Why Bluehost Is An Awful Web Host

January 15, 2009

If you choose an awful web host, you may find yourself in the same situation I was in recently. My website was disabled, I was unable to access my at all. So I was unable to access my blog and switch to a more reliable web host. And if you’re with Bluehost, you might want to switch now, to avoid the same bad experience.

Why Bluehost Is An Awful Web Host

Initially Bluehost was a hassle free web host. But I wasn’t getting a lot of blog traffic at first, so there wasn’t much that could go wrong. But when my blog grew in popularity, the trouble started. Every time I had a traffic spike, my web host would temporarily suspend my site. Then, just over a week ago, with no warning at all – Bluehost suspended my blog.

They didn’t give me an actual reason for disabling my blog but in one of their final emails they did mention that I could have outgrown their service. So I asked them for a refund, as I’d just paid my quarterly bill but I’m still waiting. (Over a year later I’m still waiting, so it looks like Blue Host decided to keep my money too)

Now, I can understand that they might not have wanted to be my webhost anymore, if it was no longer profitable for them. But there’s ways to deal with a situation like this, if you want to prevent bad word of mouth.

Did Bluehost Really Need To Behave Like Assholes?

If a customer has outgrown the service you provide them, it’s a good thing, as it means they’re doing well. Bluehost could have told me I needed to upgrade to a different service. And if they didn’t offer anything suitable, they could have referred me to someone else.

But instead, they chose to be assholes. In addition to disabling my site and preventing me from accessing it, they left an onscreen message saying they would delete my blog totally, within two weeks. They also messed me about for a week sending annoying emails, instead of just allowing me to access my web hosting account and move it.

Lucky For Me An Awesome Web Host Helped Me Out

John Hoff of WPBlogHost was in the process of launching a new web host service. And when he heard about my dilemma, he offered to take me on as a customer, before his product officially launched.

He also managed to get into my old Bluehost account, move my blog over to his new web host service and did a heap of things to make my blog more secure.

John did a lot of this over the weekend. He provided an awesome service and if you want to move to a new web host, I can’t recommend WPBlogHost enough – it is a truly hassle free experience.

Have you had problems with your web host? Would you be worried if you hosted your blog with Bluehost?

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38 Responses to “Why Bluehost Is An Awful Web Host”

  1. Jamie Harrop on January 15th, 2009 10:06 am

    Hey Cath,

    Nice to see you back online. I saw your Tweets about the BlueHost problems.

    After been in the hosting industry, as a Web host, for five years, I learnt long ago to spend a little more money for a decent Web host rather than paying bottom dollar prices for a Web host that oversells its services.

    Essentially, because profit margins are so low in Web hosting, budget Web hosts oversell their services like airlines oversell their planes. If everybody turns up for their flight, there won’t be enough room. But airlines routinely oversell because passengers routinely don’t turn up.

    In the same way, Web hosts routinely oversell because customers routinely don’t use their full resource capacity. When a large Web site like yours does use their full resource capacity or gets close to it, the overselling Web host gets worried and cuts off your service.

    I’m glad John was able to take care of you in the end. :-)


    Jamie Harrop’s last blog post..Blogging Communities, Enjoying Comments, and Spam!

  2. Robin on January 15th, 2009 11:07 am

    SO GLAD you are back, Cath (and that you are okay).

    This is truly scary stuff – like you, I could put a website up somewhere else, but would not know what to do with WP (even tho I have a backup file)

    I CAN”T BELIEVE they didn’t talk to you about it, and wouldn’t let you access your site! Morons!

    All credit to you for hanging in there and coming out on top of things!

    Robin’s last blog post..5-Year Plan For This Blog

  3. Betsy Wuebker on January 15th, 2009 12:39 pm

    YAY! You’re back! How we have missed you and worried! I did email you and I bet they kept it in the great beyond??

    So glad you have achieved a solution. Keep us posted on the progress. Your recommendation of John’s work will be helpful.

    How are you feeling? Are you over your cold/infection?

    Betsy Wuebker’s last blog post..REQUIEM FOR RYAN

  4. Samar on January 15th, 2009 12:44 pm

    Whoa. That’s a scary thing to happen to any one!

    I was considering bluehost while setting up a new blog a couple of weeks ago. So glad I didn’t choose them! Even if a website initially has little traffic, there’s a good chance that it will grow. And a host should be able to deal with the traffic increase till you at least have the time to make the move.

