Bluehost Review: Pros, Cons & Performance Tests (2022)

Bluehost Review Featured Image

Bluehost is the sixth most popular web hosting provider around. With over 2 million websites hosted, Bluehost has made a name by offering “cheap and reliable” hosting.

But, if you’re anything like us, you might be wondering if Bluehost’s service actually lives up to its reputation and if it’s worth it for your website…

In this data-driven review, you’ll get the low-down on all Bluehost’s plans and see if they’re among the best web hosting services.

You’ll discover the good, the bad, and the somewhere-in-between as you dive deep into the most up-to-date Bluehost review on the internet.

So let’s dig in.

Introducing Bluehost

Bluehost Homepage

Bluehost was founded in 2003 in Utah and powers over 2 million websites. Since first opening its doors, Bluehost has been on an upward trend with no signs of slowing down and is now one of WordPress’ top 3 recommended hosts.

So if you run a WordPress site, it’s worth looking into these guys for website hosting.

The real question is, does Bluehost continue to shine in today’s web hosting market? Let’s find out.

Bluehost Review: Hosting Features

Bluehost Features

Bluehost offers a wide range of hosting plans, including:

We’ll look at the details of each later in this article…

The Shared hosting plans are by far the most popular, so we’ll use these as the baseline for investigating Bluehost’s features.

“Unlimited” Disk Space

Bluehost’s basic plan provides 50GB of SSD storage. All of Bluehost’s other shared hosting plans include “unlimited” storage (also referred to as “unmetered bandwidth” on Bluehost’s website).

Bluehost Unlimited Disk Space

While there is a difference between these terms, Bluehost uses them interchangeably.

Ultimately, this means you won’t have any defined limitations on how much space you use. You also won’t be charged according to how much space you use.

However, a fair use policy does apply to prevent any single website from using up so many of a server’s resources that it impacts the other websites sharing the server. Bluehost uses statistical analyses to determine the average patterns of normal website usage across it’s customer base. Anyone who is using more resources outside of the patterns established as “normal” may experience restrictions.

You can learn more about Bluehost’s restrictions on unlimited hosting here.

Free Backups, Sometimes

If anything ever takes a turn for the worst on your website, the first thing you’ll need is access to a backup. Knowing that your hosting company has your back in this department can be a massive weight off your shoulders.

Bluehost Backups

Unlike most other reputable web hosting companies, Bluehost only offers free backups on their most expensive tiers, and even then, limitations apply. For instance, they take no responsibility for failed backups.

Even though Bluehost offers backups on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis on their higher priced tiers, they’re “not guaranteed in any way.”

Instead, it’s recommended that you purchase an additional subscription with CodeGuard.

Bluehost CodeGuard

It’s also worth noting that Bluehost doesn’t offer redundant or mirrored backups.

  • Redundant data storage provides a fail-safe against hard drive failure.
  • Mirrored backups are exact replicas of your data that can be rebooted in case something goes wrong.

Honestly, it’s not a great sign that Bluehost doesn’t offer these types of backups. Especially since the company also claims no responsibility for when things go wrong.

If anything ever happened, you’d likely be left hanging without a website if you couldn’t access the backup data on Bluehost’s servers for whatever reason. Being left without a website is among the top complaints the company receives on Trustpilot.

Limited Out-Of-The-Box Security Features

As with the backups, Bluehost lacks other security features that competing web hosting providers include in their out-of-the-box plans.

Bluehost Security

For instance, domain privacy and spam protection are features included for free by many of Bluehost’s competitors. However, with Bluehost these require an additional expense.

It comes down to budget cuts on the core services so that Bluehost can pass lower costs to customers on their hosting packages.

Free SSL CertificateYes (Let’s Encrypt)
Free Domain PrivacyOnly on Expensive Tiers
Hotlink ProtectionYes
Spam ProtectionYes (Akismet)
Free Auto BackupsOnly on Expensive Tiers
Web Application FirewallYes
DDoS ProtectionYes
Brute Force ProtectionYes
Bot BlockingYes
Malware ProtectionYes (Daily Automated)
24/7 Server MonitoringNo
WP Security PluginNo

When comparing web hosting plans, it’s likely you’ve seen them all mention their security is a top priority and that a free SSL certificate is included.

