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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. Essentially, our Bluehost review is technically a review of WordPress.org’s Bluehost review. 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:

We’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. 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 back—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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290 Comments

  1. Arafin Shaon

    I am using Bluehost for 2+ years, I never faced any issue from their side, only once my server went down but that was my fault as too much traffic came on my targeted event which breached TOS, but Bluehost support was so friendly, they heard me carefully and after clarifications my server get up again. I personally recommend blue host to everyone!

  2. santanu

    When everyone is praising about Bluehost, I think this is a really different article. I agree with your view. As WordPress is now a popular blogging platform, I think they should be more generic rather than favoring someone, unless they have their own hosting company.

  3. Paul Mall

    No Problem with Bluehost VPS – if you want speed you need VPS or Dedicated as others have mentioned.

    6 months into my bluehost VPS after switching from Hostway Dedicated and I am very happy.

  4. David

    This article is great, I had read a lot of reviews but all of them were fake I guess. I made the mistake to move a website from godaddy to bluehost. I was looking for the best option to speed up the website and now its super slow. I am now looking into wp-engine hosting but can’t seem to find a good review.

  5. Don Niam

    I agree that bluehost is not that good. Jetpack informed me on a way to often basis that my sites were down. I wish i would have switched to siteground when i switched and instead went with inmotion and not that happy with them either. I am always getting resource overages. Not to go off topic but it may help others. I have disabled every cron, I have to manually back up sites and at this point it is difficult to switch again with clients having it people that have to get involved for every switch. The endorsement from wordpress.org does lead people like myself who went with them at the time being new to WP.

  6. Ethan Caine

    This blog just saved me from joining Blue Host. I am currently with Media Temple paying $20 a month for their GRID service. I have been with MT for over 10 years…

    The support is great BUT in 2013 GoDaddy bought them out and now there are “latency” issues on a regular basis.

    I send hundreds of dollars in advertising clicks towards my wordpress sites and if they aren’t up that is wasted money!

    I think I will stay with MT for now but only because I don’t know where to go…

  7. Jason

    I love this blog. Bang on. Over two years with Bluehost and the service is ridiculous. They are down regularly, support is absolutely useless. I have started the painful migration away from them.

  8. Sean David

    BLUE HOST SUCK! Plain and simple, their customer service is terrible. They do not read mails and they do not take a proactive approach to fixing their customers problems.

    I run 3 different servers with 3 different hosting companies and BLUEHOST are the WORST.

    I cannot say it enough BLUE HOST SUCKS!!!

    Seriously bad hosting company.

    (HostGator and A Small Orange are just as bad)

  9. Jutt bahi

    first of all i want to say thank you for making a way to choose the best hosting ever, and now i can have idea after reading that bluehost is best for my company.
    regards

  10. markomark

    I signed up for a static IP on a shared host. It seems that the products are diverging and to bring more people to the fold, BH has started to move lower cost hosting to large cesspool servers to keep costs down.. it is a biz after all.
    In the last 8 mos. , WP sites that were “snappy” on load.. are now really slow.. even w. cache turned on.. i can only image that this is because they want folks to purchase “up” to the new services.
    Otherwise, up-time and support is OK for me. But, I keep my tech support calls to early morning or between 4-5p their local time.
    Glad this post is here.. the WP feature needs a Speed test verification vs. standard server load times.
    to see who else shares your server use these tools “

  11. Brian

    Bluehost is awful and I am currently looking for another hosting company. Their 1-click wp installation does not work lol and thus has been an ongoing issue since the end of march! Awful support … can someone please direct me at how I can move my wp sites from bluehost to another hosting provider

    1. David

      I just moved from godaddy to bluehost and thinking of moving back to godaddy. Godaddy has a really good plan for wordpress and the speed is really fast. I have over 10 websites still with godaddy. I was having problems with one because of traffic so decided to move it to bluehost and it works ok but to slow even if there isn’t anyone online. I would recommend to try godaddy, they have a really easy migrating tool if you get the manage wordpress plan, basically it transfers the website to a temp domain and all you have to do after is change the nameservers and that’s it.

