I've been using them for about a year. Generally I'm very pleased and have found them supportive. Moodle is easily installed using Fantastico. Some minor giltches with updates, but otherwise solid. Access is a little slow from around 12 am GMT for about an hour, but this may relate to site backups in the US.
We chose them after seaching for these criteria...
- low cost
- phone service
- good ratings
We were also pleased that they raised the space up to 2GB. They have a single plan system, ~$80/year, free domain, 2GB space, cPanel, plenty of databases, no setup fees.
Also, you will be tied to whatever renewal fees they decide to charge for the domain. In the long run, it is better for you to purchase the domain name outright and simply have the domain pointed to your current hosting service. Http://godaddy.com is about as cheap has they come yet is very reliable.
"Beware of offers of 'free domains' from providers. Yes, they allow you to use the domain name of your choice, *but* THEY retain the rights to the domain, not you. If you ever decide to switch providers, or establish your own server, you may not be able to take your domain name with you.
Also, you will be tied to whatever renewal fees they decide to charge for the domain. In the long run, it is better for you to purchase the domain name outright and simply have the domain pointed to your current hosting service."
i know the above is an old post but way wrong
From bluehost chat:
When you register a domain through our system it is registered to you, free or not. We are not a domain reseller, so we have no reason to register domains to ourselves.
When you purchase a domain through our system and add privacy, it will show our contact information as the registrant, but otherwise it's your info that shows on it"
The only difference being that Bluehost pays it for the first year. After that the owner pays from then on and could change to another registrar anytime if they wanted to.
Fantastico is an automatic installer for open source scripts such as Moodle. When you use it, Fantastico will install Moodle in less than five minutes, including setting up the Cron.
Fantastico is a service or feature provided by web hosting companies. You cannot get it yourself. If you cannot use a Moodle partner (the best solution!), then look for a hosting service that has Fantastico, usually it is a feature included in a cPanel. A cPanel is the adminstration interface that you use to set up your site.
To find a hosting service with Fantastico, you can do a Google search, or look on a variety of sites that rate the hosting services. If you see a good hosting service, then check the feature list. If it does not include Fantastico, I recommend trying another hosting service.
Note that Fantastico takes up to six weeks to add new releases of Moodle. But upgrading is surprisingly easy.
Basically it is a method for installing PHP scripts from a control panel. It is offered by an increasing number of hosting services, and for non-techies like me it allows installation/maintenance of a standard script will little problem.
This means, for example, that Moodle can be installed and upgraded using a single mouse click. However, it does not deal with customised versions of Moodle.
(I have no link/commercial interest in/experience of this site..it just happens to have Fantastico information)
Actually, I tried to contact you to hear more but there is no email address in your profile or in your blog. Could you contact me? My address is hinkel at sgu.ac.jp
What's funny is when I call the first thing they asked was "are you running PHP items like PHPNuke, or Moodle?"
I don't think I'm alone in the problem and I have been told it's because I've got more than 20 processes open at once. Capturing what thos processes were was a pain but apparently it's just a "GET" that's loading my student's profile pictures that was the most recent culprit. They can't tell me anything but "optimize your database" or "check Moodle's forums" for support.
I'm not a programmer, I'm a pretty savvy user who would run his own server if the District would allow me to have an IP address open to the WWW through their firewalls, but they won't.
Bluehost was great for awhile, but now that I have everything working and my students really making use of Moodle's features I'm afraid I've outgrown the service package they offer.
I had a similiar experience back in March with a different shared host. See the thread below.
That is when I learned that some of the big name shared host providers out there host 1,000 or more websites on a single server. As long as you are running a static site, everything is fine, but they can't handle sites like Moodle. I was fortunate enough to be able to move to a dedicated server...if at all possible, that is what you need to shoot for if you have an active site.
I'm aware of your previous problems on a shared server. I am with Lunarpages now and use Moodle to complement one class with a maximim of 25 synchronous users. Basically, students use the quiz features and forums. Out of interest last semester, I scheduled two timed quizzes for 23 synchronous users, and there were no problems or no slowdowns, and everything worked fine.
