Bluehost Review: Don’t Let Affiliates Trick You Into Using Them (They’re Slow, Lack Features, And Owned By Newfold Digital)

Bluehost review

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:

Bluehost is horrible 1

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.

 

1. Poor Specs

TLDR: use ChemiCloud instead.

Bluehost Choice Plus Plan Hostinger Business WP Plan SiteGround GrowBig Plan Scala Entry WP Cloud Plan ChemiCloud WordPress Turbo Plan
Type Shared Shared Shared Shared/cloud Shared
Server Apache + Nginx LiteSpeed Apache + Nginx LiteSpeed LiteSpeed
Cache plugin x LiteSpeed Cache SG Optimizer 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
Cores/RAM Not listed 2 cores/1.5GB Not listed No limit 3 cores/3GB – scalable to 6/6
Storage 40GB SATA 200GB SATA 20GB SATA 50GB NVMe 40GB NVMe – 10/11 locations
Database MySQL MariaDB MySQL MariaDB MariaDB
Object cache x Memcached Memcached Redis Redis
Data centers 6 8 10 2 11
Control panel cPanel hPanel Site Tools sPanel cPanel
Inodes 200,000 600,000 400,000 Unlimited 500,000
Major incidents Downtimes Downtimes, fake reviews, scams, bad poll TTFB, DNS, CPU issues, controls FB groups None None
Migrations Free on qualified accounts only Unlimited (but screws it up) $30/site 1 free 200 cPanel + 10 non-cPanel
Support D D C B A
TrustPilot rating 4.2/5 4.6/5 (fake) 4.8/5 5/5 5/5
Monthly price $5.45 (1 year) $3.99 (1-4 years) $9.98 (3 years) $14.95 (3 years) $5.99 (3 years)
Renewals $19.99/mo $8.99-$14.99 $19.95/mo $24.95/mo $19.95/mo
Price for 3 years $304.08 $299.40 $659.64 $538.20 $215.64

 
Unlike Bluehost, they use faster LiteSpeed servers, NVMe SSDs, and Redis object cache. When using LiteSpeed, you’ll use the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin which does an great job with core web vitals, then use my tutorial to configure the settings. You’re less likely to have to upgrade because LiteSpeed is efficient with CPU usage (a common probably with Apache servers). And even if you do, you can add cores/RAM with their Turbo Boost add-on… not pay for a new plan. ChemiCloud also has a 5/5 star TrustPilot rating with several people who moved from Bluehost.

Litespeed vs nginx vs apache
LiteSpeed (what ChemiCloud uses) is faster than Apache (what Bluehost uses)
Litespeed apache cpu usage test
LiteSpeed is also more efficient with CPU usage than Apache, which means less chance of forced upgrades
Chemicloud gtmetrix reportWhich web server do you use recommendLitespeed cache litespeed serverLitespeed litespeed cache quic. CloudLitespeed pagespeed scores 
Chemicloud vs sitegroundChemicloud pro feedbackChemicloud speed ui supportSiteground vs chemicloud comparisonWhich web server do you useLitespeed on litespeed serverLitespeed cache vs. Wp rocketDivi litespeed 

 

2. 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.

Classic affiliate marketer pros cons 1

Don’t trust any blog that recommends Bluehost.

How to start a blog bluehost affiliates

Bluehost how to start a blog affiliate links

 

3. 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.

Bluehost wordpress hosting affiliate disclaimer

 

4. Bluehost Is Slow

Between Bluehost’s slow servers and no full page caching on Cloudflare’s free plan, you don’t want to start your site with a slow TTFB, especially when there are hosts that average <100ms.

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.

Bluehost hosting review

 

5. 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.

Because in their resource policy and inode limits, you’ll see they have set limits on inodes, database tables, and most importantly, “excessive use of server CPU and memory resources.”

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).

Bluehost cpu throttling
Source: Bluehost’s Wikipedia page

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.

Inodes 200,000
Database tables 5,000
Database size 10GB
Single database 5GB

 

6. 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.

Bluehost slow ttfb keycdn

 

7. 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.

Bluehost downtimes

Bluehost server down

Bluehost outages downdetector
Bluehost’s Downdetector profile

 

8. 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.

Bluehost hostgator sitelock scam

Don’t fall for it.

 

9. 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.

Bluehost prices

Renewal Rates:

Plan Basic Plus Choice Plus Pro
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

 
Never pay for more than 1 year of hosting

 

10. No Automatic Backups On Lower Plans

Again, if you check this comparison table, don’t get automatic backups on most plans.

Bluehost shared hosting limits

 

11. 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.

Bluehost support review

 

12. 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.

Bluehost slow dashboard

It’s nice they use cPanel even after cPanel increased prices, so that’s a plus:

Bluehost cpanel 1

Their general dashboard isn’t bad either which includes server caching.

Bluehost dashboard

 

13. 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.

Newfold digital hosting companies

 

14. 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.

Bluehost is dogshit

Run from bluehost

Migrate from bluehost

Stay away from bluehost

Ditch bluehost eig

Eig bluehost hostgator bad review

Bluehost is terrible

Bluehost is miserable

Bluehost hostgator godaddy worst choices

Bluehost choice plus vs cloudways vultr

Cheers,
Tom

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61 Comments...

  1. Please add this to the list :

    Went from $200+ per year for VPS hosting to over $1000 per year. with $200/Year SSL.?????

    Thank you for an honest review. Here is our experience right now.