  12. Bradley Gallop

    Reading this post was spot on for me. I’ve been with GoDaddy and extremely disappointed in them all around. I’m therefore searching a new host and I was about to sign up with Blue Host but still had some reservations….I’ll look a little bit more before making a decision.

  13. George Michaels

    Cancelled my BlueHost account after only 2 days!! They are total nightmares….

  14. Kira

    $10 a month will get you a basic account at A2hosting. They’re pretty good. I’ve used them before and they have good customer service as well.

  15. Valerie

    Hello there!

    I currently have a wordpress.com blog and I was hoping to start taking my blogging more seriously and moving it to wordpress.org. Unfortunately, I know very little about web hosting and how to set things up.

    My budget for the blog is probably $10 a month at most. I’m not really sure where to start.
    Think you could help me out?

  16. Karisa | Petite Modern Life

    Hi, I appreciate this up to date article and advice. I have been on blue host since the start of my website in 2014 and in the past 4 months I’ve had nothing but a huge headache of my site crashing all of a sudden, not loading, connections dropping while I’m editing posts on wordpress.. I have everything up to date, minimal pluggins, and don’t mess with the back-end. I can’t help but wonder if I switched services if my sanity would be saved!?

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Hey Karisa,

      It could be a hosting issue, but it could possible be some time of issue with WordPress or your traffic growing as well. If you shoot as a note at hello at wpsitecare.com, we’ll be happy to take a look and give you a recommended course of action, whether it be optimizing your website, or heading for a new host.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Pam McCall

      Same here. Everytime they get me up and going again it’s not long before I am shut down again. Last time they suggested getting rid of any unused plugins. Its aggravating. Its shut down right now actually.

      Also people are signing onto my wordpress site from some page I cant seem to find. I dont know where they’re doing it. Its all spammers.

      Any suggestions? This all started in the last 6 months.

  17. Christine Sutherland

    I’ve been with Bluehost for years and have found the live chat guys to be pretty amazing. Unfortunately they’re let down by Bluehost.

    I just upgraded to the Business Pro package, spending over $600AUD up front. They stuffed up the migration and after 1 week my main site is an embarrassment that is throwing constant cron errors.

    Now I can’t even get a response from them.

    At this stage looking for a new host and hoping I can get my money back. Disgusted.

  18. DHIRAJ

    I regret my decision to have hosting on bluehost. I don’t what and how they treat there customer, but all I know this one is worst sever ever had in my life. I used hostgator simultaneously for making wordpress site, while page loads in millisecond from hostgator it does load even after tens of second from bluehost. One biggest mistake I did is to claim free domain with hosting. For first year domain registration cost $2 with godaddy, also they provide privacy protection displaying your name only. As far as I know no one in this world will provide privacy protection for free like godaddy.

  19. allen

    I agree with almost everyone. Bluehost has horrible servers and even worse service. They even held my database hostage because I would not renew. They were able to do this because their backup wizard wasn’t working in order for me to grab the db while my account was active.

  20. Marcelo

    Unfortunately I agree with with everyone. I’ve been with bluehost for more that 5 years. But last year things got really bad. Sites going down frequently and poor Support.
    I have when I open the Support chart window when it says 01 minute. It’s never one minute.

  21. Chuck

    Blue host has the poorest performance and service. Wp sites work very slow on blue host servers and quite often they are down anyway, plus you are very restricted to just few sites.
    While your site is down there is no support from bluehost.

  22. Stacey Valle

    Hello,

    I came across your article and it is very formative. Thank you for that! However, I am still struggling to find what is the best host? I am looking for unlimited data and bandwidth as well as low price due to adding photos and videos to our blog that contained ASL for our Deaf audience. I would appreciate any advice/recommendations that you may have. Thank you.

