Follow me on social media:

Is upgrading to Bluehost Pro worth it?

Review of: Bluehost Pro
Hosting:
Bluehost
Version:
Pro
Price:
24.95

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On June 29, 2011
Last modified:July 25, 2017

Summary:

Bluehost Pro is an upgrade to the standard base bluehost hosting plan and it's designed to help out those of us that need a little more room to breathe. When my site outgrew the standard bluehost plan I was afraid I'd have to switch hosts, but after I switch to Bluehost Pro I found my site was snappy and fast again. If you are stuck in the same situation as I was, don't even think about it any longer. For $20 a month it's still a steal and the performance upgrade has thus far been outstanding to say the least.

Is upgrading your hosting to Bluehost Pro worth it?

Wondering if Bluehost Pro is worth the money?

Bluehost Pro is an upgrade to the standard base bluehost hosting plan and it’s designed to help out those of us that need a little more room to breathe.

I have long touted the good points of Bluehost’s hosting service as, for me, they’ve been a pretty reliable and supportive hosting company. I’ve always felt well looked after and found them to be a great host to get started with at an affordable level when I was starting out.

Recently though, I found my websites were getting a little sluggish, especially when editing the backend of a WordPress installation. At that stage I was running around 8 websites on my account and things were starting to slow down a bit.

Could it be that I was out growing theirย monthly hosting service and needed to upgrade to Bluehost Pro?

One of the main indicators that your account is getting too overloaded according to the user run support forums is CPU throttling.

After a quick check on my CPU throttling graph, which you can find in the Bluehost cPanel, it was apparent that my sites were chewing more than their allotted CPU time on the machine.

They were quite often sitting in a queue for a few seconds before executing the code. I’m grossly over simplifying their quite advanced CPU scheduling here but that’s the gist of it.

My initial thoughts were to look at the Bluehost Pro package and see what that offered and on first glance I actually wasn’t that impressed.

I couldn’t find any technical specs on what the Bluehost Pro package came with in regards to CPU usage and memory usage other than it was “increased”.

I started wondering if it was time to switch hosting companies, but what a pain that was going to be!

Possible Next Steps Other Than Bluehost Pro

The next logical jump up would be purchasing a VPS somewhere which can run from anything a low as $30 a month for a basic one up to and over $500. More than likely it was going to cost around $50-100 for a service that would let me grow without too much hassle.

While my sites are starting to gain in popularity now I was pretty disheartened that my little hobby was going to start costing me even more. I don’t mind paying for things, but hosting is really one of those things that has become a bit of a commodity so it makes sense to look around for a good deal.

I started by asking Google the exact question you probably found this article with, “Is the Bluehost Pro service really worth it?” and to my delight I found the post of another blogger who was in much the same position as me only a few months earlier.

His results were quite eye opening and more useful than I found any other forum post or blog post.

It’s with great pleasure that I’ve had similar success with Bluehost Pro.

Yes, I sucked it up and re-purchased my hosting plan for the next 12 months under the Bluehost Pro package and it’s made the world of difference.

The Process for Upgrading to Bluehost Pro

Once you hit upgrade and order the Bluehost Pro package in your cPanel you’ll find the change over is quite quick.

In a matter of a few hours and with very minimal downtime to my sites (less than a few minutes I suspect), my sites were moved from the very crowded box it was on that previously hosting upwards of 999 other websites to a new machine with just 16 other websites.

I suspect the old machine my websites were hosted on was pretty much maxed out and that was contributing to my slow website loading times and intense CPU throttling.

If you’re on a shared hosting service like Bluehost, it’s pretty common for them to load up their web servers with people on their base plan. It’s a really common thing and most web hosts do it. The best thing you can do is check how many other domains are on your machine using this service.

Now that I’m on Bluehost Pro, and my account has been moved to a machine that doesn’t host near as many websites, my sites are now loading pretty much as fast as they would on a VPS (in my experience with different VPS services) for a fraction of the cost.

Other benefits of upgrading to Bluehost Pro

Other than my site now loading lightning fast (compared to before), there’s also a handful of other bonus benefits on upgrading to Bluehost Pro:

SEO Benefits

I’m hopeful that the move to Bluehost Pro will also have some SEO related benefits. While Google does it’s best to judge your site on it’s own characteristics, some things like what other sites share your IP address (all the others on your machine in the case of shared hosting) can effect your rankings.

One dodgy site can effect the rest of the websites on that IP.

My research on the other 999 websites hosted on the old machine showed some disturbing results including a few porn sites. Even though this is against Bluehost’s policies they obviously aren’t policing it as strictly as they say they do.

While I could just request to Bluehost that those sites are removed it still doesn’t solve the fact that my site’s domain ranking value was being diluted so much.

Upgrading to Bluehost Pro gives me my own IP address which I think I’ve found over these past few months to be quite beneficial in getting the rankings my websites deserve.

Free SSL certificate

I’ve mentioned in the past that I do my payment processing offsite by way of Paypal and eJunkie so I don’t have to worry about these sorts of things but if I wanted to make a cart page secure to inspire some more trust this could come in handy.

It also enables me to integrate my sites with payments processors in the future if needed.

Free Dedicated IP address

Further to not having so many domains on the same machine as me, I now also get a dedicated IP address just for my sites. This gives me total control and shows search engines like Google that I own the IP address attached to my sites.

This is something you need to activate after your hosting has been completely changed over to the Bluehost Pro package.

Increased CPU and memory

I mentioned this earlier, but I can now authoritatively say that this has been the best part of my upgrade to Bluehost Pro.

Prior to the upgrade my websites were being throttled (according to the CPU throttling graph in cPanel) on average between 500-800 seconds per 24 hour period (around 10 minutes a day).

That’s horrendous, and my Google webmaster tools were starting to show my site speed inching up to 10 or more seconds to load a page!

Not good at all and with the big ‘G’ (Google) now putting so much emphasis on things like website load times it’s even more worrying.

