If you're confused about which web host provider to use for your WordPress website 2021, hopefully, this comparison post will help you out.
In the ten years that I've been online, I've used quite a few web hosting companies for my websites.
In this comparison post, I want to focus on just three popular web host providers: SiteGround, Bluehost, and HostGator. I've had quite a bit of experience with all three hosts, so let's begin.
Finding the right hosting provider for your needs is important, especially when there are quite a few to choose from out there. So spending a little bit of time doing your research will go a long way.
When choosing the right web host for your website, you should look for three vital things.
I've put 'affordability' at the bottom for a simple reason. I see so many folks getting started online using the cheapest web hosting they can find.
You've heard the phrase, you get what you pay for, right?
Well, sometimes it pays to pay a little more, especially if you want to get the best possible service for your website.
Moreover, if you're trying to build a personal brand or small business, you really don't want to start with the 'cheap' mindset.
If you want further advice on finding the best hosting provider for your website, check out this detailed post.
OK, so once again, the three popular web host providers we're going to compare in this post are:
All three of these hosting providers are household names in the WordPress community.
Bluehost and SiteGround are currently WordPress's top choice for PHP and MySQL web hosting.
However, what you really want to know is - Which web host should you use, right? So let's get cracking!
Which web host to use???
Or, what is, in my opinion, the most reliable, secure, and affordable web host provider?
Hopefully, after you've read through my comparison post here, much of it based on my own personal experiences with these three hosting companies, you'll be able to make a better decision as to which hosting company to use for your website or blog project.
Let's get cracking.
Before we get started, I want to share some knowledge that I think you should know about.
As I mentioned, HostGator and Bluehost are common household names in the world of WordPress and web hosting.
Both of these hosting companies are divisions of a much larger corporation.
Bluehost and HostGator are owned by the EIG Group (Endurance International Group).
I know what you're thinking - So what?
Well, over the years, EIG-owned companies such as Bluehost and HostGator have received several complaints from its customers regarding degraded or 'below average services.'
In fact, there's probably quite a number of complaints and negative feedback!
The reason being is that EIG owns over sixty other hosting brands, some of them good, most of them pretty bad, sadly.
And, that's not just my opinion either. Just go ahead and do a quick search online and you'll soon find an abundance of complaints produced by customers using an EIG hosting brand.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want to honest and transparent with you.
Whilst both Bluehost and HostGator appear to be separate companies offering different levels of services and prices, they're both owned by the same mothership hosting company (EIG), so consider this for the future.
SiteGround is a completely independent hosting company.
They haven't been around for as long as Bluehost or HostGator. However, they are certainly a web host provider with a lot of credibility and respect.
Over the years, they have achieved enormous popularity, which has made them one of the best hosting providers in the business.
OK, so now let's dive deeper into each of these three WordPress web host providers and compare them.
Rather than just talk about features alone, I'll try and share with you the unique benefits of using each hosting company.
Let's get to it.
Let's with Bluehost because Bluehost is where it all started for me in 2010.
They were one of the recommended hosting providers on the WordPress.org site, and they still are today in 2021.
Services Offered - Bluehost offers domains, shared hosting packages, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, WooCommerce hosting, and enhanced WordPress hosting with a one-click installation feature.
Reliability & Security - When I began using Bluehost back in 2010, they were, without a doubt, incredibly reliable. Easily the best in the business, I might add.
Uptime was excellent too. The first couple of years, I experienced only 1 downtime, and that was when the company was installing some new upgrades, but nothing much to complain about.
From around 2013 and onwards, uptime and the general grade of the service I received from Bluehost became something of an issue.
In my final year of using Bluehost for web hosting, I, including hundreds of their customers, experienced frequent and prolonged downtimes.
On 1st April 2014, my website experienced downtime for 3 whole days, with no real explanation from Bluehost other than they knew about the problem and were trying to fix whatever issue was going on.
Many customers were experiencing the same downtime issue; however, I can't speak for them; I realize that.
That kind of became the normal thing; thereafter, Bluehost was frequently trying to solve some kind of downtime issue.
I used this tool to calculate the uptime I was experiencing from Bluehost over a 12 month period, minus all the downtimes.
It turned out that my site was experiencing an uptime score of 99.20%.
Most people would argue, well, that's not really a big deal. But consider this, I've been with SiteGround for over 5 years now, and I've yet to experience significant downtime.
On April 16th, 2014, my blog was unreachable due to another downtime; I sent out a tweet about this and mentioned @bluehost.
As normal, they knew about it and were working on it, and folks, that was the last straw for me.
Shortly after, I began looking for a web host company.
When it comes to security, Bluehost is still pretty solid in my opinion.
In my time using them, I've only experienced one occasion where an attempt was made to hack into my site, which I guess really doesn't have anything to do with Bluehost. WordPress sites are notorious for getting hacked into
Luckily, the Bluehost tech team were on the case before I could even bring it to their attention.
Uptime & page load response time
**View Bluehost page load speed and uptime for the last 8 months here.
Affordability - Bluehost is not the cheapest around, but still reasonably affordable when you see what they have to offer. Their technology and infrastructure have improved in recent years.
According to their website, what you get is unmetered and unlimited everything. That sounds awesome, doesn't it?
Shared hosting starts from $7.99 per month ($3.99 with their current 2020 Black Friday Offer) for a Basic plan, whilst their Prime plan will set you back $14.99 per month ($5.95 with their current 2020 special offer).
If you're just starting out, the basic plan should be ample enough for you.
Customer service and technical support - On all the occasions that I've used Bluehost customer service, they have been very responsive, well mannered, and ready to assist. I cannot fault them for this.
They answer chat requests fairly quickly and are pretty good at solving small issues and minor technical problems.
I found, however, that the more technical the issue was for the Bluehost team, they would struggle to resolve a problem quickly.
On one occasion, I remember experiencing some problems with my site CPU throttling my hosting account.
The only option Bluehost had to offer me at the time was to upgrade and pay more money for a VPS plan. They insisted, in fact.
I signed up for a VPS account paying $35 per month for almost 12 months...
When I migrated over to SiteGround, I later learned that I didn't actually need a VPS plan at all. All I had to do was optimize my site, delete a few redundant plugins, and clean up my database.
Bluehost offers 24/7 support via live chat, support ticket, and telephone. They also use Twitter to provide help and support. Sometimes their support feed is fun to read, especially the comments left from disgruntled customers. But, it's something they offer and respond to very well.
Facts and stats about Bluehost - Here are some interesting things I found about Bluehost.
Final words - Bluehost continues to be one of the most popular hosting providers in the business. And despite my 'not so great' experience with them in previous years, they are a good place to start your small blog or website project.
I would recommend Bluehost to anyone starting out for the first time, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to upgrade to them from another hosting company.
With a brand new website, you can't really go wrong with Bluehost. However, if you have a much larger website or blog, I'd be reluctant to recommend them as the main host. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's just my opinion.
I give Bluehost a respectable score of 3.9 out of 5.0. A bit more if it wasn't for the frequent downtimes.
OK, so I've not used HostGator for as long as I've used Bluehost; I want to get that off my chest right away.
HostGator are hugely popular. One of the most used hosting providers in the business and blogging community.
I started a second blog project way back in 2011 called Online Income Journal. This blog was hosted on HostGator's Hatchling Plan.
This was only a small project that really only lasted for about a year before I decided to kill it off.
Online Income Journey didn't have much in the way of traffic either, around 20 visits per day at most.
Anyhow, during my short time with HostGator, I did experience good all-around service. So that means reliable hosting and good customer service; however, their billing structure sucked slightly.
Services offered - HostGator offers shared hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated WordPress hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers and domain names.
Reliability - Even though I was a customer of HostGator for only about 16 months, I was generally impressed with the reliability of their service.
I experienced zero downtime with my site during its short life, so I never really had the chance to properly use or experience their customer support.
The signup process was fairly straightforward with HostGator.
Once you're in, you have access to a similar setup as with Bluehost, with cPanel and smart web developing tools, and of course, that one-click install feature for first-time WordPress users.
Uptime and page load response time
**View HostGator page load speed and uptime for the last 8 months here.
Affordability - HostGator is one of the most affordable web host providers around.
Their prices start from $3.95 per month for a Hatchling Plan for shared hosting on a 36-month plan.
There's also a Baby Plan and a Business Plan as well, all with unmetered bandwidth.
In addition to already being very cost-effective, HostGator frequently hosts special offers throughout the year, such as Black Friday.
Customer service and technical support - As I said, I've not had to contact customer support often regarding their service or any issues with my personal blog project. At the most, I got in touch with a technical support rep at Hostgator once, via online chat and my experience was OK.
That being said, HostGator offers support via Live Chat, phone, or fax. You can also write to them directly using conventional mail should you wish.
Facts and stats about HostGator - Here are some interesting facts about HostGator.
Final words - Just to be clear once again, I haven't been a customer of HostGator for long enough to really score them properly.
I've heard mixed feelings about the quality of the service they provide over the years from people I have connected with in my blog community.
However, from my short time with them, HostGator has been a great host, and I would recommend them to anyone starting out with a small website or personal blog project.
I give HostGator a respectable 4.5 out of 5.0.
So, we've come full circle to SiteGround.
SiteGround is the hosting provider I'm currently using for Magnet4Blogging, and I have been since May of 2014. I switched from Bluehost, as I mentioned earlier.
So how did SiteGround get onto my radar?
If you remember, I mentioned earlier that I tweeted about my frustration with regards to Bluehost being down.
Well, someone over at SiteGround had noticed. And after showing their empathy, they recommended a better solution.
After a quick, friendly chat with one of their sales team members, I signed up for 12 months plan with SiteGround, and they even migrated my site over for me all within a day.
How about that for service?
Services offered - SiteGround offers shared, cloud, reseller hosting, dedicated servers and domain names, and website migration.
On their shared hosting plan they offer three tiers. StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek.
I started from the Grow Big Plan in 2014, then moved to Go Geek in 2017. In 2019 I moved over to SiteGround's cloud hosting.
If you're just starting your blog or website, the StartUp plan should be more than enough. If you're thinking of migrating, and depending on your site's size, you might want to consider the Grow Big or Go Geek plan.
Reliability - SiteGround claims to provide 99.9 percent server uptime on their website.
However, I'm happy to report that in the last 5 years of using them, I've actually experienced 100 percent server uptime!
So, do I think they're reliable? 100%. No pun intended there 🙂
As for performance and security, SiteGround thrives on the robustness and security of their service. With SDD, latest speed technologies, free SSL, auto-updates, firewall rules, and monitoring with daily backup added to their service.
Uptime and page load response time
**View SiteGround page load speed and uptime for the last 8 months here.
Affordability - SiteGround, like Bluehost, isn't the cheapest web host provider on the web. What is affordable or cheap to one person is completely another thing for someone else, right?
Like I said, you're either willing to pay peanuts for poor service or a higher premium for more reliable service. And I know that sometimes you can pay MORE and expect reliable service, but actually, end up getting peanut level service.
The StartUp plan with SiteGround will set you back $9.95 per month (Currently, there's a 70% off deal with SiteGround over Black Friday, which means you pay only $3.95 per month) for a 12 month period.
The Grow Big plan will set you back $14.95 per month (The current offer is $5.95 per month), and the GoGeek plan will set you back $29.95 per month (The current offer is $11.95).
Click here to learn about the latest SiteGround Sale deals.
Customer service and technical support - SiteGround provides customer service and technical support through phone, chat, or ticket.
I've only ever had to contact SiteGround technical support a few times in the last five years.
The reason for contacting them recently was regarding CPU throttling problems that I was experiencing on my account, much like Bluehost.
However, unlike Bluehost, they didn't tell me that I needed to upgrade my account or pay more money to get a better service, phew...
What they did was help me to identify where the problem was coming from, although they didn't subscribe a solution.
I was later able to identify a simple setting in the WP theme I was using, which was causing the high CPU throttling.
I give SiteGround customer team and technical support a big thumbs up, simply for the fact that they were willing to help me out before telling me that I needed to pay more money for improved service.
With SiteGround, you also get access to a host of resources, including tutorial videos, webinars, and there's even a setup wizard for new folks.
Facts and stats about SiteGround - Here are some interesting stats about SiteGround.
Final words - I'll remind you that SiteGround isn't a cheap option, and if you join them at a discounted rate, don't expect that discount to continue through when you renew your hosting service with them in a year. I certainly noticed how my hosting bill went up by a whopping $80 in the second year. I'm now paying that same premium every month for cloud hosting.
That being said guys and dolls, I recommend them wholeheartedly!
If you don't mind paying a little extra for peace of mind and reliable web hosting with state of the art security, then get with SiteGround, it's simple.
Let them take care of hosting your site securely so that you can get on with what's more important, building your blog or online business.
I give SiteGround a respectable 4.8 out of 5.
Whether you choose to use a web hosting company with a household name like Bluehost, or an independent company like SiteGround to host your WordPress website, there are a few things you have to keep in mind, as I've outlined in this post.
Don't just go for the cheapest option and be done with it, and don't go for the most popular provider because that's what everyone else is doing.
Consider your options carefully. Do your research carefully. Figure out exactly what YOU need. Hopefully, this post will have helped you a little bit.
Weigh out the facts and stats before finalizing, which the hosting provider can use for your future website or blog project.
I hope you've enjoyed reading through this web hosting comparison guide, and that you've found it useful.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me in the comment section below, or drop me an email here.
The best of luck 🙂
** Screen captures of test site page load and uptime reports. Test sites were set up using Pingdom by HostingFacts.com
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the links in this review post are affiliate links. If you choose to use any of the affiliate links above to purchase web hosting, I will be paid a small commission in return at no additional cost to you. Thank you in advance for your continued support, as this helps me ensure that Magne4Blogging continues to provide you with valuable information.