When you have to choose between two options, do you agonize over making the right decision? I certainly do, even when picking something as simple as what to wear to work or what to have for dinner!
So you can imagine how much research I did when choosing a web hosting for my sites. I took my time and carefully looked at everything, including speed, storage space, features, server locations, and, of course, pricing plans.
Finding the best option was a two-step process. First, I scoured the internet and took a look at all the major hosting providers.
While there are many options out there, I ultimately narrowed down my final two options to Siteground and Bluehost. They both have a lot to offer, but which one is the best hosting provider overall?
The following article summarizes my research process and explains which site I think is better.
Ready to learn more about these two popular hosting providers? Here we go!
SiteGround vs. Bluehost: Which is Best in 2020?
Do you want to skip over the details and get right to point?
Overall, when looking at SiteGround vs. Bluehost, and after considering all the features, I choose SiteGround. I’ve found that it has superior speed and uptime, along with more features. Plus, SiteGround’s customer support was more helpful and easier to reach.
SiteGround’s basic monthly price is $11.95 a month, while Bluehost costs $7.99 a month.
The following summary table allows you to easily compare the major differences between the two hosting providers. Let’s check it out:
|Ease of Use||A+||A|
|Overall||Great performance and customer service with a slightly higher price||Superior storage and pricing with a downgrade in performance|
SiteGround vs. Bluehost: How Many People Use Each Service?
Like many things in life, choosing between two providers is a bit of a popularity contest.
The popularity of a hosting company does have an impact on the service provided — but not in the way you might think. Let’s take a look at the size of each provider.
Bluehost is the bigger company. They employ over 750 people in their 50,000 square foot facility in Provo, Utah (which is also home to their in-house server farm). Founded in 2003, they currently host over two million domains, making them one of the web’s top 20 hosting companies.
SiteGround also hosts about two million domain names, but they’re a smaller organization with 400 employees. Located in Bulgaria, they were founded in 2004.
Just because both providers host roughly the same amount of sites doesn’t mean they’re equally popular. I took an in-depth look at each company in Google Trends, going back years, and found a substantial difference. Bluehost is far more well-known than SiteGround.
A popular website often has drawbacks. The more customers they have, the harder it is to give each one personal attention.
When looking at SiteGround vs. BlueHost, popularity alone isn’t enough to choose between them. Let’s check out some more factors:
Round 1: How Easy is Each Platform to Use?
Both are fairly easy-to-use, but I give the slight edge to SiteGround. Here’s a closer look.
Bluehost uses cPanel, which is a popular interface made specifically for controlling site hosting software. It’s primarily known for its understand-at-a-glance graphical interface, and it’s easy-to-use automated tools. Even if you’re a first-time user, you should feel right at home when using Bluehost.
Features found in Bluehost’s cPanel interface include:
- FTP accounts
- File Management
- Management for Email Accounts
- PHPMyAdmin (a popular database management tool)
- Cloudflare integration (a popular security tool)
Bluehost and cPanel make a good team, but what about SiteGround?
SiteGround uses a custom interface. It’s clean, intuitive, and gives you quick access to many powerful features, including basically the same features found in Bluehost.
Each site’s control panel has a pleasing design that should pose no problems for beginners, while also allowing more experienced users easy access to powerful features. So, when comparing SiteGround vs. Bluehost, why do I choose SiteGround?
Bluehost has too much clutter for my liking. They promote a variety of paid tools you can purchase. Not only does that make it hard to find the tools you want, but it adds a needless level of overall confusion to the interface.
Verdict: Both are solid, with an edge towards SiteGround due to its cleaner look. However, the Bluehost interface still allows for intuitive operations.
Round 2: Which Site Has the Better Hosting Features?
Comparing two hosting providers might seem complicated at first, but it’s fairly straightforward when you compare the following key features:
Storage Space – What’s the Right Amount?
When considering SiteGround vs. Bluehost, you want to look at the amount of storage space each offers.