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Hi Stacey,

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      I’m not sure there’s any host that exists that can truly give you unlimited storage and bandwidth for a low price. Those items don’t really go hand in hand. That said, we’ve been really happy with SiteGround for sites with 100,000 visits or fewer. If you have more traffic than that, reply and we can give a few other suggestions.

  23. Robert Smith

    Bluehost is the worst I’ve ever experienced so far. Their support is just non existent, their interface completely unusable, I’m sooooo sorry I ever signed up. I can wait to get out of there.

  24. Raf sia

    Had several problems with bluehost, but as I had different domains, I kept my account. Now they took down all my website with not any warning saying i had “malicious” code. Ridiculous, they can put my websites back again if I pay 50usd for their whatever doctor service.

    This is blackmail, there are no malicious code on my account.

    Please do not try bluehost, they will make you regret

    stay away

    Any anonymous there to make Bluehost suffer?Please.

    CONS:

    You have to wait for AT least 45 min for a support online, even if it says remaining time 12 minutes, if goes more and more, everytime

    They take your websites down and blackmail you

    Website not very fast

    Horrible email system

    The support will very rarely answer your questions, is like talking with a 4 years old indian kid

    All the addons offered are useless

    You think you pay little but other services linked to your account are very expensive

    No way to have your money back

  25. Kristie

    I think you nailed it. Money Talks. I think bluehost is the most recommended host out there for bloggers because they have one of the highest affiliate programs. They might be the most popular, but not the best!

  26. Shane

    Has anyone worked with WPEngine? I’m comparing WPEngine to Bluehost currently. Bluehost is way more cost effective, but I’m worried about reliability and speed now.

    I’m deploying WP sites for my clients. My goal is to install 100+ this year. Each would need email account(s). I want the best hosting for the best price/performance. If you have recommendations on best hosting for this type of WP deployment biz, I’m all ears.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hi Shane,

      We’ve used WP Engine pretty extensively for a number of things. The client management piece would likely be quite a bit easier with WP Engine’s setup. That said, they don’t provide email hosting so you’d have to set that up separately. In terms of speed and reliability, WP Engine is definitely going to perform better in both of those area, but it’s also going to be a lot more expensive than Bluehost. Mainly depends on what your market is, how much they’re willing to pay, and how much personal time you’re willing to invest in managing things.

      1. Shane

        I anticipate these clients to be down-market, small businesses. Mostly a professional presence. I wouldn’t anticipate these sites to grow tremendously or have a high volume per month. WP Engine just seems too expensive for this business model. I’m comparing BlueHost, DreamHost, and Cloudways. Seems to be better option for deploying several, small sites.

      2. max78

        Yes, it is true, but also many small business customers tend to ask many features. in terms of VPS there are several solutions (at the moment I am using bluehost), but, for e-mail hosting, I am using http: // server mx.com, because for many times to too many customers that I had spent a lot of time to solve the basic problems easy due to the lack of support.

  27. Elizabeth

    I switched from Start Logic to Blue Host, mainly because of WordPress’ recommendation. At first, my blog seemed to be fast and reliable. That was less than a year ago. Now? Jetpack informs me when it goes down and with Blue Host, my blog goes down on a daily basis for at least an hour at a time, sometimes more times a day. I’m trying to work with them to resolve this, but this shouldn’t be happening in the first place.

    Honestly, I have yet to find a hosting company that doesn’t have something wrong with it. *sigh*

  28. Jean Marie Walker

    I signed up for this service a couple weeks ago, but saw immediately that it was not at all what I wanted. Everywhere I went to do something with my site (add text, links, images) was just trying to sell me something.

    Despite their “no hidden fees, anytime money-back guarantee”, there were plenty of hidden fees, and, although I sent a cancellation request within an hour or two of applying for the service, I did not get a full refund. They kept $50, saying that my cancellation was not within the 3-day period (how is this an “anytime money-back guarantee”?), because they completely disregarded my initial request, and, when I followed up a few days later, further delayed the cancellation process by saying that I had to first confirm the account before I could cancel it.