Since changing to Bluehost Pro, I haven’t experienced any throttling at all, even when administering several sites at once and performing intensive reporting. There just seems to be much more available capacity on my account. I’m not sure exactly how much more, but the difference isย noticeable.

There is also some included site backup features and a few other things I’m yet to try out…

If you’re on the fence

If you are stuck in the same situation as I was, don’t even think about it any longer. For $20 a month it’s still a steal and the performance upgrade has thus far been outstanding to say the least.

The other benefits I listed above should hopefully give you a better idea of what to expect when upgrading to the Bluehost Pro Package. Bluehost are good in a lot of ways, but their upsell for Pro is pretty shocking and the user support forums aren’t much better at suggesting why you should upgrade and when.

If you’re deciding if Bluehost is the right host for you, then hopefully this shows you that there is a clear upgrade path.ย Bluehost is worth the switch.

Also, if you’re planning on purchasing hosting with Bluehost anyway (even if you’re not upgrading to Pro straight away), I’d really appreciate if you clicked through my link, they pay me a small amount if you end up signing up and it helps keep this site free.

Click here to sign up with Bluehost

Did you or do you have issues with your current hosting? Tell me your experiences below in the comments along with what you did to overcome it. Have you upgraded to Bluehost Pro yet?

Photo credit
Affiliate Disclosure

Bluehost Pro is an upgrade to the standard base bluehost hosting plan and it's designed to help out those of us that need a little more room to breathe. When my site outgrew the standard bluehost plan I was afraid I'd have to switch hosts, but after I switch to Bluehost Pro I found my site was snappy and fast again. If you are stuck in the same situation as I was, don't even think about it any longer. For $20 a month it's still a steal and the performance upgrade has thus far been outstanding to say the least.

120 thoughts on “Is upgrading to Bluehost Pro worth it?

  1. Wow, I just read your post and had pretty much the same experience as you. I still have a cheap plan with Bluehost and the Pro plan for my business site. The difference in speed in incredible. And, i went from being on a machine with about 900 domains to one with less than 40.

    I’ve been with Bluehost since 2007 and never really experienced throttling issues until this past year. I agree that going Pro is the best decision I made but I wonder if Bluehost is inching people to upgrade to their Pro servers with slower site speeds and more throttling.

    I want to stay with Bluehost but I am working with others that I am going to suggest hosting to and while I will suggest Bluehost, I can’t say it’s the best anymore.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one Ellen! Good to hear you had some success with the pro package as well.

      I’ve also only experienced throttling recently. I suspect it was not long after they changed over to their new data centre. I guess they figured they could now load those machines up a lot more than they used to..

  2. Thanks for this. I’m running several websites on Bluehost that use a WordPress Membership plugin and my sites are constantly being throttled no matter how I tweak them. I’ve even deleted some sites.

    I really don’t want the hassle of VPN or a dedicated server…mainly because of what (I assume) will be the large learning curve. I will upgrade to BlueHost PRO and cross my fingers!

    1. Hey Ryan,

      No problems mate, glad the article was a help. Would love to know how you go, I’m not running any membership sites myself so it will be interesting..

  3. Hi, Just a little question,

    You said, and I quote :-

    “In a matter of a few hours and with very minimal downtime to my sites (less than a few minutes I suspect), my sites were moved from the very crowded box it was on that previously hosting upwards of 999 other websites to a new machine with just 16 other websites.”

    How did you know you previous box had 999 sites and current has only 16 ? I would like to know these figures for my box as well.

    Please share ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Josh,

    Thank you for writing this article. I’ve been a long time Bluehost customer but recent traffic increases and some plugins I was using was really starting to slow my site down. I was on the verge of moving to a VPS, which as you know can get very pricey. After reading this article I made the jump to the pro package and I have to say that I’ve been EXTREMELY satisfied. My site performance has increased, I never get CPU throttling anymore, and the site is just flat out snappy.

    1. Thanks Paul, I read your Bluehost hosting review (thanks for the link!) – glad you found my post helpful. It’s still working out great for me months down the line as well and I’ve launched a couple more sites in that time as well.

  5. My website is one of the 999 sites and yes there are too many downtimes. I am about to transfer my 12 year-old site (with so many files in it) to Hostgator, when I found your post. I will try the Bluehost Pro Package first. If it doesn’t work, I will move to Hostgator. Thanks Josh for the review!

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Glad you found this first. It’s such a hassle moving hosts which is what led me on this course in the first place as well.

      Do come back and let us know how things pan out!

  6. Just checked this, as I am currently on Bluehost and experiencing slow responses from my site.

    Just checked using the tool you mentioned, and I am only with 10 other sites. 10. No where near the 999 you were on!

    Site5 is looking really attractive to me at the moment, as they have a London server, but I’m not sure yet. Willing to spend roughly $15 a month, but can’t find anything majorly improved to make it worth the change.

    1. Interesting Harry, sounds like you might have some other issues there. Check your SQL long queries log and make sure you don’t have any issues with the software you’re running. Changing servers wouldn’t fix something like that.

  7. I might just do this. I met a couple of Bluehost engineers at WordCamp SF 2011 in August. Very cool guys. A Perl shop! Haha! That’s cool, that’s what you need for the back end operation of a Bluehost.

  8. Hello, I am experiencing CPU Throttling in my Bluehost account.

    I have a WordPress blog and the database size is 2.49 MB, I think it’s not so much, but I recive CPU Throttling everyday and I don’t know why.

    Is upgrading to the pro plan a solution for this?

    1. Hey Juca,

      Judging by feedback from others and my own experience, it’s probably nothing you’re doing wrong unless you have a lot of long running SQL queries. You can find these in the log directory using FTP.

      If it’s just WordPress though, and you know the plugins you’re using are all ok, then it’s likely because Bluehost has loaded that server up too much and everyone’s sites are competing for resources. Upgrading to pro would fix that.

