|Bluehost website builder standout features|
|Promotion||30-day free trial (requires payment details)|
What are the Pros and Cons of Bluehost?
There’s no doubt that Bluehost has made quite a name for itself in affordable web hosting. But how does it perform when building and running an e-commerce store? Let’s understand what works and what needs improvement:
Pros of Bluehost
- Highly customizable: You can take your pick from a wide selection of responsive and mobile-optimized professional themes. You can customize every section of your online shopfront as you wish. Bluehost’s level of customization is incredible: choose whether you want to go for the plug-in (easy) or child theme (coding knowledge required).
- Blue Flash launch support: Bluehost takes customer support very seriously. You’ll find its dedicated Blue Flash launch support helpful if you’re a beginner. It involves a guided dashboard tour and a call with an expert. This free service resolves doubts and lets you get started pronto.
- Unmetered bandwidth: No matter your chosen pricing plan, you’ll always get unmetered bandwidth. This means you’ll not be charged a fee for the traffic your e-store receives. So, even if you experience a sudden spike in traffic on sale days, you will not have to pay extra.
- Marketing credits: If you opt for shared hosting, you’ll get free promotional marketing creditsfor Google and Bing ads. That’s a great incentive for any seller just starting. You should only be aware of the $25 minimum spend on Google ad campaigns.
- Excellent security: Your online shopfront has a dedicated IP (internet protocol) and SSL certificates. You get top-notch security with every site you build and host on Bluehost. All data is encrypted and ultra-secure, making Bluehost one of the safest platforms to build your online shop.
- Money-back guarantee: If you’re unhappy with Bluehost’s service, you can ask for your money back. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. After that, you’ll only get a pro-rated refund (still quite a good deal if you ask me).
Cons of Bluehost
- No uptime guarantee: Although Bluehost is always fast, it does not offer guaranteed uptime, unlike some leading market players. Your site’s uptime will suffer if its servers experience glitches or technical issues. For any e-commerce business, the lack of an uptime guarantee is a big disappointment.
- Chargeable site migration: Since Bluehost is a hosting provider, you might want to migrate an existing site to or from it. Both are chargeable, and that’s a big letdown. You can get free migration only if your existing site is built on WordPress. But even then, you’ll have the extra hassle of installing the Bluehost migrator plugin.
- Questionable checkout: This is one of the strangest drawbacks of Bluehost. When creating an account to build your e-store, you’ll be confronted with many pop-ups advertising additional features. You might accidentally click on one of these boxes and incur extra charges. This is something I wish Bluehost would clean up for its customers.
- Lacks scalability: If you have plans of growing your small business, adding more products to your inventory, and going global, Bluehost isn’t the hosting provider for you. It lacks the infrastructural capabilities and supports you’d get from a platform like BigCommerce. Do not opt for Bluehost to expand your business on a large scale. It’s simply not built for the job.
Online store builder
While online store building is not its core function, Bluehost does offer a versatile drag-and-drop store builder. It’s easy to use and relatively intuitive. To access it, click My Sites (left sidebar)->Add Site->Create New Site.
And you’re done.
You’ll come across a stepwise website builder with built-in attributes:
- Abandoned cart recovery (via OptinMonster)
- MonsterInsights (for web analytics)
Adding these features to your storefront is up to you. If you want to skip all three or a few, you can simply deselect them.
Bluehost offers 191 premium e-commerce themes, ranging from $39 to $59, in addition to its free themes. Each of these themes is customizable with no coding knowledge required. In case you want a bespoke design, you can edit/insert code and make necessary changes to your theme without much hassle.
You can also integrate plug-ins and third-party apps with a few clicks. The whole process of setting up your website is quick and easy. I could take my dummy shop live in a few hours, and I added a lot of customizations.
Bluehost’s website builder is efficient, effortless, and straightforward. The only thing that could be better is its response time. The editor sometimes lags a little.
However, you will only need the website editor if you don’t have a pre-existing site.
If you already have a WordPress site, you can migrate it to Bluehost in a few clicks using the Bluehost migrator plug-in; it’s free. Apart from WordPress, all other site migrations are chargeable. That’s a letdown.
