BlueHost was started by Matt Heaton, who also started HostMonster and FastDomain, in 1996.
Back in the 2000′s, BlueHost was so popular that the web host ranked #1 in nearly all hosting review sites and forums.
For those who have searched around – I am sure you saw dozens, if not hundreds, of reviews of BlueHost hosting on Internet. Most of these reviews talk about the same stuffs – unlimited hosting features, free domain for first year, and the almighty Anytime-Money-Back-Guarantee.
Sure, those facts are important to know as a consumer but I am not going to beat the dead horse once more in this review.
If you wish to learn about BlueHost hosting features, the best place to be is (guess where?) https://www.bluehost.com – the website has the most updated and accurate info for that ;) If, on the other hand, you are looking for real user feedbacks and reviews from an existing BlueHost customer (for almost 10 years!) – this is the review to read.
So are you ready? Now let’s dive in.
First – I got a treat for you guys – special discounts! :)
Exclusive Discount: BlueHost at $3.49/mo
BlueHost Basic Plan Discount – $3.49/mo* for first contract
No coupon or promotion code needed – Just purchase via our promo link (see below) and you’ll get an extra 55% discount from your first BlueHost bill.
To enjoy this special discount, click this promo link (opens in new window).
Compare – Discounted Price vs Non-discounted Price
Not all BlueHost prices are the same. As BlueHost’s exclusive partner, we are able to give you the best BlueHost deal. This special discount is applicable to all shared hosting plans – Starter, Plus, and Business Pro.
For easy reference, here’s the before- and after-discount prices (36-month subscription) in comparison.
|BlueHost Shared Hosting||Without Discount||With Discount||Savings (in 3 yr)|
BlueHost, the Company / Some Background Story
BlueHost was started by Matt Heaton, who also started HostMonster and FastDomain, in 1996. Back in the 2000′s, BlueHost was my #1 host for small-to-mid size websites. I started using the web host in 2005 and was a satisfied customer – top class technical support, comprehensive hosting features, and very reasonable price – it’s hard not to love BlueHost in those days.
Enter CPU throttling – 2009*
In 2009, BlueHost (alongside with HostMonster) introduced a new feature to all customers – CPU throttling.
In case you are new with the term, CPU throttling (at BlueHost/HostMonster) simply refers to the process of reducing user’s CPU usage in whenever the particular user is pulling “too much” server resources at one time. At this particular time, BlueHost will freeze (or slash down) your CPU usage substantially and technically “jail” your websites in the server.
Such hosting feature was not seen before 2009. According to Matt (BlueHost founder) – the company has spent thousands of hours to develop the system and called this the Hosting Nirvana for shared hosting users.
You can easily tell if your website has been frozen by BlueHost or HostMonster by checking your CPU throttling log in cPanel. If your site is throttled but it is ultimately up to BlueHost staffs to decide should your jailed site be released or not.
Unfortunately, CPU throttling wasn’t quite “Nirvana” to me.
Back then, I had WebHostingSecretRevealed.com (WHSR) hosted at HostMonster and a few small affiliate sites hosted at BlueHost. My websites were totally frozen for hours daily (see image below – my CPU throttle log at BlueHost) ever since the CPU throttling feature was introduced.
You can read my old post to learn more about this issue – BlueHost and HostMonster users alert: CPU Throttling.
In a nutshell, I thought BlueHost and HostMonster were over-throttling its customers and stopped recommending them (both hosts were dropped to 3-stars rating) to my readers.
EIG Acquisition and Today’s BlueHost
In 2010, BlueHost, alongside with its sister companies, FastDomain and HostMonster, were sold to the Endurance International Group (EIG). In June 2011, roughly six months after the acquisition, Matt resigned his CEO position in the company.
Since then, BlueHost underwent some major revamps for better business prospect.
Today, BlueHost stands as one of the most largest hosting providers in market, powering more than 2 million websites worldwide. The company is no longer the simple shared hosting provider it used to be in 2005. A freshly-designed website was launched in 2013/2014 (which I think is a lot more better and use-friendly), the original shared hosting plan is replaced by three different plans (Starter, Plus, and Business Pro), and three new levels of hosting services (VPS, reseller, and dedicated hosting) were added in BlueHost service.
My Experience with BlueHost Hosting
Okay, enough history.
Key question: Is BlueHost hosting right for you? We will now take a quick look on BlueHost’s pros and cons.
