Today I look at Bluehost which is rated best overall by Digital.com owing, in part, to their low initial cost, a 60-day money back guarantee, and 99.9% uptime guarantee. There's a lot to be impressed with on the surface. Bluehost offer everything from shared hosting, to dedicated servers, VPS and managed WordPress hosting. Just about anything or everything you could ask for.
As with most hosting providers (as we will see), there are some significant introductory offers available with Bluehost. Their entry-level WordPress hosting is £2.47 per month for the first 12 months (£29.64 per year). It renews at £8.98 per month after that (£107.76 per year), so has a 3-year cost of £245.16, and a 5-year cost of £460.68.
The actual cost will be higher as after the first your you have to pay for:
- Renewal of the domain name
- The SSL certificate (free on all other tiers)
That price looks around the same as their shared hosting option (though I only get pricing in dollars for that, but pounds sterling for the Wordpress hosting) so you'll get the same cost hosting a non-wordpress site if that's the route you took.
Pricing for Bluehost VPS solutions is a little less easy to decipher on the surface. It lists a cost of $19.99/month for 36 months. That's only applicable if you pay it all up-front. In the cart this exchanges to £17.97, so 3-year cost of £646.88, paid up-front. That doesn't include the domain renewal after 12-months. A month-by-month plan is £26.96/month, or a 12-month plan can be bought for £22.46/month (£269.56 payment for the first year). All of these renew at $39.99/month (around after that initial term. For a "fair" 1, 3, and 5 year cost, I think it's reasonable to assume you want to pay monthly for hosting. That's around £35.75/month depending on the exchange rate.
The first year cost would be £420.21, a 3-year cost of £1,278.21, and 5-years being £2,136.21. Again, excluding domain renewal.
Dedicated hosting offers a similarly attractive discount for a 3-year term, bringing the cost to an average of £71.90/month, though the next 3-year term would renew at around £100 a month. Their single-monthly cost for an entry dedicated server is £134.83/month; £1,617.96 for 12 months, £4853.88 over 3-years, and £8,089.90 for 5-years.
The basic WordPress hosting (and basic shared hosting) comes with 10GB SSD storage (fast disks), allows 1 website, and comes with an SSL certificate and domain name for the first year. I am disappointed that the SSL certificate is free for the first year only, especially when it shows in the checkout as being from Let's Encrypt, which provides free SSL certificates all the time - there should be no reason to charge after the first year!
The VPS hosting gives 30GB SSD storage, 2 CPU cores and 2GB RAM. It also allows for 1TB bandwidth (which should be enough for most sites on that spec server). It would allow multiple sites to be hosted on the same server (so you could run a test version of our site, too), and comes with cPanel to help you manage the server.
Bluehost's entry level dedicated server has 4 CPU cores with 4 threads, and 4GB RAM, It has 500GB storage, but doesn't specify the disk type. This package also provides 5TB data bandwidth each month and cPanel for helping manage the server.
Support is available for all hosting packages with Bluehost, and is billed as 24/7. Be warned, however, that 24/7 relates to the time you can raise an issue via chat or email - it doesn't mean someone will be available. Phone support is available 7am-12am EST, so I assume that those are the hours where other support issues would be responded to.
At no point during any of the checkout processes I attempted was I presented with an option to select a location of my hosting or server. Bluehost is a US based company which was founded in Utah, so it seems reasonable that their servers are located there. As such, this may not be a good option if you have EU based customers and need to store their data.
A great, affordable hosting option for the first year. Your bill for renewal will likely be a shock. It will certainly be a huge increase on the first year!
If you can afford the up-front cost of a 3-year plan, and are happy to pay their renewal prices for a domain name and SSL certificate each year, and you are also based in the US, then it's a pretty well priced option.