Disclaimer: This is not a paid or sponsored review. Everything I've written here is based on my personal experience and opinions.
I started my blogging journey in 2013 with a free Blogger (BlogSpot) blog that doesn't require any hosting and domain is optional too. But after a few months, I realized that I need to expand, and a self-hosted platform like Blogger is not the best choice for that.
WordPress is an undoubted choice then. Since 2013, I've been wandering from one host to another in the hope to find a perfect provider. The definition of 'perfect' in this context is a blend of multiple things in my philosophy.
If your host's uptime, speed, and security are good, then support is terrible. If their support is good, then their servers lack speed, and their excuse for not fixing it is that their support is excellent. So, overall, it's tough to find a good host. Especially for those who are new in this field with little money to start with.
Finally, I settled for SiteGround this year, and it's been 6 months already and not feeling like to move to another host when my contract ends. So, today in this SiteGround review, I'll cover all the cons and pros of choosing them as your host and how to start a blog with them.
SiteGround was founded in 2004 by Tenko Nikolov and a few of his university friends. SiteGround is a Sofia, Bulgaria based web hosting company. They only had a handful of people working from their university dorm rooms, in the beginning. But today the company has more than 400 employees and is continuously growing.
The company that was started in a university dorm room in Bulgaria now has datacenters at 5 major locations in the world including:
- Chicago, USA
- London, UK
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Milan, Italy
They host more than 1,600,000 domains which is a significant accomplishment on its own with this number growing by the hour.
Now let's talk about individual features that they offer along with their cons and pros.
Managed WordPress Services
According to W3Techs, WordPress powers more than 31% of all the websites on the internet. That's a really huge number considering there are hundreds of other CMS also available on the web.
That's where SiteGround excels. They love WordPress sites, and their love for WordPress help them to take care and manage your sites even better. Now you must be wondering then why do we need a Managed WordPress Hosting that costs more than $30 a month?
Well, that's the beauty of SiteGround. They offer "Managed WordPress Services" on all of their hosting plans. And that's not just for saying, they are committed to it.
|Managed WordPress services on hosting plans||NONE so far!|
|WordPress optimized servers|
|Enhanced WordPress security|
|WordPress development features like WP-CLI, Staging, and Git|
Reliable 24/7 Support
"Reliability" is what I always look for in a host because creating a website not only requires your efforts but your host's too. I don't care if you spend thousands of dollars to promote your hosting services or have a data center on the Himalayas. All I care about is reliable support.
I can always count on SiteGround for this purpose. No matter if you are a newbie or experienced, you got a problem with your site? Not an issue! Talk to them over their live chat that is way beyond than better and let them help you to fix it.
They either guide you to fix your problems while you're on the chat or in case of huge issues, their support staff creates a ticket on your behalf that gets resolved by their expert technical team in less than 10 minutes. I don't remember if they ever took more than 5 minutes to fix my case. That's what I call "Reliable."
Here are some of the things that I truly love the most about their support team:
- Always available: Like literally, there are no off days for their support. You need help, and they are always there for you. They offer support even on the public holidays. In case of other hosts, I've seen they stop the support for even 1 week which is enough to lose plenty of opportunities if your site is down.
- No waiting time: During my migration from one host to another, the one thing I hated the most about every provider out there is the "waiting time." They make you wait in the queues for like hours no matter if your site is down or you are losing billions of dollars every second. At SiteGround, it hardly takes 10 seconds to get connected with someone in the flesh. No B.S, only quality support.
- Humble behavior: I've faced this problem in my first few months with WordPress. I was a complete newbie and broke my site frequently. That's when I realized that you either need to learn WordPress or hire a WordPress professional or just give up! Because whenever I tried to ask my previous hosts for the help, they either made me wait for hours, told me to hire someone to fix it for me or pay them to do it. At SiteGround, I never felt like being ignored or criticized for asking them for help. They are so humble and kind that you won't even know that your problem is fixed in the background while they are talking to you.
- Highly reliable: There are no problems (I'm talking about website related issues only and not your real-world matters) that they can't help you to fix. Even there were times when I asked them for help, and interestingly the problem was not even associated with their hosting that means they are legally obliged to say "NO" to my request, but they still helped me or guided me to fix them. That's when I realized I could rely on these guys.
|Reliable Services||NONE so far!|
|No Waiting Time|
Google loves fast sites, and SiteGround helps you achieve that. Their hosting platform is built on the latest SSD (Solid State Drive) hardware instead of traditional HDD (Hard Disk Drive) based servers. SDDs itself make their hardware part of server optimization too strong.
Then for the software part, they use NGINX technology to increase your website's speed drastically. They keep their server updated with the latest available versions of PHP to make your site even faster and secure. Their servers support HTTP/2 and come with a free CDN to make your website fly!
The CDN that they offer with the Shared hosting is CloudFlare CDN that's available for free anyway on CloudFlare's site. But the good thing is that they have integrated CloudFlare into their cPanel, so you don't have to worry about manual setup and configuration for the best possible speed.