What I like about BlueHost
Solid Server Performance
I have been holding a BlueHost shared hosting account for almost 10 years (old plan – Platinum Pak, hosted on Box508.Bluehost.com server). And I am impressed with BlueHost’s server performance recently. The web host scored 99.9% uptime on average in 2014 and is easily one of the most stable web hosts in my test sheets (I track more than 30 web hosts at time of writing). The back-to-back 100% uptime (you’ll see below) is outstanding and definitely not too bad a host that charges you less than $5 per month.
BlueHost Uptime Score (Jun/Jul, 2016)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Mar, 2016)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Feb, 2016)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Jan, 2016)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Sept, 2015)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Mar – Apr, 2015)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Dec, 2014 – Jan, 2015)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Jul – Aug, 2014)
BlueHost Uptime Score (Feb – Mar, 2014)
BlueHost Site Speed Test
We added a new testing method recently and check our test site response times from 8 different locations. On February 2016, test site hosted on BlueHost scored 23 and 26 milliseconds from United States West and East Coast servers (pretty good result) and scored a “B” in overall.
Enhanced User Control Panel + Useful Addon
I like how user dashboard works on BlueHost (this is a personal preference though). BlueHost hosting runs on a standard cPanel with a custom-designed user interface, which makes BlueHost a lot easier to start with (see image).
It’s also worth mentioning that BlueHost offers plenty of handy add-on features that you can’t get from others (though some of these mean additional charges) – including phpPgAdmin, language preferences, 404 settings, dedicated domain management system, Spam Hammer, goMobi, Weebly, Cloud Flare, Solo SEO, and so on.
HUGE User Support Portal
Another thing most hosting review sites failed to point out is that BlueHost runs a HUGE knowledge base for customer support. The company provides extremely comprehensive documentations for its services and operates a YouTube channel to deliver video tutorials.
This is a huge time-saver for all BlueHost users as we don’t have to go to live chat or phone support every time we have problems with the web host. I have checked several BlueHost video tutorials when I was writing this review and found them quite helpful.
Flexible Hosting Choices
As mentioned, BlueHost now provides all four level hosting plans – shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting. You no longer have to worry about server upgrades or out-growing your hosting company with BlueHost.
For beginners, the change in shared hosting plans mean you can now start with a much cheaper (but less powerful) shared hosting plan.
|Email Storage||100 MB / account||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Free Dedicated IP||No||No||Yes|
|Spam Experts||0||1 domain||2 domains|
According to BlueHost’s price guide, the Pro Package has 80% less accounts per server which allows the use of more resources per account (more CPU usage, disk usage, bandwidth) – which in turn, allow users to get more speed and CPU power for their websites.
Also, official statement indicates that in most cases actions will not be taken until Basic and Plus users exceeds 200,000 inodes.
Update Jan 2016 –
BlueHost revised their pricing recently. Signup prices for all plans remain the same; but renewal rates go up by 25%. Huge thanks to Earl Wertheimer for notification.
Anytime Money Back Guarantee
BlueHost allows users to cancel their account anytime and ask for a pro-rated refund. In other words, BlueHost has to work very hard to win businesses as it is very easy for users to snub the web host.
Problems with BlueHost / Important to know
While BlueHost is one of the top rated web hosts in many other hosting review sites (and to certain extend I agree with these reviews), there are a few important issues I need to point out in this review.
Like all “unlimited” hosting provider, BlueHost’s unlimited hosting offer is limited by a number of terms and conditions. As a BlueHost user, you need to understand that the unlimited data transfer and storage only stays unlimited up to certain level. For better server performance (as your site grows), you are recommended to upgrade your web host to Business Pro, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
For your reference, the following paragraph is quoted from BlueHost’s User Agreement, Clause 7 Usage Policies and Definitions, #1 “Unlimited” Usage Policies and Definitions.
b) What “Unlimited” means
Bluehost does not set an arbitrary limit or cap on the amount of resources a single Subscriber can use. In good faith and subject to these Terms, Bluehost makes every commercially reasonable effort to provide its Subscribers with all the storage and bandwidth resources needed to power their web sites successfully, as long as the Subscriber’s use of the service complies with these Terms. By not setting limits on key resources, we are able to provide simple, consistent pricing to our Subscribers as they grow their websites. As a result, a typical website may experience periods of great popularity and resulting increased storage without experiencing any associated increase in hosting charges.
d) Unlimited Hosting Space; excessive MySQL files
… Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse affect on server performance. Similarly, accounts with an excessive number of MySQL/PostgreSQL tables (i.e., in excess of 1000 database tables) or of database size (i.e., in excess of 3GB total MySQL/PostgreSQL usage or 2GB MySQL/PostgreSQL usage in a single database) negatively affect the performance of the server. Bluehost may request that the number of files/inodes, database tables, or total database usage be reduced to ensure proper performance or may terminate the Subscriber’s account, with or without notice.
