Best Web Hosting: SiteGround vs Bluehost

SiteGround vs Bluehost.001
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Choosing the best web hosting provider for your website, especially if you’re setting up your first site, can be quite a daunting experience.

A web hosting service is a company that ‘saves’ or ‘hosts’ your website on their servers so that it can be readily and easily accessed by your audience, anytime, anywhere on the internet.

While it’s possible to host your own site, these providers pretty much take care of most of the technical stuff for you – like setups, maintenance, installation, etc. And that’s the biggest benefit of having a reliable web host: getting most of the tech stuff out of your way so you can just focus on creating and running your site.   

what-is-web-hosting

Your choice of service provider can make or break your enterprise. That’s how big of an impact a service plays when it comes to your site – so, you really need to choose the best one that can cater to all your requirements. 

While there is an almost countless number of hosting companies out there, there are a couple that stand out. SiteGround and Bluehost are two of the most well known providers. And for this post, we’ll be pitting these two on four head-to-head rounds.

SiteGround vs Bluehost

We’ll be judging each based on four categories:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Reliability: speed and uptime
  3. Security
  4. Plan pricing and features

Do take note though that this recommendation is based solely on selected the categories, and each user will always have different requirements, budgets, and such.

With that all said, let’s get this battle started!

Round 1: Ease-of-Use

A great service provider not only fulfills user requirements; it also makes life easier for their users. Web host providers can do this by providing their users with very easy to use interfaces.

A great interface not only makes everything understandable even to novice users, but is also well-designed – combining functionality and aesthetic. Not that you should use your web hosting dashboard too much — the best hosts are easy, meaning you shouldn’t have to tinker with much at all. 

But it’s always preferable to have an easy interface.

SiteGround

Both SiteGround and Bluehost use cPanel as their control panel / dashboard when it comes to managing the web hosting service. The cPanel is standard across the best web hosts. 

SiteGround uses the classic cPanel design – it has a look and feel reminiscent of early 2000s websites. Information like bar graphs and usage metrics are conveniently found at the left sidebar.

At the main part of the dashboard, most of the functions and features are represented by icons organized into different categories.

Bluehost

While also using the same interface, cPanel, Bluehost takes on another approach, design-wise.

Bluehost offers a cleaner and sleeker dashboard with no clutter. The left navigation pane consists of a menu only consisting of a few important icons. To add, the main part of the page contains more modern-looking icons compared to the clip-art icons used by the classic cPanel design.

Bluehost’s interface is somewhat comparable to most of today’s user-friendly mobile apps.

This round goes to… Bluehost

Bluehost’s dashboard interface is one of the things that separates it from most providers. Most services prefer to use the classic cPanel, interface – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Using more familiar interfaces certainly makes everything easier for long-time users. However, tech is consistently evolving and today’s tech winners are determined by the product or service that can provide the easiest to use interfaces with intuitive designs.

Having a user-friendly interface attracts more customers and shortens the learning curve for even the most novice of users; and in this aspect, Bluehost certainly delivers a better user experience.

Round 2: Performance and Reliability

For this part, we’ll be looking at two aspects of web host performance: speed and uptime. For speed, we’ll be measuring both services’ TTFB (Time to First Byte) – which is the time a server sends the first byte of data when responding to requests.

We’ll be using US-based servers for this test to run the TTFB test three times and get the average TTFB response of each service. And for uptime, we’ll be looking at both services’ performances over the last year (2017) using a tool called Host Tracker.

SiteGround

SiteGround’s speed is one of the best out there. For this test, the service’s TTFB is clocked at 0.308s – an above average performance for a shared web host.

One of the best benefits of the SiteGround service is that they have four server locations around the world: Chicago, London, Amsterdam, and Singapore. Users can opt as to what server location will host their site; thus, giving them an option to choose a server that’s geographically closer to the target audience.

SiteGround has been quite reliable for the past year too. There were only 10 reported outages on their servers in 2017; thus, giving an average uptime of 99.99%. Moreover, it has maintained a 100% uptime for the past quarter (Q3 2018), meaning there were no unexpected downtimes whatsoever for the past three months.

Bluehost

When it comes to speed, Bluehost is a little slower than SiteGround; clocking in a TTFB of 0.401s. While not really that significant at face value, this may a play a big part for users located outside the US. What’s more is that Bluehost doesn’t disclose the location of their servers.

The only known ones are located in Provo and Orem, Utah. They offer no options on choosing server locations. 

Last year, Bluehost had some issues on unexpected downtime, especially in August 2017 which they claim were caused by DDoS attacks. Bluehost, however, has bounced back, with only two outages reported within the past quarter and a reliable uptime of 99.99% over the rest of 2018. 

This round goes to… SiteGround

While both services have been quite reliable over time, SiteGround has displayed more consistency for almost two years running. More importantly, just the option of choosing the nearest geographical server to the audience is already a big plus in itself. This means that with SiteGround, users can bring their sites closer to the target audience, therefore resulting to faster and more efficient webpages. 

Round 3: Security

Security has been one of the most overseen factors when it comes to the choice of web hosting service. However, with hacking, DDos, malware, adware, virus, and all sorts of cyberattacks happening left and right, cybersecurity has never been so important today. Let’s see what each service offers their customers in terms of security.   

SiteGround

SiteGround comes built-in with basic security features on all their plans. Aside from having CloudFlare CDN help out in blocking DDoS and bot attacks, the service also has the open-source ModSecurity protecting their servers. For more premium security services, users can opt to add domain privacy protection for $12.00 a year and the SG Site Scanner for $19.80 yearly.

