WordPress Hosting – The Truth About ‘Unlimited’ Storage

Many popular hosting providers promise ‘unlimited’ features like storage, MySQL databases, sub-domains, etc. Sound too good to be true? Well, you’re right. This is the latest notice from the popular WordPress hosting provider, BlueHost, informing their customers to not abuse the unlimited storage:

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What is the definition of unlimited, BlueHost? Unlimited:

not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.

So, when we signed up with the sell point of :

Unlimited domain hosting
Unlimited hosting space
Unlimited file transfer
Unlimited email accounts

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What we should have known [ enter facepalm ] is that in fact we will actually be receiving… according to your Terms of Service is:

” Bluehost’s offering of “unlimited” services is not intended to allow the actions of a single or few Subscribers to unfairly or adversely impact the experience of other Subscribers.”

Notice how they place quotes “” around the word unlimited in the terms of service, but not on their homepage where they’re selling you their services? It’s not their fault you didn’t read the TOS to better understand that they actually cannot provide you by definition – true unlimited hosting space. It’s their users fault for believing that their hosting package is providing them unlimited space. Pff! Stupid customers….

What bothers me most, is not so much the restriction on space, but the way they are selling their service by misusing and redefining words that end up being a lie. If you take advantage of the “unlimited” space, they now tell you on the CPanel that doing so will degrade the quality of your site’s performance, see:

 

“Storing a large number of files on your account can cause a degradation of performance. To see more information see our File Count page.”

This is a classless attempt to attract new subscribers, and it’s dishonest. One huge reason why I praise services like ASmallOrange for being upfront about important specs like storage space, site installation limits and renewals (which by the way you sign up for BlueHost at an attractive 4.95/mo only to be surprised that it sky-rockets to 11.95/mo the following year)… ASmallOrange states in their company policy:

“A Small Orange isn’t like those big hosting conglomerates. We don’t promise “unlimited plans” that are actually hindered by hidden limitations. Instead, you’re only responsible for paying for the resources you need. “

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I wish more companies would rely upon honest-upfront policies so you don’t have to worry about reading the TOS to get the clear-accurate picture. Furthermore, their service would be worth more than the sell-point that attracted you to sign up. I despise these ‘schemes’ to get quick money, surprise price-hikes that creep up without warning. “Well, you should have read the fine print when you signed up. You would have known that 12 months later you’d be paying more!”. Not cool BlueHost.

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My Review on BlueHost WordPress Hosting & A Small Orange Review

bluehost-logoIf you were to have asked me back in 2009, who the BEST WordPress hosting was, I would hands down say BlueHost. Previously, I had been hosted on WebHost4Life (windows hosting is NOT for WordPress – don’t EVER get on Windows hosting for WordPress), and then to GoDaddy – because everyone likes to pay a dirt cheap price for hosting – right? Totally makes sense, but WOW, was it a nightmare getting ANYTHING to work on their servers. Not to mention the horrible server interface. When I moved from GoDaddy to BlueHost it was like a night and day difference. My WordPress dashboard was zippy, fast and installing Themes and plugins was like butt’ah, beautiful smooth, flawless!!! LOVED IT! I happily recommended the host to everyone, my work adopted it as their #1 recommended server, we referred thousands of new customers to them.

Then things went downhill. A few years later, they were bought out and I don’t know what has been going on on the other side of the servers, but things got SLOW – FAST! It was like it rained hard, and kept raining and mudslide corroding all of my sites. It was like trudging through mud to get anything done on the back-end of my sites.  They told me it was because I had too much stuff on my servers, but this same experience is shared by all the other BlueHost reviews you’ll read online. Was good, not so good anymore. Plus, my sites have remained mostly unchanged since I first started there. Late 2012 to late 2013 was the worst period of time with throttling and downtime. My site was going down at least once a week, and my emails were down every other week. It was horrible. I kept telling myself I wanted to move, but didn’t know where to move to… then I heard about A Small Orange hosting. Cute name, and I looked at their plans.

BlueHost flashes their ‘unlimited’ plans, which suck you in if you’re already hosted there. It’s hard to leave what they tell you is ‘unlimited’. But don’t be fooled, it’s no more unlimited than a hosting company that gives you a limit of storage, this is what BlueHost has stated on their CPanel:

“Storing a large number of files on your account can cause a degradation of performance.”

So yes, technically you can store unlimited amount of files, but the amount will quickly slow down ALL of your sites, and I’m guessing based on my own experience – the amount needed to begin to noticeably slow down your sites is not very much. I have been on A Small Orange hosting for almost a month now, and I have my largest sites on there, it is DRAMATICALLY faster than BlueHost. My hosting plan at ASO has a storage limit of 5GB and 100GB Bandwidth. BlueHost also flashes their unlimited bandwidth with their special unique CPU throttling like no other company does or that they invented. So far, I have only experienced BETTER performance with the limit ASO has. So their special unique throttling, is not very special.

I truly am devastated that BlueHost didn’t work out, I dont’ know what changes they made, but things went sour. I wish I could have stayed with them forever, I hate moving – but I couldn’t stand it any longer.

ASO_logoA Small Orange is the closest deal I could find to the total cost I was paying with BlueHost. What bothered me big time about BlueHost was that their performance was getting lower and their hosting prices were getting higher. I signed up for $4.95/mo in 2009, expecting to pay that every year. Nope. It went up to $6.95, and then this past year it skyrocketed to $11.95/mo. The reason they gave me was all the ‘special new improvements’ … I saw none of them. Just more downtime and poorer customer service, and slower sites. Shared or not, the solution isn’t to go to VPS when everything was fine before. Also, a note about signing up with BlueHost, though they may advertise 3.95 per month, that is NOT always for 12months that is more like paying for 3 years upfront. ALSO, that deal WILL NOT last. That’s usually for signing up. You will get a BIG surprise when you go to renew your hosting. What I deeply appreciate about ASO, is that they are straight upfront about what you’ll pay the next time you renew, and if you have a promo code, you can get a deal at signup.

I have only been with A Small Orange Hosting for a month so far, but what I can say is the experience has been reliable, FAST, zero downtime and live chat customer support has been very helpful and kind. No complaints, I know what I am paying for, what I’ll be paying at renewal, the tech is knowledgeable about WordPress, their CPanel is easy and simple to navigate, and they do provide ‘unlimited’ in terms of you can install as many domains, sites, databases and emails as your storage space will allow.

Thank you very much ASO! You saved me from the quicksand pit I was in with BlueHost!

-Becky

p.s. A note about purchasing and renewing domain names, whomever you are hosted with, is likely 3x as expensive as you could pay with GoDaddy. GoDaddy hosting is NOT for WordPress, don’t do it – even if it is cheap – you definitely get what you pay for with hosting. But they are AMAZING for domain purchasing. Worth it to purchase your domains there for sure.

NextGEN Gallery Plugin Announcement Reappearing – Fix for Dismiss Not Working

If you are one of the NextGEN Gallery users who is experiencing the ‘dismiss’ link not working, and the pop up reappearing several times, here is a temp. fix until Photocrati provides a permanent solution in their next upgrade to the plugin. This temp. fix is courtesy of NGG user Jeremy Kerr via wp.org forum:

If you are comfortable with commenting out a line in the plugin code you can do the following:

Go to Plugins > Editor and choose NextGen Gallery.

Pick the nextgen-gallery/nggallery.php as the one to edit.

Look for the following:

// Display "Photocrati Acquisition Announcement"
add_action('admin_init', array(&$this, 'display_update_notice'));

and comment out the add_action line like this

// add_action('admin_init', array(&$this, 'display_update_notice'));

That got rid of the announcement things. They don’t pop up anymore.

Thanks Jeremy!

NextGEN Captions

Last year Alex Rabe (original creator of NextGEN, Photocrati now owns and maintains the plugin) released an upgrade to NextGEN that sets the default slideshow to jQuery instead of flash. The flash option provides by far more slideshow options, including ‘navigation bar’. If you’re looking for how to add captions to your NextGEN Gallery, than you’ll need to enable flash under Gallery > Options > Slideshow, and select ‘show navigation bar’.

NextGEN Gallery Code

With the recent buzz in the WordPress community about Photocrati (who produces WordPress themes for photographers) acquiring the oh so famous NextGEN Gallery plugin (one of the first, and still the most popular wordpress photo gallery plugin, exceeding over 5.5 MILLION users), I thought I’d list out the most common shortcodes for those searching for them:

To embed a slideshow:

[ slideshow id=x ]

Imagebrowser:

[imagebrowser id=x]

Imagelist (thumbnail gallery):

[nggallery id=x]

Album:

[album id=x]

Custom shortcodes for NextGEN:

To display galleries by tags : [nggtags gallery=tag1,tag2,etc]
To display albums sorted by tags : [nggtags album=tag1,tag2,etc]

Custom fields for NextGEN: ?-what is a custom field

ngg_gal_ShowOrder

gallery : Show first the gallery
slide : Show first the slideshow

ngg_gal_Images

0-xxx : (integer) Number of images per page

ngg_gal_Sort

“pid” : Sort thumbnails with Image ID
“filename” : Sort thumbnails with File name
“alttext” : Sort thumbnails with Alt / Title text

ngg_gal_SortDirection

“ASC” : Ascending sort direction
“DESC” : Descending sort direction

ngg_gal_ShowSlide

0 : (Off) No slideshow link
1 : (On) Show slideshow link

ngg_gal_ImgageBrowser

0 : (Off) Show Image direct
1 : (On) Show ImageBrowser

Slideshow parameter

ngg_ir_Audio

“url” : (URL) Play the music file

ngg_ir_Overstretch

none : Keep original dimensions
fit : Stretch images disproportionally
true : Stretch images proportionally

ngg_ir_Transition

Sets the transition between images : fade, bgfade, blocks, bubbles, circles, flash, fluids, lines, random, slowfade

ngg_ir_Backcolor

0xHXHXHX : (i.e. 000FFF)
Backgroundcolor of the controls, in HEX format.

ngg_ir_Frontcolor

0xHXHXHX : (i.e. 000FFF)
Texts & buttons color of the controls, in HEX format.

ngg_ir_Lightcolor

0xHXHXHX : (i.e. 000FFF)
Rollover color of the controls, in HEX format.

ngg_ir_Width

0-xxx : (integer) Sets the overall width of the slideshow

ngg_ir_Height

0-xxx : (integer) Sets the overall height of the slideshow

ngg_ir_Rotatetime

0-xxx : (integer) Sets the number of seconds an image is played back

ngg_ir_Shuffle

0 : (Off) Playback the images sequentially
1 : (On) Playback the images shuffled

ngg_ir_ShowNavigation

0 : (Off) Disable the navigation bar
1 : (On) Enable the navigation bar

ngg_ir_ShowWatermark

0 : (Off) No watermark logo
1 : (On) Show watermark logo link

ngg_ir_Kenburns

0 : (Off) Disable Ken burns effect
1 : (On) Enable Ken burns effect

Other Cool Tricks:

NextGEN Shortcode Embed in Theme Template File:

Short codes can be called from any theme template files, using  do_shortcode template tag. Add this script:

<?php echo do_shortcode(’[ slideshow id=2 ]); ?>

An alternative way would be to use the plugin: Code Insert Manager , and let the plugin add the shortcode in the header or other areas of the theme outside of a post/page.

NextGEN Add-Ons:

  • Check out this list: http://www.visser.com.au/blog/list-of-wordpress-plugins-addons-for-nextgen-gallery/
  • NextGEN Gallery Optimizer: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nextgen-gallery-optimizer/

WordPress Flash Uploader – HTTP Error

Came across a temporary solution for this error. Simple, but tedious and I hope to find a more efficient solution soon:

Create another user account on your computer

After it’s done loading up, open up your Firefox Browser and login to your WordPress Dashboard >> Posts > Edit > Upload/Insert,  and attempt to upload your images again. Should work.

-OR- just use the Browser Upload tool.

Be Back Soon (hopefully) with a better solution.

NextGEN Flash Uploader ERROR: You do not have permission to upload files.

Came across a temporary solution for this error. Simple, but tedious and I hope to find a more efficient solution soon:

Create another user account on your computer

After it’s done loading up, open up your Firefox Browser and login to your WordPress Dashboard >> Gallery >> Add Gallery / Images > and attempt to upload your images again. Should work.

Be Back Soon (hopefully) with a better solution.