Bluehost Review

Running a WordPress site? You'll want to use this

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4.4

Bluehost

Bluehost

Bluehost

What We Like

  • Registration process is quick and easy

  • WordPress is installed automatically

  • The easy-to-use admin panel and tools

  • Marketplace with goods/services from multiple providers

  • Unlimited bandwidth at all plan levels

  • Techie tools such as SSH and Git

What We Don't Like

  • No month-to-month pricing

  • Create site tool defaults to WordPress

  • A non-WordPress site requires extra/manual effort

If you plan to use WordPress to manage your website, Bluehost will get you (and keep you) up and running with a minimum of effort. But power users relying on other tools might need to do some extra work.

4.4

Bluehost

Bluehost

Bluehost

Bluehost is a fast and reliable hosting provider, and they’re one of the three providers officially recommended by WordPress itself. In fact, they make the process of getting signed up and launching a WordPress site incredibly quick and easy. That expertise extends to enhancing your WordPress site with themes and plugins as well.

That said, WordPress really is their main focus, so much so that the sign-up process will install it for you automatically (unless you know how to skip it) whether you want it or not. In the event you just want a "plain old hosting space" for a different type of site, you may need to invest some extra effort to make Bluehost do what you want.

Other Available Levels of Service: Plenty of Room to Grow

Bluehost offers four levels of service for Shared Hosting plans:

  • Basic: A starter plan for one website (with domain name), 50 GB storage, free SSL encryption, and unlimited bandwidth.
  • Plus: Provides unlimited domains and bandwidth, and adds an advanced spam filter and a 30-day free trial of Office 365.
  • Choice Plus: This includes everything above, plus domain privacy and automated site backup (Codeguard Basic).
  • Pro: In addition to all the above items, the Pro plan provides a dedicated IP address for your site.
Bluehost
Bluehost

Platform: Linux for Most of Your Needs

The Bluehost platform runs on Linux, which is common for many of the more budget-friendly hosting services. This not only means your website will run fast, but it provides access to many useful tools such as shell access.

The focus on WordPress also means that the PHP is available, meaning you could install most of the other popular open-source content management systems such as Joomla or Drupal. There’s also support for Ruby applications via the App Manager tool, but if you’re just starting out in the website building world, WordPress will likely meet all your needs.

The Bluehost platform runs on Linux, which is common for many of the more budget-friendly hosting services.

Storage: Enough to Get You Started

The Basic plan offers 50 GB of storage. For most starter sites, this will last for some time — the WordPress install generated through the account registration only occupies 90 MB, or 0.18 percent, of your available space.

Unless you’re planning on storing tons of high-resolution pictures or video directly on your site, this storage should be sufficient. And when you’re ready to upgrade, the very next tier of service will get you unlimited space.

Bandwidth: All You Can Use

Even the Basic plan on Bluehost does not meter your throughput. This is something that can easily get out of hand, particularly if you’re hosting large media files like those mentioned above (e.g. imagine posting a high-res picture that costs you 25 MB in throughput every time someone views it).

Registration Process: A Simple Four-Step Process

The Bluehost registration process is great for those new to the hosting world. The screens are uncluttered, easy to understand, and you’re through the whole thing in just a few steps. After selecting your plan, you’ll simply enter your desired domain name (which you’ll get for free if it’s available, as shown above), and your contact/payment information.

Once the registration is complete, you’ll be prompted to create your account to log into the Bluehost admin panel. This process is also an easy and clean two-step wizard.

The Bluehost registration process is great for those new to the hosting world.

Finally, the registration process will help you create your first site. You should take a moment here because although the questions seem general enough, this is actually gathering information to install WordPress for you. While WordPress is certainly a great place for novice site-builders to start, if you have something else in mind (either another CMS, or maybe just a static site), you should select I’m not creating a website here.

Bluehost
Bluehost 

Domain & Site Management: Easy Management

Bluehost provides a very clean and organized administration panel. Much like its registration process, the main screens are devoid of clutter, and the main links (Home, My Sites, Marketplace, Email & Office, and Domains) each contain a small number of tools.

The My Sites tool makes managing your various websites a breeze, providing a big preview of the site along with buttons to manage the site’s details or log into its WordPress admin. You can also create a new site here, provided you have an available domain.

Speaking of which, the Domains tool is also intuitive, with a nice list view of your domains and their properties, a search tool to purchase/register additional domains, and more advanced tools such as sub-domains and redirects.

Advanced Options: Powerful Tools

That said, you can still use all the power that the cPanel interface provides by going to the Advanced menu. The right side of the screen provides some statistical information on your account, such as your server’s address, how much storage you’ve used, and how many databases you have.

