While Bluehost provides a good service in terms of basic features and ease of use, my interactions with support were extremely disappointing. Given that the prices aren’t anything special, my recommendation is to consider other hosts.
You can get better quality hosting for a cheaper price with Hostinger, for example
Web Hosting: $5.56 - $13.99
VPS Hosting: $28.11 - S$84.37
Dedicated Server: $112 - $169
WordPress Hosting: $4.15 - $70.25
- "Bluehost is very easy to setup. It's also recommended by top platforms like WordPress."
- "It shows that the software gives importance to Automation. This is good because the automation trend will just keep raising."
- "I love bluehost experience, and it is one of the most reliable hosting providers company that I highly recommend it."
- "Overall disappointing experience. They bill themselves as a bright shiny hosting provided that's easy to use, when in reality they're clunky, unprofessional, ..."
- "I now regret that I tried a different hosting platform for my websites first."
- "They actually don't care about the problems that a customer will get. Delay in reply, but once they will reply to you, you'll get some useless things in a lon..."
Can Bluehost Still Make It in Today’s Crowded Web Host Market?
With over 20 years in the website hosting business, Bluehost has definitely managed to make a name for itself. Is it a good one? Depends on who you ask.
Bluehost only offers services in English, which include shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers. It primarily targets beginners and promises easy-to-use hosting services that can work for both individuals and small businesses. That said, its more advanced solutions can certainly work for developers and larger companies.
It’s been quite the experience. I saw things with Bluehost that I’ve never encountered with any other provider. If you need web hosting, I recommend staying far away from Bluehost. It simply doesn’t compete with the top alternatives on the market – for example, Hostinger offers superior features for lower prices.
If you research Bluehost online, you’re going to see that many review sites rank it very high. But I suspect Bluehost’s impressive average review score isn’t a reflection of its quality – rather, it’s a result of its generous affiliate program. Why do I think that? Because I’ve actually tested the service. And – spoiler alert – it really isn’t deserving of its typically high rankings.
Bluehost Covers the Basics
Feature lists should always be taken with a bit of skepticism. It’s not uncommon for website hosts to list cPanel’s advantages as “special features,” while in reality they’re available with almost every hosting plan in existence.
What kinds of features do I want to see mentioned? The important ones. A content delivery network (CDN) service that improves your website’s availability and speed worldwide. An integrated firewall and security suite that ensures your visitors’ safety and your website’s condition.
Unfortunately, most of the features Bluehost advertises belong to the first list. We’ll go over them in a bit, and we’re going to have some fun doing so.
To make matters worse, storage space is tight across nearly all plans. The basic WordPress hosting plan starts with just 10GB of SSD space – this might be enough for a simple landing page, but you’ll quickly hit this limit as you grow. Hostinger offers 50GB of SSD storage for a much lower price, so Bluehost really doesn’t have an excuse.
Bluehost gets the essentials right, at least. Here’s what you can expect to find in every Bluehost plan:
SSL Certificates Ensure Your Visitors’ Safety
All Bluehost plans include an SSL certificate. Providing some kind of SSL has become standard procedure with most website hosts, but it’s nothing to take lightly.
SSL certificates give your website that wonderful padlock in the address bar. They encrypt your visitors’ connections and guarantee the authenticity of the data sent between your server and your visitors.
Why is it so important? Because you can’t run an e-commerce store without it. Additionally, Google has admitted to giving higher ranking in search results to websites with SSL. If your competitors have it and you don’t, guess who’s coming in second.
Automated WordPress Installations and Updates
Installing WordPress isn’t difficult. It used to be annoying, but today there are one-click scripts that take care of it quickly. Still, it’s great that every Bluehost WordPress plan comes with WordPress preinstalled. No need to even enter cPanel.
Additionally, Bluehost takes care of updates for you. Updates aren’t complicated either, as they mostly require just pressing an “update” button, but it is easy to forget about them.
A Detailed To-Do List for Every New Website
I thought this was one of the coolest features Bluehost provides, and I have no idea why the company never mentions or advertises it.
Building a website is a process. Like all processes, it’s easy to get lost in it. The first steps are clear—you need to install WordPress on your server and connect your domain. But what happens next?
Designing your pages is one step. Making SEO configurations and optimizations is another. You can find yourself lost in no time. I once thought I finished a website, only to wake up that night sweating after realizing I didn’t configure backups.
Right after setting up your account, your Bluehost dashboard will show a neat to-do list of all necessary steps. After finishing a step, just mark it as done and move on. What’s better than crossing items off a list? Nothing’s better than crossing items off a list.
