Being one of the three officially recommended web hosts recognized by WordPress.org ain’t a bad thing, and Bluehost has certainly thrived as a result of that recognition, but inquiring minds want to know whether this host’s popularity is a byproduct of intense publicity and questionable actual skills (like the Kardashians) or is it a quality service?
Luckily, you’ve got friends in the industry (that’s us) who make it a habit to test the performance of the top web hosts and then render a credible opinion as to each one’s ability to match reality to media splash.
Ready to dive into our Bluehost opinion?
If you want to know our quick take on it. Bluehost is a great choice for new website owners for a few reasons. They have a ton of guides available online on how to do everything, easy to use system. They also offer 24/7 support for any questions you have.
If you’re new to setting up a website Bluehost is a great quality option at about 2/3 the price of other competitors. For new website owners/small businesses I’d say Bluehost is the best quality option available.
A Little History on BlueHost
Bluehost was founded in Provo, Utah, in 1996, a date which seems positively antique in internet years. The company employs a staff of 750 and features 1-click installations with all plans. Pay attention because that last point might become pertinent later.
Bluehost’s pricing @ 3.95 monthly, slightly cheaper than most of competitors.
Bluehost has been one of the go-to hosting companies for the last decade, being recommended and used by a lot of the major online marketing brands including Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income and a host of other online entrepreneurs. The growth of Bluehost as a company has allowed it to offer cheaper hosting without compromising on the quality of their servers or performance.
Bluehost basically offers high quality hosting at a fraction of the price. They do this by having some of the largest datacenters online and a very streamlined infrastructure to handle new customers.
Let’s look at some of the details of their monthly plans.
Let’s open the hood and take a look inside some of the features of a real, live Bluehost hosting plan.
It’s Cheap: At first glance, plans seem ultra-cheap, as little as $2.95/month if you find a good sale in progress. These plans are great for basic websites that don’t get traffic over 20,000/month.
Bandwidth/Email: The good news is that you get unlimited bandwidth. No fear of running out of gas in the middle of a traffic spike. As far as email, the starter plan includes 100 accounts, which should be good for most people. If you need an unlimited number, upgrade to the Plus or Business Pro plan. Overall from our tests we know that Bluehost has great uptime performance compared with other competitors in the space.
Marketing Bonuses: The temptation is to dismiss these free bonuses as a marketing gimmick. Well, that is exactly what they are but it doesn’t mean they don’t have value. Bluehost offers $200 worth of ad credits with various companies like Google, Bing, and Twitter and is a great way to get started putting your name out there. It’s not enough to set the world on fire but it’s not a spit in the ocean either.
Tricked-Out cPanel: Yes, young Jedi, most cPanels are the same. Bluehost has made a few special modifications that makes it exceedingly easy for a newbie to get his or her website up and running with a minimum of emotional trauma. This last point is important – Bluehost is a simple, solid solution for those new to the web hosting game who do not have websites with heavy resource demands.
Seriously. So simple a caveman could use this cPanel.
Multiple Service Plans: Choose from shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, and cloud sites for your hosting needs. Whether you’re looking to establish a resource-sipping personal blog or eCommerce store with thousands of products or even a massive corporate website, Bluehost has a plan that should fit your needs. One of your first orders of business is to figure out exactly what it is that you do need.
Hosting Service Breakdown
Since deciding what hosting service level you need is so important, let’s dig deeper into the topic. If this section is a bit too complicated, check out our article on different types of hosting.
Shared Hosting (MOST RECOMMENDED): When you buy a shared hosting plan, you should know that your website will be one of dozens, maybe hundreds installed on a single server. Bandwidth and physical storage space is shared. The good thing is this kind of resource-sharing allows the host to keep prices very low.
The not so great aspect of shared hosting is that a sudden surge of traffic on any of the hosted websites can make it difficult or impossible to access ANY of the websites on the server. In the worst case scenario, it would be like sharing a pizza with Fat Albert.
Bluehost offers three plans under the shared hosting umbrella: Starter ($7.99/month), Plus ($10.49/month), and Business Pro ($23.99/month). The basic differences in the last two plans are that they include unlimited space and bandwidth, with Business Pro also offering a handful of security enhancements. These prices are a good value for websites with low resource demands.
VPS Hosting: This style of hosting involves the web host actually partitioning physical space on a server so that you don’t have to worry about bandwidth hogs slowing your website down.
Depending on how much/fast processing speed and storage you want, prices range from $30 to $120 per/month (after a reduced rate first month), which is pretty much industry standard rates. Read our VPS Review article.
Dedicated Hosting: With a dedicated host you will have your own physically separate server, which might become a necessity if you have extremely high traffic or offer features and functions that go far beyond what shared or VPS hosting can handle.
With three options, Bluehost’s dedicated hosting starts at $149.99/month and goes up from there, depending upon your particular needs.
WordPress Hosting: How popular is the CMS WordPress? Around 30% of all websites are powered by WordPress. ‘Nuff said. The problem in this area is that Bluehost WordPress hosting is expensive when compared to others in the industry.
For example, SiteGround, another host recommended by WordPress.org, charges only $10/month for the WordPress starter package. A comparable Bluehost package would cost $25/month. Read our badass guide to WordPress Hosting here.
eCommerce: Bluehost isn’t the first name that generally pops into mind when it comes to eCommerce, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take care of these kinds of customers. In support of eCommerce, you get unlimited bandwidth and lots of shopping carts to choose from.
