Why I chose Bluehost? A little over two years ago, I had many websites hosted on single domain name plans by iPower, eDataRack, Lypha, 1&1, and others. All of the hosting providers were giving me acceptable to great service. Kudos should be given to iPower as their server hosting CrazyPenguin.us was listed in the top ten uptime category for two years by Netcraft. In fact I have used well over 20 hosting companies over the years with little to no problems. Bluehost was offering to host 6 domains under one plan with 15GB of data storage and 400GB of data transfer. The plan looked like it would be great for my purposes. On Bluehost’s website they offered:
With BlueHost you can depend on:
Highest customer service
Maximum guaranteed uptime
Highly functional tools for adminstration
The leading feature set available
Secure and reliable backups
Solid and honest business
So how could one possibly go wrong with such a offer?
The very first week I had problems with a SQL database being corrupted on box67 hosting KernelPanics.com. OK, no problem, no need to contact tech support, so I reloaded the database. A couple of days later the site went down for 2 hours. The following day the site was down for 3 hours. Two days later site was down for 10 hrs. Being concerned about the downtime I contacted Bluehost technical support by email. Flavio assured me this was not a common occurrence and even claimed to extend my account one month due to the downtime. I only have one problem. I never received the one month extension to my account. The intermittent downtime had continued on a regular basis on two different accounts with Bluehost during the two years I had been hosted with them. If Flavio would ever come good on his offer, I think, I ought to be up to around about 27 years worth of extended hosting due to the continual downtime while being with Bluehost. But this was just the beginning of sorrows.
On another account, box88, I was hosting a forum, AlienChaos.com, with about 25 to 30 visitors. One of the members kindly notified me she was not receiving her email notifications when someone posted to her. Checking out the problem led me back to Bluehost’s technical support. After 4 days, over 25 emails, and a half a dozen phone calls with no results, my patience was wearing thin. So I posted my problem in the Bluehost forum to see if anyone else was having similar problems. Rando Bluehost’s “Mail Demi-God” tried to help solve the problem, which I thank him for his attempt, but nothing was resolved. After exchanging posts with Rando for an additional 12 days and 4 pages of discussions on the forum, I canceled the box88 account and was issued a refund. I just could not justify keeping the account with Bluehost due to not being able to use my site for over 2/3rds of the time in the first 30 days of service. Still wanting to make AlienChaos.com available to my members, I moved the forum to box70 where CrazyPenguin.us was the main domain. At last the email notifications worked for a whole two weeks and then died. Yikes! Now the email did not work for CrazyPenguin.us and AlienChaos.com. I finally ended up using a Gmail account to send email notifications for the forum since Bluehost’s email would not function. So far if this doesn’t make you want to run away from this company like a monkey with its tail on fire, I don’t know what would. But the drama with Bluehost gets even better.
Bluehost implies in their marketing material you can run dynamic websites using programs like WordPress, b2evolution, phpBB forum, Coppermine, Gallery, Drupal, Joomla, and other programs listed in Fantastico. And you can, but what they don’t tell you, if you do run such programs even with minimal traffic you will get the dreaded “exceeds cpu quota“ error. And your site will be suspended for 5 minutes each time this happens. Wolfpackmars2 gets the dreaded “exceeds cpu quota” error with only ONE person accessing his site, his mother when he tries to share some photos with her. If you really want to have some fun just to see how bad this problem actually is, go to your favorite search engine and type in “Bluehost cpu quota” or “Bluehost cpu error”. You can spend endless hours reading about customers that are anywhere from very disgruntled to extremely pissed off. Bluehost will try to blame the “exceeds cpu quota” error on poorly written scripts or running too many process at once. The argument doesn’t hold water because all the rest of the hosting companies don’t have any problems running such programs. So what is the solution to the problem? Felgall, a self proclaimed computer consultant and chief, minion, moderator at Bluehost forum, has one solution. Static websites? Are you kidding? Any hosting company in the world can provide “static” web content. Even Steve Alligood (Principal Systems Administrator) aka “alligosh” infers that Bluehost would prefer you to use static pages on their servers with high traffic. What do you consider high traffic 10, 20, or maybe even 30 visits per day? How about 1 to 4 visits per day on JunkDraw’s site? I would say a couple thousand hits per day to be acceptable. The best gem comes from the “exceeded cpu quota” (circled in red) error page. “Using static .html documents instead of painful .php scripts will practically eliminate CPU usage.” Painful .php scripts? Good grief! I must admit it has been a painful experience being hosted by Bluehost. But not due to a php script. It has been painful because Bluehost claims to provide adequate uptime, functional email service, and to effectively being able to run dynamic content. Bluehost failed to deliver the services that they promised in all three areas.
So who is the brain behind Bluehost?
Matt Heaton is the CEO and uber evangelist of Bluehost, Hostmonster, and Fastdomain. Matt, in your blog (1, 2, 3, 4) you claim how Bluehost is always improving. But nothing has been for the better for me while being hosted with Bluehost. I still have the same problems with pages taking forever to load. You still provide the same lousy service with all the built in features like excessive downtime, malfunctional email, and those lovely “exceeds cpu quota” errors. By the way have you considered putting one of those nifty little flashing Bluehost banner ads on the bottom of the “exceeds cpu quota” error pages. Just think of the market presence you would gain! Matt, you have picked the right names for your companies. The choice of naming Bluehost couldn’t be more appropriate as it is the bluest (def: sad and gloomy; depressed or depressing) hosting company in the business. The name Hostmonster fits well as you truly have created a monster in the hosting world. Fastdomain on the other hand is an oxymoron, but fitting in a jocular sense none the less. Matt, I commend you for creating the most dysfunctional, unreliable, and pathetic hosting organization on the planet.