There are many Bluehost reviews online, but this here is special; because this is the next one. Sounds familiar? This line is how Arnold Swarzenegger accepted one his awards, but in our case, this is not just the next web hosting review.
Bluehost is in a unique position, and while it needs no introduction for many, what would a review be without one? Incomplete for sure, so let’s see a little bit of background.
It was started in 2002, so we can say that they are one of the veterans in the web hosting arena. Over the years, Bluehost has positioned itself as one of the most prominent web hosts on the market.
Their background is solid: they are a subsidiary of Endurance International; which is a holding company for many web hosting and other IT related brands.
And before we get into the details here’s a piece of advice: please don’t automatically accept what you’ll read below, I always suggest to diversify sources for information because generally everything we hear is just an opinion, and everything we see is just a point of view. With this in mind, let’s dive into the details.
Who is Bluehost ideal for?
The founder’s goal was to create a better web hosting company than what existed on the market. But it’s easy to recognize that it’s hard to be the best in everything.
In line with this, Bluehost doesn’t claim that they are the best web host. Instead, they focus on small and medium-sized businesses, aiming to provide the best web hosting solutions to their needs.
They are also one of the web hosts who support WordPress, not just with kind words but taking part in core development. More to come on this later.
Like I mentioned in my A2 Hosting article, I don’t believe that there is a “best web host.” It’s all about purpose, what you want to accomplish with what; the funds, the tools and the knowledge you have.
With this in mind, let’s see what advantages and disadvantages Bluehost has.
No 1. The Name You Know
I’m not talking about Jeff Johnson here from The Distinguished Gentleman played by Eddie Murphy (guilty with movies), but instead Endurance International. After all, according to many sources, it is the most prominent hosting company in the world.
Being part of such a big family as Endurance has many advantages besides the name.
As a starter, a robust web host has more funds, people, possibly innovation and knowledge. Whether it comes to IT infrastructure or customer support, they have the right amount of funds to invest in these; it just comes down to how much they are willing to spend.
Moreover, with a good name comes a sense of security, and this is not only true to web hosting. With a partner like Bluehost, you don’t have to worry that they will vanish all of a sudden. And this is very important because you can rest assured that your data are in good hands and your business is secured.
No 2. Pricing dilemma
Pricing is important, but it’s not the most important. I want to emphasize this because a lot of times we rule out something just because of the price. And while a lot of times that’s the right thing to do, that is not case all the time. We have to put pricing in perspective, see what’s the context.
I included pricing here in the advantages section because some of the plans are reasonably priced compared to what they offer and competitors, while others are less competitive.
Their plans have three levels, the most basic one has many limitations, but it is highly affordable.
Their mid-level and third-level plans provide great flexibility while still falling into the affordable hosting category. Here I’m specifically referring to their Shared hosting services. However, their more advanced plans follow this three-tier structure too.
The reason I focus on shared web hosting is that for most small and medium-sized businesses shared hosting is enough, as it is for us as well. All we have to do is make smarter choices later as well, and then we can optimize hosting costs.
But here’s a great thing: there are opportunities from time-to-time with Bluehost offering massive discounts. If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable web host, you’re looking for Bluehost with this discount.
No 3. Client Rollout Process
By this, I refer to the process of how can a customer access their systems, client-specific services and supporting material.
It is an essential aspect on an ongoing basis, but especially in the beginning, it matters a lot. Often, this is the first one-to-one exposure of the customer to the hosting company, and it is an experience that can set the tone for the rest of the relationship. The company can win the customer or lose it. So it is crucial how user-friendly is the onboarding process and all the associated utilities.
One of these is these are the supporting materials. The industry has come a long way, and the majority of web hosts have a pretty extensive knowledge base generally, Bluehost among them.
The problem that I see is that a lot of times a customer finds these overwhelming; finding the written content, then following it step-by-step.
I have yet to see that generally web hosts’ supporting material is also available in video format, but Bluehost does just that. It makes a huge difference in the way people can access and use the supporting material.
So I hope that soon I will be able to update other reviews as well with something similar: the good news for Bluehost customers is that they have tutorial videos for many of the questions in their knowledge base and this is a massive plus because as we all know, videos are more digestible, focus on the topic, and generally are just more user friendly.
Although there is room to improve with additional videos, Bluehost made significant steps towards a more user-friendly knowledge-base.
Don’t get me wrong; the text has its place, I love it. But when it comes to implementing technical changes or following a procedure, I’d choose the video over the written content because it’s more engaging. So this is an area for improvement for Bluehost and generally for the hosting industry.
When it comes to tools, they mostly use industry standard solutions which is excellent because there is a right amount of documentation available online. Here’s a screenshot of how the backend of a shared hosting account looks (click to enlarge).
A similar analogy is valid to the issues that you may encounter as a new user; since they are a big brand and have had lots of customers, someone has already had the same challenge before you. This means that there is a higher chance that you will find the answer to your question on Google.
No 4. Customer Support
Based on experience I can say that the time comes with any web host when you need to get in touch with them. Even if it is a one-off thing, you will build an opinion based on that.
And let’s be fair: it’s not realistic to base an opinion on just one encounter regardless of it being positive or negative. Because we tend to build up an opinion like this, I don’t like to view at customer comments.
Instead, I still look at it from the user’s perspective but focus on how the web host positions support. Meaning the solutions that are available to contact them mainly. This gives a better view of their support culture in general, and usually, we can pretty much assess how they perform.
On the other hand, one-off encounters result in the good old customer comments which as mentioned can be inaccurate. If you run into the rookie guy who is new in his or her role, or the professional who does a great job for his customers all the time but he is having a bad day for some reason (we can all have those), then that doesn’t paint the real picture about their support.
I hammered this enough, so the reason why I think Bluehost’s support is solid is that they can be contacted through several tools. Phone, email, live chat, and social media are all channels where we can get in touch with them.
One of the factors that I personally find important is the option to grow without the need to change web hosts. This is even more relevant when we can find a web host that otherwise does a great job.
Bluehost supports growth, so we can find the very cheap Shared hosting on the low end, VPS hosting for increased “punch” and if you feel that a VPS won’t do anymore, dedicated servers are waiting for you.
Of course, there are several plans within each of the hosting levels which I won’t details in this review, but probably we’ll cover it a separate article.
The plans also come with so called ‘extras’. These extras usually covers free services like marketing credits, free Cloudflare integration. These are quite common on the market nowadays, so it’s not something special that only Bluehost provides, but it’s good to know that they are keeping up with market trends.
No 1. Average Performance, Average Plans
Bluehost is not a bad web host, but it’s not an outstanding one either. I can’t find an area where they really stand out. They are like a good kid; hard working, steady performer, but not a great talent in one area.
In other words, if we look at their performance, we see average results, or perhaps a little bit better than average. Again, speaking about shared hosting only, which is the most widely used. This is great for starter to medium websites whose demand for resources is not that significant.
However, in a strange way Bluehost are right because anything beyond a medium sized site should rather be on a VPS or even a dedicated server.
As the title suggests, their plans are everything but nothing (special) at the same time. This is partly because they are a big brand, and they have plans for the masses. Just like how other brands make mass products.
There is less uniqueness, special feeling to it, but it does the job.
Features are standard, prices are in the OK range. We can find budget plans if that’s our goal, but we can find better or worse deals as well for the same price. If you catch a good deal however, that can turn things around a little bit.