SiteGround Reviews: Pros & Cons of Using SiteGround 2019
As an Internet Marketer, I’ve tried more than 25 web hosts since the time I get into this field to achieve the best performance for my websites. A web host can make or break your business, and that’s why choosing the right web host is very essential. Recently Amazon faced a downtime of just 13 minutes, and it cost them somewhere around $2.6 million to $3.2 million. However, there are chances that your loss would not be this huge, but still, a loss is always loss.
For helping our readers, I recently wrote an article on ten best web hosts of 2019, and I mentioned SiteGround on the first position, and since then I am getting a lot of requests on a detailed review of SiteGround web hosting. That’s why today I am writing this article where I am going to share my experience with SiteGround web hosting.
It is going to be a lengthy article because I am going to talk about every single aspect that I look at a web host. So if you don’t want to read it all and to seek for the gist of the review then yes, I do recommend SiteGround for small to mid-level businesses. However, I will still suggest you read this article thoroughly to get a detailed understanding of SiteGround web hosting, and then you can determine if is it going to be a good choice for you or not. So, without wasting time anymore, let’s get started-
SiteGround is one of the most popular web hosting service providers in the WordPress community. They are top-rated because of their reliable web hosting services and top-notch customer support. They provide their self made security solutions, and WordPress speed optimization features to provide the best services in the web hosting domain. Even, they are one of the officials recommended web hosting provider by WordPress itself. It shows how much peoples trust their services and the reason why I put it in the first place of our list of the top 10 best web hosting providers.
They provide almost all type of web hosting services, which includes shared Linux web hosting, cloud web hosting, WordPress hosting, and reseller web hosting solutions. Even there are very few companies that offer location-specific data centers, and SiteGround is one of them. SiteGround offers three different data centers located in ASIA, EUROPE, and the USA. Along with this, it also offer free services like CDN, SSL, and much more.
SiteGround hosting is one of the fastest-growing independent web hosting company founded back in 2004. It is a Bulgaria based web hosting solution providing their services globally. The company has offices located in 6 different locations, and currently, they are powered with 400+ employees. Currently, they have around 2,000,000 domains hosted with them.
Pros and Cons of SiteGround Web Hosting-
Every single web hosting has its pros and cons. The same case goes with SiteGround as well. SiteGround has lots of advantages and disadvantages as well. Here I am going to talk about each pro and cons separately so that you can make your mindset clear before choosing this web host. I will highly recommend you to review these pros and cons before making your decision. Let’s start the discussion with the Pros of SiteGround Hosting-
Pros of SiteGround Hosting
Always the first thing that I consider before going for a web host is their average uptime. Uptime stats can be a deal-breaker for me. And in the case of uptime, SiteGround has delivered even better than what they promise. Our site merely went down and even that for a very small amount of time.
A good uptime is essential for a website. It makes your viewers happy, and also it has the potential to converts those visitors into customers. We tested their hosting for around a year, and here is the month by month results of uptime throughout the year.
- June 2019 average uptime- 100%
- May 2019 average uptime- 99.99%
- April 2019 average uptime- 99.98%
- March 2019 average uptime- 100%
- February 2019 average uptime- 100%
- January 2019 average uptime- 99.99%
- December 2018 average uptime- 100%
- November 2018 average uptime- 99.95%
- October 2018 average uptime- 99.99%
- September 2018 average uptime-100%
- August 2018 average uptime- 100%
- July 2018 average uptime-99.98%
Quite satisfying? Well, yeah, it is. The site merely went down throughout the year. However, the lowest uptime on my site was 99.95%, which was in November, and it was because they changed all of their websites on a new server. Also, they seem to some unique downtime prevention software that determines the server issues and fixes them without human interaction in real-time.
Uptime is an issue that is threatening so many big hosts. Even very popular web hosts like HostGator, Bluehost, and iPage struggles a lot to give a stable uptime. While on the other hand, SiteGround deal with uptime like a charm. In the case of uptime, I am pretty impressed with SiteGround.
The second thing that I always consider before going for a web host is their performance. With performance, I mean how much time your web server takes to response and loading your website. In my case, SiteGround gives a splendid performance and my site loaded in just 433ms.
I consider a load time of less than 2 sec as decent, under a second as great and less than half-second as incredible. Now you also need to understand that my site has lots of data in it and even after that it can load under a half-second which is incredibly great. In term of speed performance, I found SiteGround much better than many other competitors in the market.
Throughout the year, site speed remains almost identical, and it shuffles between 400ms to 480ms, which is great load time. Even many well-optimized sites with overpowered servers and high initial response rate fail to get this kind of results throughout the year.
