Bluehost Sucks or “How Mormon-Owned Bluehost Tried to Shut Down Autostraddle.”

Mormon-owned leading web hosting company Bluehost has a very sketchy record of arbitrary censorship and endorsement of anti-gay causes. Find out why Autostraddle was offline this weekend and get the truth about Bluehost.

Bluehost CEO donates to the Mitt Romney campaign

Bluehost CEO donates to the Mitt Romney campaign

[I initially password-protected this post, thinking that would make it not turn up on search engines. Whoops! It sure did! The title was revealing enough, methinks, so I’m sure they’re onto us by now.]
Saturday July 11th afternoon we started having trouble loading Autostraddle both via the admin screen and during typical web browsing.

This has become a frequent occurrence with Bluehost, the allegedly excellent web-hosting service we were referred to by wordpress itself. Even our first exchange with their customer service was appalling [which is cut-and-pasted for you at the end of this post], but we trusted the recommendation and attributed our initial poor customer service experience to a “bad seed” [his supervisor assured us he’d been “reprimanded”, whatever that means]. WordPress describes Bluehost as its top recommended host, that’s why we chose it. [We should’ve looked here, where every review of bluehost is a horror story.]

When the site finally started working again Saturday evening, an entire post was missing — and later, a draft post of Crystal’s disappeared. Also, the front page was corrupted — the category boxes were scattered all over the place, the sidebar was underneath all the main content, and the feature article box was just a blank white space you couldn’t navigate. The archives and recent post widgets weren’t working at all.

So, Alex and I (Riese) asked ourselves WWJD? After walking on water for a bit we decided to call bluehost, ’cause it was a Saturday night and our webmaster was at the very noisy Demolition Derby in Indiana and we already harass her for help 24/7 as it is.


1. Pam’s House Blend reports on Bluehost’s association with Mormon anti-gay marriage Groups – NY Marriage Equality: Astroturfing – Courtesy of the Same Ten (Mormon) People: “Provo, Utah’s must be offering the best deals in the country when it comes to wingnut web hosting.”
2. Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets: Mormon Homophobes Go Hawaiian?: A site that warns parents that the passing of Hawaii’s House Bill 444 (which extends rights to same-sex couples) will corrupt their children .... “Checking the domain registry for protectourkeiki dot com shows that the domain name was created on February 14, 2009 with Blue Host web hosting based in, wait for it.. Orem, Utah. So not only are Utah interests apparently extending to the planet’s most remote island chain, but some unique sense of entitlement is allowing carpetbagging a**holes to appropriate the local language and local interests to serve their not-so-local ends.”
3. The Lavender Liberal: “I just had to filter out an anti-gay ad (”What is Prop 8? Learn why you should vote yes on Proposition 8 tomorrow”) for an ugly little homophobic Web site called FORPROP8.COM.” The site is obvs hosted by bluehost.
4. Sitedossier: Bluehost is happy to host every single Mormon Website ever.
5. Politico: Bluehost CEO donates to Romney campaign.
6. Bluehost on the Prop 8 Boycott List. (@broadwayworld)

7. Bluehost hosting Phony Fred Thompson website.

8. Campaign

Just so you know where your money is gong.

Just so you know where your money is gong.

Lesbians Tie the Knot

Bluehost Does Not Approve of This

I explained the problem to dear Tom from Bluehost, which he promptly said was not their fault. Furthermore, he didn’t seem to understand why these problems I described were such a big deal. “It looks fine on the pages other than the front page,” he said, “So what’s the problem? Besides that white box?”

His tone felt confusing to me, almost as if I was not being taken seriously for some mysterious reason — as if the importance of the website looking proper wasn’t an issue. This disconnect was, obviously, never rectified.

As he continued clicking around in Bluehostville to uncover the source of my imaginary problem, he came upon the Top 15 L word Sex Scenes page via, a domain we purchased via bluehost as a joke (while on the Gay Pimp podcast, Jonny suggested to Carly & I that we purchase that domain and have it redirect to Autostraddle as we mentioned to him that the “Top 15 Sex Scenes” post is always our number one hit). I repeat that we purchased that domain directly from bluehost.

“WHOA!” Tom exclaimed, suddenly. “Whoa whoa whoa, I’m looking at your ‘other site’ here and this is not okay. We do not host adult websites. I’m gonna have to go speak to my supervisor –”

[Luckily, we’re not an adult website!] As the conversation went on I told him twice that we could delete that domain. It’s a joke, and perhaps the post itself would be out-of-bounds according to many Terms of Service. I said we could edit that post while we search for another host.

Anyhow, I said, let’s move on to fixing the website?

Sidenote: Along with some L Word recaps and one or two artistic & tasteful photographs from one of Robin’s posts, “Top 15 L Word Sex Scenes” are the only areas of the website which feature exposed nipples or other life-scarring things known to cause world hunger, nuclear war and global warming [which he probs doesn’t believe in anyhow]. And yes — for this reckless partial nudity I blame my own naivete about prudish content policies and my misguided conviction that people are smart enough to consider context, as well as my self-righteous indignation & first amendment misconceptions. Also apparently my mind is in the gutter, as I really thought most websites I see every day do have partial nudity here and there. Hello sex sells. Hello read a magazine. Anyhow.

At worst I figured an NSFW guard should be in place there. I was wrong.

That’s the tip of the iceberg, he told me.  “Top 15 L Word Sex Scenes” is the least of my worries (that is true for Ilene Chaiken but not true for me!). Tom rattled off his disgust regarding the plethora of seemingly adult websites we link to all over the front page — he said he saw sex and things of a ‘sexual nature’ all over the website. He then went on to say that not only were we prohibited to feature “adult content,but we were prohibited to link to sites that contain nudity or “adult content” (their own definition of adult content, that is). Adult content includes WORDS ABOUT SEXUALITY as well as photos.


He pointed out that we link to “sex toys” (babeland), “sex dvds,” (wolfe video), “topless women” (actually, ALMOST topless women, none of them have any nip showing, but details details!) and that we regularly link to many other sites which include such images & content. [Sidenote: sites that feature nudity or discuss sex/sexuality include wikipedia,, huffpo, gawker, new york magazine, twitter … well pretty much every website ever.]

Apparently this is all in their “terms of service,” which are endless and do not draw particular attention to this very unique policy. Here’s that section, which I honestly wouldn’t have figured applied to us if I didn’t know the company’s religious background (I do now!):

Profanity. Profanity or profane subject matter in the site content and in the domain name are prohibited.

Prohibited Offerings. No Subscriber may utilize the Services to provide, sell or offer to sell the following: controlled substances; illegal drugs and drug contraband; weapons; pirated materials;instructions on making, assembling or obtaining illegal goods or weapons to attack others; information used to violate the copyright(s) of, violate the trademark(s) of or to destroy others’intellectual property or information; information used to illegally harm any people or animals; pornography, nudity, sexual products, programs or services; escort services or other content deemed adult related.

See that “other content deemed adult related“? Yeah. That’s the big gray area where the Mormons let their babies run around and scream in church [I’ve been to the Mormon Church before, holler, it seemed fine besides the screaming children. We had macaroni salad and fried chicken after, it was delicious].

I believe that this isn’t standard censorship and should be addressed in more detail in the TOS. Why don’t they make this clear? Unless Bluehost hopes to register users who eventually will violate the terms and leave without a refund?

EXHIBIT B: Some anecdotes from the web:
1. “Bluehost Inc., the web hosting firm that hosts the Constitutional Freedoms and Family Research Foundation is Mormon owned. So more than likely these sites are being hosted for free. Bluehost does accept non-Mormon clients but apparently any content posted there has  to be LDS compatible although they don’t mention that on their own site. People who have used their services have found their non-LDS compatible content is quickly zapped.” (@fredfin)
2. Phoenix Nest: Changed web host … again – “So I basically found out that Bluehost and Hostmonster were based in Utah and likely controlled by the Mormon church. While I have no overt dislike of Mormons, I did take issue with the fact that they censor your web content hosted on their servers. I wasn’t about to stand for that.”
3. Two from hosting fu: These guys are setting up their own sites that masquerade as honest objective review sites to lure unsuspecting saps (like me) into their web” and also: “I was considering switching to them as well. Then I found out a) it is a Mormon-owned company and morals/ethics forbid from dealing with bigots like Mormons (Prop8) and I also saw scattered reports of them censoring websites of their customers (non-adult content I might add) which does not sit well with me either.”


An unafiliated website specifies: “Pornography is defined by Bluehost to be sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.”

Yes! Apparently Bluehost CAN shut down any site that contains even partial nudity or a site that links to a site that contains even partial nudity (damn you, Maxim!), including photography and art sites. Women must be wearing a top and bottom (not see- through). Men must be wearing clothing on the bottom. Any “lingerie sites” you link to must abide by the same standards. You cannot link out to anyone who sells erotica or magazines that include sexual materials. (This is according to an external site, this info is not on the bluehost site).

Sidenote: Tom Tech Support was obsessed with our Babeland ad. Babeland is a classy company that sells a lot of stuff and advertises all over the place and is linked to by a number of major websites including Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Citysearch, and New York Magazine. It’s also on several other bluehost-hosted sites which I won’t name here.

However this policy seems enforced haphazardly at best. The beauty is in its random application.

