After switching from Bluehost to SiteGround in a few years ago, I wanted to write this Bluehost vs. SiteGround review to help my fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs decide on the best web hosting company for them. And especially let you know which one doubled my site speed!
I have been blogging for many years, and manage several blogs, so I have experience in choosing web hosts.
If you’re planning to start a blog or make money online, or if you already have a site and want to improve reliability, speed and security, read on to find out why I recommend SiteGround.
Is Sg Site Scanner Worth It? Click here to jump to that section
How I Heard About SiteGround
If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably heard of Bluehost. They’re one of the largest, most popular web hosting companies out there.
So of course, when I started blogging, I followed the herd and opted for a self-hosted WordPress blog and signed up with Bluehost. I even signed up as an affiliate of Bluehost because I loved their service so much.
But a few years into using Bluehost, things started to go downhill.
My blog would randomly go down without any explanation, unable to load.
One time I was telling a friend about my blog and she tried to visit it right in front of me on her phone—and she got an error code!
A few years ago, I started noticing my site load time was EXTREMELY slow and my bounce rate was CRAZY high. I asked around and did some research and discovered that it was partly my server’s fault (AKA Bluehost) for the slow load times.
People were getting tired of my pages to load and that was the reason for my high bounce rate.
I asked a lot of fellow entrepreneurs and bloggers for recommendations on the best web hosting company. Time and time again, I heard the name SiteGround:
Why I Went With SiteGround
To be honest I had a HARD time deciding between Bluehost vs. SiteGround.
Though lots of people were recommending SiteGround, the problem was, I had never even HEARD of SiteGround, so I was skeptical.
Finally, my web guy told me he knew all about SiteGround and he highly recommended them.
I was finally sold!
I wanted to purchase SiteGround because I had fixed all other load issues on my site—the last piece was just the server response time.
Grayson, my web guy, promised me that my site load time would greatly improve with SiteGround, so I decided to take the plunge.
But Wait—Why Is Your Site’s Load Time so Important?
People are impatient.
Think about it, how many times have you exited a site because it was taking so darn long to load.
Exactly! You know you do it.
And, because my site was taking so long to load, people were leaving, resulting in a high “bounce rate.” High bounce rates are bad for blogs and business.
Bluehost vs. SiteGround Pricing
SiteGround’s pricing is a bit higher than Bluehost’s. I know that when I was just starting out as a blogger, I just wanted what was cheapest. For you, that may be Bluehost right now and that is fine.
Blue host is good for a hobby site, or a very basic site with a low level of visitors.
Just know that when your traffic really picks up, and you decide to run a business, you will need a faster server like SiteGround. If you can afford to start with Siteground, I’d recommend you start with them now.
Are you struggling to decide between WPEngine and SiteGround?
I had the same dilemma!
People kept telling me WPEngine was the best of the best for WordPress sites, BUT here’s the catch:
You probably don’t NEED WPEngine right now.
WPEngine is pricey. It costs more than Bluehost and SiteGround. If your website currently has under 100,000 visitors/month, you probably do not need WPEngine.
In fact, Siteground probably gives you the same performance as WPEngine. On top of that, if you hit 100,000+ visitors/month (dream big!), then you can ALWAYS upgrade to SiteGround’s premium cloud web hosting, or move your site to WPEngine if you need to. Let’s hope we all need to!!
Bluehost vs. SiteGround Speed Comparison: How SiteGround Has Improved My Website
To show you proof that SiteGround has improved my site, I took screenshots from my Google Analytics account.
I migrated my site completely from Bluehost to SiteGround and here is what I found:
After switching to SiteGround, my pages load an average of 9.6 seconds faster!
Bluehost’s servers took an average of 2.36 seconds to respond. SiteGround’s servers take an average of just .7 seconds. Yep, after switching to SiteGround, my server response time is 3.5 times FASTER. That’s HUGE!
Thanks in part to faster load times, my site’s bounce rate has decreased by 4%!
Admittedly, I made some other changes as well, such as compressing images, using caching, and deleting posts that weren’t relevant to my target audience.
