Getting started on a new website project, especially for a beginner can be overwhelming. Hopefully this review/guide can help determine if Bluehost is right for you. Let’s first go over who Bluehost is and some of the products they have to offer.
About The Company
Bluehost was founded by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in 2003. By 2008, there had already been 1 million domains registered by Bluehost. As of 2019, Bluehost now hosts over 2 million websites. Bluehost has expanded over the years by gradually offering more products such as vps hosting, dedicated servers, and optimized wordpress hosting. They are always making improvements such as faster speeds and more reliable uptime that result in a better product for their customers. Bluehost builds all of their servers in house, unlike many other hosting companies who simply rent their servers from a 3rd party. Bluehost is now officially recommended by wordpress.com. Here is a picture below from inside the data center at Bluehost.
Let’s look at some of the hosting options Bluehost has to offer.
What is shared hosting?
Shared hosting is the most popular choice among those building their first website. Shared hosting basically allows multiple websites (your website and other people’s websites) to keep their files on the same server. This is great because you can share the cost of renting the server space with the other websites. That is why shared hosting is the least expensive. There are some disadvantages of shared hosting as well. If your site combined with the other sites are all very active, the load time of all the sites on the same server may be slow. Also, you can not customize the server in any way. Both of these disadvantages will not not effect your average website, which again, makes this a good starter plan.
There are 4 shared hosting options to choose from at Bluehost.
The basic shared hosting plan is great for a basic personal website or blog. This is their least expensive plan at $2.95 per month. Keep in mind that with this plan you can only host one website. If you want to build any additional sites, you will have to upgrade. Not a big deal and a fine idea to start with this plan but from past experience, this was my main reason for upgrading. One thing to note, all of Bluehost’s plans come with a free ssl certificate. This is a big deal since google updated the chrome browser to say “Not secure” in the address bar of a site without an ssl certificate. Some other hosting companies charge as much as $150 per year for an ssl certificate.
The plus shared hosting plan and the choice plus shared hosting plans are the same price at $5.95 per month. These plans have a couple upgrades over the basic; they allow you to host unlimited websites, you get some free marketing bonuses, and you can include domain privacy when you register (without domain privacy the website owner is public information).
Bluehost now has a gopro shared hosting package. This is $13.95 per month. The main upgrade here is the dedicated ip address. The dedicated ip will give your website a unique address on the shared server. This helps because there are a few applications that will not run on your website without a dedicated ip. If you are building an online store for example, you may want this option because some shopping cart programs require the dedicated ip.
What is vps hosting?
Vps stands for virtual private server. This differs from the shared hosting options in that your website will reside in a server space not connected to the other websites on the same server. The biggest advantage to this is that your website has an allocated amount of RAM that only you can use. If your website has alot of traffic, you may need all of the RAM to keep the site speed up.
Bluehost has 3 vps hosting plans; the standard, enhanced, and ultimate.
The main difference between the plans is the amount of RAM and bandwith you get. The vps plans start at $19.99 per month and go up to $59.99 per month. The ultimate vps plan is the most expensive and obviously will give you the most amount of RAM and bandwith.
What is dedicated hosting?
This is just what it sounds like. With dedicated hosting, you are renting the entire server. Only your website’s files will be stored on this server. You can add any server software you want and also change the server configurations if you need to. A dedicated server will often result in better reliability and site performance. With dedicated hosting, you obviously have a dedicated ip address as well. With cyber security becoming more and more an issue, businesses and large companies are turning towards dedicated server hosting for more protection.
Bluehost has 3 dedicated server options to choose from; standard, enhanced, and premium.
The main differences here are the speed, storage, ram, and bandwith. The speed is the server processor speed. Just like a regular computer, this is the speed at which the processor sends signals to perform tasks, like opening files. The storage is measured in GB and T, also just like a regular computer. The bandwith refers to the amount of traffic your website will be able to handle. RAM lets the server perform alot of different functions at once. Basically the bigger, more complex, and more website visitors you have, the more of all of these you need. The standard plan starts at $79.99 per month and the premium plan is $119.99 per month.
Bluehost Compared To Other Hosting Companies
In order to compare apples to apples, you have to compare the basic shared hosting packages with some other companies basic plans. As you can see, with just the basic shared hosting plan, Bluehost offers a free domain name and a free ssl certificate. Most hosting companies only offer these with more advanced, more expensive hosting plans.
