Hosting Reviews

SiteGround Reviews 2020 – When (& When not) To Use It

SiteGround Reviews

SiteGround has over 2 million active domains and remains to be one of the popular web hosting services in 2020. The Bulgarian company was launched in 2004 and has over 400 employees. Whether you’re looking for a personal website, an e-commerce site, or a business website, SiteGround has you covered.

With its different hosting options that include cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, and dedicated servers, you’ll find something that fits your needs.

In this detailed review, we delve into SiteGround’s performance, reliability, features, customer support, the plans they offer, and some few drawbacks.

Siteground Info and Hosting Overview

OUR VERDICTImpressive Customer Support/ Reliable Host
SPEED670ms
UPTIME99.99%
SITE TRANSFERNot free for StartUp Plans, Free site transfer for GrowBig and higher plans
FEATURESFree Website backup, Unlimited data transfer, cPanel access, 10GB storage, free email
APPSover 500 apps
HOSTING PLANS:WordPress, Cloud, Shared, Enterprise, Reseller, and Dedicated servers
SUPPORT24/7 Phone, live chat, and ticket-based support
PRICINGStartUp at $3.95/month and $11.95/month

The Pros of SiteGround Hosting

While at first SiteGround may look expensive, once you start analyzing what it has to offer, you’ll realize that it provides value for your money. Some of the areas SiteGround wins at include:

Easy to Use and Setup

You’ll find it easy to sign up for SiteGround. All you need is to choose the desired hosting package. The web hosting service provider offers to register a new domain for $16/year or use your domain.

After the domain section, you’ll need to provide your account details like the email, name, password, payment information, and others.  Find the purchase information section at the bottom of the screen. StartUp package customers get two add-ons-site scanners and website transfer.

The website transfer add-on costs $20 a year. However, with higher plans, you get this service for free.

Impressive High Uptimes

Uptime is the metric used to measure how good any web host is in the market.  It’s the amount of time the server stays up and running. A survey conducted over a 12-month stretch shows that SiteGround has high uptimes on average. It had an average uptime of 99.988% and came fourth.

Between January-December 2019, SiteGround managed an impressive 99.9% uptime.  In their worst months, they had an uptime of 99.95%, which is still high compared to other web hosting service providers.

Anyone visiting your website doesn’t want to realize that the site is not working around the clock, which means you may lose potential customers. SiteGround promises reliable uptime to keep your web visitors satisfied.

Quick Load Times and Server Response Times

Another critical factor when evaluating a web hosting provider is the load times and server response times.  Your website may be up, but it might not load faster, something that could make you lose potential customers who would like to check out.

SiteGround’s speed technology uses a powerful combination of SSDs, NGINX, HTTP/2 servers, PHP 7.3, and one-click Cloudflare activation. Their SG Optimizer plugin handles magnification, caching, and more.

HTTP/2-enabled servers is a new network protocol that contributes to speed and NGINX is a web server technology that quickens the site loading time.  The inclusion of SSDs adds to superior speeds and reliability, unlike hard-disk drives.

SiteGround’s Supercacher allows you to choose between dynamic and static caching. There’s also an option of Memcached, which is a powerful open-source caching system.

The PHP 7.3 version ensures that your site loads fast while the SG Optimizer has server-side caching that is faster than file-based caching. It also provides image optimization, gzips compression, and removes query strings.  PHP 7was tested by Zend and found to boost Drupal 8 speed by 72%.

Remember that you can’t do much with a slow host. You may compress images to load images through a CDN, but this won’t help much. With SiteGround, you won’t have to worry about load times.  They have a worldwide average of 138ms when it comes to speed tests.

Features for All Plans

As a startup or someone looking for a more advanced option, SiteGround has something for everyone. Some of these features include:

Integration With Website Builders

Bloggers and beginners can use SiteGround to install website builders like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. In a few clicks, you can install Weebly, a site that has a drag and drop editor that gives you control over the feel and look of your site without any coding knowledge.  You won’t need a developer or a professional website designer to install these site builders.

