SiteGround Review - Is It Still The Best Web Host In 2021?

Founded in 2004, SiteGround offers web hosting services to over 1.8 million domains all over the world, according to the most recent. The company offers shared hosting, dedicated servers, cloud hosting, domain registration, and more. SiteGround’s headquarters are located in Sofia, Bulgaria. Despite this, they have gained significant market share on a global level, including in the United States. This is owed to their excellent services and focus on the customer experience. According to Google Trends, the popularity of SiteGround is growing at an enormous rate for the last 6-7 years.

SITEGROUND REVIEW
SiteGround Ratings
4.5
Speed
5
Uptime
5
Security
4.5
Price
5
Interface
5
Support
Reviewer 4.8 / 5
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Founded in 2004, SiteGround offers web hosting services to over 2.6 million domain all over the world, according to the most recent data. The company offers shared hosting, cloud hosting, domain registration, and more.

SiteGround is an European company, but they have grown to be one of the major global players in the hosting market. This is owed to their excellent services and focus on the customer experience.

The company is also known for giving back to the community. To that end, they sponsor WordPress communities all over the world. At the time of this writing, SiteGround claims to sponsor 49 WordPress camps in 18 countries, setting them back over $400,000 in sponsorship fees.

Clearly, SiteGround has adopted a sustainable business model that focuses on the user experience rather than solely on making a profit. Their ultimate objective is to provide website users with a stable, secure, feature-rich, and rewarding experience because they keep adding new tools and functionalities.

Pros of SiteGround

Here are all the benefits of working with SiteGround at a glance.

WordPress: SiteGround Is Recommended by WordPress

SiteGround and Bluehosts-official-recommendation by WordPress

Over 80% of the 2.6 million domains SiteGround hosts are based on WordPress. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are very adept at managing WordPress.

It’s also why they’ve developed and implemented so many WordPress-specific features, such as SG Optimizer, WP Auto Update, Supercacher, WP Starter and SG Migrator.

Other web hosting companies offer packages tailored specifically for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. However, when you take a closer look, you’ll find that these plans are only extensions of their shared hosting packages.

SiteGround, on the other hand, has packages that were specifically designed for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal from the ground up.

For example, their WordPress package comes with SG Optimizer, which is a highly useful plugin that improves the performance of WordPress-based websites hosted on SiteGround servers.

Backups

SiteGround offers free auto daily backups and restore on all their plans, though backups on demand are only available for higher-end packages.

SiteGround-backup-restore feature

For absolutely free, you’ll be grateful that you have access to 30 copies of backups for your site if anything ever happens. You’ll be able to restore your entire site with a few clicks.

Website Transfer

On all of its plans, SiteGround also offers a free site transfer using their WP Migrator. This will save you so much time and aggravation because this plugin will migrate your website for you when you sign on with them.

However, if the client wants the migration to be performed by their technicians, the fee is USD 30 per site.

On the Cutting-Edge of Technology

As previously mentioned, SiteGround is always the first to implement new technologies to improve security and performance. For example, they were one of the first few companies to switch their servers over to PHP 8. When you compare this with top shared hosting companies like Bluehost and HostGator, they still use PHP 7.0 for their servers.

A higher PHP version leads to greater speed and increased security.

Here’s a benchmark test by Kinsta testing a WordPress website on different PHP versions. As you can see, PHP 8.0 is almost two times faster than PHP 7.0.

PHP BENCHMARK TEST

Flexible Plans

SiteGround offers a wide range of plans suitable for any size website. Thus, you can start with them from the time when you have a tiny blog until it grows into a massive website and they’ll have a plan that will deliver what you need.

SiteGround flexible plans

Outstanding Support

The outstanding support SiteGround offers is one of the best things about this company. Everyone we spoke to about SiteGround mentioned how great their support team is.

They promise a response within 10 minutes of contacting, but in reality, on chat, it’s usually within less than 1 minute.

Last year, they won two Stevie awards for customer service.

Monthly Billing Cycle

You can pay month-by-month with SiteGround. Bluehost lock the client within a 12-month long contract, while with SiteGround, you can pay monthly basis or pay for a full year.

Server Locations around the world.

SiteGround migrated all its infrastructure to Google at the beginning of 2020 and use Google’s most powerful processors. These are the same servers used to host Google’s own website like youtube.com, Gmail.com, etc,. Currently, SiteGround has 6 data centers at the moment with Google

The Cons of SiteGround

As no company can be perfect, here are the few cons of SiteGround.

Expensive Renewal

SiteGround offers outstanding deals for new customers. However, when it comes time to renew, the prices are a little higher making them a fair bit more expensive than when you sign up. However, Siteground is very transparent about this and is clearly stated during sign-up. It is also important to understand that the features and tools that they offer included in the price are on par with those of WPEngine for instance and SiteGround’s price is still much lower compared to WP Engine’s $30/mo price.

