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Why WordPress.org Should Write an Honest Bluehost Review

The short version of this article is that we haven’t had great luck with Bluehost, and we’d like WordPress.org to be more transparent with their endorsement. For better hosting alternatives look at our WordPress hosting comparison article.

WordPress Hosting is a tricky business and finding an impartial Bluehost review is even more difficult. I’ve never been employed at a web host but I do have a lot of background working with systems that need to be online and available all the time. It’s hard enough when you have complete control over your environment, so throwing millions of sites into the mix that take full advantages of all the resources you have to offer can be a real strain, and can make being the best WordPress hosting company an extremely lofty goal. I understand all of that completely. Hosting ain’t no kids game.

I’ve talked about WordPress hosting reviews at length before, and I want to bring that same topic up again, but this time in a very specific context. After years of WordPress.org endorsing Bluehost, I believe it’s time they stop.

This is actually tough for me to write because I know people personally who work at Bluehost and this no fault of theirs. Many great techs and developers have no control over business decisions that have been hurting Bluehost’s reputation. They do their best to provide a great service, but they’re playing against a stacked deck and their service, performance, and uptime have tanked over the last year.

Things have gotten so bad that WPMU just awarded Bluehost with a wooden spoon for being the bottom feeder in an unbiased review of 5 different web hosts. Now I don’t know about you, but winning a wooden spoon doesn’t sound like a very awesome prize for a company that should be leading in a high tech industry. Maybe a Blendtec would be a better modern-day kitchen-inspired prize? I digress.

Unfortunately our experience with Bluehost over the past 6-9 months has been similar to what was represented in the WPMU post. Slower servers, poor technical support, and more frequent outages have become the norm, and not the exception.

And even after all of this, Bluehost still has a glowing endorsement from WordPress.org. Granted, this hosting recommendations page hasn’t changed in years, but that’s all the more reason to take time and carefully review who’s listed there. That’s what ended up happening with the theme and plugin marketplaces, right? Why not hosting?

A Missed Opportunity for a More Honest Bluehost Review from WordPress.org:

Weโ€™ve dealt with more hosts than you can imagine; in our opinion, the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world.ย If you do decide to go with one of the hosts below and click through from this page, some will donate a portion of your fee backโ€”so you can have a great host and support WordPress.org at the same time.

Money Talks

So what’s WordPress.org’s motivation to continue to endorse Bluehost without at least providing users with a frank review of their services? Is it the good affiliate program that helps support the operation of the site and the community? Is it Bluehost’s frequent high-level sponsorship of WordCamps? Or is it simply a gentleman’s handshake that continues to stand?

It’s probably a combination of all three. I honestly have no problem with WordPress listing a host on the .org site with an affiliate link. It takes money to power an open source community like this one. Probably way more than I even know. The bigger issue to me is that they outright say that Bluehost is the “best and brightest of the hosting world” and unfortunately that’s no longer the case. I hope Bluehost does get things figured out, but until then, the WordPress foundation should probably ease off on the leg humping.

I’d honestly much rather see companies pay for space on the .org site than have new users getting bad recommendations. At least if .org was selling the space for $25,000 a month, everyone would know that was the situation and would be on their own for research. It would be transparent and people would know that “Daddy D’s Wacky WordPress Hosting” just had deep pockets, didn’t necessarily provide the best service.

What do YOU think? Should WordPress.org stop endorsing Bluehost? Should they at least provide an honest Bluehost review or some kind of real-life customer feedback? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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286 Comments

  1. The Tattoo Trade

    Bluehost has brought down my site via server issues. They did not reach out to the effected customer base, so we have been unaware. They cannot give me an estimated time for resolution. I had to wait 20+ minutes to speak with someone in tech support. When I had them escalated to a supervisor, he was condescending and very uninterested. The customers are not being compensated due to this lose in business. I am not longer recommending BlueHost. and have informed my customers and my social media.
    Does anyone have a reliable hosting company with good customer service?
    Thanks

