Bluehost is one of the recommended hosting companies by WordPress from 2005 and offers different types of hosting plans. Shared hosting plans are popular among webmasters due to nominal price range. In this article we will discuss various features of Bluehost shared hosting plans with pricing comparison and important things to be considered before go for low end shared hosting with Bluehost.
Related: Review of SiteGround shared hosting.
Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans
Bluehost offers three shared hosting plans – Starter, Plus and Pro. Features and pricing of the plans are given in the below table:
|Storage in GB||100||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|File Count Limit||50K||50K||50K||300K|
|Free Domain||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|Site Backup Pro||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|SpamExperts||No||1 Domain||1 Domain||2 Domains|
|Email Accounts||Office 365||Office 365||Office 365||Office 365|
All plans include Microsoft Email with Office 365 license valid 30 days. You have to renew separately to continue the email plans with Microsoft. After running sites on Bluehost shared servers below are some of the things we noticed and think worth of sharing here for you to consider before purchase:
Bluehost cPanel has lot of features to control the behavior of your site. You will like the one click installer allowing you to install packages like WordPress in less than 5 minutes. You can manage files with “File Manager” or use FTP account to download or upload files to server remotely.
Overall we do not see any specific issues in using Bluehost cPanel and more comfortable in using FTP for quicker file management.
We would rate the overall support as “Very Average” and some examples are below:
- Support ticket – we raised couple of tickets and got the response after two days.
- Live chat – average waiting time varies from 5 – 15 minutes and more in some time.
- Surprisingly the tickets or chat history can’t be completely tracked from your account.
So do not expect one on one support just because you are paying for the shared hosting. We also have sites hosted with other platforms, bought many themes and plugins from various providers and the support for sure is faster than Bluehost regardless of services.
Pricing on Renewal
Though the starter plan cost around $3.95 with the offer always available from Bluehost home page the renewal will happen at different rates. Here is where most of the site owners got disappointed due to lack of patience and understanding on the initial pricing offered by Bluehost. Any offer or discount is ONLY valid on initial purchases and the renewal will happen as per the prevailing rate which is generally multifold than the initial offer. For example, if you have got an initial deal of $3.95 per month for 1 year contract the next renewal will happen with the prevailing rate at that point which is currently at $7.49.
In general the deal is only applicable for the first month of contract and remaining months will be charged at full rate.
Shared hosting is good for sites with less traffic and less server load but may not be suitable for many other type of sites especially updated frequently with multiple authors. Shared servers will host up to thousand sites resulting in reduced speed at any point of time. If you have concern on site speed then it’s a good idea to go for upgraded plans like VPS or dedicated servers from the start though the cost will be high.
Site speed on Bluehost shared servers will also get affected with more number of files on your site due to plugins you install.
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With our experience we noticed Bluehost shared servers will be down frequently without any prior notice causing unpleasant user experience. Sometime this may also cost loss of customer or sale for you. Even we have sites hosted with free hosting companies like Weebly for years without much downtime like Bluehost.
Though plugin installations are not restricted you may need to be careful in choosing heavyweight plugins especially for caching. For example, below is the cPanel warning message from Bluehost when we installed the popular W3 Total Cache plugin and activated both database and object caching.
Any plugins adding lot of folders and files on server should be avoided on Bluehost shared hosting environment to ensure the site speed. Learn more about Bluehost file count limit.
We noticed other scenario among webmasters spending less money on shared hosting and spending too much on add-ons. For example if you buy a starter plan and then buy add-ons separately for dedicated IP, SSL certificate, Site Backup Pro, SiteLock, etc. the total amount spent will be nearer to pro plan or optimized WordPress hosting or VPS hosting.
|Plan / Add-ons||Approximate Price per month|
|Shared hosting basic plan||$7.99|
|Site Backup Pro||$1.99|
Shared hosting pro plan costs $19.99 / 22.99 / 24.99 per month for 1 / 2 / 3 years contract including all these features with additional life time free domain, increased file count, unlimited domain hosting and improved speed. Since the pricing always changes, verify your final pricing before purchase.
If you have a simple site with less than 1000 visitors per day then we would recommend going with low end Bluehost shared hosting starter plan without much expectation on speed and support. If your site has considerable traffic and expected to grow in time or have an ecommerce site then it is better you can add some more amount and go for upgraded plans which will provide better speed and additional features start from the beginning.
- Cheap price for long term.
- Good for new bloggers with smaller sites.
- Though improved recent times, not great support.
- Frequent downtime.