    I chose Hostgator for the blog. The service so far has been great, but it hasn’t been put to test because it hasn’t launched yet.

    Glad to have you back Catherine. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Samar’s last blog post..Changed: Definition of a Good Client

  5. Ruth on January 15th, 2009 2:51 pm

    I’ve had some problems with hosts in the past. I think the worst thing that happened was that Dreamhost restored my site from a week-old backup and didn’t tell me. This didn’t affect my posts, which were in the WordPress database.

    But it meant that any theme changes, etc, that I’d made were lost. Plus, a brand-new site I’d built (and had only partially backed up) was basically lost. I had the database, but not the theme.

    Once I got in touch with them (52 hours), they started the process of getting me a backup…a week later. But I moved anyway, it was just too big a breach of trust (if they’d told me up and said they would fix it, I might have respected them), poor response time, and general slow servers made it the right time to move.

    For future reference, here’s an article on doing a complete WordPress backup so you don’t need to wait for your host to respond to move your blog. Most blog consultants should be able to restore an entire blog from a backup like this.

    So glad to see you back up and running!

    Ruth’s last blog post..Judge Not? Why Not?

  6. Lin Burress@Telling It Like It Is on January 15th, 2009 3:13 pm

    Cath, the way Bluehost treated you is absolutely disgusting. Poor customer service to an extreme. Bluehost deserves every bit of bad press they get from their lousy service and attention to customers.

    My wordpress blog just changed blog hosts too and I am clueless about moving a wordpress blog to a new host. Heck, I’m clueless about most of the “back end” blog stuff. Thankfully I found a fellow blogger who owns his own hosting company and he offered to take me on as a customer.

    Not only did he move my wordpress blog to his host server, but he even took the time to change my blog theme for me. THAT is what good customer service is all about. Bluehost sucks and sucks big!

    Lin Burress@Telling It Like It Is’s last blog post..Family Watch Dog: Find Sex Offenders in Your Area at Family Watch Dog

  7. Jason Cohen on January 15th, 2009 4:38 pm

    The silliest thing is that when your website is slammed it means by definition you’re becoming more successful.

    So their policy is, apparently, to punish their most successful customers — the ones most likely to for example agree to upgrade to a bigger plan and the ones most likely to be long-term (meaning more profitable) customers.


    The funny thing is that with the right attitude they probably could have extracted far more money from you!

    Jason Cohen’s last blog post..Ignoring the Wisdom of Crowds

  8. Vered - MomGrind on January 15th, 2009 5:02 pm

    I missed you.

    As many people as possible need to read this. I stumbled and tweeted this (is that the correct verb?). I wonder if there’s anything else we can do.

    Vered – MomGrind’s last blog post..20 Ways To Help Your Child Develop A Positive Self Image

  9. Kim Woodbridge on January 15th, 2009 5:06 pm

    I believe with most shared hosting that they can disable our sites without warning if the site is negatively impacting others on the same server. That being said Bluehost didn’t handle this appropriately. Last summer my site was disabled due to a problematic script – as soon as I contacted my host they got back to me and gave me error logs so I could determine the cause of the problem. I haven’t had any other problems since.

    I’ve heard more and more complaints about Bluehost recently. I cringe a little when a client tells me that is there host because I can almost guarantee we will run into some sort of problem.

    Have they grown too big for themselves? They were considered one of the best hosts but they aren’t going to stay that way for long.

    Glad you finally got this sorted.

    Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post..5 Interesting WordPress Plugins

  10. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work on January 15th, 2009 5:18 pm

    Welcome back and I’m happy you came out of this stronger with your spunk and blog secure. Damn I hope they are reading this post because I have to believe that someone there cares.

    The blogosphere is a community and it’s absolutely insane for them to not care about this feedback. The repercussions are enormous.

    Are you going to send them a link to this post and see if theyd like to respond? I’d be very interested in hearing their business reasoning for what appears to be flat out lousy service.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Five Mood Enhancers for Business Success

  11. crunchy domestic goddess (amy) on January 15th, 2009 5:49 pm

    this just plain sucks. i am with bluehost right now and generally don’t have any issues, but when i do, it’s a big hassle. i’m sorry you had to deal with all of this.

    crunchy domestic goddess (amy)’s last blog post..Tainted view – Wordless Wednesday

  12. Akemi - Yes to Me on January 15th, 2009 6:00 pm

    Gald you are back.
    Gee, I use Bluehost. Concerned. I know John, maybe I need him more urgently. . .

