If you wish to create your own website, whether for business, hobby, or some other purpose — it all starts from choosing the right hosting provider. As you may know, there are countless providers out there, but only a handful of truly popular ones, and today, we will compare two from this group of the biggest ones out there — SiteGround and Bluehost.
Obviously, as two of only a handful of hosting giants, both are quite competent and trustworthy, and they host millions of websites on the internet. However, that still doesn’t mean that they are identical, and they both have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on the nature of your website, you may require different things. In other words, you need to decide the one that fits your requirements, as there is no way to simply answer which one is better.
So, in order to determine which is better in specific areas, let’s compare the two and see what they have to offer.
Bluehost vs SiteGround – Preliminary Considerations
Before we start comparing features, it might be worth mentioning a thing or two about these services.
To start with Bluehost, the company was founded in Utah back in 2003. Over the next 17 years, it grew to employ 750 people, and it claims to power more than two million websites.
The company simply started growing, and it never really stopped. In 2010, it was purchased by EIG, which has purchased many other hosting services as well, and many believe that this was not the best thing for Bluehost.
You can discover more details reading our Bluehost review.
When it comes to SiteGround, the company was founded only a year after Bluehost itself, in 2004. It claims to host over 2 million domain names, as well, although it also has considerably fewer employees than Bluehost — around 400.
The company was founded in Bulgaria, and it managed to become very popular due to ease of use and generally a better relationship with its users.
You may dig more reading our SiteGround review.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s dig into their similarities and differences, as we compare every aspect of the two firms in detail.
To do this, we will compare them based on:
- Ease of use
- Specific hosting features
- Website migration
- Customer support
- Price and plans
Let’s start without delay with this comparison Bluehost vs SiteGround.
According to what we have seen when talking about the two firms, it would appear that they are relatively similar when it comes to their impact on the web, as both have over 2 million domains, but looking at Google Trends shows a different situation.
According to Google, Bluehost is way above SiteGround in terms of popularity. SiteGround does not lack interest, clearly, but it doesn’t even come close to Bluehost in terms of searches. Even so, just because Bluehost is searched more often, it doesn’t mean that it is a better hosting option — it means that it might simply be better at marketing.
In addition to that, many services of this kind that reach too big popularity often cannot handle it, which ends up seriously affecting their business, especially if they don’t have a good quality customer support. In other words, popularity itself should not be taken as a reliable indication of the services’ quality, so let’s move on.
Ease of use
The next big aspect to consider is ease of use.
Both services offer cPanel, and they both offer a lot of features, most of which are commonly found on many other host managers, including email accounts, file managers, FTP accounts, and more. Both providers also allow you to enable a well-known and popular CDN, Cloudflare.
However, you might find SiteGround a bit better, or rather, somewhat cleaner.
That doesn’t mean that Bluehost is not intuitive — it is. However, it is also a bit cluttered, with various promotions and pitches, most of which are premium tools that you likely won’t even need.
You will encounter fewer things like that if you choose SiteGround, which might be better for new users, as all of these ads can be quite distracting and are mostly unnecessary.
Further, Bluehost is a bit unclear when it comes to pricing, so SiteGround also gets extra points for greater transparency.
Simply put, both are pretty easy to navigate, but we have to choose SiteGround as a slightly better option.
As you undoubtedly know, speed is of utmost importance for your website. If it can load quickly, chances are that you will have much better traffic, as modern internet users are not known for their patience. According to Google, you only have a couple of seconds before a visitor to your website loses interest. In other words, you need your site to load as quickly as possible.
According to tests, speed is not one of Bluehost’s strengths, either, and SiteGround wins this round, as well.
It performed way better during testing in various locations, usually loading the website between 1.1 and 2.2 seconds.
Bluehost, on the other hand, took between 4.1 and 7.5 seconds, depending on location, which means that you would lose pretty much every impatient visitor who leaves after Google’s estimated 3-5 seconds, while SiteGround would have kept each one.
Of course, this is clearly not the case in real life, with real people, but the fact is that SiteGround still performs significantly better when it comes to speed.