SiteGround intital and renewal price

Storage Limitations

The low amount of storage space available on the shared hosting plans is another issue we have with SiteGround. If your site grows beyond 40 GB, you’ll have to switch to the far more expensive cloud hosting plans.

Speed: Outstanding performance thanks to constant innovation

A fast website is essential to growing your audience. While many factors affect the load time of your site, quite a few of them have to do with the web hosting provider. 

According to Gmetrix, 50% of your site speed is dependent on your web hosting provider as depicted in the below image. That is, your web hosting companies server performance, location of server and quality of the network, server hardware plays a big role in your website speed.

how web hosting affects your site speed
Factors responsible for your website speed.

Of course, there are various strategies you can use to speed up your website even more, so make sure to check them out.

In terms of SiteGround, they have developed a reputation for being on the cutting-edge of the industry through constant innovation. Not only do they develop their own tech, but they also make sure to be early adopters of the latest tools and protocols to ensure outstanding performance.

SiteGround is constantly innovating to improve its speed.

  • Firstly, they were one of the first web hosting providers to equip all their servers with solid-state drives. SSDs have proven repeatedly to offer far better performance than traditional HDDs.
  • They are also consistently among the first to adopt new PHP versions as they come out. For example, when SiteGround had already released PHP 7.4, Bluehost was still running PHP 7.0. Check out our SiteGround vs Bluehost post to learn more.
  • SiteGround was also one of the first web hosts to address the issue of HTTPS sites being slightly slower due to the validation required for the encryption certificate for each request. SiteGround implemented the TCP 1.3 and OCSP stapling method, which moved this verification to the web hosting server, thereby eliminating the delay.
  • Recently, SiteGround was one of the first web hosting providers to adopt QUIC. This technology deals with requests differently than other HTTP protocols. The result is that people with slow internet connections, or ones that have high latency and packet loss, experience significantly improved performance in terms of load speed.
  • Most significant among the recent development has been their shift to Google Cloud Platform. Now, they host all their clients in Google servers, which happens to be one of the fastest servers in the world. In fact, it’s the same server where Google hosts its own websites like Google.com, youtube.com, gmail.com, etc,. Apart from them, big companies like Apple, Netflix, Sony uses google cloud servers instead of maintaining their own data centers. Google is very experienced in this regard and that’s one of the reasons it’s better to use their servers.

As a result, SiteGround now has several data centers in strategic locations across the world. This helps speed by reducing the physical distance between the server and the end user’s computer. The shorter the distance, the faster the speed.

SiteGround data centers

Apart from the above location, they recently started offering two new locations in the form of Sydney, Australia, and Frankfurt, Germany. Google Cloud Platform has 36 server locations across the world, SiteGround has promised to soon start rolling out new locations to its customers.

While all this technology certainly looks great on paper, unlike other SiteGround reviews of 2020, we actually tested the company to see if it all delivered.

SiteGround speed test result

We did so through a load impact test in which we sent up to 100 concurrent visitors to a website hosted on one of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans and noted it’s speed.

The results are in the graph below, where the green line represents the number of users visiting our website concurrently, and the blue line represents the load time of the page.

SiteGround speed test result

It’s quite clear that SiteGround delivers excellent performance. Not only was the load time excellent at 515 ms for 100 concurrent users, but it was consistently steady. There were no spikes of severely decreased load time at any point.

How fast is SiteGround compared to other web hosting companies?

When comparing the speed of SiteGround with other web hosting providers like HostGator, the results are incredibly impressive.

Many other providers have inconsistent results, with load times slowing down significantly as the number of users increases.

Some stop responding completely long before the full 100 visitors arrive, like HostGator and GoDaddy, as you can see below and also in our SiteGround vs GoDaddy comparison.

HostGator speed test result compared to siteground

Thus, our conclusion is that SiteGround’s servers are more than capable of providing outstanding performance, even when put under heavy stress.

Like: Impressive load time that is consistent, even when under high stress.

Dislikes: None.

Speed: High speed guaranteed. Google servers and Ultrafast PHP  mean improved speed and performance.

Uptime: Unparalleled results that exceeded our expectations

SiteGround guarantees an uptime(the amount of time your website is up and running) of 99.9%, which is not unusual. This guarantee is pretty much a requirement in the industry.

However, while many hosts make the promise, not all of them are able to deliver. Some do get close, but some are so far off the mark, they should be embarrassed. You can see one such example in our GoDaddy vs Bluehost comparison review.

SiteGround, however, not only delivers on their guarantee but also exceeded our expectations. Of course, as always, for this SiteGround review, we personally tested the company’s uptime.

