A time-tested and reliable host will keep both of your feet on the ground. That’s why there’s no surprise that SiteGround is a popular web hosting provider. It is renowned for its speed, rock-solid reliability, stellar support, and a set of strong features. It’s trusted by roughly two million domain owners and an officially recommended hosting company by WordPress itself. Furthermore, it also integrates well with Drupal, Joomla, Magento, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, and Weebly.
To determine if SiteGround is the right choice for your hosting needs, we’ll talk about its essential features, what we liked, what we don’t like, and pricing in this SiteGround review.
Common Issues with Web Hosting Providers
With lots of web hosts out there offering various kinds of hosting setups, choosing a suitable plan could overwhelm any beginners and intermediate users. Prospective customers have to consider many factors before arriving at a final decision, like bandwidth, storage, uptime, speed, pricing, and server location.
SiteGround addresses such questions quite well. It has several hosting plans that will suit the varying demands of users. It sports high-quality features at reasonable prices, and it’s well-known for its friendly, on-point customer service. No wonder, SiteGround usually tops surveys, like these unofficial polls conducted by three Facebook groups.
Key Features of SiteGround
1. Easy-to-use interface
Out with the old, in with the new. Log into your SiteGround account, and a new Home page will greet you. SiteGround has revamped its interface, which I find smoother and more intuitive.
This Home page is the equivalent of SiteGround’s My Account in the old interface. It contains descriptions and shortcuts to commonly used features as well as the recent blog posts. Aside from Home, you’ll see five other tabs on the top menu—Websites, Services, Billing, Referrals, and Marketplace.
Move to the Websites tab, and you’ll find two subtabs here: Websites and Collaboration. Subscribers of the higher GrowBig and GoGeek plans can use Collaboration to provide access to designers and developers.
In the Websites subtab, you find the collection of websites you have placed under SiteGround. Each box is for one site, and each box has three buttons: Site Tools, WordPress Kit, and Manage.
The Site Tools is the current equivalent of Siteground’s previous cPanel. Every site-building tools are contained here, so we’ll discuss this in details.
To enter Site Tools, pick one of the listed websites, then click the Site Tools button. You will be brought to the Dashboard panel.
Dashboard provides quick information about the chosen website. There are eight essential tabs in here: Site, Security, Speed, WordPress, Domain, Email, Statistics, and Devs.
The Site tab can be collapsed into subtabs, with App Manager and MySQL worth some attention.
Under App Manager, you can install your choice of applications, say, WordPress, WordPress with WooCommerce, or Weebly.
SiteGround offers unlimited database creation across its shared hosting plans. This is something you can manage under the MySQL subtab.
SiteGround also allows an unlimited number of email addresses under the Email subtab.
The Statistics subtab will provide information about your site’s traffic plus other stats, as well as error and access logs. The Devs subtab contains developer tools, like Git repository, Cron Jobs tool, PHP, and SSH keys managers.
The other subtabs—Security, Speed, WordPress, and Domain—will be discussed separately in the next sections.
SiteGround takes security seriously. It contains features necessary for ensuring the integrity of your website.
Once you’re logged in to your account, go to Websites > Websites > Site Tools > Security. Three vital security services you’ll find here are: Backups, SSL Manager, and SiteScanner.
Should you forget to perform your backups, don’t you worry. SiteGround got you covered with its automated daily backups.
Here, you can install, import, and manage your SSL certificates. SSL certificates are good for websites as they encrypt incoming traffic and can protect passwords, login credentials, and other sensitive information. If you don’t have one yet, you can get free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates with any of SiteGround’s hosting plans.
This service lets you check for malware and be alerted of threats so you can act accordingly. However, SiteGround can’t remove such threats.
SiteGround has other tools for securing your website. There’s an anti-bot AI solution against botnets. There’s also an in-house server monitoring tool to check your domain’s status.
3. Speed and reliability
As nobody likes a slow website, be glad to know that SiteGround has the latest speed technologies for optimized performance and fast loading speed.
Two additional speed features—content delivery network (CDN) and caching—can be accessed inside your SiteGround account. Log in then go to Websites > Websites > Site Tools > Speed.
Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDN services. If your website is using CDN, copies of your web pages will be stored in multiple servers across different locations. The benefit: Your visitor will be able to load your site fast from the nearest server.
SuperCacher is a SiteGround’s powerful caching solution. It can increase the number of hits that can be handled by your website as well as improve your site’s loading speed.
Apart from maximizing speed, SiteGround also boasts features designed to maintain an almost perfect 99.9% uptime. This includes the use of cutting edge LXC (Linux containers) technology and the secure isolation of accounts on its shared servers.
4. Customer support
I mentioned at the start that WordPress officially recommends SiteGround. I surmise that this is not only for Siteground’s speed but also for its customer service. Makes sense really as SiteGround’s support representatives are polite and willing to assist, as attested by the following Twitter users.
SiteGround’s support staff will help you with any problems you encounter with your website. They’re ready to answer your questions or concerns.
Also, SiteGround provides ample tutorials on how to use its hosting services.
5. WordPress-specific features
As one of WordPress’ recommended hosting provider, SiteGround must have excellent WordPress-specific features. As expected, the company delivered well. You can check out these features by logging in to your account and going to Websites > Websites > Site Tools > WordPress.
Installation and management
Every new website can be easily built with SiteGround’s free site builders, including WordPress. You can start a new website under an existing hosting plan, or you can get a new plan. Siteground will oversee your WordPress installation, and you can also manage your WordPress site under this Install & Manage tool.
