SiteGround vs Bluehost: 2021 Review [Backed by Data]

Siteground-vs-Bluehost-Cover-Image

SiteGround and Bluehost are two of the leading web hosting providers on the market. Even WordPress recommends both as suitable hosting solutions.

With similar product offerings, it can be difficult to know which of these web hosts performs best. So, in our head-to-head data-driven analysis, we put both hosting providers through rigorous tests. Then we declare our ultimate winner in the SiteGround vs Bluehost battle.

SiteGround vs Bluehost

Thanks to studies by Amazon and Deloitte, we already know that slow-loading websites are constantly losing money.

siteground vs bluehost intro title

In Amazon’s case, 100ms extra in load time costs about 1% of revenue. Back in 2006, when Amazon’s engineers first discovered this, 1% of revenue amounted to about $107 million. Today, that’s over $3.8 billion in annual revenue!

Poor web hosting services could also be costing you a tonne of hard-earned cash if their performance isn’t up to scratch.

So in this head-to-head analysis of SiteGround vs Bluehost, we’re putting each of these web hosting companies under the microscope. Stick around ‘till the end and you’ll see exactly how SiteGround and Bluehost perform under rigorous tests for:

  • Speed
  • Uptime
  • Security
  • Server Performance
  • Customer Service
  • Plus more

As we were digging deep into the research, one thing became crystal clear. SiteGround and Bluehost are a close match on price for general web hosting and WordPress hosting. But, there’s definitely a clear winner on service.

So let’s get straight into it!

Introducing SiteGround

Founded in 2004 in Bulgaria, SiteGround has quickly made a solid dent in the web hosting arena. It currently hosts over 2 million domains and operates with over 500 full-time staff.

Siteground homepage preview

It’s no surprise why WordPress.org recommends SiteGround as one of the leading web hosting companies on today’s market.

Add to this mix SiteGround’s steadfast dedication to delivering technology crafted with care and support that clients rave about. All in all, contender number one is a tough one to beat.

Introducing Bluehost

Announcing Bluehost, our second contender and a close match for SiteGround. This head-to-head analysis is going to be a tough call.

bluehost homepage

Founded in 2003 in Utah, Bluehost also powers over 2 million websites. With 750+ employees on its roster, the company has seen slightly higher levels of growth compared with SiteGround.

Bluehost has been on an upward trend with no signs of slowing down since they first opened their doors. In 2010, they were acquired by EIG who also owns a solid portfolio of hosting companies including Hostgator and iPage.

SiteGround vs Bluehost: Web Hosting Plans Compared

Let’s start our SiteGround vs Bluehost analysis by comparing the plans each company offers.

 
Siteground
Bluehost
Cheap shared hosting
Managed WordPress hosting
Managed Woocommerce hosting
Cloud Hosting
VPS
Dedicated Hosting

The biggest standout is that instead of offering traditional VPS and dedicated servers, SiteGround has replaced these by offering managed cloud hosting instead.

Moving websites to the cloud is a smart move by SiteGround since it allows their customers to leverage scalability at a fair price. We’ll touch on this more later, for now it’s important to note that VPS and dedicated hosting rely on a single server whereas cloud solutions leverage multiple servers all over the world.

Siteground-vs-Bluehost-compared-hosting

With the shared hosting plans, when you look at face value, there’s not much that appears to be different between Bluehost and SiteGround. However, we’ll also explore all of the features of these later on…

Next up, let’s check out their hosting plans side by side.

Shared Hosting: Bluehost’s Pricing Works Out a Little Cheaper

When looking at SiteGround vs Bluehost pricing, first impressions can be deceiving. Bluehost works out a little cheaper but on the condition that you sign up for a 36-month plan.

So we need to look beyond the promotional pricing that immediately jumps out to get a better sense of the total costs.

Promotional Pricing Compared

PlanSiteGround PlansBluehost Plans
Lowest Tier$5.99/month$2.95/month
Middle Tier$8.99/month$5.45/month
Highest Tier$14.99/month$13.95/month

SiteGround’s promotional pricing is available for the first year whereas Bluehost’s is available for up to 3 years if you buy 36 months upfront.

Each host requires you to pay for at least 12 months upfront.

Renewal Pricing Compared

PlanSiteGround PlansBluehost Plans
Lowest Tier$19.99/month$8.99/month
Middle Tier$29.99/month$11.99 - $16.99/month
Highest Tier$49.99/month$26.99/month

Winner: Bluehost is a clear winner on shared hosting if the price is a concern for you. It comes in at around half price for both the promotional and renewal pricing rates.

 

Bluehost vs SiteGround: Managed WordPress Hosting Comparison

Both Bluehost and SiteGround are recommended as top web hosts by WordPress. Both offer shared and managed hosting solutions for WordPress websites, including e-commerce sites using Woocommerce.

Bluehost-vs-SiteGround--Managed-WordPress

Both also have straightforward WordPress installation options. SiteGround is renowned for its 1-click install method. Bluehost, on the other hand, uses a cPanel dashboard making it easy to install WordPress through there.

All in all, for most WordPress users, once you install WordPress, the rest is pretty even between Bluehost and SiteGround.

So if it’s down to a price-based decision for you, let’s see how they compare.

Promotional Pricing Compared

PlanSiteGround Worpdress PlansBluehost Wordpress Plans
Lowest TierFrom $5.99/monthFrom $2.95/month
Middle TierFrom $5.99/monthFrom $9.95/month
Highest TierFrom $5.99/monthFrom $12.95/month

Renewal Pricing Compared

PlanSiteGround Worpdress PlansBluehost Wordpress Plans
Lowest TierFrom $19.99/monthFrom $8.99/month
Middle TierFrom $19.99/monthFrom $19.95/month
Highest TierFrom $19.99/monthFrom $24.95/month

Winner: Surprisingly, SiteGround comes out on top with regard to their pricing and service offerings for WordPress users.

The only instance where Bluehost works out cheaper is if you’re after shared hosting where you take on the responsibility of managing your sites. For all the managed solutions, SiteGround is the way to go!

Bluehost’s VPS & Dedicated Hosting vs SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting

Using Google’s Cloud Platform, SiteGround can leverage robust cloud technologies to ensure better uptime rates and more security features. Or so they say.

When comparing dedicated and VPS hosting to cloud hosting, we have to note that we’re not comparing apples to apples here.

  • Shared hosting is one server that has multiple websites on it. It leaves your site open to vulnerabilities, such as malware, if that server gets infected.
  • VPS hosting creates a virtual environment imitating a dedicated server. You get a virtual partitioned space, with all its resources to yourself, but within a shared hosting environment.
  • Dedicated hosting gives you your own server to work with and is recommended for sites with loads of traffic coming to them every month.
  • Cloud hosting is a service that exists across multiple servers. Instead of being on one server, your site will be hosted in the cloud. It means that if one particular server is experiencing issues, your site doesn’t go down with it.

In a way, cloud hosting is like a virtual private server, but not all VPS options are cloud-hosted. It can go both ways, but often doesn’t.

Make sure you read the fine print to know what type of server situation you’re getting into with your web host.

Promotional Pricing

PlanSiteGround: Cloud HostingBluehost: Dedicated HostingBluehost: VPS Hosting
Lowest Tier$100/month$79.99/month$19.99/month
Middle Tier$200-$300/month$99.99/month$29.99/month
Highest Tier$400/month$119.99/month$59.99/month

Renewal Pricing

PlanSiteGround: Cloud HostingBluehost: Dedicated HostingBluehost: VPS Hosting
Lowest Tier$100/month$119.99/month$29.99/month
Middle Tier$200-$300/month$159.99/month$59.99/month
Highest Tier$400/month$209.99/month$119.99/month

Unlike SiteGround, Bluehost offers promotional pricing on their VPS and dedicated servers.

However, despite coming in slightly more expensive, SiteGround offers more storage and memory. They also use the Google Cloud platform to offer trusted, scalable solutions to their customers.

siteground-cloudhosting

Within the next three years, we’re bound to see cloud technologies improving and becoming more robust.

Your site could be left behind if you are locked into a 36-month term with Bluehost just to secure lower rates. Or worse, it could suffer from performance issues that won’t meet the suggested guidelines for the best search engine optimization (SEO) practices of the future.

Winner: SiteGround. We believe that state-of-the-art features and storage space offer more value when shopping for a more robust hosting solution.

Cloud hosting also has the added perks of scalability and the benefit of using multiple servers instead of relying on just one specific server. Both VPS and dedicated hosting rely on one physical server and your site is left vulnerable if anything happens to that server.

So yes, even if you’re spending more each month on a managed cloud option, the value you receive is worth it. From lower risk of downtime to faster servers, greater scalability for larger sites and protection against any issues wiping out the server your site is on.

Bluehost vs SiteGround: Hosting Features Compared

Now, let’s go beyond price and look at the hosting features offered by each company.

Where possible, we share the data from tests we’ve run to quantitatively prove which is the better option between SiteGround and Bluehost.

