We started our main blog back in January 2018. We had signed up with Bluehost and took the plunge into the Blogging World. We read several blog posts that recommended Bluehost, so we thought it would be a good decision.
There is so much to learn when you are starting blogging. Things we didn’t know that slowed down our progress. I have put together a free resources list to help other bloggers to avoid our mistakes. Take the free courses and learn all you can. Then choose to invest and spend money on courses from blogger’s you trust.
Honestly for over a year Bluehost was pretty good to us, we were on the Premium Shared Hosting with what claims to be unlimited storage. We had a few interactions with Bluehost support that were mostly positive.
But, we did have a major issue once and Bluehost support told us that if it is malware causing the issue that they would lock us out of logging into our account. Not sure how you are supposed to fix your account if you are locked out. That seems counter intuitive.
Bluehost did not have a backup of our site
I asked if they had a backup of our site and they said no, their backup service was down for a few months now. YIKES!! But I did have my own backups using Updraft Plus – so I restored our site with no problems. In a little under 2 hours our website was back online and fine again.
The whole thing scared me. The way that Bluehost handled that issue. It didn’t sit right with me. Having no host backups was disappointing. I made a rash decision and ended up switching our sites at that time in mid-March to a host over the pond in the U.K.
Our first try at leaving Bluehost failed miserably
Our site was intermittently offline for 2-3 days during and after the move to this other premium host.
Our site was no faster on the premium host and (Time to First Byte) TTFB was the same or slower than on Bluehost. Things were not going smoothly, even though this host that will remain nameless had great support, they just did not work with any of the speed optimizations on our site and the conflicts were very damaging. We went from 700-900 pageviews a day that week to almost none when we made the move.
Realizing this was a rash decision and hoping to save our traffic, we went back to Bluehost. Our sites were stable again, but the damage was done. Traffic did not fully recover. Too many intermittent outages. I figured we’d NEVER leave Bluehost again and just try to grow there. The site was loading respectably fast for being with a known slow host (if you don’t know Bluehost is known to be a slow and overcrowded host).
Bluehost Let us down (again)
Then two weeks ago, our sites started to have an intermittent loading issue on Bluehost. All 4 sites, I looked up our host IP address and tracked down a few other other websites that were sharing our host and I noticed the same issue on their sites too. Every 2nd or 3rd page load would go to some random error and just not load. Or would show an error screen then proceed to load, completely unprofessional.
I contacted Bluehost support three times. Letting them know the issues. Each time they put a small bandaid on and did not resolve the issue. On the third call they said my host was out of space and that I needed to pay to upgrade. I said, I’m on the Premium Sharing plan with UNLIMITED Storage??? Why would I need to upgrade for more storage. That really was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I was told that level 2 support would look into it in a couple days. In the meantime our sites were all haywire and not loading as they should be.
Time to move to Siteground
Over the last 18 months we have heard time and again bloggers recommending Siteground. I talked to Shawn and let him know I’m concerned that Bluehost is not going to figure out this issue any time soon from the way they are handing the support and that I wanted to try switching hosts for a second time. He gave me his okay, so we purchased hosting with Siteground.
The Siteground Migration went Smoothly
I chatted with support about how best to handle the migration they said it would be 48 hours if I wait for them to move my site for free or I could use the Siteground Migrator plugin. We used their free migrator plugin to move 3 of our sites over that evening. The migration went very smoothly.
Once our name servers were switched over it took all of five minutes (or less) to be able to setup our free SSL certificates with Let’s Encrypt from the Siteground cPanel.
The hardest part this time around – was leaving our sites alone for 48 hours with no changes during the DNS migration. I think I may need a “WordPress Anonymous” support group or intervention.
This time our traffic has stayed about the same during the migration. Our site’s are all getting great speed results on the speed tests after the move, including the TTFB that is quite important to Google.
Siteground Support has been Awesome
Siteground chat support answered our questions and provided excellent support. Since our sites were all configured for only SSL, they were not opening on the temporary link with http access only. Siteground support setup temporary certificates so we could look over our sites and confirm all was good before the final step of the migration.
I also really like that Siteground has the Staging feature in the cPanel to quickly bring up a development version of your site to test things out. This has allowed me to test new themes and change things up on my site. I switched from CuteWP to Color Mag – I am loving the new theme!
I definitely highly recommend Siteground, you can check them out here.