Here’s the kicker. You really must check out Bluehost CEO and alum of Brigham Young University and former missionary Matt Heaton’s blog! Here he is on why Bluehost has these policies:

Bluehost does not and will not tolerate adult material of any kind on our servers. Sometimes profit comes second and personal responsibility and ethics come first. I am not telling other hosts to not provide adult hosting services, but I wish that they would come to that conclusion on their own.

Adult material hurts people in so many ways that I won’t even argue the point here. Aside from my own beliefs about why it is wrong, I don’t think that any clear thinking individual would argue for the merits of porn. It is a business that I will never practice or enable through our network.

If many of the other hosting services out there didn’t make it so easy for this type of material to be so readily available maybe the problem wouldn’t be so severe. I would suggest to other hosting companies out there that service this market to reconsider what you think is important in life. Is this really the type of thing you want to peddle to the community? The hosting providers are just as guilty and the content providers in my opinion.

YUP! That’s right. All adult material is damaging! (not true) Of course, what he doesn’t explain enough is that these new policies extended far beyond porn, but what a valiant point! I especially like how he imposes his morality on others without a second thought. [While you’re on his blog, you should read Matt’s post about angry Wal-Mart employees, in which he misrepresents the situation based on a story he saw on Fox News.]


We are not an adult site! And? Don’t take our money in the first place if you won’t host this kind of content. Our L Word stuff and Babeland ad have been there since day one.

This policy’s language initially included “anything related to human sexuality” and promptly (ironically) shut down (now with a new host, obvs). I cannot find that language on the website now though it seems that at least in our case, that rule is still enforced, and it allows people like us to open websites not aware that we’re breaking any rules, due to these unusually vague terms.

Our friend Roy, a gay blogger, told Autostraddle that he actually had the same experience with Bluehost — they shut down his entire site without a warning based on a terms of service violation. He was unaware that he was violating any terms of service. He ended up losing three years of work which Bluehost was completely unapologetic about annihilating.

When I asked Tom why these redic TOS existed, he explained: “We’re in Utah.”

Ah. Yes. The Mormons! (Sidenote:
Check out some gay mormons fighting for equality!)

See, before I could ask how we could fix our motherfrickin’ website [because I’m not gonna scour the site erasing every swear word or link to something that includes sexual discussion or nudity or adult products or anything that links to sites that link to those kinds of sites if the site doesn’t look right. I also want my Charlene post back.], I was interrupted mid-sentence and put on hold for twenty minutes while he went to speak to his supervisor in the “abuse” department.

I took that time to browse the internet to see what we were dealing with. Oh boy: not only does Bluehost often shut down sites with any illusion of adult content whatsoever, they also shut down sites for profanity, alleged sexual arousal-inducing language and for many “unknown” reasons that users never get answers about. They also DON’T shut down sites for this reason too. Who decides how to enforce these rules, I wonder.


All over the internet, users report terrible or incredible experiences with Bluehost. I THEORIZE this is due to Bluehost employees’ subjective judgment of the sites and application of arbitrary morality when choosing whom to help and whom to ignore. He seemed to be asking me to conform to rules for my website that are — to the best of my knowledge — rarely enforced elsewhere, as if it was solely from his own gut reaction to the site rather than actually strident rules.

Having been preached to by Mormons who come to my door, call us, and travel around the world trying to convert people, I can say that I’m not surprised a Mormon-staffed customer service center features a lot of people who are self-righteous and empowered to make their own judgments exactly as they see fit, without apologies or consideration for context or hypocrisy.

Some samples of CEO Matt Heaton lashing out at people questioning his business’s quality on webhosting boards (oH! The profanity!):

“No he can’t prove what he said because he is full of crap…”

“What a bunch of cry babies. For the record Bluehost or Hostmonster doesn’t own ANY of the sites you mention.”

(Sarcastically): “Yeah, my business model sucks. There’s no money to be made at all. Its such a burden trying to live on a 7 digit paycheck.”

“Here is it. Ill call you a dick to your face, because clearly you are one. Come visit in person any time you want and Ill let you know what I think about your “knowledge” in person.”

I guess some entitlement goes along with that personality profile.

This is just my opinion and not a fact. It’s just difficult to explain this illogical discrepancy.

EXHIBIT C – NO ON 8 SUPPORTER GETS SUSPENDED BY BLUEHOST:  “ web hosting service (located in UT) – these a$$holes suspended my website after I posted pics that were against prop 8. I uploaded my pics late Friday and on Monday morning they suspended my account for TOS violation, claiming my site had been hacked and used for phishing. The “suspect” files had all been added the day after I posted my prop 8 photos, so I think the timing of the hacking was mighty suspicious. Upon research I found a number of Internet references of Bluehost using their Mormon-based values as an excuse to censor peoples web content. Boycott these bigots, please. If you have a Bluehost account, CANCEL it and then let them know why.”(@Democratic Underground Prop 8 Boycott List)

After 30 minutes on hold, Tom returns and says we are lucky ’cause they are going to give us ONE HOUR to erase all nudity, links to sex toys or DVDs, links to sites that talk about sex or contain material which may cause arousal — and we should feel grateful for this.

I ask if he can just let us keep it up while we find and switch to a new host and he says we will have a hard time finding any host who will accept our kind of content, which is frankly laughable, and also really not a professional thing for him to say. Hello, judgey! He also refuses to let us keep it up until we can get in touch with our tech person who actually would know how to approach this. He says no. One hour take it or leave it.

He refuses to fix any of our problems because he feels an hour will not be enough time for us to clean out all the filth. He says clean-up, not functionality, should be our priority right now. If we fail to clean up sufficiently, he tells us, our site will be shut down and replaced by a “this site has been suspended for terms of use violation” message.

We’re rushed off the phone.

So we go into wordpress to see if some superficial fixes will buy us some time and — POOF! All our posts are gone! We can’t edit anything! They still exist, sure, but we can’t get to the edit posts screen.


We call Bluehost about this and they say it’s not their fault, it’s wordpress’s fault. They also refuse to connect us back to Tom or fix the website, again stating we’re wasting the time we need to clean up the site. We say we can’t clean the site if they won’t let us into the edit posts screen. He offers no solution. Other users also report that when suspended they were not able to access what they needed to access to fix their problems.

The end.

We give up.

So we call Intern Hot Laura for some phone sex, clean the kitchen, take down the babeland ad, put up a privacy filter to block everyone out, including Bluehost, hoping that’ll buy us some time (it does), and we fold laundry and talk about pudding babies until Tess calls to say that she is drunk but she is ready to “motherf*ck bluehost.” We discover Tess has a cute Midwestern accent when she’s drunk, too!

So within about 30 minutes Tess fixes all the issues that bluehost suspiciously created for us and were totally unable to fix themselves.

On Sunday morning, Tess wakes up, has some coffee & advil, and promptly transfers our domain to a hosting service that is willing to host adult websites, Hostgator just to ensure nothing like this will happen again. We do not now and never will have an adult website. But this is not the first time that we’ve felt unfairly prosecuted for the content of this site, so we have to play it safe. So far WE LOVE HostGator!

The more we hit these roadblocks, the more determined we are to succeed — we must fight to prevent the knee-jerk reaction of disgust people feel when they see gay images. We’re constantly butting up against this vicious double standard and it’s not fair.

EXHIBIT D – ART IS PORNOGRAPHY?My webhosting service, BLUEHOST, disabled my website because they said i had three offensive pictures of naked women on it and they considered it porn. My father took these “offensive” pictures during WWII. Two were gorgeous arty shots of 1940’s strippers, plus one was of my father taking a photo of an artfully posed nude woman that had been published in Photography Magazine.


1. An entire website about how Bluehost sucks.
2. Bluehost Suspended my site for profanity.
3. MANY horror stories on the wordpress forums including verification that saying G.W Bush is a horse’s ass would receive immediate suspension: Bluehost censors blogs and other content!
4. Celebrity Fashion Watcher says Crappy Bluehost strikes again! Blue Host is one of the most unprofessional companies I have ever seen.  Rather than give notice we just woke up this morning and the blog was gone.
5. Bluehost censors Zimbabwean Bloggers: “I will not recommend [Bluehost] to individuals looking for human rights hosting – the assumption that Kubatana was in the wrong, the unwillingness to listen to their explanation and the hostility of CEO Matt Heaton to customer complaints leads me to conclude that I wouldn’t recommend their services.”
6. Chuva Chienes site kicked out by Bluehost!: “I’m curious if this problem is exclusive to my “associates” or friends.”


1. Check out the comments here on this post about the importance of donating to the Ron Paul campaign: “And thanks for using Bluehost :) I work for them. I am with you, and so are a lot of us that work there. Can’t wait to donate.”
2. Conservative Catholic Blogger Kevin Tracy highly recommends hosting at!
3. Utah-dwelling Mormon Jonas explains why hostmonster (also owned by bluehost) is the best!
4. Self-proclaimed Follower of Jesus Christ who operates his ministry from local coffee shops reports a very unique bluehost experience: “Some misguided person hacked our church website … Thankfully Bluehost backed up our site from a week ago so I only lost the changes I made this week! Whew!”
5. ONE OF OUR SPONSORS: BLUEHOST.COM: You can get a discount on hosting with bluehost if referred by “The Conservative Gentleman”!

In other news, let’s share with you the first interaction I had with these people. I continued with them because I didn’t really know what else to do and they already had my money. I wish I’d looked into it more, and I encourage all of you to do the same.

When I first set up the website, I was unable to do anything on it and I kept trying to fix it myself for about two days to no avail. At this point I’d transferred some content from Autostraddle 0.0, like the banner, so it was already clear what kind of site I’d be running. I emailed them about this problem.

Here’s how that went.

From Bluehost:


I apologize about that inconvenience, the problem is the DNS for your domain were deleted.

We have recreated the DNS records and the domain is now online again. Sorry for that trouble.

We have recreated the DNS zone and it will be working in about 2-3 minuteshours

John M.

From Bluehost again:

We apologize for the trouble you’ve been having,

Everything looks to be properly done from your end as far as the install. For some reason there was some DNS issues that we have had to straighten around. Please give 4 to 6 hours for our adjustments to finalize. If you are still having issues after that please get back with us.

Me to Bluehost, over 4 to 6 hours later:


I’m still seeing the same error message (server not found) when I go to Is there a different page I should be going to in order to access the wordpress blog?


Me to Bluehost a few hours later after receieving no reply:

Now there’s a new error message saying, “error establishing a database connection.”

Me again, a few hours later:

It’s still not working … this is really disapppointing. Any update on the status? I was supposed to have the site up today, so sorry for being a pain, but this whole thing is kinda throwing off my schedule big time, as I’d set this day aside to work on the new wordpress blog. I’d try another host but since I’ve already paid you guys, I’m stuck until I can get in touch with someone on your end.

Thanks for your help getting this up and running for me.

It is now nighttime, and no response. So I try again:

Maybe I’ll get a response if I start a new ticket? My site isn’t working. I got the host and domain name and installed the wordpress software, and the website just goes to an error page, I can’t do anything. I had this day set aside to do work on this site and I can’t do anything. This is a huge disappointment for me and if I hadn’t already paid and locked down a domain here, I’d have the freedom to go elsewhere.

[THEN I CUT & PASTE ALL PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, including the “2-3 mintueshours” thing]

Firstly, 2-3 minuteshours? What does that mean? Anyhow, when I woke up it was once again showing that “” cannot be found. Now it has a new error message of “error establishing database connection.”

It’s 7:00 PM EST and I still haven’t been able to do anything. Please get back to me immediately or in 2-3 hoursminutes.

After that day of nonsense, I finally go to sleep.

I wake up to this AMAZING RESPONSE FROM BLUEHOST (bolding is my own):

Firstly, your sarcasm looks very good on you. Give yourself a pat on the back.

In regard to this statement: “This is a huge disappointment for me and if I hadn’t already paid and locked down a domain here, I’d have the freedom to go elsewhere.”….you do have the freedom. I suspect “elsewhere” may be loaded with similar problems for you.

Your issue has nothing to do with the Bluehost servers at this point in time, which seems to be about 2-3 minuteshours from Jan3, 2009.

The previous DNS issues had nothing to do with the current problem either.

Your WordPress installation is missing a database and it only take about 2-3 minuteshours for a missing database to cause severe headaches for sarcastic folk.

If a semi-intelligent person who faced a similar problem as yours were to uninstall and reinstall WordPress from Simple Scripts, he would resolve the problem in Oh….about 2-3 minuteshours.

So, kick this idea around instead of people you interact with and act accordingly. Thanks a bunch for contacting Bluehost.

We love our customers and the sarcastic ones we prize.

Todd Rowley
1Level Support

I write back, in the haze of morning:

Dear Todd,


Howevs, I did uninstall and reinstall wordpress and that didn’t fix the problem, as stated in previous emails.

You’re telling me that the same problem I have now has nothing to do with the problems I had before that you said were fixed? ‘Cause I didn’t touch anything on the website from the moment that your people told me it was fixed.

I guess I’m not semi-intelligent enough to fix the problem.

Thanks for totally not helping!


A few hours later:

Dearest Todd,

Fixed! You win! I’m the idiot!

See, if you read my ticket history — the first time I contact you guys I’m 95% sure that it’s my lack of semi-intelligence (I mean obviously I’m quasi-intelligent at best) causing the problem. But then you tell me that it’s your problem. So when it’s not working again, I think, well, it must still be your problem.

Regardless, 2-3 minuteshours isn’t an adequate time estimation, you have to admit that. I mean there’s a big gulf between 2 minutes and three hours. Unless he did that on purpose, in which case that’s very clever. I salute you. Or him.

You’re also right, obviously immediately after receiving this I had to comb through the site to find out how to cancel my membership ’cause you’re being mean to me instead of empathetic and I found that I could cancel within 30 days, clearly I should’ve done that yesterday.

And maybe I would’ve found the same problems elsewhere, at which point i would’ve assumed — as I initially did with you — that it was indeed my fault, clearly I am not web savvy.

I’ve worked in customer service via email for about a year and I understand — I also disliked being yelled at by strangers about things that weren’t my fault, and felt blown away by the anger people feel justified to unleash in print that they’d never say to your face — but I understood that it’s still frustrating to have paid for a service you feel powerless to obtain, especially when everyone you know and work with is telling you that their hosting service is so lovely. Hopefully mine is also lovely. Clearly for your sake and for mine.

Needless to say, I should’ve ended the abusive relationship when it began, even though his supervisor did write to say that Todd would be reprimanded. I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

So shame on me, shame on Bluehost, and shame on businesses that impose their own religious morality on their customers. I would suggest that Bluehost make it abundantly clear what exactly their TOS implies, as I would not have gathered that ours was in violation even if I had combed through the TOS, especially considering other bluehost sites using the same material and the sheer impossibility of avoiding linking to nudity-containing sites EVER.

In fact, I think it is impossible. It is my personal opinion that bluehost chooses to enforce this unrealistic arbitrary linking policy wherever it wishes — like, for example, on our lesbian website.

Here is what I want: A customer service representative is supposed to be sans personality. They are not supposed to judge or infer anything, ever, but rather respond to every inquiry with the cool collection of a gynecologist listening to people say crazy things about their vaginas all day. Itching? Okay. Annual? Okay. Want to get pregnant? Okay. Crabs? Okay. Lost tampon? Okay! Let’s dig!

Customer service agents are not supposed to be biased or emotionally driven. When he saw that L Word post — AFTER seeing our front page and the content on it, knowing full well that we didn’t run an adult site — his response should have been to inquire about that random post — which was about a television show that is viewed by millions of Americans, not about sex for the sake of sex — rather than to begin freaking out and using that one post as a launching pad to go off into other realms addressing our entire site with standards that aren’t enforced elsewhere. To be fair, I can imagine that the L Word sex scenes post was quite life-scarring for someone raised in the Mormon church, sooooo he’s really just a victim of circumstance. (Check out Bluehost on LinkedIn, so many BYU alums!!)

It’s clear now that these people will be assholes to anyone — even to a mommy blog flooded by visitors when her infant — who her blog was dedicated to — suddenly died and support for her family was being funneled to her blog.

I’m also wondering how a hosting service can get so many negative reviews (aside from those hosted by their own servers, as they own most of the top reviewing sites) and stay in business. I guess it’s that old fashioned conservative loyalty, the kind that buoys entire political parties. Us liberals need to do this too, maybe?


Your bigotry is your business, but when I’m working with your business, it’s my business too. So you better make it crystal clear, otherwise the only conclusion I can draw is that your bloodthirsty CEO (“Anyone who knows me knows I’m at my best when I’m obsessed with winning. I’m ready to start obsessing again I’ve been scheming and plotting knew ways to get a LOT more signups each day.” – Matt Heaton) who is obsessed with conquering the competition while enforcing insane restrictions on its customers, wants as much money as he can possibly get and wants to host over a million domains to boost his ego. Well, I guess we can be one less.


UPDATE: We have now completed the transfer of our domain to HostGator from Bluehost. Tess did indeed motherf*ck bluehost, and it’s important to note that by the time she called them, they were aware of our post as it showed up on search results already even if you couldn’t click through.  They refunded us $35 (this is a small percentage of what they’ve kept), ’cause honestly if they hadn’t done that, we would be going totally insane with attack rifles right now. That has not even covered the cost of transferring and switching our domain however, and they still own the lwordsexscenes domain that we bought although we weren’t supposed to use it and we can’t afford to transfer it over.

Our mighty Tess told bluehost that we’re leaving because “We scarred one of your little mormon butt-f*cking buddy’s when we called the other day, because our site was all f*cked up for the millionth time ’cause you guys can’t get your sh*t together, with all of our SEXUAL CONTENT! You can take your services and shove them, it’s against my morals to be associated with a company such as yours.”

After Tess threatened to take away all their business and tell everyone what asshats they are if they didn’t refund us, she was trasferred to a manager who told her to keep them in mind for all our future hosting needs. The partial refund showed up in my paypal a little bit later.

UPDATE 2: After reading every single g-dforsaken website about Bluehost and hundreds of scathing reviews (and several clearly fake positive reviews), this is my best attempt at applying logic to the situation.

Bluehost has some serious technical issues that I cannot even pretend to understand, hires incompetent customer service people (it’s very buddy-buddy in this type of network, check out the top affiliates on their LinkedIn profile) , and when they don’t know how to fix your problem (or when they caused it themselves — many users report tracing alleged “hackers” back to Bluehost itself), they often will whip out a “Look! What’s that? A TOS violation? Look over there!” CEO Matt Heaton’s comment on this post is an excellent example of this, a week after the fact, when he fully pulls out a random and completely false reason for our struggles that, in addition to being a blatant lie (yes, we can easily prove this), wasn’t ever suggested by his tech support agents at the time of the issue. Furthermore his conviction that pornography is their only forbidden content is either directly contradicting user experiences and his employees’ actions or affirmation of the proposed theory that all same-sex activity is considered pornography. It’s probably not the latter, ’cause that would be too easy.

