Siteground Review – is it worth it?
SiteGround Review – A Must-Read for Anyone Looking for the Best Affordable Hosting
Saying the shared hosting space is overcrowded would be an understatement. There’s a plethora of shared hosting services out there, and perhaps hundreds of new ones pop up every day.
Here's our in-depth review on SiteGround after using it for almost 3 years on multiple plans & websites.
Our Experts Opinions
*Rating Based on our Experience
There’s a reason SiteGround has managed to rise right to the top part of the list of shared hosting services, despite there being the industry giants like Hostgator and Bluehost, founded way before SiteGround.
So without further ado, let us introduce you to a SiteGround review that covers every possible thing about the service, and makes it stupidly simple for you to decide whether it’s what you’re looking for or not.
Which Type of Hosting Do You Need?
If you’re someone new to the world of internet marketing, getting your website (and business) online can easily get overwhelming.
While the fact that you’re willing to do some research (which is the reason you’re reading this in the first place!) is a good first step, it alone may not work out so well. A crucial part of the process of choosing the best hosting solution for your site is to know exactly what you need in terms of hosting.
With that said, let us walk you through the different types of hosting out there, helping you figure exactly what you need so that there’s no room for any confusion.
The shared hosting solution hardly needs an introduction. Even most people new to the online way of doing business know about it.
That’s for a good reason, though. It’s the most affordable way for a small business to go online, and also doesn’t involve any technical hassles that are usually associated with some of the other more advanced types of hosting.
However, it also comes with its own set of limitations. Whether that should be something worth considering for you or not, may very well boil down to your website’s hosting needs.
Don’t fret over it though, as we will be explaining everything in detail.
Now, when you’re buying shared hosting, you’re actually buying a small amount of space on a big server. However, there are also hundreds, sometimes thousands of other websites like you buying space on the same server. This means that the server’s resources are going to be spread very thinly across all these sites, and each one would only get a small part of it.
On top of that, there may be some websites that get a large number of visitors and consume a lot of the server’s resources your site is hosted on. As the server’s resources aren’t divided in a uniform manner, the bigger sites may take up a lot more resources than the smaller ones.
Furthermore, if one of the sites hosted on the server gets hacked, encounters a virus attack, or has any other major issue, all the other sites hosted on that particular server may get affected, including yours. This is because in such a case, the whole server would be affected as there’s no “private” space dedicated to any individual site.
So why is shared hosting still so popular? Simple. It’s as affordable a hosting solution as it can get. However, just because there’s a possibility of encountering these issues, doesn’t mean you ARE going to have to deal with them.
In fact, when you go with a reputed, reliable hosting service like SiteGround, the chances of ending up with any of the said issues is extremely low. What’s more, even if the server does end up having some major problems due to the said reasons, any reputed host like SiteGround would immediately jump in to resolve it and get the sites on the affected server back up as soon as they can.
However, the same situation may turn out to be worrying with some of the not-so-reliable hosting solutions out there, and your site may be down for DAYS before they manage to get things back in order. However, with a host like SiteGround, you may find your site up and running in as less as a few minutes to about a couple hours at the most.
This is the reason why potential customers don’t have to worry a lot about encountering the said issues when going for a hosting solution like SiteGround.
That said, there are also some other smaller, much more common issues with shared hosting services. They typically include a slower loading time and a relatively poor uptime, especially when compared to a more premium type of hosting, such as VPS hosting. But this too isn’t something you face with all types of hosting companies, especially if you don’t have a very large site that demands a huge amount of the server’s resources.
For small to medium sites that are not getting tens of thousands of visitors yet, a shared hosting plan from SiteGround or other reliable hosting companies may turn out to be more than enough. Besides being incredibly affordable, it would also be easy to manage.
There would be no need to know anything about server maintenance or other advanced technical things. Similarly, once your site makes it big in the online marketing jungle, you would be able to easily upgrade your hosting plan.
All things considered, shared hosting is ideal for:
- Pretty much all types of new sites that are not going to get a massive amount of traffic right off the bat
- Small, growing blogs
- New and established small online stores
- WordPress sites that are not getting a large amount of traffic
VPS or Virtual Private Hosting, although a distant second, is inarguably the most popular type of hosting after shared hosting. This is simply because of the fact that it offers just the right balance between affordability and performance, and is a lot more accommodating than shared hosting.
Just like shared hosting, however, you still do share the server with other sites. But unlike shared hosting, you get your own “private” room instead of living with nothing to call your own in a big neighborhood.
Let us explain. When you buy a VPS hosting plan, you buy a part of the server that will not be shared with anyone else.
Most reputed hosting companies would only create 10 or 20 parts out of each of their servers. Anyone buying a VPS hosting plan gets one of these parts.
Now, although you’re technically still sharing the same server, but because you have a part of the server to call your own you would have nothing to do with the other sites. Your site’s speed or performance won’t be affected even if another site hosted on the same server as your site starts getting an unusually large amount of traffic out of nowhere.
Neither would you have to face the consequences of one site owner messing something up big time with his site, or their site ending up at the receiving end of major hacking or virus attacks.
So even if there are sites going down due to some reason or the other on your server, your site will still be up and running like it did before, without the slightest of effects of what’s happening in its neighborhood.
