Why Bluehost Suck

Writing such a bold title for this post isn’t really my style. However, I have been so incensed with a support issue I’ve had with Bluehost today, I really do need to express myself right now!

At the time of writing, I have over 70 websites hosted by Heart Internet, who are based in Nottingham. They host the Davco Media website, my other ‘main’ site www.redcustard.co.uk, and several websites belonging to Davco Media customers (via my reseller account).

I also have one site hosted by Bluehost, who are based in the States. That site is specifically hosted by Bluehost as its content is written for the target market in the US.

I have publicly praised both companies many times and have firmly recommended them to Davco Media customers. WordPress itself endorses Bluehost.

I contact Heart Internet regularly regarding support issues. Inevitable when considering how many sites are hosted with them. These support issues are usually very minor and more often than not resolved within minutes – 365/24/7. It’s probably fair to say that at least 30% of those issues are down to my own stupidity (a lack of technical knowledge). The balance tend to be little niggles and Heart sort them out very quickly.

What really impresses me is the speed in which they respond to emails. Always within a few minutes no matter what time of day or night. Their service really is outstanding.

As a complete contrast, on Thursday morning last week I had to contact Bluehost for help using their ‘support ticket’ system. I won’t go into detail, but I suspect the problem can be resolved very quickly.

I received an automated response at 9.02 (UK time) acknowledging my support request, but I was very surprised to read “Please allow a minimum of 24 hours for a reply”. 24 hours minimum! Really? Not impressed.

This morning (Monday), I decided to use Bluehost’s ‘live chat’ facility for help and I also copied the ‘chat’ off the screen.

Here it is in full (with a few explanatory notes added). The support agent’s name is Steven:

Steven: May I please have your primary domain name?

Also, before we can proceed, I need to make sure you are an authorized user on the account. I need you to provide me with the either the last 4 characters of the cPanel password OR the last four digits of the credit card on the account. If you paid with PayPal, I will need the original Unique Transaction ID number from your purchase. Alternatively, we can accept the PIN you may have established from cPanel -> Profile/Billing tab. This chat is secure and encrypted.

Me: Hi Steven, the domain is xxxxxxxxx.com (I’ve disguised this – you don’t need to know) and the last four digits are xxx (I’ve disguised this too)

Long pause…

Me: Are you still there, Steven?

Long pause…

Me: Are you still there?

Steven: Thank you for validating your account.

VERY long pause…

Steven: Please understand that I am helping several customers, and my responses might take several minutes.

Steven: How can I assist you?

Me: How long can I expect before I receive an answer to a support request please? I submitted a ticket last Thursday. It’s now Monday and still haven’t had a reply, apart from the automated response to the original submission.

Steven: Unfortunately our ticket team is extremely busy and is responding to the tickets as quickly as possible.

Me: What sort of answer is that?

Pause…

Me: Hours? Days? Weeks?

VERY long pause…

Steven: I can’t give you a time frame it may take them a few hours, or a few days depending on the issue.

Me: That level of ‘support’ completely sucks? Does Bluehost have any social media accounts? Twitter? Facebook?

Pause…

Steven: Is there anything else that I can assist you with?

Me: No Steven. You haven’t really helped at all. You haven’t even answered if Bluehost have any social media accounts.

Final message on screen…

Steven left the chat session. Thank you for contacting us.

I was (still am) stunned, and I’m now writing this post on Monday at 12.41 (UK time) – approximately two hours after the ‘chat’ – and, apart from that automated email, I’ve still had no response from Bluehost. Four days after I submitted the support ticket! In my book, that’s totally unacceptable.

It’s fair to say I won’t recommend Bluehost from this point on and the moral of the story is…

Don’t use Bluehost to host your website.

UPDATE: It took Bluehost 5 days to contact me! They resolved the issue in less than 3 minutes. I still won’t be recommending them. You never really know how good a hosting company is until you need support. Bluehost suck.

 

+Ian Davies

About Ian Davies

Ian Davies is a professional WordPress trainer who specialises in teaching complete novices and inexperienced users how to make the most of WordPress. In addition to being the founder of Davco Media, Ian is also the founder of 'Red Custard' www.redcustard.co.uk - the Milton Keynes based design agency, specialising in WordPress websites.

