Bloggers and website owners keep on sharing a lot about hosting problems over the internet. To my surprise, even with hundreds of hosting service providers, there are issues of erratic hosting plans with non-transparent pricing.
On the name of cheap prices, hosting providers compromise with website loading times even after the promise of adequate speed.
It is a harsh reality when people share about their hosting service providers charge money for services like SSL certificates and migration while it is provided free by genuine companies.
Plus tons of issues regarding pathetic customer support, in terms of time consumed in resolving issues and ill-informed support staff.
People have complained of waiting times when they have waited nearly hours in order to get a response and to get issues resolved.
It is easy to get started with the business of hosting service but hard to provide a reliable, safe hosting service along with quality customer service.
I too had my share of the above headaches when I bought hosting services from Godaddy for my business website and Cashoverflow blog.
After my own analysis and recommendations by fellow bloggers, I switched over to SiteGround hosting in 2016.
From that point of time till this time, I thank heaven (for helping me take a step) and SiteGround services for not letting me down.
So the SiteGround review post is based on my last 4 year experience of hosting on their servers.
What Makes SiteGround Cheap & Best Alternative to Any Other Shared Hosting
There are many things that prove the point that SiteGround is well ahead of other shared hosting providers.
To start with, you can check their free service options that are more or less paid in other hostings providers.
Let me tell you, after launching HTTP/2, you might have noticed that Google Chrome browser has actively started warning people of the site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a networking protocol designed to establish a secured client to server connections through encryption. The service is charged at many of the hosting service providers like Bluehost and Hostgator.
But SiteGround provides “Lets Encrypt SSL certificate” free for all the shared plans to protect any private information and personal details like IP address and transaction details.
In case if you have not enabled FREE SSL, you need to act fast and get one.
SiteGround users can go to CPanel – Security – Lets Encrypt
Install an SSL certificate for all the websites that you have hosted and Enable HTTPS.
You can see that I have hosted multiple websites and enabled HTTPS for all of those.
It is done in a single click, easy for any non-technical person to install SSL through SiteGround.
Free CDN Integration
The Content Delivery Network (CDN), helps your website speed up page delivery to audiences located at far off geographies from the base server. The network does this by storing a copy of your website locally at the nearby server.
When you are hosting on Siteground, you get free Cloudflare CDN on all of their shared hosting plans, thus making it a value purchase.
Using free Cloudflare CDN you can easily store your large files like images and media on the cloud.
Plus using CDN the server load is reduced which makes it blazing fast and helps handle more traffic. You can find more details at the end of the section.
With SiteGround hosting, you get hands to free backup of your online assets which are normally charged at other hosting service providers.
The automated daily backup at SiteGround safe keeps up your website data, emails and files on a daily basis for up to 30 days back at servers and 7 days back on the cloud.
Where other hosting providers charge you a fee ranging from $49 to $149 for website migration. Which I think is high.
SiteGround does it completely free in case if you are migrating your existing hosting from any of the other hosting service providers to SiteGround.
Free migration is the best solution for non-technical people like me.
However, let me tell you the free migration is only for the Grow Big and GoGreek hosting plans and that too limited to one existing website per account.
The migration service is paid in case of the StartUp plan.
The latest news is that to help bloggers automate the migration of their WordPress site to SiteGround. They have developed a plugin – SiteGround Migrator.
Where you can easily move your WordPress site in just a few clicks by installing the plugin on your existing WordPress site.
Free Premium Support
It can be quite embarrassing if you are kept waiting for hours when you need urgent customer support in situations of technical issues.
On top of it, the situation gets worse when you have to face an incompetent staff. Which complicates things and leaves behind a bad experience.
I never faced such an issue with SiteGround customer support.
Whenever I contacted SiteGround, I got someone over chat in less than 3 minutes. When you try to contact the customer service of SiteGround they give you the option to post ticket or Chat.
The free SiteGround support is accessible through Phone, Live Chat and Ticketing System.
It’s not a single time, but multiple times from SiteGround people resolved such issues which were not even related to hosting.
For example, read my interaction with SiteGround customer care when my 301 redirects stopped working on one of my websites CreditFrog and I was getting 404 Errors.
I am extremely satisfied with their support team. I feel like if I have outsourced my technical issues to SiteGround. It’s cheap to get such high-quality support by spending less than $200 per year.
SiteGround has a 24×7 knowledgeable support department to resolve issues instantly and efficiently. You will love their fast response (in less than 5 minutes) in times of need.
Further, it has advanced priority support for GoGeek plan users on priority handled by the most experienced support agents.
Features & Benefits of SiteGround Hosting
In the online world – Faster site load time equals better user experience and better user experience results in higher customer engagement and conversions.
People simply hate slow loading websites and abandon them.
For my websites on SiteGround, I get a blazing fast website loads speeds and more than 99.98% uptime most of the time.
That is because SiteGround is passionate about the latest web hosting speed technologies which are visible in their adoption of
- Faster hardware (SSD Storage),
- Innovative network architecture (NGINX web server technology),
- New software solution for performance (SG Optimizer)
Faster hardware (SSD Storage)
As compared to regular hard disk drives, SiteGround uses solid-state drives (SSD).
Using SSD you get a 1000x increase in input/output operations which is possible because SSD stores data in microchips and do not have moving parts.
With SiteGround hosting, all your website files and databases are stored on SSD technology. Plus the technology is available on all the shared and cloud plans.
NGINX web server technology
Written in C language, the NGINX web server technology is a high-performance load balancer which accelerates content and application delivery.
In short, SiteGround employs NGINX to speed up the load of the static content.
You can relax because when compared to other hosting providers you get a faster web server even if you have lots of images and files.
Going a step ahead, SiteGround uses in-house built software solutions like SG Optimizer to help you get ultimate speed.
In fact, SG optimizer has been developed as a plugin to improve performance by engaging optimization techniques like Super Cacher.
Your websites load significantly faster because the SuperCacher in SG optimizer adds several layers of caching like Static cache, dynamic cache and Memcached.
The static cache saves server time in case of repeated customer requests by providing visitors the already saved HTML document.
Dynamic caching is generated locally by running scripts that change content on the page and saves time to serve the webpage from the origin. Hence effectively reducing the response time.
Memcached is a key-value store for web pages similar to like a dictionary. It saves server time from generating the page from scratch and serves the user instantly with the stored page.
Lastly, your webpage loading speed is greatly affected by the server location.
The closer the hosting server is to your customers the faster it will load because of the shorter distance.
To help your website load faster, SiteGround hosting helps you choose anyone from its six server locations.
- Chicago and Iowa, United States
- London, United Kingdom
- Amsterdam and Eemshaven, Netherland
Security is the topmost priority, not only Google penalizes the malicious sites but you lose trust of your audience.
On the security front, the SiteGround team does not give you any chance to worry about getting hacked or your website getting infested by malicious codes. They are serious about security issues.
You can sleep without worrying about your website security. Because SiteGround secures their servers with the frequent update of server kernel, control panel, firewall and services like apache + PHP, MySQL, and Exim.
SiteGround Employs HTTP/2 Enables
Originally developed by Google, HTTP/2 is a major revision over HTTP network protocol which helps you serve faster and more secured web pages.
SiteGround has proactively implemented HTTP/2 for all their servers using CENTOS. So when you host your website on any of their servers you essentially are serving your audiences through a secured environment.
The fact is that HTTP/2 requires encryption and SiteGround provides free “Let’s Encrypt SSL” certificates.
This helps you to take advantage of the HTTP/2 protocol without any extra cost.
Isolated Servers on SiteGround Shared Hosting
In a shared hosting environment, there are always security threats arising from the infested neighbor hosting account.
SiteGround tackles this through an efficient CHROOT account isolation system on shared servers.
Let me tell you that the system uses a product hive to isolate accounts on the servers. Which eliminates the chances the whole of the server getting compromised from a single infected account.
Essentially, which means that your hosting account will have separate read-and-write access within your own home directory.
In case of any account getting hacked, the attacker will not be able to go outside the specific hacked account.
SiteGround Team Cares About Security Issues Seriously
You would be surprised to know that the SiteGround in-house team has developed scripts to check for hacked content and applications.
I mean, hardly any other hosting providers go to such a length for ensuring security.
Siteground does it through a service called HackAlert which monitors your website on a daily basis and emails you about malicious code or website security issues.
The security team runs a powerful Intrusion Prevention System called 1H Hawk. The system will identify if someone is trying to brute-force any of your passwords – like FTP, Email or other, and will disable access to the attacker’s IP address in real-time.
The latest in security at SiteGround is a unique AI-based anti- bot prevention tool. That prevents brute force attacks on your website and tries to snuff out new attacks before they hit your blog.
Which Plan is Suitable For Whom
The StartUp plan is best, if you are planning for a single website and costs you $3.95 per month on a special discounted price.
Unlike other hosting service providers, SiteGround does not use tricky pricing which confuses customers getting varying prices depending on the subscription period.
You get a fixed $3.95 per month price irrespective of the 12, 24 or 36 subscription period you choose for your website hosting.
However, if you are picking up the one month trial hosting package then SiteGround charges you an additional setup fee of $14.95.
Rest assured, the plan is best for newbies who are just starting with a website that requires no more than 10GB of webspace.
Under the plan, you can look to handle up to 10,000 unique visitors per month and enjoy unlimited bandwidth.
Plus you have lots of free services like Cloudflare CDN, Let’s Encrypt SSL, email account, backups and customer support.
You can pick the GrowBig plan if you plan to have two or more websites. At a price of $5.95 per month the plan lets you host multiple websites. The price of $5.95 holds good irrespective of the plan period.
But the trial plan has a setup fee of $24.95 attached to it.