My GENERAL question is how many synchronous users are too many on a shared server? What about with only one class and fewer than 30 synchronous users taking quizzes or writing in the forums? Could that be a problem on a shared server, and does anyone have any direct experiences with that?
Thanks in advance.
That's a good question and I'm not sure there is an exact answer for it. My class was going along fine for a couple of months and then all the sudded I was booted from the server. My problem was caused by students on the discussion forum. In a nutshell, here is what caused my problem....
In an online two-week long module, I upload several discussion questions (started threads) to a forum on a Thursday. Students have until midnight on Sunday to read and post their initial replies to the starter threads and we discuss these throughout the two week period. Of course, some students do them immediatley, but several wait until the last minute.
What happened in my case was that several students waited until Sunday evening to post their initial responses...so I had a lot of activity (10 to 15 students) on the discussion board on Sunday evening. Evidently, a tech person saw this activity (demand on the processor) and booted me from the server. As you can see in my posts about this, it caused some major problems for me in that class.
The ironic part is that this wasn't my first online module....I had been doing this for two months prior to being booted from the server.
I'm now on a dedicated server with dual opteron processors and 4 gig of RAM and I've watched the server load move into the red (over 2.0) briefly when just a few people are using the discussion baord, but it has never caused a problem. I'm pretty sure that is what happened on my shared account...the load spiked briefly...they either saw it when it happened or saw it in the logs and booted me from the server. They had over 800 other accounts on that server, so they weren't worried about losing me or about the problems they caused me when they moved my site.
I had a great experience on a low-cost, shared server for years with my static websites, but I won't move back to a shared account for my online classes. I have a grant that is funding my dedicated server for this year...if I don't get funding to renew it next year, then I'll reluctnatley move back to the campus system (Blackboard) before I'll try to run my classes on a shared server.
Thanks for your explanation. Your experience is interesting because on December 3, our last day of class (in Mexico), 23 students entered their final exams (in-class impromptu essays) in the forum, nothing more than each student entering one essay, and as it is, they did most of their work in MS Word with spell check and grammar check in English before copy/pasting their essays into the forums. I had set the editing time for one hour on that assignment. As it turned out, about three students hit the POST TO FORUM button, and Moodle showed a blank blue screen. When they told me about it, I said use the browser BACK button and try posting again....same result! I then logged in as administrator and saw the student had actually posted his essay twice but had not seen the result of either post. When that happened, I deleted the oldest post, then LOGGED IN AS...the student and he edited his post on my computer, and nothing was lost, but I WONDERED if 23 synchronous users posting one essy within an hour and fifteen minutes or so were maxing out the server's capacity.
I'm a part-time teacher with only one class, so a dedicated server isn't really an option, and while Blackboard IS an option, ugh... ... how distasteful!
I have been using them for my MOODLE hosting for the past 2 years with no problems at all.
I would not suggest using the Fantastico script as it is usually an outdated version of the application. Just down the MOODLE files and unzip them into the directory of your choosing.
I have been very happy with Bluehost. They do still have the $6.95/month for unlimited hosting, but that is the 24-month price. The 12-month price is $7.95/month.
I delved a bit into the code, and found some work arounds, but the system still is not functional. I have not tested the Moodle application in any detail, but I suspect hat the prolem is with something BluHost did to the MySQL, Php,or te LAMP stack.
I have been able to get Moodle started and working on Amazon Cloud. I wonder if there are others on this list who are attempting that. However I have not made Moodle operational on Amazon yet, just tested. Any one else interested in sharing the Amazon costs, to give it a try?
The scaleability is very attractive, from a single CPU P4-1,.7 GHz, 1.5GB all the way up to a quad processor with 8 GB RAM etc. However the architecture, database layout/clustering etc will have to be worked out.
To me it seems that grid hosting or cloud hosting is still too expensive and too unstable for something like moodle. I use Gatorhost for my usual hosting and I use Rochen for my Premium Hosting. Rochen works faster and I have no problems with my client accounts. They also use Quad Proccessors and Raid hard drive setups. You are welcome to use my sandbox setup in the Rochen account if you want to see if it works for you. Just email me.
