Looking for an honest SiteGround review? In this post, we’ll share real testing data and give you our thoughts based on using SiteGround hosting for well over one year.
By the end, you should have all the information you need to know whether or not SiteGround is the right host for you and your WordPress site.
In general, we’re big fans of SiteGround as a solution for people looking for easy-to-use, affordable WordPress hosting. Read more to learn why that is…
SiteGround Review: A Quick Look At The Features
We’ll get into some more specific thoughts in a second, but we want to start off our SiteGround review with a quick look at the features that you get when you host your website with SiteGround.
For our review, we’ll specifically be looking at the GrowBig plan. Here’s what that plan entails:
- Unlimited websites
- Easy WordPress install wizard
- Automatic WordPress updates
- 5 datacenter locations on 3 different continents
- Automatic free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate
- SSD storage
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Automatic server-side caching (eliminates the need for a caching plugin)
- 24/7 support via phone, live chat, or ticket
All in all, it’s a solid feature list for the price. But how does it perform in practice? Let’s start with what we liked about SiteGround hosting.
5 Things We Like About SiteGround Hosting
We’ll get to the negatives next, but here’s what we specifically liked about our experience with SiteGround:
1. Super Fast Page Load Times For The Price
As usual, we’re going to start off this section of our SiteGround review with a real-world look at our test site’s page load times.
Why? Because if your site doesn’t load fast, none of the other features really matter.
How quickly your site loads affects how much your visitors enjoy browsing your site, where your site ranks in Google, and even how likely people are to purchase things from your site.
Suffice it to say – you need a host that loads your website quickly. And SiteGround doesn’t disappoint.
We set up a test site using an Elementor landing page template (this is how we run all our tests for easy comparison). Other than the automatically installed SG Optimizer plugin – we didn’t perform any manual actions to optimize our test site’s performance.
In a basic Pingdom test, our 1.1 MB homepage loaded in 998 ms. Is that good? Yup! For the price, sub-1 second page load times in our test is impressive:
Speaking of impressive, our test site did even better in our GTmetrix test, where it clocked in at just 0.8 s (800 ms):
For reference, here are how some similarly priced hosts that we’ve tested compare:
- Bluehost – 1.3 seconds – SiteGround is ~38% faster
- A2 Hosting – 1.3 seconds – SiteGround is ~38% faster
- InMotion Hosting – 842 ms – SiteGround is almost identical (but this InMotion Hosting plan only supports one website)
So as far as hosts that support unlimited websites, SiteGround is the clear winner in raw performance tests.
To take things a little further, we also ran our test site through Load Impact to see how well it performed under a high-traffic simulation. Load Impact simulates 50 visitors browsing the site at once.
Ideally, you want your website to load as quickly for the 50th visitor as it does for the 1st visitor.
So does SiteGround do that?
Yup! Though Load Impact bugged out at a certain point, our test site stayed steady at around ~445 ms for all visitors:
All in all, SiteGround’s page load times are impressive especially for the price that you pay. While you can get slightly faster page load times with a host like Kinsta – you’re also going to pay a higher price for that performance improvement.
2. Instant Support Response Times + Helpful Support
Based on both our personal experience and industry rankings, SiteGround has some of the best support in the business.
SiteGround gives you 24/7 support via phone, chat, or ticket. And better yet:
- You can talk with support pretty much instantly – it’s rare to wait more than a few seconds.
- The support staff are generally friendly and good at their jobs.
Here’s an example of a live chat session where we got pretty much an instant response:
3. Managed WordPress Features At Shared Hosting Prices
Another benefit of SiteGround is that you get a number of managed WordPress hosting features despite paying shared hosting prices. That’s pretty rare in the WordPress hosting industry.
Here are some of the features that are pretty unique as far as cheap WordPress hosts go:
- Automatic updates – helps save you time by handling basic update maintenance for your site.
- Daily backups and free backup restores – keeps your data safe with automatic backups and 30-day backup storage.
- One-click staging – lets you test out changes before making them on your live site with easy one-click staging (only on GoGeek plan, though)
4. Automatic Free SSL Certificate Via Let’s Encrypt
SSL/TLS certificates offer a number of benefits to your website. Not only do they make your website more secure for both you and your visitors – they also can help you rank higher in Google!
SiteGround was one of the first major hosts to support free SSL certificates via Let’s Encrypt and they continue to push the market when it comes to making SSL easy and accessible to beginners.
Whereas most forward-thinking WordPress hosts still force you to manually activate SSL (even if they offer it for free), SiteGround now just automatically issues free SSL certificates to all domains.
That means you literally don’t need to do a single thing to enjoy the many benefits of SSL from day one.
And if you’re migrating over an existing site, SiteGround also offers a free plugin that makes it easy to configure SSL on an existing WordPress site.
5. Website Wizard Helps You Automatically Install WordPress
Finally, if you’re just getting started with your first WordPress website, you’ll love how easy SiteGround makes it to install WordPress.
The first time that you sign in to your SiteGround account, SiteGround will show you a SiteGround Wizard popup that makes it super simple to get WordPress installed on your new server.
All you need to do is choose Get WordPress preinstalled on this account, follow a few simple steps, and SiteGround will handle the rest for you:
2 Things We Don’t Like About SiteGround Hosting
Here are some of the things we either didn’t like or otherwise thought were worth mentioning.
1. The User Dashboard Isn’t As Nice As Other Hosts
Like many shared hosts, SiteGround uses something called cPanel as its base server management tool. And SiteGround also has its own custom member area to manage some non-cPanel functions.
Both of these are perfectly functional. But the design isn’t as sleek or user friendly as much of SiteGround’s competition. And you see this in a few different ways.
First, SiteGround still uses the older X cPanel design, which looks like this:
In comparison, most shared hosts nowadays use the newer Paper Lantern cPanel theme, which looks more like this (from our InMotion Hosting review):
Additionally, while it’s also still functional, the main SiteGround dashboard could use a slight design update.
Here’s what SiteGround looks like:
And here’s what Bluehost’s dashboard looks like (from our Bluehost review):
2. SiteGround Doesn’t Offer Unlimited Storage/Usage
This isn’t necessarily something we don’t like because it’s actually just SiteGround being honest. But it is something that you should be aware of.
Whereas most budget hosts will advertise something like, “unlimited storage and bandwidth”, SiteGround has some limits:
The Monthly Visits isn’t actually a hard cap – it’s just an estimate based on normal usage. If you optimize your site, SiteGround can usually handle more visits than the listed number.
Here’s the deal:
It’s impossible for a host to actually offer unlimited anything – and every single host will cut you off if you start using too many resources.
So really – SiteGround is, to a certain extent, just being transparent about that while other cheap hosts are a little…less transparent.
If you think that you’ll exceed SiteGround’s estimated limits, that still might be a reason to consider a different WordPress host so you don’t run into usage restrictions.
Most websites should be fine working within SiteGround’s limits, though. Especially if you’re just getting started.
How Much Does SiteGround Cost?
SiteGround offers three different shared WordPress hosting plans. We reviewed the GrowBig plan, which is the middle tier. But here are the three options that are available to you:
- StartUp – starts at $3.95 per month for one website and ~10,000 monthly visits.
- GrowBig – starts at $5.95 per month for unlimited websites and ~25,000 monthly visits.
- GoGeek – starts at $11.95 per month for unlimited websites, staging, improved performance, and ~100,000 monthly visits.
For most casual users, the GrowBig plan probably offers the best value, which is why we chose to review it.
Should You Choose SiteGround Hosting?
If you’re looking for beginner-friendly WordPress hosting under $30 per month, SiteGround is one of the best options that you’ll find from both a performance and support perspective.
Of the hosts that we’ve tested so far, SiteGround had the best performance in its price range.
The only other host that came close was InMotion Hosting – and that plan that we tested only allowed a single website.
When you factor in that performance with SiteGround’s excellent support and helpful managed WordPress features, SiteGround is one of the best options for most WordPress users, though users with mission-critical websites might want to consider a more premium host like Kinsta.