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 SiteGround’s 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.
1. Speed and Performance
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.
SiteGround guarantees its users an average yearly uptime of 99.99% promising compensations for those who might experience more than 0.1% downtime.
During our testing period SiteGround did a great job of keeping its promises maintaining a 100% uptime most of the time except for a month or two when the uptime was 99.9%.
SiteGround has constantly improved their uptime solutions since 2014 minimizing the downtime their clients experience. If you choose one of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans your website will no doubt benefit from 99.9% uptime.
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:
As you can see from the screenshot above while we investigate their support’s quality and response time we chatted with a great guy named Nikola H. He answered each question in more or less a few seconds and had great solutions and responses to all our inquiries.
While you chat with a SiteGround’s support representative you can learn more about them by viewing their profile and rating. You can also see how many tickets and clients he served giving you a bit of a background on their skills.
Exclusive SiteGround Coupon for 2018
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. This is the ideal choice for beginners and includes one website, unlimited emails, 10 GB web space, free WordPress install, free SSL, 4 server locations, and unlimited MySQL database.
- GrowBig – starts at $5.95 per month for unlimited websites and ~25,000 monthly visits. This is the plan we tested and is more suitable for larger and popular websites. GrowBig includes multiple websites, 20GB web space, free WordPress transfer, priority support, free back-up, WordPress SuperCacher, along with all the features StartUp comes with.
- GoGeek – starts at $11.95 per month for unlimited websites, staging, improved performance, and ~100,000 monthly visits. GoGeek is their most expensive plan coming at $29.95 per month without discount and includes multiple website, 30GB web space, and 1-click WordPress Staging, free back-ups on request, PCI compliant servers, and all the features StartUp and GrowBig have.
For most casual users, the GrowBig plan probably offers the best value, which is why we chose to review it.
Check out the table below to see each plan’s pricing with and without the discounts and how much you can save in 3 years.
SiteGround Shared Hosting
Savings in 3 years
We have to appreciate SiteGround’s honesty in regards to the number of visitors each plan can handle. Most hosting companies advertise unlimited resources only to find that there are limits to them. However, keep in mind that while SiteGround does mention from the beginning its limits it is still able to handle more than that if it’s a one-time phenomenon.
As every other web hosting company depending on the plan you purchase you get more or less benefits. I recommend choosing a plan based on your needs, but we do recommend the GrowBig one for most users.
5. Actual Hosting Limits
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.
Below is a detailed table presenting SiteGround’s plans and their features.
Free Site Transfer
WordPress & Joomla Staging
~10,000 monthly visits
~25,000 monthly visits
~100,000 monthly visits
6. Security Options: 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.
In conclusion, great security for your website keeps ill-intended people away and offers protection from viruses and hackers. A secure website is more credible to users assuring them their data is protected and safe. For all their plans, SiteGround provides free Let’s Encrypt SSL that is automatically installed on all domains. This new feature was added in March 2018 making Let’s Encrypt SSL available for all its users along with an easy installation process.
7. Website Wizard Helps You Automatically Install WordPress
Additionally, 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:
SiteGround provides free website migration.
Apart from auto-installing WordPress on your account SiteGround also offers you the choice of a free migration that usually takes less than 24 hours.
This is a definite advantage of SiteGround, as most web hosting companies offer this service for a fee and it can take up to 20 days. Each SiteGround account gets this service for free only once and the easiest way to request it is through their Website Setup Wizard just as you can see on the image above.
If you missed the transfer option on the setup wizard you can also request a website migration by going to User Area > Support > Request Assistance from Our Team > Proceed to contact us here > Transfer website. If these services are not for you and you already know your way around you can opt for manual migration.
Another awesome feature SiteGround provides for its users is a one click eCommerce installation. You can choose from over 15 eCommerce applications to install on your account ranging from Magento to WooCommerce. Installing some of these eCommerce applications can prove difficult to handle for inexperienced users and this feature comes in handy.
8. The SiteGround Dashboard Experience
We have to say it: the user dashboard isn’t as nice as other hosts.
ike 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:
Additionally, while it’s also still functional, the main SiteGround dashboard could use a slight design update.
Here’s what SiteGround looks like:
9. More about SiteGround
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)
SiteGround’s 30 days money back guarantee
SiteGround comes with a 30 days money back guarantee giving its users a safety net in case they are not completely satisfied with what this web host has to offer. However, in order to get a full refund you need to uphold a few conditions:
- Refund request should be made through your User Area
- You need to request a refund within the first 30 days a service is activated
- Refund requests for reseller packages are eligible only under the condition that the package is cancelled within 30 days
It is important to keep in mind that services and features such as domain registration, SSL certificate, paid premium services, and 3-rd party services are not eligible for refunds.
Synopsis: SiteGround Advantages
SiteGround is the official web host recommend by popular platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Since its launch, SiteGround has hosted over 800,000 websites all around the world made possible by having servers in America, Europe, and Asia.
SiteGround continues to climb new heights and improve the services they provide by constantly adding new and essential features all websites need. This web hosting company is without a doubt one of the most popular and resourceful one on the market.
SiteGround’s advantages are:
Exclusive SiteGround Coupon for 2018
Conclusion: Should You Choose SiteGround?
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.
What we loved about SiteGround:
- 99.9% Uptime
- 998 ms Load Time
- Great customer support
- Free WordPress installation
- One free site migration
- SSL Certificate
- Good prices and plans for everyone
- 30-day money back guarantee
Overall, we highly recommend SiteGround especially for people looking for impressive speed and load times.
Beginners will surely love SiteGround’s free features that will help them transfer their websites, install WordPress, e-Commerce applications, free Let’s Encrypt, and more. Don’t wait, click on the button below and sign up for an amazing journey with SiteGround.