Bluehost Sucks: A Very Real Bluehost Review
So today I thought I’d write a wee review of Bluehost and if you’re guessing from the title of this post that I’m not a fan, you’d be correct!
But before I get into why I think Bluehost sucks, I feel the need to warn you (in case you’re not already aware) that legitimate reviews about hosting companies are almost as rare as hens teeth!
This is because the affiliate commissions paid for signing someone up with most hosting companies are pretty damn good, and so the internet today is full of sales pitches masquerading as webhost reviews. Unfortunately that means it’s really easy to be led astray.
But you’re in luck here. This is a real review of Bluehost!
Pretty obvious I guess due to the negative nature (you’re hardly likely to go and sign up with Bluehost after reading this) but you can also rest assured that I only recommend products that I actually like & use (or would love to use myself but can’t afford to yet…). So here we go…
Let’s Start At The Beginning: Why I Moved From Hostgator To Bluehost
Let’s jump in the time machine… Back at the beginning of my internet marketing ‘career’ (about 6 years ago), I decided I wanted to build a website with a plan to make my fortune using Google Adsense and as a way to promote my networking marketing business.
After some searching I found Hostgator. I signed up, created my first website and then went on to create many more sites. My sites were hosted with Hostgator for about 5 years.
Those years were relatively uneventful as far as the hosting was concerned.
However, after the takeover of Hostgator by Endurance Marketing Group (who also own Bluehost and many other hosting companies), I gradually began to notice a bit of a slide in support, site performance and I felt that things just weren’t what they had been (and I think I just wanted to try something different – you don’t know until you know, right?), so I made the decision to change hosting companies.
One Good Move & One Not So Good Move: WPEngine & Bluehost
After a bit of research I ended up moving to two new hosting companies. I moved this site to WPEngine, and the rest of my sites I moved to Bluehost.
What I discovered was that all the great reviews I read about WPEngine were true, and all the great reviews that I read about Bluehost weren’t. (Read the post I wrote a while back about why WPEngine are awesome).
So I chose Bluehost for the rest of my sites because like Hostgator, they have cheap hosting for multiple sites and and I have a number of small sites to be hosted. Money was an issue and WPEngine was out of reach for me financially for all my sites. (At that stage I’d never even heard of Siteground where my sites are now hosted).
The Signs With Bluehost Were There From The Beginning
Now when I look back, the hints about how truly bad Bluehost were began at the very beginning of my relationship with them. It began with confusion over the pricing and problems with email addresses.
Then I quickly found that support with Bluehost wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. In fact I remember wondering if they actually understood what I was asking them in my support tickets because some of the answers that I got from them were quite bizarre (and incredibly frustrating!). I actually reworded some of those tickets several times and still never got anything helpful from them. 🙁
Something I discovered quite quickly that I really didn’t like was their use of Mojomarketplace to set up WordPress. Although I bought my WordPress Theme (the Highend Theme) from there, and I’ve been very happy with everything to do with that theme and the support I’ve received, it just didn’t feel right having my installs being done via a third party site. In fact it seemed kind of clunky and my instincts were telling me there could be problems…
I had my concerns about installing WordPress this way, but there were no other options apart from setting up WordPress manually (ie transferring files via FTP, creating the database, user etc) and so I used it.
Well the first few sites worked okay and then I had one that didn’t. It would get part way through the install and then come up with an error message and not complete the install.
I tried uninstalling the site, but that didn’t work either.
I tried installing again. No go.
So the support tickets and chat sessions with Bluehost support started.
Frustration is an understatement. This was when I realised that some of their support crew just don’t seem to understand English…
And it took days before I finally stumbled across the one support person that knew what they were doing.
That’s right. Several very long and frustrating days to install a WordPress site.
And then it happened again with the next site. 🙁
That was when I gave up using the Mojomarketplace to install my WordPress sites and went back to installing them manually.
Next: Could My Sites Really Be Down This Much?
The next thing that began to niggle at me was my sites being down.
I had the Jetpack plugin activated on some of my sites, and one day out of curiosity, I decided to set it up to monitor the downtime on some of my sites.
So I set it up and then I forgot about it. For a while…
Until I checked the email accounts for those sites and realised they were full of emails from Jetpack telling me ‘Your site was down’. ‘Now it’s back up again’, ‘Your site was down’. ‘Now it’s back up again’ and again, and again, and again…
Was this an error with the plugin? Could my sites really be down that much? I wasn’t sure.
Bluehost Server Down – For days
Then ALL of my sites went down – for over four days! (I’m not exactly sure how long but it was four days from the time I noticed they were down).
And so I lodged a support ticket.
Eventually I got this response:
That didn’t tell me much so why not do the chat support?
Well the wait time for Bluehost chat support is very long these days and to be honest, my experience with the support staff on Bluehost chat wasn’t that great so I’d kinda given up on using them. I just felt like life was too short to be wasting it like that…
So anyway, after hearing nothing for a couple of days and unsure whether my sites were even going to be recoverable, I sent another support ticket and when I got the reply, much to my annoyance my sites were all back up but with changes made to the structure of the folders that made them look like they were still down! Grrrrrrr…
This was the email I received which told me what I needed to do to now fix the problems:
This really annoyed me because:
- My sites had been down for days with no notification about what was happening, no contact except the brief reply to my support ticket that told me nothing, and seemingly little concern about the whole thing and…
- They could have either made the changes to the folders that they’d obviously changed while fixing whatever the problem was, OR they could have sent an email to everyone affected to tell us that everything was sorted but we’d need to make these changes to get our sites back up.
They did neither. Frustrating!
Now I know from my recent snooping around the web while trying to decide which hosting company to move to, that complaints similar to mine about Bluehost are getting pretty common. I came across many complaints about them on forums and the like. But annoyingly the ‘sales pitch’ reviews still seem to win out in the search rankings, so always make sure if you’re trying to decide which hosting company to choose, you find real reviews to lead you in the right direction.
P.S. If you’re looking for hosting, I’m happy to recommend Siteground at this point in time. I’ve been hosted with them for a while and I like what they do. I’ll be writing a review on them in the future – once I’ve been with them long enough to really have a good idea of their service. Still my favourite hosting company is WPengine. They’re more expensive and a bit of a learning curve as they have no CPanel, but they do a great job of hosting WordPress sites. The other company, if you’re looking for a cheap webhost is good old Hostgator. I’d possibly go back to them in the future as I didn’t have any real issues with them and they have way more plans and options now than they used to. Honestly it’s a bit of a bugger – the simple truth is that choosing a web host can be a bit of a minefield. Good luck with it!