Purchasing A Hosting Plan
Ok, so we’ve gone over the basics of the hosting plans that Bluehost has to offer. Now I’m going to go over the process of purchasing a hosting plan and some of the basic tasks to get your website live. You may want a new website for your business, or family travel blog, or your dog’s blog, or whatever. I decided I am going to make a new website about how to build a new masonry fireplace and chimney (yes I really know how to build one). I broke down the process into ten steps.
I go to Bluehost.com and from the main page, I selected the get started tab.
I then selected the basic hosting plan.
Now I have to enter the domain name I want. I am creating a website about how to build a masonry fireplace and chimney so I entered realmasonryfireplaces.com.
Good news, the domain name was available. If the domain name you want is already taken, you may have to pick a new name or slightly alter the one you want. After the domain name was in and available, I clicked next.
You now have to create your account, choose any package extras, and enter payment info.
I entered in my personal information. Then, in the package information section, I chose to only go with the 12 month plan. The price for this plan is $4.95 per month. If I decided to stick with the 3 month plan, the price was $2.95 per month.
After choosing the package, I selected what package extras I wanted. The only extra I chose was the domain privacy. The domain privacy keeps the identity of the website owner private. not a big deal to me, but I know many who always select this option.
The domain privacy was $.99 per month, or just under $12.00 for the year. I then entered my payment information and selected submit.
After you hit submit, they will take you to a welcome page where you will have to create your new hosting account password. This page will also have a copy of your receipt. Your receipt should also be emailed to you so don’t worry if you don’t save it from this page.
I clicked on the set password link. It then opens up a new window where I made up my new hosting account password and hit next.
They now take you to another congratulations page, where I hit login.
It should automatically log you in so you don’t have to enter the new password you just created. It then takes you to a page where you can pick a wordpress theme if you want. They do this because wordpress comes pre installed. You can always pick a theme later, so I clicked on the skip this step link at the bottom.
It then takes you to a page where you can start building a site with wordpress of go to your new account homepage. I clicked on the go to my Bluehost account link.
Now you will be at your new Bluehost hosting account’s homepage.
You do NOT have to use wordpress if you don’t want to. WordPress is by far the most popular and easiest way to build a new website, so Bluehost preinstalls it for you. If you DO want to create a new site using wordpress, click on the log into wordpress link at the center of the page. If you do not want to use wordpress to create your new site, just click on the advanced tab on the left of the screen. The advanced tab will take you to your cpanel homepage where you have a file manager link. The file manager in cpanel is where you can manually upload all of your websites files to. If this is the way you want to go, you can see my post on how to build a website from cpanel.
For right now I decided to use wordpress. This will most likely be the fastest way to get a functional site up and running. After clicking on the log in to wordpress link, it takes you to a page where you can select if you are building a personal or business website.
I selected personal. This opens up another page where you will have to enter information about your new website.
You will then have to enter your new website’s page title and site description. You will always be able to change these later.
I entered my new website title, the website description, then clicked on the next step tab. They will now bring you to a new page where you can choose the homepage format of your new website.
Basically here, you are deciding want you want displayed on your website’s homepage. Do you want your most recent posts, articles, or news on the home page? Do you want your homepage to be a static (a page that stays the same but with links to any new posts, articles, or new content) page? With a static homepage, there are also options for the sidebars to contain links to your most recent content or site’s comments. I chose a static welcome page. It then brings you to the option of creating a starter contact us page.
I do want my website to have a contact page and I will want my website’s visitors to be able to contact me, so I selected yes. It then takes you to a new page asking if you want to connect to your jetpack profile. Jetpack is a wordpress plugin that allows you to track your website’s stats, such as who visits your site, how they got there, etc.
You can always add this later, I chose not now. It then brings you to a new page where it shows you some of the options you have chosen up to this point. \
I looked them over then clicked on customize your site.
You are now in the standard wordpress dashboard. You can continue to edit your website from here using the dashboard. To make your site live, you have to hit the x in the upper left corner, then hit the blue launch your site button in the center-right of the next page. If you want to know how to build a website using wordpress, check out my other post here.
Ok, so we went over all the basics about hosting and walked through the process of purchasing a basic shared hosting plan from bluehost. If you want to give Bluehost a try, you can do so here. Please feel free to use the comment section below to ask or add anything. Thanks.