Founded in 2003, Bluehost was founded primarily as a web hosting company. They also offer domain registration and cloud-based services. Built on open source technology, Bluehost has grown to become one of the world's largest providers of cloud-based online solutions. Currently, the company’s headquarters is in Utah beneath the Wasatch Mountains with 700 employees.
- Number of TLDs available
- Security features
- Simple domain transfer policies
- Customer support
Number of TLDs Available
Bluehost offers up to 500 Top-Level Domains (TLDs), making them competitive among the popular Domain Name Sellers, some who offer over 500 names. In 2014, Bluehost added 60 additional nTLDs like .academy and .agency to their list. These domains cover many categories, including business, culture, education, food, real estate, lifestyle, music & art, travel & leisure, services, technology and shopping.
When buying a domain, Bluehost also offers customers a comprehensive list of privacy and security services. Here is a list of Bluehost's most impressive security features:
- WHOIS Domain Privacy: disguises your personal information on the public WHOIS database, protecting you from possible scammers, identity theft or spam. For this service, Bluehost charges $11.88/year. This price is more expensive than most companies who offer the exact same service but only charge on average $9.99/year. Some companies even offer free WHOIS privacy with the purchase of a new domain, making Bluehost inferior in this regard.
- Dedicated IP (Internet Protocol): is a unique Internet address dedicated exclusively to a single hosting account rather than a sharing one server with several IP addresses. This costs $5.99/month. If you purchase Bluehost's dedicated hosting services, the price for a dedicated IP drops to $2.50/month.
- SSL Certificates: SSL (Secure Socket Layer) creates a more secure connection between your website and server via authentication and the negotiation of an encryption algorithm and cryptographic keys. This costs $49.99/year. As a Bluehost customer, you have to utilize the SSL protocol with your domain, so the Bluehost server needs to have a Private (non-shared) SSL Certificate installed specifically for your domain. This can only be done if your account has a Dedicated IP address.
- SpamExperts Mail Filtering: BlueHost offers advanced filtering algorithms and spam pattern detection to eliminate 99.98% of all inbound, unsolicited bulk email. This saves time, eliminates wasted disk space and protects your hosting service from junk email and email threats. This costs customers $2.99/month for every domain name.
- SiteLock: Automatically scans your website for malware to ensure its not being blocked or spammed. Displaying the SiteLock certificate increases conversion rates on your site and gives your business instant credibility and trust in the eyes of customers. Pricing starts at $23.88/year for each domain.
- Site Backup and Restore: Automatically restores lost files, provides version control and downloads files to a .zip archive. This costs $35.88/year.
Due to the number of security features, Bluehost surpasses some of their competitors. Regarding pricing, Bluehost's WHOIS privacy is more expensive than most companies but they're in the minority for domain registrars that offer Dedicated IPs. Their pricing for SSL, however, is less than some competitors, who can charge at over $150.00 or more.
Simple Domain Transfer Policies
When it comes to domain transfer, Bluehost has some limitations. For example, you can only transfer .com, .net, .org, .biz, .us, .info domains. While domain transfer typically takes 5-7 days with most domain registrars, Bluehost transfers can take up to 10 days. Also, if you recently created a domain within 60 days and choose to transfer it somewhere else within that 60 days, you will lose the year you just paid for. To avoid this, you will have to wait until the 60 days is over. The same applies to renewed domains, which have a 45 day waiting period. This can prove to be very inconvenient for domain name buyers-especially if you're a customer renewing your name. Other domain registrars do not hold this policy for renewed names. Domain Transfers only transfer your domain registration, it will not move your website files, emails, or databases. Once a transfer is started you cannot make any changes to your WHOIS database information, no contact changes and no name servers/dns changes. These policies are less convenient and more limiting and time-consuming than many domain name companies.
Bluehost tends to hold domain names hostage in cases of domain expiration.
In the case that a Domain expires, Bluehost will hold the expired Domain for up to 30 days as a courtesy and not as an obligation (contractual or otherwise). 30 days after expiration, the Domain will be placed in Redemption. During the Redemption period the Domain will be inaccessible and unable to be registered elsewhere. In order to bring a Domain out of Redemption, Subscriber must pay a Redemption Fee of $70.00, as well as a Renewal Fee of $15.99 for the current year.
- Registrars in general have a terrible reputation for holding names hostage, making it difficult to switch registrars if you become dissatisfied. Some charge exorbitant fees or create delays to avoid losing business.
- Please investigate if this applies to this company. Write information on anything you can find.
