If you have noticed any slowing down of your website lately, or have had a problem accessing technical support, you may not be imagining things.
The reason could be that you host your website at one of the independent web hosts bought by Endurance International Group, Inc. (EIG). Formerly BizLand, it has grown to be one of the world’s largest website hosting companies, by acquiring a large number of smaller hosts, which it continues to operate under the original names. These hosts includes the popular Bluehost, Hostgator, and HostMonster as well as many smaller companies.
This site had been hosted on Bluehost. Generally I was happy with them. They support the standardized cPanel that makes installing WordPress, and almost everything else, very easy. Technical support was only a phone call away. But several months ago this site started to load unbearably slowly. I contacted Bluehost and they sent back a long list of reasons why that might be happening and what I could do about it. In other words, the problem was on my end. I tried much of what they recommended—caching, optimizing databases, deleting unnecessary plugins—and searched other places for help but with little effect. If I could speed things the page reload rate, I might find that editing that page in WordPress would take longer. The only option I had left is to switch to a new host.
Switching hosts is not something to be taken too lightly. The database needs to be exported and all site files have to be downloaded. It takes a while, even if there are no hitches involved.
Bluehost and Hostgator were previously highly recommended by WordPress developers. For their low cost, they were reliable, fast, and had good technical support. I would frequently see their names mentioned on industry listservs when a recommendation for a good web host was made. I myself used Bluehost for many of my clients accounts and used to recommend them myself. But recently the complaints about slow servers and unhelpful technical support have become more and more frequent.
One of the things that EIG insisted on as they purchased companies, was for the datacenters to be consolidated to their server farm in Utah. They have also consolidated some of their personnel and infrastructure. This means that there is little real difference between any of the web hosts that they bought up. If the servers go down, they could go down for everybody, which did happen in August 2013.
I have also come across reports that sites have been taken down without warning. Often the reason cited was a conflict with a WordPress plugin, like the enormously popular WordPress SEO by Yoast. Clearly this is an unfriendly environment for people who build their site with WordPress. There are 407 complaints lodged at the Better Business Bureau in the past three years. Maybe that is normal for a huge business. But I am taking it as a sign it is time to move.
So as of today this site is no longer hosted on Bluehost. I will give another web host, one that specializes in hosting WordPress sites, a go. If it works out I will let you know.
And if you feel your site hasn’t been running as well as you think it should, maybe there is a reason.