Why I will never recommend Bluehost again!

Posted on Categories Blogging, Spending, Tips
Why I will never recommend Bluehost again!

As you may have seen, my blogs 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 don’t trust them as hosting provider, I’m not going to recommend them anymore.

I’ve 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 post, you’ll find the story behind this!

I’m going to start with a question: How many Bluehost support guys do you need to fix a SSL certificate ? You’ll find the answer below ;)

Some context

Today, it’s 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’s also a good thing in general to have a secure website. If you don’t know about it, the only thing you need to secure your website is a SSL certificate. This certificate will certify that the website is yours and not a fraud or attacker. These certificates are valid for some time. And you don’t need to be web programmer to get a 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 that is linked everywhere, the website could be considered down. I don’t know exactly when this started. I contacted the support to fix the issue. They told me that the renewal of the certificate didn’t 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 become 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 hasn’t been renewed. They are offering free SSL certificates with auto renewal. But they don’t renew them! You can understand my frustration since I already had to deal with them the day before.

So I contact the support once again. They tell me the certificate is invalid (no kidding…). And they renew 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 were going to fix it in 3-4 hours. I didn’t 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’s easy to guess that, while renewing the certificate, they also activated the SiteLock feature. As to the reason why they did it, it’s beyond me.

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. 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’m 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’m a computer scientist. I’ve hosted many websites over the years in many hosting providers. But I’ve never seen anything like that. I even have personal websites hosted on my own servers at home. And they have a better uptime than the hosting Bluehost provides. Managing my own SSL certificates in my home is actually more efficient than what Bluehost is providing. I really 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’ll 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’m continuing to use their service. For now, I’m thinking of going with SiteGround. They seem much better than Bluehost. But they are a bit more expensive. And I’ve seen many stories of people migrating from Bluehost to SiteGround. And many of these stories are relating the very 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 really hope this won’t happen to any of you.

Do you have any experience with Bluehost ? Which hosting providers do you recommend ? What do you think about SiteGround ?

10 thoughts on “Why I will never recommend Bluehost again!”

  1. 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.

    1. Hi Pablo,

      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 ;)

  2. 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.

    1. Hi DivHut,

      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 :)

  3. 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.

    1. Hi _name,

      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.

  4. 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.

    1. Hi Donna,

      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!

    1. Hi Gary,

      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 :)

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