SiteGround Review: A Deep Dive into This Top Provider
SiteGround is officially recommended by WordPress and stands out as one of the top shared web hosting providers due to its unique features. Even though it may cost a bit more, on the flip side, you have access to advanced technology such as Google Cloud infrastructure and LiteSpeed web servers for unmatched performance. Moreover, there is an in-house security solution that includes a firewall.
Does a beginner find SiteGround easy to use? How reliable and fast is it? In this SiteGround web hosting review, we will cover our findings in full detail so you can get answers to all your questions. Here, you will gain an in-depth understanding of key topics such as pricing, security, performance, ease of use, customer support, and much more.
SiteGround pros and cons
- Good uptime during testing
- Great customer service
- Monthly and annual hosting plans
- Several useful, free services are included
- Customers have the option of choosing a server location
- All plans come with a free SSL certificate
- Innovative, speed-boosting technology
- Free daily backups
- Powerful in-house security tools
- Servers on four continents
- Pretty low storage capacity
- There is no mid-tier scalability option
- Complex pricing structures
- A free domain is not included
- Lacks dedicated, VPS, and Windows server options
SiteGround Plans and Pricing
SiteGround is a notch above other hosting providers, with shared hosting plans starting at $2.99 per month.
The provider does not offer any Dedicated hosting; however, it does offer VPS and Cloud hosting as an alternative for very large and popular sites, starting at $100 per month. Since shared hosting is the most popular choice for most, we will primarily focus on the pricing plans that come with this option.
To start, all 3 shared hosting plans include a free SSL certificate, automated daily backups, unlimited email accounts, a free CDN, plus unlimited bandwidth and built-in caching. Although you don’t get a free domain, you do get access to various server resources and features, depending on the plan you choose.
Plan Features Price:
The Shared Startup Plan offers hosting for one website, free SSL, plus 10GB of SSD storage, and up to 10,000 monthly visits for $2.99 per month.
The Shared GrowBig plan offers hosting for unlimited websites, free SSL, 20GB of SSD storage, 100,000 monthly visits allowance, on-demand backup, staging, 30% faster PHP, and a collaboration tool for $4.99/mo.
The Shared GoGeek plan offers hosting for unlimited websites, free SSL, 40GB of SSD storage, 400,000 monthly visits, on-demand backups, staging, 30% faster PHP, private DNS, a collaboration tool, a white-label panel for clients, and priority support for $7.99/mo.
SiteGround offers incredibly impressive plans at highly competitive prices; however, please keep in mind that the listed prices reflect a 12-month billing period. Once you renew your plan, it will increase drastically.
Best bang for your buck:
To get the best value for your money, we suggest selecting the GrowBig plan with a two-year upfront payment. This way, the monthly price will always be $14.99 per month, for a total of $390.70; this way, there won’t be any price increases or higher renewal fees during that time.
SiteGround’s shared hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee that applies even to renewals. If the renewal period has not yet begun, you will receive a full refund—even if you have paid upfront, you are still eligible for a full refund (excluding new domain registration fees).
All in all, despite its complex pricing structure, SiteGround provides excellent value for money. The tools and features included with this shared hosting provider are far superior to those offered by other companies.
Hosting Management – is SiteGround User-Friendly?
Speaking of ease of use, SiteGround made a remarkable impression, earning it a spot on our list of the best web hosting providers. Featuring a native control panel and an intuitive user interface, SiteGround made sure that everything is easy to access and use.
After purchasing a plan, you will be sent an email containing all the account information. Once you log in, you will be welcomed by SiteGround’s user interface, which looks like the screenshot below.
We think it’s cool that SiteGround has added a few videos to the homepage; it’s brilliant for beginners. Plus, with an easy walk-through to get you started, the whole design and animation are very aesthetically pleasing.
The toolbar at the top includes all the settings regarding your account, such as websites, services, billing information, etc. Certainly, you can read, so we won’t bore you with what is in every single menu item.