I also take great comfort in knowing anytime I had a question, SiteGround’s customer support would answer me quickly.
Most importantly, SiteGround made migration a cinch. I was so stressed about migrating my site from Bluehost to SiteGround, and I was worried I’d lose content.
The site migration went off without a hitch and there was NO downtime!
SiteGround offers a Migration Plug in that literally does the entire process for you. It’s amazing. And if you are absolutely not comfortable migrating yourself, they will do it for you for a mere $30. Wow…that is a deal.
I would recommend SiteGround for your web hosting if:
You plan to make money as a blogger, solopreneur, or digital nomad.
If you’re thinking about being ANY of these things, you’re going to need a website. And if you want your website to attract ideal clients/customers, rank well in search engines, and gain lots of traffic, you need to make sure your website host is top notch, meaning little downtime and fast server response times.
For me, that meant switching to SiteGround, and as you can see from my screenshots above, it
was well worth it!
You have a lot of traffic (more than 10,000 visits/month). When your site has significant traffic, it causes more stress to your servers. In that case, you want to make sure you have a server that’s speedy and doesn’t have a lot of downtime.
Your current site has a slow load time. If this is the case, run a few tests to see what the problem is. Enter your website’s URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
It will run an analysis and show you what items are slowing your site down. Check the server response time. If it’s 1 second or more, then you need a faster server.
You’re not very technical and need lots of help from your host’s support team. SiteGround’s technical support has been top notch. They respond to me within hours and have always been able to help me out.
My Biggest Fears When Switching From Bluehost to SiteGround
Fear #1: I was afraid migrating my site from Bluehost to SiteGround would take a lot of time and be too complicated.
I am not super technical, so I wasn’t sure what it took to migrate a site to a new host. I didn’t want to hassle with it.
Reality: SiteGround will has a Migrator Plugin that does the whole thing for you. FREE of charge.
If you still need help, they will handle the migration for a $30 fee. If you use this service, you will just need to give SiteGround your logins for wherever your domain name is. That assumes it’s not already at SiteGround. If you registered your domain name on SiteGround already, you will skip this step.
Fear #2: I was afraid my site would go down during the transfer from Bluehost to SiteGround.
If done incorrectly, a site migration can cause your site to go down. I didn’t want that to happen with mine!
Reality: SiteGround’s Migrator Plugin made it crazy simple and fast. And if you do need any help, their reps are experts at the migration process. My site did not skip a beat during the migration.
Fear #3: I had JUST renewed my Bluehost account for 1 year in June, so I was afraid I’d lose all that money I had already paid.
I had renewed my Bluehost account a couple weeks before finding out about SiteGround, so I was really bummed to lose out on all that money.
Reality: Bluehost has an extremely generous cancellation and refund policy. Bluehost will prorate your refund, meaning if you cancel now, you’ll get refunded for all the future days you didn’t use yet!
I was able to cancel my hosting account with Bluehost–and got a prorated refund!
To cancel your hosting service with Bluehost, simply go to this page to request cancellation. IMPORTANT: Before you cancel your Bluehost hosting account, BE SURE to get a full cPanel backup of your site and/or make sure SiteGround has already successfully migrated your entire account to their servers.
This is the email I got from Bluehost:
After I requested cancellation, I got an email confirming I had gotten my prorated refund! Woohoo!
The Step-by-Step Process of Switching from Bluehost to SiteGround
Step 1: Sign up for a SiteGround hosting plan.
Simply to go to SiteGround’s hosting plans and decide which plan you need. It’s helpful because it shows you which plan you should get depending on how many visitors your site gets per month.
If you are just starting out, go with the cheapest plan, StartUp, which supports up to 10,000 visits per month. I went with GrowBig at first, and as my site grew, I moved up to the GoGeek plan.
I recommend you get the Domain Privacy—without it, anyone can look up your domain name and find your name and contact information.
Is SG Site Scanner worth it?
When you’re checking out on SiteGround, it’ll ask you if you want to add SG Site Scanner for an extra fee. What is SG Site Scanner? It’s a security add-on that regularly scans your website for malware and sends you alerts.
I asked my WordPress tech guy, and he said no, you do NOT need SG Site Scanner when you’re purchasing your SiteGround hosting.
There are other free security tools out there that will scan for malware, such as Wordfence, which is what I use.
So head over to SiteGround, select your hosting plan, select Domain Privacy, but you probably don’t need to SG Site Scanner, unless you just really want to.
Step 2: Follow the instructions to add the Migrator Plug in and follow the wizard to migrate the site.
It’s a good idea to make sure you have a full cPanel backup of your site at all times. But if you don’t, SiteGround can help you out.
If you’re worried about the transition, and don’t want to do it yourself, SiteGround makes it easy for that too. For just $30, they will migrate your site from Bluehost, or any other host, for you.
Customer service is great. They reply to me within 24 hours, often within a couple hours.
I actually had difficulty obtaining a full cPanel backup of my site, so SiteGround’s support team migrated my site manually, which takes longer. Even so, they did not charge me anything for it.
Step 3: If you kept your domain name with someone else, like Godaddy or Bluehost (like I did), you will need to point your domain name to SiteGround’s servers.
If you would like to try it on your own, don’t worry, it’s simple. You just log into domain name provider (Bluehost, Godaddy, Namecheap, etc.) and follow the instructions to change the DNS servers to point to SiteGround’s.
If you need help with pointing your DNS, I recommend using my web guy for that too.
Ask SiteGround’s technical support for help with where your DNS servers should point to. They will give you this when you sign up for hosting with them. However, in case you miss it, you can ask their support for help, and they will get them to you.
Step 4: Wait up to 72 hours for your site to completely migrate to SiteGround, then request a cancellation from Bluehost and get your prorated refund!
Make sure your site is completely transferred and you have your backups before canceling your hosting account with Bluehost. See below for how to request a cancellation and get a refund.
Check out the hosting company that made my site faster and better.
Would I still recommend Bluehost?
Yes, in certain cases. This is by no means a post bashing Bluehost.
Again, I used them for 4 years! I would recommend Bluehost if you are a brand new blogger who’s just starting out, and you have a very tight budget or only intend to blog as a hobby.
In that case, you can’t beat Bluehost’s pricing, which is still cheaper than SiteGround’s.
However, when your blog grows, and you take it more seriously as a business, I’d recommend switching to SiteGround. Since Bluehost offers prorated refunds if you cancel, you’ve really got nothing to lose.
Bluehost vs. SiteGround in Short
I used Bluehost as my web hosting company for 4 years, but switched to SiteGround because my site was loading slowly partially due to slow server times.
Since switching to SiteGround, my site has sped up significantly and server response times on average are 3.5 times faster.
My web hosting company of choice is now SiteGround, which I recommend for anyone planning to make money through their blog or website or planning to seriously grow it. You can visit SiteGround here and start the transfer process. You also might want to find out how you can start a blog now, for FREE.
If you are just starting out, and are on a very tight budget, I think it’s fine to go with Bluehost.
If cost is your main concern, Bluehost is less expensive. I’d recommend you start with Bluehost and move to SiteGround as soon as you are able.
>> If you are ready, click here to start your blog on SiteGround today!<<
If you are just getting started please check out my article on how to start a blog and make your first $1000
How to Transfer a Website to a New Host for FREE With NO Tech Knowledge!
How to Come Up With the Perfect Blog Name in 5 Pain-Free Steps
Do you suggest the Start -Up or Grow Big? I am transferring from Bluehost. I am just so fed up with them I downloaded and exported my stuff and canceled. I will be transferring this weekend. I will def use your link! Which do you prefer? By the way I appreciate the detailed post! Feel free to email me your reply!
Also do you suggest SG Site Scanner?
Hi Shauna! Start with the Start-Up because you can always upgrade later as you grow. You don’t need Site Scanner. Domain Privacy is worth the small investment though. I always get that.
I am trying to set up a blogging account and siteground is my preferred choice, but there’s lots of extras to consider before my purchase. Do i really need an SG site scanner, SSL certificate and domain privacy? I’m new to blogging, but really want to start blogging as something that can grow into more than just a hobby. thanks!
Great question, Christina!
Definitely get the Domain Privacy–without it, anyone can find out your name and address because it will be public information assigned to your domain! The rest you don’t need (SSL Certificate you can get for free with SiteGround later if you want, and site scanner is unnecessary. There are free security tools).
Ug I’m so nervous to transfer! I’m with dreamhost and my first year was fine but now, after 2 years, my site is always down, I’m constantly met with a 404 Error page, I was watching my site on google analytics real time and suddenly my site crashed and I literally watched everyone leave my site :( I’ve emailed dreamhost twice now about it and am even paying an extra $20 a month for a VPS and that’s done nothing.. sooooo I guess it’s time to switch? Does the WordPress look the same and everything? Lol I’m nervousss :P
The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Hey Shelby! Ugh, that is SO frustrating to have your site down and seeing people leave it!
There is NO need to be nervous about switching to SiteGround! Like I said in the blog post, their Support Team will migrate everything for you for FREE, and they know what they’re doing! My WordPress site looked exactly the same after the migration, and there was NO downtime. Make the switch! And see if Dreamhost will refund you what’s left on your plan. If you have any other questions, let me know!
Great post! I am in the process of deciding where to go with my hosting. I am currently with Godaddy and they are the WORST!! Absolutely terrible. Anyway, I am on the hunt for a new host so I am happy I came across your post. Thank you for the in-depth information. SG sounds like a great deal. How do you get the SSL Certificate for free? Is it included in the plan?
Kerry-Ann Ingram | http://www.kerryanningram.com
Hey Kerry-Ann! YES, SiteGround offers FREE SSL certificate, and it IS included with every plan. And their Support Team is so helpful; they can take care of everything for you! In fact, I’m about to make the switch to SSL via SiteGround this week! ?? If you have any questions, let me know.
I feel like this post was written for me — wow it’s perfect! Been debating for a while and now all of my fears have vanished. This is so helpful as a solopreneur – digital nomad I really appreciate it! Seems very easy – can’t wait to get it done!
Wow, thanks for this awesome comment! I’m so excited you’ll be joining the SiteGround family! Let me know if you have any questions at all. ??
Been with SG for a year and a half, now. Haven’t looked back!
I moved to my site to SiteGround from GoDaddy last year, using the free transfer. I have just renewed for another year. Their service is top class.
I am in an unusual position of managing my employer’s site on Bluehost, with my own site on Siteground. I had the opportunity to understand Bluehost’s performance before making the move. Bluehost works for a low traffic, small site, but it is not impressive. Siteground is impressive. Definitely a good choice.
That’s awesome! Yes, I agree. My experience with SiteGround has been great. And yes, Bluehost will work. But I wouldn’t recommend it, especially if you plan to go big and go pro. Thanks for the comment!
Hello! Thank you for this information. I am just starting a blog and am deciding what host to go with. I know you mentioned bluehost is okay to start out with since I’m not sure I’ll actually make any money at this. :) I do care about cost but I also want good customer service and security. If you were to do it over, would you start with bluehost or siteground from the beginning? I don’t just want to go with the cheapest just because it’s cheap. I want it to be as easy and simple as possible and have no trouble getting the help I need. What’s your personal recommendation? Thanks!
Hi Kim! Thanks for your comment. Ooph—that’s a tough question! I will answer it from two perspectives:
#1 If your choice between Bluehost and SiteGround is purely motivated by cost, just realize the first year prices for the two web hosts are exactly the same.
For the lowest tiers of both hosts, the *first year* price is *exactly* the same:
Bluehost 1st year: $47.40
SiteGround 1st year: $47.40
But, it’s the second year that could get you. Here’s the breakdown:
Bluehost 2nd year: $95.88
SiteGround 2nd year: $143.40
#2 If I were to do it over, I would have started with SiteGround from the beginning (I just didn’t know about them yet) to avoid having to transfer hosts. Again, the first year price is exactly the same as Bluehost.
In the end, though, you’re not doomed if you go with Bluehost. They are a MAJOR hosting company and many popular bloggers love them. It’s just my own personal experience that makes me prefer SiteGround.
I hope that helps!