SiteGround vs Bluehost: which WordPress giant is better?
In this SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison, I’m going to test both providers to find out all there's to know about them; we'll see which one of them would be better for your website. I’ll talk about prices, ease of use, performance, and security, as well as customer support.
If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that both Bluehost and SiteGround are big names in the industry. Even so, each of them seems to have a specific purpose. In my experience, Bluehost is the chosen one for beginners, thanks to its ease of use. SiteGround, on the other hand, more often than not, appeals to businesses.
But I should also mention that Bluehost and SiteGround focus on and are recommended by WordPress. That's a big endorsement, and I have a question – does it mean that both of these providers are good?
So in this Bluehost vs SiteGround comparison, let's see what made these providers worth such a recommendation. Also, let's find out which one of them should be trusted with your website.
SiteGround vs Bluehost: general info
Both SiteGround and Bluehost are incredibly famous in the web hosting industry. Bluehost is often the provider that introduces new users to web hosting and web development. Meanwhile, SiteGround is known for its speed-focused WordPress features and good customer support. Nonetheless, at first glance, Bluehost and SiteGround are incredibly similar.
Both of them focus on WordPress, and neither comes with a complicated user interface. Changes are most visible when it comes to pricing and performance.
Here's a very quick overview of how these providers compare in each major area. You can also skip to the verdict altogether.
|Pricing:||from $6.99/mo||from $3.95/mo|
|Ease of use:||Custom and modern control panel||Modern native dashboard with the classic cPanel integration|
|Performance:||99.99% uptime and 217ms response time||99.99% uptime and 361ms response time|
|Security:||SSLs, DDoS protection, WAF, daily backups||SSLs and server monitoring|
|Support:||24/7 live chat, phone, tickets||24/7 live chat and phone|
In a SiteGround vs Bluehost battle of prices, Bluehost wins. While SiteGround’s cheapest shared hosting plan costs $6.99/month, Bluehost’s prices for shared hosting start at $3.95/month. Plus, for large-scale projects, Bluehost offers managed WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting. SiteGround provides only cloud hosting.
Most people stop at shared hosting, which is why this is the focus of my comparison.
But there are few similarities. While both providers include free SSL certificates and allow to host a single website on the cheapest plan, that is about it. Differences are quite big:
- SiteGround's StartUp ($6.99/mo) comes with 10GB storage space, 10k visits/mo allowance, daily backups, and advanced caching.
- Bluehost's Basic ($3.95/mo) includes 50GB storage space, unlimited bandwidth, and a free domain.
So even with a way cheaper price, you get more server resources with Bluehost, plus a free domain. At the same time, SiteGround includes daily backups and advanced caching that could both be valued at more than $5/mo. When it comes to the cheapest plans, the choice depends on your needs – are you looking for more storage space for a personal site or you need better security and performance for a small business site?
In any case, advertised prices are only available for the first term and you got to purchase the plan for a certain period of time to get the deal. This is how it looks with these 2 hosts:
|Advertised price||Billing period||Total price||Renewal rate|
The providers have slightly different approaches to discounts. Bluehost increases prices with each shorter billing term and keeps the renewal price the same. Meanwhile, SiteGround increases prices on longer billing terms but discounts the renewals with them.
But when it comes to an actual choice, is the cheapest plan right for you, and is it offering the best value? I quickly analyzed all the plans that are offered, and here's what I found.
SiteGround has 3 plans that range from $6.99/mo to $14.99/mo with yearly subscriptions. But not all of them offer the same features.
The plans worth looking at with SiteGround are GrowBig and GoGeek as that's where all the extra high-end services are available:
- GrowBig adds staging area, collaboration tool, as well as Ultrafast PHP setup for even better performance.
- GoGeek comes with generous server resources and a white-label control panel if you'd like to host your clients' sites.
The best price for SiteGround's plans hides under the 3-year subscription. It is the most expensive billing option initially, but renewals are the cheapest, meaning long-term savings. For example, GrowBig is $17.49/mo with a 3-year plan for as long as you need it while the 1-year option, renews at much higher $24.99/mo.Check SiteGround Pricing Now
Meanwhile, Bluehost has 4 plans ranging from $3.95/mo to $13.95/mo, with each option adding more and more features.
