Bluehost Review 2022: A Hosting Provider You Should Avoid

This post will review Bluehost, one of the most popular web hosting providers that accommodates more than 2 million websites. Firstly, Bluehost focuses on shared web hosting. In simple words, there is no way a shared web hosting provider can be among the best in the world. To see my top picks in that department, you can read my best hosting providers in 2021 ultimate guide.

If they were, I wouldn't have to spend $100/month on cloud hosting. In general, I am not overly fond of shared hosting and the sooner you move away from it the better.

General Info & Hosting Overview

Bluehost logonbsp BlueHostLogo Bluehost owned by EIG and under Newfolds umbrella is a web hosting provider that raised far too many question Read our Bluehost review

Overall Rating: 3.0/5.0

Available Apps: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, phpBB, and many more open-source apps supported using Mojo Marketplace.

Control Panel: BlueRock cPanel

Features: Unmetered bandwidth, one website, 50 GB Storage, Free Domain 1st Year, Free SSL Certificate and CDN, Spam Experts, Domain Privacy, 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, WordPress 1-Click Install

Web Hosting Types and Plans: Shared, WordPress, VPS, Reseller, and Dedicated Server hosting.

Website Migration: Single WordPress Site for Free. $149.99 migration fee for up to 5 WordPress/non-WordPress sites and 20 mail accounts.

Support: 24/7 Live Chat, Email, and Phone Support, Bluehost Knowledge Base.

Pricing plans: Starting at $3.95/month for 36 months (renews at $8.99/mo).

Hidden Fees and Clauses: Bluehost offers no refund on domain names. Renewal rates for both domains ($15.99/year) and hosting plans are much higher than the introductory rates.

Note: Other affiliate marketing websites offer coupons that drop the price on Bluehost's basic plan to $2.75/month. I doubt we will get such a coupon as this is a negative (and honest review), but $2.75/month is a price you may consider. However, if you are willing to go for the best price, you can try Hostinger as they are the most affordable provider out there.

As a reviewer, you cannot only focus on your affiliate partnership with a hosting company and ignore the negative reviews it receives from real customers. I'd rather lose some commissions than my reputation.

If anything, the reviews for Bluehost on Trustpilot and BBB should be alarming.

ScoreValue
Trustpilot Score3.2 (1,681 reviews)
BBB Score 1.06/5 (121 reviews)
Bluehost Trustpilot and BBB Scores

A shared web hosting service can receive mostly positive reviews. DreamHost, for instance, has more reviews, and they are primarily favorable.

ScoreValue
Trustpilot Score4.8 (2,072 reviews)
BBB Score 1/5 (5 reviews)
DreamHost Trustpilot and BBB Scores

My point here is not that you should go with DreamHost instead of Bluehost. But the main issue with Bluehost is its trustworthiness.

Customers go with Bluehost, but they do not receive the service they are initially promised.

Should you trust Bluehost?

My honest answer to this question is “probably not.” There is a huge discrepancy between reviewer ratings and customer ratings in Bluehost's case. Please note that most reviewers are, in fact, affiliate marketing experts and not hosting experts. However, there are some reviews that I value. Let me show you an interesting quote:

Bluehost is terrible and these people only want to make affiliate commissions by creating “how to start a blog” content and writing untruthful Bluehost reviews. I encourage you to join the WordPress Hosting and WP Speed Matters Facebook Groups to get unbiased hosting opinions.

Tom Dupuis, OnlineMediaMasters

Bluehost offers everything you would expect from a shared web hosting provider; 24/7 phone, chat, and email support, unmetered bandwidth, broad CMS support, a free domain for the first year, and more. However, they have had terrible reviews on Trustpilot, reaching as low as 1.5 stars. Keep in mind that there are many fake reviews on Trustpilot, mostly positive ones, which could be one of the reasons they are at 3.2 at the time of writing this review.

EIG Ownership

EIG owns Bluehost, a company famous for buying more than 60 hosting companies and running them into the ground to cut costs. As a result, they have worse support, slower servers, and longer outages than many hosting providers. There are other popular web hosting providers owned by EIG, including HostGator, iPage, and Site5. I can assure you that they have received similar levels of criticism from customers.

