Bluehost provides reliable WordPress hosting based out of Provo, Utah. They are a well known WordPress hosting provider with 24/7 customer support and dependable uptime. Their software makes installing and managing WordPress simple. Bluehost provides access to cPanel which allows you to setup email, create redirects, subdomains, etc. We’ve summarized our Bluehost WordPress review below:
Bluehost WordPress Review Summary
While Bluehost has good uptime and offers a solid suite of features through their cPanel, their support could be better (though it is available 24/7 via chat and phone). In terms of performance, it is on-par with other shared WordPress hosting platforms we’ve reviewed. In our Bluehost WordPress review, we’ve given them 4 out of 5 stars for value – If you are not a novice (will not need to frequently utilize their support) and have many addon domains that you would like to put on the same server, Bluehost’s WordPress hosting is a solid, reliable option.
- Overall great value
- Competitive pricing
- Very dependable up time
- Free SSL certificate
- Free domain name for the first year
- Easy to setup new sites through one click install
- Complimentary backups
- Easy UI
- 24/7 customer support through chat / phone
- 30 day money back guarantee
- Load times are not as fast as managed hosting (but inline with similar hosts at this price point)
- Domain name renews at $15/year
- Hosting renews at significantly higher rate (which is normal for the industry, but still not great)
- Customer support has longer waits than it used to and chat particularly is less helpful
Below is an overview of the WordPress hosting plans offered by Bluehost:
Bluehost WordPress Hosting Plan Comparison
|Renewal starting price||$7.99/month||$10.99/month||$14.99/month|
|Free domain for a year?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Domain name renewal rate||$15.99/year||$15.99/year||$15.99/year|
|Free domain privacy||No||No||No|
|Automatic WP installation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic WP updates||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Included staging environment||No||No||No|
|# of Domains||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|SSD Storage||50 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Max file count||200,000||200,000||200,000|
|Free domain privacy||No||Yes|
|Free dedicated IP||No||No||No|
|Max database size||5 GB||5GB||5 GB|
|Customer support availability||24/7||24/7||24/7|
|Customer support methods||chat & phone||chat & phone||chat & phone|
Bluehost WordPress Managed Hosting vs Shared Hosting
Cheap WordPress hosting is typically shared hosting that is optimized for WordPress. Shared hosting tends to have a lot of people on the same server with everyone collectively sharing the resources of the sever. Managed WordPress hosting is commonly setup as a Virtual Private Server, VPS, (which is a shared host with segmented resources so no one can use an outsized proportion of resources) or a cloud based hosting setup. Typically a VPS or cloud setup will be a faster, but more expensive, server setup.
While the managed WordPress hosting plans on Bluehost have some nice features (staging server, automatic backups, CDN enabled, etc), they are on a shared hosting setup rather than a VPS. While Bluehost’s standard WordPress hosting plans can be a dependable option, we recommend looking into other hosts for a higher performance managed WP hosting option.
One of the most important features of any hosting platform is the uptime – if your website is down, your customers won’t be able to visit your site. The good news is that Bluehost is very dependable and has good uptime. We’ve had a Bluehost account for over 10 years and never had any significant or consistent problems with uptime. To quantify this, we setup uptime monitoring through Service Uptime. The service has been monitoring Bluehost’s uptime by checking ever 5 minutes whether the site is online. Looking at the last 7 days, Bluehost has no downtime in that period.
Price is a big one for most people. Fortunately, price is one of Bluehost’s most competitive features. They have a great introductory price that makes the cost of hosting very accessible. With plans starting from $3.95 per month for a single website and $5.95 per month for unlimited websites, you can do a lot with very little money. This is about as good of a price as you can get for reliable hosting.
There is a pretty significant follow up on the price – the introductory price is significantly less than the renewal rate. After the initial period is up, the Basic plan (originally $3.95) renews at $7.99 per month while the Plus ($5.95 originally) renews at $10.99 per month. While nobody likes price increase, offering a very heavily discounted rate for the first term (typically a year) and then significantly increasing the rate for the second term is a pretty standard practice among web hosting providers.
Having a secure website is important to ensure the privacy of your users’ data and can help with SEO – Google thinks having a site be on HTTPS is so important that they’ve made it a ranking factor (more info). To get your website served over a secure connection to users, Bluehost has a free SSL certificate you can install on your domains to protect your users’ privacy.
The free SSL certificate that Bluehost uses is an “Auto SSL” certificate which is software which installs and automatically renews a Let’s Encrypt SSL. While this SSL certificate is free (and the standard across most hosts), it is a “domain validation” certificate which is the lowest security type of certificate (learn more: types of SSL certificates). If you are running a business where you handle customers’ credit card or other sensitive data, it is generally a good idea to upgrade your SSL certificate to an “organization validation” or “extended validation” SSL certificate. While you can get an SSL certificate from many different retailers, for less technical users, it is often best to buy it through the same company you buy your hosting from. While they will mark up the price of the SSL certificate, they can also help you install it.
Free Backups ✓
Bluehost offers free backups on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis – that said the backups are not guaranteed. So they’ll try to be helpful, but are not promising there will be a backed up version of your site if something goes wrong. While the complimentary backup is a nice feature, if you are doing any kind of significant development work on your own, it is a good idea to get the backup addon service (or use a plugin to backup your WordPres site).
App Installs & Integrations ✓
While this Bluehost WordPress review is focused on WordPress related topics, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how easy it is to install other platforms on Bluehost. They provide the “Softaculous App Installer” in cPanel which is a single click app installation that lets you install different types of software on your server without needing to know how to do any coding. This makes it easy to get up and going with a variety of different platforms without being a developer.
Some of the more popular platforms that you can install with Bluehost’s Softaculous App Installer include:
- Zen Cart
Ease of use ✓
Overall, Bluehost is setup to empower people to build websites and online businesses. Their user interface enables people to build out websites, setup email, and do basic web administration without needing any development chops. When things get tricky, Bluehost has customer support that can help you get your problems worked out too (see our note below on support).
Money Back Guarantee ✓
Worth mentioning in our review of Bluehost’s WordPress plans – they offer a 30 day money back guarantee – if you cancel within the first 30 days, you can get a refund on what you paid for hosting (note: if you paid for other services, those are not refundable).
Load Time ✗
While there are a lot of great things about Bluehost, one of the drawbacks is their performance and load time. As the Bluehost WordPress hosting is on a shared hosting environment, it can be slower than other managed WordPress hosting solutions (typically utilizing Virtual Private Servers) or cloud based WordPress hosting.
That said, Bluehost’s performance is on-par with other shared hosting providers and is a good option considering the value for less technical users who are looking for a great value.
Customer Support ✗
When we initially signed up for Bluehost more than 10 years ago, the customer support was great – both on the phone and chat. Very knowledgeable and very helpful with minimal wait times. Over time it seems as if the customer support quality and response time has gradually slipped since Bluehost was acquired by Endurance International Group. While the wait times may be longer and it might take longer to resolve your issue, Bluehost support is available 24/7 via chat and phone and can help you work through most issues you’ll run across. It is worth noting that we’ve had better experiences using the phone support rather than the chat support.