Bluehost Hosting Review

 
Bluehost is part of the Endurance International Group (EIG) hosting conglomerate. They’re a designer and developer-friendly, open source LAMP hosting company based out of Utah (both datacentres are there as well). They offer the full range of hosting solutions, with shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting.

Their offering and prices are identical to several other EIG brands, including Just Host and HostMonster. [link to Just Host review and HostMonster review]

Prices starting at $3.95/Month

Shared hosting

Bluehost has shared hosting solutions for everyone from those just getting started to established websites who need significant computing power.

Starter: $5.99

The Starter Plan is $5.99 per month on a 36 month contract, or $6.99 or $7.49 for 24 and 12 month contracts, respectively. If you sign up for 36 months, your first month is discounted to $3.95.

So what does your money get you?

  • 1 domain (registration for a year), 5 parked domains, and 25 subdomains
  • 100GB website space
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 100 email accounts (500MB storage per account, POP3 and IMAP)
  • $50 ad credits
  • 20 MySQL databases with 1,000 data tables
  • CloudFlare CDN
  • Site Backup Pro

Plus: $9.99

The Plus Plan is much the same, with more storage and databases available. The Plus Plan will run you $9.99 per month for 36 months (discounted to $6.95 for your first month), or $10.99 on a 24 month contract, or $11.99 on a 12 month contract.

In addition to everything you get with the Starter Plan, you also get:

  • Unlimited email accounts and storage
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited domains, subdomains, and parked domains
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • $200 in ad credits
  • SpamExpert protection for one domain

Like other hosting companies, unlimited does not truly mean unlimited. It means that users can pretty much use their accounts without ever worrying about whether they’re going to hit an upper limit, so long as they’re using them as they were intended (for web hosting). If you do somehow begin to get close to the upper limit and start adversely affecting others on the same server, then Bluehost will send you a warning before throttling your account. However, this system of regulated unlimited features works for some 99% of users.

Pro: $19.99

The Pro Plan represents a significant jump in price largely because Pro servers are loaded with far, far less (80% less) accounts, so each one is afforded far more server resources – basically a larger slice of the pie. As a result, accounts (and thus websites) run faster and smoother and are more capable of handling traffic.

In addition to being on a faster server, you also get some pretty nifty add-ons:

  • Lifetime domain registration ($14.99 per year)
  • SSL certificate ($4.99 per month)
  • Dedicated IP address ($3.99 per month)
  • Domain privacy ($0.99 per month)
  • 1 additional domain
  • 3,000 database tables (vs 1,000 in the cheaper plans)
  • Site Backup Pro (instead of basic – $1.99 per month)

All of the shared hosting plans are hosted on custom built machines with 8 16-Core AMD Opteron 2.4 Ghz processors, 256GB memory, 64TB SSD storage, all running CentOS 6, Linux Kernel 2.6.32, Apache, and PHP  5.4. cPanel access is through cPanel 11.42x.

WordPress hosting $24.99 per month

Bluehost also offers some WordPress optimized plans from $24.99 per month (about 100 million visits) all the way up to $169.00 per month (enough power for unlimited visitors).

It’s built entirely on their VPS platform, so all the specs and price points are almost identical, but with some clever add-ons:

  • SiteLock Pro
  • SiteLock CDN
  • Enhanced cPanel
  • Nginx architecture
  • Custom PHP-FPM configuration
  • Integrated caching by W3
  • MOJO Marketplace access

VPS and dedicated

Bluehost also have a range of VPS and dedicated hosting solutions. Taking the same custom-build approach to their servers that they take with their shared hosting, Bluehost VPS and dedicated server customers get fantastic hardware at a great price.

VPS

Each VPS servers uses OpenStack and KVM hypervisor to guarantee resources, and is run on very similar servers to their shared hosting ones. In addition to cPanel access, users are given WHM access, SSH, and root access with the freedom to pick whatever OS works for you (including Nginx). However, CentOS is the default.

Their VPS solutions start at $29.99 per month for dual 2.2. Ghz cores, 2GB RAM, 30GB SAN RAID-6 storage, 1TB monthly bandwidth, and 1 dedicated IP. For $59.99, you get 4GB RAM, 2TB bandwidth, and 60GB storage. For $89.99 per month, you get triple 2.2 Ghz cores, 6GB RAM, 120GB storage, and 3TB bandwidth. And for their top tier $119.99 per month Ultimate plan, you get quad 2.2 Ghz cores, 8GB RAM, 240GB storage, 4TB monthly bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. Other add-ons include:

  • Additional storage (for scalability)
  • SiteLock
  • SSL certificates
  • Site Backup Pro
  • Domain privacy
  • Google-powered Postini filters for spam protection

Dedicated hosting

Bluehost’s dedicated hosting plans start at $149.99 per month and go up to $249.99 per month. There’s a 50% discount for your first month when you sign up, and further savings if you commit to a longer contract (3, 6, or 12 months).

For $149.99, you get dual Intel Xeon 2.5 Ghz cores, 1TB mirrored (RAID-1) storage, 4GB RAM, 5TB network bandwidth, a 3MB cache, 1 free domain, and 3 dedicated IPs.

For their Enhanced $199.99 plan , you get quad Intel Xeon 2.5 Ghz cores, 1TB mirrored RAID-1 storage, 8GB RAM, 10TB network bandwidth, 8MB cache, and 4 dedicated IPs.

Finally, for the Bluehost Premium $249.99 plan, get quad Intel Xeon 3.3 Ghz cores, 1TB mirrored (RAID-1) storage, 16GB RAM, 15TB network bandwidth, 8MB cache, 1 free domain and 5 dedicated IPs.

Each dedicated server also gets dedicated support.

Perl

Bluehost, in line with their bleeding edge approach to hosting, runs Perl 5.12.8, one of the latest any hosting company offers. They offer access via SSH and cPanel for the deployment of any and all Perl scripts.

However, like other hosting companies, they are not a software company, and while they offer some Perl help in their knowledge base (24 articles) it’s hardly a robust effort (especially compared to the 137 php articles). If you’re going to be using Perl, you can expect to be doing a lot of troubleshooting solo.

Technical details

  • Secure Shell access
  • Server-side includes
  • Log file access
  • Custom .htaccess files
  • Cron job
  • Custom php.INI files
  • PHP 5.4, Perl 5.12.4, Python 2.6.6, and Ruby + Ruby on Rails
  • MySQL 5.5 and PostgreSQL 9, with phpMyAdmin and phpPgAdmin

Conclusion

Bluehost does have something for everything, especially for the more development-inclined individual. By using very up-to-date software, custom building their hardware, and providing a hosting atmosphere of customization, Bluehost works hard to attract and retain a hard developer core. So if that’s what you’re looking for in a host, Bluehost might just suit you.

Prices starting at $3.95/Month

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