Content delivery network
Every pricing package gives you free access to Bluehost’s CDN. It has data centers worldwide. What this means for your e-commerce website is that its content loads fast, irrespective of bandwidth, traffic, or the user’s location.
So your customers enjoy a smooth experience each time they visit your website.
And for e-sellers, having a fast-loading site is always a boon, and I love Bluehost for this.
This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Bluehost offers SEO support that lets you add meta descriptions, page titles, and alt text for images. But URLs are auto-generated and cannot be edited.
However, the platform offers an undisputed uptime of 99.7% and comes with SSL certificates. These factors alone contribute to improved search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
If you’re using a WordPress site and hosting it on Bluehost, you can also use Yoast SEO.
So, while Bluehost SEO is good, it could be better. However, if you’re a small business just starting, you may not require outside SEO help.
Marketing and PPC
Every business, especially a new one, needs good marketing. Bluehost understands that and gives you $150 promotional credits to start advertising on Google Ads — including its trial plans.
That’s a great incentive, although you do have a minimum spend requirement of $25.
You also get free marketing credits for running Bing ads.
In addition to ad credits, Bluehost gives you access to third-party apps, including:
- WooCommerce booking, and subscriptions
So your marketing needs are covered. You can create mailing lists, newsletters, ad campaigns, subscriptions, schedule appointments, and do just about anything with Bluehost’s marketing tools.
Bluehost can also create, manage, and run pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for your business. You simply need to allot a budget to it while the web host does the job for you. I personally loved this feature because PPC campaigns always garner great results.
So even though it does not quite match the marketing capabilities of Shopify and BigCommerce, you still get an excellent deal for the price you pay.
What exactly is a product add-on? It’s a plug-in that, when installed, helps your customers to continue adding products to their cart without going back to your site.
Product add-ons make your online storefront easy for customers and help you sell related products. It’s a fantastic way to increase your sales and attract returning customers.
Bluehost offers shipping via its Shippo integration. You can also add a carrier of your choice, including popular ones like FedEx, USPS, and UPS.
It also offers table rate shipping that uses WooCommerce’s shipping capabilities. You can generate shipping charges based on the type of the product, its location, weight, and such parameters.
You can add the ShipStation plug-in to your e-commerce store to fortify your shipping and fulfillment efforts.
Bluehost’s shipping options are not as expansive as other e-commerce service providers. But what you get for the money is pretty good.
The web host comes with its own payment processing capabilities, but you can also integrate PayPal Pro, Stripe, and Amazon Pay. These additional plug-ins help make your online payment processing versatile, flexible, and straightforward.
While Bluehost does not offer you any extra benefits in terms of payment processing, it gives you enough to run your business smoothly.
The only drawback I’d like to mention here is that if you want to scale your business, you will be restricted by Bluehost’s limited payment processing options. Small-scale business operations can run smoothly using the existing options.
Currency converter widget
Most e-commerce businesses sell globally. Bluehost knows that. So, it gives you a currency converter widget that updates your product prices with a real-time exchange rate.
It’s a very useful widget for both you and your customers, and I highly recommend you install it on your Bluehost e-store. Unlike many other major e-commerce players, Bluehost handles currency conversations with ease.
Xero is a popular cloud-based accounting software that handles your ledgers, expenses, and financial reports. And Bluehost has a Xero plug-in to make everything from accounts to inventory management easy for you. It’s also a great choice because Xero is cheaper than similar software while giving you the same functionalities.
It’s a win-win deal if you ask me.
Abandoned cart recovery
Every site using Bluehost’s website builder has a pre-built OptinMonster integration. It helps you send abandoned cart recovery emails to your clients, and capture quality leads via pop-ups.
And the best part is that you get abandoned cart recovery even with the most basic plan. That’s a sign of a good hosting provider. Even dedicated e-commerce platforms often provide this functionality only with their premium or higher-priced plans.
One of the standout features of Bluehost is that it offers multilevel caching. For the uninitiated, it implies storing data based on hierarchies for superfast access. So, highly requested or used data is usually stored in high-speed access CPUs.
The purpose of multilayer caching is to offer a superfast, glitch-free, and dependable service to all your website visitors.