Please kindly inform me how to installing moodle with bluehost step by step...
because right now i'm still using localhost for practising moodle
Art, Don, and Colin, by now you have been with Bluehost for up to a half a year. Is it still a "hearty thumbs up" on this inexpensive web host? Thanks in advance!
Thanks a lot guys! All the reviews I've seen are much like the consensus here, so I'll definitely try it out!
I had been with iPowerWeb for at least four or five years and ran into problems with running crons often enough, but their policy was clear enough at the beginning so I don't fault them for that, but sendmail problems and restoring courses both began failing without end, and after repeated efforts at getting these problems resolved, it wasn't possible.
The website host I began using early last November, Lunarpages, has also been excellent. Crons run as scheduled and the sendmail works as it should. As good as Lunarpages is, I'm beginning to think it's best to keep two different website hosts available, at least not having moodle.com as Art mentioned.
Thanks again! Erlyn
I like moodle and it runs great on my bluehost.com hosted site using Fantastico supported moodle version 1.4.4 installed moodle server, see:
bluehost.com keeps their open source/freeware/commercialware scripts and code up-to-date (as updated as it reasonable -- IE, when a security patch or major upgrade is available they schedule and install them.)
BTW -- A good deal of great information posted here by others concerning bluehost.com -- I have been using them to host my private domain for a year now.
PS - My moodle site has been up about 2 weeks and has handled 22,000 page requests ... so I'm still evaluating things. I'll keep you posted as to performance issues, especially if they relate to bluehost.com
I can understand that because BlueHost is shared hosting that there can be problems with too much load on the server as some have mentioned but I also know that the user who mentioned 'cpu exceeded' would probably no longer get those errors now due to various changes and improvement that have been made since then.
Secondly, if you plan on using bluehost primarily for moodle, then a lot of the added work of running your own server is done for you. That can be a good or bad thing depending on who you are and what you want to have to do. Because I know what I'm doing, my inclination would be to have my own server. On the other hand, having you're own server (or even having a private server run by someone else) can be a huge pain (and waste of money) just to run moodle.
Finally, we do have better tech support than most webhosting companies but we admittedly don't provide support specifically for moodle (that is to say, we don't train our tech's on moodle specifically, if they happen to know something they will help as best they can). I don't do tech support but you could contact me personally if you needed some help. I make no claims to being a moodle expert though. I haven't used moodle in more than 6 months but at that time I had Moodle installed and running on RedHat and Ubuntu.
I guess in the end, the most important detail in all of this is how big you're class is. I would imagine (but can't promise) that a few classes of 15-30 students would work fine on BlueHost now (assuming that all the classes don't have simultaneous deadlines for submission). Also, you can be moved to a server that supports php5 after you sign up if you'd like.
Finally, I looked at the blog posted above by Gary and most of it is patently false so I would not recommend trusting it (of course, I am biased).
Hope someone reads this and finds it useful (whether you decide to go with bluehost or not).
Rob Van Dam
If you are going to moodle in a serious way with lots of students and teachers, of course, you really ought to think about a Moodle partner. Try to find the money somewhere.
Rob Van Dam
Thank you very much for kindly posting about bluehost.com. I moderate three organizations that use bluehost and like most people posting, I cannot complain. And I agree that a shared account on bluehost will work OK with 15-30 students at the same time, and work very well with organizations without ongoing classes, such as teacher associations and clubs. As I asked in another post, I would like to know basic parameters and policies bluehost has (ie: max number of customers per server, CPU max limits, etc.) so I can be prepared for problems.
By the way, I had some private email with the blog poster, Gary, and he confessed that he had never used Moodle. He was angry that bluehost required two years signup to get a discount. I think his feelings were unfair to bluehost.
Good luck and keep up the steady, straightforward service.
On a side note, if you are considering siteground.com, people are echoing our experience and would not recommend them for a moodle install. We currently also have a moodle install on their servers.
They believe that moodle queries hog too many server resources. And they have limited our account to only 10 concurrent connections because of that.
I don't put much faith in their moodle page which touts them as one of the worlds best moodle experts, as I recently learned among other defficiencies, that they had our moodle install with a memory limit of 8mb (the bare minimum is 16mb, they did increase it after we pointed it out, but that was after 8 months of having performance issues) and also are using older versions of postgres (7.3, and moodle requires minimum of 7.4, which they refused to upgrade stating that it is not compatible with their server installation)
There are other discrepancies I have found as well, which are not within the scope of this post.
Though their support is prompt and polite, they are not helpful with moodle as they claim in their moodle support page. Whenever my site is down, and I create a ticket, the best support they have given me is to recommend that I upgrade to VPS. Its come to the point where its become monotonous.
Something I liked about bluehost.com is that nowhere on their site do they claim anything about moodle expertise. And even bluehost.com support was straightforward enough in telling me that I will have to support moodle on my own within the limits of their server parameters. We appreciate this straightforwardness, as it prepares us beforehand, rather surprises.
This is not what I got from siteground.com though. Siteground.com support staff were very gung ho about moodle, constantly giving me the impression that they know a lot about moodle, initially. After the 30 day period, their expertiese vaporized, so to speak.
Could you tell us exactly what the limits of their server parameters are? (ie: 8mb memory limit, etc?) And how these limits affected your operation? Thanks! Don
I just installed an empty Moodle site using Fantastico at Bluehost.
Cron jobs are running in 3.598573 seconds there, which seems very slow to me.
In my other Moodle site, which has a course with 30 students, the cron runs in 0.473831 seconds.
Server Time: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 00:00:03 -0600
Starting activity modules
Processing module function assignment_cron ...done.
Processing module function chat_cron ...done.
Processing module function forum_cron ...done.
Processing module function journal_cron ...done.
Processing module function workshop_cron ...done.
Finished activity modules
Updating languages cache
Running backups if required...
Checking backup status...INACTIVE
Backup tasks finished.
Cron script completed correctly
Execution took 3.598573 seconds
It seems that my site is in a server with 600 other sites. Is this normal?
Yes, on shared accounts, it is quite normal to have 600 to 1,000 websites on a single server.
Is that cron speed acceptable?
The speed at which the cron runs is really not an issue from your perspective. I would imagine this is just an indication of the "pressure" the server is under hosting that many accounts. As long as it runs, then I wouldn't be concerned if it takes .3 seconds or 3 seconds.
Does anybody has some advice so I can improve the site´s performance?
The best advice I can give is to move to a dedicated or virtual dedicated server....more expensive, but more server resources at your disposal. If your site is running well and the only "performance" issue you are experiencing is the cron exe time, then I wouldn't worry about that...as long as it is executing, no big deal about the time it takes.
But wouldn´t a slow cron indicate that browsing throught that site would be slow too?
Is there a way I can measure this performance before I set up my course in Bluehost?
"But wouldn´t a slow cron indicate that browsing through that site would be slow too?"
Yes, it very well could be an indication that browsing your site will be slow...or at least a lot slower than you would get on a dedicated or VPS. The point in my answer wasn't about how slow or fast your site will be...I was simply stating that as long as the cron executes, then it is doing its job. There is not a lot you can do to make it execute faster or to make your site run faster on a shared server...you are pretty much at the mercy of the server and all the other accounts on that server.
I'm not sure if there is a way to check out performance on a shared server (other than ping test and so forth) before setting up your account. One thing is for sure (at least from my experience), if you are on a low cost, shared server with hundreds of other sites, then your site is going to be slow at least during times when there is a lot of use on that server by other accounts.
For example, I have a bluehost account that I use for testing 1.6. I have several production sites on a dedicated server (dual opetron 242 processors and 4 gig of RAM). My blue host test site is dreadfully slow compared to my production sites. It's sort of like the difference between a dial-up, 56k modem connection to the internet and a high-speed cable connection. I spend years on dial-up and really didn't appreciate the difference until I switched to cable...now I wouldn't go back .
Of course, cost is always the big factor. I don't think you are going to find a "fast" $8 a month host to run Moodle....they may be out there, but I haven't found one. You can get a fast (or at least a lot faster) $60 a month VPS account.
I would recommend them simply because they have solid support. Like others said, there's little waiting time, they're based in the U.S. with all English speaking and easy to understand representatives.