Bluehost is big and famous. It hosts millions of websites and offers a full gamma of hosting services, so it was a natural choice for one of the first entries here at We Tech City.
My mission to find the best website hosting provider can never be accomplished without seeing this popular host. In the past, I’ve created a few Bluehost reviews, but while working on it I realized that 2018 has been a significant one for the company.
Things have changed at Bluehost: shared plans, bluehost.com, and servers have been updated.
But is this change a natural development?
Is this a step towards better service that can put the company in the discussion about the best web host once again?
What is Bluehost?
Founded in 2003 in Provo, Utah, Bluehost now manages over 2 million websites. This places it firmly in the world’s largest web hosts, and the rankings are no surprise.
This US hosting provider required only five years to reach 1 million domain names. For comparison, Hostinger was founded a year later, in 2004, and that mark required six years.
Bluehost’s impressive growth was a testament to excellence, and in 2010 giant EIG acquired the Utah-based website host.
Then Bluehost’s problems started. The years that followed saw several major service disruptions that affected the Bluehost brand.
I had not checked and not been impressed with the Bluehost managed WordPress platform a long time ago and thought to myself that this is just another EIG brand that is suffering the pains of acquisition. (My Bluehost WordPress review was not the highest rated to put it mildly.)
To my surprise, Bluehost’s numbers for this detailed, honest review suggest several reasons for optimism.
So, is Bluehost a good host?
The Essential – Bluehost Uptime, Speed and Support
Speed and uptime are the foundation of any successful online presence, but in the long run, support is equally important.
1. Excellent uptime – 99.98%
Uptime is the bread and butter of web hosting. Literally, anyone can host a website, even on a personal laptop; The challenge is to keep it online at all times.
Bluehost is one of the very few companies among the top website hosting providers that does not guarantee uptime. All the hosts I’ve reviewed so far have a 99.9% uptime guarantee (100% in terms of namespace as well), but Bluehost does not mention anything to this effect on their website.
It struck me as a bit old school. A few years ago no one was offering uptime guarantees and reimbursements for violated SLAs.
In any case, what really matters is not what has been promised but what has been delivered.
And Bluehost performs excellently with 99.98% uptime over nearly three years of monitoring. This was the lowest ever recorded at 99.97% and it is not at all low!
In fact, these are rock-solid numbers that show strong infrastructure and great reliability.
Average uptime 2018 – 99.97%
2019 – 99.99%
2020 – 99.98%
January – 99.57%
February – 99.98%
Bluehost is a very reliable host.
2. Good speed
Fast Response Time – 0.46s (8th)
Fast Load Time – 0.98s (VI)
Stable Under Load- 0.65s (5th)
If you run a speed test on My Domain, the results may fluctuate slightly. Even from the same test platform, the two tests would normally display slightly different results. My Bluehost site is hosted in Utah, so I tested it from US locations. All plugins and server-side caching were disabled.
It can be argued that speed is more important than uptime. A slow response is a serious user-deterrent when it comes to browsing online.
I did my first Bluehost review in 2017 and then the speed and overall server performance were quite disappointing.
To my real surprise, at the time Bluehost strongly displays the shared server company in the top 3 of the fastest providers in V Tech City, which I’ve measured here.
The time for the first byte to place the bluehost in the middle of the pack is quite fast, while the time it takes for the site to fully load is 0.98 seconds. Overall, these numbers make Bluehost the eighth fastest host I’ve checked so far.
Not only this but my small WordPress site under load performed remarkably well. Less than 50 concurrent users did not put much pressure on the company’s SSD server, receiving responses without any delay.
Speed is not the most impressive, but it does not fluctuate at all, making Bluehost a reliable hosting provider.
Average Response Time 2018 – 0.38s
2019 – 0.45s
2020 – 0.52s
January – 0.40s
February – 0.53s
Fully Loaded Pages 2018 – 0.96s
2019 – 0.95s
2020 – 1.02s
January – 0.86s
February – 1.01s
Response Under Load 2018 – 0.59s
2019 – 0.67s
2020 – 0.66s
January – 0.64s
February – 0.76s
January – 0.64s
February – 0.76s
Reasonably fast and durable service.
3. Top Quality Support
In my experience, large hosting companies often struggle to provide quality customer service. It seems that Bluehost is an exception.
During the research phase of my first Bluehost expert review, I was pleasantly surprised by the courteous and knowledgeable support. In fact, there were occasions when he was slow to respond to chat but nothing dramatic.
It is natural for a company with more than 2 million domain names to see the occasional high load of customer requests.
I must say that now, for this 2021 bluehost review, the support impressed me even more. I got answers with more consistency, very quickly and decently. The knowledge base has also been polished here and there, making the overall Bluehost support pretty robust and useful.
“Excellent support team that is constantly improving.”
Benefits of bluehost
Just a year ago, the comparison of Bluehost vs. SiteGade or Bluehost vs. HostGator would have been extremely unilateral. Bluehost’s problems were obvious. Now, Bluehost looks like one of the favorites for the top spot among the best website hosting providers here at Tech City. The company shared hosting platform has received a serious update which actually makes it very attractive.
1. Solid Infrastructure
One of the things that shocked me the last time I was reviewing Bluehost was the fact that the company’s servers were running on HDDs. However, after only one year, things have changed for the better.
Now, all Bluehost servers run on modern solid-state drives that order very fast. This is a significant performance boost that can be felt throughout. The backend of my WordPress site is fast, and the speed tests were very fast.
SSD for the win!
And this is not the only upgrade, as all servers have a minimum of dual quad cores for processing information.
2. Open Source Leader
Bluehost has been giving back to the online community since its inception. The company is one of three official WordPress hosts – Dreamhost and SiteGrade are the other two – and the open-source spirit is strong.
Bluehost has an in-house team of developers who work towards the improvement of over 80 open source applications. One of the most direct results of this contribution is the fact that these applications work better when hosted on the Bluehost server. Apps include WordPress, shopping carts, social network platforms, customer management systems, and others.
The list of available apps is not the most comprehensive as nothing can beat the 400+ apps distributed by InMotion Hosting, but the selection is very solid and performance is guaranteed.
3. free backup
Uptime and speed are the most important qualities of a reliable web host, but it is also important to have your data secure.
Configuring cPanel to create automatic backups is not as difficult, and when web hosting providers charge for backup or restoration of sites, or both, it really grinds my gear.
It is true that web hosts are service providers and users are service managers, i.e. users are responsible for keeping their files safe, but getting backups of data automatically is so easy and so necessary!
Bluehost regularly makes courtesy backups and does not charge anything for restoration. Users can access copies through cPanel or ask the Bluehost support team for assistance in recovery.
Whichever option you choose, it is free. As it should be.
4. Free Domain Name Registration
Bluehost is one of the largest domain name registrars and you can see why; Each of the company’s shared plans comes with a free domain name registration. Very cute, especially if you are starting your journey online.
Typically, a new domain name costs more than $ 10, so keeping it for free greatly reduces initial hosting expenses.
Keep in mind, Bluehost domain registration is free, but domain renewal is not.
5. Excellent eCommerce Alternatives
Bluehost’s robust infrastructure is one of the best ecommerce hosting options.
Due to their catalogs, online shops are more resource-heavy than non-commercial sites, but Bluehost servers have no problem with this.
Each account has direct access to the Zen Cart, Cube Cart, OS Commerce, or Agora Shopping Cart, and more right off the bat; There is no shortage of excellent ecommerce solutions that can see your online business evolving from a simple idea into a profitable endeavor.
6. Free SSL
Tied to the previous point, you do not need to spend a single penny to start trading online. Bluehost provides encrypted SSL to all accounts.
Let’s Encrypt is great not only because it is free, but also because it is an SSL that installs automatically without the possibility of manual changes and human error.
This is a must have for any website hosting provider today and is owned by Bluehost.
7. 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Bluehost is one of the web
Eliminate companies that go with a 30-day money-back policy.
All customers who purchase shared hosting from Bluehost for the first time are entitled to this guarantee. If you are unhappy with the service and cancel within the first month, the payment you have made will be given back.
A month is not such a long time to fully test a hosting provider but better than nothing.
The company has certainly done a lot to fix its position as one of the leading web hosting services in the world, but it’s not perfect. Here are some of the most notable flaws that lower the overall bluehost rating.
1. Paid Migration
Bluehost may know how to attract new customers with free domain name registration, but the company can certainly do better with respect to existing sites.
If you have a website hosted elsewhere and want to take it to Bluehost, then you have to pay. Unless you have the technical knowledge to transfer the entire cPanel account and troubleshoot potential incompatibility issues, you will have to pay $ 144.99.
That fee is one of the highest I have seen. Not to mention the fact that many major hosts offer migration for free. Which makes perfect sense as it is a great way to acquire new customers.
Bluehost clearly disagrees with me on this point.
2. No Monthly Billing
How much does Bluehost cost per month?
It doesn’t really matter, because you can’t pay for a month.
The minimum time you can pay is 12 months. This is not such a small issue as creating a website is a long-term investment, but it is very awkward and removes some degree of flexibility.
After all, the shorter the period you pay, the higher the monthly fee. I can’t wrap my head around the possible reason why Bluehost doesn’t allow people to pay the way (and amount) they want.
3. Steep renewal fee
Like all EIG companies, Bluehost pricing policy is to attract customers with very low initial fees. After the renewal of service, the charges increase substantially. Other shared plans increase only twice, while other fees increase three times on average.
Such an approach is not specifically reserved for EIG hosts, but is certainly exclusive to brands owned by Vishal.
4. Mixed User Reviews
Bluehost remained in the mud for a few years and his reputation was tarnished. It takes ages to establish a positive attitude and it takes a few months to completely destroy it. When I created this review of Bluehost three years ago, the company seemed to be on a positive trajectory: support was improving, infrastructure was being updated, packages were being modernized.
But in 2021, user reviews are back after the EIG takeover period, when everyone was disillusioned with the host.
Do we recommend Bluehost?
Bluehost has recently greatly improved its infrastructure and packages. Paid inbound site migration aside, there are not many downsides to Bluehost shared platforms.
It is fast, reliable and versatile. If you need more resources, there are lots of customized applications, free SSL, and plans that grow well. Partnering with CloudFlare ensures that sites hosted with Bluehost load faster around the world.
Is Bluehost a valid contender for the top position?
Vishal’s upward trend from Provo seems to have stalled somewhat, keeping the host at some distance from being the number one shared hosting provider.
Nevertheless, after three detailed Bluehost reviews and analysis of its managed WordPress hosting and other services, I can finally say that it is one of the top hosting providers.
Do you have personal experience with Bluehost? Drop us a line or two and contribute to our growing base of Bluehost user reviews.
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