When choosing a web host for your website, there are plenty of options to choose from. In this article, we’ll be comparing two of the big names in web hosting, SiteGround vs Bluehost.
Before we begin, I’d like to clarify that these are both shared web hosting providers (although they both have dedicated hosting plans as well). Shared web hosting is generally the most affordable type of hosting. Most people use shared hosting, my website is on shared hosting as well and I’ve gotten page load times under 500ms on GTMetrix with near perfect scores.
Best Web Hosting: SiteGround vs Bluehost
SiteGround is a better quality web host than Bluehost. In terms of performance, SiteGround is actually one of the best options for shared web hosting.
SiteGround recently started using Nginx technology and that has made website speeds improve even more.
It’s worth noting however that SiteGround is more expensive. You should buy the full two year plan as well because it gets even more expensive after your first purchase of a SiteGround plan.
The affiliate program will not matter for most of you, however I just want you to know that Bluehost does have a better affiliate program.
Bluehost payouts start at $65 USD for each person you refer that pays for a plan.
SiteGround payouts start at $50 USD for each person you refer that pays for a plan.
Both affiliate programs have increased payouts as you refer more people.
Bluehost is much easier to promote because not only is the payout higher, but the plans are cheaper.
This means that regardless of which web host is actually better, you’re typically going to see a lot more people promoting Bluehost.
Rest assured that this article is not biased and completely based on my personal experience using both web hosts.
I started with Bluehost because of all the great reviews not knowing that these reviews were coming from people who probably have never even used Bluehost and just want affiliate commissions. After some research I refunded my Bluehost plan and switched to SiteGround.
Bluehost has one of the cheapest plans on the web hosting market, with the Basic plan starting at just $3.95 USD per month and going up to $7.99 for future plan renewals there are few (if any) competitors offering a cheaper price.
SiteGround’s Startup plan starts at $3.95 USD per month as well but this plan goes up to $11.95 for future plan renewals. This is why you should invest in the 2 year plan if you choose SiteGround.
Bluehost’s Choice Plus shared hosting plan is the priciest starting at $5.95 then $14.99 USD per month for plan renewals.
The SiteGround GoGeek plan is the most expensive and best plan for managed WordPress hosting. This plan starts at $11.95 then $34.95 USD per month for plan renewals.
SiteGround has some great performance features.
Some notable features include an integrated CloudFlare CDN which can be enabled or disabled, and the Nginx caching technology allows you to enable memcaching.
In simple terms, these are high end caching features that will increase your website loading speeds a lot and are actually quite rare among web hosting services.
Bluehost also provides easy enabling of CloudFlare’s CDN for your website however I was not able to enable my SSL certificate with CDN enabled at the same time.
I researched online about this issue and found out that just about everyone has had the same experience.
When I called Bluehost about this issue, they told me that I’d have to buy dedicated hosting ($119.99/month) to enable CDN and SSL certification at the same time on my website.
In terms of performance, I found Bluehost to be subpar and my website loading speeds were quite slow on GTMetrix, sometimes up to 10 seconds.
The slow loading speeds for your website also can be caused by a slow response time from the web hosting server. Bluehost is notorious for overloading their servers causing slow loading times for everyone on their shared hosting plans.
Both SiteGround and Bluehost offer free SSL certificates for your websites.
As mentioned in the performance section, you need dedicated hosting with Bluehost in order to have an SSL certificate and CDN for your website. This was a deal breaker for me since I needed all the performance I could get out of my website.
SiteGround’s web hosting easily allows you to enable your SSL certificate and CDN for your website and both of these features will improve your google ranking, security and performance of your website.
Overall, Bluehost is fairly secure and if your website is built with WordPress then you may want to download the Wordfence plugin.
SiteGround is still more secure if you want a CDN (content delivery network) for your website because they use CloudFlare CDN.
CloudFlare has lots of security features that also ensure that your website content is kept safe on their network.
I contacted support from Bluehost and SiteGround a lot while using each one so I can tell you a lot about their service.
Both SiteGround and Bluehost have mediocre message/email support.
They both encourage you to look through previous issues or raise a support ticket which may take a few hours to hear back from.
I didn’t like the fact that neither of them have an instant chat helper readily available since that is my preferred method of getting help.
I recommend calling their support lines for help because it’s quicker and the people are way more helpful. Submitting a support ticket was completely useless for both Bluehost and SiteGround in my experience.
Beware that Bluehost’s support line is in Utah, US and you may get charged for long distance calling depending on your phone plan. Learn from my mistake on that one, I got charged $40 from my cell phone provider for a 20 minute phone call with Bluehost.
SiteGround offers free website migration the first time you purchase a plan with them. This is convenient if you’re switching over from a different web host.
Bluehost offers a free domain name for with the purchase of a new plan. After a year, you’ll have to pay about $10-$20 to renew it for another year.
Bluehost also offers marketing credits. You receive $100 for Microsoft Advertising and $100 for Google Ads. To get these credits, you have to first spend at least $25 on a Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads account.
My Experience With SiteGround vs Bluehost
By now you probably know that I’m going to tell you my experience with SiteGround was a lot better than Bluehost.
Other reviews online about these web hosts won’t tell you the details I’m giving you because they haven’t actually used each of these services.
What you won’t find elsewhere in your research is that Bluehost will NOT allow you to enable SSL and CDN for your website on the shared hosting plans.
This is a big deal because you really should have both of these for your website. SSL certificates make your website address start with https:// instead of http:// and it keeps your website more secure, more trustworthy to visitors and Google ranks your website much higher with it.
If you’re wondering what a CDN is, it is a network that delivers the content of your website throughout many servers around the world so that your visitors load your website from the nearest server to them, hence your website loads way faster. Again, this feature is going to help you rank in Google much more easily.
I realize that not everyone needs a high performing, highly secure website. If this is the case, Bluehost will be sufficient for your web hosting needs. After all, it is significantly cheaper than SiteGround.
For those who want max performance and security with their shared hosting plan, I’d recommend SiteGround.
I personally use the GoGeek plan on SiteGround for a lot of my websites and I think it’s one of the best options for shared hosting.
I think everyone should start their website with SiteGround for the first two years then possibly explore other options.
The reason I say this is because the discounted price for those first two years is an incredible deal but the price becomes so much higher afterwards.
Whichever you choose, you will have a 30 day money back guarantee.