This site’s web hosting history has a somewhat colorful background.
It all started back in May 2011, when I purchased web hosting through Bluehost for my first ever site – a niche site about child modeling (seriously). I used Bluehost for some time with no complaint, but a relatively disastrous customer service experience led me to leave Bluehost and move onto Westhost.
Westhost served me well for many months, but after a while I felt it was time to upgrade my hosting to a managed service – WebSynthesis.
I have been a happy WebSynthesis customer for many months, yet now I am going full circle and moving all of my sites back to Bluehost. I have more than one motivation for doing so, and I’m going to explain all of them in this post. If you have an interest in finding out why I now rate Bluehost so highly (despite past issues with them) or are interested in the affiliate angle, keep reading.
Sleeping With the Enemy
I’m not going to avoid the fact that I have a bit of a history with Bluehost. To be honest, I don’t remember the specific particulars of the incident that led me to leaving them, but I do recall that this blog was down for a day or so, and I wasn’t happy about it.
So why move back? Well, it’s a lot to do with what I have learned about web hosting since leaving Bluehost. You see, I don’t really have anything but good things to say about Westhost. They’ve served me pretty well, all things considered.
However, I can’t say that for everyone who has bought Westhost hosting through my affiliate link. In the 12+ months I have been recommending Westhost, I have received 2-3 emails from people who have had a negative experience. Most notably, one of those people is a good friend of mine, and I feel pretty terrible that I let her down.
But these complaints don’t make Westhost a bad company, per se, just as much as my experience with Bluehost doesn’t. What I realized is probably plainly obvious to most: no one gets it perfect every time. Even the best company in the world doesn’t always excel, and poor customer experiences and complaints are part of being in business. The key is in minimizing the number of poor customer experiences and dealing with them exceptionally well when they do occur.
And that brings me back to Bluehost. It had always bugged me a little that I wasn’t hosted with them, since they are WordPress.org’s most recommended provider and are pretty ubiquitous throughout the blogosphere. While I did have a bad experience, they do set the gold standard.
Furthermore, I did some digging and discovered that Bluehost’s customer service is much improved since I was a customer. I spoke to some customer service representatives and confirmed this to be the case, anecdotally speaking. It doesn’t hurt that their website has had a huge overhaul and is now far easier to use too.
So, perhaps Bluehost isn’t so bad after all…
Something else was bugging me too – I had websites all over the place.
Well, that’s actually an exaggeration, but my hosting situation was a bit of a mess. I had a handful of sites with WebSynthesis, and the rest (plus all of my email accounts) on Westhost. I was paying for two lots of web hosting, and I had begun to suspect that I didn’t really need the premium hosting that WebSynthesis offers.
I should say at this point that I have nothing but good things to say about WebSynthesis – they have offered a stellar service with top notch support. However, they don’t offer the full package. Their service is very geared towards WordPress web hosting and WordPress web hosting only, and they don’t offer many of the conveniences that companies like Bluehost do (such as email accounts, easy sub-domain setup, and plenty more). Ultimately, I’ve discovered that their service isn’t really practical for my needs.
I felt that it would make sense for all of my sites to be in one place, with one company that had the capacity and flexibility to facilitate my sites as they are and as they will be in the future (i.e. with greater traffic). Put simply, I wanted a simple solution that I could set and forget.
For the reasons I have already mentioned (brand ubiquity, much improved service, etc.), I decided that Bluehost was the way to go.
About My Bluehost Package
I mentioned above that I want a service that can adjust to meet the developing needs of my sites, and that is one of the main reasons I have chosen Bluehost.
I actually heard from a Westhost representative once that their hardware is rather outdated. Meanwhile, Bluehost seem to be on the top of their game.
They offer three main packages:
- Shared hosting
- VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting
- Dedicated hosting
I rang up Bluehost and a customer service representative happily spent 20 minutes discussing the options I had. Based upon the information I gave him (anticipated traffic levels, etc.), he recommended that I sign up to the Pro shared hosting plan at $19.99 per month. Based upon what we had discussed, that seemed like a good solution to me.
What I loved about this was that there was no attempt to push me onto a more expensive plan. I was certain the “budget” shared hosting option (at $4.95 per month) wasn’t going to be sufficient, but the next step up was. And best of all, if I feel that my sites are outgrowing the hosting plan, I can discuss my options with Bluehost and step up to the next level.
My sites could get absolutely enormous and Bluehost will still have me covered. I’ve got plenty of other things to worry about rather than web hosting, so the peace of mind that I have someone on the other end of the phone ready to discuss my options with me and move quickly is really rather comforting.
It bears mentioning that at this point in time, Westhost is my top affiliate earner, bringing in around $1,000 on average per month. But because I am moving to Bluehost, my affiliate allegiance will be moving too.
In doing so, I am actually taking a drop in affiliate earnings in terms of commission per sale. However, in keeping with my ethical approach to affiliate marketing, I feel that it only makes sense to promote the web hosting company that I use myself.
By the time you read this post, my Resources page will have been edited to place Bluehost at the top of my hosting recommendations list. Westhost and WebSynthesis will still be there, as they are both companies that I have nothing bad to say about, but Bluehost now takes center stage.
In short, I don’t know how this will affect my affiliate earnings. I hope that Bluehost’s brand ubiquity and apparent investment in optimization to obtain the best conversion rate will benefit me, but only time will tell.
I feel that this is a long term play for me. From an affiliate marketing perspective, I hope that Bluehost and I can have a long and fruitful relationship, and that I can refer many future happy customers to them.
Making the Big Move
As we speak, all of my sites and email addresses are being moved from my two hosting accounts to Bluehost. This is all being done in the background, totally seamlessly, because I choose Bluehost’s Site Transfer service.
To be honest with you, I don’t want the headache of figuring out how to move everything myself, so getting it all done on my behalf is a godsend.
That service has been pretty fantastic too – although there were some initial teething problems in terms of determining which sites were where, it’s now all under way. By the time you read this, I may well be hosted exclusively on Bluehost, with my other accounts kissed goodbye and shut down!
The Commercial Perspective
I know very well that web hosting affiliate marketing can be very lucrative and I certainly don’t want to hide that fact. With commissions of potentially $100+ per sale at stake (depending upon who you work with and what number of sales you can offer), there’s a lot of scope for me to increase my income through improved affiliate marketing.
However, that doesn’t detract from what the simple policy of honesty and transparency that I always use as the basis for my actions in business. That’s exactly why I’ve written this post.
I mean, let’s be honest – if I felt that Bluehost was a better affiliate prospect, it would have been far easier for me to just slap a new link up on my Resources page and call it a day. But as I always aim to do, I want to do this the right way.
In making this move, I hope for two things:
- A consolidated and improved hosting experience with room for limitless growth
- Improved affiliate earnings
But I have been comfortable in making the move because I know it is all for the right reasons. I am recommending a product that I use and I am happy with. If that were ever to change – if I ever felt that Bluehost wasn’t the best solution for web hosting – you would be the first to know about it. That’s how I work and how I always will work, and I’d like to think it’s one of the ways I set myself apart from the crowd.
If you’re interested in Bluehost, please click here to find out more. As always, I appreciate your support!