If you’re deciding between SiteGround vs. Bluehost, I wouldn’t use either.
Most affiliates will tell you otherwise because they want commissions, but both have a long list of cons you should be aware of. There are much better options available at a similar price point.
SiteGround has gone downhill since their price increases, low quality support, slower TTFB, CPU limits, and high renewal prices. Many people are leaving SiteGround for these reasons which can be seen in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. They used to be good, but now they are slow and expensive. You can visit stgrndserver.com to see a live Astra Starter Site I setup on SiteGround’s GrowBig plan (click through the pages to see how slow they load or run your own speed tests). SiteGround had one of the slowest load times and TTFBs in speed tests.
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 vs. Bluehost - An Honest Comparison
- SiteGround vs. Bluehost Speed Tests
- Speed Features – Which One Has More Optimizations?
- CPU Limits – Your Website Could Be Suspended
- Support – Neither Are Great (Anymore)
- Dashboard – SiteGround Site Tools vs. Bluehost cPanel
- Features – Who Has More?
- Uptime – Bluehost Has A History Of Outages
- Security – SiteGround Is Proactive, Bluehost Is Vague
- Data Centers – Both Have 6
- Migrations – Neither Are Free
- Pricing – High Renewals, Traps, Unethical Billing
- EIG – Bluehost Is Run By Shareholders
- Affiliate Biasedness – Mainly Promoted For Commissions
- TrustPilot Rating
- Facebook Group Feedback
- Summary – The Winner Of SiteGround vs Bluehost?
- Cloudways: A Better Alternative To SiteGround And Bluehost
I do not use affiliate links in this article to SiteGround or Bluehost because I don’t recommend either. I do use affiliate links to Cloudways which is who I recommend in the alternatives section since they are significantly faster (view my GTmetrix report), cheaper with monthly pricing, and are who most people recommend in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. I encourage you to join the group and do your own research!
1. Speed – SiteGround vs. Bluehost Performance Tests
Who is faster – SiteGround or Bluehost?
In this speed test, I signed up for SiteGround’s GrowBig plan and Bluehost’s Plus plan, installed the same Astra Starter Site, then tested them in multiple tools from various locations. No caching (e.g. SG Optimizer) or CDN were used on either site to give each host a fair opportunity. This test is meant to strictly measure the speed of their servers without cache plugins or CDNs.
Bluehost was surprisingly faster than SiteGround in speed tests, but neither performed well. When averaging TTFBs from multiple speed tools and locations, Bluehost’s TTFB was 824ms while SiteGround’s was 1164ms (a 340ms difference).
You would think SiteGround performs better since they use Google Cloud servers, but they didn’t. Both SiteGround and Bluehost had poor load times, TTFBs, and server response times.
The Pingdom test compares all 16 hosting plans tested. This ran for a period of 7 days at 30 minute check intervals, meaning 336 tests were done on each site. In this test, SiteGround had an average load time of 2280ms while Bluehost averaged 1560ms. That’s a 720ms difference.
A graph showing all reports:
Conclusion: SiteGround is slightly faster than Bluehost and is especially true when configuring their SG Optimizer plugin with optimal settings. However, neither are fast.
2. Speed Features – Which One Has More Optimizations?
SiteGround also has more speed features than Bluehost.
|Caching||3 Levels via SG Optimizer on GrowBig+||None???|
|CDN||Free Cloudflare||Free Cloudflare|
|PHP Version||7.4 + Ultrafast PHP||7.4|
SiteGround’s SG Optimizer Plugin Is The Biggest Difference
Most of SiteGround’s optimizations are found in SG Optimizer which can replace top cache plugins like WP Rocket. SG Optimizer is built specifically for SiteGround’s hosting, comes with nearly every single feature in WP Rocket, and uses server-side caching which is faster than the file-based caching by other cache plugins. Below are my recommended SG Optimizer settings.
3. CPU Limits – Your Website Could Be Suspended
Both SiteGround and Bluehost have strict CPU limits.
This means your hosting plan only comes with a certain amount of server resources. If you exceed them, SiteGround and Bluehost reserve the right to throttle your resources (and they usually will). With Bluehost, you usually get 503 service unavailable errors. With SiteGround, they will send you an email warning you of CPU overages, then take down your site until you upgrade or wait until next month for your limits to reset. It’s a common issue with SiteGround.
|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:
|All Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans|
|Database Usage||5GB In Single Database|
What Causes High CPU?
High CPU is often caused by increased traffic or heavy plugins like WooCommerce, WPML, or Elementor. If you use these, I suggest skipping shared hosting and go straight to cloud hosting. I wouldn’t use SiteGround’s cloud hosting since it’s $80/month and you can still have CPU issues.
CPU Limits Are Why I Left SiteGround
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.
4. 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:
5. Dashboard – SiteGround Site Tools vs. Bluehost cPanel
SiteGround uses their own dashboard called 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.
SiteGround Site Tools:
6. Features – Who Has More?
For speed features, SiteGround won.
But when it comes to overall features, SiteGround and Bluehost are very similar. Two key differences are that staging is available on SiteGround’s GrowBig plan which starts at $9.99/month, while staging is only available on Bluehost’s WP Pro plans which start at $19.95/month. However, you get a free domain at Bluehost no matter which plan you choose.
|# 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+|
7. Uptime – Bluehost Has A History Of Outages
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.
8. 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.
9. 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)|
10. 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.
11. SiteGround vs. Bluehost Pricing – High Renewals, Traps, Unethical Billing
SiteGround and Bluehost both have introductory prices and 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.
12. EIG – Bluehost Is Run By Shareholders
EIG owns over 80 different hosting companies and Bluehost is one of them.
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
13. Affiliate Biasedness – Mainly Promoted For Commissions
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.
For the record, I stopped recommending them once they made all their bad changes.
All these affiliates started promoting SiteGround with Facebook polls and migration results I took screenshots of. But if you search SiteGround in Facebook Groups and look at recent posts, it’s almost all complaints. Bluehost affiliates have always been salesy. Search “how to start a blog” in Google and 7/10 articles refer you to Bluehost with an affiliate link. Look out for traps!
14. TrustPilot Rating
Bluehost has a 1.5 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 4.8 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?
We’ll be looking at recent activity here. There are plenty of affiliates who still promote SiteGround and how they were rated #1 in 30+ Facebook polls, but that’s the monster I created and times have certainly changed. Here’s what people now say about SiteGround vs. Bluehost.
What people say about SiteGround:
SiteGround Corruption In Facebook Groups – Hristo (the SiteGround community manager) is an admin for the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group. Which means if you post something bad about SiteGround, they will likely ban you from the Group. A similar thing happened when SiteGround cancelled my affiliate account after I started pointing out the bad things about them, while making it clear they won’t accept me back. Suite it yourself – I’m posting the truth.
What people say about Bluehost:
Where to get truly unbiased hosting opinions
- WordPress Hosting Facebook Group (recommended)
- Advanced Twitter Search (eg. Bluehost support vs SiteGround support)
- Reddit (although many people on Reddit aren’t experienced with hosting)
16. Summary – The Winner Of SiteGround vs Bluehost?
Who wins, SiteGround or Bluehost?
I would choose SiteGround if security, features, SG Optimizer, and support are more important. Keep in mind their hosting has been changing rapidly and you will be forced onto those changes.
I would choose Bluehost if you want cPanel, can deal with downtimes, and are on a tighter budget. Keep in mind support is poor, security is average, and there can be malware issues.
However, both SiteGround and Bluehost have their own set of problems.
17. Cloudways: A Better Alternative To SiteGround And Bluehost
I don’t recommend SiteGround or Bluehost, so who do I?
DigitalOcean on Cloudways is who I use and you can view my GTmetrix report. They were #1 in speed tests, highly recommended in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, and have a 4.8 TrustPilot rating. While they start at $10/month, it’s monthly pricing with no high renewals. I recommend signing up for a 3-day trial and cloning your site to see the speed difference. They do free migrations, were #1 in most recent Facebook polls, and uses advanced caching (Varnish, Redis, memcached). Support is excellent if you look at TrustPilot reviews. I wrote a detailed review about them and have a promo code that saves you 25% off your first 2 months.: OMM25
Step 1: Sign up for a Cloudways free trial.
Step 2: Use promo code OMM25 to get 25% off your first 2 months.
Step 3: Add a server.
Step 4: Choose a server (I recommend DigitalOcean or Vultr HF), data center, and server size.
Step 6: Go to Servers → Manage Services and enable the following:
Step 7: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 8.0, MariaDB 10.4, and install Redis.
Enjoy the faster load times.
Other people who migrated:
+1 for Cloudways
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SiteGround or Bluehost faster?
SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers which should theoretically be faster than Bluehost's shared hosting, and also have an SG Optimizer plugin that will significantly improve speeds. SiteGround was also faster in TTFB tests.
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 like Cloudways.