SiteGround is one of the top web hosting companies on the market today, and is highly recommended by experts and bloggers across many different blogs and forums.
But c’mon, is SiteGround really THAT good?
I’ll admit I was a bit sceptical at first, but that quickly changed. In fact so much that I now use SiteGround (the GrowBig plan) and I just recently moved this site over to SiteGround.
Because of SiteGround’s dedication to uptime, speed, security and support – SiteGround really is the superior web host right now!
And I’m not the only one that ❤️ SiteGround.
This here SiteGround hosting review will look at the primary features of SiteGround, what their pricing plans are like, and walk through the pros and cons to help you make up your mind before you use SiteGround for your hosting needs.
Give me ten minutes of your time, and I will give you all the must-know facts and answer questions like.
- How much does SiteGround hosting cost?
- What’s the difference between StartUp, GrowBig & GoGeek?
- Do I get to choose a server location?
- What are the pros and cons of using SiteGround?
- Which is the best SiteGround plan for WordPress sites?
- Will SiteGround take automatic backups of my site?
- Does SiteGround come with SSD? What about CDN & SSL?
- Will SiteGround help transfer my website over to them?
- What’s their SuperCacher plugin for WordPress like?
When you have finished reading this SiteGround review you will know if it’s the right (or wrong) web hosting service for you to use.
What you’ll learn from this SiteGround review
- SiteGround’s features
Here I’ll cover the main features of SiteGround and what their web hosting services come with.
- SiteGround’s pros & cons
- SiteGround’s plans & prices
Here I’ll cover SiteGround’s plans and prices and what the features are for each plan.
- Do I Recommend SiteGround?
Here I’ll tell you if I recommend SiteGround (hint: yes I do) or are you better off signing up with a competitor (hint: no you’re not).
When you’re setting up a website, particularly one that will serve as a source of income, you need to know that you can rely on your host to provide excellent services and support.
If your website is down or has technical glitches that affect the users’ experience, you will end up losing money. Which is no bueno!
So let’s talk about SiteGround. What makes it special? Why do so many people rave about SiteGround?
WordPress Hosting is a closed Facebook group with almost 7,000 members solely dedicated to WordPress hosting.
Each year members are asked to vote for their favourite web host. Can you guess which WordPress web host got the most votes?
That’s right. SiteGround has been voted the #1 WordPress host for two years in a row now.
This SiteGround review (December 2017 update) will discuss the primary features of SiteGround and talk about why you should consider using it for your hosting needs.
SiteGround Main Features
SiteGround has a ton of great features, but there are four main features that really set SiteGround apart from other web hosts.
These things explain why SiteGround is recommended by WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, and why it gets such enthusiastic user support and great reviews.
When it comes to making a website user-friendly, one of the most important issues is speed.
Once I moved this site over to SiteGround I immediately had a much faster loading website.
Byte Check is a tool that measures time to first byte (TTFB). It’s a measurement of the responsiveness of a web server.
My homepage time to first byte went from 2.3 seconds down to 0.2 seconds once I switched over to SiteGround.
Using GTmetrix my homepage loading time went from 6.9 seconds down to 1.6 seconds after I moved my site to SiteGround. That’s a 5.3 seconds faster load time!
My homepage loading speed using Pingdom went from 4.96 seconds down to 581 milliseconds after I moved over to SiteGround. That is pretty amazing!
Sites that load slowly aren’t likely to rise to the top in any niche.
Why? Because web users are notoriously impatient. In fact, studies show that if a page hasn’t loaded in three seconds, users are likely to navigate away in search of something faster – and the longer the wait is, the more people you’ll lose.
The people who run SiteGround take speed seriously. They are always working on new technology to help improve their sites’ load times – and it shows.
Here are some of the specific technologies they use to guarantee quick loading times to their clients:
- Solid State Drives (SSDs) are up to a thousand times faster than regular drives. All of the databases and sites hosted by SiteGround use SSDs for storage.
- NGINX web server technology helps to speed up the loading time for static content on your website. All of SiteGround’s clients’ sites get the benefit of NGINX web server technology.
