Bluehost Web Hosting review – TechRadar

One of the world’s largest web hosting (opens in new tab) providers, Bluehost has almost two decades of experience in helping users build a quality home on the web.

Bluehost is now owned by Newfold Digital (previously Endurance International Group), the company also behind major hosting names like HostGator (opens in new tab), iPage, Domain.com (opens in new tab) and Web.com.

Bluehost has a real depth of knowledge which goes way beyond most competitors. The company doesn’t just know how to install WordPress (opens in new tab) and launch the dashboard, for instance. It has developers working on the platform full-time, and has been directly recommended by WordPress.org since 2005.

It’s a mix which has earned Bluehost major success. Datanyze’ Web Hosting Share (opens in new tab) report places the company in 6th place amongst business users. Only hosting giants such as GoDaddy, Amazon and Google scored higher.

  • Bluehost subscription options:
  • 12 month plan – $5.45 per month ($65.40 total cost) (opens in new tab)

What types of hosting does Bluehost offer?

Bluehost offers low-cost shared hosting (opens in new tab), ideal for first-timers and personal or small business sites.

A wide range of WordPress hosting (opens in new tab) plans could work for anything from a simple personal blog, to a feature-packed business-critical site or a leading-edge web store.

Bluehost’s dedicated and VPS hosting (opens in new tab) give you a far more powerful hosting environment, delivering the maximum possible speed for the most demanding projects.

The company also offers a very full range of add-on products and services: website design (opens in new tab), domain registration, email hosting (opens in new tab), premium support and more.

Next, we’ll break down these various ranges, look at what they offer, and explore which hosting plans are best for different types of sites.

Bluehost offers quality WordPress plans with some powerful extras (Image credit: Bluehost)

Share hosting

Opt for a shared hosting plan and your website is stored on a server which also hosts many other accounts. This scheme saves money, because the cost of the server is shared between many users. But it also reduces performance, because the server’s resources – the processor, the RAM, the network connection – are also shared by all the accounts.

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Bluehost’s shared range is priced from $2.95 a month on the annual plan ($9.99 on renewal). This supports a single site and a lower than average 10GB storage, but the feature list scores free domain, free SSL (opens in new tab), free CDN (opens in new tab) (Content Delivery Network), automated WordPress installation, a bundled website builder (opens in new tab), and 24/7 support via live chat (opens in new tab) and telephone.

Upgrading to the other shared plans adds resources to improve speeds, and throws in some valuable extras. The top Pro plan ($13.95 a month billed annually, $28.99 on renewal) includes 100GB storage, supports unlimited websites, adds automated backups, domain privacy and a dedicated IP.

Whatever you choose, Bluehost offers top quality management tools. A well-designed custom control panel organizes account and hosting features, Softaculous (opens in new tab) reliably installs WordPress in barely a minute, and cPanel (opens in new tab) helps create email accounts, organize files, work with domains and more.

These are capable products, easy to manage, faster than most (more on that later) and powerful enough to handle many personal and small business sites.

But the plans are also more expensive than some, once the introductory deals end. The cheapest plans don’t offer backups, and there are potential extra costs elsewhere. A free domain sounds great, for instance, but Bluehost’s above-average annual renewal fees ($18.99 for .com, $27.99 for .co.uk, vs. $13.98 and $9.98 at Namecheap (opens in new tab), for instance) mean you may pay more over time.

If it’s important to make savings, consider Hostinger (opens in new tab). The company’s Premium shared hosting plan is priced similarly to Bluehost’s cheapest plans, at $2.99 a month on the annual plan, $11.99 on renewal. It can’t quite match Bluehost for management tools (no cPanel, no Softaculous), although its own control panels are still better than most. But it scores in other areas, with weekly backups, 100GB storage and support for 100 websites, and our performance tests found Hostinger and Bluehost deliver very similar speeds.

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Bluehost offers WordPress hosting on all platforms (Image credit: WordPress)

WordPress hosting

WordPress is the world’s leading website creation platform. It’s not difficult for home users to learn, yet is also powerful enough to build and run powerful business sites, huge web stores and more.

Bluehost’s $2.75 a month shared hosting plan can automatically install WordPress, and is fine if you just want to find out how the platform works. But it doesn’t have many specialist WordPress features, and you can get similar plans from other hosts for less.

Bluehost’s WP Pro range (from $19.95 a month over three years) extends your WordPress possibilities with premium themes to give your site a facelift, a staging environment for safer testing of website changes, and automatic WordPress updates.

Additional hosting features include unlimited storage, support for unlimited sites, malware detection and daily scheduled backups.

Business-friendly extras include marketing tools, site traffic analytics and SEO guidance, while the best plans include PayPal integration and a high-speed search tool.

This is a nicely-judged mix of features, with plenty of appeal for the target small business audience. But if you’re looking to save money, and don’t need Bluehost’s business tools, HostGator’s managed WordPress tools include free migration, domain, backups and malware scanning, and are priced from $5.95 a month on the three-year plan ($9.95 on renewal.)

Elsewhere, IONOS (opens in new tab) scores for its array of WordPress plans. Casual users can have a surprisingly capable plan for $0.50 a month in year one ($8 on renewal); at the top of the range, the $120 Agency plan offers speedy VPS hosting for up to ten demanding business sites, and there are plenty of mid-range options in between.

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(Image credit: Bluehost)

VPS hosting

VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is a scheme where a physical server is divided up into individual server environments. There are far fewer accounts on a server than you’ll see with shared hosting, and your VPS doesn’t have to share its resources with other sites. That’s a real performance plus, and while some shared hosting plans might struggle with 10,000 visitors a month, a good VPS can usually handle hundreds of thousands.

Bluehost has three VPS plans. The simplest gives you 2 CPU cores, 2GB RAM, 30GB storage, 1TB bandwidth and a cPanel/WHM license for $19.99 a month over three years, $29.99 on renewal. At the top of the range, a 4 core, 8GB RAM, 120GB storage and 3TB bandwidth setup is priced at $59.99 a month over three years, $119.99 on renewal.

There’s nothing wrong with these systems, and we found that they deliver decent performance for most small and mid-range sites. But three plans doesn’t give you a lot of choice.

On CPU cores, for instance (a measure of processor power), some providers have VPS plans ranging from one to 24 or even 32 cores. Bluehost’s two to four core plans will work for some, but there’s no way it can begin to satisfy everyone (and there are no ways to reconfigure the plans to suit more demanding users, either.)

IONOS’ VPS plans are mostly for experienced users who know what they’re doing, but they’re built to address a far wider audience than Bluehost. Prices range from a very basic 1 core, 512MB server for $2 billed monthly, up to an 8 core, 24GB RAM setup from only $24 a month for the first six months, $45 on renewal.

But if you’re not sure what you want, check out Hostwinds (opens in new tab)