The cheapest plan is very basic although it does offer generous 50GB storage. The most expensive plan is too expensive for shared hosting, at least in my opinion. So it is best to look at:
- Plus – it includes unlimited websites and storage – you won't have to upgrade in case a second website is needed.
- Choice Plus also looks good as it is just $1 more expensive than Plus at $6.95/mo. For that, it adds domain privacy and free backups for a year. However, it's only cheap initially as it renews at $16.99/mo.
You'll get the best price by picking Plus plan with the 3-year subscription. That's $5.95/mo and quite affordable $11.99/mo on renewal.Check Bluehost Pricing Now
By the way, both providers have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Just keep in mind that 3rd party services and domains are non-refundable and there might be extra terms.
The bottom line is that Bluehost is cheaper than SiteGround. So, if you need something affordable, Bluehost is your guy. SiteGround includes more premium features in its plans, which is why I think the higher prices are justified. Still, judging by prices alone, Bluehost is the winner here.
Hosting management: ease of use
After using Bluehost and SiteGround for a few months, I was impressed with their ease of use. Both providers feature excellent dashboards. SiteGround came up with the Site Tools control panel for more advanced settings, while Bluehost chose to integrate cPanel.
I’d also like to add that both SiteGround and Bluehost made all the right choices regarding the user interface. They are intuitive so that even a beginner can find everything with ease.
Account management dashboard
When you first access SiteGround’s dashboard, it provides you with tips and steps for website setup and optimization. If you follow everything through, you'll come out with a functional website in no time. It's a great guide for beginners.
Meanwhile, the upper menu is great for navigation, where you'll find both website and account management tools. The Websites section lets you add new websites and access the control panel, which is the most important part of the main dashboard.
Talking of which, each website gets its own management area where you can easily reach Site Tools or WordPress Kit as well as set up extra and essential services such as Cloudflare CDN and SSL.
Bluehost does not disappoint either, providing a guide with a list of recommended actions to take. Here, you can even check the boxes when a certain step is done. Great for beginners too.
Bluehost features a menu as well, but on the left. It’s incredibly intuitive so that beginners have an easy time around it. That's the place where you can add new websites (My Sites) as well as reach individual management areas of each of them. If you'd like to install something other than WordPress, Marketplace has choices such as Joomla and Drupal.
Email & Office tab has paid email accounts listed, while Domains allows you to configure everything related to your website name, such as creating subdomains or managing redirects. Plus, if you’re looking for advanced settings, the Advanced button takes you right to cPanel.
What I really liked in this interface is the separate management area for each of the websites. My Sites lists all of your created websites, and by clicking on them, you'll reach very comprehensive settings.
It's similar to SiteGround, but Bluehost includes more management options. This is the place where you can manage backups, implement free CDN in one click, check security settings, see all the plugins on your site, and manage general settings. Oh, I forgot to mention the convenient Log in to WordPress button too.
Of course, it can’t be all good, and while I tried finding flaws with both dashboards, I couldn’t find anything significant. One thing I didn’t appreciate was that SiteGround kept logging me out for lack of activity. Excuse me for trying to educate myself by reading the knowledge base. As for Bluehost, I didn’t like all the trips back and forth from one page to another.
The bottom line is that Bluehost and SiteGround created simple and easy-to-use dashboards so that even newbies have a smooth experience.
Control panel comparison
While SiteGround decided to create its own custom control panel called Site Tools, Bluehost chose to go with a seamless cPanel integration. I was always a big fan of cPanel, but I have to admit that SiteGround’s Site Tools is just as efficient. Maybe even more so.
Since SiteGround focuses primarily on WordPress, Site Tools features many options for setting up, developing, and managing WordPress websites.
I’ve tested many hosting providers over the years, and the ones featuring a custom control panel rarely make it work. They all strive for the perfection that is cPanel, but they rarely succeed. Well, SiteGround did. Site Tools is intuitive and functional.
The menu on the left is straightforward and easy to navigate. You'll easily find SSLs in the Security category, will be able to add extra domains or create subdomains under the Domain, and enable or disable performance-boosters under Speed. You can also pin the most used tools on the main page for quick access.
