SiteGround is a Bulgarian company launched in 2004 by university students. Since then, it has grown steadily, and is now home to over 400 employees and nearly 2 million domains.
The support team is available 24/7 every day of the year. According to their website, they also seem to highly value loading speed.
There is a lot to process, and SiteGround promises tons of benefits. But is it all true?
After having tested its hosting services, I decided to write this SiteGround review, which I hope will help you decide whether it’s the best option for your website.
But if you don’t have time to read this SiteGround review, just watch this short video I put together for you:
The following SiteGround prices are for their shared hosting plans, which is the most popular service. SiteGround offers additional hosting options (e.g. dedicated servers or cloud hosting), you cansee their costs here.
|Support||Phone, email and live chat||Phone, email and live chat||Phone, email and live chat|
|Storage||10 GB||20 GB||40 GB|
|Database||UnlimitedMax. size 500MB||UnlimitedMax. size 750MB||UnlimitedMax. size 1000MB|
|Subdomains, FTP accounts, email accounts and bandwidth||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Backup, Caching & Staging||30 days, static caching, dynamic not included||30 days, static & dynamic caching||30 days, static & dynamic caching|
|First term price||$6.99/month||$9.99/month||$14.99/month|
What can you expect from each SiteGround plan?
SiteGround offers 3 shared hosting plans, which, in most cases, adjust to the needs of most users – unless you have a really big website. Note that all the plans share the following features:
- They do not limit the traffic that your website can receive. But of course, if you have a lot of monthly visitors (e.g. over 100,000), the shared hosting might fall short
- Databases and unlimited email accounts
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- SSD disks and it’s own caching system
- 24-hour phone, chat and email support
But, of course, not all SiteGround plans are equal. Below, we’ll take a look at their main differences.
StartUp: Ideal for users that have a single small-to-medium-sized website and need less than 10 GB of space. In this plan you’ll have the cache service for static content only (this will make your website faster). Advanced features (e.g. staging) aren’t part of this package.
GrowBig: This plan was created to store more than one website, with 20 GB of space. You’ll have access to the staging tool, and their (smart) on-demand backups system. On top of the caching system for the static content, this plan makes it possible to cache dynamic content.
GoGeek: In addition to offering you more space (40 GB) and better-performing servers, this plan gives you access to pre-installed Git repositories. It also comes with support for white label hosting, something agencies will appreciate.
SiteGround Pros & Cons
|Excellent uptime: SiteGround has some of the best availability figures around (nearly 100%). We’ll cover this more below.High-speed hosting: Because of the hardware they use (e.g. SSD disks) and the software solution (e.g. SG Optimizer and HTTP/2), they offer above-average speeds.Easy and intuitive to use: Your system is easy to use, and the features are perfectly integrated between them.Excellent support and assistance: SiteGround offers a very complete level of customer care. Its tutorials and guides are also high quality.Server location: When you open your account with SiteGround, you can choose between servers in America, Asia, Australia and Europe.Advanced features: SiteGround incorporates features that many other hosting providers don’t have. For example, staging, own caching or Git repositories. Or free integrations with CloudFlare or Let’sEnrcypt (SSL).Unlimited traffic: they don’t measure your website’s traffic.Collaborators: With SiteGround you’ll be able to create additional users with access to the different websites you manage.||Price: Personally, I think that SiteGround offers a good price-quality ratio, but it certainly isn’t the cheapest in the market.Professional migrations: If you’d like a SiteGround support agent to take care of your website migration, you’ll be requested to pay $30. There is a free WordPress migration plugin that you can use.|
What is SiteGround used for?
SiteGround offers unbeatable services and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. It’s suitable for serious projects, and if you need more performance down the line, you can upgrade to one of its premium hosting plans (e.g. cloud or dedicated). I especially recommend it for:
- Online stores
- Professional bloggers
- Websites that run on WordPress (more information)
- Large corporate websites
- Developers and designers that want quality and good support
- Those looking for features like staging, Git repositories or SSH access
- In general, anything that will require high-performance solutions
Remember that you can try SiteGround for 30 days with no obligation.
