BlueHost vs SiteGround – Which Hosting Provider is Best?
Flipping through all the different web hosts with all their flashy websites and special deals can become tiresome, especially for people looking to get started with their first website. Without having special knowledge and researching every single web host, it can be hard to get a really solid idea of how they all stack up side-by-side.
That’s why it can be a good idea to break down a couple web hosts at a time, to compare their strong points and weaknesses. Doing this gives us a focused idea of what we’re dealing with, and allows us to really get in touch with what each company can offer us when building our websites.
For today, we’re going to take a look at BlueHost and SiteGround. These two companies are big names in the web hosting industry, boasting over 2 million and 1.7 million domains respectively. Each company goes to different lengths with the resources at their disposal, and both of them have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton, BlueHost is one of the most trusted names in the web hosting industry today. Their plans offer a cost-effective and efficient setup for newbies and experienced web designers alike, and they also have a good focus on customer support, which comes through in their customer reviews.
They are a well-connected name in the world of web hosts, and they operate with a host of sister sites such as Hostmonster, Fastdomain, and iPage. Although they have had some hiccups in the past as they have expanded as a company, they have a well-established reputation for quality services and competitive prices.
There are some things, such as price, or data limits, which may influence your decision, so it’s important to take a good, focused look at the pros and cons.
Pros of BlueHost
- BlueHost has a reputation as one of the most trusted names in the industry. They service over 2 million domains, and they have a vested interest in maintaining that reputation. This comes through in a lot of aspects of their service, especially their customer support and usability. People looking to use a tried and true company won’t go wrong with BlueHost.
- Learning resources. Even if you’re just starting out, BlueHost has an extensive library of learning resources designed to get new users on board and happy. These resources, in tandem with BlueHost’s general usability and excellent customer service, make it an excellent choice for people looking for simplicity.
- Special deals. Like any good web host, BlueHost has frequent deals and offers that allow its customers to save money on their hosting services. These change all the time, and it can be hard to keep track of them and compare them with all the different deals that other hosts have, so it might be a good idea to research some of these deals for yourself.
- Customer support. BlueHost offers 24/7 live customer support over the phone, as well as limited live chat support. Although only their phone support is available 24/7, their customer support line has excellent reviews, and their customer support team is ready to help you through whatever it is might be troubling your experience with their service.
- Money back guarantee. BlueHost offers a money back guarantee if you cancel their service within 30 days. Their guarantee is a little short compared to some other hosts, but this is still a plus for those who are finicky about committing to a service.
- Big-company resources. BlueHost is a big company, and they have a large amount of resources at their disposal for meeting the needs of their clients. This makes a huge difference in their customer support and general service quality.
- BlueHost uses the industry-standard cPanel interface, and is designed to be easily learned along with the extensive onboarding resources they offer. The cPanel interface itself is well known for its straightforwardness and ease-of-use.
- Excellent Service. BlueHost has been a recognized name in the industry for over 15 years, and they have an accomplished team of people trained in bringing you the best hosting service possible. Websites hosted with BlueHost have competitive performance, and feature sets which are very reasonable for the price range.
These are most of BlueHost’s most prominent advantages. There are other things they have to offer, as well, so it might be a good idea to take a look at their plans for yourself.
That being said, no company is perfect, so let’s take a look at the areas in which BlueHost has room for improvement.
Cons of BlueHost
- BlueHost’s performance is competitive for its pricing structure, but there are other hosting services out there with better speed. BlueHost has a lot of transparency about this, however, and they post the specs for their servers directly on their website.
- BlueHost’s pricing structure is reasonably designed, and has a lot of options for people looking to start small, scale up, or go with something specific like WordPress hosting. That being said, many other websites with similar features and performance offer their plans for lower prices.
- BlueHost places a lot of limits for data and other things like parked domains, especially on their cheaper plans. This is typical of most hosting companies, but BlueHost’s limitations tend to be a bit stricter than other companies at all price points.
- Big-company problems. Although BlueHost’s big-name resources allow them to place a lot of those resources at your disposal, there are problems associated with being a big company as well. Their customer support line can sometimes have long wait times, and being a large company makes you a potential target for cyberattacks.
As you can see, these problems aren’t all that major, and mainly deal with comparing BlueHost to other companies which pull ahead in specific categories. If you’re looking for simplicity, competitive performance, and reasonable price, BlueHost is still probably a good option for you.
SiteGround was founded by a few university friends in 2004. They service over 1.7 million domains worldwide, and they have a reputation for being one of the fastest and best-performing web hosts on the market. Their company currently employs over 400 people.