  2. lill

    I went from 1and1 over to bluehost this past January, because of there reviews, I like what they said they offered with the package with the design, From the very beginning my site designer was incompetent or just did not care at all about the customer finally after 2 months of trying to get my site design witch should of been a simply task for him , it was only 6 pages. he did not get 1 thing done on my site because I found out later he had just had a baby, okay fine, I need my site up and going, so I called and they put my design with another person in that area , he did get my site finished and was rude about it and on top of that he never made a sitemap for it and when I went to put it in Google webmaster tools I found 80, 404 errors warnings and my site was loading so slow that it was unbelievable and mind you I did this because after several months went by I noticed I was not on any search engines, so that is why I went and added my site to Google web master tools, okay I called them to let them know of all the problems only to basically be told it was my fault, I new that was not true so I called terms and conditions and finally they helped me get some things working with my WordPress site because it was not functioning right and still to this day it does not work right . I also have had problems with my emails not getting them and when I send them it takes 20 minutes to get to the receiver. At this point I made a new paid for site at weebly and so far it seems to be fine, I would not let bluehost design team design any WordPress website and would not recommend them to anyone. not only did I try to talk with them about my load time I was lucky to have them make a simply sitemap that they said was not included with the design (ya right) anyway nothing was working correctly solely due to the whole entire theme it was bad. anyway I called them to speak to them about the slider they were blaming my pictures on the slow load time,I took all the pictures out and did another scan with the p3 plugin only to find out again it was due to the theme not my pictures, so at this point I figured I would cut my losses and for now go over to weebly and purchased the pro package and I’m hoping for now I keep my ranking in Google. They would not give me the password to even try and fix my WordPress theme but wanted to charge me another 200.00 dollars to fix the slider. That is my experience with bluehost

  3. Manisha

    For me bluehost has been better than hostgator. On both the hosting i tried shared hosting. When i was on HG i used to get a traffic of 20k-30k visits per day but when the traffic increased above 30k i started getting resource abuse emails and soon they did something in servers and i stopped getting organic traffic. For a week i have no idea where my traffic has gone but then i changed the server and got the traffic back in 10 mins. From that time i lost trust in Hostgator.
    Then a year back i moved to bluehost on blackfriday and bought a year shared server for somewhat $11. Now i am getting daily 40000-60000 visits and bluehost can handle the traffic without any problem. Although it also handled the traffic of 1,70,000 visits a day but got server errors many times a day. But it can softly handle 70,000 visits a day without any speed compromise. I <3 bluehost. I am thinking to get a VPS on bluehost after the shared hosting expires.

    1. doomed

      We all love bluehost, until our sites go down and tech support is no help and you’re losing money every day due to it.

      Fingers crossed that this never happens to you.
      From someone who used to be happy with BH and is now very much not.

  4. Peaches N. Cream

    Well, I guess all you happy people with all your 20+ sites running WP is what is causing MY site to be throttled ALL the time by Bluehost. I’ve been with bh for 10+ years and have been struggling trying to find another host that isn’t owned by them and lets me park sites. Bluehost is down more than it’s up. There are always problems with it. I don’t host my blog with them, thank God. I host with WPEngine for my blog.

  5. Peaches N. Cream

    Well, I guess all you happy people with all your 20+ sites running WP is what is causing MY site to be throttled ALL the time by Bluehost. I’ve been with bh for 10+ years and have been struggling trying to find another host that isn’t owned by them and lets me park sites. Bluehost is down more than it’s up. There are always problems with it. I don’t host with them, thank God. I host with WPEngine for my blog. I am an affiliate with them but haven’t done anything with it.
    Forget about ONLY telling it like it is for blue host wp hosting, tell it like it is for regular site hosting.
    I went thru Steve Phariss for my other site’s hosting on VPS. he’s the affiliate, so say his name in case anyone here goes there, they can use his name. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just give me a decent hoster eh?

    1. Observer

      Did you ever find a good host that isn’t owned by Endurance? My sites are all so slow now, it makes me crazy. BH was great when run by Matt Heaton, but they have slowly become just like all the other crappy hosts out there, just after money. I need to find a new home for all my clients.

      1. Observer

        Thanks! Great review. I’ll definitely check them out as soon as I get my work done. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. JONtotheworld

        Hi,
        I agree with your post. Bluehost has been a disappointment in the past year of being their customer.

        There have been so many times that my IP address gets blacklisted and when I try to contact bluehost they couldn’t give me a better answer. All they say is that maybe other people using my IP address can cause the problems.

        At first they told me that something “suspicious” is being done in my IP address that’s why it’s blacklisted. I told them that I am not doing anything wrong. Then when I demanded for a specific explanation the tech support couldn’t provide a decent answer.
        When I told them to fix the problem permanently, they just advised me to UPGRADE to a dedicated server. How cool is that? ๐Ÿ™

        They then whitelisted my IP address for 72 hours only. Then today I can’t access my site again because my IP is blacklisted again and again.

        WP Site Care – Please do a story about IP Address blacklistng that is only being experienced with bluehost. I also have a site with other host company but I am not having any problem using the same Ip address

      3. Dustin Nay

        I ended up moving from A Small Orange to Siteground and love it. I highly recommend it. I’ve been there for about 6 months.

  6. Paul Kazmercyk

    Ryan. Glad I found your post. I switched over to BlueHost a few years ago, largely on the basis of recommendations. I’ve been very happy with their tech support and they’ve helped me through a few tricky situations quickly. However, as with apparently a lot of other users, web performance on my site has suffered greatly in recent months. As a designer, I’m constantly wrestling with image size vs. image quality and I’m constantly working to decrease image sizes and bandwidth. But, at this point, even my WordPress admin is so slow it’s barely usable. And I experience some downtime at least once a month. Not sure which direction to head at this point.