As you can see, SiteGround had an uptime of 99.99% with only 3 short outages in six months. That’s not just impressive, it’s almost unbelievable. Moreover, they use Google cloud servers, which are the most reliable servers in the world with companies like Apple, Netflix using them for their websites.

SiteGround Uptime test result

We use a special tool to constantly track the uptime of a variety of web hosting companies. So, if you want to get up to date information, make sure to check out our live uptime tracking tool.

SiteGround offers free hosting if the uptime is less than 99.99%

According to SiteGround’s SLA (Service-Level Agreement), they compensate you with free hosting if your website falls below the guaranteed uptime of 99.99%.

SiteGround-Service-level-Agreement-on-uptime

Likes: What’s not to like about 99.99% uptime?

Dislikes: N/A

Uptime: Excellent uptime at an average of 99.99%. Many months have seen uptime of 100%. They always notify of upcoming downtime for server maintenance.

Support: Quick, responsive, and knowledgeable. Just what customer support should be.

A good customer support team is essential because problems can occur. Whether it’s on the web hosting provider’s side or on your side, it’s essential to be able to get in touch with customer support to resolve the issue, preferably without negatively affecting your website.

Most webmasters find customer support to be a deal-breaker if the service is poor. Just look at some Bluehost reviews and you’ll see how many people gave up on this particular service provider because of their abysmal customer support team.

SiteGround support compared to Bluehost

Conversely, many SiteGround reviews on social media platforms specifically point out how great their customer support team is. In fact, customers actually gush in their SiteGround reviews on Reddit and other platforms about how great the support staff is.

We’re quite certain that it has something to do with how great an employer SiteGround is. They’ve actually won the “Best Employer of the Year” award twice in Bulgaria!

Of course, though, for our SiteGround review, we didn’t base our conclusions on what other people were saying. We tested the support team ourselves and we’re happy to report that they are as good as everyone says.

Firstly, you can reach the SiteGround customer service team via live chat, a ticketing system, and a toll number.

The live chat is available 24/7/365 and they’re incredibly quick to respond. It only took a few seconds to connect to a live agent, which is impressive as we’ve had to wait as long as 5 minutes with other web hosting providers.

SiteGround-support-test

The good news doesn’t stop there. Once we connected via the SiteGround chat, the customer support representative was very helpful, but more importantly, knowledgeable and experienced.

We’ve dealt with many customer support representatives and, unfortunately, it’s quite rare to connect immediately with someone who knows what they’re doing. More often than not, if the problem is technical, the support agent will pass it on to a higher authority, which is irritating because it wastes even more time.

That has never been the case with SiteGround in our experience, as well as the experience of the hordes of satisfied customers. Many of their customers admit that they moved to SiteGround because of their excellent support team.

SiteGround also does their best to provide support to beginner webmasters. If you’re worried about building your own site, there’s a proprietary SiteGround WordPress Starter plugin that eliminates any confusion.

They also offer a site builder to make it even easier to create a stunning website, even if you’re not technically inclined. You can check out a SiteGround website builder review to see how it works. In our opinion, it’s simple to use and quite effective.

Furthermore, SiteGround also offers a special plugin that will help you migrate your site with a few clicks. The SiteGround Migrator plugin is another proprietary piece of software developed specifically to ease the transition of new customers.

If you want more help with plugins and which ones you should be installing, check out our list of essential WordPress plugins.

Likes: Highly responsive and experienced team with multiple access channels.

Dislikes: There have been recent cases in 2020 when they had long waiting times for their support, this was mainly due to Covid and the large number of people starting to build a website simultaneously. I have personally tested their Live chat recently and it works just as fast as before.

Support: Support is very friendly, fast, and knowledgeable. They’re available 24/7 via chat, phone, email, and a ticketing system.

Security: The online version of Fort Knox thanks to cutting-edge proprietary tech.

SiteGround takes security seriously, unlike other hosting providers that only do the bare minimum and outsource the rest.

Firstly, they have an In-house built server monitoring system that performs server check every 0.5 sec, and is able to fix many issues automatically and much faster.

Then there’s the SiteGround anti-bot AI. This system successfully blocks up to 2 million attempts at brute-force attacks per hour.

What’s truly incredible about this proprietary system is that it learns and gets better at detecting threats. Furthermore, it also saves an inordinate amount of server resources that can now be dedicated to customers.

This hosting provider also offers Cloudflare CDN for free, which you can access with a few clicks from the SiteGround cpanel. Cloudflare is well-known for their excellent security features and their ability to protect customer websites from malware and bot attacks.

For example, Cloudflare’s Anycast network has a capacity of 30 Tbps that is capable of protecting websites from high-volume attacks 15 times larger than the biggest DDoS every recorded.

