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Bluehost gets a lot of good publicity. However, in our tests, we noted it falls short not only in performance – but also in value for money. Also, many features which come standard with top-rated hosts like Hostinger aren’t included. It’s no small secret that Bluehost’s affiliate program is at least a partial reason for its success… but is there any excuse for the lackluster service?
Not The Worst Host Around – But Not Spectacular, Either
Type “best hosting provider” into any search engine, and you won’t have to scroll far to find Bluehost. Touted as one of the “top hosting services worldwide,” it’s maintained a certain golden status for years. It’s especially popular with first-time bloggers and small e-commerce site owners, drawn in by its generous affiliate marketing scheme.
Unfortunately, few review sites properly test Bluehost’s service before recommending it. We did, measuring every technical aspect of hosting a WordPress site using Bluehost – from ease of setup to its uptime rate.
Though seemingly affordable when signing up, Bluehost’s regular hosting renewal rates are actually quite pricey after the first-term discount dissipates. I also found the features and “freebies” included in Bluehost plans are easy to beat if you shop around for another host.
Since Bluehost’s service is serviceable, many customers stay on. But what they don’t know is that there are better options out there that offer superior performance and value for money. I highly recommend Hostinger’s low-cost plans, which don’t skimp on features, support, or reliability.
If you’re skeptical about Bluehost but still want to weigh the pros and cons, this review will fill you in. You can also take a look at our round-up of the top 10 best web hosting services to compare it to what else is out there.
Many “Free” Features – Which Are Generally Free Anyway
Features add value to a hosting package, but Bluehost may have taken marketing its “extras” too far. The host makes a big deal of certain features being “free,” but this is misleading since you can use these services and plugins for free no matter which hosting provider you’re with. Naturally, first-time website owners won’t know any better.
For example, the “Bluehost Marketplace” is very similar to the WordPress Marketplace. It features a selection of curated free and premium WordPress and WooCommerce themes and plugins. The only difference is that you access them directly via the Bluehost admin panel.
Likewise, the included “Yoast SEO Free” is just the free version of this popular WordPress SEO plugin. While this integration makes sense considering both Bluehost and Yoast are subsidiaries of Newfold Digital, I don’t appreciate the misleading “free” title of this feature.
The entry-level shared and WordPress plans from Bluehost allow for only a single website. The 3 upper tiers allow for unlimited websites. If you only plan to create one website, the Basic hosting package storage limitation of 10GB shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
However, issues may arise if you want to create and manage multiple sites on one of the Bluehost unlimited-site plans. Mainly, you’ll want to keep an eye on the amount of storage you have remaining, especially if your sites have a lot of large images or other storage-intensive media files.
If you’re hosting text-based blogs, though, the 100 GB of space on the top-tier plans should be more than enough for a lot of sites.
SSL Certificates & More (Paid) Security Features
In addition to a year of domain name registration, you can expect a number of other add-ons – such as integration with Cloudflare’s CDN, and SSL certificates.
The SSL certificates are the standard ones from Let’s Encrypt, which are intended to provide a very basic level of SSL encryption. In other words, it removes the “not secure” warning and adds a padlock icon to the address bar in web browsers when people visit your site.
For a fee, you can add on a Single Domain SSL and SiteLock Security, which includes the use of the much more secure TrueSpeed CDN and the TrueShield firewall.
Though they are affordable, you’ll note that Bluehost’s Basic hosting plans don’t come with more security features than the above. In comparison, every premium WordPress and shared hosting plan from Bluehost comes with domain privacy, malware scanning, and daily website back-ups included.
A Free Domain Name
One value-for-money extra Bluehost includes in its plans is a free domain name. It’s a handy addition if you’re looking to bundle all of your website launch costs into one.
Keep in mind that a domain name is never truly “free” as fees must be paid to the organizations that oversee the domain name system – so, if you decide Bluehost’s services aren’t for you, and you decide to take advantage of Bluehost’s 30-day money-back guarantee, the cost of the domain name will be subtracted from your refund. You can then take the domain name with you to a new provider.
Bluehost Features at a Glance
Free domain name?
30-day money-back guarantee
Managed hosting features?
