Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting companies on the web and I will never use them again.
As a developer, I interact with web hosts nearly every day. It’s my livelihood. So whatever I’m using better work. Website downtime means I’m losing customers and money.
During my time using Bluehost as a host, I frequently experienced site outages, unacceptable wait times with their support team, and when I finally did reach their team, they were often unable to help solve the issues.
There have been several times large portions of the internet have gone out due to major issues regarding Bluehost’s shared hosting packages. After a little digging I found this tweet from October 2014 noting that my site went down 4 times that month.
@bluehostsupport Are you experiencing server issues (again)? My site is down for literally the 4th time in the past month. #bluehostdown
— Jeff Large (@realjefflarge) October 14, 2014
I’ve had sites literally go down for 6+ hours at a time. As noted, when you make a living online, any downtime is bad. *Site downtime happens so often the hashtag #bluehostdown has grown in popularity. It’s worth looking at if you’re considering Bluehost.
My previous Bluehost account was set to expire on February 12th of this year. I intentionally turned off all auto-renewers and everything else in my account associated with extending my Bluehost services. I transferred my remaining site to my new host and was waiting for the service to expire… except it never did. It wasn’t until I logged into my Bluehost account after the 12th that I saw they automatically renewed my contract.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the wait to reach a Bluehost support person was ridiculously long. How long is ridiculous? I was able to reach Siteground’s (my primary host which I’ll discuss shortly) support team via chat on one issue and resolve it, reach Siteground’s support team via chat on a different problem on a separate account and resolve it, AND submit a ticket on a third account and resolve that BEFORE I ever reached Bluehost’s online support. So much for the Bluehost estimated “11 minute” wait time….
If Bluehost really is that bad why are they still so popular?
Part of the issue is that Bluehost has a very healthy affiliate program and are promoted by many business personalities because of the healthy affiliate incomes it supplies.
Affiliate income works like this: I recommend a service or product and provide a special hyperlink that takes you to said service or product. If someone uses that link and signs up for the service or purchases the product, I receive a payment from that company for helping with the sale.
Let’s put this in perspective:
In January 2016, John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire made $1,950 from Bluehost affiliate income. Couple Lindsay and Bjork would run food blog pinchofyum.com brought in $5,750 from Bluehost affiliate earnings in December 2015. In the same month, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income made $40,800 in Bluehost affiliate sales.
The list goes on.
Affiliate relationships aren’t bad. I have several. However, the chances of these modern bloggers and thought leaders giving up 5 figure-per-month income to stop promoting Bluehost isn’t likely. It results into two problems:
- The audiences of these bloggers and leaders will blindly listen and follow bad advice to use Bluehost because they don’t know any better and because they trust the person(s) telling them to do it.
Other bloggers with little experience in the web design/ hosting space want part of the action and set up their own affiliate relationships with Bluehost, perpetuating the cycle.
- Thus the Bluehost recommendations will continue and honest people trying to start a website will continue to be bamboozled with a sub-par web hosting service.
What do I use now?
As mentioned above, I have gone all-in with Siteground. As of 3 weeks ago, every one of my business, personal, and hobby sites are hosted on Siteground. I recommend Siteground to every one of my clients. I recommend that you check out Siteground as a possibility for your website host.
Full disclosure, I participate in Siteground’s affiliate program. If you use this link (or other Siteground links scattered across my site), I receive a small commission (usually $50) for your purchase at no extra cost to you.
So how am I any better with my affiliate perks than the people I’m talking about?
The product I’m suggesting works, that’s how!
Personally, all of my sites have experienced 100% uptime. Out of all of my sites and the dozens that I build and manage for clients over the past 3 years, there has never been an issue that wasn’t resolved in a timely manner. Siteground understands and helps with WordPress-specific issues. Last, it’s easier for me to have all of my sites on one platform that I know and understand.
Don’t believe me? According to WhoIsHostingThis.com, Siteground was rated the #1 best host of 2015. WPSiteCare.com is using Siteground as their hosting partner. WPBeginner.com gave Siteground a 5-star rating as a WordPress host. Siteground released these fantastic stats from their 2015 client assessment.
Is Siteground the only host worth checking out? No way. Plenty of quality hosts exist like WP Engine, Page.ly, Pantheon and more. It all depends on your needs, budget, and skill level.
All I’m trying to point out is that your best choice is not Bluehost.
Still have questions or want to learn more? You can watch my How to Set Up your Website Hosting in 3 Minutes or Less tutorial or contact me here with more questions.
It’s our job as responsible web users to take a stand and help the ill-informed. You, your site, and your readers deserve more. Save yourself the disappointment and choose something better than Bluehost.
