement, Clause 7 Usage Policies and Definitions, explain otherwise. It’s only unlimited up to a certain level.
Their unlimited plan is comparable to most providers (i.e. Bluehost isn’t the only web host that promises “unlimited” web hosting).
Draconian CPU throttling / protection
Bluehost rolled this out in 2009 and had a few customers bewildered. You may not have heard of CPU throttling beforehand either. You can find your CPU throttling log in the cPanel.
Simply put, if Bluehost thinks your website is taking up too many resources, they might decide to preserve the server resources by freezing your CPU usage.
No Windows hosting
Bluehost only offers Linux-based servers. I.e. you can’t get Windows hosting. This isn’t a huge concern as Linux is the most used and popular operating system for web servers.
No uptime guarantee
Bluehost does not offer an uptime guarantee. When selecting a hosting provider, you want an uptime of as close to 100% as possible. Bluehost does not give you a guarantee, but their Network/Server Uptime Agreement states that “most issues are resolved in approximately 15 minutes”.
Bluehost averages about a 99.94% uptime. This .05% outage means that over a full year your site is down for 4.4 hours. Overall, Bluehost’s uptime is reliable.
Load times are slow
Bluehost’s load times are not always the fastest either. According to a Kissmetrics study, 47% of consumers believe a site should load in less than 2 seconds. And 40% of consumers will leave the site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Up-selling is a business model
Bluehost up-selling practices are designed to make you purchase them. I.e. there will be annoying popups and alerts appearing. They have up-sells to select before you check out. Also, there are install add-ons you’ll purchase that normally are included with other hosting providers.
Slow support response times
Although Bluehost does have 24/7 technical support, they aren’t always easily accessible. The response times can vary from ten minutes up to an hour. The initial response is auto generated in some instances.
Expensive renewal rates
Like other hosting companies, Bluehost introductory pricing is to lure customers in. It’s also quite misleading. So, when it’s time for renewal, you’ll be shocked to discover the pricing is almost 90% increased.
If you decide to signup with Bluehost you are better off signing up for a 24/36 month period on the discounted introductory pricing.
Site migration is not included
If you’re looking to switch host and leave Bluehost for whatever reason they do offer site migrations, however for a fee.
Bluehost will transfer up to 5 sites and 20 email accounts for the price of $149.99. Comparing this to other web hosting providers, this is a rip-off as most do not charge anything at all for migrating your site.
Now I’ll explain a bit of what you can expect in each of their shared hosting plans. There are four plans: Basic (or their starter plan), Plus, Prime, and Business Pro.
Many reviews do not even mention Bluehost as having four plans; typically they cover just three.
If you only intend to run a small business website or personal website, then you really should not need to go for a more expensive package.
As it stands now, the Basic Plan is $2.95/month and is ideal for beginners. You’ll have one domain for your one website. This option is popular, especially for bloggers.
This plan includes up to 50GB of storage, 100 MB of email storage, five email accounts, 25 sub-domains, and a basic site backup.
Their renewal rate is then at $7.99/month for a 24-month term (instead of the initial 36-month term).
This plan has more resource usage and priced at $6.95/month. This plan isn’t as popular with Bluehost customers because there are better-valued deals out there.
You’ll get the same features as with the Plus Plan as well as $80/year in extras, domain privacy, and Site Backup Pro. Their renewal pricing is at $14.99/month.
The Plus Plan is Bluehost’s most popular plan at $4.45/month.
This plan includes unlimited websites, storage, email accounts, email storage, add-on domains, and subdomains.
Keep in mind their unlimited terms, though. You also get $24/year in extra’s and Spam Experts on one domain.
There are marketing offers of up to $200. Their renewal rate is $10.99/month after that.
Business pro plan
This fourth plan at $13.95 gives you everything the Prime Plan offers, however, with this plan you also have an included dedicated IP, up to 300,000 inodes, and Spam Experts for two domains.
There is also an SSL certificate, complimentary subscription to their Site Backup Pro service, and other service perks. Their renewal pricing is at $23.99/month.
