Bluehost Review: In-Depth Look & Speed Test (2021)

Bluehost is among the largest hosting services, home to over 2 million websites.

It is a reliable service with good speeds, reliable uptime, easy website setup, and 24/7 phone and live chat support, and a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.

But there are some downsides, such as the limited features of the cheapest plan and the steep renewal prices.

If you are wondering whether to choose Bluehost for your website, read on through our detailed Bluehost review to find out more about the pros and cons of the hosting service, the pricing, and all the features offered.

General overview of Bluehost

Uptime: 99.96%

Speed: 688ms

Features: unlimited storage and websites, free domain for the first year, unmetered bandwidth, free CDN and SSL certificate, 1-click install for WordPress, free backups, 24/7 live chat, and phone customer support, 30-day money-back guarantee.

Support: 24/7 phone, live chat, and e-mail support, and a vast knowledge base.

Hosting services and plans: shared, dedicated, VPS, reseller, and WordPress

Apps: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, phpBB, and 75+ other Open Source projects

Site transfer: free WordPress website

Pricing: Starts from $3.95 per month (when paid per 36 months), renews at the regular rate of $8.99

Bluehost hosting pros

The hosting service began operating back in 2003, so the company has many years of experience in providing hosting services.

The introductory hosting prices are reasonable, and there is 24/7 customer support for all clients.

The hosting service offers a reliable uptime, very good server speeds, and many handy features for its users.

Here are the pros of using the Bluehost hosting services:

Reliable uptime of 99.96% throughout the year

One of the most important features to consider when you are choosing a hosting service is its uptime. This is the guarantee that your website will be up, and your customers and visitor can have access to it at all times throughout the year, day and night.

Bluehost guarantees an uptime of 99.96%, which is very reasonable and is higher than the average good uptime of 99.93% offered by other major hosting providers.

The 99.96% remained consistent for the last 12 months, with less than 4 hours of downtime for the entire year.

The average uptime of the Bluehost hosting services for the last 12 months was as follows:

May 2020 – 99.90% due to scheduled technical maintenance
June 2020 – 100%
July 2020 – 99.98%
August 2020 – 99.99%
September 2020 – 100%
October 2020 – 99.67%
November 2020 – 100%
December 2020 – 99.98%
January 2021 – 100%
February 2021 – 99.97%
March 2021 – 100%
April 2021 – 99.99%

Reliable and fast page loading speeds of 688ms

The fast loading speed of your website is essential if you want to avoid visitors from bouncing off due to slow loading. According to statistics, about 32% of the visitors will bounce if the loading page time slows down from 1s to 3s.

And the slower the loading time, the more likely will it be that potential visitors will leave your site before it loads.

Since Google is now focused more on mobile-first indexing, it is essential that your site is mobile responsive and optimized for mobile users if you want to increase your website traffic as well and that it loads quickly and correctly on the different mobile devices.

In other words, if your website is slow, you will no doubt lose traffic and will turn away potential visitors and customers.

So, the page loading time is another top essential feature to check out when choosing the best hosting service for your website.

Slow loading speeds can break the success of your website, and fast speeds are more likely to boost the traffic and make your website more successful.

The average page loading speeds offered by Bluehost over the last 12 months was 688ms, with the speeds gradually improving since the beginning of 2021. This is a reliable speed, which, although not as high as others, is not bad at all.

Here are the average loading speeds at Bluehost for the last 12 months:

June 2020 – 695ms
July 2020 – 689ms
August 2020 – 724ms
September 2020 – 670ms
October 2020 – 670ms
November 2020 – 655ms
December 2020 – 698ms
January 2021 – 770ms
February 2021 – 795ms
March 2021 – 721ms
April 2021 – 752ms

Reasonable starter prices for hosting (starting at $3.95 per month)

The introductory price for the Basic shared hosting plan at Bluehost is $3.95 per month for a 36-month period. This is a reasonable price for hosting one website, with 50GB of storage, a free domain for the first year, a free SSL certificate, free CDN, custom themes, and access to 24/7 customer support via live chat, phone, or e-mail.

Although the basic plan has some limitations, it is offered at a very reasonable introductory price for the first 3 years of hosting.

The limitations and the renewal prices of the Basic hosting plan are something which we do not like particularly, but you can read more on that later on when we discuss the cons of using the Bluehost hosting services.

Related content: Best Web Hosting Reviews – 2021

A vast array of features and security options offered

Even though Bluehost is among the less expensive hosting services on the market, the company has not compromised with the security options and the features offered.

Even for the Basic plan, you will receive a free SSL certificate and free CDN (Cloudflare) for your website.

You can also take advantage of the included one-click WordPress install option and the provided ecommerce plugins, the many CMS integrations, and other features that come with the Basic plan.

If you prefer to sign up for a higher tier plan, then you will receive additional security options and features, such as server backups, privacy protection for the domain, the Spam Experts add-on, and others.

You can rely on Codeguard, which will back up the content of your website on a daily basis, to ensure that you don’t lose any data in case of a technical failure or attack.

Google’s Postini will help protect your e-mail from unwanted and malicious spam and messages as well.

It is beginner-friendly

While some hosting services are better for advanced users, Bluehost is a great option for complete newbies.

Bluehost has a clean and intuitive customer portal. Its control panel has a user-friendly cPanel layout which is easy to understand and use even by beginners with no previous experience.

