Honest Bluehost WordPress Hosting Review
BlueHost WordPress Hosting$2.95/month
- One of the Most Economical Web Host
- Awesome Up-time and Server Response Time
- Free WordPress Migration
- Officially Recommended by WordPress.org
- SSD Storage and Free SSL
- Dubious billing practices
- Support quality has gone down lately
- Constant Up-sell pitches by the sales team
- Binds customers for longer periods (2-3 years)
If you’re looking for a super-detailed and balanced review of BlueHost WordPress Hosting services then you’re in for a treat and landed at the right spot.
In this elaborate of Bluehost WordPress Shared Hosting review, I’ll share with you some valuable information, stats, figures, and users’ opinions to help you decide if BlueHost is even worth your money.
Moreover, as you may have noticed from the heading, this review is exclusively about the WordPress hosting of BlueHost and not the other hosting plans such as VPS, dedicated, etc.
However, before jumping to the sweetmeat, I’d prefer you guys to go through this important disclaimer below:
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BlueHost is one of the veterans of the web hosting industry which started back in 1996. That’s 24 years of rich history and credibility. The company was started by Matt Heaton as a free hosting company with the name of 0catch.com which was later changed to BlueHost in 2003. This is the same year when WordPress came into existence (May 27, 2003).
In 2011, this hosting company got acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG).
BlueHost and WordPress
Just 2 years after the name change (in 2005), BlueHost has been recommended as the #1 hosting provider for WordPress.
Does BlueHost Provide Managed WordPress Hosting?
In addition to the normal WordPress hosting a.k.a the Shared Hosting, where you have access to the cPanel and responsible for the WordPress updates and managing files yourself, BlueHost also provides Managed WordPress Hosting services (WP Pro) where there own experts set up your WordPress website, particularly geared for performance and provides other support services not available in the shared WordPress hosting.
BlueHost Plans & Pricing
Understandably, The shared and managed WP hosting have different plans and pricing where the managed services are slightly more expensive but provide more dedicated features and performance tweaks to optimize your WordPress websites.
To bar any complexity, unlike any other web hosting service, Bluehost does not charge different prices for monthly or annual plans.
I personally prefer this as it eases up the mind since there is now fewer data to analyze. So the price you pay for a monthly package would remain the same should you opt to choose on a lump sum basis.
Pricing – Shared WordPress Plan
The lowest (Basic) plan starts from $2.95/month and touches $5.45/month (for Plus and Choice Plus) plans. Interestingly, the most advanced plan (Choice Plus) costs you the same as the Plus plan. However, this leniency is just for the first term. For the second term and onward, the price slab changes.
For the second term, their prices range from as low as $9.49/month for the basic plan to $16.99 per month for the Choice Plus plan.
This is the trick that the some web hosting companies deploy in order to bound their customers for 2-3 years.
Pricing – Managed WordPress Hosting
Prices for BlueHost’s Managed WP Hosting plans are bit higher than their shared counterpart and that’s totally understandable. I have already explained the reason above so without any further ado, let’s jump right onto the pricing.
BlueHost’s managed WP plan starts from $9.95/month for the “Build” plan, which provides the most basic features, to $49.95/month for its “Scale” plan.
An important point to note is that this price applies to 36 months term (or 3 years) and upon renewal, “Regular” rates will apply. What regular rates mean is that though the Grow and Scale plans will remain the same but Build plan will cost you $19.95/month.
BlueHost – General Features
1. 99.99%+ Up time
We all know that in order to remain profitable, how paramount it is to stay online. BlueHost boasts 99.99% uptime to their customers, however, I decided not to take their word for it and performed a due diligence of my own.
Normally, I approach HostScore.com, a website that keeps track of the uptime and speeds of the servers of different hosting services.
For BlueHost, the uptime has been 100% ever since August 2019. Back in August 2019, the uptime was 99.5% which dipped BlueHost’s overall time of staying online but if you analyze from September 2019 to date (Oct 2020), BlueHost’s servers have consistently been online 100% of the time.