    Akemi – Yes to Me’s last blog post..What To Do When A Customer Makes Unreasonable Demands

  13. Davina on January 15th, 2009 6:03 pm

    Catherine! Yayy you’re back. You have been missed.

    I can’t believe a host would treat a customer like this. Isn’t success supposed to be a good thing — not something to be punished for? This sounds like a nightmare, not the real thing and I have to give my head a shake. I just don’t get it.

    I signed on with them last year for hosting and so far I haven’t had any problems. But, I’m less than comfortable with this.

    If you have a backup of your blog can you simply move it to another host just like that?

    Davina’s last blog post..Self Help Me

  14. Natural on January 15th, 2009 6:15 pm

    yikes. is there some sort of bandwith limit with the plan you had? i use blue host now and refer them to all of my clients. so far i haven’t had any problems, but then again, i probably don’t get that much traffic.

    sorry cath. i know that had to be frustrating.

    Natural’s last blog post..The $64,000 Question

  15. Patricia on January 15th, 2009 9:57 pm

    Wow Cath this is scary stuff and I am glad you are back and in full recovery. You were missed.

    I have not had a problem – yet, except with my Internet and phone service. I can not find my vender from 26 years ago when we had the house wired for a dial up, then for DSL which I have had no problem with until my neighbor lost phone service during the snow storm. When Qwest came to fix it they severed the line and our phone and internet when down. Finally after a week they repaired the severed line and admitted they were are fault. Our phone and internet goes on and off all day long. One has to yell to be heard. Now no one will come and fix the problem because they all say it is an in house wiring short and they only fix business wiring…this wiring comes into our business part of the house.
    117 phone calls later I guess to afford the change I will have to go to Comcast for cable internet/ and get rid of the house phone all together…to get the wiring problem fixed. No deals here this will cost for installation and transfer of the house phone to my honey’s cell…then I will have to change my 27 year old family email address…to a new one…all for about $200.

    This is just to get us to change plans and to cut off our services which were locked in years ago…and because the company has been sold so many times…
    So I drive around and use my laptop at my husbands office trying to cope…
    This kind of stuff is really disgusting – time consuming and hardens one’s heart.

    Patricia’s last blog post..Taking it On: Architecture2030 Challenge

  16. Barbara Swafford on January 15th, 2009 10:50 pm

    Hi Catherine –

    Hooray, you’re back. Yipee!

    As you know I’m also with BlueHost. Although my site has been suspended in the past, lately it’s been okay. I know John’s work is awesome, so when I’m ready to switch, I know where to go. He does great work, doesn’t he?

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Changes And Recommendations

  17. John Hoff on January 15th, 2009 11:25 pm

    Wow, thank you for your kind words, Cath. It’s been a pleasure working with you. And thank you for the mention of my new service, I’ll be sure to send you a note when it’s launched.

    You know, Bluehost really did put you in a tough spot. Not only did they take down your site, but they also locked you out. Luckily, you were able to gain access finally and we could move you over.

    Also, I’d like to point out that your new home page is no longer cathlawson.com/blog, but simply cathlawson.com.

    Hope others noticed ;)

    @Davina – Re: If you have a backup of your blog can you simply move it to another host just like that?

    Yes, but like anything in life, it’s not always simple. On paper yes the transfer of blogs should be easy because there are a set of steps you do. But sometimes life likes to play tricks on us (database error, blank pages, cannot find server, etc), especially if you’re changing your domain name but want to keep all your blog posts (you’ll have database issues).

    Also, if you have a database larger than about 10MB, the transfer will be slightly more complicated.

    @Everyone – Speaking of backup, if you want a full backup of your blog, make sure you have both a database backup and download all the files in your blog’s directory to your hard drive.

  18. Hunter Nuttall on January 16th, 2009 12:06 am

    Cath, I noticed your blog was a little screwy for a bit. Glad you got that straightened out and returned to business as usual. That’s unfortunate about Bluehost. I’ll keep John in mind if I ever need to change hosts.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..What The Hell Is Value?

  19. Davina on January 16th, 2009 1:29 am

    @ John. Thank you for your answer. I started doing backups a couple of weeks ago and have been keeping a copy on my computer as well. This is all good to know.