    Despite my efforts to resolve the matter, they continue to refuse to issue a full refund. I don’t see how I could see this as anything other than a scam. Do yourself a favor; don’t waste your money on this company.

  29. Tdu

    I had used BlueHost in the past with good luck and recommended them to clients. The last year everything about the service has gone way downhill though. Sites loading unbelievably slow, downtime, very long customer service waits. The customer service has been poor and rude in a lot of cases when I finally do get a hold of them. I found this article and wanted to make sure there are some current comments. A year ago I would not have been ‘bashing’ BlueHost but I definitely would at this point.

  30. Jim Hubbard

    Bluehost customer support is simply awful. I am trying to reach tech support at Bluehost to help a client with the website that they have hosted there and I have been on hold for over 45 minutes and no technician has come to the phone yet. I will never place a client on Bluehost. I hope I can get this one to move to WPEngine with me.

  31. MangoUnchained

    I signed up for wordpress hosting at bluehost.
    I cannot tell you how painful it was to get going. I’m a techie but seriously, it shouldnt have to be so painful.

    Its so hard to figure out what to do on the cpanel interface (and I’ve used many of these dashboards in my life)

    So, completely agree with your article. Its been a week with bluehost and I’m going to ask them for a refund. They are responsive in their support BUT, its still a pain to use and configure their services. All the ONE-CLICK promises require you to shell out $$$

    Very disappointed 🙁

  32. Joe Deagnon

    Sigh… well, I hate to bash BlueHost, since in the beginning, it was sweet love. Now that I’ve experienced their hellish redirect issues “due to nginx” on WP hosting, I’m on the outs. My sites were messed up pretty bad after bringing them over from HostGator.

    They finally moved some of my WP sites back over to Apache, but now, I can’t even install a new instance of WP via cPanel or even by myself via FTP “due to nginx” without calling their tech support to fix the problem. Really? And no foreseeable ETA on the fixes, of course. I’m getting tired of moving my sites around… so tired.

    I just want the server to work properly, so I can deal with my sites – I mean, is this too much to ask?

  33. raj

    I have account with blue host. For last one year my site is getting hacked. bluehost wants me to buy additional online software for my sites protection.
    I think they them self are creating problem to sell security software of their parent company.
    i am fed up with all this/

  34. Ray De Armas

    Stay Away from Blue Host!!
    Blue Host was very good until their Simple Scripts stopped working on reseller accounts. Today I tried to put up a new website and sure enough, Simple Scripts is not working for reseller accounts. Called Support, the rep. had no idea what was need to be done, puts me on hold until I finally hung up.
    Called support again, was transferred to to the Reseller department. The rep there tells me they are working on correcting the issue – then adds that I have to manually install WordPress and he is emailing me the instructions. Sounds easy enough.
    Tried installing WordPress after dealing with database names, folders and clunky Word Pad issue. Still doesn’t work, still no website.
    Do I really need to spend my time making websites – or trying to figure out how to make the Word Press download work and configure it with Blue Host – when a useable Simple Script used to do this in seconds???

    1. Friknik

      I know what you mean! I have a reseller’s account with them too and been trying to simple script for 2 months now. Nada. Same shit when I contacted them. Ugh. This really sucks. I thought I would be able to save some bucks by getting their reseller’s since I do own some domains/sites as well. Now, I feel like I’m forced to get another provider. *sigh*

  35. Satinder Kassoana

    As I see people singing praises for Bluehost. Right at this moment, I have been waiting for a tech-rep answer my call for more than 25 minutes and in the same way ‘live-chat’ doesn’t seem very live now. It’s showing me ’30 minutes wait’ for last 1 hour. I have a really bad hosting issue and at this moment all I wish Bluehost answer my call. Once this is done, I will be thinking to move some other host. It was good knowing you Bluehost.