Out of these four plans, most people find that the Basic Plan suits them best. Most people don’t intend to host multiple websites, so your needs should be met with this plan.
If you do find yourself growing (or if you intend to host multiple websites), then the Prime or Pro Plan would be your best bet if you want to stick with Bluehost.
Here you will find answers to some of the most common questions asked about Bluehost.
- What is Bluehost login to …?
- When was Bluehost founded and where is their HQ?
- Are Bluehost and HostGator the same company?
- Can I host multiple domains on Bluehost?
- What support does Bluehost offer?
- What languages does Bluehost support speak?
- How do I know if Bluehost is down?
- Does Bluehost have a website builder?
- Does Bluehost offer SSL certificates?
- Does Bluehost come with a content delivery network (CDN)?
- What is Bluehost “Business On Tapp”?
- What is Bluehost “Search Engine Jumpstart”?
- Does Bluehost offer WHOIS domain privacy?
- What is Bluehost “SiteLock”?
- What is Bluehost “Postini”?
- What is Bluehost “Site Backup Pro”?
- Can Bluehost handle high traffic?
- How to add Bluehost email to iPhone and Android?
- What is Bluehost uptime guarantee?
- What is Bluehost CPU throttling / performance protection?
- What is Bluehost money back guarantee?
- What payment options does Bluehost offer?
- How can I cancel my Bluehost plan?
- How do I transfer a domain name to (or from) Bluehost?
- What are Bluehost name servers?
- What software does Bluehost servers use?
- What programming languages does Bluehost support?
- Does Bluehost come with Solid State Drives (SSDs)?
- What is Bluehost email settings?
- What is my Bluehost cPanel login?
- Does Bluehost provide SSH/Shell access?
- How do I verify my Bluehost account?
- Does Bluehost let me edit configuration files?
- Is Bluehost good for ecommerce websites?
- Any other sites where I can find unbiased Bluehost reviews?
- What is Bluehost Mojo marketplace?
- Does Bluehost have an affiliate program?
It depends on whether you have a basic, plus, prime or business pro account. You can add-on multiple domains and host multiple websites on Bluehost’s plus, prime and business pro plans. You are only allowed to host one addon domain/website on the basic plan. It is also helpful to understand the different type of domains.
Primary domain: This is the domain name that is considered to be your account’s main domain. It is the domain you use to log into your Bluehost account and the domain you use when dealing with Bluehost representatives. There can only be one primary domain per account.
Parked Domain: Parked domains are domains that redirect to the content and the website that your main domain does. So, if your main domain is bakingstore.com, you may also want to have similar names like bakingstore.net, bakingstore.org, etc., as parked domains, because they are so similar. You get 5 of these with a basic package, and unlimited with plus, prime or business pro packages.
Sub-domain: These are domains that are created when you add a prefix to your main domain. So, if your website has a forum section, and you make it so that people can get to the forums by typing mywebsite.forum.com, then that is known as a “sub-domain.” You get 25 of these under a basic package, and unlimited under plus, prime and business pro packages.
Add-on domain: These are domains that link to a completely separate website from your main domain. Separate websites with their own domain names are considered add-on domains. You get unlimited amounts of these regardless of package.
Bluehost does not offer an in-house website builder, instead it encourages its users to use either Weebly or WordPress, which can be installed very easily. Both Weebly and WordPress are great website builders and are especially helpful for beginners.
Yes, buying or renewing SSL certificates with Bluehost is very easy; just follow these simple steps:
- Log into your Bluehost account and go to your control panel
- Click the add-ons header, then search for “SSL” in the search box
- Click “add to cart” on the SSL certificate that best fits your website’s needs
- You will be sent a verification email to the email address chosen in the drop-down menu, simply follow the instructions in the email and your SSL certificate will be activated
Business on Tapp is a mobile app launched by Bluehost’s parent company, Endurance International Group. The free app gives small to medium sized businesses the ability to directly interact with potential customers and like-minded entrepreneurs. Some of the features on the app include:
Business card swapping: Create your own custom business card and use it to interact with local businesses.
Expert Q&A: Ask a question and have it answered by the community of experts who also use the app.
Polls and market research: Conduct quick sample polls using Business on Tapp users. Get info about the latest trends in business fields.
Experience informative editorial content: Read the unique and interesting pieces written by the experts of the Business on Tapp community that are not available anywhere else.
This is an add-on Bluehost users can get for $1.99 a month, it provides standard website protection, such as:
- Protection from DDoS attacks
- Malware scanning
- Malware removal
- Protection against spam
Bluehost is capable of handling high traffic, however their shared hosting plans aren’t suitable for high traffic websites. You are better off going with their VPS or dedicated server plans. Every Bluehost user has access to Cloudflare, a content delivery network that helps sites with high traffic keep their servers functioning and keep their website running fast. Activating Cloudflare is easy:
- Log onto Bluehost and go to your control panel
- Go to the domains section and find the Cloudflare icon
- Click activate
Setting up Bluehost email on your iOS or Android is easy.
- Go to “mail, contacts, and calendar” which you will see when you click the “settings” button.
- Click the “add mail account” button.
- Click “other” and then “add mail account.”
- Add the relevant information and click “next.”
- Open the Gmail app and then go to the settings section.
- Click the “add mail account” button.
- Enter your email address, and then specify what type of email address you want to use (either POP3 or IMAP).
- Enter the password for your email address and then hit “next.”
Bluehost moneyback guarantee only applies to the first term of a hosting agreement. The guarantee is as follows.
- Users who cancel within 30 days will receive a full refund.
- Users who cancel after the thirty day period receive a partial refund.
- The money back guarantee only applies to hosting plans, money spent on domains or add-ons is nonrefundable.
- There are no fees if you decide to cancel your hosting agreement early.
In terms of payment Bluehost accepts all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American express, and Discover), PayPal payments, purchase orders, checks (only US residents can pay this way), and money orders (only in US dollars).
Credit Cards: Credit card payment is the default payment option when you create your account. You simply have to fill in your standard card information (expiration date, cardholder’s name, etc.) and it will be saved for future payments.
PayPal: PayPal is one of the accepted payment options for Bluehost. But, only instant payments are accepted. This means you have to have a bank account or credit card linked to your PayPal account for it to be an accepted form of payment. Once you set PayPal as your main payment method, all auto-renewals will be taken from your PayPal account.
Money orders or Checks: Money orders and checks are accepted, but only in US money. The hosting term must also be for 12 months or longer. An invoice will need to be created before you send a check or money order, this is to ensure that the amount paid is correct. Services that require monthly renewal cannot be paid by check or money order; they require an active credit card or PayPal account. Checks and money orders can be sent to the following address:
560 Timpanogos Pkwy.
Orem, UT 84097
Bluehost also accepts purchase orders, which can be paid by check or money order. But, once you pay with a purchase order, you must always pay using purchase orders or create a new account.
Bluehost allows you to cancel your account at any time for a partial refund. Before refunding, make sure you know:
- The last 4 digits of your Bluehost password
- The email address listed on your Bluehost profile is still in use.
Once you have your password and have confirmed that the email listed on your profile is still in use, call the Bluehost renewals department at: 844-853-6296. The department will send you an email with a link that will take you to your control panel, where you will be asked to confirm the following:
- That you have backed up all important data, including important files, emails, and databases
- That you understand that cancelling your account will delete all websites and files for every domain linked to your account
- Confirm your renewal settings for domain names and domain add-ons
- Confirm your personal information.
- Confirm your reason for leaving.
After that is done, hit “confirm” and you will be informed if the cancellation attempt was successful or not. Any refunds will be issued by credit card or PayPal.
Here’s how you transfer a domain name to Bluehost.
- Login to your domain’s control panel (where your domain is currently registered e.g. GoDaddy, Namecheap).