Instead, let’s explore the most fundamental steps to ensure that you create and maintain a successful website as a novice webmaster: such as maximizing your control panel by installing WordPress, activating SSL for greater security, and creating a professional email account.
SiteGround's control panel overview
SiteGround has replaced cPanel, which it had been using until 2019, with its own in-house developed hosting control panel called Site Tools. This modern and functional platform is designed to be easy to use, even for those who have never used a control panel before.
On the contrary, we did see many SiteGround reviews from disgruntled customers when the new panel was announced; well, the king is dead, long live the King!
You can reach Site Tools from the main dashboard by clicking on “Websites” from the main toolbar, and then clicking on “Site Tools,” as shown in the screenshot below.
Furthermore, this interface is incredibly convenient, as it provides direct access to the Site Tools menu items and the WordPress admin panel login button.
We liked using the Site Tools. Navigating the main menu on the left of the page is very simple; furthermore, each tool has an explanation. Additionally, you can tailor it to your specific requirements, such as pinning the tools that are used most often on the main page.
Furthermore, this is the area where you can monitor your disk space usage and check statistics on how many unique visitors and pageviews your website is receiving.
All in all, Site Tools is not only appealing; it offers features that make it just as functional as cPanel.
SiteGround's control panel overview
SiteGround makes installing WordPress super simple. The provider has four pre-pinned tools on the main dashboard of Site Tools, making the installation even easier, such as installing and managing WordPress, creating email accounts, accessing the file manager, and a site scanner tool.
After clicking “Install and Manage WordPress,” you will be prompted with the page below, where you will select WordPress. Then, add your admin information such as a username, password, and email.
After clicking ‘Install’, the installation will take a couple of minutes to complete.SiteGround will then launch its WordPress Starter Sites plugin, which helps in easily setting up your website. From here, you’ll be able to pick from a variety of themes and effortlessly configure the most important features for an instant launch.
To sum it up, SiteGround makes the entire process simple. It is an incredibly convenient WordPress web hosting provider that takes care of just about everything. All you must do is select your options and come up with a secure password, or you can even generate one automatically.
SiteGround SSL certificate
By default, SiteGround automatically issues a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for every site created on its platform. After registering your domain and properly pointing to SiteGround’s Name Servers.
To ensure that the SSL has been issued correctly, head over to Site Tools > Security > SSL Manager. On this page, you will find a Manage SSL table which should contain an active certificate.
Now, after confirming that your SSL certificate has been activated, head over to the “HTTPS Enforce” section in the left-side menu and make sure it is enabled. We had to enable ours manually. Enabling the HTTPS Enforce tool will help to encrypt and secure HTTPS connections.
All in all, in our case, the SSL certificate was automatically installed for us, and we were impressed by it all. There might be a case in which you will have to manually install it; however, this is easy.
SiteGround email hosting
SiteGround has a standard email hosting option with a control-panel-based interface. Generating a professional email address through SiteGround is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons. All you need to do is come up with a name for your mailbox and generate a secure password.
With SiteGround, you can create an unlimited number of email accounts even with their basic plan! Nothing looks more professional than having email@example.com as opposed to a generic address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
To create a professional email, go to the Email Accounts section in your Site Tools management panel.
By default, SiteGround sets your mailbox capacity to 512MB; however, you can easily adjust this amount whenever needed. All it takes is a simple click on the three small dots located in the bottom-right corner.
In the same menu, you can also gain access to your mailbox by selecting Log into Webmail.
SiteGround employs the use of RoundCube email client, which is a bit outdated. However, it gets the job done. Additionally, the provider has also integrated a handy menu on the left of your screen from where you can quickly set up autoresponders or forwarders.
Consider that the mail server you will be using for your email is the same as the one utilized on your website. Consequently, you will find yourself limited in terms of storage, and your reputation is coupled with that of other users on the same server.
Therefore, free email accounts are ideal for less important tasks like collecting contact details from individuals. For actual email marketing campaigns, it would be beneficial to subscribe to email hosting providers like Google or Outlook – they can offer a host of remarkable features.