But, few hosting companies put their money where their mouth is. Bluehost isn’t one of them.

Honestly, there are far better-hosting options that constantly invest in their in-built security features for all shared plans. SiteGround and WPX  are our top choices, to name a few.

Servers

Bluehost’s servers and data centers are not made prominent on their website. So we reached out to their customer support and asked for further information.

Bluehost nameservers

As it turns out, their servers are only available in Utah, US.

If your audience is primarily based in the US, you should have no issues. Paired with a decent CDN (content delivery network), you can still easily distribute your content all over the world.

However, if you have an international audience and require servers in a different location, Bluehost may not be the best option for your needs.

Bluehost Hosting Performance Review

Bluehost Performance

In this section, you’ll get a look at some more of the meaty data. Below, you’ll find out how Bluehost’s web hosting services stood up to our rigorous performance tests.

You’ll see how the data gathered lends insights into whether Bluehost lives up to its claims or not and whether it’ll be the right solution for your website.

Bluehost Speed Review: Is Bluehost Fast?

Bluehost Speed

To test the speed of an average Bluehost account, we ran a test WordPress website through GT Metrix and Pingdom.

The same website was used and tested three times on each tool for each location.

It’s important to mention we didn’t try and fix anything after running these tests. We wanted to see how the web hosting service performs for beginner users who likely won’t know how to optimize their website correctly.

A decent web hosting company should perform reasonably well regardless of what optimizations are done on their customer’s websites.

Here are the results…

GT Metrix

 GTMetrix PerformanceGT Metrix TTFB
San Antonio0.53647ms
Vancouver0.67559ms
London0.39439ms
Sydney0.34872ms

Pingdom

 Pingdom PerformancePingdom Load Time
San Francisco713.41s
Frankfurt712.94s
Tokyo713.15s
London711.5s
Washington DC711.63s
Sydney713.14s
The Verdict: There’s a lot that could be improved with Bluehost’s speed performance, but it’s certainly not the worst we’ve seen. We’d consider these scores to be fairly average. If you want better speed performance, check out our post on the fastest web hosting.

Bluehost Uptime Review: Is Bluehost Reliable?

Bluehosts Reliability

After speed, uptime is an important performance metric that indicates how reliable your web hosting servers are.

It is ideal for your servers to be up all the time; otherwise, your website will experience periods where users cannot access it. In reality, however, every web host experiences downtime.

The industry standard is 99.90%; however, Bluehost guarantees 99.98% uptime. This equates to around 1 hour and 45 minutes of downtime per year. For the most part, Bluehost has been able to meet this guarantee.

2018 Uptime2019 Uptime2020 Uptime2021 Uptime
99.99%99.98%99.96%99.98%
Our Verdict: Bluehost’s uptime is quite decent and lives up to the guarantee (for the most part).

In 2020, there was a decline in performance. But, it was still higher than the industry benchmark of 99.90%, which is more than most other cheap web hosting companies can say.

Bluehost Pricing & Web Hosting Services Review

Bluehost Pricing

If there are two things Bluehost is known for, it’s their pricing and reliability. We’ve already confirmed that, for the most part, Bluehost’s web servers live up to their promised reliability.

So now it’s time to take a deeper look into Bluehost pricing for all their web hosting plans.

Bluehost Shared Hosting Review

Bluehost Shared Hosting

Bluehost’s shared hosting packages are their most popular due to their incredible affordability. The prices are among the lowest on the market, and all plans come with a free domain name to boot!

It goes without saying that the prices below are subject to change, especially during peak sales periods like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. So it is possible that you may score even lower rates.

PlanPromotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Basic Tier$3.45/month$9.99/month
Plus Tier$5.45/month$13.99/month
Choice Plus Tier$5.45/month$18.99/month
Pro Tier$13.95/month$28.99/month

To secure such low promotional rates, you will need to commit to a 36-month term in advance. You will also need to consider what features you require, as you may need to account for additional tools to cover the functionality Bluehost does not offer natively.

