Bluehost Review: Don’t Fall For The “How To Start A Blog” And “Recommended By WordPress” Affiliate Trap (They Actually Suck)

If I had one word to describe Bluehost, it’s overhyped.

The whole reason Bluehost got so big is their affiliate program. All these “how to start a blog” affiliates talk about is how Bluehost is recommended by WordPress (enough though Bluehost pays them) and how it’s so easy to start a blog with them using cPanel + free SSL. But they don’t tell you about Bluehost’s overcrowded servers (TTFB is part of core web vitals), CPU throttling, no uptime status page (red flag), and pretty awful support. For serious websites, don’t use them.

Bluehost uses slower technology like Apache servers and slower SSD storage (compared to faster technology like LiteSpeed servers, Vultr High Frequency, and NVMe storage). They use CPU throttling which basically slows down your website and causes 503 errors if you use too much CPU. And they don’t have an uptime status page which makes their “uptime tests” false.

But even more telling is the amount of negative feedback Bluehost gets in Facebook Groups like WP Speed Matters. Complaint after complaint, you will find endless amounts of reasons not to use Bluehost. I included a lot of this feedback which you’ll find in this honest Bluehost review.

Bluehost review

 

1. Only Affiliates Recommend Bluehost

Ugh, so many sellouts.

WP Beginner, Pat Flynn, and the endless amount of “how to start a blog” YouTubers and bloggers. All these people care about is making commissions and it seriously needs to stop.

Bluehost pays up to $150+/sale for affiliate commissions. Do the math: if someone signs up for a $5.45/month plan for 3 years, it’s about $194. Minus $150 in affiliate commissions leaves $46 which is the “real value” of their hosting. Do you think you’ll get great speed/support with that?

How to start a blog bluehost affiliates

How to start a blog with bluehost

Bluehost affiliate promotion

 

2. They Pay To Be Recommended By WordPress

Affiliates always brag how Bluehost is officially “recommended” by WordPress.

Bluehost recommended by wordpress

But if you scroll down the page, you’ll see Bluehost “donates” some of the fee back to WordPress (it’s an undisclosed amount, but you can imagine it’s a lot). Which means they pay WordPress to be there. Everything in the hosting industry is influenced by money, so take this “recommendation” with a grain of salt. Same goes for SiteGround who I also don’t recommend.

Wordpress donates to hosting

 

3. Bluehost Has A Slow TTFB

I think we can agree most speed tests are BS, but here’s mine. Take it or leave it.

I signed up for Bluehost’s Plus Plan and tested load times and TTFB in various tools. I also signed up for 15+ other hosting plans and did the same thing. All websites used the same environment: same Astra Starter Site, plugins, SSL, no cache plugin, no CDN. Server location was the main variable. KeyCDN tests TTFB in 10 global locations, so you can get a good idea of each host’s TTFB based on KeyCDN’s report (the further away the server, the slower the TTFB).

TTFB was typically around 1 second which is bad considering PageSpeed Insights flags it if it’s over 600ms. TTFB also impacts several other parts of core web vitals like LCP. So if you want a fast website, do not use Bluehost. You can find many complaints about this in Facebook groups.

Speed-up-slow-bluehost

 

4. CPU Throttling + 503 Errors

Like all shared hosts, Bluehost uses CPU throttling.

This happens when your website uses too much CPU (whether it’s from plugins, bots, page builders, WooCommerce, themes, traffic, etc). If it does, Bluehost will throttle your CPU which makes your website + admin panel slow which can also result in 503 service unavailable errors.

All shared hosts are susceptible to 503 errors, but it’s pretty common with Bluehost. While there are several ways to reduce CPU usage, many people find themselves having to upgrade. Maybe you’re getting more traffic and are outgrowing your resources. Or maybe you added a few extra plugins. Whatever the reason, this is one of the biggest limitations of shared hosting.

