I started using SiteGround to host the SideGains blog in July 2019 and I’ve been super happy with the experience I’ve had. The following is my review of SiteGround according to this experience. I’ll start as usual with my summary review and then go into more detail afterwards.
SiteGround Review Summary
|Very fast server speeds and stacks of storage.|
|Introductory pricing for the first year of hosting is extremely reasonable. Prices increase after year 1 but are still reasonable.|
|Very straightforward interface for managing all aspects of your hosting account.|
|Fast acting, helpful and friendly support. Excellent technical knowledge and very fast resolution of issues.|
For the money, SiteGround is one of the best blog hosting service I’ve used in 15+ years of running blogs.
With fast servers and plenty of storage, SiteGround offers excellent specs for fast page load speeds. This is important, especially for your mobile visitors.
SiteGround’s server interface is simple to use and if you find anything tricky with server set-up, instant messaging support gets things resolved extremely quickly.
I’ve found the support team to be extremely knowledgeable and friendly and on the few occasions I’ve had a problem I couldn’t fix myself, SiteGround support has stepped in to fix almost on the spot in minutes.
The introductory first year pricing packages are really attractive but even after the first year the prices for hosting are still really competitive.
The best endorsement I can provide is I’ve renewed my own hosting plan beyond year 1 and have no current plans to switch to another provider.
My Full Review of SiteGround
Let’s be honest… finding a host can be a royal pain in the behind.
There is a mind-boggling number of options from which to choose. Some people say good things about certain hosts. Others say something completely different.
The truth is that choosing the right host is really important, because if you get it wrong, it can drag your site down.
A poor hosting solution can adversely affect visitor experience. If it’s slow, people won’t wait around to read your content… even if it’s amazing.
Search engines too might look unfavorably on your site if your host doesn’t measure up. Slow sites don’t get as much credit from search engines as faster sites do, because… well, why should they?
Let’s think of it this another way…
You spend a lot of time to make your site look like this:
But then you give it the engine of this:
Why would anyone ever do that?
A Ferrari body needs a Ferrari engine in order to be a… well… a Ferarri!
Anyway… you might be looking for your first hosting package or maybe considering migrating to a new host and unsure of which way to go.
Either way, you don’t want to choose a Yugo’s engine to drive your Ferrari forward.
I’ve used a number of hosts over the years and changed lots of times. For SideGains right now I’m using SiteGround because… well, read on to find out!
What follows then is a review of SiteGround from my personal experience… as someone who has actually used them to host a site!
I’ll also look at industry reviews and the thoughts / experiences of some others who currently use, or who have used SiteGround for hosting.
Then it’s up to you to decide if SiteGround is right for you!
SiteGround is a Bulgarian web hosting company started in 2004. These days it’s a pretty big deal in the hosting world and offers a bunch of other service alongside shared hosting such as:
- Domain registration.
- Email hosting.
- Cloud hosting (virtual servers)
- Dedicated Servers (rental of a whole server as opposed to a shared server).
- Enterprise hosting (a super-high performance hosting service designed to support businesses).
With offices in the US, the UK, Spain and Bulgaria, SiteGround employs over 500 people across the world. It’s datacenters located in Bulgaria, Singapore, the UK and the US, host nearly 2 million domains.
It’s truly an international business.
SiteGround Hosting Review
In terms of shared hosting, which is more than likely what you’ll need if you’re starting a blog, SiteGround offers specific packages designed for auto-installation of:
Alternatively, you can install your own blogging system if you prefer.
I manually installed WordPress myself onto the shared hosting package I have, simply because I quite like the process, it’s relatively straightforward for me and I enjoy keeping my skills up!
However, if that’s not your bag, you can install all the blogging platforms mentioned above pretty much with the click of a button. It’s free and included with any SiteGround package.
If you’re looking to migrate your site from another host, you can handle this for the supported blogging platforms through SiteGround’s site migration process, which is free for the GrowBig and GoGeek plans (see below). Again you can manage this by clicking a button once you’ve signed up.
For shared hosting SiteGround offers three packages: StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek.
Each package offers a various benefits and functions. You can see the basic differences in the image above.
Presently I have the GrowBig package which gives me:
- Unlimited websites (I can install as many domains as I want).
- 20GB of storage.
- 25,000 monthly visits.
- Unmetered data transfer.
This is more than enough for most people starting a blog.
Aside from the storage and bandwidth details above, here is a comparison of what each of the packages offer side by side:
So again for me, the GrowBig package is more than enough.
Something I haven’t touched upon is that each package comes with Let’s Encrypt free SSL for your domain. SSL is important because:
- Visitors get to see a padlock in the address bar of their browser indicating the site uses the HTTPS protocol, which is more secure than HTTP.
- Search engines like Google prefer sites to run over SSL and give them more love in the search results.
SSL is definitely something you’ll want on your site.
Uptime relates to the amount of time that a server is online and therefore available. This normally means how often a server goes offline through maintenance and upgrades, technical problems… or someone accidentally tripping over the power cables and powering it down!
