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If you’re looking for a web host, then you have no doubt come across recommendations for Bluehost, one of the most popular hosting companies online.
Since everyone seems to be recommending Bluehost, you may want to know if they’re actually a great place to host your website or if there’s some reason why you should rather not host with them.
After all, they have cheap hosting plans, give you a free domain name when you sign up and they have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like it for any reason.
Well, in this review of Bluehost, I’m going to tell you the good and the bad based partly on research and mostly on my 10 years of experience hosting websites with them. You’ll know by the end whether you’ll want to host with them or not.
Overview of Bluehost
To give you a little background on the hosting you’re considering, Bluehost started in 2003 so they have a lot of experience in the industry and you should feel safe with them knowing they’ve been around for almost two decades.
Based in Utah, Bluehost currently hosts over 2 million domains which makes it one of the largest web hosting companies worldwide. They provide shared hosting, WordPress hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated hosting as well as domain registrations.
Along with sister hosts Hostgator, HostMonster and iPage, Bluehost is a subsidiary of a bigger company called Endurance International Group, a company which owns dozens and dozens of web hosting companies. Some people may find this information a determining factor in their decision of whether or not to host with Bluehost. I’ll explain why below.
Most people who are looking at going with Bluehost on a recommendation are looking primarily at the shared hosting products. My review is based on the shared hosting options available from Bluehost.
What Does Bluehost Provide?
Although Bluehost provides dedicated hosting and VPS hosting, most people who try Bluehost for the first time are going for the shared hosting plan.
This shared hosting plan can be used to host WordPress websites on servers that are optimized for WordPress. The folks who run WordPress have actually been recommending Bluehost along with a couple of other hosts as their choice for WordPress hosting for more than a decade.
Bluehost has four plans for shared hosting which starts at $7.99 per month for the most basic plan and goes up to $23.99 per month for the high performance pro plan. There’s usually always a promotional price for new customers where you can get the basic plan for as low as $3.95 per month and the pro plan for $13.95 per month. The promotional prices are only for the first term so when you renew, you will pay the normal price.
The most basic plan only lets you host 1 website and offers limited resources so this plan is really only good if you just want to get your website up and don’t expect a lot of traffic.
Most people would go for a plan in between the basic plan and the pro plan, one that lets them host unlimited domains and allow for more traffic.
The two shared plans in between are the Plus and the Choice Plus plans. Choice Plus at $14.99 per month regular pricing offers the same as the Choice plan ($10.99 per month regular pricing), but also includes domain privacy and site backups.
If you’re an affiliate marketer or blogger planning to host more than one website, then either the Plus or Choice Plus plan should be considered. They both start at $5.95 per month at the discounted price. To have this discount applied, you would usually have to pay for a 3 year or 36 month term.
Besides shared hosting, Bluehost also sells domain names. As an incentive to sign up for their hosting services, they will give you a free domain for the first year. After that you’ll have to pay the renewal pricing.
If you’re not interested in shared hosting, there are also other hosting products available from Bluehost:
My Personal Experience with Bluehost
When I started affiliate marketing in 2006, my very first experience with web hosting was with Bluehost and I stayed with them until 2016 even though I hosted websites with other hosting companies like Hostgator.
I think I started with their most basic plan which allowed me to have one website and not too long after that, I upgraded to the next plan above the basic plan which would let me host unlimited domain names.
My 10 years with Bluehost was not all good and it was not all bad either. But it didn’t end well and because of that experience, I never recommend their services.
Some of the things I experienced that I didn’t like were:
Some of the things that I liked were things like:
Ultimately, I left because I discovered that one of my websites was put offline without any notification and when I contacted customer support they told me that one of my databases was being spammed and I should get rid of it. After getting rid of the database (they didn’t tell me which website it belonged to), I discovered that all my legitimate comments on my websites were deleted and I couldn’t get them back.
Bluehost had pulled my website offline because it was getting a lot of legitimate comments which they mistook for spam. How am I supposed to run a website if I couldn’t accept comments?
Should You Use Bluehost?
After the loss of over 1300 comments, I decided to accept the fact that Bluehost was not a very good web host, something I knew all along because they were frequently down and they were an EIG company.
EIG (Endurance International Group) would buy out great web hosting companies (like Bluehost and Hostgator) and then soon after these companies would start deteriorating in all areas (customer support, server resources, etc). EIG owns so many major hosting companies that if you left one company, you just might end up going to another company that is owned by them which meant you were going to experience the same pains.
The solution is to do your research and go with a company that isn’t a part of EIG. There are many great web hosting companies that offer a greater quality service all-round that can be used as an alternative to Bluehost and other EIG companies.
Are there any benefits to using Bluehost?
