Bluehost sucks

I apologize for my website being down all morning. Back in the heyday of Bell Labs, they used to engineer telecommunications systems for “five-nines availability” (that is, 99.999% uptime). In our vastly more sophisticated Internet age, I’d gladly settle for two and a half nines.

So, can anyone recommend a webhosting service that doesn’t suck? If such a service exists, I’ll dump Bluehost and encourage others to do the same.

28 Responses to “Bluehost sucks”

  1. Pedro Pinheiro Says:

    Although matsu is hosted at home, I have other sites that are hosted at Dreamhost – I still haven’t had a lot of experience with them, but so far, so good. YMMV.

  2. Andrew Kasper Says:

    Dreamhost! A totally amazing little company with inexpensive, high-quality service packages. Feel free to trust a total stranger on this one, Scott.

  3. anonymous Says:

    Maybe you can persuade D Wave to ask their genie for a solution to this problem.

  4. Dan Says:

    Try http://www.asmallorange.com

    They’re a small operation but have great uptime/service (so far for me…)

  5. todd. Says:

    Dreamhost’s uptime has been spotty for me.

    I use NetworkRedux, and I like them a lot. Very responsive customer service, and they provide free/reduced hosting to open source projects such as Adium and ImageMagick. Which makes me feel warm and/or fuzzy.

  6. todd. Says:

    Did I say “me”? I meant “… for friends of mine.” Sorry about that.

  7. Scott Says:

    Pedro, Andrew, Dan: Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve calmed down a little, but the next time Bluehost goes down, I swear:-)

  8. Sean Carroll Says:

    We use Bluehost at Cosmic Variance. They — what is the word? — suck. Dreamhost is often suggested as an alternative, but I’ve also heard more than a handful of complaints about them. (Crooked Timber is complaining right now.)

    I conclude that it is impossible for the internet to work.

  9. Cheshire Cat Says:

    “I conclude that it is imposible for the internet to work.”

    Typical physicist – quick to jump to conclusions :)

  10. Scott Says:

    Just as I was posting my last comment (“the next time Bluehost goes down, I swear…”), it went down again. (I got “CPU quota exceeded,” which is absurd since I’m not running anything that would be the slightest bit CPU-intensive were their server working properly.)

    I intend to make good on my vow.

    Sean, based on the research I’ve been doing today, it does appear that Dreamhost sucks too.

    From now on, I will only use a hosting service that publishes independently-verified uptime statistics. NetworkRedux does so … any others?

  11. seth Says:

    birdhouse has been quite reliable for me and they give great support. They’re a pretty small shop which is a feature, not a bug, IMHO.

    Full disclosure: I think I get a month free or something if anyone signs up based on my recommendation. So do tell them I sent you (or contact me if you need a token to sign-up?)

  12. NoJoy Says:

    Cosmic Variance is currently down with the message “This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota”. I don’t know if this is in retaliation for Sean’s comment above or evidence to support it.

  13. Scott Says:

    So, the verdict on Bluehost is now irrevocable: GUILTY OF SUCKING. As soon as I get the time (hopefully in a couple weeks), I will carry out the sentence of switching hosts.

  14. Tom Brandt Says:

    I use OCS Solutions and have been quite happy with them. It is small, which, as Seth says, is a feature not a bug.

  15. Travis Says:

    GoDaddy sucks in other ways, but I’ve never had downtime with sites hosted with them. The worst problem was when masked domains didn’t show up correctly the first time in Safari (but worked in other browsers and worked on reload in Safari)–this persisted for a day or two. On the upside, GoDaddy is very cheap.

    Here’s a Slashdot article about places to look for webhosting reviews (yes, I’m referring you to a place that refers you to places that refer you to webhosting providers).

  16. Travis Says:

    GoDaddy sucks in other ways, but I’ve never had downtime with sites hosted with them. The worst problem was when masked domains didn’t show up correctly the first time in Safari (but worked in other browsers and worked on reload in Safari)–this persisted for a day or two. On the upside, GoDaddy is very cheap.

    Here’s a Slashdot article about places to look for webhosting reviews (yes, I’m referring you to a place that refers you to places that refer you to webhosting providers).

    http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/19/1439214

  17. Daniel Black Says:

    I’ve used FourBucks.net for years, without any issue. I was referred to them by Feng Zhu (www.artbyfeng.com) years ago, as at the time he hosted with them. I’ve never come close to putting the server through its paces, but I’ve also never had downtime (that I can remember, and, for me, that’s sufficient). Typical packages: PHP, MySQL, shell access (ssh), subdomains, all the CPanel admin (dubbed “CPanelX” with a claim that it’s somehow customized for them).

  18. noosy snoopy Says:

    To Scott Aaronson and Greg Kuperberg.

    Sorry guys, but why do you call this a Zoo?
    These poor animals, they are all stuffed. :’-)

  19. anon Says:

    0. Webhosting is a crooked business. Most of the firms involved are little better than scam artists.

    1. Virtually all webhosts oversell their capacity to a huge degree. They offer what they literally cannot provide because they just don’t have the storage space, CPU resources, bandwidth or transfer allocations.

    2. Every host that oversells will have severe reliability problems.

    3. Getting a good host means finding one of the few hosts that don’t severely oversell. Figure out the wholesale costs for data center access and work backwards from there to determine what’s the minimum possible price for non-overselling accounts.

    4. Many hosts will charge prices high enough that overselling is not necessary but will oversell anyway just to line their own pockets. You will often get less than you pay for.

    5. The only truly reliable means of hosting is to either rent a dedicated server or colocate your own equipment.

  20. anon Says:

    Addendum:

    6. Webhosting review sites are even less honest than web hosts. All but a very tiny handful of webhosting review sites are *paid shills* who will grant top marks to the highest bidder.

  21. Blake Stacey Says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a tiny niche on MITnet, but that comes with its own hazards. On Tuesday, my site went down because the people next door were making strangelets and heavy neutrinos in their bathtub, or something.

  22. Andrew Kasper Says:

    Scott:

    I’ve done a bit of web design for Bluehost, and I found every step to be agonizing. Seriously, it is pretty much the worst host that I’ve ever used for anything. Just… damn, ouch.

    anon’s comment #19 that most web hosting is a scam is 100% correct. In my experience though, I’ve found DreamHost to be nearly 99% suck-free.

  23. thomas Says:

    Get a VPS like Slicehost. It’s basically a virtual dedicated server for $20 bucks a month. Google around, people love them (myself included).

  24. Jerboa Kolinowski Says:

    I’d recommend panix.com’s vcolo service – except they don’t publish official downtime stats. However, looking at their MOTD’s at http://www.panix.com/panix/help/Announcements/ the last outage worthy of notice was a 1-hour affair in May 2005.

  25. Not even right Says:

    Cosmic Variance is currently down with the message “This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota”. I don’t know if this is in retaliation for Sean’s comment above or evidence to support it.

    Does it imply that shutting down of the webpage was due to some malicious act?

  26. Diwaker Says:

    Textdrive

    I personally know some folks there and these people know what they are doing. Unlike most other web hosts, they don’t indulge in uncontrolled over-selling. They are also pioneering new models for shared hosting, built on Solaris Zones and ZFS — much more powerful and scalable than regular VPS. And affordable too!

  27. BTLGuy Says:

    Hey, it’s still “five-nines.” We’ve just moved the decimal point a little.

  28. Melvin Jones Says:

    Definitely have had bad experience with Bluehost. The downtimes and all. The tech support team is nice, but it doesn’t make it up for the service.

    1and1 is cheap, reliable, and massive (traffic allowance and storage). Domain name registrations are cheap and easy, huge storage doubles as hard drive backup, easy web interface (sometimes sluggish) is great to add mail accounts, FTP, etc.

    Don’t run your business off of 1and1, though… They sometimes do go down, or the shared machines (~10$/mo plans) get so CPU-busy that your site will be slow.

    1and1 is probably the best deal for shared. Don’t look at their dedicated servers though. They’re expensive, and you have 0 flexibility (to upgrade RAM, bandwidth capacity, etc.)

    If you’re looking at dedicated machines (good for running business off of), check out ServerBeach. They have fast machines on very good pipes (Peer1), and the customer service is awesome (they’ve just had a major electrical problem, after months of 100% uptime, but the communication was flawless and they fixed everything quickly. sales is also great; everybody there is very technical). Platform of choice to push online video, etc.

    Finally, the sweetest pipes and geekiest colocation facility would be Hurricane Electric. The machines they rent are not incredible – the real value is when you BYOS (bring your own server). Get a 1 or 5Mbps pipe, and get to rocking.

    Possible alternative (half 1and1-ish, half serverbeach-ish): iWeb, located in Montreal. Good to spread the risk across countries and east/west coasts. :-)