SiteGround Review 2021 – Which SiteGround Plan to Choose?
What comes to your mind while choosing for a reliable and affordable WordPress hosting provider?
SiteGround, indeed! Being operated for the last two decades, SiteGround’s popularity is growing day by day. But, what’s the hack? It’s definitely because of their services. Siteground is always a better solution for newbie bloggers and entrepreneurs for its shared WordPress hosting Plans.
In this SiteGround review, I am going to focus on the most essential features that a web hosting provider should offer and guide you to choose the best plan that fits your budget and requirement. Let’s check whether SiteGround Hosting is worthy enough for you or not.
SiteGround’s Background and Popularity
SiteGround has been serving since 2004. It has been dominating the WordPress hosting industry for the last decade. SiteGround is a leading web hosting company having four physical offices and five data centers around the world.
SiteGround was started by Tenko Nikolov along with his two university mates and now it has turned into a huge hosting company that employs more than 400 and hosts over 1.8 million domains worldwide.
SiteGround is best praised for its server speed and support quality. SiteGround is one of the hosting providers that is recommended by WordPress.org along with Bluehost and DreamHost.
Ever since the SiteGround hosting has launched, its popularity is growing day by day. Just have a look at the image below to check what Google Trends says about it,
SiteGround Hosting Types
SiteGround offers hosting solutions for every individual and business. Though it is best known for WordPress hosting and popular among bloggers, but has managed to serve growing businesses that require higher-level hosting solutions like Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, etc.
Let’s have a look at the hosting types that SiteGround offers,
Shared Hosting: SiteGround offers beginner-friendly shared hosting plans for customers who need to host a small and medium-sized website. SiteGround shared hosting plans are equipped with top-class features like free SSL, SSD Storage, Free Email, Free CDN, and much more.
WordPress Hosting: SiteGround hosting is popular among WordPress users for its managed WordPress features and support. SiteGround Managed WordPress hosting is crafted with care to meet the requirements of both small and medium-sized online entrepreneurs and bloggers. It is equipped with the most essential managed WordPress features like Daily Automatic Backup, Staging, SSL Integration, Theme and Plugin Management, and much more.
WooCommerce Hosting: SiteGround offers managed WooCommerce hosting to start an online store in the easiest way possible. The quick install and integration with WooCommerce is an easy way for you to create a professional theme for your online store. There is no need to hire a web developer to start your e-commerce business. With SiteGround’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting you can get the site up and running in minutes.
Cloud Hosting: Cloud Hosting is a new generation hosting solution that is suitable for large websites with heavy traffic. If you are looking for a quality Cloud VPS hosting provider for your blog or website, then SiteGround might be a good option you can opt for. SiteGround is integrated with a top-notch highly scalable platform to host your site on a solid Cloud hosting server that can easily match the growing needs of your business.
SiteGround Performance Test
Performance is important to get the most out of your online venture. Website Loading Speed, Uptime, and Load Impact are the three main factors that decide the performance of a web host. There are plenty of web hosts that offer cheap hosting plans with a lot of eye-catching features, but fail to fulfill these basic requirements, especially website loading speed.
Does SiteGround take care of these issues? In this section of SiteGround review, let’s have a look at our performance tests.
No one likes a slow website. Research shows that visitors tend to stay on a site that loads within 2 seconds. Website loading speed is also an important ranking signal that Google counts to decide SERPs. How awesome your content is, if it fails to load faster, you are going to lose visitors resulting in high bounce rate and low site time.
I have tested a site with a typical setup with various tools available from various server locations around the world. Let’s check what I have found,
Pingdom is one of the most reliable services to test website statistics such as loading speed. The test site has been tested from 5 different locations and the result is as in the table below,
|1||Washington DC – USA (North America)||785 ms|
|2||London – UK (Europe)||1.10 s|
|3||Tokyo – Japan (Asia)||1.66 s|
|4||Sydney – Australia (Australia)||1.81 s|
|5||Sao Paulo – Brazil (South America)||1.89 s|
GTMetrix is another popular tool that analyzes a website’s performance. Using PageSpeed and YSlow, GTmetrix generates reports for the complete loading time of a website. Unlike other tools, GTMetrix uses ‘Fully Loaded Time (OnLoad Time + 2sec of Network Inactivity)’ to maintain accuracy. Therefore you might observe the difference in results as compared to Pingdom Test.