Since Bluehost offers multi-level caching, your customers enjoy a seamless website experience whenever they visit your store. It directly impacts your store’s performance and helps you deliver an exceptional user experience. And in my opinion, Bluehost’s multi-level caching makes it a formidable force in the e-commerce domain.
You can always trust your Bluehost online shopfront to deliver a great performance.
To further bolster security, Bluehost gives you a dedicated IP address. This helps keep unscrupulous site visitors at bay. Your data and that of your customers are also fully encrypted.
However, the code you upload on Bluehost’s servers could still be prone to phishing and malware attacks. So, if you choose to edit or update the back-end code for your online shopfront, ensure it’s secure. That way, your e-commerce business will always remain safe.
You can take a tour of its knowledge base to learn the basics of building a store. But in case you need hands-on help, get in touch with their support team using any of the following:
- Phone: You simply need to dial (888) 401-4678 to talk to Bluehost’s support team. However, long-distance charges will apply if you’re not based in North America.
- Chat: Although quick to respond, you do need to fill out a short form to start chatting with the team. You will need personal identification, which could either be your domain name, phone number, or email address. Then you need to state your query by selecting the desired option from the drop-down menu. Then you’re good to start chatting. Bluehost also tells you when you can expect a response.
- Social media: You can also reach out to the team via its social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Bluehost also runs a YouTube channel with a lot of informative videos. Its team posts excellent blog articles on LinkedIn, too. So you’ll have ample resources at your disposal.
While support options are extensive, our testing revealed it can take some effort to get a resolution. Expect to spend some time with chatbots and wait for replies from a real person.
- Guided user experience: Usability ranks high on Bluehosts’s list of priorities, and its recent guided user experience has further reinforced this. This feature allows even first-time users to easily build and customize their e-store and quickly take it live. The guided user experience is a helpful tool for non-technical users without experience building e-commerce stores.
- Razorpay integration: Razorpay is a leading payment processing service provider, offering reliable service at a great price. Bluehost’s partnership with Razorpay opens up many opportunities for its users, including simple and hassle-free payment options. And you don’t have to pay a hefty price for it, either.
- WooCommerce Setup Wizard is now live: Manage subscriptions and recurring bills, take online reservations and bookings for events, and customize your product listings with the product add-ons.
Compare Bluehost Alternatives
|Website builder||Starting price||Basic plan features|
|$9.95 per month|
Read our full Hostinger review.
Consider Hostinger for: Innovative free tools to help you build your brand and website.
|$2.99 per month|
Read our full Squarespace review.
Consider Squarespace for: Modern templates; easy template switching.
|$16 per month|
Read our full Wix review.
Consider Wix if: You need more design template options. Wix offers far more (and better) predesigned templates to get you started.
|$16 per month|
Frequently Asked Questions About Bluehost
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What does Bluehost do?
It also provides shared, virtual private servers (VPS), dedicated, and other hosting solutions.
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How I Rated Bluehost
At Digital.com, we know how important it is to test products thoroughly and compare how they measure against the industry leaders. I spent hours familiarizing myself with Bluehost’s dashboard, setup process, website builder, and all of its features. While my definition of “easy to use” may differ from others, I approached this as though I was new to website builders and compared it to my experience with some of the top site builders we’ve also reviewed.
This comprehensive overview of Bluehost can quickly answer whether it’s the right website builder for you. We also drilled down to specific features, so you can have a more detailed look at features or services. I gave more weight to some parameters, including features, security, support, pricing, ease of use, and how Bluehost has improved since our last review.
I test website builders based on the following factors:
- Customization options: Can you change the look and feel of a template or add your own code?
- Ease of use: Is the navigation intuitive with built-in tools, such as an in-app photo editor?
- Value: Can you get a free plan or trial to give the builder a test drive? Are there extensive features on paid plans that justify the cost?
- Security: What does the website builder do to keep your site and your customers’ data safe?
- Templates: Are the templates attractive, updated, and generally high quality? Can you find many to choose from?
- Support: Can you get help when needed, whether it’s from a human or support center articles?
- Recent improvements: Has the builder done anything lately to step up its offerings?
Learn more about our review methodology.