Bluehost
Bluehost 

The sections in the center of the screen contain collections of tools as follows:

  • Files: This section contains a link to the web-based file manager, tools to manage FTP-based file transfer, and management of the Git code versioning system.
  • Databases: You can administer databases here using either the MySQL or PostgreSQL database servers, creating databases and their users or using web admin tools such as phpMyAdmin.
  • E-mail: Create your email addresses (with the Basic plan you only get five addresses and another five aliases), set up mailing lists, adjust spam filters, and configure autoresponders using the tools in this section.
  • Metrics: You can obtain stats on basics like visitors and bandwidth, or use more advanced tools such as Awstats or Webalizer to visualize your site’s performance.
  • Security: Bluehost provides SSH shell access to verified users, which you can set up here. You can also manage your SSL certificates (you do get a free Let’s Encrypt cert when you register), or block access by specific IP addresses.
  • Software: While it lacks one-click installers for other web applications, Bluehost does offer the ability to fine-tune aspects of your Perl and PHP environments, or set up Ruby applications here.
  • Advanced: An Advanced section inside the Advanced section may seem like a bit much, but really this is more a collection of miscellaneous tools to set up Cron jobs, error pages (like the dreaded 404 Error page), and how to handle MIME types.
  • Preferences: Finally, this section lets you change the language shown in cPanel and manage your users.

Bluehost’s My Sites tool makes managing your various websites a breeze.

Administration

Adding users is one of the more involved tasks in the Bluehost admin panel, which isn’t saying all that much. After clicking the Add user button, you just need to set the user’s name, password, e-mail and disk quotas, and the location of their directory within your account.

Administration of your account with Bluehost is accessible from the menu in the top-right corner. Here you can easily adjust your billing preferences, upgrade your plan, or change your contact information or password.

Key Features: Easy to Buy Premium Products/Services

bluehost
Bluehost 

One thing that sets Bluehost apart is its Marketplace. While it’s always possible to buy premium themes and plugins for your WordPress install, the Marketplace combines these with other value-add services (such as search engine optimization or site migration) from Bluehost or other third parties. You can even add the Weebly web builder to your account from here and use it in place of WordPress. Bringing these options under one virtual roof, right within your admin panel, makes the selection and install a lot easier.

Price

Bluehost Shared Basic’s introductory price of $3.95 (normally $7.99) per month for a 12-month commitment is quite good, although competitors also offer a similar price. In terms of what you’re getting for your money, Bluehost is known primarily as a hosting provider for WordPress, and their registration and site creation tools certainly confirm this. So, you’re paying for the Bluehost’s expertise in getting WordPress up and running for you, while that money might go towards features like one-click application installers or more storage with other providers.

Competition: Bluehost vs. Siteground

Getting one of the best WordPress experiences from Bluehost involves some compromises. Compared to other, more general hosting providers, there are two areas where this is evident. Siteground, for example, makes a point of supporting many content management systems. What this means is that much of the hand-holding that Bluehost does for WordPress users — the update management, premium plugin, and theme installation, etc. — comes with a price at Siteground. In this case, the monetary price is actually the same, but Siteground’s managed WordPress plan comes with only 10 GB of storage and 50,000 monthly visitors.

Also, its focus means that Bluehost can focus on making the WordPress administration experience the best it can be. All in all, Bluehost’s admin is simply cleaner and better laid out.

Final Verdict

Bluehost is hands-down the best option if you're using WordPress.

If you’ve looked around and already decided on WordPress to manage your new website, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Bluehost. From the very start of your journey with them, they make efforts to ensure you can get WordPress up and running, trick it out with new themes and features, and keep it going smoothly. If you want something else or think you might move away from WordPress at some point, you might want to look for a more generalized hosting provider. Overall, Bluehost provides a top-rate WordPress experience for the price of basic web hosting.

Specs

  • Product Name Bluehost Shared Hosting Basic
  • Product Brand Bluehost
  • Price $3.95
  • Available Levels of Service Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro
  • Storage 50 GB
  • Bandwidth Unlimited
  • Platform Linux (Perl, PHP, Ruby)
  • Registration Process Wizard-Driven with free domain registration
  • Control Panel/Domain & Site Management cPanel with simple interface
  • Control Panel/Advanced Options Software, Database, and Email management tools along with an intuitive Marketplace
  • Control Panel/Administration Setting Up users is part of the main panel, while billing and passwords reside in a separate Account menu
  • Control Panel/Support 24/7 Support via Phone or Chat, Knowledge Base
  • File Access FTP, Web File Manager
  • Shell Access SSH
  • Version Control Git
  • Payment options Credit Card, PayPal
  • Price $3.95/month
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