  9. Oh… I deleted the plugin, but I still get CPU Throttling in my account.

    Then I went to “access-logs” directory in the FTP and it was empty.

    What does that means?

  10. Hi,

    Wow, there are over 1000 sites on my server!

    So I think it’s not my fault, but the server is like overloaded, do you think Pro Plan will really solve this?

    1. Hi Juca,

      It worked for me and several of the other people who have commented here. I’d personally say it was worth the money. Over 6 months later and it’s still not giving me any issues and I’ve launched about 3 new sites since!

    1. It worked for me at the time, but I’m sure that Bluehost could be breaking up servers with different IP addresses.

      CPU throttling every day is a pretty sure sign the server is overloaded though, unless there is some script going wrong on your site. I’d probably check there first just incase.

  11. I just upgraded to Bluehost PRO last night after reading your article. I had been noticing some serious slowdowns when loading my sites and especially in the WordPress admin pages. Everything seems much faster today.

    Now that its been a few months for you, have you noticed any SEO improvements?

    1. Hey Casey,

      I have noticed some improvements over the last couple of months in particular. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge difference, but having a faster site definitely seems to help in the SERPS. This site alone has increased it’s traffic from Google month on month since I implemented PRO

    1. Pretty modest, I’ll admit. Normal levels for this site you’re reading are around 200+ a day. But I often get spikes of over 1000-1500 in a couple of hours and it handles it no problems.

      Really the problem isn’t the number of visits on one site, it’s how many sites you’re running on the same account with how many visits to all of them combined. I’m edging towards 20 now with about 1/3 receiving good traffic.

      In addition, it depends on what other sites are on your server and what their traffic levels are like. One busy site or group of sites can slow a whole box.

  12. Hah, thanks a lot for this post. This was exactly what I needed to know. BlueHost’s own info about their ProPackage is very humble on what it offers and I was thinking about going to another provider before seeing your post.

    Just bought my Pro Upgrade.

  13. Yeah, I know. Had to change 2x before landing on BlueHost.

    By the way, the upgrade worked really fast. I’m already seeing a noticeable difference. One question: did you have to change anything on your dns/cname records after acquiring the dedicated IP?

    I just acquired mine (70.40.200.75), but my domain name (www.fernandohrosa.com.br) is still looking up to the old dynamic address (66.147.244.229).

    I’m assuming the DNS will refresh by itself in a couple of hours but just to be sure…

    1. It should all be taken care of on Bluehost’s end because the name servers will not change. So even if you registered your domain with someone else, you shouldn’t need to change anything there.

      When I changed over, I found that the whole process was done in a couple of hours, but some of the DNS lookups took about 12-24 hours. I guess it depends on the ISP’s. But if you’re seeing the new site, then you can start working on it again because everyone else will catch up within a day anyway.

  14. Hey all good subject, i was asking the same things this week, i don’t know when i start with blue host in 2007 evrything was fine but since a year got many hacking problem, downtime etc…dunno if is worth the upgrade…i m think to move on VPs clou on Linode for 20$ the package and review are quite impressive…wht you think of the move..at work we run a rackspace cloud server is work great but still too expensive for me …Linode or blue host pro!

    1. Hey bobby, thanks for stopping by.

      I’d be really interested in hearing how you go with the VPS move as you’ve probably read in the comments here most people that read this post end up going for Bluehost Pro and have been relatively happy with it.

      I personally haven’t been hacked or had a DoS on my site while on Bluehost but I do know someone who has. The thing is that it’s not necessarily a Bluehost problem and moving to another service doesn’t stop you from being hacked. Though moving to a VPS or even Bluehost Pro would probably reduce the risk of DoS as hackers usually target a whole server which could have over 1000 sites on it causing a problem for many people, not just one person.

      Please do stop by again and let me know what you went with and how the move went!

    2. Some time ago I tried to be a smart alec and moved one of my sites to a VPS, you know, just for kicks. I quickly realized that if you want to go to a VPS, you need to be very comfortable in the terminal and you need to know how to run a web server. All my time was spent learning terminal commands and server administration and had no more time left for blogging.

      My VPS crashed constantly, not because of getting hacked or high traffic, but because I didn’t know how to administer it properly. Who knew you had to trim your log files or they’ll grow too large and crash the server? A server admin would know, I didn’t.

      In the end I went back to the reassuring comfort of CPanel. If I ever need to upgrade to a VPS, I’d go for a fully managed option that comes with a CPanel.

      Moral of the story – if you want to go VPS, make sure you know what you’re doing ๐Ÿ˜€

    3. That is a very good point David.

      Not too long ago I setup a VPS solution for a client using MediaTemple and found it was pretty good. But you certainly don’t get any support to speak of if you run into road blocks (which we did).

      Long story short, you’re right, VPS is good but only if you know what you’re doing or have someone on hand that does..

  15. It’s true, even though Bluehost denies it. I’ve asked their official support guys a few time if upgrading to Pro would help with performance on a slow server and have been told no. Then I was told that my WordPress scripts were to blame and that I should optimize my server. I knew it wasn’t my scripts or my site since it was a fresh WordPress install with almost no content!

    When I did a review to see what other sites were being hosted from this server I found hundreds of them. And when I clicked through to any one of these other pages they all had horrible load times, like 5-15 seconds per page.

    Upgrading to ‘PRO’ solved all of my speed issues overnight.

    If you ask me this is a REALLY bad thing for Bluehost. I was very close to moving away to a different host for my needs and had I not seen this page I probably would have. How many other customers are going to be turned away after Bluehost sticks their account on a horribly slow overloaded server?

    1. Hey Andre,

      I had the same line that it was my site causing the issues. Seems like their support guys have it in for WordPress, haha.

      Maybe they should be giving me shares in the company? I’m sure I’ve saved at least 50-100 people moving away to a different host for them ๐Ÿ˜€

      Glad to hear your site is now performing well!