In short, it’s just not worth it to risk it, especially when his employees use your money to donate to anti-equality political candidates. (That’s just the employees not wise enough to not state their employer. Heaton donated to Romney as “self-employed,” for example, as included earlier in this post.)

We’re loving Hostgator and there are lots of other good web hosts out there.



  1. Fuck. I use Bluehost. Shit, I can’t probably say “fuck”. Oh…you’ve switched so I can. Whatever. I am shocked. Truly. And scared, actually. I have had my blog on bluehost for 3 years now and would have NO idea how to figure out how to move it to another host because I am a semi-intelligent blogger. Fuck. Wow…I’m developing tourette’s as I write this. Also, the customer service response would have made me furious and I would have made it my life’s mission to make his life miserable…which means that I would have stewed about it for days before realizing I had no way to get revenge.

  2. Wow, that is so intense. I can’t believe the email that guy sent you at the beginning. Regardless of how rude/”sarcastic” (I didn’t think you were either?) the customer is, you’re paying them so they should respond like a civil human being. Their job isn’t to tell you how smart or stupid you are.. their job is to fix the website problems. Obviously they didn’t. You did a good thing by changing hosts, bluehost is a bunch of people talking crazy out of their ass. Also, wtf is 2-3minuteshours? I LOLed.

  3. I have a great prejudice against Mormons and this just confirms all of it. It’s infuriating. I never understood this cult until I moved out to Phoenix.

    I mean this is what you get when you believe Joseph Smith looked into a hat and saw a golden book.

    Anyway, I’m very happy you changed your web hosting. Autostraddle will endure!

  4. oh my god. this is a fucking disgrace! too much rage to articulate my many feelings right now. so many feelings! clearly bluehost are shite and will hopefully go out of business. really didn’t know the mormons had it in them to be this cyber sneaky, or that this kind of thing happened. bastards.
    Also that response from the customer service wanker is just unbelievable. how can they be trained to be so crap?
    also pissed off with the way anything gay is always deemed ‘adult’ by those who oppose. anyway, well done to you guys for staying calm, standing up to them and just transferring. very glad autostraddle is up and running again!

  5. You have a finely-tuned and well-functioning sarcasm gland but I couldn’t detect anything remotely snarky in your emails to the staff? Any offence they might have taken to ‘sorry for being a pain’ is surely more indicative of their own defensiveness concerning their inability/ hostility. Todd clearly only ever deals with 14 year olds who use tumblr once a month – regardless, that email he sent is completely unacceptable to a customer. I’m sure he has been ‘reprimanded’ too [liquidated? made to do ten Hail Marys?] if it’s any consolation. Or he’s airpunchin’ with Jesus, I don’t know.

    The rest of the problems *could* have just about been explained away as wires-being-crossed or misunderstandings (I have great mental image of the initial ‘Tom’ character foaming at the mouth and squealing ‘Br-br-br-breasts EVERYWHERE!’) until that email from Todd. Sounds like you’re well rid of the lot of them.

    Good luck.

  6. I was disturbed from the beginning, but those customer service emails? Whoa! As for feedback–I think you do a great job of differentiating between disgust and disappointment. By that I mean, you don’t sound like you’re ready to storm Utah (which wouldn’t be constructive), you sound disappointed this happened to you (as you should!) If anything this just proves why this website is necessary. Combating the stereotypes and negativity that shut it down is important. My only suggestion–take down the customer rep’s contact info. It’s true he’s a total jackhole, but there’s no need for hate mail/phone calls in the name of autostraddle to take place. Controlling your own message is key.

  7. Wow. Just… wow. I can’t believe you were targeted like this. Autostraddle offers me and so many other women SO MUCH. It’s a haven for us. I learn so much from Autostraddle–your links, your articles, your round table discussions… it’s a place where I can come to hear about MY GIRL-ON-GIRL world. And believe me, those places are hard to find for me since, yes, I do live in Utah.

    I can’t say I’m surprised by the way the Mormons put their morality into business. We’ve dealt with their inability to separate church and state in Utah since the very fucking beginning. Although I am very shocked at the email you received calling you sarcastic. I’ve never heard of a company lashing out like that. It’s unprofessional. I don’t understand how they could really do that.

    I do not come here for the hot girl pictures (although I’m not complaining about them haha ;) I come here because it’s one of the few places where my point of view is expressed.

    So fuck them for trying to censor you, and really, the rest of your readers too. Keep on fighting the good fight, Autostraddle. We love you.

  8. Well shit. The only response I can even think of is to quote Tess and say that I’m hands down totes ready to “motherfuck bluehost.” I mean seriouslyyyyy. I have a lot of feelings. Primarily disgust/anger/whathaveyou.

  9. I’m building a site using bluehost right now – but after reading this…no thanks… so when you switched were you reimbursed at all?

    Have you contacted wordpress about their “faulty” recommendation?

    • Right now we’re waiting for them to finish transferring the domain before we ask for our money back or cause any big ripples — unfortunately i don’t think we’ll be able to get it, at this point it’s past the 30 day period.

      There’s a thread on wordpress where several people encourage wordpress to not endorse bluehost, but wordpress doesn’t seem to budge on it, the thread was actually shut down. i’m thinking when we go public, this will be threaded there somehow …

  10. Holy. Crap.

    Fuck that piece of shit Todd. It doesn’t even seem like he was “trained” at all; he probably got the gig because he sang the best falsetto version of Shine Jesus Shine at the church picnic. You were definitely NOT rude in your emails. Eat shit Todd!

    Also, this line in the TOS, “sexual products, programs or services” makes my eyebrow raise. I’d bet dollars to donuts that “sexual programs or services” are a-okay if they promote abstinence.

    I wish I was Dade from Hackers right now. I would fuck their shit up.

  11. I do not believe that (ironically-named) BlueHost, as an ISP with national and international customers can refuse service based on TOS violations; since their TOS are based on Utah Law.
    Not sure if this is the case; it just seems wrong. Kind of like if mormon-owned Domino’s Pizza refused to serve a gay person based on their attractiveness and likelihood of inducing sexual arousal :)

    Best part of the blog: ‘more we hit these roadblocks, the more determined we are to succeed’

  12. And – yes you should go public. You should try to get this review at the top of the Bluehost Reviews Google Search so other people know exactly who these people are. Somebody who knows how to do that should *ahem* get on it–IF you know what I mean…

  13. wow. Currently I don’t have words that aren’t profanities right now. Kudos to being so professional in correspondence even if they weren’t.

    Yeah so you should make this public. People have to know that bluehost does this (as was detailed) Autostraddle didn’t even initially know about these policies. Recent news stories like #amazonfail show that the public definatley has a lower threshold for this stuff.

    this is not okay, we should stand of and take offense. Perhaps this is influenced by the fact that my initial reaction was rage but THIS MEANS WAR. Hey Autostraddle already has a standing army. Viva La Revolución!

  14. WTF!!!

    I’d be interested in knowing your guess for why they targeted you guys. Is it just the gay thing? And when were you prosecuted for the content of this site? I feel very protective/defensive right now for some reason.

    I think you guys got screwed and I think it sucks. You should totally open this post up to everyone in the hopes that it could keep someone else from getting screwed too.

    Just FYI, if you do make this post public, I think you mean “…he doesn’t explain” rather than “…he doesn’t explan”.

    P.S. G.W. Bush is a horse’s ass.

    • I really have no idea. From what I’m reading online, it looks like this is the most randomly enforced policy ever — and we were able to use them without controversy ’til we recently called. it almost seems like customer service is given the permission to act like human beings at all times; judging subjectively, having biased judgments affect their ability to help you, etc. But they aren’t supposed to act like human beings at work — they’re supposed to act like customer service workers.

      I also see that they are the almost exclusive server of most mormon websites, which all promote anti-gay causes.

      it was also very weird when he said we advertised for “sex dvds” when the ad we have is actually for lesbian dvds.

      i wish i had it on tape, dammit

  15. Oh Bluehost. What makes this even more of a joke is that I have called numerous times because they continually screw things up. They have had every opportunity to catch our so called violations and now all of a sudden they take action.

    also, i do not have an accent.

  16. Judgy little bastard. but i mean what can you do? obviously other people have had issues with douchehost and obviously nothing came of it cause they are still around to be pushy mormons. so if you are going to wage war….. i suggest doing it differently than how every one else did. i mean… not to sound like im taking their side, but you did violate their ridiculous terms of service. so if thats your plan…..i wouldnt use that.. cause they got ya there. but im sure there is a law against being a dickhead to your costumers and pushing certain values on someone. you should look into that.

    • I think the issue is that their TOS are not clear and they TOOK THE MONEY WITH THE WORDS GIRL ON GIRL CULTURE CLEAR IN FRONT OF THEM. They make money for a while and then drop you. It’s sneaky and wrong. If Autostraddle had known these terms/feelings going in, they would not have proceded.

      Just warning others that the terms are as such and that the slightest belly button shot could get them shut down (belly buttons are still sexy, right?)

      • very true… the words: other content deemed adult related is extremely vague. because to some people belly buttons are viewed as adult content while with normal people its viewed as a belly button. its a very sketchy postition that Autostraddle is in, and they are in it with really shady bigot douchebags.