Once you opt for higher plans, you get Git pre-installed, WP-CLI, SSH, SFTP, and phpMyAdmin. You also get different PHP versions and multi-level caching. If you’d rather test before using new features, SiteGround gives you access to a staging environment.

GrowBig users can create their backup copies on demand.  That means that you can create a backup copy if you find the staging environment a lot of work for smaller changes.

With the one-click restore tool, you can resolve most site management problems. What’s more, all users get the restore option.

Security Features

As a website owner, security is paramount and a major concern given the rise in scammers and online hackers. SiteGround has useful security features to keep you safe.

Their servers support HTTP/2 technology that guarantees security and boosts the performance of HTTPS sites. SiteGround also has site isolation that ensures your site is not affected in case of a security breach on one of their sites on your server.

The web hosting service provider also has a web application firewall or WAF that protects against security breaches. It’s updated regularly to keep you safe.  In the case of new threats, the company sends proactive patches to all its clients.

Another impressive thing is that SiteGround runs virus and malware scans on your websites and sends you reports of the results to keep you informed. Their AI-bot prevents tools to detect new attacks before they hit your website.

In 2019, SiteGround stopped seven million brute-force attacks, mitigated 186 DDOS attacks, added 125 live patch-kernel modules, wrote 250 new custom firewall rules, and stopped 160M bad bot requests towards their client’s sites.

Advanced Priority Support for GoGeek and Higher

GoGeek, Cloud, and Dedicated Server customers now have all their inquiries assigned to the most experienced support agents. As a premium user, you get to enjoy the speed and quality of the available technical support.

Free CDN and SSL

SiteGround plans also come with free CDN AND SSL certificates. The SSL certificate is necessary for all sites as it protects private information that is sent between websites and devices. Information like credit card numbers and IP addresses are kept safely.

The Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN) keeps all the large files like videos and images off of your server. That translates into a fast server and high load times.  SiteGround has servers all over the world, which means that your files are stored in a place where your site visitors can check for quick delivery.

All hosting plans come with daily automatic backups to make sure that your site is backed up regularly even when you forget to do so.

Additional Features

SiteGround also offers other developer features like WP-CLI integration, GIT integration, and site staging. The Joomla and WordPress toolkits for all sites automate a variety of tasks from resetting admin passwords, changing domain address, to resolving file permission problems. The simple to use cPanel includes all the essential information on one web page.

The web host also offers daily backups of your site, which allows you to restore a site from the wrong implementation of a new tool, malicious intrusion, or other site breaking problems. SiteGround provides up to 30 days’ worth of backups that you can use for site restoration. Note that this feature is free for GoGeek and GrowBig plans, and you’ll have to part with $29.95 for the StartUp plan.

The staging tool is another fantastic feature that allows you to spin up a copy of your website and make changes to a web available example of your site without interfering with the live site.

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Unlike other web hosts, SiteGround has an inbuilt tool that makes the process effective.  As a web developer, you can test things out without too much hassle when setting up.

Fantastic Customer Support and Assistance

SiteGround seeks to provide quick answers to their customers. They have a 24/7 live chat and you can call them over the phone. They are also available via email.  If you run into any problem or you need assistance with your website, you can rely on SiteGround to provide reliable customer support.

SiteGround has a YouTube Channel in both English and Spanish, where you can check out their helpful videos.

There’s priority support for GoGeek plan users. That means you get access to the most experienced technicians when you need help or have questions that need to be answered.

The web hosting provider also has a helpful blog with knowledge-based articles. These articles update you on the latest on SiteGround and provide answers to some common questions. Apart from the knowledge base, you can find tutorials for Magneto, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.

Optimized Auto Updates and Software

Updated software on the server ensures compatibility, which then reduces errors and improves the efficiency of the server. Overall, it translates faster site speeds.

SiteGround has set up their system to download and install the latest core software without interfering or affecting the servers. Their mission is to keep your site optimized as you handle the business side of things.

The web hosting provider uses different speed optimization software to quicken data delivery from their servers to your PC. SiteGround’s NGIX Server setup is an enhanced web server tech that improves the loading speed of static content, thus boosting performance.

Moreover, they have PHP7 support, which is faster than previous releases. You can enable HHVM if you have the cloud hosting option and above. That will give you fast speeds when dealing with PHP scripts.