Other hosts make it easier to get an online store up and going, but, in this area at least, Bluehost is very economical. If the numbers in your checking account are small, don’t be afraid to use this host.
We would be remiss not to mention that sometimes there are terrible costs associated with always chasing the lowest priced web host, such as them being more prone to hacking. Due the questionable nature of the kind of businesses that often migrate to these hosts, Google may look in your direction with great suspicion. 🙁
Security: In this era of large scale hacks, anyone who goes online for anything should be concerned with security. Bluehost takes this issue seriously. Right out the gate you get three layers of spam protection for your website and email inbox. Blacklist suspicious IP addresses if you like. Perhaps coolest of all, CloudFlare can be added with a single click.
What’s so great about CloudFlare?
Nothing much except it makes your website faster AND safer through a robust thwarting of DDOS attacks.
Customer Service: This is where a lot of web hosts sink or swim. Providing great technical assistance and customer service is critical because there are a ton of people going online with their own websites who know next to nothing about all this stuff.
Bluehost offers some great support. Not only are their customer server people actually located in the US and speak functional English, they are also friendly and focused on helping new customers out.
BlueHost = Perfect for Newbies
Though we’ve hinted at it throughout this article, let’s come right out and say it. As a reliable, trusted brand that has stood the test of time, Bluehost is a perfect “starter” hosting company if you’re looking for general web hosting at a decent price.
The other type of customer who could benefit from Bluehost would be those who are obsessed with receiving top shelf support for their WordPress website. For you, perhaps the peace of mind is worth the expensive rates. The reality is that, WordPress is so ubiquitous, almost any web host offers adequate support, and probably cheaper as well.
If you’re a rank newbie desperate to get started yesterday, we’ve put together a step-by-step blogging guide to help you take those first wobbly steps without making a bunch of time-consuming mistakes.
In case we’ve been too circumspect for your taste, what we’re saying is that Bluehost is a great option for people looking for high quality hosting without breaking the bank. We have installed hundreds of websites using Bluehost and rarely had issues with them. If you aren’t experienced in setting up your own site, Bluehost has great support that can guide you through the process.
If your most treasured goal in life at this very moment is to open an account with Bluehost and install a WordPress website, you’re in the right place. All you have to do to make that dream a reality is to read and complete the following simple steps.
In less time than you might imagine, you’ll have a real, live online presence. Let’s get started.
A Step by Step Guide to Setting Up BlueHost
Why do we put Bluehost and WordPress in the same sentence? Because it just so happens that Bluehost is the WordPress.org top recommended hosting service for anyone using their software. In a nod to that position, Bluehost makes it dead simple for account holders to install WordPress with a single click.
More on that later. With more than two million domains hosted globally, this company is the choice to make whether you’re a website newbie or an old pro. Are you at www.Bluehost.com yet?
Look for the prominent green “get started now” button on the Bluehost home page. This is where – you guessed it – to start the process of securing a web hosting account. The first choice you’ll be offered is whether to choose the Basic, Plus, or Prime package.
Unless you’re a wheeler dealer with delusions of grandeur and the need for multiple sites right off the bat, Basic is a good choice. Keep in mind that, though this plan is cheaper, it does come with a few limitations such as a single website, 5 email accounts, and a 50 GB restriction on website space. If Basic gets too tight, you can always upgrade.
Step 2: Get a Domain Name
After choosing your hosting plan, you’ll be taken to a screen that allows you either select a new domain name for free or point an existing one to the Bluehost nameservers. Yep, you heard right. FREE. Every hosting package comes with a domain name at no charge. As long as you are an active customer, the company absorbs the domain cost.
If you’re completely unprepared to choose a domain at this point, no worries. A popup box gives you the option to pick one later. Let’s choose later.
You should be sitting at the billing and account information page now. All these fields are self-explanatory. The one thing to keep in mind is that you have to choose a hosting term that runs in length from one year all the way up to five years, and you will be billed the entire amount immediately.
Take note that you can scroll down to choose “package extras,” some of which are already pre-checked. In order to avoid a nasty billing surprise, make sure that these options are checked/unchecked as desired.
Cough up your credit card information, accept the terms, submit your payment, and you are the proud owner of an official hosting package. Within a few minutes you should receive a welcome email with all the information you need to continue setting up your web space.
Click the provided link. You’ll be taken back to the Bluehost website to create a password which you will need a lot, so it might be a good idea to write it down.
What are you waiting for? Log in already!
Step 3: WordPress 1-Click Installation
All this talk about 1-Click WordPress installation is kind of a misnomer because it automatically installs when you create your hosting account. You don’t have to do anything else. Open the WordPress dashboard and let’s go about the business of picking a theme and building out your website.
There are plenty of free themes to choose from. It’s easy to change your mind later. The initial choices you’ll need to make before creating content are:
- Is your site for personal or business use?
- Enter a site title and description.
- Decide which plugins you need (also easy to change later).
One of the great things about WordPress is that it is so versatile. Whether you want a straightforward blog or tricked out e-commerce website, WordPress will oblige.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with layouts. We wouldn’t go so far as to claim it’s unbreakable, but it’s pretty close. Once you have it looking like you want – or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof – start publishing!