Less is more…

When a product or service tries to be all things to all people it usually fails. You usually don’t even think about all the little things that “just work” because they almost never fail to do what they are supposed to do. When is the last time you looked at that light switch and wondered if it was going to work the next time you try it. There are many products that fit into this category – watches, basic utilities (gas, water, electricity), even TVs (Although DVRs are bringing a level of complexity that TVs didn’t used to have).

At Bluehost we are struggling with this concept. We are always adding new features, but we want to make sure that the features we add are to the benefit of ALL customers (SimpleScripts is a good example). We are also working to roll out features that combine multiple step into a single or double unified step instead of adding additional complexity.

Web hosting doesn’t HAVE to be complex although at this point it is. All that means is that we have more work cut out for ourselves. We need many more layers of complexity reduced to a few simple steps. We are constantly working towards this goal, and more and more third party products are doing the same.

Web hosting is still in its infancy in my opinion and has only began to offer the real potential that is available to our clients. It will take people with vision that understand that power doesn’t mean complexity. We are getting there little by little and hope that you will stick around to see what it can become!

Thanks,
Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com

15 Responses to “Less is more…”

  1. Dan says:

    Matt, Thanks for all you do. I love your services! In the category of this post, the thing that I feel needs to be made simpler is transferring a domain (also with that process is there any way to make the domain owner be someone else other then the bluehost account holder [say my mom for example]).

    I have done only one of these but it took forever and I understand it is a two sided process and many things are in the way, but an automated request system and a simple verification would be wonderful.

    Just my two cents! Thanks again for all you do.

  2. Chakri says:

    Matt, I am writing on behalf of AshaKiran (www.ashakiran.com), a non-profit organization helping people of asian origin in alabama. We recently consolidated all our accounts and moved them to bluehost(ashakiran.com). We are also in the process of moving ashaline.org(another account of AshaKiran) to bluehost.

    You guys are doing a great service with an excellent product. I was wondering if you have any grants or processes that can help non-profit organizations get a discount or qualify for your grant process. We are a very young organization and every little bit helps. We are thinking about wanting to have a dedicated server since we would like to start putting all our data online and access it through the online database and shared hosting would slow the process down.

    We can provide you with our non-profit status and if you have any questions or comments you can email me directly at deverapallic@gmail.com or our president Bhavani Kakani at bhavani.kakani@gmail.com

  3. Dalek Bell says:

    Eliminating complexity is an admirable goal – just remember Einstein’s caveat: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Making tasks simpler by removing or hiding choices isn’t always so great; what can be more useful is finding ways to break up the tasks so that the choices within them are less interdependent. As you note, DVRs aren’t doing such a great job on this :-)

  4. David Mackey says:

    Looking forward to what is to come. I think Dalek also makes a great point – simple, but not simpler.

  5. Dwight says:

    Matt,
    I am pleased with the level of service and how much bang for the buck I am getting. There is just one feature I would like to see and that would be direct access to stats for add-on domains. Something like http://www.myaddondomain.com/stats or similar. Other hosts have done it like http://www.myaddondomain.com/webalizer. In any event, thanks for a great value.

  6. Jesse says:

    Matt,

    I just discovered the advertising on the 404 pages on my site. This is unacceptable. And your opt out process, which shouldn’t be required in the first place is broken and doesn’t work. Please know that I switched from my last hosting company because of this very reason. This is bad, bad, bad. Please turn off the advertising on users PAID accounts, or we will go elsewhere. Thanks.

    Jesse

  7. Marisa says:

    You are so right! I’m muddling through a website now that is supposed to be “new and improved” but they forgot to keep it simple. Trying to figure out where to go or how to get back to where you were is giving me a headache. And I’m wondering if it’s even worth the time to figure it out.

  8. Russel Ahlstrom says:

    Matt, I love BlueHost and hosting with you all. Customer Service has always been wonderful and I’ve learned to trust BlueHost. I was therefore doubly shocked when I find out BlueHost was placing ads on my 404 pages.

    Can you post a blog post about this decision, why it was done (if on purpose), and how you think customers will react to the issue?

    Personally, I feel that it is abusive to the trust I’ve given to BlueHost and reflects poorly on their hosting services. I like everything about BlueHost in the past and their hosting services but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    The act may lead my own customers to view my business negatively as well or think that I’ve gone out of business and my website replaced by those ever so annoying ad farms you frequently encounter on Google. This decision could very well hurt me and reflect negatively on my reputation.

    Discussion of the issue can be found at:

    http://www.bluehostforum.com/showthread.php?t=12906
    http://www.bluehostforum.com/showthread.php?t=12662

  9. Barry says:

    Hi Matt – You’re doing a great job, your service is excellent, and quite reliable as well. One suggestion.

    You could really help us deal with a lot of the “Spam” problem by putting a X-OriginatingIP tag on all incoming email so that it is easy to create a filter. The Account level filters a quite good, but a header would really make it easy.

    I’m noticing that 80%+ of my spam comes from certain geographic locations that I would not normally communicate with. Having such a header would help us to easily filter.

    Keep up the good work.

  10. Early Out says:

    “We are always adding new features, but we want to make sure that the features we add are to the benefit of ALL customers….”

    A laudable goal. However, you keep increasing the storage space offered, but have now started suspending the accounts of people who actually start to use that storage for things like keeping backup copies of their image files (not copyrighted material). There’s a thread about it in the BH user forums. Unacceptable.

  11. Chad Allard says:

    Wanting simplicity while continuously adding complexity is an interesting concept. Keep in mind that hosting is A LOT simpler than it was in the past. Now that we have scripts like SimpleScripts, fantastico, or any of the automated processes that take place in cPanel, a lot of the guess work and manual editing of configuration files has been eliminated entirely. Customer support also has an easier time managing questions with a ticket system as well as a knowledgebase to back them up.

    Hosting’s simplicity has grown by leaps and bounds since I first needed hosting back in 1995 as far as configuration simplicity is concerned, so I’m definitely not complaining.

    As Dalek Bell quotes Einstein in the post above, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” I agree with this too. Geeks like me will always want to play with the things in the background. As long as there is always a way to continue to do it the complex way, we’ll be happy.

    For as simple as you make something, there will always be someone out there wanting to do things the hard way.

  12. Wes says:

    I think I like the option of having users turning off some of the features instead of not adding them altogether. The current cpanel is a good example because I can minimize the the categories that I don’t normally use but I can call upon them whenever required.

  13. David says:

    Before you worry too much about simplicity, it would be better to go back to basics. I left the previous hosting service because it got too slow when it became popular.

    Bluehost is now just as bad or worse just one year on. Many times it can’t even keep a dial-up modem busy. That’s quite bad. Complete gaps in service of seconds, depending on time of day.

    Instead of doing the unlimited this that and the other market hype, what about purely and simply making sure the service works well. Why not have a slightly pricier option for guaranteed responsive service? Or choose option of unlimited space/bandwidth or limited space/bandwidth but decent performance?

    If things don’t improve I’m out. Not being hard, but I’m trying to showcase new technology and my site looks bad because of the overload situation at Bluehost, so I simply can’t remain and have any hope of success.

  14. Andrew says:

    As a very young web developer I love coding…I don’t like WYSIWYG editors. I like the challenge of coding…but all these extra features are awesome. Whenever you add one like SimpleScripts I get excited and just have to try it out.

    Thanks Bluehost!

  15. Well David, here we are, two years later. Still dissatisfied? My experience with Bluehost has been nothing but positive, and I think their servers are fantastic. Maybe it’s your connection that sucks.

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