Website Hosting Alternative to BlueHost

I'm in the midst of yet another service outage with BlueHost.com. We've had two or three significant slowdowns over the last few months, and at least two full blown outages during the same time. When I first researched hosts, BlueHost came up as a high quality, reliable site. It doesn't seem that way at the moment, and some Googling around shows I'm not the only one with issues of late.

Anybody have any recommendations for other hosts? This is a business site, so consistent up time is pretty important.

Thanks in advance.

I use Hostgator for my personal sites. Can't speak to anything larger than that but I've never had a problem with them.

I find funny that when Network Solutions was going through a roller coaster of problems -- BlueHost was happily advertising their services on NS's Facebook page as a better Hosting Company.

That said, I've been using a small orange hosting for personal site as a test, before recommending to higher ups regarding moving our business site from NS to them.

However, I'm also interested to see if anyone knows of a better hosting company .

A Small Orange. I have an agency account with them now and their servers are faster than either of my two previous hosts (who I'm now in the process of ditching), plus their support crew is top-notch. I found out about them here, actually.

Yeah, I've seen ASO mentioned here numerous times, as well as Nearly Free Speech. No personal experience with either.

I'd avoid Dreamhost. At least when I was with them, they drove their infrastructure very hard.

NFS was pretty solid when I used them a few years back, but it isn't so great unless you really know what you're doing. No cPanel (not a fan, but it does the job) or whatever on the back end, and for a long time stuff like cron jobs were on their someday/maybe list.

I have a few Dreamhost refugees. Their service is passable until they have massive outages for hours or half-days at a time

tanstaafl wrote:

I use Hostgator for my personal sites. Can't speak to anything larger than that but I've never had a problem with them.

I'll second this. I have my (crappy) side business web site hosted with them. They're not the cheapest game in town but they're rock solid, they have a lot of features and their support is good.

I've been using 1and1 for several years. Never had an issue.

Teneman wrote:

This is a business site, so consistent up time is pretty important.

Serious question: by "pretty important", does that mean important enough to spend more than $5 a month on hosting?

Depending on how important "important" really is, a bottom dollar shared host might not be the answer.

If we're talking about Wordpress hosting, there are a number of managed Wordpress hosts out there to choose from.

There's always running your own VPS, but obviously there's some real work involved in maintaining that.

If it's really business critical, though, you might want to consider stepping up to something beyond a "dump your PHP files here" shared host.

Sorry for the delay in responding, just got back into town last night.

To answer the question Legion, yes this is definitely important enough to spend more than $5 a month on. The majority of our reservations and marketing come through or are tied into the website.

Bluehost is up most of the time, so the real question is how much is the additional uptime of a better host worth. That too would be worth more than $5 a month to us. A single lost reservation a year would cover that cost. It isn't worth thousands of dollars a month though.

So wherever Bluehost is on the bottom dollar to absolute premium scale, I'd imagine I'd want to be a step or two above that.

The site is Wordpress based (now) as well. Are there any particular managed Wordpress hosts that fit the 'step-or-two-above-Bluehost' criteria that you'd recommend?

Thanks

All my sites are Wordpress, and ASO is doing the trick. You don't need Wordpress-specific hosting... It's so common any reputable provider will be able to help with basic issues.

I can't make recommendations, as I have no first-hand experience with this class of hosts. However, I can say that if I were in your position, it would be options like these that I would be investigating.

WP Engine is one that came to mind, just for being the most well-known. But there are a number of competitors, like Page.ly and at least a dozen or so others.

A cursory glance at HackerNews searches seems to suggest people there like Page.ly, so take that for whatever it's worth.

The plans for these services seem to be in the $30-100/mo range (unless you scale into super-high traffic plans), so they should be right in that price range you're targeting.

clover wrote:

You don't need Wordpress-specific hosting... It's so common any reputable provider will be able to help with basic issues.

That's fine for someone's blog. Or someone that wants to mange things themselves.

But for a business-critical site, support for "basic issues" isn't sufficient, IMO. Automated backups, automated upgrades, redundancy, someone at support capable of dealing with plugin compatibility issues, etc... those sort of things are pretty important, especially if you want to focus on running your business rather than running a website.

*Legion* wrote:
clover wrote:

You don't need Wordpress-specific hosting... It's so common any reputable provider will be able to help with basic issues.

