bluehost review 2022
The Good and the Bad (Honest Thoughts)
Have you considered using Bluehost to host your website?
Bluehost is one of the most well-known web hosting companies. It does, however, have some advantages and disadvantages, so make sure it fits what you're looking for in a web host.
To assist you in making that decision, our Bluehost review will cover both the good and the bad, as well as some recommendations, so you can determine if Bluehost is right for you...
or if you should select a different host.
Here's how we'll divide our Bluehost 2021 review:
- Performance evaluations (using WebPageTest and BlazeMeter)
- The user experience (hosting dashboard and the companion plugin)
- Advantages and disadvantages
Let's get this party started!
Key Benefits of Bluehost
Let's start our Bluehost review with a look at the features that you get. We won't go into too much detail here because you can find everything on Bluehost's website, but here's a quick rundown of what you get with Bluehost:
- WordPress installation tool that is simple.
- WordPress updates automatically.
- Email hosting is completely free.
- Secure your data with free SSL certificates.
- Caching solution built-in to speed up your site.
- Staging sites are used to test changes in a safe manner.
- Access to cPanel and a custom hosting dashboard.
- Custom WordPress companion plugin for accessing key features from your WordPress dashboard.
- Backups are performed automatically by CodeGuard (only on the Choice Plus plan, though).
Bluehost also provides a number of helpful "billing-related" features, such as:
- For the first year, you will receive a free domain name.
- Websites are limitless (excl. cheapest plan).
- Storage is limitless (excl. cheapest plan).
- Bandwidth is unmetered.
In terms of features, Bluehost is quite good for a low-cost host. It includes everything you'd find at most other shared hosts, plus some unique features like free staging sites on all plans (most shared hosts don't offer staging sites or only offer them on the most expensive plans).
Bluehost Performance Evaluations
The speed with which your website loads is critical, and your hosting provider has a significant impact on load times. As a result, you should select a host that can assist your website in loading quickly.
Bluehost has a built-in caching tool to help you optimize your site. If you're unfamiliar with caching, it's one of the most important things you can do to speed up WordPress, so having it built-in by default is very convenient and eliminates the need to use a separate WordPress caching plugin.
Bluehost's performance, on the other hand, is a bit of a mixed bag.
To evaluate Bluehost's performance, we created a test site by installing the popular Astra theme and importing one of the theme's full demo sites built with the native block editor (the Sierra Industry template). We didn't make any other performance improvements besides using Bluehost's built-in caching solution.
Then we ran WebPageTest on our test site (configured to run nine separate tests and take the median value):
Overall, the results were adequate for the majority of people's requirements. All of Google's Core Web Vitals metrics were passed by our test site, which will help you perform well in Google's Page Experience algorithm update.
The fully loaded time was also under three seconds, which is adequate for most applications but far from the fastest host we've tested.
BlazeMeter Load Testing
WebPageTest can be used to demonstrate the experience of a single visitor. However, your actual website will most likely have multiple people browsing at the same time, so it's critical that your server can handle the traffic as well.
We used BlazeMeter to see how the server responds to 35 visitors browsing over the same four-minute period (a somewhat difficult test for a cheap shared host).
The chart should ideally be flat, which means that your site should load just as quickly for the 35th visitor as it does for the first.
Bluehost handled the majority of the test well, but it did spike around the three-minute mark and experience some errors before recovering. This suggests that you might want something a little more powerful for a high-traffic site. However, most sites will not reach this level of traffic, so Bluehost should be fine.
Bluehost's Performance Conclusions
Overall, Bluehost's performance will be adequate for the majority of users, particularly if you have a low-traffic site (e.g. just a few hundred visitors per day).
Is Bluehost the fastest shared hosting service available? No, it isn't. However, as long as you use best practices for WordPress performance, Bluehost can be fast enough for most people's needs, especially for simple blogs, portfolio sites, or business brochure websites.
Bluehost Customer Service
Bluehost's user-friendly dashboard and overall beginner-friendly experience, particularly when it comes to WordPress sites, is one of its strong points.
Bluehost has created its own custom hosting dashboard while still providing access to cPanel, which is useful for more advanced users who want to use the many tools available in cPanel.
If you're a beginner, you can avoid cPanel and instead use Bluehost's custom dashboard.
WordPress installation is a breeze with Bluehost. Using this simple wizard, you can configure everything:
Then, in a matter of minutes, you'll have a fully functional WordPress website.
Even if you've never created a website before, Bluehost will make it easy for you. This is why we chose Bluehost in our how to start a website and how to start a blog guides.
When you open a site's dashboard in Bluehost, you can manage not only its hosting settings, but also WordPress-specific settings and options, such as WordPress users, plugins, and themes.
The one disadvantage of this interface is that Bluehost will fill it with upsells (as shown in the screenshot below):
Aside from the upsells, the interface is very useful and user-friendly.
For example, if you go to the Security tab, you can activate an SSL certificate with a single click while also scanning your WordPress core files for issues:
You can also view and manage all of the plugins installed on your site in the Plugins tab, including controlling automatic updates:
Overall, Bluehost's custom dashboard is quite good and a real strength.
Using the WordPress Plugin Bundled
If you use Bluehost's WordPress installer, Bluehost will install its own companion plugin that includes a WordPress setup guide as well as access to some useful tools from your WordPress dashboard.
The main Home section of the plugin's settings serves as a guide for configuring important aspects of your site:
You can then navigate to other tabs to find useful tools.
You can, for example, create a staging site in the Staging area. This is essentially a copy of your site in a safe sandbox where you can test changes and updates. Once you've confirmed that the changes are functional, you can "deploy" your staging site to your live site, allowing your visitors to see the update:
Another useful area is the Settings tab, which allows you to control caching behavior, automatic updates, and other important features:
Overall, this custom companion plugin is yet another feature that makes Bluehost so user-friendly for newcomers.
Getting to cPanel
If you need to access the full cPanel dashboard, go to the Advanced tab:
Bluehost provides live chat, phone, and ticket support 24 hours a day, seven days a week on all of its plans.
Bluehost's customer service is adequate. It's not the best in the hosting industry, but it's not bad for the price. Most hosts that provide better support also charge a higher price, so this is the trade-off if you want a low-cost host.
Basically, you have to decide whether you'd rather have excellent support or save money – because it's rare to find excellent support on a low-cost host.
That's not to say Bluehost's customer service is bad. They'll get the problem fixed for you and are friendly while doing it for most basic issues. However, for complex issues, you'll usually need to escalate, which can take time and be frustrating.
Bluehost offers 24/7 support as well as a comprehensive knowledge base where you can help yourself.
Bluehost has very low prices that are very competitive in the shared hosting space.
However, there are two critical points to remember when discussing Bluehost's pricing.
For starters, Bluehost's shared plans only have three billing options:
- One year
- Two years
- Three years
Bluehost's low-cost plans do not accept monthly payments.
You'll get the best deal if you pay for three years in advance, which is the price you advertise. If you only pay for a year at a time, your monthly rate will be higher, but it will still be very low.
Second, Bluehost employs a promotional pricing strategy, as do the majority of shared hosts. This means you'll get a discount on your first billing cycle, but you'll have to pay full price after that.
Now that you understand how things work, here are the monthly prices for all of the plans (but keep in mind that you must pay for the entire term up front):
All plans include a free domain name for the first year.
Which Bluehost Plan Is Right For You?
Most people should select at least the Plus plan, which provides unlimited resources and supports an unlimited number of sites.
The Choice Plus plan appears to be a no-brainer because it has the same promotional price as the Plus plan but also includes backups. However, keep in mind that the Choice Plus plan's renewal price is higher than the Plus plan's, so the price is only the same for your first billing cycle.
Bluehost Advantages and disadvantages
As we wrap up our review, let's go over some of Bluehost's pluses and minuses:
- A very user-friendly experience, particularly for WordPress users. The custom dashboard, WordPress install wizard, and WordPress plugin make getting started a breeze.
- Pricing is reasonable, especially if you are willing to pay for multiple years in advance.
- Bluehost offers features that many other shared hosting companies do not, such as staging sites on all plans, built-in caching, and more.
- You still have access to cPanel.