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Reviewed by: Jerry Low . .
Review Updated: Jul 09, 2021
Plan in review: GrowBig
Reviewed by: Jerry Low
Review Updated: July 09, 2021
SiteGround is one of the most recognized names in the web hosting industry and offers a combination of excellent performance and sterling customer service. Despite their relatively higher renewal prices, they offer new users excellent sign-on pricing.
If you know only one name in today's world of web hosting, “SiteGround” is very likely that name. Some love the company, some hate it – as with any popular businesses online, SiteGround has their fair share of happy and unhappy customers.
But most folks wouldn't argue that SiteGround has done an excellent job in growing their business for the past 5 years. They are the fastest growing hosting companies I have ever seen in a long time – their name was mentioned in every hosting-related social media posting; and at WHSR, we have got inquiries about SiteGround service more often than all other brands.
So what's so special about SiteGround? We are going to find out in this review.
My SiteGround Experience
The brand “SiteGround” first came under WHSR's radar in late 2013.
Today I host my personal blog and a small test site at SiteGround hosting for review purposes.
Throughout the years I have gathered tons of useful information about SiteGround, including SiteGround shared hosting uptime record, latency test from different countries, users feedback from social media groups and forums, as well as chat records with SiteGround's live chat support.
If you are looking for a SiteGround review that shows you “behind the scenes” – you've come to the right place.
About SiteGround, the company
Founded in 2004 by a group of university friends.
Company claims to host more than 2,000,000 domains at time of writing.
Services: Shared, Managed WP, Managed WooCommerce, dedicated, and cloud hosting
Offices in five different countries: Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
Important SiteGround Updates
1. Significant price hike for SiteGround Shared Plans
SiteGround revised their pricing in June 2020 (more about this in Con #2) – Shared hosting now starts at $6.99, $9.99, and $14.99 per month during signup; and $14.99, $24.99, $39.99 per month when you renew. The same plans cost $3.95/mo, $5.95/mo, and $11.95/mo previously.
2. SiteGround services are not available in many selected countries
If you are based in India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and a whole lot of other countries, SiteGround services are no longer available for you.
Yes – the company no longer accept orders from dozens of countries. No clear reasons or official announcements were given (more about this in Con #3).
1. Extremely reliable and fast- 100% host uptime at most times
I can't stress enough how important it is for a hosting provider to be consistently reliable and fast, since any downtime or slow down on your website can have serious repercussion on your overall ROI. Which is why SiteGround hosting performance have impressed me as they are able to maintain 100% uptime year-in-year-out and load relative fast.
SiteGround Hosting Performance
FYI, WHSR reviews are partially based on performance tracking on sites we establish on each host. Aside from a sister site established to track host performance (HostScore), we also conduct independent tests on our own sites for each host.
Here are the speed statistics for my test site hosted at SiteGround in January and February 2020.
SiteGround Speed Test at Bitcatcha
Recent SiteGround Uptime (2020)
I always liked SiteGround, because I had very few problems with them. Server reliability, in particular, is one of SiteGround's strongest suites in my opinion.
The following image shows SiteGround uptime record we got for January and February 2020. Their server performance have always been impressive for me – I have data dating back 2014 showing them achieving 99.99% uptime consistently.
Previous SiteGround Uptime (2014 – 2019)
* Click to enlarge image.
Jun 2019: 100%
Jul 2018: 100%
Mar 2018: 100%
Jul 2016: 99.95%
Mar 2016: 99.9%
Sep 2015: 100%
Jun 2015: 99.99%
Jan 2015: 99.99%
Oct 2014: 100%
Because of the good performance, SiteGround is our
2. Free site migration for GrowBig and GoGeek users
With every new GrowBig or GoGeek hosting account in SiteGround, you get one free professional website transfer. The support team at SiteGround will help transfer your website to your SiteGround server. For StartUp plan users, the transfer service is chargeable ($30 for each site transfer).
How to request free site migration at SiteGround
The GIF image shows how to request a site transfer. Note that I am using my personal account to demo how this is done.
Alternatively there's a DIY migration option for WordPress users – SiteGround Migrator. It's a special plugin to automate the transfer (after you have installed and key in the necessary details) of a WordPress site to SiteGround hosting account.
3. Choice of server locations on three continents
Like all things in our world, data transmission is limited by physical constraint.
When your website is hosted closer to your users, it will load faster for them (as the data and user requests travel shorter distance).
