Bluehost has long been a favorite of mine in the shared and WordPress hosting spaces. The company adheres to modern standards for hardware, and its customer service resources are now backed by hosting industry titan Endurance International Group (EIG). Bluehost’s shared hosting options will accommodate the vast majority of customers' needs. Independent proprietors, small business owners, and non-developers needn't look beyond the host's shared server (read: cheap hosting) plans. Once your website outgrows the traffic allowances of a shared hosting plan, however, Bluehost excels in the VPS hosting and dedicated server niches, too.
Bluehost has revamped its user experience — beefing up the user-friendliness factor significantly in recent years. Users will find the web host dashboard and overall customer experience to be welcoming. Easily navigate installing popular apps, such as WordPress, Joomla, or Zen Cart, with the familiar cPanel control panel. The domain management panel makes it easy to add on domain services, should you choose to opt for an upgraded plan, where domain privacy and support for unlimited domain names come standard.
If you’re looking for WordPress hosting specifically, whether on a shared, virtual, or dedicated server, you’ve come to the right host. Bluehost is one of the few providers endorsed by the WordPress Core team, ranked among SiteGround and DreamHost. Install the popular blogging platform in a single click via the web hosting control panel, or have the Bluehost pros take care of it for you by leveraging a managed WordPress hosting service.
As previously mentioned, Bluehost also tops the charts in VPS and dedicated server hosting — offering fantastic performance at competitive prices. With two to four cores and guaranteed resources, your virtual or dedicated server will be performant, powerful, and online virtually 24/7. The Bluehost team leverages industry-leading open-source technologies, such as KVM and OpenStack, to eke out as much performance as possible, leaving you with the utmost flexibility and reliability. And in case you're not quite yet sold: Both the VPS and dedicated hosting plan options include instant provisioning because waiting for your server is so 2000s. Read on for more Bluehost reviews as we rate the web hosting company for affordability, reliability, ease of use, as well as the features offered in each hosting product category.
Since 2003, A Small Orange has been building a company culture that's "homegrown" to embody two focuses: (1) solutions built to help customers grow online and (2) a workplace environment where employees thrive and stay. Three team members walked us through both what draws customers to A Small Orange hosting and what drew them to work for this passionate and creative company. Director of Marketing Zach Kwarta, Director of Technology Ryan Echter, and Datacenter Operations Manager Matt Harris introduced us to A Small Orange hosting solutions, allowing us to then take the servers for a spin with our own performance testing.
ASmallOrange.com says, "People are at the center of everything we do. This includes our employees, our customers, and our communities. It's that simple." When chatting with a few of the all-star people at A Small Orange, we were debriefed on the meaning of the term "homegrown," as used frequently throughout the hosting company's marketing message. We interpreted their definition of "homegrown hosting" to have two focuses:
Based on the passion the team shows for their customers and the services they offer them, "homegrown" indicates the care that goes into engineering new solutions and nurturing customers as they learn to use them.
The technology behind A Small Orange emphasizes speedy and secure performance. With that mission in mind, all A Small Orange shared hosting plans are equipped with SSD servers for 15 times faster page loading. "We're known for our technology," Zach said, and especially since the company's acquisition by the powerful Endurance International Group (EIG), the team continually strives to offer more and more performance in the services they build for their customers.
In building their "one-of-a-kind" cloud platform, as an example, the team has engineered several unique templates that are specific to various operating systems. They're loaded with caching technologies and powered by SSDs. Some of their cloud services are SAN-based, some are on local disk, but their templates are all built in house based on what they see their customers doing and needing to host their business. "We have a WordPress-optimized template that actually uses NGINX instead of the Apache web server to deliver faster content loading for the customers’ visitors," Matt shared with us, as an example. "We’ve set up PHP-FPM and other PHP-level caching technologies as well." By building these templates from scratch in house, A Small Orange offers a great deal of flexibility and boosted performance potential to their users.
