SiteGround has spent the past several years growing from humble beginnings in a college dorm room to the preferred hosting provider for over a quarter of a million websites. Their customer service is award winning, providing 24/7 support around the clock, at no cost to their customers.
In the following SiteGround review, I’ll share my own first-hand experience of being a SiteGround customer.
I’ve been a SiteGround customer for many years now (this site is hosted with them). They are my “goto” host, and I always recommend them to both clients and friends. Anyway, let’s get started with this review…
SiteGround have consistently come up as the number 1 rated hosting company on the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group which has over 8000 members.
What’s more, they continuously receive positive feedback on their Twitter page.
One of the main reasons I love SiteGround is their server performance and reliability. I’ll show you my website’s real time data and statistics in a minute!
Firstly, I want to show my appreciation to SiteGround’s openness and honesty about their servers. Their website allows you to check the status of your website at any time using their real-time checker. This has always given me confidence that SiteGround doesn’t shy away from the truth.
They also make their overall statistics public, so there’s no hiding! And best of all, if they can’t keep to their promises, they’ll compensate their customers.
In order to track my website’s uptime and server response time, I also signed up to UptimeRobot. You can monitor the performance of any website, generating some pretty interesting and awesome data.
I started monitoring my website a little over a month ago to obtain some actual data. As you can see, after 121 hours of my server being up, I encountered 1 minute of downtime (uh oh)…
However, since this 1 minute blip, I have enjoyed nearly 600 hours of uptime using SiteGround to host my website. In fact, in the last 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days, I’ve experienced 100% uptime.
Next I used Pingdom’s Website Speed Test to see how my un-optimised website would fair against others in a speed test.
As you can see, my site was tested using the closest server location I could find on Pingdom, which turned out to be Stockholm. That’s just over 1,185 miles from my chosen SiteGround server location of London! Considering I had literally installed WordPress‘s Twenty-Seventeen theme and hadn’t optimised my website in any way, I thought the results were quite good.
The results pretty much fall in line with my Pingdom tests which gives me confidence this data is accurate. Kissmetrics support the notion that many studies have found. If your website doesn’t load within 3 seconds, you’re going to start losing visitors! Website users are impatient, bottom line.
Next up I wanted to see the real impact that SiteGround’s SuperCacher would have on my website. Again, this is bearing in mind that I haven’t done anything to optimise my website at this stage. I used dotcom-tools to test my website speed across 24 worldwide locations.
Now, I’m going to geek out a bit here, but these results are pretty exciting! SuperCacher caches static content, meaning the second time you visit a web page, the content will load faster. There is a clear difference between the first visit and repeat visit on these results. Once I’ve optimised my website a bit more, I’ll provide some more data for you to check out.
I believe one of the reasons SiteGround is able to produce such great performance is because they invest in their speed technology. You can see just how great some of this stuff really is!
Most other web hosts I’ve encountered offer standard HDD drives, with the option to purchase an SSD at a premium. SiteGround have clearly done their research and thought “you know what, our customers deserve better!” and that’s another reason why I love them!
NGINX technology should be something every web host uses! I won’t bore you with the gruesome details, so if you want to know more, you can read about it here. The point I’m trying to make is that SiteGround always go that extra mile for their customers and it really pays off.
I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to SiteGround’s SuperCacher. Firstly, can we just appreciate the fact that SiteGround have given birth to experts who have created this amazing plugin just for their customers. If you’re using WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you can take advantage of this awesome plugin!
I don’t know about you, but when I look for a web host, I get drawn to the ones that offer more. In this case, I’m talking about data centers! How important are they? Very! If your server is hosted in the U.K. but your target audience for website visitors is in the U.S., they’re going to receive some pretty shoddy loading speeds.
Choose SiteGround like me, and you’ll have the option of 4 data centers!
This is always a hot topic when it comes to web host reviews, and rightly so! Trust me, there are unfortunately some web hosts out there that focus so much on what they offer that they forget they actually have customers. Lucky for us, SiteGround is a company who actually pride themselves on their customer support.
Not only is their support really good, they’re again open and honest about their waiting times (which are really good). As we saw earlier in the Twitter reviews, people notice a good service, and SiteGround are one of those companies that offers it!
Up until this point I’ve covered the technical details of what SiteGround can offer. Hopefully you’ll agree that their features are pretty impressive! But, what does it all mean for customers like us?
I’m going to give you my opinion, based on my experience of why I think SiteGround is great, and also the areas they don’t excel in. This should give you a better understanding of how SiteGround could be the perfect web host for you. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot more pros than cons!
As it’s not physically possible to guarantee a 100% uptime, I always look for a host that can offer at least 99.9% uptime. SiteGround do just that, but they do it even better in my opinion.Publishing their stats actually puts them one step ahead of all other web hosts for me. When a company has the confidence to be honest, you know that they’re going to be good!
Their monthly average uptime for June 2018 was 99.999%. My website hosted with SiteGround came up trumps with 100% uptime for the month of June. What does this mean for you?
If you host your website with SiteGround, you’re guaranteed that your website will be available 99.99% of the time!
Earlier on I talked about SiteGround’s SuperCacher which speeds up WordPress and other CMS. By simply enabling the basic version of SuperCacher, you can shave milliseconds off your load speed (I did!)
In the performance section of my review above, I showed you that my website was loading in 965 ms (faster than 89% of sites). That test was on my un-optimised website.
