These days, it’s not hard to get a website up and running. The web hosting market is filled with options to meet anyone’s needs or budget. Whether you’re looking to start an e-commerce site or you need a corporate site for your business, there’s no shortage of providers vying for those hosting privileges.
SiteGround and Bluehost have managed to stand out in a flooded market. Both providers offer solid service and a range of hosting packages. They give you a chance to utilize the latest and greatest in hosting technology while continuing to evolve with the changing needs of webmasters, bloggers, and businesses. The two companies have spent years building up a positive reputation to become the go-to choice for many website owners.
Before you jump the gun, it’s important to consider everything that a hosting provider has to offer. The success of your site depends on the performance, security, and reliability that your host can provide. While SiteGround and Bluehost are both heavy hitters in this industry, the service they provide is not the same.
Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you. With this guide, we aim to figure out how Bluehost and SiteGround compare. Both providers have served millions of customers well, so we already know that the service they offer is good. We’re going to go a bit deeper to present you with all the information you need to make a decision and finally answer the question:
Which Web Host is Better? Bluehost or SiteGround?
About Bluehost and SiteGround
Despite all of their similarities, Bluehost and SiteGround are two very different hosting providers with unique backgrounds. It’s always good to know a little bit about a company before you decide to work with them. Understanding their history and corporate structure can help you determine if they are the right fit. Let’s start with Bluehost.
Bluehost officially launches in 2003. The head offices are located in Salt Lake City, Utah. While the company is based in the United States, it serves clients all over the world. As one of the largest web hosting providers out there, it is home to over 2 million sites. In 2010, Bluehost became part of the EIG family. Even if you’re not familiar with EIG, also known as Endurance International Group, you may have already used a product owned by them. EIG is a large conglomerate that owns several of the biggest hosting brands. This includes brands like GoDaddy, Hostgator, and more. Thanks to EIG, Bluehost was able to grow quickly and become the powerhouse brand we know today.
SiteGround is not owned by a larger corporation and is a great alternative to the EIG group of brands. They have always been and continue to be a privately owned company. Originally founded back in 2004, SiteGround has grown without the help of any parent companies. The hosting provider was founded in Bulgaria, where its headquarters continue to reside. Like Bluehost, SiteGround hosts more than 2 million domains around the globe.
What Kinds of Hosting Solutions Do SiteGround and Bluehost Offer?
Both Bluehost and SiteGround have many different types of hosting plans for you to choose from. For most people, shared hosting is the go-to. With shared hosting, your site is stored on a physical server alongside many other sites. It’s an affordable plan, making it perfect for newly established sites that don’t need a ton of resources. Both providers let you choose between a few different tiers, making it easy to upgrade your plan whenever your needs change.
The next level up for hosting is VPS. With VPS hosting, also known as virtual private server hosting, your site is still stored on a physical server with shared resources. However, those resources are all divvied up accordingly so that the actions of another site won’t affect yours. Basically, the host creates virtual machines that you have full control over.
Bluehost has a bit of a leg up over SiteGround when it comes to VPS hosting. If you go with Bluehost, you have many different VPS solutions to choose from. Unfortunately, SiteGround doesn’t offer any of these kinds of plans.
The company does, however, have dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting is the top-of-the-line hosting solution for big websites that need a ton of resources to run smoothly. As the name would suggest, you’re getting a full server to run. Bluehost has several dedicated server options to choose from. The same goes for SiteGround. SiteGround even offers managed servers if you want a hands-off approach to hosting.
Cloud hosting is also available from BlueHost and SiteGround. With cloud hosting, your site’s data is stored on many different servers across the world. Essentially, you’re tapping into an established cloud network. The biggest perk of cloud hosting is that it’s completely scalable, so you can add or remove resources as your need evolve.
SiteGround and Bluehost have a few other hosting solutions as well. If you’re a web developer, you can purchase reseller plans and offer a white-label hosting experience for your clients. SiteGround also has a separate high-performance e-commerce plan, which is powered by Woo Commerce. It’s a managed plan that’s specifically designed to make selling easier.
All in all, SiteGround and Bluehost very similar when it comes to the available plans they offer. Bluehost squeaks by just a bit because they offer VPS plans, which SiteGround does not.
Bluehost vs SiteGround: Performance and Connection Speed
Speed and overall performance should be one of the first things you consider when trying to choose a web hosting provider. What good is a hosting service if your visitors have a hard time accessing your digital space? Only a few seconds of waiting can turn a curious web user to one of your competitors, so getting the best performance possible is paramount.