The GrowBig Plan is best suited if you expect around 25K visitors and require up to 20GB of webspace.
In addition to the StartUp plan, the GrowBig plan gives you access to all the three levels of SuperCacher (Static, Dynamic and Memcache), helping you to boost your load times.
Apart from the regular backup, the plan has an advanced on-demand backup so that you can create 5 on-demand backups instantly at a time. Which is helpful when you experiment with design or implement code-level changes.
The unique offering under the GrowBig plan is the flexibility it gives you to add collaborators if you run an agency or working with designers. This way you can have separate individual login and access to your site tools.
Under the plan, you can have a free premium staging feature. That lets you create a copy of your website live in a staging environment. With this feature, you can test codes and design before going for actual changes on the website.
I suggest you to go for the GoGeek plan when you have a website that is growing fast and your other websites are simultaneously picking up the traffic.
The plan can support your growing portfolio of multiple websites having a cumulative web space requirement of up to 30GB.
GoGeek plan costs $7.95 per month and supports 100K number of monthly visitors. However, the one-month trial plan comes with a $24.95 setup fee.
Under the GoGeek Plan, you can enjoy all the benefits of the StartUp and GrowBig plan.
Additionally, you get advance priority support from the most experienced support agent ensuring exceptional quality and quick technical support.
What’s more interesting is that the plan lets you have an additional revenue source through its White label hosting (also known as reseller hosting) and client management service.
Under the GoGeek Plan, you can easily register your client as users and give them access (White label) to site tools of the websites you build for them.
Lastly, the GoGeek plan comes with a pre-installed Git on servers for developers and experienced tech bloggers.
Git is a distributed version control system for tracking changes in source code during software development. You can use it to track changes in any set of files.
Plus using Git helps you to create repositories of your website. Which helps you save, access, download and edit your website anytime.
Myth’s About SiteGround Hosting (& Practical Truth)
Limit of CPU Cycles (Actually in Favor of Bloggers)
CPU limit is useful when you want to ensure that a process doesn’t use more than a certain portion of the CPU.
SiteGround does this by fixing a suitable number of monthly visitors under each plan that a website will be able to handle. Like 10K for StartUp, 25K for GrowBig and 100K for GoGeek Plan.
Actually, the transparency is worth the applause. Because no other hosting company discloses upfront the limits.
But let me tell you that, even with the limited cycles, practically you can handle a higher number of page views by using their free Cloudflare CDN service and super cacher.
So, if you see it works in your favor- let me explain how?
First, you can opt for a suitable SiteGround hosting plan as per your budget. Within the allotted CPU cycle, you can then use their CDN and SuperCacher to handle more traffic. In this way, you get more value in a limited CPU resources.
Integrate With CDN and Get More Traffic Handling Capacity
Without CDN your website acts as a single source to serve content to your audiences across the globe. In such a scenario, every time you get a visitor the web server needs to send the content wherever the visitor is located.
CDN changes this scene by creating copies of webpages and storing them at different server locations across the world. This way the nearest location responds with the information stored over CDN.
Thus the visitor is served from the CDN location rather than from the web server which frees up the resources.
The unutilized server resources can then be used for handling other visitors. So practically you can serve more number of visitors employing CDN service.
Plus the service is freely available with shared SiteGround hosting. Effectively, you are in a position to handle a large amount of traffic at no cost.
Let me share with you my experience.
After integrating CDN and caching my Cashoverflow blog is using just 62% of the allowed capacity of servers.
In fact, most of the traffic is not even hitting SiteGround’s servers.
So I don’t have to worry till I start getting more than 300,000 monthly traffic on my website. However, these numbers may change as per your website’s optimization.
Look at the weekly bandwidth stats from CloudFlare, 34GB out of total 41GB has been served from the cache.
Which is more than 80% of the content served from CDN instead of using the webserver.
That effectively means, SiteGround has to serve only the balance 6.95GB, which is just about 17% of total bandwidth.
Note: You will get similar benefits with CloudFlare no matter where your website is hosted.
Till date, I am loving the services provided by SiteGround hosting. With CDN integration and SuperCacher, you can easily host your growing website (up to 200K traffic) on their highest shared GoGeek plan.
I am a super fan of their transparency in pricing and disclosing usage upfront. Plus they are the front runners when it comes to adopting the latest technologies for better speed and safe websites. Click to get SiteGround premium hosting plans at a discounted price.
SiteGround honors time and their customer support is top-class. All of which goes to show how they value their customers and speak about their support commitments.
On the flip side, SiteGround does not provide a free domain for first-time buyers, it levy domain registration fees of $15.95.
The good thing is that SiteGround does not have upsales while purchasing hosting but it ridicules with the Domain Privacy charges of $12 per year.
There are some initial setup fees for a one-month trial account. But I do not think anyone goes for a trial account when you have lots of free services like SSL, CDN integration, backup, migration and support available with the regular plans.