SiteGround vs Bluehost is a common comparison for those looking for web hosting. This is especially true for anyone who plans to use WordPress as their website platform. This post is a comparison of Bluehost and SiteGround.
SiteGround and Bluehost are both:
- Established and well-known brands in hosting, especially in the WordPress industry
- Offer a similar range of products that revolve around shared Linux Hosting
- Host a wide range of needs using advanced features
- Pricing and hosting products that are targeted at DIYers, small to medium-sized businesses, and other entrepreneurs
- They are either endorsed or present at WordCamps
- Marquee clients should have many endorsements and testimonials
Yet are two very different companies that have different brands and focus.
Contrary to most reviews online, I don’t believe there is a “best” host. Based on your goals and expertise, there is only one best match .
Current clients love Bluehost. This site is InMotion hosting. However, I have many other projects that run on WebsiteGround. They’ve been great.
This comparison between SiteGround & Bluehost will show you the differences I have found in a variety of areas, including pricing structure, customer service, and market focus. You can then decide which one is best for your project.
|My Review||SiteGround Review||Bluehost Review|
|Promotion||Get Up to 73% Off||Starting At $2.95/mo|
|Money Guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|No cost domain|
|Free website migration|
SiteGround and Bluehost offer a variety of hosting options, including VPS hosting and Reseller hosting, Managed WordPress Hosting and dedicated hosting. We’ll be focusing on the shared hosting plan, which is the most popular web hosting service small businesses need.
The “kind of web hosting that lets you build a WordPress site , Joomla and most non-Windows Web apps” is called shared Linux hosting. It’s often bundled with email or other options. It is versatile and useful for most business owners.
SiteGround Shared Hosting plans
|Storage||10 GB||20 GB||40 GB|
|No cost domain name|
* Prices per month for 12-month subscription
Bluehost Shared Hosting Services
|No cost domain name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
* Prices per month for 12-month subscription
Both have a 3-tier pricing structure. The lowest tier is for starter websites. The middle tier is for growing sites. And the highest tier is for sites that require more resources or features.
It is frustrating for shoppers that the tiers don’t match. Each tier has a different cap and bonus.
First Tier Pricing Comparison
The first tier is intended for websites with a small budget.
- SiteGround offers the StartUp Plan & renewals starting at $11.95/mo.
- Bluehost offers the Basic plan at $7.99/mo.
SiteGround has a domain and storage cap. You can have only one website and only 10GB of data on this plan. However, your email and database storage is unlimited.
Bluehost limits your domain name, website space, as well as email account caps. You can only connect to one website. However, you have a limit on the file storage and email accounts you can create.
SiteGround offers better promotional pricing if you plan to set up more than six development/sub-websites.
Bluehost offers better pricing if you’re looking for greater versatility and value.
Comparative Pricing for the Second Tier
Although the middle tiers of both companies are most similar, they have their own focus.
- SiteGround offers the GrowBig plan and renews for $19.95/mo
- Bluehost offers the Plus plan and renews for $10.99/mo
SiteGround has a storage limit, but it also offers premium features such as free wildcard SSL or “premium support”
Bluehost eliminates all caps on core hosting features, including unmetered/unlimited domains and databases, disk space, email accounts, and unmetered/unlimited email accounts.
This level has a lot of features missing, but the comparisons between plans are still easy.
Bluehost is a better option if you’re looking to set up multiple sites.
SiteGround’s second-tier is so more expensive than Bluehost that it makes sense for you to consider it a “cheap” third tier plan.
Comparative Pricing for Third Tier
The third tier pricing has no caps on core hosting features, except SiteGround’s 30GB storage limit. They are all competing on premium features or bonuses.
The next section will cover hosting features. However, it is important to consider your goals and true needs. It is not a good idea to pay for features you won’t use.
It is also helpful to note features that are not “premium” due to their contrast. A company may offer an “increased speed”, which is a premium feature. Is the “increased speeds” due to slower plans or a significant change in your account? The bottom line is to always ask the reason before you buy the benefit.
- SiteGround offers the GoGeek/GrowBig plan and renews at $34.95/mo and $19.95/mo. *
- Bluehost offers the Choice Plus plan and renews at $14.99/mo.
*I would also add SiteGround’s GrowBig program to this group.
