Wondering if Bluehost Pro is worth the money?
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.
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:
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 is 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. 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.
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?