SiteGround and Bluehost offer some of the best connection speeds in the business. Both providers utilize some advanced technology to make that happen.
How your data is stored can make a big difference. Solid-state drives are preferred over old mechanical hard drives. They rely on flash technology, which has significantly higher transfer speeds. Both SiteGround and Bluehost use SSD storage. For SiteGround, it’s standard on all plans. With Bluehost, it’s used for all shared hosting plans and VPS plans.
When it comes to hardware, both providers take advantage of top-of-the-line gear. Both also utilize NGINX servers. NGINX servers are unique because they selectively load static content faster than dynamic content. Thus, your visitors don’t have to spend time waiting for parts of the page to load. It can cut back on lag and get your site up faster.
Caching systems help to boost loading times, too. While caching systems can work on several parts of your page, they’re particularly useful for applications. SiteGround uses its own proprietary caching system called Supercacher. It’s based on the NGINX proxy and has been a huge hit for webmasters.
Bluehost uses Varnish, which is a popular system that’s specifically designed to give content-heavy sites a boost. It works well with dynamic APIs and complicated scripts, allowing you to create a visually stunning site without having to worry about sacrificing load times.
Other Speed-Boosting Features
Beyond caches and fast servers, both providers also have HTTP/2 enabled servers. HTTP/2 is the latest network protocol, which shows that the hosting companies are keeping up with technology. They’re also PHP7 enabled, ensuring that web applications load without a hitch. Bluehost and Siteground take advantage of a content delivery network, too. A content delivery network, or CDN, is a global network that stores sites for easy access. This is useful for visitors that are located a bit further away from the data centers. Instead of waiting to connect to distant servers, web users will simply load content from the nearest CDN node. Both providers use Cloudflare CDN, which is one of the most popular and reliable CDNs around.
As you can see, Bluehost and SiteGround offer a lot of the same kinds of technology to give you great performance capabilities. When it comes to ping tests, the two brands are very similar as well. However, Bluehost offers a slight advantage.
There are many factors that contribute to connection speeds, but Bluehost averages between 300 and 500 milliseconds to establish a connection. SiteGround usually hovers around 700 milliseconds, so there is a bit of a difference there. Keep in mind that both hosting companies are blazing fast compared to some other competitors out there. They both take less than a second to load pages, which is pretty impressive.
SiteGround vs Bluehost: Overall Reliability – Bluehost Wins
In the world of web hosting, reliability can make or break a service plan. For every minute of downtime your site experiences, you’re potentially losing out on valuable traffic and business. Not only does this hurt your bottom line, but it can also affect your reputation and search engine rankings.
Luckily, most providers these days can provide you with decent uptime ratings. Bluehost and SiteGround offer some of the best. SiteGround offers a 99.9 percent annual uptime guarantee. If the company’s figures fall below that guarantee, they will provide you with a credit to your account. All of this is laid out in their Terms of Service agreement, which is great for the sake of transparency.
SiteGround has a solid reputation when it comes to reliability. Chances are, you will not need to worry about claiming credit. The provider is constantly hitting above that 99.9 percent guarantee on tests performed. The same goes for Bluehost. Bluehost is known to have an uptime rating of more than 99.9 percent.
The provider offers a Server Uptime Agreement, which can be found on the website. Bluehost states that they work hard to resolve issues within 15 minutes. The cool thing about Bluehost is that the provider uses an Automated Failover system. If the hardware fails, your site’s data is quickly moved to another server to minimize downtime as much as possible. For this reason, Bluehost is the clear winner when it comes to reliability.
No web hosting comparison would be complete without some information about the data centers. Data centers are the heart of the service. It’s where the servers are stored and where your visitors will be connecting too. While most sites are accessible regardless of location thanks to CDNs, geographic distance still matters.
Most providers will let you choose which data center you want to use so that you can make it easier for your target audience to connect. SiteGround currently has five data centers around the globe. They are located on three continents, expanding your reach significantly. Two of them are in the United States. They’re located in Iowa and Illinois. Two European data centers are located in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Finally, the last data center is in Singapore. SiteGround has a map on its website that proudly displays these locations as well as the location of CDN nodes.
Bluehost is a bit more secretive about its data centers. The company does not disclose exact locations for the sake of security. However, it’s believed that the provider has 23 data centers in locations like the United States, China, India, and Europe.
Both companies take great care of their servers. All data centers are heavily protected with guards and several layers of secure access. They also utilize redundant power supply systems to ensure that something as small as a power outage doesn’t affect your service.
