Bluehost eCommerce Review
If you want to launch a small online store, Bluehost is a great place to start. Through WooCommerce, Bluehost gives you a complete storefront solution with an integrated shopping cart, marketing center, and inventory management. Since everything is already configured for you, your store can be up and running in a matter of minutes.
2021 is expected to bring close to $5 trillion in worldwide eCommerce sales, while the number of online shoppers is drastically increasing on a yearly basis. It’s no wonder that businesses that start online are likely to grow at a faster rate. In this Bluehost eCommerce review, I’m going to tell you why this web hosting industry leader is your best bet if you’re just starting out as a retailer.
In 2019, Bluehost partnered with WooCommerce to give their customers a one-stop shopping cart solution. Woo is your perfect gateway to the world of selling things online: it’s easy to set-up, it scales well, and it can be managed in an intuitive, straightforward point-and-click manner.
If you’re a web developer, you can easily dive into the backend of the Bluehost eCommerce solution, but this is not an absolute necessity. If you’re trying to manage your costs, there is no need for a premium programmer to launch your online shopping experience when you work with Bluehost.
You can optimize the visuals of your page, choose the size of your products’ images, and use extensions like USPS, Square, MailChimp and more to improve your page’s features.
Not Your Average Website
Compared to average websites, eCommerce websites have a huge central focus on performance, scalability, security, integrations, and overall stability. They also have more functionality which necessities the need for optimization and hosting configuration.
As such, your eCommerce website merits a provider who’s more than just a barebones hosting service. It requires a dependable technology partner who will always be there to offer the necessary support when need be. Bluehost is that partner.
In this post, we will look at why Bluehost ranks higher in the e-commerce realm as well as review Bluehost’s WooCommerce hosting. Keep reading to find out what other benefits you get with Bluehost’s eCommerce.
Why Go With Bluehost?
As one of the officially recommended WordPress hosting providers, Bluehost has a big claim to WordPress fame thanks to its affordable and feature-rich WordPress centric hosting packages, extensive documentation and support, reliability, and performance.
In yet another proof of excellence, the company is listed by Automattic – the company behind WordPress.com and Jetpack – as one of the three officially recommended WooCommerce hosting providers alongside SiteGround and GoDaddy.
As such, Bluehost offers three plans dedicated to eCommerce that seek to provide everything you need to build and manage an awe-inspiring online store with ease.
Before we look at what the Bluehost WooCommerce hosting offers, let’s quickly see what WooCommerce is and how it works.
What is WooCommerce and How Does WooCommerce Hosting Work
WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress plugin available through the official WordPress plugin directory. The plugin powers about 40 percent of all online businesses and includes all the requirements of setting up an eCommerce store – allowing anyone to transform their WordPress site into a fully-fledged online storefront.
In other words, WooCommerce builds upon the capabilities of WordPress and those of your hosting provider to give you a fully functional and high-performance WordPress eCommerce website where you can sell anything under the sun – including physical and digital products.
What I love about WooCommerce is its flexibility and straightforwardness. You can add a ton of features from the plugin directory and define the overall design of your website thanks to a full library of WooCommerce themes. What’s more, it is built with complete beginners in mind.
And being a dedicated WordPress plugin, WooCommerce can run anywhere a WordPress website is hosted. Be it on a basic shared hosting plan – which is a popular choice for online store owners who are just getting started – or on VPS (virtual private server) and dedicated hosting for online entrepreneurs looking for more features, extra performance, control, and scaling.
Technical Knowledge Required
However, for you to be able to effectively manage your eCommerce website with these plans you need to have in-depth technical knowledge because you’ll be responsible for managing the WooCommerce aspects of your website. The support may also not be knowledgeable enough when it comes to resolving complex WooCommerce related issues.
For beginners, this can be quite depressing. Luckily, top hosting providers such as Bluehost offer dedicated WooCommerce hosting to help their customers take full advantage of WooCommerce features and capabilities without the need for site design and development expertise.
There are different hosting packages for WooCommerce. They range from basic hosting to managed hosting and VPS options. With the basic option, you’ll have to do most of the stuff by yourself such as site setup and maintenance. The other two will give you more privacy, extra security, and service.