  36. doomed

    I’m with bluehost and thinking of moving all my sites.

    They were great when we joined a few years ago but they’ve gone to heck.
    Sites
    we own take forever to load, even using bluehosts own site is slow and
    tedious now, we have accounts we’ve created just vanish, cannot delete
    them, cannot remake them as “account already exists”, some stupid
    certificate from about 2 years ago that we have to always ask them to
    remove from the cart every time we renew our reseller account but is
    back each and every time, Emailed them the other day about the missing
    account. That was on September 23rd, now it’s October the 3rd. All I
    have received is an auto response saying they have my ticket and I may
    have to wait 24hours for them to get back to me.

    Things on their site keep changing and each time they do we just seem to have more problems.

    They need to fix their tech support and slow ass servers.
    When a hosting companies own site is slow and broken, that should be a warning to anyone wanting to use them.

    As for wordpress, it should be like newspapers and TV where they are meant to make it clear they are being paid to promote something. They still dress it up as news but the disclaimer appear at the bottom of the page *Advertisement
    No surprise that this happens because WordPress has become plagued with Advertisements dressed up as Blogs.

    Had a client wanting me to add links to her online store that went to such blogs, convinced she’d make revenue from it, like blogs with ads for cars written like it was just your average Joe fanboy.

    But it’s not just wordpress, the interwebz has been like this since someone put an Ad on it and it’s only going to get worse as more and more people chase the easy money dream.

  37. Ashley Evans

    I completely agree with you! I’ve actually never used Bluehost myself, but a ton of my clients and bloggers I know do use them. I notice that their sites are often slow, and they often complain about downtime. I’m sick of EVERYONE and their mother recommending Bluehost. I think it’s just because they have one of the best affiliate programs. Tons of bloggers make like $10k – $50k per month just with the Bluehost affiliate link.

    I was actually with GoDaddy for like six years and never had any problems (except for one single bit of downtime). I think that was just me lucking out and being on a server that wasn’t very crowded or something. I now have a ton of clients who are on GoDaddy and their sites are insaaaaanely slow.

    I eventually got my own dedicated server with Softlayer and it was the best move I’ve ever made. Dedicated server + Nginx = blazingly fast WordPress blog.

    1. June Wilson

      I’m not sure if GoDaddy has dedicated hosting options, but Bluehost does. I wish more Bluehost affiliates would disclose or inform that to new users. Because yes, lots of slowness and “throttling” with the shared cheap plans. Dedicated or VPS is the way to go really with any host, especially sites with real traffic. The sad trth is a lot of sites don’t get much traffic, so the shared solutions are OK for them, but not for people who make successful websites. Thanks for mentioning Softlayer. I haven’t heard of them and will check it out, altho I’m happy with Bluehost VPS at the moment. Their 24-hr tech support by chat or phone is one thing that keeps me very happy. Every now and then I get someone who is bad at their job, and I’ll just call back. But that’s anywhere, not specific to Bluehost.

  38. George Greene

    I’ve been with Blue Host since 2005. In recent years my websites -Wordpress and others- have been slower to load than others I navigate to. It’s not terrible but noticeable. Same now that I upgraded to VPS. Downtime has not been a problem, but then my sites don’t have thousands of visitors and I don’t do e-commerce.

    I’ve stayed with Blue Host because of their tech support which has consistently been absolutely top notch for the whole 9 years I’ve been using them. I need it, it ain’t broke, so I’m afraid to change and get some guy named “Kevin” who I can’t understand and doesn’t have the tech chops. Only in the last year or so have I had to wait a minute or two to get a tech, but when I do they are invariably polite, knowledgeable and helpful. I read bad reviews about tech support and I just have never that experience.

    Blue Host does need to consider carefully where it is going. If it’s just going to become a big ass arrogant outfit like GoDaddy and if it’s not going to do something about slow load times then it will no longer stand out as a good deal. For what it’s worth, these problems got problematic after Matt Heaton left full time management of the company.

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