I never review products or services that I have no experience with.
My review of hosting companies comes from a lot of personal experience and I have fairly strong opinions.
Either the hosting company helped me with my business or it didn’t. I have no use for hosting that doesn’t help me (or even worse, actively hurts me and my businesses… like Hostgator).
SiteGround Hosting Review
I first heard of Siteground hosting around 5 or so years ago, but didn’t pay too much attention since I didn’t need a new hosting account.
What I found interesting was that they ‘specialized’ in wordpress hosting, which I thought was a good idea, but still wasn’t interested in changing or adding hosting to my businesses.
About a year ago, though, I started getting a lot of new customers for a real estate website I have.
I also added other sites to the same hosting account.
The result was I outgrew the account I was using. (I had more inodes than the account allowed me to have … see: What to Look Out For When Buying Hosting).
I remembered Siteground and even though I thought it was a bit more pricey, their sales material convinced me to give them a try.
Siteground has proven themselves to be helpful to me and I’m very happy with the speed of my site.
It seems equally as fast as A2 hosting which is kind of my ‘Gold’ standard for site speed.
During this past year that I’ve been on Siteground Hosting, I don’t remember even a single incidence of my site being down or inaccessible.
The account I have is their Go Geek plan for wordpress.
The 4 most important things about a hosting plan are:
- site speed
- good support
- affordable price
- uptime (i.e. reliability)
Unless you have all four, don’t go for it.
So, how does Siteground rate as far as my four criteria?
I mentioned this above, but I’ll mention it again. It’s very fast and any user going to my sites on Siteground will not even notice the load time, i.e. its fast.
They would only notice if the load time were slow.
My site is also very image intensive (probably around 4 – 5 thousand images) and images load immediately and pages open and close immediately.
Site ground support has a chat session (which I really infinitely prefer to submitting a ticket) that is really pretty good.
They respond quickly, usually within 5 minutes, but that all depends on their workload.
They are also good at solving the problems I’ve had.
Most of my tickets have been for simple things.. but to me, thats good. If you constantly have to get in touch with support for serious things, something is wrong.
To be honest, I would rather everything in my life be free.
But life isn’t like that, is it?
Long ago, I decided that I don’t mind paying for something as long as it’s a good product that works, is good quality and worth the price.
Siteground is a bit higher than other more bargain hosting companies, but I think its worth it.
(Just a side note, don’t pay much attention to the discounts they give you for the first year of hosting… all the hosting companies do that. What you want to pay attention to are the renewal prices.)
When choosing a hosting company, try to have in mind what you need.
If you know you will only have one or two sites that won’t have hundreds or thousands of pages and they aren’t going to keep growing infinately, then by all means go for the cheapest plan available..
All the plans use the same servers, same SSD drives, have the same support team, etc…
The only difference are the limitations.
Alternatively, if you know you will grow continually, or add hundreds of other sites, then go for the more robust plans, like GoGeek.
By knowing what you want you can save yourself money and effort by not having to either upgrade or downgrade your plan.
No hosting company has 100% uptime. Its just the nature of technology.
Routine maintenance, drives fail, hardware needs to be changed out, power fails etc…
But what you should look for is how long their downtime is (when they have it).
As I mentioned above, Siteground has not had any downtime for the year that I’ve been with them.
However, I don’t seriously believe they haven’t had any downtime just like I wouldn’t believe it for ANY hosting company.
What I’m happy with is that I haven’t noticed it and neither have my customers or users.
I host sites for small businesses and if they were down even for 5 mintues, I’d get a call.
Another thing to be aware of is what their plans are to reduce downtime. Siteground has pro-active server monitoring which means they can detect threats, failures and problems before they affect your account.
Siteground Hosting Features:
They have four data centers, one in the USA, two in Europe and one in South-east Asia. Choose the one closest to your target audience.
Siteground offers various plans (just like all the other hosting companies), but whats different is that they offer plans specifically for hosting wordpress, specific for wordpress & woocommerce, and two other plans.
The two other plans are generic hosting (joomla, html, drupal etc…) and Cloud based hosting.
The pricing is pretty much the same for all the plans; the only differences are what sort of things are loaded for you when you become a customer.
What appealed to me was not that they pre loaded wordpress or woocommerce.
What I liked was if I needed support with something, their team already knows about wordpress and woocommmerce. I don’t have to spend a long time explaining to the support staff about them. They already know how WordPress and Woocommerce work.
It is also very helpful for them to load the software when you begin your account if you are beginning and don’t know much about them.
The other thing I like very much about Siteground is that they have solid state drives (SSD) on all the plans.
Many hosting companies have SSD, but only for the higher priced plans.
Solid state drives are important for site speed. They are not disk drives that take time to read-write and thereby slow down your site’s response.
Since the SSD is basically a chip with no moving parts, read-write is immediate and your site is much faster than it otherwise would be.
They also use NGINX web server technology which loads content faster than other webserver technologies, and again, its included in all their plans.
Almost all the hosting companies have their own variations of caching technologies, and they always sound pretty good.
Siteground is no exception.
However, caching can be helpful for increasing site speed, but its not always helpful.
There are cases (like a large e-commerce store) where caching or caching plugins can actually cause the site to be slower.
My best advice is try it and see. If it helps, use it. If not, then don’t.
The other feature Siteground has is Cloudfare CDN. Here is what they say:
Our free Cloudflare CDN makes your website load faster in any part of the world by caching its content and distributing it over multiple data centers. When foreign visitors access your website, our CDN delivers the content much faster from the data center closest to them.
Bottom line: It’s good that its free. Many hosting companies have it, but its an additional cost.
But once again, if you don’t need it, don’t bother with it.
If your sites target one area, like Belgium, then you probably don’t need worldwide distribution of your content since users in China aren’t going to access it.
The reverse is true too. If you do have content that you want everyone to see worldwide, it will make access to your content faster if you have it distributed around multiple data centers.
At least you have the choice with Siteground at no extra cost.
Another very important feature is that they offer a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for all your sites.
SSL is what creates the little green lock in the url bar at the top of your browser.
These days Google has decided to ‘penalize’ every site that doesn’t have an ssl certificate and it will display an ominous message to a user who navigates to a non-ssl site.
My SiteGround Hosting Review Bottom Line:
Siteground is good. I think its a little bit pricey, but I like it anyway. Great uptime, great support, Your website will be fast. Free SSL. Its a good choice. You won’t be sorry you went with them.