SiteGround vs. Bluehost WordPress Hosting Review: My Personal Experience (And What Most People Are Saying In Facebook Groups)

Home » WordPress Hosting » SiteGround vs. Bluehost WordPress Hosting Review: My Personal Experience (And What Most People Are Saying In Facebook Groups)

SiteGround vs. Bluehost

I have a confession…

Years ago, I used to be one of those bloggers recommending Bluehost as an affiliate. But that changed after joining over 30 Facebook Groups and reading hundreds of conversations where people asked about the “best” hosting. I immediately transferred my website from Bluehost to SiteGround (spoiler: my loads times are now under 1s). I also stopped recommending Bluehost since there was no comparison between these two – please do your research on social media!

SiteGround was rated the #1 host over 34 Facebook polls (even when compared to Bluehost) and is also used by Yoast. People who migrated from Bluehost to SiteGround were able to cut 7s off their load time. Do your research on Trustpilot, Advanced Twitter Search, and Facebook Groups. You’ll see tons of current Bluehost customers complaining about their slow servers, downtimes, and super slow support. While most SiteGround customers are genuinely happy.

Who did I end up with?

SiteGround, and obviously glad I did, because there are tons of Bluehost affiliates out there who will steer you in the wrong direction. There is also an overwhelming amount of social media evidence that SiteGround is faster. With their GoGeek plan and a few website optimizations, I was able to get <1s load times and 100% GTmetrix scores. I never was able to get that on Bluehost. So why is SiteGround better? That’s what you’ll be learning in this review.

Table Of Contents

  1. SiteGround vs Bluehost In 34 Facebook Polls
  2. Avoid Bluehost Affiliate Traps
  3. Do Your Research On EIG
  4. Bluehost Servers Are Slow As Hell
  5. Frequent Downtimes
  6. Slow + Unhelpful Support
  7. Both Companies Have Unfair Billing
  8. Why You Shouldn’t Use Bluehost
  9. Why I Use SiteGround
  10. Bluehost To SiteGround Migration = 7s Off Load Time
  11. SiteGround’s Servers Are Faster
  12. SiteGround Is Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, And Ivica
  13. Uptimes Are Actually 99.99%
  14. Support Is Phenomenal
  15. WordPress Features
  16. SiteGround’s CPU Limits (Optimize Your Site!)
  17. Free Migrations By SiteGround
  18. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek
  19. Other Alternatives (The Only 4 Hosts I Recommend)
  20. What People Are Saying In Facebook Groups

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no cost to you. Each year I donate $3,000 to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. Either way, I would avoid Bluehost – join some Facebook groups and see the conversations, polls, tweets, and people who migrated from Bluehost to SiteGround. I refuse to recommend EIG/Bluehost’s awful hosting. Do your research, see who Yoast is using, and results of people who migrated.

Bluehost-Managed-WordPress-Hosting

 

1. SiteGround vs. Bluehost In 34 Facebook Polls

SiteGround was ranked #1 in 34 different polls while Bluehost was pretty much nowhere on the map. Many of these were taken in private groups, so you will need to join them to see the polls (I also provided screenshots). The WordPress Hosting Facebook Group is a great place to get unbiased opinions about hosting – since they don’t allow affiliate links and self-promoters.

SiteGround vs Bluehost

2019 Hosting Poll

 

2. Avoid Bluehost Affiliate Traps

Bluehost affiliates are littering Google, Quora, and Facebook Groups with bad advice. Bluehost is incentivizing them with high commissions and that is really all they care about.

How To Start A Blog With Bluehost

Where to get truly unbiased hosting opinions

Bluehost EIG Twitter
Bluehost Affiliate Links

Of course, there are plenty of SiteGround affiliates too (yes, including me). But I pull most of my reviews from social media and will address the 2 main concerns of SiteGround – high renewal prices and CPU limits. I will also tell you that most people who migrate away from SiteGround either go to DigitalOcean on Cloudways or A2 (see my other hosting alternatives).

 

3. Do Your Research On EIG

The same company (Endurance International Group) owns 60+ different hosting companies including Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster, Site5, iPage, Unified Layer, and many others.

