2021 February 2
SiteGround and Bluehost are two of the most popular web hosting providers. But popularity does not usually equal greatness, right? Find out which provider is better for your website.
STANDS FOR “SUPERB”. THIS PROVIDER IS AMONGST THE BEST IN THE MARKET
SPEED — 215ms
SUPERB SPEED, 90% FASTER THAN AVERAGE
UPTIME — 100%
EXTREMELY RELIABLE, YOUR WEBSITE WILL BE UP ALL THE TIME
PRICING — 7.3/10
PREMIUM, THE PROVIDER IS EXPENSIVE BUT OFFERS HIGH-VALUE
STANDS FOR “SUPERB”. THIS PROVIDER IS AMONGST THE BEST IN THE MARKET
SPEED — 270ms
ABOVE AVERAGE SPEED WITH HIGH RELIABILITY SCORE
UPTIME — 99.99%
GREAT, BLUEHOST WILL KEEP YOUR SITE ONLINE THE MAJORITY OF TIME
PRICING — 8.0/10
AFFORDABLE PRICES WITH PLANS SUITED FOR BEGINNERS
Both SiteGround and Bluehost put a huge focus on WordPress. They are making sure that they offer the best user experience as well as speed. Or so they claim, looking way too similar from the first glance.
In this SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison, I’ll show you all the differences between these two.
In fact, I’ve tested performance, ease of use, support, and technology used, pushing both to their limits.
At the end of the comparison, you’ll definitely know which host is better for your website.
The first obvious difference is the price – Bluehost is way cheaper than SiteGround with the price starting at $2.95 a month. Meanwhile, SiteGround is a premium web hosting provider with an entry price of $6.99 a month.
This means that for 3 years, Bluehost would cost you $106.20 while SiteGround – around $393 as the pricing after the first year will increase a little bit.
So on average, no matter which plan you choose, Bluehost will be around 65% cheaper.
But what do you get with these plans?
SiteGround is generous with features but not so much with server resources:
Bluehost, on the other hand, will include more server resources but fewer features:
So with Bluehost, you get more storage and a free domain. Meanwhile, SiteGround will give you daily backups and professional emails that can be worth $5 or more a month. I would like to also mention that 10GB of disk space is more than enough for 1 website that you can create with both of these providers.
So the pricing difference is obvious but the value seems to be similar. Let’s look under the hood and see whether it’s actually the truth or does SiteGround has some secret weapons hidden?
Both SiteGround and Bluehost are using clean and intuitive control panels. However, SiteGround went 1 step further and decided to introduce a custom-built website management area while Bluehost is still partially using cPanel.
So, from SiteGround you can expect this nice and clean control panel where you can create and manage a website fast. For example, by clicking on “Add New Site” and picking a name for it, a new website will be created automatically.
You can choose either plain WordPress or WordPress with WooCommerce as well as different apps. Took less than a minute and I have my new website added under my “Websites” tab.
The menu is easy to navigate too and has this premium product feel to it.
There are different menu areas. For example, WordPress Kit and Site tools will allow you to automatically install SSL or add various security features.
Creating custom email addresses using your domain name is possible too. Plus, you won’t be limited to just one mailbox.
I actually overviewed all of the features that SiteGround has in the detailed analysis of the provider.
Bluehost, at first glance, looks similar to SiteGround. It has this custom website management area.
Clicking on “My Sites” and creating WordPress is a similar process to the one we saw with SiteGround. You just need to select a domain name and the website will be added automatically.
Then you can access features like SSL activation and some automatic update options.
But all the other features are hiding behind the “Advanced” tab. This is how you reach cPanel and can manage emails, databases, and files.
Not the prettiest, but a complete industry-standard that gets the job done. And Bluehost even customized it a little to match their branding.
So as close as this Bluehost vs SiteGround interface battle might be, SiteGround has a super nice tool to manage your website while Bluehost is more of a standard option.