Apart from this basic but major difference when compared to shared hosting, VPS hosting also offers a lot more flexibility than shared hosting. You do need to have a fair bit of technical knowledge though, but if you do, you will be able to have some freedom with respect to the configuration of your part of the server.
This is one of the most important reasons most developers pick VPS hosting over shared hosting without a second thought. It’s because given the way shared hosting is set up, no one is allowed to make any changes to the server configuration as doing so would lead to changing the server environment for each of the site hosted on it.
On the other hand, as VPS hosting literally splits the server’s resources into a fixed number of parts, it can allow the person buying one of the parts to do set it up the way they want as it wouldn’t interfere with how the other parts on the server work.
Despite these advantages, you still get the ability to upgrade your server’s resources with VPS hosting just as easily as with other types of hosting. And you get all this without having to break the bank.
Yes, although VPS hosting plans are nowhere near as cheap as shared hosting plans, they aren’t as outrageously expensive as dedicated hosting ones, either. You can get a decent entry-level VPS hosting plan for as low as about $20 per month, which isn’t a lot given the significantly improved performance and a host of other great benefits you’re offered over a shared hosting plan.
A VPS hosting solution can cover a wide range of sites, and they may include:
- Large and established sites that are not getting millions of visitors
- Established online stores
- Large, well-established blogs
- For projects that call for the need to have more flexibility and control over the server
We just touched upon the pricing of dedicated hosting above. And honestly, they are indeed a bit too expensive for most site owners, especially the ones that don’t own a large site or require a lot of technical features most people wouldn’t be able to use.
That said, however, for people that really have the need for a dedicated server, the service turns out to be worth every penny. These are site owners owning sites that receive several hundred thousand or even millions of visitors every month, and not many other types of hosting would be able to handle that kind of traffic.
Similarly, even people looking to perform advanced technical operations or working on software or tools that require them to have access to every particular aspect of the server – as well as the ability to fully modify or customize it – are going to find dedicated hosting fitting their bill just perfectly.
Now, let us explain what you get when you buy a dedicated hosting plan. As the name suggests, you get a “dedicated” service, or a fully dedicated service if we can call it that.
Unlike VPS hosting, where you only get a part of the server, you get to have the whole server to yourself with a dedicated hosting plan. Of course, there’s no question of bad neighborhood or other sites being troublemakers, as there’s no neighborhood and no other site being hosted on your server except your own.
Apart from a 360-degree customization, you would also get full control with a dedicated hosting plan. You can choose to run as many number of applications as you want, set up and operate many different types of tools, as well as do everything that’s aimed at making your website faster, without having to worry about anyone complaining about it affecting them negatively.
However, not everything in the dedicated hosting garden is rosy. While there’s the obvious super expensive pricing – which often runs as high as well over $100 per month – there are also a couple other major drawbacks associated with dedicated hosting.
First, you need to have very advanced technical skills. While managed dedicated hosting solutions can be easier to set up and manage, they too would require a fair bit of technical expertise to use them the way they are designed to be used.
However, if you end up getting completed unmanaged dedicated hosting service, you would have to do perform more technical tasks than you can imagine. Ranging from even installing the Operating System to setting up all the tools and performing various security checks, you will be all on your own.
While it may not exactly be much of a deal-breaker for you if you do have the required level of technical expertise, or the financially ability to afford hiring a server admin, it’s definitely something to keep in mind when deciding to go for a dedicated hosting service.
Another downside of a dedicated hosting service that not many are aware of when they first buy it is that if the server that they have bought encounters a hardware failure, the downtime may be significantly larger than what you tend to face with the other types of hosting. This is because unlike something like cloud hosting, there’s no other “cloud” or server to make sure your site stays online no matter what happens to the server it was previously hosted on.
The downtime may be even higher if you’re responsible for all of the server’s maintenance and monitoring needs. Being with a cheap dedicated hosting service may be a disaster in such cases, as with them you may have an even longer downtime, especially if they are tasked with taking care of the server’s maintenance needs.
Hence, a dedicated hosting service may only be ideal for:
- Sites that are getting a huge amount of hits (but for some reason do not or cannot consider a cloud hosting service)
- For developing or running software and tools that require a lot of customization
- For projects that demand total control and privacy
As the name suggests, this hosting solution is specifically designed for sites power by WordPress. WordPress is a Content Management System that offers site owners an incredibly easy and convenient way of managing their site and the content on their site.
As many as about 30% of all the sites online use WordPress as their CMS, which speaks volumes about the kind of popularity it boasts. And this is precisely the reason web hosts have been offering specialized WordPress hosting plans, as they know there’s a huge demand for such a service.
Needless to say, this type of hosting is a great option for WordPress sites, but it isn’t an option at all for other types of sites. This is simply because it cannot host any site that’s not running WordPress.
For any site running WordPress, however, managed WordPress hosting service can offer quite a few great advantages, including a much faster loading speed, much better control over the site’s look and design through increased customization, and a better level of security in general.
On the downside, as we said, you wouldn’t be able to move to any other CMS when using a WordPress hosting plan. Similarly, you may also not be able to use some of the WordPress plugins that your host may have disallowed due to having security or other issues. But there would likely just be a few (if at all), and there would be many more you would be able to use so this may not really turn out to be much of a problem.
