SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review (2020): Unbiased Honest Review
SiteGround is a web hosting provider for WordPress. The company is one of the top three WordPress hosting companies around, with special stand-out features such as advanced security, fast loading times, and impeccable customer service. Other than their shared, cloud, and dedicated hosting – email hosting, domain registration with SiteGround, and a website builder is also available. With an official recommendation by WordPress themselves, SiteGround is a strong contender in the web hosting world.
SiteGround comes equipped with state-of-the-art security features to give users peace of mind. On top of that, there’s a 99.9% uptime guarantee as well as almost unbeatable page load times. The ability to choose from 3 data center locations worldwide is a helpful feature as well.
SiteGround’s pricing isn’t the absolute cheapest on the market, and cunningly charges up to three times the original price on renewals. While there’s room for more honesty and transparency in their pricing plans, the value for money is pretty hard to beat.
All of SiteGround’s interfaces are based on a single built-in interface for ease of use and better predictability. Just recently launched, the interface is an absolute breeze to work with and only makes users look forward even more to what other updates are in store.
With over 6 channels of support available 24/7, SiteGround has some of the best customer service of all the web hosts on the market. Tech support personnel go above and beyond to make sure users have a pleasant experience, not just fix their problems.
What is SiteGround?
You want to make a WordPress site from scratch. Good on you! But before you can start the exciting part of building and designing the actual site, you’re going to have to make a couple important decisions. One of the first questions you’ll have to answer is: “Which hosting provider should I choose?”
Among the top three candidates for anyone who’s looking for a WordPress hosting provider is no doubt SiteGround. SiteGround follows after the quintessential Silicon Valley story – built in 2004 by young students with a flair for tech, except it was 100% bootstrapped and based in Bulgaria.
Though normal web hosting is provided, It’s WordPress users who make the most out of SiteGround with its specific managed hosting just for the site creation tool. Earlier this year, SiteGround also announced the release of their own interface – so users will no longer have to rely on the complicated cPanel.
Today, SiteGround is a massive tech powerhouse with 6 data center locations around the globe, four offices, 400+ employees, and get this – hosts over 2 million sites to date! Having these numbers in mind, you can rest assured that your WordPress site will be blazing-quick, and there’ll always be someone from their customer support team to help you out.
1. How reliable is the server?
Think of your server as the powerhouse of your website. It stores all your site’s data, and when a visitor visits your site, the server immediately presents it to them. You get the point – your web server majorly impacts how fast your site loads, and in turn, how many visitors you get.
Remembering that page load time is a huge factor for your site’s SEO; you’d ideally want a web host with more than one data center, or at least one near you. It’s also important that they utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to help page load times as well.
2. How transparent are the fees?
Most of us have had our taste of the dark side associated with online subscription-based plans. You can pretty much guarantee that they will auto-renew you even after your contract has ended, but at what price?
Most hosting providers (and general software plans for that matter) start at a cheaper promotional price. After your contract expires, they continue to bill to your account but at a higher rate.
So before you overlook essential features that might help improve your site and get lured in by cheaper prices, make sure to double and triple check the actual prices.
3. How easy is it to migrate to a different host?
It’s a tedious process, but sometimes you just have to get up and say goodbye. Perhaps it’s because of the high prices, or you find that the web host is nowhere near as efficient as was advertised.
Nevertheless – it’s reality, and the best way to protect yourself is by choosing a web host which offers you some help in that area should the need arise. That’s right; you don’t always have to do it manually.
4. How protected is your site?
Security factors to look at when choosing a web host can mean many things. We won’t delve into the deep end here, but the web host you choose should provide (at the very least) the below:
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
That padlock on the topmost left next to the URL is the SSL certificate. It simplified terms, it encrypts info given by your visitor on your site and is a basic barebones security measure that your web host should already provide you from the get-go.
- Automated backups
With any web host you use, there’s usually the option to back up your site whenever you wish on a manual basis. To make things easier, however, you might want to look into web hosts which will do the backups automatically for you.
What does SiteGround have that’s different than the rest?
1. 6 data centers in 3 continents worldwide
The red icons you see above are SiteGround’s data centers, while the blue dots are Cloudflare CDN locations – a total of 194 to be exact.