2. Hi-Speed Servers
If you want to rank higher in Google (or other search engines), you should know how important it is for the websites to download swiftly. The less time it takes for the website to download, higher the chances that the website will rank better in search engines.
Again, when I checked BlueHost’s server response time from all around the world, I found that their North American servers (US – East and West Coast, and Canada) have an ideal response time of either less than 50 milliseconds (ms) or just slightly above 50 ms.
Globally speaking, their average response time is 137 ms, which though not ideal, is considered quite good.
3. SSD Storage Capacity
Unlike many other hosting companies that provide HDD storage, BlueHost provides its users with SSD storage capacity thus enhancing speed even more when it comes to data transer.
4. 24/7/365 Responsive Support
Every user gets to enjoy 24/7/365 telephone, ticket or chat support. Although the mode of support depends on the type of customer and what package they’ve signed up for but most of the hosting plans do come with chat support. This ensures that your issues are resolved in real-time.
As far as the “length of the queue” is concerned, I haven’t heard any complaint from the client cross over regular extraordinary long wait times.
When it comes to the security and preserving your valuable assets, BlueHost addresses it very keenly. There are multiple security features that BH deploys just to make sure that your website is safe and secure.
- Free SSL Certificate: Whether you use the shared or managed WordPress hosting, both come with free SSL certificates. SSL certificates are “secured” transfer communication protocols between different devices. Since Google has now included SSL as one of its ranking factors, a complimentary SSL certificate with your website is a huge help.
- Domain Privacy: Every package comes with a domain privacy feature that keeps the personal information of the domain-owner private. This helps prevent getting your information in the hands of say, hackers who can exploit it and use it for wrong reasons.
- SiteLock: This feature prevents malware attacks. Allow me to be a bit technical here. Since WordPress is powered by PHP programming language, due to being open-source, it’s relatively vulnerable and marred with loopholes. Probably this is the reason you will see lots of WordPress websites getting attacked by malware and other sorts of hacking attacks. Having SiteLock at your back can be quite helpful to curb these malicious activities.
- Postini: A google tool to take care of the spams.
6. CDN and Multi-level Caching
If speed gives you thrill then you’re in luck because the server response time and SSD storage capabilities are not the only two BlueHost’s features that allow for greater website speeds.
In fact, BlueHost deploys Content-Delivery Network (CDN) and Multi-layer caching as well to improve page load times.
I’ll spare you the details and not bore you with the technicalities, so, in short, just keep in mind that both these features improve your website speed and therefore, helps rank better in search engines.
7. Staging Environment for your WordPress Websites
Avoid downtimes as a result of erroneous uploads at the development level by placing your WordPress websites in the staging environment first.
This feature is available for WP Pro users only.
8. One of the Most Economical Web Hosting Service
The prices that you have seen above makes BlueHost quite an economical web hosting service. At least their Shared servers. Although, still not the cheapest but surely when you compare with the other “high-end” web hosting services and compare the features with the price that they’re charging, surely you will find BlueHost giving you the best bang for your bucks.
9. 100+ WordPress Themes
All WP Pro users get access to 100+ professionally-designed and elegant Free WordPress themes. However, WordPress users with the “Scale” plan also get access to the 100 premium WordPress template as well.
10. 1-Click WordPress Installation
Installing WordPress on BlueHost is a child’s play. Though the Managed WordPress plan does come with the CMS already installed, even with the shared hosting, installing WordPress on BlueHost is just a matter of one click away.
11. Free Migration Service
Interestingly, BlueHost did not have a free migration service and charged around $149.00 before but when I was writing this article, I received an email from them announcing that they’ve started offering free migration service as well. So that’s another feather in BlueHost’s hat.
12. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Talking about confidence in their own services, BlueHost offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee on its web hosting. For obvious reasons, this does not include your domain payments. Moreover, if you’re not happy with their services even after 30 days, you can request a refund for the rest of your remaining web hosting fee.
Famous Websites Using BlueHost
Although there a re quite a few big names using BlueHost, however, I’ll give you just one name because I know that it will suffice quite well.
WordPress.org is hosted on BlueHost. This is what I came to know when I contacted with their pre-sales team.
BlueHost User Reviews
The best way to gauge the performance of any service is by asking about the experiences of its users. The problem with the user reviews on the service’s own website is that they’re heavily skewed in their favor. When was the last time you read an appalling comment about any website/service published by themselves?
So I did my research and compiled a list of important reviews from the users who have already used or are using BlueHost. Since the post has already gotten too long, I’ll keep it very short.
I’ll start with the “bad” and the “ugly” user-experiences first. What I’ve observed lately is that due to the global pandemic (Covid-19) situation, BlueHost’s support has taken the toll. That’s my deduction though and may not necessarily be accurate.
The majority of the negative feedback from the users seems to be complaining about the poor customer service. I believe the work-from-home strategy didn’t work out well at least for Blue Host.
Here are some recent complaints I found on a well-known review website, Trust Pilot:
Here’s another one and I’m sharing it because I’ve seen people complaining about BlueHost but this one seems unique as this customer is not happy with the fact that her website got hacked.
As I’ve said it above, BlueHost’s security measure are quite apt and a website getting hacked does not always have to do with the vulnerability of the web host’s security measures. Nevertheless, it’s a negative feedback worth-sharing and it’s even good to see that BlueHost’s customer support is providing it’s feedback as well.
Not everything is doom and gloom though as there have been quite happy users as well.
For e.g. here’s one user quite happy with the way support staff handled his issue:
And here’s another one. This one is not from TrustPilot but from a blog which I frequently visit to learn about WordPress:
And here’s the last one:
Lastly, let me share reviews with mixed emotions. I personally feel that these kinds of balanced reviews give you a much better idea of anything.
How Do Other Web Hosting Review Websites Rate BlueHost?
When it comes to BlueHost, there’s a huge disparity between the ratings of different websites. Some hail it as a decent web host rating it more than 4.0 out of 5.0 while others deem it as an average not willing to give it a score of more than 3.0.
Please note that on some occasions, the ratings have been calibrated to a scale of 5.
|WHTOP.com||2.6 / 5.0|
|Serchen.com||2.3 / 5.0|
|HostingAdvice.com||4.9 / 5.0|
|HostAdvice.com||2.3 / 5.0|
|HostingFacts.com||3.7 / 5.0|
|PCMag.com||4.0 / 5.0|
|WPBeginner.com||4.9 / 5.0|
|TrustPilot.com||2.2 / 5.0|
|HostingManual.net||5.0 / 5.0|
|TechRadar.com||4.0 / 5.0|
|WebsiteHostingRating.com||3.8 / 5.0|
|HostScore.net||4.3 / 5.0|
|G2.com||3.6 / 5.0|
|WebsitePlanet.com||2.0 / 5.0|
|Average Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
Pros & Cons of BlueHost WordPress Hosting
- The starting price for shared WordPress hosting is quite economical ($2.95/month)
- Officially recommended by WordPress
- Free migration service.
- Simple-to-use interface for beginners with 1-click WordPress installation
- 24/7/365 (chat, email and phone) support with a quick response time
- More than 2 decades of history and credibility with more than 2 million websites hosted so far on their servers
- Free SSL certificates for WordPress websites
- Free domain name for the first term
- 99.99% uptime and an average speed of 137 ms.
- Unmetered bandwidth and generous storage
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Constant up-sell pitches from their team which sometimes can get really annoying
- Lately, their quality of support and the ability to address concerns of their users has gone down but as I said above, this could be temporary. Nevertheless, I’ll add it as one of the downsides of BlueHost.
