Bluehost review: Good performance, well-designed UX, up-to-date security

It looks as if there may be an nearly limitless variety of internet hosting suppliers who will serve your web site for a month-to-month price. In the best web hosting providers for 2021, I spotlighted 15 suppliers that provide a variety of plans. When doing a full overview of a single internet hosting supplier, I arrange probably the most primary account doable and run the service by means of a barrage of exams. In this text, I’ll dive into Bluehost’s choices.

  • Shared internet hosting beginning a $2.95 per thirty days
  • Online retailer internet hosting beginning at $12.95 per thirty days
  • Managed WordPress internet hosting beginning at $9.95 per thirty days
  • Virtual non-public server (VPS) internet hosting beginning at $18.99 per thirty days
  • Dedicated server internet hosting beginning at $79.99 per thirty days
  • Price bump after finish of interval: Yes

View Now at Bluehost

Because there are such a lot of variables amongst plans and choices, not solely amongst internet hosting suppliers, however throughout the plans supplied by anyone supplier, it may be tough to get a superb comparability. I’ve discovered that top-of-the-line methods to see how a supplier performs is to have a look at the least costly plan they provide. You can anticipate the least high quality, the least consideration to element, and the least efficiency from such a plan.

How internet hosting supplier pricing actually works

For this collection of internet hosting opinions, I’m testing probably the most primary, most entry-level plan a vendor is providing. In the case of Bluehost, it is their appropriately named Basic plan. To get pricing, I went to the corporate’s foremost website at


As with most each internet hosting supplier, Bluehost’s revealed pricing is considerably deceptive. There is not any choice to get billed solely $2.95 per thirty days.

While it seems to be like you may get the Single Shared Hosting plan for $2.95 per thirty days, that is provided that you prepay for 3 full years, which suggests you are really paying $106.20. 100 bucks or so for 3 years of internet hosting is not a nasty deal, however may be complicated. If you need just one yr, you are charging $59.40 to your card (which is $4.95 per thirty days). It’s costlier, however not horrible.

There’s a gotcha although. When you renew, you are going to pay extra. Much more. Three instances extra. This, too, just isn’t unusual for internet hosting plans and is a follow I strongly want the internet hosting trade would cease. When you renew your $2.95 three yr plan, you are going to bounce to $8.99/month or $107.88/yr. Of course, we don’t know what the pricing will probably be in three years, however you get the thought.

While $2.95 and even $4.95/mo is not a nasty worth for primary internet hosting, the very fact is, your worth will bounce by greater than triple what you paid while you signed up. I talked lots about lock-in and switching prices in my How to create a website: The 2021 step-by-step guide overview. Read it, as a result of Bluehost (and lots of different internet hosting suppliers) have enterprise fashions that depend on the switching prices being so painful that you’re going to suck up an enormous upcharge merely to keep away from transferring your website.

I deal with these pricing gimmicks in my opinions as a result of it may be actually disagreeable to all of the sudden get a invoice that is lots of and even hundreds of {dollars} (relying on the plan) greater than you anticipated. Second, switching from one internet hosting supplier to a different internet hosting supplier is usually a very time-consuming and presumably costly job, fraught with hassles and potential factors of failure.

At least half of the internet hosting distributors I’ve checked out through the years do these promo offers, with massive jumps in renewal charges, so Bluehost is not alone on this considerably predatory follow.

What the Basic plan consists of

Most bottom-end plans are for one web site, and Bluehost is not any totally different.

Before we transfer into the small print, let’s spend a second speaking about what a base plan actually is. All web sites usually are not created equal. While you may be capable to pay below three bucks a month to run your web site, I pay a few hundred bucks every month to run my small fleet of sites.

A base website is designed for a enterprise or particular person who needs a primary on-line presence. That’s a bunch of pages, some services or products photos, and numerous textual content. If you wish to run complicated net functions, otherwise you anticipate numerous visitors, a primary website just isn’t for you.

