Cloud services and hosting platforms have also become more sophisticated, and server resources for your website are sold as a service…and they’re extremely inexpensive.
In this SiteGround vs BlueHost comparison, we find out which one is best for you. Let’s begin the analysis with a factor that’s typically the first thing people think about: the price!
Price and Plans
First off, I’d like to point out that both SiteGround and Bluehost have affordable and inexpensive pricing. Given all the work and resources required to run a hosting company, I was shocked to see how low the prices were.
In fact, you can expect to pay more for other types of digital services, like cloud storage or VPN services, which seems counter-intuitive to me.
I would have expected prices to be higher across the board, but both services do a fantastic job of offering different service tiers so you don’t have to pay for more than you need.
Each successive tier includes all of the features of the previous tier, and for the most part, the higher tiers cost more than the entry-level packages.
No surprise there, right? Let’s break the analysis down by individual hosting types.
The following outlines SiteGround’s Web Hosting and WordPress payment plans:
- StartUp Plan: $3.95 per month
- GrowBig Plan: $5.95 per month
- GoGeek Plan: $11.95 per month
In contrast, the following outlines BlueHost’s WordPress payment plans:
- Basic Plan: $2.95 per month
- Plus Plan: $5.45 per month
- Choice Plus Plan: $5.45 per month
Whilst a free trial isn't typically an option with most hosting providers, a generous money back period is the best way to experience a new service because it removes risk for us.
After all, who hasn’t had to return a product or ask for a refund because the product or service was a lemon? Poor quality products and services are a waste of time and money, though SiteGround does find other ways to take care of its customers.
Both BlueHost and SiteGround offer a 30-day money back guarantee, which is nothing to sneeze at. Both services require payment and you have those 30-days to figure out if it's right for you.
Pricing Winner = Bluehost
Features and Benefits of Their Hosting Packages
First off, let’s start by comparing the benefits and features of each provider’s shared hosting packages because I think they appeal most to individuals and small businesses who just want to start a small website or blog without exorbitant levels of initial capital investment.
Overall, I think that SiteGround has better features and that the price difference between competitors is so close that the features outweigh any difference in price.
SiteGround offers PCI compliance, which is advantageous to anyone engaged in online transactions, such as an e-commerce site.
Plus, SiteGround offers backup and restore features and staging, which are imperative for making changes and updates to your website.
These types of features lend themselves well to disaster recovery and unforeseen errors. If you make a mistake after tinkering around with the code or some new errant plugin, you will have a previous state to which you can revert.
However, having said that, I did want to point out that I think BlueHost has superior hardware, especially in the realm of storage space.
The basic BlueHost plan allows 50GB of storage, and the more advanced packages have unlimited storage capacity. SiteGround, on the other hand, only allows 10-30GB of storage space total.
Altogether, despite the lack of storage, I have to award the shared WordPress hosting victory to SiteGround. Why?
I think it offers a better value and more features, such as MySQL database, unhindered email accounts, especially with the StartUp package, WordPress staging, PCI compliance, and backup features.
While I do wish they had more storage capacity, I doubt the average user or small business would sorely miss extra storage capacity.
The following outlines SiteGround’s Web Hosting and WordPress payment plans:
- StartUp: one website, 10GB SSD storage, unlimited MySQL database, free email accounts
- GrowBig: all basic features, multiple websites, 20GB SSD storage, free WP transfer, priority support, WP-SuperCacher, and free backups and restores
- GoGeek: all GrowBig features, 30GB SSD storage, one-click WordPress staging, pre-installed Git for WordPress, PCI compliant servers, free backups on demand
The following outlines BlueHost’s Shared Hosting features and benefits:
- Basic: one website, 50GB storage, 100MB email storage per account
- Plus: unlimited websites, unlimited storage, unlimited parked and sub-domains, unlimited email storage, $200 value of marketing offers
- Choice Plus: all Choice Plus features, but adds domain privacy and CodeGuard Basic
Shared Hosting Winner = SiteGround
Features and Benefits of Cloud Hosting Packages
The Cloud Hosting competition is neck and neck. On the one hand, SiteGround offers more RAM, but BlueHost offers unlimited storage.
