Deciding between SiteGround vs. Bluehost? Don’t use either.
SiteGround went downhill since their slower TTFB, price increases, declined support, CPU limits, and high renewal prices. They’ve done shady things like banned certain countries, hid their support button, and limited the number of websites on each plan – all because of profits. SiteGround is also unethical: they moderate several Facebook Groups and remove negative posts about their company while banning people. They also threaten bloggers who write bad reviews. Many people are leaving SiteGround for their rapidly declining service and slow TTFB, but also because of how unethical they’ve become. I left them in 2019 and never looked back.
Bluehost was never good. They’re owned by EIG and only promoted by affiliates who want commissions. Their servers have always been slow, it can take hours to reach support, and they have similar CPU limits as SiteGround. They also have a long history of downtimes. They may appear cheap at first, but you have to pay 3 years upfront to get their advertised prices (a trap you don’t want to fall into). Bluehost was faster than SiteGround in tests, but they’re still slow.
SiteGround only has a “good” reputation because of affiliates and they moderate several Facebook Groups while removing negative posts about them. But if you join unbiased Facebook Groups like WP Speed Matters and do some research, there are significantly better/faster alternatives like Cloudways, NameHero, Kinsta, or WPX.
|Support||Better (But Declining)||Poor|
|Pricing||Cheap With High Renewals||Cheap With High Renewals|
|Facebook Feedback||Declining||Always Poor|
1. Speed – Both SiteGround And Bluehost Are Slow
In Backlinko’s TTFB test, SiteGround had the worst TTFB of any host. Brian Dean from Backlinko doesn’t use affiliate links on his website and his blog is known for being unbiased.
This aligned with my Pingdom test which measured load times of 16 hosting plans on an identical Astra Starter Site with no cache plugin or CDN. Pingdom constantly ran for 7 days at 30 minute check intervals, meaning 336 tests were done on each website. SiteGround had an average load time of 2280ms (Bluehost averaged 1560ms). SiteGround was slower by 720ms.
I took the same websites and used several tools (GTmetrix, KeyCDN’s Performance Test, WebPageTest, WPHPC, and others) to measure TTFB and load times. Here are the results:
Ever since SiteGround migrated to Google Cloud servers, their TTFB has gotten worse (WP Engine uses Google Cloud servers, yet they’re slow too). It goes to show that even if a hosting company uses “fast” servers, that doesn’t directly translate into fast speeds for their customers.
A big problem is that many Facebook Groups (WordPress Hosting, WordPress Speed Up, SiteGround Users, and others) are moderated by paid SiteGround employees and moderators who ban people from speaking about their slow TTFB. SiteGround even legally threatened me when I mentioned their slow TTFB on my blog. The WP Speed Matters Group isn’t moderated by SiteGround employees and here’s what you’ll find:
2. CPU Limits – Your Website Could Be Suspended
Aside from slow servers, SiteGround and Bluehost have bad CPU limits.
If your website consumes too much CPU (due to plugins, bloated themes, etc), it could be taken down. SiteGround will literally take down your website and hold it hostage until you upgrade (Bluehost will throttle your bandwidth which usually results in a 503 service unavailable error). Even their cloud hosting and small sites can get CPU issues… many people complain about it, but SiteGround will take down these posts. I grabbed this screenshot before it was taken down.
I ultimately left SiteGround in 2019 when I went from paying $14.99/month on GoGeek to $180/month for their cloud hosting because I continued to get CPU overages (even though my site was completely optimized and I wrote a popular tutorial on reducing CPU). Like many others have reported, I firmly believe SiteGround’s CPU limits are a ploy to get you to upgrade and no matter what you do, you will be continuously forced to upgrade to more expensive plans.
SiteGround’s CPU limits can be found on their terms of service and features page (hover over the “server resources” section and you’ll see how many server resources each plan comes with).
|Simultaneous Server Processes||10||20||30|
|Simultaneous Connections From Single IP||10||15||20|
|CPU Seconds||1000/hour, 10000/day, 300000/month||2000/hour, 20000/day, 600000/month||4000/hour, 40000/day, 800000/month|
|Average Execution Time Per Day||2 seconds||2 seconds||4 seconds|
|Shared Service CPU Usage||No more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds||No more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds||No more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds|
|Server Memory Per Process||768 MB||768 MB||768 MB|
|Minimum Cron Job Interval||30 minutes||30 minutes||30 minutes|
Bluehost’s CPU limits can be found on their user agreement page:
|Resource Limits||All Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans|
|Database Usage||5GB In Single Database|
3. Support – Neither Are Great (Anymore)
SiteGround used to have great support, but not anymore.