Ease of Use: Both Hosting Companies Are Easy and Intuitive

Bluehost offers classic cPanel based solutions. For people just starting, it can seem a little daunting to navigate a cPanel dashboard. You can also feel overwhelmed with all the upsell offers that show up.

Bluehost-Dashboard

However, there are a tonne of features and actions you can perform in this space once you get the hang of it.

SiteGround offers a custom dashboard with a range of intuitive 1-click features. There’s less of a learning curve even when it comes to installing SSL certificates and doing other technical tasks.

Siteground-Dashboard

We’ve found it is a much simpler and easier experience for most people to get started in SiteGround.

Winner: Both are fairly intuitive. If forced to pick a winner, we’re leaning toward SiteGround based on the range of 1-click install options they have.

Plus, SiteGround’s dashboard isn’t loaded with a bunch of promos and offers you don’t need.

Speed: SiteGround Races Ahead With Faster Loading Times

With website speed being among the most critical factors for user experience, it’s no surprise Google has also made it an official ranking factor.

siteground-ultra-fast-sites

So we put SiteGround and Bluehost to the test to see who puts their money where their mouth is. Interestingly, Bluehost doesn’t mention loading speed as a benefit of using their service – at least not as prominently as SiteGround does.

Not gonna lie; this triggered a potential red flag warning during our research process.

So we decided to run speed tests on each of the hosting company websites. Here are our findings.

GT Metrix

 

SiteGround

 

Bluehost

 
GT Metrix Performance
GT Metrix TTFB
GT Metrix Performance
GT Metrix TTFB
Vancouver
93%
108ms
67%
559ms
London
72%
936ms
39%
439ms
Sydney
72%
269ms
34%
872ms

Pingdom

 

SiteGround

 

Bluehost

 
Pingdom Performance
Pingdom Load Time
Pingdom Performance
Pingdom Load Time
San Francisco
96
508ms
71
3.41s
Frankfurt
96
726ms
71
2.94s
Tokyo
96
792ms
71
3.15s
London
95
1.79s
71
1.5s
Washington DC
86
720ms
71
1.63s
Sydney
96
1.21s
71
3.14s

Winner: Hands down, this one goes to SiteGround. The data speaks for itself! If you’re interested to see how SiteGround compares to other hosts, check out our post on the fastest web host.

 

Uptime: SiteGround Averaged 99.99% Uptime in 2021

After speed, the next performance factor that plays a critical role in making money online is uptime.

99.99%-server-uptime

Any decent hosting service should pay attention to their servers’ health and ensure high uptime levels. In saying that, no host can guarantee 100% uptime.

Both SiteGround and Bluehost guarantee 99.98% uptime – which equates to around 1 hour and 45 minutes of downtime per year.

If your site is down, that leads to lower visibility and poor user experience. So we referenced a few different sources recording the actual uptime levels of both SiteGround and Bluehost.

Let’s find out if they live up to their guarantees.

SiteGround Uptime

Since June 2019, SiteGround has experienced a total of 30 downtime events. These resulted in 175 minutes of downtime, and only 4 events took longer than 3 minutes to resolve.

Most events are resolved in about 1 minute or less.

We also discovered that so far in 2021, there have only been 41 minutes of total downtime – averaging 99.99% uptime.

siteground-uptime-chart

In 2020, we worked it out to be 99.98%, and SiteGround has upheld its guarantee in both years.

Bluehost Uptime

Unlike SiteGround, Bluehost had fewer outages overall. However, when looking at historical data, there’s a slight decline in uptime.

Since June 2019, Bluehost has only experienced 12 recorded outages. 4 of these in recent months!

Here’s the data in a head-to-head format.

 
2018 Uptime
2019 Uptime
2020 Uptime
2021 Uptime
Siteground
99.98%
99.98%
99.9%
99.99%
Bluehost
99.99%
99.98%
99.96%
99.98%

Winner: It’s a tough call!

We’re handing it to SiteGround only because it’s clear they are continuously working to improve their uptime when we look at historical trends. Historically, SiteGround has experienced more outage events than Bluehost, but it seems they’ve turned things around this year.

 

Customer Support: SiteGround Over-Staffs Each Shift So No Customer Is Left Unattended

Building a website can be hard stuff, and you’re often left to your own devices to make all the technology work. The last thing you want is to be left high and dry by your hosting provider when something goes wrong!

Customer service is what makes a good web host reach excellence. Sure, the technical performance is important. But in our books, to go from good to excellent, many providers in the web hosting industry need to up their game in delivering customer support.

