January 30, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 32 Comments

Why I Moved from HostGator to Bluehost!

Friday, 13th December, 2013 – what should have been a nice ordinary day turned into a real nightmare and a day I will remember for quite some time, all thanks to HostGator.

The first week of December, I was already in the Christmas mood, looking forward to enjoying the weekend with my family. But oh boy, what a weekend it turned out to be!

But let’s start from the beginning:

In the morning I noticed that my blog was down. I use a website up-time monitoring service from Pingdom which sends me a text message whenever my website goes down (or up). Usually it only happens once every few months, when there are server upgrades etc. These downtimes are damaging but there’s not much you can do about them – it’s just part of doing business online. Sometimes they last for just a few minutes, sometimes it can be for up to an hour.

This time it was different.

When I saw that after an hour my blog was still down, I knew something was going on. So I went onto HostGator’s website to chat with a live rep. Wait time was 30-40 minutes but I had no choice.

To get to the point; HostGator had put my blog on hold because of increased traffic. Thursdays are generally the busiest days on my blog and that week indeed, Thursday set yet another new record in unique visitors.

I had already known for some time that I’d be moving to a better hosting package sooner or later due to increased traffic but my bandwidth allowance was still quite high and as HostGator promotes NO LIMITS on my hosting package, I thought I’m fine for as long as they don’t ask me to upgrade.

But they didn’t ask, they simply shut my website down.

No warnings, no emails – nothing! They just pulled the plug on a high-traffic business blog.

And that’s not all.

On that same day I started receiving emails from Spicy Auction Templates customers telling me that the templates are not showing up on eBay. Ouch, double hit!!!

Again, I went to chat with HostGator, waited another 30-40 minutes to reach a rep, and found out that yes – they had also shut down ONE DIRECTORY on my Spicy Auction Templates website. Again, due to increased traffic which was causing issues for them. Mind you – that one directory hosted some of the free SAT templates, which are used by thousands of people for their eBay listings.

Again – no warnings and no emails.

What kind of business does that? I have been with HostGator for at least 7 or 8 years, paid them thousands of dollars in hosting fees and this is how they treat me? NOT anymore!!!

I was angry of course, very angry! My weekend was spoiled, my business in a dangerous situation. I had to act fast to make things right.

At first, I wanted to just fix the issues they had with my sites immediately so that I’d have some time to find a new host and move all the sites over (dozens altogether).

I went on to live chat again – waited yet another 30-40 minutes until someone was able to take my request. I asked – what can I do to fix this issue right now as I’m losing money here!

Here’s the best part – the online chat representative said they can’t do anything about it and asked me to instead submit a support ticket.

So I did. I submitted two tickets, one for the blog issue and one for SAT.

And then I waited, all day long… no one replied to my “URGENT” ticket for over 12 hours.

By then it was already late Friday evening so I contacted live chat again (ANOTHER 30-40 minute wait time) and asked if they could escalate my tickets so someone takes a look at them BEFORE I’m totally screwed up? After some time, and getting a supervisor involved, I finally got them to reply to my tickets.

The explanation was short and to the point – your blog and that one SAT directory eats up too much server resources so we shut you down. Do what you want.

I asked them to quickly move my sites to a better, dedicated server – of course I was happy to pay for everything – I just desperately needed my sites back online! They said yes, they could do that but it would take 3-4 days and bearing in mind that it was Friday, it would be around Wednesday by the time I would get the dedicated server set up.

That was really the last straw for me – I’d had enough. I simply had no desire to deal with a company who treats customers like this. And as I had already done some preliminary research on hosting alternatives, I thought – why not sort it all out now for good. My weekend was spoiled anyway so no better time to get this done!

So which hosting company now?

I decided to move my websites to Bluehost – I’d heard nothing but positive things about them and after reading some further reviews on forums, I felt it was the best choice.

But I first wanted to get in touch with them to find out how fast they could get my sites moved over.

So I went to Bluehost’s website to get help via live chat (just like HostGator, Bluehost offers 24/7 live chat and telephone support).

After initiating chat, I saw that the wait time was just 5 minutes – so already a great start compared to HostGator’s 30-40 minutes!

After just a couple of minutes, an agent came online with the accompanying text – I’m chatting with another customer now so please be patient but I will try to serve you too, simultaneously. WOW! That’s what I call customer service – they don’t want me to hang around waiting for too long and are happy to assist me even if the agent is already busy.

So I told them my story and about what had happened with HostGator and the live chat agent assured me that would never occur with Bluehost – if there were any traffic issues, I’d be contacted and offered an upgrade in advance.

Then I asked about the timeframe needed to get a VPS set-up for me. To my surprise – he said he could do it right now, in just 5 minutes. Awesome! And he did indeed set-up me up then and there, without the need for me to create and wait for support tickets etc. – he even created my billing account and took my card details through the chat.

So in just 10 minutes or so I had a brand new VPS set-up for me on Bluehost and I was ready to transfer my websites.

I also decided that it was a good time to get some dedicated IP addresses for my websites. No problem! The live chat guy did these instantly, assigned them to my domains and I was good to go. That’s what I call exceptional quality of service!

Not forgetting the fact that I did all of this on a weekend!!!

The whole transfer process wasn’t that smooth as I had some very complicated set-ups, with multi-Wordpress installs and 10+ databases going on so I spent most of Saturday working on this process.

I was not alone though and for this I want to say a BIG THANKS to Bluehost’s support team. Basically, there was someone with me on live chat for the whole 24 hours, while I worked on the transfers. When someone went on a break or there was a shift change, I was transferred to another tech agent who was already completely informed about what was happening.

Unlike with HostGator, Bluehost’s live chat technical support actually DOES know what they’re talking about AND can do complicated, technical tasks right on the go. With HostGator, the usual reply was – you’ll have to submit a support ticket for this task (and then wait for God knows how long!). Not with Bluehost! Their technicians are awesome and will solve your problems right there on live chat, which is a HUGE bonus!

By Saturday evening, I had SpicyAuctionTemplates.com and AndrewMinalto.com moved over completely to my new VPS at Bluehost. Then all I had to do was change the name servers for these 2 domains and wait till morning for them to update for me to see whether everything worked as it should.

And it did, everything worked perfectly. The transfer was complete and after two sleepless nights, my websites were back online.

And that’s not all.

The loading speed for my blog and SAT website increased dramatically. It now loads super-fast, in the blink of an eye. 1-2 seconds max is not bad at all! On HostGator this number was 3-4 seconds and even more, depending on what kind of network issues they were experiencing.

So it was a real relief for me. Over the next few weeks I transferred all my other sites and closed down my HostGator account completely.

Yes, Bluehost is actually owned by the same company that owns HostGator – Endurance International Group (EIG) but it’s still a separate brand company with its own work ethics (significantly better than HostGator’s). I experienced this first hand with my real life ‘test’ when Bluehost was such a great help and assisted me non-stop for almost 24 hours!

Why is Bluehost better than HostGator?

  • Quality of service. I haven’t done any special tests (apart from page loading times on GTMetrix.com) but all I know is that my websites now load much faster. They’re really lighting fast.
  • Quality of support. As covered in this post, Bluehost’s support is far more knowledgeable and will solve your problems on the go unlike HostGator where live chat reps will only tell you to submit a support request (which no one answers for at least 12-24 or more hours).
  • Price. Bluehost is actually cheaper than HostGator. Just take a look at these plans:

Unlimited everything: Host Gator starting @ $6.36/month VS Blue Host @ $4.95/month:

VPS hosting (4GB RAM):  Host Gator @ $189.95 VS Blue Host @ $59.99/month:

As I use the VPS hosting package, the cost savings are significant! I will save $1560 each and every year!

A cheaper price AND better service & support? I know it sounds too good to be true but judging from my experience, that is exactly what Bluehost offers.

Conclusion

I can now say that my hosting company recommendation goes to Bluehost. Their prices are good, service quality exceptional and they have a very knowledgeable technical support team who can solve your problems then and there. What more can I ask for?

Obviously, I can’t promise it will be like this forever, as things do change. I remember when I started working with HostGator – they were also very good! Waiting time on live chat never exceeded a few minutes, support stuff was very helpful etc. But look what the company has turned into?

For now though, I’m perfectly happy with Bluehost and once again I’d like to say a big THANKS to all the tech support guys who helped me with the transfers.

And if you’re looking for a new hosting company, I really hope this story will help you make a more informed decision. Go with Bluehost!

Thanks,
Andrew

32 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew,
    I have been looking at blue host and noticed they now do something called the cloud,what do you recommend when starting out, the cloud or normal package ?
    many thanks,
    Michelle

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Michelle,

      For what tasks you’ll be using this hosting account?

      If just for eBay side of things, you don’t really need cloud hosting.

      Andrew

  2. Bluehost is unfortunately owned by the same company that owns Hostgator, EIG (http://www.endurance.com/our-company/our-brands). So chances are that their support will, down the line, be just as unrealiable as you’ve experienced.

    HG’s support has been going downhill for quite some time now, and while I was very happy with their service previously, I have now been waiting for a support ticket to be dealt with for over 14 days!!!

    Having done some research online, it appears that many others are having the same problems.

    So HG is definately not a good host anymore, but since EIG owns so many other hosting brands, check out EIG on wiki to see that you do not sign up with any other hosting services they run, such as Fatcow, etc.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sharone,

      I know that they are owner by same company, I knew it at time of switching and actually talk about this in the article.

      But for some time now I have also switched away from Blue Host:

      https://andrewminalto.com/secure-your-website/

  3. Hello Andrew,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
    Wanted to confirm the recommendation on BlueHost. Are still happy with them?
    Didn’t you experience anything bad after your migration?

    Thanks,
    Dinesh

  4. Brian Milner

    I am brand new to creating a website and wanted to learn WP as a hobby and try and create a website about an old pottery firm that owned the factory which my family now own and raise awareness of the pottery they made with images and info text. I bought the WP book by Jared and followed it step by step. I bought the domain at godaddy and on his suggestion bought the single hosting package at Hostgator. Everything went smoothly with the domain transfer and Hostgator taking my money. I started to create the site. Three days later I received a verification required email where they wanted photo ID and a scan of the card I’d used to pay. I sent that by return with a comment that it may be far better to ask for this at the time of completing the order. That was yesterday and I went on this morning to find my account blocked and my website removed. 30 min wait for the chatline who couldn’t help saying email the administrators. I have done that to be told that it may be sorted eventually. I have been in business all my life and have never come across such arrogance.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this Brian.

      That’s def. not the way to do business online. Credit card fraud is big problem for these companies of course but it should be handled in more professional way.

  5. I joined hostgator on a monthly basis and had so many problems with them it was unreal.

    -couldn’t set up a proper paypal direct debit meaning i had to manually pay VAT each month
    -accused me of not paying and blocked my account only to admit that i had actually paid
    -long waits to talk to anyone
    -having to bring up paypal transaction IDs for them
    -they never understood my problems and never apologised when they were wrong

    the list goes on so i decided to just pay a year upfront and be done with it-but they sent be a bill to start in the middle of a month i had already paid for! when i tried to remedy this, the guy didn’t really understand and kept asking me for transaction IDs etc. It seemed so simple that if i started a monthly cycle on the 10th of a month why would i start a yearly cycle on a 22nd when i had paid monthly all this time!?!

    So after an hour and half of talking i decided to go to blue host at which point i was transferred to a very helpful guy who offered me:

    -August’s monthly fee refund
    -50% off yearly fee
    -that he would be the only person i would talk to from now on inc. for technical stuff
    -cycle would start from today.

    therefore for a year hatchling plan i paid $41 inc VAT (£25) which is very good. Have i sold my sanity for 60 bucks off? I don’t know, time will tell.

    I would recommend anyone to ask for this guy-his chat name is Ralph P, forget the rest; they are useless, treat you like a mug and make you irate. Thought I’d share! 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alistair,

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Overall I’m very happy with Blue Host so far, especially their support. The only negative is that I have had quite a few down times recently – like an hour every week or so. Few months ago there was a 24h down time…

      I hope they will fix network problems they have as I would really hate to look for yet another host.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  6. It is so obvious that you did not read the Terms of Service, and do not understand how the inodes work on a server. Also, 3 to 4 days is the expected time to transfer, as it takes time to propagate throughout the servers as they update and transfer your account to a different server on site. It is as if you were transferring to a different hosting in any case. The live chat is not a reliable means of obtaining assistance. It is better to call or submit a ticket, i have never had problems with them responding almost right away. The way your going, you expect them to hand hold you throughout the hosting process for the life of your company. That is not goal with Hostgator, they will gladly offer assistance and walk you through whatever issues there might be. You just have to be aware and ask and be patient. You did not pay for the extra protection to guarantee the site remains up, which Hostgator has as an add on feature. The pricing structure of Hostgator is structured to keep it low for you the website owner. I have done my research. In my opinion, the pricing is really LOW for such dedicated services they are willing to provide, you have to consider the overhead burden of hosting millions of sites all at once and making sure they do not interfere with other sites. It is your responsibility to ensure your site does not interfere with other sites on the server you were on as per Terms of Service which is explicitly explained in detail. That being said about millions of sites, its no surprise the Live CHat wait times is so long in some cases. Dont bother labeling me as a Hostgator fanboi. I love Hostgator, i may have had rocky times with them, but we have always worked through it. ALL IT TAKES IS PATIENCE. THERE IS NO 100%. If you want it to be 100% then host your own home server, and run your own nameserver, and your own DNS server, and see if you can keep it up 100% without issue. I dont think so.

    LOL. Have fun… bashing.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Brandon,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Well, if you think that taking all my websites down without warning because of traffic spike one day is fine, that’s cool. I don’t find it that attractive.

      And why you say it takes 3-4 days to move sites to a new server?

      Blue Host did it for me in a matter of few hours! And nameservers nowadays also update much quicker – in most cases they update within 2-3 hours on most part of the World.

      Anyway, I was a huge fan of Host Gator for many years, recommended it to everyone BUT the fact that they did take my sites down without warning, without offering an upgrade, or a temporary solution for at least few hours was not acceptable to me.

      Support? I don’t know why you’re saying this as I have found that Live Chat works much better in any kind of support situations – especially if you need a speedy reply. When you submit a ticket, it goes in a large batch of other tickets and it may take 10, 14 or 20 hours BEFORE someone even looks at it. With Live Chat you get instant response, instant solution – that is if you can get on it….

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  7. HostGator and BlueHost are both owned by the same parent company. They share a data center. If something happens in the datacenter, it happens to all their sister sites, including bluehost. I’ve been with bluehost for a few years and just found that out this year when there was problems. Just tried to connect with chat and it said “wait time 1 minute”. I closed the window after 10 minutes of waiting.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Hank,

      I already say that in the post – I know that they use same data centre…

      Recently the wait time for live chat has increased, I agree! I don’t know whatever it’s because of the season or recent outages – will have to monitor this for some time and start to think about new hosting company (AGAIN!!!) if the problem persists.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  8. Don’t you know that Bluehost is owned by Hostgator?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Aditi,

      Actually Bluehost is owned by EIG, same company that owns Host Gator.

      And I do mention this in the post, please re-read it carefully.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  9. I hope you will be happy with Bluehost but remember that you were their NEW CUSTOMER they wanted to take from another company so they HAD to show you they were better.
    When I started with Hostgator (a few moths ago) I also waited only a few minutes on live chat. Now I have to wait longer but their technical support is good and I was able to resolve all my problems. I don’t have so heavy traffic so I am going to stay with them by now. All my website consists of html files that I have on my computer disc so I can upload them again in a few seconds to the server. During those few monts my website broke down one time.
    I heard before that Bluehost is one of the best companies and I considered them but I wanted to pay with PayPal and they didn’t have such an option.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Iwona,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, sure that could be the case…. Luckily, at least for now, it’s not as Live Chat is still few minutes away from me and tech support has been great all the time.

      By the way – Blue Host accepts PayPal too – I’m paying with PayPal for my hosting plan too.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  10. Chimica Robinson

    I had similar issues with hostgator before; their customer service and uptime does lack! … BUT I had worst with another smaller host that actually DELETED my whole site in a matter of seconds and didn’t put it back up for 2 days! OMG. I now host my 30 websites with two companies “just in case”. I don’t recommend you put all your eggs in one basket. Keep those back ups handy I’ve learned also. I think if you had good backups of your sites ; the problem wouldn’t have been such an issue. Good luck with Bluehost 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Chimica for sharing your story with us!

      I also once (many years ago) was in a very similar situation – hosting company went down and I didn’t have any external back-up copies for my websites. The down time lasted for almost 5 days, it was terrible. It was a good lesson though, now I keep local CPanel back-ups for all my websites and update them at least once a month. That is besides daily online back-ups that are stored in my Blue Host account.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  11. Anthony Micallef

    The rate of $4.95 is only an introductory rate, if you look right at the bottom of the homepage it says “The promotional price is for the first term only and renews at the regular rate” Regular rate is £9.99 for the Standard package.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, this is a promo price. But the promo price (lowest – $4.95) applies to 36 month term which then renews at regular price which is $6.99

      So if you pre-pay for 3 years, you still get $6.99 per month, even on a regular price.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  12. Thanks for letting us know about this Andy, I’m glad you finally managed to get your sites transferred over smoothly.
    I have been using hostgator for the past 2 years – in that time I’ve never really had a complaint and the support issues I had initially setting everything up was pretty good at the time (though as I say that was 2 years ago).

    For myself with lower volume traffic I think its still more cost effective to stay with hostgator for now as looking at the plans with their own IP addresses and SSL for my tarrif they are:
    Hostgator Business = $11.96 per month (1 yr renewal)
    Bluehost = $19.99 per month

    I think though based off your experience when I start seeing a high increase in traffic I will look to transfer at that point, its criminal of them to not send an email warning before shutting you down.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, if you don’t generate that much traffic you’re probably safe with Host Gator. Just make sure you do the move in advance – if not to another company then to a VPS or dedicated server on same Host Gator.

      Price wise, it’s not $19.99 per month on Blue Host.

      * Hosting – $4.95 per month
      * IP address – $2.50 per month
      * SSL certificate – $4 per month

      TOTAL: $11.45 per month for the package on Blue Host.

      So roughly same as Host Gator.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Thanks for the information Andy, I must have missed that bit.
        Just relooked but I can’t seem to find where it says I can add an IP address onto the standard $4.95
        Would you be able to link where you found this please?
        Thanks

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Hi Mark,

          Can’t find it on the website, but it shows in my account, under Addons:

          https://my.bluehost.com/cgi/dedicated_ip

          You can ask live chat to confirm this.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          1. Hi Andy,

            Just to say, my sub with Hostgator was up for renewal this week and after your post i did decide to try taking out a sub with Bluehost and migrating my website over.

            The main reason for this was so i could take advantage of a good 3 year discount and also have the ability to add more websites onto the same server.

            I’ve noticed however that the ip address is asking me for $3.33 per month, im guessing the price must have increased? or does it still show as $2.50 for you?

            Also the process of migration for my opencart store didnt exactly go smoothly as expected – i started a chat with their tech support team (someone called {“staffId”:”23″}), and after taking much time to write a concise paragraph on what was wrong and what id done they cut me off without even reply. I was stocked!!

            Then i thought, ok maybe it was a connection error, it happens right? So i waited and started a new chat session, re-wrote all the same information as before and this time, the guy said that he’d looked into it and it was an error in the code and as i was typing a reply to ask for more detail as it worked on Hostgators server, i again got disconnected from him. I wasnt impressed after taking all that time to get connected then re-writing the problem!

            I had to go at that point, returning later i started a new session, tried to explain yet again my situation to this other operative, and i admit this women called Christie was quite helpful and took the time to explain and said that because it was due to an error in the code they couldn’t help with this as it was a 3rd party.

            Now this is all fine, although i was confused why it worked on Hostgators server but not on Bluehosts after id followed their help migration page, it turned out it was a mistype in the config file i copied over which i got help for on a different tech support website.

            Now i completely understand that they cant help with other 3rd party support, what really infuriated me was the fact the first 2 chat sessions were terminated on me without explanation, if they had said this in the first instance then that would be fine, but to just disconnect without an explanation cannot be good customer service!

            Anyway i thought id share my experience so far.

          2. Andrew Minalto

            Thanks for your comment Mark.

            Yes, I agree – that’s not a good practice – to close chats without resolution.

            Only thing is that it could be that chat simply disconnected (happened to me a few times) OR that support simply thought they have answered the question (e.g. – 3rd party script problem we can’t help you with) and that’s why they closed the chat.

            Anyway, I hope all is good now and you’re up and running!

            Thanks,
            Andrew

  13. Great article and you have prompted me to make a (hopefully) important point. If you are reliant on technology to run your business do consider engaging with a professional that can handle this sort of thing for you. Most people would never dream of trying to do their own accounts but will quite happily dabble at hosting and domains etc.

    In no way do I mean any disrespect to Andrew, however not everyone has the experience to do this on their own and your choice of domain host, site hosting can make a big difference.

    For a reasonable fee each month, companies like mine can take all the hassle out of hosting and other IT challenges. Not only that but by using a professional you have access to a wealth of experience and solutions to technology problems that might save you money, work better for you or allow you to make more money! Just like with your accountant, you pay and the pain goes away and you can sleep easy and not worry about it. 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Damian,

      Thanks for your comment and insights.

      I totally agree with you – there are things that need to be outsourced. In fact, I outsource quite a lot of tasks already.

      Hosting never caused me any problems – for many years I was with Host Gator – all was running smoothly without me lifting a finger. I’m good with Cpanel, WHM, domains and all that stuff so had things under control (I thought so).

      But it’s obvious that in future, I will outsource IT support too just so I have someone to blame for everything! 🙂

      Thanks again,
      Andrew

    2. Jean Renoux

      I have for over 30 minutes waiting for support. I talked to someone this morning who basically was not interest in helping me. Now it 9PM and I guess it will be the same.
      Bluehost support stinks. It is a lottery depending on who answers. Some are good, some are useless.
      I will switch.

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Jean,

        Yes, I know – I actually moved away from BH to another host:

        https://andrewminalto.com/secure-your-website/

        Thanks,
        Andrew

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