Many website owners start with a regular Bluehost shared hosting, especially if they are starting a new business. They do not expect that they will need much of anything, at least for a time. However, after the business kicks off, they find themselves in need of some better features. So, they start wondering should they upgrade to Bluehost Pro version, and is the upgrade worth it?
That is what we will try to answer today, and hopefully give them a solution to this issue. But before we get to that, we should first take a look at the difference between these two plans.
The difference between Bluehost Pro and Shared Hosting
The largest difference is definitely the fact that on Pro, you will get more space. You will share a server with fewer others, which means that much more resources will remain at your disposal. On the other hand, Shared hosting will put you on a server that is potentially swarming with hundreds, if not thousands of users. You will only get a small portion of space for yourself, which is very limiting to your website.
For a small site with not much traffic, or a blog, or some kind of online diary, this is not a problem. However, once your site starts growing and expanding, so will its needs and demands. Downtime is not such a large issue as many would believe. Most hosts would claim that their uptime is 99.9%. However, even if you only run your site about 12 hours per day, that still leaves you with 3.6 hours of downtime per month.
Still, that doesn’t occur most of the time, and the downtime is not something that you will have to worry about. However, what will become a problem is the website’s speed. Once you get more traffic, your site will become a busier place, with more uploads and downloads, which will hit you hard if you don’t have extra resources at your disposal. And the users are judging and unforgiving, which means that bad quality service might just damage your reputation, and indeed, entire business.
Is Bluehost Pro better than VPS?
The beginning of the slowdown is when you will know that your hosting plan needs updating. The majority of users would then start considering using VPS (Virtual Private Hosting Service). You would receive your own section of a server, and share it with much less other users. Just to be clear, this is not a dedicated server account, where you get the entire server for yourself. Instead, here you will get a part of a server, but a much bigger part, and equal to those that other users have.
The price is larger than for shared hosting, and it goes from $30 to $120 per month on Bluehost. Basically, the more you pay, the more resources your part of the server will get. However, this is also not a perfect solution, and you might end up paying for more space and resources than you need. If you run a business website, at this point, you will probably be perfectly satisfied with this state of things. Bloggers, however, might want to pay less, and that is where Bluehost Pro comes in.
Bluehost Pro will only add around $20 per month on your regular Bluehost. You will still pay more than for the shared hosting, but you will also pay less than for the lowest VPS price. The biggest question now is whether it is worth it or not. So let’s see.
What does Bluehost Pro have to offer?
If you are a blogger that needs an upgrade on a hosting plan, you probably wish for it to remain as painless as possible. Bluehost can provide that, and your switch to the Pro version will stay quick and still relatively cheap. If, however, you have a blog on another hosting service, you will have to migrate to Bluehost for this plan. Changing your DNS settings will also come as a part of the process in that situation. It is not a difficult task, but it is also not as quick and easy as for those who already have a Bluehost account.
But for now, let us see what does Bluehost Pro actually offer. We already said that it is somewhere in between of shared hosting and a VPS. That pretty much leaves you at a shared hosting, but you have to share with a lot fewer people. Instead of fighting 1,000 other users for your place on the server, you will now have to share it with 10 of 12. This is similar to how VPS works, but on VPS, you get your own part of the server that nobody can influence.
Apart from that, let us see what else comes with this plan:
Increase in speed
With the Pro account, a lot more CPU, storage space, and memory will come your way. What this means is basically a much faster loading speed for your visitors. This might impress you as well, especially if you use WordPress. Hang-ups will reduce to a minimum, and upload and download of files will go much faster than you remember.
Dedicated IP address
With the Pro account, you will get a dedicated IP. If you have such a unique IP, then Google will also improve your rank when it comes to search results. This will, in turn, let potential customers find your website much easier. This is just one of the advantages that this kind of IP address can bring. In fact, many would pay the full price of the entire Pro account only to get a unique IP.
Here are some more advantages that dedicated IP carries:
- With it, you can access the site via browser, or FTP by using only the IP address. It might help you a lot if your site is not accessible by regular means for some reason.
- You get a private SSL certificate, which increases the safety of your website. We will talk more about this soon.
- If you share IP address with spam sites or adult sites, it might affect your own site’s ranking, even though you don’t have anything to do with other ones.
- Dedicated IP is necessary if you wish to use an anonymous FTP
Whether you believe in the dangers of shared IP or not, using a dedicated IP will let you be at peace, and know that you took every precaution.
