In case you didn’t know to stay away from Bluehost, here’s your warning.
Most people recommending them are affiliates who make a big deal about how they’re “officially” recommended by WordPress. Maybe you didn’t know this, but Bluehost pays WordPress and their affiliates to recommend them, so this is about as unofficial as it gets.
Here’s the classic Bluehost story. Some “how to start a blog” YouTuber recommends Bluehost, so you sign up and get locked into a 1-3 year agreement. You pay it, setup your website, and all is good. Until a few weeks/months go by, then you wonder why your site is slow and goes down all the time. Their support doesn’t help, so you go to a Facebook group and ask the community:
By reading that story, hopefully I just saved you a couple hundred dollars and years of headaches. Because that happens to way too many people (usually people new to hosting).
Now let’s dive into why Bluehost isn’t good.
- Too many Bluehost affiliates
- They pay to be recommended by WordPress
- Bluehost is slow
- CPU throttling + 200k inode limit
- Only 6 data centers with no full page caching
- Frequent downtimes with no guarantee or status page
- Malware/Sitelock scams
- Renewals are up to 338% intro prices
- No automatic backups on lower plans
- Poor support, long wait times
- Slow dashboard
- Stay away from Newfold Digital
- What people say about Bluehost in Facebook groups
- 5 faster/better hosts than Bluehost
1. Too Many Bluehost Affiliates
People will say anything to make a buck.
Bluehost pays up to $150+/sale for affiliate commissions. Do the math: if you sign up for a $5.45/mo plan for 3 years, it costs about $196. Minus $150 in affiliate commissions leaves $46 which is the “real value” of their hosting. Do you think you’ll get great hosting with $46? Hell no.
Don’t trust any blog that recommends Bluehost.
2. They Pay To Be Recommended By WordPress
Bluehost and their affiliates brag how they’re recommended by WordPress.
Did you read the fine print?
Bluehost “donates” some of the fee back to WordPress (this is an undisclosed amount, but one can only imagine). Everything in the hosting industry is influenced by money now, so take this “recommendation” with a grain of salt. Same goes for SiteGround who I also don’t recommend.
3. Bluehost Is Slow
You can measure TTFB (time to first byte) in multiple locations using KeyCDN.
TTFB is part of core web vitals and is also 40% of your LCP score. With hosting/CDN being 2 main TTFB factors, Bluehost’s slow servers and “free Cloudflare” aren’t ideal. In fact, when I setup a website on Bluehost’s Plus Plan, Bluehost’s TTFB was usually around 1 second. This isn’t good considering PageSpeed Insights flags your TTFB if it’s over 600ms – which they did.
4. CPU Throttling + 200k Inode Limit
Instead of clearly listing how many resources you get on each plan (like CPU cores, RAM, and inodes), their hosting page only shows basic information like number of websites and storage. You can find more details which they bury on this page, but it still doesn’t list some basic specs.
This is usually a red flag.
Which means if your site uses too much CPU/memory (whether it’s from more traffic, plugins that use memory, or even bots hitting your site), Bluehost will throttle resources which makes your website slower and can cause 5xx errors. Hosts that don’t list basic specs like cores/RAM usually have very low limits, otherwise they would clearly list them in their comparison chart.
With Bluehost’s lack of resources, I don’t recommend running WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi, and high-usage plugins on most shared hosting (especially Bluehost’s).
In their resource policy, Bluehost only allows 200,000 inodes on shared accounts. Many other shared hosts allow 400,000 – 600,000. Which means if you want to use Bluehost for email, those emails take up a lot of inodes (files) on your account, and you may end up exceeding your limit. VPS plans have a much higher 1M inode limit, but I still wouldn’t recommend Bluehost for that.
5. Only 6 Data Centers With No Full Page Caching
Bluehost only has a few data centers and doesn’t let you select the location at checkout.
|Provo, Utah (US)||Mumbai (IND)||Hong Kong (CN)|
|Orem, Utah (US)||London, UK (EU)||Shanghai, Mainland (CN)|
Plus, their Cloudflare integration doesn’t support full page caching which improves TTFB in tools like KeyCDN. The closer the data center is to the testing location (and your visitors), the faster your TTFB will be. With limited data centers and no full page caching, TTFB is very slow.
6. Frequent Downtimes With No Guarantee Or Status Page
Search the word “down” in Bluehost’s 1-3 star TrustPilot reviews.
Without getting too technical, all those “99% uptimes tests” usually don’t mean anything especially because “scheduled maintenance” doesn’t count. That’s why I like to check how many bad reviews mention “down.” Bluehost has a lot, and instead of an uptime guarantee, they only have a brief network service uptime agreement with a blocked network status page.
7. Malware/Sitelock Scams
You can read a detailed review of this.
Bluehost, HostGator, and other Newfold Digital brands have an ongoing scam where they say you have malware, take down your website(s), then refer you to Sitelock (their partner) who quotes you hundreds of dollars each month to remove it and a monthly fee to protect your site.
Don’t fall for it.
8. Renewals Are Up To 338% Intro Prices
You only get 1 year of the intro price or 3 years for a somewhat discounted price. Then depending on which plan you use, it can renew up to 338% more (see their monthly pricing).
The main problem with this is that as your website changes and you add more plugins or get more traffic, your website will require more server resources to accommodate it. But since you signed up for 3 years upfront, your plan may not have enough resources and you will need to upgrade anyway. Not to mention once you learn how bad Bluehost is, you’ll want to leave but can’t since you’ve already paid upfront. And at that point, the money is considered a sunk cost.