All in all, setting up a professional email account with SiteGround is a simple process that shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, even if you do not have any technical knowledge. The only downside is that the storage capacity is limited, and your emails share a server with other users, which could affect your reputation; thus, the reason why third-party email clients exist.
SiteGround stands out from other hosting providers by offering a cutting-edge website staging tool with their shared hosting plans, starting with the GrowBig plan. When feasible, a secure and seamless website development and improvement process is achievable with this essential feature. Furthermore, SiteGround simplifies the setup process.
How does website staging work?
To put it simply, you are creating a clone of your website to test out changes or make improvements. When the staging version of your website is functioning properly and without any issues, you can confidently push all the changes to the live version of your website.
Creating a staging environment is simple; all you must do is give it a name and push the “Create” button. If you have plenty of features that you wish to experiment with, don’t hesitate to create multiple staging environments, or rather what your plan’s storage limit allows.
When transferring the updates from your staging environment to your live website, you have ultimate control over what will be deployed. You have the option to transfer all modifications or select only specific files; whichever you think will enable optimal results.
All in all, we believe the staging tool is a beneficial asset to have in your arsenal. Furthermore, you don’t need to be an expert developer to take full advantage of this powerful tool.
To sum up this part of the SiteGround web hosting review, it’s safe to say that it is user-friendly and easy to use. The user interface of this platform is both uncomplicated and resourceful. Regardless of if you are wanting to install WordPress or creating an email account, the process will be easy.
SiteGround Business Solutions
SiteGround offers a variety of helpful tools for website management, and, as we have found, it has some great benefits that businesses can take advantage of.
For example, with either the Grow Big or GoGeek plan, you can easily add collaborators to your account. By doing so, everyone can gain access to their own account and be assigned a project that can help with workflow and security.
SiteGround is also a very secure, reliable, and fast solution for hosting a small WooCommerce site. Each WordPress installation comes equipped with the WooCommerce plugin pre-installed, making it incredibly simple for you to launch your desired online store.
And if you are ready to level up your business, SiteGround offers a variety of Cloud hosting plans that start at $100.00/month. All the plans are based on Google Cloud infrastructure, so your website will be powered by the most advanced hardware available.
The Cloud hosting plans are fully managed – SiteGround handles your website launch, set up, and software so that you don’t have to. Conversely, you receive an efficient control panel to streamline your website management.
SiteGround Performance and Uptime
Our experience with the SiteGround server was nothing short of extraordinary; it provided unbeatable speed and reliability.
First and foremost, we used Uptime Robot to run a test to gauge the host’s uptime.
We closely observed SiteGround for one week, and the results were impressive. Not only did it stay up without fail throughout that period, but its uptime was a perfect 100%. In comparison to other hosting providers we have tested in the past, which experienced outages within the first couple of days, this is quite remarkable.
SiteGround may have had a 100% uptime during testing, but it does not consider any potential difficulties or server maintenance. Nevertheless, SiteGround guarantees a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
In addition, SiteGround has experienced remarkable success with its lightning-fast average response time of 258ms.
In comparison to the standard 300ms response time offered by other providers, SiteGround exceeded our anticipations with a staggering 258ms.
Without a doubt, SiteGround is an incredibly dependable platform that provides superb uptime and speedy response times.
SiteGround website speed test
In this part of our SiteGround review, we conducted a speed test to determine the loading times of both a blank website and a fully built website. To measure these loading times, we used the GTmetrix tool to generate our results.
To gain a full understanding of the results, here are 3 essential metrics that one should know:
- The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) The amount of time it takes to load a page’s primary content is known as the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). To maximize your website performance and ensure a better chance in the top spot on Google, make sure that your LCP is under 2.5 seconds.
- Fully Loaded Time – The amount of time it takes for your website to be fully operational is important. If the loading process surpasses 3 seconds, chances are that visitors will leave, which illustrates how critical a fast website speed is to your success.