Where exactly are SiteGround’s servers located?
- Chicago, USA
- London, UK
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
SiteGround gives you the option of choosing which data center is most suitable for you, and this is precisely why they boast one of the fastest page load times among all the other web hosts out there.
Ideally, you want your data center to be as close as possible to your site. Let’s say you’re based in London, but your target audience are primarily Southeast Asians. In that case, you’d want to choose SiteGround’s Singaporean data center so that your site loads faster for your visitors. Just a 4 second delay is enough to reduce your page views by more than 10%!
Data centers aside, SiteGround also boasts cutting edge features like NGINX Direct Delivery instead of keeping static content and QUIC protocol, which all help to further optimize the WordPress host for speed.
Not all web hosts let you choose where you want your data to be stored, though. WPEngine is another managed WordPress hosting option that does. Surprisingly, one of SiteGround’s biggest competitors, BlueHost does not provide this option – despite having more data centers compared to SiteGround.
2. Hassle-free site migration
With most other WordPress hosting companies, you’re on your own when it comes to migrating your site to a different provider.
SiteGround eases the tedious week-long process by offering 2 different options at your disposal:
• SiteGround Migrator Plugin
WordPress users will have an absolute blast using SiteGround, and here is just one of the reasons why. They’ve created a plugin just for the sole purpose of automating the site transfer process called the “SiteGround Migrator.”
• One-time free professional site migration
As an incentive for WordPress users on different hosts to switch boats, SiteGround offers users professional site migration for one website – entirely for free!
That’s a plus in my book, and it should be in yours too. For most of us non-techies, site migration is a process that can sometimes even take weeks. There’s also no guarantee that it will even be done properly; we’re not all developers! To add to that, a poorly done migration can also negatively impact SEO.
However, this option is only available for the GrowBig and GrowGeek plans, while the cheapest StartUp plan requires payment of $30.00.
3. Near perfect uptime
Uptime is when the server you’re hosted on is functioning well (and visitors can see your site’s content), while downtime is when the server isn’t functioning (and visitors are greeted with a site that’s down).
With all the marketing efforts you put out, you don’t want your hard-earned visitors to be turned away just because of a technical error. If you’re an e-commerce store, the direct impact is even bigger.
To take the most popular (and horrifying) statistic on the effects of downtime that we know, an hour-long downtime in 2018 cost Amazon nearly $100 million in lost sales.
Server overload, network outages, and bad weather – there are multiple reasons why a site may experience downtime. SiteGround manages to mitigate a lot of these causes with their unique monitoring system, which performs server status checks every 0.5 seconds!
In fact, SiteGround will even compensate you if their downtime exceeds 0.1% on an annual basis.
SiteGround’s uptime guarantee as stated in their Terms of Service
4. Secure hosting environment
Be it a pet blog or e-commerce giant, no matter what your WordPress site consists of – security is a huge concern.
On the endless search for that perfect web host, you want to know that the host of your choice is monitoring their servers as well as providing you with the basics to help lay down a baseline layer of security.
SiteGround’s security measures include:
• Free SiteGround SSL Certificates
In this day and age, it’s pretty much expected for web hosts to automatically include SSL certificates in your site. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and many will request extra top-ups for this basic security requirement.
SiteGround will issue as many Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates to users as needed, which can be installed via their panel.
• Automated backups
You can’t always prevent the worst from happening to your site. You can, however, make the necessary safety precautions to ease the loss when such occurrences do happen.
SiteGround backs up websites every 24 hours and keeps them for 7 days if you’re on the cheapest StartUp Plan and 30 days if you’re on the GrowBig chart and above.
With most other web hosts, you either have to back up your site manually or pay a premium for them to do it for you.
• Password attack prevention system
SiteGround’s 1H Hawk prevention system can identify when someone is trying to brute force their way into your account using passwords – and will instantly disable the attacker’s IP address!
• SG Site Scanner malware detection
SG Site Scanner (previously HackAlert) is SiteGround’s inbuilt malware detection software. It scans websites daily and will instantly warn you if malicious code is found within your site. The best part? It comes already built-in for SiteGround users, while users elsewhere have to pay $12 for the software.
