SiteGround Startup vs GrowBig vs GoGeek Review (Dec 2018) – Who wins?

SiteGround-Startup-vs-growbig-vs-gogeek-reviewSiteGround is one of the largest independent web hosting companies in the world. Founded in 2004 by some university friends, the company has now grown to the point where they have 400 employees and host 1.8 million domains.

In this SiteGround Startup vs Grow Big vs Go Geek review, we’re going to be looking at the company’s three shared hosting plans. We’ll review each one and conduct a comparison so that you have all the information you need to make the best possible decision for your particular circumstances.

Before you read this review, I recommend you to read why SiteGround is really better than Bluehost or any other hosting out there.

Below you will find the details showing that we actually bought the hosting plans to test them out ourselves.

SiteGround-startup-Vs-Grow-Big-Vs-Gogeek-hosting-details

Prices and Features of SiteGround’s Shared Hosting Plans

For this SiteGround Startup review, we took a close look at what the three plans offer. Thus, all three offer cPanel, free Cloudflare CDN that can be activated with a single click, and Super Cacher.

Siteground-clouflare-feature

However, the Startup plan only offers the first level of Super Cacher, namely Static Cache that covers all static content such as CSS files, images, JavaScript and so on.

Memcached on Grow Big

The other two plans offer all three levels of Super Cache. Level 2 is Dynamic Cache that creates copies of a site’s dynamic content, while level 3 is Memcached that speeds up API calls, database calls and page rendering by keeping objects and data in the server’s memory.

Dynamic-caching on Gogeek Memcached on Grow Big

Free backups on demand are only available on the Go Geek plan, as is the staging feature that allows you to test new code and designs in a controlled environment without affecting the site itself. In terms of database and email features, the more expensive the plan, the more space and features you get.

Here’s the breakdown of price and features of these 3 plans.

SiteGround-grow-big-vs-startup-vs-gogeek SiteGround-grow-big-vs-startup-vs-gogeek prices and features

Performance – Which plan offers the best performance?

For this SiteGround Grow Big review, we also checked if performance would be affected by the plan you decide on. Thus, with the Startup plan, you get a database size of 500 MB and DB queries can use up to 10% of server resources, while your mailbox size will be 2000 MB and you can send 400 emails per hour with a maximum 40 recipients per email and a maximum attachment size of 50 MB. The only difference with the Grow Big plan is that you get a database of 750 MB and a mailbox of 4000 MB.

Conversely, the GoGeek plan offers a database of 1000 MB and queries can use 30% of server resources, while the mailbox is 6000 MB and you can send 800 emails per hour with a max of 80 recipients per email and 50 MB per attachment.  In other words, the more you pay, the better the server resources you get.

PHP, Security and Technological Advances

SiteGround has always promised their customers to bring them the latest technological advances as quickly as feasibly possible, which they constantly deliver on. Thus, SiteGround has already released PHP 7.3, which is why their performance, speed, and security continues to be leagues ahead of their competition.

In terms of security, SiteGround introduced an anti-bot AI designed to protect customers from brute-force attacks. The smart system not only is outstanding at protecting websites, but it has also free up resources on the company’s servers which have been put to better use in service of customers.

SiteGround continues to innovate constantly, with things like:

  • The SiteGround Migrator plugin that allows customers to transfer their WordPress sites with little hassle
  • Upgrades to their SG Optimizer plugin that allow for multisite support
  • TSL 1.3 and OCSP Stapling designed to make HTTPS sites faster, which are already available at SiteGround

Uptime – 99.99% uptime guarantee tested.

For this SiteGround Go Geek review, we delved into the nitty gritty to see if uptime would be affected by the type of plan you choose. We also tested SiteGround against a competitor, namely Bluehost, to see if there were any differences.

SiteGround-startup-Vs-Grow-Big-Vs-Gogeek-uptime-comparison

As you can see, there are some differences between the three plans. The SiteGround Startup plan has an uptime of 99.99%, with a downtime of 4 minutes, and a response time of 896 ms. The SiteGround Grow Big plan offers the same uptime, but with a response of 610 ms, while the SiteGround Go Geek plan offers a similar uptime but with a slightly shorter downtime of 3 minutes, and an impressive response time of 573 ms.