Bluehost cpu throttling
Source: Bluehost’s Wikipedia page

Bluehost resources must be consistent with a shared hosting environment and must otherwise comply with this Agreement. Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse effect on server performance. Similarly, accounts with an excessive number of database tables (i.e., in excess of 5000 database tables) or of an excessive database size (i.e., in excess of 10GB total database usage or 5GB database usage in a single database) negatively affect the performance of the server.

It’s never a good idea to run WooCommerce on shared hosting. It’s also ideal to not run heavy page builders/plugins such as Elementor, Divi, or WPML on shared hosting.

 

5. Low Inode Limits (200,000)

In the quote above, you can see Bluehost’s inode limits (just a term for “files”).

Bluehost only allows 50,000 inodes (soft limit) and 200,000 inodes (hard limit) which is low compared to most shared hosts. People usually only exceed inode limit issues when they use their web hosting for email since they can take up a lot of space. That’s partially why premium hosts like Cloudways or Kinsta don’t even offer email hosting and expect you to use a third-party service like Google Workspace (what I use). If you do use your hosting for email, make sure to clear out old emails and do other things to reduce CPU like avoiding high CPU plugins.

 

6. Limited Data Center Locations

Bluehost only has a few data centers and they don’t let you select the location when you purchase a hosting plan. If you test your site in KeyCDN’s performance test, you can obviously see the closer the data center is to the testing location (and your visitors), the faster the TTFB.

123
Provo, Utah (US)Mumbai (IND)Hong Kong (CN)
Orem, Utah (US)London, UK (EU)Shanghai, Mainland (CN)

 

7. Dashboard Is Slow

Navigating Bluehost’s dashboard is a pain. Last time I checked, it took about a minute for the dashboard to load. It’s not a huge deal but can be frustrating if you’re used to working quickly.

Bluehost slow dashboard

 

8. Limitations On Lower Hosting Plans

Most of Bluehost’s limitations can be found on their comparison chart.

Probably the biggest limitation is CPU performance and no automatic backups on lower plans.

Bluehost compare plans

 

9. Prices Are Only Cheap For 1-3 Years

You have to sign up for 1-3 years to get Bluehost’s advertised prices.

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 sunk costs.

Bluehost pricing

 

10. Downtimes Can Be Long And Frequent

Bluehost does not have good uptimes.

Uptimes tests usually don’t mean anything since it depends on which server and node you get. So even if your website is up, it doesn’t mean other nodes don’t go down. Bluehost also doesn’t have an uptime status page showing scheduled maintenance (most hosts do) which is a red flag. The closest thing you have is Bluehost’s Downdetector profile and their apology letter in 2016.

Bluehost uptime report
Bluehost’s Downdetector profile

Bluehost downtimes

 

11. Mediocre Support With Long Wait Times

You’re not going to get great support with cheap hosting.

You can expect long wait times (i.e. 30+ minutes) and their staff won’t be as tech-savvy or helpful as other premium hosts. I always like to look at TrustPilot ratings too. Bluehost used to have a horrible 1.5/5 star rating but it seems they have improved it recently since it’s now 3.1/5.

Bluehost support review

Bluehost trustpilot review

Bluehost review on trustpilot

 

12. Avoid These 80+ EIG-owned Hosting Companies

You may have heard of EIG.

If you haven’t, they are a publicly traded company (here’s their stock ticker) known for buying 80+ hosting companies and running them into the ground with a sole purpose of cutting costs. By cutting costs, it results in declined support, overcrowded servers, and stagnant technology.

Eig-hosting-companies

 

13. Unbiased Bluehost Feedback In Facebook Groups

It’s a negative.

Join the WP Speed Matters Facebook Groups to get unbiased feedback. Many groups are run by affiliates and SiteGround’s community manager/affiliates are also admins for several groups.