If you are simply attempting to get began with a web-based presence, beginning merely is an efficient option to go. In this collection, we’re reviewing the least costly program every internet hosting supplier presents. That’s going to be what nearly all of patrons will need, and it’ll give us a superb perception into the corporate.

Bluehost presents quite a lot of pretty solid features in their Basic plan. The base plan consists of 50GB web site area (maxing out at a whopping 200,000 information), 5 e mail accounts, 100MB of e mail storage (which is fairly low if you happen to’re lively), as much as 500 emails despatched per hour, one free area registration (for a yr), 25 subdomains, a primary SSL certificates, and what they describe as unmetered bandwidth.

Be cautious, although. In follow, if you happen to push your account close to the boundaries, or use an extreme quantity of bandwidth, it is doubtless that the service will throttle you again. Bluehost was one of the earliest providers to institute server throttling when “limitless” useful resource utilization obtained to be an excessive amount of.

There are some wins, most notably that even the essential plan is hosted on SSDs. Even if a website is utilizing caching (which reduces the load on a server), having quick drives is at all times a plus.

The firm does have 24/7 chat and telephone assist, and Bluehost presents a 30-day money-back assure. It’s not so long as among the firm’s rivals, however it’s a honest period of time so that you can get a easy website up and working and see how issues work.

Getting began

Once your account is created and also you log in, you are introduced with this display screen:


I like this. While I at all times prefer to go it by myself, I’ve gotten panicked calls from too many associates who log into their internet hosting suppliers for the primary time and don’t know what to do. I used to be somewhat shock to search out that though I hit “No assist wanted,” I used to be introduced with a selection:


Again, although, I am unable to actually complain about steerage. After all, I did not hit “Skip this step” on the primary display screen. I did now. I’m nonetheless in a wizard, though I did choose “Skip this step.”


I hit “Skip this step” once more, and as soon as once more I’m introduced with a wizard. However, as soon as once more for primary customers, I like that there are helper selections and even a stable FAQ for folk unsure what to do subsequent. 


I’ve to confess that I’m getting somewhat impatient. I wish to see the dashboard so I can see what I can do with this service. That mentioned, I hit the “Limitless customization” possibility. From this level on, there have been extra choice choices. I simply saved hitting “Skip this step.” Finally, I reached a web page with some extra choices. Most essential to me, initially, is trying out the Advanced tab.


Yes! We lastly have cPanel. I did somewhat comfortable dance (in my thoughts — I do not really dance, bounce, or run, however I can have fun working the gauntlet in my head, cannot I?).


Dashboard entry

The very first thing I love to do when a brand new internet hosting supplier is exploring their dashboard. Is it an previous pal, like cPanel? Is it some kind of janky, barely configured open supply or homegrown mess? Or is it a fastidiously crafted customized dashboard? These are sometimes those that fear me probably the most as a result of they nearly at all times disguise restrictions that I’m going to must work round by some means.

I removed the welcome message and began to go searching. I like how Bluehost has the conventional cPanel interface, but in addition gives entry to Bluehost providers on the left. That’s handy.

Basic WordPress entry

I considered nuking WordPress and putting in it myself, however I needed to see what most customers can be introduced with after they began the service. So I hit the My Sites button with the WordPress brand icon — and was introduced with upsell metropolis:


To be honest, the upsells do not appear nearly as intrusive as Bluehost’s sister vendor, Hostgator. Once logged in, the WordPress dashboard is stuffed with numerous stuff that is not conventional to the WordPress dashboard, nevertheless it appears extra useful than egregious.


Ooh, that is attention-grabbing. Bluehost gives a staging website, even within the base plan. They get some massive factors for that. It’s at all times good to having a staging website, and lots of costlier plans do not include one. Granted, this can be a staging website managed inside the principle WordPress set up (which is usually a bit dicey when issues go waaaay dangerous), nevertheless it’s nonetheless an incredible characteristic for a bottom-level plan.


The Plugins dashboard is kind of busy, however that is largely as a result of Jetpack (a product made by WordPress’s developer Automattic) takes up numerous area and has numerous upsell motion — I acquired an e mail from Jetpack earlier than I even obtained Bluehost’s login credentials. Fortunately, it was simple to dismiss the banners and get on with work. 