They have their own solution to improve your site's speed, and they call it SuperCacher. The SuperCacher is available exclusively for SiteGround customers. It boosts the website loading speed with 4 different caching options for maximum optimization of your websites.
Time To First Byte (TTFB) is one of the main factors that influence your site's speed. It basically means how quickly the server sends the first byte of the first file in response to a request. In my opinion, SiteGround needs to improve that a little bit.
I tested different configurations on my site including different plugins like WP-Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP Rocket with different CDNs like StackPath, CloudFlare, and Amazon CloudFront but I couldn't fix the poor TTFB. It's the only thing that bothers me. Have a look at the image below:
You can see that TTFB is miserably bad. Even though I chose "Singapore" as my server's data center, still the TTFB is 0.636 seconds which is way higher than a good TTFB. But as you can see after the loading of the first byte which takes 0.636 secs, the site loads completely in just 1.089 secs. That means, if we have to calculate only the time my site took to load then we can do so by subtracting Total Load time with TTFB. That gives us:
1.089 secs - 0.636 secs = 0.453 secs
This load time is impressive considering I've ads running too on my site and I'm currently using free CloudFlare CDN. The fact that my site's TTFB is even higher than its actual load time disappoints me. I hope SiteGround fixes it soon because it's not something that's specific to my account, it's related to their server configuration.
They also do a great job with server resource allocation. In my initial days of WordPress, I often faced this problem with my hosts that my sites went down due to overuse of server resources. It wasn't my site that was using the resources too much; it was their servers with low limits.
SiteGround gives you enough juice right out of the box to run multiple sites all at once without any hiccup. Here's what I see in my newly installed WordPress site on SiteGround:
PHP memory and time limits are impressive. I have more than 25 plugins on my site, and I never face any crashes or downtimes due to server overuse.
|SSD Hardware||TTFB requires improvement|
|SuperCacher for a drastic performance boost|
|Enough server resources to handles heaviest of sites|
Friendly User Area & cPanel UI
User Area is where you manage your account, billing, and essential services that you bought or you can go with just one click. It's like an administrative panel of your hosting account. Here's how it looks:
You can manage your account and perform various tasks like purchasing new services or upgrade the existing ones. It's clean and highly user-friendly.
You can check your existing sites under the "Installations" tab. You can even directly access your cPanel right from your User Area. Here's how the cPanel looks:
As you can see the user interface of cPanel is similar to the User Area. It's clean, simple, and lightweight. Even a newbie won't find any trouble in managing a SiteGround cPanel.
You can see your resource usage at the left sidebar of the cPanel. It's a useful feature and helps you keep track of your server usage.
It has Softculous Installer for easy one-click installation of hundreds of scripts like WordPress. You can enable CloudFlare CDN with just one click directly from your cPanel.
The one thing that bothers me is that they offer a limited disk space and inode usage while some of the competitors are still offering unlimited usage. Though what they offer is more than sufficient and I never see my sites reaching the server limits, but for the sites with lots of data, disk usage limit could be a problem.
On the bright side, it's a good thing as they are not making any false promises. You get what you paid for. It is good to put restrictions and live up to it than offering unlimited resources and making users experience downtimes due to overuse of server power.
|Separate User Area & cPanel||Limited Disk Space|
|One-click script installer|
|Easy to manage options|
They promise a 99.99% uptime guarantee which is a good thing and nothing extraordinary. Every host promises that, but you still experience downtimes with them in the name of "server maintenance."
I'm not available in front of my site 24/7 just like others, but before SiteGround, I got tons of emails like these almost daily from Jetpack in my absence:
It's been more 6 months when I moved to SiteGround and never got this email from Jetpack. That is the real uptime guarantee! But wait for a second, they promised only 99.99% right then what about the remaining 0.01%?
I was exploring my User Area and found a section under the support tab. According to that, SiteGround servers have been up for 100% times in the last one year. Below is a screenshot:
This is truly insane! These guys are offering you more than what they promised, and I really love that. SiteGround is one of those rare hosts that live up to their promise.
|Guaranteed Uptime||NONE so far!|
|Offering more than promised|
|Never lose important traffic|
|No fear of losing any leads|
Unlimited Free WordPress Migrations
This is something you don't commonly see in shared hosting. SiteGround recently launched this new system to move any number of WordPress sites from other hosts to them.
Previously they offered one free WordPress migration which had to be done manually by their team, but this new SiteGround Migrator plugin is genuinely revolutionary.
It's fully automated and migrates your entire WordPress site to SiteGround without any problems. This plugin is relatively new and requires some fine-tuning. I gave it a try, and my initial two attempts failed. It worked the third time just like "third time's a charm." I'm pleased that they have made this paid migration service free and available to all.
|Fully automated||The plugin requires some speed and efficiency improvements|
|Free of cost|
Free SSL + Bulletproof Security
SiteGround servers are secure as Fort Knox. But that's not all; they have Let's Encrypt SSL certificate issuer integrated into their cPanels. With just a click of a button, you can get a green padlock beside your site's address.