There is quite a bit to talk about when it comes to hosting features, so we will have to split this segment into smaller points, starting with:
In terms of storage, Siteground provides you with 10GB, while Bluehost offers 50GB on their entry-level plans. For their middle plans, SiteGround offers only 10GB extra, meaning 20GB in total, while Bluehost already allows an unlimited amount of free space.
The higher plan at SiteGround still underperforms, as it offers 30GB of storage, while Bluehost is still unlimited.
In other words, SiteGround’s best plan is nowhere near as good as Bluehost’s entry plan, so Bluehost wins here.
One great thing about both of these providers is that neither puts a limit on the available bandwidth, so there is no clear winner here, or either — they both win. If bandwidth is a part of your concerns, you have nothing to fear, no matter which one you choose.
Now, backups are extremely important for every kind of website. Anything can go wrong at any moment, whether due to a hacking attack, a bug, or any other issue. That’s how things are on the internet.
So, the only real way to combat this issue is to make backups, and have a fully-equipped, working version of your website stored away safely.
SiteGround is really reliable when it comes to this, as it allows you to copy your site daily and store it for 30 days. This allows you to restore any of the backups you have in only a few seconds.
However, Bluehost offers a system that might be more attractive to some people, which is backup on demand.
You can back your entire system with a single click at any given time, and restore any of your backups just as easily. This is only available on specific plans — GrowBig and GoGeek — and you need to pay an additional $3 per month, while the higher plans include the tool for free.
However, considering that backups are so essential and that Bluehost is charging extra to give you a tool to make them, many see this as unacceptable behavior, so we have to side with SiteGround’s approach here, as well.
Next, we have domains, subdomains, and parked domains, which are also very important for a lot of people.
If you choose SiteGround, you will be able to create as many subdomains as necessary, and you also get to park unlimited domain names. But, it should be noted that SiteGround does not offer a free domain name, so you have to either buy it from the service or purchase it somewhere else. The price is at around $16 per year, which is not too much, but it is still worthy of note.
Bluehost, on the other hand, does offer a free domain name, regardless of the plan you choose. However, it also has limitations in terms of subdomains and parked domains on its entry plan. If you go for one of the higher plans, such limitations are eliminated.
So, this time, Bluehost wins due to free domains on every plan, even though you only get 5 subdomains and 25 parked domains on its lowest-tier plan.
When it comes to email accounts, SiteGround has no limitations to how many you can create. But, it does have a storage limit per account, which sits at 2GB, 4GB, and 6GB. Its cPanel also offers 3 different clients for managing your accounts, so you get a decent selection there.
As for Bluehost, the service once again has a limited basic plan, where you only get the ability to make 5 email accounts. Furthermore, each would come with only 5MB of storage, which is a pretty small amount.
If you go for any other account, however, you get an unlimited number of accounts, as well as unlimited space. In the end, they are relatively similar, although Bluehost may be a bit more limiting at the basic plan, it definitely makes up for it when it comes to higher plans.
SFTP & FTP
When it comes to FTP and SFTP, both services allow you to create as many as you need/want, so we have a tie here, and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose here.
SSL and HTTP/2
Once more, both services offer free HTTP/2 and SSL, so you can ensure the security of data and better SEO rankings, so it is a tie this time, as well.
Git and SSH access
Next, we have Git and SSH access, whose purpose is to let programmers deploy and track any changes, which is very useful when there are entire teams involved.
SiteGround actually has an advantage here, as it developed its own SSH access system, which is rather easy to use. Further, it also allows users to set up their Git repository and gain version control over the projects.
Bluehost, also has SSH, but it lacks the Git repository, which is why we have to side with SiteGround on this matter as well.
Finally, we should talk about WordPress, as it is probably the most used CMS out there.
Both of these hosting providers are perfectly aware of that, and both allow very simple installs of it. However, only SiteGround allows automatic system updates.
The same is true for automatic plugin updates, where Bluehost does not have an option to make them automatic, while SiteGround does.
Bluehost also lacks an in-house caching system and a staging area — a sandbox-like area for testing code changes and other details without affecting the site before you are ready.
SiteGround offers both of these, as well, which makes it a clear winner when it comes to the quality and abilities of its WordPress.
To recap, both of these hosting providers are equally as good (or very close to one another) when it comes to email accounts, unlimited bandwidth, SSL & HTTP/2, as well as FTP and SFTP accounts.
If you are looking for the one with better storage, however, Bluehost is the way to go, as even its basic plan beats the best that SiteGround has to offer.
However, SiteGround is much better if you need backups, WordPress rich with features, or Git and SSH access. In total, we would say that, when it comes to hosting features, SiteGround gets a point.
Uptime is extremely important for your website, regardless of what type of site you plan to run. It might be even more important as the hosting speed, as your users may be willing to be patient if your content is interesting enough to them. However, they are unlikely to forgive you if your site ends up being down half the time.
So, how do SiteGround and Bluehost compare in regards to uptime? As you may know, the best uptime is as close to 100% as you can get, and the best hosting providers put a lot of effort into securing an uptime between 99.95% and 100%.
Bluehost is, therefore, one of the best with an uptime of 99.98% over a one-year period. However, despite its high score, it still loses against SiteGround, which sits at the very peak with an incredible 100%.
It is worth noting that Bluehost is much better today than it was only a few years back, but it is still not as good as SiteGround, which scores another point.
Next, we need to discuss server locations of these two providers, which is also very important, as having more than one data center is great for security.
SiteGround is quite transparent about its locations, featuring servers in Chicago, US; London, UK; Amsterdam, Netherlands; as well as Singapore.
Unfortunately, Bluehost is not as transparent when it comes to its own locations, and even after long and deep research, only one location emerged — Utah.
Apart from that, nothing else is known. In other words, SiteGround wins here as well, in regards to transparency as well as the number of data centers.
If you already have a website with a different hosting provider and you either discovered that one of the others provides a better deal, or you decided to leave due to issues with your current hosting provider, you will want to move your website to a new service.
Fortunately, this is not just possible, but also very easy, as you can get help with migrating your website from the hosting providers’ support teams. Doing it without help can be an issue; however, so good customer service is a must-have.
Now, how do our two contenders fare in this area? Well, when it comes to SiteGround, it allows you to migrate one website completely for free. If you want to migrate more, you will have to pay $30 per site.
As for Bluehost, the service requires you to pay $150, and in return, you get 5 sites and around 20 email accounts. Nothing is free, and the price is quite large and fixed, regardless of whether you want to migrate a single site or five of them. So, once again, SiteGround wins for user-friendliness and convenience.
One thing that you need to take into an account is that your site will (hopefully) grow and that you will start seeing a lot more users as time goes by. In other words, you need to choose a hosting provider that can handle this growth and provide good scalability.
Once again, let’s start with SiteGround. This service offers three basic plans, but if they are not enough for you, you may also go for some other option, such as its cloud hosting ($80 per month), dedicated servers ($270 per month), enterprise hosting (tailored solution and price), or a reseller plan.
These options are a bit pricier, and the higher you go, the more you get. However, if your needs have grown to such proportions, it is safe to say that your site is doing well and that the price may not be a problem anymore.
Now, let’s take a look at what Bluehost has to offer. Fortunately, this service also has several alternatives to original plans, including cloud hosting ($10 per month), Bluehost VPS (SSD storage for $30 per month), and a Dedicated server ($120 per month).
Now, you may notice that Bluehost’s prices are significantly cheaper than what SiteGround has to offer, and since we have already mentioned that Bluehost is somewhat shady with its pricing, this might seem a bit suspicious. However, we were unable to find a catch, so it might just be that the prices are real.
In conclusion, both services offer alternative solutions for growing businesses, so we will just call it a tie here.
We spoke a bit about the importance of security already, but since it is such a serious topic, let’s check it out in detail.
SiteGround offers SSL, SFTP, as well as SSH access, all of which are very important from the security perspective. Further, the service also employs PHP 7, which is there by default, and it monitors traffic in order to prevent hacking attacks such as brute force attacks, which were quite common in the last several years.
On top of that, SiteGround also offers SG Site Scanner, which you can employ for an additional $1.50 per month, which is not expensive at all, considering that it can help you safeguard your website.
Bluehost rises up to a challenge with pretty much the same offering, including SSL, SFTP, and SSH access. It also features SiteLock which you can acquire for $30 per year.
Other than that, the service did not share much else regarding its security measures. However, there were some rumors and chats about numerous websites hosted by Bluehost that were hacked in the last several years.
But, considering that a lot of websites are launched by beginners who don’t really know how to secure them properly, this might not be the service’s fault, if we are being completely honest. So, with the lack of evidence that would claim otherwise, we consider it a tie here as well.
We have also already mentioned the importance of customer support. Whenever you have a problem with your site or plan, whenever you need to migrate your website, you will need help in order to make sure that everything goes smoothly. This is why customer support should not be underestimated.
Now, when it comes to SiteGround, its customer support is available 24/7 via email, phone, or live chat, which is excellent. The operators are friendly and helpful, and they will try to solve your issue, instead of just pointing you to a FAQ, which is something that many have complained about when it comes to other providers.
In fact, this can easily be considered one of the best, if not THE best, customer support teams in the market.
As for Bluehost, its support is, unfortunately, not as good. There were many complaints about them reacting rather slowly to users’ issues, and they were not as useful, according to the same complaints. They can still be reached at any point via chat or phone, which is a big plus for them, but they are very likely to try to push for upsells instead of being actually helpful.
So, as you can imagine, we are inclined to give yet another point to SiteGround.
Plans and prices
Finally, it is time to talk about plans and prices. We have mentioned both briefly here and there throughout this review, but now, let’s take a look at the actual plans and prices that these two services offer, as this will be a crucial point for a lot of people, and should be handled in detail.
Let’s start with SiteGround once more. As you are about to see when we compare them, SiteGround’s prices are generally a bit higher than Bluehost’s. However, judging from everything we have seen so far, SiteGround simply does and offers more, and therefore — it has the right to ask a few dollars extra.
Of course, this is only our opinion, and you can decide on your own whether its quality of service is worth paying a bit more or not.
As for the plans and prices at SiteGround, they are as follows:
- StartUp plan — $11,95 per month (1 website, 10GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 support)
- GrowBig plan — $19.95 per month (Unlimited websites, 20GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 support)
- GoGeek plan — $34.95 per month (Same as before, with priority support + a pre-installed Git repository)
Now, let’s take a look at plans and prices at Bluehost:
- Basic plan — $7.99 per month (1 website, 50GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth)
- Plus plan — $10.99 per month (Unlimited websites, storage, and bandwidth)
- Choice Plus plan — $14.99 per month (same as before, with advanced backup solution)
Apart from these plans, we have mentioned that the services also offer:
- Cloud hosting ($80 per month with SiteGround; $9.99 per month with Bluehost)
- Dedicated server ($269 per month with SiteGround; $119 per month with Bluehost)
Finally, it should be noted that both firms offer discounts for your first year with them.
At the end, which one wins a point here?
That is actually difficult to say. SiteGround is obviously cheaper, and its price goes higher and higher alongside its offering.
Bluehost is extremely cheap in comparison, although it might not be worth it for some users. In the end, it all depends on what you need for your own website, but in terms of prices alone, this is a point for Bluehost.
Throughout this review, we have compared every aspect of these two services in order to determine which one is better. While we still believe that the answer it depends on you, probably fits the bill best, let’s summarize the comparisons of all these different aspects.
We had several ties, and a few instances where Bluehost got the points, but SiteGround took the lead in the majority of aspect comparisons. Therefore, we believe that it might be a better solution, provided that you are not bothered with low storage and higher prices.
These are its only two issues, but in every other, it is either equal or better than Bluehost.
Armed with this knowledge, it is time for you to make your own choice and decide which of the two serves your needs best. Just remember to keep the future in mind as well, as your site will face a lot of difficulties, including the growth in traffic, potential threats, and more, so make your choice carefully.
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