|SL||Location||Fully Loaded Time|
|1||Dallas – USA (North America)||2.3 s|
|2||London – UK (Europe)||2.6 s|
|3||Hong Kong – China (Asia)||3.4 s|
|4||Sydney – Australia (Australia)||3.3 s|
|5||Sao Paulo – Brazil (South America)||2.4 s|
Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is a tool by Google to check the performance of a website. This tool is slightly different than the other speed testing tools. PageSpeed Insights reports on the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. It provides a detailed overview of a website’s performance in terms of Speed Index, Blocking Time, Interaction Time, etc. Using PageSpeed Insights the loading speed of the test site has been found as 1.7 Sec.
Load Impact Performance Test
A final verdict of performance can not be given just by testing a site on Pingdom or GTMetrix, especially when the website is new with no or less traffic. Sometimes a website performs well when there are only a few visitors accessing at the same time. But, as the traffic rises, the performance deteriorates.
Therefore, it is an essential part of the performance test to check whether a website remains stable with rising traffic or not. The test site has been tested by sending 50 Virtual users for 5 Minutes and recorded the server response result as follows,
Here the green line is the number of active users and the blue line is the server response time. You can see that the server response time remains almost stable even in peak traffic, i.e. 50 virtual users. Overall 10,861 requests are made within 5 minutes and the average response time is recorded as 108ms with 36 requests/sec.
Thus SiteGround easily passed our load impact test with a stable server response time resulting in stable loading speed.
Uptime is another factor that determines the worthiness of a web host. How awesome your content is or how fast your website loads, if the server goes down frequently, that will have a huge impact on your website’s reputation and traffic. With more downtime, you are likely to lose your search rankings and hence traffic.
SiteGround promises to maintain 99.99% uptime, and from my experience, it is beyond that. Most of the SiteGround users including me experienced a 100% Uptime rate. That proves how SiteGround values its customer’s properties.
SiteGround promises guaranteed uptime of 99.9% on an annual basis. And if they fail to do that, you will get compensated with free months of hosting. That’s pretty nice!
SiteGround is integrated with LXC (Linux Containers) based hosting platform which helps in scaling up server resources in high load. Thus a sudden traffic spike does not lead to downtime.
Top Features of SiteGround Hosting
Apart from the top-notch hosting performance, SiteGround provides all industry-standard features along with some special ones. Let’s have a glance at the top features that SiteGround offers,
Security and Backup
While talking about essential features of a web host we can not leave behind the need for security measures. This internet world is full of hackers and spammers. To prevent damages and losses from these unfair means, SiteGround is equipped with top-class security measures.
Server Side Security Measures
- Unique Account Isolation: SiteGround isolates its shared servers through a unique isolation mechanism. Even if a hosting account is affected by vulnerabilities, it will not affect the rest of the accounts on the same machine. This feature makes a shared server as secure as a dedicated server.
- Fast Server Monitoring: SiteGround’s in-house monitoring system is capable of checking server status in every 0.5sec. It not only helps in monitoring ongoing issues related to the server but also prevents from potential threats.
- AI-Based Security Platform: SiteGround implemented an AI bases platform in 2017 and it claims to block 0.5-2million Brute-Force attacks per hour, which is quite impressive.
- Custom Security Patches: Unlike many popular web hosts, SiteGround does not rely on third-party security patches. The security level of the SiteGround server is ensured by custom patches written by its own team.
- Spam Protection: SiteGround’s spam protection is powered by SolarWinds Spam Experts solution, which filters out spams from both incoming and outgoing mails and provides easier management of spam filtering and quarantine zones.
Free Daily Backup and On-Demand Backup
SiteGround provides free automatic daily backup of your site which is stored up to 30 days on their server. Backups created can be restored using their Backup Restore tool with the matter of a few clicks. This is probably the best feature SiteGround offers. With a backup copy, you never need to worry about your site’s security.
