If you’ve been poking around in the world of shared web hosting for long, we’re willing to bet you’ve heard of a few of the more common names: InMotion Hosting, GreenGeeks, FatCow, iPage, HostGator, etc. However, we’d also be willing to bet you’ve heard of another name, one renowned for supplying clients with superior business performance and industry-ready tools—BlueHost. The hosting provider has been around almost as long as we have, and during that time, they’ve taken great strides towards becoming an industry force to be reckoned with. As of typing this, the services they offer are nearly without equal, but we don’t expect you to just take our word for it! If you’ve been hoping, wishing, and waiting for a full, in-depth review of the services and features that BlueHost has to offer, then step right up, Pilgrim! You’ll find all that and more listed below, including a full rundown of who the company is. We’ll be diving into that bit first, so without further ado, head on below to take an initial look at our full review and summary of BlueHost! Starting with:
Who is Blue Host?
If you aren’t familiar with the company, we have to admit we’re a bit surprised. Perhaps you just don’t run in the same business-oriented circles as the rather prestigious hosting provider, or maybe you’re new to the game. Either way, BlueHost is a name that’s tossed around often, and for good reason. We could do our best to help summarize their services, but have a feeling their mission statement will do that far better than we ever could:
Bluehost has been providing quality web hosting solutions to businesses and individuals since 1996. Our goal is to provide outstanding services for the best possible price. To achieve these goals we are constantly innovating and upgrading our services at no additional cost to our customers. Come and join the millions of other website owners that have already chosen Bluehost and see how we can help you with your site.
Sounds like a solid line of logic, right? And for the most part—as far in as we can gather it—BlueHost lives up to the promises it makes, and perhaps even a bit more. The company is based out of Utah, and features a full roster of on-site, highly-trained technicians to handle its technology. Furthermore, the provider claims it takes unprecedented strides to ensure that you’re getting the latest in features, services and technology. And with a warehouse totaling 50,000 square feet with two secondary HQs totaling more than 20,000 square feet, we’d believe they at least have the room to meet their guarantees!
On an interesting note, they company has recently reached out to its customers by offering up a founder’s blog. You can follow fonder Matt Heaton’s quips, thoughts, and travesties out at his blog here.
All of this is brilliant, if you’re taking the company at their word, but what if you need a little outside assurance? If you’re wondering exactly what kind of awards they’ve managed to earn over the years, then you’ve come to the right place.
BlueHost Awards and Accolades
Through the years, BlueHost has done quite well for themselves. They’ve won a number of awards in a number of categories, including Best Budget Hosting from HostReview every year since 2006. From the same reviewer, they’ve also earned Fastest Growing Company, Best Affordable Hosting, Best Cloud Computing Providers, and Best Web Hosting—albeit a few years back on that last one.
They company has also earned the prestigious Best Linux Hosting award for 2012 by Customer Hosting Reviews. All in all, we’d say the provider isn’t boasting quite as many awards as we’ve seen decorating the walls of other hosts, but that could mean they simply aren’t paying as much for fake awards—you didn’t hear us say that. Either way, you can decide for yourself if their services are any good! What’s the easiest way to do that? To keep on heading down below, as we dive right into the actual hosting plans offered by the company, as well as how they can benefit you and your business. So without further ado:
Shared Hosting Plans with BlueHost:
So you’re looking to sign up with BlueHost, are ya? If so, then you’re in luck where the budget is concerned. A basic plan with the host will only run you $6.95 a month, and for that money, you’ll be winning quite a lot of features. A shared hosting account with BlueHost comes stock with 24/7 US-based technical support, a free drag-and-drop site builder, a free domain name, support for international domain names, subdomains, a cPanel interface, FTP access, SSH access, hotlink protection, MySQL databases, and a host of other tech language and tech interface add-ons. This includes support for modern platforms like Perl, PHP5, MySQL5, HTML5, Ruby on Rails, and many more. It’s really quite the power punch package, and you will, of course, also receive unlimited disc space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, unlimited add-on domains, unlimited parked domains, and unlimited subdomains.
If that weren’t enough, or if you’re looking for options that aren’t quite so technically inclined, then you’re also in luck. Obviously BlueHost has tended to focus more on the business needs of their consumers, but they also include a full load of site building and scripting utilities. You’ll get poll and survey software, Moodle, Tikiwiki, Drupal, Joomla, and of course, WordPress installation at the touch of a button. You’ll also obtain a wealth of eCommerce features, in case you’re looking to start your own online store. Among these are SSL secure servers, OS commerce shopping cart, Agora shopping cart, a free generated certificate, password protected directories, and OpenPGP/GPG encryption.
