SiteGround vs BlueHost: In a Glance
The comparison of SiteGround vs BlueHost isn’t an easy one. These two top players in the web hosting space have much to be recommended for and are both excellent choices. The devil though, as always, lies in the details.
1. Company Background
SiteGround was founded in 2004 and has built a profile as an extremely high-performing web host. It’s one of the top names in the business and impressively has managed to retain many key employees through the years. You can usually tell how well a company will treat its customers if you know how well they treat their staff.
SiteGround Ratings & Performance
BlueHost has been around for just as long, having started out in 2003. Strong growth in the company unfortunately didn’t go that well and over the years it has undergone significant changes in leadership. Since Matt Heaton, founder of BlueHost, left in 2011, four other successors have passed through its halls. Shortly after Heaton left, BlueHost was acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG).
BlueHost Ratings & Performance
Judging the performance of a web hosting service is more than simply about speed. It’s a combination of factors that combine to influence the opinion of not just how well the host works but also contributes to its longer-term reputation.
The longer a host has been in business, the more accurate this estimation of their potential for performance is. SiteGround and BlueHost are two excellent candidates for this type of assessment.
2a – Response speed
When assessing the speed capabilities of a web host, it’s always advisable to test the response speed of their servers rather than the speed at which websites hosted there will load. This lets us assess the base speed at which they perform before other factors weigh in.
In terms of aggregate performance, BlueHost has the edge in raw server response speed. This is caused by SiteGround performance is weighed down by poor performance in speed tests from two main locations; Singapore and Bangalore.
2b – Server Uptime
Uptime is vital for measurement for web hosting providers as it is a factor that influences the availability of your site. A host which is frequently down can result not just in monetary loss for you via your website but can also have significant reputational impact for your brand.
Over a 30-day observation period, both SiteGround and BlueHost were shown to be very stable with an uptime of 100%.
3. Customer Support
Knowing that you can get help from your web host is important and be a source of comfort when you need it.
3a – SiteGround Support
SiteGround has long held a reputation as a service provider that offers excellent customer support. No matter where you look around the Internet there are invariable many users who comment positively about their excellence in customer service.
Customer support on SiteGround is available via a Knowledgebase, Live Chat, Phone, or their Ticketing System.
3b – Bluehost Support
BlueHost hasn’t always had that great a reputation when it comes to customer service, but we are noticing a slight improvement in sentiment. Still, there is some concern about whether they will maintain or improve customer service since they are part of EIG now, a conglomerate which doesn’t have the best reputation in this area.
Customer support on BlueHost is available via Knowledgebase, Live Chat, Phone, and a Ticketing System.
Verdict: SiteGround Wins
4. Resources and Features
Most plans on both hosts come with unmetered bandwidth, although in general BlueHost does offers more storage space for users. They also come with many standard features like free website builder, easy web application installer, SSD storage drives, free SSL, and more.
What’s more important is the distinction in a few areas which might influence your choice. Let’s look at what each has that the other omits;
- Free site migration on better hosting plans (BlueHost charges over $100 for site migration services)
- Offers Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSLs
- Data Centers on three continents
- Better security powered by Sucuri
- Better developer tools
- Free technical consultation session for new users
- Weebly website builder (better than most)
- Free domain name
As you can see, there are slight distinguishing differences between these two hosts but some of them may make a difference to users who are looking out for them. For example, if you need help migrating your site to BlueHost, you need to be prepared to pay a significant fee for their assistance.
Verdict: SiteGround Wins
5. Specialized Hosting Plans
Both SiteGround and BlueHost have specialized hosting plans that revolve around WordPress and WooCommerce, a highlight popular WordPress plugin for eCommerce. However, BlueHost presents its WordPress hosting a little differently.
BlueHost has a ‘Pro” set of WordPress hosting plans which cost significantly more than its standard WordPress plans. Although there isn’t much in the way of extras that these pro plans get, BlueHost does claim better performance due to WordPress-centric architecture.
It is more likely that these plans perform better simply due to lower congestion. Hence, ‘Pro’ on BlueHost would roughly be the equivalent of most other VPS plans. The exception is that these offer the resources of VPS servers without giving users VPS levels of control and management.
Personally, I feel that BlueHost is muddying the waters here. It may work for them based on how they see their customers react but only serves to confuse new users. SiteGround does a better job of clarifying matters and giving users features and performance they need in a few simple plans.
Verdict: SiteGround Wins
6. Plans and Pricing
6a – Shared Hosting
6b – VPS Hosting
SiteGround offers three shared hosting plans where BlueHost has four. In terms of long-term pricing, SiteGround is a little more expensive than BlueHost. For example, their lowest-priced shared hosting plan renews at $11.95 per month as compared to its counterpart at BlueHost which renews for $7.99.
SiteGround also loses ground on its most expensive shared hosting plan which easily outstrips the price of what BlueHost offers. These two plans have a price difference of slightly over $10 per month, which is quite a lot.
These price differences are even more apparent when you look towards their Cloud or VPS plans. SiteGround starts its Cloud plans at $80 per month, while BlueHost VPS starts at only $14.99 per month. While there is a slight discrepancy in resources, the difference in pricing is again quite significant.
These figures show that BlueHost of willing to make a wider range of plans more accessible to general users rather than only targeting the power user segment for more advanced plans.
Verdict: BlueHost Wins
Who are These Hosts Suitable For?
Although SiteGround surprisingly loses ground to BlueHost in terms of performance, it is important to note that this was mostly due to a skewed curve in speed measurement. Both hosts offer an equally robust platform which users can use to run their sites.
They also offer an impressive array of features and have the standard signatures of most top-rated web hosts today. These include SSD storage drives, HTTP/2 readiness, and of course, excellent website builders.
Yet there are two fine-line areas where these two hosts differ and that is in terms of customer support and pricing.
To look at a list – SiteGround vs BlueHost side by side and compare them at surface value, one would be inclined to ignore the fact that BlueHost is now an EIG company. That hasn’t worked out so well in the past for many other hosting providers and normally, service levels aren’t sustained.
However, it does make up for this by offering users plans that cost significantly less than what SiteGround has to offer. The problem here again is that BlueHost tries too hard to segregate their plans into what they aren’t – presumably for marketing purposes.
If I had to recommend audiences for these two hosts, it would be along the lines of;
SiteGround is recommended for…
SiteGround is recommended for users serious about site reliability and the support necessary for keeping it working in top condition.
BlueHost is Recommended for…
Users who are more focused on price (both short and long term) and would like more diversity in the plans available.
Conclusion: Is SiteGround Better?
As a personal choice, I would be inclined to go with SiteGround for a few reasons. The first is that it has a better spread of data center locations. This can help with traffic targeting. The next is that it has a better reputation for customer support and I sometimes get frustrated at how many hosts are lacking in this department. The third and final influencing factor is that there is simplicity in its plans.
My choice may not work for everyone though, so be sure to look at the points in detail and decided which of them will include you depending on the specific needs of your own site. I know some users who couldn’t give a hoot about support – and honestly, that’s fine too.
The chart I’ve given above can give you a rough guide along the main areas these two hosts compete along, but if there is something very specific you need, it would be advisable to reach out to the host directly and ask.