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Sunday, October 2nd
Powering over two million websites across the globe, Bluehost has become one of the largest hosting companies. Bluehost, a Utah company, got its start in 1997 under another name and became Bluehost in 2003. In 2010 it was acquired by hosting giant Endurance International Group (EIG). A high-paying affiliate program has helped them to keep positive review blog backlinks sending new customers to their service.
Low Cost With All the Usual Offerings
Bluehost provides a website builder, shared hosting, WordPress and WordPress Pro hosting, WooCommerce-tuned hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting. Prices for the website builder, WordPress, and shared hosting offerings are just below $3 per month (billed annually) to start, with renewal jumping to $9.99 per month.
Freebies Included, But Only on the Top Tiers
The WordPress plans all include a free domain, a free Content Delivery Network (CDN), and free SSL. The free domain and free SSL are only for the first year. The CDN is for helping your website load faster by positioning a copy of your site geographically closer to the user trying to access it. Free domain privacy, however, only is offered in the top two tiers of WordPress plans. So be sure to opt in for the paid privacy if you buy a lower plan so that you don't get inundated with spam.
Too Many Negative Reviews
Bluehost is having problems with negative reviews of its customer support, problems with overbilling, the website builder malfunctioning with known issues that never get fixed, support reps not being able to find a user's account even with a screenshot sent from the user, and many more issues.
Bluehost hosting costs
Bluehost offers the following web hosting plans:
Not Enough Data Centers = Poor Performance
From a performance standpoint, Bluehost falls down in that it only has a single data center. This is made evident also by their poor time-to-first-byte performance in the browser of 701 milliseconds. This can be a big problem when heavy internet traffic slows down through a "bottleneck" of only being able to access servers at one location. If Bluehost had more data centers, the load and bandwidth would be distributed geographically so that more users could load more websites faster. And it's also better for overall redundancy, reliability, and fault tolerance. This is called out in user reviews by frustrated customers.
Another Letdown from an EIG-Owned Web Hosting Company
Again, the trend we see is that another EIG host has trouble delivering on the promise it gave to its hosting customers. You can offer guarantees and features and free things all day long, but in the final accounting if your users are unhappy, it's going to be bad for everyone. We recommend skipping Bluehost in favor of better alternatives.
Having a website is a necessity for anyone who wants to communicate with a regional, national, or global audience. Whether it's a website for brand awareness, eCommerce, media, services, writing, or a hobby, every site needs to be hosted somewhere. Since the web began, thousands of hosting companies have arisen, flourished, and disappeared. How do you know which companies available today will be around as long as you plan to have your website online? And, how do you know what features to look for?
For starters, be aware of your budget and what hosting companies charge. Don't be lured in by apparently low-priced plans without first reading the fine print. Many companies attract website owners with seemingly impossibly low fees only to jack up the rate at the time the hosting plan is renewed. Some offer a single rate regardless of the billing period. Others offer discounts based on whether you pay monthly, yearly or multiple years in advance. Yet others offer more advanced capabilities depending on the size and needs of your website and audience.
When considering features, make a list of what you really need, what would be good to have, and what isn't very necessary. For example, do you need a plethora of themes to choose from in a do-it-yourself direction, or would you rather have a web designer create a custom design for you? Do you need a high-availability, supercharged dedicated server or just a bit of space on a shared server? Do you plan to develop your own code or do you need a professional developer for that? If you don't have a domain, will the host sell you one? If you do have a domain, how hard is it for the host to transfer it and also migrate your existing site? If you need email, eCommerce, advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO), be sure to list those as well.
Something people almost never think about is security and performance. Most like to assume that all hosts are secure and provide fast page load speeds. But that isn't always the case! This is especially a problem when a host charges very low prices for marginally capable plans. Those services are not likely to be secure or fast. Beware of shared hosting, which means your site is among hundreds or even thousands of others housed on the same server. In a shared server, when someone else's site is compromised or has a problem, it puts your site at risk.
Finally, look at a hosting company's reputation. This is not just about how many years they have in business. It's a combination of longevity, how they treat customers, how many complaints are logged, and how many of those complaints are directly answered by a representative of the company. Ask other website owners, web designers, and developers if they like or dislike a hosting company you're considering. Most of them will be able to share good and bad stories about any hosting company.
When evaluating your list and narrowing down your choices, consider these factors:
TopConsumerReviews.com has created a list of the most popular or prominent website hosting providers to guide you in your research. We hope this information makes it easier for you to choose the best web host for your business that will make your website engaging, performant, affordable, and secure.
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