The list includes everything I mentioned earlier, as well as adding users, increasing performance, scanning for malicious files, and more. Just press “Let’s Go” next to any item and you’ll be directed to the appropriate screen.
If you are building a website for the first time, this list will be a blessing.
Bluehost Also Has Some Non-Features for You
All right, we’ve been nice – now let’s enjoy ourselves. Many of the “features” listed on the Bluehost WordPress hosting page are basic functionality included with every WordPress installation.
For example, Bluehost gives you access to “hundreds of themes.” But this is already one of the main features of WordPress – it isn’t a feature of Bluehost. Independent designers and developers make free and premium themes for the platform, which you can then install on your own site.
My favorite has to be the “Secure Configuration of Login Credentials.” This feature has Bluehost letting you change your login credentials to, and I’m quoting, “something of your choice.” You choose your own password with Bluehost! Why hasn’t anybody thought of this before?
But seriously folks – this last one actually results in more work for you. Instead of letting you choose your password from the start, you’ll have to go into your WordPress user list and edit the admin password. There is no need for this.
A Well-Designed Interface Spoiled by Frequent Loading Screens and Annoying Issues
As a web designer and developer, let me first start by commending Bluehost’s design team. Understanding what users require is no simple task.
Right from the homepage, I felt at ease. In soothing blues and whites, Bluehost offers a clear page structure and a detailed breakdown of the differences between each hosting plan. This is something a lot of other website hosts could learn from. However, onboarding still wasn’t as fast or as straightforward as I had hoped.
Creating an Account with Bluehost
I chose to use a domain of my own, entered all my personal details, added my payment information, and was officially welcomed to Bluehost! All that was left was to create a password.
After putting in a password and pressing Create Account, I got an error message.
I re-entered a password and was told I can’t enter a password that was used before. I tried a new one, and I got another error message. After a third password and a third error message, I decided to try logging in with my latest password on the Bluehost homepage.
I opened Bluehost’s homepage, pressed Login, and entered my username and the latest password. Everything worked. If this happens to you, just try to log in. I have no idea why these error messages show up.
You can find a detailed step-by-step description of my signup process, complete with screenshots, here.
Installing WordPress and Connecting the Domain
On the WordPress hosting plans, WordPress is automatically installed for you as part of the signup process. After logging into your account, you enter the title and other details of your website, and answer some questions. You’ll be asked what the overall goals of your site are, and whether your site will require a blog or an online store.
If you do need a blog or an online store, Bluehost will help you get started by installing relevant plugins. However, my choices regarding the goals of my site didn’t seem to have much effect.
You can then choose one of the themes on offer if you want to (I didn’t), and you’ll be redirected to your Bluehost dashboard.
A detailed breakdown of the installation process, and my experiences with connecting the domain, is available here.
Half Account Area, Half Loading Screens
The dashboard is also well-designed. I was happy with my to-do list and started checking out the features. Every time you switch tabs, you’ll be greeted with a loading screen that says “Alright world, time to take you on!”
Thing is, this loading screen will appear quite often, lasting two to three seconds every time. And you’ll be ready, so ready, to take on the world. I wish it could have been a less frustrating experience. It definitely can be – for example, Hostinger’s dashboard is far more responsive with a similarly well-made UI.
Other than that, just remember to go into WordPress and change your user password. I have no idea what the default password is. Support didn’t either.
Bluehost promises that by choosing its WordPress plans, you’ll experience “75% faster performance.” Compared to what? That’s unfortunately a mystery, but Bluehost does provide some speed optimizations for free, including gzip compression, a caching plugin, and access to a CDN.
We thoroughly tested Bluehost in order to measure the exact speed and uptime of its servers. Check out our article covering how we perform fair speed and uptime tests if you’d like to learn more about our process.
My tests revealed that Bluehost offers reasonably fast hosting – in certain regions. Bluehost doesn’t reveal its data center locations, so you kinda have to just hope your website is hosted near to your target audience. It also offered satisfactory uptime, but as there’s no formal guarantee to back this up, I have some major concerns.
Bluehost offered good speeds in Europe, the US, and Australia, along with 99.94% uptime across multiple days of testing. I was pretty satisfied overall, but the lack of an uptime guarantee and the inability to choose or even identify your data center location are big issues.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
After getting my basic WordPress site – The Love of Burritos – up, I chose the Twenty Nineteen theme. It’s a basic theme and I didn’t add any media files, so it should give us a good idea of the best Bluehost can offer.