    Davina’s last blog post..Self Help Me

  20. Marelisa on January 16th, 2009 2:12 am

    Hi Cath: I sent you an e-mail because–like Hunter said above–your blog was doing strange things. I’m glad you’re back now. You must have been really angry to have your blog taken “off the air” like that. A while ago my host–Midphase–did that to me for an entire day because they didn’t process my payment correctly, and I was livid. It sounds like you’re in really good hands with John.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..How to Leverage the Power of Focus

  21. John Hoff on January 16th, 2009 2:54 am

    @Hunter- hey thanks bro :)

    @Marelisa – read my comment I made to Davina. Yep….her RSS decided to test my abilities! LOL.

  22. Lillie Ammann on January 16th, 2009 4:01 am


    So glad your blog is back and hope your health is back too.

    Unfortunately, what happened to you is far too typical of the customer service offered by a lot of companies in all industries these days. How some of them stay in business I’ll never understand.

    Lillie Ammann’s last blog post..By: Middle Zone Musings » What I Learned From 2008 – Lillie Ammann

  23. Kathy @ Virtual Impax on January 16th, 2009 5:35 pm

    Glad you’re back!

    This is truly the “ugly” side to “cheap” web hosting. It’s fine as long as your site doesn’t get popular. However, heaven help you if it does because suddenly you become a “problem” customer.

    I know a couple of people have asked me, “How can they do this to her?”

    The answer – It’s part of their business model.

    For a word picture, think of your hosting company as a restaurant running an all you can eat buffet. The hosting company’s favorite customers are anorexic teen aged girls who eat little, don’t take up much space and sit back and wait for cute boys to wander in.

    However, when a football lineman enters the restaurant, the buffet owner starts watching nervously as the monster of a man makes trip after trip to the buffet. Each trip eats into his profits – and he’d rather have more customers like the anorexic teen girls.

    Well, in this little word picture, Cath’s blog is the equivalent of a competitive eater in the world of hosting .

    “Hey!” says dreamhost, ” When you signed up you didn’t LOOK like a sumo wrestler…. how the HECK are you putting away so much food?”

    That’s in essence what happened. Cath made one too many trips to the buffet. She believed the sign that said it was “All you Can Eat.”

    Some hosting companies are DESIGNED to handle the heavy loads of an entire football team with a few competitive eaters thrown in for good measure. Others aren’t and instead choose to close the buffet to the one or two big eaters who wander in.

    The problem is – it’s hard to tell which hosting companies are will close the buffet and which are prepared for the heavy loads. I suspected dream host was one of those who wasn’t prepared – and Cath’s experience confirms my suspicion.

    Glad you’re back and now you’re in safe hands!!!

    Kathy @ Virtual Impax’s last blog post..How Familiarity Breeds Business a.k.a. the power of word of mouth

  24. James Chartrand - Men with Pens on January 17th, 2009 12:43 pm

    It’s a good thing John emailed me to tell me where your site is – I haven’t received a post since Dec 27 and didn’t know what happened. Your email wasn’t working either. I gave up :)

    BUT! John, valiant knight he is, emailed me this morning and said, “Hey, you jerk, you didn’t come comment about my new service!” and I said, “Oh crap! I have to go… where?! HOW!?”

    Found ya.

    1) Bluehost is NOT a host we recommend. Neither is HostGator. When you’re not sure which host is good – and WHY – ask people who are in a position to know, like John or us.

    2) Why does the link for John’s name and business link to a post about how you became TV’s worst customer? Shouldn’t it link to John’s site?

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..Do You Feed Your Muse Well?

  25. chris on January 17th, 2009 4:15 pm

    like everyone said, welcome back.

    chris’s last blog post..Deja Vu All Over Again

  26. CATCHING UP | Passing Thru on January 17th, 2009 10:47 pm

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  27. Mike Goad on January 17th, 2009 11:13 pm

    I had the same type of problem with the same web host. I was shut down because of inefficient database scripts or something like that. I called them, got a service rep, got limited access to the site and was able to upgrade and repair the databases. I was having some periodic shutdowns before I got shutdown. Since I repaired the databases, I’m not seeing that.

    I guess I will be looking at other options, but I’m not planning to move in the near future.

    I’m glad that someone mentioned you were back with a little different address, because I hadn’t seen any posts from you for a while.

    Mike Goad’s last blog post..Eyes of the Great Depression 011

  28. Cath Lawson on January 18th, 2009 3:42 am

    Hi Robin – Thanks. It was scary – I really worried that I was going to lose the whole thing. And since my site was down, I’ve gone from PR4 to PR2.