Another very important thing you should note is that, unlike generic WordPress sites where you have to add things like other plugins, extensions, and themes to make your WooCommerce website functional, WooCommerce hosting plans come with all the necessary essentials already built-in.
That said, now let see what the mighty Bluehost offers with its WooCommerce hosting plans.
Bluehost WooCommerce Features
Bluehost – being Bluehost offers a ton of interesting features to its WooCommerce hosting customers regardless of the package. Here’s a quick overview of some of this features.
- A free domain with every new account
- Everything all in one – inclosing hosting, an online store builder, and e-commerce features
- WooCommerce auto install
- Domain privacy and protection as well as a free SSL certificate
- Custom e-mail accounts for each plan
- Unmetered bandwidth and SSD storage
- A free setup call to help you get started
- Free marketing credits worth $100
- A free dedicated IP address
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Payment processing options
- A stack of elegant, professional, and mobile-responsive themes
Now let’s dissect some of these features in detail.
Bluehost eCommerce Security
Any hosting provider can host your eCommerce website on its servers. However, one thing you probably didn’t know is that eCommerce websites are the top target for malicious attacks. And nothing can kill your customers' trust in your business as well as tarnish your brand quickly like a security breach.
As such, it’s vital to adhere to best security practices that start by choosing a perfect WooCommerce hosting provider. Bluehost understands this better and that’s what differentiates it from other hosting providers.
As such, Bluehost packs in a free SSL certificate coupled with a free and dedicated IP address in all of its three plans. An SSL certificate is an essential feature for eCommerce stores which helps encrypt all online transactions and visitor data preventing cybercriminals from intercepting sensitive information such as credit card details, personal identifiable information, and passwords. Most providers will charge you a few extra bucks for an SSL certificate.
Moreover, Bluehost WooCommerce plans come with domain privacy and protection feature which helps reduce spam and security risks by hiding your contact information. Other crucial features include CodeGuard Basic and SiteLock Security which come at an added cost.
Bluehost eCommerce Scalability
Every business owner’s dream is to see his or her business grow. And your hosting provider should by all means not hinder you from achieving your goal.
Typically, most online entrepreneurs will start with a basic plan to keep the costs at a bare minimum. While on a normal day your website may handle traffic comfortably, traffic spikes can mean an entirely different experience for your shoppers.
For instance, if your website is hosted in a shared hosting plan where websites have to draw resources from the same pool, a sudden upsurge in traffic can exhaust your bandwidth. As a result, customers may experience slow page load speeds or worse still your website could crash.
To ensure that you don’t find yourself in this undeserving situation Bluehost’s standard WooCommerce hosting plans include a shared server with “unmetered bandwidth” and SSD (solid-state drive) storage. The reason Bluehost uses SSD is to deliver exemplary performance as well as reduce power consumption.
One thing you should note, however, is that both storage and bandwidth are unmetered, not unlimited. So, despite giving you room to scale your website, Bluehost may place some limitations who put too much strain on the server’s resources.
Bluehost eCommerce Customization
One thing that makes WordPress the ultimate website building platform is its ease-of-use and customization. And WooCommerce being a WordPress plugin, installing it just takes a few clicks.
Bluehost’s WooCommerce hosting plans come pre-installed with WooCommerce, a compatible storefront theme, and a template for different online store functions.
You are, however, not limited for choice when it comes to the overall look and layout of your eCommerce store as there are also thousands of stunningly looking, well-coded, and mobile responsive templates to choose from.
The templates are also customizable right from your WordPress dashboard. This means you can add your brand logo, create menus, change the color pallet, choose what shows on the sidebars, and even manage sliders.
Bluehost eCommerce Payment Processing
One of the most difficult tasks about running an eCommerce website is that of handling payments. Remember we are talking about handling people’s money – which means you cannot afford to have anything go wrong.
Luckily, with Bluehost WooCommerce hosting you are assured of a safe and secure online transaction environment – thanks to the various security features offered by Bluehost.
You also have the option to integrate your site with various high-level security payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe that customer’s trust.
Amazingly, you do not have to worry about set up costs or monthly fees – because there are none. You also get to enjoy other features such as fraud protection and One-Touch checkout.
Along with that, you can choose the default currency that you wish to use on your store as well as turn on geo-location and automatic taxes so that your customers can be able to view prices – inclusive of taxes, irrespective of their location.
Bluehost eCommerce SEO
Having a better mousetrap won’t attract the mouse. You need to add some bait. With that regard, WooCommerce leverages the power of Bluehost and WordPress to spread the word – which helps drive good traffic to your website.
Firstly, WooCommerce runs on WordPress. This essentially means that your online store gets to benefit from the baked-in SEO options provided by WordPress – which gives it a significant SEO boost. Some of this options include WordPress SEO by Yoast, Broken Link Checker, Sitemaps, and SEO Friendly Images, and many more.
The relationship between WooCommerce and Bluehost, on the other hand, is that of hosting reliability. And since Bluehost is a reputable hosting provider it is pretty much reliable.
The company has consistently recorded higher uptimes of 99.99% through the years and is one of the few hosting providers that packs in a free SSL certificate in each of its WooCommerce hosting plans.
Both Uptime and an SSL certificate are important metrics when it comes to ranking. For instance, excellent uptime means your website pages will load faster helping prevent potential customers from leaving your site.
SSL, on the other hand, is a mandatory requirement by Google for your site to rank. According to Google, websites without an SSL certificate will be flagged as unsafe on browsers and they will not be given ranking advantage.
Bluehost VPS Customer Service
One of the greatest virtues of a great hosting provider is how dependable they are when you are in the middle of a crisis.
Luckily, Bluehost has a dedicated, and technically savvy customer support team that is always on standby to solve any of your problems. New WooCommerce hosting customers also receive a free set up call to help them get started.
You can reach Bluehost’s support via live chat, ticketing, email, or phone. For simple DIY hacks, you can visit their knowledgebase – where you can get a solution to nearly everything.
Bluehost WooCommerce Plans and Pricing
Bluehost offers three plans dedicated to WooCommerce hosting. The plans include:
- Starter ($6.95/ mo)
- Plus ($8.95/ mo)
- Pro (12.95/ mo)
The Starter plan is the most basic WooCommerce plan offered by Bluehost. The plan costs $6.95/mo and packs some basic features such as domain privacy & protection, a free SSL certificate, 100 GB SSD space, and marketing credits worth $100.
Unfortunately, you can only host 1 online store with this plan. The plan is ideal for small online stores with little traffic.
Bluehost’s WooCommerce Plus plan is the most popular and highly recommended package. At $8.95 per month, the Plus plan offers unlimited SSD storage & bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, domain privacy & protection, and CodeGuard backup basic.
You can also host more than one store with the same account. The plan is ideal for online entrepreneurs looking to scale their business.
The Pro plan is the most advanced WooCommerce hosting package from Bluehost. The plan packs everything that comes with the Plus plan but adds a few perks such as Bluehost SEO tools start, spam protection for 2 domains, and more PPC credits.
The Pro plan is a good choice for online store owners looking for more functionality, enhanced security, and better SEO.
Note that the indicated prices are discounted, and they only apply for first-time subscribers. There are also no monthly subscriptions. You’ll, therefore, have to choose whether you’ll pay for an annual, bi-annual, or tri-annual subscription.
So, Is Bluehost WooCommerce a Good Choice For You?
Bluehost’s eCommerce proposal is great for small and medium enterprises starting out in the world of online retail. Their association with WooCommerce provides for a versatile and easy to manage online shopping cart for individuals or businesses who are not yet ready to hand over the reins to their webpage.
However, if you plan to sell a few items, or if your hosting budget is on a leash – WooCommerce hosting may not be the appropriate choice. If you are in this situation, I would recommend you to go with a basic shared hosting plan. Which means you’ll be responsible for both installation and configuration.
Similarly, if you are not constrained on budget, and you are looking to scale up your eCommerce website with ease, I would recommend you go with either the Plus or the Pro plan.
Both plans are dedicated to WooCommerce and will provide you with the necessary resources required to build and scale your eCommerce site overtime. You’ll also have control and support at your disposal.