  7. silicon28

    Absolutely spot on. I’ve finally thrown in the towel and begun transferring domains away from B_H to another host… Price, downtime, customer service… and finally their lack of attention to losing domain names? They’ll never get another positive review from me.

  8. Hayden James

    I could not agree more! This is how I found this article. Thanks, will forward to someone who host their that I’m trying to explain this too. Saved me time.

  9. Rishiray.com

    Well I’m glad to have found this thread. After months of back and forth, I finally got rid of these bastards. I’m a techie travel blogger … and most travel bloggers I know are not techies … I can’t imagine the pain that these guys go through. I’m sorry to read all the stories here, but I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one screwed by these guys. Here’s my story below!!

    http://www.rishiray.com/dont-use-bluehost-sucks-for-hosting-your-wordpress-travel-blog/

  10. dsumera

    Hi! I’m about to set up my own website and I was about to go with BlueHost but after reading this post and the comments I thought better of it. But you did mention a lot that it depends on what kind of site you have. What hosting would you recommend if I only want a simple blog-type kind of site that showcases the products I’m selling but I’m not expecting a lot of traffic? I wanted to use wordpress’ free hosting (.wordpress.com) but I would like to customize my theme and use plugins, which is why I’m considering hosting my site elsewhere. Also, since my hosting needs are not that heavy I would also prefer a hosting that’s budget-friendly. A recommendation would indeed be much appreciated! Thanks!

    1. John

      If you haven’t made a decision yet, I would recommend BigScoots. Great support, and they aren’t expensive (plans start at $2/month)

      John

  11. mdriess

    BlueHost’s claim that their entry level WordPress management service can handle “100 million visits/month” is reason enough to kick them from the page. $25/mo buys 100 million visits/month? Really?

    1. mdriess

      I’ve loved LiquidWeb, though I feel their support has gotten slightly less consistent over the years as they’ve grown. Still, their great management tools and overall extremely competitive SLA has kept me around. I love being able to scale from a VPS to a dedicated and back again in a matter of minutes..and the support is generally high quality, just not the tier 3 service I felt I always got when I first jumped on 3-4 years ago.

  12. June Wilson

    Bluehost just started offering WordPress Optimized plans, which are hosting accounts especially for WordPress websites. Basically those accounts are virtual private servers (VPS) configured for WordPress to run its best & fastest. You can totally tell the difference.

    This is apparently their response to all the complaints. I dislike Bluehost’s shared hosting. I refuse to put any of my clients on it (due to the throttling and a number of other reasons I may blog about someday). But since I started using their VPS plan a couple years ago, I am quite happy, and I have a couple dozen WordPress sites on one account.

    I chose BH specifically due to the endorsement on WordPress.org. If you’ve been with BH a very long time, it’s probably time to migrate to one of their newer, better servers (but they’re not going to tell you this). They also will migrate your websites for you for free if you upgrade from Shared to VPS. And they just made it possible to upgrade VPS accounts to the new WordPress Optimized plans. And with both of those plans you can add more memory and space pretty easily without migrating or changing anything. They have dedicated servers too.

    They had an outage earlier this year that latest pretty much all day and that was terrible. But other than that, the tech support is 24-hours a day and excellent, depending on who you get! Every now and then you get someone who clearly doesn’t care or who is not enthused to do their job, but you’ll get that at any call center. If one person doesn’t help me in the way I like, I hang up and call back or initiate a new chat session with someone new, and the second time I often get someone who immediately helps me as desired. I frequently experience chat support techs who go out of their way to assist me with issues that other hosts would say I need to fix on my own. I was surprised to discover a few other popular hosts don’t do support by phone or chat, only e-mail! So you gotta love Bluehost’s 24-hour support by phone, chat, or e-mail.

    So to anyone who has been with Bluehost a long time and doesn’t like it:

    1) Ask to be on their newer servers (again they are not going to advertise this
    2) Don’t use any of their shared plans
    3) If you have a bad experience with customer support, rate that person accordingly and contact them again… I’ve never gotten two rotten apples in a row but I guess that’s possible, so call back a third time if needed!

    The only thing that is not acceptable is the outages. But every tech company I’ve worked at (I work in IT) has “unacceptable outages” a couple times a year. It’s the nature of the beast. I think that’s why most hosting companies promise 99.9% up-time. Notice that none of them say 100% for that reason. I mean, who can promise 100% up time when there could be an Act of God (like a hurricane that brings pipe lines down).