- Speed Index-To ensure your visitors have an unbeatable experience, make sure they can access the content on your page in no more than 1.3 seconds.
To commence our evaluation, we assessed the loading time of a blank WordPress site from 3 separate locations. The hosting plan we tested was SiteGround’s GrowBig shared plan. The US test server performed exceptionally well, with an impressively quick LCP score of only 501ms.
When testing SiteGround’s largest contentful paint (LCP) results in London, UK, and Mumbai, India, we found that the LCP was only slightly slower – at 966ms for the United Kingdom and 1.5s for India. While the performance results for both the UK and India were not as speedy, it still surpassed Google’s e-commerce loading speed threshold of 2.5s.
The screenshot below illustrates the extraordinary results that SiteGround attained when testing a blank website from a server located in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Even though the website was hosted on a U.S.-based server, our results were remarkable and exceeded expectations. Our fully-loaded time was 701ms—that’s super-fast.
Now, what would happen if we switched from an empty site to a fully built one?
After the website was fully built, the LCP increased from 501ms to 780ms—not bad at all! Our WordPress website, with five pages and five images on the homepage, loaded in lightning-fast 780 milliseconds; look at the screenshot below to see for yourself.
Our website’s “Fully Loaded Time” impressed us all with its quick speed of 982ms, comfortably below the recommended maximum load time of 3 seconds―not too shabby.
The image below displays a comprehensive analysis of the performance metrics and data related to the completed website.
As the screenshot above shows, SiteGround achieved a remarkable “Speed Index” of only 769ms – that’s less than one second! This success demonstrates that, even after a website is fully built, amazing results can still be attained with SiteGround.
SiteGround has exceeded all our expectations, firmly establishing its place as one of the fastest hosting companies. This provider not only offers high speeds but also dependability and robustness.
To conclude, SiteGround’s performance is nothing short of extraordinary; their advanced technology certainly contributed to the outstanding results we observed during our tests.
SiteGround easily aced all our performance tests, earning an A++ rating from us.
What makes SiteGround fast?
SiteGround’s impressive performance can be attributed to the cutting-edge technology that supports it.
- Newest technologies and software. SiteGround is always one step ahead, swiftly introducing the latest and most secure updates as soon as they are available. Your website will be equipped with the latest versions of PHP, HTTP/2 and QUIC, TLS 1.3, as well as OCSP Stapling for optimum performance.
- Data center location choices. SiteGround offers a wide selection of servers spread across seven locations around the globe from Dallas (Texas, US), Europe (UK, Netherlands, Germany, Spain), Singapore, and Australia. So, no matter where your customers live in this world, you can pick a server closest to your customers.
- In-house speed solutions. SiteGround has innovatively built a custom PHP setup, named Ultrafast PHP, tailored to the GrowBig and GoGeek plans. On average, this will make your pages load 30% faster. This special PHP setup utilizes less memory and enables the server to process a greater number of queries more efficiently.
- SuperCacher. This is a unique three-layered caching system that accelerates page loading times, stores static website content, and conserves CPU resources.
- SG Optimizer. This plugin maximizes the performance of your WordPress website, providing an all-in-one solution to ensure your WordPress site performs at its best.
The bottom line is that SiteGround’s performance is top-notch. The uptime was better than what SiteGround guarantees and it loads websites lightning fast.
How Secure is SiteGround?
As a hosting provider that prides itself on respecting its customers’ needs, SiteGround takes security seriously to the degree of offering multiple security measures. The provider ensures a secure environment for its servers and all websites hosted on them.
After hearing all the buzz about SiteGround’s remarkable security capabilities, we decided to find out for ourselves what made it so special. Our expectations were more than met. Not only does the provider offer free WildCard SSL certificates; but here’s what else they offer:
- SiteGround’s real-time monitoring system assesses server status every half a second.
- While their custom web application firewall (WAF) defends against new vulnerabilities by including hundreds of rules updated yearly.
- On top of this, an AI anti-bot system works around the clock to block out millions of potential threats daily.
