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Review of:
Product by:
Chris Wagner

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 17, 2017
Last modified:October 17, 2017

Summary:

We’ve previously compared Bluehost to DreamHost and Bluehost came out on top, by a significant margin. Now, it’s time to see if GreenGeeks is a better hosting provider than Bluehost.

I will compare the shared hosting products of both GreenGeeks and Bluehost. The testing categories will be:

  • Feature set – Do they offer everything you expect?
  • Performance – Will the website load in time?
  • Support – Are they friendly, fast and willing to help?
  • Ease of use – Does it just work with no messin’ around?

For each category, I’ll summarise what each company offers, where possible I’ll bring raw data in.

After I’ve compared, I’ll then assign a winner to each one. I’m an experienced web developer / consultant with experience of dozens of different web hosts, I know what features are worth having and which ones are just hot air.

It’s time to get started.

Overview of BlueHost

Bluehost was founded by Matt Heaton in 2003, Matt also founded 3 other hosting giants (HostMonster, FastDomain & iPage) before selling them all up to Endurance International in 2011.

As you can see from our previous article, Bluehost hasn’t dropped the ball since losing Matt.

Bluehost operates their own data centre in a 50,000 square foot facility in Utah, it employs around 700 staff to manage these servers and offer support to customers.

Back in 2009 & 2011 Bluehost were condemned in the media for censoring some of the pages on its web hosting based on a list of rouge states provided by the US Government.

In 2015 Bluehost was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, however they seemed to have tightened up security since then.

Read my BlueHost Review here..

Overview of GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks was founded in 2008 by Trey Gardner.

GreenGeeks takes a different approach to most other providers, their key offering is all about green hosting, all of their hosting plans either use green energy or invest back into green energy, hosting the internet uses a crazy amount of power, GreenGeeks is trying to keep it sustainable.

GreenGeeks have 5 data centres, 4 in the US and 1 in Europe, when you setup your account with them you can choose where your site is hosted.

Read my GreenGeeks Review here..

Feature Comparison with Plan and Price:

Now I’ve got through the overview it’s time to get down to business with a basic feature comparison, I wonder if going green comes at a high price.

Let’s compare the middle of the range shared hosting product from both companies:

BlueHost vs GreenGeeks Price Comparison Table:

BlueHost

GreenGeeks

PlanPlusEcosite Starter
Monthly Price$5.45/mo.$3.95/mo.
Disk SpaceUnmeteredUnlimited
BandwidthUnmeteredUnlimited
Email AccountsUnlimitedUnlimited
Domains AllowedUnlimitedUnlimited
Free DomainYesYes
DatabaseUnlimitedUnlimited
Control PanelcPanelcPanel
FTP AccountYesYes
Email HostingYesYes
Webmail SupportYesYes
Spam Free ProtectionYesYes
Money Back Guarantee30 days30 days

So, GreenGeeks actually comes out cheaper, it definitely seems very common these days for all hosting companies to offer an identical feature set.

Looks like we are going to have to dig deeper to find something that sets them apart.

GreenGeeks offer something they call the ‘Elastic Platform’, this allows you to make small or large adjustments to the performance available to you without taking your site offline, you only need to upgrade what you need, I really like the idea of being able to upgrade the RAM for a WordPress site.

GreenGeeks also offer a FREE websites migration service, to put this into perspective, Bluehost charge $150 for this.

I’m struggling to find any features that Bluehost offer than GreenGeeks don’t. I’m impressed.

For me, GreenGeeks has the best features.

BlueHost vs GreenGeeks – Performance Test

At the moment, I would say that GreenGeeks is slightly in the lead but it’s all still to play for, the performance will really decide everything here!

I will run a page speed, first byte and uptime performance test on our site at each of the hosts.

1. Page Speed

Page speed is an important metric for any site, without a doubt slower page load times effect not only your Google Ranking, but also the user experience,

Test Website on BlueHost:

 

Test Website on GreenGeeks:

The numbers here actually aren’t quite as bad as they seem, our GreenGeeks site is bigger so the time taken is longer, I’ve factored this in by working out a time per MB,

BlueHost: 1.64 seconds per MB loaded

GreenGeeks: 1.71 Seconds per MB Loaded

Winner: Bluehost!