    Okay, guess I have a lot to say, so perhaps I will blog on this topic. But yeah, I’m a happy Bluehost customer once I got of their horrendous shared plan! Oh, and their SharedPRO plan is still shared! Don’t believe the type. The only plans that will make you smile is VPS, Dedicated, and now their new WordPress Optimized Plans. If you really understood what Shared hosting is and all the CONS, you probably wouldn’t want to share IP addresses with porn sites or be crammed on a server with a thousand other websites anyway, with any host! I can’t recommend VPS enough, and Bluehost VPS is the way to go if traffic is important to your website.

  13. Robert Monk

    I don’t have technical knowledge to quantify it, but I do think my site is slower than it used to be, and it was never better than 60th percentile for speed on Google speed rank.

  14. Sourour Khatib

    I have been a customer of bluehost for 8 years now with shared and reseller account and over 15 domains registered through your service.

    I had a reseller hosting account for my domain which I have cancelled 3 days ago.

    I took a full site backup including DB from Cpanel backup and transfers the tar archive to another server where I had it untar and mad sure my sql dumps are taken for all mysql databases.

    Today I have imported one of these sql dumps to a new database where I discovered that the file actually was empty!!! all it had is a few comments lines which are part of the file but the are no sql statements.

    THEY WANT ME TO PAY FOR A WHOLE MONTH JUST TO GET MY DATA BACK WHICH WAS LOST BECAUSE OF THEIR SYSTEM.

    I’M LEAVING BLUEHOST FOR GOOD AND I ADVICE ANY ONE NOT TO USE IT. THERE ARE MANY LIMITS ON ACCOUNT THAT WILL MAKE YOUR SITE DEAD.

  15. ddd

    I just came across this thread and it seems like bluehost is going downhill.
    However, I am very new to the website building and bluehost supports weebly.

    That is probably the only reason I’m going with bluehost. Hopefully I don’t have many problems with them. I’m not expecting huge traffic to my site so I think bluehost will be adequate for me.

    I would try site5 or sitehound, but I do not think they support weebly and wordpress is just too complicated for me at the moment.

  16. Scritty

    When this article was written I think it was a fair reflection of Bluehost. 2013 was not a good year, and that was on top of 2012’s poor performance. Since then (maybe because of posts like this) they’ve made quite a few changes.
    The first that struck me was the VPS packages are now fully managed – and faster. Since migrating to one (the day they went fully managed) I’ve not had a seconds downtime according to upstat.
    I have other accounts with them -shared – that seem to have improved in terms of speed. Certainly not as slow as GoDaddy (which might as well store websites on Edison Cylinder). Nor as stupidly expensive as 1&1 – which considering how average they all in terms of speed, resource allocation and extras (like the number of email addresses or MYSQL databases you can create) are probably the worst big name I’ve ever used.
    Hosting on 1&1 is 3x the cost of Bluehost, slower and comes with a raft of limitations that Bluehost does not have.
    But again, in 2013, this was marginal. Bluehost were not so good. Shared speed was terrible – but it’s now improved a little, and fully managed VPS for a pretty competitive price puts them back near the top for me. Not the best – but pretty good.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Scritty, thanks for the comment.

      Not to be a contrarian, but I disagree on a number of the points you made.

      I am VERY glad that your experience with them has been mostly positive. We just see things from the point of view of support a large number of customers on Bluehost, and not just one or two accounts.

      1. WordPress.org is specifically endorsing Bluehost’s shared platform, which has had a number of documented full network outages just recently. Not just a few sites down, etc., but full connectivity loss on a number of occasions for pretty long legs of time (24 hours +).
      2. The other two hosts you mentioned aren’t really good either, although GoDaddy’s new cPanel product (have you tried it?) isn’t that bad at all. Definitely a nice value.
      3. There are a number of much better shared hosts with good pricing.

      I don’t doubt that Bluehost is working to improve. I know a number of people there personally and know that they care, but that doesn’t mean that new users should be pointed there by WordPress.org when there are better options available.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

      1. Scritty

        No BH aren’t the best. Particularly for WordPress. I have a couple of hosting accounts at GoDaddy (well – one mine and one a clients) I’m still not keen on being advertised at every step of the way through every process. “Buy domain name” click yes – then a massive page of other stuff to buy comes up, some of it pre-checked with the link to go through the the shopping basket hidden somewhere in amongst it. I bet people end up with stuff they don’t want or need all the time with them.
        You are right though. They aren’t the best either.
        I went with a dedicated WordPress hosting solution that was very quick, the offset was that there was a max of 500 gigs of bandwidth per month allowed. Should have been plenty as my sites average around 1/3rd of that and have never gone much above half. However, a competitor of mine deliberately botted the bandwidth (Similar to DDOS I suppose) it was draining out at almost 4 gigs an hour and my allocation was gone in under a week, the costs for topping up were extortionate (a lot more than the basic moths costs) and my competitor would have just eaten that up as well.
        Out of interest, what hosting solution do you think is good? Looking at the $50-$80 per month range for multiple sites (5 or 6)
        Great post BTW – should have said that first up.
        Paul Rone-Clarke

  17. CarltonBale

    Great discussion. I was actually thinking of moving some sites to BlueHost, but now I’ll look elsewhere.