SiteGround also provides an On-demand Backup service which can be availed free with GrowBig and GoGeek plans. You can create up to 5 on-demand backups at a time on GrowBig and GoGeek. And for the StartUp plan, you need to purchase it separately.
Free SSL Certificate
SSL Certificate is essential for the security of your website. It encrypts all traffic that goes through your website and ensures that sensitive information like login credentials and payment details remains protected.
SiteGround includes free Let’s Encrypt Standard SSL certificates with each hosting plan. You can install an SSL certificate from ‘Site Tools’ with a few matters of clicks. Further, you can use the HTTPS Enforce tool within the dashboard to ensure proper implementation and encryption of SSL certificates.
WordPress Tool – Migrator and Staging
SiteGround Hosting is integrated with a Migrator WordPress plugin that lets you migrate your WordPress site from an old host within a few matters of clicks. SiteGround migrator plugin is free to use a plugin that allows you to migrate as many sites as you wish without having much technical knowledge.
SiteGround hosting also allows you to create a staging environment for your live website. Staging is useful when you are about to modify the core features of your website. Modification is never advisable on the live site, as it would hamper the user experience of your website. The staging environment is a true copy of your live website. You can modify the site on the staging version and later deploy it to the live site with a few matters of clicks.
Free Unlimited Email Accounts
Unlike other hosting services, SiteGround does not charge separately for business email accounts.
Creating domain-specific email addresses like ‘email@example.com‘ and accessing them is an effortless task with SiteGround. You can create as many as you need and access them within the SiteGround dashboard. You can even set up your preferred mail client for different platforms like iOS, macOS, etc with the help of a one-click setup file.
Free Cloudflare CDN Integration
A Content Delivery Network improves the performance of your website by caching and serving it from different locations around the world. Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDN services available in the market.
SiteGround has been tied up with Cloudflare to fulfill the need of CDN for better performance of a website hosted on it. You do not need to setup Cloudflare separately for your domains hosted on SiteGround.
You just need to access the performance tab within the SiteGround dashboard and set the Cloudflare service on. You do not even need to change your name-servers to Cloudflare.
SiteGround implements SuperCacher Technology that claims to speed up a website by 4x. SuperCacher technology increases the number of hits your site can handle up to 100 times. It caches a website on 3 different levels namely NGINX Direct Delivery, Dynamic caching, and Memcached.
- NGINX Direct Delivery: NGINX Direct Delivery stores most of the static resources of your website (images, JS, CSS, and others) and serves directly through NGINX to achieve the fastest possible loading time. It flushes and renews your data automatically every 3 hours.
- Dynamic Caching: Dynamic Caching deals with the non-static resources of your website. It helps in preventing unnecessary database queries, processing of each page visit, and improves your website’s loading speed by lowering the TTFB (time to the first byte) of your pages.
- Memcached: Memcached is an object caching mechanism designed to improve the connection between your application and its database. It stores data and objects in the Siteground server’s RAM and speeds up database requests, API requests, and page rendering.
30 Days Money Back Guarantee
SiteGround provides 30 days of money back guarantee to its customers. Though it is a rare case for hosting like SiteGround, if somehow it doesn’t fit your criteria, you can have your money back within 30 days.
You can even try SiteGround without paying anything for a full month.
SiteGround Hosting Plans – Which One to Choose
SiteGround’s hosting plans are crafted to meet the needs of every individual and business. You can easily choose a plan that fits your budget and requirement, despite being a beginner or an expert.
Basically, SiteGround provides 3 different plans for its customers namely StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. Before deciding which plan should you choose, let’s have a look at the SiteGround Hosting Plans Comparison Chart.
SiteGround Hosting Plans Comparison Chart
|StartUp||Grow Big||Go Geek|
|Web Space||10 GB SSD||20 GB SSD||40 GB SSD|
|Visits per Month||10,000||25,000||100,000|
|Database Size||500 MB||750 MB||1000 MB|
|Free WordPress Migration||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Cloudflare CDN||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mailbox Size||2000 MB||4000 MB||6000 MB|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 Days||30 Days||30 Days|
|SuperCacher||1 Level||3 Levels||3 Levels|
|Highest Tire of Resources||–||–||Yes|
|White-label Hosting & Client Management||–||–||Yes|
|Git for WordPress repo creation||–||–||Yes|
Which SiteGround Plan to Choose?
