To date, I’ve done several reviews on web hosts, but most of them have been very siloed. By this I mean that I assessed them against basic criteria on their own merits. Yet what happens when you need to go a little further?
Choosing a web host based on individual reviews is fine, but today I’m going to help you out a little more. Let me collectively assess three very well-known hosts against one another and then I’ll share my thoughts.
Although the main criteria that I look out for is still going to remain, I will let you have a closer look at how specific areas of SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, and BlueHost hold up against each other.
Table of Content / Quick link
In this article, SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, and BlueHost are compared in the following areas:
We use affiliate links in this article – this means WHSR receive referral fees from companies mentioned below. Our opinions are based on real experience and actual server data. Please read our review policy page to understand how our host review and rating system works.
Among our three hosts, SiteGround offers the largest spread of data centres, having 5 locations across the US, Europe and Asia. This positioning makes it extremely viable for hosting sites catering to traffic from around the world.
BlueHost comes close in terms of geographical coverage since it also covers the US, Europe and Asia.
InMotion Hosting on the other hand, seems to rely highly on its coast to coast coverage in the US. I’m not sure of the extent of this spread, since they only talk about their pride in their Los Angeles data centre.
Let’s see how fast those servers are (click image to enlarge):
SiteGround Speed Test – Subpar
BlueHost Speed Test – Good
InMotion Hosting Speed Test – Excellent
Normally I run speed tests from two or three key geographical locations (US and Asia with an occasional EU thrown in). This time I was noticing issues with the server timing out of Singapore, so decided to skip the Asia servers.
Unsurprising was the good performance of InMotion Hosting which clocked in TTFBs at far less than Google’s top rating bracket of under 400ms. BlueHost barely made it there as well, but still inched in – barely. What was surprising was the SiteGround results which were horrendous.
I say surprising because I normally get good results for SiteGround speeds. Just to double check, I re-ran the test numerous times over a period of two days and it consistently came back as a dud.
InMotion Hosting as usual has a sterling uptime record and even though it seems their server response time has been slightly erratic of late, overall, it’s just fine. 100% uptime is fantastic and as expected.
99.9% UPTIME IS THE RELIABILITY YOU NEED
Here at InMotion Hosting we believe in offering you not only the most reliable network possible, but also the fastest. This is why we have our exclusive Max Speed Zones, which include a choice of data centers for our Business Hosting and VPS solutions.
BlueHost saw a little glitch over the past 30 days, but still, 99.99% is also a great uptime record. That’s the norm of what many good web hosting providers tend to guarantee.
SiteGround also performed well, with a perfect recent record. Yet here again we’re seeing some indication of the high response times the SiteGround server has been giving off lately. The uptime does match their pride in the technology they deploy though:
Handcrafted Solutions for 99.99% Uptime
We have always been pioneers in inventing our own advanced web hosting security solutions. They have minimized the downtime risk to levels which companies, relying on the available mass solutions, could never achieve.
Our Test Site Uptime Records in 2018
WHSR hosts test sites on all three companies. Below are the test site uptime we recorded in 2018.
SiteGround Uptime – 100%, Excellent
InMotion Hosting Uptime – 100%, Excellent
BlueHost Uptime – 99.99%, Good
I’m pretty sure that most of you who are reding this have gone around the block once or twice, so rather than wax lyrical about the multitude of features our three hosts have, let’s look at the more interesting ones.
SiteGround – Excellent
In its most basic incarnation, SiteGround is offering almost anything the average user could want, even at its most basic. In fact, the only strange thing I feel about SiteGround’s offerings is that it imposes limits on storage space.
What it does sell strongly on is what they call their Geeky SuperCacher. This apparently is a custom tune up on their servers which helps WordPress, Joomla and Drupal sites run faster. Aside from that, other tune ups include caching mechanism based on NGINX and SuperCacher, which also optimizes website speed.
SiteGround’s Key Selling Points
Free let’s Encrypt Standard & Wild Card SSL
Advanced server speed technologies (SSD, HTTP/2, Built-in Cacher, NGINX, and more)
InMotion Hosting – Good
InMotion has a spread of features as good as, in fact, even better than SiteGround’s. While the basics are all there, it goes a step further in offering Google advertising credits even with its most basic plan.
