I’m sure many of you have noticed the crazy site behavior that’s been taking place on here over the past couple of days.

On Monday, my server which was hosted with JustHost went offline. After about 8 hours of downtime, the site finally rolled back to life. They were doing some work at their end to try to get it back up and running again.

They kidnapped my files and demanded a ransom

About 6 hours later, at around 2 or 3 in the morning, they suspended my account for using too much of the CPU on the server. I was using 14% of their CPU.

Instead of offering me the opportunity to fix it, they simply suspended my account and refused to even let me download my files to move to another host.

They told me that if I wanted my files, I would have to rent one of their dedicated servers for $150 per month. Either I had to fork over massive amounts of cash or Site Sketch 101 would be no more.

They held a gun to my website’s head and told to pay up or they would kill it.

I swept in and rescued Site Sketch 101

Here’s what I did. I opened the dedicated server and forked out $150. They then gave me access to my files.

I very quickly moved this site over to a BlueHost account and then canceled my dedicated server and my file kidnapping JustHost account.

Take the time to choose a quality hosting provider

BlueHost offers a unique solution that is perfect for Site Sketch 101 and is also probably perfect for you if you use WordPress. Instead of suspending accounts that use too much of the processor, they simple throttle it. So if the processor exceeds your allotment then it simply holds the gas pedal steady.

So if you get a massive amount of traffic the site may slow down a bit, but it will not die. This is a great solution.

I also learned very quickly that their support is amazing. At JustHost, I was forced to deal with 90% of my support issues through email rather than over the phone. At BlueHost, there was no waiting for an associate. I was immediately being helped.

They are also incredibly knowledgeable. I told them that I was having trouble with WordPress and they logged into my WordPress administration panel, looked around for about 20 seconds and then told me what the problem was. We had it fixed and ready to go in a matter of seconds. It was amazing.

In summary, if you have JustHost, I guarantee that it will be worth it to move to BlueHost. They are much better in many ways.

JustHost gets tons of negative reviews…run away from them as fast as you can!

I’ve also been reading other reviews about JustHost and I’ve been discovering that they have a major track record for horrible service.

Every positive review that I found had an affiliate link in it. In other words, the only people who had anything good to say about them were being paid to say it.

This post is full of affiliate links for both their site and for BlueHost and I’m bucking against the grain. I’m telling you the truth.

Don’t click on the JustHost affiliate links. Click on the BlueHost ones. And if you’d prefer that I not get any of the profits from your purchase there then move to their site directly by going to BlueHost.com. You won’t regret it.

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

99 Comments

  • Today’s consumer wields the ultimate power, like nothing corporates have ever seen before.

    Good on you for booting them Nick. Your post will hurt the kidnappers of your website like a French battleship off the Somali coast!

  • Eric B. says:

    I’ve also been thinking of switching from JustHost to either Bluehost or Hostgator. Not because of the CPU usage thing, but because I keep on getting emails from them trying to sell me more of their services.

    I just noticed that the unsubscribe link was hidden under a lot of blank lines that I didn’t bother scrolling down to.

    At first, I just signed up because they were the cheapest out there, because I had almost no money to spend. Once I start using my site to make enough money to pay for hosting, I’m switching to another host.

    Also, you still have tons of JustHost affiliate links all over yout post.

    • Eric B. –> Yeah. Me too. And all the “unlimited” signs that flash around their site made it seem too good to be true. And it was. But even their CPanel is filled with popups and ads for more of their products.

  • Daniel says:

    Also a good lesson as to why you need an offsite (as in off the hosting server) back up of a) your site files – themes, plugins etc and b) your sites database.

    Never let the hosting company have a gun to begin with.

    • Daniel –> That’s very true. Good point. I wonder if their is an automatic way to back up my shared hosting plan to my computer each day. That would be ideal.

      • Andrew says:

        I’ve been aimlessly searching for a plugin for full backups but nothing worthwhile exists (that I can find) but…
        create a cron job from your cpanel. First it should compress your entire worpress directory then email it to you.

        You could easily write a small script and call it with cron. Something like:

        #!bash
        tar -z /worpress-directory
        mail nick@sitesketch101.com -a /path-to/wordpress-directory

        Then setup your crontab to call that script.

