If you’re looking to build a website to connect with your customers, you need a web hosting service that’s stable, easy to use, and affordable. Bluehost deftly balances price and features, offering services that work for hobbyists and business professionals. Many web hosts do that, but Bluehost stands out with a new website builder that integrates WordPress functionality and brings tremendous flexibility to the popular content management system. For that, Bluehost is a co-Editors’ Choice pick for WordPress hosting, along with A2 Hosting and WP Engine.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting is a good option for people who don’t expect much traffic to their websites. The upside? It’s relatively cheap web hosting. The downside? Your website shares server resources with other sites, so your site’s performance can be affected if one of its server mates experiences a traffic surge.
The Linux-based Bluehost doesn’t offer month-to-month shared web hosting options. Instead, it requires you to sign up for an annual plan. With the Basic plan, you pay $2.95 per month whether you sign up for one-, two-, or three-year commitments. After your initial commitment, Basic’s price rises to $10.99 per month for an annual commitment (or $9.99 per month with a three-year commitment). If you need short-term hosting, check out HostGator’s excellent month-to-month options.
The Basic shared hosting package includes a free domain name, a free domain name transfer, the ability to host a single site, 10GB of storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, and five email addresses. The Plus package ($5.45 per month with a one-year contract, rising to $13.99 per month upon renewal) gives you 20GB of storage, an antispam tool for a single domain, and unlimited websites, storage, and mailboxes. The Choice Plus package (also $5.45 per month with a one-year contract, rising to $19.99 per month upon renewal) gives 40GB of storage, and builds upon Plus with free automated backup for one year and domain privacy. The Online Store plan ($9.95 per month with a one-year contract, renewing at $24.95 per month) has all of Choice Plus’ features, bumps the storage to 100GB, and adds numerous e-commerce tools and plug-ins.
Bluehost offers respectable web hosting plans, but they aren’t the best we’ve seen. HostGator, our Editors’ Choice for shared hosting, gives small- and medium-sized businesses room to expand their web presences. Starting with the Hatchling plan ($10.95 per month), HostGator offers unlimited disk space, monthly data transfers, and email addresses, plus support for one domain and third-party applications, such as content management systems and e-commerce platforms. Even better, HostGator offers monthly shared hosting subscription options, as well as Windows Server-based hosting. Don’t underestimate the importance of a Windows Server option. If you plan to build (or migrate) a site built on an ASP.NET framework, you’ll appreciate HostGators’ Windows Server offerings.
VPS Web Hosting
If you need more power, expect high traffic volumes, or have specific compliance requirements that prevent you from using shared servers, Bluehost’s virtual private server (or VPS) options are worth considering. It’s like shared hosting in that your site shares server resources with other sites, but there are two big differences: VPS hosting has far fewer sites per server, and the provider guarantees you a particular amount of server resources. A VPS-hosted site can take a Reddit hit and keep on ticking.
Bluehost offers three tiers of Linux-based VPS hosting, ranging from the $39.99 per month Standard (30GB of solid-state storage, 2GB of RAM, and 1TB monthly data transfers) to the $119.99 per month Ultimate (120GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and 3TB monthly data transfers). As with the shared web hosting plans, VPS hosting plans include discounts for longer-term contracts.
Those are attractive plans, but Hostwinds—the Editors’ Choice for VPS hosting—beats out Bluehost with a wide variety of packages that include up to 96GB of RAM, unlimited email, unlimited monthly data transfers, and Linux- or Windows-based server options.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated hosting is a powerful form of web hosting that gives your site full server resources. If you expect huge traffic numbers, dedicated hosting is the only way your site will handle the internet’s rigors. Bluehost has many Linux-based dedicated server configurations, too. The servers start at $125.99 per month, and can be outfitted with up to 2TB of hard drive space, 16GB of RAM, and 15TB of data transfers per month.
