I Love BlueHost!Update July 8th, 2011: I'm so delighted by the high volume of visits that this post attracts on a daily basis. I wanted to give an important update to this post to let you know that I am no longer, personally, using BlueHost for my hosting.

With that said, please understand, I STILL LOVE BLUE HOST for what what it is, a low cost shared hosting provider. I still believe that a hosting account with Blue Host is a perfect fit for 98% of all the bloggers and podcasters that I have had the joy of interacting with. So, while my own online business has outgrown the shared hosting services, I still highly recommend Blue Host for a majority of Bloggers and Podcasters.

On February, 10th, 2011, I released Episode 196 of Podcast Answer Man where I shared that I had, indeed, outgrown the shared hosting environment. To hear about how and why I moved over to a ServInt Hosting's VPS hosting account, I would strongly encourage you to listen to that episode starting at 35.5 minutes into the episode which you can do by clicking here.

Since mentioning my move to ServInt Hosting, I noticed that several other folks, who had also outgrown shared hosting for their online pursuits, had signed up using my ServInt affiliate link. In Episode 208 of Podcast Answer Man, I shared THREE VERY IMPORTANT things that anyone who is looking to set up an account with ServInt should consider. This advice starts exactly six minutes in to that episode which you can listen to by clicking here.

Original Post From March 28th, 2010
I have made mention, in a few recent episodes of my Podcast Answer Man podcast, that I have become a true fan of working with Blue Host as a hosting provider for my clients. I've been using Godaddy.com for several years now and have been happy with them for the most part. I've always considered switching to another hosting provider to be too much of a hassle because of the number of websites that I host.

I also shared, in a recent episode, that I am about to launch a brand new sponsored show called Virtual Assistant Podcast. Since I've been in the market for trying new things, I decided that I would go ahead and set up this podcast on a hosting account with Blue Host.

There are a number of reasons why I wanted to do this. One is that they have an affiliate program that is out of this world. For each person who uses my Blue Host Affiliate Link, I earn a very generous commission. Since I've signed up and started to promote Blue Host, I've had over one hundred people sign up with them and I've seen the money coming in as a result. (Side note added on November 18th, 2011: All but one single person has been 100% satisfied with the service that are receiving from BlueHost) I have felt confident in recommending Blue Host because of the great support I have received when helping clients that launch their podcast on their hosting platform.  Of course, I feel there is something about saying, not only do I promote their product/service, I'm also a client.

Another reason I love Blue Host is because I've noticed that they have lightning fast ftp servers. I do a LOT of file transfers via ftp. I've been doing a large number of Video Tutorial Online Training Products which I store on my own hosting account. I thought it would be of benefit to me, by way of time savings, to have a Blue Host hosting account where the files would upload to my server in half the time it takes with GoDaddy.com.

Of course the price of BlueHost is pretty comparable to what you would pay with a lot of other shared hosting web hosts out there. However, with Blue Host, you get a lot with the low price of $4.95 per month. They now offer UNLIMITED Hosting Space, UNLIMITED File Transfer (Note: See Note At The Bottom Regarding Putting Podcast Episodes In Your Hosting Account), the ability to host an UNLIMITED number of Domains with a total of 100 My SQL databases included. What this means is that I can run up to 100 WordPress Installations!!! Also, Blue Host gives you 2,500 POP/Imap Email Accounts whereas Godaddy charges extra for email accounts.

Of course none of this means anything without great customer support. This is another reason i had stayed with GoDaddy for so long. Sure, my sites went down about once every 18 months. Sure, my ftp transfers were slower than snot running down your face on a cold winter's day. Sure, it could take 15 minutes to an hour to process any type of change to my hosting account such as adding a new ftp user. However, I stayed with GoDaddy for so long because they had a support staff that I could reach by phone any time of day.

When I read that Blue Host advertised “24/7 Superb/Responsive Sales/Support,” I was a bit skeptical. However, over the course of working with them on a large number of client projects (Update 11/18/2011: Well over 100 clients and counting now using BlueHost), I am convinced that their customer support is equal to, if not better than what I have had with Godaddy. Every time I have needed to call Blue Host support, I've got the answer I needed within just a few minutes of the first phone . They also have a convenient support IM/Chat service that is very convenient for those real quick questions.

So sure, I set up my Virtual Assistant Podcast website with Blue Host. Though it got me thinking. I'm doing all these digital training products, I should really switch this Podcast Answer Man website over to my new Blue Host hosting account. So I simply went into my hosting account dashboard with Blue Host and first installed a new instance of WordPress in a folder called /podcastanswerman. I quickly used my newly purchased Thesis Theme to create the new website. I then added an “Addon Domain” for PodcastAnswerMan.com that I mapped to the /podcastanswerman folder. Then, I simply went into Godaddy and forwarded my nameservers to my Blue Host account. (Note, I could have ported my old site over, but really wanted to play with the new theme.

End result? Yesterday, at this time, I was serving this website from GoDaddy and today I'm serving it off of BlueHost. I feel like the load times are slightly faster and the ftp upload transfers are a LOT faster. I'm a super happy camper!

Anyway, I know that you guys really enjoy it when I share this behind the scene stuff.  Those of you who listen to my podcast(s), you know that it takes a lot for me to dull out endorsements of other company's products and/or services. I would fully recommend Blue Host for your hosting account needs.

For full disclosure reasons, I want to let you know that all the off site hyperlinks in this posts are “Affiliate Links.” If you do make a purchase after clicking the link, I do financially gain as the result of your purchase. This is not “WHY” I wrote this post. However, It sure is a great way to help support the content that I produce, in the event that you were looking for a hosting account to build your site with.

WARNING TO PODCASTERS!
It does not matter who your web host is. YOU SHOULD NOT host your .mp3 files for your podcast on your web host. Many podcasters see all these hosting providers that advertise UNLIMITED file storage and UNLIMITED bandwidth. However, I would strongly advise against putting all your MP3 files on your website's hosting account. Have a look at the following chat transcript that I had with a sales rep from Blue Host.

Jordan: [8:27:33 AM] Welcome to our real-time sales chat. How can I help you today?
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:27:33 AM] How many MySQL databases do I get with my hosting account? In other words, how many WordPress Installations can run? My domain is http://VirtualAssistantPodcast.com
Jordan: [8:27:57 AM] 100 databases
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:28:10 AM] Ah.. So what is the big deal about the UNLIMITED DOMAINS? DId you have a limit before ?
Jordan: [8:28:44 AM] yes
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:28:50 AM] What was the limit before?
Jordan: [8:28:56 AM] 5
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:29:46 AM] Okay… One other question
[8:30:01 AM] Unlimited File Transfer…..
[8:30:05 AM] This isn't for real right?
Jordan: [8:31:10 AM] Yes as you can read on the features page the file transfer is unlimited
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:30:25 AM] I'm a podcast and new media consultant… I push for my clients to use services like Libsyn for the hosting of their mp3 files.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:31:16 AM] I always suggest that if their podcast becomes mega popular, they could run into issues with Bandwidth issues.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:31:32 AM] So they tell me about your UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:31:47 AM] So here is my question….. This is why I'm asking you….
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:32:12 AM] I have more than TWO THOUSAND podcast episodes and I have delivered well over 3 MILLION downloads.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:32:57 AM] So if I were to put my files onto your server, and I get about 60,000 downloads per week, of about 8-15 podcasts epsidoes, each about 50 megs…
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:33:10 AM] Will this acct cover that?
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:33:19 AM] Or is there an issue with CPU cycles?
Jordan: [8:34:13 AM] As you should know it takes more then bandwidth to run a podcast and we do not offer what is needed for that. So to answer your question no you can not even put one podcast on our hosting.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:34:38 AM] That's exactly what I wanted to know.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:34:57 AM] I have no plans to do so… I'm just trying to confirm, for my clients, that they should not do so either.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:35:18 AM] Do you have any documentation that I can point my clients to, to help them understand this?
Jordan: [8:37:57 AM] no we do not provide documentation on that.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:39:37 AM] That's a shame. I know of a great number of podcasters who are loading all their episodes on your servers. Sure, they have small audiences now. However, I fear the day that they get picked up on digg.com or, Heaven forbid, they get invited on to come on the Oprah show to talk about their business. I assume that if this were to happen, we'll see many a Blue Host site go dark.
Cliff Ravenscra..: [8:40:49 AM] Just praying they won't be on my shared hosting account server 😉

So there you have it. Blue Host doesn't even want a single episode of an MP3 file on their site. Of course this is true of EVERY “website” hosting provider that I've ever had a similar conversation with.

Bottom line for podcasters: There is “no documentation” that says that you can't or that you should't host your mp3 files on your hosting account. If your show only has about a 100 subscribers or so, it should never really be a big deal. Though, if you ever get to the point where you have 50 or more episodes and then you get some sort of major publicity and people go back and download all your episodes, then you could run into some potential “billing issues” for CPU cycles, among other things.

I started my Podcast Answer Man podcast as a hobby in December 2006. Today, this podcast has turned into a main outlet for my full-time career in podcasting. Tens of thousands of people visit this web site every month. Many people who find my site end up downloading EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of this podcast, which is well over 300 episodes at the time that I am updating this post. Just something to think about.

For podcasters, I suggest hosting all your .mp3 files with Liberated Syndication. You can find them at http://Libsyn.com. While they are an “all in one” podcasting solution, I do not recommend using their website services, their rss feed services, or their app services. The only thing that I recommend using Liberated Syndication for is for MEDIA HOSTING and STATS. That is it!

With Lisbyn, you pay a flat monthly fee and you simply have a monthly cap on how much data you can upload per month, depending on which price plan you go with. There is NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE based upon the number of downloads that you receive. Here's a video that I created for my http://PodcastingAtoZ.com students that discusses the basics of using Libsyn as a media host and how to bring in your .mp3 files into your WordPress hosted podcast site.

If you decide host your .mp3 files with Libsyn, you can use promo code “GSPN” to get your first month free! Please know that I do have an affiliate relationship with Libsyn and I will earn a commission if you sign up with my promo code. There are other “media hosting” platforms out there. However, the important thing is that you keep your .mp3 files and your website hosting separate.

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