SiteGround has a traditional model. Their StartUp plan gives you 10GB of space, the GrowBig plan gives you 20GB, and the GoGeek plan gives you 40GB.
For most blogs and small business sites, 10GB is more than enough space unless you make extensive use of high-def images and videos (and I want to stress “extensive” here).
SiteGround does storage differently. Their Basic plan gives you 50 GB of SSD storage. That’s more than enough for most individual users or single stores, especially beginners.
Their next three plans (Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro) all have no storage limits. At first, that sounds like an awesome deal, but the fine print is a bit too vague for my liking.
Bluehost puts constraints on any use that exceeds “normal” operation. Except they don’t define “normal.” They say 99.95% of their users never experience any issues. Also, if you exceed the cap, they’ll send you a warning email before taking any action.
It’s not an issue for most small businesses and individuals. However, it might be a problem if your site is growing quickly. Not knowing the exact data cap hinders your ability to plan your hosting needs into the future.
Verdict: Both the Bluehost and Siteground entry-level plans offer more than enough space for most blogs, small businesses, and similar sites. However, if you need tons of space, Bluehost’s vague storage limits might pose a problem.
Overall, Bluehost offers better value at the basic level. When comparing each company’s introductory plans, you get far more space for the money with Bluetooth, which is why they win this round.
A Quick Note: When browsing various plans, pay attention to whether the data centers use traditional hard drives or solid-state drives (SSDs). An SSD is much faster than a traditional hard drive because it uses flash memory instead of physical components. Although faster, SSD storage often increases the price of the plan.
Bandwidth – Can Your Site Handle All of Your Visitors?
Bandwidth is the rate data is sent and received. It’s measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). In terms of hosting services, bandwidth refers to the amount of traffic your plan allows your site to receive. The busier your site, the more bandwidth you’ll need.
Verdict: You’re good no matter which hosting provider or hosting plan you choose. All options include unmetered bandwidth (called “unmetered traffic” by SiteGround).
Backups – Is Your Site Safe from Unexpected Data Loss?
A reliable backup system is a must. When considering SiteGround and Bluehost, which has the best backup system?
SiteGuard copies your site content each day. They store each backup for 30 days. Restoring your site, either fully or partially, only takes a click or two. You can also download security copies of your site with ease.
Additionally, their GrowBig or GoGeek plans offer a Backup on Demand System. It allows you to create five site backups that you can access whenever you like.
Bluehost offers robust backup services, but they’re not included with all of their hosting plans. Only the Choice Plus and Pro plans offer their CodeGuard Basic site backup services. You can get back up tools with their two lower-priced plans, the Basic and Plus plans, but it costs a few extra dollars each month.
While that’s not great, I especially dislike how Bluehost removes the ability to make manual backups through the cPanel interface. They limit a normal cPanel feature unless you pay for it.
Verdict: Both Bluehost and SiteGround offer robust backup systems, but SiteGround’s system is far easier to use and a much better value.
While a site backup pro might not mind the extra work and cost involved with Bluehost, the average user will greatly prefer the simplicity of SiteGround’s backup systems.
Domains, Subdomains, and Parked Domains
SiteGround lets me down a bit here. They don’t offer a free domain name when you purchase a plan. Instead, you have to purchase a domain name separately, either from SiteGround or a third party. However, they do give you unlimited subdomains and the ability to park unlimited domain names.
Bluehost does offer a free domain name (a free website) with every plan. Their entry plans also give you up to 25 subdomains, while their higher plans have no subdomain limitations.
Verdict: You can’t beat free, so Bluehost wins this round without a second thought. They offer a free domain name while the other guys don’t.
SiteGround includes unlimited email accounts. However, it’s not quite as awesome as it first sounds. Each account has a limited storage capacity. You can choose between 2GB, 4GB, and 6GB limits depending on what upgrade you want to buy. The cPanel includes three popular email clients: Horde, RoundCube, and SquirrelMail.
Bluehost gives you five email accounts and 100MD of storage with their Basic account. However, all of the other Bluehost plans give you unlimited email accounts and space.
