Hello friends, this article is dedicated to those who are deciding which web hosting company to choose, and those who are not happy with the services they receive from their current web hosting company.
To be honest with you, I was shocked at the big difference between these two hosting companies, particularly about my website loading time. It is really a huge difference.
A lot of bloggers recommend to start a website with Bluehost hosting company, even if their own websites are with other hosting companies. When I decided to start my blog, I trusted these recommendations and I signed up with this company, which was the biggest mistake during my blogging experience. You can’t even imagine how much I struggled with them.
I am that type of people who usually check all different sources before buying something. I checked reviews on Bluehost, and mostly all of them were positive. Looking back, I don’t know: either they were deleting all bad reviews, or people just don’t know that they can get something much better for the money they pay. I struggled for almost three months withBluehost, so I want to write my honest experience about both Bluehost and SiteGround.
1. Page loading time.
Loading time is very important. When I was with Bluehost, my website was loading too slowly… It was so hard to upload new information on the website and to simply customize my theme. I was building my blog by watching YouTube tutorial videos. I have noticed that something was not right when, on the YouTube videos, changes on the tutorial website were being applied way faster than on my website. In order to upload a simple post, it was taking me four times longer than what it takes me now with SiteGround.
I started opening three windows of my website in parallel and uploading different posts on each of them at the same time, and when one window was loading, I was working on another window. This was helping me not to waste my time waiting…
When I moved to SiteGround, it was working like magic. Everything was loading very fast. My website is very simple, compared to websites with a lot of videos and advertising. I don’t have any videos and I didn’t have any advertising at that time. The sizes of all my photos were properly optimized, so the average loading time for this type of website should be 2 to 4 seconds, and this is the loading speed which I am getting now with SiteGround. When I was using Bluehost, the loading time was varying too much – sometimes it was 4 seconds (the shorter time), but sometimes it was taking up to 41 seconds to open my website. Can you imagine this difference? The average loading time for some pages was 15 seconds. How many website visitors would wait so long for a page to open? According to statistics, website visitors are not willing to wait longer than 4 seconds to open some page/article.
Check your website loading time, it is so easy and free. You just need to use GTmetrix, enter your website and check what is happening behind the scene. You will see a lot of information and details about your website. It will help you a lot.
Both companies have a phone and live chat customer support. But there is really a big difference in their support services.
Waiting time to get your call answered: you can wait up to 45 minutes for your call to be answered. Usually, it took me in average around 20-25 minutes to wait on the line. On the top of that, they were putting me on hold most of the time for an extra 10-15 minutes during the call. My husband used to laugh because I could even memorize their automatic greeting voice message since I used to call them too often. As for the live chat, I tried it just once and it took me around 15 minutes to get somebody to answer me.
Customer service representatives’ competence: it depends. Some of them were very competent, but some of them knew less than me. I had to explain to them what means what. I had conversations with some guys who were really very professional and willing to help. But most of them just wanted to end the call even without solving my issues. At the end of my “journey” with them, I was really angry because of the continuous problems with the speed of my website, so I was calling them to fix it. Every time, I was wasting almost one hour of my time between explaining them about the issues I have, and then waiting for them to run some tests on my website, and then put on hold for some time, to hear at the end that they just conclude that they can’t do anything anymore and I should contact my web developer to solve my problems. When I used to spend so many hours on the phone with the customer support, and I used to call them almost every day, it looked like they were helping me and trying to fix my problems. In reality, they just wasted my time. My problem is not solved at the end of the call and it will never be solved because their server is overloaded with thousands of other websites. You might pay a bit less than another hosting, but you receive the low quality.
Waiting time to get your call answered: I called them so many times and I never waited more than 3 minutes. It was so pleasant. As for the live chat, I never tried it because I never needed to.
Customer service representatives’ competence: Some of them are very competent, but some of them just try to direct me to their tutorials as soon as they can. If Bluehost reps were wasting my time to perform a million tests, at least over here with SiteGround they don’t. I need to push them sometimes to run some test one more time. The first thing they are ready to do is to send me a tutorial on how to fix the problem I have. Otherwise, they ask me to create a support ticket, and then it usually takes maximum 20 minutes to solve my issue and get back to me.
To be honest with you, I am very happy with their support. I am very happy that they are not creating any problems for me like I had before.
This is the most appropriate way to title this paragraph.
They have an additional paid service to optimize your website. Every time I called them about the speed problem of my website, they were running tests and offering me their paid service. The reality is that the speed problem was because of their shared server. So many websites were sharing the same server, therefore when it was a rush time and there were too many visitors on the server at the same time, my website was loading slowly, and when there were fewer visitors to the other websites of the shared server, my website was loading faster, but still not so fast. They were lying to me for more than two months claiming that I have problems on my website, which was causing the loading time to jump up and down. They suggested to contact WordPress web developers, and guess what, some WordPress web developer answered me that even if the company is big and well known, it doesn’t have to be the best every time, so change your hosting company and you will not have these problems anymore. Of course, I said that to Bluehost customer support and they finally admitted that the speed problem is in their shared server, not on my website. The problem was because my website was sharing a server with thousands of other websites, and this was affecting my loading speed. After that, I started searching for another hosting company until I found SiteGround. On the photo below, you can see my website loading speed after I moved my website hosting to them.
SiteGround: They do not try to sell you anything. They are honest with you. If you have any issue with them, they try to help you to fix it. If they cannot do it over the phone, or if it might take long, they ask you to create a support ticket, then they work on solving your issue and they let you know once solved. If you have any problems with optimization, they suggest you download their own optimization plugin to optimize your website for free, so you don’t have to go to any paid service.
You can check your server loading time really easy. As I have mentioned before, just go to GTmetrix and enter your web address. Then GTmetrix will analyze your website and display you a detailed performance report. Click on Waterfall tab and check the first line. The first line is what you need to check – how long it takes to connect to your server to load your website. You can see this circled in red on the screenshot below. In my case, it took 312 ms (less than half a second).
Original price for the shared hosting starts from $7.99 per month, but you can buy it with discount starting from $2.75 per month if you sign up for a three years agreement. This is the price I was paying. Actually, the discount depends from which link you open the Bluehost website. Their affiliate team made different discounts for different people, ranging from $2.75 to $3.99 per month for the three years commitment. On the photo below, you can see the discounted prices for their shared hosting.
Instead of the different discounts for each person, you have one steady price for new members. On the photo below, you will see their prices for the shared hosting.
Very important notice – you will have the same speed, it does not depend on which plan you choose. The difference will be in their additional services, which you can check in details on their website.
With Bluehost, when I wanted to upgrade my plan for cloud hosting for example for eight months so I don’t lose the money that I paid for 3 years and only used for less than three months, Bluehost refused to upgrade me for less than 12 months. Also, they refused to give me the discounted price of $6.95 per month. First, they tried to sell me the Business Pro plan for $25.99 per month. There is totally no difference between the speeds of these plans, it’s just about additional services. I didn’t need this expensive plan, so I asked to talk just about the Starter plan for $6.95, which they offered me for $11.95, and that was more expensive than their original price without discount ($9.99). When I asked about the price difference, they explained it that the $9.99 is just for new customers, and $6.95 is if a new customer wants to sign up for three years, but as I am not a new customer, it will be $11.95.
Of course, I wasn’t ready to pay any extra money for that company and take the risk to struggle and be disappointed again. They said it should be twice faster than the shared hosting, but average 7.5 seconds loading time per article was still longer than my goal.
So I just left them and moved to SiteGround. The price is three times cheaper than the cloud hosting. My website loads fast, I don’t need to do any optimization or contact any web developer or anything at all.
I am very happy with the SiteGround services. If you don’t want to have problems with your website and you’re seeking a peace of mind, choose a good web hosting company.