So a lot of people have been asking me lately why I moved away from my long-time Bluehost hosting provider to Siteground, and I figured it was probably time to answer the question thoroughly.
Chances are, you’ve seen allllll over the internet, recommendations to use Bluehost as your hosting provider, from every blogger out there. It’s the favorite of everyone, and all those everyones are making nice affiliate income from recommending you to buy your hosting over there.
And for a long time — we’re talking years — they were my choice too. I sent a lot of my friends and clients over there, and I made a few dollars of affiliate income as well. They were inexpensive, reliable, had all the tools a person could need (and more) to build all kinds of websites, and their customer service was awesome. USA-based, superb English-speaking, knowledgeable reps, and very quick call times.
I loved them!
But not anymore. I wouldn’t send anyone there, and if I had the cojones, I’d call all my old clients and tell them to move away.
What happened with Bluehost
I started with Bluehost back in… um… I can barely remember it seems so long ago. I think it was 2012 or 2013. Which I suppose in the greater scheme of thing isn’t that long ago, considering I left them in 2018. So for five+ years, I thought they were the bees knees. As I said just now, they were reliable, consistent, solid, and a really great economic deal for a small biz.
Then things changed
However, a few years ago, probably around 3–5 or so years ago, I noticed things were changing at our favorite Utah-based website home.
It started when they attempted to “upgrade” their control panel. It looked pretty, but it actually… didn’t work. I couldn’t access my file manager the way I used to, and some of the other buttons on the panel simply didn’t work.
What was I supposed to do with that?
Worse, I noticed my emails were bouncing back with alarming regularity, claiming my ip had been reported for spam. After digging around a bit, I would find out it was always because there was someone on my shared IP who was spamming other customers.
Since the ip was “shared”, everyone on that ip was blacklisted — we’re talking hundreds of customers.
Even though 99% of those customers were innocent, we were all lumped together with the criminals. Sometimes it took quite a while to get my domain name off the bad lists and able to send emails again.
So, to mitigate that problem, I ended up getting a dedicated IP with advanced security, which did help with the spam accusations, but of course, cost more.
However, in spite of increased safeguarding, I noticed that my security software on my websites was reporting more and more attacks on my sites.
And it was happening over and over and over again.
My security program eventually had a hard time keeping up, and after spending more time fending off attackers than building new websites, I had to shut down a lot of my sample sites (I had many sites up to show off a live portfolio of work).
And then it got worse
So none of this is good for a hosting company. If it can’t handle basic brute force attacks, or at least help to fend them off, it’s not a great hosting company.
Eventually they suspended my account because of so much malware installed on my server location, and their only answer at the time was for me to spend $800 a month for them to “clean up” my sites.
It also didn’t help that when I called, the wait times became longer and longer
Often, I didn’t get to talk to anyone at all. I had to give them a callback number so they could call me back, and while they always did, I never knew when that was going to be. Sometimes it was the same day…. sometimes not.
And, I have to say, more and more of the people on the line spoke with worse and worse English.
And then later, I found out the truth: instead of paying them to “clean up” my sites, I could delete all my sites off the server, get my account immediately reinstated, and the rebuild the sites, all for nothing.
But they neglected to mention that as an option.
They wanted their $800 a month.
Thankfully, I said no.
But then, it was hard for me not to wonder if any of the attacks — I don’t know — came from inside? It was almost too easy a sale for them.
And they wanted $800 a month for each site.
With 20–30 sites that needed restoring… yeah. I wasn’t about to do that. No thanks, Bluehost. I can rebuild them myself for nothing.
But not everyone can. What about them?
I did manage to get one or two of my sites rebuilt and going again, but for me, the damage was done. I had to find another hosting company and get away from Bluehost. I mean really… how was I to feel good that the entire scenario wouldn’t play out again?
But I did want to know what happened to such a great hosting provider. How did such a great company go down the toilet so fast?
Turns out, a company called EIG had bought them
After I moved to Siteground , I did a little research to find out if there was any particular reason that the quality of service at Bluehost had slid so much.
Well, as is typical these days, they got bought by some awful predatory behemoth.
And that’s when things started to go downhill. This company has a long reputation for buying popular hosting providers with all their millions of customers, and then shortcutting their way to higher profits with a lower quality — even dangerous — product.
I read an article recently here about EIG and all the hosting providers they now own. I say… beware. Make sure your provider is not on this list before you sign up. Or, get out as soon as you can. It’s not worth the hassle.
Why did I choose Siteground?
So, now back to Siteground! Why did I choose them?
Well, what started it was I had a client who used them for their website. So, I had some personal experience working in their control panel, which is easy and, quite frankly, very ordinary.
Their control panel is better to work with
To some, that might seem a little old school, but I’ve worked in many hosting providers’ back panels, and the fancier ones might look cool, but they’re utterly horrible to work with.
Just give me a nice grid of icons and have them go where I want them to go, okay?
I don’t need all the fancy footwork which inevitably breaks or isn’t compatible with a given browser, and needs to resolved by the hosting company.
Which means you can’t do anything on the backend of your site until they fix their fancy cute JS/Ajax control panel.
Sooo not worth it.
Give me a reliable, working control panel any day even if it looks like it’s from the 90s, and I’ll be a happy camper.
That was the first plus for working with them — reliability, stability, and ease of use.
Their security is better, hands down
They have a long-standing reputation for reliable up-time, as well as strong anti-hacking functionality in place. Since hacking was what created all my problems at Bluehost, this was a huge lure for me.
Third — all the folks in the industry that I follow and trust use Siteground for their small sites. I know that when I get really big I’ll go to WP-Engine, but for now, Siteground fits my needs perfectly, and most likely will yours as well. For small businesses, it’s the only choice.
And, it helps that their pricing is totally in line with all the other providers
I think I pay $2 more a month than what I had with Bluehost, and lemme tell ya — that two bucks is well spent. Cheapest is cheap, remember that.
And there you go! That’s why I changed over. If you have Bluehost, I’m not trying to scare you away from them. It’s probable that the issues I had with them those years ago (about five years ago as of this writing) are no longer in existence.
But it wasn’t a chance I was going to take.
All I know is that they existed then, and I didn’t like it. EIG doesn’t have a good reputation. And generally when a good company gets bought, it’s because it was good, and the new company is hoping to ride on their coattails while operating on the cheap.
I don’t know that I know of any company that has been bought, that stayed good.
So I invite you to look around, make sure that you do your research. Don’t pick the first company that comes to your attention, or that is recommended to you. Check around a bit before committing, even if you don’t know what your site is going to be yet.
Or, don’t commit to a hosting package for more than a year before you know what you’re in for. I am all for the three-year bundles, but I’ve been doing this for 20 years. When I first started, I took the shortest package on offer.
Do your research (and, you can also read this post I wrote about the benefits of SiteGround for newbies, specifically).
Or, go with Siteground! ☺️☺️☺️