Perhaps some may find the price to be a tad bit higher too, but for the right users, it may be well worth it. So with that said here are the types of sites that may find WordPress hosting a better option than most or all other types of hosting.
- Pretty much all types of WordPress sites, especially the ones that are not looking to migrate to another CMS anytime soon
- Small, established online stores running WordPress
- Anyone that wants to use WordPress with a higher level of security than it typically offers
- WordPress sites that are getting a lot of traffic that a shared hosting service may not be able to handle
Here comes the latest revolution in the world of hosting. Cloud hosting is all the rage nowadays, with more and more people opting for it over the traditional options like dedicated hosting and VPS hosting.
And there’s a good reason for that. The technology it’s based on is a lot more powerful and versatile than what the traditional hosting options are based on. Cloud hosting also doesn’t subject your website to any of the risks the traditional hosting options typically do, which is again that makes it a clear winner when it comes to people that can’t afford to risk their site getting negatively affected or suffering any downtime.
Let us explain what cloud hosting is all about, though. Simply put, it’s a pool that combines multiple servers to offer the best of hosting experience to every site hosted on each of the server that’s a part of it.
For example, a VPS hosting service would allow you to use a part of one of its servers. If something goes wrong with the server, all the sites hosted on it would be affected or face a downtime. Similarly, when using a dedicated hosting service, if the server you bought doesn’t perform the way it’s intended to, it may lead to various issues, including a downtime.
However, in both these instances, your site may not get affected in any way in case it uses cloud hosting. This is because instead of just having one server, it has a “pool” comprising of multiple servers. So when something goes wrong with one of them, your site instantly starts using the resources from one of the many other servers, meaning that the chances of something happening to your site or it having a downtime are very, very rare.
This hosting technology also allows you to use as many resources as you need by accommodating your changing requirements. For example, let’s say your website suddenly has huge traffic spikes due to some large-scale promotions you recently did.
Now, if it were hosted on a shared hosting server, it would probably fail to handle the traffic spikes. However, with a cloud hosting service, it would simply use additional resources from one of the other servers in order to easily handle the suddenly increased traffic of your site.
This is something that also makes it a lot more scalable than a VPS. As it’s a large network of servers, you can probably scale as much as you want, while there are limitations on the scalability when it comes to VPS hosting, due to limited server resources.
However, cloud hosting is not just about the benefits it offers to your site. It also allows hosting providers to easily handle the increased server resources requirement by simply adding more servers to the network. This makes it so much easier for them to handle growing use of their server resources, which could be quite challenging if it there VPS or shared hosting. So it’s a clear win-win situation for both.
But there’s more to the benefits cloud hosting offers. While your website always being up and running – and using as much resources as it needs is great – it’s also protected by a much better level of security.
For one, cloud hosting puts your site in a much better position against DDoS attacks, something that have been growing increasingly and worryingly common in recent times. With a network as large as a cloud hosting one supporting your site, the DDoS attackers would have quite a task flooding the servers with tons of requests that could cause the network to fail.
Similarly, due to being able to handle traffic spikes better and access to a huge amount of resources, your site also tends to load a lot faster with a good cloud hosting plan.
As far as its limitations are concerned, then there’s perhaps only that it doesn’t offer the kind of flexibility and control that a VPS or dedicated hosting service does. You’re not provided root access, meaning that you cannot customize the server based on your needs.
However, that’s not going to bother most people looking for a hosting service, and the benefits of cloud hosting far outweigh this one obvious downside. Due to this, cloud hosting may definitely turn out to be a great option for:
- Pretty much every site that can’t risk going offline even for a very small duration of time
- Established online stores that are growing steadily
- Site owners that are getting large amounts of traffic but don’t want that to lead to a lower loading speed for the visitors
- Ecommerce sites that want to better handle the traffic spikes during the sales season or big promotional campaigns
Factors to Consider
Well, now that you’re aware of pretty much every type of hosting out there and what each of them brings to the table, you may easily be able to figure out what exactly you should be going for. However, only deciding on the type of hosting is not even half the job done, as the more important decision is WHICH hosting service to go with.
After all, even the right type of hosting offered by a wrong hosting service may still lead to disappointing results.
This is the reason it’s important to spend some time exploring the various important factors of a hosting service – which, in this case, happens to be an increasingly popular one out there – SiteGround.
But before we get down to that, please note that we will only be discussing about the shared hosting plans of SiteGround for the most part, as that’s what most people reading this article would be interested in. Also, as far as the other types of hosting services are concerned, then most of the other popular hosts, too, offer a great quality of service. This isn’t rocket science to understand, as those hosting plans are priced significantly higher than shared hosting.
Most of the issues are typically associated with shared hosting, which is what most people are usually after, so we would only be focusing on it in what is going to be one of the most in-depth SiteGround reviews.
The uptime is THE most important factor when it comes to any hosting service. It refers to the time for which your hosted site stays online. Of course, you would like this number to be as close to 100% as possible, as 100% means that it’s always online, which is pretty much what you want.
However, a poor uptime is one of the most common issues with many of the shared hosting services out there. While the obvious downside of a poor uptime is your site not being available for your visitors and potential customers when it’s down, there are actually some deeper issues at all that are not so obvious.
It’s a proven fact that if a site stays offline for too long or goes down too often, it’s going to affect its rankings in Google and other search engines in a negative way. If your site relies on organic traffic, this could mean your sales taking a hit over a period of time.