The teammates told us that A Small Orange's product portfolio centers around the customer and his or her needs — and getting to play by the "Endurance playbook" has only broadened their potential to serve the customer. "It's the best of both worlds," Ryan said, referring to their experience with EIG. "Endurance has let us run with our growth mode and spirit in mind, so we've been able to scale a lot quicker and get some really cool hardware. We ultimately get the best of both worlds with this entrepreneurial freedom while also having the backing of one of the largest companies in the hosting space."
A Small Orange centers their business model around helping you build your business model on the Web. For this reason, they don't promise unlimited resources with hidden agendas and up-charges, they do offer a free cPanel license with all hosting plans, and they make sure their highly-trained staff is on hand to help every step of the way. "You get what you pay for and most people are satisfied with that," Zach said. "They’re really able to leverage the technology of the server."
Matt told us that on the support end of things, it's a personal experience. "Support has always been a big deal at ASO and I think customers recognize that," he said. "We offer a personable type of support; we treat the customers like we would want to be treated." All of their support is conducted in house and they're a US-based team — readily available and more than happy to solve problems (or hand-hold, if need be) 24/7/365.
A Small Orange has been around since 2003 and the team members we spoke with have been with the team for about a decade, collectively. "There’s definitely been a lot of longevity on this team," Matt said. "I think a lot of it has to do with the people." The passion for the people they work with and work for (you!) transcends into the pleasantry of the overall hosting experience with A Small Orange. High-tech hardware, in-house performance enhancements, and a team that truly cares — that's reliable hosting in the truest sense of the words.
#2 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews
Bluehost pricing is about as competitive as the industry offers. Sign up for a shared hosting plan for as little as $2.95 per month, and WordPress hosting packages are consistently priced; a VPS plan starts at around $18.99 per month; and the dedicated hosting rates are as little as $79.99 per month. The only way to feasibly sweeten this deal would be a free trial, which, unfortunately, the hosting company does not offer. However, the 30-day money-back guarantee is marketed heavily. The Bluehost customer support team promises complete service satisfaction or a full refund.
Bluehost hosting has reputation for affordability and usability, which both web novices and veterans can appreciate. Unlimited website hosting — from domains and email to disk space — is available with almost all plans. Even the most basic Bluehost plan sets users up for success with ample hard disk storage, unmetered bandwidth, and both a free SSL certificate and free domain registration for the first year of hosting service. Optional add-on services, such as automated backups, and complimentary marketing credits for select plan holders sweeten an already attractive hosting bargain. Some common freebies we love seeing include:
Due in part to its affordability but mostly the quality of service, most Bluehost reviews will rank the hosting company atop (or near the top of) lists of the best shared, VPS, and/or WordPress hosting services. You'll see similar results from our Bluehost review. We regularly recommend Bluehost hosting products that are geared toward beginners, including shared, WordPress, and WooCommerce hosting customers, where cost and ease of use are top priorities.
Bluehost is a solid, reputable choice of hosting provider with competitive pricing, industry-standard hardware performance, and all the premium add-ons imaginable. The web host's low costs, coupled with its supremacy in the shared hosting arena, make this web host a bang-for-the-buck favorite throughout the hosting community.
A Small Orange hosting includes shared plans to meet a range of customer needs, which results in a price range that hosting users new and old should find worthy of consideration. Even if a "Tiny" plan is all you need, you'll benefit from screaming-fast solid-state drives that give your shared server an extra gust of power. As for the essentials, you'll get unlimited email and webmail access, the popular cPanel control panel, and a customer support team that's based here in the US. "Our live chat people are there to help out," Zach assured us. "We have experts ready to go!"
It says something about a company's true value when they're so confident in their customer satisfaction rate that they're willing to offer their product free of charge for 60 days as a trial run. A Small Orange offers a sweet sign-up deal for those who select one of their "Small," "Medium," or "Large" hosting plans for a year or longer: free hosting for two months with a free .COM domain name. Plus, shared server users have access to unlimited email accounts with SPAM protection, mailing lists, and auto-responders.
