In this SiteGround review, we’re going to be taking a critical look at what they’re doing great, where they could stand to improve a bit, who should use SiteGround, and what makes them different than some of the other companies we’ve looked at who seem to be offering similar services, at least on paper.
SiteGround has been in the hosting business since 2004, and that alone tells you a lot about them.
Countless hosts have come and gone during that time, so being able to stick around in such a competitive world is always a good sign.
Now, some of their contemporaries have managed to stick around by cutting costs and being somewhat misleading in a variety of ways, however SiteGround has done it by offering a solid service with transparent pricing and specs, and investing a lot in having excellent customer service who are based in the United States of America.
With hosting, something you need to keep in mind is that simply comparing specs and prices won’t tell the full story. One company could offer servers with the exact same specs as another, but not have nearly as good performance. There are a lot of other factors that play into it, so we’ll help you determine what to expect from SiteGround’s performance too, beyond the numbers.
SiteGround prides themselves on their uptime and the unique solutions they’ve created to maximize it:
So, by the end of this review, you’ll have a clear understanding of what SiteGround is all about, and whether or not they’re a great fit for your needs.
Quick Facts about SiteGround
They have 6 different office locations and over 400 staff members working to keep your websites on line, up to date, and working flawlessly.
They pride themselves on being a great place to work, and do a lot of work to support their community of customers. Every month, they feature one of their support members who has done an exceptional job, they have retreats for their team members to get to know each other better, and all around this positive culture really comes through in the work that they produce.
SiteGround isn’t one of the cheapest hosts out there, but they’re not very pricey, either. What really matters is the value you’re getting for the money you spend, not just the amount you’re spending.
At SiteGround, they’ve managed to keep great staff, a high-level of performance, and really reasonable prices. It’s rare to find all three of those, making SiteGround a gem of a shared host provider.
Who Should Use SiteGround?
SiteGround offers a variety of different servers and levels of power to choose from, we’re going to be looking mostly at their shared plans since that’s what they’re most known for. When you out grow that, they’ll have a VPS ready for you to upgrade to.
If you’re currently with another hosting company and you’re looking for something better, SiteGround is definitely worth a try. If you’re just starting out a brand-new site, it’s reassuring to know that you’ll have competent support that is eager to help you get things rolling.
Basically SiteGround is a perfect fit for people who need a great shared host, don’t mind spending more than a couple bucks per month for something of much greater quality, and want to rest easy knowing their host has their back if anything goes wrong.
SiteGround also prides themseleves on the quality of their customer support, which he’ll cover later on in this SiteGround review:
If you’re a complete beginner, SiteGround’s customized cPanel (control panel, the standard interface that many hosting companies use) makes it very easy to get the hang of things, and to find all the settings you need. For those who are experienced with hosting, you’ll feel right at home. In any case, SiteGround is both robust for power-users, and simple enough for total beginners.
It’s great for smaller to medium site sites, however if you have an enterprise-level site that a huge business is relying upon, we’d definitely recommend looking towards a custom solution rather than simple shared hosting, but for smaller sites (100, 1000, even more visitors per day) you can get by just fine with one of the plans we’re about to look at…
SiteGround offers three different tiers of their shared hosting plan, and we’re going to break them each down for you right now to help decide whether you can get away with the cheapest one, or if you’re someone who needs their higher-tier shared plan. First things first, here’s a quick overview of each one, before we go into more details:
INTRODUCTORY TIER: StartUp for $3.95 per month
SiteGround’s least expensive and smallest shared hosting plan is called StartUp, and it’s only $3.95 per month with their 60% off offer. That pricing is competitive with some of the ‘budget’ options we’ve looked at, but SiteGround provides a much more consistent service than them, making it a great alternative for when you don’t have huge needs from your website, you don’t want to spend a fortune, but you still want a perfectly capable hosting plan with excellent support.
The downside to this plan is that it only allows room for one single website. Note that’s an entire site, not just one page. So, if you only have one domain name to host, this won’t be a problem, but if you want to host multiple websites, you’ll need to step up to their next plan, called GrowBig.
The StartUp plan is suitable for roughly 300-350 visitors per day, give or take. So for a local small business, a club, or something hobby related, it could be a great choice. However, something to consider is that if your website happens to go viral or you start getting a lot more visitors, you could experience some slowdowns or even downtime if you don’t upgrade your server in time. So, if you’re planning to promote your site a lot, you may want to opt for a higher-tier plan from SiteGround.
