Bluehost full review
US-based Bluehost is a good route to take if you’ve heard about the power of WordPress for websites but don’t yet know the potential of this relatively straightforward software. Word Press is, in essence, online web creation software that allows you to build blog-based pages along with more conventional ‘shop window’ style content.
The great thing about it is that you can make the process as involved or as simple as your time, interest level and skill allows. Most web hosting providers support WordPress of course, but Bluehost makes the creative process even simpler. We'll get to why that is in a minute.
Price & plans
Like all web hosts, Bluehosts offers discounts for the first year, and so looks cheaper than it really is. For example, the Basic shared web hosting costs £2.33 / $2.95 per month and includes a free domain name, but after a year that rises to £6.32 / $7.99 per month. For that, you can have one website, 50GB of SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, an SSL certificate and allows five parked domains and up to 25 subdomains.
The package Bluehosts recommends, though, is Choice Plus, which is £4.31 / $5.45 per month (rising to £11.86 / $14.99 per month after 12 months) and offers unlimited websites, unlimited storage, unlimited parked domains, Site Backup and an Office 365 email address (but only for a month).
WordPress hosting requires you to sign up for slightly different plans, but the costs are the same.
You'll only have to pay more if you need an online store within your site. This is powered by WooCommerce and costs from £5.50 / $6.95 per month (£11.07 / $13.99 per month after a year).
For alternatives, check out our roundup of the best web hosting services.
All you need to do is sign up for one of the packages and you’ll subsequently be given the log in details and get presented with a web-based interface to build a site. This is a fast-track route if you’re still finding your feet with web design as much of the work has been done for you. Logging into WordPress via your Bluehost account takes you into the content management system (it’s basically like a branded version of WordPress), with a workspace that might look familiar if you’ve used the blogging tool before.
However, there’s a neat twist with Bluehost as in the main screen area it lets you pick from one of two choices: Business or Personal. There’s actually a link underneath that too, which lets you proceed without any help whatsoever, but if you’re looking for a stress-free experience then the two buttons make a lot of sense.
From there it’s really just a case of following the steps and there’s nothing too intimidating about any part of the process. The bonus factor of using this WordPress entrance point is that your site can be geared for newsy-type pieces.
So, if you’re running the sort of operation that benefits from regular updates or you plan to upload lots of new content all the time then the Bluehost package makes a lot of sense. Of course, there is the provision for producing regular or static pages – these are all effectively contained inside the same WordPress database file anyway – so all in all this is a powerful combination.
We particularly like the way you can pick and choose the bits that you want, or feel you need, as you work. Similarly, as you gain confidence it’s very straightforward to edit what you’ve got already, or simply replace pages any content as you outgrow it. If you’ve never used anything like WordPress before though you might find the way it ticks a little daunting. The good news is that it’s pretty difficult to break and, once those tools have been mastered, you’ll find that creating content and duly editing any of it is rapid and mostly enjoyable.
To get the best from this package you’ll also want to be able to use other tools such as an image editor. Something like Photoshop Elements is ideal, but there are free options out there too. An image editor allows you to select, cut, crop and carry out other edits to images for your pages. When you’re done building for the day then it’s just a case of logging out of the working area and then logging back in again when you’re ready to start again.
Another useful feature of this package is Bluehost SEO Tools. Search engine optimisation is an important aspect of any website design process and Bluehost makes it that little bit easier. Its system can analyse your site content and help you attract more traffic, visitors basically, by ensuring that you’ve tweaked and fine-tuned the design and content. If you’ve got a desire to grow your business then you’ll have to pick through the packages that are on offer as you build things up because there’s not much point in having a powerful SEO toolset at your disposal if you’re just starting out. Nevertheless, it’s all there and it’s easy to configure as you progress.
One weak area is the included Weebly-based site builder. If you're starting from scratch and don't want to use a WordPress template, then you're better off looking at other providers. Currently the site builder is limited to just a few webpages and there a no templates to start from.
Overall then, being able to simply pick a ready-to-go theme from the options on offer or, alternatively, build up a beginner website from scratch using your own initiative makes Bluehost a solid option. There’s a decent online Help Centre too, while the Bluehost Blog means that you can dip into this valuable resource if you get bogged down about which bits go where, and why. Handy. The way that Bluehost has organised all of the main things you need to see and keep tabs on within one central area after you’ve logged in lets you manage your workflow nicely too.
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