- Cheap hosting prices
- Lots of features
- Website layout seems confusing, needs a new look
- Unclear when and how frequent fees are charged to you
- Slow load times and unexplained down times
Bluehost provides lots of features at a good price, but quality suffers.
Bluehosts shared hosting is ideal for very small websites that aren't business critical.
Based - Utah, US.
Staff - 300 or more.
Initially marketed as hosting for small to medium sized businesses, Bluehost was created in 1996. Mark Heaton founded the company with the idea of offering free hosting.
Bluehost was bought out by Endurance International Group in 2011. Endurance added Bluehost to their portfolio of about 50 stable hosting brands, including iPage, Domain.com and Hostgator.com.
In mid 2011 Heaton stepped down to focus on other aspects of the company, being replaced by Dan Handy.
In 2009 Bluehost got some negative media after censoring some users who were from foreign countries. A US citizen from Belarus received a notice from Bluehost that his Belarussian American Association website would be taken down and he had a few days to save his content. Bluehost dropped the ball and thought the user was a citizen of a country which was flagged by the US as being a rogue state.
Bluehost is definitely tech driven, and they built their own data center and servers. They have their own north American fiber optic network and builds custom Linux kernels. The Bluehost headquarters boasts a 50,000 square foot warehouse where they run their servers and two secondary locations with an additional 20,000 square feet of server space. Not to mention their own UPS power, generators and all interlinked with 10GB fiber connections to spots around the world.
Bluehost advertises shared hosting from $3.95 a month. Features include:
- Unlimited hosting space
- Unlimited domain hosting
- Unlimited file transfer
- Free domain for the first year
- Unlimited email accounts
- Free site builder / templates
- SSH, Ruby, Perl, PHP, MySQL, CGI, SSL, Ftp and more
- $100 Google marketing credit
There are three dedicated hosting plans and four VPS plans. It's best to check Bluehost directly for exact features and prices as they are constantly changing. Click through one of our links to see if they are offering any promos right now.
My Bluehost service test focused on their shared hosting, basic plan. I was able to sign up easily, entered my personal details, domain and credit card. It should be noted that Bluehost charges you for the entire hosting length all up front. I was charged for the entire year of hosting, instead of month by month like other hosting companies.
In addition to the shared hosting features mentioned above, Bluehost includes:
- Free drag and drop site builder
- POP3 / IMAP secure mail
- CPanel account management
- Spam Assassin protection
- WordPress support
- Free website backups
- Much more
SimpleScripts is also provided and offers one click install of your favorite plugins.
Site migration can be purchased but there are help documents to get it done your self.
You will see site slowdowns if your website gets a lot of traffic and your on one of their lower plans. Bluehost does this through CPU throttling, fancy term for reducing the speed of your site to save them resources. Cloudflare is supported through CPanel and can save you some bandwidth. You will have to switch over to dedicated hosting if your traffic gets too high.
Bluehost has encountered some hacking issues in the past. They have since partnered with SiteLock to provide customers with more security, for an additional yearly fee. For some reason the SiteLock feature is not mentioned on the feature list, just in the knowledge base. You can sign up for SiteLock at any time in your hosing plan.
Bluehost has recently updated their user interface, a much needed improvement over their last layout.
Like many other hosts, Bluehost uses CPanel to let users manage their account and website. Installing features like WordPress is easy, and one click in the site builder section will do it. Jetpack also comes preinstalled.
About a day after signing up a woman left me a voicemail requesting I send a confirmation email with my name and domain. I sent it off and within a few minutes my account was confirmed. A voice call seemed a bit strange and unnecessary, but perhaps they do it to offer more support to users.
Bluehost has an extensive knowledge base with over 1,000 articles. There is also a getting started guide, user forum, email and phone support, live chat and a plethora of video tutorials. One of Bluehosts best selling feature is the access to support staff and documentation.
Bluehost offers a full refund within 30 days of purchase. After 30 days your refund is pro-rated for the amount outstanding.
Bluehost's primary marketing angle is their vast infrastructure of servers and power supplies. However, their down time has increased as the company has aged. It seems their hardware may need better servicing because reports of down time at Bluehost have risen sharply over the past few years. You should look elsewhere if you're running a business critical website.
Check out the user comments for more reviews. If you've used Bluehost then be sure to leave a comment yourself and let us know how it went.
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