First Byte

First byte tests are pretty useful for testing latency and how responsive your server is. If you are seeing high first byte times it’s probably worth moving to a host with a data centre closer to your users.

Test Website on BlueHost:

 

Test Website on GreenGeeks:

Again, as you can see Bluehost responds slightly quicker, 0.02 of a second doesn’t seem that much and to be honest it isn’t, however it does add up when you add this onto each request that you make to the server.

Another Victory for Bluehost, albeit a small one.

See BlueHost’s plans here…

Uptime:

We’ve got the marketing numbers provided above so let’s compare these to how our site did. Bear in mind we’ve only run these tests on our single site, however we do have 30 days’ worth of data which should make them pretty reliable.

Test Website on Bluehost:

Test Website on GreenGeeks:

 

BlueHost Uptime Score: 99.85%

GreenGeeks Uptime Score: 99.6%

Our uptime monitor is actually showing that GreenGeeks has a better response time, it also tends to have shorter periods of downtime.

See GreenGeeks plans here…

Over the entire 30-day period however Bluehost’s uptimes stats are better.

I’m going to call this one a tie!

Performance Summary

From the performance test’s alone Bluehost is the winner, even if only slightly. They didn’t lose a single round, good page load and first byte speeds are important.

Hand on Experience

You can’t judge a book by its cover and you certainly can’t judge a hosting product by its features alone.

It’s time to get our hands dirty. I’ll setup a simple WordPress site on both host and write about my experience.

Support:

I tested out both support offerings by using the online chat box on each website.

I asked them questions on the performance of their hosting and what the process was to get an existing WordPress site transferred over, here’s how I rate the service

Bluehost:

  • Time to Respond – Less than a Minute
  • Product Knowledge – Good
  • Comments – The responses felt canned, not even sure if some of this Is automated, but I did get what I wanted.

GreenGeeks:

  • Time to Respond – Less than a Minute
  • Product Knowledge – Excellent
  • Comments – Felt a bit more human, didn’t get canned responses, impressed with technical knowledge.

So, the winner of support is GreenGeeks! I’m feeling more and more impressed by them.

Control Panel:

For me, cPanel is the be all and end all of hosting control panels, I’m used to it, I use across dozens of other sites, I don’t want to be using something else and I’m sure anyone else with plenty of sites would agree.

Both GreenGeeks and Bluehost offer standard cPanel as well as SSH access, there really isn’t much else I can ask for.

BlueHost cPanel:

GreenGeeks cPanel:

It’s a tie!

Backups:

There is a stark difference between the backup offerings of both companies,

Bluehost

Takes daily, weekly and monthly backups of your entire web hosting account, allowing you to easily go back in time to any date.

This is such a good feature I can’t quite explain it, for most people they might not even notice a file or page was deleted for days or maybe even weeks, being able to go far back in time is really useful.

GreenGeeks

On the other hand, here’s what GreenGeeks have to say about backups;

“GreenGeeks takes nightly backups that are retained for 24 hours for disaster recovery purposes only. This is intended strictly in the case of emergencies, such as file system failures or mass data loss as a result of a system failure. It is strongly recommended and is the responsibility of the customer to ensure they maintain accurate and up-to-date backups of their web site files, databases and e-mails.”

Effectively their backups aren’t really for you to use for lost files etc… The onus would be on you to setup a better backup system.

The clear winner for backups is Bluehost!

Conclusion

Now, it’s time to decide an overall winner and for me to tell you which host I would recommend. This is one of the tougher ones I’ve had to do, it’s normally much clearer who the winner is going to be.

For me the most important features here are the performance and backups and as much as I love some of the features GreenGeeks offer, from a pure hosting product perspective I’m going to say that BlueHost is my overall winner!

Congrats Bluehost.

PS: I still feel like that Bluehost & GreenGeeks are very close in terms of features, performance and overall support, so if you feel like supporting a green cause then GreenGeeks is still worth looking at.

It’s certainly not a huge sacrifice to go for GreenGeeks over Bluehost.

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Chris Wagner

Chris Wagner has 7 years of experience as Network Administrator. His areas of interest includes Servers, Network Management and Cloud Computing.