Why I Will Never Recommend Bluehost Again!| Updated: |
(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)
As you may have seen, my blog was pretty much not working between last Thursday and Saturday. I had many issues with Bluehost and it took them an unreasonable amount of time to fix the issue. I already had issues before and this last one was a really bad outage. So, I decided I will never trust them again. Since I do not trust them as hosting providers, I will never recommend them again.
I have only started using Bluehost a few months ago. But I have had several issues in these months. And these last issues with the website being down for more than a day. They are really doing a bad job… I plan to migrate to another hosting provider soon. In this article, you will find the story behind this!
I will start with a question: How many Bluehost support guys do you need to fix an SSL certificate? You will find the answer below ;)
Today, it is very important to have a safe website. Even Google will prefer HTTPS over HTTP. Thus, this is also important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And it is also a good thing in general to have a secure website. If you do not know about it, the only thing you need to secure your website is an SSL certificate. This certificate will certify that the website is yours and not a fraud or attacker.
These certificates are valid for quite some time, generally one year or more. And you do not need to be a web programmer to get an SSL certificate. Most hosting providers will actually give you for free today. Mostly thanks to Let’s encrypt. For these, my website has used HTTPS from the beginning. I was using the free SSL certificate from Bluehost. And it should be auto-renewed.
Already at the early beginning, I had a few issues with SSL. There is an incompatibility between two services Bluehost are offering: their SSL certificates and the SiteLock CDN. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. They should really not let these two features be enabled together. Or they should make them compatible. But this was kind of my fault too.
Thursday – First outage – Broken SSL Certificate
Let’s go to Thursday now. I went back home and I wanted to write on my blog and discovered it was not working anymore. Only the insecure (HTTP) version was working. I found out that the SSL certificate was not referring to the correct address anymore. This made it impossible to reach the HTTPS version of my website.
Since this is the version linked everywhere, the website could be considered down. I do not know exactly when this started. I contacted support to fix the issue. They told me that the renewal of the certificate did not go correctly. They had to reset the SSL Certificate. again They did that, and after about 30 minutes, the site came back online.
This was not so bad, honestly. This kind of thing can happen. And it was fixed early. But the rest of the story is worse.
Friday – Saturday – Second outage: Invalid date certificate
Come Friday now! After dinner, I want to finish my next article. But I cannot access my website.
This time, the error is different. This time, the SSL certificate is too old. It has not been renewed. They are offering free SSL certificates with auto-renewal. But they do not renew them! You can understand my frustration since I already had to deal with them the day before.
So I contact support once again. They tell me the certificate is invalid (no kidding…). And they renewed it. And they told me it could take up to 3 or 4 hours to propagate the new certificate. Considering that they are using cheap SSL certificates, this should not take nearly as long… I can change my certificate in my web server in one minute. Anyway…
I waited four hours and came back to the support chat since it was still not working. They told me that there was something wrong with the SSL certificate… They told me they found the mistake and would in 3-4 hours. I did not have time to argue, it was late and I wanted to go to bed. So I let them do it and hoped it would be fixed during the night.
Finally, on Saturday morning, I checked my website and, surprise, it was still not working. They actually made it worse! First, they did not fix the SSL certificate. But they managed to screw the DNS installation by referring it to SiteLock DNS. Which are not compatible together. This time the website was entirely down. Well done, Bluehost! The last support guy could not tell me what happened. But it is easy to guess that, while renewing the certificate, they also activated the SiteLock feature. As to the reason why they did it, it is beyond me. It is just pure incompetence.
Finally, the last guy was the good one since he was able to fix both the DNS and the SSL certificate. After 2 hours, it was fixed. This time the delay is fair since I have to wait for DNS propagation which can take some time.
Finally, we have the answer to our question: How many Bluehost support guys do you need to fix a SSL certificate ? Four! I can hardly believe it…
Migrating away from Bluehost
I started using Bluehost only a few months ago. I migrated my website from wordpress.com to Bluehost. Mostly, I chose Bluehost because many bloggers were recommending it. Especially in the personal finance blog community, there are many people recommending it. So I trusted them. Either I am extremely unlucky with Bluehost. Or people are recommending it only for their very good affiliate program.
And they are cheap. That is probably the only thing they are good at. But as you can see, it turns out that their service is cheap in quality as well. I am a computer scientist. I have hosted many websites over the years in many hosting providers.