When not to use SiteGround hosting?
Even though SiteGround adapts to many profiles, in some cases it might not be the best option, for example:
- If you’re looking for cheap hosting
- If you want Windows-based servers (check InMotion Hosting or A2 Hosting)
- If you need a lot of webspace and have a small budget
|Ease of Use||SiteGround’s backend can be followed easily. It is intuitive and you won’t get lost in any of its pages or subpages. The hosting is administered via their own visual interface that you can customize to adapt it to your needs (e.g. decide to show some sections or not). Their backend looks very modern, it was completely redesigned in 2019.|
|Domain Names||You can create unlimited sub-domains. It’s possible to add more than one domain name. Bear in mind that with the StartUp plan, you can only have one website. You can also install your websites on a free (SiteGround) subdomain, which may come in handy when creating test sites.|
|Email Rating||They offer unlimited email accounts. Plus, you can connect your email service to other services, like Gmail. Space limit per account: 2 GB Startup, 4 GB GrowBig and 6 GB GoGeek.|
|Databases||You can create as many databases as you want, but with maximum sizes of 500 MB for the StartUp plan, 750 MB for GoBig and 1000 MB for GoGeek. If you need more you can get cloud hosting, which is unlimited. You’ll be able to use MySQL and PostgreSQL.|
|Applications||You can use their interface to install dozens of apps like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, Moodle, ZenCart, etc. The installation process is very straightforward and will only take a couple of minutes.|
|Webspace Limit||The StartUp plan comes with 10 GB of webspace, the GrowBig package has 20 GB, and GoGeek has 40 GB of webspace.|
|Monthy Data Transfer Limit||There is no data transfer limit.|
|FTP Accounts and Secure FTP||You can create as many FTP accounts as you need. SSH and SFTP connections are also possible.|
|Server Location||They have several data centers across 4 continents: specifically, in Iowa, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Singapore and Sydney.|
|Security Features||SiteGround isolates all accounts, so if you have a vulnerable IP neighbor, you won’t be affected. You can use Let’s Encrypt to add SSL encryption in any SiteGround plan. Additionally, you can enable 2-factor identification to grant extra-security to your SiteGround account.|
|Server Speed||They use high-speed SSD disks – few hosting providers are faster. The GrowBig and GoGeek plans offer a caching system for your dynamic content too, which greatly improves the speed. Their loading times are fantastic, as you can see in these tests.|
|Uptime||The SiteGround servers offer magnificent availability. In fact, they return a part of your monthly cost if it’s under 99.9%. In my over 3 years of uptime testing, they never went below 99.98%.|
|Backups||They make daily backups. You can ask them to restore one of the last 30 if there’s an emergency. With the GrowBig and GoGeek plan, you’ll have more options for creating and accessing your own backups.|
|CDN||Even though it isn’t directly included in its plans, you can integrate CloudFlare in a single click. Plus, let’s not forget that CloudFlare offers a free plan.|
|Server Features||They use PHP. You can choose among PHP 7.4, 7.3, 7.2, 7.1, 7.0 and 5.6. You can use MySQL and PostgreSQL to manage the databases. In the shared hosting, you have a PHP memory limit of 768M. If you need more, you’ll have to get cloud or dedicated hosting.|
|Refunds and Guarantees||They promise to deliver over 99.9% uptime and they will compensate you financially if they don’t. They have a 30-day refund guarantee.|
|Assistance and Support||You could contact them via live chat, phone or email. Our experience with their support was very positive. Plus, they have a ton of support material and easy-to-follow guides – sometimes those could be a bit more detailed.|
|Overall Rating||4.7/5||I love SiteGround. Its speed is very good and its availability figures are unbeatable. But keep in mind that you’ll need some budget as it’s not the most affordable provider. You can try SiteGround for a month, and they’ll refund you if you aren’t satisfied.|
What does SiteGround’s backend look like?