With my website good to go, I used Sucuri’s Load Time Tester to test page loading speeds from locations around the globe. Here are the results:
What do we learn from this? Well, a few things. First, while Bluehost does not disclose the location of its data centers, the best total loading times are seen in Montreal, Canada, and in some Western European cities. For East Asia, and most of the U.S., the totals look less promising.
Keep in mind that real website speeds will be slower. A few HD pictures, an extra plugin or two, and your visitor from San Francisco might have to wait a whopping 2–3 seconds before loading the site.
Given these results, I’d say you should think very carefully about where your target audience is located. If it’s any place that’s not in the green, you’ll be wise to consider alternative web hosts.
As an example, Hostinger matched or beat Bluehost’s performance in many of the tested locations. This was no easy feat either – while our Hostinger test site was filled with HD images, the Bluehost test site was substantially more lightweight. Yet Hostinger still managed to come out on top.
It’s good to see that Bluehost has taken server-side optimization seriously. The free caching plugin appeared to help sustain good performance. Bluehost has taken care of important server-side optimizations like GZIP compressions and also provides a plugin to take care of caching.
Surprisingly, Bluehost doesn’t aim anywhere. It barely even mentions the word “uptime.” Uh-oh.
This is never a good sign. Thinking that Bluehost must be hiding something, I put my site on UptimeRobot and started tracking. A few days’ results are not definitive, but the tests revealed 99.94% uptime. Not bad at all.
This left me wondering: Does Bluehost think uptime isn’t worth mentioning? Did their content researchers decide it wasn’t selling?
This Is What a Backward Support Experience Looks Like
On paper, Bluehost provides a 24/7 support service, available through live chat and phone. In reality, this is where the whole service comes crumbling down. Support isn’t simply bad, it’s ten different degrees of backward.
My first interaction with the Bluehost team was before purchasing my plan. I contacted the company through the live chat, entered my details, and was promptly connected to a sales agent. After making first contact, it was a minimum one minute wait between each of his replies.
Twenty minutes of chat, just to ask if there’s a monthly subscription option, and how the money-back guarantee works.
This was slow, sure, but I still wasn’t prepared for what happened next. After setting up my account, I looked for a way to contact support through my account area. Nothing. Only a “?” icon that brought me back to Bluehost’s general help center, where I was given the option to log in again.
I pressed Login, and was moved back to the account area. Clicked the icon, and back to the help center. Feeling desperate, I opened up the same chat option that was available for me before I registered, but this time I clicked Existing Customer.
A representative was with me in a few seconds and asked for the last four digits of my password for verification – wait, what? My toddler nephew knows if there’s something you never, ever, do, it’s give away your password – or any part of it.
Bewildered, I asked the agent if she could see my password, and could compare it with the characters (not digits) I provide. “Unfortunately, no.” was her answer. Let me be as clear as can be: if she could see my password, it would be a privacy violation of catastrophic proportions.
What happens when you give away four characters of your password? You make it that much easier for others to hack it. I expressed my concerns, and only then was given a second option—a verification token through email.
Can’t they just verify that you’re you because you’re logged in? Nope. The systems aren’t connected. Every time you contact support, you’re going to have to provide a verification of some sort. This is simply the worst and least secure verification method I’ve ever seen.
Still, I played along (with a password I created especially for Bluehost!), and was “verified.”
I asked about an easier way to contact them, and, surprisingly, the agent referred me to an old cPanel page where there was supposed to be a link at the bottom. At the bottom I found a link to oDesk, a company that’s been known as Upwork since 2014, but no support link.
After realizing the agent did not know what she was talking about, I started a new chat. Again, I had to be verified. I asked about a better way to contact support and asked to hold while the representative asked the “higher experts” about it.
After 15 minutes of waiting, the answer was that there isn’t any better way of contacting support.
Wanting to be done with it, I asked for the nameservers in order to connect my domain. After providing them, the representative promptly proceeded to upsell me with an unneeded service.
My last interaction was asking for the SSL to be installed. The agent said it would be done in 1–2 hours, and that was indeed the case. Just so you can compare, other hosts get it done in four minutes.
Bottom line? This is a slow and poorly-designed way to receive support. Most representatives are not knowledgeable, and you’ll be stuck waiting – a lot.
If you’re a beginner to web hosting, I’d recommend looking elsewhere. For example, FastComet’s support is both responsive and helpful. I never waited more than a few minutes for a response, and I received in-depth help with technical issues that Bluehost wouldn’t even touch. And best of all, you don’t have to give away your password (or any portion thereof) to contact them!
At least Bluehost offers a sizable knowledge base that covers the basics of hosting. The guides available are a little sparse, but they do go over the essential steps with annotated screenshots to help you along. There’s also a video tutorial series for WordPress – though it was created in, ahem, 2015.
