Bluehost.com made me feel blue…

Two years ago I decided to get a personal site. I was after two things: flexibility and low cost. I didn’t want to get a VPS but I also didn’t want the hosting packages of one domain and 350MB of space. So I found IPage.com a shared hosting provider that was giving me unlimited hosted sites, unlimited databases, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space for about 35 euros for a year… that in my book was a great deal! So I went ahead and bought it. In that year I was generally happy with them. My pages where occasionally a bit slow but still fast enough for my sites’ needs. The problem was that the 35 euro price was an introductory price and the next year IPage asked me for triple that amount… Since I didn’t feel like that was a good thing (now that you are a customer we’ll suck you dry) I decided to look elsewhere. A colleague at work recommended Bluehost.com. Bluehost offered me the same things as IPage plus SSH access for about 50 euros per year. I went for that and I was quite happy…. until this week…

On Wednesday night I suddenly received an email that my Bluehost account was deactivated due to “performance problems”. I went to my site and indeed it was down. So that was really a “shoot first, ask questions later” move from Bluehost. I started an online chat session with them where they were telling me that my sites cause performance problems to the Bluehost servers. The first tech support didn’t really know what he was talking about so for about 10′ I was on a wild goose-chase for problems. Finally I thought I knew what had happened. One of my pages performed some logging when it was visited. That file was becoming a bit big, so I thought that, that was the problem. I cleaned up my logs, told them I fixed it and asked them to reactive my account. The guy said sure and he re-enabled it.

Ten minutes later I get another email saying that my account was disabled again. After chatting online and getting nowhere, I decided to call them on the phone (international call to the US from Belgium). Eventually I discovered that the aforementioned logging site became so popular that it was bringing “too much” traffic to their servers (you remember the “unlimited bandwidth” feature, right?). I promised the guy to change the DNS records of that domain to localhost so that traffic would stop reaching their servers. He said “ok” and that I should call them in a few hours to get things re-enabled. While waiting for these two hours to pass, I received another email from my dear friends at Bluehost telling me that they decided not to reactivate my account. I quickly called them and explained that I had already fixed the issue. Their response was that the administrators at Bluehost had reviewed my site and had decided not to re-enable. That was that… no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince them otherwise. To add insult to injury they refused to give me a small migration period, to allow me to take one or two days to find a replacement and then move everything, without all my websites experiencing downtime.

And that was it… I was left high and dry with about 8 sites offline (my personal site, my experiments, my blog and professional sites of friends and family) at 2:30 in the morning. That’s who Bluehost.com are… people who don’t care about you because you are a single guy in a sea of customers. One less fish is not really an issue for them. That’s why I write this post. I promised their representative on the phone that I would do all in my power to let the world know about their shenanigans.

That’s me keeping my promise. My advice to you… don’t choose Bluehost. They are very nice as long as you are within what they consider “normal”. Even if I did do something wrong (which I didn’t), there should still be room for discussion and reconciliation.  I am currently on Fatcow.com . It feels a bit like IPage but it was the best thing I could find in such a short notice. Lets see how they turn out.

Till next time

Nick Nikiforakis

 

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17 Responses to Bluehost.com made me feel blue…

  1. Antoine says:

    If I can recommend a good hosting service, you can try out Gandi : http://www.gandi.net/ Just a bit more expensive than what you seemed to have with Bluehost, but definitely better experience. Their moto: No bullshit! And it usually applies.

  2. Roy says:

    I’ve been using Servage.net hosting (German company).
    Unfortunately they have change from 7500 GB of space and 1100 GB of data transfer per month to unlimited… but with fair use… so now it can be 1 GB fair use, and tomorrow 200 GB no one knows, and they only tell me that is unlimited, I will only know what’s the real limit if some of my web sites appears on slashdot, twit or something similar.
    Still… they charge €105,90/ 14 months… so a little more that the ones you referred, but the data center is in Europe (Germany). The best part is that the problem of process consumption is not a problem because is virtual environment and user can’t go beyond what they think is fair… so they won’t shut down the account for that reason. The problem with data transfers still apply.

  3. Hi there
    I can’t believe your bad luck with Blue Host.
    I have had nothing but good dealings with them this last 6-9 months or so, but then maybe I’m not getting the kind of traffic that your site gets, and that would appear to be their issue.

    I hope that you’ve had better luck with fatcow.com?

    Cheers

    Jay

    • nikifor says:

      Hi Jay,

      I also had no problems until that one time. What angered me the most was that I tried my best to immediately remedy the situation, but they just disabled my account without any warnings. So far, fatcow.com has been ok.. lets hope it stays that way :)

      Cheers
      Nick

  4. Mohammed Tanveer says:

    Nick, nice catch on that one- “It feels a bit like IPage” its all on the same servers with different interfaces..:) You’d find 34 others just like it! Owned by “Endurance International”

    • nikifor says:

      Wow! I did find out later that there is one company, owning both IPage and Fatcow, but I would never guess that there are 34 like that!
      Thanks for the tip :)

  5. cheryl winter says:

    Il give you one also blue host is also owned by endurance, but is not listed under bbb with the others i you google blue host then wiki you will see it is linked s owner lol they are all together so for now think i will go with yahoo need something up fast,thn when i have more time search some more :-)

    • nikifor says:

      You are right… It seems that they bought many hosting companies, including hostgator and other big names. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Sunny says:

    I’ve been having ongoing security problems with Bluehost – sites being hacked. I had problems when my sites were in Joomla, so I started with a completely fresh second bluehost account and implemented my sites in WordPress. Now they are all down. I had my webmaster clean one of the sites and install WordFence and it got infected again. They think the problem is with Bluehost security.
    Anyone else had security problems with Bluehost accounts? How did you fix it?

    thanks

    • nikifor says:

      Hi Sunny,

      I had a look in Bluehost’s setup when I was still a client. Each client is a different opearting-system user on the shared machine. Thus, for the hacked WordPress I would expect this to be more of an issue of a web application vulnerability rather than a backend problem. If you installed WordPress from their user-interface, you still need to update it yourself, from the WordPress’ dash-board.

      At the same time, all of these large hosters use a lot of custom scripts, so it is definitely not impossible for someone to find a vulnerability in one of them, and then use it to mass-hack all of the users, situated on a given server.

      Best regards
      Nick

  7. Michael says:

    Bluehost is the worst hosting provider i’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

    Oversold servers, slow dns, vendor lock in, a support system that cant’ answer tickets within a week.

    Something tells me the company employs sock puppets to counter negative press.

    Folks, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for cheap shared hosting, dreamhost would be a much safer bet.

  8. Gala says:

    The same thing… I just wanted to change my main domain and had soooo terrible experience with the technical support. Even on the free hosts it is better! The luck is that it all happened in my first days with Bluehost so I have a chance to have my money back… Let´s see if that is true they told me – they need a few days to do that that…

  9. robert says:

    i did not plan 2go2 bluehost, but funny they have very slick ads running on youtube.
    i even saw the whole ad, while i normally skip ads.

    but reason i write here: if you are calling international from BE the first thing you do is dump belgacom and just use for example voipcheap. you can do a phone2phone with them. in my opinion sound is better then pc2phone. you just start it from your pc.
    initiate the call and they first call you and then the other site (calls for free or very very low costs)

    i had in the past very bad experience with Justhost. evrything ok, till they lost all my sites and it took them weeks to sort things out (b4 that i was already up and running elsewhere) it seems all colocated hosting are ok, till problems arise….

  10. Will Turner says:

    Sorry to hear that. Maybe it was the tech rep you got. I’ve had nothing but great customer service experiences with Blue Host.

    One time recently I, in my programming ignorance, changed some PHP code that white screen of deathed me. Couldn’t even go into my WordPress admin! A rep from Blue Host patiently walked me through a reset process that enabled me to switch themes quickly, erase the mistake, and restore my site with no losses. People matter.

    • nikifor says:

      Hi Will,

      I am happy it worked well for you, but in my case it wasn’t the rep that made the decision. It was the admins behind the rep that made it. The guy said that the decision wasn’t his and even when I asked to speak with the admins, he refused to let me. So, I think it was BlueHost in total rather than one nasty guy.

      Take care
      Nick

  11. Marouane says:

    HELLO

    Good that i found this post coz i was nearly gonna buy a bluehost coz evryone on the net
    is saying only good things about even WordPress website is puting Bluehost on first line

    Anyone it s damn hard to find good shared hosting damn !

  12. Brian Whitworth says:

    I had exactly the same problem. They just cut off the site and would not give a reason, would not specify the problem and whatever we did made no difference. I have another ISP and they talk to you – the “support” here was just pasted standard script messages repeated, as if from a robot. I have just transferred a domain name I had under them to another site and am now cancelling. Would not recommend this experience to anyone.
    Conclusion: DO NOT USE BLUEHOST unless you want the pain of moving your site at a later date when they shut it down and wont tell you why.

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