Don’t fall for 3 year price traps especially with Bluehost.
|12 Month Term||10.99/mo||14.99/mo||19.99/mo||28.99/mo|
|24 Month Term||9.99/mo||13.99/mo||18.99/mo||27.99/mo|
|36 Month Term||9.99/mo||13.99/mo||18.99/mo||26.99/mo|
9. No Automatic Backups On Lower Plans
Again, if you check this comparison table, don’t get automatic backups on most plans.
10. Poor Support, Long Wait Times
You’re not going to get great support with cheap hosting, period.
You can expect long wait times (i.e. 30+ minutes) and they will most likely refer you to articles. I always look at TrustPilot reviews even though they’re solicited by most host’s support team. Bluehost used to have a horrible 1.5/5 star rating but it seems to have improved since it’s 3.8/5.
11. Slow Dashboard
Navigating Bluehost’s dashboard is a pain. It can sometimes take 5-10s for pages in the dashboard to load. It’s not a huge deal but can be frustrating if you’re used to working quickly.
It’s nice they use cPanel even after cPanel increased prices, so that’s a plus:
Their general dashboard isn’t bad either which includes server caching.
12. Stay Away From Newfold Digital
Bluehost is owned by Newfold Digital (formerly EIG).
They have a long history of buying hosting companies and running them into the ground like they did with HostGator. They’re known for cutting costs and “streaming” their services. But probably the worst part is a lack of innovation. As LiteSpeed, cache plugins, and other features continue to improve WordPress speed, Bluehost / Newfold Digital do little to progress forward.
13. What People Say About Bluehost In Facebook Groups
How many times do you have to hear it?
Join the WP Speed Matters Facebook Groups to get less biased feedback. Many groups are run by affiliates, and SiteGround’s community manager/affiliates are also admins for several groups (that’s the only reason you see SiteGround promoted everywhere). Don’t fall for either of them.
14. 5 Faster/Better Hosts Than Bluehost
After all that talk about affiliates, here I am suggesting Bluehost alternatives. But I assure you, all these hosts are significantly faster than Bluehost with better support (and TrustPilot ratings).
For shared hosting, use LiteSpeed! You get to use the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin which does an excellent job with core web vitals, then use my tutorial to configure the settings. You’ll also use LiteSpeed Cache to setup QUIC.cloud’s CDN which supports full page caching and several speed/security features. This will run circles around Bluehost and pretty much any shared host.
Choose a LiteSpeed Host
FastComet, NameHero, ChemiCloud, or Scala are the LiteSpeed hosts I recommend (just whatever you do, don’t use Hostinger). FastComet has the best pricing but uses SATA SSDs. ChemiCloud costs more but most of their data centers use faster NVMe SSDs (they also have a Turbo+ Boost add-on which doubles CPU/RAM to 6 CPU + 6GB RAM)… which means even if you sign up for 3 years, it’s scalable. NameHero and Scala are great for US-based sites and use NVMe SSDs on their US data centers (use NameHero for shared, Scala for cloud). They all use cPanel (except Scala uses sPanel), have at least 2x the inodes as Bluehost, with better uptimes.
Here are the specific plans I’d use:
|Bluehost Choice Plus Plan||FastComet FastCloud Extra Plan||NameHero Turbo WordPress Plan||ChemiCloud WordPress Turbo Plan||Scala Entry WP Cloud Plan|
|Cores/RAM||Not listed||6 cores/6GB||3 cores/3GB||3 cores/3GB (scalable to 6/6)||No limits|
|Storage type||SATA||SATA||NVMe (US data center only)||NVMe (9/11 data centers)||NVMe (US data center only)|
|Data centers||6||11||2 (US + EU)||11||3 (US + EU)|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed|
|Cache plugin||x||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache|
|CDN||Cloudflare free||QUIC.cloud ($.02-.08/GB)||QUIC.cloud ($.02-.08/GB)||QUIC.cloud ($.02-.08/GB)||QUIC.cloud ($.02-.08/GB)|
|Full page caching||x||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Major incidents||Claims of hosting terrorist sites||2022 DDoS attack on 3 data centers||2011 2-day node outage||None||None|
|Migrations||Free on qualified accounts only||3 free||1 free||200 cPanel + 10 non-cPanel||1 free|
|Monthly price||$5.45 (1 year)||$5.49 (1-3 years)||$9.98 (3 years)||$5.99 (3 years)||$14.95 (3 years)|
But Tom, then why do you use Rocket.net?
Simple. Because they average a <100ms global TTFB since it’s cloud hosting with Cloudflare Enterprise, 32 CPU Cores 128GB RAM, NVMe SSDs, and faster than SiteGround’s cloud hosting, Kinsta, Cloudways, and pretty much any other cloud host. The catch is – they cost more! The lowest plan is $25/mo and has just 50GB bandwidth. But if you’re willing to pay more for what I’ll call the “best/fastest hosting” I’ve used in 10 years of writing hosting reviews, that’s who I use. Since it’s a bigger investment, you should probably read my Rocket.net review beforehand.
But, you can try them for $1 your first month with code OMM1.
Whatever you do, don’t Bluehost with a 10-poll foot. Or SiteGround/Hostinger for that matter.