If you are planning to create a website, online store, or a blog, Bluehost can help you get started by offering various hosting plans that can be customized to meet your preferences. Bluehost provides Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Hosting. The Bluehost Shared Hosting plan is a popular one as it has the perfect combination of speed, reliability, security and flexibility to create a website that helps build a powerful online presence.
During the checkout Bluehost will offer you as customers an impressive set of addons to choose from, known as Bluehost Package Extras. While some of these ‘extras’ can add value to your web hosting needs, others are absolutely inessential and at times you might end up buying an addon that you really do not need.
In this article, we will discuss whether it is worth buying these addon features in addition to the benefits that each web hosting plan provides. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision.
An Overview Of Bluehost Package Extras
The feature-rich and intuitive toolset is available to all Bluehost users who want to build a powerful and intuitive website.
Domain Privacy + Protection
According to ICAAN regulations, every domain owner is required to provide their contact information while registering for a domain. Without this information, the domain will not be live. However, this makes your confidential contact information public on the WHOIS database, which can be unscrupulously used for spamming, hacking or other cybercrime activities.
To prevent your business information from being public, Bluehost offers a key feature – Domain Privacy + Protection.
What it does?
When this feature is activated, your contact information will be replaced by Bluehost’s generic contact information. To put it in simple words, Domain Privacy + Protection feature will “mask” your personal data shown on the ICANN directory with the hosting provider’s general information so that your data remains secure and confidential.
So, if anyone looks up to the WHOIS database with the intention of sending spammy marketing offers or hacking purposes, they will only get access to Bluehost’s generic data and not your confidential information. You will still be the owner of the domain name, but your personal data will be kept safe.
According to the 2021 Bluehost pricing plan, Domain Privacy + Protection costs $0.99 per month. The renewal price of this addon is $14.88 per domain per year.
Bluehost Domain Privacy + Protection is an addon worth buying because it helps protect your confidential business data and prevents data scrapping. However, the feature is available for free with Bluehost shared hosting plans – Choice Plus and Pro. So, if you have signed up for any one of these plans, it is unnecessary to pay an additional $0.99 per month for the service.
Bluehost CodeGuard is another paid add-on service that is available once you have signed up for your Bluehost web hosting account. It allows you to backup and monitor your website data so that you can restore all business-critical information in case the website crashes or is being hacked. Using this feature, you can easily create a backup and restore the entire file and database to the earlier version.
What it does?
When you sign up for the CodeGuard Basic plan, it will regularly monitor your website for changes and instantly send an alert email on identifying any modifications. The plan provides 1 GB storage and you can monitor & restore up to 5 websites with CodeGuard Basic. Daily automatic backups are available where you can backup or restore unlimited databases and files. The Basic plan also provides Daily Site-Change Monitoring. However, priority queuing and on-demand backups are not available with the plan.
The CodeGuard plans that you can choose from as an addon service when you sign up for a Bluehost account are shown below:
Bluehost CodeGuard Basic Plan will cost $32.95 per year. The renewal price is $2.99 per domain per month.
Automatic backup is a great way to restore and protect your website databases and files from unforeseen accidents such as crashes or hacking. From that perspective, buying CodeGuard paid addon will make sense, especially if you have signed up for either Bluehost Basic or Plus plan. However, if you wish to opt for Choice Plus or Pro plan, paying for this addon is a waste of money because the plans already include Free Automated Backup.
Also, we cannot say that it is a must-have feature. If you own a single website with only limited data, you can manually backup the databases and files in some other storage forms. However, that is a slow process and may also result in manual errors or redundancies. So, you have two alternatives:
- (a) sign up for Bluehost premium plans like Choice Plus or Pro to get this feature for free
- (b) opt for regular plans and sign up for CodeGuard Basic for $32.95 per year
- (c) or take charge of your own backups, and use a WordPress plugin like Updraft to create daily automatic backups and save them either on your hosting server or remotely on a cloud storage server.
Bluehost SEO Tools
Bluehost SEO Tools is a suite of Search Engine Optimization tools that help in boosting your brand presence and success online. SEO is a powerful digital marketing strategy that helps improve your website’s search engine rankings, drive increased traffic and generate higher revenues. Bluehost SEO Tools is a DIY feature that instantly gets your website on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing and drives online success.
What it does?
When you opt for this paid addon, you will have to complete important functions like creating attractive social profiles of your website, enabling your SSL certificate, etc. As the web hosting provider claims, this will help improve your Bluehost SEO Tools score that will eventually increase your search engine rankings. With higher website rankings, you will be able to generate increased traffic and more sales.
In short, the product includes all the tools you will need to make your website search engine friendly, improve rankings and build a strong web presence. But from our experience using this tool is not what’s gonna rank you high on Google, this tool merely covers the technical SEO basics.
Bluehost SEO Tools Start addon will cost $1.99 per month or it will be charged at $23.88 per year. The renewal price is $5.95 per domain per month or $71.40 per domain per year.