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 don’t actively invest in new technology (slow to release new PHP versions)
  • They are known for acquiring decent hosting companies, but then they go downhill

List-Of-EIG-Brands

Read this about EIG…

EIG Facebook
EIG Twitter

 

4. Bluehost Servers Are Slow As Hell

If you care about fast load times and good GTmetrix/Pingdom reports, Bluehost won’t help. They overcrowd their servers and tons of people complain about this on Facebook + Twitter.

Here’s what Bluehost says in their user agreement:

“Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse effect on server performance.”

Just to give you an idea, SiteGround has a 150,000, 300,000, and 450,000 inode limit for their StartUp, GrowBig, GoGeek plan accordingly. Which hosting plan is Bluehost referring to when they mention these 200,000 inode limits? We can only guess, but judging by the amount of people complaining about their servers, that limit probably applies to most plans on Bluehost.

SiteGround vs Bluehost Support

Bluehost Slow Server Response Time

Bluehost Server Response Time Dedicated

Worst Server Response Time Bluehost

Bluehost Crap Server Response Time

Bluehost Server Response Time

How To Check If Your Server Is Slow
You can run any website through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time is in your report, which means your server (host) is slow. This happens a lot with Bluehost.

Reduce Server Response Time

 

5. Frequent Downtimes

Do a Twitter search for “Bluehost down” and you’ll see tons of people experiencing downtime issues. Some websites have been down for over a week and Bluehost’s support could care less.

When I was with Bluehost, my site would go down about once every week, sometimes for multiple hours. It was really painful questioning whether it was their hosting, or whether something I did was wrong. Once I migrated to SiteGround, all my downtime problems went away. Again, if this is a business website you rely on to make money, do not choose Bluehost.

This got so bad Bluehost wrote an apology letter:

Bluehost Apology Letter

Bluehost is constantly apologizing:

Bluehost-Apologies

 

6. Slow + Unhelpful Support

Bluehost’s support is incomparable to SiteGround. With SiteGround, you can get ahold of live chat within seconds and tickets answered in 10-15 minutes. Bluehost can takes hours or even weeks to reply. The worst part is, there have been numerous reports of them saying they will “follow up” but never do. If your website goes down on their servers, it can be very frustrating.

Bluehost Support

Bluehost Phone Support
Slow Bluehost Phone Support

 

7. Both Companies Have Unfair Billing

To get Bluehost’s advertised prices ($2.95/month) you need to pay 3 years upfront, otherwise you will pay more for 1-2 years. You will only find this out once you get to their checkout page.

Bluehost Pricing

SiteGround’s renewal prices are high. You can get up to 3 years of their promotional price, then it jumps. That’s why if you can, I would pay for 3 years because at that value, it is likely the best shared hosting you will find. Last year, I signed my girlfriend up for SiteGround and regret not paying for 3 years. Once it was time to renew, we ended up moving to A2 (it’s a restaurant website and she just wanted it up and running for as cheap as possible). I tried to convince her to renew or go to Cloudways. She wanted cheap, and I know better than to argue with women.

SiteGround Renewal Pricing

 

8. Why You Shouldn’t Use Bluehost

  • Owned by EIG who owns 60+ different hosts and is infamous for packing too many people on the same server, horrible support, frequent outages, and whose main goal is to please shareholders (not customers) by aggressively promoting their affiliate program, instead of taking care of existing customers
  • 3 years upfront payment (SiteGround is 1 year)
  • Extremely slow to release new PHP versions
  • Server errors like bad gateways or internal server errors
  • Support is horrible (eg. 1 hour wait times)
  • Support won’t admit if servers are the problem
  • Constantly trying to sell unnecessary upgrades
  • Built-in SEO does nothing (totally separate field)
  • They don’t list what type of speed/uptime technology they use
  • They don’t support staging, Let’s Encrypt SSL, other key features
  • They are for beginner website users who don’t do their full research
  • I’ve completed 30+ WordPress speed projects and it is tough when websites go from 10s to 3s, but clients still aren’t happy yet they refuse to switch hosts
  • You get what you pay for, and Bluehost is cheap as hell (at many WordCamps, they say to pay as much for your hosting as you would a shrimp dinner). Otherwise, don’t complain about your slow website and bad uptimes/support

 

9. Why I Use SiteGround

  1. My GTmetrixPingdom reports speak for themselves
  2. My pages load instantly (click through them if you want)
  3. Fast speed technology (PHP 7.3, NGINX, SG Optimizer, Cloudflare)
  4. Recommended by Yoast, WordPress, Ivica from WordPress Speed Up
  5. Free Let’s Encrypt SSL, easy to use cPanel, and features for eCommerce
  6. WordPress support is unbeatable even without GoGeek’s priority support
  7. GrowBig comes with staging, more storage, and more server resources (scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” and hover over the server tab)
  8. GoGeek comes with even more server resources, storage, priority support
  9. Free migrations, migrator plugin, and a 30-day money back guarantee
  10. Plenty of praise on Reddit, Facebook conversations, Twitter, TrustPilot
  11. Tons of praise on Facebook: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7#8, #9, #10#11
  12. Many people already migrated and posted results on Twitter: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6#7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32, #33, #34, #35, #36, #37

 

10. Bluehost To SiteGround Migration = 7s Off Load Time

Look at people who migrated from Bluehost to SiteGround and posted their new load times. Affiliates can say whatever they want, but these are non-affiliated customers who actually went through the experience. SiteGround’s speed technology is so much faster than Bluehost.

Bluehost To SiteGround Migration

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

Not to mention my own GTmetrix report:

2019-GTmetrix-Report

Here’s my Pingdom report:

2019-Pingdom-Report

 

11. SiteGround’s Servers Are Faster

Now that you’ve seen the load time improvements of people who migrated, I want to cover a few things you can do within your SiteGround dashboard that will make your site even faster. You can check out their cPanel demo if you want to become familiar with where everything is.

SiteGround-Speed-Technology

SG Optimizer
I recommend either using their SG Optimizer plugin or WP Rocket (only use one, no need to use both). SG Optimizer is faster than any other cache plugin because it uses server-side caching instead of the file-based caching used by other cache plugins. But, it doesn’t come with as many features as WP Rocket. It’s a tradeoff between faster caching or more “miscellaneous” speed optimizations. I would test both to see which one gives you the best results in GTmetrix.

Cloudflare
In your SiteGround dashboard, you can activate Cloudflare in 1-click. It’s a free CDN with 200+ data centers and there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be taking advantage of this.

PHP 7+
In your SiteGround PHP Manager, you can upgrade all the way to PHP 7.3. This alone can make a noticeable speed improvement even when clicking through your pages. SiteGround is always one of the first hosts to release newer PHP versions, while Bluehost is late to the party.

Higher Plans = More Server Resources
Higher plans come with more server resources (#1 factor of site speed). Head over to their features page and scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” then hover over the “server” tab. You can see how many server resources come with each plan along with a side-by-side comparison of their StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek plan. I at least recommend their GrowBig plan since it’s only $2/month more and comes with more server resources, priority support, and unlimited hosted websites. GoGeek comes with even more resources + staging.

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

 

12. SiteGround Is Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, And Ivica

SiteGround is used by Yoast:

Yoast-on-Twitter-We-just-switched-to-Siteground

They’re recommended by WordPress (so is Bluehost but they don’t deserve to be on there):

siteground-recommended-wordpress-host

And by Ivica (Admin of the popular WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group):

WordPress-Speed-Up Recommended Tools

 

13. Uptimes Are Actually 99.99%

Here’s my website monitored by Pingdom Tools which is 100%. This is because their uptime technology is super reliable with Linux containers, server monitoring, an in-house backup system, and secure account isolation (which SiteGround was the first company to create). A lot of hosting companies CLAIM to have 99.99% uptimes but with all the errors you get with bad hosting it’s definitely not 99.99%. With SiteGround your servers will be super reliable so you’ll never have to worry about your website going down for no reason (trust me, I’ve been there).

SiteGround-Uptimes

 

14. Support Is Phenomenal

I don’t care how many features your hosting company has, if their support sucks, they suck. I can pick up the phone and get ahold of SiteGround support in under a minute. It makes such a big difference. Their team is super knowledgeable especially when it comes to WordPress.

SiteGround customers love their support.

Bluehost-vs-SiteGround-Support-Thread

 

15. WordPress Features

SiteGround has tons of WordPres features you can find on their features page:

SiteGround-WordPress-Features

SG Optimizer
I covered this earlier, but SG Optimizer not only does caching, but a lot of other speed optimizations: minification, image optimization, lazy loading, and upgrading PHP versions.

