Dear Bluehost – Where Has My Favorite Hosting Company Gone?

This sad man image is thanks to openclipart and yyycatch.
This sad man image is thanks to openclipart and yyycatch.

Dear Bluehost,

I moved over to Bluehost in July 2007 – that is around six years ago! Since then I’ve paid you nearly $2,500, I’ve promoted you to others, and I’ve been a faithful cheerleader for Bluehost. But, I don’t think I’m working with the same company any more.

It was May 2011 when I upgraded to your “Pro” hosting – which really didn’t seem so Pro, but which I stuck with. I was ecstatic when you more recently announced VPS offerings for around the same price as Pro and upgraded again on June 25th 2013. I was promised a single core process and whopping 2 GB of RAM. I’d run slices on Slicehost (before being acquired by Rackspace) back in the day with 256 MB and 512 MB slices and boy they ran like champs – so I figured I’d really be getting some horsepower with Bluehost…

I’m not sure if performance has improved or declined since moving to VPS. I’ve noticed significant downtimes…and yes, I did report it in ticket YUK-59176-105 which I submitted on July 1st and which as of July 12th has received no reply! I’d try using your chat based interface – but that’s right, when I do I’m informed that you don’t provide web-based VPS support.

My email highlighted that I experienced outages on the (June) 27th, 29th, 30th (2x), and 1st (July) – and, yes, according to Pingdom I’ve still experienced some outages – two on the sixth and one on the eighth. That is a little better – but this is a VPS for goodness sake!

So, I just wanted to let you know, I’m in the market for a new hosting provider. I’m not leaving just yet – so don’t cancel my accounts – but I am setting up an account with DigitalOcean and transferring a site over there and if things go smoothly – well, DigitalOcean is a lot cheaper and hopefully a lot faster and stabler. If not DigitalOcean, I’ll find another host that still seems to care about its customers.

I’m really sad that I will have to leave Bluehost. You guys offer some great features, used to have stable and decently fast hosting, and I love the one-click script installs – they make my life so much easier.

On a positive note, I did just notice that ping times to your servers have decreased. It was at 800 ms+/-, but is now down in the more acceptable 15-20 ms+/- range.

I hope you’ll take this public letter as a wakeup call. My life would be easiest if I didn’t need to transfer all my sites away from Bluehost.

Respectfully,
Dave Mackey

Updates

  • 7/12 – I wrote this public letter and sent a link to it via a support ticket to Bluehost. The same day I received a reply from a Bluehost Supervisor who informed me that the “admins have been doing everything they can to get everything going as smoothly as possible with our new VPS platform.” (My Read-Between-the-Lines: The VPS solution is still a little raw and not ready for prime-time, but we will quickly get it there.)
    • I was further told that he had located my ticket and escalated it to senior techs. That is good (though how did my ticket go untouched for so long?).
    • Finally, as “a show of good faith” the supervisor gave me one free month of VPS hosting at the end of my current contract (okay, that was nice).
  • 7/13 – I receive a reply from a Level III Tech Support Engineer with Bluehost who informs me that he has reviewed the server and everything appears to be good. He requested that I call during/shortly after downtime so they can check logs.
    • I was no longer experiencing downtime issues at that time.
    • However, since then I’ve had downtimes on 7/14, 7/15, and 7/22. The first two were for five minutes each, the most recent for fifteen minutes.
  • 7/23 – What continues to concern me the most at this juncture is the response time reports. For the last thirty days Pingdom reports overall average at 1,398 ms response time with a slowest of 2,015 ms.
    • The pages oftentimes seem to load sluggishly. I am using CloudFlare’s CDN in addition to the VPS hosting, so really unsure what is going on here.
  • 7/23 – Well, quite a bit of an update since that last post yesterday. The server went down at 11:55 AM and stayed down until 5:30 PM (5.5 hrs.).
    • It proceeded to go down again at 9:30 and came back up around 9:40 and again at 9:40 and came back up at 10:15. BOOO!
    • I called Bluehost and spent 54 minutes on hold beginning around 1 pm yesterday before finally giving up and hanging up.
    • I would spend another 50 minutes around 5:30 pm working with Bluehost tech. support, who got the server back up (sluggishly) but noted a ┬ánumber of issues with cPanel and other Bluehost systems integration which they were going to continue to work on.
    • I called in yet again around 10:30 pm and spent another 1 hour on the phone with them working on resolving these issues. Finally the tech told me that the higher level engineers had replied that “this wasn’t going to be a quick fix” and that they’d get back to me. BOOO!
  • 7/24 – The site is back up and running okay, but I’m working on transitioning to another host. If Bluehost moves some mountains in the meantime, maybe I’ll stick around…but as of now, I’m trying to move off and can no longer recommend their services.

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