For individual websites that aren’t so demanding as to require caching, SiteGround has more to offer.
However, if you need more power and expect heavy demands and a larger quantity of visitors, BlueHost’s Business plan is undoubtedly superior due to the local caching feature.
Furthermore, if you expect to frequently upload high-quality photos or locally hosted videos, BlueHost’s unlimited storage features are invaluable.
Running out of storage space would really be a pain in the neck because being forced to upgrade to a more expansive plan is undesirable.
For that reason, I think Bluehost is a more convenient Cloud Hosting provider in the long term.
I dislike the encumbrance of BlueHost’s 500MB email storage with the Starter package (imagine how many photos or multimedia attachments could be stored per account), but past that, I think the unlimited storage benefit is significantly more desirable.
The following outlines SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting features and benefits:
- Entry level: 2 CPU cores, 4GB RAM, 40GB SSD, 5TB data transfer
- Business level: 3 CPU cores, 6GB RAM, 60GB SSD, 5TB data transfer
- Business Plus level: 4 CPU cores, 8GB RAM, 80GB SSD, 5TB data transfer
- Super Power level: 8 CPU cores, 10GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 5TB data transfer
Furthermore, the following outlines BlueHost’s Cloud Hosting features and benefits:
- Starter: 2GB RAM, 2 CPUs, $50 marketing offers value, 100 email accounts, 500MB email storage and free SSL
- Performance: unlimited websites, storage space, and bandwidth, 4GB RAM, $200 marketing offers value, unlimited email accounts and email storage and free SSL
- Business Pro: unlimited websites, storage space, and bandwidth, 6GB RAM, $200 marketing offers value, unlimited email accounts and email storage and free SSL; also includes local caching, dedicated IPs, SSL certificate, domain privacy, and CodeGuard Basic
Cloud Hosting Winner = Bluehost
Features and Benefits of Dedicated Server Packages
BlueHost’s dedicated server packages are one heck of a lot cheaper than SiteGround’s, but BlueHost also offers much less RAM.
Conversely, BlueHost offers more storage space (I feel like a broken record endlessly repeating) than SiteGround. But here’s the kicker: Bluehost offers RAID-1 on all of its dedicated server packages.
Altogether, I cannot deny that BlueHost offers better value. Not only does BlueHost offer significantly more storage space, it also has RAID1 functionality, which is otherwise known as “disk mirroring.”
Basically, if one hard drive goes kaput, the second hard drive will act as a fault tolerant failsafe to ensure your website data doesn’t disappear.
In summary, the following outlines the features and benefits of SiteGuard’s Dedicated Servers packages:
- Entry Server: 3.2Ghz quad-core CPU, 8 CPU threads, 8MB CPU cache, 16GB RAM, 480GB SSD, 10TB bandwidth
- Power Server: 3.5Ghz quad-core CPU, 8 CPU threads, 8MB CPU cache, 32GB RAM, 960GB SSD, 10TB bandwidth
- Super Power Server: 2 X 6 cores clocked at 2.0Ghz, 2 X 12 CPU threads, 15MB CPU cache, 64GB RAM, 2 X 960GB SSD (RAID1), 10TB bandwidth
Finally, the following outlines BlueHost’s Dedicated Server features and benefits:
- Standard: four cores, eight threads, 500GB storage (RAID 1), 4GB RAM, 5TB bandwidth, one domain and three IP addresses
- Enhanced: four cores, eight threads, 1TB storage (RAID 1), 8GB RAM, 10TB bandwidth, one domain and four IP addresses
- Premium: four cores, eight threads, 1TB storage (RAID 1), 16GB RAM, 15TB bandwidth, one domain and five IP addresses
Dedicated Server Hosting Winner = Bluehost
Customer Support Between Siteground vs Bluehost
In a previous comparison, I remarked that I thought SiteGround’s knowledgebase layout was superior to its competitor. This time, when comparing BlueHost with SiteGround, I’m going to make the same claim again.