There has been a large increase in complaints about SiteGround’s support in Facebook Groups about disabling live chat, pushing upgrades, and not doing anything “outside the scope of work”. Still, you can usually reach SiteGround’s support in minutes while with Bluehost, it can take hours. While SiteGround’s support is better than Bluehost, it’s definitely not what it used to be.
SiteGround added a huge disclaimer about what falls inside their scope of support:
4. Dashboard – SiteGround Site Tools vs. Bluehost cPanel
SiteGround uses their own dashboard (Site Tools) while Bluehost uses cPanel.
You know what to expect with cPanel, but you’re not sure what you’re getting with Site Tools until you try it. SiteGround seemed to be in a rush to build Site Tools once cPanel raised their prices and there have been many bugs reported in Facebook Groups. Site Tools is still pretty user-friendly, but you should really take a look yourself before committing to it. It’s hit or miss.
|# Of Sites||Unlimited on GrowBig+||Unlimited on Plus+|
|Free Domain||No||Yes, 1 Year|
|Backups||Free Daily||Free Daily|
|Staging||On GrowBig+||On WP Pro+|
SiteGround Site Tools:
5. Ethics – SiteGround Is More Unethical Than Bluehost
SiteGround is unethical because:
- They control many Facebook Groups and delete negative posts.
- They squeeze profits by limiting number of sites, reducing support, etc.
- They banned certain countries because they don’t bring in enough profit.
- They threaten people who write bad reviews (check their affiliate TOS sec. 9).
- They don’t take responsibility for their constant complaints (just deflection).
As for Bluehost, they’re owned by EIG who aren’t necessarily super unethical, they’re just bad. EIG is well-known for their overcrowded servers, bad support, frequent outages, and doing anything to cut costs (they are a publicly traded company with shareholders to please). That’s why you’ll see companies like Bluehost and EIG buyouts (e.g. HostGator) run into the ground.
Why you should avoid EIG:
- They have shareholders to please (profits over people)
- The cut costs by packing too many people on the same server
- They “streamline” support by firing staff and making customers wait forever
- They are known for acquiring decent hosting companies and making them worse
- They don’t invest in new technology that makes their infrastructure faster or secure
Both SiteGround and Bluehost have very attractive affiliate programs with high commissions. I would know, I used to be a SiteGround super affiliate and referred nearly 3,000 people to them. But I stopped recommending them after seeing constant complaints in Facebook Groups, then suddenly, all those complaints were removed by SiteGround’s team. Don’t believe the affiliates.
6. Caching – SiteGround’s Optimizer Plugin Is Decent
SiteGround has their own cache plugin (SiteGround Optimizer) while on Bluehost, you would have to use something like WP Rocket or FlyingPress.
SiteGround has made big improvements to their cache plugin and it has nearly every feature of WP Rocket. It also uses server-side caching which is faster than the file-based caching by other cache plugins. Since it’s free and has lots of speed optimizations, SiteGround wins this category.
Between SiteGround’s Optimizer plugin, PHP 8.0, and server-level caching, SiteGround has better speed features than Bluehost. However, some features like multiple caching levels and staging are only available on SiteGround’s higher plans (which is also similar to Bluehost plans).
|Caching||3 Levels via SG Optimizer on GrowBig+||None|
7. Data Centers – Both Have 6
Both SiteGround and Bluehost have 6 different centers.
With SiteGround, you get to pick your data centers during checkout. With Bluehost, they automatically assign you a data center (so there is ultimately less control when using Bluehost).
|SiteGround Data Centers||Bluehost Data Centers|
|Council Bluff, Iowa (US)||Provo, Utah (US)|
|London (UK)||Orem, Utah (US)|
|Eemshaven (NL)||Mumbai (IND)|
|Frankfurt (DE)||London, UK (EU)|
|Singapore (SG)||Hong Kong (CN)|
|Sydney (AU)||Shanghai, Mainland (CN)|
8. Migrations – Neither Bluehost Or SiteGround Are Free
SiteGround offers $30 per migration, Bluehost offers “free migrations on qualifying accounts.” From my experience and what I’ve seen in Facebook Groups, Bluehost charges $150/migration. At least SiteGround has a migrator plugin, but the bad reviews are because of failed migrations.
9. SiteGround vs. Bluehost Pricing – High Renewals, Traps, Unethical Billing
SiteGround and Bluehost both have cheap intro prices and high renewal prices.
You get the initial price for 1-3 years, then it roughly doubles once it’s time to renew. While Bluehost’s renewal prices are about 2x the intro price, SiteGround’s renewal prices can jump by 2.5x. That means after 1-3 years, the $9.99/month GrowBig plan will jump to $24.99/month.
Bluehost Encourages 3 Years Upfront – Bluehost makes you pay 3 years upfront to get the best price. With SiteGround, you at least have the option to pay 1 year upfront while still getting the low intro price, but that also means SiteGround’s renewal prices would kick in after just 1 year.
SiteGround Increases Prices – SiteGround is brutal about price changes. They increased them both in 2018 and 2020. After SiteGround moved to Google Cloud servers in Feb, 2020, a blog commenter asked whether they would increase prices – they said they have no plans to! But just 3 months later, they did. So while neither SiteGround or Bluehost will warn you of price increases, SiteGround will tell you otherwise. The renewal prices on their website might jump significantly by the time your 1-3 year contract ends, and you will end up paying the higher one.
Poor Billing Practices – if you dig through each of their TrustPilot reviews, both have reports of unfair billing practices. The most common is when they change the prices on their website and you end up paying their new prices instead of the ones you first saw (don’t say I didn’t warn you). They are also unlikely to give you a refund once you’re billed the yearly, upfront renewal prices. As long as you’re in a contract, they will hold you to those agreements, so read it very carefully!
|Entry Plan||$6.99 – $14.99/month||$3.95 – $7.99/month|
|Middle Plan||$9.99 – $24.99/month||$5.95 – $10.99/month|
|Higher Plan||$14.99 – $39.99/month||$6.95 – $14.99/month|
|Dedicated Server||$269/month||$79.99 – $119.99/month|
Both have high renewal prices which you can see at checkout:
StartUp ($6.99/month) – limited on server resources (slower speeds) and likely can’t handle high CPU plugins, WooCommerce, or lots of traffic. Doesn’t come with much storage, staging, free migration, and can only host 1 site. I would only use StartUp if you’re just starting your site.
GrowBig ($9.99/month) – host unlimited sites with about 1.5x more resources, more storage, staging, on-demand backups, and advanced caching when using their SG Optimizer plugin. For their intro prices, GrowBig has the best value and is their most popular WordPress hosting plan.
GoGeek ($14.99/month) – GoGeek comes with about 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting plans. These server resources should make your site load faster and are the main reason to upgrade. GoGeek also comes with priority support, but their regular support is already fast. Personally, I would only upgrade if you want more resources as it gets expensive.
Bluehost Shared Plans – Bluehost’s shared hosting plans all come with the same amount of server resources. The main difference is the features. Of course, nearly all “extra features” Bluehost offers has almost nothing to do with hosting (themes, email, marketing credit, Google My Business). If you want a faster Bluehost plan, choose their VPS or dedicated hosting options.
10. Uptimes – Bluehost Has A History Of Outages
Bluehost has a long history of outages and even wrote an apology letter in 2016 when they had a major one. You can also check Bluehost’s outage history on Bluehost’s Downdetector profile.
SiteGround doesn’t have a Downdetector profile and uptimes tests aren’t fair since you’re only testing 1 server. As for my own experience, the only time I had “outages” on SiteGround are when I exceeded CPU limits. But this isn’t considered an outage, it’s them taking down your site.
11. Security – SiteGround Is Proactive, Bluehost Is Vague
SiteGround has much better security than Bluehost.
SiteGround constantly releases security patches on their servers and firewall, but Bluehost is somewhat inactive. While SiteGround uses Linux containers and account isolation, Bluehost advertises things like automatic WordPress updates. Even though they claim to use best practices, Bluehost is too vague about their security technology to actually prove this is true.
And if you want privacy, stay clear of SiteGround. When they moved all their customers to Google Cloud servers without warning, people were furious as shown on SiteGround’s blog.
As always, Hristo is quick to defend himself.
12. TrustPilot Rating
Bluehost has a 3.2 star TrustPilot rating with complaints about malware, 500 errors, deleting email accounts, bad billing practices, incompetent (or no) support, downtimes, and broken sites.
SiteGround has a 4.7 star TrustPilot rating mainly because their support staff funnels customers to TrustPilot after a good experience. SiteGround’s complaints are usually about slower speeds, unfair billing practices, CPU issues, their cloud hosting, and reduced support.
15. Facebook Group Feedback – Do People Recommend Them?
Since many Facebook Groups are moderated by SiteGround, I wanted to share some posts from non-SiteGround moderated groups (as well as posts that were deleted from SiteGround’s team). As I mentioned, I suggest the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group for unbiased feedback.
What people say about SiteGround:
What people say about Bluehost:
16. Alternatives To SiteGround And Bluehost
I don’t recommend SiteGround or Bluehost, so who do I?
Cloudways – their Vultr High Frequency plan is very popular in Facebook Groups, at least the ones not moderated by SiteGround. I use it and you can check my TTFB. It’s a little more “techie” only because it requires an extra step to launch a server and they use a custom dashboard. Otherwise, it’s easy to get used to, is monthly pricing with no high renewals, and includes a 3-day trial with a free migration. Cons are email hosting costs $1/email/month, no file manager, and I don’t recommend their Breeze plugin or CDN (StackPath) so you would need to use something like WP Rocket/FlyingPress and Cloudflare/BunnyCDN. They were also voted the #1 host in numerous Facebook polls.
NameHero – more beginner-friendly than Cloudways with cPanel, cheap prices, outstanding support, and great feedback in Facebook Groups. They use LiteSpeed servers which are faster than Apache and traditional hosting. Which also means you can use the free LiteSped Cache plugin + QUIC.cloud CDN. These use server-level caching and is faster than WP Rocket’s file-based caching with HTTP/3. Their CEO (Ryan) is a genuinely helpful guy if you watch his YouTube videos. I usually suggest their Turbo Cloud plan which has 3GB RAM + NVME. Also includes a free migration.
WPX – fast LiteSpeed servers with great support and a high TrustPilot rating, but they’re expensive and the dashboard is oversimplified and not great. At this price, you’re probably better off going with someone like Kinsta, RunCloud, or ServerPilot.
Kinsta – mainly for high traffic websites if you’re willing to pay more for top-notch support with the ability to handle lots of concurrent visitors. Main con is that plans don’t have enough PHP workers and force you to upgrade. Uses Google Cloud C2 servers. GridPane is also great for high traffic sites which is run by Patrick Gallagher. They don’t have an affiliate program which is why most bloggers don’t mention them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SiteGround or Bluehost faster?
SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers which should theoretically be faster than Bluehost, but SiteGround had the slowest TTFB in Backlinko's PageSpeed test.
Is SiteGround good for WordPress hosting?
SiteGround has gotten expensive for the value of their WordPress hosting when you can get faster speeds for a cheaper price on other cloud hosting providers. Their support has also gone downhill with no more cPanel and strict CPU limits.
Is Bluehost good for WordPress hosting?
Bluehost's WordPress hosting is cheap but it's not the fastest, nor do they have great support. If you have a few extra dollars to spend each month, you're better off using a faster host with better support.
Is SiteGround or Bluehost cheaper?
SiteGround is cheaper upfront but is more expensive than Bluehost once you reach their renewal pricing. You can get up to 3 years of hosting for their promotional price, then you will need to pay the higher renewal prices.
Which one is better for WooCommerce sites?
SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers which can better support WooCommerce sites since they require more server resources and extra plugins, WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments. You will need a more powerful server to handle this. Consider skipping shared hosting completely and go with a faster host.
Hello sir, you have very well compared Bluehost and SiteGround, I have liked your article very much, thank you for writing such a great article.
You’re welcome, just trying to be honest.
At first, I thought that Bluehost is the king of all web hosting services. After that, I have found that A2 Hosting is better than Bluehost here –
Now you’ve written that SiteGround is a better Bluehost alternative..
I have made a wrong choice before and I don’t want to repeat the same mistake again Tom.
Can you please let me know which is better: A2 Hosting or SiteGround?
I am asking you because I see honesty in your review.. :)
See my latest SiteGround review title “why i left and so should you.” I will be updating this comparison this week along with the others to reflect how SiteGround has gone downhill. To answer your question, I would use A2 if it was a choice between the two. But I recommend Cloudways if you can, at least sign up for a free trial and see how you like it. It’s who I use and speeds/TTFB are much faster.