You could still take advantage of the first-time discount and the free domain name by using Bluehost if you’re just getting started with a website and want a cheap solution where you wouldn’t be using a lot of website resources. After growing your website, you could always move it to a more secure, faster web host with better servers and support.
Bluehost’s cPanel and tools are easy to use and their one-click WordPress installer is great if you’re new to building websites with WordPress.
4 Reasons to Not Use Bluehost
As I mentioned before, Bluehost isn’t the best web host in the world no matter which marketing influencer recommended it to you.
There are a lot of better web hosts around that you can go with from the beginning. Some of the reasons why I say this?
1. EIG-owned Web Host
Go with a non-EIG web host. Endurance International Group buys out web hosting companies and turns them into crap.
Bluehost has been owned by them for a while now and their services when compared to other EIG hosts are much better but when compared to non-EIG web hosts, they can definitely do better.
One example of a once great web host in terms of quality service that turned to crap is Hostgator. They used to be one of the top hosts until EIG bought them out and then the customer service seemed like they were not courteous and knowledgeable anymore, wait time on live chat increased drastically and there were more complaints of downtime and slow servers than before.
Definitely don’t jump from Hostgator to Bluehost if that is your situation because the two web hosts are owned by the same company.
2. Frequent Downtime
When I hosted with Bluehost, I had something set up where I would get an email every time one of my websites went down. There were times that I would get an email almost every day reporting an outage of anywhere from a few minutes to longer stretches of time.
The only reason I never left Bluehost then was because of my fear of migration. I didn’t want to migrate my websites to another website because I didn’t know how and because I feared that I would lose stuff.
I managed to migrate to another web host when I had finally had enough because that web host would move my websites without loss of anything and they’d do it for free.
3. Security Risks
This may have been my fault because I hadn’t updated a WordPress plugin or installation or something but I had gotten hacked on one of my websites a long time ago and Bluehost didn’t do anything about it.
I think after reporting it to them, I had to start all over again. However, this was a long time ago and they might have better measures in place to monitor and deal with security breaches. There are plugins like WordFence that could help.
But the reason why this is of concern to me and why I’m mentioning it is because you’re on shared hosting and this could be a problem for anyone sharing a server with you. I say this because the web host that I’m using has server-level monitoring for malware, hacking and intrusion, and other security measures in place so much so that you don’t need plugins like WordFence.
4. Bad Customer Service
I’ll never forget how one customer representative made me delete an entire database holding all my comments to one site without telling me what website it belonged to even after I had asked.
One guy had me on live chat awaiting a reply for almost 10 minutes and then told me that he was dealing with another customer when I asked him about it.
It’s as if they don’t really care and this is something I couldn’t deal with.
Keep in mind that I haven’t been with Bluehost since 2016 but from my research into web hosting companies online, not much seems to have changed with them. They get almost the same complaints as they did back then.
So Why Does Everyone Recommend Bluehost Then?
Well, you can tell that I’m not a fan of Bluehost. However, there are a lot of people that do recommend Bluehost even knowing about some of these things that are wrong with them.
The thing is that most of them do not host their websites with Bluehost.
If you’re just learning about affiliate marketing then you may have an idea why Bluehost is so popular as a choice of recommendation.
Yes. Most of them are affiliates and with Bluehost being one of the most popular web hosts online, it is an easy sell where affiliates make at least $65 whenever someone purchases a web hosting plan.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with affiliate marketing and recommending a service that people want and collecting a commission for it but why not choose a web host that you know is a high-quality host and not owned by EIG? There are so many around.
My Final Say About Bluehost (+ Alternatives)
So to sum up my opinion on Bluehost based on my experience and research, I think that there is still a bit of value if you’re just starting out and want to take advantage of the first-time discount and the free domain offer.
Your site wouldn’t need a lot of resources until the traffic starts to kick in.
However, Bluehost, being an EIG-owned web host isn’t one that I would recommend due to the fact that their customer support can be slow and not so great at times. They’re also frequently down from my experience and reports across the internet.
I have a couple of alternatives that you can try instead.
(1) SiteGround – This is my top pick because they’re an overseas-based web hosting company that isn’t owned by EIG and they’re usually top in a lot of web hosting polls where real customers recommend going with them. Siteground is known for its speedy servers and quality customer support.
(2) Wealthy Affiliate Hosting – This is where I host all my websites and they have a lot of features that will help you grow your website. The only con is that it’s not a standalone web host but an addon to an affiliate marketing training platform for members who want to host their websites in one place. So this isn’t for everyone especially if you just need web hosting only.
There are some other web hosts that offer shared hosting or WordPress web hosting that I’ve heard good things about that I’m definitely going to test. I only want to recommend services that I know I’ll use myself and that will offer value to my readers so I won’t mention them here for now.
What were your initial feelings about Bluehost? Would you host your websites with them?