This honest Bluehost review isn't just a recap of what they offer. This review essentially a story of my Bluehost buying experience. I'll start with ease of signup, a recap of my interaction with their support, and give a quick mention of their fast and easy 1-click WordPress install.
There’s a lot of buzz for Bluehost going around. Many bloggers, entrepreneurs, and other content creators recommend Bluehost. This made me curious. Is Bluehost really that good? Or are these people giving recommendations only shills? I had to know.
I decided to take advantage of a promotion where the first year of hosting was discounted and a free domain name was included.
Then I used and tested the hosting service for nearly 7 months before writing this review.
Ease of Signup
Sign up was easy enough. It took less than 5 minutes to get rolling.
There was no time wasting like account validation or a forced waiting period of 1 week to get started like I had experienced with some other hosting companies.
Before I got onto installing WordPress, I wanted to make a change. I wanted to associate a domain I had already owned, instead of using the new domain with my shiny, new hosting account.
That’s simple enough but I also wanted to change the name associated with the hosting (the new domain) to a new name (the old domain) as well. Unfortunately, you can’t do this by yourself.
You’re required to contact support.
Interaction with Support
Support to the rescue! I can’t think of a better way to evaluate a company, besides using their product or service of course, than to have a session with the support staff.
So I navigated to the support page. They discontinued the ticket system for this issue so I clicked on live chat.
I waited for about 20 minutes. I was thinking “man, I thought for sure they’d get to me by now.” I just happened to look up and see my uBlock Origin Icon showing numbers on this page. UBlock Origin is a browser extension that blocks malicious domains, some scripts, and obtrusive advertising.
When I clicked to view the logs, I saw multiple blocked incoming connections. “Ah ha,” I said. “This stupid thing is blocking the support chat.” I temporarily disabled the browser add-in and re-queued into the live chat. Within 60 seconds I was chatting with a friendly support person.
Lesson learned: Take it from me, before you engage with Bluehost support chat, whitelist or temporarily disable your browser add-ins that can interfere with connections such as script or ad blockers (disable Noscript, uBlock Origin, and maybe Adblock Plus, etc.).
Chatting with Support
I explained I received a free domain with my signup but I actually want to use one of my other domains for the account name. Basically, I want to eliminate any future confusion if I decide to add the new domain later. The support tech understood my concern but then said something that surprised me. “Oh, your account is less than a day old. I won’t be able to make this change right now. It would have to wait until [TIME].”
I thought that was weird but I guess it makes sense. This could be seen as a major account change since this is something they have to do. Or maybe it’s a hedge against refunders.
Either way, I thanked her for getting to me so quickly and I asked if there was a way to have my request done at the eligible time so I wouldn’t have to put in another support request sometime tomorrow. She double checked the time and confirmed back with me, “that time is slightly before my shift end. I could do this request for you.”
I thanked her profusely and we wrapped up the chat.
The Day after Support
The next day, I checked my account for the moment of truth…
Boomshakalaka! – I played a lot of NBA Jam as a kid.
Not only did my account reflect the change. I also received a follow-up support email:
The hosting account was now named properly. She actually followed through. That’s what makes support great folks. Having a team of people who can quickly and politely understand what you want, say what they will do, and ultimately follow through with what they say – even without you being there.
Side note: I’m writing this review months after I experienced this phenomenal support and I’m still buzzing with excitement. No B.S.
Next up is a quick WordPress install.
1-Click WordPress Install
Many hosts offer a 1-click installer for WordPress so you may think this would be an easy box to check on our list every time and we move on. However, I've actually tested a host where the 1-click installer did not install properly and caused many issues. In case you were wondering, the problem was dependencies and pathing were wrongly defined.
Bluehost has a 1-click installer that’s super simple to use and it actually works.
Piece of cake.
I wanted to test Bluehost hosting for at least 6 months before writing about it. This review is an honest representation of how I experienced their service. Besides getting hosting to “just work,” I also occasionally checked the speed and uptime of my site.
I wasn't disappointed. Yes, it's slower than a VPS but it's perfect to get started or to test a new site. They even upgraded the server I was on within that time. I saw a 12% improvement in site load time.
I started a side project called Excel for Busy People over there and even moved a few other niche websites over.
Update 11/17/17: I no longer own those niche websites (this is a good thing).
If you're looking for a cheap and reliable shared host, I recommend Bluehost. You get a discount on your first year and a free domain to boot.
Update 3/23/18: I started using Bluehost in 2016 and since then have outgrown them. Not all of my web properties have huge traffic but I do run a WordPress agency and have partnered with a managed WordPress hosting provider to conveniently keep my personal and client's web properties under one roof (not the same server but same hosting provider). This makes it easier to manage.
However, I still recommend Bluehost to beginners!