Once you’ve got a handle on WordPress, then you’re well on your way to going live with your website. One major hurdle still stands in your way: You need a host.What Is a Website Host?
If you want existing and potential customers to be able to find your company on the Internet, then you must sign up with a web hosting service provider. The web host essentially provides storage on a reliable server for many different websites. Sole proprietors and small business entrepreneurs typically choose shared-server hosting in which their website and many others are stored on the same server. Larger companies with a great deal more traffic may benefit from having a dedicated server that’s just for them.
Choosing a Web Host
Given the popularity of WordPress, it follows that there are dozens of choices when it comes to web hosting options. This makes the task of choosing a web host particularly daunting for people who are just getting their website off of the ground. A comparison of two of the most popular web hosts for WordPress, SiteGround and BlueHost, can help to eliminate confusion.
Both SiteGround and BlueHost offer good value for the money. Nonetheless, there are several factors that separate the two. When you understand these differences, you’ll be able to determine which one of these web hosts best fits your business’ needs.
An Introduction to SiteGround
This well-respected web hosting service was founded in 2004 in Bulgaria by a group of enterprising college students. The effort quickly evolved from a dorm room startup to a company that is host to more than 500,000 unique domains. While SiteGround employed just a handful of people in its early days, it now has more than 400 full-time workers. Those employees reside in 13 different countries, making it possible to offer localized websites for businesses based across the globe.
SiteGround Is Our Winner
An Introduction to BlueHost
Founded in 2003, BlueHost is intricately tied to its Provo, Utah home base. The company provides server space to more than two million websites and boasts a team of more than 750 employees. Endurance International Group purchased BlueHost in 2010, which gives the company a more impressive pool of resources than they previously had. It’s valuable to note that BlueHost does not outsource any of its services. Everything is handled in-house, and the company has exclusive fiber connections and a proprietary data center.
Both SiteGround and BlueHost deliver an impressive range of features. For such a low-cost provider, SiteGround delivers a particularly robust package. Among their top attractions is the ability to choose your data center. Currently, the service has three that are located in Singapore, Amsterdam and Illinois. The closer you are to your server, the faster and more responsive your website load times are bound to be. Basic services from SiteGround include one website with 10 GB of storage. These websites are optimized to handle about 10,000 visitors every month. Customers receive unlimited emails and the company’s reputable service support.
More advanced plans have greater storage capacity and can support as many as 100,000 visits per month, which means that SiteGround can grow with your business. These larger packages include free SSL certificates for one year and better options for backing up data. Companies that are getting too large to continue using a shared host may want to upgrade to SiteGround’s dedicated server plan. All of SiteGround’s dedicated servers are Linux based, which means that customers who are seeking a Windows-based solution are out of luck.
However, SiteGround is optimized for WordPress users. People who have WordPress websites will receive better security, daily backups that are fully automated, page caching and automatic updating of the content management system. With one-click installation and a free domain name, this is a really good deal.
BlueHost delivers decent value too. If you’re familiar with HostMonster’s offerings, then you probably already know a good deal about BlueHost. That’s because both of these web hosts are owned by a common parent company. The basic package on BlueHost comes with a free domain name as well as free domain name transfer. Users will get 100 GB of storage, which is a sizable step up from SiteGround’s basic offering of 10 GB of storage. Monthly data transfers are unlimited with BlueHost, and like SiteGround, you’ll be able to have just one website at the base level. Stepping up to a more advanced package provides access to an anti-spam tool in combination with an unlimited number of websites and unlimited storage. BlueHost is pretty aggressive when it comes to upselling. Users often note that they are presented with another feature or app to purchase pretty nearly every time they log on, which can get annoying.
Businesses that expect to get higher traffic volumes may want to look into BlueHost’s virtual private servers or dedicated servers. Like SiteGround, BlueHost only works with Linux operating systems, which still leaves those who prefer Windows out in the cold.
Also similar to SiteGround, BlueHost provides hosting that is specifically designed for WordPress websites. Automatic site backup is a standard part of all four WordPress packages, as is security that is aimed directly at protecting websites that are created with this content management system. That means that these are “managed” WordPress sites. BlueHost also has the ability to set up non-managed websites for WordPress via the Mojo Marketplace where users can find the WordPress app.
SiteGround Vs Bluehost Data Results
Time to First Byte
In a head-to-head comparison, SiteGround came out on top when compared to BlueHost with a time to first byte, or TTFB, of 0.17 seconds. BlueHost clocked in at 0.24 seconds. This important metric demonstrates how quickly a browser will receive the first byte of a response from the host’s web server. Some experts suggest that websites that have a speedier TTFB may receive a higher Google ranking. Accordingly, SiteGround’s quicker response time may be a plus for many entrepreneurs.
Both SiteGround and BlueHost were also tested for their Speed Index. This measures how fast an individual website paints to the visitor’s browser. SiteGround came out on top again with a super-fast speed index score of 1430.30, while BlueHost posted a 1778.17.
The load time metric proved to be another winning category for SiteGround. Their 4.38 seconds time was just slightly better than BlueHost’s 4.67 seconds. This is a measurement of how long it takes for a full webpage, including all content, to download after a visitor requests access.
SiteGround Is Our Winner
Plans and Pricing
Both SiteGround and BlueHost offer a number of different plans, many of which are geared toward entrepreneurs and small businesses that may have limited budgets. Unfortunately, neither company currently offers a month-to-month alternative. Users are forced to sign up for a contract period, usually for between one and three years. In many cases, the “per month” fee, which is how all prices are quoted for these services, is affordable enough that this doesn’t represent too much of a hardship. Still, it would be nice to see a month-to-month option that would allow for greater flexibility for new ventures.
SiteGround’s basic WordPress package is called “StartUp.” It costs $9.95 per month and allows approximately 10,000 visitors each month. Storage capacity maxes out at 10 GB. At this level, users get just one website. Customers who step up to the “GrowBig” package will generally pay $14.95 per month. For this larger fee, they get 20 GB of storage and can have as many as 25,000 website visitors every month. One of the best perks of choosing this bigger plan is the ability to host unlimited WordPress websites.
The largest plan that SiteGround offers for WordPress is called “GoGeek,” and it is priced at $29.95 per month. This package delivers 30 GB of storage along with 100,000 visitors every month, and it also includes the capacity for unlimited WordPress websites. Regardless of which plan is chosen, users will have unlimited emails and data transfers on a monthly basis. Membership also provides access to several WordPress themes without additional charges.
BlueHost offers four WordPress hosting packages. The first of these is “Standard,” which is available as a one-year contract at a rate of $39.99 per month. Note that this is more expensive than the basic “StartUp” package from SiteGround. This may be because BlueHost’s “Standard” plan features 30 GB of storage as compared to the 10 GB offered by SiteGround. Additionally, BlueHost allows for 100 million visits per month. The “Standard” package will set up users with one website. The “Enhanced” package is priced at $59.99 per month. It comes with all of the features of the “Standard” plan, but dials up the monthly visits to 300 million and the storage capacity to 60 GB. Some users might opt for the “Premium” plan, which costs $89.99 per month. This package guarantees access to 600 million users every month and packs in 120 GB of storage.
The “Ultimate” package generally costs $129.99 per month. With 240 GB of storage, this plan has plenty of capacity while the unlimited number of visits that are allowed each month should be attractive to larger businesses.
It’s worth noting that both SiteGround and BlueHost frequently offer steep discounts. Customers may be able to get a deal with SiteGround’s “StartUp” plan at just $3.95 per month. BlueHost’s top-of-the-line “Ultimate” plan sometimes goes down to just $49.99 per month from the advertised $129.99. With discounts like those, almost any entrepreneur can afford to go big.
SiteGround’s customers are wildly enthusiastic about the level of support they receive. Technicians are available on a 24/7 basis and may be reached by phone, via online chat or by submitting a ticket. The website states that most issues, even serious ones, are typically resolved within just a few minutes. SiteGround takes pride in going above and beyond when it comes to helping their customers. Where other web hosts may claim that an issue isn’t related to hosting, SiteGround’s technicians are more than willing to dive in and help to resolve any problems. Customers who want to ensure that their concerns are addressed at a high-priority level may want to sign up for the “GrowBig” or “GoGeek” plans, because these come with premium support that solves obstacles with lightning speed.
One of SiteGround’s most attractive features is its 99.9 percent “uptime” guarantee. Essentially, the company has done everything they can to optimize speed, security and efficiency, which enables them to guarantee that their customers’ websites will be up and running 99.9 percent of the time. Automatic credits are dispensed for excessive downtime, eliminating the need to apply for credit if SiteGround can’t live up to its 99.9 percent guarantee.
Like SiteGround, BlueHost also offers 24/7 customer support. The Help Center makes it easy for customers to search for an answer or to read through helpful tutorials. If the necessary answers can’t be found here, then users can visit the “Contact Us” page. Users may click to engage a technical support specialist in an online chat. Alternatively, customers can call BlueHost’s support team. Three different categories of technical support help are available: General Support Questions, VPS and Dedicated Hosting and WordPress Assistance. A ticketing system is additionally available. With their impressive resources, BlueHost is typically able to address and resolve any issues with gratifying speed.
Unlike SiteGround, BlueHost does not provide an “uptime” guarantee, nor do they publish their uptime statistics. The company does note that they monitor their servers on a 24/7 basis, and BlueHost has a solid reputation for dependability in the industry.
If you’re looking for a low-cost, reliable web host that offers outstanding support and best-in-class speed, then SiteGround may be the right WordPress host for you. As you can see from our testing, SiteGround offers faster speeds than Bluehost and is a more solid overall hosting company at around the same price.