By Mark Shroyer
If you've ever intensely looked for Web hosts you've probably
already seen two of them: BlueHost
and HostMonster. (They are everywhere!) What many people
don't realize is they're the same company.
What is so unique about BlueHost is they keep it simple.
They offer one package for shared web hosting at a very
low price. ($8/month!) They include many unlimited features;
domains, disk space, bandwidth, email accounts - all unlimited!
Another thing I like is BlueHost includes several site
builders and offer a toll free phone number to reach technical
support. It is always good to have these two features, especially
for newbie webmasters.
The average amount of accounts they put on a server is 500-1400.
But it is possible to share a server with a few thousand
other static Web sites. But before you freak out that BlueHost
overloads their servers keep in mind most static web pages
take up very little space. BlueHost uses a formula to ensure
the server you share isn't overfilled.
The best part is this. Unlike most web hosts, with BlueHost
you can cancel your account at anytime and they will not
penalize you. In fact, they will give you a pro-rated refund
of the unused portion of your hosting agreement.
Though BlueHost offers a lot of unlimited features the truth
is they do have a few limitations that could impact you;
depending on your web site.
One limitation Blue Host has is they limit database connections
to 20. If you don't use databases (i.e., MySql) then it
is not an issue. If you do, then it could become one.
Another limitation they have in place is their inode limit
of 200K files/items per account. Granted, this is more than
most web site's will ever need. However, if you use 2.0
blogs or forums then a day could come where 200K isn't enough
and you'd be forced to either delete excess files, open
another BlueHost account, or move to another host.
Another thing to understand is their policy on using 7%
of a 16 core cpu. OK. This IS a lot of power. Again, the
average web site will probably not have any issues. But
if you use a script that quickly uses up resources (like
busy 2.0 blogs or forums) then it is just a matter of time
before you do run into problems.
Here is where BlueHost is different than most web hosts...
Most web hosts will automatically suspend your account or
force you to upgrade if you exceed their limits. BlueHost,
however, rarely shuts a Web site down for exceeding their
Instead, they throttle (slow down) your web site speed
until the problem is fixed. In fact, your site is automatically
throttled any time you exceed the 7% cpu limit or have more
than 200,000 files on your web site, whichever comes first.
(i.e., a web page, an image, an email, etc. each counts
as one file/inode.)
In other words, instead of redirecting all your traffic
to an "account suspended" page (like most hosts
do) your web pages just load slower. Of course, nobody wants
their web site to be slow. But wouldn't you agree that slower
is better than not accessible at all?
Another uncommon thing for shared hosting is that BlueHost
does allow full shell access. It is a pain to acquire since
they force you to send your personal information first.
(i.e. driver's license, passport, etc.) But this is a GOOD
thing because there are security risks with full shell access.
It only makes sense for BlueHost to KNOW who is using shell
There are a couple things I wasn't too thrilled about with
Blue Host at first.
Initially when I heard you could only send out 150 emails
per hour I wasn't impressed. But then I found out all you
had to do is ask and they will increase the limit up to
750 emails per hour (18,000/day). That is better. In fact,
this 18,000 emails per day is a doable number for budding
The other problem is the fact BlueHost only offers shared
hosting. Now, this is fine for most web site owners and
may never be an issue. But the reality is this. Once you
have a high traffic web site or you are continuously exceeding
their CPU limits that means you have outgrown their shared
web hosting. The best way to look at hosting is to be sure
you have a plan in place for upgrading. (i.e., VPS or Dedicated
Since Blue Host only offers shared hosting this means there
could come a day you are forced to move to another Web host.
In fact, if your account grows too large the quick solution
BlueHost recommends is purchasing a second hosting account
and moving some of your domains and files over there. That
way you have more hosting resources. Now, if you are just
starting then it is nothing to worry about. Just keep it
in mind as your web site grows.
OK. I know some will balk when they find out you must pay
upfront for a year. ($8/month X 12 months = $95/year altogether.)
But again, unlike most places, with BlueHost you can cancel
your account anytime and you'll get a pro-rated refund of
any unused portion of your hosting agreement. So you won't
lose money if you leave!
With all that said I think you'll see BlueHost as a great
place for those just starting out with a personal web site
or small business web site and who have small to medium
traffic. However, it may not be so good for critical ebusiness
sites, growing sites that will potentially have thousands
of pages and traffic, busy blogs or forums, or interactive
social sites where limits could be rapidly reached.
The reasons why I like BlueHost so much is because, not
only have they been in business since 1996 (which tells
you something) but they have an A rating with the BBB. To
avoid confusion they offer just one package at a rock bottom
monthly price and they keep things EXTREMELY simple. At
750/hour for sending emails you can market by email, and
they rarely suspend accounts for exceeding their limits
(unless it clearly abused their policy); nor are you forced
to upgrade to the next higher priced package.