But don’t think we’re quite done yet! No, we’re just warming up where BlueHost is concerned. You see, with their shared accounts you will also gain access to a host of multimedia options, allowing you to deliver your media to your customers with increased efficiency and better design. Among these tools you’ll find support for streaming video, streaming audio, real audio and video, MIDI files, and even custom MIME types. No matter what you’re looking to deliver to your audience, with BlueHost it appears you’ll be successful.
We mentioned earlier that BlueHost has taken great strides to stay up to date and efficient with their technologies and services. We aren’t just going to drop out a cliche like that and not back it up, so if you’ve been waiting to hear exactly what the company has under the hood, you’ve come to the right place. For instance, we’re proud to announce that BlueHost is rocking dual quad core processors, as well as UPS power backup. This not only increases the amount of power your site will be allowed to draw from, but also ensures that your data is protected from unexpected power failures or surges. Additionally, the company safeguards its network with a diesel-powered generator.
All of the servers BlueHost runs are, of course, using the latest editions of the Linux kernel, and provide a far superior performance to any comparable Windows boxes. Each account also includes access to customized Apache web servers for all your more tech-inclined needs. Add to this 24/7 network mapping, which safeguards your account against unwanted modifications, and you’ve got one seriously comprehensive technological package on your hands. But best of all, the company also provides its users with complimentary site backups for protection, and 10 gigabyte ethernet connectivity for increases in speed and security.
The BlueHost Affiliate Program
However, BlueHost doesn’t just offer basic shared hosting. They aren’t quite as comprehensive as we might like to see—there’s no VPS or dedicated server management for the more serious business consumer—but they do offer one of the best affiliate programs in the game. If you’ve been looking to become a web hosting affiliate, there’s really no better place to start your search than with BlueHost. The provider offers a substantial amount of rewards, having given out nearly $5 million dollars in referral fees last year alone. So what’s the full detail on the affiliate program? Head on below the break to find out!
First out of the gate, it’s incredibly easy to sign up as an affiliate with BlueHost. A few simple fields about you and your site, and you’re up and running. Once the easy sign-up process has been completed, the provider hands you the keys: A personal tracking link and banner set to refer customers with, as well as the option to create custom tracking links to manage multiple campaigns. With this, you can also view the click-through ratios of your links and banners, as well as track your clicks, conversions, and commission payments. BlueHost doesn’t want to leave you in the dark about the profits you’ll be making, and it’s quite refreshing to see an host that’s willing to keep the affiliate informed about the status of their income.
But what is the income? We know we’ve been dancing around the issue, but between you, us and the walls, we’re teases like that. We’ll stop pestering you, now, and dive right into the numbers: A referral with the company earns you $65 dollars in cash, right then. That means that, for every person you refer to the site, they hand you sixty five bucks no questions asked, and it’s yours to put away immediately. Combined with hundreds of referrals, that quickly adds up to one heck of a lot of money. In other words, if you’ve been waiting to become an affiliate, BlueHost is a tried and true way to start making money sooner, rather than later.
Reseller Hosting with BlueHost
But what if you don’t want to be an affiliate? What if you’re looking to get your hands a little dirtier within the world of web hosting? What if you feel you’re ready to take on the big dogs yourself and deliver web hosting to your own, personal clients? If so, then BlueHost has a plan for you within their reseller hosting accounts. If you aren’t familiar with the technology that is reseller hosting, don’t worry. We’ll be covering the details in just a second, starting with:
What is Reseller Hosting?
The simplest way we know how to describe reseller hosting is this: Imagine that you’re renting an apartment from an apartment complex. However, you suddenly decide to purchase a few of the apartments from the landlord. The landlord hands over the keys, you sign the lease, and then resell those apartments to your own customers, exactly as if you were the proper landlord. This is, more or less, how reseller hosting works.
When purchasing a plan from BlueHost, the customers are given a specific portion of the company’s servers. With this portion, you can subdivide up the space and then resell it as if you were selling your own web hosting. It’s a brilliant way to do business, as it pays for the company’s servers, allows you to make a profit, and provides solid web hosting to the customer. However, for a reseller business to be successful, a lot has to be done or given by the primary hosting company. What we mean is, the prices must be low enough that the reseller can make a profit, and the services must be incredible enough that the reseller has something high-quality to sell to the consumer. In the case of BlueHost, is any of this true? To find out, continue on below to our full rundown of the host’s plans, and exactly how they stack up in comparison to the ideal reseller host.
BlueHost Rates and Services
Like most web hosting providers, BlueHost doesn’t offer just a single reseller hosting plan. Rather, they offer three distinct tiers designed to meet the needs of a variety of resellers.