While that still does not explain the pricing differences… One thing does.
Where Bluehost is cheap SiteGround is fast. The premium web hosting provider easily breaks all shared hosting performance records and leaves Bluehost looking… bad. Even when the cheap provider is showing good results.
For the tests, I established a set of ground rules first. So, for SiteGround, I used their own-developed SGOptimizer plugin. It comes pre-installed and is incredibly effective at minimizing your website size and using various techniques to make your site faster.
For Bluehost, to give them a fair chance, I installed 3rd party plugins Smush and Hummingbird to enable caching and optimize the images. Basically, tried to recreate what SiteGround has using free plugins.
So now I have 2 identical websites to do a GTMetrix website loading speed comparison.
SiteGround loaded this site in 2.1 seconds. Bluehost took way longer – 4.4 seconds. More than twice slower.
So even with similar optimizations, Bluehost’s site is still way larger and generates more requests than Siteground’s. For around 60% bigger price you are also getting 60% faster sites.
But there’s a but.
Not everyone needs an ultra-fast website. If you’re creating a personal site like a portfolio or maybe a blog, I’d recommend going with cheaper plans. There’s no need to over-invest in infrastructure. It’s better to keep that budget available for actually getting the customers before scaling up. Too often people are buying expensive plans and using only 1% of the resources available.
All in all, Bluehost’s performance is not bad. It’s actually quite speedy compared to other cheap providers. It’s just that comparison between the two that makes it look slower.
So why is this difference so obvious?
SiteGround is constantly upgrading its infrastructure. The last update was in 2020 May. Meanwhile, Bluehost is slower to upgrade the servers. The last known update was in 2017. Not too long ago, but things have changed leaving it a little behind.
So, SiteGroun is taking advantage of:
At the same time, Bluehost has:
So while the hardware itself might not be outdated, the difference in technology used is obvious. And this is where we see SiteGround marching ahead of the competition.
All things considered, Bluehost is still a great provider for personal websites. However, if you need fast performance for resource-intensive tasks, it’s better to go with the newer stuff that SiteGround offers.
One obvious advantage in this SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison that SiteGround has is an in-house support team. You can reach them 24/7 via live chat, email, and phone. Bluehost, on the other hand, is a big corporation outsourcing their support. While they are available via the same channels, the agents are not that familiar with the product.
SiteGround has a small disadvantage as well.
The support is not that easy to reach. Before you are connected to someone, you’ll have to go through many options of choosing what kind of support do you need and the knowledge base article offers.
Keep in mind that some options you choose will redirect your question directly to email support teams while some allow you to reach live chat or phone support.
But the best thing is that out of 5 times I contacted the support, they were knowledgeable and helpful. All issues were solved in one interaction without going back and forth. So they might be sacrificing the speed a little bit, but you will get accurate help.
Bluehost support is more immediate. All you need to do is choose an option and the help is on their way.
The disadvantage here is the knowledge of the agents. While they respond promptly, not all answers are accurate. You might need more than one interaction or a knowledge base article will be offered in some cases. But it all depends on the agent you are talking to. You can take a look at one of my chats which I did when reviewing Bluehost.
So there’s no one clear winner here. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and all will depend on your personal experience. On the other hand, getting an accurate answer is slightly more likely with SiteGround.
In this SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison, I have two conclusions. SiteGround is a premium option offering strong performance and ease-of-use-tailored features. Meanwhile, Bluehost is a strong budget-friendly option which is easy to use but not as powerful
So SiteGround is the best match for those who are looking for the best product on the market. It will offer the best performance, support, and ease of use for an appropriate price-tag. It’s an option for established businesses.
Bluehost, on the other hand, is a more beginner-oriented option. It’s easy to use and will be great for personal websites that are not dependent on speed. Think of a blog or portfolio. Maybe a photography website?
In any case, both providers are industry leaders. Just for different types of users.
You can watch my video as well with way more visuals to get a better picture of these two: