SiteGround Review - Our #1 Web Host of 2020 (UPDATED)

SiteGround Review


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“SiteGround is ideal for blogs, small websites, and eCommerce stores; you’ll be amazed by the industry-leading customer service and excellent performance”

jamesJames Wilson 

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 handles over 2 million domains worldwide, so it’s easy to see why so many people put their trust in them. Quite impressive, hey? I personally use SiteGround for all of my sites (including this one).

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Packages & Pricing:

SiteGround offers a wealth of hosting services, including shared web hosting, managed WordPress hosting, WooCommerce hosting, cloud hosting, and more.

Worldwide there are over 1 billion websites live on the internet, each hosted on a server. Whilst SiteGround may seem like they offer the ‘usual’ in terms of what you’d expect a web host to offer, you’ll see in this SiteGround review just how awesome their features are.

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, security, 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.

Shared Web Hosting

There are three different levels of shared hosting available at SiteGround. This review is based on the “StartUp” plan. 

  • StartUp (£5.99/month): With SiteGround’s StartUp plan you’ll get 1 website, 10 GB webspace, and all of their essential features which include a free CDN, free SSL certificate, email accounts, and daily backups. SiteGround say that this plan is ideal if you’re receiving 10,000 or fewer visitors on a monthly basis. A perfect solution for those with a small blog or personal website.
  • GrowBig (£8.99/month): The GrowBig plan is the middle-man, offering multiple websites, 20 GB webspace, as well as essential and premium features. One of my personal favourite premium features is SiteGround’s caching technology which really makes a difference to users who are located further away from your website’s server. 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 (£12.99/month): For users who want multiple websites, 40 GB webspace, 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. GoGeek customers get more resources, priority support, and dev tools which makes it the complete VIP package.

Both GrowBig and GoGeek customers will have access to SiteGround’s migrator plugin which is super easy to use, allowing you to migrate your website from another host for free. If you require expert assistance, you’ll pay just £20, which is a steal in comparison to other hosts who charge a lot more.

Although SiteGround’s storage amounts are fixed and may seem a little slim compared to other providers, it’s actually more than enough if you’re starting your first website. You’ll be surprised how little resources a website actually uses in terms of storage.

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All of SiteGround’s hosting plans include managed WordPress hosting; which includes the ever-popular 1-click installer, automatic updates, and command line management. SiteGround’s servers are optimized for the best WordPress performance and are actually recommended by WordPress.

More than that, SiteGround is always among the first to update to the latest software, including the latest PHP versions, and security updates.

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 centre 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.

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.

I’ll admit, when I first started my WordPress journey, I didn’t have the foggiest on where to begin! Web host’s like SiteGround ease this pressure and make the process much more enjoyable (trust me on this one).

manage account

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.

I know this might seem like a lot of information, and may even not make sense, but that’s okay! SiteGround provides features that make everything easy to understand, and if you’re still stuck, their support is fab (I’ll get to this later).

 

faster and safer

 

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.

siteground domain services

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 really 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 to any kind of user.

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Performance & Uptime:

Last year was a BIG year for SiteGround (probably their biggest yet). SiteGround put a lot of their time and effort into improving their site speed and performance, which I’ve seen with my own eyes (this website has had 100% uptime and solid speeds for years).

Back in 2018, I started monitoring my SiteGround website which was using WordPress. After 70 days I looked at my site’s performance statistics and was surprised to see it didn’t have a single second of downtime!

In May 2020, I upgraded my account and started monitoring my site again with UptimeRobot. As you can see below, I haven’t had any downtime at all in 3 months, which is EXACTLY why I recommend SiteGround for reliable web hosting.

When SiteGround says they’re going to do something, they really do commit to their promises. Their new version of SG Optimizer was a game-changer for WordPress websites hosted by SiteGround. The update presented new front-end features that focused on image optimisation. As we know, image optimisation can make or break your website’s speed and SEO performance.

SiteGround reports that many of their user’s websites experienced a 20% and 500% speed increase. That’s data not to be ignored! The caching capabilities that SG Optimizer boasts truly are worth investing in. The plugin is absolutely free and can be downloaded via the WordPress website.

Using GTMetrix, I ran my site’s URL through their performance report tool to see how well my site was doing. Their assessment of my website’s PageSpeed score came up trumps with a whopping 94%.

Whilst the way I built and designed my website has an impact on PageSpeed, so does the server my website is hosted on with SiteGround. I actually ran this test from Vancouver in Canada, even though my server is located in the U.K., which proves just how awesome SiteGround is.

My PageSpeed results just kept on getting better, always exceeding 90%. Using a tool like SG Optimizer and SuperCacher, your website’s speed can be awesome no matter where in the world your website visitors are located.

 

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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 that contains all of your vital information for your account. Billing couldn’t be any easier with the management area as well.

account information

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

Some web hosts will charge extra for some of these features. Not SiteGround, oh no, they actually put their customers first! It’s probably the main reason why I will always vote for SiteGround as one of THE best web hosts.

Security

SiteGround has done a lot of work during the past 12 months to improve their security even more. SiteGround has always been very committed to ensuring that your website is their number one priority.

During 2020, SiteGround claim to have responded to 3x more threats than 2019. They’ve posted some of their latest statistics on their website which include:

  • Wrote 250 new custom firewall rules
  • Added 125 livepatch kernel modules
  • Mitigated 186 DDOS attacks
  • Stopped 7 million brute-force attacks
  • Stopped 160 million bad bot requests towards clients’ sites each day with our anti-bot AI solution

SG Site Scanner:

The SiteGround (SG) Site Scanner provides a scan on your website and will alert you to any attacks that may occur.

security

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.

CloudFlare:

performance

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.

SSL Certificates:

All SiteGround customers are entitled to a free Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL certificate. These are provided for your main website and any subdomains you have. Enabling your SSL certificate is really easy, it’s just a few simple clicks and then it’s done!

SiteGround admitted they had a few teething issues when it came to renewing customer’s SSL certificates. Instead of admitting defeat, they tackled the problem head-on and ended up streamlining the process. All SSL related issues were resolved and SiteGround confirmed that all their customers could enjoy the auto-renewal without any problems.

This is the kind of behaviour customer’s want from their web host! We understand that things go wrong – we’re all human and mistakes are going to be made. What SiteGround do is recognise problems reported by their customers and actually fix them. Not only that, they improve their processes which makes me love them even more!

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Building a Website:

When you sign up for a SiteGround hosting plan, you’ll get free access to one of their in-house developed plugins called WordPress Starter. With over 37% market share of all websites worldwide, WordPress is a popular choice when building a website.

WordPress has an abundance of themes and plugins to make any website unique, however, it can be a little overwhelming to start out with. That’s exactly why SiteGround developed WP Starter, walking you through a selection of themes and the most common features you’ll come across, so you can enjoy the ease of creating a website with WordPress.

When you log in to the WordPress admin area from your SiteGround account, WP Starter will show you how to create a fully functional website including design tutorials, setting up forms, selling through WooCommerce, etc.

eCommerce:

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 (yes, I’m mentioning 1-click installs again).

ecommerce

If you plan on creating an online store, SiteGround’s GoGeek plan is the perfect solution. It offers more resources, more power, and allows more traffic to your website.

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 as well as premium SSL variations should you wish to upgrade.

Alternatively, you could take a look at SiteGround’s managed cloud hosting, which is the next logical step up for your business. Scalable cloud hosting means you can increase or decrease resources as you go, so if you get a sudden spike in traffic, your website’s performance won’t suffer.

Support:

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? With over 1.8 million registered domains, I was keen to see if SiteGround could continue to exceed my expectations.

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 (otherwise, how could I make this fair).

support channel

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.

Live Chat

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.

siteground

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!

Support Ticket

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.

open a new ticket

Siteground’s customer service has always been highly praised among professional website owners, and in 2020, 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.

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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:

drupal certified joomla partner wordpress partner

And they’re always rated the number 1 hosting company by the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, consisting of over 8000 members:

Andrew Killen survey

Their Twitter users are very happy with the level of service they receive:

twitter users

But let’s not forget:

  • All of their plans include Let’s Encrypt SSL for free
  • SiteGround guarantees a 99.99% uptime guarantee
  • 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 centres (Chicago, USA, London, UK, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Singapore, Asia).
  • SSD drives are included in all shared and cloud plans
  • Free domain name included on all plans

Conclusion

I’ve tried so many different hosts out there but none have offered the level of support, speed and tools available for the 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.

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).

I really just think they’re the complete package. I personally use them across all my sites (including this one). I can’t stress enough about how amazing their customer service is.

Anyway, I could keep going on and on. Give them a go and tell me your thoughts! We appreciate any reviews (both good or bad).

VISIT SITEGROUND.COM (£5.99/MONTH)

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