Those are solid numbers, but AccuWeb—the PCMag Editors’ Choice for dedicated web hosting—one-ups Bluehost with a choice of Linux or Windows Server operating systems, and several configurable server plans (starting at $105 per month for 1TB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and 20TB of monthly data transfers).
Reseller and Cloud Web Hosting
Reseller hosting is an ideal solution for entrepreneurs that want to manage a web hosting business, but without the stress of infrastructure management. Companies essentially rent their servers to you for a discounted price, letting you brand and partition these to suit your own clientele.
In the past, Bluehost offered reseller hosting packages, but now the site forwards customers to ResellerClub, a separate service with its own pricing and services. Existing reseller users can still tap into Bluehost’s old plans, but the company doesn’t allow any new signups.
With cloud hosting, the resources that your site needs to operate are shared across multiple servers. You can scale resources in real time, as your site isn’t limited to physical server constraints. Bluehost, unlike many other web hosts PCMag reviews, does not offer cloud hosting. If you want to explore cloud hosting, check out DreamHost or 1&1 Ionos. The former is the Editors’ Choice for standard cloud hosting, while the latter is the Editors’ Choice for enterprise-level cloud hosting.
WordPress Web Hosting
WordPress is the content management system that powers roughly a third of all websites. It’s easy to use, and has a thriving theme and plug-in ecosystem for expanding your site’s functionality. If you’re looking to create a basic, WordPress-powered website, consider Bluehost’s three Linux-based packages: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Online Store. The prices are the same as the company’s shared hosting plans.
If you want more WordPress power, check out Bluehost’s three managed WordPress “professional” tiers. They give your site’s backend the white-glove treatment, and offer SEO, social media, and email marketing tools. WP Pro’s three plans (Build, Grow, and Scale) feature unlimited site hosting, monthly data transfers, domains, subdomains, and storage. Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans also include bot protection, automatic SSL installation, and brute force protection. In a nice touch, these managed accounts also come with staging areas to test sites before they go live to the web. Build, Grow, and Scale renew at $29.99 per month, $39.99 per month, and $59.99 per month, respectively.
There are no traffic limits for any Managed WordPress plan. The Build plan comes with daily scheduled backups, malware detection and removal, and domain privacy protection. The Grow plan uses the Build plan as a foundation, and adds SEO tools, 10GB of video compression, and live ticket support. Scale tops all managed plans by adding Blue Sky live chat support, unlimited video compression, unlimited backups and restore, and PayPal integration.
Bluehost doesn’t require you to install the content management system, as it comes preinstalled. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other WordPress site. A free WordPress migration tool lets you easily import your existing site as a .XML file.
Bluehost’s WordPress plans are quite good, matching the category’s Editors’ Choice pick, A2 Hosting, in several areas. A2 offers four excellent WordPress hosting tiers, starting at $10.99 per month, and offers unlimited domains, databases, and storage for every plan except for the bottom-tier Startup plan. Bluehost’s WordPress options are slightly cheaper upon renewal, while also having similar features and reliable uptime. Factor in the wonderful Bluehost Website Builder for WordPress—more on that later—and you have a WordPress hosting service that joins A2 Hosting as the category’s co-Editors’ Choice pick.
For more on the fantastically popular content management system, you should read How to Get Started With WordPress.
Creating a Bluehost Website
To create a Bluehost site, you select a domain, create a Bluehost account, and pay for your chosen plan. Bluehost has many tools for building sites, filtering spam, managing email, collecting site statistics, and managing domains. You can use the WordPress content management platform to create a site, as well as Weebly (a top website builder), FTP or File Manager, the goMobi Mobile Web builder, or Bluehost’s excellent Bluehost Website Builder for WordPress.
Weebly’s drag-and-drop functionality let us quickly build an attractive page complete with slideshows, contact forms, social media links, and other site elements. Weebly’s free version gives you basic functionality (you can create six pages and add custom HTML), but upgrading to the $16 per month Professional tier offers even more flexibility (custom themes, password protected pages, and more). Check out the PCMag Weebly review for a deeper dive.