That's fine for someone's blog. Or someone that wants to mange things themselves.

But for a business-critical site, support for "basic issues" isn't sufficient, IMO. Automated backups, automated upgrades, redundancy, someone at support capable of dealing with plugin compatibility issues, etc... those sort of things are pretty important, especially if you want to focus on running your business rather than running a website.

A few months ago I'd have sided with clover on this. I'm a hands on guy, and fairly tech savy. I was pretty sure I could not only handle the Wordpress stuff myself, but wanted to do so. And for the most part I have.

But a few weeks after the site launched we discovered that the theme my web designer based the site on has a few sloppy coding problems. That's caused some compatibility issues with a plugin or two. A WordPress upgrade actually broke one of the main features of the site due to the sloppy coding and we had to scramble to get a workaround. Now I cringe a bit every time Wordpress or one of the plugins has an available update. The site also runs a bit slower than I'd like it to, and I haven't got the time to do the research necessary for further optimization. Having a host that can take care of those things for me so I can get back to planning events and picking new beers for the pub sounds pretty good to me.

Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll be contacting a few of them shortly.

I'd like to pop this back into existance.

TEneman, Who did you end up going with and have you been happy?

I manage 2, soon to be 4 business websites that are all housed in the UK but the main audience is US and Canada.
The sites have been slow, and in one instance, one is hosted ad a terrible host that has been having a lot of issues lately.

I will be moving everything to a north american host and I need reliability and quick support.

We'd love to do a Managed solution but at $100/month and up that's not in the cards so it looks like it will have to be shared. I don't have the time to run a VPS so that's out.

I've looked at A Small Orange and the packages are realistic. For myself I use a reseller package but for the businesses I'll be getting single shared packages.

So as Teneman, I am looking for the same sort of information.
Has anything changed? any new people want to chime in on this?

Thanks!

I pulled out of Bluehost about two months ago. I would definitely NOT recommend going with Bluehost. Their service got worse in the months after I originally posted this. In addition to increased downtime and abysmally slow page load times, they started forcing system updates without concern for whether or not it would cause incompatibilities with my site.

I ended up going with a small host which specializes in small business sites, particularly hospitality/bed and breakfasts. They provide a managed service at a decent cost, have had fairly decent support so far, and were able to get my Google Page Speeds up to much more acceptable levels. I'm not sure they would be what you're looking for, but it couldn't hurt to check them out. Acorn IS is the name.

I've used bluehost and they are terrible.

I'm looking back at Hostgator and may give them a try. I appreciate any other opinions of them anyone has. Parallax, Are you still using them? Any issues?

I manage a site at work with HostGator and keep my own personal sites there as well. Both of them are on the Baby Croc account, although sometimes I need to work in another site being run on a dedicated server with HostGator. Baby Croc is great just for being allowed to add more domains to the account at no charge. "Unlimited" bandwidth and file space but there's a cap of 250,000 inodes.

Friday was the strangely the most negative experience I had with them. This was at work: Hostgator upgraded the PHP version on the shared server. All of my software still works because I was smart (or hopeful) enough to keep bringing my code up to date. The only downer happened at my work site: I was funneling a bunch of old frontpage .htm files through the php processer. Until I changed the .htaccess to the new version of PHP, those pages returned errors.

The only other gripe I have is the built in logging software - awStats and Webalizer. They count visits from your own site as visits coming from outside your site, and can feel a little useless at times. If that matters to you then you might want to go with Google Analytics or a similar third party service.

It's been about six years, I think. Sites are mostly up. Customer service on the toll free line, even as an $8/month customer, ranges from good to excellent. I think they had a 50,000 iNode cap when I started with them, along with some other extravagant but existing caps on disk & bandwidth. My plan has gotten better and the price has been stable. Having to add a single keystroke to .htaccess on a single site that I had duct-taped together was the "worst" experience I've had with them. It's not going to be five star service - especially in their shared hosting plans. I do really, really like them overall.

Oh right, this thread! For lurkers/folks looking for WP-specific hosting, WP Engine is the sh*t, like Legion said. Also extra good for teams, because it has built-in version control (which is oddly uncommon in the Wordpress world).

A Small Orange is still running my pile of sites. Their support people are top-notch.