“SiteGround is ideal for blogs, small websites, and eCommerce stores; you’ll be amazed by the industry-leading customer service and excellent performance.”
What is SiteGround?
Like a lot of great ideas, SiteGround was a concept in the mind of a few friends during its inception in 2004. Unknown to them, SiteGround would explode into a popular web hosting service used by thousands upon thousands of people every single day.
SiteGround now handle’s over 1,000 phone calls, 3,000 live support requests and 1,500 tickets every single day. Quite impressive, hey?
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Packages & Pricing
SiteGround has a lot of different customization available in terms of the packages available. You can get shared web hosting, cloud hosting, reseller hosting and a dedicated server depending on your needs.
When deciding on a web host, there is a lot to consider, such as, what features the provider offers, where their servers are located, eCommerce opportunities, features, etc.
SiteGround covers all of the basic requirements, as well as going above and beyond by providing helpful tools and features to enhance your website in terms of performance and quality, and provides an outstanding level of customer support, which we’ll cover in more detail later on.
Shared Web Hosting
There’s three different levels of shared hosting available at SiteGround. This review is based on the “StartUp” plan.
- StartUp (£2.95/month): With SiteGround’s StartUp plan you’ll get 1 website, 10 GB web space, and all of their essential features. SiteGround say that this plan is ideal if you’re receiving 10,000 or less visitors on a monthly basis. A perfect solution for those with a small blog or personal website.
- GrowBig (£4.95/month): The GrowBig plan is the middle-man, offering multiple websites, 20 GB web space, as well as essential and premium features. If you’re looking to expand your website’s traffic up to 25,000 visitors or less per month, this would be your best option.
- GoGeek (£8.95/month): For users who want multiple websites, 30 GB web space, and more premium features, the GoGeek package would be a suitable option. The Geek Advance features include Git Repository friendly software and you won’t share a server with as many people, so you’ll receive faster speeds and less downtime.
Both the GrowBig and GoGeek include free site transfers from your existing host.
Although SiteGround’s storage offerings may seem a little slim compared to other providers, you’d be surprised what’s behind the web host’s back-end.
All of SiteGround’s hosting plans include managed WordPress hosting; that includes the ever popular 1-click installer, automatic updates, and command line management.
We must remind ourselves of two things:
- Firstly, unlimited doesn’t necessarily mean completely unlimited, as you will find out if you delve into a web host’s terms and conditions.
- Secondly, most websites on average will not use more than 5GB storage space, so even on SiteGround’s most basic hosting plan, you’re getting double the average amount required.
When you choose a web hosting plan with SiteGround, you will have the option to choose where the data center is located, covering the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the U.K. – although this may not be of concern to most customers, it’s a great feature to have, especially for a relatively new web hosting provider.
Usability & Features
Ease of use is a big concern for people who aren’t tech savvy. One of the great things that SiteGround has done for their users is they’ve made it so that anyone can install and understand how WordPress works.
SiteGround’s account management system is self explanatory and user-friendly. It’s easy to add additional services, perform 1-click installations like WordPress, and navigate directly to your cPanel to manage your web hosting.
They allow for one-click install buttons for users of all hosting plans and they even have tutorials readily available for anyone to read up on about WordPress.
If you opt to have a domain with SiteGround, it’s easy to see the status of your domain so you don’t have to continuously check your website’s URL to see if it has been propagated. This can sometimes take up to 24 hours, but this is normal with any web host or domain provider.
For the web hosting backend, the user interface is relatively clean and smooth. It’s easy to navigate and you can clearly see where everything is. SiteGround did a great job with making sure the interfaces had great user interaction and that they were friendly.
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Performance & Uptime
We wanted to closely monitor our sites on SiteGround for any kind of downtime or performance issues we might run into, so we ran a lot of vigorous tests trying to anger the SiteGround servers.
We signed up to a SiteGround plan in order to create a test website to monitor its results via Pingdom. Here’s what we found!
Not many people realise that their web host can influence their website’s page speed and loading times, so we wanted to check out how our website’s speed was affected using SiteGround as our provider.
The details above show a load time of 1.63 seconds – an average user will abandon a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, so our website is comfortably sat within that safe zone. Bear in mind that our website hasn’t had any optimisation performed on it whatsoever; so for a base site, that’s pretty damn good!
We monitored our SiteGround test website over the week to ensure their performance was consistent. As you can see; spot on at 100% with no outages.
Another important factor that we wanted to test was our website’s response time for those living in the U.K. and Europe. If your website doesn’t respond quickly, you’ll lose existing and potential visitors.
We were happy to report an average response time of 498ms (that’s less than 0.5 of a second) against multiple European locations. Anyone visiting our SiteGround website, with WordPress installed and not even optimised, would be receiving our website data in under a second.
Tools & Options
The level of options and tools at your disposal will solely depend on the type of hosting you get and which plan you buy. All the standard options for web hosting are there, such as, cPanel, one click install software, but you also get access to free website migration, which is free of charge for one website.
You’ll have access to a one stop management area which contains all of your vital information for your account. Billing couldn’t be any easier with the management area as well.
Here are some of the tools you’ll get access to with even the cheapest account, the StartUp package for shared web hosting.
- Free daily backups of your site and database
- Free transfer and setup of your account/website
- A 30 day money back guarantee
- Cloudflare CDN
- Free website builder
- Many many more
The SiteGround (SG) Site Scanner provides a scan on your website, and will alert you to any attacks that may occur.
If your website does happen to get attacked, which is very unlikely with the security features covered by SiteGround, you’ll have access to SpamAssassin, IP blockers, and more to ensure that your website is clean and free of any viruses.
SiteGround provides integration with CloudFlare CDN, which offers exceptional performance and security, all completely at your disposal, for free. There aren’t many web hosts out there that offer CloudFlare for free, so we were really impressed to see that SiteGround offered this great feature.
Building a Website
If you’re looking for a web host who provides a website building service, SiteGround uses Weebly as their choice.
Weebly is a great platform that allows you to create professional and stunning looking websites with ease, in a short space of time. It’s really simple to change layouts, add text, images, videos, etc. and is extremely user friendly.
Within SiteGround’s control panel, you will have 1-click AutoInstallers served up to you on a plate, including the likes of PrestaShop, Magento, and CS-Cart.
Many beginners may shy away from Magento, however, we found it very easy to create an attractive online shop, with a simple drag and drop builder. What’s more, SiteGround give you the tools to manage and keep an eye on your website’s statistics, providing even more useful information about your website.
If you don’t require an entire store, and just need a shopping cart, or just need an invoicing or billing system, SiteGround covers all of those features too, so you won’t be searching around for too long!
Remember, if you’re planning on having an online store, you’ll need an SSL certificate to ensure your website, shop, and cart are secure. SiteGround conveniently offers free SSL’s on all of their plans above the StartUp option, as well as premium SSL variations should you wish to upgrade.
One of the mottos of SiteGround hosting is that they know people hate waiting for the next available agent so they aim to be one of the fastest responders in the industry. How do they hold up?
When we navigated to the support section, we were surprised to see how much information was available to us; in fact, our questions could be answered before even speaking to someone! We wanted to speak to someone though to see how quickly they responded to us, and to test their knowledge.
Something which sets SiteGround apart from other web hosts is the fact that they recommend which support channel to use based on their AI support system, and the question or information you have input beforehand.
It’s also really handy for us to know how long we’d have to wait for a live chat; this kind of simple information is useful for those who may be in a rush and provides accurate real-time statistics.
When we connected to our live chat assistant (within the space of 2 seconds!), we asked how SiteGround’s Supercacher compared to WordPress’ W3 Total Cache Plugin. Not only was the advisor (Rosita) helpful, she went above and beyond to explain the technology behind their Supercacher.
Rosita was polite and helpful throughout, no wonder she has a 5-star rating from over 18,000 users!
Next, we used SiteGround’s support ticket system to see what kind of response we’d receive using the same question, and how quickly we’d receive a reply. We received a response from the ticket response team in a mere 8 minutes with a helpful and detailed response to our problem.
Siteground’s customer service has always been highly praised among professional website owners, and in 2018, they continue their run of award-winning service with remarkably quick responses and fast, effective service.
5/5 of our test calls resulted in problems being fixed in under five minutes. In terms of customer service, SiteGround is hands down the best host for overall response times.
I recommend SiteGround because…
They’re the one and only web host that features on the recommended or partnered hosting pages of WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal:
And they’re always rated the number 1 hosting company by the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, consisting of over 8000 members:
Their Twitter users are very happy with the level of service they receive:
But let’s not forget:
- All of their plans include Let’s Encrypt SSL for free
- SiteGround guarantees a 99.99% uptime guarantee, but we’ve only experienced 100%!
- If you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll receive free automatic updates
- Their cPanel is super easy to use and friendly for beginners
- SiteGround’s live chat support is fast, connecting us within only 3 seconds
- The WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group ranks SiteGround #1
- You’ll get to choose between 5 data centers (making it great for SEO and location purposes).
- SSD drives are included in all shared and cloud plans
- Their knowledge base is bursting with articles
- All hosting plans include a free domain name
We’ve tried so many different hosts out there but none have offered the level of support, speed and tools available for the price you’re paying such as SiteGround.
If you’re looking for a personal website, or running a small business, SiteGround have placed themselves at the top of their game in these areas. If you’re not fussed about unlimited storage and data transfers, and let’s face it, when are most people going to come close to using that much, then SiteGround provides a very decent service at the right price.
SiteGround’s security options make themselves a player in the eCommerce web host market, so if you’re just starting out, this web host could be a great choice to get you on your feet, providing anti-malware, and DDOS prevention.
I’ve created a handy step by step guide from signing up to getting your first wordpress site live. Click here to check out the tutorial.
They also offer a nice 30 day money back guarantee with no questions asked if you’re unhappy with the level of service you get (which won’t happen!).
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