I had no issues whatsoever when I wanted to perform several actions, such as creating a new website or setting up an email address. It was all smooth sailing.
Bluehost’s control panel, on the other hand, was more familiar. cPanel is in my muscle memory now. To access it, you have to hit the Advanced button in the main dashboard.
There is barely any need for me to explain cPanel. It's where you reach databases, create free email accounts, access file manager, and update PHP versions. If you're a beginner, don’t worry. cPanel is easy to use with explanations for each tool built-in. Besides, if you need to find a particular function, there’s a little search bar at the top.
On the other hand, Bluehost took out the whole Domains category from the cPanel and integrated its own tool in the main menu on the left. Not sure why cPanel's native tool was not good enough for Bluehost, but it took me some time to get a hang of that one.
What you need to remember here is that while Bluehost integrated cPanel beautifully, I think that SiteGround wins this round. It created a custom control panel that makes some actions less time-consuming and more straightforward.
Website staging environments
SiteGround includes website staging starting with GrowBig, while Bluehost allows creating staging environments even with the cheapest plan.
A staging environment allows you to create a carbon copy of your website. If you make some modifications and screw up, the original site doesn’t suffer. Once you have the results you want, you can deploy the changes to the live site, and you’re all good.
SiteGround features an excellent WordPress staging environment. All you have to do is to give it a name and click on the Create button.
The provider will create a copy of your website from a backup on which you can work freely. Once you're happy with the changes, pushing them to live is as easy as it was creating the copy in the first place. All this is done in the Site Tools control panel.
Bluehost staging tool is integrated directly into WordPress and is similarly easy to use. You just prompt the creation of the copy, work on it, and push the changes to live once you're happy with it.
I'd like to really praise Bluehost on this one. Including staging in the cheapest plan is very rare even though it's one of the features that can literally save your website from breaking. SiteGround is amazing too, but you'll need to have at least a mid-tier plan to use the tool.
All in all, both SiteGround and Bluehost come with excellent interfaces and website management tools. But there's a couple of differences. SiteGround wins the control panel part of this Bluehost vs SiteGround comparison, while Bluehost takes the lead when it comes to site staging. It includes this feature in all plans, which is not the case with its competitor.
SiteGround vs Bluehost performance
When it comes to SiteGround vs Bluehost performance comparison, it's clear that SiteGround is the one that's more focused on speed. While both providers were equally reliable with 99.99% uptime, SiteGround was both faster in loading websites and was able to handle more traffic steadily.
Uptime and response time
Both Bluehost and SiteGround scored 99.99% uptime. Bluehost was monitored slightly more than 2 months, while SiteGround – just a couple of days shy of 2 months.
In all this time, SiteGround had 3 outages – 7 minutes of downtime in total. As for the response time, it was quite stable, averaging at 217ms – one of the best results I've ever gotten, to be honest.
Bluehost had 6 outages with a total of 11 minutes of downtime. The response time, however, was not so stable. At first, Bluehost was slower with a maximum peak of 703ms. Later, speed stabilized and the provider scored 361ms average response time.
In general, both providers scored excellent results in terms of uptime. You cannot expect anything better. However, SiteGround was a little faster.
But as a rule of thumb – if the response time is up to 500ms, it is considered great. In general, shared hosting providers usually score around 600ms, making SiteGround and Bluehost frontrunners of the industry.
In the speed department, SiteGround is a clear winner. Its Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) time is 872ms. In this time, SiteGround loads the key parts of your website. It takes just a little bit more, 1.1 seconds, till the loading circle actually stops spinning.
LCP is very important here as it shows both users and Google if the website is fast. Up to 2.5 seconds is considered a good result.
As for Bluehost, it's a little slower with LCP standing at 1.8 seconds with no further delay to fully loaded.
While Bluehost fits into the "good" result, it leaves a tighter gap to fall out of this categorization. Still, having your site loaded in 1.8s is something that very few websites achieve.
Altogether, SiteGround wins the speed battle, but Bluehost is fast enough too. Plus, there's no surprise why SiteGround is faster – it uses the most up-to-date technology available, while Bluehost relies on older tech.
Stress testing results
To compare how each provider reacts to a real-life scenario when 10s of users scroll through a page, I've sent 50 bots to each website over 5 minutes.