In other words, uptime is pretty much the same across the board, but the more you pay, the better the response time, which is certainly very important for any website. So, in terms of our SiteGround Startup vs Grow Big vs Go Geek review, we definitely have to recommend the Go Geek plan for the far better response time.

This level of uptime is achieved through their multiple power failure option including enterprise-level UPS technology and their own power generators, 24/7 server monitoring, etc,.

When we compared against a shared hosting plan from Bluehost, though, we discovered that even the cheapest plan from SiteGround delivered far better results. Thus, Bluehost had an uptime of 99.96% with a downtime of 6 minutes, and a response time of 1789 ms, which is pretty ridiculous in this day and age when speed is essential.

Bluehost-basic-plan-uptime

Notes:

  • SiteGround Startup Plan uptime and response time details show it to be the weakest of the three SiteGround plans.
  • The SiteGround Grow Big plan outperforms the Startup plan in terms of response time but delivers the same uptime results.
  • The SiteGround Go Geek plan offers the best results with a slightly lower downtime and a better response time.
  • Bluehost’s shared hosting plans underperforms compared to all three SiteGround plans as they have a lower uptime and a far higher response time.

Speed Test – Which plan is the fastest?

At SiteGround, the more you pay for the plan, the more resources you get because fewer sites are hosted on the same server. When you get more resources, your site is faster.

Speed is essential because most users don’t have a lot of patience and will leave your site if it takes too long to load. While many factors impact speed, including on-site ones, your web hosts server is one of the very important variables that will determine how fast your site loads. So, the more resources your site has access to and the better the quality of the server, the quicker your site will be.

Of course, for this SiteGround Startup vs Grow Big vs Go Geek review, we conducted a load impact test to really see what their servers are capable of. And this time, we didn’t stop at 100 visitors. We wanted to see how the servers would perform when placed under serious strain, so we took it all the way up to 500 concurrent visitors. The results are below.

Note that in the charts, the green line represents the number of concurrent users, the purple line is the request rate, while the blue line represents the response time.

SiteGround Startup Review: Speed Test Results

At 100 concurrent visitors and with an average request rate of 604 per second, the average response time was 81 ms. The response time was a little choppy, with a few impressive spikes, but then it settled down.

Siteground-Start-Up-speed-test-at-100-visitors
SiteGround Startup Plan load impact test results with figures displayed for 100 concurrent visitors showing a response time of 81 ms.

At 175 visitors with a request rate of 613 per second, the average response time was 37 ms. Interestingly enough, despite the response time improving, once we threw more than 175 visitors at the site, the server just stopped responding.

Siteground-Start-Up-speed-test-at-160-visitors
SiteGround Startup Plan load impact test results for 175 concurrent visitors showing a response time of 37 ms.

As you can see, at 300 visitors, the server simply isn’t responding.

Siteground-Start-Up-speed-test-at-300-visitors
SiteGround Startup Plan load impact test results for 300 concurrent users showing the server has stopped responding.

SiteGround Grow Big Review: Speed Test Results

At 100 concurrent visitors, with a request rate of 1,360 per second, the server had a response time of 14 ms, and it was far more stable than with the Startup plan.

SiteGround-Grow-Big-speed-test-at-100-visitors.
SiteGround Grow Big Plan load impact test results at 100 visitors showing a response time of 14 ms.

At 300 visitors, the response time is 13 ms, at 400 visitors, it’s 18 ms, and at 500 visitors, the response time is 156 ms.

SiteGround-Grow-Big-speed-test-at-300-visitors.
SiteGround Grow Big Plan load impact test results with 300 visitors and a response time of 13 ms.

Thus, the more visitors we sent, the slower the server became, with an impressive decline when we hit 500. From 300 visitors onwards, the response time also became choppier and less stable.

SiteGround-Grow-Big-speed-test-at-500-visitors.
SiteGround Grow Big Plan load impact test results with 500 visitors and a response time of 156 ms.

SiteGround Go Geek Review: Speed Test Results

At 100 visitors, the Go Geek Plan generated an excellent response time of 11 ms, despite the 1,200 requests per second.

Siteground-Go-Geek-speed-test-at-100-visitors
SiteGround Go Geek Plan load impact test results at 100 concurrent visitors with a response time of 11 ms.

When we increased it to 200 visitors, the response time remained quite good at 16 ms, just like with 300 visitors and a response time of 22 ms

Siteground-Go-Geek-speed-test-at-300-visitors
SiteGround Go Geek Plan load impact test results at 300 concurrent users with a response time of 22 ms.

. At 400 visitors, the response time was 22 ms, and once we got to 500 visitors, the response time increased to 64 ms, which is still highly impressive.

Siteground-Go-Geek-speed-test-at-500-visitors
SiteGround Go Geek Plan load impact test results with 500 concurrent users generated a response time of 64 ms.

SiteGround Startup vs Grow Big vs Go Geek Review: Speed Test Comparison

As you can see, the Grow Big and Go Geek plans generated the best results. With both plans, the response times were decent, even when we threw 500 concurrent visitors at them.

Now, to be fair, if you have a site big enough and so popular that it’s frequently getting 500 visitors at the same time, you aren’t likely to be on a shared hosting plan. Even so, the two plans did deliver, and the response times were impressive.

Conversely, the Startup plan just couldn’t take more than 175 visitors at a time, and though you might not think you’ll ever get that many concurrent visitors, you are still better off going with a higher plan to be safe.

SiteGround shared vs Blue Host shared: Speed Test Comparison

We decided to check SiteGround against Bluehost to see how the competition performs. And, well, there really isn’t much of a comparison.

At 100 visitors, Bluehost had a response time of 139 ms, which is far poorer than the SiteGround Startup plan at 175 visitors.

Bluehost-speed-test-at-100-visitors
Bluehost load impact test results for 100 concurrent visitors with a response time of 139 ms.

At 200 visitors, Bluehost’s response time was 76 ms, while at 300 visitors, the response time was 83 ms. At 400 visitors, the response time was 82 ms, and at 500, it was 76 ms.

 

Bluehost-speed-test-at-300-visitors
Bluehost load impact test results with 300 concurrent users generated a response time of 83 ms.

Thus, the Bluehost plan only outperformed SiteGround’s Startup plan once we went over 175 visitors, and the Grow Big plan when we hit 500 visitors. Compared to the Go Geek plan, though, Bluehost doesn’t stand a chance.

Bluehost-speed-test-at-500-visitors
Bluehost load impact test results at 500 concurrent visitors resulted in a response time of 76 ms.

Support –  Priority and normal support compared.

SiteGround promises priority support for the Grow Big and Go Geek plans and we wanted to see if there really was a difference between their standard support and priority. We discovered that live chat has the same response time, regardless of the plan. So, we decided to test the ticketing system.

With the Grow Big and Go Geek plans, we asked the ticketing team for some FTP details for the account, making it a pretty simple request. The initial reply took 5 minutes and then it took another 25 minutes to get the response. Compared to other web hosting plans, the response time of the ticketing team was practically at light speed.

SiteGround-Grow-Big-priority-support-review
Priority support offered by GrowBig

Conversely, with the Startup plan, it took them 17 minutes to reply the first time and then approximately an hour the second time. Take into account that, in this case, we only asked how we could activate Super Cacher and Cloudflare, which shouldn’t have taken more than 2 minutes to answer.

SiteGround-Startup-support-review
Normal ticketing support offered by StartUp plan.

So, priority support is twice as fast as the standard support SiteGround provides.

Final Verdict – Which is the right plan for you?

SiteGround’s three shared hosting plans outperform the competition by far. In fact, the Go Geek plan is the most powerful shared hosting plan available on the market at the moment. However, you have to consider your particular circumstances and needs because even though the initial prices are attractive, the renewals can get expensive, especially since they are shared plans. 

If you have on a website, for example, with only a few thousand visitors per month, then the Startup plan is more than sufficient for your needs. If you need outstanding performance and excellent speed on a budget, then Grow Big is definitely the best option.

The only real differences between the Grow Big and Go Geek plans is the staging feature, which simply allows you to test code and design without affecting your site, and a lower number of accounts on the same server, as well as backups on demand. However, you have to ask yourself if you really need those features, because they will cost you an extra $100 per year.

Get 60% discount coupon code on SiteGround StartUp, GrowBig and Gogeek plan.

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