BlueHost Review: Web Hosting
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|Nice service and features, exclusive discount, but it's a pricier version of Hostmonster|
If BlueHost looks suspiciously close to Hostmonster in terms of its cost and offerings, there's a good reason for that. BlueHost is an alternate branding of Hostmonster's services (or vice-versa), with only slight differences in their offerings. How close are the web hosts? According to the whois data for the two sites, they're next-door neighbors. So, what's the difference? Is there a BlueHost advantage?
BlueHost is a bit more expensive at $4.95 per month for a 2-year plan, versus Hostmonster's $3.95 per month for a 2-year plan. Setup is free, but you'll pay an extra $9.99 per year for domain privacy. Domain registration with BlueHost is free for the first year, but after that the company charges you a small additional fee each year to renew it.
SimpleScripts substitutes for the popular Fantastico scripts that you find with many other web hosts. These are the scripts that allow you to install extensions such as blogging platforms, wikis, forums, guestbooks, and shopping carts. The implementation is nice, and we found everything easy to install. You get plenty of shopping cart options with BlueHost's SimpleScripts, including some less common options like OpenCart and Magento. Most of the SimpleScripts are free, but a few carry additional charges.
Bluehost had been offering customers its own Pagewizard sitebuilder, but it's being phased out. There are two options for site building now: Concrete5 and Soholaunch. Concrete5 is the free option, and while it's serviceable and nice looking, it feels clunky and a bit counterintuitive in practice. It's too bad they did away with with Pagewizard.
For more advanced users, BlueHost offers unlimited MySQL databases, which power features like blogs and forums. BlueHost also supports PHP, Perl, Python, CGI, Ruby on Rails and SSI. Shared hosting accounts (like the basic accounts we've reviewed here) are hosted on Linux servers, and users have shell access (SSH).
Just like Hostmonster, BlueHost is very easy to use. With the standard cPanel interface, tools were just where we expected them to be, and we had no trouble navigating their support information and tutorials to figure out basic web hosting tasks.
BlueHost shows some very average performance related to uptime, with numbers a bit under Hostmonster's. With the higher price tag, we'd hope for better performance, not worse. See the chart below for details. For uptime, higher percentages are better. For all others, lower numbers indicate better performance.
BlueHost Web Hosting test data:
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- BlueHost Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of BlueHost: http://www.nextadvisor.com/web_hosting/bluehost_web_hosting_review.php