Hidden hosting fees :(

Customers HATE hidden fees. Its a fact of life. Nickel and diming customers is a sure way to tell your customers that while you appreciate them using your service, all you really want is their money.

I have been doing a lot of research into our competitors lately so that our sales and support teams can better explain the differences between our services and others in the industry. To my surprise, I found that most of our competitors have multiple hidden fees. Often they do this to advertise a low price initially, but raise the monthly fees significantly when you finally add in all the “features” that you need. I want them to continue to do this! Why? Because all it does is sew dissatisfaction and malcontect with their customers. Basically is makes us look all the better when they do sign up and give us a try.

We try and give everything we can for one low price. That is why we have only a single hosting plan. Let me give you some examples of hidden fees that I have seen. I don’t want to publicly call out the companies that use the hidden fees technique, but just beware when you are looking for a hosting plan. Call and talk to the sales departments and ask about some of the things I mention below.

1 – Addon Domains (The ability to host multiple accounts on a single hosting plan) – Many companies advertise this with their plans, but when you go to use it they charge you an extra $10 for each domain to “activate” the option. Totally lame in my option. This is 100% free on bluehost!

2 – Cancellation fees if you terminate your account early. Most hosting companies charge 1 or 2 years at a time. With many of these companies if you terminate your hosting agreement before the 1 or 2 years is up you get charged at fee. Often as much as $30 just to cancel your acccount. Bluehost has NO cancellation fee. We want you to stay, but if you leave you are never charged anything to leave early.

3 – Domain ownership fees is another problem. Many hosting companies offer a free domain if you host with them, but if you decide to leave you find out to your great dismay that the hosting company owns YOUR domain. If you want to leave and host it elsewhere you have to pay a fee to take it with you. In some extreme cases they won’t let you take the domain with you. Bluehost registers ALL free domains in the name of the person who signs up for hosting. The domain is YOURS and you can do with it as you like even if you leave and host elsewhere.

There are many other examples of these “hidden fees”. Basically I ask myself if it would offend me if a company charged the fee to me personally. If it does bother me then I don’t do it on bluehost. That is just commen sense to me :) Remember when you were 4 and your learned the “golden rule”. Well even though I am 34 it is still true. I try to make the experience on Bluehost.com as I would like my own experience to be. In the end I hope it works well for you to…


Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

19 Responses to “Hidden hosting fees :(”

  1. jacauc says:

    I’ve been following your blog since it started, but I am just starting to wonder when all these things will happen.

    Especially referring to your first post on http://mattheaton.com/?p=4
    What about the ULTRA fast MYSQL?
    and the Windows Hosting, and so forth and so forth.

    Could you give us an update on all these technologies that made people excited, but then the topic just died down again. What was there verdicts?


  2. Well said Matt, a lot of companies could learn from this, not only those in the hosting industry.

  3. Hi Matt. Listen, this isn’t directly related to what you are saying – but a hidden hosting fee for me is being unable to use email to communicate with Bluehost.com. I’m outside of the U.S. 888 and 800 numbers don’t work for me. Thus, if I have to call BlueHost, I pay a hidden fee in long distance phone calls.

    The Help Center requires separate logins for some reason, and it’s always a pain to find that information… is there anyone that I can actually write an email to?

  4. I agree that Bluehost does a commendable job of being upfront about charges, with no hidden fees, and the return policy is great. However, I would *welcome* the option to pay more for more CPU power.

  5. Seadog says:

    Hey, all this is real good to hear. I’m hoping this isn’t just a sales pitch but the honest vision you have for your company. I’m trying to decide right now between a couple of different hosting companies, but I keep coming back to this one. You may have just nabbed me up.

  6. Denny says:


    Thank you for your comments and your customer-friendly policies at Bluehost. I recently switched from Globat with whom I am totally disillusioned. They continually spam users with marketing material, which is annoying enough itself. However they also notify users of account upgrades through email. And users must explicitly opt out of these upgrades to avoid charges. I really felt taken advantage of when they would burry these upgrade notices in mountains of spam.

    Now at Bluehost I am very happy with the no spam and straight forward pricing. Keep up the good work.

  7. chrys says:

    Yep! Did the same “study” thing – I knew exactly what you had and exactly what I wanted and everything melted into one. Bluehost wins my trust. I think I spent nearly 30 hours doing this over three months. (Check the “FREE” hosting list I built.) Ace Host was pretty good but it fell into the Cogent/Level3 mess. Guess I’m glad that happened because Bluehost is even better. Besides I like the “blog” idea so I can learn things (whine too!) ;-D Have a great week Boss!

  8. chrys says:

    ahha – knew there was something interesting about you. I just clicked the “picture” link?!?! Dang Matt – you’re my son!!! – separated at birth – where have you been. The “beard” did it![1] [2] [3]

  9. G’day Matt,

    Maybe you can help me. Or a suggestion. You know I went to WordPress website and noticed BH offered a “one click install” for WP install.