    We are on a VPS server and the server went down and the problem was from their end. I used chat yesterday Monday Oct. 23, 2023 and they created a ticket and informed me the problem was on their end and it just probably needs a restart. This was around 10AM PST. Then I started another chat in the afternoon around 3-5PM PST. Asking for a follow up. Still no information and they just left it at that and said it could take 24-48 hours. Today, Oct 24, 2023, I called around 8AM, first call took my info and just got disconnected with no information provided back. Then called back again with in the next 5 minutes and got in touch with someone and confirmed the problem was on their end. Then they said they will escalate the issue with their higher level techs. Then they 10AM came, 24 hours from the first report, still no answer. Called them again around 1:15PM PST and they just said again that our server is down and they don’t have any updates for me. Ticket Number is S-2409824! If you are reading this from Bluehost, you customer service has dropped and your prices had gone up!

    Go find hosting somewhere else if you don’t want your business to wait 24-48 hours to get an answer.

    Reply
  2. Just try to re-negotiate or leave after the promotional period. I dare you. Hope you like being conned by work-at-home, impossible to understand, rude people from India. Prepare for bad connections, ludacris waits, and hangups as well. #NIGHTMARE

    Reply
  3. I’ve been a bluehost customer for over a decade at least, and I can confirm that it’s been a nightmare. Now that I’m actively handling things, every attempt to make changes or organize my account to prepare to build a new site doesn’t go through. It’s going to be an effort to switch but before I launch this new business I feel I must. This is disappointing (to say the least). I’m looking into the sites you’ve mentioned, I’d hate to move everything (and it’s A LOT) to only run into the same issues.

    Reply
    • Hey Karissa,

      Ya I get the hesitation to move. Maybe start slow and feel it out. The hosts should be able to work with you on migrations, pricing, etc if you have lots of sites. Lmk if there’s anything I can do to help!

      Reply
  4. BLUEHOST=WASTED TIME!!!!!!!
    BAD, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!!
    DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTNCES CONSIDER BLUE(SHI*)!!!
    Unless of course you like Migraines.

    I do want to thank give a warm “Thank you” to SiteGround…for saving my life.
    Little more than the other guys, but 10x worth the extra cost.
    Put them in your top 3, you wont regret it. My personal experience.

    Reply
  5. All you say is true. Whenever you want to have a laugh, just head over to Bluehost support. It’s really so disappointing, I don’t know what to say. The only thing they are good at is that they never fail to disappoint. Having worked with many hosting companies over my 20 year career as a web developer, I can honestly say they are probably one of the worst choices when it comes to hosting.

    Reply
  6. Bluehost service is completely gone down hill. After having multiple issues over several months I finally had to cancel the service only to find they give no refunds after 15 days! What legitimate company does that? I’ve paid for 3 years of hosting and now I’m out almost $400. Don’t walk, RUN!

    Reply
  7. As a former user, I don’t recommend Bluehost. Slow performance, overcrowded servers, lackluster support, hidden costs, constant upselling, migration difficulties, and limited resources were my concerns. Explore better hosting options.

    Reply
  8. I just left Bluehost because I never got around to setting up my website the way I wanted and didn’t have the time or energy anymore. I initially had a pretty neutral feeling about them. I started off the conversation by saying I wanted to delete my account. Oh god was the customer support awful. They made me “authenticate” who I was a million times, the rep telling me the code that he sent me and worked with the website wasn’t sufficient, re-do my password, add passwords to things I didn’t have passwords on etc. Then after all that they tried to get me off the chat but still never did anything but “verify” that I wasn’t renewing anything. I had to ask an additional 6 times to delete my account. They finally “initiated” that after asking questions like if my payment method still worked, which shouldn’t matter because I’m not giving them any more money. Then it finally ended with them sending me the literal script with quotes still in it for the rep to tell me to have a good day and to rate them (which clearly they don’t care about because they don’t ask for anything beyond a number). And still I’m not even sure if they delete my account.

    Reply
  9. Bluehost is a nightmare! If you care for your nerves and health and money, don’t even think about Bluehost.
    The server is SUPER slow.
    The customer service and support is AWFUL. You don’t get any response from them. They just say sorry, all the time they apologise and say nice words, trying to calm you down with talking therapy. NO, absolutely NO specific info. Just talking.
    During the past year I’ve moved most of my sites away from them to another server (Interserver), but the ones hosted on Bluehost ALWAYS have problems and they are unable to do anything.
    The phone support is a waste of time, they waste your time with validation, verification and in the end they promise that someone will email you. In some cases it took them a month to send an email!
    The chat support is absolutely useless. After 2-3 hours of chat, they repeat your question as an answer! “After checking, I see that your account is suspended”!! I mean this is a shame!
    There is no normal ticketing system.
    They lost ALL my sites and data here’s their reply after 72 hours!

    Read and judge for yourself.
    —————————–
    Thank you for contacting us. I’m Nikhil reaching you on case#S-2213608 regarding the website and email functionality. I understand how important it is for your website and emails to be up and running and I will be happy to assist you with the same. I apologize for the delay in response!

    From the case notes, I understand that your websites and emails were down. I am sorry about the inconvenience you were experiencing with these issues and I will look into this for you.

    Upon investigation, I found that the hosting upgrade done recently was stuck due to some pending task in the account resulting in website and email downtime.

    Rest assured, we are still investigating on this and an email will be sent via the same thread once there is an update regarding the issue. There will be no further actions required at your end. We once again apologize for the inconvenience and greatly appreciate your cooperation with us in this regard.

    Please let us know in case of additional queries. We are happy to help!

    Thanks for your time!

    Regards,
    Nikhil H
    Escalated Support
    ——————–

    Reply

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