SiteGround Review

Reviewed by: Jerry Low . .
  • Review Updated: Mar 30, 2020
SiteGround
Plan in review: GrowBig
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Updated: March 30, 2020
Summary
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.

SiteGround first came under WHSR's radar in late 2013.

We were given a time slot to interview SiteGround CEO, Tenko Nikolov and a free hosting account to test with.

Today I host my personal blog and a few side projects at SiteGround hosting.

Throughout the years I have gathered tons of useful information about SiteGround, including SiteGround shared hosting uptime record, latency test from different countries (US., U.K., Brazil, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, India, and Singapore), users feedback from social media groups and forums, as well as chat records with SiteGround's live chat support.

If you are considering SiteGround web hosting – this review should be a good read.

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.

Summary: In this SiteGround review…

SiteGround Hosting Plans & Pricing

Verdict & Other Quick Facts

 


 

Pros: Why We Like SiteGround Hosting

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

My team has built an auto tracking system that monitor hosting performance and publish stats consistently. Here are the SiteGround speed statistics for January and February 2020.

siteground speed test
SiteGround hosting speed tracking – on average, my SiteGround-hosted test site loads in less than 200ms (speed measured every four hours from 10 locations worldwide, see latest statistics here).

Recent SiteGround Uptime (2020)

The following image shows SiteGround uptime record we got for January and February 2020. Their server performance have always been impressive at most times – I have data dating back 2014 showing them achieving 99.99% uptime consistently.

SiteGround Jan and Feb 2020 uptime record.
SiteGround January 2020 uptime = 99.94%, February 2020 uptime = 100%.

Previous SiteGround Uptime (2014 – 2019)

* Click to enlarge image.

Jun 2019: 100%

Jul 2018: 100%

Mar 2018: 100%

Jul 2016: 99.95%

siteground uptime 072016

Mar 2016: 99.9%

siteground - 201603

Sep 2015: 100%

siteground sept uptime - site has not down for 1723 hours

Jun 2015: 99.99%

siteground uptime - june 2015

Jan 2015: 99.99%

siteground uptime dec 2014

Oct 2014: 100%

SiteGround Hosting past 30 days uptime score (September 2014)

 

 

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.

For detail instruction, visit this tutorial page.

(Click to enlarge image) To initiate a site migration: Login to User Area > Support > Request Assistant (bottom) > Transfer Website.

SiteGround Migrator

Siteground migrator
SiteGround Migrator – A special WordPress plugin designed to automate the transfer of WordPress sites to SiteGround hosting account.

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

Six server locations with SiteGround: America (Chicago and Iowa, US), Europe (London UK, Eemshaven and Amsterdam, NL), and Asia (Singapore SG).

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:

  1. Chicago and Iowa, United States
  2. London, United Kingdom
  3. Amsterdam and Eemshaven, Netherland
  4. Singapore.

This allow users to host their website close to their audience.

We did some latency tests for United Kingdom and Malaysia / Singapore websites in 2017/2018. Based on our test results, SiteGround is best for websites targeting audience living in these regions.

Latency Tests from United Kingdom

Web HostServer LocationResponse Time
(from UK)
Speed Rating
BitcatchaW.P.Test
SiteGroundLondon34 ms351 msA+
FastCometLondon20 ms161 msA+
PickAWebEnfield35 ms104 msA
HeartInternetLeeds37 ms126 msB+
HostingUKLondon, Maidenhead, Nottingham41 ms272 msA
FastHostsGloucester59 ms109 msA
TSOhostMaidenhead48 ms582 msA
eUK HostWakefield, Maidenhead, Nottingham34 ms634 msA+

 

Latency Tests from Malaysia / Singapore

Web HostServer LocationResponse Time
(from Singapore)
Speed Rating
BitcatchaW.P.Test
SiteGroundSingapore9 ms585 msA
A2 HostingSingapore12 ms1795 msA
HostingerMalaysia8 ms191 msA+
ExabytesMalaysia /Singapore19 ms174 msA
VodienSingapore7 ms107 msA
IPServerOneMalaysia12 ms215 msB+

 

 

4. Officially recommended by WordPress.org and Drupal.org

If your website is built on  either WordPress or Drupal, SiteGround will be a great fit for you since it is recommended by both WordPress.org and Drupal.org.

“Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.” – WordPress.org.

 

5. Let's Encrypt SSL Support: Easy SSL Installation & Updates

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

Standard Let’s Encrypt SSL is free with all hosting accounts and auto-installed to all domains with SiteGround. To check your free standard Let's Encrypt SSL certificates at SiteGround, login to cPanel > Security > SSL / TLS Manager > Certificates (CRT).

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.

To install Let's Encrypt Wildcard SSL, login to cPanel > Security > Let's Encrypt.

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.

Click “Get Wildcard” to activate your free Let's Encrypt Wildcard SSL at SiteGround.

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++.

To order a premium private SSL, login to your client area at SiteGround > Extra Services > Wildcard SSL Certificate > Click “Get”.

 

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.
SiteGround SuperCacher is used to speed up WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal websites. To activate SuperCacher, login to your SiteGround cPanel > Site Improvement Tools > SuperCacher. See SuperCacher configuration tutorial here.

 

7. SiteGround New Users Promo: Save 66% on your first bill

When you sign up with SiteGround, you'll get a 66% discount on your first bill for any of the hosting plans.

