Whether you’re a hobbyist, a professional that manage clients, or an Internet marketer, you probably want reliable and affordable web hosting for a website. In this article, I’m going to go through all the important things in a hosting company and see if Host Gator can deliver on those benefits.
Let’s talk about what you get with their service. Bluehost runs under linux hosting and uses cPanel hosting, which is the best control panel and usually the industry standard provided by hosting companies. Their service comes with many tools to help webmasters such as the site builder web designer, the ability to back up your cPanel (in case anything goes wrong). They also support PHP 5, SSH, SSI, Cron jobs, Curl, Python, Ruby On Rails, Front Page and more. If you don’t know what these are, you can read through their features page for a quick explanation.
I was happy to see that you get the Fantastico script installer which will install many popular scripts with a few clicks. And speaking of scripts, you get unlimited MySQL Databases. This is very important for marketers that use many scripts for their sites. My previous web host allowed only three, and I was forced to pay additional fees to use more. I also found that the inclusion of Curl and Cron were incredibly helpful to me as I recently installed a few scripts that used those functions.
While they have a site builder to help you build your site, it’ll probably go unused as most people have their own preferred tool to build their sites. The support of FrontPage is great as you can simply upload your extensions to add pages to your site. For email features, you get unlimited POP3 accounts, the ability to access your mail online, a basic autoresponder (non sequential), spam assassin filtering and mail forwarding.
But what if you want to add forums, blogs and portals? Bluehost supports many popular open source programs such as WordPress, Drupal, phpnn, PHPnuke which can be installed with one click. Finally, you also get AWStats and Webalizer to view your web stats. These are pretty standard with most web hosts, and most people will use their own tools anyway.
But what kind of plans do they offer? The cheapest shared hosting plan is the Hatchling package. It costs $4.95 a month and comes with unlimited disk space and bandwidth. However, it is only limited to hosting 1 domain. This plan is probably the best choice for hobbyists.
The next is the Baby package. It has the same features of the Hatchling package, but you get unlimited domains. As an Internet marketer, you’ll probably have multiple domains for landing pages, a few personal websites, as well as sites for your business. I personally use this plan, and it is very economical at $7.95 a month.
The Business plan is the most expensive at $12.95 and comes with unlimited disk space, bandwidth and domains. You also get your own toll-free number, dedicated IP and private SSL making this a great package for marketers with ecommerce sites.
Let’s move on to performance. Bluehosts host their sites on high quality Dual Xeon Serves in Texas. They offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. From looking at independent studies, their uptime is closer to the 98% range. However, I have never personally experienced my site being down so far.
Next is the issue of customer service. I have to rave about Bluehost’s customer service. You get toll free 24/7/365 support and their staff are well trained. They were very courteous, patient and committed into solving my problem when I got on the phone with them. I had a problem with installing a script, and the support helped me figure it out even though it took more than 20 minutes.
I found their ticket system better for the more technical questions as you can direct the questions to the proper department. Rather than getting a reply in 1-2 days like my previous web hosting providers, I’ve gotten responses as fast as 10 minutes, although it’ll usually takes longer than that. If you think your problem is unique, you can also head to their forums and ask for their help. I found the members of the forum helpful and quick to respond to my posts.
Overall, Bluehost is probably the best web host I’ve used so far. I’ve used 5 different web hosting providers, and they were either too overpriced or had many limitations in terms of bandwidth, domains and limited features. What really makes a hosting company stand out, however, is the customer support, and I have never experienced support as greater than Bluehost’s from any other company, hosting or not.
Another thing I like about this company is that they decided to go green and use wind powered energy for their shared and reseller servers. I think that companies like this that use up a lot of energy should take responsibility to be environmentally conscious. Their decision to go green made me lean more towards using their service than other quality web host providers. In final, I can’t recommend this company enough – their service is cheap, easy to use, quick, and their support is excellent.
The Whois information for a website lists the owner and their contact information. The Whois information for “Bluehost” is public which is generally a good thing. This indicates the owner of this site has nothing to hide.