A Small Orange accepts the challenge to offer unrelentingly excellent support, features, and pricing, as well as a user experience that's worth the 12-month commitment. "We want to be the best shared host for everyone," Zach said. Looking towards 2016 and the future, he told us, "You'll probably see us iterating and making our shared platform even better."
Zach told us that the company "eats" the cost of cPanel licensure, so that anyone who wants to get started with hosting can avoid that incremental charge. "We really do want to do the best by the customer," Zach said. "They’re the ones that keep us going everyday, so we never want to lose sight of that mission." From cPanel, customers can install all manner of popular web application scripts, including WordPress, Drupal, and Magento — some of the most user-friendly avenues for building personal or professional websites.
The team told us about technical innovations they've concocted to further enhance their hosting offerings. They've implemented an assortment of caching technologies, and they offer MariaDB and MySQL for file storage and management options. They've also designed a series of templates catering to specific operating systems, which customers can seamlessly switch between based on needs. As an example, they built a WordPress-optimized template using NGINX (a web server to help your site load content at blazing-fast speeds). "These templates offer a great deal of flexibility, because we've created them in house ourselves," Ryan said. "A lot of these tools are cPanel integrations that we’ve done in house for anyone who wants those performance enhancements."
Enterprise-level hardware comes standard. Even on shared server plans, A Small Orange uses high-powered Intel processors to give customers top-tier performance. "We are known for our technology," Zach said. "We have a tremendous infrastructure in place, so a lot of our customers have come to us for that."
A Small Orange shared hosting pricing ranges from a little under three to 20 bucks per month, which allows prospective customers to choose a plan based on the resources they require and the cost they can be comfortable with. What you can't really put a price on, however, is the extra thought that the technical team has put into their in-house innovations. With SSD speed-boosting, cPanel access, unlimited email addresses, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee — plus a 2-month promotion for free hosting — A Small Orange knows how to dangle a pretty enticing carrot as far as shared hosting cost is concerned.
#4 out of 10 in Dedicated Hosting reviews
Built on modern technology, with a minimum of four CPU cores per dedicated server, Bluehost offers reliable and flexible dedicated hosting options at an extremely reasonable price. We continually praise the company's shared hosting options for having fantastic hardware and a great management console, and the brand's dedicated server offerings are no different.
Designed and maintained in house, Bluehost servers rely on only the latest technologies. The hosting company leverages open-source platforms, such as OpenStack and KVM, to boost flexibility and performance. All dedicated machines boast at least four CPU cores, 1TB of RAID-1 storage, and at least 4GB of available RAM. Each dedicated server is provisioned instantly and can be upgraded at any time with essentially just a few clicks.
Bluehost prides itself on the always-available customer support staff. The experienced support agents work directly with engineers who have their hands on your machine, so to speak. As a former Bluehost customer, I've always found the support technicians to be incredibly responsive and helpful.
A Small Orange hosting on dedicated servers includes the following: enterprise-grade hardware, expert-managed security updates and patches, and exactly the resources you need for your dedicated environment. The ASO team will fine-tune your server to your specifications, handle setup, and monitor your main IP address (with ping monitoring as well). You get the power of a dedicated plan with the peace of mind of a fully-managed shared plan.
Solid-state drives, RAID 1 disk mirroring, and premier Intel processors all come standard on A Small Orange dedicated server plans. "We have a great set of hardware/software," Zach said — the stack is of enterprise-level quality with 24/7/365 monitoring done by an expert team. "We have a tremendous infrastructure in place, so a lot of our customers have come to us for that."
ASO dedicated customers all receive full root access as well as cPanel/WHM control to manage their servers. On the system administration side of things, Ryan and a team of 10-or-so run the infrastructure and respond to any issues that exceed the means of traditional support that may arise.