Automatic Updates
You can enable autoupdates for WordPress core/plugins in their cPanel.

SiteGround WordPress Autoupdates

WordPress Security
SiteGround is literally on their game when it comes to WordPress and security. They are constantly monitoring vulnerabilities and updating their servers to protect you against the latest threats – they posts updates on their Facebook page all the time and customers praise this with awesome feedback. You also get periodic emails letting you know your site is secure.

Staging
Staging comes with their GrowBig/GoGeek plan and lets you create a demo website to test new plugins, designs, and updates before launching them on your site (which is done in 1 click).

WordPress Support
I have a feeling most SiteGround customers use WordPress, and they are extremely knowledgable in troubleshooting plugins, helping you block unwanted crawlers that consume resources, and fixing bugs. Most websites don’t go down on SiteGround, but if it does, they are super responsive in helping you getting it back up. Their support for WordPress is awesome.

eCommerce Features
All SiteGround plans come with eCommerce hosting features like a free SSL from Let’s Encrypt. GoGeek comes with PCI compliance which prevents credit card fraud on eCommerce sites. And if you’re not comfortable installing a shopping cart, SiteGround’s will do this for free.

SiteGround-eCommerce-Features

 

16. SiteGround’s CPU Limits

SiteGround tells you how many visitors each plan can handle, but you should really be looking at their features page which tells you each plan’s CPU limits. If you exceed them, they will send you warnings and eventually, shut down your site. That’s why it’s best to reduce your CPU usage ahead of time (which can also improve load times). Many things are as easy as installing the Heartbeat Control plugin, Blackhole For Bad Bots plugin, and using Cloudflare’s free CDN.

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

Be preventative in reducing CPU and don’t let it happen to you:

siteground-cpu-overages

Bottom line: if you’re running a WooCommerce site, high CPU plugins, or your website consumes a lot of resources, make sure you optimize your site and choose a plan that can support those resources. SiteGround’s support can also help you identify if there’s an issue. Every company who offers shared hosting will throttle your CPU usage, not just SiteGround.

 

17. Free Migrations By SiteGround

SiteGround does free migrations with their GrowBig/GoGeek plan. Just open a support ticket and request a transfer. There should be 0 downtime and I’ve had this done for many websites.

SiteGround Free Website Transfer

 

18. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek

Here’s the comparison chart:

SiteGround-Features-Page

StartUp ($6.99/month) – good for hosting 1 single website that doesn’t require high CPU plugins, WooCommerce, or have much traffic. You should only use it if you’re just starting and don’t anticipate lots of traffic. It doesn’t come with many server resources, storage, staging, and other features. That’s why I generally recommend the GrowBig plan since it’s $2/month and comes with way more features and server resources. StartUp can’t handle much CPU.

GrowBig ($9.99/month) – host unlimited sites with about 1.5x more server resources, more storage, staging, and advanced caching when using their SG Optimizer plugin. You also get a free website transfer and on-demand backups. GrowBig has the best value and is their most popular plan. Even if you don’t need everything else, the extra server resources are worth it.

GoGeek ($14.99/month) – GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting which is about 4x faster than regular shared hosting plans. These server resources should make your site load significantly faster and are the main reason to upgrade. GoGeek also comes with priority support, but their regular support is fast anyway. Personally, I would only upgrade if you want more resources.

 

19. Other Alternatives (The Only 4 Hosts I Recommend)

These are the 4 hosts that have gotten the best feedback in Facebook Groups + Twitter.

Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to see what real, non-affiliated people are saying. I’m a member of 30+ WordPress Facebook groups and here’s a summary of every person asking “what is the best hosting for WordPress?” This is based on 35+ Facebook polls, Twitter evidence, Trustpilot reviews, and way too much time reading these conversations. You can also reach out to Hristo Pandjarov (SiteGround community manager) and Mustaasam Saleem Ansari (Cloudways community manager) which are almost always the top 2 choices.

SiteGround
#1 in Facebook polls and used by companies like Yoast. SiteGround blows other shared hosting out of the water in terms of speed, support, uptimes, features, and security. They have great Trustpilot reviews and are a huge upgrade over GoDaddy, EIG, and A2 Hosting. Do your research and look at people who migrated and posted results. Renewal prices are high, but if you haven’t used them yet, I would 100% take advantage of the promo prices which you get for 1-3 years starting at $6.99/month.

