Hosting Review: BlueHost

Something slightly different for my next review, a webhosting company called BlueHost.

I do not actually have my domain with them, but where I volunter does – and I manage their website among other things.

** Disclaimer** All my reviews are my own thoughts, I am not paid for my reviews and I can say what I like or dislike about them.

OK, on with the review.

bluehost - website front page

BlueHost – who are they?

BlueHost are a web domain and web hosting company. They provide space on their server for people to put their website. They also provide domain registration services as part of their package.

They are also cheap – really cheap. But not in a bad way. In fact, they are so cheap their service is awesome … I wanted to insert a swear word there, that’s how good they are.

From under $5 per month, you get

  • Your own Doman registered with the International Domain Registrar
  • Your own website with WordPress already installed for you
  • Your own mail server
  • 24/7 tech support
  • SSL encryption
  • 99% guaranteed uptime

And if that alone doesn’t impress you, there’s something wrong.

Where are they?

www.bluehost.com is their homepage, they have an incredible special offer on at the moment. Their current monthly fee of $11 has been discounted to under $5 (roughly 50% saving). This is actually a little misleading – it also states on their website that the minimum term is 36 months which is 3 years. Which is in fact what you pay for. It’s not an actual monthly fee, but a term renewable fee that has been broken down into 36 to give the equivlent monthly rate. So please make sure that you understand this term.

Click the GET STARTED button to view their plans.

Plans

bluehost - plans

Currently they have several options. My pick of them would be the “Choice Plus” as this gives you the most services for the money. If you notice the Plus and the Choice Plus both cost the same “monthly fee”.

I would also look at their costs for the Office 365 mailbox which is included free in this offer for 30 days. If you are a micro or small business, you may be better off purchasing a Office 365 subscription on its own as it also includes the Office suite of Word, Excel, Power Point, Publisher and Outlook among other tools.

Select your plan and off to the next step.

Domain Name

You have 2 choices with this step, you can either transfer a current Domain from your current host, or you can set up a new Domain.

I am not looking for a new Domain at this time, so I have no futher screen shots of the installation process to show you.

Once you complete the purchase, remember you will need to pay for the term in full. At the time of writing the term was 36 months x the “monthly fee”. In the example above, this would mean a layout of around $300.

In most cases, a domain name and hosting is a legitimate business tax expense. But if this is a concern for you, speak to your business advisor.

Set Up the WordPress

Once you have completed the purchase, it should not take long for the site to become available to you. As part of the setup, BlueHost automatically put your website into Maintenance Mode, which gives you some time to get your site content up the way you want before you “go live.” Blue Host will also email you with the confirmation details. It is important that you follow the steps in this confirmation email or BlueHost may remove your site.

bluehost - control panel

WordPress Dashboard

BlueHost installs WordPress for you automatically, and includes a Blue Host portal that allows you to manage several aspects of your package, including additonal themes, plugins and mail.

I would recommend at this stage that you set up your email system for your business, and any email forwarding requirements.

Add Your content

As with any new WordPress installation, you will need to create your own content, pages & navigation menu. BlueHost will give you some default templates to work with, but you can always install another template to use.

When creating a WordPress website, remember the PAGESUs make up the structure of your website, as these will also make the menu and submenu pages. While POSTS create the articles that go on your page.

One nice thing about the BlueHost system is that it automatically includes JetPack. This awesome plugin requires you to have a wordpress.com account but will provide you with some basic features such as a Firewall, Analytics and Sharing with your Social Media platforms.

If you are unsure on how to set up WordPress and you are local to the Wimmera, I suggest you come along to our Basic Websites with WordPress course where all this is explaned in detailed workshops.

Plugins

Some additional plugins to your WordPress you may like to consider installing

  • WordFence – for extra security
  • User Profile Picture – allows users to upload their own image to the image gallery to be used as an avatar
  • Projects Manager – useful if you have several clients
  • Event Organiser – Allows you to publish events onto your page
  • Lead Form Builder – quickly create forms such as contact & leads
  • Newsletters – allows you to turn posts into a newsletter that can be easily emailed to your contacts and users
  • Plugin Security Scanner – scans your plugins for any security vulnerabilities

Final Thoughts

BlueHost for the most part is awesome. I have only had to contact their tech support twice in almost 2 years. Remember to read the details as with any contract carefully before you pay. Although it says low monthly fee, you are actually paying in advance for a specific time period. At the time of writing this was a 3 year term.

Some cons.

For the money, I would like to be able to have subdomains, CPanel and FTP access. Perhaps even access to mySQL and myPHP as I have become used to using these things with my other hosting company which also offers some other features, but are quite a bit dearer.

I do however highly recommend BlueHost for webhosting. They have been great.

That’s all for now, back to other projects and this backlog of software reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

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