Similarly, even visitors or potential customers that find your site offline too often wouldn’t have a very good image of your brand in their mind. This may translate to a poorer brand image, something that’s much harder to repair than some lost traffic or even lost rankings to a certain extent.
But luckily, you won’t have to worry about any of these things if you decide to go with SiteGround’s shared hosting plan. This is because a lot of research and tens of tests have been made to test its performance and uptime, and all of them have concluded that SiteGround offers an unbelievably high uptime of 99.5% to 100%.
In fact, during some of the tests, there was no instance of even a second of downtime, with the uptime turning out to be a staggering 100%. With some of the other tests, the uptime was just a tad bit lower between 99.9% and 100%, with only just one test reporting it to be 99.51%.
This means that it’s safe to conclude that the uptime is going to be about 99.9% at the least with SiteGround’s share hosting service, though there may be a rare few cases where it ends up being just a bit lower. And if you’re new to shared hosting services, then let us tell you know these are the best numbers you will ever see associated with a shared hosting service’s uptime.
You can be sure of getting the same kind of uptime as what was recorded during these tests, as they were not based on just a couple months’ results, but over a long period of time. Hence, these numbers are actually quite reliable, and you will find your site, too, being online pretty much all of the time, with there being no major instances of even a minor downtime.
Of course, you can never get an uptime as high with many of the other shared hosting services. In fact, a large majority of them seem to get as low as just 95%, or even lower with their uptime, which can obviously be disastrous for any growing business or even a blog.
SiteGround apparently manages to achieve such impressively high uptime by not relying on readily-available software solutions, but instead developing their own in-house ones. This itself translates to a much higher quality of hosting experience.
Also, based on the data available about the kind of hosting technology SiteGround uses, some of the other benefits with respect to the uptime include:
- The site managing to stay online even when there’s a sudden influx of a large amount of traffic; the servers are designed in a way that allows them to handle such large, unexpected traffic spikes
- SiteGround boasts some of the best security features among all hosting companies, meaning that you may never experience those large instances of downtime caused by external factors – something that are worryingly common with some of the cheaper hosts out there
- SiteGround has also managed to develop one of the most advanced hosting system that automatically monitors their servers every 0.5 seconds, and also automatically fixes most issues that may lead to a downtime without the need of any human intervention
Finally, as far as the average uptime is concerned of SiteGround’s shared hosting services, then you would be pleasantly surprised to know that it’s at least 99.79%, if not higher.
Server Response Time (Speed)
If there was ever a feature as important as the uptime, it has to be the server response time or speed. Just like the uptime, the loading speed of your site is capable of making or breaking your online success.
Just as none of your visitors or potential clients would like to see your site offline when they want to access it, they sure wouldn’t be pleased if it takes a long time to load, either.
With the internet coming up with more advanced and better technologies, everything has become so fast that not many would be willing to wait like 10 seconds for your site to fully load, only to again have to another 10 seconds when they click on another page on your site.
Needless to say, this is going to lead to a very poor user experience. And if you don’t already know, search engines like Google are all about the user experience. If you can’t offer a great user experience to the people visiting your site, they will quickly knock your rankings down for the keywords that have been helping you attract all your potential clients or buyers.
Just to talk some real data again, there have been extensive tests made to find out what impact would a delay of just a second in the loading speed have on your overall online business. And the results clearly suggested that it could lead to a 7% decrease in conversions, lower your page views by 11%, and decrease the quality of the overall customer satisfaction by about 16%.
And of course, it’s worth noting that this would only be due to your site taking just a second more to load. It’s more than common with some of the cheaper hosting services to have more than a few seconds of delay, which is often not even temporary.
This is usually when they start crowding their servers by overselling their service at dirt-cheap prices. You obviously don’t want to fall for their seemingly super low prices, as they may cost you a lot more in the longer run.
With all that said, SiteGround again comes out a winner here. And again, nothing what we are saying here is our own opinion. All the numbers that we are talking are a result of multiple extensive tests and a lot of thorough research.
SiteGround has been pretty consistent with its server response time, although it does seem to be hovering in a rather slightly wide range. Getting to the number you’re looking for, most of the tests performed to determine the accurate loading speed of the site(s) hosted on SiteGround’s shared hosting servers found that they fully load up in well under a second.
In fact, in many cases where the server resources being demanded were on the lower side, the time taken for the site to load up turned out to be under 400ms. Now, that’s quite some speed for a shared hosting service.
More importantly, the server response times are fairly stable and consistent; although, as we said, they tend to be in a bit of a wide range. For example, with a growing number of visitors flooding your site, it may go from under 400ms to, say, about 800ms, but it definitely wouldn’t spike up to crazy high loading times like more than a couple seconds.
A particular test also had a much different approach to finding a more accurate server response time offered by SiteGround’s shared hosting services. What it did was, instead of simply checking the loading speed on a dummy site, it actually sent a hundred visitors to the site.
However, it did this in a way that the site starts demanding a lot more of the server’s resources out of nowhere. This is because while new visitors kept coming in, the old ones didn’t leave. In other words, the site started having more and more visitors browsing it at the same time.
This was done to find out how SiteGround handles those tricky situations when there’s a sudden spike in the traffic and hundreds of visitors are browsing your site at the same time. However, to your surprise, SiteGround didn’t have any hiccups with this challenge as well.
Its loading speed still remained in its impressively consistent range of 400ms to under 800ms. In fact, even at the time when there were 100 users sending requests to the server, the server response time was just about half a second.
But guess what? We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in finding out as much as we can about SiteGround’s server response time. And to do that we actually went ahead and picked a REAL site being hosted with SiteGround’s shared hosting server, and performed tests on it to find out what SiteGround had to offer to this site.
Now, before we reveal the results, let us tell you that this was no 10-page site or even a 100-page blog. The site in question has well over a massive 2000 pages indexed in Google. Here’s a screenshot of the Google result where we only searched for all of this site’s pages.
What’s more, this was not one of those usual sites getting a few hundred visitors a month. As you can tell from the screenshot below, it had about a hundred thousand people frequenting its site the month we performed this test.
Now, this is actually an extreme example, as not even 10% of all the sites hosted on shared hosting services boast such numbers. So after taking everything into consideration, we were beyond impressed when our test result for this site’s loading speed came out.
If you think this result is on the higher side given all the numbers we discussed here, think again! This is a site getting close to a hundred thousand unique visitors, while having as many as about 2200 pages indexed in Google.
In addition to that, the majority of its posts are media-rich, meaning that they consume a lot more of the server’s resources than most of the other posts would. When you take all these factors into account, the page loading speed of 1.84 seconds is more than what you can ask for from a shared hosting service allowing you to host such a beast of a site for well under $10 a month.
Another important piece of information we discovered during the test that we would like to bring to your notice is that there were just 166 sites hosted on the server the said site was hosted on. This too is something worthy of appreciation, especially given many shared hosting services have a reputation for allowing thousands of sites to crowd just a single server, resulting in a very poor server response rate for all of the sites hosted.
Finally, while everything we discussed above already makes SiteGround one of the best shared hosting services out there – if not THE best shared hosting service – there’s something more that helps it absolutely stand out even from the more reliable and popular hosting providers.
SiteGround, unlike most other shared hosting providers, has as many as 5 different data centers. They are located in different countries across the world, which has been done to offer the best possible level of performance to every buyer that purchases a shared hosting plan from SiteGround.
Again, if you’re new to all these rather technical details, let us tell you why it makes a difference. The thing is, when someone visits your site, they send a request to the server your site is hosted on, which the server returns with the information they are looking for. But this also means that the “requests” here have to travel a long distance to both reach the server and then be returned to the user.
While a server located in Utah may be perfect for US traffic, it’s not going to be ideal if the majority of your traffic is coming from a country located thousands of miles away from the US. This is going to affect the server response time significantly, and it may not turn out to be good enough even if your hosting provider actually offers a decent loading time to users visiting your site from places near to the location of the server.
And this is precisely why SiteGround stands out here. It has its data centers located in:
- Chicago (USA)
- Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- London (UK)
- Milano (Italy)
Thanks to strategically locating its servers at just the right places, SiteGround manages to offer a great performance for every site hosted on its servers no matter where the users are coming from across the world.
You can choose the location nearest to the country of your potential users or buyers using the Data Centers dropdown menu that can be found under the “Hosting Services” section when placing your order with SiteGround. Here’s a screenshot that may help you explain it better:
The pricing can be just as important as the other two factors we discussed above for most people. After all, the reason they are looking to go for a shared hosting service in the first place is because it’s very cost-effective and affordable way to go online.
However, more often than not, new site owners end up going for the cheapest service they can find and, as you would expect, end up regretting doing so big time.
This is simply because it’s not difficult for a shared hosting service to offer dirt-cheap prices if they don’t want to care about the performance. They can simply sell space on the same server to more and more sites that is already hosting thousands of sites.
Hence, only going by the pricing when choosing a hosting provider is a recipe for disaster. You may not only lose what you pay such a hosting provider, but also trigger a host of other issues that may take a lot of time, efforts, and, in many cases, financial resources to recover.
For instance, if your site’s rankings in the search engines have been affected due to the poor quality of the hosting, you may have to hire an SEO expert to help you regain them. Similarly, if the visitors and potential customers that tried to visit your site in the past didn’t had a good experience due to frequent downtimes or an annoyingly long server response time, they are not very likely to return to your site.
While there may be many other issues, too; but we hope you get the idea based on these things. Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to the pricing of SiteGround.com’s shared hosting plans.
We understand you do not want to spend big on things just yet as you may not be sure about the success of your online business. But, we don’t believe affordability should come at the cost of performance, and that’s pretty much why we highly recommend SiteGround as a shared hosting service.
It offers an amazing balance of affordability and superior performance, which is also clearly evident in it becoming one of the most popular shared hosting solutions on the market despite being founded as recently as in 2004.
Let us now take a quick look at SiteGround’s shared hosting plans.
It’s the most basic shared hosting plan being offered by Site Ground, priced at just $3.95. It allows you to host one website, offering 10GB of web space and being ideal for sites getting up to 10000 monthly visitors.
However, despite being the most basic plan and priced so low, it comes with all the great features Site Ground offers, which it terms as “Essential Features.”