The Bluehost SEO Tools Start service is not a great deal because Bluehost seems to promise more than what is actually delivered. The description they provide for SEO Tools Start is quite vague and only gives you a fair idea of how you can benefit from this product. Furthermore, by installing WordPress on your website, you can get a similar type of features and they are easy to use and implement as well! Like Yoast plugin.
Alternatively, you can use Google Search Console (aka Google Webmaster Tools). It is a free service and proven for its effectiveness in helping you achieve great results and impressive rankings.
Microsoft 365 Mailbox
Bluehost now offers Microsoft 365 Mailbox, an intuitive suite of tools, applications and more that constitutes of a simple yet impactful business email platform. You can have a custom email for your domain, with the reliability and security of Microsoft. The professional look and feel of your business email can help build trust and credibility among customers and stakeholders. The email service can be accessed from any device and comes with 24/7 email support.
What it does?
Microsoft 365 Mailbox has three plans – Email Essentials, Business Plus, and Business Pro.
All the plans comprise of key features like Microsoft Outlook, web access that allow you to manage your business email from anywhere, on any device, or at any time through the cloud. Additionally, you get automatic Microsoft updates that keep your application and software updated. It is powered by Microsoft and therefore, you can be assured that your data is secure.
The feature also allows disaster recovery that ensures that your data can be easily recovered in case a disaster strikes. 99.9% uptime is another benefit you get with the service so that your website is always up and running. It has a user-friendly dashboard that offers an intuitive experience and you also do not require multiple logins.
The Microsoft 365 Mailbox Email Essentials plan would cost $2.99 per license per month for the first year. The renewal cost is $4.99 per license per month. However, as a starting offer, Bluehost now provides the email service on 1-month free trial.
You are better off even if you don’t opt for the Microsoft 365 Mailbox as a package addon. You can initially opt for the free trial to assess if this service is useful to you and then you can pay for it if required. In any case, you always have the option of generating unlimited email accounts through cPanel and access them through Webmail.
SiteLock Security Essentials
Bluehost SiteLock Security Essentials helps protect your website from malicious attacks and malware. It consists of a full suite of services and features that safeguard, and monitor your website through a comprehensive approach to finding, fixing and preventing cybercrime. This security feature protects your website from downtime and from getting blacklisted by search engines.
What it does?
Free scan by Bluehost provides the ability to scan up to 5-10 web pages, with Google blacklist monitoring and limited malware detection. Additionally, SiteLock Essential provides a number of features that include automated malware detection, search engine blacklist monitoring, scanning unlimited web pages, file-level scanning, automated malware removal, XSS scripting protection, web app scanning, SQL injection protection and round-the-clock ticket response time.
This Bluehost Package Extra is priced at $2.99/month, while Sitelock Essential renewal price would cost $5.99 per domain per month or $71.88 per domain per year when billed annually.
Again, we don’t recommend Bluehost SiteLock Security Essential as a paid addon. There are numerous other reliable free security plugins like Wordfence (their free version is solid) which you can use later once you have signed up for the Bluehost account. Moreover, this addon seems to be a little overpriced at $2.99 per month. Having said that, if you own a data critical website like an online store or if you are looking for increased protection for your website, then this could be a beneficial add-on for you.
Conclusion: Is Bluehost Package Extras Worth It?
In addition to the above Package Extras, Bluehost also offers other addons like Dedicated IP, Premium SSL and Spam Experts. However, after comparing all the paid add-ons, we would conclude that only Bluehost Domain Privacy + Protection feature is worth your time and money. Spending money on other addons is irrelevant as you get similar features and benefits for free, either as a web hosting package combination or through third-party plugins.
If you have signed up for Bluehost Basic and Plus plans, you might consider opting for Domain Privacy + Protection. And there are several reasons for it. With cybercrime growing at a rapid pace and security breaches making things more challenging for website owners, domain privacy has become more important than ever.
Like mentioned earlier, this feature allows you to safeguard personal contact information from being displayed publicly in the WHOIS database, thus, reducing the risk of cyber threats. Before you make a decision, here is a quick glimpse of key benefits that you get with the Domain Privacy + Protection:
- Your personal information is hidden and not exposed to fraudulent activities or spamming.
- Prevent unsolicited junk emails and spam phone calls because of your contact information being publicly available.
- It also reduces data scrapping, i.e., selling your personal data to advertisers
Going by this, our recommendation is to opt for the Domain Privacy + Protection addon as it is crucial and a complete value for money. However, paying for the feature is unnecessary when you opt for Choice Plus or Pro shared hosting plans as it is already included in these plans. It is crucial to review the hosting plans and addon features thoroughly before you make a decision. This article assembled crucial information about all the addons or Bluehost Package Extras that will help you to decide whether you need them or not.
Let us know if you have any suggestions or if you wish to add up to the information mentioned in this article. If you need an explanation on any of the aspects covered in this article, we will be happy to help.