Bluehost web hosting review | Tom’s Guide

Bluehost web hosting review | Tom’s Guide

Bluehost is one of the world’s largest website hosting companies, serving over two million domains from its Utah servers. It started by offering cheap shared hosting for small websites, but over the past decade, it has expanded into providing VPS and dedicated servers.

In our Bluehost review, we evaluate whether it could be considered one of the best web hosting services that’s available today.

Bluehost: Plans and pricing

Screenshot of Bluehost's shared hosting pricing plans

Bluehost offers four shared hosting plans (Image credit: Bluehost)

Bluehost has multiple plans, stretching from cheap shared hosting to dedicated servers. These are typically available on annual to triannual terms, with up to 40% off if you’re willing to pay for multiple years at a time. Bluehost also offers significant discounts on your initial term, often up to 75% off, but remember that you’ll revert to the regular rate when it’s time to renew.

Bluehost offers four shared hosting plans, where your website shares server resources, like CPU time and hard disks, with other people’s websites. The cheapest of these plans costs the equivalent of $2.95 a month for the initial term, rising to $11.99 a month on renewal and scaling up in price if you choose a 12-month term.

There are three VPS hosting plans. This is where you get your own slice of a server’s resources that isn’t shared with others. It starts at $34.99 a month (rising to $83.99 a month on renewal) if you choose a 12-month term. 

The three dedicated hosting plans start at $89.98 a month (normally $179.99 a month) if you choose a 12-month term. This is where you get an entire server to yourself.

Bluehost also offers four managed WordPress solutions, where the host takes over some of the day-to-day runnings of a WordPress site for you. The cheapest starts at $4.95 a month (for a three-year term), rising to $9.95 a month afterwards. 

Overall, Bluehost’s prices are reasonable and in line with the competition. With so many plans on offer, it may take you a while to narrow down the right Bluehost plan for you.

Bluehost: Features

Bluehost's webpage advertising WordPress themes

Additional themes for WordPress are available for purchase (Image credit: Bluehost)

Bluehost aims to be a one-stop shop for all types of web hosting. Whether you need a cheap web host for a school project, or want to run an online store serving millions of people a day, Bluehost has a plan for you.

Though it’s possible to use virtually any content management system with Bluehost, it offers the most support out of the box for WordPress and WooCommerce websites. It also offers its own WordPress website builder, which ranks among the best website builders independent of the service’s web hosting.

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system, and Bluehost is one of only three hosting companies the former has officially recommended. This instills a great deal of confidence in the service.

At Bluehost, you get automatic WordPress updates, custom themes, a free domain for the first year, a free SSL certificate, and a free content delivery network, so your site should load quickly for all users, no matter where they are in the world.

Bluehost's webpage discussing its WooCommerce online store plan

A WooCommerce plan from Bluehost is an easy way to start running an online store (Image credit: Bluehost)

If you plan to sell goods through your Bluehost website, you’ll likely do it by using WooCommerce, the ecommerce plugin for WordPress. The Standard Bluehost WooCommerce plan includes a website and blog, email marketing, website traffic analytics, payment processing, and a store-front theme already installed.

The Premium plan adds support for online bookings and appointment scheduling, advanced product customization, and subscriptions.

Bluehost: Interface and in use

Bluehost's cPanel website administration tool

You can administer your Bluehost website using cPanel (Image credit: Bluehost)

After logging into Bluehost, you’re presented with a simple administration panel that lists your sites, domains, and marketing tools. There’s a wizard that you can use to set up a basic WordPress website with a theme, an “About Me” page, and a contact page.

If this is too much hand-holding, you can click on the Advanced button. This brings you to cPanel, a popular website administration tool with more fine-grained control over files, databases, users, and installed software.

Bluehost now provides a free Bluehost Builder with a drag-and-drop interface for those who prefer not to use WordPress. The Bluehost Maestro tool has also been introduced, which helps in managing multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard

In our performance testing, Bluehost was fast. Bitcatcha’s Server Speed Checker awarded our website an A+ rating, and Dotcom-Tools’ Website Speed Test ranked the average page load times as highly as any host that we’ve tested recently.

Bluehost: Support

Bluehost's support website homepage

Bluehost’s support site looks basic but includes thousands of helpful articles on hosting (Image credit: Bluehost)

Bluehost has excellent support. There’s a useful system alert page and a packed knowledge base, and the search function makes it easy to find the help that you need.

If that’s not enough, there’s 24/7 support via telephone, email, and live chat. We tested the live chat several times, and each time, we received a prompt, knowledgeable reply to our query.

Alternatives to Bluehost

Bluehost is relatively new in the VPS and dedicated server market, and its focus is more on the lower end. If you’re looking for a VPS or dedicated server with extra heft, Hostwinds offers more powerful servers at a better price than Bluehost.

For a cheaper alternative to Bluehost, consider HostGator. Its plans are as feature-packed as Bluehost’s plans and are cheaper. That said, in our performance testing, HostGator was less consistent than Bluehost and marginally slower overall.

Bluehost: Final verdict

Bluehost deserves its reputation as one of the top web hosting companies available today. While certainly not the cheapest web host that you’ll find, its slightly elevated pricing is warranted if you value performance and stability.

Bluehost also deserves praise for its excellent 24/7 customer support available on all plans. It’s a splendid choice for individuals and SMEs alike, particularly if you plan to base your website on WordPress and WooCommerce.

Further reading on web hosting

If you’re looking for specific hosting, and want to see where Bluehost ranks, read our guides to the best Linux web hosting, the best WordPress hosting, the best unlimited hosting, and the best cloud hosting services. For more about Bluehost, make sure to read our comparisons pitting Bluehost vs HostGator and Bluehost vs GoDaddy.

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