Bluehost first began offering web hosting services to both personal and business customers way back in 1996, this makes them one of the longest standing and most trusted of all web hosts. They are a large company hosting over 270,000 domains from there Utah headquarters. During the time Bluehost has been established they have seen many competitors come and go, not only are they still around, but they are right at the very top of the industry.
Bluehost currently offers only one hosting plan. However, this plan is so feature rich that is suitable for everybody, from a novice hosting a small personal site to sizeable business with multiple websites. This is a Linux plan so if you are looking for windows hosting then you will have to search elsewhere.
For a full list of features you should visit the Bluehost site here. Below is an overview of the features that we consider most important:
Bandwidth - 3000GB/month - This is a truly huge amount of bandwidth and 99.9% of people are going to get nowhere near using it all up, even if they have multiple websites. This means that you will not have to worry about extra charges for exceeding your quota even if your traffic grows rapidly.
Disk space - 300GB - Again, far more than most will ever need and great if you have large website that requires lots of storage for video, photo, and music files. To put it in context 200GB offers you enough space for a website containing 57,142 mp3 songs (averaging 3.5MB per file)! So once more charges for exceeding this limit are very unlikely.
Unlimited domains - This is a great feature; it allows you to host an unlimited number additional websites free of charge. All your websites then share the bandwidth and disk space from your single hosting plan. This then allows you to make best use of the generous bandwidth and disk space allowances. Until recently you would have had to purchase another hosting account for each website (domain), and with some companies you still do. This multiple domain hosting is a lot cheaper, easier to set up, and easier to manage than having a separate host package for each site. This is certainly the future of web hosting, and Bluehost is one the companies that is leading the way. Even if you think that you will only be hosting one website at the moment, many people soon find that another would be desirable, especially when it is so easy to add a new website (simply go to your account control panel, select add-on domain and enter your new websites domain name (i.e. [http://www.YourWebsiteName] .com), and that's all there is to it.
Free drag and drop site builder - This easy to use software allows even complete novices to quickly build there own web pages without having to know anything about HTML or code writing. This is a great tool for those that don't own a website creation software program like Dreamweaver or FrontPage. Even if you do have access to other software you may still prefer to use this software if ease of use and time are your main concerns.
Free domain name - Registering a domain name costs money (usually between $10 and $15 dollars per year), and you can not have a website on the internet without having it registered first. Bluehost save you the cost and hassle of registering your name. They also provide free name domain privacy. This stops all your contact details being broadcast on the WHOIS database. Most domain registration companies charge a fee for this service. Bluehost will keep on renewing your domain name registration free for as long as you host with them. Also, if for some reason you did need to change to a different hosting provider, the domain name is completely owned by, and registered to you. This makes switching very simple (some less scrupulous companies register the domain in their name, making transfer very difficult).
Up to 2500 secure e-mail addresses - One for each member of staff in your corporation! Or you can make your operation seem larger than it is by using different e-mail addresses (i.e. sales@....., support@....., enquiries@..... etc, etc).
Fantastico script support - Fantastico can instantly install over 50 scripts for such things as blogs, forums, shopping carts, and portals, all seamlessly integrated into your control panel.
50 MySQL databases - Even if you think that you don't need one database let alone 50, this massive number of databases is incredibly useful for most users, due to the fact that each Fantastico script you run usually requires a separate MySQL database.
Free site promotion tools - Tools for search engine submission, keyword analysis, and search engine position reporting are all included.
Free marketing credits - $50 of Yahoo credits and $25 of Google credits. Use these credits for pay per click (PPC) marketing campaigns, in order to promote your site to the top of the search engine rankings. For many people these vouchers will be as good as cash because they would have spent money on PPC services anyway.
Customer service & technical support
Bluehost have long been associated with exceptional levels of customer service, and the overwhelming majority of user reviews and anecdotal reports would seem to support this. Bluehost operate 24/7 toll free phone support, which is considered the "gold standard" in the hosting industry. This means when ever you have a problem, you can immediately get in contact with a technical support operative, and quickly find out what you need to know. Of course its one thing to have a call centre fully staffed with operatives 24/7, yet it's another thing entirely to have those operatives fully trained and able to solve any technical support issues that may arise. Bluehost are way above average in this area too, especially for such a large company.
Our advice is that you should always contact your chosen host company prior to signing up with them. Bluehost is no different, test out their phone support, ask them a technical question, ring them in the middle of the night (if you happen to be awake); this is a great way to see for yourself how they operate. Bluehost also offers an online technical support service, so it's probably worth test driving that service as well. The online service is not instant but it is still quicker than most. Our experience tells us that you are unlikely to be disappointed with either service; however, it's always preferable to check it out yourself first.
Bluehost offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, so if server uptime drops below this figure in any given month you are entitled to a free month's hosting. As you can imagine, this means that uptime rarely falls beneath this high threshold, because if it did they would not stay in business for very long. Server speed is something that's best tested by viewing sites that are currently hosted by Bluehost. They have a customer testimonial section and a forum where you will be able to gather some URL's for this purpose. That said, when considering the amount disk space and bandwidth you get and the money you have to pay for it, the server speed is generally thought to be excellent. The other aspect of performance which I feel we should mention is the control panel. This is where your entire site set up and maintenance occurs and is something you are likely to get to know very well. This means that a poor control panel can really ruin your hosting experience. Thankfully Bluehost uses one of the very best, a slightly customized version of cPanel. Speed and ease of use are both fantastic, and it is packed full of more features than most of us will ever need. The really great thing is that Bluehost provide a full working demo of their control panel on their website.
As you can see from this review, we like Bluehost a lot. They offer huge amounts of disk space and bandwidth, excellent customer service and technical support, and we really love the ability to host as many websites as you like on one account at no extra cost.
What this review has not yet mentioned (and it is the overwhelming reason that most customers have for choosing Bluehost), is that all this comes at incredible value for money! The 12 month package is $7.95/month, and the 24 month package is just $6.95/month. Undeniably, this really is superb value for money. Tie this to the fact that Bluehost offer a 30 day, full money back guarantee if you are not satisfied for any reason. You are also permitted to cancel your account at any time after the 30 day period. In which case you will receive a full refund for all unused months, on a pro-rated basis.
All these things when taken together mean that choosing Bluehost for your web hosting requirements is a very low risk proposition. In our opinion Bluehost are a high quality host, offering an excellent hosting service that will appeal to a wide range of individuals and businesses alike. We fully expect Bluehost to keep up the good work, and keep putting far more expensive companies to shame. At this fiercely competitive price point, there are very few (if any) companies who can match Bluehost's all-round abilities, and therefore we thoroughly recommend them to all are readers.