SiteGround vs. Bluehost: Which Shared Host to Choose
SiteGround Dominates BluehostWordPress hosting is full of poor performers with huge marketing budgets. Bluehost is one of the biggest—and worst.
SiteGround is smaller, but stands out as everything a WordPress host should be. It’s a better choice, 100% of the time.
SiteGround is far better than Bluehost, and all the real performance and customer satisfaction data shows that. So this isn’t a SiteGround vs. Bluehost for WordPress comparison where we’ll waffle back-and-forth with “SiteGround is better for X, Bluehost is better for Y.”
SiteGround is just a better option. Period.
Strong claims, right? This isn’t just our personal opinion (though it’s true that we do this for a living and have taught hundreds of professional WordPress developers to do the same): it comes from analyzing thousands of honest, unbiased reviews from real SiteGround and Bluehost customers. The trend is very clear: SiteGround’s customers like SiteGround, and Bluehost’s customers don’t like Bluehost.
In other words, taking into account performance, price, customer support, features, and every other variable a hosting customer might have reason to value, the truth is that SiteGround is a good hosting product for most users. Bluehost is not.
Now, read on for a ton of honest, unbiased data on how the two hosts stack up:
About the Reviewer
Hi! I’m Fred Meyer. I’ve been writing about WordPress nearly every week for more than five years here on WPShout. I’m also co-founder of boutique web agency Press Up, where my day job is making WordPress websites for people, especially small businesses.
Getting an accurate comparison of two web hosts can be extremely difficult, because web hosting reviews are usually biased toward whichever company pays out the biggest affiliate commissions. I want to be clear: this article uses affiliate links when talking about SiteGround, because we like, use, have analyzed large amounts of unbiased performance and customer satisfaction data about, and happily recommend its hosting. We are not affiliates for Bluehost—despite the fact that we would earn significantly more revenue as Bluehost affiliates—because Bluehost has the massive quality problems detailed in the rest of this article.
This post was not commissioned or altered by SiteGround, Bluehost, or any other third party. It is an honest, unbiased hosting comparison of real performance and customer satisfaction data from both companies.
SiteGround vs. Bluehost Performance: Speed and Reliability
Your hosting plays a huge role in how quickly your WordPress site loads, which is an essential metric because page load times affect everything from SEO to user experience to conversion rates and more.
It’s not just about loading your site fast for a single visitor, either. As your site grows, you might have tens or hundreds of people browsing at the same time, especially if you go viral. Your host needs to be able to load your site just as fast for that 500th visitor as it does for the first visitor. Otherwise, your page speed metrics are vanity.
Beyond that, there’s reliability. Every minute your site is down, you’re losing revenue and wasting opportunity. You need a host that will make sure that doesn’t happen.
The point we’re trying to drive home here is that your host’s performance isn’t theoretical: it has a direct impact on your website’s success. And when it comes to performance, SiteGround is the clear winner.
SiteGround Speed vs. Bluehost: SiteGround Wins, Especially Under Scale
To compare SiteGround‘s and Bluehost‘s speed, we’ll turn to Review Signal’s 2018 Performance Benchmarks. We like Review Signal’s data because it’s objective and consistent. That is, they’re comparing apples to apples and 100% transparent about their testing methodology.
Review Signal compared SiteGround’s middle-tier GrowBig plan vs. Bluehost’s middle-tier Plus plan and found this:
- Load testing, simulating up to 1,000 concurrent users. SiteGround “handled this test without issue.” Bluehost “struggled with this test; they showed errors and increased response times.”
- Load testing, simulating up to 2,000 concurrent users. SiteGround “handled this test without issue.” Bluehost “ran into security issues we couldn’t work to bypass. They were perhaps the most bizarre graphs I have seen during all my years of testing.”
Additionally, SiteGround beat out Bluehost in Review Signal’s one-off WebPageTest speed tests for every test location except Denver, which is right next door to Bluehost’s Utah data center:
|Dulles||0.432 s||0.605 s|
|Denver||1.489 s||1.450 s|
|Los Angeles||0.909 s||0.924 s|
|London||0.937 s||1.697 s|
|Frankfurt||1.087 s||2.552 s|
|Mauritius||1.945 s||3.493 s|
SiteGround Uptime vs. Bluehost
While we don’t find uptime monitoring to always be the most useful metric, SiteGround also beat out Bluehost when it came to uptime in Review Signal’s benchmarks:
- Bluehost: 99.97%
While that 0.02% difference might not seem like a big thing, it does add up to about 9 extra minutes of downtime per month.
Note – Review Signal bases its uptime benchmarks on at least two months of data, which is at least more reliable than how some other sites calculate things.
Because SiteGround will help you create a faster-loading, more reliable website, it quite simply helps you create better websites than Bluehost.
SiteGround vs. Bluehost: Customer Satisfaction Data
You’ve probably already figured out that we like SiteGround a lot more than Bluehost. But here’s the thing:
It’s not just us.
You’ll find this same sentiment expressed in unbiased reviews and surveys from real customers when discussing Bluehost or SiteGround. Let’s prove it…
First, here’s the rundown from three popular survey/review aggregators:
|2018 CodeInWP survey
Average user rating out of 5
|2019 Web Hosting Geeks data
Average user rating out of 100
|2019 Review Signal data
Percent of mentions that are positive
That’s a pretty dramatic difference, right?
And you’ll also see these same sentiments on social media. For example, if you dig into the 11,000+ member WordPress Hosting group on Facebook, you’ll see polls like this one, started by one of the group’s admins:
See who’s there at the top? Bluehost is on that list too—way down at the bottom with two votes, which made it hard to include in the screenshot.
If you keep digging around that group, you’ll see the same results in pretty much every other poll and discussion. Let’s look at one more to prove the point – SiteGround is at the top with 106 votes, while Bluehost sits way down the list with 8 votes:
This isn’t because SiteGround is larger or more well-known, either: on the contrary, Bluehost is significantly larger than SiteGround in terms of the total number of websites it hosts.
Basically, real customers love SiteGround and rank it highly. The same cannot be said of Bluehost.
BlueHost vs. SiteGround: Support
Both SiteGround and Bluehost offer 24/7 support via:
- Live chat
However, it’s not just about having “support”, it’s about having “helpful support that responds quickly and actually fixes the problem.” And with respect to that latter metric, SiteGround is the clear winner.
In CodeinWP’s survey of WordPress hosting customers, they asked two questions about:
- Overall support quality
- WordPress-specific support quality
If support plays a role in choosing between SiteGround and Bluehost for you, there’s no comparison:
|Overall Support Rating
Score out of 5
|WordPress-Specific Support Rating
Score out of 5
SiteGround vs. Bluehost: Usability
Both SiteGround and Bluehost rely on cPanel to power the bulk of their backends, so you won’t see a significant difference between either in that respect.
Bluehost uses a more modern cPanel theme:
And adds their own custom WordPress admin dashboard on top of cPanel:
Excluding the constant upsell nags, Bluehost’s custom dashboard is the one thing that’s legitimately nice about the Bluehost service, and that it would be great to see SiteGround adopt.
With that being said, SiteGround uses an older cPanel theme, but the end result is quite similar in terms of functionality. You can access all of these same settings in SiteGround from within your WordPress dashboard—just not in quite as user-friendly an interface:
Additionally, both include the normal repertoire of WordPress autoinstallers, as well as helpful site setup wizards that make it easy to spin up new WordPress sites.
Bluehost vs. SiteGround: Hosting Features
|Automatic WordPress Updates||✅||✅
Disabled by default
|Free SSL Certificate||✅||✅|
GrowBig and GoGeek
|Automatic Daily Backups||✅||❌
GrowBig and GoGeek
* While Bluehost’s staging feature does work and is available, it’s still in beta.
** Bluehost does create some type of automatic backups, but they specify that “these backups are not guaranteed in any way. We highly recommend all Bluehost customers create and manage their own backups.”
SiteGround vs. Bluehost: Pricing
Both SiteGround and Bluehost use promotional pricing for your first billing cycle to draw you in, which is something to always pay attention to when you’re shopping for WordPress hosting.
So to accurately compare Bluehost vs. SiteGround 2019 pricing, you actually need to look at two numbers:
- The promotional pricing for your first billing period
- The “real” pricing when you renew
To make this fair, we’re going to consider the prices for a one-year commitment, though both SiteGround and Bluehost offer lower prices for longer commitments.
|Promotional Pricing||“Real” Pricing||# of websites|
|SiteGround Tier 1||$3.95||$11.95||1|
|Bluehost Tier 1||$4.95||$8.99||1|
|SiteGround Tier 2||$5.95||$19.95||Unlimited|
|Bluehost Tier 2||$7.45||$12.99||Unlimited|
|SiteGround Tier 3||$11.95||$34.95||Unlimited|
|Bluehost Tier 3||$7.45||$16.99||Unlimited|
One thing to pay attention to is that SiteGround’s renewal prices are quite a bit higher than Bluehost’s. But remember: for that price, you’re getting better performance and reliability, helpful features like automatic backups, significantly better support, etc.
Additionally, SiteGround offers free migrations, while Bluehost will charge you a whopping $149.99 to migrate your sites (up to 5).
SiteGround? Maybe, Depending on Your Needs. Bluehost? Never.
The best source for choosing which web hosting provider to go with is hard data. Accept no substitutes.
From checking the SiteGround vs. Bluehost 2019 results from literally thousands of real users, the trends couldn’t be clearer: SiteGround is a good host with happy customers, and Bluehost is a bad one that receives poor marks.
If you’re ready to give SiteGround a try, then go for it:
SiteGround Dominates BluehostIn a field dominated by poor performers with huge marketing budgets, SiteGround stands out as everything a WordPress host should be.
Or are you still wondering if SiteGround is the perfect host for you? It may be—or may not be, depending on the nature of your project. To find out which host to choose, we recommend two further resources.
First is our comprehensive guide to the WordPress hosting space, ranking not just SiteGround and Bluehost but all major WordPress hosts, using the same trustworthy, objective processes you’re seeing here:
And the second resource is our guide to understanding WordPress hosting itself: what to think about with respect to topics like hosting type, performance, uptime, and price, and how to find the right hosting for your specific project.
Lastly, if you need thoughts from a trustworthy human being, we’d love to help point you in the right direction for your project. You can contact us directly by email (contact@ this website dot com), or come say hello in our Facebook group.
Thanks for reading!