SiteGround is one of the most popular and highly rated WordPress hosting providers and they are focusing on shared hosting plans, which are designed for smaller businesses. You’ll certainly find cheaper host providers out there and many of them come with more features, for less. But SiteGround aims to offer a higher quality of services, without the premium price tag and you’ll see throughout the rest of this review that it largely succeeds.
SiteGround Plan Options
Pricing and key features for the WordPress plans are essentially the same as their regular plans, but you get free WordPress installation, free transfer, auto-update, support and advanced security features across all plans. With GrowBig and GoGeek, you also get additional WordPress caching to improve site speed. GoGeek exclusively comes with WordPress Staging and Git support.
Note: Staging creates a copy of your website on a separate environment, allowing you to test new code and design changes before implementing them on your live site. SiteGround’s staging features makes this all doable in a matter of clicks.
Choosing the Right Plan for You
Essentially, the difference between the SiteGround plans is you get more speed and security, for larger amounts of traffic, as they get more expensive. If you only plan to host a single site and you don’t expect traffic to exceed 10,000 monthly visits, then the StartUp package will probably be enough.
This plan is ideal for simple blogs or business websites that have no eCommerce element or multiple user accounts. If you’re running an online shop, handle sensitive user data or expect to generate larger amounts of traffic, then you’ll want to consider GrowBig and GoGeek.
For fully-fledged eCommerce stores with user accounts, stored credit card info and other sensitive data, GoGeek will be the option for you. This plan comes with the richest security and content delivery features to keep your website running fast and user information safe.
A Closer Look at the Key Features
SiteGround sells itself as a provider that offers high-end security and performance, combined with excellent customer support, at low prices. So let’s take a look at the key features SiteGround expects you to buy into.
One of SiteGround’s biggest claims is that it offers premium security measures, even on its shared hosting plans, and it soon becomes obvious security is a priority for them. This starts with daily server backups – something you don’t always find with shared packages – and you get a varied number of copies depending on the plan you choose.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use them, but it’s reassuring to know that your data is automatically backed up on a daily basis, should the worst happen. You’ll be glad to know that SiteGround makes it very difficult for hackers to compromise its servers, though, and the provider has fared well against numerous WordPress attacks in the past.
No matter how good security measures from any provider may be, there’s always a small risk, and the concern with shared hosting is your site could be vulnerable if another account on the same server as your site is compromised. So it’s nice to see SiteGround includes Unique Account Isolation on all of its plans, to protect your account – even if someone on your server becomes compromised.
You also get a weekly “Hack Alert” to keep you up to date with all the latest security threats and advise you on how to stay safe – a really nice touch.
Uptime & Site Speed
SiteGround also makes some bold claims when it comes to performance and, unlike security features, you can see the results on a daily basis.
SiteGround tells us we can expect over 99% uptime, which means a maximum of 4.4 hours of downtime over a 6 month period – as good as any provider you’ll find. However, SiteGround has an auto-detection system, that alerts them whenever downtime occurs, so they can fix the issue – and its customized software is advanced enough to automatically fix many errors before they cause a problem.
In terms of speed, SiteGround has a much tougher job on its hands, because it has more customers to deal with than many of its rivals. This explains why you get so many features promising blistering site speed, even on its shared hosting plans. The end result leaves SiteGround marginally slower than some of its rivals, but highly competitive for this price range.
SiteGround wants to set itself apart as a hosting provider that offers premium customer support, regardless of its low-end prices – and it’s fair to say it succeeds. The truth is you’ll rarely need to use SiteGround’s customer support, though. This is thanks to its easy setup process and a software system that fixes many problems automatically – or even prevents them from ever happening in the first place.
If you do need to get in touch with customer support, it’s probably because of a simple mistake on your part. However, the team is quick to respond and happy to talk you through any problems, so you can avoid the same issue in the future.
You can contact SiteGround’s support staff by telephone, live chat or via an email ticket system, 24/7 – and the response times are great.
One of the worst things about hosting a website is getting your head around the setup process and using the software platforms involved – especially if you’re new to the game. So how does SiteGround weigh up on the usability front?
If you’re new to web hosting or have had some nasty experiences getting set up in the past, one thing you’ll love about SiteGround is the vast collection the tutorials on offer. You have starter guides for just about everything: web hosting, setting up your email accounts, FTP and even a dedicated set of WordPress tutorials.
There’s a dedicated section of “getting started” tutorials too, which covers all the basics you need. The good thing about these SiteGround resources is they’re short and simple, with plenty of images to show you where everything is. All too often documentation from host providers is overcomplicated, which defeats the whole point for new users.
How to use Hosting Sign Up
I would like to guide you through the sign up process to show you just how simple the whole procedure is. I even prepared some screenshots that will help you understand each step of the process.
Step 1. Choosing your hosting plan
I recommend the following plans:
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration
Step 2. Choosing Domain
This is a good place to emphasize the free domain registration that is included in the SiteGround hosting service.
Step 3. Review and Complete
Unlike many other hosting providers their advertised discount applies to any of the initial periods chosen during the sign up process. Being able to get the low price for the one year period is a fact in comparison to other providers where the lowest monthly price applies only for the longest period.
SiteGround Administration Panel
On the face of things, the SiteGround admin panel doesn’t look any different from those you’ll find with most host providers. There are some key features that deserve a mention, though, in addition to the usual suspects. More about Administration Panel, Tools and User Interface you can read on Colorlib website. Other features were published in Best WordPress Hosting article.
SiteGround is one of the most highly rated hosting providers in its category and it’s easy to see why opinions are so positive. Instead of offering every feature it could cram into its shared hosting plans, SiteGround focuses on delivering a higher quality of service on the things that matter most.
Web site performance, security and customer service are clearly the priorities for SiteGround and the standard it offers in these three departments is hard to find in this price range. You can think of SiteGround as a provider that focuses on quality over quantity and it chooses its priorities well.
You’ll see from the reviews yourself that the vast majority are highly positive and the customer support team, in particular, is praised time and again. Our experience with SiteGround has been a very happy one too and it’s certainly one of our top recommendations in this price range.