The moment you decide to start a blog is an exciting time. You’re full of ideas and ready to share your content with the world.
Before you can take your blog online, you’ll need to invest in web hosting. This is where your blog and its content will be stored, so readers can access it at any time.
It can take a lot of research to find the right hosting company for you. That’s why we’ve created this comparison guide to help you decide which is better for you — SiteGround or Bluehost.
In this guide we’ll compare the two popular web hosting providers on:
A good host makes sure that your blog is online and available as much as possible. Loss of service can be frustrating, so we’ve done the research on how SiteGround and Bluehost perform in terms of reliability, security, and uptime.
One of the most important aspects to consider is your host’s uptime performance. Uptime refers to the percentage of time that your blog is online and accessible to readers, with downtime the opposite — time where it’s unavailable.
Most hosting companies aim for an uptime of 99.9 percent, and many offer a money-back guarantee where you’ll be credited for any unexpected downtime.
When we look at data provided by Down.com, Bluehost performs well with an average uptime score of 99.94 percent. SiteGround is reported to have uptime around 99.9 percent, so both offer a highly reliable service.
Server Response Time and Page Speed
Readers love a smooth, seamless browsing experience so it’s great to have a blog that loads quickly. To achieve this, choose a hosting company that has fast server response times and page speeds. These terms refer to the time it takes for the server to respond to a request to load your content, and how long it takes for that content to load.
Blogs hosted by SiteGround and Bluehost both load quickly, however SiteGround websites are often faster to load thanks to their Supercacher. This clever technology allows you to accelerate the speed of your website, which creates a better experience for readers.
Security and Backups
The best web hosting companies will have secure servers and data centers, and protect them from both physical and digital damage. They’ll also provide you with options to help you manage your blog security.
Both hosting services take daily backups of your website, so you can easily restore content if you need to. SiteGround has its own bespoke backup system, whereas Bluehost uses an industry standard system.
As websites can be targets for malicious activity, a good web host should provide you with protection against malware and cyber attacks. Bluehost offers an enhanced security service called “SiteLock” which helps you monitor and prevent malware and spam. SiteGround’s answer to digital security is their proprietary “SG Site Scanner” which is powered by Sucuri, a leading provider of malware and blacklist scan services.
Both Bluehost and SiteGround offer free SSL certificates with their plans, including the well-known Let’s Encrypt SSL. This certificate encrypts data sent to your website, which offers users reassurance that they’re browsing a secure blog.
Who wins this round of Bluehost vs. Siteground?
Our winner here is SiteGround. The web hosting company scored highly on uptime tests, offers fast loading times, and has a thorough approach to security.
Now that we’ve compared the technical side of web hosting, let’s take a look at hosting plans
and pricing. For our comparison we’ll cover shared cloud hosting, as this is a popular choice for bloggers.
If you’re a new blogger or want to keep costs low, price can be an important factor when you decide which hosting company to work with.
We found that SiteGround and Bluehost both offer affordable shared hosting plans. SiteGround’s “StartUp” plan and Bluehost’s “Basic” plan are both $3.95 per month at the time of publication. Both plans allow you to have one website, with free email accounts and app installs included.
SiteGround’s plans offer less website space (starting at 10GB compared to Bluehost’s 50GB), which is important if you plan to create a content-heavy blog. Both companies offer higher tier plans, with SiteGround’s “GrowBig” comparable to Bluehost’s “Plus” plan.
Both web hosting companies also offer advanced plans, including dedicated hosting and VPS (Virtual Private Servers) — this allows you to stay with the same host as your blog grows.
It’s important to note that both companies offer introductory rates, so at renewal time you can expect to pay more per month. If you opt for a 36 month plan with Bluehost you’ll be able to lock in that low price of $3.95 per month for the duration of the contract. With SiteGround you’ll be faced with a price increase to $11.95 per month after the first year.
If you usually pay for services monthly, it might surprise you that with Bluehost you need to invest in a contract of 12, 24, or 36 months in length. With SiteGround you can pay monthly. You can expect bigger savings the further in advance you pre-pay, but it does mean you need to make that investment at the start.