  16. Hey Josh,
    thanks for the post, it helped me to make my decision. I used your aff link to signup for pro.

    I’ve had some minor problems transffering accounts but all and all the service is pretty good.

    Still plan to try out HostGator with CloudFlare and measure speed difference from BlueHost, before making my final decision and settling down. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks for the support Margus, glad you figured it all out. All in all the process is pretty painless.

      Do stop by and let us know how you get on with CloudFlare and HostGator.

  17. Any updates on how the Pro account is working, I am experiencing massive throttling on one of our sites on the simple plan. I am in the process of fixing problems on my end, but the site is still slow. Most of our posts are picture intensive as well. I have loved the post though, very informative. Thanks

    1. Hey Dan,

      It’s still working great for me. I’m running about a dozen sites on my account without too many issues. The only congestion I’ve had is during high traffic spikes or if I’ve been playing around with a dodgy plugin ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Josh

  18. Nice article. I’m looking for hosting for WordPress. I only have one site, will Bluehost standard load pages slowly if i’m only running one website? Would it be best for me to start off with standard to see how it works or go ahead and start with pro?

    1. Hey Candace,

      I’d say definitely start with standard, it’s much cheaper for just one website. If you’re running WordPress it will likely be quite fast enough until you reach higher numbers of visitors.’d say definitely start with standard, it’s much cheaper for just one website. If you’re running WordPress it will likely be quite fast enough until you reach higher numbers of visitors.

      Best of luck!

      Cheers,
      Josh

    2. I am still on standard. You can visit http://www.mamabzz.com to see how a heavier site loads with standard. I will be switching to pro as we have about 12 sites hosted between 2 accounts. I still prefer bluehost over others. Mainly because of their customer service. Hope this helps you decide.
      -Dan-

  19. Great article, you suggest me about pro package. I’m being in Hostgator, I want move to other hosting.

    When I chek how many domain on my shared hosting, I was shock that on my shared hosting only have 56 domain and bing.com with us.

    Do you now what hapen? Can you explain it? here my domain: blogdiar.net

    1. Hey Nadiar, I highly doubt Microsoft are using Hostgator for their hosting, so something must be amiss there. Never the less, there’s some other dodgy domains on that IP, so I can understand why you’d want to move. Bluehost is a great alternative, especially their pro plan if you’re getting lots of hits.

  20. am so glad i saw this article, bluehost had been a great team player for me since i started online in 2011, my site grew very fast because if traffic from facebook now am being throttled, am not a tech guy, i would have moved to vps and regret my action. For now i’ll have to upgrade to pro and see how things goes.

    Thanks for a great article.

  21. i just upgraded to pro and i can still see the cpu throtling issue. is there anything am suppose to do to get things right

    1. Thanks Dan, great tips.

      The other place to look is your logs folder, Bluehost automatically place a mysql_slow_queries log there which can sometimes lead to the culprit.

      Also, if you only just upgraded Adewale, it can take a few hours for them to transfer you… otherwise, contact support they’re pretty helpful.

  22. Thanks Josh and Dan, it actually took a few hour for the transfer to be effected, now my account is not being throttled but i still get error establishing databse connection, when i looked at mysql_slow_queries log i found some queries took more than 2 seconds to execute.

    Information below is what i found in the slow query:

    # Tue Sep 11 03:00:29 2012
    # Query_time: 2.667764 Lock_time: 0.001134 Rows_sent: 2898 Rows_examined: 5796
    use ………………………..;
    SET timestamp=1347354029;
    SELECT `ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_status`, `post_name`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_parent`, `post_type` FROM `wp_posts` WHERE ( (post_status = ‘publish’ AND (post_type = ‘post’ OR post_type = ”)) ) AND post_password=” ORDER BY post_modified DESC

    i can’t really read this but i guess it’s something with the post. if you can tell me where to look at am sure going to rectify this thanks.

    1. Thanks, i had been able to take care of this, it’s as a result of broken links on my site. The bigger problem now is that all the images on my site are not showing up after the transfer, it only shows link to the image and not the image.

      Thanks for this article.

    2. Awesome Adewale, glad you got the main problem sorted. Sounds like the images might be going to the wrong location or something? You’ll need to post a link.

      Glad you found the article helpful!

    1. Looks like there was a bunch of images in your root directory? Eg. this post:
      http://www.naijaurban.com/fashola-speaks-on-the-ranking-of-lagos-as-the-3rd-worst-city-to-live-in-the-world/
      .. has an image stored at:
      http://www.naijaurban.com/stealingisbad.gif
      .. which is no longer there.

      The only reason it’s displaying on the front page is because you’re using a plugin called special recent posts and it has it cached.

  23. Hi guys, thanks for a superb thread.

    How much traffic are we talking here when we speak of having ‘too much’ traffic for Bluehost’s shared servers?

    I run a site on it that is now getting in the region of 10k visitors per day on good days, and recently received an email from Bluehost saying they will soon have to move me from their service if I don’t install Cloudflare (which only ended up serving offline pages to most visitors so I had to deactivate).

    I’m thinking of going Pro but I wonder how much traffic that’ll be able to handle per day, because the last thing I want is to pay all that money and then see the site being throttled again.

    At the moment my account is being severely throttled (25,000+ seconds in the last 24 hours) so the current situation doesn’t seem viable.

    Thanks a lot for this post, great stuff and I look forward to your reply.

    1. Hey JF,

      10K per day?! That’s pretty damn good mate. I don’t have a site that gets that sort of traffic right now, but all sites combined on my account it’s probably getting to around 5-8k per day. I’m on the PRO account with that and it seems to be coping ok.

      As a first step I would suggest moving to Bluehost PRO, but if your traffic keeps growing it’s probably time to look at a Cloud VPS or something.

      Care to share the site?

  24. Hi Josh,

    Strange, I replied to this some days ago but my comment hasn’t come up yet – perhaps went to spam?

    How much traffic do you think a Pro account could handle per day roughly?