Faster site load time equals to better user experience. Better user experience often equals to higher online customer conversions.
It's, therefore, important to host your website close to your users.
At SiteGround, users are given a choice of six server locations when they sign up:
Chicago and Iowa, United States
London, United Kingdom
Amsterdam and Eemshaven, Netherland
This allow users to host their website close to their audience.
Security is essential for a website as it not only protects you from hackers and malware, it also tells your users that their data are safe on your website.
SiteGround offers free Let's Encrypt and Wild Card SSL when you sign up with their web hosting plans, and it's surprisingly easy to install to any of your domain names.
To Check and install Let's Encrypt SSL certificates at SiteGround
To show you how Let's Encrypt SSL is installed at SiteGround, let me take you to my personal account. What you are looking below is SiteGround Hosting User Dashboard.
Let's Encrypt Wildcard SSL Support
Starting from March 29, 2018, all SiteGround customers can get a free Let's Encrypt Wildcard SSL – which makes the subdomain setup process much easier.
Standard Let's Encrypt SSL vs WildCard SSL
With the standard FOC Let's Encrypt SSL, users need to install a separate domain certificate for each subdomain.
With Wildcard you can secure them with a single certificate.
Private SSL (Premium EV SSL) at SiteGround – Purchase & Installation
SiteGround also offers Premium EV and Wildcard SSL certificate through GlobalSign for users who need them. To purchase your private SSL, simple login and go to “Add Services” (see image).
Premium Wildcard SSL certificate costs $90++ for 12 months; EV SSL certificate costs $499++.
6. Advanced server speed technologies (SSD, HTTP/2, NGINX, and more)
All SiteGround shared hosting comes with:
Full SSD storage,
HTTP/2 enabled servers,
Easy Cloudflare CDN implemenetation, and
Different level of caching mechanism using SiteGround SuperCacher
These features help users to optimize their website loading speed at ease.
7. SiteGround New Users Promo: Save 60% on your first bill
When you sign up with SiteGround, you'll get a 60% discount on your first bill for any of the hosting plans.
Given that the standard pricing for SiteGround runs at about $14.99/mo for their StartUp plan and $24.99/mo for their GrowBig plan, a 60% discount on either of them is absolutely a great deal.
After discount price for SiteGround Shared Hosting
8. Very positive feedback from other SiteGround users
A search on the web shows that plenty users have had positive experiences with using SiteGround as their host. With customer satisfaction improving yearly, SiteGround has taken steps to ensure their users are treated well.
SiteGround voted as top in Facebook Closed Groups
Above 97% Customer Satisfaction Rate in 2017 & 2018
SiteGround's run annual client satisfaction survey was released in January every year (until 2018).
In 2017, 97.3% of the respondents were satisfied with SiteGround service; 95% would recommend the web host to a friend.
In 2018, 98 % of the respondents were satisfied with SiteGround service.
Yet most SiteGround users choose to stay with them long term. Why?
I believe customer support is one of the primary reasons. It's always easy to get help from SiteGround – whether it's via live chat, email, phone, or their 4,500 pages knowledge base and tutorials.
SiteGround has the best live chat support
I did a survey earlier and spoke to 28 hosting companies via their live chat system. SiteGround stood out as the best in term of wait time and my personal satisfaction.
Praises on SiteGround support team
How to reach out to SiteGround support
In 2018 there was a brief period where you can no longer use live chat to solve your technical or billing issues with SiteGround. That is no longer the case in 2019.
See screenshot below to learn how you can ask for help at SiteGround.
Cons of SiteGround Hosting
1. Uptime guarantee does not cover outages in the event of DDoS
One thing to note about SiteGround is that you must pay attention to the details in their Service Level Agreement (SLA) when it comes to uptime guarantee. In many cases, uptime guarantees for web hosts do avoid covering some things such as natural disasters and so on.
SiteGround on the other hand takes it a little further by not allowing downtime due to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, hacker attacks, and other similar events. This isn’t entirely common and leads me to wonder how little faith the company has in their network.
True, DDoS attacks are very difficult for many companies (especially smaller ones) to deal with but that is why they often work with massive Content Deliver Networks such as Cloudflare to mitigate the issue. The inclusions of this is their SLA is slightly troubling.
In fact, SiteGround also doesn't cover emergency maintenance and either hardware or software failures which are remedied within an hour. The addition of this clause is just plain mean on their part to be honest.
