Why We Switched To SiteGround from BlueHost for Our Website Hosting

by | Jan 26, 2017 | 0 comments

This post contains affiliate links.  For more information on this, please see our disclosures.

We periodically evaluate all of the tools and services that we are using in our business and determine if they are still serving our needs or if we are better off migrating/upgrading to a new option.  Earlier this year we were getting fed up with issues with our website hosting and decided to move all of our websites to a new host.  After doing a lot of evaluation, we decided to move all of our websites from BlueHost to SiteGround.

Our History With Websites

I actually have a degree in computer science but didn’t do a whole lot with building websites.  More often than not I was building software applications.

When I co-founded a technology consulting company, my co-founder suggested that we build our website with Joomla, which is a content management system.  We used Joomla and hosted it with HostMonster.

When I decided to sell my half of that company and move on to open our wine and liquor store, I needed to create a website for the store.  After doing some research online, it seemed like everyone was recommending BlueHost, so I went with them instead of HostMonster.

The Struggles That We Had With BlueHost

One of the things that first lured me to BlueHost was the low monthly hosting cost (only $2.95/month).  Seriously, who could beat that deal?

Well, that was the lowest tier option.  I ended up needed to use their middle tier, which was $5.95.  This was still very cheap, but double what I initially expected.

A nice perk when signing up was they allowed you to register a new domain name for free (which will save you ~$10 the first year).

I then ran into the surprise of having to pay for the entire year of hosting at once.  So I initially thought that I was only going to have to pay $2.95 each month, but instead, I had to pay $72 that day.  Also, in order to get the $3.95 rate,  I had to sign up for 3 years of hosting.  So instead of paying the $2.95 that I thought I would pay that day to get website hosting, I ended up having to pay $142 that day.

BlueHost Hosting Receipt

At the end of the day, it was not a big deal, but I wanted to share the experience of signing up for a new web host so that you would know what to expect.  Most web hosts make you pay annually upfront, this is not specific to BlueHost.

So after purchase and everything was OK for a bit, but over time the issues starting piling up:

-Our website seemed like it was going down every few days (people could not access it)
-BlueHost customers support was not very helpful with either the downtime issues or others that arose
-Speed of loading the websites was pretty slow

With all of these issues, you may be wondering why during my initial search there were so many people recommending it.  Why would so many people recommend it if the service was so poor?

Well, it comes down to incentives.  You see, many bloggers and people who “make money online” do so through something known as affiliate marketing.  Basically, they promote products and services, and if someone purchases the product/service through their affiliate link, they get a commission (cut of the sale).

Now, I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with affiliate marketing.  In fact, we use it as one of the revenue streams for this business and are very transparent about it.  In fact, we started off this post telling you that there were affiliate links in this post.  If you sign up for one of the services recommended in this post, we will get a percentage of the sale as a commission (at not additional cost to you).

The problem comes in through when people put themselves and their affiliate earnings ahead of their customers.  Many people in the online space will promote any product or service as long as it pays well.

One very popular blogger in the “make money online” space has done very well being an affiliate for BlueHost.  In fact, last month this person made $40,000+ in affiliates from BlueHost, which was nearly half of their affiliate income for the month.

Because so many people follow this person, they then look to add affiliate income as a way for them to make money.  So they go and become an affiliate and start promoting the program.

Again, there is nothing wrong with affiliate marketing if done ethically.  The challenge is some people don’t share the negatives and maybe promote a product that pays the highest affiliate commissions, not necessarily which one is best for people.

And after looking, this is why I was seeing everyone promote BlueHost.  In fact, I did the same thing early on in ignorance.

The reason that we are creating this post is to share our experience and provide you with a deeper look into the reasons that we left BlueHost and switched to SiteGround.  If you decide that this information is valuable and you decide to host your website with SiteGround, then we will make a commission.  We are not just promoting SiteGround just to make money.  We, in fact, went through and moved all of our websites over to it earlier this year and have been much happier with it.

Early On

Initially, things were fine with BlueHost.  BlueHost, like most other shared hosting providers, offers you a cPanel.  This is a dashboard/menu which allows you access to a lot of different tools for managing your website.

Website Hosting cPanel

BlueHost also offers “shared hosting”, which means that you can have multiple websites with a single account.  This is pretty common and is a nice feature for keeping your costs low, especially early on in your business when your website doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

Essentially what they do is make any additional websites after your first a subdomain of your first website.  So with our main website being SerialStartups.co, any other websites that we have (ex. SylvesterEnt.com) would become a subdomain (SylvesterEnt.SerialStartups.co).

This can be very useful when you’re first starting.

The Troubles Begin

The first (and major problem) that we had with BlueHost was the fact that our website kept going down.

As you can see in the screenshot below, this is the monitoring that we had on one of our websites.  You can see just every few days (and sometimes every day) our website would go down.  Sometimes this was for a few minutes, sometimes it was a few hours.

BlueHost Jetpack Website Instability

If your website is being used for business, this is a MAJOR problem.  Every minute your website is down is a potential lost sale.  This is when you begin to realize that only spending $3.95 on your website hosting each month might have been a mistake.

I tried reaching out to BlueHost customer support for assistance.  They were slow to respond and not very helpful when they did respond.

Outside of all of this, our website seemed very slow to load.  We had a few people run speed tests on the site, and the major factor causing the speed issue was our web hosting.

Seeking New Website Hosting (& Deciding on SiteGround)

So after the ongoing issues with BlueHost, we did some research and found out that we were not the only ones.  A quick search on Google or in Facebook groups for web developers finds pages and pages of people complaining about BlueHost.  It seems that BlueHost (and many other website hosting providers) are owned by a company called EIG.  This company, in general, seems to have the same issues across any website hosting companies that they own.

This was the final sign that said that we needed to move on.  After spending some time researching, we decided to move to SiteGround.

SiteGround cPanel

Below were some of the major factors:

-First and foremost, we spoke to many website developers and asked who they used for their clients.  The most common answer was SiteGround.

-Second, the pricing model was very similar to BlueHost, so we would not be paying much more, but our service would be much better.  In actuallity, you can get the lowest price plan by pre-paying for a year (instead of 3 years like BlueHost).

-Third, the speed is way better.  Our website load noticably faster.  Also, if you do a google search for speed tests between hosting compnaies, you will find that BlueHost is far faster and the consistenty of speeds is much better.

-Fourth, they will move your website over for free.  If you are not techie, it can be a little tedious to try and move your website over.  They moved our website over for free.  It was fast, simple and painless.

-Fifth, their customer support has been fantastic.  Tickets are responded to within hours and they are very helpful.  We ran into an issue where we published a post that became very popular and we outgrew our previous plan.  After bein notified, we simply upraded our hosting plan and our website was once again available.

Overall, we are very happy with the move.  I used to stress because of our website issues, which is the last thing that we need to deal with in our businesses.  We have many more important things that we should be doing.  Since move to SiteGround, we haven’t had to worry about any website issues… except writing popular content that gets a lot of traffic and requires us to update our plan.

Those are good problems to have. :O)

Other Alternatives

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to website hosting.  We’ve used the above three services (HostMonster, BlueHost, and SiteGround), and currently use SiteGround to host all of our websites.  With that said, SiteGround may not be right for you and your business’s needs.  If it isn’t, below are some other popular options that you could evaluate.

Note: We have not used or endorsed all of these hosting services, but simply wanted to provide them for awareness.  As with making any decision, evaluate the offerings against your needs.  These services seem to be the ones that are mentioned/used most often and/or have some of the higher ratings when we were searching for a new provider.

Also, consider your hosting needs.  Most businesses can start out with the lower cost shared hosting, then upgrade to cloud hosting or dedicated as their business grows and their website gets more traffic.

SiteGround Website Hosting

SiteGround (Shared Hosting Starting @ $3.95/month)

We obviously use SiteGround to host all of our websites.  It came highly recommended when we were looking to switch from BlueHost.  The service is awesome and they made the migration even easier for us by transferring our main website for free.  They followed up with excellent support to help us with the rest of the migration.  

They offer shared hosting (great for starters), vps hosting, dedicated hosting & cloud hosting.  

A2 Website Hosting

A2 Hosting (Shared Hosting Starting @ $3.92/month)

Although we have not used A2 Hosting, it comes highly recommended just about everywhere you look.  We have several friends that are website developers and they tend to either use SiteGround or A2 Hosting for their clients.  

They offer shared hosting (great for starters), vps hosting, dedicated hosting & cloud hosting.  

WP Engine Website Hosting

WP Engine (Shared Hosting Starting @ $29/month with 60-day free trial)

 

Just like A2 Hosting, we have not used WP Engine, but people were raving about it when we were searching for a new hosting provider.  WP Engine only hosts WordPress websites, so it is optimized for that.

People have been raving about their single focus on WordPress sites, from customizations to support.  If you are only running WordPress and your business supports a little more investment in your website, you may want to consider WP Engine over the previous options mentioned.