Bluehost vs. Site5
Expensive services usually have a lot to offer but that doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to Site5. Read our in-depth comparison to find out why the company continues to be miles behind Bluehost in most areas.
Bluehost vs Site5 is in many ways a comparison between old school and modern. While far from being a new hosting company, Bluehost is clearly trying to appeal to modern audiences with its simple and straightforward approach. Site5, on the other hand, has remained virtually unchanged for years while marketing itself as having been “built for designers & developers.”
Don't have enough time to dive into the full comparison? Here's a summary of our research:
We wouldn’t necessarily consider Site5 a specialized provider like WP Engine or DigitalOcean – to name just a couple of well-known examples – but the company’s services do seem to be aimed at experienced webmasters. But how does Site5 compare to a famously user-friendly company like Bluehost? The only way to find out is to pit them against each other, so that’s what we did. Read on to see which one came out on top.
It’s a well-known fact that faster websites attract and retain a lot more users than their slower competitors. While most users don’t mind waiting a couple of seconds for a page to load, potential visitors will gradually start looking for alternatives the longer they have to wait. This is precisely why it’s so important to sign up with a fast hosting service like Bluehost or Site5.
A lot of the time when we do these types of comparisons we find that one service is visibly faster than the other. You can check our Bluehost vs HostGator comparison to see what I mean. In this case, however, there isn’t a huge difference between the two companies. Both Bluehost and Site5 are pretty fast and will not let you down regardless of whether you own a small blog or a large business-centric website.
That said, there are a couple of important things to mention here. During our testing process, we compared the cheapest plans offered by each company and learned that Site5 starts to perform better than Bluehost during high traffic spikes. However, Site5’s cheapest plan costs almost three times as much as Bluehost’s entry package.
Because of the massive price difference, we were expecting Site5 to perform a lot better but it only ended up being slightly faster than Bluehost, which is pretty disappointing. If you’re willing to upgrade Bluehost’s basic shared hosting plan by one or two tiers you’ll definitely see loading speeds that are just as good, if not better, than what Site5 offers. The reason for this is quite simple: Bluehost uses SSD drives while Site5 doesn’t. This probably won’t come as a surprise to most of the people reading this, but an SSD is significantly faster than an HDD, as we’ve learned time and time again while testing numerous cloud hosting services.
Speed aside, both companies are also doing extremely well when it comes to uptime. You’re looking at roughly 99.99% in the case of Site5 and 99.98% to 99.99% (depending on the month) in the case of Bluehost. It’s interesting to note that Bluehost usually outshines its competitors in terms of uptime but it definitely met its match in this particular case. The last time this happened was during our Bluehost vs SiteGround comparison.
Before we move on to the next section it’s also worth pointing out that Bluehost only has a single data center while Site5 has several of them spread across the globe. This makes the company a good pick for situations when most of your visitors come from abroad. But if you own a US-based website and most of your users are from the US, this probably won’t make much of a difference.
Pricing and Value
You can sign up for a basic shared hosting plan at Bluehost for as little as $2.95 per month (with this special offer) while Site5’s cheapest offering will cost you no less than $8.34 per month. Clearly, there’s quite a big difference here. If you’re familiar with our list of top 10 cheapest hosting providers of 2020, you already know that Bluehost ranks pretty high there, and with good reason. The company’s basic shared hosting plan is very affordable and the other tiers aren’t too shabby either, costing anywhere between $5.45 and $13.95 per month.
Normally, when a company has prices as high as Site5 you can at least expect to be able to pay on a month-by-month basis, but that’s not the case here I’m afraid. At least not with hostBasic, Site5’s cheapest package. The other two shared hosting plans do support monthly billing, however, these will set you back $15.54/mo and $23.94/mo, respectively, if you choose that option. If you go for the longest term possible, their prices drop down to $13.14/mo and $16.74 per month.
To be fair, Bluehost doesn’t support monthly billing either but a full year of hosting at the company will cost you less than $60. Meanwhile, Site5 charges almost $130 for a full year, which is quite steep all things considered. If you’re looking to buy a VPS, expect things to get even more expensive. The cheapest virtual private server at Site5 costs no less than $77.76/mo, and that’s with the yearly plan. By comparison, a Bluehost VPS goes for anywhere between $18.99 and $59.99 per month. To put things into perspective, that’s a little more expensive than DreamHost but quite a bit cheaper than GoDaddy.
All in all, Site5 feels a bit overpriced when you consider that its basic plan only supports a single website and about 10,000 visitors per month. Starting with the second tier of shared hosting ($5.45/mo), Bluehost lets you build as many websites as you want and there are no limits on the monthly visitors. In addition, the company’s virtual private servers are a lot cheaper and there are additional types of hosting that Site5 doesn’t offer, such as managed WordPress hosting and dedicated hosting.
