SiteGround and Bluehost are two strong competitors in terms of the service they offer. They each have been around for a long time and have a presence in the WordPress community. The real difference between these two companies is their control panel design, performance and technical support.
1. Company Info
SiteGround and Bluehost’s business models are somewhat different. SiteGround has worldwide datacenters and they don’t mind getting their hand’s dirty with customer’s WordPress websites. Bluehost only has one datacenter and they typically stay out of WordPress unless they have to.
SiteGround was founded in 2003, they have over fifty employees, and are located in Sofia, Bulgaria. They host over 300,000 domains and have over 400,000 customers. Datacenters are spread throughout the world in USA, Singapore, and Europe.
WordPress users like them because they provide custom security patches if a bug is found in the WordPress core. They will also help customers with individual site issues with plugins and themes.
Bluehost was founded in 1996, they have over 200 employees, and are located in Provo, Utah. They host over 3.5 million domains and 2 million customers. They only use one datacenter which is located in Provo, Utah.
For a long time WordPress site owners have looked to them because of their simple, all-in-one plan. It gives new website owners piece of mind that they will have everything they need.
2. Plans and Pricing
SiteGround and Bluehost have different types of pricing structures for their basic shared server plans. SiteGround offers three shared server plans which give you more space and bandwidth based on the price. Bluehost offers an all-in-one plan that gives you a lot of features at a lower price.
- Startup – $3.95/Mo. 1 website, 10GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, databases, ftp accounts, email accounts, free domain name.
- GrowBig – $7.95/Mo. Multiple websites, 20GB storage, priority support, SuperCacher, and 30 versions of backups stored. unlimited bandwidth, databases, ftp accounts, email, domain name. Priority support, SuperCacher, and 30 versions of backups stored.
- GoGeek – $14.95/Mo. 30GB storage, priority support, SuperCacher, and 30 versions of backups stored, less accounts on server, advanced hardware, Joomla and WordPress staging. Multiple websites, unlimited bandwidth, databases, ftp accounts, email, domain name.
- Entry plan Cloud 1 – $68.95/Mo. 2×2.0GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 40GB space, 1TB bandwidth.
- Top plan Cloud 4 – $138.95/Mo. 4×2.0GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 150GB space, 5TB bandwidth.
- Entry Server $229/Mo. – 4GB DDR3 RAM, Quad Core Processor, 500GB space, 5TB bandwidth.
- Top plan Enterprise Server – $429/Mo. – 16GB DDR3 RAM, Hexa Core Processor, 1GB space, 5TB bandwidth.
- Professional Web Hosting $6.95/Month for unlimited storage, bandwidth, domains, unlimited email accounts.
- VPS starts at $29.99/Month for 30GB storage, 1TB bandwidth, 1 domain name, and dedicated IP.
- Dedicated hosting starts at $149.99/Month for 500GB storage, 5TB bandwidth, 1 domain name, 3 dedicated IP’s.
Discounts for paying upfront
- $6.95 for 12 Months
- $5.95 for 24 Months
- $4.95 for 36 Months
3. Control Panel & User Experience
Both SiteGround and Bluehost use cPanel as their hosting control panel. Both build on the original cPanel look by adding more distinct menu system at the top of the control panel.
The SiteGround cPanel is easy to navigate. If you already have experience with cPanel, there is very minimal learning curve. It’s very straightforward and easy to use.
One aspect of design that SiteGround’s cPanel has over Bluehost is there is less ad’s or partnership links.
SiteGround has a set of tools called 1H. These tools are proprietary software developed by SiteGround and they show you response time, CPU usage, and memory usage.
Bluehost has a well designed control panel which is easy to navigate and has plenty of features. It’s design is not far from the original look that cPanel comes with.
Bluehost has some ads that add clutter to the control panel. There is even a whole section dedicated to “Partners” and one for “Promotions”.
Bluehost has a particularly helpful installer called, SimpleScripts. It helps you install WordPress and stay up to date with your installations.
4. Installing & Managing WordPress
When installing and managing WordPress with SiteGround and Bluehost there is only one major difference. With SiteGround they 1-click installer is Softaculous and with Bluehost the 1-click installer is SimpleScripts.
Installing WordPress at SiteGround is very easy and you have a couple of options. You can install it using Softaculous or using the manual install method.
Using Softaculous is easy, but I prefer the manual method because you get more control over the database creation.
Two aspects of SiteGround which make them better than Bluehost is that they provide staging for your website and free weekly backups.
Installing WordPress at Bluehost is just as easy as SiteGround, but they use a different 1-click install method, which is SimpleScripts.
SimpleScripts automatically installs WordPress which creates the databases and the files.
Bluehost does not provide a unique staging environment, but you can use subdomains as a staging area. You can upgrade to get daily backups but it costs extra.
With the tests I have done SiteGround has a much better average response time and average uptime than Bluehost.
You’ll get a faster average response time with SiteGround. In the past six months, our test site gets an average response time of 842ms which is extremely fast and an average uptime of 99.77% which is pretty reliable.
Bluehost is certainly comparable to SiteGround in terms of speed, but not quite on the same level. We tested a site for a few months and have an average response time of 1.2 seconds which is fairly good and an average uptime of 98.00% which is decent.
6. Technical Support
Both SiteGround and Bluehost are great because they both have 24/7 phone, chat and ticket support.
My favorite method if technical support with SiteGround is live chat. When you start a chat you are given the technicians name and title. This personalizes the experience which makes dealing with issues much more pleasant.
Phone support at SiteGround but has a small downside. On occasion you may get connected with a technician who doesn’t speak very good english. This is because they are all located in Europe.
SiteGround’s ticket system is one of the best ticket systems out there. You will get a response to your ticket within 10 minutes on average. This is incredibly fast for a ticket system.
Bluehost has decent live chat. They are helpful, but compared to SiteGround, it’s not as good because you don’t get the personalization.
Phone support at Bluehost is better. They are all English speaking because they are located in the U.S. This helps when you don’t want to worry about how you understand.
The ticket system at Bluehost is pretty good, but not as good as SiteGround. You can expect a response within 24 hours. I haven’t used this feature much because I stick to phone support with them.
I have really liked working with SiteGround with my websites. The primary reason is because of the performance. Working in the backend, posting/editing content, and updating code is quick and easy.
SiteGround also has superior technical support and cPanel design.
Steven Johnson, a WP Hosting Reviews senior editor, works from Atlanta and covers all things related to WordPress and Hosting. He graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, has managed hosting companies and now builds WordPress and Joomla Websites for small to medium companies full time.