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, via various means of contact, with no cost to their customers.
In the following SiteGround review, I’ll share my own first-hand experience of their StartUp plan to help you decide if SiteGround would be a good choice for you.
“I’ll be digging deep into the realms of SiteGround, including, their pricing and features, user experience, performance ratings, customer support, and much more.”
Indeed, whilst 10GB of storage space is disappointing when you consider that you can get unlimited hosting for a few pounds less, there’s actually a lot of features here that you don’t get elsewhere for the same price.
The latter of these is especially important if you’re planning to launch an eCommerce website, though even if you’re not, it can greatly improve your search engine rankings as companies such as Google give preference to those sites which take visitor security seriously.
Not that an SSL certificate is where serious security begins and ends with SiteGround. As I’ll discuss later on in Performance and Reliability, the company are renowned for creating their own software and hardware solutions to provide greater hosting experiences than those offered by their competitors. As you’ll see in the video above, this includes providing unique systems and server configurations to protect your site from attacks.
Though SiteGround’s biggest selling point is their advanced technology and features that are essential for large, resource intensive websites, it’s reassuring to note that they do get most of the basics right to. I’ll no doubt mention it several times, but SiteGround really do pay attention to every little detail for their customers, whether it’s guides on how to improve your marketing techniques, to providing renowned support in any situation.
A free domain is included in your package, along with support for unlimited add-on and sub-domains for the multiple websites you can host on your 10GB shared hosting plan. SiteGround is most definitely a great starting point if you’re a beginner; according to the http archive, the average size of a website is around 3.5GB, so 10GB should give you plenty of wiggle room, regardless of the type of website you’re looking to host.
I’ve touched on security slightly earlier on in my review, but I really wanted to dig a little deeper into the security features that SiteGround web hosting offers, as it’s rather impressive.
SiteGround include several anti-spam features within their web hosting plans. First and foremost, I’m going to talk about SpamAssassin. SpamAssassin is designed as an email spam filtering tool in order to detect possible spam, including external programs, blacklists, and more. SpamAssassin is a brilliant tool to ensure that your website mailbox doesn’t get flooded with spam mail, as well as mail that could be potentially harmful (not just annoying). SpamAssassin allows you to configure how it behaves, too, not just through SpamAssassin’s internal scoring mechanism.
SiteGround is one of the few web hosts that integrates CloudFlare within their websites; although CloudFlare is an easy separate signup process, we once again have a demonstration of how well SiteGround look after their customers, making every process as easy as possible.
SiteGround offers another helpful tool; the list goes on! SiteCheck is an automatic tool that scans software to ensure your website is running as best as it can be, checking for any potential malware or spyware within your websites’ code or on your website itself. The tool is easy to use and easy to run, and can be done with a simple 1-click action, keeping you and your customer’s happy and free of possible computer infections.
Credit where it’s due, SiteGround are one of those rare hosting companies that manage to cater for both beginners and advanced users alike.
Whilst the latter will be able to make use of premium level features, advanced technology and sophisticated tools to build powerful, dynamic, and interactive websites, the former will be glad to note that these features -along with all of the basics- are laid out in an easy-to-use interface that doesn’t require much of a learning curve to get to grips with.
Indeed, whilst those advanced features are one of the company’s biggest strengths, setting up basic websites, adding new features, and taking care of general account and website management are as simple to do with SiteGround as they are with a company that specifically targets first-time website owners.
If you’re an eCommerce company, you’ll pleased to know that SiteGround’s eCommerce applications are extremely easy to install. Applications, such as, Magento, can often be quite fiddly if you don’t have the technical skills to set them up correctly, however, SiteGround remove the hassle completely.
With 18 eCommerce applications to choose from, it’s a simple 1-click to install them to your website, providing multiple server location options, and a separate client account to ensure the highest level of security possible. If you’re hosting an eCommerce website, you’ll also be pleased to know that SiteGround pricing plans all include ‘Let’s Encrypt SSL‘ for an added layer of security, as well as SpamAssassin, SpamExperts, and more.
With many web hosting providers, it can often be difficult to migrate your existing website from one provider to another, but once again, SiteGround comes up trumps in providing a 24-hour turnaround in transferring your existing website to them, free of charge (can you believe other providers charge for this service?)
OK, so you’ll likely still need some level of technical ability to make the most of some features on offer, but for the most part, I can’t see beginners running into much trouble when using SiteGround’s shared hosting plans.
So far, SiteGround are one of the only shared hosting providers I’ve encountered that publish their real-time uptime monitoring figures. Just to make sure, I ran my own uptime tests on my Siteground hosted projects over a six month period, and I’m happy to report that the percentage levels my own tests came back matched the company’s own results.
As you’ll see for yourself in the performance graph featured below, the company’s servers gave a 100% average up time during the past 30 days. We have to say that even we were impressed by these results. We’ll keep tracking for the next few months and see if the up time results continue at this level…
On the face of it, this shouldn’t be too surprising given that the company employs their own unique server monitoring software which automatically triggers troubleshooting programs to counter 90% of the most common server issues on the spot.
As you’ll see in the video above, this isn’t the only time that Siteground’s technology yields positive results for its customers. Committed to exceptional performance, the brand go all out to make sure that websites hosted on their servers load at faster-than-average rates.
You’ll likely already know, the faster your site loads, the less chance there is of visitors getting bored with the wait and heading to another, faster website, so this is definitely another key area where SiteGround more than justifies the higher-than-normal price tag.
