We Upgraded To Bluehost VPS, So Was It Really Worth It?

On December 18th 2013 I decided to finally upgrade our hosting, going from Bluehost Shared Hosting (standard) to VPS (virtual private server).  I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the reasons why I decided to make the change instead of going with my initial strategy of finding another web host provider (moving web hosts).

Why I stuck with Bluehost?

First of all, the main reason for choosing to stick with Bluehost is because I trust them. This blog was launched in 2010 on a standard shared hosting package, and I've been using Bluehost for various other website projects ever since.  I trust Bluehost because of my good experience with them over the years. I'm personally happy with the level of service they provide, I'm happy with the technical and customer support they give me, I'm happy with the quality of their service, I'm an overall happy Bluehost customer.

The other reason why I decided to stick with Bluehost is because for me, I find the back end, the cPanel and account interface really easy to use and navigate around, I love sticking with things I’m familiar with and that’s the other reason.

The Technical Reasons For Upgrading to Bluehost VPS

Now as I said I've been using the standard Bluehost shared hosting package for the last 3 years before finally upgrading to their VPS plan, here are some of the technical reasons why I chose to do this.

Bluehost VPS Upgrade

#1 CPU Throttling Issues - If you're a regular reader of my blog you might remember a long while back I wrote a post about how my hosting account was experiencing a lot of CPU throttling issues, and Magnet4Marketing had basically outgrown the basics of what the standard shared hosting package had to offer.  The site was taking longer to load, and sometimes wouldn't load at all.  I was receiving numerous emails from regular users explaining how they couldn't access my site from time to time.

Traffic was one of the reasons why I was experiencing CPU throttling, but it wasn't the only reason.  I later on discovered that a number of culprit plugins, and the size of the Genesis child theme I was using at the time, (almost 3MB in file size), was also some of the reasons why my hosting account was being throttled, this combined with other elements such as having too many running scripts.  Anyways you can read more about that post here.

Just to quickly mention, although I made an effort to reduce the size of my site by changing to a more optimized and smaller file size theme, and deactivating a wad of plugins, this only solved the CPU throttling issues for a short period.​

#2 Outgrown Shared Plan - Asides the CPU issues, the size of my main blog had grown and was consuming more resources than ever before.  Although most of the images are hosted on Flickr (now hosted on my blog server with Bluehost), the site at the time of upgrade consisted of around 600 posts all of 1,000 words plus, and just over 30 pillar pages.  In addition, on the shared hosting package I was running a total of 11 other WordPress websites.​

Alternative Options

My initial strategy was when my hosting plan was up for renewal with Bluehost I would simply find a new host and move on.  I had considered moving over to HostGator since I also use them for my other blog over at Online Income Journal, and I've been reasonably happy with HostGator hosting services so far.  Just a few tiny things niggled me; the delayed response time from their support team on occasions, and I find the back-end NOT as simple or intuitive as Bluehost although the cPanel looks pretty much identical.  I like the fact that I don't have to log into two separate accounts with Bluehost as I do with HostGator. (One for billing and one for hosting)

Bluehost VPS Hosting Package Options

Below are the VPS plans that Bluehost currently have to offer.  I picked the Standard VPS Plan to suit my needs.  Just to make you aware that all Bluehost VPS plans are fully managed by their own engineers, which means you can focus more on what matters the most, creating content and serving your audience!

Standard VPS Plan

Renews at $29.99 Per Month

1 CPU Core

2GB RAM

30GB Storage

1TB

1 IP

Free Domain

24/7 Support

Money Back
Guarantee

$14.99
First Month

Enhanced VPS Plan

Renews at $59.99 Per Month

2 CPU Core

4GB RAM

60GB Storage

2TB

2 IP

Free Domain

24/7 Support

Money Back
Guarantee

$29.99
First Month

Premium VPS Plan

Renews at $89.99 Per Month

3 CPU Core

6GB RAM

120GB Storage

3TB

2 IP

Free Domain

24/7 Support

Money Back
Guarantee

$44.99
First Month

Ultimate VPS Plan

Renews at $119.99 Per Month

4 CPU Core

8GB RAM

240GB Storage

4TB

2 IP

Free Domain

24/7 Support

Money Back
Guarantee

$59.99
First Month

Upgrading to Bluehost VPS

So after a great deal of thought and consideration, I finally made the decision to stick with Bluehost and start the process of upgrading to their VPS standard package.