The hosting service also provides an easy one-click installation of WordPress, which literally requires a single click of the mouse to set up a website.

Even someone with zero experience will be able to install a WordPress site through the cPanel and set it up and get it running.

If you are not planning on using WordPress, you can use a website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Drupal to design and run your website quickly and easily. These builders have intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, which will allow you to customize your website by simply dragging one element to another section.

Of course, Bluehost has more advanced setting options, so experienced coders can use it as well when creating a new site.

Interested in WordPress hosting? Check our guide on how to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting

It is backed by a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee

Bluehost offers this 30-day guarantee to all of its first-time users, so you can sign up for a plan, test it for a month, and if you are not completely happy, can request a refund.

This sounds promising, but keep in mind that you will not be refunded for the free domain and add-ons. In fact, Bluehost will deduct the amount of $15.99 from the refunded sum for the free domain you received for the first year of use. This means that you will not get a complete refund if you have signed up for a free domain and have used add-ons.

You cannot ask for a refund from Bluehost after these 30 days are over.

Reliable 24/7 customer support

Bluehost offers its customers access to 24/7 customer support which is available via a live chat, phone, and an e-mail ticketing system.

The company also has a detailed and vast knowledge base where you can find the answers to most of your questions regarding the services of the company.

The live chat responds quickly, so you can ask the operators for technical support and help no matter what time of day or night it is, and expect to receive an answer within minutes.

This is essential if you want to keep your website running smoothly and to be able to resolve any technical or other issues in a timely manner.

It comes with one free WordPress migration

If you own a WordPress site and want to transfer it to Bluehost hosting, then you may be happy to know that the company has begun offering one free WordPress site transfer with each of its plans.

The free transfer is performed by the customer support experts and usually takes from 1 to 3 days to complete.

You will need to contact customer support and request such a migration.

It is essential that the site is WordPress and that you request a free transfer of the WordPress website within the first 30 days of signing up for the hosting service!

For other websites or for more than one WordPress website, you will need to pay $149.99 for the migration of the site to the Bluehost servers. Within this price, you will receive 20 e-mail account migrations and the transfer of up to 5 websites.

Bluehost is one of the officially recommended hosting services by WordPress.org

WordPress is the leading and most popular website building platform in the world, with over 44% of the websites on the Internet built with WordPress.

WordPress.org recommends three official hosting partners, including Bluehost, SiteGround, and DreamHost.

Although this is encouraging news, you can choose to create your WordPress website with just about any other hosting provider too.

Bluehost hosting cons

As you can see, Bluehost has many undeniable pros, but the hosting company also has some cons worth noting.

Here are some of the main downsides of using Bluehost as a hosting service:

The renewal rates for the plans are pretty steep

Yes, the introductory prices are very good, especially if you prepay for the first three years. But once the time is up, if you want to renew your hosting plan, it will automatically be renewed at the “regular” prices, which are more than 50% higher. This rise in the prices upon renewal is something to keep in mind when signing up for the Bluehost services, especially if you have long-term plans for your website.

The cheapest basic plan is somewhat limited

While the Basic plan for shared hosting at Bluehost comes at a rather attractive introductory price, this plan is quite limited when it comes to the features included.

The Basic plan covers only one website and up to 30GB of storage, which depending on your website, you can outgrow pretty quickly.

The Basic plan does include an SSL certificate, but this is the only security feature in this cheap plan. For more security features, you will need to move on to the more expensive higher-tier plans offered by the hosting company.

The Choice Plus plan, which costs $6.95 per month for the first 36 months, offers added security and privacy features, such as a free automated backup for the first year and free domain privacy.

The Pro plan costs $13.95 per month for the first 36 months of use and includes free automated backups for the entire period, free domain privacy, and other security features. But it is more than 3 times more expensive than the Basic plan, and when renewed, it will cost you $26.99 per month.

Quick facts about Bluehost:

  • Free domain – yes, but just for the first year
  • Money-back guarantee – yes, for the first 30 days, but the money for the free domain or add-ons will not be refunded
  • Website transfer and migration – you can request a free transfer of a WordPress site within the first 30 days of signing up. Other transfers will cost $149.99 (including migration of 5 websites and 20 e-mail accounts)
  • Payment methods accepted – all major credit cards, PayPal
  • Easy sign-up – yes, an easy and quick sign-up
  • Hidden clauses and fees – as mentioned, you will not receive a refund for the free domain, and also the renewal prices for the plans are twice and more expensive than the introductory prices
  • Upsells – there are some, but they are not overly aggressive
  • Control panel and dashboard interface: intuitive cPanel
  • Activation of the account – in most cases, your account will be activated instantly upon approved payment
  • Installing CMS and apps – one-click installation of WordPress, and easy installation of apps

Final verdict

Although it is not a perfect hosting service (there are no ideal services), we do recommend Bluehost. It offers outstanding speeds, reliable uptime and has a variety of user-friendly features and apps, suitable for beginners and professionals alike.

There is a wide variety of hosting plans you can choose from. The least expensive one is for one website and has an excellent introductory price of just $3.95 per month if you prepay upfront for 36 months.

There is a 30-day money-back guarantee and a free transfer of one WordPress site within the first 30 days of use.

It is one of the three hosting services which are officially recommended by WordPress.org.

Although the renewal rates increase rapidly after the initial period is over, and there are some limitations with the least expensive plan, we still recommend Bluehost as a reliable service that offers very good performance and value for money.

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