EIG Owned companiesnbsp EIGHostingCompanies Bluehost owned by EIG and under Newfolds umbrella is a web hosting provider that raised far too many question Read our Bluehost review
Image Credit: Online Media Master

Compared to other shared hosting providers, they fall short in customer support quality, arguably the most important factor when choosing a web host. The main indictment against EIG (apart from the suspiciously large amount of web hosting companies they own) is that they make massive cuts in terms of support staff.

You will find them in the middle of the pack in terms of speed, while their uptime is decent.

Note that all these factors can be subjective as each user may have a different experience. The good news is that Pingdom can give us a good indicator of how web hosting providers perform in terms of overall performance and uptime.

Here is Bluehost's performance and uptime for the past year, according to Pingdom:

MonthUptimePage Load Speed
August 202199.98%1,010 ms
July 2021100%704 ms
June 202199.99%780 ms
May 202199.77%820 ms
April 202199.99%739 ms
March 2021100%721 ms
February 202199.97%795 ms
January 2021100%770 ms
December 202099.98%698 ms
November 2020100%655 ms
October 202099.67%670 ms
September 2020100%628 ms
August 202099.99%724 ms
Bluehost uptime and page load speed during the last 12 months

These numbers show no reason to avoid Bluehost, but they also show that it does not stand in either area. #1 best hosting provider in the world? Not, really.

Bluehost Alternatives

Cloudways is the company that hosts Borderpolar on the VULTR High Frequency plan, and I highly recommend them. Most recent Facebook polls had them as the #1 host, and Facebook groups highly recommended them. 

One of the downsides of their service is that they do not use cPanel, and are a little more technical.

However, they offer free migrations (they migrated Borderpolar within 36 hours) and the panel is easy to use for WordPress, SSL, taking backups, creating staging sites, CDN and caching services. The service has a 3-day free trial period (not ideal) and pay-as-you-go monthly pricing. Cloudways is indeed among the fastest providers in 2021. You can read my full Cloudways review for more information.

Try A2 Hosting if you are just starting a website and want cPanel. It’s one of the fastest shared hosts I have used, had good results in my performance tests, and they’re not owned by EIG. 

Bluehost Initial Pricing plans

Here are the initial shared hosting pricing plans Bluehost offers:

PlanBasicPlusChoice PlusPro
Pricing$3.95/month
Renews at $8.99/mo
$5.95/month
Renews at $11.99/mo
$6.95/month
Renews at $16.99/mo
$13.95/month
Renews at $26.99/mo
Websites1UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
BandwidthUnmeteredUnmeteredUnmeteredUnmetered
Storage50 GBUnmeteredUnmeteredUnmetered
Email Accounts5UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Other FeaturesFree Domain – 1 year
Free CDN Included
Free SSL Certificate
Free Domain – 1 year
Free CDN Included
Free SSL Certificate
Free Office 365 – 30 days
Free Domain – 1 year
Free CDN Included
Free SSL Certificate
Free Office 365 – 30 days
Free Domain Privacy
Free Automated Backup – 1 year
Free Domain – 1 year
Free CDN Included
Free SSL Certificate
Free Office 365 – 30 days
Free Domain Privacy
Free Automated Backup
Free Dedicated IP
Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans

Renewal Rates

If you want to get the best hosting prices from Bluehost, you have to go with their long-term plans (1, 2, or 3 years). Even though monthly prices drop, you also commit hundreds of dollars upfront, which is why I cannot recommend you go with Bluehost.

If you're not satisfied with their services, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Still, I don't consider 30 days enough to evaluate a hosting provider as your website won't get much traffic during that period unless you are migrating from another hosting provider. After the first period of the plan expires, you can expect steep price increases, as you can see in the above table.

As an example, if you commit to a three-year Basic plan subscription for $3.95/month, you'll pay $8.99/month after the initial subscription period.

Plan Restrictions and Unmetereted Bandwidth

There are some heavy restrictions on Bluehost's cheapest shared hosting package. The restrictions are not limited to storage and email accounts. Shared web hosting comes with restrictions to avoid a single website overwhelming the server.

Bluehost resources must be consistent with a shared hosting environment and must otherwise comply with this Agreement. Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse effect on server performance. Similarly, accounts with an excessive number of database tables (i.e., in excess of 5000 database tables) or of an excessive database size (i.e., in excess of 10GB total database usage or 5GB database usage in a single database) negatively affect the performance of the server.

Bluehost user agreement

You may receive 503 errors (server overload) and your site will slow down if your resource limitations are exceeded. At this point, Bluehost will ask you to move to a higher-priced plan.

Bluehost Features

Their introductory prices are affordable, customer support is easy to reach and helpful, and you get many useful features to go with your hosting plan. In addition, they provide reliable uptime and fast server speeds.

Let's take a more detailed look at Bluehost's strong points.

Uptime through the last 12 months (99.95%)

If your web host is unavailable, your users won't access your site – uptime is one of the most important factors. When it comes to looking for hosting services, you should prioritize consistent uptime. Bluehost's uptime is above the industry average of 99.94% in this area.

BestWebHostingProviders.net conducted their own experiment among 14 hosting providers. This test deployed the same website on multiple web hosts and measured page load speed and uptime. As you can see, Bluehost was among the worst performers in terms of uptime as they were in the lowest tier, 30 to 60 minutes per month with an average of 42 minutes.

nbsp fastestwebhostsdowntimecomparison Bluehost owned by EIG and under Newfolds umbrella is a web hosting provider that raised far too many question Read our Bluehost review
Downtime Comparison Image Credit: BWHP

Website speed 

Website speed is another vital aspect of web hosting as page load speed directly affects user experience. Slow page load speeds can greatly increase a website’s bounce rate and reduce the time spent on the website.

In this area, Bluehost does not stand out at all. They are, in fact, average at best.

As you can see, Bluehost was among the worst performers, coming second-to-last. At this point, I believe we have dismissed claims that Bluehost is among the best hosting providers in the world. These numbers speak “decent,” not “great.”

web hosting provider speed 14 providers compared
Speed Comparison Image Credit: BWHP

Low Introductory Pricing ($3.95/mo)

Bluehost's default pricing starts at $3.95/month, an introductory price compared to its regular $8.99/month rate. At this price, you get pretty much everything you need for a single website. With this plan, you get 50 GB SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate, among other features.

Ease of Use

Beginners can easily install and start WordPress through cPanel. Thankfully they did not move to their own control panel, just like many others have. All you need to do is a point and click in most cases.

Their customer portal is intuitive and straightforward but can be slow. If you don't want to use WordPress, you can create a website using drag and drop website builder tools such as Weebly or Drupal.

Security options and features

Bluehost includes a free SSL certificate in all plans. Besides the CDN (Cloudflare Free, nothing you can't get by yourself), you can also get a one-click WordPress installation and access to multiple plugins and apps.

The Choice Plus and Pro plans include one year of automated backups and domain privacy. The final security tool worth noting is Postini from Google. It protects your email from junk mail so that nothing suspicious can reach your inbox.

There is nothing fancy here, just what is expected by web hosting providers. I do not recommend paying for Codeguard or SiteLock; a freemium WordPress plugin will work just as well.

WordPress Recommendations

Three companies sponsor WordPress.org to recommend them:

  • Bluehost
  • DreamHost
  • SiteGround

Bluehost is the worst of the three, DreamHost is decent, and I mostly recommend them due to the 91-day money-back guarantee they offer on shared plans. Meanwhile, SiteGround used to be a great provider, but they have starter losing traction.

Don't make a decision based on WordPress's recommendations.

Bluehost Corporate History

Bluehost, founded by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in 2003, was subsequently acquired by conglomerate Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2010. The CEO of the company is Suhaib Zaheer, who was appointed in 2017.

The same year, EIG announced over 400 layoffs and closed Bluehost's office in Orem, Utah, to consolidate customer service activities. They are now officially located in Burlington, MA. They currently host over 2 million websites.

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