Outdated and slightly lacking in information they may be, but they’re still much more helpful than the support agents.
Minimum One-Year Subscriptions for Average Prices
Bluehost provides a simple pricing structure, offering shared, VPS, and dedicated server solutions. In addition to the regular shared hosting plans, you can choose “tailored” WordPress shared hosting.
In the words of Bluehost’s own representative, “tailored” means that unlike the regular plan, which you can use to install any content management system (CMS), in the WordPress plan, you’re limited to WordPress. Other than that, they’re similar.
“WP Pro” and “eCommerce” plans are also available. They are basically shared WordPress hosting that comes with some minor perks and a few installed plugins. Nothing special.
Each hosting type is available in three or four plans. More advanced plans include increased storage and the ability to host an unlimited number of websites. All plans (excluding VPS) come with a free domain name for the first year.
The shared and budget WordPress plans can only be purchased for 12-month or 36-month terms. If you’d prefer more flexible payment plans, these are limited to the dedicated servers or the WP Pro, WooCommerce, or VPS plans. These offer monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual terms in addition to the longer durations above.
What about the prices themselves? They’re not too bad. Perhaps temporarily, at the time of this writing the 12-month shared hosting and WordPress plans offer a better monthly price than the 36-month plans. This is nice – you’re not forced to choose the longest term to get a good price.
This will get you a very affordable price – but renewal fees with Bluehost are harsh. With the WordPress Basic plan, the cost of your plan will quadruple once your initial hosting term is up. In comparison, Hostinger both starts and renews cheaper, despite offering more features and better performance.
During checkout, you’ll discover Bluehost does quite a bit of “default upselling.” They’ve saved you the trouble of deciding if you’re interested in extra services and have already checked them all off for you. Not cool.
Remember that these services can always be added later, and if you’re not careful now, they can easily double and even triple your cost. Feel free to uncheck all of them.
Regarding payment options, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and PayPal are available. Every subscription is set to automatically renew, and it’s your responsibility to configure it differently.
Canceling Your Account
After I finished testing Bluehost, it was time to say goodbye. The company provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, and I’m happy to report that the cancellation and refund process worked exactly as promised.
After contacting support via chat and providing my authentication once again, all I had to do was confirm my account’s cancellation. The representative said it would take 5–7 business days for the refund to be processed, and after 3 days I already had the money back on my credit card.
You can read a detailed step-by-step guide of my experience here.
Bluehost is a falling giant — a company that once offered excellent hosting services has stagnated and is no longer worth the money. Simply put, Bluehost is living off its past reputation and its generous affiliate marketing payments. There’s no point in settling for a subpar web host these days, especially when there are so many choices out there. To find a better provider, check out our 10 best web hosting services for May 2023.
Do all of Bluehost’s plans include a free domain name?
All of Bluehost’s shared and WordPress plans come with free domain name registration for one year. Despite Bluehost’s fairly lackluster selection of features, this is a useful inclusion not every provider offers.Be warned that canceling a Bluehost plan that comes with a free domain name requires you to pay for the domain. This protects you from losing your domain and does allow you to move it to another registrar if you wish.
Why is the price at checkout different from the advertised price?
Bluehost includes pre-selected features at checkout. Optional security extras like CodeGuard and SiteLock Security Essential are checked off, as is domain privacy if you’re registering a domain at the same time. Be sure to uncheck these features if you don’t want them, or they’ll be added to your total. This commonly trips up beginners to web hosting, who are then blindsided by a huge bill for services they likely didn’t even need. If you’re a newcomer, I’d highly recommend checking out our complete guide to building and hosting a website in 2023 to learn how to get the best value for your money.
Does Bluehost cost more when you renew?
Bluehost’s bargain prices on its initial deals double, triple, or even quadruple when it comes to renewal time. For example, the WordPress Basic plan increases by a factor of four.For people searching for an affordable host, you may simply want to look elsewhere after your initial deal. Bluehost isn’t as expensive as some premium web hosting providers, but it certainly isn’t the most affordable either.
Is Hostinger better value than Bluehost?
Yes, hands down. Not only are Hostinger’s plans cheaper across the board, but they are also loaded with features that Bluehost can’t compete with. LiteSpeed server software, a free SSL certificate, and weekly backups are all included with even the most basic Hostinger plan. Check out our expert Hostinger review for more detail. To get the same calibre of resources with Bluehost, expect to pay quite a bit more than Hostinger would charge you. Overall, Hostinger offers much better value.