Bluehost and Webhosting

WRITTEN BY GARETH DUNNE @JSDIARIES

Deciding on a web host?

One of the first steps in setting up jsdiaries was to decide which web hosting service I should use. This took quite a bit of consideration and I would recommend every blog or business to choose carefully.

I had to think about current requirements as well as the future potential features of the blog. I tried using Blacknight, which I found to be too basic. Contacting their customer service proved overly complicated.

By contrast, Bluehost has a rich feature set and a great customer service team. I evaluated Bluehost critically to make sure it was the best choice for me and hopefully for you too.

Bluehost has been around for donkeys’ years, as far back as 1996. They provide an estimated 2 million domains. The accessible setup process is largely responsible for this success.

The main features offered by the budget-friendly Bluehost include:

  • Unlimited Hosting Space, File Transfer, E-mail accounts

      • cPanel Account Control Panel
      • Customizable Error Pages
      • Free Domain (for 1 year)
      • Free Site Builder with templates
      • Secure Shell, SSL, FTP, Stats
      • Web hosting PHP5
      • CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MySQL
      • 99.9% Network Uptime Guarantee

With Bluehost’s package pricing you get what you pay for. I’m going to link you to the quickest way to the lowest prices package that they have here:

This low price reels you in initially, and chances are you will have to pay extra for some features down the line. But if you’re okay with that you could do a lot worse. You’re getting reasonable stability with a nice dashboard to navigate through.

Its cPanel holds all the webmaster tools, so plenty of options are available (although some of them are premium). As I said, it is easy to browse through and it is used on many different hosting services. Once you familiarise yourself with it, you can easily transfer to other web hosts later on if you decide to change.

One pitfall of Bluehost is that it does not allow you to host video-
sharing sites on a shared hosting account. You must buy a VPS or dedicated server account. So do be aware of this if you decide to take a basic package.

The one-click WordPress install is certainly a very user-friendly option. This is what a lot of people will be looking for, a simple, clean installation of WordPress. You really can’t go too far wrong here, just navigate to the control panel. Click “install wordpress” and then choose the domain to install it to.

Packages

This can be quite confusing so what are the key differences between Shared Hosting Basic Plus or Pro?

If your website really relies on some of the features offered by the Plus or Pro packages you might want to look elsewhere. More expansive features may cost you an unjust amount compared to sites like Digital Ocean or HostGator.
If you think your going to host more than one website  the Plus package is ideal for you. However, keep in mind that the Pro plan cost outweighs its competitors (who offer better deals).

Email Domains

Setting up various email domains is also well implemented into the user interface and multiple email addressed hosted on a few different webmail types are offered on even the basic packages. Horde, Squirrel, Roundcube are all offered as webmail clients on the Shared hosting package.
To access these options in Bluehost go to your cPanel

BlueHost Cpanel
BlueHost Cpanel

Then navigate to the email section.

Select “Email Manager” and you will be brought to a section where you can customize your webmail type, view your inbox and add spam protection.

Bluehost webmail client types - horde
Web mail client types

Each of these are fairly basic webmail types but they offer everything you need for your domain specific email addresses. For more advanced options, simply look for the navigation bar on the left hand side.

email-dashboard bluehost cPanel
email-dashboard
Security

Bluehost comes with half decent security tools and settings even on the most basic package. In your WordPress dashboard, you can install a free version of Jetpack. This will provide you with an overview of visitors of your site, as well as a display of malicious security threats and how many of these have been blocked.

You can also prevent spam with tools like SpamAssassin and Spam Hammer. They also support CloudFlare. This helps prevent DDoS attacks that can completely bring a site to its knees with an overwhelming amount of generated traffic from various different sources.

The wordpress plugin Jetpack offers an overview on malicious attacks on your website. You can also update to a full backup of your website as well as whitelisting your own IP address in case you get too many failed log in attempts.

Jetpack Security Tracking Overview

Bluehost does go down for maintenance on the occasion this is worth noting as it could affect you when you least expect it.

Overall

Listen, while I was doing the research for this post there seemed to be a lot of unhappy users nitpicking bluehost and insinuating that they are a bunch of web-hosting cowboys.

The reality is that they aren’t the best in many aspects but they are a decent, affordable provider and it opens up possibilities for the future of your business or blog.

When getting started with a business or blog. the main thing that you should be concerned with is  getting your website or content out there for immediate effect.

Bluehost allows you to do this incredibly quickly, which in itself is quite valuable. Despite some limitations, there is always the option to upgrade a feature down the line. And in terms of value, simply put – get what you pay for.

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