But I have never seen anything like that. I even have personal websites hosted on my servers at home. And they have better uptime than the hosting Bluehost provides. Managing my SSL certificates in my home is actually more efficient than what Bluehost is providing. I wonder how they can keep clients in…
I will never use them again. Of course, I removed all my affiliate links from Bluehost from this website. If I missed one, please tell me, and I will remove it.
I already paid for a year of hosting at Bluehost. But I still plan to migrate soon to another hosting provider. There is no way I am continuing to use their service. For now, I am thinking of going with SiteGround. They seem much better than Bluehost.
But they are a bit more expensive. And I have seen many stories of people migrating from Bluehost to SiteGround. And many of these stories relate the poor quality of Bluehost service. I should have started with negative stories rather than positive ones… I will write another blog post later on how to transfer my website. Since I recommended Bluehost, I hope this will not happen to any of you.
Update: The Blog has been migrated to Siteground.
Do you have any experience with Bluehost? Which hosting providers do you recommend? What do you think about SiteGround?
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28 thoughts on “Why I Will Never Recommend Bluehost Again!”
I noticed you said you resolved the issue on Bluehost where SSL and Sitelock CDN are not compatible. Did you get them to both work? Please let me know I’ve been trying to get them to work for awhile now and i just purchase 3 years of bluehost premium… ffs…
My solution was to not have them on at the same time. I never found a solution to make them work together.
Sorry to hear that. You may want to contact Bluehost to see if there is a way to enable both at the same. If you are lucky to find somebody competent (unlikely), they may be able to help.
Do you really need Sitelock CDN? You could use Cloudfare instead, no?
I hope you won’t have too bad 3 years!
I’ve used BlueHost for 10 years. I’ve never had the bad experiences you have had. Perhaps because I am an established account and do most of my own tech support. It makes me sad to hear that they let you down. One reason I use them is that they were an American company hosted the next state down from me, so they are nearly the same time zone. Always more rapide response that way. I won’t used an overseas company because it would be “night support” if I had a problem. Again, I’m really sorry that you had problems, I’ve used them for 10 years without any.
I am glad you had a much better experience than I with Bluehost. I may have encountered the worst support people they have.
I know some people are satisfied with them.
But I also know that some people don’t even use them and still recommend them for their high-paying affiliate programs. Which is sad.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Bluehost, I have migrated to SiteGround and kept a copy of it at AWS S3.
I started with Goddady and I think they sabotage my website on the day of my product launch, total lock out, can’t even login to my account at their website and before that I notice some pages experienced 404 and resolved after I replace the pages throughout many years.
I am currently having issues with a client’s web hosting at Bluehost, first SSL fail causing browser yo display stern warning page, now, some email addresses cannot open from any external client but can access only from Cpanel, WordPress account has been removed, luckily I only use it to redirect to custom build website and instructed tech support to point it to the root html.
At first, I thought it was internal staff made the error but even FTP client also fail.
Thanks for telling your story :)
This comforts me in the idea that Bluehost is pretty bad.
I have migrated my website from Bluehost to SiteGround, going to to the same with all my clients, My experience is, problems will persist probably until I buy all the security features because prior to all the mishaps, I received many of such emails telling me how vulnerable my website is.
Are you talking about the security features from Bluehost or SiteGround? In bluehost, all my problems started with their SSL offers. On Siteground, I have not had any issue with their SSL implementation. But I have not used any advanced feature yet.
Thanks for stopping by
I have read so many bad things about Bluehost. The only reason why so many people recommend them, is the affiliate program that pays a lot. Of course they say it’s great, because they make money from it. But most people that recommend it, aren’t even using it themselves. Try to find the real opinions instead of the ones that are just trying to make a sale. I never trust something if too many people are 100% positive about it. There must be some catch, and there usually is ;)
I completely agree! It’s a sad state of the internet.
At least, I learned a nice lesson in that you can’t even trust good bloggers. Next time I look for a new service, I will do my full research myself.
As you said, there is no free lunch. If something is to good to be true, it probably is!
Thanks for stopping by!
I’ve never used Bluehost thanks to the many horror stories, but I’ve used SiteGround from the beginning and have nothing but good things to say about them. Good luck with your migration!