Besides the lowest tier, all other shared plans give you access to unlimited domains hosted along with unlimited storage and other bonuses suitable for most small business websites.

Bluehost Managed WordPress Hosting Review

Bluehost WordPress Hosting

Bluehost is recommended by WordPress.org as one of the top three WordPress hosting services. You can use either shared hosting or managed hosting for your WordPress website.

However, managed Wordhosting helps take the burden off your shoulders with setting up and maintaining an automatic WordPress installation, even for e-commerce stores. Bluehost also has a website builder designed especially for the WordPress content management platform.

Whether you have an online store, a service-based business, or an affiliate site, Bluehost has a range of WordPress hosting options you can choose from. If you have multiple websites in your portfolio, you can also set up unlimited websites on some plans.

Managed WP Hosting

PlanPromotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Build Tier$9.95/month$19.95/month
Grow Tier$14.95/month$24.95/month
Scale Tier$27.95/month$37.95/month

Woocommerce Hosting

PlanPromotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Standard Tier$12.95/month$24.95/month
Premium Tier$24.95/month$39.95/month

Bluehost VPS Hosting Plans Review

Bluehost VPS Hosting

In addition to their WordPress hosting service, Bluehost also offers VPS hosting. VPS stands for “virtual private server”. It’s is a web hosting service that acts like a shared server while also allowing you to access private resources that would otherwise only be available on a dedicated server.

It’s the perfect interim between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, with a decent price point for anyone on a tight budget.

Bluehost’s VPS plans start at $19.99/month and increase depending on the level of resources your website requires.

PlanPromotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Standard Tier$19.99/month$29.99/month
Enhanced Tier$29.99/month$59.99/month
Ultimate tier$59.99/month$119.99/month

These prices are available on a 36-month term. Unlike shared hosting, there are also a few less perks. For instance, you do not receive a free domain name on these plans. However, the benefits of having private resources all to yourself far outweigh the risks of being on a shared server.

Bluehost Dedicated Hosting Review

Bluehost Dedicated Server

If the idea of sharing a server doesn’t sound like a good fit for you either due to the security concerns or the limited resources, then dedicated hosting will be right up your alley. Dedicated hosting gives you an entire server all to yourself and you can use the resources on that server however you like.

The pricing is significantly higher than for shared hosting and VPS hosting, but you get access to the entire server and all it’s resources.

That’s why dedicated servers and dedicated hosting plans cost significantly more than what a shared web hosting service does.

Here are Bluehost’s prices for a 36-month term of dedicated hosting.

PlanPromotional PricingRenewal Pricing
Standard Tier$79.99/month$119.99/month
Enhanced Tier$99.99/month$159.99/month
Premium tier$119.99/month$209.99/month

Bluehost Domains Review

Like many other hosting companies, Bluehost offers a free domain name with it’s shared hosting and WordPress hosting services.

Bluehost Domains

It’s a common pricing strategy that can get more customers in the door despite Bluehost losing initial profits.

However, despite offering a free domain, this deal doesn’t last forever. The domain name is only free for the first year. Additionally, it does not include domain privacy. All domain names purchased through Bluehost require additional privacy which starts at $15 per year.

If you’re interested in VPS or dedicated servers, unfortunately you won’t enjoy a free domain on these packages.

Bluehost Domains Pricing

TLDRegistrationAverageRenewalAverage
.biz$9.99$14.56 $16.99$17.59
.co$27.99$23.99$29.99$29.74
.co.uk$27.99$12.50$29.99$15.00
.com$12.99$11.57$18.99$14.83
.info$11.99$11.81$15.99$17.67
.io$11.99$47.16$60.99$52.08
.me$17.99$12.00$17.99$20.62
.net$14.99$13.61$18.99$15.63
.online$4.99$16.31$12.99$32.20
.org$9.99$12.09$17.99$15.47
.site$2.99$13.78$12.99$27.71
.space$1.99$10.86$12.99$21.00
.store$12.99$24.73$34.99$48.06
.tech$4.99$21.51$19.99$13.51
.us$5.99$10.45$15.99$12.99
.xyz$14.99$6.70$19.99$54.70

All in all, Bluehost’s domain prices are on par with the industry averages, even with most of the renewal costs. Some domain extensions are more expensive than the average but still within reason.