Unfortunately, after I dismissed them, I found they got here again every time I returned to the Plugins dashboard. That was annoying. The simple resolution was to delete the Jetpack and Creative Mail plugins, which I did.

How to do WordPress upsells

I’ve to confess, Bluehost did this proper. There have been the few upsells I identified as we moved into the WordPress a part of our overview, however nothing that made utilizing the service disagreeable. More to the purpose, Bluehost has its personal plugin set up and whereas it does provide upsells, it does so in a surprisingly non-intrusive method.


That first welcome web page I confirmed you again after we first logged into WordPress is a part of the Bluehost plugin, nevertheless it’s largely tips that could find out how to get work finished. We already talked in regards to the staging characteristic, which can also be supplied by the Bluehost plugin.

A key web page supplied by the Bluehost plugin is the Settings web page. Notice that there’s not a single upsell on this mission-critical web page.


So the place are the upsells? They are conveniently tucked into the Themes, Plugins, and Services tabs of the Bluehost plugin:


I’ve nothing towards upsells. Businesses have to pay bills and salaries. What I typically complain about — and did so vociferously with Hostgator — is when upsells get in the best way of utilizing the product already bought. These Bluehost upsells do not get in the best way. The Bluehost plugin is beneficial sufficient and non-intrusive sufficient that I’m not going to uninstall it. That’s a reasonably ringing endorsement.


Security is among the greatest points in the case of working a web site. You wish to be certain that your website is secure from hackers, does not flag Google, and may join securely to fee engines if you happen to’re working an e-commerce website of any sort.

While the scope of this text does not permit for exhaustive security testing, there are a number of fast checks that may assist point out whether or not Bluehost’s most cheap platform is beginning with a safe basis.

The first of those is multifactor authentication (MFA). It’s method too simple for hackers to only bang away at a web site’s login display screen and brute-force a password. In the previous, lots of my websites have been pounded on by some hacker or one other, however as a result of I’ve some comparatively robust protections in place, the dangerous actor hasn’t been in a position to get in.

Bluehost picks up one other win with dashboard-level MFA, which helps Google Authenticator and people suitable, like Authy. Bluehost additionally helps e mail authentication, however does the correct factor by pushing its clients to smartphone Google Auth authentication as a safer selection.


Bluehost features a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, which is configured and enabled by default. While there are some overhead points with Let’s Encrypt (the certificates must be renewed extra typically than commercially-sold SSL certificates), Bluehost automates that renewal course of, so it is not one thing website operators have to configure.

As my final fast security test, I like to have a look at the variations of among the foremost system elements that run net functions. To make issues simple, I selected 4 elements essential to secure WordPress operation. While different apps might use different elements, I’ve discovered that if elements are up-to-date for one set of wants, they’re often updated throughout the board.

Here are my findings (utilizing the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin), as of the day I examined, for Bluehost’s Basic plan:


Version Provided

Current Version

How Old








32 months




Last month



1.0.2q (and 1.1.1a)

Last month

In common, these outcomes are fairly good — particularly contemplating how outdated a few of Bluehost’s rivals have been once I checked their variations. That mentioned, you type of have to know the part to know find out how to learn these outcomes. For instance, quite a lot of these elements have a number of improvement tracks. PHP 8.0.2 is the newest model of PHP, for instance. But WordPress lists PHP 7.4 as its base PHP model and the newest model of PHP 7 is 7.4.15, up to date only a few weeks in the past. 

MySQL may be much more complicated. The present model of MySQL is 8.0.23, however the manufacturing MySQL launch course of jumped from 5.7 to eight.0. While the MySQL 8.x department is being up to date, so is the MySQL 5.7.x department. In that department, Bluehost’s MySQL is getting a bit lengthy within the tooth.