Firstly, there’s the rock bottom plan, which offers 100 gigabytes of storage space, as well as 15 megabytes per second of bandwidth. You’ll get unlimited accounts, though the amount of divots you make in the sever will of course affect the performance your customers in turn receive. Still, we like the fact that BlueHost gives us the freedom to partition out our customer services as we see fit, rather than saddling us with four, six, or even ten customer portals. And, of course, the lowest tier also comes with a free domain name to park your new business at. As far as reseller plans go, the lowest tier is certainly a bargain, clocking in at only $19.95 a month. For 100 gigabytes of space and that much bandwidth, you’ll be getting your money’s worth to say the least.
The second tier is, of course, quite a bit more advanced. For $49.95 a month you’ll get a whopping 250 gigabytes of space to work with, as well as an increase to 25 megabytes per second in data transfer. That’s a substantial leap up from the first tier, and if you’re looking to get pretty serious with your new business, you’ll greatly appreciate the difference. And, as always, you’ll get the same unlimited accounts guarantee, as well as the free domain we talked about earlier. Both of these plans are bargains, and come with solid services, but neither compares to the top-ranked tier of reseller hosting with BlueHost.
For $99.95 a month, BlueHost is prepared to hand you 500 gigabytes of their server space, 35 megabytes of data transfer, and the same unlimited accounts and free domain name. At this level, the unlimited accounts becomes infinitely more of an asset, as you’ve got ample room to create tiered services of your own, or to create partitions that maximize your profits.
But no matter what tier you choose as far as reseller hosting goes, BlueHost promises to give you unlimited domains, subdomains, cPanels, MySQL databases, FTP accounts, email addresses, etc. You’ll also gain a private name server, free billing software, a free spam protector, a free website builder, and SimpleScripts to help both you and your clients. If you’re looking to take your business international, BlueHost’s servers are also multi-lingual right out of the box, making them an ideal candidate for the world-ready consumer with an eye on the global prize.
All in all, BlueHost looks to be a solid choice for reseller hosting. But what we haven’t talked about yet can make all the difference in any web hosting experience. When things go wrong—and we assure you they always do—you’ll be calling the BlueHost tech support for assistance. Which looks a bit like this:
Technical Assistance with BlueHost:
The CGI-based help interface BlueHost is supporting comes stock with a number of features designed to make the tech assistance process easier. Firstly, there’s the guaranteed 24/7 tech support agreement which we like to see in any web host. If the host isn’t willing to be around when you have problems, we have a problem with the host. Additionally, we’re pleased to see that BlueHost offers a ticket-based tech support system, as well as a live hotline for the individual to call upon. You can also email in your complaints, as well as chat with a tech support rep directly from your computer via live chat.
All of this is fairly stock, but what really gets us about BlueHost is the wealth of additional tutorials and information the host offers. For your money, you’ll get direct access to server status, as well as the knowledge base. This base contains information on everything from installing WordPress to optimizing your site for SEO purposes to uploading content via FTP. We like to point out that knowledge base does not replace competent technical support, but in the case of BlueHost, if your problem can be fixed on your side of the server, we’d be willing to bet there’s a solution somewhere in that databank of knowledge.
Overall, we’re really quite impressed with the amount of forethought the provider has put into making their tech support a viable source of solutions to common problems. We especially appreciated the fact that server status and video tutorials are included. Still, there’s really no way to know how good a hosting provider is without looking at some of the testimonials. Thankfully, BlueHost has provided us with quite a few of them.
We’ll be closing out with a list of testimonials for you to peruse, but before we go, we do want to encourage you to check out the user-submitted reviews posted here on the site. They’re a great resource for anyone looking to find a competent web host, and they’ll keep you out of a lot of trouble further down the road. With that in mind, here are a few choice words provided to us by BlueHost themselves.
When I’m shopping for a product or service, I research it to death. I recently indulged my obsession while choosing a new Internet provider. I had been satisfied for many years with [another] domain host, but my feelings changed after they outsourced their technical support overseas. I suddenly found myself speaking with people who were robot-like, often difficult to understand, and not particularly creative in finding solutions to my problems. I was also paying a separate annual bill for my domain name. I thought there must be a company that provided both hosting and a domain name for a single, reasonable price. In doing my research, I spent hours roaming the Web and reading reviews from reputable sources. I finally settled on BlueHost, which has been hosting business and personal web sites since 1996. I have been very happy with them. Now, when I call my provider for assistance, it’s truly a pleasant experience. I’m often connected with an associate within 30 seconds, and have never waited longer than two minutes. If I do need to wait (for perhaps a couple of minutes), I am kept updated on my position in their queue (no more waiting for what seems like forever!). I have found every associate to be extremely professional, polite, and genuinely interested in helping me. I believe a company can only survive on the quality of its customer support. … BlueHost has a live demo feature, which really helped me to assess the available features. If you’re looking to switch providers or start a new service, look no further than BlueHost!
Read our user reviews of BlueHost.