Bluehost-managed-wordpress-hosting

Bluehost vs kinsta vs cloudways

Bluehost hostgator godaddy feedback

Bluehost is the issue

 

14. Pros & Cons

Bluehost Pros

  • Cheap intros
  • cPanel is easy
  • Server caching
  • Easy to install WP
  • Cloudflare integration

Bluehost Cons

  • Slow TTFB
  • Slow dashboard
  • CPU throttling
  • Owned by EIG
  • Long wait times
  • Low inode limits
  • Too many affiliates
  • 1-3 year price trap
  • Limited data centers
  • Frequent downtimes

 

15. Bluehost Alternatives

I use Cloudways Vultr HF which is a popular choice in Facebook Groups. You can check my GTmetrix report, TTFB, core web vitals, or click through my site to test the speeds yourself.

I moved from SiteGround (who is faster than Bluehost) to Cloudways which cut load times in half and fixed CPU issues. Vultr HF is cloud hosting with faster CPU clock speeds and NVMe compared to shared hosting + slower SSDs on Bluehost. They also have a Redis add-on which reduces CPU with efficient memory usage. It’s monthly pricing with 22 Vultr data centers. Main cons are no file manager or email hosting, and the Breeze plugin + CloudwaysCDN aren’t great. I suggest WP Rocket or FlyingPress, Cloudflare or BunnyCDN, and Google Workspace. They do 3-day trials, a free migration, and a promo code for 30% off 3 months. Some people say they’re techie since you have to launch a Vultr server and connect your domain name, but it’s not hard:

Cloudways launch vultr hf server

Then request a free migration, activate the Redis add-on, and watch the magic happen:

Cloudways vs bluehost
Improve speed, TTFB, and core web vitals
Cloudways backend speed
Fix slow admins, CPU issues, and 503 errors
Siteground vs cloudways pricing
Monthly pricing with no high renewals
Cloudways vs bluehost facebook feedback
Better feedback in Facebook Groups

Spend 5 minutes looking at recent Facebook polls on “the best hosting,” migration results of people who switched, and unbiased feedback in Facebook groups (click thumbnails to enlarge).

Favorite-cloudways-server

Moving away from siteground

Cloudways Vultr High Frequency starts at $13/mo and is cloud hosting with faster NVMe SSD storage (compared to Bluehost’s shared hosting with slower SATA SSDs).

 
LiteSpeed hosting on NameHero is another solid choice (if you haven’t heard of LiteSpeed, go read about it). It’s cheaper than Cloudways because it’s shared hosting – but faster than most.

I’m not sure why people use other LiteSpeed hosts like Hostinger/A2 when you get more CPU cores + RAM with NVMe on NameHero. You can use the LiteSpeed Cache plugin with server-side caching, QUIC.cloud, HTTP/3, and Redis. This is arguably the fastest setup you’ll find on a budget. I don’t know anywhere else you get 3 CPU cores, 3GB RAM, and NVMe on LiteSpeed for $8/mo. WP Johnny and I both have solid guides on configuring LiteSpeed Cache with QUIC. The main con is they only have data centers in US + Netherlands. Otherwise they have higher uptimes with less ‘frequent maintenance’ compared to Hostinger/A2’s uptime status page with US-based support. Ryan (the founder) is a down to earth guy if you watch his YouTube channel.

Namehero plans resources
NameHero has more resources compared to similar LiteSpeed hosts (see specs page)

Web server poll

Web server poll oxygen

Namehero +1

Bluehost vs namehero

Namehero vs bluehost trustpilot review

Cloudways trustpilot review

Namehero trustpilot review

Affiliate Disclaimer: I use affiliate links to Cloudways + NameHero and appreciate your support. But what do I know? I’m just a biased affiliate. Do your own research in FB groups.

Is Bluehost good for WordPress?

Bluehost is OK if you're just starting a website, but very few serious WordPress users use Bluehost. They're mainly only promoted by affiliates but their speed, support, uptimes, and overall reliability are not the best.

Is Bluehost fast?

No, Bluehost had a slow TTFB in multiple performance tests and this is often complained about in Facebook Groups. They use Apache servers with slower SSDs than most hosts.