I additionally chatted with a Bluehost assist individual, who was useful and good, however woefully inaccurate. When I requested about PHP model, they instructed me PHP 7.4. Then I requested whether or not that was 7.4.0 or a later launch and I used to be inaccurately instructed 7.4.0 (in reality, Bluehost presents a way more present model). I used to be instructed that the cURL model for this plan is 7.29.0 — a 97-month-old model rife with long-fixed bugs. In truth, Bluehost is not outdated. Their cURL is principally present. So, twice the tech assist rep instructed me variations that have been worse than are literally supplied. On the opposite hand, the assist individual instructed me Bluehost supplied MySQL 8.0 for the Basic plan, when the algorithmic Health Check reported it is actually 5.7.23. 

Are you confused but? Let me simplify issues. Bluehost is committing no crimes with the part variations it’s providing. Most are present, and whereas the MySQL construct is outdated, it is nonetheless a supported construct for WordPress. Honestly, I haven’t got a lot to complain about right here.


Next, I needed to see how the positioning carried out utilizing some on-line efficiency testing instruments. It’s essential to not take these exams too severely. We’re purposely trying on the most low-end choices of internet hosting distributors, so the websites they produce are anticipated to be comparatively gradual.

That mentioned, it is good to have an concept of what to anticipate. The method I check is to make use of the recent set up of WordPress with the usual theme TwentyTwenty. I then efficiency check the “Hello, world” web page, which is generally textual content, with simply a picture header. That method, we’re in a position to deal with the responsiveness of a primary web page with out being too involved about media overhead.

First, I ran two Pingdom Tools exams, one hitting the positioning from San Francisco and the second from Germany. Here’s the San Francisco check ranking:


It’s not stellar, however a superb stable B ranking is all you’ll be able to actually anticipate from a bottom-of-the-barrel plan. It’s definitely workable and should not incur any Google juice web optimization penalties. Here’s the identical from Germany:


Also, positively adequate for a small website.

Finally, I hit the positioning up with LoadStorm, which sends 10 digital customers over the course of 10 minutes to the positioning, after which measures responsiveness.


This chart is somewhat tough to learn, so let me first draw your consideration to the inexperienced and cyan strains. These signify concurrent requests per second and variety of customers. As you’ll be able to see, they rise over time. That’s as a result of we wish to see how the Bluehost website performs because the load will increase. While peak response time bounces all around the map (the blue line), what we actually care about is the typical response time (the brown line). That appears to point that the velocity of response really goes down as load will increase. That’s excellent. That means you can fairly anticipate that if you happen to get some visitors, your website will not come screaming to a halt.

Support responsiveness

There’s not a lot to say right here. I had just one interplay, late on a Sunday evening. I did get related with human by way of chat inside about 5 minutes. The particular person was good and clearly needed to assist. I notably appreciated how they let me know that among the info would take a couple of minutes to dig up, so I wasn’t left hanging, questioning in the event that they’d gone house for the evening.

Unfortunately, as I discussed above, the accuracy of the solutions left somewhat to be desired. That mentioned, with the ability to attain a assist one that is responsive and who tries to be useful late on a Sunday evening is an efficient factor.

Overall conclusion

I used to be very pleasantly shocked. It’s nearly inconceivable to imagine that Bluehost and HostGator are a part of the identical firm. HostGator slapped spammy upsells on every little thing, making the usage of their service an annoyance. On prime of that, almost all their key security elements have been woefully outdated to the tune of 8 years, 7 years, and 11 years.

Bluehost, by comparability, is just about updated. Their portal and even their implementation of upsells within the WordPress dashboard present a substantial amount of thought and consideration of the general person expertise.

Even although Bluehost is barely extra expensive than HostGator ($0.20 per thirty days) within the preliminary time period and significantly extra after time period renewal ($2.00 extra per thirty days), I’d positively suggest Bluehost over HostGator

In truth, I’d put Bluehost into the working towards the opposite base degree plans I’ve reviewed. It presents a primary staging server mechanism, fairly quick web page masses, present security libraries, multi-factor authentication, and a low-key method to upsells. It’s not dangerous in any respect. Now, possibly they’ll train their siblings as HostGator to play good with others.

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