2. Significant price hike for shared hosting
SiteGround recently increased the starting prices for their shared hosting plans by a significant amount. In fact, it has more than doubled in some cases. New prices start at $6.99 and range up to $14.99 per month.
Given their service quality, the price hike is not entirely unreasonable. However, it does puts them a bit out of range for most basic website owners. For example, low traffic static business sites, personal blogs, or perhaps portfolio sites.
If your site falls into those manner of categories, I recommend you look instead towards cheaper options such as InMotion Hosting (start at $3.99/mo), Hostinger (start at $0.99/mo), TMD Hosting (start at $2.95/mo), and ScalaHosting (start at $3.95/mo).
Although at first glance nothing seems amiss on their order form, new user to SiteGround may find something a little unusual. When selecting a country of residence an error message sometimes pops up – depending on what country is chosen. Apparently, SiteGround is limiting service availability for reasons unknown.
This isn't just limited to one or two countries, but a rather extensive list of countries seems to be excluded from signing up. For example, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, and many more.
Data from Google Trends shows that BlueHost is the most popular brand among the three. Ranking at second, SiteGround has the most regional interests in Russia and Italy. InMotion Hosting, placed third, are popular in North America and India.
Features and pricing wise – SiteGround has the highest cost but they provide some advanced hosting features (special caching mechanism, NGINX, HTTP/2, full-SSD storage, Google Cloud infrastructure, etc) that the other two don't. We will compare their features and prices further in the following tables.
Compare SiteGround with InMotion Hosting
InMotion Hosting is a popular hosting company with more than 15 years of business track record. I have been using them since 2009 (this site you are reading is hosted at InMotion Hosting).
Hostgator Inc. was founded by Brent Oxley in his college dorm back in 2002. The company grew from a one-man operation to one with hundreds of employees over the years; and was ranked 21st (year 2008) and 239th (year 2009) in Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company. In 2012, Brent sold the company was sold to Endurance International Group for, unofficial figure, $225 million.
SiteGround is one of the most recognized names in web hosting, boasting impressive server performance and reliability (see our test results here). It is also renowned for its excellent customer service record.
How much does SiteGround cost?
SiteGround revised their pricing in June 2020. SiteGround shared hosting plans now start from $6.99/mo which increases to $14.99/mo upon renewal; VPS hosting plans start at $80/mo and go all the way up to $160/mo.
Which is better Bluehost or SiteGround?
SiteGround offers users superior performance compared to Bluehost, although the latter does offer cheaper web hosting plans.
Does SiteGround have a money-back guarantee?
Yes. SiteGround has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You can cancel your service within the first 30 days and you will receive a full refund. The money-back-guarantee does not cover domain names, cloud or dedicated server hosting.
Which SiteGround plan is best?
SiteGround claims its most popular plan is GrowBig, which offers a good balance of resources with cost-effectiveness.
For GrowBig users, you can request for free site migration if you transfer from other web hosts to SiteGround.
Where is SiteGround?
SiteGround is based in Bulgaria and operates servers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Does SiteGround offer CDN?
SiteGround has inbuilt support for Cloudflare's CDN in all hosting plans. In addition, it also offers its own caching mechanism to further boost website performance.
What is SG Site Scanner?
SG Site Scanner (previously called HackAlert) is powered by Sucuri and is a premium malware detection and early warning system to help protect your site and costs $19.80/year.
Does Siteground have a fair usage policy?
Yes. You can use the control panel to check whether your website uses excessive server resources.
Should you exceed the bandwidth, they will limit your service and will charge a fee for additional usage.
Is SiteGround Recommended?
Yes, I do recommend SiteGround.
In fact they are one of my top picks for business, cloud, and managed WordPress hosting. As one of the most recognized names in the web hosting industry, the company offers a hard-to-beat combination of excellent performance and sterling customer service. Despite their relatively higher renewal prices, they offer new users excellent sign-on pricing.
Their offerings span the entire spectrum of web-hosting products, meaning that even if you buy in with just shared hosting, there is a very clear migration path available on this host. Scalability is certainly not an issue.
Who should host at SiteGround?
SiteGround suit you are one of those who are looking for a worry-free hosting solution, SiteGround suits the bill well.
When not to use SiteGround?
If you are not okay with expensive hosting renewal rates (check Interserver)
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About Jerry Low
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.
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