        Of course you’d need to work out exactly what CLI based mail program you have available and what it’s recipient, subject and attachment parameter is then adjust accordingly.

        • Andrew –> Would something like that also compress and email the database because the database is more valuable to me than the rest of it. The files don’t change very much from day to day but the database has my comments and posts in it.

          • Andrew says:

            Nick for database management and backup you should be running WP-DBManager by Lester Chan. That will do your automated backups of the database. It will compress and mail the database as a compressed SQL file.

            But for things like the theme and plugins plus any other files there doesn’t seem to be a plugin available. That’s where my example above would come in.

            The first line just starts the shell script. Second line compresses the file. Third line emails it to you. I’d probably also add a fourth line of:

            rm /path-to/wordpress-compressed.tar

            which would delete the file after it’s been emailed, saving HDD space on the server.

            • Andrew –> How large of a file would that be? How strong is the compression? I just installed the database backup plugin and it seems to work like a charm. Since I have outlook/thunderbird on my desktop and laptop, I will now have a copy of my site’s database that is less than 24 hours old on each computer. No more worries.

              • Andrew says:

                Nick, I’ll give the shortest explaination I can for this.

                Compression and archiving are 2 different things. If you want the smallest possible file then you’d want to compress using tar then archive using gzip or bz2. In fact bz2 will give the smallest file.

                You should be able to achieve better than 10:1 total compression using .tar.bz2 though .tar.gz will give you a pretty small file.

                here are the commands to do both:

                tar -cvzf backup.tar.gz directory

                c = create, v = verbose, z = compress with GZIP, f = archive name

                OR

                tar -cjf backup.tar.bz2 directory

                In both cases to decompress replace the -c with x.

                Review this manual page to check which parameters you want to use. There is a great example near the bottom to show how you could timestamp your archives if you want to get creative.

                http://ss64.com/bash/tar.html

          • Andrew says:

            Actually I just thought of a workaround.

            You could create a small script on your local PC and call it with scheduled tasks.

            It’s a very simple script:

            1. Create a text file called FTPCommands.txt
            2. In that new file add the required commands on seperate lines:

            open http://ftp.servername.host
            username
            password
            get *
            quit

            (‘get *’ will download every file in the directory)

            3. Create a scheduled task that runs daily and calls the parameters from the txt file. Example:

            FTP -i -S:FTPCommands.txt

            (-i suppresses confirmation, -S calls the .txt file)

            That’s all there is to it. However this won’t compress the file. An alternative would be to create a cron job on the server to compress the wordpress directory. The alter the get command to ‘get wordpress-compressed-file.tar’.

            Let me know via skype if you need any explanation or help with this.

      • Eric B. says:

        I think there was a WordPress plugin that automatically emails DB backups to you.

      • Markus says:

        Hi, probably the best tool to backup MySQL automatically and preferably FTP it to another webspace (in another town or even country) is this http://www.mysqldumper.net/
        It can be run with a cron job but then the automatic takes over. It has an online configuration too. I compared several of those scripts an this was recommended to me by an expert.

        Always backup and make sure you can change hosters at any time. Personally I don`t host with mass hosters but rather small ones where I have email access to the owner if necessary.

        Actually I prefer email tickets as I can shown them that they had solved the one or the other mistake already before…

  • Dave Doolin says:

    I’ll be moving off bluehost to (probably) MediaTemple.

    Bluehost throttling is fine when you have low traffic. When the traffic picks up, a provider specializing in handling spikes is better. I’ve used bluehost for years, and will continue to use them for lower traffic blogs. bluehost is a superb entry level provider to be sure.

  • Justhost service really bad base on your article. I will also directly move to another webhosting if the service like that. How come they choose force you to pay for getting your own file. It is blackmail.

    • Dana@Online Knowledge –> It really is bad. I think they count of small clients who will never actually try to take advantage of any of their “unlimited” products. They figure they can feast off the little guys.

  • Kick in their butt! That is what they deserve!!!
    I hate these kinda hosting service. I myself run an online teen magazine and I am trying to find a decent host and decent money 😉 to expand the site…

    Nvm, thanks for sharing Nick. People Power at Work!

  • Hey Nick, what plug-in do you use to manage ads? I can’t find a decent one.

  • Bruce Teague says:

    That sinks that you’re out 150 bucks. I feel an urge to move a more recent backup to my computer from my server for some reason… Glad you’re back.

    • Bruce Teague –> I’m glad to be back. Thanks. At least I got the $150 back after I canceled the account. So I guess that I never really lost anything except for the good pleasure of being able to be on here fellowshipping with everyone about blogging.

  • Digigirl says:

    Wow, bet you’re glad that debacle is over with! I had a similar (even worse) experience a couple of years ago. My then host – Jatol – just skipped town. That’s right, just turned off the servers and went away. No warning, no contact, no nothing! It was awful! I switched to Hostgator then and have had no problems with them since. But, I have low traffic sites so far, so I don’t know how they would handle a major spike.

    Glad you were able to get it fixed and over to a better host. After my experience with Jatol, I learned to always back up my site!

    Hmmm… that reminds me, it’s been a while…

    • Digigirl –> Oh my goodness! I can’t believe that happened to you. That is absolutely horrible. I can’t even imagine that. What was their name? I wonder if I had ever heard of them.

      • Digigirl says:

        It was Jatol – Jatol.com. Smallish host, I had been with them for about 10 years! I couldn’t believe it, but that’s really what happened. Dude just turned off the servers and skipped town.

        Let’s just say that I learned my lesson about backing up religiously! 🙂

  • Evan Kline says:

    Sounds like every blogger’s nightmare. Finding a host is such a roll of the dice. I had a host one that had great (non-affiliate) reviews, and was great for a year or two. Then, they really oversold the servers, and things got bad all around. It was just my personal site there, so I never got around to moving, but fortunately they were bought out and things have improved dramatically.

    I do have local backups of my database and server files every night, and even though I test the backup every now and then, you never know how reliable a backup will be. I hope I never have to find out.

    Your situation is also a great example of why it isn’t a good idea to buy a domain name from the same company that does your hosting (sounds like you did the right thing if you were able to move it). That way, you can just point your domain to a new host, and upload a backup file, and be off and running. If the same company has everything, it is easier for them to hold you hostage.

  • Arisu says:

    At the end, it´s their lost, instead of supporting their successful customers, they try to get advantage of them, and that´s awful! But apparently they don´t mind the bad publicity… let´s see if they keep thinking that way when they have no clients.

    It´s good to have you back, Nick!

    • Arisu –> Thanks. It’s good to be back. Unfortunately they will always have customers because they pay people to say positive things about them. All the good reviews that I read about them had affiliate links attached to them. Which means they were getting paid to say good things about them.

      • Andrew says:

        Nick with the latest FTC guidelines on full disclosure for paid posts, I think we’ll be seeing either a lot less positive posts or a lot of blogs disappearing.

  • ZXT says:

    I’m glad it’s over Nick.

    That’s really bad bad bad move from JustHost. they can get your $150 but in return we will tell every blogger out there how bad their service are.

    I was about to sugegst Bluehost too because I use BlueHost but you already mentioned HostGator on your Tweets.

    Anyways good thing its over now.

    • ZXT –> I did get my $150 back. I’m thankful for that. I was originally going to switch to HostGator, but I chatted with BlueHost for a little while and their CPU throttling was so much better than suspending accounts for exceeding the limits. With the cache program that I use on here, my throttled account will still be able to handle thousands of unique hits per day.

  • Eric B. says:

    It seems that Blog Mixer is also suspended. Will you be moving that to another host, too?

    • Eric B. –> Blog-mixer is kind of on the back burner right now. It’s a lower priority for me. I was very worried about Site Sketch 101 and so I still have blog-mixer sitting in a file on my computer here. I should hopefully get around to it soon.

  • Andrew says:

    Wow, and all this on your birthday no less!

    Nick, for future reference (and this may not be accurate for US) but unless it was stated in the terms and conditions that you agreed to then the demand for the payment is border line extortion.

    Having spent more than a dozen years in IT both in network and server engineering, this clearly spells of a company that knows nothing about hosting.

    A properly configured VPS or Shared server would already have been rate limited in CPU & memory utilization as well as bandwidth.

    If this was a shared hosting account then its the hosts obligation to maintain the limits not yours. Therefore they have no grounds to suspend your account and hold your files to ransom for such an event.

    Well that’s how it works down under.

    Anyway, so glad to hear, and see that everything is back online. I panicked a little when I kept visiting and there was no sitesketch.

    • Andrew –> I really don’t know a lot about hosting, so I’m sure that you know a lot more about it than I do…especially with your 11 years of IT experience to my…virtually none. You are probably right. Extortion is the first word that came to my mind as well. I wish that there was something that I could do to make sure that nobody else goes through what I went through. It was pretty horrible.

  • Typhoon says:

    I am amazed to see that Just Host is such a bad Hosting Company even it is ranked among the best by many sites including wordpress.org.
    Don’t know what’s the glitch in there.

    • Typhoon –> What’s funny about it is that all I was running on that account was a WordPress installation. With all the images and everything the total was about 40mb. It’s not a very large amount of that server that I was using. I think it’s sad that WordPress burned through their CPU allotment.

  • jack says:

    I like to be in control of my own server, so I use a VPS. It doesn’t cost much more than shared hosting & you have a control to do anything you want. I use the budget VPS 2 ($8.85 per month) from DME hosting. Running your own VPS takes a little more technical knowledge, but the freedom makes it worth learning a little!

  • InternethowBlog –> Thanks. It really was scary. At least I got my money back when I canceled the package. So I got my $150 back. I’m glad for that, at least.

  • Good to know about JustHost and the crazy hostage situation. I currently use GoDaddy for hosting and have been thrilled with their service.

    Bluehost was always my backup plan. Hopefully I’ll never need them but if I do, it’s good to know that others are happy with them.

  • Loyd says:

    I used Bluehost for a web site which was using high CPU %. After they started using CPU throttling my web site came to a crawl. They eventually suspended my site.

    I hope this doesn’t end up happening to you.

    I am now using Media Temple and my site runs great.

  • David says:

    When I could not get access Site Sketch 101 I started to panic but am so glad that you are back. Thanks for the word up on Blue Host and I will spread the word about JustHost to other new bloggers.

    • David –> Thanks, my friend. I received so many skype calls, GTalk messages, and emails from readers here letting me know that I was missed. The community outpouring of support was absolutely terrific.

  • Stefan says:

    My blog went down as well today, but in my case I was the only one to blame. Apparently I didn’t pay for it the upcoming year and therefore the cancelled my site. After a few minutes it was solved though.

    I will try to mention this post every time someone mentions JustHost.

  • Ron Boracay says:

    Woah Nick, glad your site is up and running again!. I almost signed up with JustHost few days ago until I reach several negative reviews about them.

  • Chris Cline says:

    Wow what jerks..
    Oh well there loss and we are glad you are back up and running…

  • What a bunch of chumps. What they did is Extortion.

    Congratulations on moving to greener pastures.

  • Mac Jones says:

    Sorry to hear about you’re episode with JustHost. I almost went with them a few months ago but fortunately managed to tease out the false (positive) reviews and realise it might not be such a good move. Glad to see you got your $150 back as well.

  • Mik says:

    Glad you got back online and that you got the $150 back, bet they are kicking themselves for another lost client.

  • I already thought it, the provide a very small price for a very dedicating service. JustHost is a scam.

  • Steve says:

    I can’t say enough good things about BlueHost. I’ve been with them for a few years and have never had any issues with their service. I’ve tried others but always end up migrating back.

    • Steve –> Thanks for that review. I think that I’m going to really enjoy them. Plus, I recently found out that they offer a high CPU plan which allows 3 times as much CPU usage before they begin throttling back their service. I’ll probably end up going to that.

  • Alex C. says:

    Sorry to hear that!
    I am on hostmonster.com and it has been great ever since the beginning! I’ve also had several attacks, ddos attacks, which were handled pretty good! And throttling is working out really good!

    Also they have great customer support. Less than 1min.

    But mediatemple is the ultimate hosting service. I think that a site like this one would be great on mediatemple!

    • Alex C. –> I’ll probably end up going with a company like them ultimately, but I’m not there just yet. I’ll definitely be moving soon though. I use a caching program that really seems to work miracles. I absolutely love it.

    • ZXT says:

      Hostmonster is the same as Bluehost.

      Bluehost actually created HostMonster for reason I am not sure. That what the chat support told me before I signed up with Bluehost.

  • Nicholas,

    I too have had a great experience with Blue host on all levels. I have used their live support a number of times. Their packages are very reasonable and full of perks.

    Congrats on the growth of your blog.

    Brian
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Inspirational Spring Cleaning =-.

  • Emm says:

    Oh wow. I alsmot moved over to JustHost from Bluehost because I was looking for an English provider. I don’t know if they are English but they quote in £. In the end I just renewed with Bluehost. Their service is excellent and they were able to give me support from the US even when I was in South Africa so I don’t know what I was thinking wanting to move.

    I have never experienced downtime with Bluehost although I believe some people have.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: New York day 5: The Museum of Modern Art =-.

  • Vikas Gupta says:

    I did a lot of research recently on hosting and have linked your article to mine.

    This is how Justhost irritates. You can get 20 or 50 per cent discount by closing the window while registering. A “live virtual agent” will appear [while also irritating you] and offer you 20 to 50 per cent discount [I tried it more than once; they’ll always tell you ‘it’s an only today’ offer!. I was initially impressed but they really appear to be crooks!

    I think Nearlyfreespeech, a small orange, Dreamhost or even a small Irish web host vade.ie are nice people! Bluehost servers appear a bit slow to me. I have no technical knowledge. I just feel that sites hosted on Bluehost load a bit later but I may be wrong.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Diwali Celebrations in my hostel and the JNU campus: A Photo Essay =-.

  • Vikas Gupta says:

    I am surprised why Justhost has not spammed here by now! They do write nice articles about themselves everywhere! I wonder why WordPress recommends them on their hosting recommendation page!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Diwali Celebrations in my hostel and the JNU campus: A Photo Essay =-.

  • Vikas Gupta says:

    You can write a post on how to move your blog from one host to another [highlighting all the technical issues and how-to]!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Diwali Celebrations in my hostel and the JNU campus: A Photo Essay =-.

  • Sernan says:

    Its a good thing that i remembered this site and this post as i was looking for a webhosting for a friend, i was on this site that referred me to “JustHost”, said to my self, i think i have read an article regarding this hosting company… opened my sites blogroll and yes… an article by Nick… You just saved my life! 🙂

  • Vikas Gupta says:

    Look what DreamHost did to a guy [he even lost 900 posts and his tech site was down for a week!]. You can even do a post on it!

    p.s.: Your customized cancel subscription to comments page is very nice!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Urdu Hai Jiska Naam: Get a free DVD set on the story of the Urdu Language =-.

  • […] You can get flat 50 per cent off on Justhost [a big company] by closing the window while registering. A “live virtual agent” will appear [while also irritating you] and offer you 20 to 50 per cent discount [I tried it more than once; they'll always tell you 'it's an only today' offer!]. Update: Do not go to JustHost. They are not good hosts. Read more here. […]

  • I am shocked with this information. Because I am about to buy their hosting plan and as I about to close the purchase the process, they sent me an email that they will give me a 50% off discount.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: A Complete Rival of WordPress Thesis Theme! =-.

  • Steph says:

    Okay, let me say, for the record JUST HOST SUCKS!!!

    They reel you in with seemingly incredible prices for hosting, but everything is overpriced. $15 for a URL, $10 for domain privacy… ugh!

  • Pinar Tarhan says:

    Thanks for giving me this link. Ok, now I am freaking out a little as I host my site on Justhost.

    so when do you change hosts, before your membership with the other host is over? I know you had to change it immediately but what’s your advice for the rest? and while changing hosts, what happens to the site? it never gets downtime?

    Thanks for all the tips,
    Pinar

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