We’ve seen several other domain and hosting providers who consistently charge well above the industry averages with all renewals, as you’ll see in our post on the cheapest places to buy domains.

Bluehost Customer Support: Can Bluehost Help Me?

Excellent customer support is crucial. In our book, customer support differentiates good web hosts from excellent ones.

Bluehost Support

To examine Bluehost support performance, we turned to Trustpilot.

Bluehost Review

As far as customer support is concerned, Bluehost has a long way to go. With less than 35% of ratings marked as “excellent”, you may be likely left hanging during critical moments when you would expect support.

As you’ll note below, the biggest complaint people have comes down to users being left with no help, no backups and no options when things go wrong.

If customer support is as important to you as it is to us, we recommend checking out alternative hosting providers like WPX or Siteground. Both offer unparalleled support compared to most hosting providers that are known for their cheap shared hosting plans.

Bluehost Complaints

As mentioned, the biggest complaint about Bluehost, which is also quite concerning, is that people have lost many months of hard work on their websites.

Bluehost Negative Review

Even when reaching out to support, the unreliability of the support team paired with the low-quality responses has left many Bluehost users high and dry without a website and with no usable backups to help.

This spells all kinds of bad news folks!

Other serious complaints include:

  • Decline in VPS server performance
  • Poor support for hacked sites
  • Different support agents say different things. Customers end up chasing the “correct” solution for months, often without resolution.
  • Billing issues have been known to disrupt website performance, and it’s not always the customer’s fault.
  • For a managed WordPress site, Bluehost’s plans sometimes require users to stay on outdated versions of WordPress – a huge red flag.

While Bluehost is among the cheapest solutions on the market, there is a far greater cost than you may initially realize. It’s up to you to decide what level of support you think you will need and what kind of issues you can easily resolve yourself.

If push came to shove and the Bluehost website support team could not assist you, where would that leave you?

Bluehost Pros & Cons

Bluehost Pros
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Free SSL certificate and some security features
  • Offers unlimited SSD storage
  • Free domain with most plans
  • Low prices
  • Historically has had good uptime and server reliability
  • Recommended host for WordPress websites
  • 30-day money back guarantee
Bluehost Cons
  • General speed performance needs improvement
  • There are better backup policies on the market
  • Limited server locations
  • Customer support could use improvement

FAQS

Why Use Bluehost For Domain And Web Hosting?

People use Bluehost for their domains and web hosting because of the cheap prices and decent uptime performance. Compared with other cheap hosting companies, Bluehost has better performance.

However, there are some other major drawbacks of Bluehost’s offers such as no backups, low quality support and fewer security features due to budget cuts which may mean a different hosting company may be a better solution for you.

How Good A Web Host Is Bluehost?

Bluehost is an average website hosting company. For the low prices they charge, there are certainly some excellent features they offer. However, there are many better solutions available in today’s hosting market.

Is Bluehost Good For Beginners?

Bluehost is good for beginners. Whether you run a WordPress site, an online store, or a portfolio of affiliate websites, Bluehost has a range of beginner-friendly features.

Bluehost Easy WordPress Builder

However, with poor customer service ratings, beginners may find it challenging to overcome technical challenges on their own.

Can I Use Bluehost For Free?

You cannot use Bluehost for free. While some free services are available on Bluehost, none are free forever, and most require an upfront payment for a lock-in term (often 12-months or 36-months).

Bluehost Web Hosting Review: The Final Verdict

While Bluehost’s shared hosting certainly has many popular features for low prices, there are some major red flags you should look out for, especially concerning security and customer support.

We love that Bluehost offers affordability and above-average performance results.

However, the company still has a long way to go towards providing industry leading services, despite sporting a full-time staff of over 750 employees.

You need to ask yourself whether price is the most important factor in your decision. If so, Bluehost may be the perfect solution for you.

 

But, if you’re looking for one of the best web hosting services that prioritizes performance and does a great job of looking after customers, check out Siteground.

 

Matt-Author-Img

Article by

Matt Diggity

Matt is the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, The Search Initiative, The Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He actually does SEO too.

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