The feature pack included with the StartUp tier has all of the essentials and more:
- SSD storage is great, it means your visitors’ web browsers can access your website more quickly.
- Free daily backups are something every website should have, you never want to lose even a day’s worth of data.
- The free site transfer makes it easy to move from another host.
- Free SSL helps keep your site safe and secure,
- and the free website builder can be useful for people who just want something simple and aren’t all that technically inclined, however you’re better off using something non-proprietary like WordPress in the event that you ever want to move your website away to another host.
Overall, the Essentials feature pack has everything that the name would suggest, and more.
INTERMEDIATE TIER: GrowBig for $5.95 per month
For a couple bucks extra each month, SiteGround is offering up twice the stage space and the capacity for more than twice as many monthly visitors. These recommended visitor counts aren’t written in stone, it can vary depending on the size of your site and other factors, but we still apprecaite them giving a rough estimate as opposed to some hosts who just say “You get unlimited everything” but end up cutting off your account without notice as soon as you’re using more resources than they’d like you to. At least with SiteGround, you have some idea what you’re working with.
This plan is $2 more than the StartUp plan, comes with double the memory, a lot more visitors, and an additional series of features which they have dubbed as their Premium Features.
Here’s a breakdown of the Premium Features that are included with the GrowBig plan, which also includes all of The Essential Features from the StartUp plan, too:
- Priority technical support is nice. SiteGround’s support is already great, but one of the perks for spending a couple bucks extra means you’ll get support even more quickly, and frankly that alone makes the upgrade worth it.
- Furthermore, you’ll get the SuperCacher feature which helps your site to run more quickly for repeat visitors,
- you’ll get additional backups, and free restores when you need to use them.
- That’s all in addition to the extra resources like twice as much SSD storage space.
If you’re going with SiteGround, and have the room in your budget, the couple extra dollars per month is a small price to pay for the GrowBig plan, but is GrowBig enough, or should y ou consider getting their
BEST TIER: GoGeek for $11.95 per month
At twice the price of GrowBig, is SiteGround’s GoGeek plan actually worth it? Let’s dig deep at all of the additional features you’ll get, and we’ll explain exactly who can benefit from this higher-tier option. For starters, you’ll get 10GB more SSD storage (web space) for your website and media files. This is plenty of storage for typical websites, most people won’t even come close to using their limit. You can, of course, host multiple websites still, and this plan is recommended for sites getting 3000-3500 visitors per day. Once your site is getting more than 100k visitors per month, it’s probabally time to start looking at a VPS instead.
This is a beefy plan for shared hosting, and caters both to regular and beginner users along with more advanced users.
GoGeek includes all of the features we’ve talked about from the StartUp and GrowBig options, along with its own set of advanced features referred to as Geeky Advanced Features. Here’s a look at those:
- Fewer accounts in the server is a huge plus. With any shared host, you’re sharing that server with a lot of other users and their websites. The more websites that are on the server, the less resources there will be to go around. So, being on less crowded servers offers an advantage of better performance, and a safer experience too. Sometimes, people will use shared hosting for shady things, and being on the same server as them isn’t ideal. The less people on the server, the less you need to worry about.
- PCI Compliant servers mean that these servers in particular meet the standards that have been agreed up in order to safely accept payments on your website, so for eCommerce this is a must (Not to mention you’ll want the extra resources to make sure you don’t miss out on any sales.)
- WordPress and Joomla staging means you can ensure that any changes you make to your site won’t have any unforeseen consequences (In other words, if you’re making updates to your site, you can make sure that the updates aren’t going to break everything BEFORE actually pushing the update live.)
Git helps you manage different versions of your site, app, or whatever you’re making.