Get hosting from SiteGround

DigitalOcean On Cloudways
Most people who leave SiteGround go to Cloudways. It’s managed cloud hosting (faster than shared) and outperforms WP Engine. Here are tweets from people who migrated and posted results: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10. Support isn’t as good as SiteGround (tickets can take hours instead of minutes) but the tradeoff is pure speed. When choosing a plan, you have 5 options: Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud. DigitalOcean is the most popular and starts at $10/month. After migrating, be sure to upgrade to MariaDB 10.3, PHP 7.2, increase memory limit to 256MB, and enable Varnish + Redis. This alone can improve load times by multiple seconds and can easily be done in your CW dashboard. Again, do your research in Facebook Groups and check Trustpilot reviews – Cloudways is an awesome choice.

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

Get managed cloud hosting from Cloudways

Kinsta
Kinsta is $30/month and is compared to “what WP Engine used to be.” WP Engine used to be great, but just like A2, they grew too fast and their servers got slower. Now, people are loving Kinsta. They are managed WordPress hosting with great speed, uptimes, and especially support. My only complaint is you can’t add more storage + server resources as needed (you have to upgrade to an entirely new plan) while Cloudways lets you add them on a per-usage cost. I haven’t used Kinsta myself… only heard great things – see their Trustpilot reviews. They are usually rated top 2 in Facebook polls for managed hosting (behind Cloudways). Go Cloudways if you want pure speed and okay support, and Kinsta for comparable speeds, but better support.

Get managed hosting from Kinsta

A2 Hosting
I put A2 in red because it’s a downgrade from SiteGround, yet comparable. Their $4.90/month Swift plan is pretty decent for the price – better than EIG. But many people on Trustpilot experience outages, poor support, and not so great servers. If you haven’t taken advantage of SiteGround’s promo prices, you’ll be better off there. If you’ve already been with SiteGround, either renew (because they’re awesome and worth it) or look into Digital Ocean on Cloudways. I would only use A2 for hobby sites.

Get hosting from A2

 

20. What People Are Saying In Facebook Groups

Spend a few minutes reading these conversations, and the decision is clear.

Bluehost-vs-SiteGround-Thread

SiteGround-vs-Bluehost-Thread

bluehost-vs-siteground-in-facebook

Looking-for-a-new-host-provider-Facebook

SiteGround-Feedback

Another-Unhappy-Bluehost-Customer-Thread

Best-Host-Conversation

SiteGround’s semi-dedicated plan is legit as it comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (one of the largest factors in the WordPress optimization guide). Pingdom and GTmetrix scores are fine and dandy, but load time is the most important factor. It’s what I use and I have a 320ms load time in Pingdom, .5s in GTmetrix, with 100% scores.

OMM-On-SiteGround

View SiteGround’s StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek comparison chart

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅Why does everyone promote Bluehost?

Most bloggers promote Bluehost because they offer the highest affiliate commissions. They also pay a pretty penny to be recommended on the official WordPress hosting page, making it easy to promote them. But if you do your research in WordPress-related Facebook Groups, most people do not recommend them.

✅ What do people have against Bluehost?

Their servers are slow, support is not helpful, and many people experience downtimes. Bluehost is also owned by EIG who has shareholders looking to make a profit instead of taking care of existing customers. They are very aggressive with their affiliate program.

✅ Is SiteGround or Bluehost faster?

SiteGround is faster especially if you use their SG Optimizer plugin and activate PHP 7.4 + Cloudflare in the SiteGround dashboard.

✅ 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?

I recommend SiteGround's GoGeek plan. WooCommerce sites usually require more server resources because they typically have more plugins and extra WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments. You will need a more powerful server to handle this. You may even want to skip shared hosting completely and go with a faster host like Cloudways.

If you have a question about my SiteGround vs. Bluehost review, drop me a line. You can also read my full SiteGround WordPress hosting review if you want to learn more about their cPanel, SuperCacher plugin, more Cloudflare tips, etc. I’ve had a great experience with SiteGround and would use them if you need fast, reliable WordPress hosting. And seriously, even if you don’t choose SiteGround I would definitely stay AWAY from Bluehost. Even though more people heard of Bluehost, the evidence clearly shows SiteGround is the better choice.

Cheers,
Tom

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
73 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments