Post Update: May 1oth, 2014
I ended up staying with Bluehost for some of my hosting. Since I wrote the post below, I have had no problems with Bluehost. They seemed to have solved their hosting problems. At least for me.
Every so often, I get clients and customers from my various business who ask me what hosting company I recommend. I usually do not have strong recommendations. I have used and continue to use a variety of hosting companies, such as Bluehost, Hostgator and recently, MediaTemple. Depending on what your needs are, there are many, many good hosting companies that you can choose from. But at this point, I am taking Bluehost, Hostgator and HostMonster off the list. I recommend that you do NOT use them for your hosting.
Why I am leaving Bluehost
Bluehost has been having reliability issues for several months. At least they have with my websites. At least 5 times in the last two months I have emailed their customer supporting asking them why one or more of my sites are down. To their credit, Bluehost customer service gets back to me quickly. And they usually solve the problem within minutes. But the stress of having my sites go down really gets to me. Many of my sites are not just blogs or online brochures. They are live, ecommerce websites selling a product, such as my online Milton Erickson Conference. If one of my sites goes down at a certain moment, say after an affiliate has emailed several thousand people, I can be out thousands of dollars. "Not cool" as we used to say back in the day.
From what I can tell about Bluehost, they went on a massive campaign to get more customers and simply ran out of the technological resources to deal with them all effectively. And, as I just found out from Bluehost's latest failure, they and Hostgator and HostMonster all have the same parent company and are using one massive data center in Utah. So when one of the companies are having problems, all of them can have problems. This is something I want to avoid. So, my next step? Slowly but surely I am going to start moving my critical websites off Bluehost and to a hosting company that is more reliable, such as MediaTemple.
Past Problems With Bluehost: Throttling
After publishing the post above, I realized that I forgot to mention the "BlueHost Throttling" issues. What is throttling? I used to have issues where Bluehost told me that one or more of my sites was using too many server resources and would be temporarily blocked or throttled. Essentially, the site in question would not load and not be seen by a user. This throttling would often be for just two or three seconds but would sometimes last for 30 seconds or more. I spent all kinds of time trying to fix the issue. I would optimize my WordPress installations, reduce unnecessary database calls and, god knows what else. I do not quite remember. However, in the end, I gave up and upgraded my hosting plans to have more server resources and thus not have throttling issues. This solution has worked for about a year. And it is unrelated to the recent issues with the Bluehost going down in general. But, I must say it added to the overall feeling of hassle that I have had using Bluehost and make it that much easier to move my sites and get away from them.