- Point the nameservers to Bluehost (using: ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com).
- Unlock the domain and turn off privacy (if enabled).
- Acquire your EPP code (also called auth code or transfer key).
- Visit the Domain Manager tab in your Bluehost control panel. Select “Transfer a new domain to your account” and follow the steps provided.
- Here’s a video showing you all the steps.
Transferring your domain name from Bluehost follows a very similar approach. Here’s a video showing you how to transfer out of Bluehost.
Nameservers are specialized servers that handle requests from computers about the exact location of a domain name’s services. In laymen’s terms, think of it like a phone book. Before calling someone, you would take them time to look up their number in a phone book if you weren’t sure. That’s the logic used with nameservers.
- Bluehost default nameservers are:
- ns1.bluehost.com (IP address 184.108.40.206)
- ns2.bluehost.com (IP address 220.127.116.11)
Their recommended secure SSL/TLS settings for IMAP and POP3 are:
- Username: Your email address: e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Password: The password for your email account.
- Incoming Server: mail.domain.com (where domain.com is your domain name).
- Incoming Port: 993 (IMAP) or 995 (POP3).
- Outgoing Server: mail.domain.com (where domain.com is your domain name).
- Outgoing Port: 465 (SMTP).
- Authentication: Password.
Bluehost offers Woocommerce hosting, which is a plugin for WordPress that turns your site into a fully-fledged ecommerce site. The plugin is great for ecommerce sites, here are just a few of the features offered by the Woocommerce plugin:
- Sell products and accept payments.
- Manage orders and shipping.
- Is integrated with social media and allows for customer reviews.
- Several different expansions.
There are three different Woocommerce plans to choose from:
- 1 parked domain and 5 sub-domains.
- 100 GB of website space.
- 100 email accounts with 500 MB of storage for each.
- No extras included.
- Unlimited website space, emails, email storage.
- Unlimited parked domains and unlimited sub-domains.
- $200 worth of marketing offers.
- Unlimited website space, emails, email storage.
- Unlimited parked domains and unlimited sub-domains.
- $200 worth of marketing offers.
- Includes domain privacy and site backup
- Business Pro
- Unlimited website space.
- Unlimited emails and email storage space.
- Unlimited parked domains and unlimited sub-domains.
- $200 worth of marketing offers.
- Extras like Site Backup Pro, spam protection, dedicated IP address, SSL certificate and more.
Mojo Marketplace is an online marketplace where you can install free apps that deal with building websites. You can download major website builders like WordPress and Drupal, you can download website themes, you can download eCommerce plugins, etc. Most of the apps offered on Mojo Marketplace are free elsewhere, but what makes Mojo Marketplace so special is the fact that users can download and install the apps with the click of a button.
Do I recommend Bluehost?
Would I sign up with Bluehost? Probably not. Should you get hosting with Bluehost? Maybe.
I can’t give you a straight up “yes use Bluehost” or “no don’t use Bluehost” answer because it depends on your situation and what you need hosting for.
I think yes you should definately go and sign up with Bluehost if you are going to launch a personal blog or a small business website.
They are cheap (really cheap), have a solid uptime track-record and it’s very easy to get started with Bluehost (especially for beginners).
Also their generous 30-day money back guarantee lets you “try before you buy” and extras such as a free domain name are are solid features worth considering.
On the flip side, however, there are three major reasons why I would think twice before signing up with Bluehost.
One, if you have a website that will get high traffic (such as a commercial or ecommerce site). Then I suggest that you don’t deal with Bluehost at all.
Secondly, if you need to get hold of someone in support, waiting for upward times of 10 minutes or longer in crucial situations is not worth the cheap pricing. But you do get what you pay for.
Thirdly, it’s a let down that website migrations and automatic backups only come as paid upgrades. I know these are straightforward things you can do yourself but it should be included. Again, you get what you pay for.
So what’s next? Well you have two options ..
Sign up with Bluehost
(this is NOT an affliate link)
Sign up with someone else
(Best Bluehost alternatives)