Bluehost Review - "Best All-Around"
Bluehost is ranked best all-around because of its world-class server infrastructure, blazing fast load times, outstanding customer service and generous sign-up bonus. For all of these reasons, it’s probably the best all-around hosting solution you can find.
There’s no site that wouldn’t be a match for Bluehost although if you have some highly specialized requirements, you might find a more tailored solution with a smaller, more specialized hosting company.
How Much Does Bluehost Cost?
Bluehost has very affordable entry-level plans that aren’t quite the cheapest of those we have reviewed.. The basic shared hosting plan starts at $3.95/month but that is with a 3-year commitment. It’s probably better to start with one year at $5.95/month.
The WordPress shared hosting plans are the same price as the standard shared hosting plans. WordPress hosting is recommended if you’re running WordPress because it will speed up your site and increase security.
Even if you’re just starting out with your first website, it’s probably a good idea to buy the “Plus” plan ($6.95/month for 1 year commitment) that comes with unlimited websites instead of only one site. If you are taking the time to build a site, there’s a very good chance you will want to host a second domain at some point in the near future.
The more advanced plans with dedicated IPs, virtual private servers or dedicated servers are much more expensive ($17 – $80/month) but on par with the industry standard for these types of more specialized plans.
Like every other hosting company, Bluehost will automatically renew your plan at higher rates than your intro rate. Automatic renewal is not necessarily a bad thing as you wouldn’t want your site suddenly to be taken down because you forgot to renew your hosting plan.
If you’re worried about getting charged on the automatic renewal when you don’t want it, simply remove your credit card from your account information so they don’t have a credit card to charge.
You can negotiate lower renewals rates when the time comes (after 1 year or 3 years or however long you commit). If they aren’t willing to renew at a lower rate, simply switch to another hosting plan that will offer you a cheap intro rate and a free migration.
How Fast Is Bluehost?
As mentioned above, Bluehost’s servers and infrastructure are world-class and that’s why they are the official hosting company endorsed by WordPress.org. It’s no surprise that Bluehost tested extremely fast with many different types of sites around the world. Their datacenter is in North America so you will see faster performance there. However, even on other continents, the drop-off in server speed is negligible.
As always, make sure that your site is optimized for speed. If your site isn’t coded in a steam-lined way, it won’t matter how fast your hosting speed is. There are many plug-ins you can use to improve site speed optimization or you can hire someone to do it for you.
If you’re using WordPress, buy their WordPress shared hosting plan. It’s the same price as the standard shared hosting plans, but it is optimized for WordPress so your site will load faster.
How Good Is Bluehost Customer Support?
Bluehost’s customer service is outstanding but not quite enough to earn the top ranking for customer support.
You can get someone live on the phone or via chat 24 hours a day. If you buy one of the WordPress hosting plans, that specialist will be well-versed with WordPress so they can help you diagnose problems easier. Sometimes when there is a issue on your site, it’s difficult to tell whether that issue is occurring at the WordPress level or at the hosting level.
You can also get support via email. Most people want immediate support but email is a great option for more complex questions. The reason I like to use emails for complex questions is because it gives the support specialist time to process the question and ask their colleagues if they don’t know the answer.
What Features Does Bluehost Have?
Bluehost plans have more features than you can wrap your head around. Not all of them are free but most are included with the basic plan.
Traditional c-Panel is included with all plans. For those that are already fluent with c-Panel, this is a nice feature.
All plans also come with Cloudfare which is a great security add-on. However, we have noticed that most hosting companies are adopting Cloudfare as a standard add-on included in their plans.
If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can buy add-on features like SiteLock to boost the security on your site. Codeguard is another paid add-on for daily back-ups so you can restore your site easily if the code ever gets corrupted.
What are Bluehost’s Sign-up Bonuses?
You can find better sign-up bonuses than Bluehost but not by much.
All Bluehost plans come with $200 in marketing credit ($100 for Google ads and $100 for Bing). If you plan to market your site at all, this is free money that you should take.
All plans also come with a free domain, free SSL, and one free WordPress migration if your site is already hosted somewhere else.
Who is Bluehost Right For?
Bluehost can work for anyone on any site… it’s only a question of which plan to buy. The reason it works for any site is because they have world-class shared hosting, dedicated server infrastructure and fantastic customer support.
Bluehost can scale up with the growth of your site even if your site grows beyond your wildest dreams.
Starter sites will want to start with the basic or “plus” shared plan. WordPress sites should use Bluehost’s WordPress hosting plans. You can buy a normal shared plan but buying a WordPress hosting plan will speed up the load times and increase security if you’re using WordPress.
More advanced sites with more traffic and more business coming through their sites should purchase a “Pro” shared hosting plan that comes with a dedicated IP ($16.95/month) … OR …. one of the dedicated hosting plans that come with your own server.
Dedicated plans are a lot more expensive ($79/month) so make sure that you absolutely need a dedicated server for your business. If you’re unsure, then it probably means you do NOT need a dedicated server.