Bluehost is a giant hosting company with millions of domains and almost two decades of experience, making it one of the most seasoned and experienced hosting providers in the industry. In fact, Bluehost doesn’t just host their customer’s websites; they also build their own servers and manage their own fiber-optic network emanating from Provo, Utah. While their competitors have to manage relationships with various vendors of hardware, fiber and other infrastructure (and pass some of the costs, outages and headaches on to their clients), Bluehost manages every facet of the hosting process, making them one of the few truly self-reliant hosting companies.
Bluehost’s mastery of web technologies and its many years of experience mean a smooth, stress-free experience for customers. Having fixed all of the glitches and streamlined all of the systems long ago, they are at the top of the learning curve, which makes for the utmost in professionalism and dependability. When working with the grandfather of web hosts, customers are assured that they won’t run into any “growing pains” or any unpleasant, “that’s-never-happened-before” surprises.
Like most legitimate web hosts, Bluehost offers unlimited file space, bandwidth, domain names, email accounts and databases. They also support many of the most popular scripting languages, including PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, Python and others. Besides the usual offerings, Bluehost has several highlights that make them quite attractive to prospective customers.
15 Years of Experience – Bluehost has been hosting since 1996. They’ve witnessed the rise to popularity of the Internet and they’ve survived the dot-com boom and bust. Along the way, they’ve learned countless lessons that many of their competitors cannot claim. To keep customers happy for 15 years, you must have a long, consistent track record of smooth service. Many hosting companies appear and vanish; but Bluehost has been hosting longer than almost anyone else.
Resource Protection – The most common problem with shared hosting is slowness or instability caused by another customer hogging memory and other shared resources. Bluehost has built its own solution to prevent these kinds of problems, protecting you from abusive (or oblivious) customers who are taking more than their fair share of hosting with hog-heavy applications or processes. This is clearly one of the lessons they’ve learned over many years of hosting. Few competitors have developed their own solution to this common problem.
True Self-Reliance – Some hosting companies assemble a variety of third-party technologies and package them together for their customers. Not surprisingly, the cobbling together of hardware, software and systems from different sources can result in some pretty serious problems if two components don’t “play nicely” together. Unlike most web hosts, Bluehosts builds and manages their own data center, computer servers and fiber. They have the access, control and expertise over every facet of their service, making for a reliable, cohesive hosting product.
Tons of Installable Scripts – Bluehost offers more than just the typical, expected software installations; they have scripts for virtually any kind of web service. Blogging, project management, RSS, social networking, web forums, classified ads, VoIP tools and even support ticket systems are all available as installable software. While other hosts will leave you high and dry when it comes to specialized software needs, Bluehost goes beyond offering solid hosting, and can actually install a software solution for your requirements. Next time you face a daunting project like “set up a full-blown support suite” or “deploy a highly-configurable survey system,” look to Bluehost as the path of least resistance for these seemingly-colossal projects.
BlueHost has started implemented CPU throttling, meaning that if one website is taking up too many server resources, it gets frozen without any notice. One one hand this means a single misbehaving website on your server won’t affect your performance, on the other hand, if you have a big traffic spike it can inconvenience your website visitors. A few past customers have actively voiced their concerns on different forums and blogs saying that “unlimited doesn’t really mean unlimited”. As well, some people complain that BlueHost IP addresses are frequently blacklisted which means outbound email from your server might not be delivered – something that may or may not affect your particular account, depending on whom you’re sharing your server and IP address with.
BlueHost Uptime & Reliability
Over 2200+ days of server monitoring, the BlueHost website has been up 99.99% of the time according to WebhostingStuff. Another independent source, Monitis.com, reports that uptime in October 2011 was 2011 – a small improvement over Novembers 99.61%. Both are considered excellent.
Bluehost is a veteran hosting company, and they’ve clearly learned lessons and refined their hosting over many years. Over this impressively long timeline, they’ve built their own data centers, their own server architecture and their own fiber. Few hosting companies have withstood the test of time better than Bluehost. Having said that, it’s striking that they’ve never branched out to more than one single hosting plan in 15 years. If they’ve expanded their data center and fiber-optic network, shouldn’t they expand their product variety as well? After over a decade of refinement, their product is surely a winner, but if it doesn’t fit your needs or your budget, I wouldn’t expect a stronger, cheaper or newer product anytime soon.