As a company that prides itself in creating products specifically for developers, it should come as no surprise that Site5 assume its customers are fairly experienced and know how to fix common website problems by themselves. That’s probably why the company doesn’t seem to invest too much into customer support. Sure, you can contact them via the usual channels like email, live chat and phone but certain departments like billing and site migrations are not available 24/7.
At Bluehost, on the other hand, you can expect 24/7 assistance regardless of the nature of your problem. The company also has a lot more agents at its disposal and offers specialized WordPress assistance, albeit for a price. Moreover, you can contact Bluehost from abroad thanks to a special international phone number. Finally, there’s an extensive knowledge base you can rely on for help, however, that’s something you’ll be able to find at Site5 as well.
Ease of Use
Site5’s account manager goes by the name Backstage and is essentially a modified version of cPanel with some additional integrations on top. In order to access the cPanel itself, you’ll find first need to activate it from Backstage, which is a bit strange but not unheard of. Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to write home about here. The company doesn’t have a proprietary website builder so you’ll need to install a popular CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Magento in order to get the ball rolling. Luckily, Site5 has 1-click installers for all of them.
The situation at Bluehost is fairly similar, though the company uses a more standard version of cPanel and encourages you as best as it can to use WordPress as your CMS. Bluehost is the number #1 hosting provider recommended by the WordPress foundation so that makes sense. Having said that, you can still find quick installer for all the other major platforms as well. Plus, as an added bonus, Bluehost also has good integration with the Weebly website builder if you want to use that instead. You can check out our Bluehost vs Weebly comparison if you want to learn more about it.
Neither of the two companies will blow your mind with their security features but Bluehost does seem to be a bit better in this department thanks to its inclusion of free SSL certificates. You can install an SSL certificate on Site5 as well but you will have to pay for it.
Aside from that, you can expect nightly backups and basic malware protection at both companies. If you’re willing to spend an extra few bucks per month, Bluehost also gives you domain privacy + protection, automated backups, and a dedicated IP. You can also get these features for free with the most expensive shared hosting plans.
We already discussed many of the most important features offered by Bluehost and Site5 but there are a few more where those came from. So, to summarize, here’s what you can expect in terms of features:
- Free domain name for 1 year
- Free SSL certificates
- CDN integration
- Unlimited SSD storage with all plans except Shared Basic
- Managed WordPress hosting
- Unmanaged VPS and dedicated hosting
- Nightly backups
- Unlimited emails
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unmetered HDD storage with all plans
- Free website migrations
- Nightly backups
- Unlimited emails
- Managed VPS and reseller hosting
- 45-day money-back guarantee
Bluehost vs. Site5 – Our Pick
Site5 isn’t necessarily a bad host but its services are overpriced and missing quite a few important features. You won’t have to worry about any of those two factors at Bluehost, which is why the company wins this comparison hands down. But before we wrap things up, let’s take a final look at the facts.
- Performance: Site5 manages to outperform Bluehost ever so slightly but the difference is barely noticeable in most instances.
- Pricing and Value: Bluehost easily wins this round thanks to its affordable shared hosting packages that include plenty of freebies. Its virtual private servers aren’t too shabby either, especially when compared to those of Site5.
- Customer Support: Not being able to rely on Site5’s customer support agents 24/7 in certain situations is not a good look for the company and it’s something that Bluehost doesn’t struggle with.
- Ease of Use: Site5’s Backstage UI can be a bit confusing at first but it’s ultimately not too bad. Still, we do prefer Bluehost’s simpler approach.
- Features: Site5’s list of features is pretty disappointing given the company’s prices. The 45-day refund policy is a nice touch but we’ve seen much better ones from InMotion and A2 Hosting so it’s not all that impressive. Ultimately, the lack of free domain names and SSD storage places Site5 well below Bluehost in this category.
- SEO: Bluehost offers an SEO add-on for a couple of bucks per month while Site5 doesn’t have any SEO tools, paid or otherwise.
- Security: You can expect basic security features like nightly backups and malware protection from both companies while Bluehost also throws in free SSL certificates.
- Scalability: Site5 has more VPS packages on offer, but Bluehost has more shared hosting plans and overall more hosting services to choose from.
Click here if you want to see more comparisons involving Bluehost or many other hosting providers like HostGator, SiteGround, DreamHost, GoDaddy, and Namecheap, to name just a few examples.
Bluehost has been a consistently good web hosting provider for many years now and continues to be a reliable choice to this day. And despite the fact that its services keep improving year after year, the company somehow manages to maintain its famously low prices.