Bluehost vs SiteGround: Security Features
Cybersecurity is a hot-button topic that continues to make the news. Hackers, malware, and DDoS attacks are very common on the web, so you must do your part to ensure that your site is safe. Not only do you need to protect your own data, but you also have to take your visitors’ safety into account.
SiteGround and Bluehost offer several features that you can use. Some come standard on all hosting packages. These include built-in firewalls and two-step authentication. Other features come with added costs or are reserved for high-tier plans. Whatever the case may be, it’s always recommended that you investigate a provider’s security features before you commit.
SSL Certificates – Draw
An SSL certificate is pretty much required nowadays. Most web users will not even visit sites that do not have one. Modern browsers can alert users of a site’s protection features before it’s loaded up, prompting them to decide on whether they want to continue or not.
An SSL certificate encrypts the connection between the host server and the visitor’s device. They’re very secure and can prevent the connection from being infiltrated. People visiting your site will know that you have an SSL certificate thanks to a padlock symbol on their browser window.
We’re happy to report that both SiteGround and Bluehost have a free SSL certificate with all plans. It’s the popular Let’s Encrypt certificate. If you want more protection than what the free SSL certificate provides, you can also purchase additional ones to use.
Malware Protection – Draw
Malware includes everything from spyware to viruses. Malware protection features are geared toward keeping your data and content protected from attacks. SiteGround has a unique malware scanning system called HackAlert. It comes at an additional cost. However, it’s a worthy investment that can catch malware before it has the chance to do any damage.
Bluehost uses SiteLock, which is a very popular third-party security feature. It comes with high-tier plans and is available for purchase with a monthly fee. The system automatically scans for viruses and other malware issues. It can notify you of problems immediately so that you can take action. For an annual fee, you can also use a feature called Site Doctor. This Bluehost-exclusive feature allows you to scan your full site for a diagnosis. It can find potential issues, such as malware, and fix them with only a few clicks
Bluehost also has some great email security features, too. The anti-spam tools can keep your inbox clean and malware-free.
Backup Systems – Draw
In the event of a catastrophic failure, a backup system can mean the difference between getting your site up and running again and having to start from square one. Luckily, both SiteGround and Bluehost have backup features. SiteGround has free daily backups. Your data is copied and saved off-site to ensure that you can always restore it. It’s only available for shared and cloud hosting plans.
Bluehost utilizes CodeGuard. CodeGuard takes snapshots of your site regularly and saves them as separate files. That way, you can restore your site to previous versions if editing goes wrong. You can also schedule automatic backups how you please. The feature is available on some plans for free. Though, you can also pay to use it.
SiteGround vs Bluehost: WordPress Compatibility – Draw
WordPress is one of the biggest content management systems on the web. It’s a versatile platform that’s used by a large percentage of all sites online. Due to the sheer popularity of WordPress, it’s always a good idea to see how compatible the service is with WordPress and what specific hosting features are available to WordPress users.
Bluehost and SiteGround are both officially recommended by WordPress. On WordPress.org, you can see the two web hosting companies proudly displayed. There are only three providers on that recommended list, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting the very best WordPress features the industry has to offer.
Creating a WordPress website is very easy. Both providers offer a one-click installation of the content management systems. They’re both also compatible with plugins from Softaculous or Mojo marketplace. Thanks to the versatility of the hosting options, you’re free to create a fully customized WordPress site without any hiccups.
Managed WordPress Hosting – Draw
SiteGround and Bluehost even have their own dedicated plans for WordPress users. These unique web hosting services are purpose-built to work with the unique performance requirements of WordPress. For SiteGround, the plans are all based on the cloud hosting platform. So, you can expect blazing fast speeds and good reliability. For Bluehost, the WordPress hosting plans are powered by VPS.
Regardless of which hosting company you choose, the WordPress plans are fully managed. This means that you don’t have to get into the technical weeds. The provider will take care of security updates, ensuring that your WordPress site is always up to date. There are also many unique features to take advantage of. These include website staging, integrated site builders, and more.
BlueHost vs SiteGround: Important Features
Now that we’ve gone through the essentials, what other features do these providers offer? SiteGround and Bluehost are big players in this industry with a lot of cash to throw around. As a result, they have some of the most feature-rich plans on the market. While some features do cost extra, there are also plenty of free options to take advantage of. Here are some of the most important features to consider.
Site Migration – Siteground Wins
Site migration also referred to as website transfer, is an essential perk if you have an existing site you want to move to a new hosting provider. While you could attempt to transfer the data yourself, a lot can go wrong during the process. Having professionals handle the task can make your move as stress-free as possible.