Ryan has been a member of the A Small Orange hosting team for about five years now; Zach recently joined A Small Orange and Matt's been there for four years. They all agreed that the company holds a history of employee longevity that translates into both an enjoyable work environment and a better customer experience.
When asked what keeps them around, they attributed their sticking with ASO to their professional peers. "I think a lot of it has to do with the people — I really enjoy everyone that I work with," Matt said. "We have a lot of fun together," Ryan echoed. The team gets unlimited vacation time, daily video hangouts (for work-related discussion and for fun), and the option to work from home or choose their schedule. "At the end of the day, we're a giant team and a big, happy family," Zach concluded. That employee morale translates into a better hosting experience for the customer. "We really care about the customer and want to offer them a good service," Matt said.
Dedicated server hosting with A Small Orange means flexibility. You get a range of options for memory and disk storage settings — spanning from four to 16 gigabytes and 128 gigabytes to one terabyte, respectively. You get the power of an Intel Xeon core processor. You get the control of cPanel, WHM, and root administrative access. With A Small Orange, you get the power of dedicated resources, backed by a team that can support the security, setup, and troubleshooting needs that accompany that server responsibility. "Our product portfolio is based on the customer and what they need," Zach concluded.
#8 out of 10 in VPS Hosting reviews
We love recommending Bluehost for its lifetime customer growth potential, meaning you can start with shared hosting and seamlessly scale to VPS hosting plans and beyond. The price versus performance is pretty unbeatable in the virtual hosting space, and Bluehost's engineering team will kick off the customer relationship by instantly provisioning your server.
Bluehost’s VPS offerings boast several benefits compared to standard shared hosting and other VPS providers. The first is speed; Bluehost offers your choice of two or four cores and 4GB to 16GB of RAM with guaranteed resources, so you have the power you need when you need it. The second perk is security; Bluehost offers redundant storage and optional SiteLock protection to secure your data.
For those new to VPS hosting who may not know exactly what is needed, Bluehost makes it incredibly easy and seamless to switch between plans to find the perfect package for you. The company's enhanced cPanel interface enables users to instantly adjust computing resources. If you have questions or need some advice, Bluehost's wonderful support staff is standing by to assist 24/7.
KVM virtualization, Intel Xeon 6-core processors, automatic failover, and state-of-the-art network safeguarding — a blur of letters and buzz words for hosting newbies, but for the more savvy VPS shopper, these features are exactly what you're looking for in a cloud-based server. A Small Orange cloud hosting includes the latest in performance technologies, so you can expect enterprise-level hardware and expert-level help to secure and monitor it. Ryan, Matt, and Zach introduced us to their VPS hosting infrastructure, talking through the tech and the team behind it.
Cloud Spectator conducted performance testing on A Small Orange and other providers and reported 100% uptime for A Small Orange Linux hosting in February 2016. When comparing the response times coming from various datacenters, the results for February 2016 ranged from 297 milliseconds to respond to a low 100-millisecond load time.
ASO promises 99.9% uptime, which isn't jaw-dropping in the hosting space; however, they were one of three providers with 100% uptime in February 2016, according to the results of the Cloud Spectator performance review.
While discussing A Small Orange's hosting offerings, Zach told us the cloud product in particular is "one of a kind." This piqued our interest immediately. "The way we have it set up is pretty cool," he explained that the entire platform is SSD-powered with RAID solid-state drives and several "cool caching technologies" in place (e.g., PHP-FPM/FastCGI Process Manager and other PHP-level caching tools).
"One of the things that really differentiates our cloud platform and that really enables us to provide a higher quality of service than other providers on the market right now is that all of our templates for different operating systems are homegrown," Matt said. "What I mean by that is that instead of downloading a template from the developers of our virtualization software, we create them based on what we've learned about what our customers are actually doing in the real world; then we optimize the templates around that research."
As an example, the A Small Orange team built a WordPress-optimized template using NGINX to deliver faster content loading for customers' site visitors. "These templates offer a great deal of flexibility, because we’ve created them in house ourselves," Matt said. "We’re able to offer certain performance bonuses that you can’t find with any other provider." Customers can seamlessly switch between various templates as their hosting needs fluctuate.
"From a marketing side, cPanel’s included," Zach said, "so anyone who wants to get started with VPS is not faced with that incremental charge." Ryan added that many of the in-house tools we discussed are integrated with cPanel, "so if someone wants to get these performance enhancements, there are cPanel integrations that we’ve done in house that are a part of those stacks as well."
In addition to cPanel hosting, A Small Orange VPS customers benefit from SSD speed-boosting, resulting in screaming-fast response times. To protect your precious site data, A Small Orange conducts daily site backups, with options for rolling back to previous versions over a 7-day timespan. They also offer R1Soft's Bare-Metal Restore (BMR) backups for all of their servers, along with RAID 1 disk mirroring.
Recognizing that no hosting solution can be one-size-fits-all, the A Small Orange hosting support team is there to help iron out the setup and security details. They offer free migration assistance, 24/7 network monitoring, and a "personable" support experience, to use Matt's words. "We treat the customer like we would want to be treated," he said. They have around 100-or-so support employees and Zach told us those folks make up the "bulk" of the ASO staff. "Support has always been a big deal at ASO and I think the customers recognize that," Matt said. "It really shines through in all of our support channels."
To sum things up: VPS requires flexibility and that power warrants a need for relentlessly reliable support; that support needs to translate from the chat portal to the network of servers — servers which need to be online. A Small Orange's cloud hosting for Linux yields screaming-fast response times, the team offers support you can count on, and the company promises 99.9% uptime for your site. That's a virtual deal you can literally feel good about.
#1 out of 9 in WordPress Hosting reviews
Bluehost's WordPress hosting packages are aimed at first-time site owners and personal bloggers. These services come at a premium compared to the standard Bluehost web hosting (basic shared hosting) plans, but the WordPress optimization and platform-specific resources are arguably worth the cost.
The shared WordPress hosting plans are arguably the most popular. Equipped with the web's famous MOJO Marketplace, enjoy single-click installations of popular apps and tools, including WordPress. Bluehost is on a short list of providers officially endorsed by the experts at WordPress.org, so, when faced with WordPress-specific issues, you can reach out to the customer support team with confidence.
Bluehost's managed WordPress hosting service is based on the hosting company's VPS offering. Though not as customizable as others, this managed hosting service focuses on simplicity and speed. The account management interface is easy to navigate, and the instant provisioning allows for speedy setup. Integrated features, such as the MOJO Marketplace and ManageWP, are nice touches as well.
Though simple by design, Bluehost doesn't skimp on WordPress fan favorites:
Formed in 2003, Bluehost has long been one of the foremost shared hosts on the planet, and the hosting company now powers more than 2 million websites. With an experienced team, competitive pricing, and always-there support, Bluehost is an industry veteran when it comes WordPress hosting.
WordPress hosting is a popular avenue for individuals, business owners, and bloggers to get a new website launched quickly and easily. A number of the ASmallOrange.com offerings benefit WordPress hosting seekers, starting with their sign-up deal for annual plans (two months of free hosting). With the extremely popular cPanel control panel, customers can log in and easily install WordPress, along with hundreds of other web apps, via Softaculous auto-installer. Once you're up and running, your site will perform up to 15 times faster, thanks to A Small Orange's SSD-powered servers.
The team told us about some cool performance enhancements that they've engineered in house. They offer a variety of system-specific templates, with a boatload of caching and SSD speed-boosting technologies. Ryan explained one template type in particular: "We have a WordPress-optimized template that actually uses NGINX instead of the Apache web server to deliver faster content loading for the customers’ visitors."
They determine what kind of templates and in-house innovations to work on next based on what they observe their customers doing, using, or needing. "We create these templates based on what we’ve learned about what our customers are actually doing in the real world," Ryan said. "By creating these templates in house, we’re able to offer certain performance bonuses that you can’t find with any other provider."
WordPress is well-liked and well-supported in the hosting community, but there's nothing more frustrating than trying to troubleshoot a WordPress hiccup yourself to no avail. A Small Orange offers the help of their friendly support staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. They're US-based and ready to assist.
Meanwhile, their security team is also keeping an eye on your website and server. They conduct daily site backups, with 7-day rollback options, and promise a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Your data is also better protected with Bare Metal Restore (BMR) backups.
What could be better than 1-click installation, SSD speed-boosting, and a US-based support team to get you started with the very popular blogging platform, WordPress? A Small Orange makes it easy, affordable, and darn-right pleasant to launch a WP site for your personal or business use. "The customer has always been a really important part of our business," Zach said. "Our product portfolio is based on the customer and what they need." A Small Orange centers their business around helping you build your business.
#5 out of 10 in Website Builder Hosting reviews
With Bluehost, new site owners have the drag-and-drop simplicity of the Weebly website builder and goMobi mobile site builder at their fingertips. This makes launching a new online brand, store, or personal site from scratch relatively painless. Sure, site building has its headaches for newbies, but the Bluehost team is ready and willing to assist you every step of the way. To help prime your site launch for success, Bluehost offers a plethora of unlimited freebies:
These freebies, coupled with several options for site building services, is everything a new website owner needs to get started, and the cost is hard to beat. If WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) isn’t for you, perhaps a CMS (content management system) option sounds appealing.
Choose from the most popular content management and blogging software, including Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress, and download and install the application(s) with a single click. Some Bluehost hosting plan options have even been customized to cater to WordPress — and Bluehost is one of three hosts officially endorsed by the WordPress Core developers. For quick, cheap, and easy website building — backed by one of the web’s most reliable web hosts — you can’t go wrong in choosing Bluehost.
A Small Orange builds upon their usable and flexible hosting offerings by partering with Weebly to provide the "Professional" and "Business" website builder plans. Keep in mind, all shared hosting plans come with a free Weebly site builder, but these particular services give you the same drag-and-drop ease-of-use, without the ASO branding. These add-ons allow you to get a professional-looking site up and running in mere minutes and are especially appealing to eCommerce-minded customers or those with no programming experience (and no interest in becoming a developer overnight). Both plans include A Small Orange hosting features like cPanel access and unlimited email addresses, as well as 24/7/365 live chat support.
Customize a beautiful web property that boasts your brand with the simplicity of Weebly's drag-and-drop builder tool. With either of A Small Orange's web builder plans, you can create an unlimited number of pages, a custom footer to connect them all, and a slideshow to catch visitors' eyes at first landing. Password-protect pages, add audio or video, and host your masterpiece at a personalized domain name. Once you're satisfied with your design, hit "Publish" and start promoting your brand or profiting from your products.
If you're building an online marketplace, A Small Orange offers all the eCommerce features you need to feature and sell your products on the Web with ease. Feature up to 25 products with the "Professional" plan, or display as many as you can come up with using the "Business" plan. Other perks to opting for the slightly pricier "Business" plan include a shopping cart integrated into your domain (rather than parking it at a Weebly.com subdomain), no transaction fees, and additional tools for calculating shipping, taxes, and coupon codes. Depending on your business size and sales expectations, you can determine which plan better suits your inventory needs.
If there's one thing we want to stress here, it's that the A Small Orange team is readily available to help no matter your hosting or site-building requirements. "We offer a personable type of support," Matt said. "We really care about the customer and want to offer them a good service." Based on our conversation with the ASO team, we believe that their attitude is: your business's success is their business.