Bluehost Review: Pros and Cons

Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting solutions currently available on the market. Owned by the Endurance corporation, Bluehost offers a wide array of hosting services suitable for beginner bloggers and small businesses: shared hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, WooCommerce Hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting and domains.

With two decades of experience in the field, Bluehost is very intuitive and easy to use, especially with WordPress. They power over 2 million websites and have a dedicated team that offers 24/7 customer support. Bluehost offer a full domain for one year when you opt for their shared hosting plan. The cPanel is packed with features such as Page Speed Grader, Google Apps and CloudFare, in addition to built-in premium anti-spam solutions.

The top end plan of Bluehost offers free and unlimited email accounts, with email storage taking up the space of your total account storage. Bluehost offers daily automatic backups for all your data and website stored files. Their highly configured servers require regular updates. Offering hassle-free scalability means that customers don’t have to worry when they want to move their website on upgrading their plan.

Bluehost can be an excellent hosting solution for a wide range of customers due to their reliability and vast experience in the hosting game. Their products offer many advantages and easily surpass many competitors out there. However, Bluehost also has a few drawbacks that users should be aware of before investing in their products. Here are the pros and cons of using Bluehost.

Pros of Using Bluehost

At a first glance, Bluehost seems to cater for the majority of the needs a user can have. They have an intuitive product, excellent customer support and a money back guarantee. These are six of the most important advantages of using Bluehost.

1. Resources and Brand Name Support

Bluehost’s reputation precedes it. Owned by the biggest hosting corporation in the world, Endurance International, it goes without saying that Bluehost has access to a lot of resources and can rely heavily on their brand name. This helps them easily surpass other huge hosting brands such as GoDaddy.

There are several advantages that come with a big brand name and one of them is accessing resources that other, smaller competitors can’t gain access to. For example, Bluehost affords to hire top notch professionals in the field such as network engineers, executive teams and customer support team leaders. Their financial resources and capital enable them to find the best experts and hire them to enhance their products – a thing not many companies can boast they can do. This ensures their products are always on top of the game and fully satisfy the users’ needs and requirements.

Another thing that differentiates Bluehost from other competitors due to their big brand status is that they don’t emphasize immediate revenue, but rather focus on a net promoter score. In layman’s terms, this means that the company’s main objective is to keep its clients satisfied and happy. This way, the clients are more inclined to refer them to friends and family who are in need of a hosting solution.

This can act as a reassurance that Bluehost is highly unlikely to cut corners in order to maximize any penny that they can squeeze out of their clients. Instead, they strive to provide you with the best product and experience in order to ensure you’re happy and likely to refer them to a friend.

Another advantage of being a big name is that Bluehost is unlikely to go bankrupt or disappear into thin air overnight. Website data security and stability is a sensitive issue that should be entrusted only with reliable companies. Bluehost ticks off this criteria since they have the stability, resources and brand name that will help them thrive and remain on top of their game. This also allows them to price their products slightly higher than other competitors’ because they can rely on their name brand to bring in clients who won’t mind paying a little extra for security.

2. Pricing

Start-up businesses, small and mid-sized websites that are in need of good and reliable hosting will find Bluehost’s pricing plans very advantageous and reasonable. Bluehost offers three pricing plans: Basic, Plus and Prime.

• The Basic Plan is $2.95 per month and is available for 1 website, offering 50 GB of website space. This includes 1 domain, 5 parked domains and 25 sub domains. The Basic plan allows users to have up to 5 email accounts with 100 MB per account. No other marketing offers are included in this plan.

• The Plus Plan in $5.45 per month and is available for an unlimited number of websites, offering unmetered website space. This includes 1 domain with an unlimited number of parked domains and sub domains. The Plus Plan allows users to have an unlimited number of email accounts with unlimited email storage. With this plan, clients get 1 SpamExperts and more than $24 per year in extras.

• The Prime Plan is also $5.45 per month and offers the same features as the Plus Plan. The only difference is that the clients also get 1 Domain Privacy and SiteBackup Pro.

Bluehost also offers a PRO package that has everything in the Prime Plan as well as a high performance server. This also includes Dedicated IP, SSL Certificate, Domain Privacy and Site Backup Pro.

3. Education and Onboarding

The process of setting up your own website has come a long way and is no longer as complicated as it was a decade ago. However, it can still be difficult, especially if you don’t have first-hand experience in setting up a website for scratch. Getting a new client familiarized with an organization’s service or product is called onboarding and it includes aspects such as how intuitive the user interface is.

Onboarding is often risky for hosting companies since they can lose new customers if the clients are not satisfied with the experience.