Not only that, they scan their servers with inbuilt virus protection engine powered by Sucuri. In case any kind of malicious code is found in any of your sites, an email notification will be sent to you.
That gives me total peace of mind as I'm not available in front of my websites all the time, but in case of any hacking attempt or malicious code on my server, they send me an email describing the issue.
I have a couple of sites on my SiteGround server, and I don't check some of them regularly. One of my sites had an old plugin installed. The developer of the plugin didn't update it in 2 years. I am not sure if the plugin's code was compromised or not, but I immediately received an email from SiteGround saying this:
This email was mildly infuriating for me at first, but practically it is a good step that they suspend your website if you don't take any action in 7 days. This prevents the spreading of infection to your other sites or other hosting plans running on the same server. One week is enough to clean your site, so I guess it's a good thing.
|Free SSL||NONE so far|
|Highly secured servers|
|Regular malware scans|
|One week grace to clean your websites|
Pricing & Plans
Their hosting plans are genuinely affordable. Their starter plan costs even less than the amount people spend on coffee every day. They offer 5 kinds of hosting services, i.e., Web Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Servers, Reseller Hosting, and Enterprise Hosting.
Majority of people (say 95%) go with web hosting only because it's sufficient to handle any size of business websites. They have three web hosting plans:
Let's discuss each of them one by one and see which one of them fits in your requirements.
1. StartUp Hosting by SiteGround
The StartUp Plan is best to accommodate average-size blog, personal, or business. If you are new to blogging or you're creating a new website from scratch, or you have a site with low traffic like a portfolio then this one is for you because it has a limit to handle ~ 10,000 monthly visits. In case you run out of this limit, you'll have to upgrade.
You can install only one website in StartUp plan so that's the only limitation you will face if you have more than one website or planning to have. Plus it has a 10GB SSD storage limit. It comes with all the essential features:
- 10GB SSD Storage
- Suitable for ~ 10,000 Visits Monthly
- Free Website Builder
- cPanel & SSH Access
- Free CMS Install
- 24/7 Technical Support
- Free Auto Daily Backups
- 30 Days Money Back
- Unlimited Email Accounts & DBs
- HTTP/2 Enabled Servers
- Free Let's Encrypt SSLs
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- GDPR compliant
2. GrowBig Hosting by SiteGround
This hosting plan is my personal favorite as it comes with more resources and some premium features in addition to the essential features. This plan is designed to accommodate either a single more heavily-trafficked website or multiple average-size websites. This is the best choice if you want to keep all of your websites under one roof.
Apart from the essential features that we saw in the StartUp plan, GrowBig comes with some premium features like:
- Unlimited Websites
- SuperCacher Support
- Daily Backups
- 1-Click Backup Restore
This plan can easily handle ~ 25,000 monthly visits and comes with a 20GB SSD storage limit.
3. GoGeek Hosting by SiteGround
If can't settle for anything ordinary then GoGeek is best for you. It is designed to handle really heavily-visited or resource-intensive website. The GoGeek plans are hosted on instances, where fewer users share the server resources.
Additionally, this plan is excellent for geeky developers as it comes with handy developer features like staging and git. It is the most powerful web hosting plan by SiteGround. GoGeek comes with a 30GB SSD storage limit and is capable of handling ~ 100,000 monthly visits.
It has all the essential features from StartUp hosting plan and premium features from the GrowBig plan. Some of the geeky features that are exclusive to GoGeek are:
- More Power Per User
- PCI Compliant E-Commerce
- Staging Features & Git Support
- On-Demand Instant Backups
Overall Pros & Cons
I mentioned only the pros & cons of every feature SiteGround offers. Below are the overall advantages and disadvantages of choosing SiteGround as your host.
- 5 Data Centers
- Managed WordPress services on all plans
- Reliable 24/7/365 Support
- Unmatched Performance
- Friendly Administration Panel UI
- 99.99% Uptime Guaranteed
- Unlimited WordPress Migrations
- Free SSL & CDN
- Poor TTFB (Time To First Byte)
- Limited Disk Space
SiteGround Discount Coupon 2018
This is a reward for all of you for reading such a long review. I have a special SiteGround coupon that will help you save 67% on SiteGround Web Hosting plans. The discounted prices will be as follows:
- StartUp Web Hosting:
- GrowBig Web Hosting:
- GoGeek Web Hosting:
Now you must be wondering how do I avail this SiteGround discount? It's straightforward! Simply click the button below, and it will open the SiteGround's website with discounted pricing.
Final Verdict - SiteGround Review 2018
It's rare to see quality these days, and SiteGround is built on a foundation of quality and dedication. I've covered almost everything in this SiteGround review including the individual features, their cons & pros, and pricing.
In case if you're still wondering if you should choose SiteGround as your host or not then my answer is a 100% YES. At such an affordable price tag, it's impossible to find all the features that they are offering. You should not think twice before going with them.
I hope you liked this review. If I missed anything, then do let me know in the comments section below and don't forget to spread the word by sharing it with your friends and family. Happy Blogging! 🙂