We used SiteGround’s GrowBig plan for this test. The site we tested out was a WordPress blog which was receiving nearly 30-35K visitors per month. Now the GrowBig plan suggests that it is good for 25K visits per month, but in my case, it was managing around 35K visits every month without a single issue. Even their CPU usage merely crosses 30% throughout the day. Sometimes it goes nearly 70% but even that for a very small period.
With the stats, we can say that its average time is not the fastest one, but still, it is far better than many competitors in the market. Also, they offer a great response rate of less than 200ms, which is pretty impressive. In terms of performance, I am satisfied with SiteGround Hosting.
Top-Notch Customer Support
One thing that makes SiteGround better than the competitors in the market, then it is their customer support. It’s not me only if you see the review by any other expert; you’ll notice that they all have praised SiteGround’s customer support a lot. They offer great customer support offering very quick, helpful, and knowledgeable answers for all of your queries.
Now I know for many of you, customer support is not a deciding factor to choose any web host. And I agree with that. But having experienced customer support can be helpful. They offer support by standard ticket/email-based support, 24/7 live chat customer support and support over the call as well, which is available for 24/7. They also have a knowledge base where you can find the solution of almost every single problem with proper screenshots and video tutorials.
Having a knowledge base is great, especially for those who are willing to learn things. Their email ticket-based customer support can take up to an hour to get replies, which are not that bad if you compare it with other web hosts. However, the live chat support takes up to 2 minutes for the initial response, and once it connects, you’ll get replies within seconds. I didn’t face any issue with their live chat support.
My first support ticket was related to the issue of website migration. I got a reply within 5 minutes, and they said that the migration is already in process. In general, I can say that their customer support is well trained and very user-friendly. Throughout the year, I connected with them several times, and I was in touch with them within a minute or two. It is something that we say “Live” customer support. Every time I explained to them the issue, they tried answering them instead of referring me to their knowledge base.
Although I didn’t try their phone support as the live chat support was pretty convenient and helpful enough. It hardly takes 2 minutes to get connected with them and once connected; you’ll get replies within seconds.
Free SSL through Let’s Encrypt
It’s not 2015, and an SSL certificate is not optional anymore. If you run a website, then you must need an SSL certificate to increase the user trust and also for ranking higher in the SERPs. Even Google Chrome has also started warning its users whenever they try to reach a website without an SSL certificate.
SSL certificates ensure that all the data sent between the user and the server will be end-to-end encrypted, and no third person can interfere and see the data. However, even if your host doesn’t support a free SSL, then you can install it by your own, but Let’s encrypt SSL certificates requires to be manually renewed every in three months. For this, you need to use a Bash command line, which is a bit difficult and practically, it is impossible for 95% of hosting users.
On the other hand, if your web host offers free SSL, then it can be available for every user and also, you don’t need to renew it for you. That’s why I always praise web hosts that offer free SSL certificates, and SIteGround is one of them.
Free CDN and Site Migration
SiteGround also offers a free CDN by Cloudflare. CDN stands for ‘Content Delivery Network’ which helps to store the large files like images on the CloudFlare’s server and once requested, it will be delivered directly through the closest CloudFlare server from the user. It makes a site loading speed blazing fast, and it loads within seconds.
For example, let’s suppose your website is hosted on a server based on the US and a visitor from India tries loading your website. Now in this scenario, the CloudFlare’s server located in Asia will load the website for that user. It makes the site to load faster with a lower latency rate. That’s how the CDN works, and I guess you’ve understood the importance of using it.
It also offers a free site migration for one website. For availing this feature, you need to create a ticket from your dashboard, and you’re good to go. You’ll get a reply from the customer support, and there you need to send them details, and that’s it. You’ll get your website migrated to a new host within a day. It usually completes the process in a couple of hours, but sometimes, it can take up to a day. It all depends on the size of the website.
However, if you exceed the limit of free migration, you can do it manually with the help of SiteGround’s homemade plugin. The plugin named, SiteGround Migrator is freely available on the plugin store. You need to install it on your current website. Here you can create a backup of your current host, and then you can upload it on your newly deployed WordPress blog. The process is pretty easy, and it will make your website live within few seconds.
But in case if you have a website not based on WordPress, you can pay a nominal charge of $30 and let their team do all the tedious task. According to me, paying $30 is not a big issue if it can transfer my website within a few hours without any issue — however, it’s your choice.
Features for every set of Users
SiteGround has features for every set of users. From beginner to advanced users, everyone will get features according to their need.
