SiteGround vs. Bluehost: why everyone is leaving them

Most affiliates hype these up, but I’m going to be honest.

When it comes to SiteGround vs. Bluehost, you shouldn’t use either.

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 has 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. Downtimes can also be long and frequent. Some people say they’re cheap, but you have to pay for 3 years upfront to get their advertised pricing (a trap you don’t want to fall into). Bluehost is faster than SiteGround in tests, but they’re still slow.

Who I Recommend InsteadA2 Hosting if you’re balling on a budget (they use LiteSpeed servers and are fast for the price). Cloudways DigitalOcean if you can afford $10/month (who I use). Or Cloudways Vultr High Frequency for $13/month if you want splurge on the fastest WordPress hosting available. Cloudways is highly recommended in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, has a 4.8/5 TrustPilot rating, and I have a killer GTmetrix report with them.

Do your research in the right places.

I refuse to recommend bad hosting just to make an affiliate sale – do you research in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, TrustPilot, and view my WordPress Hosting speed tests.

SiteGround vs. Bluehost

An honest comparison of SiteGround vs. Bluehost

  1. SiteGround vs. Bluehost Speed Test
  2. Both Use CPU Limits To Throttle Bandwidth
  3. Both Have Mediocre Support
  4. SiteGround Changes Their Infrastructure, Bluehost Is Stable
  5. SiteGround Has Gone Downhill In Recent Years
  6. Bluehost Is Owned By EIG And Was Never Good
  7. SiteGround Site Tools vs. Bluehost cPanel
  8. SiteGround vs. Bluehost WordPress Features
  9. SiteGround Has Better Uptimes
  10. SG Optimizer Is Comparable To WP Rocket
  11. Neither Offer Free Migrations
  12. Both Are Only Promoted By Affiliates
  13. SiteGround vs. Bluehost Pricing (Only Cheap At First)
  14. What People Say About Them In Facebook Groups + Polls
  15. Alternatives To SiteGround And Bluehost

Affiliate Disclaimer – I do not use affiliate links to SiteGround or Bluehost in this post, but I do use them for Cloudways and A2 Hosting who are significantly faster in speed tests. I try to base my reviews on evidence, not affiliate commissions, in the form of tests, recent Facebook polls, TrustPilot reviews, and overwhelming opinions from the 20+ Facebook Groups I’m part of. I also donate to GoFundMe campaigns ($6k so far!) and your support is highly appreciated. See this section to learn about A2/Cloudways.

 

1. SiteGround vs. Bluehost Speed Test

SiteGround and Bluehost were both slow in speed tests.

My test involved signing up for 16 different hosting accounts and installing the same exact Astra Starter Site. I was strictly measuring the speed of their servers while testing them in various tools. The results of each test are shown below.

A couple live demo sites I continue to pay for so you can test them yourself (I cancelled most of them since it was expensive):

SiteGround-vs-Bluehost-Speed
View Pingdom report or comparison of all hosts
SiteGround Reports (Screenshots)

  • GTmetrix – 1100ms
  • KeyCDN – 891ms
  • WebPageTest – 1502ms
  • WPHPC Plugin – 1104ms
  • Search Console – 618ms
  • Pingdom – 2280ms
  • Data center: Council Bluffs, IA
  • Hosting plan used: GrowBig
Bluehost Report Screenshots

  • GTmetrix – 800ms
  • KeyCDN – 623ms
  • WebPageTest – 1048ms
  • WPHPC Plugin – 728ms
  • Search Console – 485ms
  • Pingdom – 1560ms
  • Data center: Provo, UT
  • Hosting plan used: Plus Plan

Even just looking at Pingdom, you can get an idea of their load times. This was tested for a period of 7 days at 30 minute check intervals, meaning 336 total tests were done. SiteGround had an average load time of 2280ms while Bluehost averaged 1560ms, a 720ms difference.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

Conclusion: Both SiteGround and Bluehost are slow, but Bluehost is slightly faster. This was surprising considering SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers while Bluehost is shared hosting.

 

2. Both Use CPU Limits To Throttle Bandwidth

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 usually will). With Bluehost, you will usually get 503 service unavailable errors. With SiteGround, they will send you an email warning you of CPU overages, then take down your website until you upgrade plans or wait until next month for it to reset. This is a common issue with SiteGround.