Verdict: It’s a tie. SiteGround has unlimited email accounts but not unlimited storage capacity for each one. On the other hand, Bluehost only gives you five email accounts, but you get unlimited space. It’s a bit of an apple and oranges situation, so choose the option that best suits your needs.
FTP and SFTP Accounts
Do you want to create File Transfer Protocol accounts? You can create unlimited FTP accounts with both SiteGround and Bluehost.
Secure File Transfer Protocol is also no major problem for either. SiteGround lets you use it with any FTP account, while Bluehost restricts SFTP to the main FTP account.
Verdict: Another tie, with FTP and SFTP equally easy to use on each hosting platform
SSL and HTTP/2
We can cover this one quickly because both platforms offer out-of-the-box SSL and HTTP/2 functionality. They also both use Let’s Encrypt for SSL.
It’s important to enable SSL and run your site over HTTP/2. Not only does it enhance site security, but it helps boost your SEO ranking. Implementing them gets a bit technical, but you don’t have to worry about that because both sites can handle it for you.
Verdict: Another tie here. They both do SSL and HTTP/2 without a problem, so it’s not a factor when choosing a provider.
Git and SSH
If you’re a programmer, especially if you work as part of a team, you want Git and SSH to help track changes.
SiteGround includes its own SSH access system and a Git repository. It allows you to create admin access and implement version control. They help you develop your sites without accidentally losing your files or causing other accidental problems.
Bluehost includes SSH but not a Git repository. Programmers probably want to stay away from Bluehost if they plan on heavy-duty development.
Verdict: SiteGround wins this round because they’re the only one of the two that includes a Git repository.
Most people use WordPress as the Content Management System for their sites. Obviously, when your hosting servers are optimized for WordPress, that makes your life much easier.
As expected, both Bluehost and Siteground have managed WordPress hosting. Here’s a closer look at Bluehost WordPress features versus WordPress Siteground features:
|Installation Ease||Beginner Level||Beginner Level|
|Automatic System Updates||Yes||No|
|Automatic Plugin Updates||Yes||No|
|Built-in Cache||Yes with SuperCacher||No, Separate Plugin Required|
|Staging Area||Yes with GrowBig and GoGeek plans||No|
Verdict: SiteGround has a commanding lead here.
Features play a key role in selecting whether you should use Bluehost or if you should use Siteguard, so let’s do a quick wrap-up:
- Both companies excel at providing unlimited bandwidth, several email accounts (or at least one free email address), FTP and SFTP account, SSL, and HTTP/2 accounts.
- Bluehost provides more web space (disk space) for storage.
- SiteGround excels at backups, Git, and WordPress.
Verdict: After considering all the features, SiteGround wins this round.
In many ways, the secondary competition of WordPress vs. Bluehost is perhaps more interesting. When comparing Bluehost vs. WordPress, you probably still want many of the features found with the former, but don’t expect amazing WordPress site integration compared to SiteGround.
Round 3 – Speed
A site with a slow load time doesn’t just disappoint your visitors; it also negatively impacts your search result ranking. Here’s table showing speed comparisons between these two shared hosting providers:
|Pingdom Test 1 NY||.895 seconds||5.02s|
|Pingdom Test 2 Stockholm||2.10s||5.46s|
|GT Metrix Test 1 Dallas||1.5s||4.5s|
|GT Metrix Test 2 London||1.6s||4.1s|
|Webtest Test 1 Phoenix||2.214s||7.501s|
|Webtest Test 2 Orlando||1.653s||4.958s|
These are the last updated results. If speed is a major factor for you, you’ll probably want to perform your own speed tests.
Verdict: Which company has the better response time? As the table illustrates, SiteGround wins this round.
Round 4 – Downtime
Even the best hosting service will experience occasional problems with availability. Downtime is the amount of time a shared hosting server is down. Conversely, uptime is the amount of time it’s online.
