Crazy Penguin

April 12, 2008

Bluehost TOS

Filed under: Bluehost — Tags: , , , , , , , , — CrazyPenguin @ 7:23 am

Bluehost has one of the most straight forward TOS (terms of service) to understand in the web hosting industry. It is a simple one page of dos and don’ts. It contains all typical verbiage you would expect from a web hosting TOS agreement with the exception of two areas.

  • All activities may be monitored, recorded, and examined by any authorized person, including law enforcement.

So you have zero rights to privacy concerning the content within your Bluehost account whether it is visible to the general public or not. In fact it has been reported Bluehost regularly scans accounts for acceptable content.

  • Foul language and profanity in the site content, and in the domain name are prohibited.

So if Bluehost finds a word that starts with “F” and ends with “K”, and I don’t mean firetruck, but the four letter word, Bluehost has the right to terminate your account without warning. Even if someone posts a profane word in forum on a Bluehost account you are still responsible, and your account can be terminated at any time. The good news, about Bluehost, is they are wishy washy on how they enforce their TOS concerning the profanity policy. So it is kind of a crap shoot whether your account will be terminated or not. Just do a Google search with the terms “Bluehost” and a “profane word”, and see how many results you get. And then check the domain name against a whois lookup or a netcraft lookup to find out who hosts the domain. It is not hard to find dozens of examples of people who are violating Bluehost’s TOS concerning profanity.

So is Matt Heaton (CEO of Bluehost) violating Bluehost’s TOS by referring to Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer as a Jackass in his blog? If Jackass is considered “foul language or profanity” then he is violating the TOS of Bluehost.

Bluehost has a tendency to make up the rules as they go concerning their TOS. No where in Bluehost’s TOS is there a mention of anything about gambling. But this individual ended up having his account suspended for merely discussing the topic of poker on his web site. Bluehost claimed he violated the TOS by having poker content on his web site. Freedom of speech is lacking at Bluehost.

Bluehost encourages anyone that happens to notice a TOS violation to report them to abuse@bluehost.com.

  • If you discover anyone on our system violating any of these terms or notice anything suspicious from our network, report it at abuse@bluehost.com for investigation. We will immediately terminate any account we feel has been in violation of any of these terms.

Bluehost has one of the strictest and most confining TOS in respect to personal freedom out all the hosting companies I have used. In closing Bluehost seems to be rather hypocritical in enforcing and interpreting their TOS. Why even have a TOS if Bluehost can not consistently adhere to it? Bluehost lacks in dealing with their TOS equitably across the board for all clients on a even level.

Please feel free to leave a comment concerning any experiences you have had with Bluehost and their TOS.

If you found this article of interest please feel free to read my other articles Bluehost Blues and Bluehost Exposed.

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21 Comments »

  1. Yes, I experienced the whole “making up the rules as they go” first hand. If you’re doing something that takes up more than a couple of GBs, you’re probably going to suddenly become an abuser of the TOS for no apparent reason.

    Comment by Aasemoon — April 13, 2008 @ 3:22 am

  2. Typical of how Bluehost makes up the rules as they go concerning their TOS.

    Xinaesthetic was using his Bluehost account to store some photos which he would give a link of the photos to his friends on occasion. Bluehost deactivated his account with no prior warning for ‘performance problems’ for such practices.

    Xinaesthetic states:

    On top of that, I also had several gigs of photos and so on stored, with links occasionally sent to friends and family in emails, but not part of any site structure. I was using nowhere near the amount of data that is supposed to be allowed.

    Quote:

    Bluehost Web Hosting intends to offer services to host web sites, not store data. Using an account primarily as an online storage space for archiving electronic files is prohibited.

    Xinaesthetic continues:

    Well, it may appear to some person looking at stats on their servers that the main thing I was using the account for was storing data, but this was very far the real case. Had they sent some kind of warning, I would fully understand, but the first I heard about it was an email telling me that my account had been deactivated and I “may be able to access my data for another 30 days”.

    Xinaesthetic adds:

    I might add that in the email there was no clarification of what kind of ‘performance problems’ were responsible. Even when I spoke to support, they had to be prodded a little to tell me what their actual problem was.

    What I find very interesting is not long after Bluehost changes their policy on what can and can’t “legally” be stored on an account due to their TOS, they announce to the world to offer unlimited storage.

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — April 22, 2008 @ 12:11 am

  3. Thank you so much for this article. I was seriously considering either Bluehost or Host Monster (their sister company) for my site when I read this. My immediate response was “F*ck that”

    Comment by Lucerin — May 13, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  4. Thanks for this posting, am actually impressed on their website and about to sign up when i realize i needed some user’s feedback on them! I’ve SOme positive reviews to them but reading this post made me realize that i look into other web hosting ie. cheap best security and running 99.99 uptime if or anyone close to that … if you have some suggestions hit me back on my blog =)Thanks again.

    Comment by TechRONnati — June 12, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  5. Yeah, I recently had a little TOS fun myself.

    My account got shut down for hosting copyrighted content. Wait, what was I doing?

    I had my personal music collection stored in a top-level folder (i.e. inaccessible from the web) and was using jinzora (password protect streaming app) to stream the music to my work.

    So I was using material that I had the right to use and got shut down for it. We I called they said the could delete the folder and re-activate my account.

    Great, but when I contacted abuse, and asked why I was shut down in the first place when I wasn’t breaking copyright, their answer was, and I quote:

    “We do not allow the copy written material on our server at all. This is our decision on what we will & will not allow on our server. We have taken the stance that absolutely no copy written material can be hosted on our server.”

    Wait, so I have the right to use it and I still can’t have it? That’s just great.

    And for the guy that wants to go with hostmonster, well their TOS is the same.

    Comment by Jason — June 19, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  6. Bluehost censor blogs and other content! A very interesting tid bit on how Bluehost does not follow their TOS concerning their “profanity policy.” It seems in certain situations Bluehost chooses ‘to turn a blind eye to profanity.’

    It makes one wonder if Bluehost chooses to ‘turn a blind eye” to copyright violations under certain circumstances as well?

    If Bluehost is wishy washy of enforcing one area of their TOS, what is preventing them from being that way in all areas of their TOS!

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — July 13, 2008 @ 6:51 am

  7. Considering Hostmonster? Dont!

    Arctic-Silver discusses his experience why Hostmonster terminated his account due to someone reporting him to abuse@hostmonster.com due to suspicion of a phishing scheme. But Arctic-Silver had absolutely no content on his website to indicate any violation of Hostmonster’s TOS.

    Below are some of the highlights from the WHT forum.


    From
    :

    Sales Rep [7:03:44 PM]: okay, here’s what happened, and I apologize for the delay – we got a complaint that there was a phishing website, so our abuse department deactivated your website, then our verification team shut it down since they also thought it was suspicious. What you can do to get it back up is send in a copy of your ID (assuming the account is in your name), your paypal email address, and cPanel password in an email to our verification team, and they can reactivate it for you

    Scott [7:05:57 PM]: ok
    [7:07:10 PM]: so basically it wasnt my fault?

    Sales Rep [7:09:01 PM]: that’s correct, and I apologize.

    More from:

    Another fun filled update:

    Sales Rep [9:53:25 AM]: the account “Expired for non-payment on 7/7/08”

    say what?

    They automatically refunded me, that is there fault.

    So now i have sent a full account of my experience to the billing department and if they still want the refund back i’m going straight to the manager.

    And the grand finale:

    Update
    This is the worst company i have ever been with, i just got another update basically saying pay us the refund back if you want your services back. We will not compensate you as per our terms of service.

    Most companies would have the decency to admit they were wrong and provide some sort of compensation but not hostmonstor.

    I send them a full account of what had happened asking what form of compensation i would get. My hosting has been down for 10 days now and this is the reply i got: (a few snips it keep it short)

    “Though we have established your identification and have restored the account itself, we still need a payment in order to re-activate.”

    “As far as compensation goes, as per our terms of service (http://www.hostmonster.com/terms-of-service.html), “In no event shall HostMonster be liable under contract, negligence, strict liability or any other legal or equitable theory for any direct, indirect, incidental, exemplary or consequential damages (Including, without limitation, loss of use, lost profits, loss of data or information of any kind or loss of business goodwill or opportunity).” Therefore, I can offer no compensation for the time that the site was unavailable or for the loss of traffic/profits etc.”

    and

    “If payment is made, we still have the issue involving the phishing site within your account. The site will remain “suspended” until that can be corrected.”

    Excuse me? they said it was not me and i was not in the wrong. Interesting how they change there story.

    If your with hostmonstor get out while you can, this sort of business just infuriates me. All they offer is an apology, but i am sorry, that doesn’t cut it in the web hosting industry. Any other host would be decent enough to provide at least some free account time to let the public know whats happened to the site.