- Web caching plays a key role in loading dynamic content from your website. SiteGround has built their own caching mechanism, SuperCacher, which relies on NGINX reverse proxy. The result is faster loading of dynamic content and better website speed optimization.
- SiteGround’s free Content Delivery Network (CDN) and HTTP/2 and PHP7 enabled servers help speed up loading times around the world by making your content more accessible.
In addition to all of the above, SiteGround also makes regular updates to their technology to ensure that the sites they host aren’t lagging because they haven’t kept up with technological changes. The result is the fastest loading times available.
It seems as if hardly a day goes by without news of some new security breach online. Individuals, corporations, and even government entities have been victimized. Security is a major concern for anybody who owns a website.
SiteGround offers some of the most reliable security available. You’ll still have to do your part in keeping your site safe, but here are some of the security features that make SiteGround unique.
- Site isolation ensures that your site is not negatively impacted if there’s a security breach of one of the other sites on your server. Think of it like a hosting firewall that protects your site from hackers.
- All of SiteGround’s servers support HTTP/2 technology, which is the most secure option available. Many web hosts are behind in this area, but SiteGround is not.
- All of SiteGround’s clients get the benefit of their web application firewall (WAF), which protects against security breaches and is updated regularly.
- Proactive patches are sent to all clients when new threats emerge.
SiteGround also runs regular virus and malware scans on your site and sends reports to notify you of the results. That’s one of the things that SiteGround users love about their service.
A hosting service can have state-of-the-art technology and good security, but for most people, it’s what happens when things go wrong that matters the most.
SiteGround is a company that prides itself on client support. They make customer service a priority and it shows in their reviews and the loyalty of their clients.
The fact is that SiteGround’s response times leave their competitors in the dust. The average response time for a ticket for their closest competitor is 44 minutes – but SiteGround’s response time is just eight minutes.
They offer three ways to get support:
- Live chat system will get you an immediate reply and is available 24 hours a day
- Likewise, phone support is staffed around the clock and will get you an instant reply
- Submitting a ticket will get you a reply in less than 10 minutes – less if you have paid for one of their priority services
Instead of waiting hours (or even days) for help with your site, you can count on SiteGround to give you a timely response. Of course, that means you can pass on the same excellent services to your site’s users.
As mentioned earlier, WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. In addition to powering just under 27% of all the Internet’s sites, it’s also responsible for delivering as much as 60% of the web content worldwide.
For that reason, it’s very important to choose a web host that supports WordPress – and SiteGround does. Here are some of its best WordPress-related features:
- All plans come with fully managed WordPress hosting.
- Regular, automatic WordPress updates ensure that you’ll always have the latest version of WordPress. This option is included in all SiteGround plans.
- Automatic updates of installed WordPress plug-ins is also available on all plans.
- The SiteGround team keeps an eye out for WordPress vulnerabilities and writes WAF updates to protect you from them.
- Their speed technologies, which were detailed above, are specifically geared toward helping WordPress sites load as quickly as possible.
Siteground’s SuperCacher is exclusive to Siteground user, and it’s a built-in caching plugin that increases the number of hits your site can handle which in return speeds up your website loading time.
While WordPress is SiteGround’s particular focus – which makes sense, given WordPress’ dominance of the market – SiteGround is also a recommended partner for both Joomla and Drupal content management systems.
The features listed above make SiteGround a favorite of both individuals and companies who want the reassurance of 99.99% uptime, fast site loading, state-of-the-art-security, and top-notch customer service.
Pros and Cons of SiteGround
The features that SiteGround offers their web hosting clients are impressive, but covering the technical aspects of their service doesn’t really give you an idea of what choosing SiteGround can do for you on a practical level.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the real world pros and cons of using SiteGround. As you will see, there are a lot more pros than cons – not surprising, given SiteGround’s commitment to excellence.
The pros of using SiteGround to host your website are undeniable. This is a company that prides itself on excellent service – and it shows.
If you’ve spent any time at all shopping for a web host, you’re familiar with the importance of uptime. A hosting company’s uptime percentage tells you how often, on average, you can expect your website to be “down” or unavailable.
