SiteGround vs. Bluehost: Which Shared Host to Choose in 2019

siteground vs bluehost comparison 2019

If you’re trying to choose between SiteGround and Bluehost in 2019, this is going to be your easiest decision of the year.

SiteGround Dominates Bluehost

WordPress 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

Author of this SiteGround reviewHi! 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:

 

WebPageTest LocationSiteGroundBluehost
Dulles0.432 s0.605 s
Denver1.489 s1.450 s
Los Angeles0.909 s0.924 s
London0.937 s1.697 s
Frankfurt1.087 s2.552 s
Mauritius1.945 s3.493 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:

SiteGround: 99.99%

    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:

 

SiteGroundBluehost
2018 CodeInWP survey

Average user rating out of 5

4.63.3
2019 Web Hosting Geeks data

Average user rating out of 100

8040
2019 Review Signal data

Percent of mentions that are positive

72%41%

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:

siteground vs bluehost survey facebook poll

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:

bluehost vs. siteground hosting survey

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:

  • Phone
  • Live chat
  • Email/ticket

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:

SiteGroundBluehost
Overall Support Rating

Score out of 5

4.73.2
WordPress-Specific Support Rating

Score out of 5

4.53.4

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:

bluehost cpanel admin interface

And adds their own custom WordPress admin dashboard on top of cPanel:

bluehost wordpress custom dashboard design

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:

siteground cpanel admin 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

 

FeatureSiteGroundBluehost
WordPress Autoinstaller
Automatic WordPress Updates

Disabled by default

Built-in Caching
Free SSL Certificate
PHP 7.3
Staging

GrowBig and GoGeek

Beta Feature*

Email Hosting
Automatic Daily Backups

**

On-Demand 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:

  1. The promotional pricing for your first billing period
  2. 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$11.951
Bluehost Tier 1$4.95$8.991
SiteGround Tier 2$5.95$19.95Unlimited
Bluehost Tier 2$7.45$12.99Unlimited
SiteGround Tier 3$11.95$34.95Unlimited
Bluehost Tier 3$7.45$16.99Unlimited

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 Bluehost

SiteGround

In 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:

Finding the Best WordPress Hosting of 2019: An Honest Guide

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.

Choosing the Right Hosting for You: Honest WordPress Hosting Recommendations

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!


14 Responses

Comments

  • John Glynn says:

    Thanks for posting. This was my experience for sure. Last year I moved dozens of sites from Bluehost to Siteground. Everybody is happy:)

    FYI, Bluehost puts a folder of mandatory plugins alongside your main WP directories. You will need to manually delete this folder when you migrate to SG to prevent strange behaviors from occurring. I alerted SG to this problem, they may be removing this directory automatically now.

  • Sayan Samanta says:

    Nice information Fred. Thank you for sharing. Now I can buy Siteground Hosting.

  • Keith says:

    Everyone likes to poop on Bluehost. I’ve been happy with them for years. I’m on their “pro plan” which I guess is the second tier you show above. I have 16 sites hosted there with about 50GB of disk space used.

    To migrate to Siteground, I would need to get two Go Geek plans and split up the websites. That would be $70 per month (after promo period). I’m currently paying $13 per month a Bluehost. My biggest complaint with them is TTFB, server response time, and other speed issues. Support has always been great. I use their chat feature and they have always been available even at 3AM.

    I’m probably going to move to Cloudways soon. That should run me about $30 per month. The Siteground route is simply too expensive.

    FWIW, Bluehost is the first hosting company recommended on WordPress.org.

  • Mike S. says:

    I use both of these hosts extensively. My full-time employer uses Bluehost for our company’s sites and I use SiteGround for my personal & side-business client sites. I have significant experience with both.

    Fully agree with just about everything the article states. Over the last several years I have had to sit on the phone with BlueHost tech support quite often and can say they have most definitely experienced a downgrade in the quality of support over time.

