When most new bloggers and website owners begin their research on how to get started the majority of articles seem to favor BlueHost as a domain host. As someone who never managed a website or quite frankly, at the time, understood what a website host was and/or did. I made the same choice that most often happens with beginners, we choose what everyone else is using.
Over the first year of blogging BlueHost was the chosen company for The Other side of 25. Getting started was a breeze but throughout that time there were many factors that overall influenced the decision to switch services to SiteGround.
If you are unfamiliar with neither BlueHost or SiteGround, each offers several hosting plans including the most common option Shared Hosting. No matter the company, shared hosting means that you will be sharing a secured server’s resources with multiple others and because of this, it is usually the most affordable plan.
Each sharing plan offers various levels of the product and provides access to numerous features. Due to sign-up promotions, both providers tend to be affordably priced with BlueHost generally being the cheaper option. However, the multitude of plan features provided by SiteGround makes them a contender. With SiteGround you are paying for the quality of service instead of the overall affordability.
Arguably one of the most important aspects of managing a website is ensuring the speed for readers. It impacts your traffic, bounce rate and overall user experience. During our year of servicing with BlueHost the website continuously shut down due to server issues. Early on, the JetPack plugin was installed and provided notification for any such events. One month alone, we received notifications of a website outage nearly 10+ times. Outages generally lasted several minutes, hours or even days!
Website outages is a stressful experience because all possible incoming traffic has been halted. All links including social media (i.e Pinterest Rich Pins, Instagram Profiles) will be unsuccessful referrals. Like most bloggers, your side hustle depends on active affiliates and sponsorships so even the smallest outage downtime can make a huge difference in supplemental income. Unfortunately, this problem became a normal occurrence when servicing with BlueHost. Reaching out to customer service was a pointless waste of time and outages were an inconvenient waiting game.
Since switching to SiteGround six months ago, outages have become a thing of the past. This is largely due to the fact that unlike competition SiteGround does not oversell server space. The number of customers sharing server resources is relatively smaller than those of BlueHost creating a faster website.
Another downfall of BlueHost was the relatively slow speed. Whenever the website was not experiencing an outage, chances are that the speed was slow beyond average. Researchers have concluded that any website slower than 400 milliseconds (or the blink of an eye) is too much time for loading. In the age of instant gratification readers, especially millennials, do not have the patience to wait for a slow website to load. This means that visitors are more likely to immediately exit from the website and less likely to stick around clicking through other pages.
Ultimately this creates a high bounce rate and will discourage new readers from returning. Web speed performance has a direct effect on success and conversion rates. For every second of load time, an additional 11% decrease of page views occurs. It is estimated that by the 5th second, 74% of visitors have abandoned the website entirely. Once again, this affects any possible supplemental income as visitor traffic has a direct impact on affiliate commissions and sponsorship offers.
Comparatively, SiteGround has been the polar opposite of BlueHost. Through Google Analytics we are able to determine which hosting company provided the best overall speed. For the first year, the average load time for BlueHost was ~20 seconds and as of the past 6 months, SiteGround’s load time has ~4 seconds. As you can assume, SiteGround has been a welcomed change in website speed.
BlueHost vs. SiteGround
Each company as a dedicated control panel (cPanel) which gives website owners simplified tools to managing their sites through a web-interface. Some of the most popular features include the ability to manage email accounts, back-ups, and the entire site database.
Over the past several years multiple hosting companies have been acquired by the Endurance International Group (EIG). This, unfortunately, includes many hosting providers such as BlueHost and even HostGator. Essentially, it meant that although the previous brand name remained the same all servicing is now managed by the same company. Since the takeover, customers have seen a significant decrease in performance and overall quality. Websites go down frequently, speed optimation is terrible and customer service is among the very worst. This is mainly due to the fact that every company acquired by EIG becomes apart of a larger company that shares the same server space and resources.
There is no guarantee that SiteGround will not eventually join the round-up but as of yet, it remains a non-EIG hosting company. Many consumers believe that it’s international status will guarantee their longevity as privately-owned. The future, of course, cannot be promised but compared to any EIG company SiteGround wins.
As a former consumer of BlueHost, I can honestly say that I would never recommend the services of any EIG-owed company. Many other website owners seem to be making the switch as backlash and negative reviews become increasingly consistent. If you’re still in the research phase of starting a website or migrating your current site, stray away BlueHost or any other EIG-owned company. SiteGround is a highly recommended option and one of the very best.
Switching to SiteGround
No matter the reasons, deciding to switch domain hosting services is a big move. There are horror stories of people who made the choice to migrate and lost all their content. Nightmare scenarios aside, making the switch to SiteGround is surprisingly easy. Like always, before making any major changes to your website, please perform a backup scan – preferably store files externally. UpdraftPlus is my recommended backup system and has been a lifesaver throughout countless crises.
STEP 1: Back up current website
As stated above, before any major changes please use a backup service such as UpdraftPlus to create a complete scan of your current website. Everything will be saved and stored for emergencies and eliminating the chance of any lost content.
STEP 2: Choosing & Purchasing a Domain Plan
SiteGround offers 3 options for domain hosting.
Starter Plan: Is perfect for beginners with little website traffic. It provides access to all the essential features and is fantastic for people new in the industry.
GrowBig Plan: The best value, this plan is the next level up for more established and growing websites. It includes the same essential features as the Starter plan PLUS premium features such as the free website transfer!
GoGeek Plan: Not recommended for beginners, this plan is geared towards self-proclaimed website experts. It is suitable for large sites averaging 100k monthly visits.
STEP 3: Request Site Transfer
GrowBig and higher plans come with one free professional website transfer, while StartUp plans pay an additional fee ($30) for the service. Once a domain plan has been purchased, a request for site transfer can be submitted by using the Account Setup Wizard. With a few clicks, a support ticket will be placed and within a several hours, your website will be completely transferred!
Are you considering a switch from BlueHost to SiteGround?
Hopefully, my experience helped in making your choice.
Comment below with any questions!
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