SiteGround Performance Tests
We’re collected the results of a handful of different speed tests that people have conducted. When it comes to testing performance on shared hosts, there are a few things to keep in mind, that can make it kind of difficult:
- The performance of any given server can vary greatly depending on who else is located on the same server as you
- Your website itself, and which themes or applications you’re running, will also have a huge impact
- If you aren’t getting great performance, just send SiteGround an email and they will gladly look into it for you, and possibly move you to a better server, or help with whatever else is causing the slowdowns
- Use these previous speed test results as a measuring stick to test your own site’s speed, but not as the be-all-end-all, for the reasons outlined above
|Test conducted by:||Result|
|HostingFacts||483ms average load time|
|WPDingo||87.8% speed score|
|WPMyWeb||592 ms load time|
|WebsiteHostingRating||0.234 second time to first byte|
SiteGround Coupons and Discounts
SiteGround’s generous 60% off is already a great deal. They have a $25 setup fee which you can avoid altogether if you sign up for at least a year. It’s almost laways a better deal to go yearly, rather than monthly, if you plan on sticking with the host. It can be a dicey decision if you’re dealing with less reputable hosting companies who might not even be around a year from now, but we’re very confidant in recommending a longer-term plan with SiteGround since they have such a strong track record.
How Good Is Their Support?
We’ve mentioned before that one of the big differences between one shared host and another is often the level of support they provide. Many shared hosts charge budget prices and skimp on support.
Somehow, SiteGround manages to charge only slightly more than the bargain hosts, while maintaining a much higher level of customer support. This is likely due in big part to some of the things we mentioned earlier in regards to how they show a ton of appreciation for their staff, and generally seem like an awesome company to work for. It makes a difference. It’s one of those less-tangible things that end up having a huge impact on the long-term success and reputation of a business.
SITEGROUND REVIEW FINAL BREAKDOWN: PROS AND CONS
|Very reliable||Slightly more expensive than lower-grade shared hosts|
|Amazing support staff||With their cheapest plan you can only host one site|
|Very fast speeds||Cheapest plan also doesn't include their premium support|
|Great ratio of users per server|
|Easy to setup|
Overall, we strongly recommend SiteGround for a variety of reasons. It may cost a little bit more than some other shared hosts you’ve looked at, but you are definitely getting your money’s worth and a slightly higher investment in hosting can save you so many headaches down the road.
SiteGround Hosting FAQ:
Before we wrap things up, here are some answers to some commonly asked questions. If you have any additional questions about SiteGround, don’t be shy to write-in and we’ll do our best to provide you with an answer, or direct you towards the proper resources. We take it very seriously that people trust us to give them the scoop when it comes to web hosting choices, and we don’t take our recommendations lightly. If you have any issue with SiteGround, or any host we’ve recommended, please get in touch with us as well. We want to make sure that every single company we recommend as strongly as we recommend SiteGround is treating our readers excellently, and if that’s ever not the case, we’ll have to update our recommendations accordingly. Anyways, here are some answers to the questions we get the most, if your question isn’t here – just let us know.
Which SiteGround plan is the best value?
If you just have one website and don’t get more than 300-350 visitors per day typically, then their StartUp plan is probabally good enough, but it still might be worthwhile to secure the GrowBig plan for the sake of being able to handle more visitors and having a lot more storage for just a little bit more money. If you have multiple sites and are actively working on growing them, the GoGeek plan is offering up the best value, even if it’s the most expensive.
Nothing’s worse than having your site finally start to pop off and get popular, and you wake up to find out that it’s been suspended for going over your resources. Opting for a bigger plan can prevent this, but it could also be overkill for smaller sites. A good rule of thumb is that if your site is a hobby site and not very big and not getting many visitors, you can afford to save a few bucks on hosting. If your site is for a business, or anything that you or others are counting on, then it’s a good idea to always go for the bigger plan.
Are there any SiteGround discounts for students?
SiteGround offers a special $1.99 per month hosting plan for students, which is very generous of them. It has all of the same features of their regular shared hosting plans, but with a better price for students. The better price lasts for one year, at which point they can switch over to a regular plan.
They also offer a faculty partnership for teachers that allows them to host accounts for each of their students, that last for the duration of the course they’re teaching. It comes with a custom sign in page for the course or school, and it’s free.
Why does SiteGround charge a setup fee?
If you’re paying month-to-month on SiteGround, there is a $25 setup fee. This exists to encourage people to opt for the yearly plan, in order to save over $2 per month by avoiding the setup fee.
Hosting is a wildly competitive industry, and there are costs associated with bringing new customers on board. Whether other hosting companies are upfront about this additional fee, or if they just bury it inside their normal prices, we tend to prefer to upfront approach that SiteGround takes, so by locking in your price and committing to stay with them for at least a year, they’ll pass the savings onto you as a way of saying thanks.