It can be a challenge to compare two hosting plans directly, as often companies will include different features at different levels. For example, one company might include a free domain with all plans but another might only include it if you pay yearly or on a higher tier plan.
We believe most new bloggers suit the lowest tier plan to start with, so that’s what we’ll compare here.
|Siteground’s “StartUp” Plan||Bluehost’s “Basic” Plan|
|Number of Websites||One||One|
|Bandwidth||Up to 10,000 visitors per month||Unlimited|
|Email Included?||Yes — Unlimited mailboxes, 2GB storage space||Yes — Five mailboxes, 100MB storage space|
|Free Domain Included?||No||Yes|
|Free CMS Install (e.g. WordPress)||Yes||Yes|
|Price Per Month||$3.95||$3.95–$6.95|
|Payment Options||Monthly, Yearly||One Year, Two Year, Three Year|
For bloggers with lots of high quality or large content, like photography bloggers or fashion bloggers, Bluehost’s larger web space is more attractive.
If you already have a blog but want to change hosts, SiteGround offers a free migration service. With Bluehost, you can choose to transfer your blog manually or pay $149.99 for their support team to do this.
If you don’t have a domain name yet, you could choose to buy one from your web hosting provider. SiteGround and Bluehost both prompt you to add a domain name at checkout or to link your existing domain.
A free domain is included in Bluehost’s plans, however with SiteGround this will cost you $15.95 per year. If you don’t already have a domain it’s a good idea to buy this elsewhere, as other companies (including Bluehost) sell domains at $12.95 per year.
If you haven’t decided on your blog name, don’t panic: Read our guide to blog names.
Which web hosting company wins in this round of SiteGround vs. Bluehost?
Our vote in this round goes to Bluehost. Although you can’t pay monthly, the 36-month plan lets you pay a lower cost compared to SiteGround, where prices increase after the first 12 months. We also appreciate the extra space that comes with Bluehost’s “Basic” plan.
An area that can really distinguish two hosting companies is the customer experience. Some companies are popular for their excellent support, while others focus more on forums and knowledgebases to solve problems.
So what kind of customer service and support you can expect as a Bluehost or SiteGround customer?
As a blogger you want to be able to access effective and responsive customer support when you need it the most.
Bluehost and SiteGround both offer comprehensive support areas, which help you to problem-solve an issue. If you can’t find the answer or want help directly from a support agent, you can contact someone 24/7/365 at both companies. The quickest way to reach support is through live chat or by phone, but email is also available.
SiteGround is well-known for its customer service, which makes it a popular choice for bloggers. As with any business, both positive and negative reviews can be found online, but we found wide praise for SiteGround’s support team.
As web hosting is an essential part of your blog, a money-back guarantee can help to put your mind at ease. This allows you to try the service and be sure that it’s the right choice for your blog.
SiteGround and Bluehost both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all shared hosting plans. With both companies this applies only to the web hosting element of your contract with them, and excludes any add-ons like domain names.
Who wins our vote in the customer experience round of SiteGround vs. Bluehost?
Our vote in this round goes to SiteGround. The company is widely reported to have excellent customer service and support available whenever you need it, which makes it a solid contender.
Which Web Hosting Company Should You Choose?
Choosing the right web host is an important step in creating your new blog. By comparing SiteGround vs. Bluehost we’ve found that they are both strong in different areas.
We’d recommend SiteGround as your web host if you:
- Need to pay monthly
- Are okay paying an increased monthly cost after 12 months
- Want an enhanced level of customer support
- Require more email accounts and storage
- Need to transfer your blog across to a new host
Bluehost may be the best choice if you:
- Are happy to pay upfront to secure the lowest prices
- Could benefit from a free domain name
- Require more web storage space and bandwidth
- Want to start a new blog
Need an Alternative Host?
It might be that you’ve read this guide and decided that neither SiteGround or Bluehost are right for you. In that case, why not read our comparison between Hostgator vs. GoDaddy?
Not Ready to Invest in Hosting?
If you want to start your blog now but don’t want to invest in web hosting, read our guide to the best free blogging sites in 2018.