SiteGround wins when it comes to site migration. Free migration is offered on the two upper-tier shared hosting plans. A single transfer is included with your new membership. Bluehost, on the other hand, charges for migrations. For a fee of approximately $149.99, you can move up to five websites to the hosting provider’s network.
Email Hosting – Bluehost Wins
Having your own dedicated email address attached to your website is great for your personal brand and business. It makes you look professional and keeps your personal inbox separate from your business. Both SiteGround and Bluehost have many email hosting options. For both providers, you get an unlimited number of email accounts on some plans. Bluehost has a slight advantage thanks to their included spam filtering systems.
Bandwidth – Bluehost Wins
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data transferred between the hosting server and your visitors’ device. Even if they are just browsing your site, some data is used. This is a particularly important subject to cover in a hosting review because some providers place caps on cheaper accounts. If you exceed your allotted bandwidth, you may experience performance throttling or additional fees.
Unfortunately, SiteGround is one of those providers. The shared hosting plans all have visitor limitations. There isn’t an unlimited or unmetered option at the moment. The web hosting company does things a bit differently when compared to its competitors. Rather than measuring your bandwidth in gigabytes, the company counts how many visitors you’re getting. The cheapest plan is good for about 10,000 monthly visitors. If your audience is larger than that, you’ll have to shell out more money for a higher plan.
Bluehost doesn’t have any strict limitations on their hosting plans. The bandwidth is unmetered. Technically speaking, Bluehost could still throttle your performance. In fact, the provider was one of the first in the industry to introduce the concept of throttling. However, this is usually only done if your site’s performance is regularly affecting others on your shared server. Most people won’t encounter problems.
Site Builder – Draw
If you don’t already have a site to transfer over, you’ll need to build one. There are many website building services out there, but some providers have their own internal systems included to make things easier for new customers.
SiteGround and Bluehost don’t have their own website builders to advertise. But, they do use a third-party service that’s integrated within their hosting platform. Both providers use Weebly, which is a very user-friendly site builder. The software is all drag-and-drop, making it easy to create beautifully designed sites with virtually no coding knowledge.
Domains – Bluehost Wins
Last, but not least, you need a domain name! The domain name is what’s going to direct visitors to your webspace. SiteGround and Bluehost can act as domain registrars whenever you need a new domain. They can register your domain with the appropriate governing bodies and handle the renewal process. Of course, these services do come with add-on fees.
However, Bluehost offers a free domain name for your first year. This perk is meant to attract new customers to the platform. You can save on startup costs during your first year of service. SiteGround currently doesn’t have a free domain offer. Use this link to get a Free Domain with Bluehost.
SiteGround vs BlueHost: User-Friendliness – Draw
Whether you’re running a small business and have a dedicated team handling your site or you’re a blogger taking care of everything on your own, it’s always nice to work with a user-friendly platform. Web hosting can get complicated pretty fast. Most of us don’t have the advanced engineering degrees needed to keep things running smoothly without some help.
Web hosting companies like Bluehost and SiteGround understand this and will implement features to make the process as hassle-free as possible. One of the easiest ways to simplify web hosting is to provide an intuitive control panel.
SiteGround and Bluehost both use cPanel. cPanel is one of the most popular control panels in the industry. It’s used by many big-name hosting brands because of its simplicity. You can use cPanel to take control of your site from one place. It’s where you’ll install plugins like WordPress or Joomla. cPanel is also the place to manage your files, databases, domains, and more.
While some companies choose to go with their own custom-made control panels, we always recommend sticking to cPanel. Once you get the hang of things, you can easily take your knowledge from one provider to the next.
Bluehost vs SiteGround: Customer Support – Siteground Wins
At some point, you’re going to encounter issues with your hosting service. Having a solid customer support team that you can go to is crucial in the web hosting world. In the past, customer support never matched the quality of service companies provided. Many hosting providers didn’t put nearly enough money into their support departments, making it difficult to get help when you needed it most. Luckily, things have changed in recent years. More providers are investing in customer support, which has resulted in a massive shift of attitudes towards customer support.
Both Bluehost and Siteground offer 24-hour support. You can get in touch with the support specialists of both providers in several ways. The first is through a live chat plugin on the website. Similar to instant messaging, live chat is a quick and easy way to get answers to those burning questions you have.
If you need a more personal touch, you can always call the dedicated support hotlines. The phone numbers are available on the providers’ website and response times are typically very fast.
Finally, there’s email and the integrated ticketing system. This method is best for those issues that don’t need an immediate response. Depending on the complexity of the problem, you may receive a response in as little as 10 minutes or up to a day later.