In the area of customer support, Bluehost offers assistance in 4 categories: phone, email, live chat and a support page. Here are the specifics:
Phone Support: Bluehost offers various toll-free numbers for specific types of support available 24/7. While many companies have only one phone number, Bluehost has a main phone number and an international phone number.
In addition to this, they have 24/7 phone numbers for: sales, tech support, account management and professional services. The sales category alone has 9 separate phone numbers, the tech support has 3 numbers while account management (with limited hours) has 6 numbers to choose from and professional services (with limited hours of Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm MT) offers 5 phone numbers in different categories. There is also a special number for Bluehost affiliates.
Email Support: Although Bluehost seems to prefer phone support, they offer several email addresses to contact for feedback, legal inquires and career opportunities.
Live Chat: Bluehost offers a Live Chat feature that allows customers to talk with them in real time in an instant messenger format.
Support Page: BlueHost also has a support page for self-help support with articles, guides, how-tos, instructions, and answers to customers' most frequently asked questions.
Compared to other domain name sellers, Bluehost is competitive with 24/7 phone service. There are some companies that don't offer phone service at all-or they offer limited hours. With more than 15 phone numbers, almost no domain company comes close to offering offer this many phone numbers for customer support.
Bluehost's live chat also shines because several competitors offer "live" chat that only functions as a support ticket form. One possible disadvantage is that does not offer a forum where customers can interact with Bluehost and each other to troubleshoot problems or ask questions, but their body of support service and availability far outweighs this feature.
- Other TLD prices
- ICANN fees
- Bulk price
- Cross selling
- Mobile app
- ICANN accreditation
All .com domains are $11.99 for the first year and increases to $15.99/year after the first year ends. Although Bluehost fully discloses this price increase, customers may not like the price going up from the original price they actually wanted. In other words, if the domain cost $15.99/year at the beginning, they may not have chosen to become a Bluehost domain customer in the first place.
Other TLD Prices
Other Bluehost original Top-Level Domains(.net, .org, .biz, .info)
cost the same as a .com domain at $11.99/year. Similarly, after the first year, the price locks in to a higher price at $15.99/year. The generic (and less commonly used) domain names (.academy, .buzz, .agency, etc) cost much more, ranging from as little as $0.99/year for a .website domain to as much as $129.99/year for a .host extension. The advantage to using Bluehost is that their main TLD pricing is the same for both .com and the other domains (.org, .net, etc) Quite a few domain registrars have different pricing for .coms versus other domains. Also, the $11.99/year and the $15.99/year pricing is an average price that most domain companies charge. What is not favorable is the upward shift in price after the first year. Customers would better appreciate the initial price being the permanent price.
As a domain registrar, Bluehost is required to pay an annual 18 cent ICANN fee. Bluehost does not indicate an ICANN fee regarding your purchase price. Some domain registrar companies add on ICANN fees at the check out or don't mention whether or not those fees are included with the price, leaving Bluehost with some transparency issues in this regard.
For customers looking to purchase domains in bulk, Bluehost allows you to search for and register up to 500 domains at a time, giving you the ability to instantly secure all the domains you need; however, they do not advertise a bulk discount of any kind. It is recommended you contact one of their customer support numbers to inquire further about this. This is less favorable compared to a few companies who offer discount pricing for purchasing 100 domains or more, such as 10% off for 100 domains.
When purchasing a domain name with Bluehost, customers can expect to encounter a total of 9 upsells on the same page. This page appears to be structured in a way to get you to upgrade to web hosting services. An unfavorable action Bluehost performs is automatically checking boxes to additional services which can get charged to customers who are not thoroughly looking over the page. Compared to other companies, this is a greater number of upsells, since the average amount of domain registrar upsells is 2. One advantage is that while other companies make customers go through several additional screens of sales pitches in order to buy a domain name, Bluehost only has one page of upsells (feature options) to check or uncheck before the final payment confirmation page.
Bluehost does not offer customers apps for mobile use, such as the Android, iPhone or iPad. Any user wanting to create, edit their own website, access their Control Panel or subscribe to Bluehost services will need to visit their website directly. In addition to having no downloadable applications, Bluehost does offer a mobile website. One user reports that the mobile site feature lacks meta viewport tags in their website, making it difficult for a mobile device to correctly orient or scale the web pages of the entity. This is inferior to the few companies that do offer an iOS or Android app for mobile users to manage their domains from anywhere they have a phone or tablet. Being able to interface with your domain host makes it very convenient and lessens the chance of things like forgetting to pay your annual renewal fee happening.
Update: It appears once going through Bluehost's blog that they do offer a Bulk Registration app, which requires a Bluehost account to access.