Between SiteGround’s proprietary security system, Cloudflare, and Google servers, your website is highly protected.

SiteGround takes things one step further as they’re one of the first companies to have introduced isolation technology for their servers to provide further protection against a wide range of cyber-attacks.

Security: They have their own security system with a great proven track record. Also, provide Cloudflare security features. 

Pricing: Great initial deal compared to its competitors

SiteGround offers a wide range of hosting plans for any budget. The initial deals they offer new customers are outstanding, but their renewal prices are a bit high, but still very less compared to their competitors like WP Engine, FlyWheel, and Kinsta.

Regular Price $ 6.99 per month $ 9.95 per month $ 14.95 per month
Plan Start Up Grow Big Go Geek
Websites allowed 1 Unlimited Unlimited
Monthly visits 10000 25000 100000
Disk space 10GB 20GB 30GB
Data Transfer Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered
Free CDN Yes Yes Yes
Money Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days 30 days
Email accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Server Location USA, Europe and Asia USA, Europe and Asia USA, Europe and Asia
Daily Automated Backup Yes Yes Yes
Advanced On Demand Backup No Yes Yes
24/7 support Yes Yes Yes
Advanced Priority Support No No Yes
Free Site Transfer No Yes Yes
PCI Compliant Servers No Yes Yes
Free SSH and SFTP Access Yes Yes Yes
Staging No Yes Yes
Advanced Caching Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Free Site Builder Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited Sub and Parked Domains Yes Yes Yes
Sign UpSign UpSign Up

Unlike other hosting providers, though, SiteGround’s more expensive hosting plans (even those on shared hosting) really do offer additional benefits.

For example, the higher-end GoGeek Plan has fewer websites per server, collaborator tools, white-label hosting, backups on demand, Ultrafast PHP setup, which means better performance. It also offers a staging feature, which is pretty great because you can test changes to the code and design of your site without affecting the live version.

To learn more about these shared hosting plans, check out our SiteGround Startup vs GrowBig vs GoGeek Review.

When we spoke to other hosting providers, like Bluehost, they told us that their more expensive plans still host the same large number of sites per server. The differences between cheaper and more expensive plans are a few features and resource usage limit.

It should be noted that SiteGround also has a special offer for students at a very attractive price, as well as a program for educators. These plans offer the same great SiteGround performance at a fraction of the cost as this hosting provider does its best to support academia in any way it can.

SiteGround student hosting review

SiteGround is a highly flexible hosting service that’s suitable for any website, from small and simple blogs to large enterprise sites. For example, SiteGround cloud hosting has an option allowing you to auto-scale your website’s resources to ensure it can handle any sudden spikes in traffic demand and usage.

SiteGround doesn’t offer a trial, but they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee, during which you can get your money back with no questions asked.

Price: Renewals are a bit expensive compared to cheap shared hosting providers like Bluehost and HostGator. However, SiteGround is no longer in the league of Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger, but they compete with WPEngine, FlyWheel, Kinsta, etc, which starts at and renews at a much higher price than SiteGround.

User Interface – SiteGround shifted from cPanel to their in house newly built control panel called Site Tools.

SiteGround was using cPanel until I was just about to finish publishing this review. They made an announcement about their new control panel called Site Tools and I had to change the review to address this new change.

SiteGround Control panel
Site Tools control panel by SiteGround

 

Its a really brave move from SiteGround which can go either way for them. Many Users regard cPanel as a very powerful and easy to use control panel used by many top web hosting companies.

SiteGround believes that cPanel limits its ability to be flexible and integrate the newest technologies to better meet the needs of its users.

Moreover,  they have carefully analyzed years of collected data about which cPanel functionalities their clients use and in what ways specifically. They made sure to offer a tool or service that address all the widely-used functionalities that their clients are used to. On top of that, the new interfaces add plenty of new features to make life easier for the user.

One such exciting feature is the ability to add a collaborator to your site. This can give temporary access to any site in your account to developers and clients. You can revoke this access with just a few clicks from your control panel.

Here’s a little info on their new account panel.

Likes: Very user-friendly control panel and account area with so many new tools.

Dislikes: Nothing.

User Interface: Their new control panel is as good as the cPanel with very exciting features.

Final Verdict

SiteGround is the number one choice for hosting in 2020. The performance and speed they offer are unparalleled, as is the level of security they provide. Their support is also outstanding, which only goes to show how dedicated they are to offering a truly delightful user experience.

The only drawback that I could find with SiteGround was that the majority of hosting providers have an attractive introductory price compared to SiteGround.

Other than that, SiteGround remains our number one choice for 2021!

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
SiteGround
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
Product Name
SiteGround
Price
$ 6.99

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