Saturday, February 4, 2012

Upgrading to Bluehost Pro Package

I am going to share my experience of hosting on bluehost for 1.5 years and why I decided to upgrade to their PRO package.

For the first year I had no problems with their shared hosting, everything worked great but as my site's traffic went up I started noticing small downtimes, which were quite minor and a few minutes is something I would not complain about since its a shared hosting and its was still within 99.5% uptime.

Their "unlimited" package is ofcourse limted, once you start getting high traffic you would often reach the SQL maximum concurrent connections limit and/or get slowed down by their CPU throttling mechanisms.
CPU Throttling Bluehost
Bluehost's CPU Throttling graph
I would say Bluehost can easily handle 1 page request per second (or around 80,000 pageviews/day) for a light-weight site with few queries, small page size, etc.  anything more than that and you would start hitting their SQL limits. This I feel is not bad for a shared hosting, but then from the past couple of months I started seeing more downtimes due to other sites hammering the server and database. At first I thought that their CPU throttling technology would prevent this from ever happening as it used to slow down my site in the past. But I was wrong as I was told by their support staff, I knew it from that moment that I had to get out of this shared server.

I had known about their PRO package before but did not know the details, so I found how it was different from the normal package:
5 GB Total MySQL Databases (up from 3 GB)
5 GB Single Database Size (up from 2 GB)
3000 Database Tables (up from 1000)
15 Mb/s Bandwidth (up from 8 Mb/s)
2000 Max Emails/Hour (up from 750)
More CPU time and server memory (they don't mention any details on this)

Interesting, but I didn't care much about it since I hardly required all these, all I was interested in was going to a server with fewer users or that which can handle more traffic. Well, I could be going with a VPS or Dedicated, but I am running a light-weight site and I think a shared hosting with a less crowded server should easily manage that. Most importantly I wanted minimum downtime and upgrading to their PRO package seemed easy and attractive.

So, finally I decided to upgrade, before starting the upgrade I did a backup and deleted the junk so the process of upgrading would be faster. I made the payment and after about 10 minutes my site went down.
Bluehost Pro Upgrade
Bluehost Upgrade in Progress Page
I was expecting a few hours downtime so I decided to do it at midnight but I was surprised when it took just a minute.
I checked that there were around 200 sites hosted on the same server, down from about 2000, not bad - 90% less crowded. Now, it's a PRO server and you can expect other sites to be high traffic sites as well, so now I am going to monitor for a few days and see if it's worth to upgrade.


Andrew McConville said...

I'm also thinking about moving to the pro account, just for the reduced throttling, have you had good results?

Manx said...

@Andrew, yes the results have been positive so far. The throttling is very rare now, plus the page loading time has improved too.

DOuG pRATt said...

I went through the same thing with Bluehost, and the improvement in throughput is significant, and Gzip is always enabled now. I was thinking about getting a VPS at Dreamhost, but didn't want the hassle of moving the site. You're entitled to a dedicated IP, but you'll have to enable it manually.

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