SiteGround vs. Bluehost: A Side-By-Side Comparison
What if I told you that choosing a web hosting provider might not be as challenging as it seems? Of course, choosing a suitable web hosting service for you and your company might seem impossible. And having a lot of options to choose from also does not make the task easier. There are many details that you need to go through and compare. And, comparing minor information can be a tedious task.
However, my Vendor vs. Vendor series has got your back. The focus of this article will be comparing SiteGround and Bluehost. Many different categories will be covered, all to make choosing a web hosting service easier for you. And, by the time you finish reading this article, you will know which of the two web hosting services is the right one for you.
So, without further ado, let's begin.
About the Competition
SiteGround was founded in 2004 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Since its beginnings, SiteGround has amassed a large number of clients. It provides hosting for approximately 2,800,000 domains worldwide. Also, it has over 500 employees that are at the disposal of their clients for anything.
SiteGround has data centers on four continents. Also, clients have reported a 99.7 percent happiness rate, so people really seem to be satisfied with this provider.
Bluehost provides numerous hosting services such as shared hosting, WordPress hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, dedicated hosting, and WooCommerce hosting. In addition to all of those, the company also provides professional marketing services.
What the two providers have in common is that they both offer WordPress and WooCommerce hosting.
SiteGround has a basic WordPress package called StartUp, and it offers all the essentials you might need to get started. The GrowBig package is the next in line after StartUp. The package provides WordPress hosting with on-demand backup copies, 30 percent faster PHP, and staging. The final WordPress offer from SiteGround is GoGeek, and it offers on-demand backup copies, 30 percent faster PHP, staging + Git, White-label clients, a higher tier of resources, and priority support.
Now, let's see what both providers are like regarding the most critical factor for you, as the user, performance.
Server Network and Performance - Who Is Faster?
When choosing a web hosting provider, you should always look at its server network first. Since an essential factor for your website is the visitor's experience, you should look at the uptime and speed of your website. The server network provides insight into those two factors. Even though it is an unwritten rule that the provider should keep your site up and running, you should choose the one that will not make your visitors wait for the content to load. No one likes that.
As I mentioned, SiteGroud has data centers on a few continents. More specifically, it has data centers in Council Bluffs, Iowa, London, U.K., Eemshaven, Netherlands, Frankfurt, Germany, Singapore, and Sydney, Australia. So, the provider has a total of six data centers across four continents. SiteGround's data centers offer high availability, reliability, and low latency. Also, its primary data center partner is Google, which is famous for maintaining one of the fastest and most powerful networks.
Let's say that your website is hosted on a server in the U.S. Thanks to the CDN network, if someone from Australia visits your website, the website will still load very fast.
In addition to its primary data centers and the CDN network, SiteGround also uses Google Cloud. With Google Cloud's facilities and multiple locations, redundant and geographically distributed backups across countries and continents are possible.
SiteGorund's data centers are green-friendly, as well as the ones that Google operates. And since they work together, SiteGroud proudly states that all of its data centers are green-friendly.
SiteGround offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. Also, the company gives you credit if it does not achieve this. So, if SiteGround's uptime drops below 99.9 percent, you will receive a free month of hosting. And, for every 1 percent uptime below 99.9 percent, you will get an extra month of free services.
You can expect a 99.98 percent average uptime from this provider. So, it is a little below the industry average, which is 99.999 percent.
Now, let's check the speed.
SiteGroud makes constant upgrades to its hardware and software so that it can speed them up. They use the fastest SSD drivers on their shared and cloud hosting platforms. Their servers run on the latest PHP version, which has a built-in opcode cache. Their partnership with Cloudflare allows them to provide a free CDN to all of their clients. Also, their SuperCacher technology is made to cache dynamic pages and results from database queries. What is best, their SuperCacher technology includes numerous performance optimization tools for WordPress.
In the real world, SiteGround provides for lower-than-average speeds.
With Bluehost, you receive access to a global server network. Also, it offers customers reliable and fast web hosting services. However, the company does not disclose information about its data centers, unlike SiteGround. However, some reliable sources claim the Bluehost data centers are in Provo, Utah, Orem, Utah, Mumbai, India, London, U.K., Hong Kong, China, and Shanghai. So, both Bluehost and SiteGround have six data centers worldwide.
Like SiteGround, Bluehost automatically chooses the best server for you according to your location. With that, you will receive the optimal experience and optimization.
Also, like its competitor, Bluehost offers a Cloudflare CDN service.
Bluehost provides a 99.9 percent Uptime guarantee, which is the same as SiteGround. However, Bluehost's average uptime is 99.95 percent, lower than SiteGround's 99.98 percent average.
All in all, SiteGround is better than Bluehost regarding uptime, reliability, and speed.
Security Features - SiteGround Takes the Crown!
Next on your checklist when choosing a web hosting provider is its security features. The provider you choose should be able to protect you from all kinds of cyberattacks and security threats.
At SiteGround, you receive multi-layered security. Only certified employees can access the server rooms, and there are security teams on-site 24/7. Communication to the Google Cloud infrastructure is encrypted in transit. Also, access to sensitive data is protected by tools such as phishing-resistant Security Keys.
SiteGround also comes with SSL, SFTP, and SSH access. Also, they monitor traffic to block brute force attacks, and they update their security rules every week.
SiteGround's security features include Let's Encrypt! SSL, which is free with every account; let's Encrypt! Wildcard SSL is also free with every account, EV SSL – with a starting price of $499 per year; malware detection called HackAlert, DDoS protection, and sophisticated IDS / IPS systems that block malicious bots and attackers.