Orem, Utah – US
Ease of use
Bluehost – Definitely One of the Easier Hosts to Sign Up With
I did appreciate the speed and simplicity of getting started with Bluehost. Featuring a two-step order process, WordPress auto-installer, and an automatic site creation and optimization questionnaire, getting your website up and running is very straightforward.
The Bluehost admin panel is equally delightful to navigate after you’ve signed up. Though it did take a bit of time for certain pages to load, the layout is clean, uncluttered, and makes sense.
Creating a New Account With Bluehost
Bluehost’s streamlined sign-up process has no painfully drawn-out marketing and upselling – you only have to navigate your domain setup and payment. You’ll also be prompted to create your Bluehost account and login credentials simultaneously.
The typical account creation details required on the payment page itself include your name, address, and contact details. The account creation tool also allows you to specify your chosen service term and paid hosting add-ons. That said, I recommend thoroughly reviewing all of these, as some paid extras are pre-selected.
Lastly, there’s space to input your card details. It’s nice that Bluehost’s accepted payment methods include a number of cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. However, I’d like to see more payment methods beyond bank cards, such as EFT and PayPal.
That said, all Bluehost plans come with a $150 Google Ads credit (for first-time US customers only). However, you won’t see this offer listed on your order summary itself.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
After payment for your Bluehost hosting plan is complete, you can focus on setting up or migrating your website. Handily, the domain name setup page pops up just before the hosting payment page.
You can select your free domain from a number of popular domain extensions or add an existing domain, if needed. The inclusion of a wide range of popular US, UK, and global domain extensions in Bluehost’s free domain name selection is definitely a win. You can choose one that best fits your unique demographic and audience instead of settling for a generic one.
A WordPress auto-installer is also included with all hosting plans, accessible via your Bluehost admin panel. Do note that – as with many providers – the shared and WordPress hosting plans are essentially the same products with different names.
Bluehost’s admin panel and your WordPress Dashboard are somewhat linked on its WordPress hosting plans. You can publish and edit website content directly from the Bluehost admin panel,oruse exclusive Bluehost tools from your WordPress Dashboard.
This feature proves useful for beginners as it allows you to edit your website content directly via the WordPress Dashboard. If you’re not a fan of remembering passwords, here’s the good news – you can also easily access your WordPress Dashboard via the admin panel.
Google My Business Setup
Bluehost offers integration with Google My Business, allowing you to seamlessly connect your site and a Google Business account together. This way, you can get your business listed and mapped out on Google Maps easily in one place – a nice touch, particularly for those with physical stores or offices.
Adequate Performance – But Mainly in the US
Bluehosts’ main demographic is US-based sites and audiences. A contributing factor is that Bluehost’s data centers are located in Utah, meaning Bluehost-hosted sites perform best here and in nearby states.
Our Bluehost-hosted WordPress testing site scored somewhat poorly for performance here in terms of speed, but very well for uptime.
With a typical page loading time of about 2 seconds, Bluehost offers passable performance. Loading speed improved at times, but was also often worse, and was not consistent overall. And, though reliable, its 100% uptime rate results aren’t guaranteed by an SLA.
Our Bluehost test site typically took about 2 seconds to load, which is just on the edge of acceptability according according to the majority of hosting experts. However, there were many deviations throughout the day and week, with it frequently taking over 3 seconds to load.
It’s very difficult to attribute deviations to peak times, as performance seemed to ebb and flow throughout the week.
The primary problem was identified in the Time to First Byte measure, as once the testing server in Chicago was able to make that first connection with the data center in Utah, the loading of page assets would often take place in less than a second. But it would frequently take more than a second – sometimes more than 2 – for this connection to take place.
Keep in mind that this was the default setup for a Bluehost hosting plan, and could probably be improved with various plugins and other tweaks, but we test a hosting plan to see what a non-technical user would get out of it.
In our UptimeRobot tests, our Bluehost-hosted website performed impressively, averaging a 100% uptime rate over the course of a month. Our site only dropped out for a 3-minute period once during this time, which may be attributed to regular Bluehost maintenance.
Do note that Bluehost doesn’t have a typical service-level agreement (SLA) in place, which would guarantee both a set uptime rate for your hosted site and compensation if terms aren’t met. Instead, Bluehost lists out the likelihood of downtime and subsequent measures taken to restore your site in its Network Server Uptime Agreement.
If a server goes down, Bluehost claims that most fixes take approximately 15 minutes. However, the host mentions that it could take as much as a day or more to do so (in extreme cases). And, no, you won’t be compensated for any of that unexpected downtime. Despite stellar UptimeRobot results, I can’t say I find this lack of accountability reassuring.
You shouldn’t have to worry about server outages and the potential financial losses these could cause your business. There are definitely better hosts to go with if you need more assurances. For example, A2 Hosting offers better peace of mind, with compensation should it fail to meet the terms stipulated in its SLA.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
Our Sucuri Load Time Tester results provided global figures regarding page loading times for our Bluehost test site. You can see that US-based connections – particularly on the West Coast, near Bluehost’s Utah-based data centers – performed best. At around half a second or less for a full page load, these speeds are higher than average.
Server connections as far away as London and The Netherlands performed OK, too. Other regions showed mixed results, though servers in some of these locations – particularly France and Germany – may have blocked the Sucuri Load Time Tester connection.
Again, we performed these tests without a CDN enabled, as a CDN is not a part of the default setup on a Basic shared or WordPress hosting plan.
Solid 24/7 Support – Via Phone & Live Chat
Bluehost has a streamlined support offering, with agents available via phone and live chat 24/7. You can also consult the knowledge base on the Bluehost website, which is filled with helpful articles on many relevant topics.
The level of support I received from Bluehost was more than satisfactory. When reaching out to Bluehost through live chat, there were some small problems. Mostly, the Bluehost chat representative was slow to respond at first, taking a minute or longer to answer each message at the start of the chat.
However, he quickly caught up, so I might have just got him at a bad or busy time – I did make contact at around 4:00 p.m. MT on Sunday afternoon.
When I called Bluehost phone support, the phone tree directed me to where I needed to go immediately. Once I was connected to a Bluehost support agent, they were on in less than a single ring and very helpful and friendly.
Even better, the agent asked for a verification token instead of a portion of my Bluehost account password – a less-than-safe practice it’s been found guilty of in the past.
Appears Affordable – Until the Discounted First Term Runs Out
One major complaint about Bluehost is its pricey renewal rates. These rates can be as high as up to four times the initial discounted ones – which is a considerable jump. If you plan on staying longer than the initial heavily-discounted 12- or 36-month first term, be prepared for a significant cost increase. However, you may find deals and coupons to reduce the price.
Another issue with Bluehost’s hosting plans is their limited capabilities and the lack of truly valuable included features. Most of the “freebies” – such as Cloudflare CDN, Yoast SEO Free, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, and WordPress plugins and themes – are free anyway.
Both the Bluehost basic and premium plans also include less storage, security, and performance features than many similarly-priced hosting plans. With this in mind, it may be worth your while to compare a few other hosting providers before you sign up.
Bluehost has a very beginner-friendly setup process and good support, but loses out due to a lack of truly valuable features, and performance that is inconsistent and unremarkable.
While Bluehost is an average provider, there are better value options out there – such as IONOS’ WordPress hosting plans. Though comparable to Bluehost in terms of pricing, IONOS packs way more features, such as site analytics, malware scanning, dedicated RAM, and automatic back-ups – and the renewal rates aren’t quite as steep, either.
Does the free domain name provided by Bluehost belong to me?
Yes, the free domain name included with Bluehost web hosting packages does belong to you. In fact, if you cancel your Bluehost hosting plan, you still retain ownership of the domain name for the full term for which it’s registered. Thereafter, you’ll need to renew it to retain ownership of it. You can use it for any website – whether hosted by Bluehost or built on WordPress or not.
Do Bluehost web hosting plans include webmail hosting?
Most Bluehost hosting plans allow you to create and manage email accounts as long as they are associated with your chosen registered or linked domain name. You can also sign up for Google Workspace webmail hosting separately with Bluehost if you need something more professional. These paid plans include access to advanced Google email management tools.
Do I need to pay for Bluehost web hosting if I have WordPress?
The WordPress.com platform enables you to create and host a WordPress website on WordPress servers. This is different from getting a WordPress plan from Bluehost and installing the WordPress software on Bluehost’s server – this is often referred to as “self-hosted” WordPress, and it gives you more customization options.
Can I host my own website with Bluehost?
Yes – if you already have a website hosted with another provider, you can have Bluehost migrate your site to its platform for you. You’ll need to purchase a plan with Bluehost first.
We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
A freelance author, graphic designer, and photographer, Caitlin Greyling writes about web hosting, web builder software, graphic design, tech, and electronics, and has published hundreds of product reviews and comparisons for Website Planet, The Daily Mail, and Durability Matters. Her creative and technical knowledge has been showcased at PictureCorrect, Photutorial, and others. She is currently studying for an NCTJ diploma in journalism. When Caitlin’s not working, she’s exploring nature with her son and dog or relaxing at home with her cat.
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Bluehost – The Bad Choice Ever !
This is my first review in 10 years of being an IT in Vietnam. Our client wishes to use SEO for USA marketing and I decided to use hosting at bluehost with 100% refund guaranteed. Of course, I had used it at bluehost since 2019 but in this case let them hand our refund 2 months and still in processing..
I and our IT team turn the online chat together at once in each 2 weeks, but they ask us the same information of paypal email and browbeat a bit cause of too long to get refund. They just ignore and let us lose the time to wait and close many times.
This review is just to let anyone ask the bluehost for online marketing such as website, or email and storage/server.. Please take care and even my advice is KEEP AWAY BLEHOST.
(This review was made after I got the 4th time of asking the refund with bluehost and It took us more than 2 months => Really Bad Bluehost at moment)
One of the single worst customer service experiences I've ever dealt with. In my first year as a customer, I contacted them once a month about a very specific issue I was having with Printful and Printify. It took them two or three weeks to reply, and everytime it was the same painful process: Request information on my last ticket, answer all the same questions again, find out my last ticket was closed without being resolved, ask for resolution and support, and then be told that they'll respond soon with help. A month goes by, start it all over again.
After my first year, I attempted to cancel my hosting. Instead, they charged me double. When I asked for a refund the same day, they insisted they would reach out to me to help. When I contacted Bluehost a final time, they said they can't offer a refund because their refund window is 30 days--I contacted them after 21 days. I finally went through my payment processor to request a chargeback, and they are fighting it. The irony is that I expect they will respond to this review.
Bluehost will fail you. Bluehost is possibly the worst option for any hosting, ever, and I recommend literally anyone else. The scammer down the road will at least respond to you.
It use to be reasonable now is just plain bad (avoid it)
I also buyed for a couple of years. Yet even having one more year payed I'm already searching for alternatives. The support is horrible and their monetizing as extras little options that used to be free. I woun't recommend it anymore.
The support is really the worst with ticket numbers and a blend of bots and automatic responses withou a context. Many times I have to repeat 3 to 4 times in the same chat conversation, what's my domain and problem. It's like talking with a frendly Dori fish, joyfull, distracted and with alzheimer.
I admit that I was stupid to buy three years of Bluehost hosting at their high renewal rates. And my my experience with Bluehost was a disaster. Within the first year of my three years, the Bluehost server went down and my website was out for TWO WEEKS. Obviously, I can't allow this to happen a second time, so I has no other option but to switch to a more reliable provider. Because the 30 day refund period was over, Bluehost kept SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS of my money.
1. A very very slow hosting provider. It makes my website keeps lagging.
2. I've got a refund problem. I've been contacting them for 4 times, yet the problem hasn't been sorted out. Really terrible.
3. Ignorant customer service. Slow response and don't keep their promise.
Please please stay away!
Bluehost is one of the most popular web hosting companies in the world, especially among people launching their first site.
They offer great rates, and a beginner-facing platform that makes every aspect of running a website easy.
Most of the time Bluehost will walk you through a task the first time, like setting up a blog or email account on your site.
If you get stuck or have a problem, they have 24/7 support by phone or live chat. They list their support number and live chat options right on their site, so you can reach out for help within two clicks.
As user I do not recommend Bluehost to anyone. Bad experience. You will have to pay
more for chosing a good design and themes
Bad support and Communication. Very confusing. No credibility .Misinformation. You will not get what expect from them .loss of money
You are looking for a good host to boost Wordpress sites, then with BlueHost India's WordPress hosting plans you ll be able to do that effectively for the simple reason that they understand the platform really well and know how to support the same. I have had a very good experience, uptime, security, storage, these aspects are fitting and top notch.