There is no shortage of anecdotes on the internet that talk about bad onboarding experiences. Bluehost does everything in their power to provide a smooth onboarding experience to all its users, always keeping communication channels open and giving their users the needed documentation. Not all customers are interested in seeing all the technical tools right from the beginning. Bluehost knows this and helps users get started by providing them with an intuitive interface as well as a user-friendly cPanel. The excellent education centre and knowledge base provided by Bluehost is great for enabling customers to hit the ground running.

Another perk of using the services and products of a big brand name is that it’s highly possible that another user has already dealt with the issue you’re currently facing. It’s easy to Google the error you’re getting and you’re bound to discover a forum or a thread that discusses and solves the issue at hand.

4. Customer Support

Even though Bluehost provides a super user friendly product, something is bound to go wrong at some point. Customer Support plays an essential role in any company, especially in a business that offers web hosting. It’s hard to judge the Customer Support team of a company based solely on one experience. In order to get an accurate feeling of how well or bad the customer service performs their duties, we can look at their investment and accessibility levels.

Only by looking at this factors will you be able to tell if any given company regards customer support as an investment or rather as a cost or sales opportunity.

Bluehost passes this test with flying colors. Their “Chat” section is displayed at the top of the screen and opens in a new window that immediately gets you in touch with a Bluehost Support representative, according to the issue you’re having. There is also a phone number available for customers who prefer this method of communication.

Additionally, users are encouraged to get in touch with the company and the process is further facilitated by helping clients to reach out to the right department:
• Sales – for general sales questions, new business inquiries, website speed and performance, traffic generation or website services and solutions.
• Tech Support – for general support questions, VPS and dedicated hosting and WordPress Assistance.
• Account Management – for general billing questions, terms of service, account verifications, renewals, account cancellations or add-on product cancellations.

Offering a phone number instead of only email tickets and chat (like other competitors do) instantly puts Bluehost at an advantages, making them seem trustworthy and dependable. The effort and investment Bluehost has poured into their support and knowledge base is obvious, but it pays off by anticipating the users’ needs and requirements and keeping clients happy and satisfied.

5. Extras and Add-ons

Bluehost provides users with a wide range of extras and add-ons that are available for all of their products. These range from AdWords credits to Cloudflare integration.

While this pro in itself is not enough to convince users to choose Bluehost over other hosting companies, it certainly helps them step up their game and differentiate themselves from other low-cost competitors on the market.

6. Expertise & Full Product Suite

Bluehost’s vast experience in the field has enabled them to offer a full product suite that ranges from shared hosting to email hosting, dedicated hosting and VPS hosting. Not only do they simply provide these products, they also deliver excellent services and manage to satisfy their clients’ requirements and expectations.

Bluehost stands out from the crowd by providing personalized hosting for webmasters who run WooCommerce and WordPress together as well as customers who only use WordPress but need a hand with niche features such as increased speed or security.

The company strives to deliver top-notch, high-quality products to a wide audience and always keeps their communications channels open by providing 24/7 customer support for all users regardless of their membership type.

Cons of Using Bluehost

As mentioned before, every web hosting service has its disadvantages and cons. Bluehost is no exception to the rule, so here are the drawbacks to using it.

Even if it’s a big company, Bluehost does not have a shortage of problems. On the contrary, they have big issues that are directly connected to their size and their ever growing number of customers. One of the issues was the 24-hour downtime for millions of customers back in August 2013. Almost four years later, Bluehost is still reaping the consequences and trying to mend fences. The glitch they experienced in December 2016 didn’t help either. The severe network issue last year caused sites to go down for 12 hours.

With millions of clients all over the world, Bluehost faces increased security and downtime problems. Even though they possess the ability to efficiently handle these problems, preventing them from reoccurring is a different story.

Another drawback of the company is the temptation to cut down on the overall capital cost. This can easily be achieved by adding one or a few more sites to each server, to the detriment of clients all over the world. Since the scale Bluehost is currently operating on is so big, it’s expected that they optimize their products and services for the majority of their accounts.

1. Speed & Performance

Web hosting providers are expected to store website data and files and deliver them to users who requests them in the quickest way possible. This is more than a webmaster’s whim. Slow loading speed has been proven to discourage users from accessing your website and it sends them back to the Google results page to check out other websites that are capable to provide them with the information they need.

What is more, a website’s loading speed is actually a factor in Google’s algorithm which decides what sites and pages rank on the first page of results. As a consequence, your website is expected to load fast and perform flawlessly.

A website’s speed is determined by various factors. Some of these can be controlled while others can’t be manipulated. Among the factors that can be controlled is choosing a web hosting provider that is up to the level required by the scale of your website, taking into consideration what type of data you have to store, how big your site is and how many visitors you have per day.

While Bluehost shares the type of hardware they employ on the shared servers (information that can be found on the Sales section on their website), they fail to mention how many websites they currently have on each individual server. The network performance and bandwidth levels information can only be accessed by their network engineering team.

In comparison with other web hosting providers out there, Bluehost ranks as average when it comes to performance and speed.

The average user can still determine the performance and speed of a web hosting provider by checking the TTFB (the time to first byte). In a nutshell, this is the turnaround time for your site’s files, the time a server takes to deliver the first bite of data after receiving the first request.

Over the years, tests have shown an average performance for Bluehost.

2. Pricing Plans and Caps

Comparing the prices of several web hosting providers out there can be a little tricky since most of them offer different products or services. It’s easier to find common factors and analyse them in particular, such as the number of websites you can connect to an account, the number of files you are allowed to save on the server and the number of email addresses or users you can use with a single account.

With these three features in mind, it’s easier to look at Bluehost’s pricing plans and compare them to its competitors. The Basic Plan comes with restrictions: only one website is allowed and 50 GB of space. Both the Plus and Prime plans are unmetered and unlimited, so there are no restrictions when it come to the number of websites, the website space, bandwidth, parked domains, sub domains, email accounts and email storage.

The cheapest pricing plan from Bluehost is excellent if you are looking to set up and run only one website and you are willing to pay up front for an entire year of hosting. Users who are more comfortable with monthly payments are better off using HostGator since they offer better deals for those who are only looking to have one website.

It’s worth noting that if you don’t have a discount when you sign up for an account with Bluehost, you will end up paying more than you would have to pay at InMotion or HostGator.

3. Confusing Features

It’s common knowledge that buyers find “extras”, “add-ons” and “bonuses” very appealing. Bluehost seem to take advantage of this to the maximum by using many vague and marketing terms in their pricing plan features list.

For example, they mention SpamExpert, standard performance and high performance. The vast majority of users are probably not familiar with these terms, however, they might be easily impressed by jargon and therefore convinced they are getting a great deal for their money.

Buying web hosting is already a daunting task and often confusing for some users. Bluehost doesn’t make it any easier for the average buyers when they offer a wide array of products that provide overlapping features.

4. Ads on the 404 Pages

It might come as a surprise that Bluehost displays ads on their customers’ 404 pages in order to maximize monetization. This is very sly and makes users feel like the company is doing everything in its power to make the most profit possible on the backs of their clients.

What makes this trick even worse is that Bluehost isn’t transparent about using this technique on their users’ 404 pages. There are many customers out there who are completely unaware that Bluehost is using this method to monetize their site. And the only way for them to find out is to visit a 404 page by accident.

Bluehost customers also might not know that this type of ads are enabled by default. However, they can easily be disabled with just a click. If you want to stop displaying ads on behalf of Bluehost (who takes all the profit) on your 404 page, all you have to do is go to your AMP that is under Account Settings. Displaying adds on your 404 page for your web hosting provider doesn’t benefit you in any way. It’s better to display a more relevant 404 page that is helpful and informative for your visitors, who should be your priority.

5. Overpriced Renewals and Site Migration Charge

As pointed out before, Bluehost is affordable, but it’s not the cheapest web hosting alternative on the market, especially if you choose to pay for your subscription monthly and not for a year in advance. The renewal rates offered by Bluehost are also on the pricy side when compared with other similar web hosting providers, with the most expensive plans offered by Bluehost being the dedicated hosting plan and the VPS plan.

Bluehost takes advantage of any extra services their users might need and implement steep fees for almost everything. For example, in order to migrate your site, you are expected to pay $149. The hefty fee can safely be called exaggerated, especially when many other competitor web hosting providers help their clients migrate their sites for free. The fee you have to pay if you want to migrate all your files and data could easily buy you a year of cloud hosting.

Conclusion

Bluehost offers a vast array of web hosting plans based on CentOS, cPanel and OpenStack. Due to their strong commitment to the open source community, Bluehost is a favorite among developers, programmers and web designers. Holding the title of the number 1 recommendation from WordPress since 2005, Bluehost is well-known and respected for WordPress CMS site hosting. Offering cloud hosting, VPS plans, domain registration, dedicated servers and reseller accounts, they manage to deliver a wide range of products to a huge pool of users all over the world while maintaining the best standards in the web hosting industry.

This highly successful platform has both its strong features and disconcerting disadvantages. An all-around, solid and dependable option for web hosting, Bluehost is excellent for developing a wide range of web publishing applications. Flexible, innovative and reliable, it consistently strives to maintain professional standards from the services and products they have to offer to their expert customer support team.

All hosting plans guarantee excellent performance levels and they comprise free add-ons, bonus services and extra features. Although highly recommended for WordPress site hosting, the fees for site transfers are incredibly pricey.

All in all, Bluehost offers customers all the tools they might need to maintain and build awesome websites for affordable prices. The easy upgrades between plans are convenient when your website grows and your needs shift. With a reputation that precedes it, Bluehost enjoys popularity among loyal customers who are pleased with their services and customer services.

 

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