In 2019 SiteGround moved away from its old (but good) cPanel to a more modern approach. I have to say that I really like the new system, it looks much nicer than cPanel and it’s intuitive to use.
As a heavy cPanel user, I thought I’d miss it, but I have to say that it only took me a couple of hours to familiarize myself with the new SiteGround panel.
Besides the new design, my favorite dashboard enhancement is that now websites are treated (managed) individually. This means that each site will have their own separate admin panel, which makes things easier if you have a couple of projects hosted on SiteGround (e.g. you can back up 1 site as opposed to having to back up the whole account).
On top of that, it’s possible to add users to your admin panel and assign them to individual sites and roles. As you can imagine, this is a game-changer for big teams and agencies as they will be able to give access to clients.
SiteGround’s approach to Backups
Personally, I think that backups (alongside performance and support) are one of the most crucial features of a hosting provider.
True, you can connect a 3rd party service that creates backups for you (e.g. UpdraftPlus for WordPress), but I am of the opinion that having it integrated with your host is more efficient and easier to manage.
So I looked very closely at SiteGround’s backup system, and I have to say, it’s the best one I found for providers in this price range (e.g. WPEngine is better, but also way pricier).
Here is what I liked about it:
- The backup feature is seamlessly integrated with SiteGround’s system. So no foreign system which could create conflicts needs to be used.
- Backups for each site are managed individually, which means that you can create a backup for just one of your sites instead of having to create backups for all your SiteGround hosted sites.
- Having the option to create on-demand backups is a dream for those pushing code or system and plugin updates. Before doing so, you can create a backup for your peace of mind.
- Backups are useless unless you have an easy and effective way to restore them. SiteGround only requires a couple of clicks.
- And finally, the on-demand and restore backup options are included in the GrowBig and GoGeek plans at no extra cost – other providers charge for similar (worse) features.
There are a couple of things I’d like to be a bit different, for example, there’s a quota limit of 5 manual backups per site (you’ll have to delete an old one if the limit was reached), and there’s no way to download your backups, you can only restore them.
Please, be aware that the advanced backup capabilities (create on-demand and restoring) are only available with the GrowBig and GoGeek plans. With the entry-level plan, you will have 30-day backups, but you’ll need to contact support to restore them, no on-demand backup.
Testing SiteGround’s hosting
I used StatusCake to measure the availability (uptime) of SiteGround’s servers. The fewer the interruptions the better. It’s recommended to have uptime figures above 99.95%.
The uptime results obtained with SiteGround are impressive, and even better than their direct competitors, like Bluehost.
SiteGround uptime test
And SiteGround refunds you part of your money if your availability falls below 99.9%. If availability is one of your concerns, SiteGround is a hosting provider you can count on.
Is SiteGround fast?
In my experience, SiteGround is without a doubt one of the fastest and most consistent hosting providers. When we compare it to other providers (e.g. Bluehost), its loading time is impressive:
|Pingdom test 1(New York)||0.895 s||5.02 s|
|Pingdom test 2(San Jose, CA)||1.22 s||5.51 s|
|Pingdom test 3(Stockholm, Sweden)||2.10 s||5.46 s|
|GT Metrix test 1(Dallas)||1.5 s||4.5 s|
|GT Metrix test 2(London, UK)||1.6 s||4.1 s|
|GT Metrix test 3(Vancouver, Canada)||1.1 s||5.1 s|
|Webpagetest 1(Phoenix, AZ)||2.214 s||7.501 s|
|Webpagetest 2(Los Angeles, CA)||1.691 s||5.274 s|
|Webpagetest 3(Orlando, FL)||1.653 s||4.958 s|
|StatusCakeAverage Load Time||1.442 s||2.320 s|
I’ve used the same testing site and similar hosting configurations for these tests. Source data.