What if I have more than one website?
Only the cheapest SiteGround plan limits the amount of websites you can host, so go with any of the other options and you’re all set. The lowest-tier plan is called StartUp, but for a couple of dollars more you can upgrade to the GrowBig plan and have as many sites as you’d like all hosted on the same account.
What is “unmetered traffic”?
Unmetered means that they don’t necessarily have a strict limit on the amount of traffic your website can have or how many visitors. They do mention guidelines in the descriptions of their different plans, and if you’re constantly using up a TON of bandwidth they’ll recommend that you upgrade your plan or you may force having it cut off.
This is a common practice for shared hosts, and we tend to prefer when they’ll just flat out tell you what the limit is instead of having an “invisible” limit, but we do give SiteGround props for giving an estimation either way. It can vary so much from site to site. For a tiny little site, one visitor will use up barely and bandwidth, however for a site that’s a huge photo gallery of a photographer, for instance, they’re going to eat through that bandwidth (“traffic”) a lot more quickly.
Where are SiteGround’s data centers located?
SiteGround has data centers located across three different continents, and centrally located to help serve your visitors all around the world. You should choose the one that’s closed to where the majority of your visitors come from to ensure they’re getting the fastest possible speeds.
Does SiteGround have good security?
First and foremost, having a strong password and a secure email address is the first line of defense, and that’s your responsability. Beyond that, SiteGround actively works to keep their servers secure, and to keep your website safe.
Being proactive isn’t something you’ll find from every hosting company, some are simply reactive – if that. WordPress is notorious for being exploited by hackers, and SiteGround keeps an eye on all the latest vulnerabilities and will actually go ahead and create their own fixes for them and their customers, even before WordPress themselves (or the creators of popular themes/plugins that could have vulnerabilities) have had a chance to patch. This level of management is very commendable, and just another example of how SiteGround goes above and beyond.
What are Reseller packages?
SiteGround’s reseller options can be a little tricky to understand at first, but can also greatly simplify things if you deal with clients, for example if you do webdesign for local businesses. What you do is purchase credits, and each credit is equivalent to one year of hosting. When you get a new client, or simply need a new account, you just apply one of your credits to it. Credits start at $42/year, so it’s cheaper than any of the other plans we’ve discussed.
So, why would you use reseller hosting when the GrowBig and GoGeek plans offer unlimited websites? Well, this allows you to have each site under its own account, which makes it much easier to manage for clients, plus you can give them access to their own control panels. Otherwise, if you wanted to give a client or their team access, they would also have access to the accounts of all your other clients, and that’s just not a suitable option. This way, everyone gets their own account, their own resources, and so on.
What about SiteGround’s VPS hosting?
SiteGround also offers VPS options, which stands for “virtual private server”. It’s a step up from shared hosting in terms of performance, but it’s also quite a bit more costly, starting at $80 per month. SiteGround isn’t a very affordable option when it comes to renting a VPS, we’ve seen other hosts that offer the same allotment of resources for a lot less money.
On the plus side, you’ll be supported by SiteGround’s excellent team of customer support staff. If you start with a shared host, it also provides a good avenue to upgrade when you need more resources and want to stay with SiteGround. By the time you need those additional resources from the VPS for your website, it will more than pay for itself becasue it means you’re getting a lot of visitors.
Are there any other features worth mentioning?
Admittedly, we didn’t get a chance to cover literally every feature SiteGround offers in the full review, but none the less, here’s a rundown of some additional features and benefits to using this webhost:
They have special hosting plans specifically for WordPress. The prices and specs are the same as we outlined above, and they have features like a 1-click installer to instantly launch your website, auto updates so that your version of WordPress stays up to date, WP-CLI enabled for people who prefer to use command line, and on their GrowBig & GoGeek servers, they also offer a pre-installed interface for Git repo creation, WordPress staging, and SuperCacher which is super useful for speeding up your site.
Finally on this siteground review we want to speak about their support staff, wich is on call around the clock, you can pick up the phone and talk to someone right now. They have live chat available 24/7 as well, and their support tickets only take a few minutes to get a response.
- Rated 5 stars
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