    I’m currently using DreamHost VPS, and currenly don’t have any of the reliability issues discussed here. My biggest complaint with DreamHost is that I feel I’m being greatly overcharged for incremental memory allocation in the VPS. And the only reason I’m using the VPS is because the DreamHost shared hosting had continual available-memory related restarts for some relatively low-traffic sites.

  18. J.J. Gonzales

    The last few months at BlueHost have gotten so bad, that users think my websites are down when they visit the simple WP sites. It might load, but after 30 seconds… nothing happens. I had no idea they were bought out by EIG. Up until last year, I praised BlueHost and recommended everyone to them. Now, I’m lucky if my WP sites load before the browser times out. Absolutely pathetic! I cannot afford a $124.99/mo. Dedicated Server.

    What do you guys recommend? http://www.site5.com/ looks good.

      1. J.J. Gonzales

        I went with SiteGround and I’m pretty happy. However, I now get random Fatal error messages.

        Fatal error: Out of memory (allocated 313786368) (tried to allocate 524288 bytes) in /home/…/public_html/…/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1938

  19. Chad Johnson

    After the last 2 days (28+ hours of downtime for some folks) I would say nobody should recommend Bluehost for anything. It is a shadow of the company and service Matt Heaton started. I’ll be switching for sure. It would almost be forgivable if they would have been upfront about what went wrong and given regular updates. But they didn’t. So goodbye Bluehost… hello ??? Not sure… got any recommendations?

      1. Chad Johnson

        Thanks! I think I’m going to go with Site5 based on your recommendation. Siteground looks good too… their reseller seems to be a bit pricey though… and I don’t really understand the credit system. ??

      2. WP Site Care

        Hmmm. I’m not really sure what the credit system is either. We use SiteGround, and haven’t ever really come across that. But yeah, Site5 is great.

  20. chuck mailen

    I’ve been building sites for 20 years. I’ve worked with dozens of hosting companies of all shapes and sizes. Last year was the first time I opened a BlueHost account, mostly because of the recommendation on the WordPress.org page – Worst decision ever. I have never received such poor support from any host. Took them over 2 weeks just to get an SSL cert, that I bought through them, installed – and even then it wasn’t installed correctly, it took another week before they got it right. That was just one tiny issue. Slow servers, random site failures and a support team that comes off as hostile. That is my personal experience with them, which shocked me because I’ve used Hostgator for ages and I assumed, due to their relationship, that Bluehost was like a kickass Hostgator — I am willing to admit I was wrong, so very very wrong. There are lots of quality hosts out there, but in my opinion Bluehost isn’t one of them.

  21. Tom Lasota

    Bluehost these days makes it extremely time consuming and difficult to leave. MySQL exports via PhpMyAdmin seem like they have been hampered intentionally. You have to beg for SSH access. They block CPANEL transfers. The list goes on and on. They are now owned by company Endurance International Group. Matt Heaton should have never sold out but I’m sure it was a good payday. Endurance also owns HostMonster, FastDomain, JustHost and HostGator to name a few. Remember the blackout on August 2, 2013? I personally am steering away from any hosting company owned by conglomerates like this. GoDaddy used to be good as well, I dumped them after a 10 year run back in 2008.

  22. Hashim Warren

    I’ve been using Bluehost for years and I recommend it. I love their flexibility compared to some of the WordPress specific hosts.

  23. Dee @ The Kitchen Snob

    What hosting company do you recommend? I used to like Bluehost in the beginning but I’m getting really tired of my site going down all the time. Who does security updates during high traffic hours?? I’m not very tech savvy so I really would appreciate any recommendations, as I don’t know who else to try.

  24. Mike McEvoy

    Two Points:
    1. This is an excellent thread with plenty of good info – especially if you currently host any site at BlueHost (I do).

    2. Ryan, I completely agree with your post. I used to recommend BlueHost to clients, but not any more. The performance and support at BlueHost has gone downhill significantly. Currently in the process of moving my remaining sites from BlueHost.

    Question: Media Temple has recently begun offering a “Premium WordPress Hosting” service – has anyone had any experience with this new service or with Media Temple in general? MT seems to have a good rep, although they were purchased by GoDaddy a few months ago.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Mike,

      We have our test account now but haven’t given it the the full run yet. We like to get a month or two under our belts before we give any kind of assessment, just because anything faster feels kind of knee-jerk.