If you want to test a new code or design, but you’re afraid changes might ruin your website, you can create a website copy in a separate staging area. If the changes work well, you can then push the changes to your live site.
Relocating your website is a hassle. SiteGround offers you two ways to transfer your website from your old host to SiteGround’s platform. You can ask SiteGround’s professional help, but this is available only for GrowBig and GoGeek plan subscribers. Or you can do the migration yourself with the free Migrator tool.
To use SiteGround’s migration tool, you need to download the Migrator plug-in from WordPress.org site. While manual migration requires some work, you can move as many websites as you like.
6. Domain management
If you haven’t got a domain name yet, you can register one through SiteGround for as low as $15.95 per year. You can do this when you sign up for a SiteGround account. You can also buy extra domain names by logging in and going to Marketplaces > Domain Services.
Moreover, you can also transfer your old domain name through this page. By doing this, you can manage both your domain and website from one location.
If you’re on a modest budget for hosting your website, then shared hosting plans are the first ones you should consider. On this setup, several sites are stored on a single server, and they share that server’s resources. For a shared hosting provider, SiteGround sure does offer low costs but doesn’t gimp on delivering impressive speed and optimal performance.
Note that the first three boxes will point to the same set of shared hosting plans. You decide if you want to build your website with Weebly, WordPress, or WordPress with WooCommerce.
Be careful though in selecting your site builder. Any content you’ve created outside of your chosen site builder will be deleted. Only use a site builder on a new account or if it’s ok for you to lose your existing content.
Shared hosting plans
Here are SiteGround’s three shared hosting plans.
If you’re looking to start on your first website, the StartUp plan is perfect. It covers one website and has a cap of 10,000 visits per month. It’s got a special price of $6.99 per month (originally $14.99).
For your web growth, there’s GrowBig plan. It includes an unlimited number of websites with a 25,000-visit cap monthly. You get premium features too in addition to the essential features. GrowBig starts at $9.99 per month (from its original price of $24.99).
Lastly, GoGeek, the best plan for real web geeks. You can get multiple websites, 100,000 visits every month, and all the features you need to satisfy the web geek in you. Special price runs at $14.99 per month (from its regular rate of $39.99).
Features of the shared hosting plans
All three hosting plans share the following essential features:
- Free website builder
- Free SSL certificate
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- Daily backups
- Unlimited email accounts
- Unlimited MySQL
- 24/7 support
- 30 days money-back guarantee
The GrowBig and GoGeek plans have premium features:
- Free site transfer by experts
- Priority technical support
- Free back-up restores
- WordPress staging
- Advanced on-demand backups
Advanced “geeky” features are only available in the GoGeek plan:
- More server power (fewer accounts, more speed)
- PCI compliant servers (useful if you have an online store)
- WordPress and Joomla staging
- One-click Git repository creation
SiteGround accepts payments through major credit cards.
Cloud and dedicated hosting plans
SiteGround is not only about shared hosting. It also offers cloud hosting…
…and dedicated servers.
However, these prices are too hefty already for individual users and smaller businesses. SiteGround doesn’t offer virtual private server (VPS) hosting.
SiteGround: What I Liked About It
There are many things to like about SiteGround. There’s the free SSL certificates and CDN, daily backups, auto-updates, the 30-day money-back guarantee, 99.9% uptime, fast loading speeds, unlimited email addresses and databases, and the easy-to-use migration tool. The customer service is nothing short of excellent. The revamped interface also looks better.
Beginners should like the idea of being able to use simple drag-and-drop builders like Weebly. SiteGround will work seamlessly too with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and a number of apps. Developers and more advanced users also have something to like here. There’s Git pre-installed on higher plans, along with other dev tools. There’s a nifty staging tool to test new features before pushing them into the actual site.
SiteGround: What I Don’t Like About It
First, SiteGround has deceptive pricing discounts. While the introductory rate is roughly 40% off the original price, when you renew, the terms will have jumped to costly levels. For instance, the StartUp’s $6.99 monthly rate will hike up to $14.99 during renewal. If you’re going to get the deals, get the longest term so you can enjoy the discounted rate for the longest time.
Second, there’s my gripe on the cap of monthly visitors and limited storage capacity. Taking the StartUp plan again as an example, you can only host one site and only get 10 GB web space to accept only 10,000 monthly visits. While smaller sites with little traffic shouldn’t worry about this problem, sites that are getting bigger would probably suffer.
Lastly, while other hosting companies offer a free domain name for at least a year, SiteGround doesn’t offer that. If you don’t have a domain name yet, either you pay Siteground for domain registration or register with a separate registrar.
SiteGround: Final Thoughts
Siteground is hailed as an excellent shared hosting provider. Why not. It has solid reliability and topnotch support. Its speed is excellent too, courtesy of advanced speed technologies, free Cloudflare CDN, and a caching tool. The company provides free SSL certificates on all plans as well.
As WordPress officially recognizes SiteGround, the recognition is a seal of trust on SiteGround’s capability to build and manage WordPress sites. Installations usually take a few clicks, and the regular backups should free you from worries. If you’re a Joomla or Drupal user, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t lose ground in SiteGround.
Introductory prices are reasonable if you aim to get the longest term package. If not, you’ll end up paying high renewal rates at an earlier time. You also need to get a domain name first, if you don’t want to pay for a registration fee. Be wary too if the monthly cap on visitors and the limited storage are enough for your website’s requirements. Finally, if a large disk space, Windows-based servers, or VPS hosting is what you want, you should have better luck with other web hosting providers.