Although it is possible to start a Web presence using a service that offers free hosting — such as blogger.com and wordpress.org — your website will be severely limited in features and scalability. In order to have complete control over your website, you need to sign up for web hosting service at a reputable and established Web hosting company, such as Bluehost.
This Bluehost review will describe the hosting company’s features, reliability, options, performance and support. Founded in 2003, Bluehost has over 700 employees and hosts over two million websites worldwide.
The company offers five types of hosting plans: shared hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, virtual private server hosting and dedicated hosting. Like other major hosting companies, each Bluehost hosting plan has several tiers.
The shared plan, cloud plan and the dedicated plan all have three tiers, while the VPS and the WordPress plan have four tiers each. The plan and tier that you choose depends on the type of website you want to create. For example, if you want to create a personal website with minimal features, chose the Starter shared hosting plan. However, if you are creating a business website that will have millions of visitors a month, choose the Premium dedicated hosting plan.
Each plan includes a free domain and specific features. For example, the Business WordPress hosting plan has a free SSL certificate and the Ultimate VPS hosting plan has 240 GB of SAN storage.
However, Bluehost does not offer a month-to-month hosting option. Instead, you must purchase an annual plan to access the company’s hosting services. For example, the Starter shared plan’s annual contract price is $71.40, or $5.95 a month. You can take advantage of available discounts if you make a lengthy commitment, such as two or three years. For example, the Starter shared plan’s monthly price changes to $3.95 a month if you sign up for the three-year annual contract.
Uptime & Downtime
According to the Bluehost Network/Server Uptime Agreement page, servers may experience downtime occasionally. Most customers who submit reviews to independent consumer review websites state that Bluehost averages a 99.9% server uptime.
The company maintains this high server uptime by using modern software platforms — such as Ruby on Rails and PHP 5 — and robust hardware. In addition, the company’s data centers have redundant systems and sources of power that ensure servers keep running. If a server does go offline, the company promises to resolve most problems in approximately 15 minutes.
Bluehost provides 24-hour support for customers through online chat, an online ticketing system, webinars, a toll-free telephone support line and a library of support articles. The support staff is well-trained and are all US-based, in-house employees. Support representatives respond promptly to queries and always follow through to make sure all problems are resolved.
In addition, support representatives can also be reached via Twitter, email and multiple forums. Although Bluehost offers support for all server and hosting account issues, the company does not provide support for website creation, programming, coding or any third-party product installations.
In the News
Bluehost was voted one of the best Web hosting services for 2015 by PC magazine. The company’s features, options and user-friendly interface contributed to its inclusion on the list. According to PC magazine, the range of hosting features, useful tools — such as SiteLock and Google Apps — and multiple hosting plan options make it easy for the average user to create a functional and attractive website.
Bluehost recently added India to its list of international operations. The company opened a dedicated Indian office in December of 2014. Bluehost India provides the option to allow Indian customers to pay for Web hosting services in their local currency. In addition, the company has trained local employees who are able to provide support to customers in over 27 local Indian dialects. Bluehost also has operations in Russia, Turkey, China and Brazil.
Bluehost uses the popular cPanel Web hosting control panel platform as a user interface for customers. The platform is used by most hosting companies because it offers easy navigation and access to a Web host account’s configurations. However, Bluehost has enhanced the platform by completely customizing the interface, thereby making it extremely intuitive and user-friendly.
Each configurable option, such domain name management, features one-click access and clearly displayed navigation trees. You can view and edit your hosting service account, upload files, manage your website’s email accounts and install new scripts in just a few minutes through the control panel. In addition, there is also a dedicated Helpful Resources section that provides instructions and support for the control panel.
If you already have a website at another hosting company, Bluehost has a website transfer service that can transfer your website and configure everything on a new server for a $99 fee. The company promises an uninterrupted transition and can support the transfer of up to five websites simultaneously.
The higher end tiers of each Web hosting plan also includes advertising offers from major websites, such as $100 in advertising credit from Google Adwords. You can apply these credits at any time during the length of your hosting contract.
If you are interested in reselling Bluehost Web hosting services, the company has partnered with Reseller Club to offer reseller plans to customers. Each plan offers advanced technical, management and support features.
Money Back Guarantee & Cancellation Policy
Each Bluehost plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you cancel within the 30-day limit, you will receive a full refund. However, if you cancel outside of the 30-day limit, you can only get a prorated refund based on the remainder of your hosting contract.
Although the guarantee only applies to hosting plans — for example, domain names are not eligible — you can cancel your account at any time for any reason. Bluehost does not penalize customers or charge termination fees for early cancellation.
This Bluehost review has shown that the company is a reputable, reliable hosting company that provides hosting services for both personal and business use. The company was ranked as one of the top Web hosting companies by PC Magazine and gets consistently excellent reviews by independent sources and customers. Consider using Bluehost as your Web hosting provider if you are looking for ease of use, multiple features, 24-hour customer support and a money-back guarantee at an affordable price.