Bluehost is the Wal-Mart of hosting: mainstream, fast-growing, but crushing their space.
They’re doing something right.
With maturing internet culture, setting up a website super easy.
Anyone can start a blog in five minutes.
Not only that, but setting up and hosting your own website is one of the best online businesses – so risk-adverse.
Part of the wave of current companies making this possible is Bluehost, a web hosting company which markets its hosting packages to the individual and small business customer.
The hard part is comparing hosting companies- each offers its own set of packages, with varying amounts of the following:
- data transfer
- file storage capacity
- customer support
- add-on services
- security features
These are the qualities used here to rate Bluehost, with the addition of pricing, making possible a value comparison as well. First, a little background on Bluehost, followed by the various hosting packages they offer.
Bluehost has been around since 2003, when it first leaped onto the scene as a the underdog competitor to HostGator (one of the first ones ever, and certainly one of the first to make small scale web hosting available to the individual).
Back then, however, the top hosting companies like Hostgator and Hosting Zoom weren’t really that much more expensive than the rest so nobody had that much incentive to try out tiny startups like Bluehost. Besides, it was the Wild West days and it was scary enough just buying your own hosting, much less going with the most obscure hosting companies on earth. Back then, Hostgator was obscure enough for most of us!
Today, there are over 700 employees and BlueHost hosts over 2 million websites. In 2010, they were acquired by Endurance International Group, the same company that owns Hostgator.
Bluehost has managed to corner 1.2% of the web hosting market (1), whereas Hostgator has 1.5%. Leader in the business as far as market share goes is GoDaddy…by far, with almost a quarter of the world’s websites hosted with them.
In 2009, Bluehost began a very controversial and much-disliked practice called CPU throttling (2). Noticing that some of their clients used way more resources than others, they attempted to even out the scorecard and limit the heavy users. They began reducing those customers’ access to their servers. “Resources” in this context means anything that pulls on the server too much…data transfer is the main culprit.
What happened was these heavy resource-users saw their downtimes drastically increase, sometimes for hours at a time. Bluehost calls the practice “CPU Protection”, casting a much rosier glow than what’s really deserved, if you ask most of their clients who’ve seen their websites throttled in this fashion.
However, anyone not happy with CPU throttling isn’t the target ideal Bluehost customer anyway. One of the reasons they can offer such affordable hosting with such good service is that they cater to casual web hosting customers who don’t need all the extra resources that larger businesses do.
Bluehost offers a wide range of hosting packages, including the newest rage, “WordPress Hosting”. Their selection of products has earned them a favorable rating fro PC Mag, which gives Bluehost 3.5 stars out of five. (3) The only negative cited in their roundup of best hosting packages was that Bluehost doesn’t offer Windows Servers. For most of their customers, this doesn’t make a difference.
Here are the hosting packages offered by Bluehost, aimed at the casual website owner including the small business person:
(secure a special discount here)
- Starter. Starts at $2.95/month and then goes to normal price of $7.49/month. You get 100 GB of disk space for one website, plus up to 25 sub domains and 5 parked domains.
- Pro. Startes at $5.25/month and goes to $9.99/month normal price. You get unlimited everything…disk space, sub domains, databases, email accounts and storage, plus Global CDN and SpamExperts
- Business Pro. Starts at $13.25/month then goes to $19.99/month normal pricing. Same as pro, plus 2 SpamExperts, an SSL, a dedicated IP, a domain privacy, and SiteBackup Pro plus higher performance hosting.
In addition to these basic hosting packages, Bluehost also offers:
- VPS hosting (virtual private server)
- WordPress hosting (get automatic updates for WP
- Shared hosting (cost effective because your website shares space on the server with other websites)
- Dedicated hosting (costs more than dedicated hosting but offers more security and better service)
- Cloud hosting (build your site in the cloud, faster load times, less down time)
When you host with Bluehost, you get access to ‘Mojo Marketplace’ once you’re logged into your control panel for your hosting account. It’s much like going to the App Store on your phone or your computer. There, you’ll find a range of programs to add more functionality to your website. All you do is click an icon, type a few words, and voila you’ve got a whole blog platform, photo gallery, forum, whatever you’d like, added to your Bluehost-hosted website. Of course the biggie here is WordPress. Other 1-click installs include:
- b2evolution (content management system)
- Croogo (open source CMS)
- Geeklog (open source CMS)
- Ahchor (another CMS)
The wonderful thing about Bluehost’s 1-click install is that it makes installing a WordPress blog on your website even easier than it used to be (and it was never that hard if you knew a little bit about databases and such).
But many people don’t know and don’t care to know about databases, subdomains, or anything related to all that, so the 1-click install is a very attractive feature.
Literally, all you do is:
- Log into your hosting account.
- Go to the Mojo Marketplace
- Click on “One-Click Installs”
- Choose WordPress
- Hit the “start” button
- Choose your domain from a drop-down list.
- Hit “Install Now”
Finally, Bluehost offers an extremely attractive referral bonus, which has spurred thousands of Bluehost reviews across the blogger world. They keep it competitive, paying their affiliates $65 per sale.
Indeed there are a lot of good things to say about Bluehost.
Finally, Bluehost is known for its great customer service. In a spy operation conducted by PC Magazine, Bluehost customer service agents came through in flying colors after answering calls initiated by PC Mag’s “spies” (4).
To summarize, Bluehost offers a full range of well-stocked hosting packages at reasonable prices and a money-back guarantee.
It’s supported by great customer service, making Bluehost a solid choice for the newbie, novice, or otherwise greenhorn casual user looking to set up a simple website.
You might like our training because of social proof. And by that I mean other people like it.