Given that the standard pricing for SiteGround runs at about $11.95/mo for their StartUp plan and $19/mo for their GrowBig plan, a 60+% discount on either of them is absolutely a great deal.

After discount price for SiteGround Shared Hosting

After discount SiteGround shared hosting starts at $3.95 / $5.95 / $11.95 per month for StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek plan. Note that, however, these prices will go back to normal after first term (more about this here).

 

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

SiteGround tops poll in 2016 (source).
SiteGround tops the poll again a year later in 2017 (source).

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.

You can read official survey report here (2017) and here (2018).

Based on company's internal survey, SiteGround has managed to improve customers' satisfaction rates for the third year in a row in 2017.

 

9. Awesome customer support

SiteGround is charging a premium for their hosting services. If you compare SiteGround with other hosting providers, you can see that they are charging 80 – 200% above market rate.

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.

My live chat request at SiteGround was attended in 30 seconds and my problems were solved within minutes. Image above is showing the standard live chat screen at SiteGround. You can learn more about the support staff you are chatting with by viewing his/her detailprofile. In this example, I was chatting with a cool dude named Nikola N. The human touch in SiteGround's live chat system enhanced the overall experience.

Praises on SiteGround support team

Genuine Siteground review by Lain Barker on Facebook. His site BackPainLiberation.com is hosted on Siteground. Screen shot taken with author's permission (June 2, 2019).

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.

To chat with their support team, simply login to your SiteGround dashboard > Support > Request Assistance from Our Team > Contact Us > Select Your Issue > Post to Chat. Note that for some cases, the system will direct you to their knowledge base instead.

 


 

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.

Screenshot from SiteGround ToS (5 – Service Level Agreement).

 

2. Hosting price increases drastically after first bill

While the cost for signing up with SiteGround is quite attractive, after the first bill it reverts back to the regular fees for its hosting plans.

Because of that, SiteGround might not be the best choice for those who are on a tight budget. However, it should be noted that increasing the price for renewals or after the first bill is not uncommon for most budget hosting provider.

SiteGround shared hosting plans, namely Startup, GrowBig, and GoGeek; cost $11.95, $19.95, $34.95 per month on renewal.

 


 

Pricing: How Much is SiteGround Hosting?

SiteGround Shared Hosting Prices

PlansStartupGrowBigGoGeek
Number of websites1UnlimitedUnlimited
SSD Storage10 GB20 GB30 GB
Free Site TransferYesYesYes
SuperCacher
Priority Support
WordPress & Joomla Staging
Instant Backup
Suitable for~10,000 monthly visits~25,000 monthly visits~100,000 monthly visits
Signup Price$3.95/mo$5.95/mo$11.95/mo

 

* For best accuracy, visit SiteGround official shared hosting webpage.

 

SiteGround Cloud (/VPS) Hosting Prices

EntryBusinessBusiness Plus
CPU Cores234
Memory4 GB6 GB8 GB
SSD Storage40 GB60 GB80 GB
Bandwidth5 TB5 TB5 TB
Signup Price$80/mo$120/mo$160/mo

 

* For best accuracy, visit SiteGround official VPS hosting webpage.

 

 


 

SiteGround Alternatives: Compare SiteGround with Other Hosting Companies

Customers often compare SiteGround with Hostgator and InMotion Hosting as their hosting plans are very similar.

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.

Comparison on Google Trends (see it live here).

SiteGround Alternatives #1: 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).

FeaturesSiteGroundInMotiong Hosting
Plan in ReviewGrowBigPower
WebsitesUnlimited6
SSD Storage?
Free Site Transfer
Server LocationsUnited States, Europe, Asia.United States only – East or West Coast
HTTP/2 and NGINX
Money Back Guarantee30 Days90 Days
Signup Price (36-mo subscription)$5.95/mo$4.49/mo
Renewal Price$14.95/mo$8.99/mo
Order / Learn MoreSiteGround.comInMotionHosting.com

 

SiteGround Alternatives #2: Hostgator

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.

FeaturesSiteGroundHostGator
Plan in ReviewGrowBigBaby Plan
WebsitesUnlimitedUnlimited
SSD Storage?
Free Site TransferWithin first 30 days after signup
Server LocationsUnited States, Europe, and AsiaUnited States only
HTTP/2 and NGINX
Money Back Guarantee30 Days45 Days
Signup Price (36-mo subscription)$5.95/mo$5.95/mo
Renewal Price$14.95/mo$9.95/mo
Order / Learn MoreSiteGround.comHostGator.com

 

 


 

Frequent Asked Questions about SiteGround

Is SiteGround any good?

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 shared hosting plans start from $3.95/mo which increases to $11.95/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.

To add SG Site Scanner, login to SiteGround user dashboard > Add Services > Get SG Site Scanner.

Does Siteground have a fair usage policy?

Yes. You can use the control panel to check whether your website uses excessive server resources.

To monitor your account resource usage, login to SiteGround dashboard > Support > Resource Usage Status.

Should you exceed the bandwidth, they will limit your service and will charge a fee for additional usage.

SiteGround TOS


 

Is SiteGround Recommended?

In short – Yes. SiteGround is one of the most recognized names in the web hosting industry and 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 suityou 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 need a lot of storage space and run on small budget
  • If you are not okay with expensive hosting renewal fees (check Interserver)
  • If you want Windows-based hosting solution (check A2 Hosting or TMD Hosting)

Quick Recap: SiteGround Review

To recap, here's what we like and dislike about SiteGround.

 

 

 

 

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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.