At a much heftier price tag, there’s also the option of cloud hosting with SiteGround for a more customizable and easily scalable choice!
5. One-click staging environment
Staging your website can be thought of as making a copy of your site.
Whatever updates, edits, and experiments you want to run on your site will then be done on this copy instead of the original site. While there are plugins and various other methods to do this, there’s no easier option than what SiteGround provides – a staging setup that’s done through the panel in a single click.
That way, no one will accidentally stumble upon your site while it’s down, and neither will search engines too.
6. Unparalleled support
SiteGround’s support is consistently raved about. With 6 ways of getting help, there’s nothing to complain about here. Even from personal experience, we can vouch for the speediness and efficiency of their support team.
- Pinned help on every page
- AI chat bots
- Automated solutions
2. AFFILIATE MARKETING
- Live chat with close to zero wait time
- Phone support with average 2 minutes wait time
- Helpdesk tickets
Is SiteGround Right For You?
As with all software, there’s no simple answer as to which software will suit you. You’ll have to know what specific features you require (is the site for personal use or commercial use?), as well as forecast what you may need in the future as well.
We’ve mentioned SiteGround’s star features, but now let’s touch on the areas which aren’t so star-studded.
Pictured above is SiteGround’s monthly payment plans. The prices in larger, bolder font seem very attractive, no?
Sadly, this price is only available for your first contract. After that expires, you’ll have no choice but to pay the regular price – which is slightly absurd at around 3x the initial price you pay.
There’s another flaw in SiteGround, which is a little unusual – web space (disk space) is limited for all of their plans.
Even for the SiteGround GoGeek plan, which is the most expensive, you only get 30GB of web space to use. Granted, the average site typically requires no more than 10GB – but it’s still not something we expected to see in a world where disk space and bandwidth are typically unmetered.
Pros & Cons of SiteGround
(some may only be available to Pro members)
What about other options for web hosting?
• SiteGround vs Bluehost
Ah, the Lion vs Tiger of the web hosting world. Bluehost is perhaps SiteGround’s strongest competitor. Both boast over 2 million sites under their wing, yet vary in small little ways which can add up.
Compared to SiteGround, Bluehost isn’t as reliable security-wise nor in terms of beginner-friendly features as SiteGround has. Page load speed and uptime is more or less the same, but that will depend on your personal usage as well.
As a previous user of Bluehost, I had an equally good experience with their customer support, as I did with SiteGround. My experience seems to echo what others felt, though – that despite Bluehost’s efficient help, it didn’t feel quite as warm and friendly as SiteGround.
Bluehost does triumph when it comes to pricing. Slightly cheaper overall and with four options instead of three, Bluehost may be suitable for those who’re a little tighter on budget. Check out our Bluehost review here to see if it might be a better option for you.
• SiteGround vs Kinsta
A little more upscale and expensive, Kinsta is another web host which starts at $30 per month and can go all the way up to $300.
So what are you getting in that’s supposed to justify that hefty price tag? Kinsta leverages on Google Cloud and its 20 data centers worldwide to provide speedy and easily scalable hosting for all your website needs.
It’s similar to SiteGround in that it utilizes top-tier security features such as Nginx and PHP 7.3 as well. You might not fully understand the jargon, but essentially they can be boiled down to faster page load speed.
Our Final Say on SiteGround
As brutally honest as we try to do this SiteGround review, there’s no denying that SiteGround is a force to be reckoned with in terms of web and WordPress hosting. Features we’re particularly in love with include its user-friendly interface and free site migration.
All in all, its slight superiority in terms of security, performance, and user-friendliness puts it on par with BlueHost.
If you were to add SiteGround’s helpful support into the equation, however – we think SiteGround definitely takes the cake. Who knows – maybe you’ll think so too! Click here to try SiteGround now!
DISCLOSURE: The HUSTLR goal is to help readers navigate around the digital economy by learning digital skills to achieve their life goals. This blog post may contain affiliate link(s) and any purchase(s) made through such links will result in a small commission to HUSTLR (at no cost to you). However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair in order to help you make the best choice.