For beginners, they have one-click script and app installer that you can use to install WordPress and Weebly type of platform. Weebly can be helpful if you want to create your website without knowledge of web development and coding. It also offers a simple drag-and-drop website builder that can be used to build attractive looking websites easily. It also provides Softculas installer which supports a broad category of applications including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Weebly, and Dolphin.
For developers, it has Git pre-installed on your dashboard. Along with this, you’ll get SSH, SFTP, phpMyAdmin, and WP-CLI in the dashboard. It also supports multiple PHP versions to make it handy for the developers. They also offer free staging feature, and it is pretty good. Especially if you have a high traffic site and you don’t want to create a mess.
Setting up a staging server means making the website’s non-live versions to make changes, and once it is successful, you can push it on the live website. Even if you are a professional, making changes on a live site simple but not ideal.
SiteGround also offers its multiple in-house security tools such as AI Based BOT Protection tools. This tool helps in blocking bot traffic so that your website won’t go down. According to their reports, every hour, they block between 500,000 to two million brute-force attacks.
Customer-Focused Updates and Rollouts
SiteGround has a pseudo-managed kind of mentality in terms of rolling out updates. However, they don’t lack to promote new helpful technology that can improve the user experience with their web hosting or their websites. Few best examples are CloudFlare’s CDN and Let’s Encrypt’s SSL.
The same case goes with this. Since we know that PHP7 was released two years back, SiteGround took time to understand their pros and cons. However, even now they don’t force their user to shift to PHP 7. Instead, they gently sent them a notification text to check whether your WordPress website is compatible to update PHP7 or not.
After that, it’s on you. PHP7 is a faster and secure version. It is a great change from the default lookout from the many web hosts. They want to play defensive even when the world changes. It means that your website relies on you, and if you want to improve anything, it’s your responsibility.
Trusted by Professionals
I have attended so many events of WordCamp. And one thing that I have noticed over there is SiteGround is a prior choice of so many professionals. Now I am only talking about the shared web hosts. Whether it was sponsored or just suggested, SiteGround was there.
Also, if you ask any internet marketing professional for shared web hosting, you’ll find they will make sure to add SiteGround on their list. Even the web hosts are 15 years old, and they are constantly delivering quality services to their customers. Even I am also very impressed with SiteGround, and I use SiteGround to host my client’s website.
We’ve discussed enough of the pros of using SiteGround web hosting. Now it’s time to dig some of the cons so that you can decide that SiteGround can be a good web host for you or not-
Cons of SiteGround
SiteGround offers quality services. They have great uptime, nice speed and variety of features for every type of customers. They offer well qualified and friendly customer support and offers so many free things such as CDN and SSL.
However, SiteGround is not perfect. They also have so many flaws that one should need to consider before signing up with them. Here I am sharing about the biggest drawbacks that I faced while using SiteGround. So, here we go-
Hiked Renewal Rates-
The first thing that I want to discuss even before heading to the point is SiteGround also follows the industry’s norm. Like almost every other web host in the market, SiteGround also offers a very small introductory price at the time of SignUp, and once they become a customer and comes for the renewal, they charge them very high.
If we take the example of SiteGround, then you’ll see the advertised price that you need to pay at the time of sign up was $3.95/month, and once the time comes to renew, the price jumps to $11.95 per month. The same goes with the other plans too. The best solution for this is to go for the longest term while signing up to take the best advantage of the low rate.
Now let’s come to the main part. So, I am using SiteGround from the past three years, and recently in June 2018, they have significantly increased the renewal price. Their all plans have increased by 20%, 33%, and 17% respectively. However, I am not saying that it is overpriced and not worth paying. But it seems weird because many of their competitors offering the same in just half price of that.
The thing is that a managed web server starts charging from $5 (DigitalOcean and Vultr are the best examples of that) then why should I pay this much for shared hosting? Even those web server can perform much better than there shared hosting plans. However, it’s a good option for clients as they want everything in a very simple manner, but if you’re a web developer or blogger, then you need to think about it.
$14.95 as Setup Fee for Monthly Billing
Not so many other web host offers monthly billing, but SiteGround is not one of them. However, SiteGround also does not want you to sign-up for monthly billing, and they force you to not go for that in a tricky way.
SiteGround charges $14.95 as a one-time setup fee for the customers who go for monthly billings. Even if you’re okay with paying it, you’ll have to understand the next month you’ll have to pay the renewal price which will be hiked up too.
The best way to deal with it is going for the maximum period as by this you can enjoy their service for a longer time at a very low price.
The drop-off in Phone Support
In the last three years, I have faced that SiteGround has gone on the downside when it comes to Phone support. Initially, I loved their customer support as it was the best phone support, but now it becomes a bit okay-okay.
Back in 2016, they had the support that was excited to help you. Their support was not in a hurry, and try solving your issue on the call. But now things have changed, and it becomes more structured now. Probably because they have a large customer base now and they want to solve queries ASAP.
Nowadays, whenever someone calls their customer support, the first-line tech guy was ready with the 1000 most common questions and just in case your question was confusing or dense, he will ask you to start a customer support ticket.
However, their ticket system is fast, but the experience of fixing your issue and understanding it over a call is different. Even now SiteGround has started putting calls on hold, and this hold can take between 30 seconds to up to 5 minutes too. Also, you need to remember so many things, such as support PINs and all that makes the conversation much more structured.
SiteGround’s plans are great to see in the paper, but practically it is a bit on the bad side. For example, if we take the cheapest plan, then it offers 10 GB of web space with 10,000 visits monthly. However, the plan also offers unlimited bandwidth, which means it can manage unlimited traffic.
Now if your site crosses the barrier of 10,000 visits, then the performance will suffer a bit. So, in this case, if your site started growing up, you need to upgrade to a bigger plan with increased resources.
Developers and Agency Focused
Every web hosting company needs to decide its targeted audiences. It gives them a clear vision of how to get more sales and customers. SiteGrounds seem to present themselves in the developers or agency markets. It means their targeted audiences are those who create websites for others.
It’s a great thing for developers but not for general audiences. They offer a staging area and Git integration on their GoGeek plan. Even though these are incredible features; a normal user won’t use them. Even small agencies or developers won’t use these features for there clients too.
They offer a website builder, but it is not freely available. Also, it stands nowhere comparing with website builders offered by InMotion and Hostgator. Even the free version of Elementor or Visual composer can perform a better job.
So, these were the few drawbacks of SiteGrounds web hosting. Now let’s quickly breakdown the SiteGround’s shared hosting plan, and then I will share my views with you.
Breakdown of Shared Hosting Plans
SiteGround offers three different plans to start with them. Let’s talk a bit in brief-
Startup- It is the initial plan offered by SiteGround. It is best for beginners and websites with low traffic. It provides you a 10 GB of disk space to store all of the data of your website, and it can easily handle up to 10,000 visits per month. However, it comes with unlimited bandwidth so that you can serve to more than 10,000 visitors too but with low performance. It supports all essential features like one-click installations, free site transfer, daily backups, free setup, and much more.
GrowBig- The second shared web hosting plan offered by SiteGroud is GrowBig. This plan is good for medium businesses, and I will highly recommend you to go with this or the GoGeek plan if you’re ready to buy SiteGround’s web hosting as these are the value for money plans. In this plan, you’ll get 20 GB of disk space, and it can easily manage 25,000 visitors every month. It also offers all the basic features, and along with them, you’ll get Git pre-installed and many other features. Also, you can set up multiple websites on this plan.
GoGeek- The third and the last plan is GoGeek. It offers the same features that GrowBig offers along with extended disk space and visitors per month. If you’re a developer or blogger who tries out multiple websites, then this plan is best for you. This plan comes with 30 GB of Disk Space, and it can easily handle up to 100,000 monthly visitors. Also, they support some Geeky advance features in this plan. These features include Staging and other developers oriented tools.
These are the three different plans of shared web hosting offered by SiteGround. All the plans are a good value for money, but I would never recommend going with the startup plan even when you’re just starting your site. You can easily hit the milestone of 10,000 visitors in just three months. However, it’s your choice, and I know you’ll choose according to your need.
Final Verdict- Do I recommend SiteGround?
Definitely Yes, I do recommend SiteGround.
There is a reason why it is one of the fastest-growing independent web hosting company and why 200,000+ domains are hosted with them. They are gradually growing since 2004, and it makes it much more trusted. Also, many professionals appreciate it too.
SiteGround is pretty good with their uptime and performance. If performance, speed, and reliability is your prior need, then SiteGround is perfect for you. Also, they have their top-notch customer support added that make it stand above the rest. All of their web servers are powered with SSDs to make everything fast, a lot of free goodies like free SSL and CDN, free migration, one-click installer, and much more.
However, I know that everyone can not afford the high prices that SiteGround charges, nor everyone require the extra features they offer. They offer great value for money, but you also have to look at your budget. If your budget doesn’t allow you to go with SiteGround, then simply leave the idea to choose it. There are a lot of great alternatives available in the market that are budget-friendly too.
Now it’s on you to decide whether SiteGround is good for you or not. Leave a comment below on what you think about SiteGround’s shared web hosting.
Have any queries? Feel free to shoot them in the comment section below, and I will try to solve them ASAP.