As a general rule, the uptime for a web host should hover around 99.95%. Anything lower than that should spur you to at least consider switching providers. Note that neither provider offers a specific uptime guarantee (providers seldom offer such guarantees).
Determining uptime is an ongoing process that involves your specific experiences. Because of shared hosting, your experiences with a provider might end up extremely different than another person also using the same service.
In my experience, based on a statistical analysis of several sites I own, I’ve found that SiteGround’s uptime is better than Bluehost.
Verdict: SiteGround had a 100% uptime, while Bluehost’s uptime was around 99.98%. Not a significant difference – Bluehost is well within the acceptable range — but nothing beats a total lack of downtime. SiteGround is the winner here.
Quick Note: Bluehost didn’t always have the best reputation for reliable uptime. However, they’ve significantly improved in recent years. Older information available online criticizing Bluehost’s uptime might no longer be valid.
Round 5: Data Center (Server) Locations
Sharing hosting (and all other types) require servers. When a company provides hosting services, they’re allowing you and others to store data on their servers.
The closer the servers are located to the majority of your customer base, the faster your pages load. For instance, if you’re an American company serving local customers, you don’t want your hosting provider’s servers located outside of the US.
SiteGround has more data centers than Bluehost, with servers in Iowa, London, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Singapore.
Bluehost doesn’t go into great detail about their server locations. As far as I can determine, they keep most, if not all, of their servers near their HQ in Utah.
Oddly, neither company has a server location in New York, which is a bit odd, as New York is typically a popular spot for these centers. Fortunately, both companies are a good fit for all US-based companies.
Verdict: SiteGround wins this round without question. Their servers cover the world, which allows for fast page load times and reduces instances of downtime.
Round 6: Site Migration
As a general rule, you want to choose a provider that you’ll feel comfortable with for years. Website migration — switching your sites from one site to another — is often a hassle. Plus, it takes your sites down temporarily, potentially affecting your business.
SiteGround gives you one website transfer for free. Additional migrations cost $30 per site. If you use WordPress, you’re in luck, because SiteGround lets you use the WP migration plugin for automated transfer.
Bluehost falls a bit short here. They offer a migration service that lets you migrate up to five sites for $150. The problem is that even if you want to move only one site, it’s still the same price.
Verdict: SiteGround wins big with this one.
Round 7: Scalability
Scalability is the ability of the hosting services to grow with your business. If you experience a growth in traffic and sales or want to expand your brand to different domain names, how easily will your provider accommodate you?
SiteGround’s GoGeek plan is their top-of-the-line shared hosting plan. However, if it’s not ideal for your needs, they have these other options:
- Cloud Hosting – A flexible plan with fast speeds and loads of resources such as RAM memory. It helps handle sudden, temporary traffic increases. The plans start at $80 a month.
- Enterprise Hosting – SiteGround offers personalized, custom solutions for large-scale operations.
- Reseller – These plans are designed for web developers who manage sites for clients
As you’d expect, Bluehost offers similar services:
- Cloud Hosting – Priced low at $10 a month, Bluehost’s cloud services let you quickly add resources to combat traffic spikes.
- VPS – Their Virtual Private Servers start around $19 a month and offer increased speed and SSD storage
- Dedicated Server – You can rent an entire server for yourself for $120 a month. However, this is only an option for large sites.
Verdict: Either choice is a good one here. Their advanced options are fairly similar.
Quick Note: If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need any of these extras. I rarely use them myself, as I find that shared hosting meets my site needs without a problem.
Round 8: Security
Proper security is a must to protect both you and your visitors. Both Bluehost and Siteguard offer reliable and advanced security features.
They both offer free SSL, SFTP, and SSH access. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol considered an industry standard, so a free SSL certificate should provide you peace of mind.
Aside from SSL and other free certifications, SiteGround protects from brute force attacks, a method of bypassing site passwords. If you want to protect against malware, you can buy their Site Scanner for $1.50 a month, although other malware protection is also available for free.
