Every web hosting company claims that it is the best. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? The truth from the half-truths? Well, for one – you can rely on the experts.
In this case – WordPress.
WordPress offers just 4 recommendations from the hundreds of web hosting companies out there. They are Bluehost, Dreamhost, Flywheel and SiteGround.
Now if you decide to go by their recommendations you may end up choosing between Bluehost and SiteGround.
(I’m not familiar with Flywheel and I don’t like the absence of a CPanel in Dreamhost). If you are like me, chances are, you may lean towards Bluehost, they being cheaper and all.
However, before you jump to conclusions, read this post! Here I do a SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison to help you see the bigger picture.
When I decided to migrate from InMotion Hosting a few years back, I looked for a reputable, yet affordable web host for my websites. I narrowed it down to WPEngine and Bluehost.
Bluehost was WordPress recommended. It was within my budget and did not come with certain restrictions that WP Engine did. So I signed up for an account and moved my websites for a period of 3 years.
Year 1 was fine, Year 2 was terrible and by Year 3 I decided I had to get out.
So this time, I sat down and carefully combed through a ton of reviews, examined all the features offered by various web hosting companies and finally choose SiteGround and migrated to their GrowBig Plan.
A speedier website with 100% UPTIME and a support team that ACTUALLY HELPS YOU! (In some cases, they even do all the work for you!)
So here’s my experience with the two web hosing providers and why one web host beats the other hands-down.
SiteGround vs Bluehost WordPress Hosting Review
SiteGround vs Bluehost – Speed
One of the major issues with my Bluehost websites was slow server response times. Try as I could, I just could not fix the issue. Google pays very high importance to user experience.
A slow loading site will not only bring you down in your page ranking, it will also turn away potential visitors, clients and conversions. And I could never shake off the Reduce Server Response Time issue in my Page Speed Insights Report.
Eventually, I just stopped wasting my time trying to fix it. But that’s after a lot of good hours wasted, time that I could have spent more productively elsewhere.
After moving to SiteGround, the picture changed dramatically. And absolutely NO SERVER RESPONSE TIME issues.
I attribute that to SiteGround’s cutting edge technology that ensures web pages reach visitors as quickly as possible. I’m talking Cloudflare integration, 4 data centers across major continents, SSD storage, custom server setups, and HTTP/2 enabled servers that work in the background to provide these optimized speeds.
Winner : SiteGround
SiteGround vs Bluehost – Support
If you ever wanted to throw in the towel on a project, you’d have to experience Bluehost support. They don’t have an email or ticketing system. So you’re left with just call support or live chat.
Live chat leaves you in a limbo for at least 20-30 minutes. When you finally finished counting sheep and connect to an executive, you find yourself in a 3 or 4 way chat with the executive keeping you on hold while he answers another person on-line.
How would you feel if you woke up one morning to find that your website was down since midnight and you could reach support only after waiting in the queue for at least 20 minutes?
And, what if, after finally getting to them, and doing a long, arduously slow chat, they tell you to find some code that’s gone cranky in your site or run a malware scan to address the problem.
That happened to me not once, but several times last year.
I had no idea why the site was blocked. I was asked to figure out what went wrong by running a malware check and I had absolutely no access to the WP Dashboard until that time.
Thankfully, a CPanel option was open to me to dig into. But how many of us are confident enough to go meddling with the files inside the database?
I never ever found out what went wrong, but reported that the malware check came clean and the block was removed eventually.
Only to recur again a few months later and then again.
On the other hand, the support experience with SiteGround was a refreshingly wonderful experience. I found the support team always instantly accessible; With phone support, live chat, and email support, I had enough options to choose from.
When I received a message from Google that there was likely some malware on my site, I reached out to support and got an instant response.
The support team ran a full scan on the database using the premium software Site Scanner and confirmed that there was no such issues. Everything was settled quickly and promptly. They even noticed some bad bots visiting the site and informed me that they created htcaccess rules to prevent them.
Almost at every turn, the support team has gone above and beyond their call of duty to help me out. The support guys are not just professional, well trained, and technically qualified, they are also very friendly! And at the end of any chat, you feel that everything is in good hands right from the word go!
Winner : SiteGround, duh!
SiteGround vs Bluehost – Pricing
On paper, Bluehost looks cheaper. Their Plus Plan (nearly unlimited everything) advertises their shared hosting plan for $5.95/month. But when you are ready to checkout you find that the price is valid only if you pay upfront for 36 months. They don’t tell you right away that you have to pay the 3 yr price Upfront. Only when you’re half-way through the purchase process, you realize the CATCH.
With SiteGround, they have a clear transparent pricing. It states $5.95/month and that’s exactly what you get. So if you pay for one year, its $5.95 x 12=$71.40 and if you pay for 2 years, its $5.95 x 24=$142.80 and if its 3 years, its $5.95 x 36=$214.12.
Now they also state that the original price of the plan is $14.95 so should you just buy for one year, you will have to pay the original price from the second year onwards. At least, they are upfront about their pricing.
SiteGround vs Bluehost – Internal Server Issues
With Bluehost, internal server issues and website lockdowns was becoming a routine affair. This happened to me several times and it came to a point that I would wake up every morning wondering if my site was up or had gone down for some inexplicable reason.
Why was I having these issues with one of the best web hosts in the world? Even support didn’t have a convincing answer or a solution for this. I had to spend hours and hours scouring the web to identify and fix the problem myself. That means manually testing different options and then reaching back to customer support to see if they would remove the restrictions placed on the site.
With SiteGround, I have not encountered any issues yet, and even if I did, I’m pretty confident the customer support staff will help me out. So that’s one big worry out of the way.
Winner: SiteGround, of course!
So after a harassing Year 2 with Bluehost, I have moved to SiteGround. And I’m already feeling good.
I love the fact that SiteGround has an easy to use, familiar CPanel, one-click installs for Cloudflare and WP, and a lot of great tools like Free SSL, LetsEncrypt and SecureCache that I can take advantage of.
I love the support they offer – I know they got my back; and I love how their account isolation technology keeps my website safe even when someone else’s site is compromised.
I also appreciate the many features they offer that I know will keep my website, database, email and all related stuff safe. And I know that the hard work I put everyday into running my business will not be compromised.
You can check out my detailed review of SiteGround and if you’re undecided about your choice of web host, I hope my review will be helpful in making up your mind.
Or simply head to the official website to check out their services.
Note: I am an affiliate of both web hosts and have promoted Bluehost (who offer twice as much commission) as well. See my review here. But after the poor experience I’ve had with them, I can no longer recommend Bluehost to anyone.
Feel free to write to me about any questions you have about SiteGround or Bluehost and I’ll be happy to help you out!