How is Bluehost's support?

Bluehost's support can have long wait times and aren't always able or able to fix the problem. Bluehost's less than average support is the main complaint in TrustPilot ratings.

What are the main complaints about Bluehost?

Slow load times, unhelpful support, and frequent downtimes are the 3 main complaints about Bluehost.

I personally wouldn’t touch Bluehost with a 10-poll foot, but that’s your choice.

Cheers,
Tom

About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis writes WordPress speed and SEO tutorials out of his apartment in Denver, Colorado. In his spare time, he plays Rocket League and watches murder documentaries. Read his bio to learn 50 random and disturbing things about him.

9 thoughts on “Bluehost Review: Don’t Fall For The “How To Start A Blog” And “Recommended By WordPress” Affiliate Trap (They Actually Suck)

  1. Hey Tom,
    I host my website on Bluehost and I am an affiliate (not one of those 10k-100k affiliates though). I started blogging on shared hosting, I’m now at a stage where I’m abit more serious and decided to switch to a VPS with Bluehost. Its ofcourse not as cheap as shared hosting, but in conjunction with that, my theme & CDN, site speed is quite good.
    I consider myself to have an honest look at those that I am affiliated with and only recommend those that I use. I will admit that the shared hosting can be slow when you start generating traffic or have a heavy site, but I personally cant fault their support. Im not sure how often you’ve personally come into contact with them, but for me, I’ve had one ocassion out of approx 30 where I thought they werent going to be able to help me (i kindly asked to speak to someone else, who was capable). They helped me move over from shared server to the VPS aswell, and this support Im mentioning Ive had on shared and the VPS, so it wasnt just a matter of paying more for better service… Although the waiting times are much shorter.

    I recommend Bluehost for people starting out with a blog, especially the shared plan, as 99% of people who start dont have the perseverance to actually turn their blog into a money making business. The low cost provides an easy entry point to “test the waters” and learn a thing or two before getting serious.

    Obviously if you arent new to blogging and have a plan and knowledge to implement it, then go straight for faster hosting like VPS/Cloud/Dedi, whether thats from Bluehost or wherever.

    I actually came to the comment section to point out that in your one pic of everyone recommending bluehost, that Neil Patels article also recommends and is affiliated with Bluehost

    1. Hey David,

      You’re right, I think recommending one host over another comes down to your audience. For people who are just starting, Bluehost is cheap, easy to setup, and is a decent option the test the waters as you say. Most of my audience is somewhat experienced with speed/hosting in which case it wouldn’t make sense to recommend them.

      Yes, Neil Patel, Patt Flynn, and many popular bloggers recommend Bluehost. Then again, their tutorials are more aimed at beginners and to be honest, I think many of them are also influenced by commission rates. I think most SEOs prefer to get their info from places like Backlinko.

  2. I agree with almost everything you said. I have used bluehost for three sites. The service was not very good. In fact they continue to charge me for site that I had closed down and it took many tries to get a hold of someone who can get me my money. Really frustrating. I ultimately switched to siteground because the bluehost cannot handle the speeds of a WooCommerce site.

    One thing that I don’t agree with this article is that a stock ticker means bad service. While this can be the case, it really is in the interest of the stockholders for the company to put out the best product. While there are some examples of publicly owned companies that do not take care of the companies underneath them and just cut cost, overall that isn’t the case. Just one example that comes mind is Google fiber. Google has a stock ticker however Google fiber is by far the best internet service I’ve ever had. I have had internet service from some private company that’s so small and their service didn’t even compare.

  3. wordpress Officially recommendedbluehost as best web hosting as it provide best sitelock for our website it prevents from cyber, malware, ddos and hacking attacks. one of the cheapest service provider in the world.

    1. Cheap, fast, good. I would argue they’re just the first one. WordPress recommends Bluehost because they pay them. If they work for you by all means keep using them.

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