If you’re looking for a complete SiteGround review, you are in the right place.
I am a highly satisfied SiteGround customer. So my review may be biased (for good reason).
You might be wondering:
How can you trust my review if it is biased?
Today, you will learn how to evaluate website hosting services with the checklist I used to select SiteGround. Using a checklist will help you decide if a web hosting company services are right for you. It is tough because web hosting is a very competitive industry with thousands of companies.
SiteGround Hosting Review Summary
Creator/Vendor: SG Hosting Inc.
Product Name: SiteGround Website Hosting
Price: Plans start at $3.95 per month
Furthermore, I will be discussing the website hosting in general as well as specific reasons why I like SiteGround and some cons of Siteground hosting.
My SiteGround review should help you find credible information whether or not SiteGround is the right solution for your business.
My Brief History of Website Hosting
GeoCities was one of the earliest web hosting companies back in the 1990's. I had a very small website there until Yahoo bought GeoCities. I moved my website to Tripod, another free website hosting company. They were free to use because they placed advertising on the users' websites.
After the turn of the century, I hosted my websites with the HostGator BabyCroc plan for over 10 years. Unfortunately, the quality of service provided by HostGator declined significantly. So I started looking for other website hosts.
I used BlueHost for awhile. But their support was not what I wanted.
So I started researching web hosting again.
I read forum postings on sites like Reddit that revealed a consolidation in the web hosting industry. A company called Endurance International Group (EIG) was buying web hosting companies. HostGator and BlueHost are among the 70+ companies. EIG operating style was clearly different than HostGator's and BlueHost's.
Obviously, I concluded it is important to look for an independent hosting company.
In 2016, I became a member of Wealthy Affiliate. It provides a premium affiliate marketing training program that also includes hosting. I joined for the opportunity to promote Wealthy Affiliate's affiliate program as a business opportunity. Wealthy Affiliate provides an excellent choice for people looking for a one-stop shop for building a WordPress-based online business.
Note: WordPress is a Content Management System used by a majority of websites to add content to a website.
Wealthy Affiliate is one of the few places online that provides business training, website building, marketing, and hosting in one place for one price
Shortly after that, I needed a site hosting plan that could easily handle non-WordPress content. After additional research, I chose SiteGround.
How to Use a Website Hosting Checklist
The website hosting industry is highly competitive among the thousands of hosts available. Consequently, the marketing of hosting services has a lot to be desired. I will not say that some of the advertising is deceptive. But it is close.
One of my pet peeves is the comparison of hosting services by "cherry-picking" competitor features. Another is the comparison of products that are not similar. There are many apples to orange comparisons instead apples to apples comparisons.
Things that make comparisons between different website hosting providers include:
- Lack of terminology standards - for example, there is no clear definition of "managed WordPress hosting."
- Insufficient description of hosting features - for example, free email accounts without mention of type.
- Hosting speed - I disregard a host's claim of speed. Speed should be verified from an independent company.
- Made up terms - Techo-babble designed to confuse or say nothing, but sounds good.
- References to site security - without stating who is responsible for cleaning out malware for example.
I created a checklist a while back to help me sort through all the claims of best hosting around. While the checklist lists a number of features, a user should prioritize the most important features they want.
I had two websites hacked in the past. Consequently, security is my number one priority. Customer service is number two. You do not want to experience like mine where my communications with technical support for my hacked site was by a ticket system. In this instance, live chat or telephone support should have been available.
When you have a thriving business, web hosting prices are not as important as security, customer service, reliability, and speed.
The following image shows a portion of the checklist I use.
What is SiteGround Hosting?
SiteGround is one of the most popular and highly regarded website hosting services today. SiteGround is known for their reliability and feature-rich array of hosting plans. It is known for showing your website content to visitors quickly.
SiteGround hosts over 2 million websites making the website owners more productive and less stressed.
I transferred an existing website to SiteGround using its free site transfer. Stress free!
Now, I will show you the SiteGround hosting plans.
SiteGround Web Hosting Plans
Like most web hosting services, SiteGround provides a variety plans based on user needs. In this case, there are three tiers for most of their hosting types.
The web, managed WordPress, and WooCommerce hosting are identical in price. With the exception of cloud hosting and dedicated server hosting, the prices of these three plans will remain the same across the board for shared hosting, WordPress hosting, and Woocommerce hosting.
The following image shows the SiteGround plan pricing.
For now, I’ll focus on the pricing and features of the GrowBig plan offered by SiteGround because that is the one I have.
The GrowBig plan is ideal for medium-sized websites averaging up to 25,000 monthly visits or for those with more than one website. GrowBig has 20 GB of web space and can host an unlimited number of sites.
Unlike the StartUp plan, GrowBig has enhanced caching with the SiteGround Supercacher. The Supercacher is used to speed up your website and has three levels.
- Level 1 — Static content caching
- Level 2 — Dynamic data caching
- Level 3 — Database queries caching
StartUp only caches the first level, but GrowBig caches on all three levels.