Choosing a perfect hosting plan purely depends on your need and expertise level. Let me dig deeper into the needs of each individual and help you to choose the perfect plan that suits your budget as well as requirements.
Startup Plan: The name suggests, this plan is for those who are just starting out. The startup plan is perfect for you if you have just one website to host. Apart from getting just one site to host, the StartUp plan has all the essential features (SSD Storage, Free Email, Free CDN, Daily Backup, Free SSL, and more) to start your online venture.
Grow Big Plan: Grow Big plan is for those who want to expand their online business to the next level. It allows you to host multiple websites under the plan. This plan is perfect for an established website with moderate traffic. Apart from having all the essential features that a Startup plan has, the GrowBig plan has some pro features (3 levels of caching, Staging, On-demand Backup, and more) to help you manage your websites like a professional.
Go Geek Plan: This top tier plan is for those having websites with high traffic. This plan is perfect for web developers and geeky professionals. Apart from having all the premium features that GrowBig plan has, GoGeek plan has some geeky features (Git for WordPress repo creation, white-label hosting and client management, Ultrafast PHP) to help you manage your own as well as client’s websites. The Ultrafast PHP helps you load your websites faster. The GoGeek plan also has the privilege to use more server resources than any other shared hosting plan.
If you are just starting out with one website to host, I recommend you choose Startup Plan and with the growth of your business you can upgrade to a higher plan in the future. But, if you are an established website owner with moderate traffic and moving out from another host, the Grow Big Plan might be a better option for you as it includes some pro features. Moreover, the GrowBig plan is the most popular plan that SiteGround offers.
SiteGround Hosting Dashboard Tour
SiteGround provides a clean and user-friendly dashboard interface to manage websites and site tools within its hosting account. As soon as you log in to your SiteGround account you will have access to the important sections (Websites, Services, MarketPlace, etc) of your hosting account.
However, In this dashboard tour, I am only concerned about the Website section and Site tools.
5 Steps to Create Your First Website with WordPress
You can create your first site with SiteGround with just 5 steps,
- Head on to the Websites section and Click on ‘Add New Site‘
- Choose a domain that you are going to install WordPress.
- You can either migrate your old site using the SiteGround Migrator plugin or just install a fresh copy of WordPress.
- Create your login credentials by providing your email address and a strong password.
- Point your Nameservers to that of SiteGround if your domain is registered using 3rd party registrar.
Your website Will be ready within 2 minutes.
Site Tools Dashboard
As soon your website is ready you will have access to the Site Tools section. You can manage almost everything related to your website within the Site Tools.
Dashboard Section: Within the Dashboard Section you will have access to the most important features through Pinned Tools. You can customize Pinned Tools as per your need. Moreover, it displays disk usage, inodes, IPs, and Nameservers related to your website.
Site Section: Through Site Section, you can access File Manager, FTP Accounts, App Manager, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. The File Manager is a nice in-browser file management interface that lets you upload new files and edit existing ones without needing to connect via FTP.
Security Section: Within the Security Section you will have access to Backups, SSL Manager, HTTPS Enforce, Protected URLs, Blocked IPs, and SiteScanner. In the Backups section, you will find the daily backups done by SiteGround. If you are using GrowBig or GoGeek plan, you will also have the option to take manual backups. SSL manager lets you manage free Let’s Encrypt SSL and Wildcard SSL for your sites. The SiteScanner is a paid tool that helps you protect your website by constantly crawling and analyzing your files, pages, and domain. It can identify even the latest malware threats.
Speed Section: The Speed section allows you to manage Caching options and Cloudflare CDN integration. You can manage the server-level caching (NGINX Direct Delivery, Dynamic caching, and Memcached) through SuperCacher. Through the Cloudflare section, you can activate Cloudflare CDN with the matters of a few clicks.
WordPress Section: The WordPress section allows you to install and manage WordPress, create a staging environment, migrate your old WordPress site, and auto-update WordPress Core and Plugins. With the free SiteGround Migrator plugin at WordPress.org, it’s super easy to migrate unlimited WordPress sites to SiteGround.