      MT does have a good rep and has been a great host for many of our clients. And the whole GoDaddy acquisition things isn’t something that’s worried us at all ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Mike McEvoy

        Hey Ryan,
        I’ll be curious to see what you find through your testing. It sounds like an interesting service, especially at $29 for three sites and that includes email.

        However when I called to get more details I couldn’t get much info on their caching mechanism or on which plugins might not be allowed. The ambiguity may have been due to the service being relatively new. Time will tell.

  25. Alison Moore Smith

    Joining the party late, but have to agree. I made the HUGE mistake of moving all our company sites from HostGator toโ€ฆBlueHost, only to have BH get bought out by the crapmine EIG who ruined yet another company. Kah!

  26. Partha Srinivasan

    I am based in Dubai, and I use Bluehost for all my websites and I have recommended clients to their service too. While it may not be the absolute bees-knees of offerings, they are fairly good and offer a host of solutions that fit the pocket. As far as down time was concerned, I have faced just one major outage, a few months ago, and that’s it. It has been smooth sailing since.

    Their integration with WP was previously unknown and I picked them as a friend of mine in the US recommended me to them a few years ago and I have been with them since 2010. All my hosted emails, websites, clients accounts are all on this and working fine (knock on wood). Myabe it is subjective but the level of service i get from them is fair and on some occasions, beyond expectations.

    just my 2-cents

    1. Mike

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but you may not be aware of all the issues. I experienced a few outages which disappointed me, so I searched out a way to monitor things like uptime and response time. The answer was Pingdom. I did many months of testing in the past year and found that Bluehost websites are offline for many hours per month. I was also very surprised to find that some hosts with bad reputations had better numbers. Ex. For months I monitored a friends website on GoDaddy. There were very few instances of downtime. Sometimes none in a period of 30 days. Meanwhile my Bluehost account had been offline dozens of times that month and that amounted to a number of hours. Totally unacceptable. I wasn’t aware of this until I started monitoring uptime.

      1. Partha Srinivasan

        Hey Mike,

        I really have not monitored the down time that actively and no client has ever complained of down time from the ones that do.

        I will run the same experiment with my sites and compare notes… would be curious to see some stats on this…

        Thanks,
        Partha

      2. ddd

        Hey Partha,

        Did you end up running those test, any conclusions?

      3. Partha Srinivasan

        Hey. Ddd I did run some tests on the most active site and it was fine. No downtime for the site. The email though is leaving a lot to desire. Gmail is probably looking good now for me.

  27. Gregg Murray

    I’ve been struggling with “upgrading” from Bluehost lately. I’ve had over 30 sites on a BlueHost shared plan for 10 years (20+ WordPress). Things did bog down earlier in the year and I upgraded to their $60 VPS plan. No problems since. And anytime I ever needed to chat or speak with someone, they’ve always been 110% helpful to me. Knock on wood.

    1. Sacora Williams

      I am currently working on 30 sites but was planning to use the shared pro hosting plan for 36 months before upgrading. Do you have additional dedicated IP address for each website?

  28. Emmanuel Baez

    So which is a GOOD hosting company these days? I am in BlueHost and desperate to move out in the next month. I run a blog that gets about 50k visits/month, and even with a very optimized blog and CloudFare on, it’s impossible. Maybe 30 minutes down EVERY day.

    Please advice.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hi Emmanuel, do you need email hosting as well? Or do you use another service like Google Apps for your mail? With that level of traffic you may want to consider a managed host like WP Engine and use Google Apps for Email (separating the two is actually a good idea anyway), or you can look at a VPS from a provider like Site5 or a “DV” server from MediaTemple if you’d like to keep everything hosted in the same place.

      1. Emmanuel Baez

        Now I just use Gmail for mailing because of the same problem with BlueHost. I’m reading a lot of good things about Site5.com lately. I’ll check it out.

        One more question. It has never been clear to me the difference between a VPS and Cloud Hosting and why are they more expensive over a regulare shared hosting. If you could provide some info about it or maybe a blog detailing the specs.

        Thanks a lot for the fast response.

      2. WP Site Care

        There isn’t necessarily a difference between cloud and VPS hosting. You can technically have a cloud-based VPS. A VPS is a virtual private server that can reside on a traditional server, or in a cloud environment. Cloud-based hosting is usually more expensive because the architecture is more robust. It’s easy to clone a site and move it, and generally speaking traffic loads scale better in a cloud environment because more servers are available for additional resources. This is a nice article that goes into more detail: http://www.uk2.net/blog/vps-cloud-vs-traditional/

  29. BenSite5

    Well I love your post, but also a bit vested since I’m one of the owners of Site5.com :).

    We are hopeful that one day we make that list due to our reputation in the WP community and strong hosting product for WP. The cost is high but the nice part is that you know that is going right into the .org community and development which is obviously a good thing.

    Ben

    Ben@site5.com

  30. Dustin Nay

    Great post Ryan. I agree. Another issue here is BlueHost’s big investment in WordPress core, including developers on staff who work full time for the WordPress Foundation developing the software. No doubt that also has a lot to do with it (not just an affiliate program).

    That being said, I think it’s also important to recognize that a large number of hosts all actually run on the same platform as BlueHost (or will be moving to it over time). Endurance International Group owns a few dozen hosting companies of various sizes (they only claim 7 on their website): BlueHost, HostGator, HostMonster, A Small Orange, iPage, FatCow, Domain.com, and iPower, among other smaller companies (purchased and merged or still operately separately). It makes me laugh when I see people say they switched from BlueHost to some other EIG company. From what I’ve seen/heard, the company is moving all of their brands to the same distributed platform (which in part, I believe, is what caused the outage last Friday), to the point that they will be sharing data centers nationwide, but probably running under the banner of each of these separate flags. So eventually, A Small Orange may look, feel, and operate the same as BlueHost, but with a different name on it.

    I’m not sure, I’m just postulating, but that has been one of the reasons we have started a migration to WP Engine. Managed WordPress hosting just makes sense. For those who have time to manage a server, I also highly recommend DigitalOcean (which I use for my own personal sites). Fantastic software (I’ve never even had to contact support for any issue).

    Anyway– just some thoughts. Thanks for the blog, and the forum to share thoughts about this issue. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. WP Site Care

      This is all great stuff Dustin, and great point about the full-time core devs being employed there as well. Like I mentioned, I feel bad that they’re getting black marks next to their name become of some GloboCon business decision but the truth is that’s it’s happening.

      I don’t even care if the core developers + deep pockets are THE reasons that they get prime real estate on the .org site, but I feel like it should be made clear that’s the reason why, instead of praising them as a hosting company as a whole. Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Allyn

    We have experienced frequent outages with BlueHost and we switched from FatCow for that exact reason, frequent outages. I do like the features that BlueHost offers, but with our premium shared hosting plan costing more than almost any other provider’s shared hosting plans, we are less than impressed. Furthermore, BlueHost stops its support the 2nd you enable WordPress Multisite – they actually ruined a site that I was pushing live by moving files without my permission on a multisite. I was completely devastated to lose a hard 48 hours of work because their backups restored the site to barebones.

    Needless to say, I would not recommend Blue to anyone until they get their shit together.

  32. Don Campbell

    I’ve been using BlueHost for several years on over 20 websites and they have been great. I’m even running a pretty decent blog (over 50K visitors/month) on BlueHost. And I can get on the phone with a knowledgeable tech support person within minutes.

    So I’m not trying to pick a fight here – just trying to understand what lead you – and so many commenters to the conclusion that WP.org should kick them to the curb. IMO it’s still a great option for running a WordPress site at a bargain price.

    Maybe I’ve just had better luck with them.

    p.s. I am a BlueHost affiliate, but as you know there are a ton of great hosting affiliate programs out there and it would be easy to switch.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Don. Thanks for the comment! And that’s a totally fair question too that I’m happy to answer. Some of the reasons have been mentioned by other commenters here, but we’ve probably worked with Bluehost on 5-600 sites over the last couple of years, and lately (the last year or so), we’ve seen a steady decline in uptime, server performance (huge spike in tickets for “slow load times” when the client sites haven’t changed), customer service response time, and an increase in people asking us to help them move elsewhere because they felt they weren’t getting straight answers about their sites.

      That said, this really isn’t meant to bash Bluehost. I used their name as an example, but this is more about getting a straight answer for WHY they’re a recommended host from WordPress.org. If it’s because they’re a huge supporter of WordCamps, that’s fine, just make that clear. If it’s truly because the WordPress foundation believes they’re the best, then I can make some suggestions for some other hosts to try out that have a much better track record for all of the above benchmarks.

    2. Oliver Sands

      I agree with Ryan. I have been a Bluehost customer for more than seven years. As a web developer, at one time, I have had more than 5 separate accounts with Bluehost. Additionally, I was also an affiliate referring my customers to Bluehost. Sadly, things started to change the last two years, when my websites began to have extremely slow load time. As a result, I started receiving constant phone calls from clients for unexplained outages and and blaming me for choosing bluehost for them. I have lost a lot of clients because of Bluehost.

      Now, I only have one account left with them and it is a reseller account. I have nothing good to say about Bluehost, the sites on my reseller account have slowed to a crawl and I have lost a ton of money with Adsense. I have accounts with Hostgator as well. Although Hostgator and Bluehost are owned by the same company, their hosting services are like day and night.

  33. Debra Wilson

    I have used A Small Orange for several years to host my WP sites with no issues, and their customer support has always been absolutely stellar going above and beyond, even just in answering questions I had which were not related to a problem. I have also in the several years I have used them never knowingly experienced any downtime.