If you sign up for the middle-tier plan offered by SiteGround, you’ll also get free on-demand backups, a free site transfer, as well as a staging feature for WordPress sites. The GrowBig plan is suitable for those of you reading this post.
SiteGround offers hosting options specifically for WordPress users. This will save you time since you won’t need to manually download, install, and configure WordPress or perform manual WordPress updates.
You can take advantage of its automated process that’s as simple as clicking a button. This plan also makes it easier for you to customize your WordPress site by choosing a theme and installing marketing tools of your choice.
WordPress Starter Kit
SiteGround offers a WordPress Starter Kit as an added feature for new WordPress sites.
What Are the SiteGround Benefits?
There is plenty of upside to using SiteGround as a web hosting service. I just want to quickly highlight and explain why this platform stands out from its competitors.
Uptime is the ultimate reliability metric. This is the amount of time that a server stays up and running.
The following image shows the uptime reliability for my website for the last year. Not too shabby!
Fast load times
Just because your site is up, it doesn’t always mean that it will be fast. But take a look at the response time for this SiteGround test website that was set up by Hosting Facts. The response time is the length of time a web browser waits to receive the first byte of data from the server hosting your site.
The following chart shows the uptime and response time on the test site.
We already talked about the great uptime, but now you can refer to the response time column.
The average response time for the first seven months of 2019 was 654 ms. That’s amazing. The response time is only part of the story about how fast web pages load completely in your browser window. But when it comes to evaluating the hosting provider, the response time is an indicator of how fast the servers are.
Note: The response time is sourced from Pingdom. They calculate response time in three parts:
- Time to first byte
- Time to receive headers
- Time to load HTML from the site
A person could go crazy trying to sort out the technical aspects of website and server performance that is often measured in fractions of seconds.
Factors that impact website loading times include:
- Your internet connection
- Plug-ins (if using WordPress content management system)
- Hosting server
- Website file types and sizes - images can slow down loading times
- PC cache
- Website traffic volume
Great customer support
Based on my several technical support requirements, their support is exceptional.
For example, they offer support via telephone, live chat, and a ticket system. I submitted a routine query using the ticket system. I was perfectly happy to send in a ticket. But,
The response shocked me!
The automated reply told me to start a live chat session instead. So I did.
The support technician gave me 5-star service!
For those of you who are looking to find a hosting provider that has exceptional support, SiteGround is definitely a top contender.
Web hosting services will always try to hit you with add-ons at an upcharge. But SiteGround throws in some great features at no extra charge.
Your membership comes with one free site migration. This can be done with their migrator plugin. If you have the GrowBig or GoGeek plan, a SiteGround professional will do the migration for you.
SiteGround plans also come with a free CDN and free SSL certificate.
Cloudflare CDN keeps images, videos, and other large files off of your server. As a result, your server is always fast. Since SiteGround users servers all over the globe, the CDN makes sure that files are stored closer to website visitors for fast delivery.
The SSL certificate is required for all websites. It protects private information being transmitted between devices and websites. SiteGround gives it to you free unlike many other hosting providers.
Money back guarantee
SiteGround offers a 30-day money back guarantee for their shared hosting plans. This shows that they stand behind the services that are offered.
SiteGround will also give you a refund if they fail to meet its Service Level Agreement 99.9% uptime rate. This is clearly written in their terms of service. The following image shows the SiteGround SLA uptime guarantee.
Please note the guarantee refers to network uptime, not necessarily your website uptime. For example, I caused my site to be unavailable because I adjusted a theme file incorrectly. In other words, I crashed my own site.
As I have always said, there is no such thing as a perfect company. While SiteGround is great, there are a few downsides that you should be made aware of before you proceed.
SiteGround charges a one-time setup fee for $14.95 on month-to-month hosting plans. I am not a fan of add-on fees. But it's there as an incentive to sign up for a yearly plan.
At first glance, SiteGround’s pricing is very attractive. But those are only promotional rates. As I mentioned earlier, the web hosting industry is highly competitive. So you will see lots of promotional pricing or discount coupons. If you don't see any, ask the company. Plus, it is a good way to test their live chat function, if they have one.
If your budget allows, I recommend signing up for the longest contract possible when you first sign up, which is 36 months. This will guarantee you a low rate for a while before you’re required to renew.
No free domains
SiteGround does not offer a free domain name. Just as well.
Many website hosting companies offer a free domain name during the signup process. Usually the free domain name is for one year. Domain names are billed annually. So when it comes time to renew your domain name, the web hosting company will charge you a premium price.
I recommend using NameCheap to obtain your domain name, if you have not done so already. They have some of the best pricing and deals around.
SiteGround Review Bottom Line Conclusion
I recommend SiteGround for web hosting.
This hosting provider offers a wide range of hosting types and plans to accommodate the needs of nearly any website owner, large or small. SiteGround stacks up well compared to its competitors in terms of features and performance.
If you have questions or comments about this SiteGround review, please fill out and submit the form below. I am looking forward to responding.