BlueHost is a subsidiary of Endurance International Group that also owns its sister hosting services iPage, HostMonster, Hostgator, etc. The company collectively hosts more than 1.9 million domains and is one of the top 20 hosting companies in the world. BlueHost is popular for maintaining a balanced user experience for both beginners and developers allowing them to learn and build their own websites at their own pace. The company focuses on small and mid-sized businesses that want a long term hosting plan and are prepared to stay for at least the next year or two. Its long term plans come with attractive add-ons along with discounts and features normally lacking in other hosting companies. Let’s delve deeper into its services to understand the company’s service offering and its ideal target customer.
Plans and Features
Like majority of hosting companies, Bluehost also offers shared, VPS and dedicated hosting plans. Along with the usual, it also offers a specialized WordPress hosting plan that is optimized for WordPress websites and offers significant advantage over traditional shared hosting plans. The company offers three types of shared hosting plans aimed at customers of varying skill and resource requirements. They are
- Starter: The starter plan is ideal for beginners as it provides all inbuilt features for quick website deployment without deep technical know-how. Users can host one website and use up to 100GB of web space. Although the website can consume unlimited bandwidth, the server load must be below CPU throttling limits. Users also get one free domain name that they can keep until they are hosting with BlueHost. Along with that, users can have up to 5 parked domains, 25 sub-domains, 100 email accounts with 500mb of storage in each account. The plan costs only $3.49 per month.
- Plus: The plus plan is ideal for experienced website administrators or people who have already been hosting and maintaining websites. It costs only $5.95 per month and offers unlimited resource usage for all parameters including the number of websites that one can host, bandwidth usage, server space, email accounts, and storage per email accounts. The plan includes a free domain name and comes with marketing offers worth $200. Users can also deploy a global CDN and SpamExperts to further secure their websites against DDOS or penetration attacks.
- Business Pro: Priced at $13.95 per month, this is one of the most powerful shared hosting plans in the market. All resources allow unlimited usage and the plan comes with free add-ons worth $180 per year. It also has 2 SpamExperts with one dedicated IP and one domain privacy feature. The associated SSL certificate is ideal for ecommerce websites and other secure online transactions. You can also backup your website with SiteBackup Pro and therefore enable high maintenance features that increase your page speed and deliver your content through optimized content delivery networks.
The WordPress hosting plan is even more powerful and is ideal for all kinds of WordPress users. All WordPress hosting accounts are managed by the company and optimized for better performance. The blogger plan is priced at $12.49 for the first month and increases to $24.99 per month for the rest of the year. It is ideal for bloggers and designers. The professional, business and enterprise plans are priced at $37.50, $60, and $85 for the first month and increase to $74.99, $119.99, and $169.99 respectively for each the remaining months. All WordPress plans are hosted on virtual private servers allowing much better performance and control over the website.
Performance and Reliability
BlueHost since its inception has remained a professional web hosting service ideal for business and enterprise users who expect top notch performance with least downtime and high page speeds for any plan they select. Although the prices are a tad higher than its competition, the server performance also exceeds most of its competitors. Let’s explore its Pagespeed, server downtime and customer service and compare it with its competitors to accurately determine its performance rate.
BlueHost has always maintained a stellar page speed performance in comparison to other hosting companies like Hostgator, Godaddy, DreamHost or NameCheap. Its worst time was 9.17 seconds while the best performance was at 2.33 seconds. Its average page speed was at 3.07 seconds which is way faster than the other service providers. The chart below provides the stats for a limited time.
Server Uptime and Downtime
Due to business customers and highly maintained servers, BlueHost rarely faces any downtime. Still sometimes due to ongoing maintenance, the servers go down but get back up soon. Therefore BlueHost has more than 99.90% uptime. The graphs below show its downtime in comparison to its uptime.
User Experience and Customer Service
Unlike user expectation, BlueHost has very poor customer service. Its average response time is 18 hours which is worse than all its competitors. Although its quality service does not lead to much customer queries, sometimes users do need a bit of help to get things running. The stats below show its response time over a period. The cPanel is as usual but does contain some improvements that allow users to better manage their website.
I was badly in need of a good business hosting company for my domain but nearly all of the major hosting companies had tons of customer complaints regarding server downtime and page speed. Finally I settled for BlueHost as it provided servers as powerful as VPS plans on some other hosting companies but charged according to shared plans. I selected the Business Pro plan and after a month, I was glad I did. The server downtime was less than 2 mins in the entire month and page speed exceeded all my expectations. Moreover, the SSL certificate allowed me to carry out secure financial transactions without extra expenses. The customer service was okay, although they did reply after hours of delay; they resolved all my queries and guided me as per my requirements.
After my experience with major hosting companies like Godaddy and Hostgator, I subscribed to BlueHost, Fortunately, BlueHost is much better than those in terms of server performance and reliability. This allowed my ecommerce oriented web application to run effectively even when there were more than 3K visitors daily. With proper optimization and tweaks with CDN setup, I managed to handle up to 6k unique visitors per day. Now that kind of performance is rather hard to come by with most other service providers.