SiteGround vs Bluehost were founded only a year apart (2004 and 2003 respectively). Both companies are recommended by WordPress.org as hosting service providers. Though while Bluehost was the top-recommended WordPress hosting service provider, SiteGround continues to dominate as one of the top WordPress hosting service providers in both customer and expert reviews.
So, which one is really the best? Which one can give more value and which one can provide the most reliable WordPress hosting services?
One of the few in the industry based outside of the US, this Bulgarian company expanded to more than 4 locations in three continents, hosting more than 1,800,000 domains from around the world. The company is still growing but over the years, it received recognition as a fast and reliable WordPress host.
Read more about siteground in this indepth review.
SiteGround hosting has 3 managed WordPress hosting plans: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek.
Siteground StartUp plan hosts only one website, excellent for new or small websites with no more than 10,000 monthly visitors. The plan has all the essential hosting and WordPress features including 10gb of SSD storage, CMS installation, and free email accounts.
Siteground GrowBig plan offers premium hosting services for an unlimited number of websites with at least 25,000 monthly visitors. It is an excellent upgrade for growing businesses with all the features of the StartUp plan and premium features like all 3 levels of SuperCacher, free backup restores, Free CDN, SSL, site transfer, and support priority.
Lastly, the GoGeek plan has the features of the other plans with the addition of geeky features like free backups on demand, PCI compliant servers (required for eCommerce website), and free staging environment (Useful to test plugins, themes and modifications before pushing them to production) for WordPress and Joomla. With a monthly visitor limit of at least 100,000, the GoGeek plan is best suited for eCommerce sites or large traffic websites.
Siteground’s plans offer comprehensive features and tools. Each plan is designed for websites in different stages of growth. There are core hosting features, core and advanced WordPress features (including developer tools, WordPress security tools, collaboration tools, etc.). SiteGround also offers site optimization features (instant Cloudflare CDN setup and free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate), advance security, and support options.
These features are applicable to almost all types of WordPress sites. The addition of developer tools provides more flexibility and further enriches existing functionality.
- Lightning-fast speed. SiteGround is one of the few hosting companies that actually deliver on their promised server speed and uptime. This is possible through the utilization of the latest technology including cutting-edge hardware, custom software, and innovative speed optimization solutions.
- Multiple server locations. SiteGround has 6 data centers strategically positioned on 3 continents (North America, Europe, and Asia)
- Servers are optimized for WordPress hosting. WordPress hosting plans come with in-house performance optimization tools to further enhance the performance of the shared servers.
- Advanced security. When SiteGround says security, they don’t just mean server or website security. SiteGround offers an all-inclusive security approach that includes user accounts, applications, and hardware security.
- Advanced tools including development and collaboration tools for developers and their clients.
- Industry-best customer support. Almost all hosting services offer 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and tickets but SiteGround is one of the few that built a positive reputation for its fast customer service waiting times and support staff efficiency. Its team of expert support reps also provide fast support that goes beyond hosting issues. Aside from this, SiteGround also offers comprehensive knowledge base resources in the form of how-to guides and video tutorials.
- The price point is higher than most competitors.
- No free domain registration for new accounts
- The minimum subscription period for shared plans is 1 year.
Bluehost powers more than 2 million websites and is one of the best-known WordPress hosting service providers. The company’s partnership with WordPress had been going strong for more than 10 years.
But can Bluehost live up to the hype?
Bluehost offers two hosting options for WordPress hosting. One is shared hosting and the other managed hosting (WP Pro).
Bluehost has one of the most affordable shared hosting plans. Aside from the core features, all plans include 1-click WordPress installation, Microsoft Office 365 (free for 30 days), free domain for a year, automatic WordPress updates, and login credential secure configuration, and a WordPress staging environment, and expert 24/7 support.
These shared hosting plans are excellent for WordPress smaller websites, blogs, and WordPress beginners.
WP Pro plans are excellent for growing businesses with its marketing, social media tools, and analytics. Each plan comes with an all-in-one marketing center and dashboard; unlimited WordPress installations, domains and subdomains, web storage, unmetered web traffic, and customization options.
- Beginner-friendly. If you are a newbie in WordPress, Bluehost may the best option with its lower price range and enhanced cPanel for its dashboard interface.
- Free domain registration for 1 year.
- Comes with free email accounts (unlimited on premium plans)
- Unmetered web storage.
- Availability of several databases (MySQL, PHP, Python, etc.)
- Multiple shopping carts and other eCommerce features
- $200 worth of marketing credit
- Bluehost does not offer managed accounts for its shared hosting plans.
- Customer support receives mixed reviews.
- The fully-managed WordPress hosting plans are on the expensive side.
- The renewal fee for the complimentary domain name is somewhat high.
- The upselling of add-ons and plugins that affect functionality. Bluehost somehow uses upselling as a strategy to make you spend more money. Several of the add-ons are actually vital for functionality and/or security of your website.
SiteGround vs Bluehost Comparison
Both SiteGround vs Bluehost offer 1-click WordPress installation and WordPress updates. But since SiteGround’s shared hosting plans are full-service, they offer additional services like website migration (with the migrator plugin or the Professional Transfer Service (only available in GrowBig and GoGeek plans)), WordPress Starter tool (for access on professional templates, contact forms, online store capabilities, and portfolio among others), software and plugin updates, traffic spike handling, and overall management of your website.
Bluehost does have a professional website migration service but said service is separate from their hosting plans and cost a considerable amount.