Bluehost’s main bonuses include a “SpamExpert”, “Domain Privacy” or “CodeGuard Backup.” The only true bonus is CodeGuard Pro, which will free backup and restore your site. SiteGround offers site backups, but it is not an attractive pitch. Unless you are restoring specific sections of your site, this is the contrast.
Domain privacy sounds wonderful, but it is only worth $24/year – so it is not worth it.
SiteGround’s third and fourth tiers offer several premium features. However, it is also more expensive than Bluehost and other rivals. Although they allow unlimited websites, they don’t offer unlimited storage.
SiteGround’s third Tier is well worth the money , if you are certain that you need the convenience of pre-built staging, Git Repo Creation and wildcard HTTPS1.
All this said, there’s more to web hosting companies than just price. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two companies.
As I have explained in my best Web Hosting Reviews, web hosting features can be broken down into two sets: a “core feature” set and a bonus/premium feature list.
This idea was mentioned in the Pricing section. I want to expand it so you can shop with an eye for what you need and what you don’t.
The core feature set is made up of the “3 Ds”, which I refer to as domains, disk space and databases.
Domains indicate how many web properties you are able to connect to your hosting account. Disk space refers to the number of files you can store on an account. Databases/email describes how many software programs you can install in order to manage those files. (i.e. One install of WordPress will require one database on your server).
These core hosting features can be mixed and matched, as mentioned in the pricing.
All maintain current, new hardware. Bluehost uses industry-standard software like cPanel or MySQL to “run” your core functions. These software allow for easy and familiar management. Their setup is not proprietary. You can take them with you wherever you like. SiteGround is a proprietary backend that runs PHP 7. This allows for greater customization and better compatibility with some websites, but also prevents flexibility. Both provide unmetered bandwidth and FTP accounts. They also allow for automatic WordPress installation.
SiteGround and Bluehost both offer free migration to other hosts, while SiteGround charges for this service. This shows that Bluehost is more focused on new customers than existing customers.
Both plans include a free SSL Certificate from LetsEncrypt.
SiteGround offers data centers all over the globe, including Singapore. Bluehost, however, has data centers in Provo and Utah. SiteGround customers from outside the US have this advantage.
Bluehost offers a free domain to new customers. This can be very convenient for those who don’t already have domain names from third parties.
SiteGround focuses heavily on premium features that are developer-friendly, such as built-in staging and Git rep creation.
SiteGround is more attractive to freelance developers and freelancers who are looking for specific features or easy access to features such as Cloudflare CDN, LetsEncrypt, or Cloudflare CDN.
Speed and Performance
A web hosting platform’s core function is more than just storing and delivering files. Your web host must deliver files to your website visitors quickly and consistently.
Website speed is affected by many factors. You cannot blame slow websites on slow hosts. For example, an engine that can go Zero-60 mph in 5 seconds cannot pull a huge boat.
Server speed is still crucial. Non-network engineers can’t measure the speed of servers between hosts. There are many factors to consider.
In previous web hosting reviews I have looked at Time to First Byte (TTFB). This is a measure of how fast a server responds to a request from a browser.
These are my latest tests with each of them. All three have the same non-cached plain WordPress installation. I tested them all from Dallas, TX (about equal distance from the respective data centers).
SiteGround’s Test is here.
Here’s Bluehost’s test.
Both are almost identical on the one-time test.
This one test is important. These results are somewhat consistent with my previous results for all three. SiteGround is generally one of the fastest hosts I have tested. Bluehost was slower in the past, but has improved over the last year. They usually have a tight margin and are titted for tat. Both can be optimized and you will get a fast site.
All of them are within a reasonable speed range. They are all “fast” in their own right. If you implement speed improvements you can beat any competitor who doesn’t implement speed improvements.
Raw speed is only one performance variable that you should be looking at. Also, you need to consider uptime/downtime.
All three hosts offer uptime guarantees. If you experience downtime, they will credit your account for free. It is difficult to talk about uptime and downtime.
SiteGround is committed to radical transparency. SiteGround has an uptime monitor located on their homepage. They are transparent and open about it. They are at risk of becoming too fast and causing internal errors on both the hardware and human side.
Bluehost is an exception. They are owned and managed by the largest web host provider in the world, Newfold digital. They have the capital and resources to repair infrastructure and offer quick solutions. They are also a target for hackers. Because of their size, they are very vulnerable to hackers when things go wrong. They experienced a “spanning tree protocol issue” in 2016 due to a DDoS attack. This caused 12+ hours of downtime to millions of accounts. They were transparent and open throughout the incident via Twitter and email…but it was an example of what can happen at this size.
