My experience with iPage, siteground, Bluehost VPS and known host
I couldn't find any reviews about Bluehost VPS on this forum when I decided to go with them a month ago so I though I would try it.
I started blogging in may. Before that I had no experience with any of the web business but I have an engineering degree which includes a little bit of programming so I learned fast.
So here I was starting my first Wordpress blog.
Since I didn't know anything about hosting, I started my journey on iPage shared hosting (2$ / month) for a few months until I started having 1000 people a day on my blog and I began to learn how to monitor downtime. I then learned how to tweak a website for maximum speed, bought a CDN with MaxCDN and I noticed that I was still experiencing about 2% downtime. Being an engineer, there was no way I could stand that much downtime.
I started to look for an affordable and scalable solution. I want to be able to modify my needs as my website is growing.
The 2nd company I opted for is Siteground Pro Plan (15$ / month). They had good customer service, good uptime and good speed but I was so close to the CPU limit and there is no money back. That means that if I stayed there for more than 30 days (money back) I would soon have to upscale to their 70$/month plan as they have nothing cheaper plus I didn't like that their company was based in Panama and their support staff in Bulgaria. Once again, I had to get out of there ASAP!
I decided to opt for a managed VPS. I saw that Bluehost VPS Standard[ (30$/month or 25$ with some coupons and paying for a year) had very good features and seemed appealing with their 24/7 chat support. Things started to be tricky when I was told I have to do my transfer myself. I knew nothing about it but the technicians were willing to guide me. It took several hours... Some files failed during the transfer and it was a nightmare. (If you need an easy way to do wordpress transfers I really suggest you try the plugin "wp clone by wp academy" I wish I knew about this BEFORE!).
The VPS worked for 10 days and crashed for 4hours during the night. I noticed it was down in the morning and bluehost never gave me an answer about what happened and acted like they didn't know what I was talking about (they just close the chat in your face).
It worked again for another 2 weeks and I started to notice my response time and load time were waaay up. I had 4000ms of response time!!!
I started being mad since I pay 30$/month for a small blog and using about 10% of the resources I was expecting light speed!
I tried to contact the chat service. I got the chat closed in my face OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN! Each time I had to start my story back to zero. 2 days later their whole data center in provo crashed. They never notified me in any way of that but since I was monitoring my website with pingdom I saw that it was down for about 4 hours. I saw online that I was lucky since dozens of thousands of people had their website down and some of them for more than 12 hours.
After 2 weeks I was still experiencing between 3000-4000 ms of response time. I had a ticket opened about this problem since 10 days but I never ever got a reply (it's been 3 weeks now).
When they noticed that I was tweeting about my problems with bluehost to my thousands of followers they told me they knew I had an opened ticket (2 weeks old?) and that they would have an international specialist looking into my problem (that was a week ago but I never got my ticket answered).
So since 2 days I decided to move to Known Host - SSD-1 Plan after. I found a 10% off coupon for the SSD :0) I had a bit of problems with the transfer due to my CDN settings that were set to use APC accelerator (next time I will just deactivate my CDN before the transfer to avoid problems) but once I figured things out with them everything was perfect. They don't have chat but the email service is pretty good and I actually like it better that way (I don't get to wait 15 minutes for someone on the chat service and get it closed in my face like with bluehost). I got all my tickets answered within 10 minutes.
My server response time went from 4000ms (bluehost) to 650 ms. For now I'm pretty ecstatic with my site loading in 1.15 seconds. I'll keep you guys updated with the up-time. But so far so good! I had 4 minutes of downtime during the transfer due to my CDN problems but that's it
I hope I can go back to blogging and not worry about hosting for a while now!
-iPage (good if you have very low budget and don't care about downtime)
-Siteground : Good if you don't mind having to stay for a whole year. You might be forced to upgrade if you bust the limit and they have nothing between shared hosting and cloud hosting (70$/month).
-Bluehost : good if you don't mind being treated like **** and a fair amount of down time... (they close their phone lines and chat when they go down)
-Known Host : So far so good!!! Crossing fingers