    But actually I can’t find that ‘one click install’ anywhere. Maybe It’s just me. Why not promote that more? It’s a good selling point…. Where is it exactly?? Can you tell me… I’ve emailed help desk already…

    From WordPress website “If you have no idea what to do with this download, we recommend signing up with one of our web hosting partners that offers a one click install of WordPress – Blue Host “WordPress Auto-Install…”


    Martin Hurley

  10. Wes says:

    The idea of free Addon Domains is quite good and handy. I just feel that this number could be increased from the current 6 to 8 in order for us to effectively use the new 15Gig hosting space.

  11. Capn_Tripz says:

    I don’t know that this qualifies as a hidden cost, but to open the ports on my account I need a dedicated IP and that is an extra charge. However, I really think you are on the right track and so far the support has been excellent. If I could just chose that username thing. :)

    Keep up the great work,

  12. pakmed says:

    Dear Matt
    Your revelation provide right guidelines for a person who is a newcomer in the ‘hosting world’ where advertised claims seem quite attractive at first but you fall in great misery when you have to face the poor quality of their support and service with a lot of hidden charges to include additional features to your purchased plan/s. I became a victim of a hosting company that steals my SQL database (of my shareware download site with more than 26,000 shareware titles), and one of its employees was selling it at great price to others … such dihonesty exists in some “big names in hosting world” because of loop holes in the security of the hosted files. Now I have come to know that big hosting company advertsing big hosting space with large bandwidth and 10 addon domains in a single account is actually a reseller. My current hosting company is good and reliable but I am planning to shift to Bluehost as its hosting plan meets my requirements.

  13. […] å‡è®¾çš„æ–‡ç« å¶ç„¶æŠ½ç©ºåŽ»çœ‹äº†ä¸€ä¸‹ BlueHost çš„CEOå†™çš„åšå®¢ï¼Œè¿™æ˜¯ç¬¬ä¸€æ¬¡åŽ»çœ‹ã€‚è¿™ç¯‡æ–‡ç« è®²åˆ°è´­ä¹°è™šæ‹Ÿç©ºé—´æ—¶ä¸å°‘å…¬å¸çš„äº§å“å’Œä»·æ ¼çœ‹èµ·æ¥å¾ˆä¸é”™ï¼Œä½†é‡Œé¢å¯èƒ½åŒ…å«äº†ä¸€äº›éšè—çš„è´¹ç”¨ï¼Œç”¨æˆ·åœ¨é€‰è´­æ—¶è¦æ³¨æ„ã€‚å°¤å…¶åœ¨è´­ä¹°å‰è¯¢é—®ä»¥ä¸‹å‡ ä¸ªæ–¹é¢ï¼š 1 – Addon Domains (即能否允许在一个帐号上使用多个独立的顶级域名)ã€‚æœ‰äº›å…¬å¸å…è®¸è¿™ä¹ˆåšï¼Œä½†ä¸€èˆ¬æ˜¯å¢žåŠ ä¸€ä¸ªåŸŸåè¦é¢å¤–åŠ æ”¶10美金才行。 […]

  14. Prometheus says:

    Tripod is still haggling me over money. They changed their service and decided that I wanted them to own my domain. Then they charged me to buy my domain back from them. Thank you Matt, your company is my hero, I’ve easily told 10 people and those 10, 10 more.

  15. Michel says:

    Hey Matt,

    While not a hidden cost, I personally was shocked when the full cost of hosting was charged to me on the first month. I found similar stories by searching for “bluehost sucks” in Google (“wildcard sucks” is how I determine the trustworthiness of an online business). It isn’t a terrible thing, but if it were more explicit (like a footer note that mentions that when you say “per month”, you really mean the full sum charged on the first payment), that would be nice.

    Still, with the service that you guys provide, I can’t stay mad at you. I mean, when I call at 3AM and ask someone to fix my site, and they do it in under 5 minutes, I consider that I have just made a new friend!

    Your general philosophy of how you treat customers is very inspiring. I’ll put your blog right after Kathy Sierra’s “Creating Passionate Users” in my bookmarks.

  16. This is the best web hosting compnay ever! I have tried them all and have now begun switching my clients to Blue Host. There’s nothing better than calling someone at 2:00 am and geting intelligent, english speaking, tech support and immediate conflict resolution. I enjoyed reading the blog as well.

    High SLA and low prices. What’s not to love?

    Keep up the good work.


  17. 机票 says:


  18. BillyWarhol says:

    GoDaddy sucks the Big Kahuna thass fer sure*

    all they do is try & sell ya more shit ya don’t need*

    they are ZERO on the customer feel good experience*

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