Multiple Servers

SiteGround has five data centers located in Singapore, Amsterdam, Milan, Chicago, and London. Countries near the data centers get fast speeds. You can click on a location to reveal the IP address and traceroute. With the IP address, you can check out how fast their servers are no matter your location.

The best part is that you don’t have to worry if your target market is not near a data center. SiteGround uses software and latency reducing tools like NGIX, PHP7, SuperCacher, and HHVM to fasten the load speeds of your site.  Having five data centers across three continents assures you of quick load time.

Free Migration With GrowBig and Higher Plans

Although SiteGround charges for site migration for the StartUp plan, they offer this service for free for GrowBig and higher plans. You get easy WordPressTransfer with the free automated migration. They also provide built-in optimizations after the transfer.

To get started, you need to fill up the migration request form and give them access to your cPanel account. You’ll have everything sorted in 24 hours. The site migration process is smooth and you will have everything in place as expected.

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A Tempting Introductory Price

SiteGround is synonymous with quality and excellent service. However, don’t expect a crazy cut in form of discounts. If you’re thinking of long-term service with them, you can take advantage of their 60% off the introductory price when you subscribe for three years.  That also saves you some extra coins.

The best part is that you can cancel your subscription if you are not happy with their service. You’ll get your money back within 30 days, which makes it a risk-free investment.

99.9% Uptime Guarantee and a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Under the SiteGround Terms of Service, the Service Level Agreement section 5 states that they guarantee 99.9%-99.00% uptime and one-month free hosting. They also state that users get an extra month of free hosting for every 1% of lost uptime below 99.00%.

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However, note that any emergency or scheduled maintenance issues are exempted from this condition. Also, if you install apps that don’t work, exceed the supplied resources, or violate SiteGround’s terms, then the company won’t be liable.

SiteGround also has a full 30-day money-back guarantee on its shared hosting plans. Nevertheless, their dedicated hosting, VPS, and Cloud hosting plans come with a 15-day refund.

Any extras and domain names are not refundable. Note that this refund policy only works for new customers and not renewal plans.

Cons of Using SiteGround Hosting

Although SiteGround comes with many features and advantages, it has some drawbacks that include:

Web Spaced Capped at 10-30GB

SiteGround offers a specific amount of storage when you commit to a shared hosting plan. That means you’ll need to check the amount of content you upload to the site. Space is capped at 30GB. If you need more space, you may have to look for a different hosting service provider.

Those who need to upload videos, images, PDFs, and more will require extra hosting space.  SiteGround also limits the CPU usage to monthly and daily limits. Once you exceed this limit, you can upgrade to a higher plan or contact them to increase the limit.

The Cheapest Plan is Limited

The StartUp plan, which is the lowest and cheapest plan may seem like a good offer at first. However, when you start to dig deeper, you’ll realize that the features it comes with are limited compared to what you’d get with other web hosts.

The plan gives you 10GB of web space and your site can only attract 10,000 visitors in a month. If your site becomes popular and you get huge numbers, you may have to deal with performance issues.

You need to reconsider this option if you foresee your website becoming bigger and attracting huge numbers as you’re better off with a higher plan.

High Price Points

SiteGround offers a range of features compared to other hosts on the market.  They have three packages that include the Startup Plan at $3.95, the GrowBig at $14.95, and the GoGeek at $29.95 a month.  With the StartUp plan, you get limited storage space and you can only work with one domain name.

These plans are expensive compared to other sites that provide a similar package for a lesser amount.  Nonetheless, their array of features and impressive customer service makes the packages worth it.

Managed Hosting Features Need GoGeek or GrowBig Plans

If you’re looking for managing hosting features, you may need to upgrade to GoGeek or GrowBig Plans as the Startup Plan doesn’t have this option.

While most shared hosting providers allow for daily backups on all of their products, SiteGround only allows for shared hosting for high tier plans. It will cost you $29.95 to add daily backups to your StartUp Plan. That means you’ll need to upgrade to GoGeek or GrowBig plans.