    Hi Betsy – much better thanks, but it did drag in for ever. That’s hwat happens when you get old. If you emailed me on myname at cathlawson.com, they probably did keep it from coming through. That’s a good point actually, I’ll need to set up the email redirect with the new host.

    Hi Samar – I’ve heard great things about Hostgator, so I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    Hi Lin- It was a smart move getting someone else to do it. A website is so easy, as you just transfer the files from your computer. That’s one of my pet hates re – blogs. I don’t feel so much in control when I don’t have a physical copy on my pc.

    Hi Jason – That is so true. They could have got me to switch to a manage server, or a virtual server and it would have been far more profitable for them in the long run.

    Hi Vered – Thank you. That will help warn others so they don’t fall into the same trap.

    Hi Kim – It may be that they’ve grown too big. Trouble is, a lot of the great stuff written about them to attract new customers is only done by affiliates who make good money for each sale.

    Hi Tom – I would do that if someone higher up was likely to read it. The person messing me about was probably some teenager working for peanuts.

  29. Lance on January 18th, 2009 11:14 am

    Hi Cath,
    Great to see you back online!

    And this just shows – word of mouth can be a powerful force (I won’t be using bluehost anytime soon). Anyway, welcome back…

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  30. Ruth on January 18th, 2009 2:10 pm

    Hey Cath,

    I wanted to say welcome back, but it looks like my comment got in your spam folder?

    Ruth’s last blog post..Do You Really Want to Do Nothing?

  31. Pinny Cohen on January 19th, 2009 6:42 am

    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Having run a web host directory, I’ve heard all the stories, and unfortunately these things happen. There has got to be a bill of rights out there somewhere…

    Pinny Cohen’s last blog post..Recession-Proof Your Lifestyle

  32. wilhb81 on January 19th, 2009 7:36 am

    Cath, no wonder every time I trying to load your site, I only got the word, “Account being suspended” about two weeks ago…

    I thought you’re away for holiday or being injured (That’s why I’m quite worry about you!) Thank goodness, everything is back on track now, Cath!

    wilhb81′s last blog post..Keep Your Auto Insurance As Low As Possible!

  33. Trade Show Guru on January 21st, 2009 5:02 am

    Hey Cath,
    I’ve seen the same message as your blog had on a few other blogs recently. I think they’ve all been with Bluehost too. I would avoid Bluehost like the plague. I’m quite happy with my webhost, and I know there are other good hosts out there as well.
    I’m glad your blog is back up!
    ~ Steve, the trade show guru

  34. John Hoff on January 21st, 2009 4:24 pm

    @James – ahhh shucks. John’s cheeks turn red.

    You hit on a good point about people asking others who are in a position to know which web hosts might be good. Many people have tried by Googling things like “Best Web Host” or “Good Web Hosting”.

    But what they don’t realize is there are so many damn people out there who all they care about is making a buck and not really helping people. There are tons of websites which list the “top 10 web hosts” but what they don’t tell you is those are paid advertisements on their site and many times they get $$ if you click on the banners.

    Like you said, it’s best if they could actually ask someone in a position who would know rather than trusting some AdSense website.

    @Jamie – you’re right. There is such competition out there that some hosts will say just about anything to get you to buy from them. My absolute worst I hate to see is when a host advertises in big letters and numbers $X.xx per month . . . and yet, they don’t offer monthly pricing. That’s the annual price broken down. I think Bluehost does that, too.

  35. Dot on January 21st, 2009 5:22 pm

    I’m way behind on my blog reading and just found out about what happened to you. How awful! What a poor way to do business. I’m so glad someone stepped in to help you get back online and treated right. With such a generous site, you sure don’t deserve such bad treatment!

    Dot’s last blog post..Question for Subscribers

  36. Todd Morris on February 3rd, 2009 7:26 am

    I’ve used several hosts over the years. I did actually have one site on Bluehost, fortunately (I guess) I never really got around to developing it, and just didn’t renew the account when my year was up. One thing I do remember about them, is that although the initial price was low, it seemed like anything else was an additional fee.

    Also, someone mentioned that Bluehost is “highly rated”. Call me a cynic, but I’ve heard they actually have one of the highest front end payouts of the popluar shared hosts … I wonder if that could have anything to do with their rating?


    Todd Morris’s last blog post..Reverse Fate

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