- Lastly, SiteGround’s Security plugin guards against common risks such as brute force and malware attacks, which are unfortunately all too familiar in the WordPress community.
Additionally, all websites benefit from daily automatic backups. You can restore your website with the utmost ease – just one click and you’re done! Not to mention, you have full control over what to restore like:
- All files and databases
- Only files
- Only databases
The backups are distributed and safely stored in a variety of data centers to ensure maximum redundancy and security. If one backup is ever compromised, there will always be an additional copy available for use.
Another noteworthy security feature is that all plans get a free native CDN setup. This not only safeguards your website against DDoS attacks but also puts a stop to any potential malicious activities. By distributing your website’s content to multiple servers around the world, you can effectively mask its original IP address and accelerate your website’s loading speed for those accessing it from distant regions.
While SiteGround’s security features are top-notch, one downside is that domain privacy is a paid option – costing $12 for the first year and an additional $24 per year to renew. Numerous domain registrars provide their customers with free domain privacy.
Overall, we were pleased with SiteGround’s security features. Not only is this web hosting provider incredibly secure, but it also offers a variety of extra security features that more than makeup for the additional expense of domain privacy.
SiteGround Customer Support
SiteGround’s customer support is available 24/7 through multiple channels, such as live chat, phone support, and help desk tickets. Additionally, a comprehensive Knowledge Base and an AI chatbot are also available to help with all your needs.
After we read multiple reviews of SiteGround, it was clear that the customer support is simply outstanding. This, coupled with two Stevie Awards and SiteGround’s reported 98% customer satisfaction rate in previous years, further solidifies their exceptional level of service. Naturally, we were skeptical, so we decided to try it out for ourselves.
One of the first observations we made was that SiteGround encourages you to rely on their help widget, as it can be found on every page. The widget will take you to the Help Center, where a wealth of helpful resources awaits – from articles and tutorials to FAQs.
Certainly, the ideal solution would be to get in touch with an actual person instead of combing through numerous tutorials. Fortunately, SiteGround support proved to be very efficient and fast; and that is what we are looking for.
SiteGround Hosting Review – Final Verdict
SiteGround stands out among other web hosting services due to its impressive uptime of 100% during testing and fast page loading speed of 311ms. With all its shared hosting plans, you’ll get free SSL certificates, email accounts, and native CDN for an added layer of security, as well as automatic backups and built-in caching.
Although the pricing is a bit on the higher side, SiteGround takes advantage of cutting-edge tech solutions like Google Cloud infrastructure and LiteSpeed web servers to guarantee excellent performance. Furthermore, their customer service team is nothing short of exceptional; they are both professional and accommodating.
If you couldn’t spare the necessary time to read through our in-depth SiteGround review, or simply need a refresher, here is a quick breakdown:
Pricing – SiteGround’s prices start at only $2.99/month; you get access to powerful website management tools, superior security measures, and incredible performance that make your site fast and reliable.
Ease of Use – In terms of ease of use, SiteGround does not disappoint. Even if you’re new to the game, you have all the assistance possible for your success. Building your website and setting up WordPress is simple – just a few clicks away. You can also have an email address that looks professional easily. You should have a seamless, hassle-free experience.
Performance – SiteGround surpasses our highest expectations when it comes to performance. It maintained a remarkable 100% uptime and my fully built website was loaded in less than one second.
Security – Above all else, SiteGround takes security seriously. To ensure your website is secure, the provider offers a range of protective features like free SSL certificates, DDoS protection, and daily backups.
Support – Live chat, phone, and help desk tickets are available 24/7. Additionally, the knowledge base, help widget, and AI chatbot are incredibly useful tools. One downside, however, is that it can be difficult to quickly locate the live chat feature and toll-free phone number.
To whom do we recommend SiteGround?
SiteGround’s shared hosting is the ideal choice for businesses, freelancers, and small agencies looking to establish a strong online presence. Especially for those who need to be competitive in every aspect of their business, this provider has all the necessary tools and superior performance to help bring you success.
FAQs About SiteGround Web Hosting Review
Is SiteGround hosting any good?
Yes, SiteGround is an excellent hosting company. Not only does it come with advantageous features such as caching and in-house developed security tools, but its performance has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Is SiteGround good for beginners?
Yes, SiteGround is a fantastic choice for beginners. The native control panel makes it easy to navigate, plus the homepage provides helpful tips tailored for beginners. And if that wasn’t enough? You can have WordPress up and running with just a few clicks.
Is SiteGround a reliable host?
Yes, SiteGround is a reliable hosting provider, and they have excelled in every assessment – from usability to performance, security to customer service. They are the clear choice for anyone seeking reliable web hosting services.
They also have a great uptime record, which means that your website will always be accessible to your visitors. Overall, we highly recommend SiteGround as a reliable and affordable hosting provider.
How much does SiteGround cost?
SiteGround’s shared hosting plans start at $2.99/mo and offer a whole bundle of features: All plans include a free SSL certificate, unlimited email accounts, native CDN included, daily automatic backups, unlimited bandwidth, and built-in caching. If cloud hosting is what you need, it will cost you a minimum of $100 per month and go up from there.
Why are SiteGround's prices so high?
Often, you get what you pay for when it comes to web hosting. Although SiteGround’s prices might be higher than other providers at first glance, you’re getting a lot more benefits and storage for your money.
To begin with, SiteGround uses the Google Cloud platform which is much faster and more powerful than other hosting providers. In addition, SiteGround also offers many features that you won’t find with other providers, such as their proprietary security system and auto-update feature.
Is SiteGround worth the money?
Yes, SiteGround provides remarkable hosting services that are worth every penny. You receive all the necessary components for creating and managing your own website, plus additional features.
Is SiteGround good for WooCommerce hosting?
Yes, SiteGround is a great choice when it comes to WooCommerce hosting. They offer several features that are perfect for online stores, including unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts. In addition, they provide free SSL certificates and daily backups. Overall, they are a great option for anyone looking for reliable and affordable WooCommerce hosting.
Can I use WordPress with SiteGround?
Yes, you can use WordPress with SiteGround. In fact, SiteGround is officially recommended by WordPress.org. They offer great WordPress hosting plans that include features designed to make your WordPress site run optimally, such as managed updates and security, auto-scaling, and much more.
Does SiteGround use cPanel?
In short, no; SiteGround offers both shared hosting and cloud hosting. It offers Shared hosting, which is a good option for small businesses or individuals with low-traffic websites, and Cloud hosting for those with high-traffic websites or in need of more flexibility and scalability than what shared hosting can provide.
Does SiteGround offer VPS hosting?
In short, no; SiteGround offers both shared and cloud hosting. It offers Shared hosting, which is a good option for small businesses or individuals with low-traffic websites, and Cloud hosting for those with high-traffic websites or in need of more flexibility and scalability than what shared hosting can provide.
Does hosting affect SEO?
Yes, any business owner who wants to ensure their website is ranking high on search engines should be aware of the impact that hosting can have on SEO. While many factors contribute to a website’s ranking, the server on which it is hosted is one of the most important. A website that is hosted on a slow, unreliable server will have difficulty achieving a high ranking, as search engines favor websites that load quickly and are always available.
Is SiteGround a Russian company?
No, it’s not – SiteGround has no links to Russia whatsoever. This well-renowned company was founded in Bulgaria and runs offices based in the US, UK, Spain, and Cyprus.
Where are SiteGround servers located?
SiteGround has servers placed in 6 locations across 4 continents, allowing users to access servers located near them; these include the United States (Iowa), Singapore, Australia, and 3 European regions -the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.
When comparing the functionality of SiteGround and Bluehost, both are incredibly similar. The only significant difference is that Bluehost offers plans starting at an unbeatable price point of just $2.65/mo.
Hostinger is a cost-effective substitute to SiteGround that still yields superb results. Plus, you can get started for as little as $1.99/month – talk about value!