    Because I wouldn’t want to pay for 12 months Pro hosting and then find out within 1 month that it is throttling again and I have to move to a dedicated server.

    If you have email I can let you know the site for you to have a look at – we have a new article today and the site has once again crashed under the weight of the traffic, so it is definitely time for me to look at other options!

    Thanks again Josh, great work here.

    1. Sorry about that JF, my spam filter can be a bit aggressive sometimes and I get too many to check manually.

      With regard to the traffic, I unfortunately don’t have any basis for comparison, the only other person I know that had that much traffic on a regular Bluehost account was Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, but he switched to a VPS long ago.

      I’d probably get onto Bluehost support and ask them the same question, you should be able to get a bit of an idea from their reply, though it’s one of those questions that like “how long is a piece of string”.

      Anyway, anything has to be better than your current arrangement, even if it only lasts you another 3 or 4 months it will give you the time to do a proper site move to a Cloud VPS or something down the track.

      Oh and you can email me at josh at this domain if you like ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Hi Josh,

    i’m glad i found your article. I encountered the same problems many described in their comments. A reversed IP search showed me there were more than 600 Domains hosted on the shared server. My WP-Backend was painstakingly slow as was the frontend.

    After reading through the article yesterday i decided to give it a shot and this was the best decision I could make. My Site runs like a breeze now, the backend loads really fast, and when i watch my stats there’s no CPU-Throttling anymore. On the old machine I had roughly 50minutes in 24hrs.

    The transition worked flawlessly, my site was unreachable only for about 2 hours till the DNS servers were updated. However it could alreday access it with the new dedicated IP within minutes after upgrading.

    Again, thanks for collecting the information Josh and thanks to everybody for sharing their stories!

  26. Greetings, i was encouraged to upgrade my account to pro on bluehost after reading this article, i upgraded exactly september 10th 2012, CPU Throttling dropped on my account, up till now their is no cpu throtling placed on my account and all the plugins on my sites is up to date. now my account just got suspended againg, i contacted a support guy and he said because i had 54 plugins in one of my buddypress install http://www.naijaurban.com. How much is too much plugins? is luehost pro really worth it even when they don’t notify their pro customers before they suspend their business and make them loose money, what should be my next step pls.

    Thanks.

    1. Hey Adewale,

      54 plugins is quite a lot for one website, but chances are it’s probably one or two that’s spoiling it for the rest. Have you checked your slow mysql queries log? That usually gives a hint as to what is causing it. It will likely be something that is hitting the database heavily as that requires a lot of CPU and memory.

      Bluehost (whether it’s their normal accounts or Pro accounts) will not suspend an account unless something really bad is happening, but they will sandbox, or “jail it” as they call it, if it’s using a lot of CPU within a certain amount of time.

      Here’s an exact quote from Bluehost:

      “Every 200ms the throttling daemon checks to see how much collective resources your account username is requesting or utilizing. If this exceeds 7% of total system resources, we “jail” your user to a single core; Meaning you may no longer pull from the total pool of CPU resources, and are isolated to a single CPU core with other jailed users. Once jailed we allow you to use 100% of that core’s available resources. If in another 200ms window your load requests have dropped below the 7% threshold for 200ms or more, we’ll “un-jail” you and put you back with the collective CPU resources pool.

      It is completely software-controlled and the transition from CPU jailing and back is seamless. The only time CPU throttling will cause you issues is if your site is consistently being jailed, THEN using all the available CPU cycles of the core you’re jailed to.”

      If you’re still wondering about how this works they have a great article here. You should be able to troubleshoot the issue using their tips there.

      There’s always a third option as well, if your site is getting a lot of traffic it could be time to consider a VPS so you have your own server environment, but if your site is inefficient in the first place it’s probably worth cleaning it up first and see where you stand.

      Hope that helps, best of luck Adewale.

  27. Am not a code person, just a guy who stumbled upon wordpress and the whole web story started this is my ast query, i understand it’s not suppose to do more than 2 seconds can you please help me analyse this query so i could just know what’s wrong.

    # Fri Oct 19 05:11:33 2012
    # Query_time: 12.528687 Lock_time: 0.002241 Rows_sent: 3543 Rows_examined: 7086
    use …………………………;
    SET timestamp=1350645093;
    SELECT `ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_status`, `post_name`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_parent`, `post_type` FROM `wp_posts` WHERE ( (post_status = ‘publish’ AND (post_type = ‘post’ OR post_type = ”)) ) AND post_password=” ORDER BY post_modified DESC

    # Fri Oct 19 05:18:50 2012
    # Query_time: 1.556042 Lock_time: 0.000063 Rows_sent: 0 Rows_examined: 1
    use …………………………;
    SET timestamp=1350645530;
    UPDATE `wp_options` SET `option_value` = ‘a:14:{s:10:\”2012-10-06\”;i:46549;s:10:\”2012-10-07\”;i:48624;s:10:\”2012-10-08\”;i:51481;s:10:\”2012-10-09\”;i:48885;s:10:\”2012-10-10\”;i:45529;s:10:\”2012-10-11\”;i:46982;s:10:\”2012-10-12\”;i:51624;s:10:\”2012-10-13\”;i:51038;s:10:\”2012-10-14\”;i:49998;s:10:\”2012-10-15\”;i:46671;s:10:\”2012-10-16\”;i:49677;s:10:\”2012-10-17\”;i:47611;s:10:\”2012-10-18\”;i:19123;s:10:\”2012-10-19\”;i:15205;}’ WHERE `option_name` = ‘iwp_client_user_hit_count’

    # Fri Oct 19 05:18:50 2012
    # Query_time: 1.927662 Lock_time: 0.000107 Rows_sent: 0 Rows_examined: 0
    SET timestamp=1350645530;
    INSERT INTO `wp_postmeta` (`post_id`,`meta_key`,`meta_value`) VALUES (‘26616′,’dsq_needs_sync’,’1′)

