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BlueHost Review

BlueHost Scorecard
Category Score
Core Features 8/10
Email Features 9/10
Support & Security Features 10/10
Website Statistics 10/10
Administration & Software 10/10
Multimedia Support 10/10
Included Scripts 10/10
E-Commerce 8/10
Overall Score 75/80
Rank #5
Rating 4 Star
BlueHost
Visit: Bluehost Web Hosting

Pros: Unlimited domains, subdomains, parked domains, storage space, bandwidth, email accounts and autoresponders; 24/7/365 live phone or chat support; 30 day money back guarantee; Comprehensive free script library and software support; $50 Google Adwords advertising credit; $25 Yahoo! Advertising credit; Free lifetime domain name.

Cons: Limited database, email forwards and FTP account allowances, No dedicated IP address, Private SSL Certificate not included in plan.

Overview: BlueHost is a good all-around cPanel host with a full script library and support for all of the current web software standards. They offer 24/7 phone and chat support with a support ticket turn around time of around 3-4 hours. Their advertising credits are a great way to get your blog or Internet marketing business seen in the right places. They limit accounts to 100 MySQL or PostgreSQL databases, 1000 FTP accounts and 50 email forwarders. If you are starting out in web business and don’t need a private SSL certificate, BlueHost gives you a great low price without sacrificing value.


BlueHost Review – Core Features: 8/10

During our BlueHost review, we found that BlueHost and Hostmonster are owned by the same company. Therefore, their features are essentially the same. So, the BlueHost review write-up will be similar to the Hostmonster review but will highlight the ways a BlueHost hosting account differs from Hostmonster. We also show you why BlueHost ranked just 1 point lower in our reviews.

BlueHost offers a respectable set of core features. You get unlimited storage space, bandwidth, domains, sub-domains and parked domains. The number of additional FTP accounts is limited to 1000. Realistically, this is plenty and you will likely not come close to needing this many FTP accounts. However, since there is a limit, 1 point was deducted from their core features score. This is one of 2 differences in features between the two hosts. Anonymous FTP, SSH shell access and international domains are supported along with .htaccess editing capability (to manage access to your pages and folders) and custom error pages (so you can keep visitors on your site even when a page doesn’t load).

BlueHost supports MySQL and PostgreSQL databases but limits the account to 100 total databases (for example, you can have 50 MySQL and 50 PostgreSQL databases). While we don’t like limits, 100 databases should be more than enough for any small to medium business website, blog or group of personal websites. There is no database size limit. BlueHost does not include a dedicated IP address with their shared hosting accounts, which costs them another point. A free lifetime domain name does come with each account. This means you can register a domain name with them for free and keep it, without having to pay for annual renewal, for as long as you use BlueHost as your web host.

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BlueHost Review – Email Features: 9/10

The email features included in all of the hosts we reviewed are essentially the same. BlueHost provides unlimited POP3/IMAP email accounts and unlimited autoresponders. They limit the number of email forwarders (or email aliases) to 50 (the second feature difference between Hostmonster, which provides unlimited email forwarders, and BlueHost). While 50 email forwarders is quite a few, and most websites will not need nearly that many, we would have liked to have seen more. However, since there is a limit, 1 point was deducted from their email features score. One very important feature to note is that each separate domain in your account can have its own email addresses. You also have control over catch-all emails. SPAM filtering is also included, which gives you custom filtering and black/white lists. Webmail is included and is compatible with personal email programs (Outlook, etc.).

BlueHost allows mailing lists and provides the popular PHPlist application to manage mailing lists. BlueHost’s email policy states that customers can send a maximum of 150 emails per hour. PHPlist allows you to “throttle” your email so you don’t exceed 150/hr. Be aware that emails/hour limits also include normal emailing activity. It’s best not to max out your emails/hour for just your list or you may not be able to send regular emails. During our BlusHost review process, we found that they are willing to work with customers who have larger lists and outgoing email needs. Their policy states:

If you have a legitimate need for more email capacity on your account, please let us know with a detailed explanation of why and BlueHost staff will gladly do our best to accommodate your needs.

As mentioned in previous reviews, if your lists get too big for your webhosting account, that’s a good thing and you are ready to transfer those lists to a dedicated mailing list provider like AWeber. This is an especially good idea if you don’t yet have the traffic volume or profit margin to accommodate the higher cost of moving to a dedicated server.

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BlueHost Review – Support & Security Features: 10/10

The support, security and overall service you receive from BlueHost is excellent. There is no setup charge for new accounts and a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their services for any reason. They have an extensive knowledgebase and great video tutorials. When you need to talk to a real person, they provide 24/7 live telephone and chat support. Our BlueHost review found their average hold time to be around 30 seconds. Their support is not outsourced; it is based in the US and the operators are native English speakers. Their support ticket system is also available 24/7 and most tickets get a response within 2 hours.

BlueHost uses Quad processor performance servers running Linux. They are monitored 24/7 in state-of-the-art data centers with redundant UPS and backup power generators. The servers have an OC-48 backbone connection. BlueHost stands behind their service with a 99.9% network uptime guarantee.

BlueHost employs a new resource management technique on their servers. If a website has a sudden burst of heavy traffic (which may exceed the server resources allocated to a shared account) the website is throttled down. While this may slow down your site or interrupt the experience of some of your users, it is better than the alternative at many other web hosts. Typically, if you reach that limit at some other hosts, your website is shut down instantly and automatically – your account could even be suspended. Not at BlueHost. They developed this technology specifically so website outages would not occur, allowing you to grow your website without worry.

In addition to server backups, you also have the option to back up your account from the cPanel administration panel. You can also enable hotlink/leeching protection (to prevent other sites from displaying your content on their sites using your bandwidth to do it), and password protect directories.

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BlueHost Review – Website Statistics: 10/10

BlueHost provides all of the standard website statistics for tracking and monitoring your sites. These include raw access logs, error logs, referrer logs, bandwidth usage monitoring and sub-domain statistics. They also include Webalizer and AWStats programs within cPanel to see a detailed graphical representation of all your traffic data.

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BlueHost Review – Administration & Software Support: 10/10

BlueHost uses the industry-standard cPanel administration and control panel for your hosting account. cPanel is user-friendly and powerful, providing control of everything from script installation and domain modifications to email and FTP. BlueHost supports the latest versions of all the current web application software, including PHP, Perl, CGI/SSI, Python, Ruby on Rails and JavaScript/DHTML. Each domain gets its own CGI-BIN. BlueHost allows custom PHP.ini files and has phpMyAdmin for MySQL database management. They also support PostgreSQL and have phpPgAdmin for PostgreSQL database management. They have Microsoft FrontPage extensions available and allow uploading sites from Dreamweaver. They are also WordPress ready.

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BlueHost Review – Multimedia Support: 10/10

BlueHost supports streaming audio and video along with Real Audio, Real Video, MIDI, Flash, Shockwave and custom MIME types. Combine this with their unlimited bandwidth feature and you have a great place to host videos, podcasts, webinars and other streaming video and flash content.

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BlueHost Review – Included Scripts: 10/10

BlueHost includes a comprehensive selection of 1-click install scripts in cPanel via SimpleScripts. They’ve got forums & message boards, form-mail scripts, image galleries, blogs, site builders, content management systems & portals, project management, polls & surveys, FAQs, customer support & ticket generation, shopping cart & e-commerce scripts, chat, mailing list scripts, search and a CGI script library. These include popular applications such as WordPress, Moodle, Mambo, Joomla, Drupal, X7 Chat, BuddyPress, SimplePie RSS, PHPbb, osCommerce, Coppermine Photo Gallery, Agora Cart, PHPlist, Dada Mail, BaseCamp, MediaWiki, SugarCRM, Open-Realty, LimeSurvey, Soholaunch Pro and many more.

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BlueHost Review – E-Commerce Features: 8/10

BlueHost does not include a dedicated IP address or a private SSL certificate in their shared hosting plans. The downside to shared IP’s is that some countries censor particular websites by their IP address. If a website they censor is on the same server as yours, and they block that website using the shared IP address, then your website and the hundreds of others on that server are also blocked. A dedicated IP address would make your website separate so that if the shared IP address was blocked, your site wouldn’t automatically be blocked along with it.

Also, if you have your own web store and merchant account (as opposed to accepting payments through PayPal or Clickbank where they process the transaction and therefore handle the security), and are using shared SSL, your checkout and account information pages would appear in your customer’s browser address bar as “https://secure.bluehost.com/~YourUserName”. That is much less professional than having your own SSL certificate, which would make your customer’s address bar read something along the lines of “https://www.yoursite.com/checkoutpage”.

BlueHost gives you hundreds of free professional CSS and Flash templates along with some site promotion extras. These include a $50 Google Adwords advertising credit and a $25 Yahoo! Search Marketing credit (both for Pay Per Click marketing of your website). Shopping carts include osCommerce, Zen Cart, Agora Cart, OpenCart, ShopSite and Cube Cart. They also provide search engine submission.

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4 StarBlueHost Review – Overall Score: 75/80

BlueHost has a large 1-click install script library and unlimited domains, storage and bandwidth. Their 50 email forwarder limit and 1000 FTP account limit are what causes them to be ranked just a sliver below HostMonster in overall score. In the vast majority of cases, these limits are high enough that it is unlikely your sites will reach them.

Our BlueHost review found them to be a reliable and dependable webhost that stands by their 99.9% uptime guarantee. They also have a strong reputation for superb customer support and customer service. The personnel in the call centers are friendly and knowledgeable, and don’t try to rush you off the phone. Hold times average around a quick 30 seconds.

We like their e-commerce extras, including the advertising credit included at no extra cost. However, we hope they offer more advertising credits in the future. Their base rate is $6.95 per month but they often run special offers. We have seen their hosting plan for as little as $3.95 per month for new accounts. Since there is no dedicated IP and private SSL included (though you can purchase them from BlueHost as an add-on to your plan), this is not the best deal for people with non-third-party payment web stores. This is a great host for affiliate, CPA, PPC and general Internet marketers, bloggers and people with multiple personal websites, especially those on a budget.

bluehost review

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