Many people enjoy SiteGround as a hosting provider because of many reasons, including the different hosting options available. These include cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, and even servers that are dedicated.
For over two years, we’ve been monitoring the cheapest ‘startup’ plans offered by SiteGround that are shared. We set a live test up after paying for a hosting account that is shared. We have used a tool from a third-party to provide a transparent and unbiased review.
Overall, we found SiteGround hosting close to the best of the hosting companies we’ve reviewed with an average speed of 673 ms and an uptime of 99.99%. They have friendly, fast, and knowledgeable customer support. Every plan comes with email accounts, an SSL certificate, and CDN.
Here is a breakdown of some of the advantages and disadvantages we found with SiteGround:
General Overview and Hosting Info
We found SiteGround to have quality customer support that was reliable and available by live chat 24/7. From February 2018 to January 2020, we found them to have an average uptime of 99.99% and an average speed of 673 ms. SiteGround offers support for over 500 applications. Features include free email, a website builder, unmetered bandwidth, and 10 GB storage. However, their site transfers aren’t free. They offer hosting plans, such as Enterprise, Shared, Cloud, Reseller, WordPress, and even dedicated servers. Pricing starts at $6.99 a month, with renewals at $14.99 monthly.
Advantages to Hosting With SiteGround:
There are tons of features for advanced users and beginners, speeds are above average, and they offer an uptime of 99.99%, among numerous other advantages. Take a closer look at some of the pros of SiteGround.
1. Excellent Performance – Over the Last 2 Years, 99.99% uptime!
We base all our reviews on two years of raw data and real statistics. Over that time, SiteGround held nearly perfect uptime. Their average was 99.99%, easily one of the most reliable we’ve worked with.
It is this reliability that keeps visitors happy with your website. It also means your site is working nonstop so your customers can always purchase your goods or view your content and services.
The following are the results we saw with our third-party tool, Pingdom.
- February 2019 – 100% average uptime
- March 2019 – 99.99% average uptime
- April 2019 – 100% average uptime
- May 2019 – 99.98% average uptime
- June 2019 – 99.99% average uptime
- July 2019 – 99.98% average uptime
- August 2019 – 99.99% average uptime
- September 2019 – 99.99% average uptime
- October 2019 – 100% average uptime
- November 2019 – 100% average uptime
- December 2019 – 100% average uptime
- January 2020 – 99.92% average uptime
2. Load Time Is Above Average – 673 ms
When you choose a host, site speed is one of the critical factors to consider. Google research indicates over half your visitors will leave if your page isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.
Additionally, there isn’t much you can do to change your slow host. Smaller images can lighten the load, or you may take the pressure off your server by loading them through the CDN. But if your host is slow, it will always be slow, no matter how many changes you make.
With the average loading speed of 673ms, SiteGround is comfortably above average and in the top 10 for speed.
The following chart shows you the average load time by month, in addition to a refresher on those previously mentioned monthly uptime rates:
|Month||Average Uptime||Average Load Speed|
|February 2019||100%||660 ms|
|March 2019||99.99%||693 ms|
|April 2019||100%||682 ms|
|May 2019||99.98%||624 ms|
|June 2019||99.99%||608 ms|
|July 2019||99.98%||571 ms|
|August 2019||99.99%||611 ms|
|September 2019||99.99%||653 ms|
|October 2019||100%||552 ms|
|November 2019||100%||629 ms|
|December 2019||100%||571 ms|
|January 2020||99.92%||642 ms|
3. Customer Support Is Above Average
In the two years we’ve monitored SiteGround, we have never encountered problems with their customer support.
They provide quick answers and a broad knowledge base for their customers. You can also use their 24/7 chat or place a call to contact a representative and get assistance. When we opted for live chat, we were connected in under a minute. We found no delay in answers, and it seemed like the rep answered without having to look things up each time.
4. One Website Migrated for Free
We get a bit nervous anytime we see ‘DIY migration.’ This is because many of these DIY migrations put the burden on the client and aren’t all that great.
SiteGround is unique, though. They have a WordPress Migration plugin that is free and uploadable on any site.
You won’t have a long tutorial. Instead, your hosting account will generate a token, allowing you to get the app. Though you may do some of the work, you will be happy to migrate as many sites as you like. In other words, this is one of those rare cases where a DIY migration is not a big hassle.
GrowBig and higher-level plans offer free professional service and help if you prefer not to go the DIY route. If you exceed your limits, there is a nominal $30 fee for each additional site.
5. Free Content Delivery Network or CDN and Free SSL Certificate
If there isn’t an SSL certificate set up, Google Chrome will actively warn you. This is because it is essential in protecting information sent between visitor’s devices and your site. This may be credit cards or personal IP addresses. When unsecured, hackers can help themselves.
With Google’s warning, your best interest is in mind, and SSL certificates are required for all sites. Luckily, SiteGround throws these in all plans for free.
The CDN or Cloudflare Content Delivery Network uses many servers around the globe to store large files. This helps ensure they are stored close, giving visitors quicker access. The servers are spread out among three different continents, keeping load times quick.
6. Features Available for Both Advanced and Beginners
Everyone finds something they enjoy with SiteGround.
Novices and bloggers like that Weebly and other website builders can be installed with only a couple of clicks. You can get full control over your features with the editor that is drag-and-drop, making it feel like your own customized page without code.
SiteGround offers integration with builders such as Drupal, WordPress Joomla, and Weebly, all of which are simple and painless, without the need for a developer.
If you are a developer or a more advanced user, you’ll enjoy SFTP, SSH, WP-CLI, phpMyAdmin, and Git on the larger plans. There are many PHPs for you to use, and caching available on multiple levels. You can also get access to staging sites for testing features or products before going live.
For security, SiteGround uses AI-bot prevention, a proprietary tool looking for attacks before they happen. Their data shows up to two million attacks are blocked hourly on their servers.
7. Guarantee of 99.99% Uptime
There is a reason that SiteGround keeps an average uptime of 99.99%, and that’s because they offer this guarantee, so they need to maintain it.
Most of the time, a web host’s fine print has not-so-good news. With SiteGround, we got a pleasant surprise with their annual uptime guarantee of 99.9% for their network. If they dip below this, you get free hosting for compensation.
There are some conditions to the uptime. Emergency maintenance and scheduled maintenance are exempt. If you cause your downtime, such as installing apps that aren’t good, violating terms, or using too many resources, SiteGround isn’t responsible. Major system attacks affecting uptime may be exempt as well.
8. Money-back Guarantee for 30 Days
You get a full money-back guarantee for 30 days on all shared hosting plans from SiteGround. To compare, their VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting plans come with only 15-days for a refund.
As with most other hosts, ‘extras’ and domain name fees aren’t refunded in most cases.
Additionally, only brand-new customers are eligible for a refund. These guarantees aren’t applied to renewed plans.
Disadvantages to SiteGround Hosting
Even with their near-perfect uptime and the guarantee that if it drops below 99.99%, they offer free service, there are some flaws with SiteGround that you should be aware of. Though they aren’t the fastest, their load speeds are respectable. They offer enough apps to keep both their advanced users and beginners happy.
Even with all this, there are a few things to consider. Here are some of the flaws we discovered while testing:
- Renewal Rates Are Higher
StartUp, their introductory plan, starts at $6.99 monthly. If this seems cheap enough, just wait, and you’ll see they use the same trick other web hosts use. The low rate is merely introductory and doubles or triples when you renew.
For instance, this StartUp plan goes to $14.99 on renewal. The next plans go from $24.99 to $39.99 when you renew.
This means the best way to get the cheapest rates is to lock in the most extended terms possible. For SiteGround, this is 36 months.
For example, that $6.99/month rate jumps up to $14.99 when you renew. SiteGround’s other plans hike up to $24.99 and $39.99/month, respectively.
While this is certainly something to be aware of, the policy is far from unique to SiteGround as most web hosts follow a similar pricing model.
- Budget Plan Is Limited
The basic plan on SiteGround is comparable to others, so it appears to be a good deal until you look at the features. You only get 10 GB of web space, one website, and only about 10,000 visits a month. The plan does offer unmetered bandwidth. But, performance suffers anywhere close to the limits.
This makes it great for smaller sites that don’t hit those thresholds. If you have bigger sites, you’ll need to upgrade for more resources.
- Domain Name Isn’t Free
Most sites offer free features for new customers, which can include free migrations and email, as well as low introductory rates. Most offer a domain name free in the first year. With SiteGround, there is a charge for a domain name. It is $15.95 a year starting from the first day.
Quick Facts, Hosting Plans, and SiteGround Pricing
There are three tiers of shared hosting with SiteGround. Highlights and costs are as follows:
GoGeek Plan – Unlimited websites for $14.99 a month. This plan allows for 100,000 visits a month and 30 GB of space. It carries all the features of the below plans plus PCI compliance, priority support, and Git repo creation that is one-click.
GrowBig Plan – Allows for multiple websites. In addition to the below plan, you get 30 backup copies, a free SSL Wildcard for a year, a free restore, and all three levels of SuperCacher. This boosts loading time and staging for Joomla and WordPress, all for $9.99 a month.
StartUp Plan – For just $6.99 a month, you get one site that handles up to 10,000 visits monthly, 24/7 support, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited emails and DBs, free Cloudflare CDN, free daily backups, and free Let’s Encrypt SSL.
All hosting plans that are shared come with unlimited bandwidth, free email, and free CDNs.
Some key takeaways of SiteGround include:
- Signup is easy and one page
- Prices for domains start at $15.95
- Payments accepted are credit card and options available through chat
- There is a $14.95 fee for each hosting plan that is shared monthly, not annually. Rates are higher on renewal, and domain names aren’t free.
- There are only a few upsells
- CPanel for dashboard and account activation is fast
- Joomla, WordPress, and other CMSs and apps are easy to install using Softaculous
Is SiteGround Recommended?
We do recommend SiteGround.
With the solid uptime they have delivered and their guarantee, you’ll likely never see significant downtimes with this host.
With their servers spread over three continents and free Cloudflare accounts, speed is pretty good, and you have free SSL with all plans.
Pricing is fair if you take as long a term as possible. Bring your domain to escape the fees, and you’re sitting pretty good.