Another pricing hurdle comes in with the Cloud Hosting Plans. You get limited resources for the lower tiers. You get more value for the Super Power Plan at $240 a month.  The lower you go, the fewer the options for tailoring your hosting experience.

High Renewal Rates

SiteGround like other popular web hosting providers gives you an attractive price when signing up for their StartUp plan that starts at  $3.95. However, the price jumps to $11.95 when you renew.

The other plans jump to $19.95 and $34.95 per month from $5.95 and $11.95/month.  You can get the best offer by getting in the longest term. For example, instead of a year, you can switch to 3 years to get the best rate.

Setup Fee for Monthly Billing

Unlike other web hosting service providers, SiteGround allows you to choose your preferred plan and pay for it on a monthly basis instead of paying the whole amount upfront. Other web hosts will get you to sign up for.a few months or on an annual basis.

However, there is a catch with this offer, for you to sign up for one month, you need to part with a Setup Fee.  For example, if you are paying for the StartUp Plan at $3.95 s month, you’ll need to add a fee of $14.95.  Also, the rate will increase in your second month. That means you’ll end up paying a lot in the long run when you opt for the one month plan.

You won’t find out about the Setup Fee until you’re done signing up. That makes it a hidden charge.

Basic UX cPanel

The UX of the cPanel is basic, which makes it less appealing to user design and user experience enthusiasts. SiteGround would do better by redesigning the cPanel as this makes navigation easier and the aesthetics appealing.

Lacks a Free Domain Name

You’ll find that many web hosts attract customers through freebies. Some offer a low introductory price and extra services like migrations or email and will add in a free domain name for your first year.

Unfortunately, SiteGround charges for the domain name if you already don’t have one. You’ll have to part with $15,95 a year from day one.

SiteGround Pricing, Hosting Plans, and Quick Facts

SiteGround has three types of shared plans:

  • The Startup Plan
  • The GrowBig Plan
  • The GoGeek Plan

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The StartUp Plan

The plan costs $3.95 a month. It’s ideal for beginners looking for a simple website or those starting to blog. People with a single site will find this plan effective. Users get 10,000 visits on a monthly basis with unlimited bandwidth, free Cloudflare CDN, 24/7 client support, unlimited emails, and DBs, free Let’s Encrypt SSL, backups, and more.

The GrowBig Plan

This plan is ideal for people with multiple sites and starts at $5.95 a month. Apart from the StartUp plan features, users also get 30 backup copies and free restore, a free SSL wildcard for a year, a staging environment for Joomla and WordPress, and all three levels of the SuperCacher.

The GoGeek Plan

The GoGeek plan allows for unlimited websites and those who need advanced features. It costs $11.95 per month and you get up to 100,000 visits a month with 30GB space, one-click GIT repo creation, PCI compliances, priority support, and all the other features in the two plans above.

Shared Hosting Plans

SiteGround also has three types of shared plans that have a similar plan tier structure.  All shared hosting plans have unlimited bandwidth, a free email account, and free CDN. These shared plans include:

  • Standard Web Hosting-suitable for a non-WordPress customer
  • WordPress Hosting-ideal for a WordPress user in need of unique WordPress features and shared hosting on SiteGround
  • WooCommerce Hosting-works for a WordPress user who plans on using a WordPress site as a WooCommerce eCommerce site.

Cloud Hosting Plans

SiteGround also has cloud hosting solutions. These hosting plans are divided into five tiers that include:

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  • Entry-It gives you a lower-end VPS for development
  • Business-Gives you more VPS resources and ideal for a site with moderate traffic
  • Business Plus-Its the mid-high tier that increases the VPS resources
  • Super Power-It’s the highest tier cloud hosting solution that provides a huge number of dedicated resources and provides the best value of cloud solution.

Do We Recommend SiteGround Hosting?

Yes, we recommend using SiteGround as your web host if you’re looking for a reliable shared WordPress hosting solution.  Apart from being feature-rich and having knowledgeable support, the web host has an impressive uptime and speed. You also get free SSL on all plans and a Free Cloudflare CDN account. SiteGround holds up well compared to its competitors when it comes to performance, reliability, security, and premium features.

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