SiteGround handled the test perfectly fine. If you'd look at that blue line that represents speed, it is mostly still. Even when more and more visitors (the grey line) join in.
This graph shows us that SiteGround didn't even flinch when significant pressure was put on the server.
As for Bluehost... It was not able to handle 50 bots. I talked extensively about that in the provider's performance review. I needed to take out 5 bots at a time to find out how much it can handle. Turns out, it's 15 virtual users.
Even so, the blue line increases together with the grey one indicating, that the provider slowed down.
This is not a perfect result, and it shows that Bluehost lacks some power when compared to SiteGround.
Nonetheless, 50VUs is the ultimate maximum that we expect a shared hosting provider to handle. So performance-focused one, such as SiteGround, is able to deliver. Meanwhile, 15 visitors at the same time is not that little as well.
So again, the choice here comes to your needs. Do you need the best of the best for a highly competitive website, or are you just getting started, and a cheaper option with reliable yet not so powerful servers will do?
All in all, both providers show good performance results. However, SiteGround proved to be faster and more powerful than Bluehost. It loaded pages twice faster and was able to handle more than 3 times bigger traffic.
In the security department, it’s easy to see which provider stands on top. SiteGround goes the extra mile and includes plenty of security features in its plans. Bluehost, on the other hand, gives you the bare minimum possible and makes you pay for the rest.
Now, both providers will give you the basics. SiteGround and Bluehost offer SSL certificates, easy Cloudflare integration, and spam protection. However, SiteGround comes with something extra, such as daily backups. If you want this feature with Bluehost, you’re going to have to pay $1.99/month for it or choose at least the Choice Plus plan.
Additionally, SiteGround also offers:
- Web Application Firewall (WAF) – monitors and blocks malicious traffic
- A real-time monitoring system – the servers are checked every 0.5 seconds
- AI anti-bot system – blocks millions of security threats every day
If you want the same level of security from Bluehost, you will pay at least another $1.99/month.
Since shared hosting means numerous users on the same server, you’d think security is taken far more seriously. SiteGround gets it. Bluehost… not so much.
Overall, both SiteGround and Bluehost offer basic protection. Still, SiteGround goes the extra mile and gives you more than the bare minimum. Needless to say, it wins this one.
As far as customer support is concerned, SiteGround and Bluehost are very similar. They both have 24/7 live chat, phone, and email options. Plus, you get access to documentation and tutorials in knowledge bases. Bluehost did well when I tested its live chat, but not as good as SiteGround.
One thing is certain – it's easier to reach Bluehost support because every page has a button for that. As for SiteGround, it prefers you to consider the knowledge base first, before contacting the support. Even then, not every category or problem will direct you to live chat. Some issues are redirected to tickets, as SiteGround is optimizing its support for efficiency. And it actually works.
The chat with SiteGround was one of the best I’ve ever had. An agent connected instantly, and right from the get-go, she was very friendly. I wanted to know just how many websites I can connect with the GrowBig plan.
I have to say that Toni gave me the most honest answer to this question. Usually, agents would dodge it. She even went a step further to tell me just how many WordPress websites I can connect, and how many one-page HTML sites. She even had a reason for being so open – why would she lie if once I start using the service, I will find out all about the limits myself?
It made so much sense that I wonder why the other providers are so evasive in telling you this. Tsk, tsk, tsk!
My experience with Bluehost’s customer support agent was somewhat similar, but not as pleasant.
I waited under a minute for an agent to connect, so that was instant. This time, I wanted to know what collaboration tools Bluehost offers. If any.
I had this feeling that the agent didn’t fully understand what I was asking. She recommended Bluesky, which is a service that helps you build a website with the help of Bluehost experts. But that’s not the answer I was looking for.
Once I explained to the customer support agent, that I was not interested in Bluesky collaborators, she told me that no other collaboration tools are available.
So with some miscommunication at first, I did get my answer. But overall, I liked the experience with SiteGround better.
Apart from the live chat, you can also access the providers’ knowledge bases. SiteGround has this help widget that appears on every page. Plus, depending on what page you are on, you’ll get a list of the most popular questions related to that page. It will redirect you straight to the knowledge base if needed.
If you visit Bluehost’s dedicated support center, you’ll find something very similar. But you also have several categories, such as FAQs, WordPress, domains, email, or anything else of interest.
Both providers take care of their documentation and tutorials quite well, but SiteGround might just be a little more up to date.
All in all, SiteGround and Bluehost both offer sound customer support. The live chat is better with SiteGround because its agents are more friendly. They also seem to be more knowledgeable. Also, it's very easy to find tutorials with each of the providers.
SiteGround vs Bluehost: final recommendations
While both providers focus on WordPress, the SiteGround vs Bluehost comparison showed all the differences between these two. SiteGround is definitely a more expensive and more performance-focused option, while Bluehost aims to be as easy to use for beginners as possible.
This is how each of the key areas compared:
|Pricing||SiteGround, starting at $6.99/mo, is significantly more expensive than Bluehost, which prices start at $3.95/mo. However, both increase renewal prices.|
|Interface||Both providers are some of the easiest to use hosting options available. Custom management tools are functional and intuitive.|
|Performance||SiteGround was both faster than Bluehost and was able to handle more traffic. At the same time, both providers scored an almost perfect 99.99% uptime.|
|Security||In terms of security, SiteGround takes care of the majority of the threats, while Bluehost provides only the basics.|
|Support||SiteGround and Bluehost have similar options when it comes to customer support, both available 24/7. Although experience with SiteGround was better.|
SiteGround seems to be the winner of this Bluehost vs SiteGround comparison. It had more wins in the key areas than Bluehost. It's an amazing option for business users that need the fastest and strongest performance available together with advanced tools for website management.
At the same time, the providers are quite different, and not all users will need such service that SiteGround offers. So for personal sites and small online businesses that are just getting started – Bluehost is more than a viable option.
Alternatives to SiteGround and Bluehost
While SiteGround and Bluehost are solid choices, there are a few worthy alternatives out there. Hostinger, for instance, is crazy cheap. DreamHost is a secure and approved WordPress hosting alternative. WP Engine, at the same time, is offering a high-end platform for WordPress-only websites.
Are you on a budget? Then Hostinger is the cheapest option available. Its entry-level plan is as little as $1.39/month. Compare that to Bluehost’s $3.95/month and SiteGround’s $6.99/month. You can’t. Additionally, it allows choosing one of its 7 data center locations, making it a great alternative if your audience is located in a particular location.
When you see prices like this, you’d think, “What gives?” Apparently… Nothing. Hostinger delivers excellent performance, which I can swear by, a custom control panel called hPanel (easy to use,) and reliable 24/7 customer support.
Just like SiteGround and Bluehost, DreamHost is a WordPress-focused provider that has also earned the endorsement from the platform's creators. Relatively affordable, with prices starting at $2.59/mo, it's a cheaper alternative.
At the same time, DreamHost adds additional security features such as daily backups and domain privacy. So if you're looking for a reliable and secure web host at a budget rate, consider this one.
WP Engine is what you want if you’re interested in high-end WordPress websites, and money is not an issue. It focuses strictly on WordPress, which makes it similar to SiteGround. WP Engine comes with nice features, such as multiple staging environments, custom CDN, and an impressive control panel. Plus, the security is seriously taken care of.
WP Engine’s prices are spicy. The entry-level plan starts at $22.50/month, which, compared to Bluehost and even SiteGround, is humongous. But it's an advanced cloud hosting platform for businesses.
SiteGround vs Bluehost FAQs
Which is better, SiteGround or Bluehost?
It depends on what your needs are. Bluehost is better for beginners, thanks to its more accessible user interface. SiteGround is better for businesses because it provides top-level performance.
SiteGround vs Bluehost for WordPress – which is recommended?
Both SiteGround and Bluehost focus on WordPress making them both very functional and easy to use. However, SiteGround takes care of security better, which is essential for all websites, especially WordPress ones. Also, it has better performance and tools if you'd like to build sites for clients as well as host them.
Do SiteGround and Bluehost give you a choice when it comes to data centers?
No, only SiteGround gives you data center location choice. Bluehost has servers only in the US. SiteGround has data centers in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and Singapore.