Robby Fowler Articles

Why I Don’t Recommend Bluehost (And Many Other Popular, Cheap WordPress Hosts)

Do you really know who’s hosting your WordPress party? You might be surprised.

If you want a WordPress website, you need a WordPress host. There are a zillion options for hosting your WordPress site. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend many of the popular options.

What’s Wrong with Bluehost (And Other Often-Recommended Host)

Bluehost is a wildly popular WordPress host. Lots of online entrepreneurs recommend them to their audience. Influencers often attract followers looking to set up a new website. From bloggers to personal brands to freelancers, people like you want to get started.

Here’s how it usually works.

First, Locate Online Influencer

You want to start your own thing, right? A side hustle, a blog, a personal brand. So you find an influencer to follow. You look to him or her for help and advice to get make your dream a reality.

Second, Realize You Need A Website

Before long, said influencer confirms you need a website. You knew it already. But the influencer lights a fire under your rear. You’re enthused. Euphoric.

Third, Oh Crap…where Do I Start?

Smart online influencers know you need help launching a website. Almost all will tell you, “Use WordPress.” Its popularity is massive. There are endless video tutorials, themes, and plugins. The ecosystem is booming. So it makes sense.

Fourth, Wait…picking Wordpress Isn’t Enough…now I Need A Host?

Soon you discover you need a host. WordPress is only the platform. So you descend another rung down the ladder of confusion. This whole area is intimidating and soul-sucking.
On a positive note, your influencer is aware of the maddening frustration. So he or she recommends a host. You can stop scratching your head. No shopping around necessary.

What Goes Into That WordPress Host Recommendation You Just Got

Here are three things behind the curtain of most recommendations you’ll hear. 

One, the influencer is sharing an affiliate link. In other words, he or she gets a small kickback when you use the recommended host. Most will tell you as much right there by the link. 

Now, there’s NOTHING wrong with an affiliate link. You don’t pay more for using it. Sometimes you even get a discount (if the influencer is big enough). 

I share affiliate links on my Recommended Resources page. And you’d be wise to do the same where appropriate. 

The only sticky point is whether or not the affiliate kickback drives the recommendation. Does the influencer use the host he or she recommends? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But it’s worth a check. 

Two, well this is where it goes south…

Buyer Beware (Because of a “Host” of Unknowns)

From my casual observation, few influencers do much digging on the host they recommend. 

Ga-zillions recommend you use Bluehost or HostGator or FatCow. 

Bluehost is perhaps the most popular recommendation because of price. At the time of this article, you could be up and running for $3.95 a month. Hard to argue with that price. 

But not so fast. Don’t judge a host by its cover…price. 

Here’s what you don’t know…

Bluehost And A Host Of Other Popular Wordpress Host Are Owned By The Same Shady Parent Company

Rewind the clock back a few years and you’d see Bluehost and many like them were independent. 

They were one of many independent WordPress hosting companies. 

That was, until…

A large tech firm called Endurance International Group (EIG) started snatching them up.

These hosting companies got bought out but kept their name. So unless you go digging, you wouldn’t notice. Here’s a partial list…
  • A Small Orange
  • Bluehost
  • BuyDomains
  • Constant Contact
  • FastDomain
  • FatCow
  • HostGator
  • HostMonster
  • PowWeb
  • PureHost
  • TypePad
  • WebHost4Life
  • YourWebHosting
There’s nothing inherently wrong or unusual about a big company gobbling up smaller companies. It happens all the time. But as a budding entrepreneur, you might want to know. You may have a preference for the little guy, the independent. You may want to put your dollars there. 

The problem is, most influencers don’t share this when recommending a WordPress host. And many haven’t looked closely. They may have landed on a recommendation years ago before the buying began. Regardless, you should know what you’re buying when you choose your host. 

So you’ve never heard of EIG—the parent company.

Understandable. You might be curious to know…

They don’t have a spotless record. I’m not saying you should only work with perfect companies. There are none—myself included!

But again, you should know who your website is hanging out with. And for me (and my clients), you’ve got better options for your WordPress hosting than Bluehost or other EIG options.

The Bad and the Ugly…Up to No Good

Do a few minutes of poking around about EIG and you may not love what you find.

This excellent article from Smartblogger notes…
After [EIG] purchases a host, they lay off support staff, stop investing in new technology, and funnel the money into increased advertising and payouts to shareholders. In every case, the reputation of the host plummets.
Wikipedia —referencing this Times of India article—closes with a zinger of a one-liner…
In August 2018, the firm’s CEO and CFO were fined $8 million dollars for fraud by the SEC related to company subscriber numbers.

Where to Host Your WordPress Site Instead

I don’t recommend many of the popular EIG-owned hosting options for some of the reasons covered above. I don’t tell my friends to use them. I don’t set up my clients on them.

To be fair, I don’t freak out if a client already has a Bluehost plan and wants to continue using it. I share my thoughts and give them the choice to continue or switch.

I don’t recommend Bluehost even with the attractive price. Instead…

I recommend one of these three excellent options (NOT owned by EIG). And yes, they are affiliate links. But I’ve used all three myself, and for many clients…
One final word… You may be asking, “Are you hosting your website on one of these?” The answer is no, because I’m not running a WordPress site here.
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