Both BlueHost and SiteGround have amazing knowledgebases brimming with tons of useful articles that will teach you how to do anything from troubleshooting server status to registering your domain names.
However, purely with regards to the layout, I think SiteGround wins again. BlueHost does have a clean and well thought-out layout, but in my opinion, it just isn’t as clean as SiteGround’s knowledgebase.
I do have to give credit to both providers, however, because each provider’s guides outline troubleshooting and configuration steps in great detail.
It is becoming more standard to include images that show the step-by-step process of any given topic to make it easier for a user to follow along, but both BlueHost and SiteGround go one step further.
Not only do they include high-quality images in some of the knowledgebase material, but both providers also include video footage and screen-casts showing the entire configuration or troubleshooting footage from start to finish.
So, hats off to BlueHost and SiteGround. Furthermore, let’s take a moment to talk about support department contact methods.
SiteGround has three main ways to establish contact with the support department: opening a ticket, live chat, and a phone call. All options allow for 24/7 contact, and if you elect to open a ticket, you are guaranteed a response within the first 10 minutes.
Really though, I think for the vast majority of questions – especially ones that don’t require complex troubleshooting or configuration methods – live chat is the best method because it is almost instant.
SiteGround makes the support process easily navigable and accessible, which is imperative for users that may not fully know what they’re doing with regards to building a website.
Bluehost does also support phone, email, ticket, and live chat contact, but I really don’t like the way it’s all set up.
While BlueHost does claim to have 24/7 support, it really depends a great deal on the type of support you need. The support web pages on the BlueHost website are fractured, messy, and difficult to navigate.
The phone number, email, or live chat session you need is hard to find. Not only is it split up into three main areas (sales, technical support, and account management), but each general support area is then further subdivided into smaller support departments in an overly complicated manner.
For instance, if you needed to contact account management, you would need to determine which of the following departments you needed to contact: general billing questions, terms of service, account verifications, renewals, account cancellation, or add-on product cancellation.
This, in my opinion, is flat out ridiculous. Why not have one unified account management support department? And why does the customer need to determine which branch to call?
Shouldn’t there be an initial point of contact who could perform triage on various support questions and then direct calls, chats, and tickets to the appropriate department?
To make matters worse, some of these departments are available 24/7, and some have very specific hours. Really, my biggest problem with BlueHost’s support infrastructure is a lack of unity and consistency.
It’s just not as simple for the end user as it should be. So, ultimately, I have to award SiteGround the victory with regards to customer support.
Customer Support Winner = SiteGround
Conclusion and Editor’s Opinion
Obviously, Bluehost is cheaper with every package that is offered. I did find it interesting that Bluehost’s Choice Plus plan cost the same as the Plus Plan. I’m not sure if this is simply a temporal savings event or if they don’t truly discount it.
There are many marketing tactics employed by online services, and they’ll do anything in their power to increase conversions. Given the prices, you’d have to be crazy to select the Plus Plan over the Choice Plus Plan.
What I suspect is happening is that these prices are some sort of marketing gimmick to make subscribers feel like they’re getting a good deal, which incentivizes customers to opt for the Choice Plus package.
For example, in the clothing industry, I’ve seen some brands that are always having a blowout sale, typically offering between 30% and 40% off the tag price.
But the catch is I have never seen them sell the product at full price, so the savings aren’t really genuine.
Something to that effect might be happening with the Choice Plus plan’s price.
Nevertheless, a quality hosting package for a mere $5.45 per month is pretty darn hard to beat. When it’s all said and done, I think that SiteGround is the superior option for people looking to set up a small WordPress website.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, BlueHost offers significantly more value when it comes to dedicated servers because it is so much cheaper, even though I dislike its customer support infrastructure.