One key thing to note about InMotion is that it offers a wider range of shared hosting plans than most other hosts. HOWEVER, I feel that this is sort of iffy, since the only real difference between those plans are in domains supported and web space.
InMotion also offers similar speed advancement technology claims as what Siteground has talked about, and it seems to be based on similar caching optimizations.
InMotion’s Key Selling Points:
Packed with essential features for blogs and businesses
Plenty of room to grow – upgrade to VPS and dedicated hosting
Free no-downtime website transfers
BlueHost – Average
BlueHost on the other hand, offers a more reasonable spread of features based on pricing between plans. However, if you take this in comparison with SiteGround and InMotion, then it starts to look strange.
While the other two hosts offer stuff like spam guard and backups included in their entry level plans, BlueHost charges more for them. In fact, if you were looking at the most entry level basic plans, Bluehosts’ offers the least features among the three.
BlueHost’s Key Selling Points:
Comprehensive self-help documents and video tutorials
Plans built on VPS with integrated W3 caching
Free advertising credits from Google
One of the most critical fields of any technical service company is its ability to manage customer service. This is especially true with online services, since there is no real direct interaction between client and seller.
SiteGround managed to respond to his queries in less than 30 seconds. That’s a phenomenal time when you consider the usual that is on offer by many web hosting companies. Aside from that, it also comes with a ticketing system and even a number you can call for help.
BlueHost Customer Support – Subpar
Bluehost also offers similar services, and although I tried this out myself and was not kept waiting overly long, I remain a little leery of them. This stems back to the fact that they’re an EIG company, of which I’ve heard so many negative things about unfortunately.
@bluehost Server outage, customer sites are down. Need support. Getting message from BLUEHOST that servers are infected by malware. List of effected files are default WP theme files that have note been changed in years.
Yeah, I’m disliking the @bluehost support story tonight as well. Waited 12 hours to be told “you have too many processes running” and told me to optimize my site. Disappointing they can’t handle the traffic spike.
After using @bluehost for years, I tried to contact @bluehostsupport after noticing they had charged me hundreds of dollars for something I was not using. Asked kindly to return the funds, no go. Asked to cancel services, was hung up on. Great customer service!
InMotion Hosting on the other hand had rave reviews from Jerry who touted its superior customer service. This host has long been known by many to excel in its customer service and is looked towards by users who have high expectations.
It also ranked among the best in WHSR’s live chat undercover experiment, where they clocked in at less than 60 seconds for a response.
Plans & Pricing
As you can see, among the three hosts, InMotion Hosting has the widest range of plans available, yet it also starts at the highest minimum price among all the plans. All three comapnies chime in the same at more or less the same rate (SiteGround and BlueHost $3.95/mo; InMotion Hosting $3.99/mo) at entry level.
InMotion Shared Hosting Plans
Free First Domain
Storage / Data Transfer
InMotion VPS Hosting Plans
SSD Storage (GB)
Data Transfer (TB)
Dedicated IP Addresses
Reseller Access with WHM
All shared hosting prices based on orders with our special promotion and three-year subscription. To order InMotion Hosting at discounted price, click here (affiliate link): https://www.inmotionhosting.com
What started out as an anticipated battle of the top dogs ended up with quite a few surprises for me. The biggest eye opener came in the form of the speed test results. On one hand, InMotion did better than I expected it to (and believe me, I had high expectations of it). Yet SiteGround was a real let down, which I felt was unusual.
In terms of features, I felt that all three hosts offered a very good spread and if someone were to not opt in to their services, it wouldn’t be because they were lacking in this area. However, I felt that as the top-tier of their industry, SiteGround and InMotion could have thrown in some advertising bonuses like BlueHost.
Finally, in terms of price – The side to side result results were predictable, since nobody really wants to price themselves out of the market. Yet with the speed that InMotion offers, they are that extra mile just more justified.
I’d have to throw my vote in for InMotion Hosting, based on this comparison, and for anyone who tells you price and speed are always mutually exclusive from each other – remember, there are exceptions.
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.