PROS / Many extras come standard, like an anti-spam filter and shared SSL.
CONS / Tech support wait times are usually very long, and the staff doesn’t give you much personal attention.
VERDICT / You get more than your money’s worth when it comes to the options included in the starter web hosting plan.
Editor's Note: Bluehost's Basic plan does not offer 100GB of disk space or 100 email accounts, but does offer 50GB of disk space and five email accounts. We will fully evaluate and reflect this additional information when we next update our Web Hosting reviews.
Bluehost gives you more than you would expect from a bargain-priced shared hosting plan, which is why we rated it one of the top hosting companies in the industry. It is under the same umbrella company that our number three product, Just Host, is part of. The packages are the same, but there is a slight variation on support and usability.
The web hosting service provides you with one of the most comprehensive lists of features you can find in a shared hosting plan. It does appear as though the key components are limited upon first glance, but the numbers should be sufficient for those who only require shared hosting. For example, instead of the industry standard unlimited amount of disk space or email accounts, Bluehost limits you to 100GB of disk space and 100 email accounts.
We ran a load test for our website and found no server-side errors. Our site loaded in less than a second, which is an excellent load time.
Help & Support
Soon after paying for the service, we began received a phone call requesting verification by providing a scan or photocopy of the back of the credit card we used for the purchase. Bluehost is one of four web hosting companies owned by EIG that have made our top 10 list, and it’s the only web host to require this sort of verification. The support staff assured us it was for our safety, as well as Bluehost’s.
If you have questions for someone in billing or sales, expect an exceptionally short wait time for live chat. However, if you have a tech support question, expect the wait to be much longer. Bluehost’s support staff members typically juggle several customers at once, so the conversations may seem a bit stilted and impersonal. That said, the staff does its best to answer your questions.
Control Panel Options
After signing up for the starter web hosting service, we received an introductory email with all the links and information we needed to get started on building our website. At signup, you receive a free domain name for one year. Also, if you need to transfer a previous domain name to this host, it is also free.
The cPanel interface has a clean design and it’s intuitive. You are able to quickly log into the apps manager and download WordPress. Having the ability to utilize multiple website builders allows you to find a favorite builder and the template that works best for your site.
Some of the free services are easy to find and implement, such as the anti-spam filter, which has its own button on the cPanel. Others require a bit of research, like the use of the shared secure socket layer (SSL). We searched the knowledgebase to find instructions on how to use the free certificate so we could accept credit cards over a secure connection. In the meantime, Bluehost tries to sell you upgrades for add-ons such as your own SSL through ads on the side of the screen or pop-up ads.
Getting a website up and running with Bluehost was quick and easy, which is why it lands on our list of the top 10 best web hosting services around. The constant calls and the steady stream of ads even after we became customers were a bit of a nuisance, which just barely keeps it out of the top three spots.