Online security – Private SSL certificate
As a part of the Bluehost Pro account, you will also get an SSL certificate. This way, your site will offer additional security, which is especially important if you are planning on selling products. This way, your customers’ credit card information will have protection as well, which will increase trust in your service.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer protocol, and basically, this is an encryption system. It will hide a majority of personal details, including bank details. This kind of protection is necessary, otherwise online purchases would never be safe from hackers. Whenever there are online payments, an SSL certificate is a necessity, and it will not only help with ranking but also with improving the overall image of your site.
Spam Experts accounts for free
Spam experts are yet another necessary form of security for your website. It will filter all incoming emails, and only then will it let them get to your official Inbox. You will get the ability to blacklist or whitelist specific email, and therefore control what arrives at you. Those that Spam Experts decide to keep will remain visible to you, and you will get the chance to inspect them yourself.
Those who use shared hosting will have to pay extra for this service, while Pro account holders get up to four Spam Experts for free. That means that four different email addresses will have this protection.
This feature is pretty much just what it sounds like, and you will get a daily, weekly, as well as monthly backup on your site or blog. They are completely automatic, and this service will also help a lot when it comes to increasing security of your files, database, and the website itself.
In rare cases when you blog might crash, this backup will protect you from significant data losses. When you get it back online, restoring the data from the backup is much easier than trying to manually restore the site to what it used to be like. Literally, any file or piece of information can get back with one click, and all you need to do is locate it in your backup.
This feature is also available outside of the Pro package, but then it will cost around $20, which is the price of an entire Pro account.
Privacy of domain
This is one very popular feature that everyone likes. This is so mostly because of its ability to hide personal data from WhoIs domain search. Basically, Bluehost’s info will get on a display, instead of your own. It is great for domain owners who wish to stay anonymous.
Extra storage and better performance
Bluehost Pro account holders have access to even more server storage space for the MYSQL database and files from their websites. This is especially important because databases tend to get quite large, especially over time.
Shared accounts often get filled up too quickly, and they can’t offer extra storage. On the other hand, with a Pro account, you will not only get this extra space but also up to 5 times better server performance. This feature alone makes it worthwhile since having a decent speed is one of the crucial parts of keeping a site popular.
So, is Bluehost Pro worth it?
Bluehost Pro will help if you have issues with memory, speed, or if you simply want to upgrade your site. If you find that your site is growing, you can only choose this or a VPS. VPS will cost you a lot more, while the Pro account is much more affordable. Of course, a dedicated server is also an option, but that will cost even more than VPS.
Don’t get us wrong, VPS is a pretty good option. It does what it should do, which is gives you better performance, more space, and alike. Your visitors will enjoy great speeds, and you will have much more room for multiple apps and programs.
The issue is the money, and that is almost always a problem for a blogger. On the other hand, if you go with the Pro account, your costs can stay within a $20 limit. There are hosts out there that demand that much even for the regular shared hosting. On Pro, however, you will share a server with a lot less other people, which will largely increase your available resources. And, you will pay a lot less than what you would for VPS. In fact, even the lowest VPS price costs at least $10 more than Bluehost Pro.
And remember, the point is not what you will get. The problem is what you actually need. Many who have to leave the shared hosting plan and go to VPS find way too much space. They simply don’t need it, but they can’t pay less than the minimal price. While on the Pro version, you get exactly what you need, and for much cheaper too.
Extra security and privacy also follow the deal, as well as other features that will help you rank higher. Even the backup service is almost completely worth the price, even if you got nothing else but that. If you still need convincing, there is even more that Pro account offers, which is:
If you are on Bluehost right now, you can go to your cPanel, and find a graph that shows the CPU throttling. There, you can see if you are using a bigger part of a CPU than you should. This graph is very useful for tracking your website’s activity, which in turn helps to figure out when and why is your blog slowing down.
With a Bluehost Pro, you will increase access to CPU, and at the same time reduce the throttling problems that are slowing you down.
Hopefully, you have made up your mind so far, and we can only share one more piece of information with you about this. And that is:
How to upgrade to Bluehost Pro
The upgrade will cost you $20, and from everything we have discussed so far, it is obviously well worth it. The entire process is truly very simple, and here is what you should do. You can read our Bluehost Review.
Start by going to your cPanel, and on it, you will easily find an offer to upgrade. Click on it, and the switch will happen so fast, that nobody on your website will notice the change. Well, nobody except for you. You will now have every feature from above, and all you need to do is explore and see what are your options and your limits.
So, is the upgrade worth it? Well, that is something for you to decide. You and you alone know what are your website’s needs, as well as how high or low your traffic is. We would not recommend upgrading if you are perfectly fine with how things are going right now.
However, if you need an upgrade, and VPS seems too expensive, then this is definitely the perfect option for you. It won’t destroy your finances with only $20 per month, but it might largely increase your performance, as well as security, safety, and space.
Ali is a freelance journalist with 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications like Best10VPN. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.