To compare the level of customer support between these two hosting providers, we turned to Trustpilot. You can access Bluehost’s page here and SiteGround’s one here.

Bluehost Support

bluehost trustpilot

bluehost trustpilotBluehost’s rating on Trustpilot

SiteGround’s Support

siteground rating
SiteGround’s rating on Trustpilot

Winner: SiteGround’s support is excellent. It’s clear that the community loves SiteGround customer service. And, as a sweet cherry on top, we love that SiteGround proactively overstaffs every shift, so no customer is left hanging.

 

CDN: Both Web Hosts Offer Free CDN Options

To help deliver your content to audiences worldwide, hosting companies rely on content delivery networks (CDN). CDN providers help make content distribution more efficient and can also help cut down loading times significantly.

Between SiteGround and Bluehost, both offer a free CDN service.

As far as the best free CDN service available, Cloudflare is firmly the lead. Offering incredibly fast content delivery for both static and dynamic content, Cloudflare can help businesses reach global audiences without sacrificing the loading speed of their websites.

Siteground-vs-Bluehost-cdn

Add to that the control over how content is cached and the ongoing security measures to protect content from DDoS attacks, we wouldn’t suggest building a website without using a CDN these days.

Bluehost uses the SiteLock CDN service, but it’s also possible for customers to access Cloudflare for free through the cPanel dashboard. Compared to Cloudflare, SiteLock leaves a lot to be desired.

SiteGround uses Cloudflare CDN and can distribute your content to over 23 data centers around the world!

Winner: It’s a tie since both hosts offer the same feature for free. Although Bluehost doesn’t use Cloudflare CDN out of the box, it is still easily accessible and available for free to their customers.

 

Servers & Locations: SiteGround Servers Are All Over The World

For anyone targeting audiences in a specific location, it’s worth looking at where your website’s servers are located.

The locations of Bluehosts’s data centers are unclear on their website. So we reached out to support and confirmed they are only available in Utah, US.

Bluehost-Data-Center-Locations

If your audience is primarily based in the US, there’s no issue for you. Paired with a CDN, you can still easily distribute your content all over the world.

If your audience is not primarily based in the US, SiteGround offers more flexibility due to the 6 locations of their data centers around the world.

They currently have servers located in:

  • Iowa, USA
  • London, UK
  • Eemshaven, Netherlands
  • Frankfurt, DE
  • Sydney, AU
  • Singapore, Singapore

SiteGround has also chosen its current server locations after a long process of careful investigation. They are very deliberate in choosing the data centers they work with.

Siteground-data-centers

In addition to this, SiteGround’s team continuously monitor, upgrade and secure all their servers in-house. Their in-house team of server engineers and system administrators is responsible for the solutions offered to their customers.

Winner: SiteGround due to the larger range of options for server locations and their unrelenting focus on quality.

 

Storage: Bluehost Offers Unlimited SSD Storage on Many Plans

For anyone with a media-heavy website, such as an e-commerce site, storage will be a big factor for you to consider. Every WordPress site with large images or videos on it needs a place to store these files.

When comparing the shared plans between SiteGround and Bluehost, Bluehost comes out on top with a few options, including unlimited SSD storage.

ssd-storage-bluehost

But (and this is a HUGE but) “unlimited” is not quite what you think it means. Every SSD drive has a limit to how much data it can physically hold. When sharing your plan with other sites, your portion gets even smaller.

So even though Bluehost advertises unlimited storage, it’s never really going to be the reality for anyone. In saying that, SiteGround caps the storage space on its plans, with the largest plan offering up to 40GB.

Winner: Bluehost since there is no hard limit on the storage and they can host unlimited websites.

 

Security: SiteGround’s Dedication to Security Comes Out on Top

Every web host will have some version of “we offer the best security” on their site in one form or another. And it can be very difficult to look beyond the sales pitch and know for sure that they will stand by their words.

So we dug deep in our research on this topic, and here’s what we found:

 BluehostSiteGround
Free SSL CertificateYes (Let’s Encrypt)Yes (Let’s Encrypt, pre-installed)
Hotlink ProtectionYesYes
Spam ProtectionYes (Akismet)Yes
Auto BackupsYes (Daily)Yes (Daily)
Web Application FirewallYesYes
DDoS ProtectionYesYes
Brute Force ProtectionYesYes
Bot BlockingYesYes
Malware ProtectionYes (Daily Automated)Yes
24/7 Server MonitoringNoYes
WP Security PluginNoYes (Free)

Winner: It’s a tough call since many features sound the same on the surface. We’re handing it to SiteGround, though.

They take security very seriously and have their team crafting custom solutions around the clock to ensure their customers are well looked after.

Going beyond the free SSL certificate, they ensure that every site has an SSL installed. WordPress sites also have the advantage of using a custom security plugin for additional perks. Bluehost simply hasn’t taken things to that next level.

Backups: SiteGround Offers Free Daily Backups With Geographical Distribution

If anything ever goes wrong on your website, the first thing you’re going to need is a backup. Automatic WordPress core updates are notorious for causing issues on many websites, for instance.

You need to know that your hosting company has your back if you wake up one day and there’s an issue on your site – no matter how big or small. Backups are like your insurance policy.

Both SiteGround and Bluehost mention free daily backups on their website, so let’s look into the details.

Bluehost’s Backup Policy

Bluehost makes it very clear that they take no responsibility for failed backups. They do offer free backups for customers, but they’re “not guaranteed in any way.”

Also, Bluehost doesn’t offer redundant or mirrored backups.

  • Redundant data storage provides a real-time fail-safe against hard drive failure.
  • Mirrored backups are exact copies of your data. Another failsafe in case something goes wrong.

Not offering these types of backups, paired with the fact that Bluehost claims no responsibility for when things go wrong, it’s not a good sign.

You’ll likely be left in the lurch without a website if something were to happen and you couldn’t access the backup data on Bluehost’s servers.

SiteGround’s Backup Policy

Unlike Bluehost, SiteGround’s approach is much more proactive. Not only do they offer free daily backups, but they also offer geographically distributed redundant backups too.

siteground-backup-settings

This means that if servers in a particular area go down, your website won’t go down with it. In case of disaster, their systems are primed to restore large amounts of data and jumpstart your website using servers in a different location.

Winner: Siteground due to their proactiveness to ensure website data is safeguarded and easily restored if something happens to their servers.

 

Domains: Bluehost Offers a Free Domain Name With Many Plans

When it comes to domains, Bluehost offers a free domain name with many of its hosting packages. SiteGround doesn’t include a free domain name with any of its packages.

domain-name-features

Both companies offer hosting for unlimited websites on their second-tier plans and above. So if you’re planning on building out a portfolio of sites for yourself or clients, this is a great feature to pay attention to as well!

Winner: Bluehost because it offers a free domain. Other than this benefit, all else is fairly equal between the two.

 

Migrations: Both Hosts Offer Free Migration Plugins

When switching to a new host, the first immediate problem you’re going to face is the migration of your existing site.

Both SiteGround and Bluehost offer a free migration option for any WordPress site by using a plugin. Simply check your site is compatible, add the migration plugin, and you’re good to go.

For sites that require a more complex migration, both hosts charge a fee to take care of the migration for you.

 BluehostSiteGround
Price$149.99$30
Number of SitesUp to 5 sitesPer site
EmailsUp to 20 EmailsNo
Downtime?/strong>No downtime, guaranteedNot Mentioned
AvailabilityNot available on Reseller, VPS, or Dedicated AccountsAll accounts

Winner: It’s a tie since both offer an auto-migration option that covers the needs of most users. If you have five sites to transfer across, then Bluehost offers a slightly better deal since it includes email migration. However, if you only have one site, SiteGround works out cheaper.

 

SiteGround vs Bluehost Comparison: Pros & Cons

 

siteground logo

 

SiteGround Pros
  • Advanced hosting features
  • Free SSL certificates & security
  • 30-Day money-back guarantee
  • 100% renewable energy match
  • Multiple server locations
  • Excellent support
  • Recommended WP hosting provider
SiteGround Cons
  • Uptime could be improved
  • Doesn’t offer unlimited storage
  • Doesn’t include a free domain

 

bluehost logo

 

Bluehost Pros
  • Offers unlimited SSD storage
  • Free domain with most plans
  • Lower prices than SiteGround
  • Historically had fewer outages than SiteGround
  • Easy to use
Bluehost Cons
  • Poor speed performance
  • Backups policy doesn’t serve customers as well as SiteGround’s does
  • Limited server locations

Bluehost vs SiteGround: The Ultimate Winner

If you have a WordPress website and are choosing between these two leading web hosting companies, our top pick is SiteGround.

As supported by the data shared in our SiteGround vs Bluehost review, SiteGround comes out on top for many essential categories such as speed performance, customer support, and security.

If you’d like to get up to 60% off your SiteGround subscription, use this link to Siteground’s website!

Decided Bluehost is the better option for you?

No worries! Click this link to Bluehost’s website to secure up to 63% off your initial purchase with Bluehost.