Bluehost is a prominent web hosting company most notable for their cheap shared hosting plans. They've been WordPress' most recommended host since 2005.
This recommendation has led to the perfection and optimization of their WordPress services over the years despite also supporting other content management systems. In this post, we review Bluehost's pricing and services in terms of what they have to offer for WordPress users.
Bluehost Hosting Review: Pricing, Performance, Security and More
Bluehost Pricing & Overview of Hosting Services
Bluehost has six types of hosting services, three of which are dedicated to WordPress. We're going to focus on two for the purpose of this review: Bluehost's WordPress-centric shared hosting service and their managed WordPress hosting service.
The shared hosting service has three plans. All three offer a free domain for a year, a free SSL certificate and $200 in marketing credit for Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads. Bluehost will also install WordPress for you automatically.
50GB of SSD storage is available with the cheapest plan while all other plans have “unmetered” SSD storage. This does not mean unlimited. Instead, you're advised not to violate Bluehost's terms of service by staying within the confines of a personal or small business website.
Email hosting is also provided through an integration with Microsoft 365.
You'll receive a discount when you first purchase a plan with Bluehost. Plus, the more months you pay for upfront, the better the discount you'll receive. Pricing ranges from $71.40 for 12 months to $142.20 for 36 when you purchase the cheapest plan. The top-tier plan costs $107.40 for 12 months to $250.20 for 36. Again, these prices are only available for new plans, not renewals.
Managed WordPress Hosting with WP Pro
Bluehost's WP Pro hosting service is fully managed. WordPress is installed automatically, and several security features are available and included in all three plans.
All plans also include unlimited websites, unlimited storage, a free SSL certificate, unlimited traffic with no overage fees, and WordPress plugins Akismet and Jetpack. You'll also receive 30 days of Microsoft 365 for one account.
Like Bluehost's shared hosting service, their managed hosting service offers discounts on new plans. With that said, you can get started with the cheapest plan for $83.85 for three months. Subscriptions for six months, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months are available as well. A 36-month plan costs $718.20.
The top-tier plan costs $173.85 for three months and $1,798.20 for 36.
Additional Hosting Services
Bluehost also offers ecommerce hosting in addition to shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting. WordPress and WooCommerce are installed automatically as is WooCommerce's Storefront theme.
Bluehost's regular shared hosting service comes in four plans. VPS hosting and dedicated hosting are available as well if you need more computing power and faster speeds.
Bluehost Dashboard and Ease of Use
All of Bluehost's WordPress hosting services come with WordPress preinstalled, so you won't need to worry about doing this yourself. However, if you do wind up purchasing a traditional hosting plan, you can install WordPress in less than five minutes with cPanel.
Speaking of which, Bluehost uses its own version of the popular control panel application cPanel. It sports a clean UI and is incredibly easy to use, even easier than cPanel's default UI.
The control panel allows you to manage your site with simple point-and-click actions as opposed to needing to know how to code or possess a deep level of technical knowledge in web development.
You can manage your site's files and database, use Bluehost's marketing tools, manage your email, and more.
If you purchase a WP Pro hosting plan, you'll also have access to Bluehost's all-in-one marketing center. This dashboard contains key analytics for your site, including traffic and an SEO score. The Traffic tab features performance metrics for your top pages, clicks, referrers and search terms.
You can also manage backups, security and plugins from this dashboard as well as log into your WordPress site.
Site Performance with Bluehost
Bluehost doesn't disclose much information about their shared hosting infrastructure. However, we do know that your site is stored on SSDs rather than standard hard drives, so there's at least a performance boost from that.
We don't know exactly which operating system they use, but it's most likely to be Linux based since cPanel cannot be installed on a Windows server. Also, your WordPress database is built with MySQL, and the latest PHP versions are always available to you.
The same is true for the WP Pro service. We don't know much about the servers themselves, but we do know your site is hosted on an unlimited amount of SSD storage.
Plus, Bluehost states this service has a “lower server density,” which likely means it uses a VPS hosting infrastructure. This is much faster than shared hosting as it means fewer websites occupy each server.
Bluehost doesn't officially state where their data centers are located. Customer speculation and mixed answers from tech support representatives point toward Bluehost's former headquarters in Utah, which is on the western side of the United States.
Fortunately, Bluehost integrates with Cloudflare seamlessly, giving you easy access to a global CDN network for free. If you'd prefer to shop around for a CDN provider, check out our post comparing the top five CDN providers for WordPress.
Jetpack is an all-in-one WordPress plugin developed by Automattic, who also develop WordPress. It comes with a long list of features in areas of security, performance, backups, marketing, design and more.
Jetpack is included with the WP Pro hosting service. The version installed on your site is dependent on the plan you choose. The higher-tiered plans, of course, receive the more premium versions of the plugin.
Jetpack's analytics feature provides the data for Bluehost's marketing center.
Speed & Performance
Bluehost offers a lot of bang for your buck, providing top-tier performance at an affordable price. WebsiteSetup has been monitoring a website hosted on Bluehost's cheapest shared hosting plan for three years. The website has an average page speed of 405ms and an uptime performance of 99.9%. This data in particular was tested over a period of 24 months.
Bluehost's shared hosting plans are only semi-managed while the WP Pro service is fully managed. They offer different sets of security features as a result. With shared hosting, you'll get a free SSL certificate right out of the box. They even change your login credentials for WordPress to prevent the use of a generic username and password.
Unfortunately, backups are not included unless you purchase the highest-tiered plan. Even then, only basic backups are offered.
WP Pro offers a lot more as a fully-managed hosting service. You'll also receive a free SSL certificate, but unlike the shared hosting service, you'll also have daily backups as well as malware detection and removal.
Because Jetpack is offered on all plans, you'll also have access to spam protection. This primarily prevents spam messages from reaching your comment section and inbox.
This service also has a staging environment available, which you can use to test updates without having to risk breaking the live version of your site.
It should be noted that 24/7/365 support is offered on all hosting services should you come across any issues with your server. However, certain WP Pro plans offer priority ticket and chat support where agents are able to help with design and functionality issues in regards to your site.
Bluehost offers a number of additional services for you to use, some of which are simply partnerships they've made with third parties, including Cloudflare.
You'll come across the first when you sign up for hosting: domain registration. This is why you're eligible for a free or discounted domain from Bluehost during your first year. Prices are on par with other domain registrars.
You'll notice a few third-party tools you can purchase from Bluehost if you choose shared hosting. They include security solution SiteLock and backup tool CodeGuard.
If you have a WordPress site, you can subscribe to the host's premium WordPress support service for as little as $29/month. Again, this service is included with the mid and top-tier WP Pro plans. Support agents are able to tackle your WordPress issues directly in ways Bluehost's regular support agents aren't able to. The only drawback are the support hours themselves, which are typical business hours Monday through Friday.
Piggybacking off of site services, Bluehost also has a marketing service that helps you optimize everything related to marketing. This includes SEO, design, pay-per-click services and site migration. There are no plans for these services, so you'll need to contact Bluehost first to receive a consultation.
The last service we'll mention is Bluehost's partnership with Microsoft 365. With Bluehost, you'll receive your first 30 days of business email hosting free of charge. When your trial runs out, you'll be able to subscribe for an entire year using the host's discount. Up to 50GB of email storage and 1TB of OneDrive storage are available.
Bluehost is an affordable option with an impressive cost-to-performance ratio no matter how small or large your website is. This is especially true if you have a WordPress site, as illustrated throughout this review.
Bluehost's shared hosting plans are enough if you have a small blog or personal website and don't plan on growing it rapidly throughout your first year.
If you need more performance or would prefer not to handle things like security and backups on your own, WP Pro is a fantastic solution. The prices are even comparable to other managed WordPress hosts.
Plus, if you have a medium to high-traffic website, online store or web application, you'll find Bluehost's VPS and dedicated hosting services to be more than suitable. They're even compatible with WordPress.