The name does a pretty good job of explaining what type of users it may be a good fit for. Priced at $5.95 per month, the GrowBig plan allows hosting multiple websites, with the amount of web space offered being 20GB.
As far as handing the traffic is concerned, it wouldn’t have any problem allowing your sites to run smoothly and load quickly as long as they are getting up to 25000 visitors combined.
Now, something we would like to note here is that being ideal for a certain number of visitors doesn’t mean your sites would go offline if you end up getting more traffic, or even that they would instantly start having very long loading times or other issues.
You may easily be able to use the Grow Big plan even if you’re getting considerably more traffic than 25000 visitors per month, although the performance may not be as good as if your traffic remains under the recommended traffic limit by SiteGround.
Finally, the GrowBig shared hosting plan at SiteGround also comes with four Premium features, besides all the Essential ones that are also included with the StartUp plan.
GoGeek is the biggest shared hosting plan offered by SiteGround, and you can get it for $11.95 per month. While it too allows hosting multiple websites like the GrowBig plan, it offers a much higher amount of web space at 30GB.
Similarly, it’s a very powerful shared hosting service and would deliver top-notch performance across all your websites getting up to 100,000 monthly visitors combined.
Apart from the Essential and Premium features, the GoGeek plan also comes with what SiteGround terms as “Geeky Advanced features,” something that may definitely appeal to some of the more technically experienced site owners out there.
Site Ground’s Pricing – How Does It Compare to the Others?
While the SiteGround’s shared hosting services are surprisingly cheap, you may be wondering whether the prices are anything better than some of the other popular shared hosting services on the market. So we will help you get a very detailed view of what the pricing looks like across a few different reliable hosting options, although we are not going to discuss any of the hosts offering temptingly low prices and then disappointing on the performance front.
SiteGround vs. Bluehost
We probably wouldn’t be wrong if we said that the SiteGround vs. Bluehost comparison is one of the most popular shared hosting comparisons in the industry. And that’s for a reason.
Both these hosting providers enjoy a great reputation, are believed to be more reliable than most other options you can go for, as well as offer pretty much the same prices across their shared hosting plans.
Bluehost prices its hosting plans at $3.95, $5.95, and $5.95 per month, respectively. As you can see, the prices are exactly the same except for the most premium plan, which is available for just $5.95 per month at Bluehost while costing $11.95 per month at SiteGround.
Besides the pricing difference between their premium shared hosting plans, there are many other major differences as well. While the number of sites you can host with Bluehost’s shared hosting plans is exactly the same as with Site Ground’s plans, the amount of server resources offered by the former is significantly higher.
Bluehost offers 50GB of web space with its basic plan, and unmetered or unlimited web space with its other two plans. On the other hand, you get 10GB, 20GB and 30GB of web space, respectively, with each of the SiteGround’s three plans.
So Bluehost is a clear winner, isn’t it? Well, it’s certainly not as easy to decide as it might seem, and it’s also not exactly what it seems to be at the surface.
This is because despite Bluehost seemingly having a clear edge over SiteGround, the performance of the former is far from considerably better than the latter. One of the major reasons for this is that while SiteGround offers SSD storage, Bluehost does not. And this right here can be quite a difference-maker, and make the otherwise modest web space of 10GB (with the most basic plan) more than enough for most small websites.
Also, another thing is that while SiteGround recommends a particular amount of traffic for each of its shared hosting plans, it actually doesn’t put a limit on the amount of traffic you get. So while you may get the best possible performance if you get up to 10,000 visitors a month, it may still be pretty decent even if you’re getting a lot more traffic.
Many more features like free daily backup and advanced security features, too, that you get with a SiteGround shared hosting plan are not included with Bluehost’s plans, and you’re required to purchase them separately.
Another important consideration to make here is the number of sites hosted on each server. It looks like SiteGround is much more careful with the number of sites it allows on each server than Bluehost.
Without going into further and more technical details, you may get a much better experience with SiteGround than Bluehost as far the overall performance is concerned. However, maybe some site owners that are very new about internet marketing and don’t know a thing about websites may find Bluehost to be a slightly better option due to it being extremely beginner-friendly.
SiteGround vs. Hostgator
Hostgator offers exactly the same prices as Bluehost, meaning it has a bit of an edge over SiteGround if you’re considering to go for the premium shared hosting plan. However, for the other two plans, the price is going to be exactly the same with both the hosting providers.
Again, just like Bluehost, Hostgator allows you to host one website on its most basic hosting plan while you can host as many sites as you want on the other two more expensive plans. It also offers unmetered bandwidth and storage, against SiteGround’s unlimited bandwidth but limited storage.
However, unmetered really isn’t all that great when there are hundreds or thousands of other sites getting the same kind of unmetered storage as you, hosted on the same server as your site. Of course, this takes a toll on the overall performance, which is why we see Hostgator no longer dominating the hosting space as it once used to.
With that said, we think SiteGround is a clear winner in this comparison, especially if you’re looking to buy one of the first two shared hosting plans it offers.
SiteGround vs. GoDaddy
This is perhaps the easiest comparison of all. Most people familiar with the shared hosting industry know that GoDaddy has a pretty bad reputation as a hosting provider.
It might be the most popular company for domain registration, but it sure isn’t anywhere as popular among site owners looking for a shared hosting solution.
GoDaddy’s first two plans are considerably cheaper than SiteGround’s basic plan, but ONLY if you decide to buy it for a period of 36 months. When you’re only buying for 12 months, SiteGround’s basic plan may turn out to be more affordable than the second basic plan of GoDaddy.
Both the plans of GoDaddy offer a storage of 30GB and 100GB, although you wouldn’t really feel you’re getting anywhere near as much when your site is actually hosted with them. They both allow hosting one site each.
While the Deluxe and Ultimate plans of GoDaddy might be more accommodating, you would be paying just as much as you would for SiteGround’s GrowBig and GoGeek plans. But when you consider the performance and other important factors like security features, you would find SiteGround to be an absolute no-brainer over GoDaddy’s plans that don’t even offer a pricing advantage when you only buy for 12 months.
Long Plan Commitment
So we just gave you quite some insight into how SiteGround stacks up against some of its biggest competitors. We will now find out whether you can get a bit of a pricing advantage if you buy any of the SiteGround’s shared hosting plans for a period longer than 12 months, which is where the hosting companies decide to offer much more attractive pricing.
Now, here’s the thing. SiteGround offers the same price regardless of whether you buy for 12 months or 36 months. On the other hand, most other hosting providers, including the ones we discussed above, make you buy for a period of 36 months to get their best price.
This means that you actually get a pretty big pricing advantage with SiteGround over its competitors if you’re not looking to buy for anything longer than 12 months. Also, it speaks volumes about SiteGround’s confident in its service.
It doesn’t have to “lock-in” its customers by luring them to buy for 36 months to get the best price. It believes in its hosting technology, and a look into its performance history over the years tells us that we have a reason to believe in it too.
However, you do get a great advantage if you buy for 36 months, although you still pay the same price. The thing is, while SiteGround prices its plan as low as $3.95 per month, the regular price for the same plan is $9.95 per month, which is what you will be paying when the initial hosting period of your plan expires.
So by going for the 36 months plan, you actually get the great price for 3 years, and would have to pay the higher regular price only after that.
Let us know explore some of the other important areas of SiteGround hosting below.
SiteGround is really big on security features. In fact, there’s probably no other shared hosting provider out there that offers the kind of advanced security features that SiteGround does. It’s quickly go over its security might.
Unique Account Isolation
We are sure you have never heard of it. Well, it’s a feature that SiteGround has employed to ensure that, even when one of the sites hosted on the same server as your site is hacked or faced with other similar issues, the other sites – including your site – aren’t affected.
Now this is really a crucial feature that helps you get around one of the biggest drawbacks of shared hosting. Unfortunately, none of the other shared hosting providers seem to offer this feature, making SiteGround a clear winner if the security of your site is of utmost importance to you.
Software always being kept up-to-date
Something that makes sites easy targets for hackers is the server using outdated software. According to SiteGrounds, all the top 5 shared hosting providers use outdated software in some or the other form.
It also goes on to say that even hosts that immediately upgrade the software as soon an update is released, may still not be secure enough. This is because often times, even when a software is compromised, it takes days or even months for an update to be released to address the issue.
This delay may obviously leave your site in a much more vulnerable position as there may be hackers aware of the security holes and the servers not being as secure until the update is released and implemented.
To get around this, SiteGround not only always keeps all its software up-to-date, but also writes its own patches to fix any issues until an official update is released by the developers.
Needless to say, you couldn’t even dream of getting this level of security with most other shared hosting services. What’s more, SiteGround also has many anti-hack systems in place, as well as offers great help and support if you need to discuss anything related to the security of your site.
Then there’s also a SPAM experts spam protection feature, which helps you get support right from security experts if your site faces a spam attack or anything that puts the security of your site at risk.
The daily backup creation and other backup features make it great for you site to get back up without losing any data if it does end up getting hit by a hacking or spam attack.
Customer support is usually one of the biggest pain points of shared hosting services. As they only get a few dollars per month for hosting your site on their server, they are not exactly very keen to help you with time-consuming issues.
However, this is another area where SitGround absolutely blows its competition away. It offers 24/7 live chat support, while you can also contact their representatives by calling SiteGround’s official phone number.
The email support is just as impressive, and they are surprisingly quick at resolving issues once you open a ticket.
More importantly, however, their customer service representatives aren’t a part of the general customer support part, which is often the case with other hosting companies, but are actually knowledgeable about everything that has to do with hosting.
Ranging from changing nameservers to upgrading your domain from http to https, to even helping you with the email setup and other much more complex issues, there’s probably little the customer service guys at SiteGroung can’t help you with.
Besides the security and other features we discussed above, SiteGroud also comes with a host of other great features. Let’s take a quick look at the three of the best ones below.
Free Website Builder
Anyone new to hosting their site is going to love this feature. It makes setting up the hosting account and making sure your site is hosted in the right way a breeze.
It’s actually quite a feature to have for free, as some other shared hosting services seem to be charging a hefty price for it.
Lots of Extras
For something as low as $3.95, you really wouldn’t expect much, would you? But that’s exactly where SiteGround.com surprises you, as it offers more than a few great free features just like the one above.
Some of these include:
- Free daily backup
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- Free SSL certificate
- SuperCacher for faster loading
Advanced security and other features and beginner-friendliness is a very, very rare combo when it comes to shared hosting. To our surprise, SightGround manages to offer that as well.