Two Massive Outages in 2014
BlueHost had two lengthy outages in December 2013 and April 2014. This was due to router issues in the EIG-owned data center located at Provo, Utah; the incident also affect other EIG hosting brands including Hostgator. I thought you might want to read more about the two major outages occurred in 2014 here and here.
Expensive Renewal Rates
BlueHost’s renewal prices are much higher (up to 90% increase) than the signup promotion price. This is actually a norm in hosting industry where most hosting companies, including WebHostingHub, A2 Hosting, GreenGeeks, FatCow, Hostgator, iPage, InMotion Hosting, etc, practice such policy to lure new customers.
As mentioned in my cheap hosting guide, there are basically two ways to handle this issue: 1. Keep switching web host to enjoy the low entry promotion price; 2. Stick with a web host that does not jack-up its renewal price (but this means you are paying more during signup).
Survey / Other Users Feedbacks
BlueHost ranked #2 in WHSR 2013 Survey
I did a crowd-sourcing post in late 2013 and asked 35 experienced web experts for their hosting advice. BlueHost came up as the #2 most recommended web host in the survey. Lori Soard, Paul Crowe, Kevin Muldoon, and Sharon Hurley recommended BlueHost hosting. Below are their feedbacks.
Lori Soard; radio personality, published author, writer and social media marketers at Lori Soard
“For a first-time blogger, I would recommend BlueHost.
Although this hosting company gets a few mixed reviews, they come recommended by WordPress, which is one of the most popular blogging platforms. The hosting company also offers a WordPress auto-install, which makes getting set up quick and easy for someone without a lot of webdesign experience. Unlimited disk space and bandwidth transfer are also a nice addition. Rates start at $4.95/month (if you pay in advance), so it is also reasonably priced for someone trying things out. I also like the fact that newbies can get support 24/7 in a variety of ways (online, via telephone or via e-mail).”
Paul Crowe, blogging guru at Spice Up Your Blog
“For my WordPress hosted sites I have gone with Blue Host.I have used HostGator in the past but I find Blue Host provides the best packages for my needs.
They have the easy install of WordPress we expect from all hosting services but also a great uptime record and costumer support.
Kevin Muldoon, pro-blogger at Kevin Muldoon
“First time bloggers should not use a lot of resources at first.
Due to this, I would recommend a good shared hosting company such as BlueHost. Once their website has started generating more traffic, they can then review their hosting requirements.”
Sharon Hurley, professional web writer at Sharon HH
“I’ve used 5 or 6 web hosting service providers over the last 7 years, including many of the popular shared hosting providers.
The one I keep coming back to is Bluehost, where I currently host more than ten domains. It’s a great host for sites with low to medium traffic and everything you want is easy to set up. I’ve been impressed with their uptime and their tech support department is extremely responsive and helpful if there’s ever an issue.”
Michael Hyatt; NY Times Bestseller Author, Former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.
“If you use WordPress as I recommend, you will need a hosting service too.
And, BlueHost is the best web host for WordPress.”
Note: I wasn’t able to reach Michael Hyatt in person. His personal assistant Trivinia Barber replied my email and pointed out that Michael has repeatedly recommended BlueHost on his blog in the past. The feedback above is quoted from Michael’s blog.
So, time for conclusion – Should you host at BlueHost?
Considering the fact that BlueHost is –
- Reasonable price after discount – $3.49/mo for entry level hosting plan, $5.95/mo for standard shared hosting plan with all the usual features.
- One of the most popular hosting brands in the world – more than 2 millions websites hosted plus recommended by many experienced blogger and well-known hosting review sites.
It would be a good pick if you are looking for a popular web hosting services.
For more details or to order BlueHost, visit (link opens in new window): http://www.bluehost.com
(P/S: The links above are affiliate links – if you purchase via this link, it will credit me as your referrer. This is how I keep this site alive for 8 years and add more free hosting reviews based on real test account – your support is highly appreciated. Buying via my link doesn’t cost you more – in fact, I can guarantee that you’ll get the lowest possible price for BlueHost hosting. )