Bluehost’s plans are relatively cheap but the Plus and Choice Plus plans aren’t as distinct from each other in comparison to SiteGround’s GrowBig and GoGeek plans. The GrowBig plan’s regular price cost as much as Bluehost’s special price for the Build managed hosting price. If you compare the features, you will notice that Bluehost plans focus on marketing while SiteGround plans provide general-purpose but advanced tools that website owners and developers can use to customize the website according to the business’ ever-growing needs. Though you can upgrade to Bluehost’s managed plans as your website and business, in general, grows, these plans don’t really provide the same functionality that SiteGround plans can offer.
But if you are going for a WordPress hosting plan that isn’t restrictive of your website’s size or monthly traffic and still can’t choose between siteground vs bluehost, Bluehost plans may be right for you. This is especially true if you are running a blog (or blogs) that doesn’t require advanced functionality but badly needs reliable servers.
Web space is mostly an issue for bigger websites, especially e-commerce sites that run on WordPress. Bluehost offers unmetered SSD storage for its Plus and Choice Plus plans while SiteGround’s GrowBig and GoGeek plans offer 20gb and 30gb respectively. An average website can get by with more or less 10gb of web space per month, especially on a shared server.
One of Bluehost’s redeeming graces is its very reliable servers, especially with their resource protection feature. This entails the temporary reassignment of websites utilizing excessive server resources to prevent server overload – a common issue with shared servers. This ensures that each hosted website remains at top speed and performance. Server response times vary from location to location, though. Servers within the US perform best with other servers performing marginally slower in locations outside of North America.
SiteGround doesn’t provide resource protection but it does deliver its promised uptime and availability rate. They make this possible by employing major network carriers for connectivity, establishing an advanced network and physical security, and the used LXC-based stability for resource-efficient virtualization and ease in scaling servers’ resources during unexpected traffic spikes. This ensures that SiteGround servers won’t experience downtime even with traffic that overload average shared servers.
There had been isolated response time issues in several locations. Even with four data centers, resources be allocated to the wrong data center. In cases like this, you may need to call SiteGround’s customer support to request a transfer to a different data center
What Bluehost hugely lacks are performance optimization tools and advanced tools like developer and collaboration tools. Even if you’re not a developer, tools like pre-installed and integrated Git, enabled WP-CLI, FREE CDN, staging environment, and Nginx-based dynamic caching among others. These features will help ease the customization and performance optimization of your website and make siteground vs bluehost battle tends to go to siteground rather than bluehost. It doesn’t hurt that you can get several of the features on SiteGround’s StartUp plan.
Security is one of the most important consideration when selecting a hosting service. This is where Bluehost comes short – mostly in comparison to what SiteGround has to offer. SiteGround offers both application and server-level security. There are automatic nightly backups, automatic instance and plugin updates (with latest patches on known WordPress exploits); and non-stop malware, hacking, and security breach monitoring. This tight security also extends to the physical security of SiteGround’s facilities and data centers. The company leverages biometrics technology, video surveillance, access control man traps, and bulletproof lobbies.
WordPress is secure enough as is, but security plugins are very popular among WordPress users for a reason. There are still vulnerabilities, especially on the website-level. In Bluehost, you need to purchase several security features as add-ons for your basic plan. These add-ons include Domain Privacy Protection ($0.99 monthly), and Codeguard Basic ($2.99 monthly). The first keep your domain information anonymous while the latter allows you to create regular site backups. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage – an advantage because you can access premium security features through add-ons but a disadvantage because you should be able to access vital security features even with a basic plan the same as the security features offered in SiteGround’s StartUp plan.
Another complaint is the speed of Bluehost’s customer support. There are mixed reviews when it comes to Bluehost’s customer service in general. Several clients admire the friendly and helpful agents, some say that the service is somewhat slow, while other stills complain that Bluehost customer representatives weren’t able to resolve their issues even after multiple attempts.
SiteGround’s hosting support is one of the best in the industry. It is known for is fast pickup and resolutions rates and the employ of WordPress experts. Bluehost also employs WordPress experts and deliver the industry standard 24/7 industry support but one thing that’s missing is a ticket-based support option. Though paper, phone, and live chat support can provide real-time resolution to issues, there were comments on the length of the waiting times and the availability of support staff.
For almost the same monthly fee, SiteGround offers managed hosting – on a shared server, yes, but it makes a lot of difference especially for those who are new in WordPress.
Price either for siteground vs bluehost is one of the first things that people notice but you’ll need to take a closer look at the features and type of service that you will get for said price. Managed hosting doesn’t often come at the price of SiteGround’s WordPress hosting plans. But you also won’t often receive full features in the price of Bluehost’s plans. Feature-wise, SiteGround addresses the needs of different types of websites while Bluehost seems to have beginners in mind.
At the end of the day, you’ll need to stick to the plan that will give the best performance solutions and tools. There needs to be a balance between price, service quality, and feature quantity. With this mind, SiteGround comes out as the clear winner. Forget additional plugins, SiteGround offers speed, security, and performance optimization solutions in-house.
Reasons to Love SiteGround:
There are several reasons why SiteGround may be the perfect fit for your WordPress hosting needs. These reasons include:
- An official recommendation from WordPress!
- Average load time of 1.3s – providing almost instantaneous speed boosts and 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime.
- Let’s Encrypt free SSL certificates
- Excellent customer service that is available 24/7 via chat, phone, and ticket. No-hold time on chat and phone while you can receive ticket answers less than 10 minutes.
- High customer satisfaction is evident with its low cancellation rate and consistently positive feedback from users.
- Each migration has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- See why people love Siteground:
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