    # Fri Oct 19 05:25:49 2012
    # Query_time: 4.263640 Lock_time: 0.001503 Rows_sent: 3544 Rows_examined: 7088
    use …………………………;
    SET timestamp=1350645949;
    SELECT `ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_status`, `post_name`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_parent`, `post_type` FROM `wp_posts` WHERE ( (post_status = ‘publish’ AND (post_type = ‘post’ OR post_type = ”)) ) AND post_password=” ORDER BY post_modified DESC

    # Fri Oct 19 05:35:53 2012
    # Query_time: 19.787058 Lock_time: 0.003789 Rows_sent: 3545 Rows_examined: 7090
    use …………………………;
    SET timestamp=1350646553;
    SELECT `ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_status`, `post_name`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_parent`, `post_type` FROM `wp_posts` WHERE ( (post_status = ‘publish’ AND (post_type = ‘post’ OR post_type = ”)) ) AND post_password=” ORDER BY post_modified DESC

    Thanks.

    1. Looks like it’s something hitting your posts table pretty hard.

      Do you have any plugins that would be doing that? If I recall you were using a plugin to show all your posts on the front page, correct? This could be the problem but I wouldn’t know without looking at it closer.

  28. Good post. I notice no discussion of RAM. I have a Drupal/Ubercart site that was moved to Pro because of throttling issues. When a recurring problem led me to the Help Chat, Bluehost mentioned that the PHP RAM limit on Pro is 256MB. As far as I was able to determine the current regular account limit is 128MB, so I had been using that. As soon as I upgraded to 256MB, the complex Drupal back end became quite a bit faster, even though there were no memory limit errors before. I’m sure many of you can benefit by changing this setting.

    1. Hey Orin, that’s a very good point and something people should definitely try out. I wasn’t aware that the limit was a hard 128mb for the free accounts and might have been something they instituted after I made the switch.

      Increasing the PHP memory limits to these amounts could definitely help slow executing code. I know most WordPress installs have a configuration option which is sometimes set to 32mb, especially if it was installed using SimpleScripts or similar. Boosting that up can definitely help move things along.

      Thanks for the great tip!!

  29. I <3 you for writing this post.

    I'm running about 10 sites via WP Multisite, and got slammed by Bluehost's throttling in the last three days, even though I hadn't touched/changed anything. Couldn't get to my back end at all, and timed out on the front end about 3 of every 4 tries.

    First, Bluehost said that someone else on the server was using bandwidth, then they said it was my lack of optimization, then they said server was down, blah blah blah. I was about two seconds away from ditching Bluehost altogether, even though I've had pretty good luck with them for the last five years.

    Found this post, upgraded to Pro, and voila! No throttle! Funny, I didn't have to change a thing about my "poorly optimized" WP installation…

    THANKS!

    1. Hey Moose, no worries!

      It’s a pretty familiar story unfortunately, the default answer from some of the level 1 support people seems to be that you have unoptimized SQL queries (or similar BS).

      Glad upgrading did the trick for you though! It certainly is less painful than moving servers ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Hi William,

      I you’re still getting it on Pro it’s likely it’s a problem with your site. There might be a rough script or plugin that is hitting the database really hard and causing a spike in CPU time usage.

      It’s not unheard of (I’ve had it before, even on pro when testing new plugins) and definitely worth a word with their support guys. They might be able to help you isolate the issue.

      Cheers,
      Josh

  30. Just as an added note. If you are currently using the standard hosting, it is worth noting that your IP is shared and likely shared with some explicit content sites.

    Which means there are website content filters out there that may have BLACK-listed your IP address from their users (like Comcast internet subscribers or COX or Charter or Time Warner), which includes yoru site(s). Meaning your Google search indexing could suffer as well. Where with Pro, you don’t have that problem :).

  31. I’m glad I read through this article and the experiences of others in the comments. I have had horrible speeds with bluehost for the past 2 weeks. Was thinking about switching companies but dreaded the transfer work. Giving pro a try now.

  32. Hey Josh, I too have just upgraded… based on your testimony. I have been with BH for several years and this morning I was ready to NUKE them! Slow speeds like a snail super-glued to the floor and poor customer technical support resulting in me exploding… it was their fault, then it was my fault, then it was someone else’s fault, then I needed to optimize my databases… pictures… front page… and check my plugins… all of which I did. I was seriously looking at DreamHost when I came across your blog above. I am still a little gun shy, but the testimonies are extremely good and in BH’s favor for the Pro accounts. So I am willing to try and see… is it too good to be true, or will I be happy at the end of it all? I will follow up…

    1. So far so good… nice speeds and zero throttling. Hum, seems like I wasn’t the problem then. Thanks for the head’s up and I hope that many more people find out about the Pro account before switching servers… after some research cheap shared servers are pretty much all the same. Thanks again.

    2. Hi Chris,

      Yes your experience is quite common, the support guys are good but they don’t have all that much experience identifying the real issues. It’s usually just a capacity issue and your site’s software was probably taking up more than the allotted CPU time so kept being sandboxed.

      Glad it’s all working out ok now with your new pro account!

  33. Thanks for a good read Josh. This post gave me some ideas about upgrading my own package – I think it’s time for me to do the same ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m a Brizzy boy too – but I live in the outer northern suburbs now days.

    Cheers, Mate

  34. I have a web site javajee.com, which I run as a passion for sharing my java knowledge. I am currently in standard plan. I am from India and I think most users use it in IST. Also, how can I check the peak usage times of the server. However if my site gets more traffic, I might still have to move to a faster option. But is it really needed to move to 20$ plan from a 5$ plan? Will there be significant difference.

    Any advice will be appreciated.

    1. Hey Heartin,

      I personally found there was a big difference between the two services, beside the $15 per month difference that is ๐Ÿ˜‰ The performance improvements were noticeable immediately on my sites, especially when using the back end of CMSs like WP and Drupal (like your site).

      Don’t just take my word for it though, have a read through some of the past comments here…

  35. Hi Josh, I read your blog and most of the comments. It seems like you know your stuff. I was wondering if you could help me make a choice. I own a construction company and just added a director of operations and we have been educating ourselves on SEO and site traffic…etc. We currently have a site on weebly and have been quoted a good price to recode our site to be dreamweaver, mobile & SEO friendly. I designed our site in weebly, but I have designed previous sites in DW. I plan on rebuilding it in DW, before I jump ship and find another hosting package. The company that is giving us the quote sent us a link to see their hosting package. I was wondering since you seem to know Bluehost well, could you quickly compare these 2 for me and explain it without taking too much of your time? IF you could great, if not, is there a good comparison site?
    Bluehost VS http://www.1skymedia.com/lancaster-pa-web-hosting.php
    We appreciate your time and efforts in advance!!!

    1. Hi Barry,

      I can’t give a comprehensive comparison, but just on a glance it seems their storage and bandwidth amounts are quite low in comparison to industry standards.

      That said, if you requirements are also low then it doesn’t matter too much and your business might benefit from using a geographically local host so you can get a hold of them in your timezone.

      Bluehost are based in the US too and run support hours 24/7 though and I’ve never had a problem getting a hold of them.

      Before you goto dreamweaver, you should explore other options as well such as WordPress. It can make it much easier to update and extend your site in the future and also allows you to administer from anywhere. Dreamweaver will see you tied to a single computer from which you upload changes.

      Best of luck with the site, contact me if you need any help with it.

  36. Improvement with the Pro plan was 100% noticeable immediately. Night and day for my site. No idea what the technical specs are though, which is annoying.

    And it’s not worth it if you don’t have any speed/loading issues to begin with. I was overloading the basic package, so for me it was an obvious move. For others it may be a complete waste of money.

    However, I’ve only had it for a week or so and I’m still getting occasional throttling. Not sure if I need to clean up my site or go to an even bigger plan?

    1. Hey Scott,

      Great news that you’ve had some success with the Pro plan – glad it’s working out for you.

      If you’re still getting the occasional throttling this indicates there might be a script that is taking a long time to run. It can be that it’s executing a non-optimized SQL query (the usual culprit). First place I would recommend checking is the mysql logs to see if there’s any long running queries. It might help you narrow down, otherwise get in touch with Bluehost and see if they can help you track it down.

      And yes, I share your frustration with not knowing specs but Bluehost’s answer is that it’s elastic and they’re always improving the specs on their servers so no point publishing.

      As far as bigger plans there is always their new dedicated servers but you’re talking more dollars there.

  37. I actually switched to MediaTemple. I couldn’t see spending the money with bluehost when they couldn’t give me specs. With the service I have with MediaTemple my specs can expand and they charge me for the expansion when needed instead of just shutting me down. Bluehost is not a bad company, just think they need to get ahold of a few things. Ive had no problems since switching to MediaTemple. I pay $20 monthly right now. Speed seems to be just fine as well. Support is a bit slower but more knowledgeable. Bluehost would be fine for a small site. It actually worked well fro the majority of my sites. My wife’s blog was killing the server though.
    Hope you have good luck!

  38. I just wanted to say I was with the bluehost basic package for a few years now. Kept noticing my cpanel getting slower along with my sites to the point I didn’t enjoy making new posts anymore since it took 23 secs to load each page.

    I’ve been debating on what to do for the past 2 weeks and then I stumbled upon this article. (Great write up btw!) After debating on a new host, cdn, vps, amazon web services, and everything else I took the plunge and upgraded to pro hosting. HUGE difference! The reason I stuck with bluehost was basically price difference and didn’t have to move my sites. These are hobby sites.

    I have one site http://www.minecraftbuildinginc.com that has really taken off lately. (50k unique visitors a month and rising) It loads 2000x better then before along with my other 10 domains I have (all in all roughly 75k visitors a month) and the sites have been plugging away.

    If you are on the edge about trying it you won’t regret it. Plus it only took 20 mins for them to migrate my site over to pro hosting after purchasing the upgrade.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hey Fiala06,

      That’s an awesome result and congrats on building a site up to 50k visits per month. That’s no small feat.

      I have a similar amount of sites on my account, but less traffic and I found the difference was amazing too, like comparing apples to oranges.

  39. Josh,
    Are you STILL using the BH pro hosting? Still happy with it?
    I was about to switch hosts, but am willing to try the upgrade if you’re still happy with BH pro 2 years after writing this post.
    Thanks!
    Kat

    1. Hey Kat,

      Yup still using Bluehost PRO. They also have more plans than pro now like dedicated servers, but I’m quite happy with my PRO plan, currently hosting about 10 sites on it and it hasn’t skipped a beat.

    1. Well, I just upgraded to Pro, didn’t have to pay much as I already have Site backup Pro (everyone should have this), dedicated IP, and domain privacy. Basically, it was a no-brainer.

      Now waiting for them to migrate it, I expect a leap in performance ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks, Josh

  40. My sites been running quite slowly for the last few days and as a speed freak I find it very annoying. The main issue in the analysis is the time to first byte and as I’m leveraging caching and doing all the other things that are expected. What ways can I speed up my time to first byte or find out why the site is loading so slowly?

    1. Hey Ed, there’s a number of things that can effect this, but notably time to first byte is determined by your location and your server’s location along with how fast apache on web server itself start to serve up the content. Unless you’re on Bluehost’s VPS or Dedicated Server service it’s not something within your control.

      The best thing you can do is ensure your site loads the HTML document quickly and remove any delays in that process. I suggest checking out Pingdom’s free site speed tools (http://tools.pingdom.com) which are great for diagnosing this stuff.

  41. Thanks so much for this post Josh! I’ve been a BH customer since 2005 and for the last year or so my blog and WP backend had gotten intolerably slow. I checked and I was being throttled for HOURS at a time. This is on a site with about 200 posts, 4 plugins and maybe 40 visits a day on average. I talked with 2 different BH reps both online and by phone and got the “you have too many slow MySQL queries” nonsense. I even asked outright if going to the pro account would fix my issue and was told no! (I was on a server with 999 others) I switched over yesterday, and after about 3 hours of site unavailability, the difference is truly massive! My site loads almost instantly instead of in 7-10 seconds as before, and my WP backend loads any request within a second or two instead of the usual 25-30 seconds. What an easy solution to what I thought was going to be such a hassle – thanks again!

    1. Hey Jake,

      Not a problem mate, glad you found the post helpful and you managed to correct your problems.

      As much as I appreciate the support guys as they’re just doing their job the level 1 people don’t know squat about WordPress and they always spin that line about slow MySQL queries.

      It’s funny they don’t really promote the PRO account more as it’s solved so many people’s problems as you can read here.

  42. I have been using bluehost about 1 year now. I have 2 accounts and about 8 sites and yet the speed or responsi is not the problem. What bluehost does not tell anywhere else than in the chat that normal account database table limit is 1000 tables. IF you want more you need to upgrade to pro which offers 3000 tables. So in my case throttling is not the problem because I have only Drupal sites with good caches, but database limits are getting close. Bluehost really can do it well, they get sites in using cheap prizes..and then little throttling and people upgrades to pro’s. Nicely sold hosting 20$ / month!

    1. Hey anakonda, thanks for the comment.

      Assuming you have the sites evenly distributed on each hosting account I’m surprised you’re hitting 1000 tables with 4 sites. Even if you had them all on one account I still find it strange you have 1000 tables across all your DBs.

      Most shared hosting services (I’d actually say all, but I’m sure there’s some exceptions) will set hard limits on resources. Bluehost do this for CPU and memory and now based on your info I can add database tables to that list.

      Unfortunately it’s the only way they can guarantee a certain level of performance for other customers on the same server as there can be up to 900-1000 customers per server (that I’ve observed).

      At some point the size of your site is going to be unsustainable on cheap hosting and if you’re hitting the 1000 table limit you’re going to need to upgrade from shared hosting anyhow for other performance reasons too. Shared hosting isn’t really made for large database websites as it’s really just a starter package.

    2. I am providing an online software as a service that creates a new database for every customer that signs up. Each database contains about 250 tables and you can guess where this is headed. Most of the customers are not using the software daily in the initial days but the absolute number of tables is still close to 3000. The number of concurrent users may have never crossed 10 in last 2 years. All other computing resources are also way within the limits.

      I tried to reason with Bluehost that these are barely empty tables with not more than 50 records in each table but they wouldnt listen and are about to pull the plug.

      questions I am struggling with
      1> Even if I upgrade to PRO – I will exceed the table count next time a customer signs up. Should I bother upgrading?

      2> upgrade from PRO to dedicated is a big one. I may be forced to solely based on tables and that sounds a bit unjustified expense for my business. Am I better off biting the bullet today and finding a provider who is lenient about the table count? I dont even know where to look.

    3. My honest opinion is that you may need to rethink your database model. If you run a well optimized database there’s no reason why you can’t put them in the same DB or spread it over a number of DBs, but one per customer sounds like overkill to me.

      If it’s really not possible then I’m afraid you’ll need to look at something like Rackspace or a VPS (Bluehost also do have VPS solutions).

  43. I upgraded and still what I feared has come out to be true. All the good things about the PRO account are never promised by Bluehost. They are just Josh’s observations. Reverse IP lookup of my website still suggests that I have around 250 domain names. Speed was never an issue with me. I feel like I have just brought table creating capacity and that is not a good feeling.

  44. Well, it’s been almost 4 months since I upgraded. When I first moved to PRO, my site was noticeably faster and all my connection issues (which they blamed on too many calls to the database) disappeared.

    Four months later, my site is no longer fast (you can try it by clicking my name above) but I still have no connection problems. It runs well, just too slow. Right now I don’t have time to go through another move but if I’m going to pay $25/month, I think I might be able to find something better.

    1. Exactly my feeling Kat. No strings attached truely unlimited hosting account for $7 seems to have a lot of strings attached and there is no reason to believe that PRO is not going to have any strings attached.

      One of the sites of the 250 odd sharing IP with mine turns out to be a porn site. I cant quote any blog to bluehost for violation of ToS. I am happy it is working out for some of the commenters above including Josh and wish I was in the same boat.

    2. Hey guys, these are definitely issues to raise with Bluehost support.

      Kat, based on what you’ve told me and if nothing has changed with your setup it means something on the server you are hosted on has changed. Let them know what you’ve experienced and ask them to look into it further for you.

      Jacob, if there’s a porn site on your server then you have every right to request to be moved, additionally that site is violating the ToS so if you know the address you can point it out to support and they will remove it.

      The good new is when you move to Pro you get your own IP address so there shouldn’t be any negative SEO effect.

      Also Jacob, did you give any thought to my comment on the database model? Sounds like you might be able to reduce your server resource requirements by refactoring your app. Although if you’ve seeing a lot of usage I’d still recommend a VPS.

  45. Lisa, I’ve been happy with my PRO account until just this week when I got two calls from Bluehost about overusing CPU. I have ignored the calls so far. I think they are trying to upsell me. My traffic is not higher than it was when all was going well. They recently changed the servers and now they report this problem to me. I’m annoyed.

    1. That’s not good to hear Kat. What kind of traffic are you seeing? Even the Pro account has it’s limits unfortunately, but yes, it’s probably just their marketing team proactively trying to get you to upgrade.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve upgraded to a Bluehost VPS since this article (I have lots of sites) and I’ll be writing about that experience soon.

  46. Josh,
    My traffic is light — no more than 1500 page views per day.
    The only thing that’s different recently is that I’ve added a plugin that automatically posts to Tumblr.
    Well, one other thing is that Askimet is catching a lot of spam lately.
    Kat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *