I’m not one for writing posts about web hosting companies, however I’ve been getting a few emails from some of the Magnet4Blogging readers asking who I currently use, and would I recommend using X, Y and Z hosting company.
Since I’ve used quite a few of them in my time, here goes…
When it comes to finding a reliable web host provider for your website or blog, these days there’s quite a few to choose from right?
If you’re new to websites, web hosting or setting up WordPress in general, don’t be alarmed by it all as it’s really not that technical. Although there’s some people out there that will want you to think that it’s all too technical.
Do check out my in-depth tutorial guide on getting setup with WordPress here if you need to, I make it as easy as possible to understand and take action upon.
OK so when choosing the right web host for the job, you really need to remember three essential things.
1. Credibility and reliability of the hosting company.
2. Security of your website with X, Y or Z host.
I’ve put ‘affordability’ last, simply because I see way too many folks starting online looking for the cheapest option available.
You’ve heard the phrase, you get what you pay for right?
Well sometimes it pays to pay a little more, if you want to get the best possible service.
OK so moving on. You may have heard folks talking about the three web host providers I’ll be sharing and comparing today. Bluehost, HostGator and SiteGround.
HostGator and Bluehost are household names in the web hosting world, however SiteGround is getting extremely popular as they grow.
What you need to know however, is the answer to the following question:
Well hopefully after you’ve read my ‘honest’ comparison post here, much of it based on my own personal experiences with these three companies, you’ll be able to make a better decision as to which one to use, so let’s get cracking.
Before we get started, I want to explain the situation with Bluehost and HostGator quickly.
As I mentioned, HostGator and Bluehost are common household names in the world of web hosting. Both of these companies are also divisions of a much larger corporation.
Bluehost and HostGator are owned by the EIG Group (Endurance International Group), and for most people who have experienced any ‘below average service’ from an EIG owned hosting company, that can be an instant turn off.
Well because EIG also owns over sixty other hosting brands, some of them are good, but judging by the number of complaints made online, and the number of ‘not so positive reviews’ as well, most of them appear not to be so great.
Whilst both Bluehost and HostGator are separate companies offering different levels of services and prices, they’re both owned by the same mother ship hosting company if you like.
SiteGround on the other hand are independent, they haven’t been around for as long as the two above mentioned companies granted, but they are certainly a web host provider gaining a lot of traction, popularity, respect and authority, and certainly one to consider using.
OK so now let’s dive deeper into these three popular WordPress web host providers. Let’s look at what each one has to offer, some of the critical elements before deciding on which one to use.
WordPress Hosting with Bluehost
I want to start with Bluehost, only because I’ve had over 5 years experience with using this web host myself. I started my blogging venture with Bluehost way back in 2009, it was one of the recommended hosting sites on the WordPress.org site, and it’s still is.
Services Offered – Bluehost offers domains, shared hosting packages, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, WooCommerce hosting and WordPress hosting with one-click installation feature.
Reliability & Security – I’m going to be as honest as possible here. When I began using Bluehost back in 2009, they were without a doubt incredibly reliable.
Uptime I would comfortably say was around the 99.89% for the first few years at least. I did experience of few occasions of downtime due to the company installing new upgrades and what not, but nothing much to complain about at the time.
Over the last few years of using Bluehost however uptime became something of an issue. In the final year myself including many other customers of Bluehost I’d imagine, was experiencing very frequent and longer downtimes.
In April 2014 my website went down for 3 whole days, with no real explanation from Bluehost other than they were trying to fix some problem.
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%.
Check out the tweet I sent out to the company below:
That’s when I began searching for an alternative host. I just couldn’t handle any more downtimes that frequently. Although it took me almost a year to find a better web host provider.
When it comes to security, Bluehost are pretty solid I think. I’ve only experienced one occasion where an attempt was being made to hack my site, luckily the Bluehost team was on the case before I even brought 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 nevertheless reasonably affordable when you weigh up what you get (minus the poor uptime), which according to their website is unlimited everything.
Shared hosting starts from $7.99 per month, whilst optimised hosting for WordPress starts from around $24.99 per month.
If you’re starting your first WordPress blog or website, personally you don’t need to waste your money on paying $24.99 per month. $7.99 will do fine as that is the smallest package option they offer on shared hosting plan.
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. They answer chat requests fairly quickly and are pretty good at solving small issues and minor technical problems.
I found however that more technical related issues was a problem for Bluehost, and often I’d leave the live chat without having having a problem properly solved.
On one occasion I was experiencing some major problems with my site CPU throttling my hosting account. The only option Bluehost had to offer me was to upgrade and pay more money for a VPS plan, they insisted in fact.
I later found out that I didn’t actually need a VPS plan. All I had to do was optimise my site, delete a few plugins and clean up my database. Maybe I’d caught them on an off day.
Bluehost offers 24/7 support via live chat, support ticket and telephone. They also use Twitter to provide help and support.
Facts and stats about Bluehost – Here are some interesting things to learn about Bluehost.
- Bluehost hosts over 2% of all the domain names in use on the internet. – Source.
- Bluehost powers over 2 million websites worldwide.
- Bluehost has 73% positive user sentiment – Source.
Final words – Bluehost despite being one of the most popular names in shared web hosting, isn’t the best. They’re not the worst either in my experience. I would recommend Bluehost to anyone starting out for the first time.
You can’t really go wrong with a small personal blog or small website for your business hosted on Bluehost. If you have a much larger site or blog however, I’d be reluctant to have it hosted with Bluehost.
I give Bluehost a respectable score of 3.9 Stars out of 5.0 Stars. A bit more if it wasn’t for the frequent downtimes that I personally experienced.
If you want to give Bluehost a try for your WordPress website hosting, click here. (Disclaimer below this post).
WordPress hosting with HostGator
OK so I’ve not used HostGator for as long as I’ve used Bluehost. I started a second blog way back in 2011 called Online Income Journal, hosted on HostGator’s Hatchling Plan.
This was just a small personal blog that really only lasted for about a year and a bit before I killed it off. It didn’t have much in the way of traffic either, around 50 visits per day.
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 quite impressed with the reliability of their service. I experienced zero downtime with my site during it’s life, and so never really had the chance to use their customer support properly.
The signup process was fairly straight forward with HostGator, and once you’re in you have a similar setup to Bluehost, with cPanel access and smart web developing tools, and of course 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 I think, with prices starting from $3.95 per month for a Hatchling Plan for shared hosting on a 36 month plan.
There’s also a Baby Plan and an Business Plan as well all with unmetered bandwidth.
In addition to already being cost effective, HostGator frequently hosts special offers throughout the year.
Customer service and technical support – As I said I’ve never had to contact customer support regarding their service or any issues with my personal site. That being said, HostGator offers support via Live Chat, phone or fax. You can also write to them directly using conventional mail.
Facts and stats about HostGator – Here are some interesting facts about HostGator.
- HostGator was given Best Customer Service award in 2010. Source.
- HostGator was given Best Small Business Hosting award in 2011. Source.
Final words – Just to be clear again, I’ve not been a customer of HostGator for long enough to really say yes they’re worth your time and money, or no avoid them like the plague. I’ve heard mixed feelings about the service over the years.
However from my short time with them, HostGator have been a great host and I would recommend them to anyone starting out with a small website or blog project perhaps.
I give HostGator a respectable 4.2 Stars out of 5.0 Stars. Click here to learn more about HostGator.
WordPress hosting with SiteGround
So SiteGround is the company I’m currently using to host Magnet4Blogging with, and I have been since May of 2015. I switched from Bluehost as I mentioned earlier.
SiteGround had noticed one of my Tweet’s about my frustration with Bluehost, and they acted upon it by responding. The result was that I ended up signing up for 12 months with SiteGround, and they even migrated my site over.
Services offered – SiteGround offers shared, cloud and reseller hosting, dedicated servers and domain names, website migration.
On their shared hosting plan they offer three tiers. StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek.
Currently I’m on a GrowBig plan myself, but if you’re developing your blog or website from scratch, the StartUp plan will give you plenty enough resources.
Reliability – SiteGround claims to provide 99.9 percent server uptime on their website. I’m happy to report however, that in the last 15 months of using them, I’ve experienced 100 percent server uptime. So if you were to ask me are they reliable?
Yes, 100% would be my answer.
As for performance and security, SiteGround thrives on the robustness and secureness of their service, with SDD, latest speed technologies, free SLL, autoupdates, 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 again like Bluehost aren’t the cheapest web host providers on the web. But 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 a poor service, or a higher premium for a more reliable service.
The Grow Big plan will set you back $14.95 per month, and the GoGeek plan will set you back $29.95 per month.
Customer service and technical support – SiteGround provides customer service and technical support through means of phone, chat or ticket.
I’ve only ever had to contact SiteGround technical support once, regarding CPU throttling problems that I was experiencing on my account.
Unlike Bluehost, they didn’t tell me I needed to upgrade my account or pay more money to increase performance of my hosting. They helped me to identify where the problem was coming from, although they didn’t succeed in finding a solution.
I was later able to identify a setting in my current theme 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’re willing to help you before telling you that you need to pay more money for improved service.
With SiteGround you also have 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’s some interesting stats about SiteGround.
- SiteGround have data centres in three Continents. USA, Europe and Asia.
- From my own findings, I’ve managed to achieve 100% uptime from SiteGround in the last 15 months.
Final words – SiteGround isn’t cheap again, and if you join them at a discount rate, don’t expect that discount to continue when you renew your hosting service with them in a year’s time. I certainly noticed how my hosting bill went up by $100 in the second year.
That being said, I recommend them if you don’t mind paying a little bit more for peace of mind web hosting, leaving you to get on to do one thing. Build your blog or your business as you should be.
I personally give SiteGround a respectable 4.7 Stars out of 5 Stars.
Whether you choose to use a house hold name web hosting company, or an independent company to host your WordPress website, there’s a few things you have to keep in mind as I’ve mentioned in this post.
Don’t just go for the cheapest option and be done with it, don’t go for the most popular provider because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Consider your options, weigh out the facts and stats before finalising on which host to use for your future website or blog project.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this post. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section below, or drop me an email.
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 contained in this comparison article are affiliate links pointing to web hosts that I’ve used and therefore recommend. 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. I thank you in advance for your continued support.