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)
Me: Are you still there, Steven?
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?
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?
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.