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“Where should I host my WordPress blog?”
That’s one the most asked questions in the blogosphere and I’m going to help you answer that question now. I’m comparing SiteGround vs Bluehost in the areas of…
- Customer support
- Security and uptime
I will also provide other reputable opinions on this web hosting battle for deeper context and social proof.
I’m writing this SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison review after doing hours of research. My findings helped me choose our host for InspireFirst. I’m giving you an inside view of the work and research that I’m doing to launch and grow a successful blog.
SiteGround vs Bluehost
SiteGround is a top-ranked web hosting company that’s constantly touted as a favorite for bloggers. Siteground is known for its excellent customer service and technology. They have an office in the United States and are trusted by the owners of 1,800,000 domains!
Bluehost is a popular name in the web hosting space. They are known for their low-cost hosting deals. Bluehost hosts over 2 million websites worldwide.
Web host customer support is the most important thing to factor into your web hosting decision This is even more true if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge. Things WILL go wrong. Things WILL break. Therefore, the true test of a quality WordPress host is how well they perform in the area of customer support.
Most bloggers like you will be setting up web hosting and launching their WordPress blog on their own. Good web host customer service is friendly and flexible for beginners.
Let’s see how SiteGround and Bluehost stack up in the areas of…
- Phone support
- Chat support
- Email support
- Response time
SiteGround Customer Support (Winner)
As I mentioned earlier, SiteGround is known for its excellent customer support. They provide 24/7 customer support via phone, chat and email (support tickets).
SiteGround “over-staffs” all of their customer support shifts to ensure that their customers get immediate help. A helpful SG support rep is always available to help quickly should your site ever go down (which is extremely rare) or have a general issue.
SG delivers instant help via phone support.
SG delivers instant help via chat support (my personal favorite among their support options).
SG sends a first reply within 10 minutes for emailed support tickets! Now that’s super fast support.
SiteGround has an impressive knowledgebase that gives solutions for a ton of typical issues. If that’s not enough, they conduct webinars to help their customers become smarter website owners.
SiteGround also features their top customer support rep for the month on their blog so that you can put a face and a story to the chat names and voices.
Bluehost provides customer support via phone, chat and email for three types of inquiries (general support, VPS/dedicated hosting and WordPress assistance). Bluehost does not provide information on response times.
Bluehost has a knowledgebase that contains articles and information on common server issues. They also have an active member forum.
BH delivers instant help via phone support.
BH delivers instant help via chat support.
BH falls short by not giving a response time for support tickets.
Customer Support Winner
SiteGround wins the customer support battle over Bluehost because of their fast response times and their culture’s focus on customer support.
Security and Uptime
I know you’ve heard stories about websites and web hosts getting hacked. No one wants that story to hit close to home. It’s wise to be prepared for the bad guys by choosing safe and secure WordPress hosting. So let’s see which company comes out on top for security and uptime (the amount of time a web host’s servers are up and working).
SiteGround Security and Uptime
SiteGround has a dedicated team of security experts who constantly monitor software vulnerabilities on both the server and website levels.
SiteGround constantly scans their server and customer websites for dangerous malware. The SG Site Scanner (powered by Sucuri) provides daily scanning and reporting of all the pages linked to on your website’s homepage.
SiteGround provides one-click SSL certificate integration for its customers via Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt works for your top level domain, but not any subdomains.
SSL certificates are important for security on the modern web. SSL certificates allow your website to make secure connections with web servers. Your website will package, encrypt and send data over a secure network so that only the intended parties can retrieve the sensitive information. Every website URL that begins with “https://” has SSL.
SiteGround also offers a paid upgrade SSL solution called WildCard SSL that provides SSL certificates for your domain and all its subdomains.
SiteGround performs daily website backups for its customers with their proprietary website backup system. This is reassuring to know in the rare event that your website data is lost.
SiteGround has hundreds of custom rules for their Web Application Firewall. These rules keep the bad guys away from your precious data.
SiteGround provides across-the-board protection from DDoS (denial-of-service) cyber attacks.
SiteGround boasts 99.9% uptime. Your website or blog will be up “all the time” with no worries.
Bluehost Security and Uptime
Bluehost provides complimentary website backups for its customers but only promises definite, working backups in their PRO plan.
Bluehost provides a shared SSL certificate for all customer domain names that are in a standard account. These are not individual SSL certificates per domain. Individual SSL certificates can only be purchased within their higher end services (VPS, managed, dedicated and reseller).
Unfortunately, Bluehost’s most robust security solution, SiteLock, is a paid add-on and doesn’t come included with their hosting plans. SiteLock provides:
- Protection from DDoS attacks
- Daily vulnerability scanning
- Security reports
- Email notifications
- A website security badge
- Security maintenance
Bluehost does not give an uptime guarantee on their website, but it’s projected to be 99.9%
Security and Uptime Winner
SiteGround wins the security battle over Bluehost because of their malware scan technology, daily site backups and individual SSL certificates for every domain in an account.
Page speed is a big SEO factor that Google considers in deciding which pages get the best rank results. If your website loads slowly, that means your visitor is having a poor experience. Google doesn’t want to recommend websites with poor user experience.
SiteGround hits the ground running with speed by offering SSD (solid state drives) for every account.