SiteGround and Bluehost do have their own knowledge bases as well. Located on their respective websites, the knowledge bases are a great source of information. You can troubleshoot problems yourself or simply look around to learn more about the service. Webinars, well-made videos, and step-by-step guides are all available for your perusing.
When it comes to support, SiteGround and Bluehost are both a cut above the rest. However, SiteGround’s support has a bit of a lead over Bluehost. SiteGround has put a lot of money into its support department and it shows. The company has more people on-call than most providers. Thus, response times are reduced dramatically. There’s always someone there that’s willing to lend a helping hand. SiteGround also has Advanced Priority Support. Available to those with the highest shared hosting solution, this unique tier of support connects you with the most qualified person available. You’re prioritized before other members, ensuring that you can get assistance fast.
SiteGround vs Bluehost: Plans and Pricing – Bluehost Wins
Web hosting can vary across the board. SiteGround and Bluehost offer relatively affordable hosting solutions, which is one of the biggest reasons they became so popular. While both providers offer many different types of packages, we’re going to focus on pricing for the shared hosting plans.
The most cost-effective package at Bluehost is the Basic Plan. It comes with 50 GB of disk space. You can create a single website and use up to 25 subdomains. Like all plans, the basic plan comes with a free SSL certificate.
$2.95 per month with promotion
$8.99 per month with a 12-month term
$8.49 per month with a 24-month term
$7.99 per month with a 36-month term
The Plus Plan is where the unlimited features start to come in. You get unmetered bandwidth, unlimited disk space, and the ability to create as many websites as you want. This plan also has the Spam Experts feature for your email.
$5.45 per month with promotion
$12.99 per month with a 12-month term
$11.99 per month with a 24-month term
$10.99 per month with a 36-month term
Choice Plus Plan
In addition to all the perks of the previous plan, the Choice Plus Plan comes with CodeGuard basic for site backups. It also includes domain privacy and protection features.
$5.45 per month with promotion
$16.99 per month with a 12-month term
$15.99 per month with a 24-month term
$14.99 per month with a 36-month term
With the Pro Plan, you’re all of the previous features and your own dedicated IP address. Because this plan is designed for small businesses, it also has better performance. These plans utilize high-performance servers with fewer sites on them.
$13.95 per month with promotion
$25.99 per month with a 12-month term
$24.99 per month with a 24-month term
$23.99 per month with a 36-month term
Bluehost does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee with all the shared plans. You can request a refund during that 30-day window with no issues. Any non-refundable fees are deducted from the refund amount. The same goes for the fees used to cover your free domain.
Free Domain Name + Hosting + Email:
From $2.95 per month
The Startup Plan includes 10 GB of disk space to create your site. The plan is limited to one site and about 10,000 monthly visitors. It also comes with a free SSL certificate and free automatic backups.
$3.95 per month with promotion
$11.95 per month after the promotional period is over
With the GrowBig Plan, you can make as many sites as you want. However, you are limited to 20 GB of disk space and about 25,000 visitors a month. This plan also comes with all three levels of the SuperCacher system.
$5.95 per month with promotion
$19.95 per month after the promotional period is over
The most expensive plan from SiteGround is the GoGeek Plan. It comes with 30 GB of disk space and accommodates about 100,000 visitors every month. The plan also includes Advanced Priority Support.
$11.95 per month with promotion
$34.95 per month after the promotional period is over
Free email + Hosting + Free SSL Cert:
From $3.95 per month
Like Bluehost, SiteGround does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. The provider does offer some discounts based on the term you get. For example, you can save on your subscription fees if you pay for 12, 24, or 36 months in advance. However, those prices aren’t openly advertised on the site. Also not advertised is the setup fee for new users, which is about $14.95. There’s also the cost of domain registration because no free option is provided.
The Final Verdict
SiteGround and Bluehost are some of the most trusted names in the game. It’s a close call, as many of the features are similar. They both excel when it comes to performance, security, and reliability.
With all that said, Bluehost is slightly better in many key areas. Not only does the provider offer faster loading times, but the company also has more data centers and slightly better technology. Ultimately, performance and reliability are what count the most. Bluehost’s many redundancy features and backup systems give it one of the best uptimes in the business.
The main area where SiteGround wins is customer support. SiteGround has clearly put in the work to make members happy, so that’s worth mentioning. However, the provider’s higher price tag and limitations are where it falls short. In those areas, Bluehost picks up the slack to become the winner of this roundup.
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