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — July 13, 2008 @ 7:15 am

  8. Link to Rapid Share and Bluehost just may suspend your account. Check it out!

    From Nostradomos:

    Your account was deactivated due to links to rapidshare in your database. Please remove these links and then we will reactivate your website.

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — August 27, 2008 @ 3:39 am

  9. Bluehost is down so much that it hardly matters about their TOS. I advise anyone to consider another host and avoid Bluehost.Com!

    Comment by Ross — October 9, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  10. Bluehost is a piece of crap. They disabled all my domains because _one_ script in _one_ domain was causing “performance issues” and they weren’t even clear on WHERE the performance issues were at.

    I had considerable downtime (7 days) and lost several visitors/customers and not even an apology. Finally they gave me a prorated refund after a number of phone calls and rude customer service (disconnecting from the chat window).

    Luckily I had backups of my files and hosted my files with another hosting company.

    No response from Matt Heaton on his personal email. I made a comment on his blog and he removed it, just like how he removes all comments that are critical of his service.

    Meanwhile, Matt Heaton on his blog, announces that they have hosted 1 million, 10 million to go! Patting himself on the back all the time, while ignoring and censoring customers who have referred dozens to his growing business.

    Avoid Bluehost and Hostmonster at all costs!

    Comment by Former Bluehost Guy — October 27, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

  11. Gary Fitzgerald posted the below comment at Bluehost Exposed.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Please tell this side of the story regarding Bluehost. If you use too much storage space and too much bandwidth they close your account. Matt Heaton is not ethical.

    My account is being deactivated due to a Terms of Service violation. Heather in the abuse department informed that you do not allow copyrighted material to be displayed on your hosting site. Matt Silbert from Nimbit recommended that I use your Hosting site. Nimbit is an affiliate of yours and has sent many customers to Bluehost. All of these contain music and remain hosted by Bluehost.

    I am the owner and publishing administrator of a catalog of music registered with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. I have a contract with every writer in my library and have the legal right to administer every composition. I am willing to sign a waiver if that is something that will keep my site on Bluehost. It took me three weeks to upload all of my music (at a very sizable cost). When I registered with Bluehost I informed the individual with whom I spoke that I had a music publishing business and needed a lot of space to host my music library. I also asked if it would be possible to send a hard drive with my music library on it to Bluehost in order for it to be uploaded. My intentions were clear.

    I have a legitimate business. I am a music publisher and have been so for over twenty years. My business is registered with the Secretary of State in North Carolina (Editors Choice Music, LLC).

    Please inform me what I can do to assure the fine people at Bluehost that my business is legitimate and that I have the legal right to administer all the music that is currently on your hosting site. I am willing to provide copies of contracts, get letters from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (performing rights organizations that represent copyrighted material), and sign a letter that indemnifies Bluehost.

    Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

    Gary Fitzgerald
    Editors Choice Music Library
    6015 Fordland Drive
    Raleigh, NC 27606
    Tel: 919-803-3678/919-803-3679
    cell: 718-446-3857
    http://www.editorschoicemusic.com

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — November 15, 2008 @ 9:51 pm

  12. It looks like Bluehost recently revised their TOS.

    Bluehost’s TOS looked like this at the time of writing this article.

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — November 29, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  13. My account is being deactivated due to an alleged Terms of Service violation. Heather in the abuse department informed me that they do not allow copyrighted material to be displayed on their hosting site. All websites contain copyrighted material and remain hosted by Bluehost.

    I am the owner and publishing administrator of a catalog of music registered with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. I have a contract with every writer in my library and have the legal right to administer every composition. I am willing to sign a waiver if that is something that will keep my site on Bluehost. It took me three weeks to upload all of my music (at a very sizable cost). When I registered with Bluehost I informed the individual with whom I spoke that I had a music publishing business and needed a lot of space to host my music library. I also asked if it would be possible to send a hard drive with my music library on it to Bluehost in order for it to be uploaded. I was told to write the CEO, Matt Heaton. I E mailed Matt Heaton but received no response. My intentions were clear.

    I have a legitimate business. I am a music publisher and have been so for over twenty years. My business is registered with the Secretary of State in North Carolina (Editors Choice Music, LLC).

    Please inform me what I can do to assure the fine people at Bluehost that my business is legitimate and that I have the legal right to administer all the music that is currently on their hosting site. I am willing to provide copies of contracts, get letters from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (performing rights organizations that represent copyrighted material), and sign a letter that indemnifies Bluehost.

    I believe they cancelled my account due to a large amount of storage space that I used and because my site would use a large amount of bandwidth, both advertised as unlimited. The terms of service agreement states they do not allow “information used to break copyright”. I was not breaking copyright and was not allowed to offer proof that I am the legitimate.

    Comment by Gary Fitzgerald — December 8, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  14. This is consistent with my experience with Bluehost, who suddenly decided to suspend my account because apparently it contained “storage.”

    It seems it’s not okay to use a web page for sharing information if this information is made available as PDF or zip files and they take up more than a few GBytes total.

    I’m wondering if it’s okay to have a family photo album if it’s supposed to be used to show pictures of my kids when I visit my family. This might qualify as storage, too, depending on how you interpret the Bluehost TOS.

    Comment by wolf — April 14, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  15. I have had a good experience with bluehost and have not had any problems with them. I think they are solid and will continue to host my sites with them…

    Comment by bluehost — May 27, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

  16. Looking up whois information for Bluehost-info.com at domaintools shows you are hosted at Lunarpages and NOT Bluehost.

    Folks it just goes to show you how dirty some of the con artists happen to be that peddle Bluehost.

    Comment by Crazy Penguin — May 27, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

  17. After being with Bluehost for 4 years it is time to move on.

    We received an email demanding the file count be under 50,000 or our account would be deleted in 14 days. After contacting Bluehost they informed us if we purchased additional accounts and split up our web sites we would be in complience with their new policy, which we did.

    Now Bluehost is getting rid of boxtrapper and want us to purchase postini for each email account.

    The final straw that broke the camels back was when we noticed we were charged $224.25 for 15 domains. Contacting them of why the price was roughly 1.5 times higher than advertised, the extremely rude customer service person, stated we were now being charged $4.95 per domain for privacy protection which was previously free. Guess what? We were never notified of them now charging for domain privacy.

    Boy oh boy do I understand how Bluehost changes their policies without informing their customers.

    We are now in the process of moving all our sites to Hostgator and will cancel all account we have with Bluehost. We will move all our domains away from Bluehost too. I can’t wait to be done with this company that lies and tries to cheat us out of our hard earned money.

    Comment by Chris — July 29, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  18. Actually I am glad BlueHost has strict morals. I am fed up with the profanity around in websites and in real life. It is due to low moral standards that the country is in the mess it is now with a lot of things. I find it horrible to read or hear those swear words, it shows total lack of respect. Yes there is freedom of speech but it is up to people to read their TOS before signing up and not to moan later when they they get their site taken down. Freedom of speech does not mean people can say what they like. In the UK (where I come from) you cannot stand on your proverbial soap box and rant away about how you may hate this religion or that race or anything like that as it can incite violence …. you cannot stand in the middle of the street and swear revolting words at people as that is very insulting and disprespectful …. freedom of speech is only appropriate if it does no harm. Websites are public places so there is control over speech. Make your blog or forum private so only members can view if you dont want anyone offended by the language used. Five year olds can view websites. Okay parents should have a tighter control but how do you know whether a website uses revolting language until you see it? WELL DONE BLUEHOST …. I congratulate you on your moral stand. I agree there should be some standard and not make up rules as they go along, but regardless of that, read the TOS .. dont moan about it after when you are caught out.

    Comment by SueJaymes — August 9, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  19. I have never had a problem with Bluehost and I host my site(s) with them. But reading this post reminded me that having an up to date backup of all files is a good idea, in case I ever have to move on. Which makes me think I should at least think of a theoretical Plan B as well, just in case.

    Comment by Yang — August 11, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  20. Like I just got an email from Bluehost. They are telling me to get out. They say I broke their TOS by having too big of a database. Not cool, not cool at all. WTF, man, whatever happened to the unlimited space they advertise? So like, I go check out their TOS and there is nothing about having too big of database. So bogus! I agree with the dude who wrote this piece. Bluehost makes up the rules as the go. Not cool, man.

    Comment by Old Hippy — January 11, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  21. Oh and I forgot to say domain privacy use to be free but now they charge like 10 bucks. Not cool, man. So just more of making up the rules as they go. The crappy thing was I just renewed a bunch of domain names before they told me to leave. Bluehost is totally bogus.

    Comment by Old Hippy — January 11, 2011 @ 11:01 pm


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