I’ve just enabled the first step of SuperCacher and I’ve already shaved more than 200 ms off of my load time. See, it really does work! Think how effective that would be on a website with tonnes more data.
With any website, big or small, it’s so important to have a backup of your files. If I had spent a couple of hours or even days working on my website, only for something to go wrong and lose all my work, I’d be pretty gutted!
SiteGround backup every customer’s website on a daily basis. If you run your own backup and it goes wrong, or you forget to do it, you can speak to their support team to get your data recovered.
I purchased their StartUp plan, so I get one backup each day if required. If you think you may need more than that, their GrowBig and GoGeek plans offer entire website backups with restoration options.
This is a bit of a geeky feature that I love. cPanel is a well recognised control panel where you can manage your web hosting, domains, etc. The reason I love cPanel is because it’s easy to use and most things can be done with the click of a button.
Having the ability to install WordPress, Magento, etc. is a life saver! Whether you’re an experienced developer or a beginner, cPanel makes everyone’s experience so much easier!
Why not try out SiteGround’s demo and see for yourself!
Free Website Migration:
If you’re moving from one web host to another, it’s good to look out for free site migration. Why? Well, it just makes everything a lot easier! I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable transferring all my files from one server to another!
Before signing up to SiteGround I had previously heard that they offer free site migration. Most hosts actually charge to transfer your files, which isn’t particularly fair in my eyes. If you know what you’re doing then the process doesn’t require much effort at all. But for people like me, it’s nice to know your web host has your back if something goes wrong!
I spoke to SiteGround’s live chat to ask them about the migration process. As you can see they answered everything I asked in one message, and confirmed that the free site migration is available to all customers on the GrowBig and GoGeek plans.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m hosting my website (my pride and joy) with a web host, I like to know that there’s security measures in place to protect me! SiteGround have some pretty awesome security features that give me the confidence I need to host with them.
I’m not going to cover all of their security features in great details, because it would probably bore you, but here are some key elements that I think are really useful:
This is something that other web hosts offer more of, but I’ll explain why I don’t think it really deserves to be a con in a moment. When you look at SiteGround’s hosting plans, this is what you get for your money…
You’ll probably notice each plan offers the following in terms of storage:
That’s a lot of information that probably means nothing to you, so I’ve identified what type of website would be suitable for each plan. If SiteGround labelled their plans similarly to the above, they’d probably make more sense!
No, SiteGround’s plans aren’t as generous as others when it comes to storage, however, most web pages don’t exceed 3MB in size! That’s the point I was getting at to start off with. 10GB might not sound much, but you’d need a pretty hefty website to exceed that even if you tried really hard!
Monthly pricing versus annual pricing:
This is a big gripe I have with the hosting industry in general. SiteGround isn’t the only company that does this, but it really frustrates me!
Like you would’ve seen from the plan overview above, it would appear to most people that if you chose the StartUp plan, you’d pay £2.75 per month. That’s the catch… it’s £2.75 per month IF you pay yearly. What?!
As you can see, I am forced to choose a 12 month period of hosting (fair enough I guess), but the tip of the iceberg for me is the fact that I have to pay 12 x £2.75 upfront in order to proceed.
What’s more is the price shown initially excludes VAT, so by the time you get to checkout, everything is looking a lot more expensive than I thought! At the end of the day, it’s not a huge deal as the plans do state excl. VAT, but I’d rather companies showed the actual price before the very last minute.
Now that I’ve covered what I think about SiteGround, it’s time to decide whether it’s the right web host for you! If you think it is, it would only be right to assess which hosting plan suits your website’s needs.
Questions I often get asked are:
This is the plan that I chose for my website hosting to write this review. At a bargain price of £2.75 per month, it felt silly to miss out on! Plus, you actually get tonnes of features for your money.
This is clearly SiteGround’s cheapest plan, but again they don’t shy away from offering all of their customers something decent for their money. I would personally recommend this plan for those who are looking to run a small website, small business, or blog.
It’s time to step things up a notch! But really, is it that big of a leap? Not in terms of price, no! SiteGround’s GrowBig plan is only £3.95, the difference of a packet of crisps and a chocolate bar.
But for the extra £1.25 you do get quite a lot more. Firstly you can have up to 25,000 visitors on a monthly basis, an extra 10GB storage, and you’ll open the doors to SiteGround’s premium features:
It’s kind of in the name this one… if you’re ready to take your website to the next level, you’ll notice the difference in price. BUT you do get a lot more for your money. If you’re going to setup an eCommerce website, this is 100% the option I’d suggest for you. If you’re just running a small or medium website, business, or blog, it’s not worth spending the extra.
The main purpose of this plan like I said is for eCommerce users. Your website will be on a server with less users, so there won’t be such a battle for resources, making your website faster (much better if you have people online shopping)!
The simple answer is YES!
If you’re looking for a fast and reliable web host, then I’d say that SiteGround is a brilliant choice; even if you’re a beginner in the web hosting or website building realms, SiteGround will hold your hand throughout the process, making everything as easy as possible (customer service is outstanding!).
Also commendable is something I’ve mentioned several times throughout this review, the perfect combination of high-performance technology and beginner-level user-friendliness. Trust me, I wasn’t super techy before writing these reviews, and I’m not especially now!
SiteGround is leading the way in terms of providing the best possible customer service (industry leading), whilst giving you solid service and superb value for money. I personally use SiteGround and I can’t fault it (this site is hosted on a GrowBig plan).
Here’s a quick summary of SiteGround hosting:
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