- Some users have complained about charging for unnecessary services that they never requested. This usually happens when the user resubscribes for their services after the first term.
Who Should & Should Not Use BlueHost?
As a WordPress user, if you’re going to build a new website for a small or mid-sized business that is going to receive mid-level traffic at max. then BlueHost can serve you very well.
However, if you’re looking for a more scalable solution then you should be looking for avenues like WP Engine and Kinsta, etc. Of course, they are going to be much more “pricey” than BlueHost.
BlueHost Alternatives for WordPress Hosting
When looking for BlueHost alternatives, one has to be clear about his requirements. Additionally, he should also decide his budget beforehand to decide if he’s okay with a web host service pricier than BlueHost or he needs alternatives that charge somewhat around the same as BlueHost.
I’ll jot down both options for my readers below. Of course, the list is not exhaustive.
Alternatives Similar to BlueHost
- A2 Hosting (Highly Recommended)
- Scala Hosting
- InMotion Hosting
Pricier But Scalable BlueHost Alternatives
So, What’s the Verdict – Do I Recommend BlueHost?
Finally, the moment of truth! Do I recommend BlueHost?
Well, before giving you a discrete “yes” or “no”, I want to provide a little context.
For quite some time, BlueHost has been a bit controversial where some customers have been found complaining about their support services and shady billing practices. Especially after the hosting service got acquired by EIG.
However, since BlueHost has been providing services to more than 2 million websites, statistically speaking, I believe this really increases the probability of having disgruntled customers.
But, at the same time, EIG does have a reputation for acquiring a web hosting company, firing its support staff to cut costs, and then delegate the support activity to a centralized team that provides support to the customers from multiple sister websites.
Since I’ve used services EIG’s two companies (FatCow and iPage) a few years ago, I did realize at that time that both teams felt exactly alike. However, even at that time, I did not have any issues with their level of support. Though, they were a bit slow but overall, they did help me out with my issues.
I’ll discuss in detail when I’ll write reviews about these two hosting companies.
Cutting it short, to be on the safe side, I’d suggest that if you’re just starting out, don’t have heavy pockets, and not expecting to have a huge amount of traffic to your website then BlueHost can be a decent, quick, reliable and a cheap web hosting solution to your WordPress blogging ambitions.
The trick is to take it easy on your bank initially. Learn the ropes of blogging and other technical issues that ensue and as soon as your WordPress blog gains some traction and revenue, switch to some high-end WordPress hosting. Almost all of these WP Hosts charging premium rates provide free and seamless migration services. So your readers won’t even notice the switch.
That’s of course, only if you’re not happy with BlueHost.
The bottom-line is sustainability and the key is to make sure that your blog is able to pull its own weight.
Similarly, if you’re in a line of business that does not depend heavily on the website to generate revenue (accounting, legal, and other professional firms) but still need a website to appear professional and mark your digital presence then BlueHost can be a good optimized WordPress hosting solution for you.
Are Criticisms of BlueHost Legit?
As far as the criticism on BlueHost is concerned, I’m not denying them but to be honest, if you’re paying less than even $5/month for shared hosting services, expect the level of their quality to go down sooner or later.
In fact, once hailed for providing one of the best WordPress Hosting services, I now frequently see people flaking SiteGround as well.
It’s all about balancing your cost vs benefit scale and know what you’re signing up for.
Time to end my review. If you’re really interested to start your WordPress blog on BlueHost, you can start your 30-day trial period below.
Now, if you don’t boast yourself as a “techie”, the above information can get quite overwhelming for you. I totally get it.
And that’s why I’ve written a whole guide telling you what features to look for when shopping for WordPress hosting. Have a go at it here: How to choose the best Web Hosting for your WordPress website?
Or even better. Why not ring me up? Send me your situation, requirements, budget, technical know-how and I’ll recommend a hosting service based on your background.
You can do so through my contact page.
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