Why I switched my hosting prematurely from Bluehost to Siteground, and why I don’t care about the wasted prepaid time
Last week, SwipeHelper moved its hosting from Bluehost to Siteground‘s servers, and I’m so happy about that decision, I have to tell the world. Well… you. If you’re a returning reader/visitor, you may have noticed there’s now a little green lock in the URL bar, telling you and search engines that all the sensitive information I’m not asking you for is transmitted safely. Doesn’t that just give you a warm fuzzy feeling? More importantly, you may have noticed SwipeHelper’s pages are loading much, much faster now than they did before.
The latter is due to Siteground’s all around superior servers, combined with their dynamic supercaching technology. Go ahead. Click through some pages and see how fast they load. Pay special attention to how pages you’ve already visited load almost instantaneously the second time around. I’ll wait here. Welcome back. That was quick!
The former is part of the reason I decided to make the switch in the first place. I was having trouble setting up Bluehost’s free SSL certificate. When I say set up, I mean activate it in the menu. There is not much more you can do about it. Theoretically, the site should have changed to https within a few hours, but instead, I got locked out of my admin area and the browser just displayed an SSL error.
Where things went wrong
So what did I do? Contact customer support, of course. After all, I heard Bluehost’s support was great, which was one of the reasons I signed up, apart from the price and not really having any clue about hosting, this being my first website. Well, after two hours of waiting in the live chat queue, I finally got someone to look at my problem. Or so I thought. The operator in question just told me to wait for the problem to resolve itself and when I inquired further, they left the chat.
Well, that did it for me. I wanted to switch to https sooner rather than later, and they had pissed me off enough that I decided to switch hosts now, even though I had four months left. Since I started learning more about webdesign, and -hosting I’ve been hearing again and again how great Siteground apparently is and what a sucky choice I made with Bluehost, allegedly.
I guess when I researched what host to choose, I got taken for by a shameless affiliate marketer and clever salesman, seeing as Bluehost pays insane commissions, that’s a feasible explanation for why so many sites seem to recommend them (thoretically, allegedly, etc). Well, now I’m recommending Siteground. Will I get a commission if you use a link on this site to sign up with them? Yes. Would I get a bigger commission if I recommended Bluehost? Hell yes. What does that tell you? I believe Siteground is the best host you can get for that price. Maybe regardless of price. Why?
The move, and my experience with Siteground so far
After doing my due diligence this time and researching all hosting plans in my price range thoroughly, I decided Siteground’s GoGeek plan would be right for me. I had some concerns about their CPU time hourly hard caps and what they would mean in terms of lost visitors during spikes of traffic, but other hosts have such caps too, they just don’t declare them (allegedly). If I get much more traffic in the future, I’m gonna go with a VPS, where there are no such hardcaps, but for the moment this is a small trade off for the speed, support, and features I get for my money with the GoGeek plan.
As for the move, since both Bluehost and Siteground use cPanel, Siteground’s tech support moved all my sites (not just the advertised 1) for me in one go, for free, within 20 minutes. Completely smooth transition, even without any down times.
Siteground’s customer support is legendary, I’ve heard, and since I’m a customer, I have become convinced there is indeed no room for improvement there.
After the move, I had some technical questions and asked for advice a few times via live chat, and every time I was connected with a customer service agent within one minute and they always solved my problem competently and were very friendly.
For example: The SSL troubles. Even Siteground’s free SSL didn’t just install without hickups. In fact, I had the same exact problem as before. Except this time when I contacted customer support, my problem was fixed within minutes. Turns out there was an issue with internal circular references due to a bad Cloudflare configuration (probably my fault). So definitely not something that would have resolved itself by waiting.
A word to the wise
A tip and something that I should have done differently from the start: Register your domain with Namecheap, not with a host. It’s so much cheaper, especially considering the free whois privacy protection (usually about 11 dollars), and if you switch hosts, you won’t have to deal with transferring domain registrations or leaving them with your old host.
Why Namecheap and not Godaddy? They both have their pros, but for me it was mainly about Namecheap’s CEO NOT being a recreational elephant hunter. Allegedly.
Plus, their site looks very clean, modern, and nice, and they don’t try to upsell you at every turn. Yes, I’m an affiliate there too now, but I only recommend products and services I believe in.
As you can tell, I’m very happy with my choice. Siteground has proven to have stellar customer support, my sites load and react sooo much faster than before, there are so many features my plan offers me, and I just feel like my website is in the best hands. I cannot attest to their uptime yet, but they promise 99.99%, while many report 100%, and I had frequent (short) down times while I was with Bluhost, so uptime is probably a massive improvement too.
If you are looking for a webhost, I highly recommend you have a look at Siteground’s plans and see if it feels right for you. If in doubt, you can always try out their support everyone is raving about, even before being a customer. Of course, there is also a 30 day money back guarantee if you’re not as happy with them as I am.
But you probably will be.
Do you have any experience with either host? Feel free to share below 🙂