Hello, my dear readers! I have been using Bluehost for my site for almost six months now. I thought it would be very useful to write a review on Bluehost to share my honest opinions on this web hosting service. Let’s begin!
The Era before Bluehost
Like most new bloggers, I started my blogging journey on a free platform: WordPress.com. For the naive me who didn’t know what I was doing (though there are still lots I don’t know even today), I mistakenly thought that wordpress.com would a good fit. It was a brand that I felt I could rely on, it was easy to set up, and most importantly, it was free.
However, only about two weeks into using WordPress.com, I quickly realized the drawbacks:
Limitations on what you can do on your site
Precisely because it was free, WordPress.com places a lot of limitations on what you can do with your site. For example, you cannot join any advertising platforms other than their own, you have no control over the ads that they place on your site, and you cannot connect your site to Google Analytics to see how it is performing.
I do have to mention that you can lift some of these limitations if you upgrade to their business plan, but it wasn’t really my preference.
You have to pay money to remove “wordpress” from the URL of your site
I initially thought I was okay with “bellawanana.wordpress.com”, but the longer I stared at it, the longer I disliked it. After all, can you imagine google.com being “google.wordpress.com”? The URL itself screams unprofessionalism, which goes directly against my vision for my site. I have to pay to remove the word “wordpress”. So the free platform isn’t free, after all, if I want to customize the URL.
WordPress also had limitations on customization
As I delved deeper into the blogging scene, I came to notice that many other blogs had amazing designs. WordPress.com is pretty limited when it comes to how your site looks. Unless, of course, that you are willing to pay for their better themes, which cost a lot more than what I could shell out.
The search for an alternative – I found Bluehost
Mainly because of the above three drawbacks which quickly escalated into dealbreakers, I decided to look for an alternative. I knew right then and there that using a free platform wouldn’t be an option, because I would probably run into the same problems of getting only the most basics that wouldn’t be enough to meet my needs.
I quickly outlined several must-haves for my ideal platform:
It has to be inexpensive
As someone who was just starting and had made no money whatsoever on the blog, convincing myself to spend money on this virtual construct was a difficult step (but let me tell you six months after, it is well worth it). It just so happened at the time that a girls’ night-out got canceled. I had a budget of $150 set aside for that social event, so I decided that I was just going to redirect the money into investing in my blog. It was much more palatable for me this way, because the money, in my mind, was already spent.
Also, As I mentioned in How I have Grown as a Blogger, and as a Person, I gave up on blogging, pretty embarrassingly, twice, in my life. I didn’t know if the third time was going to be a charm (so far I have persisted!), but I knew that I had to find something inexpensive just to feel less bad about myself in case I give up again.
It has to be easy to learn and use
I am not a professional web designer. Although I have taken many coding courses, including, pretty handily, CSS, I have never had the experience of running a website on a self-hosting platform. Frankly speaking, I was just coming to understand what “self-hosting” actually meant. I knew that I needed something easy to learn and use. I also wanted a robust support system, so if I have questions, I can get the help I need.
It has to have a SSL certificate
Have you noticed the little lock symbol in front of some URLs, and how those URLs start with “https://” instead of “http://”? That’s the SSL certificate. It indicates to the users of the site that your connection to that website is secure and encrypted. I want to have the SSL certificate on my blog, just so all my readers know that the information they enter into my site (including comments and signing up for my newsletter) is shared safely.
It has to be secure
Lastly, I want a secure service. I am looking for a reputable company, and I need my data to be safe where it is stored.
My search ended when I found Bluehost. It meets all of my criteria above and more.
Bluehost Review: What I love about it
Bluehost is inexpensive
First and foremost, Bluehost is inexpensive. Bluehost regularly discounts their plans, sometimes up to 60% off, for starters. At less than $10/Month at regular price, it fits nicely into my budget of $150.
Bluehost is a platform that is easy to use.
Signing up on Bluehost was like a breeze. It was easy as 1, 2, 3!
Here are the steps:
- Go to my.bluehost.com
- Click on “Create Account”
- Select your plan (I selected “Basic”)
- Either create a new domain or enter in the domain name you own.
- The domain name is the URL of your site. For me, my domain name is bellawanana.com. If you aren’t sure about your domain name right now, you can create it later.
- Enter your account information, and you are ready to go!
Once you sign up, navigating through the Bluehost platform is also very intuitive. Here is what it looks like for me. They even have a list of recommended steps for you to take to set up your site properly. As a newbie blogger, these steps were immensely helpful for me.
Bluehost is secure
Bluehost is one of the largest website hosting providers out there. It is the backbone for over 2 million websites and is recommended by WordPress. I feel safe hosting my site with Bluehost. So far, it hasn’t proven me wrong!
Bluehost came with free SSL certificate
Even though Bluehost was already fairly inexpensive, they did not charge extra for the SSL certificate. It was a big help for me because I had a very tight budget.
I do have to note that it doesn’t come automatically enabled. You do have to go through the process of enabling it yourself. However, it is fairly straightforward, and Bluehost has a guide on how to activate the free SSL certificate.
The URL to my site now has a lock in front, a sign of security, thanks to Bluehost’s free SSL certificate.
Bluehost offers free new domain registration for a year
When you are just starting out, a year can feel like a long time, but I think it is an adequate time to figure out if blogging is truly your calling. With Bluehost offering a new domain for free for a year, you do not have to worry about additional expenses upfront.
Migrating from WordPress.com to Bluehost was not difficult
This was a pleasant surprise. Although I knew that Bluehost was recommended by WordPress, I did not expect the migration to be as seamless as it turned out to be. To be honest, I was ready to abandon my old free wordpress.com site altogether, despite the 10+ blog posts that I had already written. I was planning to manually copy all the blog posts to a Word document, and then upload them to my new site.
Of course, Bluehost was one step ahead of me. They actually provided a guide on how to migrate an existing wordpress.com site. Here is the article that I followed to make the migration happen. I do have to admit that I spent a few hours, because I was so new and because I was quite paranoid that I would break something.
If you are too nervous about migrating the site yourself, Bluehost will even do it for you! Just follow the steps here, and you can sit back and relax!
The seamless integration between Bluehost and WordPress
If you are used to the WordPress layout, you will love the seamless integration. Once you are logged into your Bluehost account, which is as simple as entering your domain name and your password, you can enter into your website directly by clicking on “manage site”. Your website will be presented to you with the WordPress layout that you are familiar with.
Great support system
All accounts have access to technical support 24/7. You can access them via live chat or phone calls. For someone like me who isn’t super technical in the online space, the support system provides some assurance in my mind.
Today, Bluehost is the backbone of my website. It is budget-friendly and easy to use. For WordPress users who are looking to change to self-hosting, you can also hit the ground running as soon as you finish migrating instead of learning about a new platform. I hope you find this Bluehost review useful in helping you evaluate this service.
What are you waiting for? Sign up to Bluehost today!
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Bella Wanana is a freelance writer. She is the owner of bellawanana.com, a personal finance and lifestyle blog. She loves sharing with her readers the best tips and tricks on personal finance and how to live a balanced but fulfilling life. She has been featured on sites like MSN.com, Reader’s Digest, The Financial Diet, Yahoo Finance, and GOBankingRates.