19 Responses to Why Bluehost Suck

  1. Ravi Shrestha October 4, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    I am looking for a reliable web reseller plan. Can anyone suggest me. (Really a reliable one)

    • Ian Davies October 4, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Hello Ravi

      Thank you for your comment.

      I have a reseller account with Heart Internet (as you will have read in this post), but they are based in the UK.

      Of the US-based hosting companies, Bluehost have an excellent reputation, but they will never get any further business from me. Hostgator also have a good reputation, so they may be worth a try.

      Does anyone else have any recommendations?

      Ian D

  2. Nick December 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I think it’s disgraceful that WordPress recommends Bluehost. I have used several hosting companies. None has given me any trouble. Bluehost shut down my sites citing “performance issues” without any warning and then made it as difficult as possible to move the sites. No coincidence that they shut them down just after I paid a year up front. The geeks at Bluehost seemed to take pleasure in making it as difficult as poissble to move . It took nearly 2 months and lots of programmers to finally get my sites moved. I think WordPress itself should really look into the reasons for endorsing such a terrible company.

    • Ian Davies December 28, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      Hi Nick

      Many thanks for your comment.

      You don’t really know how good a hosting company is until you need them to sort out a problem. You and I have both experienced very bad service from Bluehost, though there are tens of thousands of people who are more than happy with them.

      I suspect that the WordPress organisation are gaining financially from a Bluehost affiliate programme. I have referred customers to Bluehost in the past and earned $60 USD (approx £37) in commission for each sign-up. Imagine how much money WordPress will be earning in referals. It must be a huge sum.

      Regards.

      Ian D

  3. Pritush March 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    almost everysite that gave bluehost good review had affiliate link that’s why I think they are getting good review. I hosting my site there and got lots of trouble, slow server that goes down frequently, bad customer support, cpanel plagued with ads just to name few. they deducted 11$ for domain (which they said was free and is unavoidable while signup) + 6$ per month when I asked for refund.

  4. Jim Ross September 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    I have been with Bluehost and I have had constant issues too. And I get that same cut and paste email any time I send a complaint! Nothing but constant excuses as to why my site times out, why my clients tell me it loads slowly, etc. The final straw came this weekend when my site crashed. First they blamed me for uploading malware. Then they changed their mind when I told them I hadn’t updated the site in weeks. Now it must be concrete5’s fault. Regardless my site is gone and I have to rebuild it since their backup was screwed as well. Thanks Bluehose, I mean Bluehost!

    • Ian Davies September 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Jim

      Many thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear of your problems with Bluehost.

      We have to continue to spread the word.

      🙂

      Regards.

      Ian

  5. Hannah Tindale October 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m glad I found this post, I’m currently looking for reputable servers and came across Bluehost. Since it is US-based I was quite hesitant; reading your post just confirmed my niggling suspicions and now I’ve stricken that company from my “potential hosts” list.

    Can you recommend any UK-based hosts? (I’d like to use WordPress as my platform).

    • Ian Davies October 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      Hi Hannah

      I can strongly recommend Heart Internet, based in Nottingham. They host over 70 sites for me and their support is superb. 365/24/7. They’ve always responded within minutes whenever I’ve had to contact them.

      Hope that helps and many thanks for your comment.

      Regards.

      Ian D

      • Hannah Tindale October 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

        Thank you very much, I will look into Heart.

        Many thanks!

        • Ian Davies October 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

          Thanks, Hanna.

          My pleasure.

          Ian D

  6. Jamie October 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I also hate these American based web companys, it is just mkistake after mistake then it takes them a week to fix something that is out of my hands but would take me 5 minutes to fix if I had the correct access.

    I love heart internet also however I don’t have any hosting packages with them as I think their Reseller package is extremely expensive at £47.99 a month.

    Their simple hosting packages are limited to 3 websites which is of no use to me.

    Does anyone have like a 50% off discount code for heart? The I would join them.

    Regards
    Jamie

    • Ian Davies October 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

      Hi Jamie

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Yes, the downside with Heart Internet is the service is expensive. However, I’m not prepared to compromise on hosting. In this instance you do get what you pay for.

      I know there will be people who’ve read this post who use hosting company X or Y or Z and they’re happy. Great, but the real test is when there are problems.

      Thanks again.

      Ian

  7. Jose Mirada October 29, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    Im currently having all the issues you depict in this page. A SAN server broke while Bluehost was working on my server (to fix a small issue) and now m server wont boot. Its been 5 days and I still have not received a good answer. I have called them over the phone and cat innumerable times and all they say is that they are “working on it” and that “there is no ETA”. I already lost two customers and am about loosing a third one. From all the calls I have had I have noticed a big lack of knowledge on VPS systems by most of the technicians. Some of them even told me they could not do anything to help me. Its really frustrating. I payed them the whole year ahead. This is my second year with them and all I have had is problems. I just upgraded to VPS expecting my problems I had with a shared account to go away…

    As soon as they restore my server I’m going to move to another company. I need a managed VPS. Do you know which one is good?

    • Ian Davies October 29, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Hi Jose

      I am sorry hear of the problems you are facing. Pretty typical of Bluehost.

      If you are paying for a VPS (Virtual Private Server) you should expect top quality service.

      I am based in the UK and I see you are in Puerto Rico, so my recommendation of Heart Internet wouldn’t be right for you.

      In your situation, I would probably take a look at what Hostgator and Go Daddy I have to offer. I’ve never used either of them so I can’t really comment on their service levels, but I’m sure a search on Google will find some reviews. I guess that’s how you found this post.

      Good luck and many thanks for your comment.

      Regards.

      Ian

  8. Shovan November 18, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    I have been using HeartInternet for a while now and I agree with you. Their support team is super fast in responding.

    I stumble into your post looking for other reliable UK hosting company, after reading your post after all I might stick with Heart Internet 🙂

  9. James Revillini November 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    I agree with your assessment of BlueHost Support. I’m not getting any technical questions answered. I am running my site in beta mode right now. I am the only user and I’m testing out functionality, updating pages, installing plugins, etc., and already my site has been down several times. It’s down as I write this. The server status tool thru the cpanel is also not responding. The chat line also seems to be down. So not only is my site down, but their systems seem to be failing when I need them most. I was in the middle of a chat session and the chat window just refreshed. It did not even take me to the survey and I couldn’t get a copy of the transcript.

    I have had numerous issues, from CPU throttling (I have been throttled for over 2000 seconds in the past 24 hours) due to my site’s backup routine, to the database not responding (ostensibly because of slow queries, which, when i researched my queries that were running slowly, I found things like DESCRIBE TABLES; in the log – WTF!), to straight up sluggish load times.

    They made no suggestions regarding my PHP setup. As it turned out, changing over to FastCGI PHP 5.4 was a big help in all regards, but still – the server downtime issues persist.

    And just to mention again – it’s only ME on the site right now. What’s going to happen when my clients are trying to use it? It’s not a simple website. It’s a web application built on the wordpress framework.

    I also want to mention that I’m doing absolutely EVERYTHING I can to make this site optimized. I’m using CloudFlare for all static css and js. I’m minifying all the HTML. I’m using WP Supercache to serve static HTML. I have only plugins I absolutely must have.

    I have a feeling I’m going to have to jump ship and I just hope they are decent enough to give me the full refund without a hassle.

    I really need to find a company that has comparable pricing but just a straight-up more robust platform. Dreamhost was no better. I’m on Bluehost now because Dreamhost was timing out on even the simplest of activities on the site.

  10. James Revillini November 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    p.s. I would not recommend GoDaddy – not at all. I find that the UI for the control panel is a labyrinth plastered with distracting advertising, that the admin area can kind of “con” users into buying add-ons that they don’t need, and that every important server feature for a really robust site comes at a premium price. It’s a bait-and-switch of you ask me. No idea about HostGator.

  11. Angie November 22, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    I am having major difficulties trying to get into my website. BlueHost said to use a different browser it worked after a couple of attempts. Now it is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s been over a month and it is getting worse. Its really disappointing.

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