SiteGround’s WordPress optimization plugin
SiteGround has a plugin for optimizing websites for WordPress. It’s amazing – it does the work of 3 or 4 plugins. On top of managing your website’s cache options, it also gives you options for:
- Lazy loading images
- Combination of CSS files
- Optimization of browser cache
- GZIP Compression
WordPress speed optimization SiteGround plugin
The results are exceptional. That’s why I think thatSiteGround is one of the quickest hosting services I have ever tried. If you need high-speed hosting for your project, I’d really recommend it.
One of the blessings of SiteGround is that it has CloudFlare’s CDN pre-integrated – this is one of the most popular services, and they offer a free account you can use. I have to say that the free plan has some limitations, but it can still significantly improve your loading speed.
I tested how a single webpage loads with the enabled CDN and without it. The test website is on a server in England, and I wanted to check how it loaded from a geographical point further away. For this, we decided to perform loading tests from Dallas. We used the free Pingdom tool.
Test without CDN
We can see that even without the CDN, we get acceptable results. The total loading time was 3.20 seconds, we loaded 1.2 Mb and it received a score of 80 out of 100.
Here are the results with the CDN enabled:
Test with CDN
Repeating the test with CloudFlare’s CDN activated (in its free version), we see how loading time improves by nearly half a second. The size of the page is the same and our final loading score is better by 12 points.
So, if you’re going to use SiteGround for your website, it may prove very useful for you to activate CloudFlare’s CDN. Even the free version would help improve your website’s performance.
SiteGround Review: Final reflections
I was drawn to how SiteGround speaks about their own support services, their promises, availability and speed.
But do they meet expectations?
After years of trying them out, I think they offer a very good service. They have one of the best loading speeds I have ever tried in shared hosting. The SiteGround support team is fast, effective and friendly – many competitors fail here. Plus, if you’re looking for the best technology, SiteGround offers much more than average (e.g. Git or Staging environment).
Of course, this web hosting service is in the medium-to-high price range, and it would not be ideal for small-budget projects. Its advanced backup features are fantastic, but they aren’t available in the lowest plan for free.
I hope you found this SiteGround review helpful. But please, leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments.
> You cantake a 30-day, no obligation trial of SiteGround.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SiteGround good for WordPress?
Sure, SiteGround is a big player in the WordPress community (they are even a recommended host by WordPress themselves). But what I love about the SiteGround + WordPress combination are all the extra WordPress features they have. Let me name my favorites:
- An amazing speed optimization plugin for WordPress that allows you to configure your caching options, automatically optimize image size, lazy load images or minify your source code, among others.
- SiteGround has a starter plugin that will guide you whilst setting up your WordPress site. I personally don’t use it but it can be a nice bonus for beginners.
- SiteGround has a flexible system for WordPress and plugin updates that you can rely on. For example, you can decide that plugins are updated as soon as a new version comes out or you can leave it as a manual process (you do it).
- Advanced WordPress tools that make my life easier. For example, having the option of creating staging areas (copies of my site I can experiment with) has saved me from pushing wrong coding updates onto my live website.
- A migration plugin to easily move your WordPress site when you bring your site to SiteGround for the first time.
Is SiteGround better than Bluehost?
SiteGround is a better option than Bluehost because of its better performance (uptime and speed), friendly support, more advanced (free) backup options, pricing transparency and the different available data centers (servers) in 4 continents: USA, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Bluehost’s shared plans offer more storage, and prices can be a (tiny small bit) cheaper, assuming you don’t need a 3rd party provider for the missing Bluehost features (e.g. advanced backups).
So generally speaking, I think SiteGround is a more rounded service. For more information check out my detailed comparison of these two hosting powerhouses.
Does SiteGround offer a free domain?
SiteGround doesn’t include a domain name in its plans. You’ll have to purchase one separately from them (around $16 a year for a .com domain) or buy one from a third-party provider that hopefully is a bit cheaper (e.g. Namecheap).
However, their hosting plans come with email accounts, so you’ll be able to use a professional-looking email like firstname.lastname@example.org. This option is available even if you register the domains with a third-party provider like Namecheap, provided you connect the domain properly to your SiteGround server.