SiteGround Review

SiteGround Review
Plan in review: GrowBig
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Last Updated: February 13, 2018
Summary
Reasonably-priced premium hosting service that is reliable, flexible; and comes with topnotch live chat support.

SiteGround first came under WHSR’s radar in late 2013.

We were given a time slot to interview SiteGround CEO, Tenko Nikolov and a free hosting account to test with.

Today I host my personal blog, TheRealJerryLow.com, and a few side projects at SiteGround hosting.

Throughout the years I have gathered tons of SiteGround server uptime / speed test data and conducted undercover experiments on SiteGround’s live chat support (more about this in customer support).

If you are considering SiteGround – these information should be useful.

About SiteGround, the company

  • Founded in 2004 by a group of university friends.
  • Company claims to host more than 1,000,000 domains at time of writing.
  • Services: Shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting
  • Offices in five different countries: Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
  • Data centers in three different continents: America (U.S.), Europe, Asia (Singapore).

(Quick Jump) Review SiteGround Hosting in:

SiteGround Hosting Performance

 

Our experience & thoughts:

Average hosting uptime at 99.99%

Rated A at Bitcatcha Speed Test

Choice of server locations in three continents

TTFB more than 700ms at Webpage Test

 

SiteGround server is extremely reliable based on our years of test result. Test sites were 100% up at most times.

Unfortunately my SiteGround speed test results were not as good.

I used different tool and ran multiple speed tests on sites hosted in different SiteGround data centers. The results were mixed – Most tests at Bitcatcha return good outcomes (A or B+); tests at Webpage Test, on the other hand, were not as good (TTFB constantly below 700ms).

SiteGround Hosting Uptime (Jan 2018): 100%

The last recorded outage was November 2017. Test site went down for two minutes.

SiteGround Uptime record (Mar 2017): 100%

Test site hosted on SiteGround has not gone down in the last 30 days in March 2017.

Older SiteGround Uptime Records (2014 – 2016)

* Click to enlarge image.

Jul 2016: 99.95%

siteground uptime 072016

Mar 2016: 99.9%

siteground - 201603

Feb 2016: 100%

siteground feb 2016 uptime

Sep 2015: 100%

siteground sept uptime - site has not down for 1723 hours

Jun 2015: 99.99%

siteground uptime - june 2015

Apr 2015: 99.99%

SiteGround Hosting Uptime

Jan 2015: 99.99%

siteground uptime dec 2014

Oct 2014: 100%

SiteGround Hosting past 30 days uptime score (September 2014)

May 2014: 99.99%

SiteGround Uptime Record (past 30 days, April - May 2014)

SiteGround Speed Tests at Bitcatcha

siteground feb 2016 response speed
Test site hosted at SiteGround shared hosting (America data center) performed well in United States, Europe, and India.

SiteGround Speed Tests at Webpage Test

I was surprised by the bad results and ran these tests multiple times using different test sites. The results were quite consistent – test site’s time-to-first-byte (TTFB) was constantly above 700ms, rated as grade D – F.

Test site #1 – SiteGround GoGeek Plan, hosted on SiteGround’s Singapore Data Center

Test site hosted on SiteGround Singapore data center: TTFB – 1,735ms. Site owner prefer to remain anonymous.

Test site #2 – SiteGround GoGeek Plan, hosted on SiteGround’s Chicago Data Center

Test site hosted on SiteGround Chicago data center: TTFB – 759ms.

 

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SiteGround Customer Support

 

Our Experience & Thoughts:

Top class live chat support

Free site migration for first time customers

Annual customer satisfaction survey

Good billing practice – users can refund or cancel account easily

Does not host a support forum

 

SiteGround live chat experience

SiteGround has *the best* live chat support in the market. I went undercover to investigate the quality of  hosting companies’ live chat support in 2017.

SiteGround stood out as the clear winner in this study.

SiteGround chat system worked flawlessly, my live chat request was responded in less than 30 seconds.

All my questions were solved instantly during this session.

 

Note that you can learn more about the person you are chatting with by viewing the staff’s profile.

In this example, I was chatting with a cool dude named Nikola N.

The human touch in SiteGround’s live chat system enhanced the overall experience.

* Click images to enlarge.

 

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SiteGround Hosting Features

 

Our Experience & Thoughts:

Newbie-friendly user interface

Huge range of server upgrade options

SSD, HTTP/2, and NGINX setup for all plans

Built-in cacher for WP, Joomla, and Drupal 

Built-in WordPress & Joomla staging

Recommended by WordPress.org and Drupal.org

(No bad issue in this section.)

SiteGround offers a number of awesome speed features that you don’t usually get with other hosting provider.