The big draw here is Bluehost Website Builder for WordPress, a tool that combines a website builder’s simplicity with WordPress’ full capabilities. You start with a single theme that offers many layout options. Within that theme, you can click and drag the site’s various sections to your liking, add new sections, and jump back and forth between the builder and standard WordPress site management. It’s simple to use, and you can make an attractive site in little time. Bluehost has several themes to choose from, however, you cannot change this theme once you start editing: you must delete the instance and start from scratch if you change your mind. Still, the tool gives you lots of design flexibility; there are more than 1,000 layout options. Bluehost’s sister site, Web.com, offers the standard experience you’d expect from a website builder, with numerous, editable templates.
Bluehost’s Useful E-Commerce Tools
Bluehost is compatible with DaDa Mail (starting at $34.95 per year), an email-marketing tool that lets you send email-based newsletters to a subscriber list. If you want an online store or the ability to accept online payments, you must invest in an e-commerce application, such as Magento, ShopSite, and TransFirst. With Magento, we were able to create an attractive store by dragging and dropping website elements. Magento has more flexibility than ShopSite, but if you aren’t looking for an elaborate online storefront, ShopSite’s simpler interface will get you up and running faster. For small businesses, that time saved may be worth it.
Bluehost also supports the PostgreSQL data management system, as well as the widely used MySQL. This opens the door to using non-MySQL software, such as agileBase (a custom app creator) and Bacula (backup software).
Bluehost’s Cool Security Features
Bluehost offers three antispam tools (Apache Spam Assassin, Spam Experts, and Spam Hammer), as well as hotlink protection. You can also create email account filters, password protect directories, whip up IP address blacklists, and manage private keys and digital certificates. We’re always pleased to see secure shell (SSH) access, because that gives site administrators a secure way to access specific configuration files.
Bluehost includes CloudFlare, which enhances a website’s performance and security features. If you want SSL on your site, or you are worried about distributed denial of service attacks against your site, CloudFlare is worth considering.
Bluehost’s Excellent Uptime
Website uptime is a vital element of the web hosting experience. If your site goes down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services.
For this testing, we use a website monitoring tool to track our test site’s uptime over a 14-day period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings the website and sends an alert if it is unable to contact our site for at least one minute. The data revealed that Bluehost is extremely stable. In fact, Bluehost didn’t go down once in the two-week period, much like WP Engine. You can count on Bluehost to be a dependable web host.
Bluehost’s Terrific Customer Service
Bluehost offers 24/7 telephone support, online web chat, a ticket-based system, and a knowledgebase—another way Bluehost is similar to HostMonster.
We tested Bluehost’s web chat on a weekday morning to ask about the differences between regular WordPress and the managed service. The rep quickly fielded our questions about the differences between regular WordPress hosting and managed WordPress hosting, and we were satisfied with the person’s response.
We called the phone support system later in the evening to ask a representative about how to import a WordPress.com setup into Bluehost. A person came to our assistance in under five minutes, and the representative walked us through the steps. That’s another win for Bluehost support.
Bluehost’s hosting packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is standard fare in the web hosting space. That said, DreamHost bests it with an impressive 97-day money-back guarantee for shared hosting plans.
Bluehost Is a Top WordPress-Friendly Web Host
The ever-evolving Bluehost is a dependable web host that makes site creation a breeze, especially for WordPress hosting. In fact, its new Website Builder for WordPress is an excellent tool that delivers a website builder’s drag-and-drop simplicity, enhancing the already top-notch content management system. For that, Bluehost joins the also-terrific A2 and WP Engine as our Editors’ Choice picks for WordPress hosting.
For more on getting started online, read our tips on how to create a website. You might also want to check out our story on how to register a domain name for your website. Linux vs. Windows: How to Pick the Best Server OS for Your Website is another great starting point.
Mike Williams also contributed to this review.