It’s not possible for any hosting service to claim 100% uptime since there are too many variables in play to be sure that there will never be a downtime. However, SiteGround does guarantee a 99.99% uptime.
That’s impressive by any standard, and they live up to it. They use monitoring software that notifies them immediately when there is an outage and works to resolve it.
To put it in perspective, 99.99% uptime means that your site might be down for a little over four hours in any six month period.
SiteGround’s uptime percentages are truly impressive. Their overall average is 99.99% uptime, and a look at their website in April of 2017 revealed:
- A monthly average uptime for the past 30 days of 99.999%
- An annual average uptime for the past 365 days of 99.996%
In practical terms, SiteGround’s customers hardly ever have to worry about their websites not being available.
I already talked about the speed technology that SiteGround uses to minimize loading times for WordPress sites, but what does it mean in practical terms?
Earlier, I mentioned that most Internet users will give a site three seconds to load before they consider navigating away. That’s not much time, so if you want to hold on to your site’s visitors your load times need to be very fast.
Sites hosted on SiteGround have an average load time of 1.3 seconds per page. That’s very quick and it speaks to the efficiency of the speed technology the company uses.
Server Response Times
Another clear pro of using SiteGround is that it has very fast server response times. The server response time is a measure of how long it takes the server to deliver all of the elements of your website to a user’s browser.
SiteGround has extremely fast response times averaging about 190 milliseconds over a six month period. That means that regardless of where your data is stored, the information on your site – both static data and dynamic data – can be delivered to a user’s browser almost instantaneously.
Why does this matter? Again, it has to do with user experience. You want the people who visit your site to have as little time as possible to consider navigating away. When your server responds very quickly, as the SiteGround servers do, your users are likely to stay on your site.
Multiple Data Centers
Part of the reason that SiteGround’s server response times are so fast is that they offer their clients access to multiple data centers located at strategic locations around the world.
When you sign up with SiteGround you are given the option to choose your preferred server location.
While data delivery speeds on the whole have speeded up considerably over the years, the physical distance between a user and the server can impact the loading times.
To address that issue, SiteGround maintains data centers in:
When you sign up for hosting services, you have the opportunity to choose where you want your data to be stored.
You know how important it is to backup the data on your website. If you don’t, you risk losing both static data and dynamic data, some of which may be irreplaceable.
If you set up your site with SiteGround, you’ll need to make sure to have a regular backup system in place. However, in the event that your backup fails, SiteGround has you covered.
They do daily backups of all of their clients’ websites so in the event that your backup fails or you need to reclaim your data for some reason, you can contact customer service and get what you need.
It’s natural to want the companies you buy from to be transparent about what they do and how they do it. It’s particularly important when you’re going to be trust a company with all of the content on your website.
SiteGround has, for the most part, a great record with transparency. When you visit their site, you’ll see that they display both their monthly uptime percentage and their yearly uptime percentage so you can see how their sites are performing.
They also provide – free of charge – the IP addresses of all of their data centers. Why does that matter? Because it lets you test the loading speed of your site from each one of the data centers so you can pick the one that will deliver the best user experience to your site’s visitors.
They’re also very honest about what’s included in each one of their plans. Some of the higher-priced plans user low-volume servers to ensure faster load times. With SiteGround, you’ll always know what you’re getting in return for your money.
As a whole, the hosting industry is very United States-centric, and that can be a problem for people who live in other countries.
SiteGround is based in Bulgaria but they have a global perspective that makes them highly accessible to companies and individuals around the globe.
To begin with, they’ll accept multiple currencies, including:
- US dollars
- British pounds
- Australian dollars
They also have a dedicated Spanish-language page and toll free phone numbers in various locations. They offer country-specific domain names, too, which makes easy for local companies to choose a domain name that’s specific to their country. (FYI SiteGround no longer offers a free domain name when signing up.)
We talked earlier about security, and one of the biggest benefits of choosing SiteGround to host your site is that you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your site is protected by some of the best security tools available.
In addition to the built-in security features that we already mentioned, you can get a slew of other security features that can help protect your data – and your users.
- Anti-spam tools, including SpamAssassin and SpamExperts, to protect your site from spammers
- The ability to block certain IP addresses (very useful if you’ve been subjected to an attack)
- A free SSL certificate (available with certain plans)
- HackAlert, a $1/month add-on that will notify you immediately if your site is under attack
- Leech Protect, a feature that allows the administrators of your site to prevent users from giving out or posting their password or login information
- Their free SiteCheck tool allows you to quickly and easily check your site for malware to make sure that your visitors are protected
SiteGround takes security seriously, and that’s a big pro particularly if your site has an ecommerce store or collects any private information from users.
If you’re an experienced web developer, you might find that you have little need for SiteGround’s customer support. For the rest of us, though, it’s important to know that we can get the help we need, when we need it.
SiteGround’s customer support is truly unparalleled. As mentioned earlier, you can get live chat or telephone support. You’ll be notified immediately of how many customers are ahead of you, and in most cases the wait times are minimal.
The same is true of putting in a ticket through their website. Their customer service reps are friendly, helpful, and patient, making them a particularly good choice for individuals and small businesses who are in need of some hand-holding.
Free site migration
Website migration is a major hassle when it comes to switching web hosts. One of the many good things about SiteGround is their free website transfer service.
This service applies not only to WordPress sites, but also other CMS platforms like Joomla and Drupal, and of course single websites and static HTML websites too.
SiteGrounds transfer service includes a free transfer of one website (regardless of size), as well as transfer of emails, FTP accounts, addon domains for (for accounts managed with cPanel).
- Sign up for SiteGround hosting
- Login to your SiteGround Customer Area
- Click on the Support Tab
Scroll down a bit to the “website setup assistant” section.
Fill out the website migration form and wait for SiteGround to get back to you. You will be amazed to know that the process of transferring your WordPress site to SiteGround is completed within just 24-48 hours.
No company is perfect, and there are a few potential downsides to consider before you make the decision to use SiteGround as your host.
Data Storage Limits
The first con of choosing SiteGround is that they have fairly low caps on the amount of data you can store on your site.
There are undoubtedly good reasons for the limitations. The more data customers store on their shared hosting servers, the more likely it is that they’ll experience slow load times and server response times.
However, people who have image/video-heavy sites might have an issue with SiteGround’s storage limitations. They range from 10GB at the low end to 30GB at the high end. That might be plenty for most text-based sites.
The only solution to this particular issue is to make your best guess about how much storage you will need to keep your site going and then see if one of SiteGround’s plans can accommodate your storage needs.
- StartUp: 10GB storage (okay for most non-CMS / non-WordPress driven sites)
- GrowBig: 20GB storage (okay for WordPress / Joomla / Drupal driven sites)
- GoGeek: 30GB storage (okay for ecommerce as well as WordPress / Joomla / Drupal driven sites)
SiteGround has something they call a monthly allowance of “CPU seconds per account”. Basically this is a limit of how much resources your site is allowed to use per month. The potential problem here is if you go over, and overuse this limit, then SiteGround may put your site on hold until the next month when your monthly allowance is reset.
SiteGround outlines the monthly resource limits in their plan details:
- StartUp: Suitable for ~10,000 visits per month
- GrowBig: Suitable for ~25,000 visits per month
- GoGeek: Suitable for ~100,000 visits per month
However you should be aware that an overuse freeze can happen well below 100k visit limit on the GoGeek plan. So if your website attracts considerable traffic, say than 3,000 visitors per day, then even the GoGeek plans might not work out for you.
I would argue that if you get thousands of visitors to your site per day then you should stay away from shared hosting plans altogether, as you are better off with a cloud hosting or VPS plan (come with much more resources).
SiteGround Plans & Prices
SiteGround offers three different plans for their shared hosting service; Startup, GrowBig, and GoGeek.
SiteGround StartUp Plan
The StartUp plan starts at just $3.95 per month .
- Host 1 website only
- ~ 10,000 monthly visits
- 10GB web space
- Essential features:
- SSD storage
- Free setup & site transfer
- 30 days money back guarantee
- 99.9 percent uptime guarantee
- 24/7 technical support
- Unlimited bandwidth, emails, databases
- Free SSL & HTTP/2
- Free daily backups
- Free CloudFlare CDN
- SuperCacher static caching only
- PHP7 + OpCache
- WordPress & Joomla tools
- cPanel & SSH access
StartUp is a pretty fantastic entry-level plan for beginners but you can only host one website with this plan.
SiteGround GrowBig Plan
In addition to the standard features you get in the StartUp plan, you receive premium WordPress caching, premium support, daily backups and access to a premium site backup and restore service. Your first year of Wildcard SSL certificate is also included for free.
The GrowBig Plan starts at $5.95 per month .
- Host unlimited websites
- ~ 25,000 monthly visits
- 20GB web space
- All essential + premium features:
- SuperCacher dynamic & memcache caching
- 30 daily backups
- Priority support
- SSD storage
- Wildcard SSL certificate
- Backup & restoration service
- 2x server resources
- 2x database resources
- 2x email resources
GrowBig is the plan I recommend you sign up with. You can host multiple websites, you get more 2x more resources (resulting in a faster loading website) than the StartUp plan.
SiteGround GoGeek Plan
You get all the benefits of the StartUp and GrowBig plans, plus geeky features and 4x more resources compared to the StartUp plan.
The GoGeek Plan starts at $11.95 per month .
- Host unlimited websites
- ~ 100,000 monthly visits
- 30GB web space
- All essential & premium + geeky features:
- SuperCacher dynamic & memcache caching
- 1 click WordPress staging
- SG-Git for repository creation
- Pre-Installed Git
- Free PCI compliance
- Premium backup & restorate service
- 4x server resources
- 4x database resources
- 4x email resources
The GoGeek plan is for heavily-visited or resource-intensive websites and it comes with 4x faster servers than the StartUp hosting plans.
StartUp vs GrowBig vs GoGeek Comparison
The main difference between the plans is that with StartUp you can only host 1 website. GrowBig comes with more server resources (= faster loading website), you also get priority support, 30 daily backups (instead of just 1 with StartUp) and dynamic caching (instead of just static caching with StartUp). The GoGeek plan comes with 4 times more server resources, and you can create a staging site, you get premium website backup and restore service, and you also get free PCI compliance. Read my more detailed comparison here.
- I recommend that you sign up with the StartUp plan if you intend to run a simple static or HTML site.
- I recommend that you sign up with the GrowBig plan (this is the plan I’m using) if you intend to run a WordPress, Joomla or any CMS powered site.
- I recommend that you sign up with the GoGeek plan if you intend to run an ecommerce site with PCI compliance or if you need WordPress/Joomla staging and Git features.
Here you will find answers to some of the most common questions about SiteGround.
What is SiteGround.com?
Does SiteGround have a money-back guarantee?
What payment methods does SiteGround accept?
Do I get to choose a datacenter location?
Does SiteGround offer free website migration?
Will SiteGround do backups of my website?
What is SiteGround’s uptime guarantee?
Does SiteGround offer SSL and CDN?
Does SiteGround offer managed WordPress hosting?
Does SiteGround come with Solid State Drives (SSDs)?
Do I need the SG Site Scanner?
Where can I find a SiteGround coupon code?
Do I recommend SiteGround?
Yes I recommend SiteGround. In fact so much that I now use SiteGround (I’m on the GrowBig plan), because not long ago I decided to switch to SiteGround.
SiteGround is a very affordable and reliable web hosting service for your website.
They have industry-leading and impressive uptime levels, fast servers, strong security features, and excellent customer service that leave the competition in the rear-view mirror.
The few downsides of choosing SiteGround as your web host, in my opinion, far outweighed by the upsides.
Provided that your site don’t go over SiteGround’s resource limits, you can be confident that your site will load quickly, be available when you need it, and will be secure to protect your data and your visitors’ privacy.
If you’re still sitting on the fence about SiteGround then take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can “try them out” and if you aren’t happy, then you will get your money back.