Bluehost is currently hosting more than two million websites, and undoubtedly, it’s one of the most popular and inexpensive options when it comes to shared hosting. It doesn’t get to that level of popularity without a good reason. While some reviews will have you believe that it’s because of the high quality of service that Bluehost offers, the truth may be far from it. It sounds too convenient that Bluehost has a lucrative affiliate program that pays out more than $5 million annually to bloggers.
This often (actually more than often) results in bloggers writing glowing reviews for Bluehost to get $65 with just one referral. That’s pretty slick, right? But if getting to two million websites was as easy as getting some bloggers to write biased reviews, a lot more services would have done that by now. So there’s something in Bluehost’s services that has got it so many websites, most of which choose to stick around. So I’ll dig in and try to separate the facts from fiction and help you decide whether Bluehost is any good.
Is it the best web hosting? To understand whether Bluehost is really the best web hosting service that it claims to be, you’ll need to weigh the pros against the cons and see if Bluehost comes out on top. Let’s take a look at its pros first.
Pros of Using Bluehost
Like I said before, it’s not that Bluehost is a sham as getting to two million websites is no small milestone. It takes a lot of doing, and it doesn’t happen unless you have some good things going for you. For instance, you’ve got to give it to Bluehost that it’s an affordable hosting service, and the uptime is pretty good. It’s also a lucrative option for newbies because you can get started quickly.
Bluehost offers a strong uptime when compared to other hosting services, and it comes in at more than the industry average (99.90%) at 99.94% which is pretty decent. Most websites will be okay with an uptime that strong. To put things into perspective, that’s only five hours of downtime out of a total of 8760 hours. For most websites, that’s tolerable and most often goes unnoticed. This is a strong advantage of Bluehost that even I can’t take away, which just goes to show why it’s hosting more than two million websites.
Another factor worth considering is that most of the downtime last year happened in one month, and Bluehost officially claimed that it happened because of various DDoS attacks towards the servers. I’d say it is strongly above the industry average, and it’s not perfect, but it’s nowhere near terrible. Tests show that Bluehost is a reliable host in terms of uptime, and no one can take that away from it, at least for now.
In fact, if you take a look at the stats, Bluehost has shown good consistency when it comes to uptime and has managed to get more than 99.90% average easily except for the month of February. Now let’s move on to the next positive thing about Bluehost.
Low Introductory Price
I’d say that the main reason Bluehost is so famous and has over two million websites is its low starting price. It’s easily one of the most inexpensive hosting options available and probably why the service is so popular. Even though it’s not the cheapest option on the market, the combination of a low introductory price and strong uptime statistics makes it a good hosting option.
At just $3.95/month, it gives a pretty decent starting option for new websites that are looking to get off the ground, and I’d say that you can get a good deal if you know how to negotiate one. Bluehost is flexible on that, and even a small bargain goes a long way.
Great Security Options
Bluehost offers a good deal when it comes to security options and offers some tools that are able to combat the most common website risks. For instance, it provides some effective tools to deal with and prevent spam such as SpamExperts, Spam Hammer, and SpamAssassin. Bluehost also supports CloudFlare so that you can prevent the pesky DDoS attacks that are capable of bringing websites down with overwhelming traffic directed from various sources.
Bluehost also prevents visitors from stealing your content or images with its hotlink protection. You can also block problematic individuals using the IP address blacklists, and it also gives you SSH access for your website to gain secure web sessions.
Apps and Integrations
Bluehost has a dashboard filled with applications and app integrations that you can use to integrate different services such as CloudFlare, Google Apps, and much more into your website and make it more happening.
The last and final positive of using Bluehost host is that it’s the officially recommended host of WordPress.org. WordPress lists Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround as its three hosting providers. I don’t really know if that actually counts as a positive, but it does give Bluehost a great deal of credibility.
Cons of Using Bluehost
You can find many glowing reviews for Bluehost on the internet, but upon digging a little deeper, you’ll find the unbiased reviews as well that show that all is not as good as Bluehost wants you to believe. However, instead of passing judgment, I’ll take you directly to the drawbacks of using Bluehost and let you decide for yourself.
Slow Loading Times
Now keep in mind all the positives I listed as all of those can’t be undermined, but this is where things start to go wrong for Bluehost. My experience with the speed that Bluehost offers hasn’t been satisfactory at all and it’s really disappointing, considering the good uptime and affordable rates the service offers. With a dismal 1067ms load time, the service comes in behind the industry average of 850ms. This is simply not good enough because every second matters on the internet. Don’t believe me? Google took a 20% traffic drop hit just a few years ago with only half a second increase in delay. If your website doesn’t load within five seconds, nearly 3/4th of the traffic will bounce to other pages. So basically, slow page speeds aren’t just hurting the user experience but are also directly impacting the profit margins.
Although Bluehost speeds aren’t that bad (which is why two million websites are still onboard), for a service of this stature, it could be better, and it should definitely be better.
Poor Customer Support
With over two million sites to handle, I understand that delays in customer support are inevitable, but if you have to wait for 43 minutes during peak hours just to get through to the support, that’s not a good sign. My experience with Bluehost’s customer support was a dismal one and if there are three things you should judge a hosting service on, they are speed, uptime, and customer support.
While I’m mentioning its poor support, I think it’s also worth mentioning that Bluehost has tons of tutorial videos on YouTube that are very helpful, so if you want to solve an issue, that’s where you should probably start.
Yes, Bluehost takes pride in its affordable rates, but it’s not as cheap as it’ll have you believe. Its introductory price is super cheap at $3.95/month, but that’s only when you sign up for three years. If you want to start at 12 months, which I think you should, its rate goes up to $4.95/month. However, if you want to start with just one or three months, that’s just too bad because you can’t.
On the other hand, if you’re convinced to sign up for it, you should take the 36-month deal because the 12-month renewal option goes straight up to $9/month.
Expensive Site Migrations
Bluehost also charges you $150 as migration fee if you want to move an existing site to its service. While we’re discussing site migrations, it’s also worth mentioning that Bluehost doesn’t transfer more than twenty email accounts and five websites.
If you want a simple 45-minute introductory walkthrough to get familiar with the services Bluehost is offering, you’ll need to lose $80, and that’s something other hosts will provide for free considering you’re signing up for them.
Just like most other hosts, Bluehost doesn’t truly provide unlimited hosting, and you can take a look at its Terms of Service to read the fine print. But let’s not put a lot of emphasis on that because most other hosts do that.
Bluehost is a solid option if you’re hosting a personal site or blog because the uptime is good and the rates are affordable, but with its slow speed and deplorable customer service, businesses and commercial sites should look elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong; Besides all the cons I have mentioned, upon comparing with other hosting providers, I still say this is one of the best hosting providers on the internet right now.