Domains Section: The Domains section allows you to manage Parked Domains, Subdomains, Redirects, and DNS. You can easily create and manage records for your domain name with the user-friendly DNS Zone Editor.
Email Section: The Email section gives you access to Email Accounts, Forwarders, AutoResponders, Filters, and Spam Protection features. You can easily create new email accounts for your site as many as you need. You can set various filters for your incoming mails to prevent unwanted emails.
Statistics Section: The statistics section gives you access to more in-depth analytics for your site. You can see information about your Overall traffic, Audience, Traffic sources, Audience behavior, and Audience technology. You can also more easily access error logs and access logs.
Dev Section: The Dev section is a geeky section which allows you to access to Git for WordPress repo creation, create and manage Cron jobs, PHP Manager, and SSH Key Manager. This section allows web developers to manage their hosting accounts at an expert level.
SiteGround Pros and Cons
- Superior Speed
- High Uptime Rate
- SuperCacher Technology
- Free CDN
- Free SSL
- Free Unlimited Email
- Clean and User-Friendly Dashboard
- Free Daily Backup
- Free WordPress Site Migration
- SSD Diskspace
- Managed WordPress
- Awesome Support
- 30 Days Trial/Money-Back Guarantee
- Not a cheap hosting
- High Renewal Rate
- No Free Domain
Final Thoughts on SiteGround Review
Do I recommend SiteGround?
Yes, I do.
SiteGround is one of the most reputed hosting providers. The combination of WordPress and SiteGround is just perfect. WordPress.org itself recommends SiteGround for its high-quality services. In terms of performance, reliability, and support SiteGround is far better than its competitors.
If you are searching for a high-quality and high-performance hosting solution, SiteGround is definitely for you. You will never regret being a SiteGround customer.
However, if you are looking for a cheap hosting that provides a lot of webspace, SiteGround might not work for you. SiteGround is crafted with care for serious web professionals around the world. The webspace it provides is just perfect for any professional activity like blogging.
If you have used SiteGround before, please leave a valuable review of it in the comments section. If this review helped you, please do not hesitate to recommend it to others by sharing.
FAQ for SiteGround Hosting
Is SiteGround any good?
Yes, indeed! SiteGround is still the best Shared WordPress hosting provider for its unbeatable features and support. Though SiteGround has increased the prices of their hosting plans recently, still it makes sense to choose them for your online venture. If you really need a high-quality hosting provider with high-performance, SiteGround is for you. But, if you are running after cheap plans and unlimited disk space, it might not work for you.
Is SiteGround better than Bluehost?
It depends upon your need and perspective. SiteGround is always a better solution as compared to Bluehost. Though Bluehost plans are cheaper with low renewal rates than SiteGround, in terms of Speed, Uptime, Support Quality, and Features SiteGround is unbeatable. If your budget is tight and you are looking for cheap hosting with a free domain and unlimited disk space, you might consider Bluehost. Otherwise, SiteGround is always a better option.
Which SiteGround plan is best?
SiteGround plans are crafted with care to meet the need of every individual and business. If you are just starting out, a Startup plan is a good choice. Else, to get the ultimate benefit from the SiteGround hosting without spending more, the GrowBig plan might be the right choice. The GrowBig plan is best for serious professionals like bloggers and online entrepreneurs. You do not need a GoGeek plan unless you are a developer or running a high traffic site like an eCommerce site.
Is SiteGround expensive?
SiteGround looks a bit expensive compared to other popular hosting providers (Bluehost, DreamHost, HostGator, etc). But, there are several reasons behind their expensive plans. In terms of performance, reliability, security, and support, SiteGround is unbeatable. SiteGround monitors all of its active servers constantly. Though SiteGround is shared hosting, you will feel the fragrance of Managed WordPress Hosting with them. Their valuable features (Free Daily Backup, Staging, SuperCacher Technology, Free Migration, etc) can’t be delivered with a cheap plan.
Does SiteGround charge monthly?
Yes, you can choose the monthly payment option for SiteGround. But, it is always advisable to pay an upfront payment for the longest tenure available to get benefited from the future price hike.