Needless to say, I was a little sceptical about the whole process of upgrading and how long it would take, and whether my sites would be facing any downtime or not, and for how long.

But after hitting the upgrade button, I simply chose the VPS package I wanted and the rest was taken care of literally within 10 minutes of upgrading.  Within 10 minutes all my sites were hosted and running on Bluehost VPS standard package!  Wow that was quick and effortless was the thoughts running through my head.

So was it worth it or did I waste my time and money? Would I have been better off finding a new web host?

hosting migration

...No!

I was convinced I made the right decision a the time, and almost two months on, I'm more than happy with the level of service I'm receiving with my new VPS plan.

Improved Site, Hosting Performance

I noticed some big improvements in all of my sites performance​, particularly for this blog Magnet4Marketing. 

Sure it's now costing me $36 per month including taxes to host my blogs, as opposed to just $11.99 per month, but the improved site and hosting performance, the additional tools and features, and the ability to control a lot more such as server, IP and disk management - A worthy investment in my eyes, and guess what? No more CPU throttling issues, slow page load times and no more email complaints that parts of my site is inaccessible.

I ran Magnet4Marketing through several page speed test tools, including one of my favourite: QuickSprout - Well actually it's an SEO analysis tool really but it has a cool page speed score feature, and you can see from the result in the image above! Page load-time for the homepage is under 1 second, happy days!  You can check out this tool here.

Increased Search Traffic

Additionally I've also noticed a small increase in search engine traffic, around 30% increase from Google Organic and 25% increase from Bing for December 2013 to January 2014.  This trend seems to be continuing throughout February too I'm happy to report.

Conclusion

I've been a Bluehost customer since the start of my blogging journey, and I've simply outgrown my standard shared hosting package.  I've been seeing gradual reduced performance and increased issues ​over the years on the shared hosting plan.

I made the decision to stick with what I know best and what I've been familiar with over the years, and upgrading to a VPS standard hosting with Bluehost was what I felt I needed to do, and as a result I've seen improvements in my sites and hosting performance.

But I can't go without saying, in addition to upgrading to a better hosting package, I've also made a lot of changes and improvements to this site including some of the following.

  • Changing the Genesis Child theme to a more optimized and less frills theme (reduced file size from 3MB to 446kb)​
  • Removed a number of performance degrading CPU hogging plugins
  • Removed all unnecessary scripts (site counters, social count buttons etc)
  • Shrinking and optimizing all image files
  • Removing unnecessary widgets from sidebar and cleaning up the footer section

So what can you take away from this post then?

Perhaps you're thinking about upgrading, and you're looking for some clarification and positive feedback from someone who made the choice to upgrade to Bluehost VPS, if that's the case, I hope this post has been some help to you.

I know that I'm just one Bluehost customer who's happy with the service recieved, of course there will be other users who don't speak so highly of Bluehost.  I wrote and shared this post about my upgrade based on my personal experience with them.

The bottom line is if you're a Bluehost customer yourself on a shared plan and are experiencing similar issues such as slow site / page loading, performance issues, CPU throttling, and if you strongly believe that you're consuming more resources on your current plan, then you have some options to consider.  Either move to a new host altogether, or if you're happy with hosting your site with Bluehost, upgrade to a VPS plan.

I'd recommend of course, upgrading :)​

  • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

    If anyone is using Bluehost VPS and would like to share their own experiences, I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you’re finding using Bluehost virtual private servers, or generally how you’re finding Bluehost services all round? Thanks :)

  • http://www.gauraw.com/ Kumar Gauraw

    Hello Fabrizio,

    VPS is always a better option that shared hosting and almost all blogs that have grown to even have a 100 unique visitors a day, need something better than a shared hosting account. I had struggled with shared hosting and moved from one host to another for a long time in search for a host who will take care of my sites.

    But it didn’t happen because they all complained that my website was consuming a lot of resources in excess.

