While starting a blog is fast and easy, it requires a couple important decisions.
Possibly the most important of all is the hosting provider that you choose.
This will be the service that keeps your website up and running. Choosing an unreliable one can spell disaster for your long-term success, so it’s important that you choose one that fits your budget and your needs.
Today we’re here to discuss one of the largest providers out there. This Bluehost review will give you all the details and impressions you need to make an informed decision.
Here’s the game plan:
- An Overview of Bluehost’s features
- A look at the Hosting Plans (including an in-depth comparison of standard vs pro hosting, and a look at their Cloud options)
- A brief history of the company and it’s reliability
- A look at the Overall Pros and Cons
Founded in 1996, Bluehost is a massive hosting provider with over 1.9 million domains and counting. A lot of major sites utilize it as a hosting service because of its reliability and clean track record.
The company’s software was built on open source technology which allows them to innovate and push the boundaries of modern hosting options. The data servers they use to host their client’s websites are located beneath the Wasatch Mountains in Utah.
Currently, the company employs over 700 people all working to provide exceptional service. Choosing Bluehost affords you some awesome features:
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Free domain registration
- Free site builder
- 24/7 customer service support
- Money-back guarantee at any time (no hidden fees or contracts)
- Unlimited sub domains
- Advertisement credits for options like AdWords
- Unlimited email accounts
On top of these features, Bluehost also offers several key advantages over the competition:
1. Exceptional Customer Support
While wait times will vary, Bluehost has a very strong customer support team that is capable of helping with simple issues, and technical problems.
You probably won’t run into many problems, but if you’re unsure how something works in the cPanel, how to install WordPress, or anything in between, they can help you with it.
2. Customized cPanel
Bluehost employs a unique customized cPanel that provides an intuitive and widely used option for managing your server space. The interface has been tweaked to be more user-friendly.
3. Instant Site-Builder
Within the Bluehost control panel, there is a convenient site-builder that can be used to efficiently create a website, or at least something to work with as a start.
4. Money-Back Guarantee
At any point during your subscription, you can get your money back for the period of time that is remaining on your plan. There’s no hidden fees or fine print to worry about.
Bluehost has a focus on simplicity that is present in everything they do. The website, the cPanel, and the customer service all reflect the similar focus on making things as easy as possible for their users.
Next we’ll take a look at the various plans that Bluehost offers and how the basic options compare with the pro variations.
The Three Levels of Hosting from Bluehost
Many hosting services will offer three basic types of hosting. These three options each contain their own tiers of service, but if you’re a beginner in the world of hosting, it’s important to know the broad differences between these three types:
Shared hosting is the best place to start. This type of plan involves you sharing space with other websites on the same server as the name suggests.
We’ll go into more detail about the levels of space and speed you can get with this, but all you need to know now is that this option involves sharing space on the server.
The next step up is a Virtual Private Server, or VPS. This level of hosting grants you your own space and allocation of resources in a virtual space. You don’t have your own server in a physical sense, but you have your own space and dedicated power within a larger server.
The highest level of hosting offers you an entire server, and all of its benefits, to call your own. This is the most expensive option, and it’s really only needed for the biggest of websites who need this level of power and customization.
Choosing Your Hosting Plan
If you’re just starting out, the best place to begin is with a shared hosting plan. Once you’ve chosen this option, you’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:
As you can see, that image shows some sweet discounts. If you’re interested in starting your blog with Bluehost, I can offer you a discount on your hosting, along with a free domain. All it takes is a small investment, and your blog can come to life today.
If we take a look at the three levels, there’s the starter, plus, and business pro. As you can see, the starter plan offers plenty of space for a single website, email storage, and unmetered bandwidth. You even get a little bonus in the form of $50 in marketing offers
That being said, you can have more long-term solutions with the plus level. This allows for unlimited websites, space, and bandwidth. It’s also only about two dollars more each month. For the small difference in cost, I would recommend the plus plan so you don’t have to worry about using all of your space in the future.
The biggest question comes in the form of uptime. This is how often the servers are up and running, and it’s the most important statistic when choosing your hosting. If your website is down, even for a day, it can cost you dearly.
Luckily, Bluehost promises a 99.99% uptime for their clients. This level of reliability comes from the company’s use of data centers, three of which are utilized by the company themselves.
Bluehost Pro Vs Standard Hosting
While plenty of people know about Bluehost, many are unaware of the differences between the standard and pro plans. In order to limit any and all confusion during the process of starting your blog, I’ve decided to take a moment to compare the two options.
The basic shared hosting plan offers you great hosting, plus a free domain. If we look at the pro option, there are a number of extra features available:
- Automatic backups
- Support 24/7 from the Bluehost technical team
- Free offers up to $200 in value
- Unlimited money-back guarantee
- Unlimited email accounts
- Maximum server performance
These are just basic features though. Let’s delve deeper into some of the major features that the pro plan offers.
A Dedicated IP Address
In many cases, on a shared server the websites will sometimes utilize the same IP address. This could potentially affect your SEO and rankings, so if you’d rather be absolutely sure you’re using a unique IP address, the pro plan offers that.
Having your own IP address also provides a few other notable benefits:
- You can access your site (regardless of domain issues) by entering the specific IP address. If you are having issues, you can access the server this way with an FTP client.
- Dedicated IP addresses will load faster as they are not shared with other sites.
- You can install SSL Certificates if you have your own IP.
- Many SEO experts will recommend and prefer websites with their own dedicated IP address.
The Security of an SSL Certificate
If your website has any kind of membership or option that requires customers to provide confidential information, you’re going to need an SSL Certificate. The pro option from Bluehost offers you a free certificate that you can use for multiple aspects of your site:
- An SSL Certificate will help create trust with your customers and assure them that their information is safe.
- With a certificate installed, you can safely recover from phishing attacks.
Increased Server Performance (Up to 5 Times Faster!)
A simple and constant fact about shared hosting, is that the server’s resources are shared between websites. This means that the amount of speed and processing power you have access to is limited. Again, this isn’t an issue with a smaller website, but for larger businesses, it can be.
The pro version of Bluehost’s shared hosting affords you more of this processing speed and power, resulting in a stronger website with better loading speeds. The speed at which websites load, even a difference of seconds, can negatively affect the bottom line.
Cloud Hosting With Bluehost
More and more, we’re starting to hear about “the cloud.” This term can refer to multiple things, but in essence, it is a place where data can be stored and accessed remotely. When you stream music or movies from Netflix, you’re streaming then content from a “cloud.”
Bluehost continues innovating with their latest option: cloud hosting. This new and exciting option allows you to host your website on multiple servers, thus allowing people to access your site quickly and easily from anywhere in the world.
Here are some of the benefits of cloud hosting:
1. More Secure
Since the very nature of cloud hosting involves multiple servers, Bluehost offers you increased security by mirroring your information across multiple devices. If any one of the servers fail, the failover technology in place will automatically work to repair the downed version of the site while the other two copies of the site rebuild and repair.
2. Faster Loading Speed
Cloud hosting cuts the loading speed of websites in half by using a varnish caching layer that focuses server resources on more taxing responsibilities. Anything that is static (like a landing page) is handled differently so that other requests can be handled more quickly.
3. A Simpler Design
Cloud hosting utilizes Bluehost’s ability to create simple and user-friendly dashboards. You can see your uptime, global reach, usage trends, and other statistics at a glance. With this kind of hosting, you won’t need to worry about high traffic taking the site down ever again.
4. More Options
Bluehost makes it easy to adjust your allocations of CPU and RAM power as you need it. With a cloud hosting plan, these things can be tweaked and adjusted on the fly without any reboots, usage fees, or downtime.
How Does Cloud Hosting Compare?
Bluehost has been offering cloud hosting since July 17, 2012 as part of a partnership with CloudFlare. Since CloudFlare is one of the largest content delivery networks in the world, this opens up a huge resource for Bluehost clients.
There are 14 data centers in the world owned by CloudFlare. Seven of them are in the United States, four are in Europe, and three are in Asia. Cloud hosting leverages these locations to provide users with a connection to your site via the closest possible data center.
Here’s a quick example: Let’s say you have three people visiting your site: one is from New York, one is in Los Angeles, and one is in Hong Kong. Cloud hosting will loads the page from the data centers nearest to each of those locations, thus increasing the speed for all three users.
You can switch to cloud hosting using the cPanel on Bluehost with as little as one click.
Choosing Your Blogging Platform on Bluehost
Bluehost is your hosting service, but you’ll also need a program to help you design and maintain your website. The most popular choice among these is WordPress.
That being said, Bluehost does offer support for other major content management systems (CMS) like Drupal and Joomla. Comparing these blogging platforms shows that each of them have their ups and downs.
For those who are just starting out though, WordPress is the best choice. If you’ve ever used a word processing program like Microsoft Word, then you’ll be right at home with WordPress. Take a look at the screen you’ll be using to create blog posts:
Beautiful isn’t it? All the tools are there and ready to use. No coding is required. If you need to bold or italicize something, the buttons are at the top. Even something more complex like linking to other posts or sites is simple and easy with WordPress.
Bluehost offers an incredible service and a huge number of options for the right price. Whether you’re just starting out, or you plan on taking your blog to the top, they offer all of the options and plan you’ll need.
They are at the cutting edge of technology with cloud hosting options already widely available as well. Let’s break it down:
- Free domain and low monthly prices
- Money back guarantee
- Customized cPanel with user-friendly options
- Quick installation of WordPress and other platforms
- High server performance (99.9% uptime)
- Advertising credits included with each plan
- Customer support is great, but hold times can be long.
- The Bluehost cPanel may take some getting used to.
Are you a user of Bluehost? How has your experience been with them? Share your experiences and your thoughts in the comments below!