Thanks for the review. Have been having a nightmare with blue host. They took my site offline and coerced me into upgrading to VPS which was beyond my needs but I just wanted my site up. Anyway have just initiated the move to Siteground and have had a good experience so far…
Jeff Large says
I’m glad you found it helpful (but sorry you had issues with them too). Let me know if you need any help with your Siteground account. I’m releasing a SSL installation tutorial soon if you’re interested. I’ll keep everyone posted.
Gillian Skye says
I have the same issues with Bluehost. The convinced me to upgrade, then I all my sites crashed for over six months. I’m done with them.
Same here. I am SO irritated with Bluehost support right now. I’m moving to Siteground if they offer cloud services. Last night I waited 30 mins just to chat with Bluehost staff. The worse part is, they’ve disabled the sound notification on all chat boxes so you don’t even know when staff has finally entered the chat.
Last year a staff member told me to go hire a developer because they couldn’t figure out a hosting issue my website had. Turns out it WAS a hosting issue on their end and was finally fixed after 2 months! This year, my emails started playing up and apparently they can’t fix it. Then there’s the dropouts… I’ve had enough. Can’t wait to move. They said I can’t get a pro-rata refund on my hosting if I cancel now. Oh well, I’m happy to pay to leave.
Jeff Large says
Hey Clara. Sorry to hear about the troubles with your services. Now is a great time to switch because of the deal Siteground is running. Feel free to contact because it sounds like I’ve already been through many of the issues you’re going through now! All the best. 🙂
I also had a poor experience with Bluehost and their customer service and many of the recommendations for Bluehost will mention a refund if not happy with services. Be warned: they do not give you a refund. I found your article by searching “hosting recommendations that are NOT Bluehost” lol. Thanks for the info
They deleted my hosting account and all of my files are gone – I have to now rebuild 3 websites!! I HATE BLUEHOST! and support SUCKS!!!
Bertina Macaulay says
They just deleted my reseller hosting account and several websites WITHOUT A SINGLE WARNING saying that the account was changed to manual renewal after being on auto renew for 6 years and that they are really sorry and they no longer support Reseller Hosting but will give me discounts on hosting if I upload MORE websites TO THEM! I’m in the process of moving my domains and other account from them.
Jeff Large says
Good luck! Who are you going with instead?
Thailand Toyota Exporter says
Thanks for the info. My current host has some downtime and it becomes slow so am looking for an alternative. Was SiteGround SSL certificate problem fixed?
Jeff Large says
Not sure yet. My Let’s Encrypt cert is scheduled to renew in November and I’m monitoring it much loser this time to see what happens.
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Jeff Large says
Thanks Kross 🙂
I wish I’ve read this article before getting a bluehost account. I already canceled it and taking my site to Siteground, hope that’s a better option.
Jeff Large says
I hope so! Siteground seems to have fixed the Let’s Encrypt issue as well. I haven’t had any problems as of late.
Mike Kirby says
Yep,, yep, yep. When I started with Bluehost, long before EIG bought them, they were the best webhost I’d ever dealt with. Now they’re far and away the worst. Ignorant, rude support staff, lousy service, slow servers, my site going up and down several times a day. I’ve had tech support hang up on me when I pointed out they were simply lying about an issue. What a nightmare.
Kamil Szydlowski says
Very unconventional way of keeping your customers locked in with auto renewal and no way to resign. That is the kind of practice that should be frowned upon. Fortunately there are many alternatives in todays market. If you are interested I would like to drop you a private massage with more details. You can now get a service that works way better scales whenever needed.
Pretty sure I am actually on a shared hosting plan even though I paid $538 for a managed plan, I say this because I can see cPanel… why would I see a bazillion icons in cPanel if I was on a managed plan? i have been with bluehost for 10 days and my site has been down 3 different days, that’s 70% uptime (easy math at 10 days) it could be worse, but I know for certain that at best my site is up 70% with bluetoast.
So today they blamed my outage on my website needing to be updated, told me plugins were causing the issue … 100% lies because there are NO PLUGINS on my simple website.
Most ridiculous point I’d like to make is that while on the phone with support their website went down, same as mine, just flashes a white screen…… so i told them they probably needed to update their plugins too!
I finally, disgustedly, told them that if my website wasn’t up in the morning that I would be taking them up on the 30 day guarantee and asking for a refund.
I honestly believe that my client database might be at risk at bluehost because when i was clicking around in cPanel the links it sent me too were flagged by Safari & Chrome as insecure and possible man in the middle attacks…. Bluehost is toast?