    SiteGround “Tier 1” tech support feels like “Tier 3” at BlueHost, and what I mean by that is I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to elevate an issue at BlueHost to a higher level of support and had to wait several days for Tier 2 or Tier 3 to get back to me. Contrast that to SiteGround, where I’ve never had to go beyond chat, Tier 1 always gets it done right away. I have no inside information, but it ‘feels’ like BlueHost laid off all the quality tech support folks and hired entry-level operators to handle all calls as first responders. It’s gotten so bad I honestly dread reaching out to BlueHost, and because I work in IT it’s my job at my company I can’t avoid it. I honestly have to deal with them all the time and I really do not enjoy it at all. I’m lobbying for us to switch hosts…

    There’s also a marked difference in the etiquette of the associates, I’ll occasionally get rude behavior from a BlueHost associate if the direction of the chat is not going very helpful or if they will have to raise to Tier 2 (sometimes it feels like language barrier, or they are not understanding what the problem is no matter how many times I describe it). I never have this problem at SiteGround, even though they are also ESL (I believe they are out of Bulgaria – correct me if I’m wrong).

    You don’t know how important good support is until you need it!

    **Side note: The cPanel differences are visual-only, in fact I would say because the BlueHost ‘skin’ is unique to BlueHost it’s actually disorienting and I prefer the SiteGround cPanel which looks more like what I’m used to seeing in the various web hosts I’ve worked with. The CSS of the BlueHost cPanel actually will get mucked up from time to time, the text under the icons will crowd over one another and it can be hard to read (especially if you are at anything other than 100% zoom).

  • Hedley says:

    Despite the fact that I agree with the gist of this article (I once tried putting clients’ sites on Bluehost, but found they loaded very slowly and after a couple of weeks I got a refund – I’ve been with SG ever since), I can’t help but feel that the only point to the weak motivation for this article is to generate referrals from SiteGround. What’s next? Airbus vs. Aeroflot? At least compare apples to apples.

    I’m on your mailing list and look at your newsletters somewhat regularly, so I’m starting to get the idea that SG referrals are your only reliable source of income. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have nothing against taking referrals if you’re providing quality and relatively unbiased content, but the relationship to quality and non-bias is at best tenuous with this piece. And at the very least you should be very transparent about it with clear disclaimers about referrals – the absence of them just makes you look manipulative.

    • Fred Meyer Fred Meyer says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Hedley. Our goal with this piece is twofold:
      1. To give people true information that they wouldn’t otherwise get. People do commonly search for SiteGround-Bluehost comparisons (which is why your “apples to apples” comment doesn’t land for me), and most of the results are deeply dishonest. This article does tell the truth, backed by real data – including, crucially, unbiased customer satisfaction data.
      2. As you mentioned, to earn affiliate revenue if and when people conclude that SiteGround is the right fit. We’re affiliates for lots of things we like: SiteGround and about five other good hosts, Beaver Builder page builder, and others. We have other revenue sources as well, but this absolutely does help make our work on WPShout financially feasible, while also giving people an honest, factual basis to distinguish good products from (more popular and better-marketed) bad ones.

      After considering your request, I’ve added an affiliate disclosure. I hesitated originally because of concerns about article flow, but I’ve found a way to include it that I don’t think is disruptive.

      Thanks for the feedback, again. Be in touch anytime with further thoughts.

      • Hedley says:

        You’re perhaps right about my “apples” comparison, Fred, though I do think it behooves you to avoid looking like you’re trying to milk the referral cow, and to be honest this article seemed a bit milkier to me than some others that mention Siteground (and I do look at your site with some regularity), but I’ll accept that I may have become a bit hypersensitive to these things.

        At any rate, thanks for taking the idea of transparency seriously. There are, as you say, a *lot* of junk articles on the web trying to milk referrals without any real pursuit of truth, and I really do think that being up front about how and why you use referrals, such as how you did in your “About the Reviewer” disclosure, increases considerably the appearance of credibility. In the long run, I think its presence will be a net positive for your brand.

  • Hmmm…I would not recommend Bluehost, or any EIG owned hosting company for a professional business website.

    Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a Bluehost affiliate and evangelist from 2006 until 2015 or so. One time I had an issue and emailed Matt Heaton, the former CEO, who was very responsive.

    When the company was sold to EIG, isn’t began sliding downhill in several areas:

    * The low price is achieved by disabling several standard cPanel features and reselling them back as extras.
    * Any perceived security issue (an e-mail address they don’t like), and they will shut off features without telling you. One company could not figure out why no leads were contacting them via a web form, only to discover that Bluehost had turned off email sent by WordPress. This was very costly until it was discovered.
    * Bluehost is a magnet for attacks, and provides no real security. If your server gets infected by malware which could even be a virus attached to an email that you did not open, your complete service is shut down, only to be reinstated if you can clean the issue yourself. They try to sell you expensive cleaning and security products at this point.

    * If you want e-commerce they will make you buy their static IP and SSL cert (last I checked – this may not be true anymore).
    * No backups or expert WordPress support is provided (backups are an add-on and not WP specific.

    A good host will cost more – although not more than EIG hosts once you have the required add-ons.

    Questions to ask before you buy:

    * Does the company specialize in professional WordPress for business?
    * Who does security and uptime monitoring?
    * Who does backups, and where are they stored?
    * Is there security against hacks and malware?
    * Who keeps core software, plugins, themes, frameworks, etc. upgraded? Who will tell you if a plugin has degraded and should be replaced?
    * Who provides tech support? Do they understand WordPress for business?
    * Will they scale with your business or tell you that you are out of bandwidth right when you need it?

    A good host will not just sell you space on a server and hope you know what you are doing. They are an essential team member that cares about your success.

    The issues with a bad hosting company can be ameliorated somewhat, by having a good care plan and support provider.

    OB Disclaimer: I provide enterprise-grade WordPress hosting and care plans at johnsimmonshypertext.com

  • I noticed that tiers 2 and 3 on both hosts offer “unlimited” websites. However, there is no information on how they accomplish this. I know other hosts who offer this force you to do this with add-on domains, such that you have just one cpanel for all sites.

    That is the main reason I have been using my hosts’s RESELLER plans for more than a decade now – each site gets their own cpanel.

    It is only rarely my clients need to get to their cpanel, but when they do, I don’t want them getting to the cpanel for ALL my sites.

  • Ken Graham says:

    I wanted out of another EIG site, site5.com as they had no option for free SSL. and looking after several domains I had a reseller account with a web host panel.

    Actually I tried Site Ground, and phone support started off quick, but that heartbeat got tiring when I got redirected to leave a message. Also the GoGeek just did not cut it with no WebHostPanel which one uses to separate domains to their respective cpanels. I think its an option to get a reseller account but the price is astronomical. And any security checking software was an Optional extra on top of the price. If I had only 1 domain I might have got by with SiteGround.com

    However I also tried A2Hosting.com, its not at the top of your lists, but it did have a server rewind, and it did include checking for security issues included in the package and emailed me of some security updates that SiteGround did not seem to address as I did not buy the additional option.

    With SiteGround GoGeek I was attempting to use their automated tool to move domains and using support because it wasn’t working 100%. With A2Hosting they let me do a cpanel backup of each of my domains directed to their servers and then they finished the restore process and voila they were all nicely placed in the WebHostPanel there. I gave myself 3 months overlap with my previous hosting company which was greatly helpful. (I use a different location MyDomain.com to look after my domain dns so was able to easily able to point 1st to one then the other) I do find telephone support slower with A2Hosting but it just seems to work better to type a ticket, so one can have a written trail when issues need resolving.

    My real life experience was I quit Site Ground within 30 days so was able to cancel the long term contract, though I did end up about 30 days of fees out, but it may be due to currency fluctuations between US and CAD dollar. It was well worth it to know I found something better for myself, A2Hosting.com

  • Robin says:

    Bluehost: Years of needless suffering due to site downtime, security breaches, annoying sales calls for expensive site “security plans”, endless waits on support calls, support staff who knew less than I did, and slow performance. The best customer service I had was when I told them I was leaving and why; they refunded my remaining payments.

    Damn all those affiliate websites recommending a poor service.

    Siteground: Very happy in the 6 months so far that I’ve been using them. What a relief.

  • Fred, you are soooooo… correct in stating Site Ground is far better! We have never used Blue Host, but there is a reason. When I started out at US Logo we were in a grandfathered unlimited Go Daddy plan 4 years ago. But after a while, they wouldn’t update our PHP or MySQL so we left. There were more reasons than that! Next, we went to Media Temple, which wasn’t terrible, but there was still limitation and poor support which led us the ever amazing and super awesome Site Ground. It was the best decision ever. There is no more worry about crashing our WP site when updating. Backups are great and their space limitations are outstanding. We now host around 4o+ sites including eComm. Thanks for sharing!

  • Harpreet says:

    Though Bluehost offers unmetered bandwidth in all of its plans from Shared, VPS or Dedicated hosting.

    But according to my experience Siteground is so much better than bluehost. Their support is amazing and their servers are fast.

    I have had terrible experience with Bluehost, I would stay away from them.

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