Updated August 7, 2019

Bluehost Review

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Bluehost's hosting plans start at $3.95/month and include a free domain. But is their hosting platform any good? Read our review to learn if Bluehost is right for you.

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The downside is that they charge a high site transfer fee and have expensive renewal rates.

Is it the right web host for you? Read on to find out.

Bluehost Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Competitively priced
  • 24/7/365 support via phone, live chat, and email
  • Extensive knowledge base that includes a YouTube channel
  • Many auto-installers and app integrations (easy for beginners)
  • Offers "unlimited" shared hosting plans
  • Free SSL
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Offers free domain with all their plans
  • Automatic daily, weekly, and monthly backups
  • On-site web builder powered by Weebly
  • Good security measures

Cons:

  • Higher renewal fees
  • No month-to-month option
  • Expensive site migration fee

How Bluehost Works

Bluehost was founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton, who previously created two other hosting services. Since then, the company has steadily expanded, and was bought by Endurance International Group in 2010.

Today, Bluehost (and its sister sites) power over 2 million websites. It's also one of the three hosting providers officially recommended by WordPress.

To set up an account with Bluehost, pick one of their shared web hosting plans. They offer other hosting plans too, but this review will focus on shared web hosting.

Here's what they offer:

Basic
A cheap beginner plan for basic users. You get one website and 50 GB SSD storage. You also get a free domain, but with limits on parked domains and subdomains. The plan includes only 5 email accounts with 100 MB space per account.

Plus
A Plus account allows unlimited websites and storage. There are no limits to the number of domains and email accounts you can have. You get $200 in marketing credits, as well as SpamExperts, an anti-spam software for email.

Choice Plus
Like the Plus account, but with extra domain privacy service and CodeGuard, which provides daily backup and monitoring.
To sign up, first choose the plan you want. After that, you can register a new domain for your site, or enter a domain you already own.

Then, you'll need to enter your details and choose your billing cycle. Bluehost's shortest subscription plan is 12 months. For the best discounts, choose their 36- or 60-month plan.

After entering your billing information, be sure to go through the "package extras"' section. By default, Bluehost includes add-ons like domain privacy, SiteLock security, and CodeGuard basic. These are good services to have, but not necessary.

Once you've created your account and made payment, you'll receive a confirmation email. It'll have the login details to your control panel (cPanel). Use this to log in to your web hosting account. From here, you can install WordPress easily and begin setting up your site.

Bluehost is a popular service, with good security and competitive pricing. However, there's still a few things you should know before signing up. We discuss these below.

But first, here are highlights of their latest promotions.

Reasons to Subscribe to Bluehost

Competitive Pricing
Bluehost is one of the cheapest providers out there. For the best discounts, you'll have to choose their 36- or 60-month plan. That gives you the cheapest price per month.

However, bear in mind that these are just introductory prices. When you renew your service, prices jump back to their regular rates. In some cases, these can be two to three times as expensive!

Still, if you're a first-time customer, Bluehost's prices are hard to beat. If budget is your main concern, Bluehost is a good choice, especially if you don't mind signing up for the long term.

Security Measures
We love that Bluehost has many security features. Here are some of them:

  • SpamAssassin, Spam Hammer, and SpamExperts are Bluehost tools which fight email spam.

  • Hotlink protection prevents others from stealing your hosted files and images and draining your bandwidth.

  • Secure shell (SSH) access allows you to access configuration files individually and securely.

  • Integration with CloudFlare, which helps speeds up your site and protects against DDOS attacks.

  • IP Deny Manager allows you to block IPs or a range of IPs. You can use this in case you suspect an IP address is being harmful to your website.

  • Two-factor authentication makes sure that no one can log into your Bluehost account without also having access to your phone.

  • "Account token validation" requires you to submit a six-digit account security token code to Bluehost's support staff. This lets them validate your identity before asking for your personal details.

All these security features make Bluehost one of the more secure web hosting services out there. If security is your main concern, Bluehost is an excellent pick.

Round-The-Clock Customer Service
We like that Bluehost's customer support is always there. You can reach them via phone, live chat, and email 365 days a year. They're ready to help you 24/7.

Having a customer service that operates round the clock means you can immediately get help if there's a problem. This is crucial, especially if you have a business website.

Why is immediate help important for web hosting?
Round-the-clock customer service is great because you can reach them anytime there's a problem. One of the worst things that can happen to a site is downtime.

Not only does downtime affect sales and customer confidence, but it also affects the site's Google search rankings. It'll be harder for your target visitors to find you!

How-To Resources
Starting a new website is challenging for any beginner. Although Bluehost makes the process easy, you'll still need some technical knowledge to get your site up.

To help you, Bluehost has an extensive knowledge base. Just type a term on their search bar, and it'll show all the information related to the term. Chances are, you'll find all the information you need simply by searching their site.

If that's not enough, they also provide video guides on their YouTube channel. It's filled with tutorials explaining basic concepts and step-by-step guides on how to set up your site.

For us, that's really going the distance. If you're new to web hosting, Bluehost is probably the best place to start and learn from.

Auto-Installers/App Integration
Bluehost has customized their cPanel so that it's simple and easy to use. There's plenty of app integrations and one-click installs. You can install popular scripts (like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc.) with just a few clicks. This is great for beginners, who can easily get their site up and running in no time.

Bluehost's cPanel also has G Suite integration. This is great if you want to use Gmail or G Drive with your site.

Another thing we like is that they have CloudFlare integrated into their cPanel too. CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) which cuts the loading time for your website. It also helps protect your site against DDOS attacks.

What is a content delivery network (CDN)?
A CDN is a network of servers around the world which helps distribute content. Traditionally, if a visitor from Malaysia visited your site in the US, the signal would have to travel all the way from one country to the other. This meant poor latency and slower loading times.

With a CDN, a cached version of your website content is stored on multiple servers around the world. So, when that visitor from Malaysia clicks on your US-hosted site, he/she interacts with a nearby CDN server instead.

This is much quicker than having the signal travel halfway across the world and back again. Your website loads much faster regardless of your visitor's location.

One Free Domain
Bluehost offers one free domain with all their plans. New domains cost about $10-$15 a year, depending on the registrar (Bluehost, HostGator, InMotion, etc.) and TLD (.com, .org, .net, etc.).

It's not much, but we like that it's free. It's a nice perk, especially for basic users who only want to host a personal website.

30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Bluehost offers a 30-day money back guarantee. If you cancel their service within 30 days, you'll get a full refund.

Well, almost.

Bluehost states that if your plan included a free domain (and all of them do), then they'll deduct a non-refundable domain fee of $15.99 from your refund. This is to ensure that you'll still own the domain name, even after canceling the service.

There's also another catch—Bluehost doesn't do refunds after the 30 days. So, if you paid for a 60-month service, and decide that you want to cancel on day 31, you're out of luck.

Still, 30 days is enough time to determine if you're happy with Bluehost's service. Just make sure to cancel before the month is up.

Daily Backups
Bluehost offers complimentary backups for their customers. They do them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This sounds a little better than HostGator's once-a-week backup.

However, they don't guarantee these backups. If for any reason their backups fail, they're not responsible for that. Also, they can't backup any site bigger than 30 GB. They recommend that customers create and manage their own backups through the cPanel.

In short, you probably shouldn't rely on Bluehost's backups. It's nice to know they have it, but you should do your own backups, or use a paid backup service.

Is CodeGuard worth it?
CodeGuard is the paid backup service offered by Bluehost. For the basic plan, it backs up your site daily, and informs you of any major changes to your site. However, they only offer 1 GB of storage and 3 restores per month.

If you're running your website on WordPress, there are other (free) options. They have plug-ins that let you make automatic backups daily. You can even set these backups to save to a cloud service like Dropbox.

You should consider CodeGuard only if you're using something other than WordPress. Otherwise, save your money and use a free plug-in instead.

Reasons to Consider Other Providers

No Month-to-Month Option
Bluehost's shortest plan is for 12 months. There's no month-to-month option. So, while you get low per month prices, you'll have a high upfront cost.

Also, their money back guarantee is only for the first month. That means that after 30 days, you can't ask for a refund anymore. Even if you cancel the service, they won't refund you for the months left in your contract.

This could be an expensive loss, especially if you paid for the 60-month plan.

No Free Site Migration
Bluehost doesn't offer a free site migration. If you want to move your site over to their service, you'll have to pay for it.

Heads up: it's not cheap.

Bluehost charges a whopping $150 migration fee. For that price, they'll move up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts over to their servers.

We think it's a little unfair of Bluehost to not offer free site migration, especially since they have long contracts. Both of these costs add up, so expect to pay a lot upfront.

Expensive Renewal Fees
Bluehost advertises low introductory prices on their site. However, once you renew your service, the price jumps back to regular rates. This can be up to three times as expensive!

To be fair, this is a pretty common practice among web host providers. Both InMotion and HostGator also do this with their fees. We don't like it, but it's not a problem exclusive to Bluehost.

Other Web Hosting Services to Consider

InMotion
InMotion is another popular web hosting service. Like Bluehost, they also have 24/7/365 customer support via email, telephone, and live chat. And if you already have a website, they offer free site migration too.

InMotion has a pretty good money back guarantee. If you're not happy with them, InMotion will return your money up to 90 days after signing up. Of course, that's only for their Business, VPS, and Reseller Hosting plans longer than 6 months. For monthly plans, they have a 30-day money back guarantee.
InMotion also wins brownie points for their all-SSD infrastructure. Solid State Drives operate much faster than traditional hard drives. You can expect better performance for your site, especially during peak network times. You also get a free SSL certificate and free malware detection.

What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is the standard technology to keep an internet connection secure. It encrypts any sensitive data being sent between two systems. This prevents hackers from reading the information, which could include your personal details.

An example of where SSL is important is in shopping sites. A customer would provide personal information such as their shipping address and payment details after making a purchase. An SSL certification encrypts this part of the process, so that no one else can read this information.

HostGator
If you already have an existing site, then HostGator is a good alternative. For one thing, they offer a free site migration service. You can transfer your website to them at no cost.

HostGator also has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This means that if your site is down for more than 45 minutes per month, you'll get a 1-month credit.
Other perks include their 45-day money back guarantee and monthly subscription plans. If you're new to web hosting, HostGator offers a lot of room for you to try out their service. You won't need to worry about losing your money with HostGator's short billing cycles.

BOTTOM LINE

In short, Bluehost is great for beginners who are in it for the long run. It's a great place to start and build your knowledge with their extensive knowledge base. Your upfront fees are high, but you'll also be paying less per month compared to other hosting services. Their security features are great too, so you can relax knowing your account is secure.

However, if you already have a website and know what you're doing, try looking elsewhere. Other hosts allow monthly subscriptions, and some even offer free migration. You'll have more flexibility to move your site around and experiment before deciding if the service is right for you.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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