SiteGround has an extremely solid reputation here and their stats present a 99.99% uptime, which is exceptional… almost bulletproof!
This is possible through:
- Cutting-edge server technology.
- Highly proactive monitoring.
- Advanced software that prevents between 500,000 and 2 million server hacking attempts per hour, so they don’t get near your site.
- Secure account isolation, so nobody else’s account on the shared server can affect yours.
SiteGround Server Speed Review
SiteGround uses the latest hosting technologies to ensure your site runs like a beast. Their packages offer:
- SSD drives on all plans. Unlike hard disks, SSD drives don’t have moving parts so they read and write data much faster.
- NGINX web server technology to speed static content load.
- A bespoke caching system called SuperCacher, for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal that delivers content super-fast.
- Cloudflare CDN which caches content across multiple data centers across the world, meaning your pages load quickly wherever you are on the planet.
- HTTP/2 enabled servers, which improves browser page load times.
- The latest PHP versions operating in the most efficient way possible.
I can personally vouch for the speed of SiteGround servers.
Prior to migrating SideGains to its new home, I used a HostGator shared server. I was concerned about how fast SideGains was loading, hence I migrated it.
Note: Page load speed is VERY important.
Here are the before and after tests I ran using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool (PSI)
You can see the page load speed gains have been substantial for both mobile and desktop tests. This is due to SiteGround server speed, datacenter set up and HTTP/2 combined with the WordPress SuperCacher.
I can honestly say these are the best page load speeds I’ve ever had on any shared server deal.
SiteGround Data Centers
With two datacenters in the US and UK each and another in Singapore you can choose to host your site to the closest datacenter for the majority of your visitors.
It’s great to have this choice.
Since the majority of SideGains visits are from the US, I have opted to place SideGains in the Ohio datacenter (the other US datacenter is based in Chicago).
All SiteGround datacenters themselves adhere to very high standards, including:
- The use of high-availability of large carrier networks to ensure not just availability but speed too.
- Protection against electricity outages via multiple power sources, backup generators and enterprise-level UPS (uninterruptible power supply) technology.
- Exceptional physical security such as 24 hour human surveillance, biometrics access, video monitoring and even bullet-proof lobbies!
SiteGround scores very high on a range of reputable customer satisfaction websites:
- Trustpilot: 4.8 out of 5 (approx. 3,000 reviews)
- WebHostingGeeks.com: 4.6 out of 5 (approx. 1,200 reviews)
- ShopperApproved.com: 4.9 out of 5 (approx. 5,000 reviews)
- WhoIsHostingThis.com: 5 out of 5 (approx. 2,500 reviews)
These are incredibly high ratings from a substantial number of reviews: the four examples above total nearly 12,000!
But it’s not just Joe Public that rates SiteGround so highly. Many respected online voices rate them highly too:
We use them to host our own site, and they provide an incredible level of supportYoast
If you want fast and reliable web hosting service with great customer support, then SiteGround is perfect for you.WPBeginner®
Even blogging platforms themselves rate SiteGround very highly, conferring on them partner status:
- WordPress (1 of 3 recommended hosts).
- WooCommerce (1 of 5 recommended hosts).
My own experience of SiteGround‘s support was incredibly positive on the occasion I needed their help.
I contacted them when I first migrated SideGains and used the instant messaging chat service. This migrated to a phone call to resolve a couple of very minor issues. I was surprised by the speed and thoroughness of their help on both occasions, despite how relatively small my issues were.
I’ve not been used to that with previous hosts I’ve used, where long waits because of high call volumes or lack of first-line support knowledge have been commonplace.
From my experience SiteGround’s support for shared hosting is second to none.
SiteGround Pricing Review
SiteGround pricing is pretty competitive, especially during the first year, where an introductory offer is available.
For the level and service you get, the shared hosting package I use (GrowBig) is a steal at $5.95 (rising to $19.95 after the first year) for US customers.
StartUp ($3.95 for year 1) and GoGeek ($11.95 for year 1) are also priced well.
GrowBig for UK customers is also impressively priced for my money. £4.95 (excl. VAT for Year 1) rising to £14.95 (excl. VAT for year 2) are prices I am more than happy to pay.
You may take a different view of SiteGround prices, and there are some a little cheaper. However, you get what you pay for: I’ll refer you back to the Ferrari body and Yugo engine analogy!
SiteGround Summary Review
For fast, reliable web hosting and exceptional support, SiteGround is hands down the best shared hosting I’ve used… and I’ve used lots.
The hosting packages are very well priced and each one offers extensive features (see the comparison image above).
Benefits at a Glance
- SSD storage.
- Free SSL.
- Cloudflare CDN.
- 1-Click Installer.
- Fast servers.
- International hosting.
- Impressive support.
You can sign up with SiteGround through any of the links on this page or by clicking the banner image below.
That’s it for now. Good luck!
What are your feelings? Do you or have you ever used SiteGround hosting? Let me know in the comments section below.