As a small business owner who is in the process of setting up an ecommerce storefront, you may have selected a software platform that is not a hosted service but requires you to provide your own web hosting for your store (such as WooCommerce). This being the case, you're probably looking for a suitable and affordable hosting service.
BlueHost is one reputable and reliable company offering quite powerful, yet inexpensive, web hosting packages.
BlueHost offers website hosting plans under several categories like Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting etc. However, for the purpose of this review, we're only going to look at a few of their plans that relate primarily to ecommerce stores trying to scale up. For example, we'll take a look at shared hosting for smaller stores, the WooCommerce plan for companies implementing the popular WordPress plugin, along with the various WordPress hosting plans offered through Bluehost.
Now that you have a general idea of what hosting is for your business, keep reading to learn more about how Bluehost can save you money and time when building your ecommerce site. The goal is to create a fast, secure and reliable online store, and Bluehost has plans for all of the above.
Since Bluehost provides a wide range of offerings, they separate them into certain plan groupings. The most common plans they sell are called shared hosting accounts, which means that you'll be sharing server space with other websites. This is a great start for companies just getting started, and it's by far the least expensive option. You can see the pricing for shared hosting below:
- Basic – For $7.99 you receive one website, 50 GB of space, one domain, five parked domains, 25 subdomains and five email accounts.
- Plus – For $10.99 you receive ten websites, 150 GB of space, one domain, 20 parked domains, 50 subdomains, 100 email accounts, and a CDN.
- Prime – For $14.99 you receive unlimited websites, unlimited space, one domain, unlimited parked domains, unlimited subdomains, unlimited email accounts, a CDN, SSL and dedicated IP.
In addition to the shared hosting, you may want to look into the more advanced, and managed, WordPress hosting, which offers more visits per month, CDNs and the ultimate security. Here's the roundup:
- WP Standard – For $39.99 per month you get 100 million visits per month, 30GB of storage, five ManageWP sites, a CDN and Sitelock Pro.
- WP Enhanced – For $59.99 per month you get 300 million visits per month, 60GB of storage, 10 ManageWP sites, a CDN and Sitelock Pro.
- WP Premium – For $89.99 per month you get 600 million visits per month, 120GB of storage, 20 ManageWP sites, a CDN, Sitelock Premium and an SSL.
- WP Ultimate – For $129.99 per month you get unlimited visits per month, 240GB of storage, 30 ManageWP sites, a CDN, Sitelock Enterprise and an SSL.
The final area to look at from Bluehost includes support for WooCommerce and WordPress. Basically, these plans are designed so that WooCommerce is already installed and optimized, and they also have advanced ecommerce security.
Have a look:
- Starter – For $13.99 per month you gain access to a Positive SSL, 100 GB of space, one domain, five subdomains and five email accounts.
- Plus – For $17.99 per month you gain access to a Positive SSL, unlimited space, one domain, unlimited subdomains and unlimited email accounts.
- Pro – For $31.99 per month you gain access to a Comodo SSL, unlimited space, one domain, unlimited subdomains and unlimited email accounts. You also receive SiteBackup Pro, domain privacy and access to SpamExperts.
What Bluehost Features Can You Expect to Help You With Ecommerce?
Migrations, Direct Installations and One Click Installs
One of the best parts of Bluehost is that you generally don't need to know much about development, or hosting for that matter, to get all setup with an ecommerce hosting plan. The company provides support for migrating an old site to Bluehost, and you can choose a plan where tools like WooCommerce and ManageWP are already installed.
Not to mention, if you plan on running your site on WordPress, the backend of Bluehost has a handy one-click installation button, expediting the process to just a few minutes. After the installation it gives you the login credentials for WordPress and you can be on your way to selling online.
If you opt for one of the WordPress or WooCommerce plans, you'll automatically gain access to some type of SiteLock plan, which is an advanced security platform for locking down site information and protecting details that flow through your site. Some plans also have SSL certificates, which allow for secure connections when customers are punching in their payment and personal details. This way, you can ensure that your customer and business data is protected at all times.
An Enhanced CPanel for Accessing Files and Handling Domains and Other Items
The Bluehost CPanel, or dashboard, stands out as one of the simplest on the market, since it's organized into a few tabs for things like domains, subdomains, hosting, files, CDNs and security. If you've never used a CPanel before it may look intimidating, but it won't take long to get the hang of things.
A content delivery network is offered through some of the Bluehost plans, and it's one of the easiest ways for you to support increasing traffic on your ecommerce site. With shared or managed hosting your site files are stored and served up on an individual server.
This means that if your server is located in Illinois, someone in India will have a longer wait to see your website, because the person is far away. A CDN distributes how your site is delivered through a network of servers located all over the world. This means that your customers are more likely to load up your site faster, and because of this, your search engine rankings should improve.
ManageWP provides a service for those companies that run multiple WordPress websites. It's a pain to jump back and forth from dashboard to dashboard, so this consolidates all WordPress dashboards into one. It all depends on the Bluehost account you choose, but if you plan on handling multiple sites, you should think about this.
The final feature that will certainly come in handy for ecommerce sites is backup space. Imagine building your entire site, accumulating sales, then noticing one day that your site crashes, or someone hacks into it. You may lose data, so you'll need a backup to restore the lost information. Most Bluehost plans have backup space for you to feel at ease.
Blazing Fast Speed
Speed often depends on some of the tactics you take yourself (cleaning up files, optimizing images, keeping plugins to a minimum and using caching plugins.) It also depends on the amount of traffic you receive. However, Bluehost has the packages required to keep your site fast at all times. The shared hosting plans have unmetered bandwidth, and you can even get high performance with the Business Pro Plan. The website space is reasonable, and you have various other upgrade options if your site traffic is causing slow download speeds.
First of all, some of the plans have content delivery networks, which expands your reach throughout the globe. They have VPS hosting which provides two to four CPU cores for the ultimate speed. Finally the dedicated hosting goes all the way up to 4 x 3.3 GHz CPU if your site is gaining traction fast.
The Bluehost support team is always kind and knowledgeable, and it's nice because they are generally available at all times. So, if you have a question at 3am, simply open up a ticket or a chat box to get your answer. The self-help resources are there for you to complete your own research, and the company even has some forums to chat with other users. Phone, chat and email support are all offered, and you can always send in a ticket if you don't mind waiting about 24 hours for a response.
In terms of quality support, Bluehost is the best you can find, considering its representatives know what they are talking about and they never seem to send you off to other people if they can't figure out the problem. The point is, you can rely on the first person you start talking with.
You can check out the BlueHost site by clicking here.
The screenshot below shows some of the BlueHost cPanel options and features:
Now that you've had a chance to understand exactly what Bluehost can do for your ecommerce website, consider visiting the website below to signup for a plan. Also, feel free to drop a line in the comments section below if you have any questions.