SiteGround and Bluehost are two hosts known primarily for their shared hosting environments. SiteGround has a stronger presence in the Joomla community than Bluehost, but Bluehost has been around for a long time.
1. Company Info
SiteGround focuses on providing excellent server environments, helping customers from start to finish while giving them extra tools to help their website succeed. Bluehost has years of hosting experience, their consistency and business model have proved to work very well, and they are popular with the WordPress community.
Founded in 2003, SiteGround is located in Sofia, Bulgaria and they have over fifty employees. They host over 300,000 domains and have over 400,000 customers. Datacenters are spread throughout the world in USA, Singapore and Europe.
They are popular with Joomla users because of their stable server environment, extra security protection, speed and support.
Founded in 1996, Bluehost is located in Provo, Utah and they have over 200 employees. They host over 3.5 million domains and 2 million customers. Their datacenter is in Provo, Utah.
They are more popular in the WordPress community than the Joomla community. This is because of their 1-click installer SimpleScripts and helpful support.
2. Plans and Prices
SiteGround offers a variety of plans for websites of all size. Bluehost has VPS and Dedicated hosting but most people buy their shared hosting plan.
- Startup - $3.95/Mo. 1 website, 10GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, databases, ftp accounts, email accounts, free domain name.
- GrowBig - $7.95/Mo. Multiple websites, 20GB storage, priority support, SuperCacher, and 30 versions of backups stored. unlimited bandwidth, databases, ftp accounts, email, domain name. Priority support, SuperCacher, and 30 versions of backups stored.
- GoGeek - $14.95/Mo. 30GB storage, priority support, SuperCacher, and 30 versions of backups stored, less accounts on server, advanced hardware, Joomla and WordPress staging. Multiple websites, unlimited bandwidth, databases, ftp accounts, email, domain name.
- Entry plan Cloud 1 - $68.95/Mo. 2x2.0GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 40GB space, 1TB bandwidth.
- Top plan Cloud 4 - $138.95/Mo. 4x2.0GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 150GB space, 5TB bandwidth.
- Entry Server $229/Mo. - 4GB DDR3 RAM, Quad Core Processor, 500GB space, 5TB bandwidth.
- Top plan Enterprise Server - $429/Mo. - 16GB DDR3 RAM, Hexa Core Processor, 1GB space, 5TB bandwidth.
- Web Hosting $6.95/Month for unlimited storage, bandwidth, domains, unlimited email accounts.
- $6.95 for 12 Months
- $5.95 for 24 Months
- $4.95 for 36 Months
- VPS starts at $29.99/Month for 30GB storage, 1TB bandwidth, 1 domain name, and dedicated IP
- Dedicated hosting starts at $149.99/Month for 500GB storage, 5TB bandwidth, 1 domain name, 3 dedicated IP's.
3. Control Panel & User Experience
SiteGround and Bluehost both use cPanel as their control panel. Both do a good job of keeping populars tools and features easy to find at the top.
SiteGround uses Softaculous to manage Joomla installations. I prefer using the manual method, but Softaculous works great.
They have less advertising for services on the cPanel than Bluehost, but some of their services like Super Cacher requires upgrade from the base plan.
They have a unique set of tools that no other host has called 1H. 1H gives you access to data about the server resources. You can see response time, CPU usage, and Memory Usage. This information becomes useful if your site starts getting a ton of traffic and you need to switch plans.
Bluehost uses SimpleScripts for Joomla installation and management. Like I previously mentioned, I normally install with the manual method, but SimpleScripts works great. Bluehost developed SimpleScripts so you know it works with their servers.
There are more ad's on Bluehost cPanel with one big picture ad on the left sidebar and a section dedicated to both "Partners" and "Promotional".
Bluehost only unique tool is SimpleScripts. Everything else is either a 3rd party service or can be found on any cPanel. Some site statistic information is available but it's not unique to Bluehost.
4. Installing & Managing Joomla
The main difference with installation is which one-click installer you use. You won't have trouble on either host.
I had no issues installing Joomla at SiteGround. You can use Softaculous or install manually, you won't run into any server compatibility errors. You can run updates and manage various aspects of Joomla from within Softaculous.
If you need more assistance or just like talking to tech support during installation, you can call and have them walk you through the installation. They will also help you migrate, update or set up staging for your site.
Two reasons I like Joomla at SiteGround over Bluehost is because you have the option to stage your website (for redesign, upgrade, etc…) and you get free weekly backups.
I have also used Bluehost for hosting Joomla. I have never had an issue with installation at Bluehost. You can install using SimpleScripts or install manually, neither will return server compatibility errors. SimpleScripts will give you access to some basic options for managing your Joomla installation.
I have called Bluehost support more than any other host. They do a great job and will help you through all of the installation process.
Bluehost does not have a way to stage your Joomla site nor do they offer free backups (upgrade to pro for daily backups).
After testing both sites for speed and uptime I can tell you that SiteGround has superior speed but equal uptime to Bluehost.
SiteGround loads the test site quicker and does a better job at serving up pages than Bluehost. The average response time for this sites is 842ms average response time over a 6 month period. Uptime has floated around 99.77% for 6 months.
Bluehost comes up short in speed compared to SiteGround. The site I tested has an average response time of 1.2 seconds during a couple weeks of testing. Uptime is good. Since the test has only been running for a couple weeks, it has not had time to drop below 100%. It definitely will (because no host ever has 100% uptime), but I don't have the statistics yet.
6. Support Options
I can recommend both SiteGround and Bluehost because of their support. They both have 24/7 phone, chat and ticket support.
One of the most impressive features of SiteGround's ticket system is that they will get back to you in less than 10 minutes. I have seen this performed every time I submit a ticket so I know it's not just marketing. This beats waiting for reponse from Bluehost.
The phone support at SiteGround is great with a small downside. Some of the technicians are not good english speakers, so it can be hard to understand them.
Live chat is awesome and my favorite method of getting technical support. What makes SiteGround better is when you start a chat you will see the person's face of who your chatting with and their experience. This gives the process a personal touch.
The ticket system at Bluehost is decent. You will get a response usually within 24 hours. I hardly use this feature since chat and phone are faster.
Phone support works great. The support staff is friendly and they are always willing to help me with issues that are probably out of their pay-grade. I would say Bluehost beats out SiteGround in this regard.
Live chat is pretty good. It's not as instant or personal as SiteGround, but the support staff is still helpful and friendly.
SiteGround is better in my opinion. The reason I say that is because I can tell a big difference in speed when I'm working on websites on SiteGround vs websites on Bluehost. It makes it easier to code, write copy, clicking around in the backend, and, last but not least, visitors see your content quicker.