  34. tnorthcutt

    Bluehost’s malware issue (and more importantly, how they reacted to it) in 2010 signaled to me that they’re not worth doing business with. Their own CEO’s blog was hacked: http://blog.sucuri.net/2010/06/bluehost-ceo-blog-and-others-exploited-by-domainameat-cc.html

    And then they banned Sucuri from their forums, when Sucuri (by their account) posted information showing how Bluehost’s claims were false: http://blog.sucuri.net/2010/06/bluehost-talks-down-malware-percentages.html

    1. Bryan Petty

      In all fairness, Sucuri was doing what all security consultants in the industry do: spread fear and doubt into prospective clients and customers unfairly (and Bluehost represents a *large* portion of the market Sucuri is after). While Sucuri was referring to the WordPress installations/configuration on those sites itself, they were actually giving customers the impression that their Bluehost account itself was vulnerable, and that was not the case. Unlike managed WordPress hosting, Bluehost doesn’t pre-configure all hosted WordPress installations with quality security plugins (it’s difficult to do this anyway when the customer is uploading and installing WordPress themselves through FTP).

      It’s difficult to see, but if you look closely, you can tell that Sucuri actually meant that WordPress accounts (as WordPress used “admin” as a default username, along with other factors) were being hacked, but the Bluehost system admin in the forums thought they were talking about customers’ Bluehost hosting account username (which defaults to a shortened version of their actual domain – i.e. somewhat random) and passwords (which unlike WordPress, has strict complexity requirements). You can tell because the admin says “Since such a negligible percentage of Bluehost sites were hacked it is just about guaranteed that it is an individual script issue rather than anything more widespread.” By “individual script”, the admin was referring to WordPress.

      Sucuri still never caught that difference in their post you linked.

      They were banned for a good reason, and any hosting company outside of EIG would have done the same thing.

  35. Cheryl Ellis David

    I was going to move to WP.org so I could have access to all the cool plug ins that are not available to WP.com users…now I need to rethink my strategy. Grrr.

  36. Jim Walker

    My firsthand experience with the host recommendation list was several years back. Having been an established host for over 15 years with 100’s of “real” testimonials describing our quality of service, I went to the WP .org folks with hat in hand and asked them how I might be listed.

    At the time TVCNet was one of the few hosts who actively supported “WordPress hosting,” both support ticket wise and hosting wise right on our home page.

    I was told in no uncertain terms that the door was closed and they had already “partnered” with some rather large hosts already. My read between the lines what that some big money was involved.

    For some reason I had the naive idea that an established web host who was actively promoting the benefits of WP, and who provided free tech support for all WP issues, would be considered and brought into the list with open arms…

  37. Adam McLane

    Bluehost started their decline about 4 years ago. Customer service went out the window, reliability started to suck, and the more concerning part was that all of my sites with all CMSs were hacked all the time. I’ve moved dozens of clients from BH to HG for that reason. Today’s outage was fair warning… the crap that happened at BH is literally the same data center where HG is moving servers. For me today simply signaled a time to move everyone from HG somewhere else. The question is… where?

    1. WP Site Care

      Without knowing more about your clients it’s hard to say, but if HostGator shared accounts from a year ago were serving them nicely, then Site5 has been a great solution lately. Their support has been super fast and all of their uptime and performance stats are published and completely transparent. For standard shared hosting they’ve been winning a lot of points with us.

    2. rharvey

      I use NDC host.
      Excellent support and service at good rates.

      Talk to them.
      I give them an Excellent Rating.
      Robert Harvey.

  38. Julie @ Table for Two

    COMPLETELY & 100% agree with this entire post. I don’t understand why WordPress.org endorses them either. That was what threw me into the deep end when I listened to their recommendation. I feel that if some company as large as WordPress were to endorse something, they would be reliable with that endorsement. Well, I learned the hard way. They should definitely re-think this since Bluehost is having major issues today…

    1. WP Site Care

      I actually do think that Bluehost was doing well when they were initially added to the wordpress.org hosting page, but like with any service, things change. It’s time to re-evaluate the recommendations.

      1. James

        Isn’t it just! I’ve started a blog on Blogger that has about 25 posts (and no readers yet; plenty of time for that). The aim is for a post every day, with probably a dozen photographs. I like the look of my blog, and can see it might grow into something that people read; now is the time to decide where to go. But I can’t decide whether just to stay with Blogger anyway but to get my own domain name, or whether to migrate to WP. I haven’t done any programming since Fortran 77… about 20 years ago, so I’d expect to pick up whatever I need without too much difficulty.

        The more I play with Blogger, the more tweaks and tools I find. Blogger is completely free (except for the nominal annual charge for the domain name). Hosting somewhere wouldn’t be! At this stage I want to spend as little as possible!

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