Despite all the advanced features and superior security, SiteGrounf magically manages to be just as easy to use as some of the other most beginner-friendly hosts that having nothing similar to offer in terms of security and other advanced features.
With SiteGound, you have the drag and drop builder as a part of the beginner-friendly site-builder feature, unlimited free email accounts (that are easy to set up and use), free site transfer or CMS install, availability of both cPanel and Softaculous, unlimited sub and parked domains, and many more.
These features not only make the users’ online marketing journey a lot simpler, but also saves them a lot of initial costs as these features might cost a bomb if you were to buy them separately at another hosting provider.
Just like some of the other popular hosting providers, SiteGround offers Google Apps integration as well right from your account. However, setting it up and using it seems to be a lot more easier at www SiteGround com than others.
All you would need to do is select the domain you want to use Google Apps with, as well as choose the apps to use, and you will be good to go. Deleting a Google App you no longer want to use would be just as simple, as you would easily be able to do it by deleting it from the Google Apps Manager.
This might not seem like a big deal but if you go through some detailed SiteGround reviews of customers who have been with them for a few months or more, you will know how convenient things get when everything you want to do with Google Apps is usually just a click away.
Similarly, SireGround makes sure it’s a breeze to install and use the two most popular applications for your site: WordPress and Joomla.
There are auto-installers available for both, as well as other features like auto-updater, superchacher (to make your site load faster when using these applications) and even something known as Staging & Git for advance users.
When using Site Ground for your hosting needs, you will not have to worry about losing your precious data overnight. It keeps daily backups for you for free, but you may have to have their backup service enabled to restore the data.
For shared hosting, SiteGrounds keeps backup of up to 30 days, while with cloud hosting your data is stored with them for up to 7 days.
If you’re looking to transfer your site to a new hosting from its old one, then many other popular shared hosting services may make it an expensive affair. Bluehost, for one, charges $149.99 for migrating up to 5 sites and 20 email accounts.
SiteGorund, surprisingly, offers free site migration. It’s easy to see how you may actually be able to get more than 3 years of hosting with SiteGround.com for the price of just the site migration service at Bluehost.
SiteGroud is very clear and transparent with its refund policy, which is hard to come by when you’re dealing with shared hosting providers. It offers a 30-day full money back policy, under which you’re eligible to get a full refund for your hosting charges should the service fail to meet your expectations.
Domain names and renewal charges are not covered under this policy, but only the initial hosting costs. Also, cloud and dedicated hosting services, too, do not allow you to request for a refund.
As for the reseller packages, you will be eligible for a full refund only if you cancel the entire account; refund is not allowed for cancelation of individual accounts.
When requesting for a refund, you would have to do it from your user area. It would probably also keep you updated about the refund status once you request it.
Everything at a Glance
Now that you have just read through what may definitely be one of the most in-depth SiteGround reviews, let us help you quickly go over its major pros and cons.
- Great uptime, with pretty much no instances of any serious downtime
- Great server response time even for large sites with thousands of pages and a huge amount of visitors
- The most affordable performance to price ratio arguably ever offered by a shared hosting service
- Perhaps the most secure shared hosting service on the market
- Likely the only shared hosting service where one of the sites on a server being hacked doesn’t affect the other sites hosted on the server
- Highly knowledgeable customer support that you can get in touch with 24/7 through the always-online chat option
- Tons of additional features offered for free which are certainly worth quite a bit if you were to buy them separately
- Very beginner-friendly with tons of detailed tutorials that are second to none in the industry; the user settings and the overall user interface is fairly simple to understand, customize and use
- Free daily backups giving you the peace of mind you need with respect to your precious data
- Free site migration service, which costs $149.99 at Bluehost
- 30-day refund policy that allows you to get a full refund on your hosting charges if you’re not satisfied with the service within 30 days of use
- The web space being a little limited when compared to some of the other shared hosting services, but SitGround being an SSD host more than makes up for it
- No real pricing advantage when paying for 36 months of hosting together over 12 months of hosting; but it does allow you to get the promotional pricing instead of the higher regular prices for a longer period
- Some of the features can be a bit too advanced for someone without any knowledge of web hosting, but they may not need it anyway so it’s not something to lose any sleep over
- Some of the features that SiteGroud has specifically designed for developers can be absolutely useless for other users (again, you don’t have to bother yourself with it – and can safely ignore them)
Here’s Our Final Word
To cut right to the chase, we honestly doubt if we could recommend a shared hosting better than SiteGround. It goes above and beyond as a shared hosting service, and offers a lot more than what you would expect at $3.95 per month.
Be it the overall performance, uptime, speed, security features or even the ease of use; SiteGrounds just doesn’t leave much to be desired at all.
And if there was any room for confusion, SiteGroud easily overcomes that by offering a free migration service, a feature that could save you up to $150 if you’re migrating from another hosting provider.
Our verdict is based on some extremely well-researched factors and our own tests, although there are probably hundreds of SiteGround reviews where the customers are proudly vouch for their services.
All said and done, regardless of whether you’re hosting a site for the first time or migrating to a new host, SiteGround may totally turn out to be your best bet. And if it doesn’t for a reason well beyond us, there’s absolutely nothing to lose, thanks to the 30-day full money back refund policy.