Bluehost is a popular web hosting provider, and as this Bluehost review will show, it's suitable for many creative professionals. Why do you need a web host at all? Well, few creative professionals can get by without a website to share their ideas, post their resume, or showcase their talent. For this, you’ll need a web host – a company that stores the pages and files of your website on its servers so users can visit your website 24/7.
If you’re looking to create a website for your creative business or to showcase your portfolio, you’re probably comparing the best web hosting services and wondering which is right for you. One option is Bluehost, which was founded in 2003 and now hosts over 2 million websites. It’s a popular option, though this may be due more to its aggressive marketing strategy as much as its quality. In our Bluehost review, we assess its pricing, features, interface, and support to find out whether it lives up to the hype.
Bluehost review: Plans and pricing
There are many pricing options with Bluehost, and you need to be careful not to end up paying more than you expect—Bluehost looks cheap at first.
The cheaper plans cover shared hosting, which means your website will share a server with other Bluehost sites, rather than having a private server. Shared hosting is sufficient for most small or medium creative sites, so that’s what we’ll focus on. The Basic plan starts at $2.75 a month and allows you one website and 50GB storage. The Plus plan starts at $4.95 and comes with unlimited websites and storage. Then, there are Choice Plus and Pro plans, starting at $6.95 and $13.95 a month.
But these low prices require a 36-month contract. If you don’t want to commit for that long, you’ll pay more; the Basic plan costs $3.95/month for 24 months or $4.95/month for 12 months. Even these prices only last for that contracted period—if you go for the $2.75/month Basic plan and want to renew after your 36 months are up, the price rises steeply to $8.99/month.
So, while Bluehost looks cheap at first, it becomes more expensive over time, which is why it suffers in comparison to other hosts, such as DreamHost, which starts at a similar price and stays that cheap.
Bluehost’s shared hosting has a long list of features. It’s a scalable system, meaning you can start small with the cheapest plan and upgrade later when you need more features. There’s a domain manager that you can use to transfer, manage, and purchase domain names for your website, and you get a free SSL certificate with every plan. This means all data sent between your visitors and your website is encrypted, keeping e-commerce transactions safe.
Bluehost doesn’t have its own website builder, but it does offer one-click installation of Weebly, a popular website-building tool. With Weebly, you can drag and drop elements onto your website and add powerful features without touching a line of code.
WordPress is a popular content management system that powers around 30% of the internet, and it comes pre-installed with your Bluehost account. You can also use WordPress to access detailed analytics statistics, which show you how many people are visiting your website. Several WordPress plug-ins are available, such as WooCommerce, which can help you set up an online shop as part of your website. However, WordPress does have a habit of trying to add plug-ins that you likely won’t need, which can clutter the interface.
Bluehost’s main e-commerce solution is WooCommerce, which works in tandem with WordPress. With Bluehost, WooCommerce can be automatically installed with support for unlimited products, site optimisation, a customer product review, website traffic analytics, and online payment processing support. It’s a simple way to have a powerful online store in a matter of minutes.
Bluehost review: Interface
Bluehost has an interesting onboarding wizard that helps you choose the features that you need from the get-go. You’re asked a few questions about what you want your website to achieve, and this sets up a few handy defaults. For example, if you indicate that you need an online store, the e-commerce platform WooCommerce will be automatically installed.
Bluehost has a friendly control panel that does a great job helping you through setting up your first website. If you prefer, you have access to a more advanced management tool called cPanel that’s used to administer databases and set up security features, but many website owners will never need to touch these settings.
Bluehost review: Support
Bluehost has a packed knowledge base with information on every aspect of its hosting. However, it’s sometimes hard to find the answer to a specific query, as the hundreds of articles are all bunched together into a few sections.
Ticket-based support and 24/7 telephone support are also available, and in our testing, we got responses to web chat queries within minutes. You can pay for specialised on-demand WordPress support, starting at $29/month, or a full content optimisation service with extended phone support, for $99/month, but we found the basic support to be more than adequate.
Is Bluehost right for me?
Bluehost has so many options and features, it can be considered a good choice for almost any creative professional. Even if you opt for the cheapest shared hosting plan, you still get a healthy 50GB of storage and 24/7 phone support.
It doesn’t have its own website builder tool, though WordPress and Weebly are available to install. If you consider yourself less technical, website builders such as Wix or Squarespace are easier to set up and use. But hosting a website on Bluehost gives you more versatility of the plans for your website transform.
Overall, Bluehost is one of the best website hosts in the business, and we recommend it to creatives interested in creating a WordPress website, WooCommerce online store or custom website.