Their plans are similarly structured to BlueHost, and they are also a big name company with a reputation for excellent service spanning almost the same amount of time as BlueHost.
In order to get a good idea of how to compare these two companies, we’ll first take a look at SiteGround’s pros and cons.
Pros of SiteGround
- Customer support. Getting a good idea
- There are a lot of variables that affect the speed of a website. SiteGround boasts a lot of powerful stats for their servers on their website, and it seems that their service lives up to the hype. SiteGround is known as one of the better hosts out there in terms of performance, so this comes as no surprise.
- Unlimited email accounts and databases. Siteground offers unlimited databases and email accounts for their plans. This can be a very attractive feature if you plan on using features which demand multiple databases, or you’re interested in having multiple email accounts associated with the domain.
- cPanel interface. Like BlueHost, SiteGround uses the cPanel interface. This comes with all the advantages of simplicity and user-friendliness that cPanel is known for. This is also a good factor if you plan on using another host in the future, as the interface is widely used.
- Free PCI compliance through GoGeek plan. SiteGreound’s GoGeek plan offers free PCI compliance, as well as free Git & staging areas. These are nice features to have if you’re focused on simplicity, as it frees up some of your time to focus on more important areas.
- Transparency & community. SiteGround has a reputation for transparency, and is supportive of a thriving community of users that can provide a wealth of information. Having a large community of users gives you a lot of resources to draw from when you’re looking for answers outside of SiteGround’s support service.
Overall, SiteGround’s strongest advantage is its performance. The prices and other features are also on par with other companies like BlueHost.
That being said, we need to take a look at the disadvantages as well if we want to get a good idea of what we’re dealing with.
Cons of SiteGround
- Although SiteGround often offers sizable discounts on its plans, their prices are a little bit higher than the competition for the same feature sets. This isn’t really a big deal when you consider the increase in performance, but it may still be a factor if price is your biggest issue.
- Like BlueHost, SiteGround has extensive limitations on a lot of its plans, particularly the cheaper ones. If you’re starting out small, this may not be a big factor for you, but people looking for higher-end plans might find this to be an issue.
- Developer oriented service. A lot of SiteGround’s features and specialties are focused on professional developers who build websites professionally. While this isn’t really a disadvantage in and of itself, it can be influential to your decision if you’re just starting out. People still learning how to build and run a website, or businesses with minimal online presence will still find a service like BlueHost to be preferable.
That’s a pretty short list with some pretty general disadvantages. On the whole, even if you go with a cheaper plan, the features are very comparable to similarly priced plans from other hosts, and the performance is worth the extra cost or a few limitations.
People looking to scale up their online presence or develop websites professionally will find SiteGround to be a good choice, while people who want more simplicity and all-around support will probably want to go with BlueHost.
However, we should still take a side-by-side look at the two companies and see how their various features compare specifically. For this, we will focus on three areas: Functionality, Support, and Price.
In terms of raw power, SiteGround wins hands-down. BlueHost is up-front about their specs, and while their services are quite competitive, they can’t quite match the speeds of SiteGround. You will end up paying a little extra, as we will see in a moment, but the performance is well worth the price if that’s what your site demands.
There’s also the factor of the developer-orientation. SiteGround’s features are largely tailored toward professional developers, which means that their hosting service is well equipped to meet the demands of a professional website designer. If this is the type of client you consider yourself to be, then SiteGround will probably be your choice.
However, the drop in functionality is not so extreme as to make the comparison unfair. BlueHost, as I have said, offers a very competitive set of features, with a lot of learning resources and a well-reviewed customer support system that may be attracted to newer, or small-time users.
All-in-all, it will probably depend on the type of website you’re looking to develop, but we will hand the gold here to SiteGround based on its performance.
BlueHost offers 24/7 live phone support, with good reviews and a reputation for being attentive and helpful with its clients. They also offer live chat support, although it isn’t available all the time. Even though their customer support is well-reviewed, the lack of different avenues of support, such as email or ticket system, makes this advantage kind of dull. Support is only really important if you need help, after all.
However, it’s still important to consider what you will need most when developing your website. If you’re new to web development, or your service is very sensitive to performance or issues customer support might need to get involved in, BlueHost remains a very strong competitor. This is especially true when you consider the amount of learning resources BlueHost offers for its users.
That being said, SiteGround is not completely neutered in the customer support department. Their support service is also very well reviewed, and while their services are more complex, they have a lot of good press about their customer support online. Their support is also available through different avenues compared to BlueHost, such as a ticket system. Their chat support is also available 24/7.
Although BlueHost is overall an easier site to use, their lack of different avenues for customer service tips the scales once again toward SiteGround.
The amount you’ll be paying for your hosting service is often the make-or-break factor for most users. An awesome set of features isn’t very useful if you have to bankrupt yourself to afford it, or if you can simply get a better deal somewhere else.
This is where it can become tricky. As I said before, keeping track of all the deals and special offers available can be a huge pain in the neck. This is why we’re going to simply stack up some of BlueHost’s plans side-by-side with SiteGround to see how each of their plans compare in terms of features and cost.
BlueHost offers Shared hosting starting at $3.95 per month, VPS hosting starting at $19.99 per month, and Dedicated server Hosting starting at $79.99 per month. Their range of options is a little limited at first glance, but the plans they offer have a lot of versatility, and BlueHost can be used effectively for a wide variety of different websites.
- For newbies, the shared plans are probably a good idea. They start at $3.95 per month (normally $7.99) for a basic plan with limited SSD storage, subdomains, email storage, and no special offers or features. The plus plan is $5.95 per month (normally $10.99), and offers unlimited websites, SSD storage, subdomains, and email storage. The plus plan also has $200 in marketing offers available. The choice plus package is also $5.95 per month at the moment (normally $14.99), and offers all of the features unlimited with all of the extra packages and offers.
- They also offer specialized WordPress hosting plans starting at $3.95 per month for a single website with 50GB of space, and a free domain for one year. Their Plus plan bumps this up to $5,95 per month, and throws in unlimited websites, unmetered website space, and some essential features. The most expensive option is the Choice Plus plan, which offers unlimited websites, unmetered website space, free domain for one year, 1 domain privacy, and automated backup for $5.95 per month (normally $14,99).
- There’s also VPS Hosting for $19.99 per month with 2 Cores, 30GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, 1TB of bandwidth, 1 domain/address, and free SSL. The Enhanced VPS package for $29.99 gives you 2 cores, 60GB SSD, 4 GB of RAM, 2TB of bandwidth, 1 domain, and two addresses. The ultimate VPS package for $59.99 per month gives you 4 cores, 120 GB SSD, 8GB of Ram, 3TB of bandwidth, 1 domain, and 2 addresses.
SiteGround offers three plans: the Startup, for $3.95 per month, includes one website, 10GB of space, 10,000 monthly visits, and all the essential features. Their GrowBig plan is $5.95 per month, and offers multiple websites, 20GB of space, and 25,000 monthly visits. This plan also includes all the essential and premium features. Their most expensive plan is the GoGeek plan, for $11.95 per month, which offers multiple websites, 30GB per month, 100,000 monthly visits, and all the essential, premium, and Geeky Advanced features.
Overall, these two price structures are very comparable, although BlueHost’s offers a little bit more customization. The plans for SiteGround are a bit streamlined, but all the features are still there. Their discounts make the price very reasonable, although their regular prices are much higher.
It’s difficult to compare the two services in terms of price, since their feature sets are comparable and yet different. Like I said before, if you require more power and are willing to pay a little more, SiteGround will probably be your best bet. The features it offers are tailored to higher demands, and their pricing structure is still very competitive compared to BlueHost.
Newer users and people still learning, on the other hand, won’t find the extra power or features necessary. The prices for BlueHost work out cheaper in the end, so it can be a good idea to go that route if you don’t need so much power.
The customer support is also a good thing to take into consideration as part of BlueHost’s prices, since they are ultimately quite comparable to SiteGround’s. Both websites have very good customer service, but BlueHost’s focus on newer web developers and less experienced clients will ultimately make their customer support more reliable for those who need it.
The Verdict: BlueHost or SiteGround?
Now that we’ve broken down both of these hosts side-by-side, we can see that their services are very comparable, but that SiteGround tends to pull ahead in terms of performance. We’ve also seen how BlueHost’s extensive learning resources, onboarding programs, and general ease of use are very attractive for users who are still learning. This works well with the lower specs and still-competitive feature set of BlueHost.
The developer-oriented nature of SiteGround, however, makes it very attractive for an entirely different set of clients. If you’re a professional developer or a person who demands greater speed and customization for your website, the extra money will be well spent opting for SiteGround.
Both websites have a long history, and an established reputation with an extensive customer base. It’s hard to choose a definitive winner here, but since we probably want to start small, with a lot of support, BlueHost gets our ultimate recommendation. Again, if you have higher standards, you will probably find SiteGround very attractive all the same.
There’s a lot of features I didn’t cover for both companies, and an extensive community of established users who may be willing to share their own stories with you. Do Some of your own research and see if you can’t find something I’ve missed.