The provider also sells the SG Site Scanner, an add-on that scans your website for malware. This add-on costs an extra $1.50 per month. Also, SiteGround provides SiteGround Security for WordPress, which secures your WordPress website and prevents threats like brute-force attacks, compromised logins, data leaks, and many more.
On the other hand, Bluehost uses SiteLock. SiteLock is used to scan your website for viruses, malware, and other threats every day. Also, there’s 24/7 network monitoring throughout company servers. In the control panel, you can find SSH Access, SSL/TLS, Hotlink Protection, IP Blocker, Manage API Tokens, and SSL/TLS Status. What is more, Bluehost has Anti-Spam Protection and Two-Factor Authentication.
Another significant thing you have to consider is backup policies. You might think that security and speed are all that matter, but what happens if you lose all your data? Well, with the right backup policies, you can get it back!
When it comes to backups, SiteGround comes out victorious. The provider offers free daily backups and restores on all plans. What is better, you can use On-Demand Backups, which you can schedule for a specific time that suits you. On-Demand Backups are free with the GrowBig plan or higher. If you have the StartUp plan, the On-Demand Backups cost $29.95 per backup.
Bluehost isn’t as caring about data protection. The provider performs courtesy backups whenever they want. Also, they encourage customers to create their own backups.
So, as I mentioned above, SiteGround is the better choice for backups and security.
Who Has the Better Plan?
Now, onto some actual tests. Let's see what each provider can offer to their more advanced users. In these tests, I’ll compare the providers' shared hosting plans and VPS. Let's see who will win this one!
- Shared Hosting Plans
- VPS (Virtual Private Servers)
Ease of Use - A Tie!
Now, let's continue with the ease of use of both providers. Namely, I’ll analyze how easy it’ll be for you to use the provider's features. But, if you want to skip ahead, both providers do a decent job regarding ease of use.
SiteGround has its own custom control panel – Site Tools. Site Tools offers intuitive and functional options for setting up, developing, and managing WordPress websites. With it, you can easily find everything you need and navigate seamlessly through the menus. What is even better, you can pin the tools that you use the most for quick access. Some actions are less time-consuming and make the setup process even quicker.
Bluehost comes with a user-friendly and familiar to many cPanel. The cPanel is easy to use, and all you need to do is click an icon. After that, Bluehost will help you every step of the way. Also, if you need any other assistance, Bluehost provides a support team that’s available 24/7.
This one is tough. Both providers are straightforward, and do a great job at making everything easier for their users. So, no matter which one you choose, you won’t make a mistake! It is a tie!
SiteGround offers 24-hour support to its clients. You can reach them via phone, email (ticket), and live chat. Also, the support team is amicable and knowledgeable.
Bluehost also provides 24-hour support. However, you can reach them via phone or email, but not live chat. So, if you aren’t a very talkative person like me, not having the live chat option can be a deal-breaker. Sure, you can contact them via email. But, I think we can all agree that live chats are far more convenient, as they are right at the bottom of every website that has them.
So, SiteGround is the winner of this one for me personally.
The Financial Side of the Providers
Lastly, let's go over the financial side of the matter.
Since Bluehost does not provide prices for a monthly shared hosting plan, I’ll compare the annual plans of the providers instead.
SiteGround is a bit more expensive than Bluehost. The prices that you see in big, bold numbers are only for the first year.
After that, the prices are:
- StartUp - $14.99 a month.
- GrowBig - $24.99 a month.
- GoGeek - $39.99 a month.
So, in this aspect, Bluehost is the winner since it offers lower prices. However, choosing a provider also depends on what you need from it. Also, SiteGround might save you more money in the long run (fewer developer fees).
Now, on to refunds. SiteGround offers a 30-days money-back guarantee for all shared hosting plans. However, for their cloud hosting plans (VPS), they offer a 14-days money-back guarantee. Nevertheless, trying out SiteGround is risk-free since you can always get your money back if you are unsatisfied. The only thing you need to do is keep track of the money-back guarantee periods.
Bluehost provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, except for services from third-party providers, i.e., domains.
Now, let's see how much you can earn from the provider's affiliate programs.
At SiteGround, your monthly commission is determined by the total number of sales you make during one month. Sales refer to the number of referrals you make for SiteGround. So, there’s no limit to how much you can earn. All you need to do to start is fill out the signup form, which is available online.
- If you make between 1 and 5 sales a month, you will earn $50 or €40 per sale. So, if you make the maximum number of 5 sales, you will earn $250 a month.
- If you make between 6 and 10 sales a month, you will earn $75 or €60 per sale. So, if you make the maximum number of 10 sales, you will earn $750 a month.
- If you make between 11 and 20 sales, you will earn $100 or €75 per sale. So, if you make the maximum number of 20 sales, you will earn $1,100 per month.
- If you make 21 sales or more, you will receive a custom commission.
But, how can you refer clients? It is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is put the affiliate link provided by SiteGround on your website, social media posts. Also, you can give the link to some of your contacts during conversations and follow-up emails. What is best, SiteGround provides you with a unique guide where you can find everything you need about referrals. Lastly, you will receive your earnings via PayPal.
Bluehost pays $65 for every qualified hosting purchase. You can sign up for free, and the process is simple. What’s best is that there is no limit on the number of commissions you can earn. Also, Bluehost will help you out during your process by providing customized campaigns, promotional resources, and reliable tracking.
The Winner Is - SiteGround!
Both providers offer a wide array of valuable features. Also, both are reliable, fast, and offer excellent uptime and security. What is more, both SiteGround and Bluehost have good refund policies and customer service.
However, after doing the in-depth analysis provided above, I must say that SiteGround is the better choice. It is focused on performance and support and emphasizes security. Also, it has a higher uptime average and makes sure that your data does not get lost. So, not only will it give you a fast and reliable website, but it will also look out for you and your data!