Getting started on your first business website can be daunting. Sure, you could just communicate with your customers via Facebook or another social media platform, but if you're serious about doing business online, you'll want to take the plunge and sign up for a top-notch web hosting service.
Bluehost (a PC Mag Business Choice winner) does a good job of balancing price and features for businesses that need a bit of hand-holding, while also offering plenty of options to experienced administrators. Still, Bluehost lacks Windows-based servers and the month-to-month pricing we like to see on shared plans.
You can also check our step by step guide on how to build your website using Bluehost by clicking here
We’ve been a paying Bluehost web hosting customer throughout 2018 – 2020.
That means we’ve been monitoring their cheapest “basic” shared hosting plan performance (both average load time and uptime) for 2+ years.
This Bluehost review relies heavily on data, as well as the overall experience with their hosting features and customer support.
In a nutshell, all Bluehost plans offer their customers 24/7 live chat, unlimited bandwidth, and five email accounts. Similarly to many other website hosting companies, they too offer their new users a free domain for the first year. Their plans start from $3.95/mo and include improved security, backups, and free SSL certificate. These help to keep your blog or website protected and safe.
Overall, their last 24-month performance has been good. Bluehost is clearly at the top with its uptime (99.99%) and a fast load time of 405ms (0.4 seconds).
Uptime is one the most important aspects when choosing a web host – after all, if your site is down, your users can’t access it. So consistently good uptime should be one of your top priorities.
After reviewing 30 web hosts, our benchmark for “good” uptime is 99.93%. That might seem pretty high, but it’s actually even slightly below average. Type those numbers into a calculator, and you’ll quickly see it translates into at least 26 minutes of downtime each month or just over five hours over the course of a year.
So ideally, we don’t want to see anything less than that.
The good news is that Bluehost easily surpasses this benchmark, comfortably keeping our test site live for 99.99% of the time during the last 24 months (2018-2020).
Here’s the monthly breakdown of the past 12-months:
- January 2020 average uptime: 100%
- December 2019 average uptime: 100%
- November 2019 average uptime: 100%
- October 2019 average uptime: 99.96%
- September 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- August 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- July 2019 average uptime: 100%
- June 2019 average uptime: 99.98%
- May 2019 average uptime: 100%
- April 2019 average uptime: 100%
- March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- February 2019 average uptime: 100%
Conclusion? Bluehost is one of the most reliable web hosting provider according to our uptime study.
A report from Google last year found that the vast majority of mobile websites are way too slow.
That’s a problem for two major reasons. Google’s mobile-first index can hide your site in user searches if it has low loading speed. Studies show that slow websites almost always translate into lower sales.
Your host’s page loading times are the second most important thing that can literally make or break your site’s success after uptime.
Bluehost’s performance was tracked since February 2018 using a third-party tool, Pingdom. And once again, we were pleased with the results — an average page loading speed of 405ms which places them as the 5th fastest site out of everybody that we’ve tested.
Some of the web hosts we’ve seen are best only for advanced users.
LiquidWeb, for example, is great if you know what you’re doing. But they lack a user-friendly interface for non-technical people. So if you’re a beginner, you’d have a tough time getting a site live.
The layout of Bluehost’s control panel (cPanel) makes it easy to use. You just need to point and click in most cases.
It also has features for advanced users, but beginners too can easily install and start-up WordPress.
Or, they can use the Bluehost website builder tools(such as Weebly or Drupal) to start with a template that you can customize by just dragging-and-dropping features.
WordPress is the most widely used website platform on the market.
And they only “officially” recommend hosting partners to use with a WordPress site.
Bluehost performs pretty well across the board. There are two big areas, however, where the costs get a little steep. Let’s dive deeper into each one.
The best way to get the lowest possible price for hosting is to prepay for one, two, or even three years upfront.
On the one hand, the monthly price is low, but on the other hand, prepaying for a longer period of time (between 12–36 months) means that you’re not just committing to a few dollars, but around a hundred dollars.
Another thing to consider is the higher renewal rates after your introductory period expires. In this case, prepaying for a full three years at $3.95 is a good deal because you’re locking in that low rate for as long as possible.
However, at the end of that term, the rates will jump back up to their “Normal” rates. These range from $7.99 – $8.99/month on the most basic shared plan depending on how long you prepay.
Most web hosts we’ve reviewed will move your existing website over to their service for free. They see it as a friendly service that helps make new customers happy, so they’ll wave any fees.
Unfortunately, Bluehost doesn’t do free migrations.
They have a one-time fee of $149.99 that includes the migration of up to five websites, 20 email accounts, and any other database files for these sites.
They claim it’ll be quick and seamless, so you won’t experience any delays or downtime.
Bluehost’s Basic plan will cost you $3.95 with our discount
The Plus plan increases to $5.95/mo — the same price as the Choice Plus option for unlimited websites, SSD storage, and bandwidth. They also allow you to manage unlimited domains, parked domains, and subdomains on these plans, too.
The Pro plan starts at $13.95/month with all of these features and high performance from their servers.
In addition, Bluehost has all major web hosting types, including VPS, cloud, and dedicated data centers.
Yes, we do.
Bluehost has ranked at or near the top for both uptime and loading times for more than a year.
In addition, they offer strong security support, a money-back guarantee, and plenty of user-friendly apps, all for one of the lowest rates in the industry ($3.95/month).
Bluehost delivers strong performance and good value