You were smarter than me!
I only based my decision on the fact that so many people were recommending it. I did not go deeper to read all the stories. It turns out many people have issues with bluehost.
For now, I have not had any issue on Siteground. It seems really good. We will see in the long-term.
Thanks for stopping by :)
I worked with Bluehost on an SSL installation in August 2018. The propagation took over 24 hours with no useful support from their chat service. Then I got on the phone with a tech support guy who fixed it. He told me to NEVER use their chat support.
Now it’s September 2018 and my SSL certificate that was activated last month has expired. Seriously. The tech support person is telling me it could take 48 hours to fix it. You can imagine how unhappy I am. Maybe.
Sorry about your bad experience with bluehost. It seems they are really bad at handling SSL. Most of my issues with them were also coming from SSL problems.
And when the tech support tells you to never user their own chat support, this shows a very company management!
I can totally imagine how unhappy you are. If you have any more problems, you should simply switch. There is no point in giving any more money to companies like as bad as bluehost.
I hope your SSL issue will be fixed soon!
How about DigitalOcean? At €5/month, I think they’re very cheap. I’ve never had any outage, and I’ve been able to manage Let’s Encrypt certificates without issues. They also have a pretty deep knowledge base in case you’re wondering how to install / configure something.
I didn’t consider DigitalOcean so far. That’s good to know that they are providing such a good service :)
To be honest, I’d rather not deal with the complexity of cloud virtual machines for now. I’d rather keep it simple. I deal enough with virtual machines already at work :)
Thanks for stopping by.
I can’t recommend enough DigitalOcean. They even have some “pre-made” stuff for WordPress. (let me know if you want I think they have some win-win recommendation program).
Bluehost is a big scam to me. It just worked so far because of their very juicy referral program…Sad…
Where is you website nowadays?
Yeah, Digital Ocean is pretty nice indeed. Are your blog and forum hosted with them?
I’ve had some experience with them in the past. However, they are a bit too expensive for me. I would prefer other services. For instance, I have a VPS at Contabo and I’m extremely satisfied. It’s much cheaper for better performance for their entry options.
Yeah, Bluehost is a huge scam that too many bloggers exploit because of the referral program!
I am with Siteground now. It’s still quite cheap but it’s already much better than Bluehost.
Thanks for stopping by :)
Too expensive DO? I pay 26USD per month for hosting the blog and the forum.
How much do you pay at Siteground? (for what setup?)
At Siteground, I’m paying 47 EUR per year, but it’s shared hosting. Which is entirely enough if the website is optimized and with the little traffic I get.
I believe that 26 USD per month is a lot, but I do not know your performance configuration. My VPS has four cores, 8GB of RAM and 200G SSD and I pay 5 EUR per month for it.
@Mr. TPS: actually it’s 6USD for my blog.
And I have 12USD for the forum.
The remaining is for other projects.
6 USD for your blog is indeed very cheap!
The power of static site generators :) Love it!
Yes, this can be nice indeed :) Another blog of mine is statically hosted as well.
However, these days it’s also important that there are no too many JS/CSS files to load. And not too many back and forth requests from AJAX.
This is a first. Sorry to hear you are having so many issues with BH. In fact, you are the first to report on such a negative experience with them. I know many bloggers recommend them and have had great experiences. I use Go Daddy. While not perfect they are pretty responsive when issues arise and are quite cheap for WP hosting. Thanks for sharing your experience.
You are right, it seems most people are speaking very well of Bluehost.
As I said, I may have been very unlucky ;) But such a bad outage with such terrible technical support is not acceptable for me. That’s why I don’t want to have business with them anymore.
I’ll take a look at Go Daddy
Thanks for stopping by :)
OVH is a nice inexpensive option. Can’t tell whether they’re the best, but they sure are cheap and reliable, and that’s what I want out of a hosting provider
If you want swiss hosting, there’s infomaniak – never hosted with them, but a lot of my friends seem to like them.
Hope this helps.
Yes, OVH is pretty nice.
However, I don’t like infomaniak. I’ve been managing several websites on them. And I’ve been having many issues. And they are really using old school technologies. I would not recommend them.
For swiss hosting, I would recommend Hoststar. That’s the best I’ve used in Switzerland.
Thanks Pablo :)
All advice always help ;)