    Well, decided to bite the bullet and first went to take my own VPS for my own sites. When that worked out well, I started to host a couple of friends and upgraded my server to even a larger one. Things kept becoming interesting and now, I have launched my own Managed WordPress Hosting company and we are doing pretty good now.

    My thought is, if you are not technically savvy and if you don’t want to deal with server problems (which become your problem (or you don’t even know how much better your website could perform when you have your own VPS server), you need to have a managed hosting rather than having a simple VPS hosting.

    Thank you for sharing your experience because it helps a lot of people know what they need to do when their shared plans aren’t working very well. And I hope I added some value to your post with my experience.

    Regards,
    Kumar

    • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Hi Kumar, thanks for your comment and you’ve certainly added some value to this post so thank you again. Yes I completely agree with your point about using managed VPS, I’m not at all that tech savvy so I’m pretty stoked that Bluehost VPS is fully managed, leaving me to focus on the important aspects of my blog development and content creation.

      Best of luck with your Managed WordPress Hosting business for the future. Please visit again soon.

  • Adrienne

    Hey Fabrizio,

    You’re probably not going to be too thrilled with my comment about Bluehost. I had been with them since September 2008 up until July 2013. For almost five years I was with them and everything was terrific. I loved how helpful they were and had so much patience with me.

    Then I started having issues in December of 2013 and I called them three times asking for help and each time they told me it was their server issues. Then comes the nasty email that they’re going to delete my account because I misused their terms of service. Everyone knows me as a very nice person and I am until you screw me.

    Luckily for Bluehost they record all their calls so they checked their logs because I noted when I had called each time so instead of deleting my account they chose to help me resolve the problem. That’s when I learned of database issues and CPU usage.

    They tried working with me for the next seven months and even upgraded me to their pro package because that was their suggestion but that didn’t solve the issues. They told me that if I went with their VPS service that they would no longer give me the customer support I was receiving now. In other words, I was on my own. Seriously? I’m paying a much higher price for your service yet you’re not going to give me the support if I need it? I’m sorry but that’s not the kind of company I want to stick with.

    I had no choice, I had to move to another company. Of course I’ve had to recently change again from the one I moved to and am now with a VPS service but it’s still too soon to tell whether this will be a good experience or not. Let’s just say it was a bumpy move and landing. They’re very responsive to help me when I need it but stupid problems happened that shouldn’t have and yes, they are to blame so we’ll see.

    My blogs are fine though and they are all up and running smoothly so for that I’m grateful. I’m glad you’ve had great luck with them but I’ll never recommend them to anyone due to my own experience with them and trust me, I was a very loyal customer.

    ~Adrienne

    • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Hi Adrienne, I love your comment because it’s an honest comment! If you experienced bad times with Bluehost then it’s good to get them out, let people know about it so that they can make their own judgement based on other peoples experiences.

      The thing is that nothing in this life is always going to be ‘house and garden’, and from time to time we’re going to face a little ‘death and heavy metal’ along the way.

      I’ve always dealt with Bluehost via their online chat support and they’ve always been very helpful, perhaps not as technically helpful as one would like, but most of the time they were able to resolve my problems, I’ve never had to really call them up, not that I’d want to living across the Atlantic anyway.

      When I enquired about their VPS service before I upgraded, they explained to me that their engineers managed the VPS plans, should I have any problems in the future, I’d receive the support needed. Touch wood however I’ve not yet had an issue with my hosting plan or account, but there’s still time I guess.

      It’s a real shame about the way YOU were treated by the company, and I’m glad you’ve managed to come out the other end high and dry and everything turned out OK.

      I just want to add something for anyone reading this: it doesn’t matter who you host with, regardless of how big or how reliable a services is, ensure you make considerable measures to BACKUP your blog and database frequently.

      Should you ever experience unpleasant times with your host or should anything happen to your account, then at least you have a backup. And don’t rely on those useless free plugins that promise to backup your blog but actually they only backup a few files and store them on your blog. Use something substantial and more professional.

      Check out my post on BlogVault WordPress Backup here: /2012/04/05/blogvault-wordpress-backup-review/

      Thanks for your honest comment and sharing your experience with Bluehost Adrienne.