  17. I agree with everyone else, my first thought after reading this was “Get this out there”. There’s nothing worse than bad press for a company like this. Sure they’ll hang on to their Mormon/Christian/Catholic/religious/right-wing customers (oh what fun those sites must be, btw!), but it may just get some people who don’t believe in CENSORSHIP (i.e. open-minded people, our forefathers) to drop them like dirty panties.

    Can you rally with other blogs/blogger friends you have to either link to your post or allow a guest post by you to put up on their website? I think that because you didn’t go to an immature catty place with it, it is an effective way to “out” them (yikes) as bigots. It was well written and I think people will give it a chance if they are using/thinking of using Bluewhatshisface. Even if a few people see it and react, you’ll have made a difference.

    When I see things like this I feel icky inside and have to keep saying to myself “People were disgusted by African-Americans, too. It will change”. I half believe myself, but for now that’s good enough to get me through the day.

  18. also yes, definately go public – this type of blatant discrimination and total bollocks behaviour had to be made known. think most people would be v concerned by a company acting in this way. hopefully quite a few people would shift hosts, not least because obviously their customer service is totally sub-par. definately all the sites you guys link out to would be pissed. also as someone suggested have you checked at all to see if what they are doing is actually legal? (not that youd go back obv, but would be nice if they were being illegal) the more times I read this the more angry i get. its just awful. what can we do to help?

  19. Todd obviously doesn’t know the meaning of the word sarcastic because you were nothing of the kind. As for the TOS, can we estimate what percentage of the sites they host violate these terms of service? If they’re going to uphold them in certain situations they should be bound to upholding them in all situations. Breaking the rules is breaking the rules, and plenty of their biggest clients probably break these rules. If they want to make themselves the choice hosting service of bible thumping lunatics with long sleeves and tasteful crew necks that’s their perogative, but they shouldn’t be able to make money off us sullied masses if they’re going to pick and choose which of their clients to apply their rules to. I would look into their clients if you have the resources and check to see if their biggest clients abide by their terms of service. I mean linking to a site that links to a site containing adult material? Give me an f-ing break. If you can get ahold of at least a cursory list of their clients I would contact the biggest ones that violate the terms of service to inform them that they may be cherry picked to incur the wrath of Bluehost. This will hit them where it hurts, their bank account. And it seems that’s all that matters to their CEO anyway.

    I would love to help in the fight if you need any. I always appreciate how beautifully written and insightfully conceived Autostraddle is. You guys make the internet a better place, and All of my friends now read this site. Thank you for everything you do.

  20. Wow. I knew Bluehost sucked, but I did not realize they sucked this much. (self-censoring…breathing….)

    For another “you’re well-rid of them” story, here’s a gem from my friend. She runs a pretty successful career/small biz website. One day, it’s doing so well that it overloads the server. In response–wait, you ready for it?–Bluehost locks her out of her account for 3 days.

    3 days.

    It’s not just that they take down her site. They could have unhooked her DNS and she should still have been able to access her files & database, pack her bags, repoint her domain, and move elsewhere. Coulda been done in a couple hours + DNS propogation time. They certainly didn’t have to lock her out of her entire Bluehost account, meaning she couldn’t access anything. She thought her blog was gone for good (which is why I backup religiously).

    Anyway, she got the account re-opened, packed up and left as fast as she could. No upgrading, no anything else.

    As for this, well it has me so mad I can’t see straight. There are very good reasons why those anti-“adult” rule are there (from a host’s point of view) and unless you’re streaming large amounts of video or hosting huge #s of photos that people are downloading—basically unless you’re a porn site and therefore hogging a server, it’s not even an issue! You pay, you don’t crash the server, they help you fix tech errors, mostly you stay out of each others’ way, everyone is happy.

    I’d already been suggesting that clients look elsewhere, based on that other experience. But now I’ll make that suggestion even stronger.

  21. fuckkkkkk this. Everyone has said everything so well already…so yea. I agree to go public. I mean it seems like plenty of people have had unpleasant experiences with these douchers.

  22. plus if they really have such a huge issue with babeland and nips etc. you’d think they would’ve done something about it a while ago…you know maybe give you a heads up or somethin. guess not.

  23. yeah there’s no way wordpress should be recommending that shit. maybe if enough of us bombard them with a protest they’ll cut it out.

    but seriously, my jaw was dropping the entire way through reading this post. it’s just about fallen off by now.

  24. Okay…I’ve given this some thought now (after my initial panic about my own blog). Seems like there are three basic issues:

    1)Bluehost is owned and run by conservative Mormons. I didn’t know this. Problems aside, our peeps should know this so that we can all make informed choices about where we have out sites and where our money goes.

    2)Bluehost treated you poorly in terms of customer service (at the very least) and targeted Autostraddle for the queer content at the worst. People should know this too.

    3)Wordpress is recommending Bluehost so they need to hear about that too.

    So, maybe a respectful “education” action for queers, allies and wordpress. It should be organized and focused. Publish your experience but, in terms of targeting wordpress and other queer/queer friendly consumers, there should be buzzwords or a common message. Then, let’s unleash the queers! I can’t do anything on my blog yet (because I’m hosted by stupid fucking bluehost) but there are so many other ways…twitter etc. A little virtual direct action is in order but there should be a clear and consistent message.

    Alright…I’ll stop now. Like I said, I gave it some thought :)

  25. I am hoppin’ mad reading about this experience you had with Bluehost. I will never, ever host a single website with them. I was actually considering them before now because WordPress recommends them and I am planning to start a blog – they were the frontrunner. But now, definitely not!

    Their practices are discriminatory. Their conflating sexual orientation with “adult content” is offensive, inaccurate, and discriminatory also. *Same-gender attraction and discussions about lesbians and bisexual women and topics is not equivalent to pornography.* A link to Babeland is not equivalent to pornography either. I’ve never read anything on AutoStraddle that is even as risqué as what you find in a typical supermarket women’s magazine (talking about how Brad Pitt has hot abs or how to please a guy with hot rock massages or whatever.) What’s the objection? Obviously, that this site is for queermobilesbians and our friends. That is why they have a blatant double standard between heterosexually-oriented and queer-oriented content.

    Riese, I am so mad that you even had to go through such a horrible experience. It’s not right. Their customer service is atrocious, their discriminatory attitudes are unconscionable especially for a company that deals with the public, and WordPress most definitely should not be linking to hosts that shut down websites because they have awesome and proud queer-oriented content. We are equal to anyone and we don’t have to take this bullshit. Kiss my Canadian ass Bluehost!

  26. Wow, it is rather ridiculous that bluehost suddenly decided that they had a problem with the site, because if you were breaking the TOS when you called them, you were breaking it before. It would def be interesting to see how many of their clients are breaking the TOS and which ones they decide to shut down. In any event you should take this public.

    I love the site, so I’m glad that it is up again and that you’ve got a host that is cool so far.

    Also, Todd is an asspanda.

  27. I agree with everyone – you should publish this post! This is a really unfortunate experience and should be easier to identify. I’ve enjoyed working with WordPress in the past and am disappointed that they’re actively promoting Bluehost. Bluehost is what it is, and we don’t have to like it, but WordPress should be more concerned that it’s partnering so heavily with a company so bigoted.

  28. wow wow wow. it takes a special talent and/or extreme fundamentalism to get unprofessional, hateful, rude, prudish, and bigoted all into one company.

    at least you got a well-reasoned argument on why adult content is tearing the world apart. “Adult material hurts people in so many ways that I won’t even argue the point here.” or, you know, not.

  29. Wow. I’m pretty much speechless by this whole ordeal.

    I think you should definitely make this post public. It seems as though a lot of other sites have run into similar issues with these twats. It also seems as though their service is a strongly recommended one that recieves a great deal of new business. Nothing bad could come of stepping out with this debacle of customer service and discrimination. At best, more people are made aware of the fact that this host is discriminatory, shady and has no problem targeting gay oriented sites and making them impossible to run. I also agree with everyone who has said that WordPress ought to be made aware of this in some way. In this instance, WordPress is definitely guilty by association.

    It’s a real shame you had to deal with that bullshit, and I’m sorry you had to. But true facts, you gals are running one of the best sites around – so thank you for doing what you do and making sure you’re still able to bring us all this goodness. Thanks for taking this one for us. <3

  30. Wow what a crazy shitty experience… I must be naive because no matter how many times I read stories like this I am always surprised that people are like this/ do things like this. Like arent they ashamed of themselves?

    Anyways, now I am freaked because I have a hostmonster account and I planned to put up my portfolio website on there and I know that wont even come close to being allowed in their TOS. Shit.

  31. I have so many thoughts about this it’s hard to contain them all. Point blank this is bullshit. They don’t mess with you till after the 30 day period so when they screw everything up (and make it almost impossible to fix) they don’t have to return the money. Meanwhile, all your hard work is obliterated. (I’m sure they enjoy seeing that happen) The whole thing in general was irritating, but then I read the customer service interaction… I don’t get how a business can treat its customers like that. Grab your pitchforks autoreaders! You should totally go public.

  32. Facts trump conjecture everytime!

    I am the owner of I just happened on this link. There is one HUGE error on the part of the owner of this blog. You were never shut down for the content on your blog. Let me repeat that so everyone can see it again. Your site WAS hacked, your wordpress install was compromised. Our server security wasn’t compromised, your outdated version of WordPress was compromised. We never have nor will we ever sensor a site for gay content or any other content save for adult/porn pictures/videos, etc – Which we have NO interest in hosting and which we make very clear upfront when buying hosting. We host a huge number of sites with gay related material both pro and against. This is easily verified with goole and 2 minutes of your time.

    Yes, I live in Utah. Yes, I am a Mormon, and really I couldn’t care less what lifestyle you want to live. I also couldn’t care less what is written on any customers blog. I am far too busy, far too disinterested, and value my time far too much to concern myself with the personal views of customers. I just don’t care.

    So recap – if you want to host porn don’t sign up with Bluehost. Short of that, there really isn’t a problem and never will be.

    Feel free to disagree, but 1.8 million other sites about straight, gay, white, black, moms, dads, cars, weather, and anything you can think of disagree with you.

    Matt Heaton / President

    • That’s nice that you don’t care less, but your employees DO. As I explained in detail, we were told that so much of our content was so strongly against the TOS that we would barely have enough time in an hour to get rid of all the stuff we needed to get rid of to keep our website. Directly after this conversation we were suddenly unable to access our website to fix it, another problem I see faced by many of your users.

      Here’s another thing I’d like to clarify — FACT — I am not saying you won’t host a gay site and I never do, I’m aware that you do — you must or you’d be in legal trouble! I find it incredibly confusing, in fact, that these tried-and-true rules we were held to seem so randomly enforced elsewhere. I am merely attempting to understand what specifically about our site shocked your employee so much that they said it was loaded with adult content, needed to be shut down, and refused to fix a problem it took our web-person about thirty seconds to remedy. Perhaps it would benefit you to figure out where the miscommunication is between the administrators and the tech support people who feel entitled — by some token or another (the word of G-d? I dunno) — to enforce rules you claim don’t even exist.

      If porn is the only un-allowed content, well then — wow! That makes his judgment of our content even more redic!

      It seems your employees often feel free to execute their own judgment, outside of what you claim here to be appropriate, whether that be mouthing off to a customer who doesn’t understand a tech problem or telling a customer that they are prohibited from linking to sites that sell sex toys, talk about sex, or feature partial nudity. There are accounts of this happening to others all over the web, so clearly this is at an epidemic level within your BYU alumni network staff.

      We avoided being shut down by making the entire website private, therefore eradicating the objectionable content that we were told we had an hour to get rid of before we would be shut down for a terms of service violation. That’s our smarts, not your liberal policies.

      Also, it wasn’t suggested to us that our site was hacked because … it wasn’t hacked!

      You should check out our terms of service — or rather, our company mission. Honesty is one of our top values, as no one gets anywhere through lying.

      Everywhere that I see a complaint from a customer on the web I see the same indignant response from you. The customer is always wrong I guess? This kind of inability to face the problem and blame the user every time is enough, in my opinion, to not want to do business with your company.

    • Mr. Heaton, it is ignorant of you to blame and outdated version of WordPress. What was it outdated by a month at the most? It amazes me that a hacker would come in a screw up our home page, then put everything back to normal by the time I was able to look at it. What a nice hacker! I feel strongly that we were not hacked so if you would like to blame all of our problems on that, I would like you to prove WE were hacked.

      I would also like to point out one HUGE error/fail on your part, where the hell is your customer service? I have never been met with such disregard or lack of respect from a company in my life. Obviously you think you simply do not have to worry about that as you already have 1.8 million sites hosted on your servers. Bluehost is a prime example of the problem with corporate America. All you seem to be worried about is numbers, you have no regard for quality.

      Also, you are correct to say that we were never shut down, however we were threatened with it, which prompted us to put up the password protection. Why you didn’t take the site down confuses me because your support tech seemed overly serious about it.

      So to recap – you didn’t do anything wrong, the nicest hacker ever screwed our site up, porn. I still can’t find the stupid porn!

    • Looks like Matt and his techs hang around a gay IRC channel #bluehosers.

      Below is a log from #bluehosers. Notice the reference to [] half way through the chat.


      #bluehosers quotes

      Filter for:
      Sorted with most recent first.
      # Added by When Quote
      294 Midorikawa|Wr0K 14:37 28 Apr 10 She did mention something about a pearl necklace.
      293 weasy 10:14 28 Apr 10 MrBond: Why you guys talkin about suckin your own dicks!?
      292 weasy 08:54 28 Apr 10 Kloutier: Stop beating inches weasy
      291 Kloutier 08:36 28 Apr 10 (02:32:55 PM) weasy: my platypus got stuffed into a tight place. Ahh hell.
      289 Kloutier 07:49 28 Apr 10 hpz: didn’t know CheshirePanda had a quote db Midorikawa|Psychosis: isn’t he your bot?
      287 StrayPanda 06:47 28 Apr 10 Is mavias a fagget.
      285 StrayPanda 16:07 27 Apr 10 sometimes i fap and chat at the same time.
      284 halfpastzero 16:04 27 Apr 10 paul im home you can come fuk me :)
      283 Mr_Sparklefarts 11:29 26 Apr 10 maybe god put the sounds in a seashell
      282 hpz 09:48 26 Apr 10 Good to know i have good wood though
      281 StrayPanda 14:03 25 Apr 10 There was an old whore of the Azores Whose cunt was all covered in sores The dogs in the street Used to lick the green meat That hung in festoons from her drawers
      279 Midorikawa|Wr0K 10:36 22 Apr 10 glad I didn’t tell you about the need to bring hamsters to the concert
      270 BO 15:44 19 Apr 10 <—— bord 21:40 BO: [1/2] Bord: Noun: The act of being a homosexual butt
      269 Kloutier 07:53 19 Apr 10 ZappBrannigan: he is like a retarded superhero… emotoman!
      267 Kloutier 11:58 14 Apr 10 Midorikawa|Wr0K: you should place your machine in a bucket of water ASAP before the seahorses die.
      266 Kloutier 11:58 14 Apr 10 (05:53:52 PM) Midorikawa|Wr0K: no wonder LDAP systems are slow.
      264 Midorikawa|Wr0K 15:39 9 Apr 10 mrbond brings the dicks out of guys
      263 Midorikawa|Wr0K 12:06 9 Apr 10 omg i just burned my ass on my ac adaptor.
      262 Midorikawa|Wr0K 12:07 31 Mar 10 had to sharte
      261 KIoutier 12:17 30 Mar 10 Michael Dickson: this ldap is totally making me not productive
      254 Midorikawa|Wr0K 11:08 18 Mar 10 I’ve finally pooped out the pizza I ate two days ago! (^_^)
      253 Midorikawa|Psychosis 13:18 16 Mar 10 i’ve been jerking off for 35 minutes
      250 KIoutier 13:19 10 Mar 10 Midorikawa|DataCenter: go lazy grave shift.
      249 Midorikawa|Wr0K 14:41 5 Mar 10 this lady i’m talking to has experienced the harsh realities of the internet with her site being hacked. she started crying at one point.
      248 Midorikawa|Wr0K 14:33 5 Mar 10 your a jew?
      no no, I’m a gew
      !urban gew
      DeadPanda: [1/4] Gew: A gay Jew. A Jewish guy who likes to suck cock. – Example: I would have never imagined that Mike was a gew, until I found tons of gay porn on his computer.
      247 Midorikawa|Wr0K 15:18 26 Feb 10 casey wants bdsm.
      yes please
      246 Midorikawa|Wr0K 15:17 26 Feb 10 i blocked you Casey
      i did it because of your face
      cuz i love you too much
      245 Midorikawa|Wr0K 10:09 11 Feb 10 sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
      244 DeadPanda 14:17 5 Feb 10 How can you tell if you have a high sperm count? – Your girlfriend has to chew.
      243 Midorikawa|Wr0K 10:23 29 Jan 10 thanks for the good time bo
      i do feel a bit sore though
      specially in my hands
      ya it was fun
      241 Midorikawa|Psychosis 11:56 11 Dec 09 PROTIP: Avoid sneezing while you’re pooping… shit fucking hurts.
      240 DeadPanda 20:17 8 Dec 09 you get WoWified, and then ur brainz turn into a sort of “crispy nugget”
      239 DeadPanda 19:11 8 Dec 09 Midorikawa did you say you need a legal sweat shop.
      238 Midorikawa|Wr0K 17:20 8 Dec 09 omg they did sauce me.
      236 Kloutier 15:01 7 Dec 09 Midorikawa|Wr0K: try “man top” ….or Man Grep……Or best Man Touch
      Kloutier: I did not know linux was so gay
      235 Midorikawa|Wr0K 20:31 6 Dec 09 Good how does my fruit tastes
      Why does that sound so wrong but taste so right.
      just watch out for that blister by the crust
      234 Midorikawa|Wr0K 16:42 6 Dec 09 yeah, today’s a Carcass day.
      Where? | I want it
      233 Kloutier 20:17 5 Dec 09 Midorikawa|Wr0K: ur penis kinda felt like a vagina to me
      232 Midorikawa|Wr0K 20:09 5 Dec 09 it’s like eating out your cousin, just because it tastes the same, doesn’t make it ok
      231 MrBond 19:24 4 Dec 09 CheshirePanda: And lo, he was shat upon, and he did weep for his misfortune.
      230 MrBond 19:20 4 Dec 09 And lo, he was shat upon, and he did weep for his misfortune.
      227 Midorikawa|Wr0K 19:10 1 Dec 09 I dub this room: “Donkey fluffers anonymous 2”
      222 DeadPanda 22:44 23 Nov 09 (206): he stole me 6 pairs of frilly undies and proclaimed “your ass looks like a 5 in those. it’ll be a 10 in these bad boys”. every girl needs a gay bff.
      221 Midorikawa|Wr0K 17:28 23 Nov 09 i do feel wet tho
      220 DeadPanda 20:36 19 Nov 09 [] entered the room.
      219 DeadPanda 16:04 19 Nov 09 push and hold the power button for 4 seconds and wait for the sploding to happen…
      218 Midorikawa|Wr0K 15:45 18 Nov 09 The Internet gives a voice to every idiot….So If I believe in idiots what does that make me?
      AN AMERICAN! hhahahahahaha
      215 hpz 00:24 15 Nov 09 Yes, i would love to have sperm so powerful that it doesn’t look right.
      214 Kloutier 15:26 12 Nov 09 Well Sir, I use a different phone so I can help you with the settings but not where to touch your phone
      213 Casey 15:29 11 Nov 09 (03:29:12 PM) Casey: Casey Loves pauls Junk
      212 Kloutier 15:29 11 Nov 09 (03:29:12 PM) Casey: Casey Loves pauls Junk
      211 Midorikawa|Wr0K 14:53 11 Nov 09 i beat it before i came
      210 halfpastzero 17:36 10 Nov 09 fast as triple lubricated shit!
      with 3lbs. of laxative
      I need about 7lbs.
      209 DeadPanda 17:35 10 Nov 09 (05:34:41 PM) DeadPanda: fast as triple lubricated shit!
      208 Kloutier 13:10 7 Nov 09 did the sand come out of your vagina finally
      207 Romosexual 14:30 5 Nov 09 Hal: ?Any l2 or l3 to find whose teeth fit in my armpit.
      206 Midorikaw 12:29 5 Nov 09 and sniff
      That sounds tastey.
      Lick lick sniff.
      205 Midorikaw 11:16 4 Nov 09 Midorikawa|Wr0k: (515): we need blinds so i can safely watch porn during the day
      204 MrBond 14:02 3 Nov 09 ?Bunglick: halfpastzero: do you lub mai pee pee?
      203 DeadPanda 11:04 3 Nov 09 large-ass breasts, on ur chest, add some pudding, then molest
      202 DeadKitteh 17:12 2 Nov 09 (9:34:49 PM) HalPanda: No lonny we cannot see into the laffy taffy joke pipe… Prepare yourselves.
      201 Midorikaw 10:32 2 Nov 09 i like cat shit
      200 Paulzor 14:09 31 Oct 09 /2] Bagley: Bagley is usually a greeting word, or a word to attract someones attention.
      199 DeadPanda 13:07 31 Oct 09 (07:04:14 PM) HalPanda: My point of even giving birth if that system is to have sex in a brownie.
      198 MrBond 09:21 31 Oct 09 CUSTOMER: Hello I will not do a copy. It you will not download. Also has not understood as to do. Why I files new cannot ???????? over old with replacement.
      197 Kloutier 09:08 31 Oct 09 dude i dont realllllly have to fuck her do i? its just a mess down there and i think im gonna cry
      196 MrBond 06:56 31 Oct 09 ?Hal: But my on call phone % can blow my left nut…. Its not quite good enough to get myself pregant.
      195 MrBond 14:24 30 Oct 09 ?HalPanda: Hahahahhah that image on my laptop is sitting on the cheese.
      194 MrBond 14:21 30 Oct 09 ?HalPanda: Yeah me too. I’m assuming the fail is someone who speaks german so i feel shitty enough to blow me. — ?Bunglick: HalPanda: that didn’t make any sense.
      193 MrBond 13:01 29 Oct 09 ?MrBond: this game makes my wiener rise
      192 Midorikaw 10:25 29 Oct 09 there’s a shemale in there
      189 halfpastzero 06:51 28 Oct 09 This dude’s first name is Jeep
      His freaking name is Jeep Johnson
      porn star?
      187 DeadKitteh 14:12 27 Oct 09 (08:10:56 PM) Hal: I was on your desk.
      186 Midorikaw 13:50 27 Oct 09 !joke dirty
      I may not be Fred Flinstone, but I bet I can make your bed rock.
      Eww how dirty.
      185 Mavias 11:25 27 Oct 09 its like showtime but with donkeys!
      184 DeadKitteh 11:22 27 Oct 09 (05:21:32 PM) Hal: Wtf, chesirecat is talkin nau?
      183 DeadKitteh 22:23 26 Oct 09 (4:21:56 AM) Hal: Why isnt bunglick here?
      182 Midorikaw 11:55 26 Oct 09 roses are red
      violets are black
      why is you chest as flat as your back?
      181 Midorikaw 09:55 26 Oct 09 !joke gross
      Where do you find a dog with no arms and no legs? – Exactly where you left it!
      !joke gross
      What do you call a dog with no arms and no legs? – Nothing! It’s not going to come any way!
      What a waste of a dog.
      178 DeadKitteh 10:12 24 Oct 09 Kid: Mom! Everyone at school says I look like a werewolf! Mom: Shut up and comb your face!
      177 DeadKitteh 16:55 23 Oct 09 Did you hear about the leper card game? One threw his hand in, one laughed his head off and one cried his eyes out.
      176 DeadKitteh 14:37 23 Oct 09 I will shtick shum peanish in her bum
      174 Mavias 06:59 18 Oct 09 Look at my horse, my horse is amazing. Give it a lick mmm it tastes just like raisins
      173 DeadKitteh 15:07 17 Oct 09 big floppy donkey dick
      172 DeadKitteh 14:08 17 Oct 09 (08:02:33 PM) Hal: Radioactive rubber pants! The pants command me. Do not ignore my veins.
      171 DeadKitteh 13:48 17 Oct 09 (07:47:23 PM) Hal: !Random 100,000,000.
      170 DeadKitteh 13:20 17 Oct 09 (07:19:53 PM) Hal: Paul, i discovered that there is one of his commands should be getting a little giraffe but im still learning how to poop where they eat.
      169 GrayPanties 16:09 15 Oct 09 boobs song:
      168 DeadKitteh 09:27 13 Oct 09 Hal: With their fckn asses!
      167 DeadKitteh 16:35 12 Oct 09 You have so much on your mind, you’ve forgotten how to pee
      166 Kloutier 09:22 11 Oct 09 New sign -up customer asks about support and I tell him we have 24/7 hour support. he says Really?! Does that include other timezones like the UK?
      164 DeadKitteh 16:10 10 Oct 09 Hal: Pewp dawgy dawwwwwgggg.
      163 DeadKitteh 12:18 10 Oct 09 Hal: Interviewed for admin and told her to get some rubber pants and fill them with pudding and jello, and then he kinda stabs you in a shack.
      162 DeadKitteh 11:49 10 Oct 09 bow-chicka meow meow
      161 DeadKitteh 09:23 10 Oct 09 would it be inappropriate to describe you with the phrase “bigass titties”?
      158 DeadKitteh 11:03 9 Oct 09 if it’s not making you puke and get an erection at the same time, it doesn’t meet my standards
      157 Midorikaw 11:20 8 Oct 09 if you push it in too far, it might break off and then you’ll REALLY be screwed!
      156 Mavias 09:27 8 Oct 09 ?**picks nips** “here you go one california king sized peperoni nip”!
      155 Mavias 09:24 8 Oct 09 ?Whoa! She has peperoni tits!
      153 halfpastzero 07:19 7 Oct 09 Wanna make sweet love to my bluehost account…
      131 results

  33. Wow Riese, cant believe all this happened to you guys!

    Never going to consider using Bluehost ever and Im also going to spread the word to everyone I know!

    Which company did you end up going with?

  34. “I also couldn’t care less what is written on any customers blog. I am far too busy, far too disinterested, and value my time far too much to concern myself with the personal views of customers. I just don’t care.”

    this is probably my favorite part!

    • i think that perhaps we now are far too busy, far too disinterested, and far too content with our new host to concern ourselves with such uninformed, unhelpful, and quite frankly rude individuals/companies.

      also, how does one “happen upon” autostraddle. like, what google search brought THAT up?

      please check your facts before trying to tell us what happened to our own site. in addition, censor with a “c.”


    • Exactly! If he truly values his time far too much to concern himself with the personal views of customers, why bother to read the full post or comment on it.

      They must teach a special class on hypocrisy at BYU.

  35. i want to make signs, throw eggs (except not bc i really hate how wasteful that is) and storm the bluehost offices-tie customer service reps to big screens-make em watch season 6/interrogation tapes-give em something to cry about!


  36. hmmm. Its interesting that he is so very busy and doesn’t care a bit about his customers views and yet has the time and inclination to come and comment on here. The article must be making some waves! Go Autostraddle!!

  37. Wow, Mr. Heaton. Congratulations for handling this in the most unprofessional way possible. You’re really the president? Seriously? Now the crappy customer service makes total sense, considering how low the bar seems to be set at Bluehost.

  38. hello matt. this is tinkerbell.

    i am very confused about your words and company. your employees are mean and say things and then you are mean. then you say different things than they said. you are making the point we never made for us. and then you say such strange things for the leader of a company. also i was raised by a liberal elitist and us people don’t talk about money like you did in those quotes from the webhost site or brag about bajillion users like in your commentary. i would never want anyone to use me. i am beautiful dog, far more beautiful than anyone in the world. sometimes you remind me of sarah palin except with anger & man. i love man like my boyfriend littlefoot who you don’t believe in because of g-d. mr. heaton i think you owe everyone an apology which would make a big difference like if mr.bush had apologized but you have your cult okay.

    i know that i am just a female dog … but mr heaton with all due respect you’re a total bitch.

    thank you love tinkeberbell.

