When your website crashes, you’re going to have a really bad day.
That’s what happened last year with my online travel business.
What’s worse is that I didn’t even know it had crashed – and stayed crashed – for over two days. A friend let me know she couldn’t access my site. Worst pit-in-stomach feelings.
If you have a new blog or website, there’s really no reason for your website to crash unless you’ve got tons of images up and ads that are upping the load time on your site.
In other words, your blog hosting – the service that provides your website the “storage space” on the world wide web – plays a big role in how well your blog runs.
With my blog hosting site comparison below, I want you to make an educated decision for yourself on the best hosting site for you along with my own personal recommendations.
(By the way, you’ll see me say “blog hosting site” or “website hosting” or “web hosting” – these terms all mean the same thing.)
I compared the three most common blog hosting sites for new bloggers and solopreneurs: SiteGround, Bluehost, and Host Gator. I compared the three against the most important categories people normally look at in a blog hosting site: speed, price, and customer service.
I ranked the winner of three for each category so that you’ll be able to see, at a glance, which one is the best based on my research.
Let’s get started!
Imagine clicking through to a site from social media. The page loads for 3 seconds…
All of a sudden, it’s been 12 seconds, but those 12 seconds feel like forever.
You give up and click the “back” button.
You continue your search and completely forget about the slow-loading site.
That, dear unicorns, is what a slow site can do to users.
Slow sites = huge no-no for user experience.
Although there are a bunch of reasons why a site is slow to load, the web hosting your site uses plays a pretty big role.
In fact, 40 percent of online shoppers expect a page to load in two seconds or less and 52 percent of shoppers say page speed is a huge factor affecting their loyalty to a company.
That’s pretty insane, right?
That’s why I’m a big stickler when it comes to optimizing my websites for speed. Your site speed makes a really big impression, and having slow loading times turns a lot of people away.
I scoured the web to find the best site loading tests for SiteGround, Bluehost and Host Gator.
Across the board, SiteGround had some of the best page speed loading times, and Host Gator had the slowest (Source). Bluehost fell in the middle, and sites rated SiteGround as one of the best for WordPress hosting, especially (Source).
From my own experience, SiteGround’s hosting boosted my page speed by 40% after I switched from Bluehost.
If speed is a factor that’s important to you (and it should be), I highly recommend you go with SiteGround.Host with SiteGround today! >>>
(By the way, you can check your site’s speed later when you buy your hosting with this nifty tool – it’s free to use and it’s also accurate.)
Let’s be real for a sec.
Price is an important consideration when you’re buying web hosting. This is especially true if you’re a new blogger or business owner.
I get it.
I was there once upon a time.
I was drawn by the low-cost offers web hosts like Bluehost had.
But after doing this blogging and online business thing for two years, I have a few takeaways on web hosting prices for you.
Here’s the truth: The initial price you pay for most hosting plans is an introductory offer. You need to consider how your blog hosting site will grow with you as your traffic grows.
When you get more and more visitors to your site, your hosting has to grow to accommodate those new visits. It’s just the nature of the beast.
I know you want to build a blow that grows – a lot. That’s why you need to consider prices you’ll pay in the future.
So, I broke down prices for each blog hosting site based on:
- Common intro offers: how much the most basic plan costs when you’re buying the web hosting for the first time
- Lowest intro payment: how much you actually have to pay up front when you’re buying the web hosting for the first time
- Scaling prices: how much you’ll have to pay as your site traffic grows in the future.
Personally, I think there’s a winner (SiteGround, again). Check out the chart below to see for yourself:
$3.95/month for 12 months
$47.40 (1 year)
|$9.95/month for 10,000 visitors monthly
$14.95/month for 25,000 visitors monthly
$29.95/month for 100,000 visitors monthly
$2.95/month for 36 months
$106.20 (3 years)
|$7.99/month (basic plan)
$10.99/month (plus plan)
$14.99/month (prime plan)
$2.64/month for 36 months
$95.08 (3 years)
|$6.95/month (hatchling plan)
$9.95/month (baby plan)
$14.95/month (business plan)
Don’t you see how confusing that gets? The web hosting space is so competitive that web hosting companies use bonuses, add-ons, and offer “free” services to convince the buyer he or she is getting the best deal.
Take a look below at some of the screenshots of the pricing pages and the final check out pages on SiteGround, Bluehost, and Host Gator (props to SiteGround for non-sleazy marketing tactics!):
Let me summarize for you what that table above is really saying, and what I’ve found among the hosting site’s pricing charts and checkout pages:
- Host Gator has the lowest intro per month price
- You only get those low-intro prices for Bluehost and Host Gator if you pay for 3 years, leaving you to unexpectedly pay more than you initially imagined
- SiteGround is the only web host among the three that lets you use the intro pricing for 1 year
- SiteGround has the lowest up-front cost on the promo price ($47.40 for one year)
- SiteGround is transparent with the number of visitors on your site and what you’re expected to pay as your site grows (Neither Bluehost nor Host Gator showed this monthly visitor info, leading me to wonder how many visitors their bigger plans can actually handle)
- Host Gator has the least expensive post-promo plans, but not by a lot compared to Bluehost and SiteGround
The final say:
If you’re looking to save the most on hosting, go with Host Gator. You’ll pay $95.08 up front, but keep in mind that’s for 3 years (and by the time year one is over, you’ll very likely need to upgrade your plan, too, because of growing site traffic).
All in all, if you’re looking for the least expensive up-front cost, go with SiteGround. You’ll pay $47.40 for a year of hosting with them. I find this the best blog hosting option since I’m not locked in with a plan for more than one year.
3. Customer Service
Most people starting their blogs don’t really know code.
I was one of those people.
All the acronyms scared me, and to be honest, I was a bit terrified of launching a blog because of all the tech I’d have to deal with.
Unknown tech is scary, ain’t it?
Chances are, you’re in the same position I was in when I first started my online business.
None to little tech knowledge + starting a website = recipe for nervous breakdowns at 4 AM in the morning.
(^^^ True story)
That’s why it’s so important to choose a blog hosting site that has really, really good customer service.
If your database disappears out of nowhere, do you immediately know what to do?
If your site is throwing a three-number error code at you, do you know your next move?
But that’s ok. This is why customer service is here.
But not all web hosting customer service is created equal.
To be honest, one of the reasons I left Bluehost was because I wasn’t happy with their customer service. I remember when my site crashed, I called Bluehost’s support line and the customer service rep dropped the conversation 6 minutes in. Probably because he didn’t know how to resolve my issue.
Yikes, yikes, yikes!
Just so you know, SiteGround, Bluehost, and Host Gator all provide 24/7 customer support. But user ratings for SiteGround on customer service came up on top compared to Bluehost and Host Gator (Source). Coming from my own experience, SiteGround support is top-notch. The reps are knowledgeable and will help you with just about anything related to WordPress, too.
Over to you
With so many web hosting sites out there competing for your business, it’s really hard to tell which one is the best for you.
If you’re just starting out with your first WordPress blog or online business, I still recommend SiteGround compared to Bluehost and Host Gator because it consistently wins in the speed, price, and customer service categories.
Which hosting site are you going with?
Do you have any scary experiences with certain hosting sites?
Are you with a host right now that you can’t wait to leave (trust me, I’ve been there)?
Let me know in the comments below.
(By the way, if you haven’t signed up for my free 5-day profitable blog challenge, sign up below! It’s jam-packed with actionable takeaways, worksheets, PDF tutorials, and more. The best part is you’ll learn the process of finding a blog or business idea that is profitable – and you’ll launch it in just five days. So what are you waiting for? Sign up now!)