Which is better Bluehost or Siteground 1
Bluehost review - 7 advantages & 4 disadvantages of Bluehost (server speed tested!)
Bluehost is a fantastic choice for beginners looking to build their first website for their business or blog. The onboarding process and automatic WordPress installation make everything very easy to use. They may not offer the greatest benefit or service, but their product just works. Learn more about it.
By Elliot Boey • May 09, 2021
If you're unsure about using Bluehost as your web hosting provider, don't worry - you've stumbled on the right page.
Here at Bitcatcha, we're a little obsessed with web hosting (our doctors even say that obsession is borderline unhealthy).
We got a Bluehost account, ran a few performance tests on your shared hosting offering, and now we're ready to bring you the most in-depth Bluehost review you can find on the internet.
But before we do that, let's get you a little more familiar with the web hosting provider.
A little more about Bluehost
Founded by a very young Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in 2003, Bluehost has been in the market for a LONG time.
They are practically dinosaurs in the industry, but that's not a bad thing - being around for so long means they have learned a thing or two about web hosting and are able to deliver a great user experience to their users.
As a globally known and used web hosting provider, Bluehost actually only has 1 data center, which is located in the USA. This data center powers the websites of their entire customer base, which is a whopping 2 million and growing by thousands every day!
They have obviously made quite an impression on the market as in just 7 short years they caught the attention of web hosting giant Endurance International Group who accepted them into the EIG group of companies.
With the support of EIG, Bluehost managed to grow their once small team into a family of 750 so they can provide their customers with much-needed 24/7 support!
Doesn't that impress you?
Then maybe this: Bluehost is also one of 3 web hosting providers recommended by WordPress itself!
In case you're wondering why that's impressive: 30% of all websites on the World Wide Web are actually powered by WordPress. In other words, they are the rock stars of the internet, and a recommendation from them is like a recommendation from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for your workout equipment.
Now that you know who you are dealing with at Bluehost, let's find out why, in our humble opinion, they are a pretty strong web hosting company!
7 good reasons to choose Bluehost!
1. Bluehost is surprisingly easy to use
If you've created a website before and used a web hosting service provider with a crappy interface, you've known the feeling of logging into the dashboard and ... then not knowing what to do.
Bluehost pleasantly surprised us with their onboarding process. After completing the registration process, we logged into the dashboard and nothing you nothing, clicked Next a few times and * poof * magic - WordPress was already installed and ready for use.
But a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few so you can see what exactly happened after you logged in.
Bluehost will start by asking you a few questions about what type of site you want to create. Simply select an option from the drop-down menu and click Next. So far so easy.
They will then ask what type of website you are creating, whether it is a blog, an ecommerce website, or a niche website that sells poop-scented wrapping paper.
Those pesky morons will want to know more about your site, but don't worry, they are only interested in the best of you. Give your site a name, come up with a slogan, and rate the level of your website building expertise on their noob detector scale.
All you have to do is choose a design that you like, and then ...
... boom, WordPress will be installed automatically, just like that! You don't have to worry about it installing it in the wrong folder or drastically messing up something else.
Bluehost takes care of the backend, while all you have to do is customize your website and make it look pretty.
Even if you're new to page creation, I'm pretty sure you won't have any problems creating your page with Bluehost at all. But even those of us who are a little more experienced will appreciate how easy the dashboard is to use.
Check out how beautiful the customized cPanel interface looks. None of the confusing looking outdated clutter that came with the stock cPanel.
2. They run surprisingly fast all over the world!
According to thinkwithgoogle, fast loading speeds are essential for online business to be successful, and server response time plays a BIG role in website loading time.
However, since there is only 1 data center in the US, we didn't expect Bluehost to do very well on our proprietary server speed test.
With our test site hosted on their Basic plan, we went online and started testing their response times - and I can tell you we were totally wrong.
|USA (W)||USA (O)||London||Singapore||Sao Paulo|
|23 ms||78 ms||183 ms||193 ms||164 ms|
|330 ms||168 ms||125 ms||92 ms||174 ms|
The American hosting provider responded exceptionally well and achieved speeds in all countries - except Bangalore - well below the 200 ms recommended by Google.
They're understandably the fastest in the US because that's where the data center is located, but they're no lame duck in countries on the other side of the world like Singapore, Sydney and Japan either!
With an average worldwide duration of 153 ms, Bluehost is one of the fastest A-ranking hosting providers we have ever had the pleasure of rating. You can be sure, no matter where in the world your target audience is, Bluehost will be able to deliver!
Well ... unless your target audience is in India. Then you might want to check out our post on the best web hosting for India instead.
3. You have high performance servers
Those of you planning on running large-scale ecommerce websites or reddit-like forums would appreciate Bluehost's high-performance servers that are well-suited for such tasks.
Why is that important?
Well, with shared web hosting, as the name suggests, you share the space with other users. That helps to reduce costs.
However, it can happen that some users accidentally (or deliberately) consume far more resources than they were allotted, causing everyone else who shares the server with that user to experience their website slowing down - sometimes even becoming not loaded first.
With high-performance servers, Bluehost allocates fewer users per server, and each receives a file count of 300,000 - that means more computing resources per user, constant loading speeds of the websites and less downtime due to out of control co-users!
As is common with all good things, there is a catch.
Their high-performance servers are only available with their Pro subscription, which is way more expensive than the rest of their shared web hosting plans.
I guess if you want good performance you have to pay for it.
To be honest, we have complete confidence in their servers. Our test site is only hosted on their Basic plan, but it's still 100% available as of April 2018!
Availability since April 2018
If their shared hosting servers can produce such availabilities, we can easily expect the same from their high performance servers.
4. Fantastic security features
When we talk about security, we don't just mean features that just protect your websites from diabolical, useless hackers.
We speak of security in the sense of peace of mind and a spam-free sanctuary of your brand new e-mail inbox.
But first, let's think about peace of mind.
You don't want to spend days, weeks, and months tweaking and tweaking your business websites to look perfect and fit for a spot on the Google homepage, only to load them up and find that someone screwed up and the entire website is gone.
To prevent this, Bluehost is making CodeGuard Basic available to its users - for € 2.99 per month.
The name sounds cool, but it's actually just a fancy name they came up with for their daily backup service. It's not bad at all - it monitors your website / database regularly, notifies you when there are changes and automatically performs backups.
The basic version offers 1 GB of storage space, daily backup and monitoring and 3 restores per month.
If you need more, CodeGuard is also available in Professional, Premium and Enterprise versions, but you have to be prepared to pay higher prices.
We promise you that Bluehost will not send anyone over to explain the differences between the different types of pork used in SPAM products.
Instead, SpamExperts is their name for an advanced email filter. It scans incoming email for spam, viruses, phishing and other email-related attacks from spammers and filters them with an incredible accuracy of 99.98% before they reach your inbox.
Basically, it helps your inbox stay squeaky clean and junk-free.
To really protect your website, Bluehost comes with a simple firewall that offers a minimal level of protection against external threats.
However, if you want more protection, you can get it in the form of SiteLock.
SiteLock comes in three levels: Essential, Prevent and Prevent Plus.
With Essential you can enjoy automatic malware removal that does nothing against DDOS attacks or other major threats.
With Prevent, the security level is increased a little with automatic malware removal, DDoS protection, 6-hour response time and ... image optimization. In all honesty, I don't know what image optimization has to do with safety, but it's a feature I wouldn't complain about.
Prevent Plus does everything Prevent can, but with the added benefit of having a daily scan frequency.
SiteLock isn't bad, but the thing is: all 3 come as add-ons, which means we'd have to spend more money to enjoy SiteLock's security. Come on Bluehost, you can afford to give your customers a little extra security for free!
5. Whole buffet of additional features
Gone are the days of carefully planning the number of websites you want to launch and the types of resources you can expect to use.
Bluehost's shared hosting plans come with all sorts of benefits, and the best part is that almost everything is unlimited! We speak of:
- Unlimited websites
- Unlimited SSD storage
- Unlimited parked domains
- Unlimited subdomains
- Inadequate bandwidth
You are basically free to create as many pages with it as you want! And you don't have to worry about the number of visitors to the page!
Be careful though - having too many visitors at the same time could use up too many resources and Bluehost is notorious for disabling / deleting rogue sites.
6. Support responds very quickly!
One of the most annoying things in life is waiting for support to not respond, especially when your side needs attention NOW.
While we were setting up our test page, we were pleased to see that the support via live chat is very responsive. We're used to waiting at least 15 minutes for a response on live chat, but the Bluehost support team always responded in less than 5 minutes.
We didn't try phone or email support because with the live chat responding so quickly these support options don't seem strictly necessary, although it's nice to have them for emergencies.
You don't need to worry about support in different time zones as Bluehost support is available 24/7.
Excellent work, team!
7. Free features that bring something
Some companies will try to get you to sign up for their service with superficial gifts. We're talking about those who market standard services as "free", such as "free" 24/7 support or "free" WordPress installation.
Not so with Bluehost.
With the all-American web hosting service provider, you get free bonuses that will actually be noticeable on your bank accounts.
With every shared host package purchased, Bluehost gives a domain name for free for the first year. To make things clear for you: Domain names can cost between € 7 and € 784 million - yes, you read that right. Here is the proof.
That said, you also get free SSL - that might not be a lot, but every little bit definitely helps make a difference for small business owners!
4 disadvantages of Bluehost
It is said that every rose has its thorns. Well, as it turns out, Bluehost is pretty thorny.
1. Bluehost only has 1 data center
We mentioned earlier that we were pretty impressed with how fast Bluehost's data center was working, and we still are.
However, every millisecond counts when it comes to how fast your page is loading, and we know they could actually do better if they had data centers on other continents to support audiences farther away.
They may have one of the best global average speeds of any web hosting service we've reviewed, but when another hosting provider like SiteGround has a data center in Asia, it goes without saying that their pages load faster for their resident audiences.
2. Badly trained interns
I hate to say that because we all start somewhere, but you really have to be wary of support reps who are still a little green behind the ears.
Bluehost doesn't really go out of their way to hide the fact that they are outsourcing their support team to India, which isn't a big deal anyway. I don't mind as long as they are efficient and fast.
But what I have a problem with is wrong advice from interns.
While setting up our test site, we asked the support team a very simple question:
"Does Bluehost offer us an uptime guarantee?"
Support didn't know what an uptime guarantee was.
Well, maybe it was a language problem. We explained what we want and their answer was YES, Bluehost has an uptime guarantee!
So we asked to be shown the terms of the warranty, and after going through them, it turned out that the provider doesn't actually give an availability guarantee at all.
Fortunately, that's only a minor problem. God forbid this young support professional is giving wrong advice on an important matter and doing real damage to our websites.
Bluehost, if you're reading this: School PLEASE your interns. This is unacceptable.
3. No uptime guarantee
After scolding about it at the previous point, I can't help but mention the lack of availability guarantee again here.
Downtime is pretty damaging to any website. You lose potential sales or conversions when your site has downtime, and if that happens enough, search engines may not even bother to list your website.
For this reason, an availability guarantee is important.
It shows you that the provider is committed to keeping your website running and that they are willing to compensate customers if the downtime is below a certain percentage.
Not having such a guarantee is a huge red flag.
That being said, we also have to praise Bluehost - their availability is actually fantastic, as the availability data collected from our test site shows.
It has been at 100% since April 2008. Quite an impressive achievement!
4. Shady checkout practices
I'm pretty sure anyone reading this knows the sleazy used car salesman who tries to trick you into things you don't really need just to increase your sales.
Buying something from Bluehost feels a bit similar.
A box for SEO tools and sitelock can be ticked at the checkout, which drives the price up to almost € 54 per year.
These things are nice-to-have, but completely unnecessary and unsuspecting buyers could just keep clicking and unknowingly making the purchase - which happened to me, for example.
Make sure these boxes are cleared before purchasing (unless, of course, you really want to purchase these features).
Bluehost Plans & Pricing
Bluehosts Shared Hosting comes in 3 plans - Basic, Choice Plus, and Pro.
Professional tip: Register for 36 months in order to benefit from lower prices, otherwise you will pay quite a bit more for extensions. The prices for renewals (monthly) are € 7.35, € 12.65 and € 21.10, in this order from Basic to Pro.
If you need VPS hosting, Bluehost's virtual private servers are sure to please you. Backed up with SSD storage, you'll enjoy all of the power, flexibility, and control you need for your VPS needs.
Plans range from $ 17 to $ 53.99 per month.
Bluehost's dedicated hosting plans allow their users to have unrestricted access to the servers. With their industry-leading, robust platform, you can enjoy high-performance, flexible hosting at reasonable prices.
Their dedicated hosting plans range from $ 71.99 to $ 107.99 per month.
How does Bluehost fare against the competition
Bluehost vs. SiteGround
So how do we compare Bluehost to SiteGround? Well, of course, via our server speed test. Let's see how they compare.
Immediately we can see that SiteGround's global average is already faster than Bluehost's by a whopping 16.1 ms!
16.1 ms is actually a very short amount of time if you think about it (a single blink takes around 100 ms for comparison) but as we mentioned before, every millisecond counts in web hosting, and 16.1 ms makes a HUGE difference in how fast one loads Website.
SiteGround also has the upper hand when it comes to data centers - they have 6 of these parts spread across 3 continents. So if you want to target an overseas audience, you can simply choose the server that is closest to them and you won't have to worry about sluggish response times.
Bluehost is also losing points because SiteGround uses their supercacher and optimized software to serve data quickly - things that Bluehost sorely misses in their arsenal.
Bluehost vs. Hostinger
In terms of pricing, Hostinger offers a lot more for the money because the pricing is much lower AND they have more features.
Our Hostinger test site uses their Premium Shared Hosting Plan, which costs just € 2.40 per month with the 48-month contract.
Bluehost's Basic Plan costs € 3.55 per month with their 36-month contract.
In short, Hostinger's Premium Plan is cheaper than Bluehost's Basic Plan.
Let's take a direct comparison at what each provider has to offer.
When it comes to data centers, Hostinger has the upper hand with 6 around the world, serving audiences everywhere.
Hostinger also has an uptime guarantee, a commitment to keep your site available, and has a localized support team that knows what they're doing!
On the other hand, we prefer Bluehost's custom UI over Hostinger's.
Conclusion: Bluehost is good, but not the best choice!
Just because we didn't choose Bluehost as the best web hosting brand doesn't mean they are not a good service provider.
They're actually pretty decent, offering enough speeds to their users worldwide to ensure their users' pages load fast enough to generate a healthy amount of sales.
With great usability and great UX, Bluehost is fantastic for beginners. Your WordPress recommendation should speak volumes about their service.
One thing we have to mention though is that Bluehost is still using cPanel, which is great for those who are used to it. Since cPanel increased their prices, most web hosting providers have chosen to drop cPanel, but so far nothing suggests Bluehost is dropping cPanel as well.
However, the lack of an availability guarantee annoyed us quite a bit, as most large providers have the courage to offer some kind of compensation if their users' pages are not accessible for a certain period of time.
The fact that companies pay for those who fail to deliver on their promises inspires confidence. Bluehost does just the opposite with no uptime guarantee ... What if the websites they host are down for a week?
Everyone can promise "Strive to maintain network and server availability" but it just means nothing if you can't reach into your pocket and pay the bills in an emergency.
Anyway, praise where praise is due. We have never had an issue with Bluehost's actual availability. In fact, the availability has been 100% on our test page since April 2018!
Our humble opinion is that Bluehost is a pretty strong hosting provider. They may not be the fastest and the best, but if all you want to do is host a simple website, they have all the tools you need to do it effectively.
- ✓ Fantastic speed
- ✓ Great UX
- ✓ Sufficient resources
- ✓ Free domain
- ✓ SpamExpert
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