Make a search for leading web hosting companies, and it won’t take long before Bluehost show up. Since they first launched in 1996 the company, now owned by Endurance International (the same organisation responsible for Fat Cow and a slew of others), have been earning plaudits for their reliable, no-nonsense approach to web hosting.
With three plans on offer, Bluehost are well equipped to provide solid hosting for websites of all shapes, sizes and platforms.
We’ll discuss each of those plans in detail below, but if you have your own thoughts to contribute, we’d love to hear from them. Whether you’re an existing or former user, you can leave your own Bluehost review here.
Bluehost pricing plans
Bluehost aren’t too dissimilar from other leading providers like GoDaddy, in that they’ve adopted a three-tier approach to offering affordable hosting plans, meaning its easier to pay only for what you need.
What is disappointing, for UK users at least, is that the company don’t seem to offer any options for paying in British Pound Sterling. Whilst this does complicate things slightly, it’s really not the end of the world, especially when you consider that the US prices still offer good value for money.
At the lower-end of the scale, you’ll find their basic starter plan at $3.95 (£2.56) per month for a 36 month plan. If you don’t want that kind of long-term commitment, you’ll be looking at paying a little more, with prices increasing as the length of the term decreases. For a 24 month plan, we’re talking $4.95 (£3.21) or $5.95 (£3.85) for a single year.
The same goes for the popular Plus plan, and their bells-and-whistles package, which again work out cheaper the longer you sign up for.
Bluehost packages – What’s included?
The plan you choose will likely depend not only on your budget, but on the kind of website you’re looking to launch. For small sites with moderate traffic, the 1GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth that you get with the Starter Plan should be more than sufficient. With this plan, you’ll also get 50GB of email storage for your 100 free email addresses, and other useful features, but you’ll only be able to host the one single website.
If you need a more flexible solution for multiple sites, then the Plus Plan does offer the best value for your money. With this one, everything is unlimited, and you’ll also get $200 of marketing and advertising credits, a free global Content Delivery Network (CDN) and spam protection.
Running an especially large site, expecting to draw masses of traffic, or have complex databases that you need hosting support for? The Business plan has got you covered, incorporating everything that you get with Plus, along with lots of extras, including a free SSL certificate, dedicated IP address and free site backup tools.
As you’d probably expect, Bluehost throw a free one-year domain into the deal, too.
Add-ons and recommendations
Unlike other hosting companies which try to tack on a lot of necessary extras, many of Bluehost’s add-ons are actually pretty useful.
Site Backup Pro
If you’ve signed up for the hosting plan, then obviously you won’t need to pay for Site Backup Pro, as it comes as standard with that particular package. For Starter or Plus customers though, this is actually useful in ensuring you always have a backup in place should things go awry.
Domain Privacy Protection is a matter of choice. If you’re running a registered business, then for transparency’s sake, you might be better off not hiding your company’s name and address on sites like Who.is. If you’re a private user though, then this is well worth the investment to keep your personal details away from prying eyes.
Sitelock Domain Security
The opposite applies to domain security. If you’re hosting a small, personal website, then you probably don’t have much need to verify your existence. For businesses on the other hand, this can be an invaluable tool for gaining the trust of your visitors and customers.
Search Engine Jumpstart and Google Apps
There’s nothing Search Engine Jumpstart can do for you that you can’t do yourself using free tools, and as we mentioned in our iPage Essentials review, the free version of Google Apps is already so good that there’s really no reason to pay for it. So you can happily avoid these two and go about the process of launching your new site.
Ease of Use
One of the key reasons many people choose Bluehost, is to take advantage of its status as a WordPress-recommended hosting provider. If the idea of using the world’s most popular CMS to drive your website appeals to you, you’ll find installing, updating and managing your new WordPress website as easy as you could possibly hope for.
If you were planning to use your account for another kind of website, with their cPanel-based platform, you’ll still find that Bluehost scores five stars in terms of how easy it is to use.
Most Bluehost reviews rank the company highly in terms of reliability, and having used the company ourselves, we’ve found no reason to argue with their claim of 99% up time.
If you do find you’re having issues and wish to cancel, they do provide a much-welcomed anytime money back guarantee.
Cancel within the first 30 days, and you’ll receive a full refund. After that, Bluehost will refund any unused hosting fees.
If you want to move your site to another host, yet keep the domain name you registered with the company, you will of course, need to pay for that.
Much as with their pricing, Bluehost’s customer support is very much US-focused, though web owners in the UK and other countries can still benefit from live chat, a ticketing system, lots of video tutorials, and an extensive knowledge base.
To run an online store with Bluehost, you’ll need to go with their more expensive Business Plan, whose shared SSL and dedicated IP are essential to running a safe, secure site for your customers.
Shopping cart wise, you can chose from leading providers like Agora, Cube Cart, Zen Cart and OS Commerce.
Whilst Bluehost is perfectly adequate at powering eCommerce websites, we’ve found that other hosting companies do much the same thing, only cheaper. So if you’re on a limited budget, it might pay to shop around.
The company’s status as a recommended WordPress host certainly works in their favour, and if that’s the option you’re looking to take, you’ll find everything you need here at a reasonable price. Again, we’re dissapointed that the company don’t seem to care much for their non-American customers, but in terms of reliability and hassle-free hosting, it’s hard to fault them.
Still, that’s just one opinion. Do you currently use this provider to host your website? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us your Bluehost review below.