Bluehost

Aside from the basic server security, Bluehost also offers more advanced and premium security services already pre-packaged for their users. For example, SpamExperts – a leading email spam filtering and archiving solution – already comes packaged with their mid-tier ‘Plus’ plan.

Better yet, the ‘Choice Plus’ or ‘Prime’ plan, aside from coming pre-packaged with SpamExperts, also comes with CodeGuard Basic – a leading backup solution and site recovery service. Moreover, domain privacy protection – to prevent phishing and fraud – also comes with the said plan.

This round goes to… Bluehost

Hands down, Bluehost wins this round. The pre-packaged premium security services already part of their two top plans can already cover most of what users need to keep their websites safe from most cyberattacks. While Siteground packages comes with the basic protection, Bluehost edges out the competition with premium security services from industry-leading providers.

Round 4: Plan Pricing and Features

The best providers are those that can give excellent value for money. This means that a service of choice can give the best features for the best price; being able to fulfill all user requirements while saving money in the process. For this round, we’ll be comparing the shared web hosting services of both SiteGround and Bluehost and see how each fares when it comes to value for money.

SiteGround 

SiteGround has three tiers in terms of plan pricing; and the most basic one is called the ‘Startup’ plan. This plan goes for a rate of $11.95 a month. And as of this writing, their promotion is at $3.95/mo. for a 36-month term, and goes to $9.95 after. Like most basic plans at this tier, the ‘Startup’ plan can only host one domain. It does have a 10GB storage limit and Cloudflare CDN as part of the package.

SiteGround’s second-tier plan called ‘GrowBig’ is ideal for small businesses. Like most packages at this tier, it includes unlimited storage. While it does have a 20GB storage limit, the plan does come with backup restore. It is at $19.95 a month, and goes for a $5.95/mo. promotion for a 36-month contract.

The last plan, ‘GoGeek’ costs $34.95 a month. The plan hosts the site on a low-volume server; meaning that there are more resources and bandwidth that can be allocated. It also has CloudFlare CDN and backup restore; there is a 30GB limit though. The current promotion is at $11.95/mo. for a 36-month service contract.

SiteGround Plans Comparison

Startup

GrowBig

GoGeek

Regular Rate

$11.95/mo.

$19.95/mo.

$34.95/mo.

36-month Term Promo Rate

$3.95/mo. for 36 months, $9.95/mo. after

$5.95/mo. for 36 months, $19.95/mo. after

$11.95/mo. for 36 months, $34.95/mo. after

Notable Features

Can only host 1 domain

10GB storage limit

Unlimited domains

20GB storage limit

Backup restore

Unlimited domains 

30GB storage limit

Low user-volume server

Backup restore

.com Domain Registration

$15.95/yr.

$15.95/yr.

$15.95/yr.

*All SiteGround plans have unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and CloudFlare CDN.

**Users can add domain privacy protection ($12.00/yr), and SG Site Scanner ($19.80/yr.).

BlueHost

BlueHost has three (actually four – we’ll get to this later), plans for their shared web hosting packages. The lowest tier plan is called ‘Basic’ for $8.99 a month with a 36-month term promo rate of $2.75/mo. It can only host one domain and five email addresses; however, it does have a 50GB limit.

The next plan, called ‘Plus,’ can host unlimited domains and has both unlimited storage and email addresses. It costs $12.99 a month with a promo rate of $5.95 for the first 36 months. Its most distinguishing feature is that it comes with built-in SpamExperts protection for one domain.

The ‘Choice Plus’ or ‘Prime’ plan is Bluehost’s third plan and is priced at $16.99 a month with a promo rate of $5.95/mo. for a 36-term contract. Its most distinguishable features are the inclusion of premium security services like SpamExperts, CodeGuard, and domain privacy protection for one domain. 

Bluehost Plans Comparison

Basic

Plus

Choice Plus / Prime

Regular Rate

$8.99/mo.

$12.99/mo.

$16.99/mo.

36-month Term Promo Rate

$2.75/mo. for 36 months, $8.99/mo. after

$5.95/mo. for 36 months, $12.99/mo. after

$5.95/mo. for 36 months, $16.99/mo. after

Notable Features

Can only host 1 domain

50 GB storage limit

5 100MB email addresses

Unlimited domains

Unlimited bandwidth

SpamExperts (1 domain)

Unlimited domains  Unlimited bandwidth

Domain Privacy Protect

SpamExperts (1 domain)

CodeGuard (1 domain)

.com Domain Registration

First year is free, then $11.99/yr.

First year is free, then $11.99/yr.

First year is free, then $11.99/yr.

*All Bluehost plans have unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and free initial domain registration.

**There is also a ‘Pro’ plan that offers hosting on a high-performance server, with dedicated IP, and Positive SSL upgrade. It is at $25.99/mo., with a promo rate of $13.95/mo. for a 36-month term. 

This round goes to… Bluehost

Aside from being significantly more cost-effective than SiteGround (ex. Bluehost’s ‘Pro’ plan is only at $25.99/mo. compared to SiteGround’s $34.99/mo.), Bluehost also offers more useful features like built-in premium security services and free initial domain registration.

The deal-breaker though is SiteGround’s storage limitations because having multiple multimedia-heavy sites with backups and different staging versions can quickly eat up that allotted space. 

The Verdict

Winning three out of four rounds makes Bluehost the winner of this head-to-head webhost battle. With the best value for money, a user-friendly interface, and pre-packaged premium security features, Bluehost proves why it is a provider of choice for many.

Use my link for a special $2.95/mo Bluehost subscription.

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