SiteGround Hosting Review – Overrated or Still an Excellent Web Host?
SiteGround is an excellent, professional level web host that is ideal for high traffic websites, blogs and ecommerce stores. They offer different types of hosting, everything from shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting to cloud hosting.
They also provide an excellent introduction rate on all their plans for new content creators, an easy to navigate dashboard and a WordPress starter plugin to help get beginners up and running properly. Last, all plans come with a CDN, the SG Optimizer plugin for WordPress, SSL certificates and the option to setup a professional email.
SiteGround Review Summary
Overall SiteGround is an excellent web host for anyone with a high traffic website, blog or online store. They are a terrible choice if all you need is a simple, low traffic website like a personal “about me” site or an online portfolio.
SiteGround has great introduction rate to tryout their service that renews at a much higher rate. They offer standard shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, WooCommerce Hosting and cloud hosting.
If you want to get premium hosting for cheap for your first contract, and have every intention of building a high traffic website, you can’t go wrong with SiteGround. If you’re on a budget however, we suggest looking at Hostinger.
The best host for serious content creators with high traffic websites and blogs.
SiteGround Plans and Pricing for WordPress
SiteGround is primarily a WordPress web host, though with their hosting plans you can use other popular scripts like Joomla or Drupal. All SiteGround servers are built on NGINX, a high performance, load balanced server.
Let’s break down their most popular plans and their respective prices:
SiteGround currently has three web hosting packages for their shared hosting. They all come with a 30 day money-back guarantee, a content delivery network to help make your website load fast, free SSL and daily backups.
Please note that these introduction rates are only for the first year. After that you’ll have to pay the standard rate.
Startup – The basic option
The startup plan costs $6.99 a a month for the first year and then renews at $14.99. It’s ideal for 10,000 visitors a month which is quite a small amount of traffic and you can only have one website on this plan.
Last, you don’t get dynamic caching unlike the other two plans. At such a low traffic level, there is no need for any advanced features however. This plan is not particularly useful in general and is too limited.
If you want a cheap, single site plan from a name brand web host you can get one at Bluehost for $2.95 a month for 36 months.
Grow Big – The most popular option
Grow Big is their most popular plan and for good reason. It’s the middle ground between the very limited Startup plan while also being less expensive than the GoGeek plan. It has an introduction rate of $9.99 a month and renews at $24.99 a month.
You can build a website that gets around 25,000 visitors a month and can easily upgrade your hosting to the Go Geek plan if your website demands it. Overall the Grow Big is their best plan for complete beginners because it gives you full access to SiteGround hosting and is not limited in any way.
Please note that SiteGround now limits users to 2 websites on the Grow Big plan. A massive limitation, from the previous unlimited website offer before. In general, we think the limit should be 3 websites.
Go Geek – The Pro Plan
Go Geek is designed for high traffic websites and blogs. It can accommodate up to 100,000 monthly visitors. It starts at $14.99 a month for the first year and renews at $39.99 a month.
There is not much separating the Go Geek plan from the Grow Big other than the amount of resources allocated to your website. The Go Geek plan is perfect for anyone with an established website that’s getting traffic and want’s a premium web host.
Like the Grow Big plan, SiteGround now limits users to 5 websites per Go Geek account. While not as generous as unlimited, 5 websites is enough for most users.
With regards to the three hosting plans, where SiteGround falls short is that they don’t have a plan for medium sized websites. What if you have a website where you’re getting 1,500 visitors a day? You’re too big to be on the Grow Big plan but not really big enough for Go Geek to justify paying $39.99 a month.
We hope they increase the resources for the Grow Big plan to allow for up to 40,000 visitors a day without increasing price.
SiteGround Speed and Performance
SiteGround’s speed an performance is some of the best in the industry and is what you’re paying a premium for. The fact that unlike other high end web hosts, you can right now lock in a low introduction rate for your first year with SiteGround makes it quite a deal.
When it comes to performance and speed, there are a few things you get with SiteGround to improve your website.
SG Optimizer Cache Plugin
With your WordPress installation, you get the SG Optimizer plugin which is an excellent cache plugin designed to work with SiteGrounds servers:
The SiteGround SuperCacher system provides several layers of caching for your site –NGINX Direct Delivery, Dynamic Cache, and Memcached. NGINX Direct Delivery is switched on by default for all our users and is not WordPress specific. *Source
One thing to note is that you don’t get dynamic cache on their basic, Start Up plan. Regardless, SiteGround is focused on speed and delivery. They are also optimized for multiple applications, not just WordPress.
Data Centers around the World
A data center is simply a building with a bunch of servers that are maintained and protected. Having multiple data centers ensures you’re able to have fast response times for when your audience is trying to load your website.
Have a website that caters to more of an Australian or Asian audience? Their data center in Singapore is perfect for you. They also have data centers in Europe and North America.
A highly rated web host for professionals.
My SiteGround – No More CPANEL
SiteGround in the last few years has gone through a rebrand and design over-haul. On the back end, they no longer use CPANEL and instead have their own custom dashboard called “My SiteGround.”
This new dashboard is much simple and easy to navigate than CPANEL. This is good and bad, CPANEL was nice because it allowed more tech savvy users control. But for most consumers, this new dashboard is perfect.
The biggest drawback of this design is that you don’t get Softaculous anymore. This was software that made installing all sorts of scripts on your account easy. However, as most users now want WordPress, Joomla and Drupal it’s understandable the move away from Softaculous.
SiteGround Tools – A Simpler CPANEL
When you add a website to your hosting account, you’ll get access to “SiteGround tools” which functionally work the same as CPANEL but in a more easy to used way.
Within your tools section for your website you can access specific site, security, speed and WordPress specific tools. If you want to install a free SSL or setup a professional email, this is where you can find what you need.
You also have easy access to file manager as well as Cloudflare CDN.
Does SiteGround have a website builder?
SiteGround does not currently have their own dedicated website builder. Instead, they have a partnership with Weebly. To be honest, SiteGround charges a premium price for their hosting so this Weebly combination does not make a lot of sense.
If you want to use Weebly, just go to Weebly.com and sign up, there is no need to be paying for SiteGround. Again, if you want a web host with a great site builder check out our review on the Bluehost website builder.
SiteGround Security – Anti-bot protection and an application firewall
Security is outstanding with SiteGround. They have a dedicated team of security experts managing software vulnerabilities. They also use a constantly updated application firewall with specific rules in order to keep their hosting environment secure.
In addition, you also get anti-bot protection for your website. For example, when trying to sign into your account you’ll sometimes be asked to prove you’re human through completing a captcha. While inconvenient, this small practice reduces the server load on your website and prevents brute force attacks.
Free SSL – Part DIY
All web hosts today offer a free SSL certificate with your hosting account. This is because Google has stated that having a secure website is a ranking factor. Web hosts through a service called “Let’s Encrypt” are able to provide a free SSL certificate.
With SiteGround it’s a two step process to enabling your SSL. First you need go to your “site tools” once you install WordPress on your domain:
Simply select “Let’s Encrypt” and click the orange “get” button. If you have any issue you’ll have to reach out to support. Next, log into WordPress and under the SG Optimizer plugin enable the SSL:
One issue we ran into was if you delete your website and then reinstall WordPress and attempt to get a new SSL, we ran into an error. Also, we wish SiteGround just did this for their users automatically. While not too technical, it is just another step for someone to do.
Backups with SiteGround
SiteGround provides you with daily backups which they store for 30 days. This is quite helpful as backups are an easy way to fix a website where you made some sort of design mistake.
Perhaps you’re editing the HTML and you end up making a syntax error. Maybe you just want to reload and earlier version? Maybe the worst case scenario happens and their is an issue with the server where your hosting account is on.
With daily backups, SiteGround will restore your website for you upon request so you can relax and not worry.
A disappointing change for SiteGround is the end of free website migrations. New customers can get 1 free site moved over and have to pay a $30 fee for any additional websites. They also have a migration plugin, but again at SiteGround’s price point this is something they should just do for you.
Like WPX Hosting, SiteGround used to offer new customers completely free site migrations to their hosting. Migrations are a simple thing with a small website and become more complicated with a larger website. It’s also quite a confusing process for customers who are not tech savvy.
At least their price point for migrations is reasonable at $30. For comparison, WPX provides free migrations for new customers but then charges $99 per migration after the onboarding process is over.
Part of SiteGround’s higher average price goes to having excellent, technical support staff that will actually fix your problem for you. Where other hosts like Bluehost give you a run-a-round with help articles and redundant questions, SiteGround’s support staff are tech savvy and helpful.
Compared to the past, SiteGround’s support is a bit slower and more difficult to get a hold of. The chat wait times are a bit longer and their is more of an emphasis on solving your issue yourself. This is simply because SiteGround has grown in popularity.
However, if you’re looking for a web host with tech savvy, knowledgeable support who will fix any issue for you quickly, you’ll want to use SiteGround.
SiteGround Affiliate Program
Like all web hosts in this highly competitive business, SiteGround has an affiliate program. This is different from their referral program and much more lucrative. If you have the right audience, you can make a good commission from promoting SiteGround.
SiteGroud operates on a tiered structure where your commission is based on how many sales you generate per month. Also, it’s not progressive. If you drive 6 sales for example you get paid $75 for each of those 6 sales.
While all web hosts will pay you a high amount if you’re able to get results for them, we like that SiteGround just lays it out publicly. Often times a web host will have a public rate, but pay different amounts to different affiliates.
The only downside of this program is the first tier. $50 for a web host that charges a premium price is just small. Most hosts have a larger base commission and for your average affiliate who is only able to drive a handful of monthly sales, you won’t make that much.
However, if you have the right audience, SiteGround can be lucrative, long term partner.
SiteGround Review Conclusion
To conclude, SiteGround is a premium web host that is a hybrid between a starter web host like Bluehost and a web host for high traffic websites like WPX Hosting. They have an affordable introduction rates for new customers and provide the resources and tools you need to manage a high traffic website.
If you’re someone who has every intention of building a large blog or website with WordPress, SiteGround is an optimal choice. If you’re just looking to create a simple low traffic website, I would pass on SiteGround as they are excessive for your needs.
Fast, professional web host for WordPress.