SiteGround gets extra points for uptime. Not because they haven’t had downtime but because I see them taking a lower overall risk from massive downtime.
Usability and Onboarding
If you don’t know how to use it, even the best product can quickly go bad. This is especially true for web hosts.
It is difficult to understand the product’s name, especially when compared to all-in-one website builders such as Wix or Weebly or WordPress.com.
SiteGround and Bluehost offer easy onboarding and great usability. All three have similar account portals, and both send out the same onboarding emails.
Both make it easy to install web apps such as WordPress. These are their “backend” setups.
Both backends can be used in a simple way. Bluehost offers a custom design with access to cPanel under “advanced instruments”. Their WordPress integration is seamless with cPanel. SiteGround is fully custom without the traditional cPanel. This has its good and bad points, depending on which you prefer.
Both offer solid onboarding at signup. SiteGround offers a flexible signup process. It’s simple, but it also focuses more on site owners.
Bluehost’s onboarding process is designed to help first-time users. It is very simple, but it works.
Bluehost is more user-friendly for first-time users. You’ll be fine if you’ve signed up before for hosting.
Many problems can be solved by usability and onboarding. But not all issues can be solved. Customer service is where it all comes in.
Customer service can be tricky because it is all personal. This comparison cannot definitively determine if a company provides “good” or “bad” customer service.
It’s impossible to know whether your customer service representative just started yesterday (or if they had one seasoned professional), or if they were having a bad/great day. Or if it’s an indicator of company culture.
Instead, I look to see if a company views customer service as a cost or a sales opportunity.
This is what I look for in an indicator or proxy. Access and content investment are good indicators, according to me.
You can also look at reports from public investors in Bluehost’s case.
According to EIG’s Investor’s Day Report, they are obsessed with their Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is simply a measure of how likely customers are to recommend your company.
There is a clear correlation between them: customer service – NPS – $$$
Bluehost sees customer service as an investment which leads to more sales and more upsell opportunities .
This is a great thing for you, the customer, but there’s a catch. That’s the upsell part. Bluehost will provide excellent customer service if you are willing to accept the upsells.
That’s all fine and dandy. Access is the most important part.
Bluehost offers phone support, chat support, and a DIY knowledgebase. Everything is set up to answer your questions. It’s all good, but it also provides the typical customer service that you would expect from a large company.
SiteGround is smaller than the private companies I’m comparing.
SiteGround places customer support at the forefront of their positioning.
SiteGround provides great support. SiteGround offers a broad range of access and very fast responses. It is more common to speak directly to a specialist than to support triage personnel.
Bluehost is likely to be the best choice for beginners if you’re looking for excellent support. SiteGround has more resources for advanced troubleshooting.
Although hosts may claim that they are “for everyone”, the truth is that not all brands can meet every need.
It is important to know who your core market is when you’re looking into hosting options for you. This will allow you to choose a company that will be able to focus on your needs in the future.
Type of Audience
Here is how I categorize companies.
SiteGround They focus on the technical side of building a website. It is not just about the performance of the website, but also its features and support. This is what makes it a quality website. They focus on the marketing and technical details to appeal to website owners who pride themselves in running a successful online business.
Bluehost They focus on website usability. In other words, features, pricing, and performance are important – but only to help website owners get started. They invest in affordable pricing, a user-friendly design, and features that make it easy for anyone to set up a website. They want to be able to set up a WordPress website that is self-hosted.
Your audience may not be global. It makes sense to have your website “live” in one region if your audience (not your company) is located there.
Bluehost’s data center is located in Utah, USA. SiteGround also has data centers in Singapore, USA and Chicago, USA.
SiteGround should be used if your audience is predominantly from Europe or Asia.
You can reach a global audience if your website has a content distribution network (CDN).
Bluehost vs SiteGround Conclusion
Bluehost or SiteGround? All are fine hosts, but each has its own unique qualities.
Bluehost is the best choice if you value name-brand and a simple, user-friendly experience. Check out their special discount.
SiteGround is the best choice if you value raw performance, new features and global data centers. Download the SiteGround coupon.
If you’re still unsure, you might find my website setup guide or my best Web hosting article useful.