Bluehost,most popular hosting providers
It seems like there is an almost unlimited number of hosting providers who will serve your website for a monthly fee. In the best web hosting providers for 2021, I spotlighted 15 providers that offer a wide range of plans. When doing a full review of a single hosting provider, I set up the most basic account possible and run the service through a barrage of tests. In this article, I’ll dive into Bluehost’s offerings.
Bluehost at Glance
- Shared hosting starting a $2.95 per month
- Online store hosting starting at $12.95 per month
- Managed WordPress hosting starting at $9.95 per month
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting starting at $18.99 per month
- Dedicated server hosting starting at $79.99 per month
- Price bump after end of period: Yes
Because there are so many variables among plans and offerings, not only among hosting providers, but within the plans offered by any one provider, it can be difficult to get a good comparison. I’ve found that one of the best ways to see how a provider performs is to look at the least expensive plan they offer. You can expect the least quality, the least attention to detail, and the least performance from such a plan.
How hosting provider pricing really works
For this series of hosting reviews, I’m testing the most basic, most entry-level plan a vendor is offering. In the case of Bluehost, it’s their appropriately named Basic plan. To get pricing, I went to the company’s main site at Bluehost.com.
As with most every hosting provider, Bluehost’s published pricing is somewhat misleading. There is no option to get billed only $2.95 per month.
While it looks like you can get the Single Shared Hosting plan for $2.95 per month, that’s only if you prepay for three full years, which means you’re actually paying $106.20. A hundred bucks or so for three years of hosting isn’t a bad deal, but can be confusing. If you want only one year, you’re charging $59.40 to your card (which is $4.95 per month). It’s more expensive, but not terrible.
There’s a gotcha though. When you renew, you’re going to pay more. A lot more. Three times more. This, too, is not uncommon for hosting plans and is a practice I strongly wish the hosting industry would stop. When you renew your $2.95 three year plan, you’re going to jump to $8.99/month or $107.88/year. Of course, we have no idea what the pricing will be in three years, but you get the idea.
While $2.95 or even $4.95/mo isn’t a bad price for basic hosting, the fact is, your price will jump by more than triple what you paid when you signed up. I talked a lot about lock-in and switching costs in my How to create a website: The 2021 step-by-step guide overview. Read it, because Bluehost (and many other hosting providers) have business models that count on the switching costs being so painful that you’ll suck up a huge upcharge simply to avoid moving your site.