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 will still have CPU issues.

Bluehost CPU Limits

SiteGround CPU Limits

SiteGround Cloud Hosting 503

 

3. Both Have Mediocre Support

SiteGround used to have great support, but not anymore.

They discretely removed their live chat function without warning and there are increased complaints about “pushing upsells” in Facebook Groups. With SiteGround, you can usually reach someone instantly. With Bluehost, you could wait hours to hear from their live chat or phone support. While SiteGround’s support is better than Bluehost, it isn’t what it used to be.

SiteGround Support Feedback

Bluehost Phone Support
Slow Bluehost Phone Support

 

4. SiteGround Changes Their Infrastructure, Bluehost Is Stable

This has been the single most frustrating thing on SiteGround.

They make huge changes to their hosting but fail to giving a warning or an option to keep the old way. Below are just a few major changes they made to their hosting in the last couple years.

  • Disabling live chat function without warning.
  • Shifting priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek.
  • Replacing cPanel with their own version (Site Tools).
  • Migrating accounts to Google Cloud without giving an option.
  • Increasing both their standard and renewal prices without warning.

Lots of complaints on the SiteGround blog:

SiteGround Google Cloud Concerns

 

5. SiteGround Has Gone Downhill In Recent Years

I can tell you flat out, the WordPress community is furious with SiteGround.

I personally stopped promoting them after referring nearly 3,000 customers to them. They went from great to terrible in just a matter of years . They used to be all about their customer’s best interest, now it’s all about profits. So much so that the SiteGround community manager (Hristo) is an admin of the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and posting about SiteGround’s slow TTFB is basically forbidden. Corruption alert – remove Hristo as an admin.

WordPress Speed Up

Hristo Pandjarov

 

6. Bluehost Is Owned By EIG And Was Never Good

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, but then they go downhill
  • They don’t invest in new technology that makes their infrastructure faster or secure

Endurance International Group – view EIG’s TrustPilot profile.

Endurance International Group TrustPilot

Bluehost – view Bluehost’s TrustPilot profile.

Bluehost TrustPilot Review 1

EIG Facebook
EIG Twitter

 

7. SiteGround Site Tools vs. Bluehost cPanel

Bluehost uses cPanel, SiteGround uses their own version Site Tools.

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:

Bluehost cPanel:

Bluehost cPanel

 

8. SiteGround vs. Bluehost WordPress Features

The main difference between SiteGround vs. Bluehost’s WordPress features is SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers, an SG Optimizer plugin which can replace cache plugins like WP Rocket, and their renewal prices are very high (almost 3x the introductory prices). Bluehost uses in-house servers, no caching plugin, and their renewal prices are about 2x the introductory prices.

SiteGroundBluehost
# Of SitesUnlimited on GrowBig+Unlimited on Plus+
Free DomainNoYes, 1 Year
SSLFreeFree
BackupsFree DailyFree Daily
StagingOn GrowBig+On WP Pro+
Email HostingYesYes
GITOn GoGeekNo
Banned PluginsNoNo

SG OptimizerSG Optimizer is likely the most notable difference between SiteGround and Bluehost’s WordPress hosting. SiteGround offers this robust speed optimization plugin which is comparable to WP Rocket. Bluehost does not have a caching plugin (learn more in section 10).

SSL – both SiteGround and Bluehost offer a free SSL with all plans which can be activated in each of their dashboards. SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin can also help you force HTTPS.

Backups – both SiteGround and Bluehost offer daily backups taken in your dashboard.

Staging – SiteGround offers staging on their GrowBig and GoGeek plan while Bluehost offers staging on WP Pro “managed” hosting. This lets you create a copy to test new designs, plugins, and update software without having to worry about the changes breaking your WordPress site.

 

9. SiteGround Has Better Uptimes

The only reason your website would be down on SiteGround is if you exceeded CPU limits, otherwise SiteGround has great uptimes.

Bluehost has a long history of outages and wrote an apology letter in 2016 when they had a major outage. Your website will have great uptimes on SiteGround but may experience downtimes on Bluehost for problems related to their hosting and lack of backup measures.

 

10. SG Optimizer Is Comparable To WP Rocket

A nice benefit to SiteGround is their SG Optimizer plugin.

Since the last 2 big updates, this plugin is very comparable to WP Rocket and should give you much better scores + load times in GTmetrix and other speed testing tools. It now has nearly everything WP Rocket has: heartbeat control, database cleanup, browser caching, Gzip, and optimization of fonts, images, and minification. It also uses server-side caching which is faster than WP Rocket’s file-based caching. Bluehost doesn’t have a caching plugin so you’ll need to use WP Rocket or another caching plugin. SG Optimizer is free and only works on SiteGround.

SG Optimizer Plugin

 

11. Neither Offer Free Migrations

SiteGround offers $30 per migration, Bluehost offers “free migrations on qualifying accounts.”

 

12. Both Are Only Promoted By Affiliates

Did I create a monster?

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 annoying. Search “how to start a blog” in Google and 7/10 articles refer you to Bluehost with an affiliate link. Look out for traps!

How To Start A Blog With Bluehost

 

13. SiteGround vs. Bluehost Pricing (Only Cheap At First)

SiteGround and Bluehost both have introductory prices that go up once you renew after 1-3 years. While Bluehost’s pricing almost doubles after the renewal period, SiteGround’s pricing nearly triples. That means the $9.99/month GrowBig plan will jump to $24.99/month. For Bluehost, their middle-tier $5.95/month Plus plan will jump to $10.99/month. Bluehost also makes you pay 3 years upfront to get the best pricing, while SiteGround only makes you pay 1 year up front, however that also means you SiteGround renewal prices kick in after just 1 year.

SiteGround pricing:

SiteGround-Plans

SiteGround Renewal Pricing 1

StartUp ($6.99/month) – limited on server resources (slower website) and likely can’t handle high CPU plugins, WooCommerce, or lots of traffic. Doesn’t come with many server resources, storage, staging, or a free migration. 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, and advanced caching when using their SG Optimizer plugin. You also get a free migration and on-demand backups. GrowBig has the best value and is their most popular 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. It’s very expensive.

Bluehost pricing:

Bluehost Pricing

Bluehost Pricing

 

14. What People Say About Them In Facebook Groups + Polls

We’re 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.

SiteGround Bad Support

Bluehost-Managed-WordPress-Hosting

Where to get truly unbiased hosting opinions

 

15. Alternatives To SiteGround And Bluehost

I don’t recommend SiteGround or Bluehost, so who do I?

A2 Hosting is much faster than SiteGround or Bluehost, uses LiteSpeed servers, and are similarly priced. Often rated a top SiteGround alternative especially if you still want cPanel.

SiteGround Alternative

SiteGround Alternative Beginners

DigitalOcean on Cloudways if you’re willing to drop $10/month on superior hosting. Free trials, free migrations, and monthly pricing with no higher renewal prices. Fastest host in most speed tests, who I use, and highly recommended in Facebook Groups (and #1 in most recent Facebook polls). Includes SSL, backups, staging, Varnish, Redis, memcached on all plans. I wrote a detailed review about them and have a promo code that saves you 25% off your first 2 months: OMM25

2020 Hosting Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

SiteGround Alternative

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

Elementor Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

SiteGround Alternative Beginners

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

Step 1: Sign up for a Cloudways free trial.

Cloudways-Homepage

Step 2: Use promo code OMM25 to get 25% off your first 2 months.

Cloudways Promo Code

Step 3: Add a server.

Add-Server-To-Cloudways

Step 4: Choose a server (I recommend DigitalOcean or Vultr HF), data center, and server size.

Vultr-High-Frequency-Option

Step 5: Request a free migration or use their Migrator plugin.

Cloudways Free Migration Request

Step 6: Go to Servers → Manage Services and enable the following:

Cloudways-Services

Step 7: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 7.4, MariaDB 10.3, and install Redis.

Hosting-Speed-Optimizations

Enjoy the faster load times.

Cloudways Shoutout

Other people who migrated:

Cloudways Response Times

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

Untitled

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Cloudways-Facebook-Review

If you choose SiteGround or Bluehost, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

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. However, Bluehost was 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.

That is my honest review of SiteGround vs. Bluehost – I wouldn’t use either of them! I also write a SiteGround review and Bluehost review, but they echo what I have warned you about in this tutorial. I hope this helps you make the right decision on hosting. Cloudways and A2 for the win.

Cheers,
Tom

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