SSD drives and NGINX setup are included in all shared and cloud hosting plan. All SiteGround servers are HTTP/2* enabled and come with four different built-in caching mechanism: Static, Dynamic, Memcached, and HHVM (only for Cloud).

These features are a big plus as most hosting plans by other companies at this price range do not offer similar technology.

Free site migration

With every new hosting account in SiteGround, you get one free professional website transfer.

The GIF image shows how to request a site transfer.

For detail instruction, visit this tutorial page.

* Click image to enlarge.

To initiate a site migration: Login to User Area > Support > Request Assistant (bottom) > Transfer Website.

Recommended by WordPress.org and Drupal.org

SiteGround is recommended by both WordPress.org and Drupal.org.

 

“Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.” – WordPress.org.

SiteGround SuperCacher

SiteGround built its own caching mechanism. Geeky SuperCacher, to speed up WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal powered sites.

See SuperCacher configuration tutorial.

Activate SuperCacher from your SiteGround cPanel dashboard.

Choice of server locations

SiteGround provides choice of server locations in three continents:

  1. America (Chicago US),
  2. Europe (Milan IT, London UK, Amsterdam NL), and
  3. Asia (Singapore SG).

 

Intangible features: Company cultures & business approach

While some of the hosting companies out there are happy to maintain the status quo, SiteGround embraces creativity and is constantly coming up with fresh ideas in improving itself.

This seems to make it a good place to work, which could be why the customer service team is so stellar.

Siteground Open Air Festival (July 2016) at SiteGround Camp: over 300 SiteGrounders from several offices in different cities gathered in one place for a massive team building event.
Siteground Open Air Festival (July 2016) at SiteGround Camp.

The company security team’s innovative approach to a 2013’s WordPress global brute force attack is an excellent example of the company’s admirable problem solving skills.

The attack was organized, distributed and malicious, involving over 90,000 IP addresses in total. Symptoms of the attack proved to be quite problematic for users, generating an incredibly slow back end and the inability of users’ to log in, as well causing sites to intermittently go down.

The solution proposed by many other hosts in regards to this Global WordPress brute force attack entailed editing .htaccess files.

However, the SiteGround team quickly realized that this solution was only a partial fix to a broad problem and had a number of serious limitations. Basically, when a host utilizes a .htaccess rule to stop attackers, hackers can actually still reach servers and make requests. Once the requests are processes and checked they are rejected but all of this processing makes a site much, much slower, even if the brute-force attempt is successfully stopped. It also renders users unable to access their sites throughout the attack, obviously a huge problem.

Using series of unique and innovative approaches, SiteGround was able to stop hackers before they even reached servers (hence no load was caused on servers).

In result, SiteGround was able to block a staggering 15-million brute force attempts.

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SiteGround Pricing: Value for Money?

 

Our Experience & Thoughts:

Affordable premium hosting

Users save 45% on first bill

Free wild card SSL (GrowBig & GoGeek)

 

Price increases during renewal

 

SiteGround Shared Hosting Plans 

Startup GrowBig GoGeek
Number of websites 1 Unlimited Unlimited
SSD Storage 10 GB 20 GB 30 GB
Free domain Yes Yes Yes
Free 1 year Wild Card SSL
Suitable for ~10,000 monthly visits ~25,000 monthly visits ~100,000 monthly visits
Signup Price $3.95/mo $7.95/mo $14.95/mo

 

Hosting company prices change over time. For best accuracy, visit: https://www.siteground.com/

SiteGround Renewal Price

SiteGround’s price is roughly 45% cheaper on first bill – $3.95/7.95/14.95/mo. While the big price cuts look good at first, it also means that your renewal fees (the standard rate) is higher than your signup rate.

Startup, GrowBig, and GoGeek cost $9.95/14.95/29.95/mo during renewal.

 

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Verdict – Should You Host at SiteGround Hosting?

97% Customer Satisfaction Rate in 2017

SiteGround’s annual client satisfaction survey was released in January 2018.

97.3% of the respondents were satisfied with SiteGround service; 95% would recommend the web host to a friend.

Read official survey report here.

Based on company’s internal survey, SiteGround has managed to improve customers’ satisfaction rates for the third year in a row in 2017.

In a nutshell, SiteGround offers reasonably priced premium hosting service that is reliable, flexible, secure; and comes with stellar customer support.

Pros

  • Extremely reliable – proven by years of host uptime data.
  • Customer live chat support is top class in recent (July 2017) case study.
  • Signup price is ~45% cheaper than your renewal fees – good deal if you don’t mind paying a little more upfront.
  • NGINX, HTTP/2, built-in cache mechanism, built-in staging for Joomla and WordPress – The company innovates and adapts well to technology changes.

Cons

  • Mixed results in server speed.
  • Expensive renewal fees.

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Order SiteGround Hosting

Click: https://www.siteground.com/

 

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