BlueHost is a very, and I mean very popular name in the web hosting space — if not the most popular shared hosting company on Earth. But it’s not a little known secret that the company spends millions of dollars in marketing, each month.
Introduction to BlueHost.com
BlueHost first started operating in 1996, primarily offering shared hosting services. It was founded by Matt Heaton, who was the CEO from 1996-2011. In 2010, amidst much controversy and speculation, EIG (Endurance International Group) acquired BlueHost. Since 2011, Dan Handy operates as the CEO of the company.
BlueHost specializes in shared hosting to this date, but they’ve now started offering additional types of hosting like VPS, dedicated servers, and managed WordPress hosting. BlueHost claims to host over 2 million websites worldwide, making them one of the top hosting companies on the basis of hosted sites volume.
Features of BlueHost’s Shared Web Hosting
BlueHost is your typical budget-friendly web host that offers a standard cPanel and LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) setup for people who’re not looking for too many features. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what all features that they have on offer:
- Feature-packed cPanel – integrated with CloudFlare, Page Speed Grader, Google Apps and a lot of other tools. Their custom user interface looks a lot better than the regular cPanel default skin.
- Premium Anti-spam solutions built right in cPanel.
- Free, unlimited email accounts. Email storage is within your total account storage. There are some limits as to how many emails in an hour you can send, so if your site is demanding in terms of sending emails, use some third party solutions like Mailchimp.
- Automatic daily backups for all your website data, and stored files.
- Free domain (for 1 year) along with your shared hosting plan.
- Highly configured servers (*doesn’t mean your sites will load super fast). Regular hardware upgrades (last upgrade performed on all their sites in the beginning of 2013). Replacement parts always ready for quick replacement of failed hardware.
- 24×7 Live Chat & Phone Support.
- Hassle-free scalability allows you to upgrade your plan to a VPS or a dedicated server without having to face the hassles of moving your website.
- Account isolation technology isolates accounts having websites that consume too much resources, to ensure that the overall performance of the server doesn’t degrade and affect all customer sites on that server.
- Decent level of customization for a shared hosting plan – including SSH (Secured Shell Access), Server Side Includes, PHP.ini and .htaccess modification support.
- Multiple user-access control mechanism to assign multiples users and restrict their access to specific sections of the same hosting account (like one account may access only the billing section).
- Built-in CDN (Content Delivery Network) support with CloudFlare integration. Hassle free setup ensures that all your static resources load faster from CloudFlare’s worldwide CDN network.
- Unique IPs, SSL, and SiteLock protection are some optional features that are handy to have.
Cost – How Affordable is BlueHost?
BlueHost currently has 3 different shared hosting plans, and they are as follows:
BlueHost’s Shared Hosting Plans:
- Starter – $5.99/month
- Plus – $9.99/month Business
- Pro $19.99/month
You can compare the plans here:
Their Starter plan is the most popular one with beginners. It’s understandable because not everyone has multiple websites to host. Still, the price isn’t super cheap for hosting just a single domain. But, to your rescue, I do have a significantly discounted BlueHost coupon. You can activate that coupon (35% off) by clicking on the link below:Get hosting at $3.95
With the discount, however, the price of $3.95/month seems reasonable for the level of service that they promise. Their second plan, Plus, is the most value for money one out of the lot. At $6.95/month after the discount, it allows you to host an unlimited number of websites, with no storage or bandwidth limits whatsoever. It also comes preloaded with 1 copy of their optional SpamExperts anti-spam solution.
The last plan, Business Pro, costs $14.95/month after the discount and offers all the features of the Plus plan, along with a dedicated IP, an SSL certificate bundled-in, a complimentary subscription of their optional SiteBackupPro service, and a few other perks.
So, all in all, BlueHost prices their plans pretty reasonably. They’re certainly not the cheapest brand around, but neither do they charge you an arm and a leg for something as simple as a web hosting service.
Uptime – Are BlueHost Servers Reliable?
I’ve heard quite a few complaints about their regular server outages and non-responsive server team. During my time with them, however, that was two months, I didn’t face a single outage. Yes, the uptime was really 100%. Check out this Pingdom Screenshot of the uptime of the site for the month of June:
Not only the uptime was great, but so was the avg. response time of the websites. If you’re not too sure about its significance, note that anything under 200ms is considered as a superb response time for any web server.
I really wish I could test their server uptime for a longer period than the 2 months I’ve hosted my review site with them. I hope this wasn’t a one-off case, and they offer such solid service and impressive uptime to every customer.
Support – How Responsive is BlueHost?
I’d describe BlueHost’s support as — average. They’re not the most responsive support team in the world. They usually took around 30 minutes before they emailed back to my query.
The live chat support is a good option when you’re looking for specific queries that aren’t too complex or aren’t related to your specific account. Its 24×7 availability ensures that you’ll get your easy questions answered even without having to shoot them an email.
The difficult tech queries are what made BlueHost somewhat uncomfortable. And they don’t pretend like the most helpful lot either. Want specific sections of your backed-up data restored? Pay a fee. Want your site migrated from your old host to BlueHost? Pay a fee.
BlueHost clearly treat these as additional services outside the scope of their traditional web hosting service that they offer, and hence they charge for those, unlike some lenient alternatives like Hostripples and Siteground.
All in all, if you try to get too technical with their support team, or expect personalized answers and welcoming behaviour, you’ll be disappointed with BlueHost because they’ll make you feel that you’re using a cheap web host after all.
Maybe I was demanding too much from a host that clearly focuses itself in attracting beginners, people who don’t know or demand a lot of technicalities.
Speed – How Fast is BlueHost?
This is the most crucial aspect of any web hosting service. Sure, you can have flashy graphics, tons of features on a list, mind boggling discounts, high ratings everywhere, etc. etc. — only to suck at the most important thing that matters — site speed.
Below is a gtmetrix comparison of my website before and after bluehost
As you can see above, the website actually loaded way much faster on Bluehost than on my previous host. This is the area where it matters the most, and is exactly the same area where BlueHost shines.
BlueHost is a decent shared hosting company for the money. It’s ideal for beginners due to the easy-to-use cPanel interface and generally fast, reliable servers. While their support department aren’t really one of the best in the business, but at that price, it’s totally justified. Overall, BlueHost is a value for money web host.Visit Bluehost Now
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