The discontinuance of ticket support by Bluehost appears to have gone unnoticed by us for some time having occurred in July 2016. It is, however, a relatively significant move by Bluehost as their ticket response times could be measured in days and weeks, rather than hours.
First, a little background. Bluehost used to be good, and by that, I mean superb. They were the “go to” hosting provider for many years, with their excellent support highly praised by nearly everyone. Then they were bought by EIG in 2010, although this did not go public until early 2011.
EIG, or Endurance International Group, have for many years been synonymous with buying up web hosting companies causing those companies to lose the “spark” that they once had. In some cases, the purchase has resulted in a meltdown of the support and ended up in the sacking of all sister existing staff, as in the case of Arvixe and Site5. While Bluehost had lost that unique spark within a year or two of its acquisition by EIG, it wasn’t until the last couple of years that things started going wrong.
Many of the EIG brands utilize the same management and support teams, and over the last few years their online chat support was US-based, but their ticket support was based in India. It appears to be the ticket support in India that was responsible for all the delays, with their online chat side of things still performing relatively well. With the new acquisitions, and with the transfer of much of their ticket support to
With the new acquisitions, and with the transfer of much of their ticket support to India, it appeared to be the perfect storm, with the long delays in responses to tickets being exacerbated by problematic migrations and follow-up tickets asking about the lack of responses.
Fast forward to July 2016, and the news started to leak (Bluehost made no official announcement) that they no longer offered ticket support, with some users finding a message when trying to create a ticket revealing the change:
The message states:
With careful deliberation, we’ve made the decision to discontinue ticket support and focus our best efforts on providing personal and direct support by phone or chat.
Others, who, having had issues finding out how to create a ticket asked on Twitter:
Hi, yes we've made the decision to focus our efforts on providing timely solutions with personal direct phone/chat supprt.— Bluehost Support (@bluehostsupport) July 8, 2016
Has the level of support improved?
Just before publishing this news article, we released an update to our Bluehost review detailing the change in support and providing more in-depth discussion on the current levels of support. We found that the support has significantly improved since we last reviewed the diabolical ticket support situation and that while you may still have to wait for up to an hour to chat to someone, it is much better than waiting for weeks for a ticket response.
That being said, having to wait an hour or more for an online chat, with often no way to have continuity when dealing with issues, like you can in a ticket, it is still pretty terrible compared to their competition.
There are signs, however, that they are desperately working to fix the problem. In January 2017, Bluehost announced it would be closing its office in Orem, Utah, laying off more than 440 workers in their accounting, customer support, human resources, and training. It will be consolidating its support staff in its Tempe, Arizona office to improve its customer support. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end in a similar way to the Arvixe debacle.
We want to like Bluehost, and all of their other brands, but currently they make it very difficult. If they can just get their live chat support wait times down to a few minutes, at most, we may even find ourselves recommending them again (we did recommend them several years ago), but for the moment we can only suggest to actively avoid them.
About the author
Jonathan Griffin. Editor, Hosting Expert, SEO Developer, & SEO Consultant.
Jonathan is currently the Editor & CEO at The Webmaster. He is also an SEO Developer offering consultancy services, primarily to other web development companies. He specializes in the technical side of SEO, including site audits, development of SEO related features, and site structure & strategy.
In his spare time, Jonathan has a passion for learning. He regularly undertakes professional courses on subjects ranging from python, web development, digital marketing, and Advanced Google Analytics.