Bluehost offers similar extras. In addition to SSL, SFTP, and SSH, you can also purchase SiteLock. It’s an external security tool that runs $30 a year. Beyond those publicized security features, Bluehost also implements other, secretive protocols.
You might find info online discussing how Bluehost sites are frequently hacked. For the most part, this is because Bluehost is so widely used by web newbies. It’s not necessarily an indictment of their security procedures.
Verdict: Both Siteguard and Bluehost offer reliable, advanced website security.
Quick Note: I’m not an internet security expert, so if you have detailed questions, consult a professional for additional info.
Round 9: Support
If you can’t reach knowledgeable support when and how you want it, all the other features end up fairly meaningless. Let’s take a look at which hosting provider has better support.
Both companies have 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email. However, although they offer the same basic access to service, I’ve consistently found that the quality between the two varies significantly.
The SiteGround support team is some of the best I’ve received from any host. Their team is friendly, fast, and explains the solutions in clear, plain language.
Bluehost support gets the job done, but they have two downsides. Due to their size, they have a large customer base, which can lead to long waiting periods when attempting to talk or live chat with a rep. Also, their Bluehost support reps tend to upsell features during service calls.
Verdict: SiteGround’s support is among the best you’ll find among any web hosting company, period. They have better support than Bluehost and win this round handily.
Round 10: Prices
The lowest price isn’t always the best deal. You might prefer to pay slightly more in order to get better performance. Remember, on the internet, speed is money, so a fast-performing site might end up as the better value.
SiteGround prices for shared hosting are slightly higher than Bluehost:
- StartUp – $11.95 per month. It includes hosting for one website plus 10GB of storage, 24 hour support, and unlimited bandwidth.
- GrowBig – $19.95 a month. It adds unlimited websites, 20GB of space, and on-demand backups.
- GoGeek – $34.95 a month. It adds priority support and Git repository
Bluehost pricing is a bit cheaper:
- Basic – $7.99 a month. You can host one site with unlimited bandwidth and 50GB of storage
- Plus – $10.99 a month. It adds unlimited websites, unlimited storage, and unlimited bandwidth
- Choice Plus – $14.99 a month. It adds backup tools.
|Entry-Level (monthly cost)||$11.95||$8.99|
Verdict: When looking at the prices of SiteGround vs. Bluehost, it’s hard to declare a clear winner. If you’re interested in the lowest possible price, go with Bluehost. However, SiteGround includes more features, so you might actually save money in the long run depending on your needs.
Additionally, both offer a money-back guarantee to allow you to try before you buy.
Bluehost vs. SiteGround – Which One Should You Choose?
Fortunately, you don’t have to compare every shared hosting site in existence to find the right one for you. By limiting your search to Bluehost vs. Siteground, you’re practically guaranteed to wind up with a quality host for your site.
In the competition between Bluehost vs. SiteGround, I prefer SiteGround overall. Siteground’s support is darn hard to beat, along with their fast speeds and an abundance of useful features.
Let’s take a look back at the numbers. When comparing SiteGround vs. Bluehost, the final score was 9 to 3. It shined especially well in hosting speed, uptime, and data centers.
You should choose SiteGround as your hosting provider if you:
- Need reliable and consistent uptimes
- Want friendly, responsive support
- Prefer international server locations
- Require under 40GB of storage
- Prefer extensive, free backup options
- Require advanced features such as cloud storage and SSDs
Of course, SiteGround isn’t for everyone. You might prefer Bluehost if you:
- Need big-time storage
- Want to spend the absolutely lowest prices
- Don’t put pure performance as a priority
- Don’t require extensive live support
Which Host Did I Choose?
I don’t want to split my sites between two shared hosting companies, so I have to choose between SiteGround or Bluehost as my main hosting provider.
While Bluehost has a lot to like, I prefer SiteGround for my shared hosting needs, including WordPress integration. SiteGround sometimes has slightly higher prices, the quality hosting features, great customer service, and free domain name make it the all-around better value.
Hopefully, you found my guide discussing SiteGround vs Bluehost informative and helpful! I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave comments or questions below: