Bluehost Review – Fall Promotional Sale – Cheap Web Hosting, Cheap Renewal
I have been a (happy) Bluehost customer for almost a year now – until renewal time that is. A week or so ago I got an email from Bluehost billing department claiming my hosting account could not be auto-renewed due to a valid credit card information missing. Well, Duh? Of course valid credit card information is missing! I never provided Bluehost my credit card information in the first place; I paid via PayPal!
And as it turns out, me not providing them my credit card information was a good thing…
OK I said; I will renew my account manually, no big deal. But I was quite annoyed when I found out that renewal pricing is much higher than Bluehost sign-up pricing – currently (October 2011) $3.95 per month (Fall Promotion Sale, for 24 or 36 months hosting). The normal renewal pricing is $8.95 for 12 months, $7.95 for 24 months or $6.95 for 36 months. This, of course, is part of their business strategy – in the fiercely competitive market of low cost shared hosting providers they want to sign as many new customers as possible by offering a low initial monthly price and then charging a premium price for the renewal. Not only they charge a high renewal price. By default, they do it automatically by charging your credit card about 14 days before your account expires without informing you first.
Needless to say I was annoyed by all this. I would have to pay the high renewal price (no coupons available for this one) or close my account and move the domains. I did a quick research for other hosting providers, but none of the reputable ones seemed to offer a competitive price and none could matched their Fall Promotion Sale price of $3.95.
At that point I started seriously thinking about creating a new Bluehost hosting account and moving my domains from the existing account. Yes, It would be annoying and a bit of work, but I’m a man of principles (and I was about to save 50% or $96 for a 24 month hosting). I already searched the web to see how hard & cumbersome this will be. I found that moving the domains to new hosting account (I do not use Bluehost as registrar) should be fairly easy, since there was no DNS change involved. Some work would be involved though (backing up WordPress databases, downloading all files via FTP, uploading the files to new account, setting-up & restoring MySQL databases for WordPress, etc.) Only thing I was concerned about was possible down time and moving the email accounts (data would probably be lost since I only use Bluehost web mail for those) – I assume I’d have to forward the important messages to some other account and then forward them back to the newly created old accounts.
Then, on Oct 24 2011 I checked bluehost.com and saw the footer text I missed before (or wasn’t there before – not sure):
“*Fall Promotion Sale Official Policy: Customers who have purchased a hosting account within the last 30 days may contact our billing department to price match current sale pricing. For accounts older than 30 days, customers may purchase extended time for their hosting account at the sale rate ($4.95/mo to extend the account for a year, $3.95/mo for 2 and 3 years).”
And so I did. I called the Bluehost Billing department, renewals division and they enabled an option in my cPanel for 24 or 36 month hosting account renewal for $3.95. I renewed my account for 3 years for $142.20 instead of the ‘normal’ renewal price of $250.20. I saved a cool $108 without having to go through time consuming and risky creation of a new account and moving of data 😉
The whole renewal procedure was not without glitches, but most were on my side. I must say that all Bluehost support persons were very friendly, helpful and professional. I know this sounds like paid advertising, but it is not. I am in no way affiliated with Bluehost, except being their (paying) hosting customer.
I used Skype to call support. I didn’t wait for the recorded voice to finish and pressed ‘1’ to reach Sales (not billing). I didn’t have the correct credentials ready (last 4 digits of account password). I Rang back, this time trying to reach billing and was on hold for about 10 minutes (luckily $0.02 per minute from EU to USA is really cheap), but when the person on the other end picked up, they did not hear me (network issues on my end). I rang back sales and they tried to convince me this promotion is for new customers only. I asked them to read the footer on their homepage. I waited a couple of minutes for the support person to consult his manager. He got back to me and transferred me to billing, who transferred me to renewals and 30 seconds later I had the $3.95 renewal option in my cPanel.
I was finished in 20 minutes. Were it not for me not having my password ready or my network issues, I’d be finished in
Update Oct 26 2011:
Looks like Bluehost removed their Fall Promotion Sale offer around noon today. The footer text is no longer there and normal pricing for new accounts is now $5.95…