We should also mention that SiteGround is one of the few major hosting companies to be based in Europe rather than the United States. Server locations include Amsterdam, London, Chicago and Singapore (the choice is yours). This is the only host that actually offer’s this option.
Finally, we get to the most exciting part of any web hosting experience; using the features and tools at your disposal to build, develop, and ultimately launch your website.
When I first got to this point with SiteGround, I was particularly pleased to note that the company go above and beyond the kind of support you’ll find with many of their competitors.
Again, the basics are all present and accounted for here. The use of the cPanel dashboard and Softaculous makes managing your website and launching popular Content Management Systems (CMS) like Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal an absolute breeze.
Whilst one-click install of major website platforms isn’t too uncommon with shared hosting providers, SiteGround’s advanced support for these three particular platforms is. The company uses a bespoke system of server caching to load CMS platforms at faster-than-average speeds, something you’ll find both with GrowBig shared hosting in general as well as the company’s dedicated Joomla and WordPress hosting packages.
Developers and those with more advanced needs will be glad to note that the company supports multiple versions of PHP upto and including the latest version.
Didn’t I say earlier that SiteGround do a great job of catering for users at all levels? If anything I’ve mentioned above leaves you scratching your head and searching for your nearest Geek-Speak dictionary, I may have some good news for you.
The StartUp hosting plan also includes a drag-and-drop website builder with a wealth of beautiful, professionally designed templates. From giving this web builder a trial run for myself, I can confirm that this is as easy to use as anything offered by the company’s competitors whilst still allowing you to implement any of the more advanced features should you choose to.
So I’ve mentioned about 1-click installs, but there’s more to SiteGround than meets the eye, much more! Most other web hosting providers don’t include managed WordPress hosting, but SiteGround do. What does this actually mean?
Well, simply put, it means that someone manages your WordPress service for you, including, website speed, security, updates, and advanced tools to ensure your website is built on greatness. SiteGround are tight on security, always ensuring that your WordPress plugins are up to date; it may not seem that important to constantly have your plugins updated, however, if you have two or more incompatible plugins running at the same time, you could be faced with the white screen of death. Not only the fore-mentioned, but SiteGround will make daily backups of your website, for free, to cover all areas should anything happen to your website. Pretty great, right?
When I get to this point in the reviews, I often mention that though free marketing and advertising tools are certainly a nice, value-added feature- they perhaps shouldn’t be a deal breaker when it comes to choosing a new shared hosting solution.
That’s perhaps just as well with SiteGround, since they don’t offer the usual marketing bundle containing Google AdWord credits or Yahoo!/Bing network vouchers for advertising that most other hosting companies bundle in as a bonus.
That’s not to say that no marketing support is available. Email marketing management apps and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools are included through one click installation on your cPanel, whilst the company does do a good job of providing novice-level how-to marketing guides covering topics such as SEO, social media and Pay Per Click advertising.
SiteGround Marketing Guide
Although SiteGround may not be as hands on as other providers when it comes to offering up marketing credits to their customers, they do provide some very useful in-depth guides as to how to approach search engine marketing. Their guides include SEO, keyword selection, meta tag optimisation, link building, social media marketing, PPC advertising, and much more.
SiteGround have clearly given a lot of thought to their customers, and approach them in a way of providing useful information without shoving it in their faces, as such. Helpful guides like SiteGround provide really give us the confidence that they are a web host who care; they want the best for their customers, and therefore hand the relevant information on a plate, should customers choose to read it, completely free of charge.
By and large, I was pretty impressed with SiteGround’s above average customer service.
All the usual channels, including email, phone, and live chat were present and correct, along with a solid library of tutorials and how-to guides which provide simple, step-by-step instructions for both common web hosting issues and more advanced tasks alike.
Whilst that alone may not sound too impressive (after all, these are all, for the most part, fairly standard in the hosting industry), what really endeared me to SiteGround was their almost-instant response times.
This is especially helpful when using the phone support service, avoiding the costs and frustrations of sitting on hold for several minutes whilst waiting for someone to pick up and help out.
When they do pick up -or respond via email and chat- the tech support specialists not only seem to know their stuff, but -perhaps more importantly- know just how to explain that stuff in clear, user-friendly terms. When I spoke to them, the reps I dealt with only veered into technical territory when I did first, so I think it’s fair to say the team are well practiced in pitching their responses to the level of skill and know-how of their customers.
Something which I really love about SiteGround is that they provide an 0800 number for customers to contact them on; many web hosts charge premium rates, or you have to call abroad in order to speak to someone. Although we live in a very technological world, SiteGround respect that not everyone wants to talk to a chat box, they’d rather speak to someone over the phone; SiteGround have made this process extremely easy.
With that said, I really can’t say enough kind things about SiteGround’s support team, and they certainly get top marks from me.
The advanced security and performance features, built on the company’s own in-house technology certainly make this an attractive option for high performance websites. 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.
Also commendable is something I’ve mentioned several times throughout this review, the perfect combination of high performance technology and beginner-level user friendliness. Remember, all of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans come with a ‘Let’s Encrypt‘ SSL licence, as well as CloudFlare, 1-click installs, and more.
Still, if the high cost for only 10GB of storage is still clawing at you, all that’s left for me to do is to thank you for sticking with me, and invite you to check out my reviews for other companies which offer much more space but if you’re looking for the best possible customer service and a plan that has some fantastic features then SiteGround is for you.
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Website: www.siteground.com Price: £6.95 £2.75/Month
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