  39. Late to the game, but urgh, frustrating is an understatement. This has got my thinking cap on. There’s a law suit somewhere in all this. Misrepresentation? I would say somewhere in contract law. I don’t know … unless the federal government one day steps in and says because this is interstate commerce, we are implementing a new anti-discrimination law. But not likely :(

    But way to stick it to ’em Autostraddle team!

    P.S. I LOL-ed right from sentence 1 by Matt Heaton.

  40. Sheesh.
    I checked back to see if there were any interesting comments… indeed there are! Mr. Heaton there makes this situation even more confusing/funny/lame. How much more unprofessional could you get? Plus it’s all public. As previously noted, you must be making some ripples for him to comment… GO TEAM!

  41. Darralings!

    Just find out what is happening to you Lovelies. A confusing situation to find out. Well, it can happen to all of us. Power for you to continue this great website. Good luck with your new host like NOW sweethearts! Like NOW. :)

  42. WOW WOW WOW!!! Back from vacation and I finally got to sit down to read this. As a person who owns her own company and just as a human being I am blown away by how unprofessional and ridiculous Mr. Heaton the owner of BlueHost is. Is he 12 or just that unprofessional? And I’m so shocked by the complete lack of customer service and the tone of those emails. Did they answer these emails in the basement of their frat house, because that is sure what it sounds like. I worked with someone this horrible and manipulative once. Their business failed.

  43. That’s some crazy shit right there. My host is Dreamhost (unlimited bandwith, storage and domain hosting!) and if you hadn’t switched to HostGator I would have suggested them. Anyway, glad things are working out now.

  44. I am currently on Bluehost and trying to cancel my account because of this. You should post this all over the place. I kept posting it on, which claims to not have any bluehost employees, but they kept banning me and deleting my posts, even for legitimate problems related to backups and archiving. Server load is constantly at 15-75% and hdd is always 90-100% full. Bluehost is a joke.

  45. Well after indulging my OCD thoroughly in my quest for a webhost… after googling “blah blah host sucks” many times and finding the site and finally stumbling on a link to your post through a comment you left there, I can only say this: THANK YOU!

    You’ve just saved this young lady hours of hair pulling and stabbing pins into voodoo dolls. Not to mention the acid reflux that would have been a direct result of supporting ignorant bigots. So for what it’s worth, they never got my money and never will. Once I’m up and running, I hope you don’t mind if I link to this post. Always good to spread the word ;)



  46. i found this page by googling bluehost are fucking wankers. They wiped all my websites after a rival website complained about me.

    These people are useless muppets avoid at all costs

  47. Now it all makes sense. I had a site hosted with hostmonster and called them with a problem. After complaining about their sorry customer service, my account was shut down. There was no content on the site, I was trying to sell the domain name. And yes, the customer service IDIOTS were rude and conscending.

    Thanks for shedding light on what happened to me. I guess the mormons have been FUCKING FOR OVER for years now. First covertly by wiping out my account because of what THEY SAY is “Adult Material”, and now OVERTLY by sponsoring hateful propositions!

  48. I run several sites using

    Some experts chided me, telling me I should use WordPress: “It’s much more professional,” they told me.

    And I was taking a look at switching to WordPress. But you know what? I don’t think I like the company they are keeping. So I’ll stick with faithful and working Blogger, thank you very much indeed!

    Anyone know if there’s a Mormon link to WordPress? Might explain why such a worthless firm like Bluehost is bigged up by WordPress, against some stiff oposition.

  49. Respecting religious beliefs is one thing. But the irony here is that Mormons believe in having many many wives, some as young as thirteen years old, and even kick out their young sons for fear they’ll check out their new 13 y.o. wives! Really sick… But don’t you dare say “#$#$” you sinful pervert! gotta love the hypocracy that runs rampant in our world.

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  51. Heh oh boy now i know why my dealings with Bluehost have deteriorated to shit heh … i spent 1hr and 20min TRYING to cancel my account on their Livechat 5 different arrogant upselling SALES consultant and finally the last one must have put his hand up to “play” with the customer … 20yrs in business i have never dealt with a less professional organisation … there CUSTOMER RELATIONS are non existant UNLESS you are UPGRADING or RENEWING your account … i had a hosting for 6yrs with Bluehost … never used it but it was there if i needed to which was what i wanted and was quite prepared to pay for the convenience … i gave up after 1hr 20min i did not “play” the consultants game in frustration i just offered the last statement “HOW CAN I CLOSE MY ACCOUNT ???” 3min of looking at the livechat screen … nothing so i typed “???” which issued the immediate response “??? DID THAT HELP TO CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT” I would have liked to pull him through the screen but i just stated thankyou for your help and contacted my credit card holder who immediately haulted the transaction … THE END … i thought … BLUEHOST sent through 17 pages of legal jargon and confirmed that i had contacted them and although there consultants had given me “EVERY PPORTUNITY” i had not authorised them to cancel my accont … another 30min on BLUEHOST LIVECHAT 4 operators ALL TRYING TO UPSELL … i finally ended up having to send through photographic id a “photograph” of my credit card and finally account closed … the end … NO … Now they have just contacted me to say my REFUND cannot be processed for another 2months … 6mths since the date the money was paid 5mths since i tried to canel my account after seeing it on my credit card statement … but … i can contact my bank get them to send BLUEHOST written confirmation on a bank letterhead that they will not reverse the original payment and they will not PURSUE THE MATTER … Heh i then googled BLUEHOST ASSHOLES and voila i ended up here and noticed the comment of there CEO or is that Supreme Commander Matt Heaton

    ” I am far too busy, far too disinterested, and value my time far too much to concern myself with the personal views of customers. I just don’t care.”

    Goodluck with that attitude heh anyway i am very busy also but i will spend the rest of my day attaching my personal dealings to every article in the BLUEHOST ASSHOLES list … which there is many … BLUEHOST ARE ASSHOLES TO DEAL WITH …

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  53. Horrible Service From Bluehost
    by Barry » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:24 pm

    My name is Barry

    Yesterday March 20th 2013 I joined Bluehost only to discover that your company was under a cyber attack that was preventing me from getting into my NEW account. Also because of this attack on your own website it loaded so slow it timed out multiple times so I could not even get into Bluehost for hours.

    Today March 21st 2013. I called Bluehost to cancel my account to get a full refund and your employee told me that I had to do this online. However when I attempted to cancel my one day old account your website would not recognize my password. I put in for a change of password but it still would not work so I called your company again! I was told that My MAC Safari browser may not be compatible with your software and there was nothing they could do to refund my money! More Poor Service!

    So I am telling you what I am about to do if my account is not closed and my money refunded into my credit card account once and for all forever never to charge me again! RIGHT AWAY!

    If my account is not closed and my money refunded I will simply (back charge) your charge to me myself by calling my credit card company! Since NO SERVICE WAS PROVIDED And NOT AS ADVERTISED is a valid reason they will grant me my charge back.

    Then I will go to EVERY HOSTING FORUM I can find (There Are 100’s Of Them) and I will join them and post a copy of this letter to warn the thousands of people that read them about what you have done to provide a horrible experience while refusing to return my money against your advertised pledge to do so anytime a customer is not satisfied with Bluehost’s service on your website and in your advertising!

    Last I will write a letter of complaint to the Federal Trade Commission to have your company investigated for fraud.

    Please call me at once to change your mind so you can do what ever it takes to force a refund back into my credit card account since your software will not allow me to put this cancellation through.

    PS, I have no desire to deal with this situation like this. However I NEVER BLUFF!


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  56. Fuck bluehost, and their bigotry and power-drunkness and their total abandonment of professional standards when dealing with people they think the ruler of the universe has told them it’s okay to hate.
    That said, I have a proportionally small (in relation to everything RIGHT with the article) but emotionally significant (in relation to the amount of spoons I have to deal with it) gripe: You saying customer service reps should be “sans personality” rubbed me very much the wrong way, as a person who works in customer service for shit money. There is a huge gulf between “being incredibly rude and ableist to customers for no reason except that they’re lesbians” and “being sans personality.” That was something I very much wish I hadn’t read before getting up at five-thirty tomorrow morning to bag groceries for scores of loud and proud red-state homophobes, and smile like a mannequin while they yell at me for (a) not bagging according to their telepathically transmitted instructions or (b) looking a way that makes them accidentally call me sir instead of ma’am, thereby making them feel embarrassed when they realize their mistake. Reading that was alienating in a way I don’t tend to expect from this site.
    Not intended as a callout, just some feelings I had to let out so that I could sleep tonight.

  57. As an Autostraddle writer currently building a site for another Autostraddle writer on freaking BLUEHOST who is right this moment going nuts trying to transfer the site to a new host, I wish so much I had seen this article earlier. We have had issues with the service (site buggy and inaccessible for a whole week and they just say ‘ask the developer to fix it – well that would be me). Add this to the veiled homophobia in their definition/selective ignorance of ‘adult content’ and this is the absolute worst.

    When this site is sorted, I will contact WordPress to ask that they stop recommending Bluehost as their no.1 host – this is how come they are so huge!! It kills me that it was me that recommended Bluehost to my client, literally because WP recommend them.

    There are so many decent hosts out there (shoutout to Vidahost who host all of my sites and are *awesome*)

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