An SSD stores data on interconnected flash memory chips. These chips retain the data even when there’s no power to the drive. Speed is the big benefit for SSD. They typically open files 30 percent faster than standard hard drives.
NGINX Web Server Technology
SiteGround’s NGINX web server technology plays a big role in their hosting speed. NGINX speeds up the content load for all the websites hosted on their servers (including all websites on shared and cloud plans — good news for beginners).
While SiteGround’s NGINX server technology does the heavy lifting for speeding up static content, their custom caching technology speeds up the delivery of dynamic content for websites. This is great news for WordPress users.
SiteGround’s free Cloudflare CDN helps your site load faster for people all over the globe. Cloudflare delivers your website’s content from the data center that’s closest to person visiting your site. So don’t worry…your fans in Europe will have a speedy experience on your website
HTTP/2 Enabled Servers
SiteGround utilizes the newest HTTP/2 network protocol for fast website loading inside browsers. The HTTP/2 protocol requires an encrypted connection, which can be enabled with SiteGround’s Let’s Encrypt free SSL Certificates at no additional cost.
SiteGround offers PHP7 to its users. PHP7 delivers execution at faster speeds.
Bluehost doesn’t boast as many speed-improving features as SiteGround. But they offer quad-processor servers and the Cloudflare CDN. And though they offer SSL certificates, they don’t offer HTTP/2 enabled servers.
SiteGround is the clear winner for speed and it’s not even close. Their NGINX web server, SuperCacher, access to the Cloudflare CDN and HTTP/2 enabled servers collectively deliver speedy websites for their customers.
Features and Guarantees
It’s always good to be impressed by a hosting company’s features and guarantees before deciding to go with them. The SiteGround vs Bluehost showdown reveals that both hosting companies offer worthy features and guarantees to consider.
SiteGround Features and Guarantees
Here’s a highlight list of SiteGround’s features and guarantees:
- 99.9% uptime
- 30-day money back guarantee
- One-click WordPress installation
- One-click WordPress site migration tool for moving your site to SiteGround from another host at no additional cost.
- Daily website backups at no extra cost
- One-click Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates included in every package
- One-click CloudFlare CDN + access to multiple data centers globally
- Affiliate program for passive income opportunities ($50+ per sale with increasing tiers)
Bluehost Features and Guarantees
Here’s a highlight list of Bluehost’s features and guarantees:
- 30-day money back guarantee
- One-click WordPress installation
- Free domain name for the first year (annual rate will be due after the first year)
- 50 GB of website space
- Affiliate program for passive income opportunities ($65 per sale)
Features and Guarantees Winner
SiteGround has it going on with their features and guarantees. They offer modern technology with good business values and guarantees. This makes SiteGround the winner.
Okay, now it’s time to tackle the elephant in the room. Price is often a deciding factor for business owners, but you have to remember that you often get what you pay for. Here’s how SiteGround vs Bluehost shakes out in terms of pricing.
Most bloggers with new websites will start out with basic shared hosting.until traffic grows and more bandwidth is needed.
SiteGround’s StartUp shared hosting tier has a $3.95 per month introductory rate and goes up to $11.95 per month after the first year. This StartUp tier provides hosting for one website. Below is a screenshot of SiteGround’s three shared hosting tiers:
Bluehost is an incredibly affordable hosting option for bloggers. The Basic plan offers 50 GB of SSD storage and shared hosting for $3.95 per month for the first term (goes up to $7.99 per month afterwards). All of their shared hosting tiers come with a free year of domain registration for new domains. Below is a screenshot of Bluehost’s three shared hosting tiers:
Bluehost’s rates are lower than SiteGround’s rates (even beyond the introductory rates). Bluehost wins the pricing battle, but you should consider all that comes with both services before you make your final decision.
Other Reputable Opinions
Social proof is important to us at InspireFirst. Therefore, I’ve included a helpful video review and a reputable testimonial to help you round out your decision.
David Jackson -- Sling & Stone Marketing Founder
Watch David’s helpful SiteGround vs Bluehost video review below.
Joost De Valk -- Yoast SEO Founder and CEO
“We keep track of which hosts we get a lot of support requests for, so we can reach out to them. We had a hard time finding SiteGround in that list as we had so few complaints from customers hosted with them”
SiteGround vs Bluehost: Final Verdict
Making the right decision with web hosting from the beginning is one of the smartest things that you can do for your blog launch. You don’t want to deal with unnecessary fees, slow websites, slow customer service or pesky website transfers. That’s why we recommend SiteGround for shared and dedicated WordPress hosting.
SiteGround wins in our SiteGround vs Bluehost review because:
- SiteGround invests in their customers’ success with the latest technology and attentive customer service.
- SiteGround delivers faster page loading speeds for websites because of NGINX, SSD, Cloudflare, HTTP/2 and PHP7.
- SiteGround focuses on providing quality security measures and does automatic daily website backups for their customers.
- SiteGround guarantees 99.9% uptime.
- SiteGround’s free website migration service helps you move your site over to them with ease. Site transfer costs $149.99 at Bluehost.
If you’re looking for a company that’s better than Bluehost (based on the research and reviews of many reputable professionals), consider going with SiteGround. InspireFirst trusts SiteGround with its hosting needs.
Now that you have better direction for your web hosting decision, read our top WordPress themes on Themeforest review (coming soon). Choose the best theme for you and get one step closer to launching your blog.