SiteGround 2017 Review - Speed, Security, Support & Price.. This Host Has It All?!
The SiteGround.com Website
We've been hosted with SiteGround for a pretty long time now, and that is why they're our number #1 most recommended host.
The support team is actually based in the US, in comparison to most hosts using outsourced virtual assistants from South East Asia with fake names/pictures.
Each server is individually optimized for speed and security.
And to top it all off... The pricing isn't going to break your site's budget anytime soon.
Warning: During points of this point, I make super nerdy points.. For those that don't have a technology/sys admin background, just trust in my opinion around those techy words and not the words themselves.
My experience with web hosting services over the years has taught me one vital thing: When choosing a provider, your primary consideration must be SUPPORT, RELIABILITY, and PERFORMANCE. Don't fall into the trap of focusing on price because with hosting services, you ultimately get what you pay for. I really can't stress it enough. I'm not preaching. I've fallen into the same trap over the years, so I speak from experience.
When it comes to support, reliability and performance, any imperfections in these areas will undermine the performance of your entire website. Having a solid foundation for your website can only be achieved through a great host. Take is seriously, it's like the foundations to a house. Building a house on poor foundations and the house is likely to collapse when any kind of pressure is put on it. In your website's case, this means that as soon as you get any serious traffic to the site, it's likely to collapse.
However, the process of locating a great web hosting company can be daunting. There are a lot of options with varying price and quality. However, this review should be a prime example of one of the best web hosts currently on the market. I am going to make a recommendation and it's based on my own personal experience. Introducing SiteGround, my #1 most recommended host.
Things To Consider Before Choosing A Host
Before you go ahead and buy any hosting package, there are several things you need to consider first.
Before you do anything, make sure you take the time to be clear in your own mind, what your specific needs are. It's the first step. Be sure to ask yourself these questions. Are you new to website creation or are you an expert looking to switch to a better web hosting solution? What’s your budget? Do you want to develop a "small" blog or create a heavy duty site such as an e-commerce store? Perhaps you're ambitious and you want a hosting provider that can grow as your website grows? These are all questions you ought to have answers to, even before taking the time to search for a host.
To make the process of conceptualizing your specific website needs simpler, I will summarize the most vital features you need to consider in relation to your possible hosting needs.
Service Specialty: You'll find that most shared hosting services tend to cater to one need and that's those who are looking to build smaller sites or simple blogs. It's easier and there potential customer base is larger. If you are wanting to create a larger site, one that receives more traffic, a site that is able to grow, then you'll need to get either a larger package or perhaps look at getting your own server. You could explore a VPS or a dedicated server.
Technical Specifications: You don't need to bog yourself down with too many technicalities but these are the ones that you should know and consider when choosing your hosting service. They include: RAM, processing power/useage limits, and disk space. Simple blogs need fewer quantities of these tech aspects whereas heavy-duty sites need more. When you see *unlimited, there are usually limits, you just have to upgrade your package to avoid the limitations. Check the small print.
Client Support: Must have reliable 24/7 client support over multiple levels of communication such as toll-free calling, online chat or email communication/tickets. Also, ensure that the client support department is not outsourced to another country or company. A mistake many people make when deciding on a hosting provider is they under value the importance of client support. Your time is money. The more time you waste trying to solve a problem rather than focusing your time on other parts of the business is taking money out your pocket.
User Interface: Must be easy to understand and navigate. This will decrease the amount of time and effort when upgrading package plans, or when modifying or updating your site’s content. Similar to time = money argument in the client support section. These days we are faced with numerous dashboards to find our way around. Make sure it's intuitive to save you time, and frustration.
About SiteGround Hosting
Founded in 2004, SiteGround is a well-known hosting company that has over a decade of experience in offering top-notch hosting solutions to individuals and companies worldwide. Experience is important. There are a lot of small issues that need ironing out when you offer hosting solutions. It's the nature of the technology. Dealing with a company that has worked their way through those teething problems mean you'll receive a much smoother experience. You don't want to become the guinea pig for a company new to hosting.
The service promises to offer a wide spectrum of hosting solutions characterized by cutting-edge tech innovations, great developer features, superior performance and reliable client support. Compared to other popular web hosting service providers I have used in the past, SiteGround’s almost perfect average uptime (approximately 99. 98%) sets it apart as it is well over the current industry standards.
In addition, the site offers 3 different web hosting plans / packages, namely, “startup”, “growbig”, and “gogeek” for the average customer. The “Start-Up” plan is a great choice for newbies in website creation, the “GrowBig” plan provides an excellent choice for those who grow their website, and the “GoGeek” plan is specially crafted for those wanting an affordable solution for larger sites. In short, each SiteGround packages make a great fit for those with or without technical expertise and provides room for the future growth of your website.
They also offer several cloud, reseller, VPS and dedicated server packages for those with more specialist requirements/needs.
- Exemplary Customer Support Services
- Implementation of unique in-house technology solutions
- Outstanding Speed and Performance
- Built-in features & speed optimization for WordPress and Joomla
- Pricing (can be assumed to be slightly expensive if service quality, performance and reliability are ignored)
- Has default CPU limitations, which can mean larger bursts of traffic can have your site go down for up to 24 hours - Easily removed via live support though, and very hard to reach.
Now it's time to get to the nitty gritty. Let's get into the specifics of the host, and cover every aspect of it in detail - We'll be running tests throughout and giving you examples wherever possible. Again, I'll try to avoid being too nerdy but If I do, trust me with the fact that I know what I'm talking about, and's necessary to know. I've experienced a lot of different service providers and feel I am able to accurately compare features on your behalf.
The main reason why performance speed is a vital criterion to consider when selecting a web hosting service, is because it determines the amount of traffic your website will get. Most users expect the pages they wish to access to load in less than 3 seconds. That's the current time period that's been backed up with study after study. On average, 40% of users will opt to abandon your site if they wait for more than three seconds for your site to load. I don't know of any site that can willingly accept that they're going to lose 40% of their traffic due to something that's easily fixed. Needless to say, this is the main reason why I have switched from one web hosting service to another over the years - As most hosting companies tend to get slower as their customer base grows. That was my experience, until now.
I must admit, out of the multiple web hosting services which promised to deliver quick and efficient server performance but did not, my experience with SiteGround has been truly refreshing. I have been enjoying an average page loading time MUCH quicker than most sites out there:
Editor Note: This page was tested prior to any sort of plugin/code speed optimization was used for this site. If we were to reduce file sizes, use image compression and various other techniques, we'd likely get an even quicker load time.
Often the quality of customer support is overlooked. Users are hung up on performance and price. But, customer support is super essential to the efficient running of your website. And as your website is an investment you need to try and see the bigger picture not focus just on upfront price. If you've ever had a bad customer support experience where you get to the point where you feel like slamming you head again a brick wall over and over, with overwhelming frustration, you'll know what I'm talking about. Ok, perhaps a little overdramatic, but you get the point.
Sure, surfing the internet for tutorials might be an option for fixing minor website and code errors, after all, the information is out there, if you know how to filter the valuable from the rubbish, but when it comes to unexpected server errors, however, you can’t waste valuable time and money (you have paid for the service) waiting for your website’s colossal failure. It's a false fallacy. You think you're saving time but the reality is, how do you value your time? Lets say you value your time at $30 an hour and you spend 4 hours searching 'how to' videos and fixing it, almost as much by trial and error as any skill. Then it's cost you an additional £120.
At the same time, in such situations, you can lose valuable traffic, sometimes permanently! Again, without sounding like I'm repeating myself, if your time was money, how long did it take you to get that traffic in the first place? 10 hours of work? 20? At $30 a hour, the additional cost for not using a hosting service that offers dynamic customer service is costing you hundreds of dollars. Any saving you think you're making by choosing a 'cheaper' hosting service is in fact more expensive in the long run.
Reliable customer support, particularly customer support characterized by quick response times and quick fixes to problems, should never be undermined. This was another reason why I switched from my previous web hosting service provider. I have a lot of technical know how. In many cases I could have made the fix myself but I value my time, so I would much rather have a specialized team do it and spend my time else where in my business.
From personal experience, I have had nothing but good experiences dealing with Site Ground. Their customer support can only be described as amazing as it has proven to not only be reliable, but also quick and efficient. For those who know me, I am not an easy customer to please, I have very high standards, so that's some recommendation.
They offer 24/7 client support over multiple levels of communication, including support ticket submissions replied in the form of emails, toll-free calling and instant chat. I find it kind of amusing. I normally get extremely frustrated waiting for reply to my problem that I'd love to jump on to a call, but many hosting companies don't give you such direct access. However, with Site Ground, their communication is so fast, I've not felt the need to call them. I like how accessible they've made themselves.
What is especially attractive about the client support email communication is the fact that I have never received an automated response to any of the queries I have submitted via a support ticket - Which SO many hosting providers do to cut costs. Is there anything more frustrating than a support ticket that is clearly a templated reply that doesn't actually answer the question you've asked? And then they immediately follow it up with a quality control questionnaire!
Also, the client support department is not outsourced to another country or company, which means the person who you will communicate with actually knows what they are talking about when providing solutions to your specific problems. SiteGround’s tech support team also frequently create and update free knowledge based articles and customized tutorials which will keep you up-to-speed with any significant web intel. The size and depth of their knowledge base is extremely impressive by most standards. They actually take customer service serious and don't just pay lip service to it. They realize that if they keep you happy you'll stay with you indefinitely.
Data centres matter when determining the quality of a hosting solution. Most customers don't bother to check the details of the datacentres used by the hosting service because they can't appreciate the difference between a better or lesser quality. Rest assured, I can. With SiteGround they are sure to partner with datacentres that rely on network connectivity with not just one carrier but multiple major carriers to maximize speed and availability.
Redundancy systems matter. This is when the datacentre keeps back up copies of servers, cables etc in case the server goes down. With a redundant system they are meant to keep the downtime to a minimum but there are different levels of redundancy. The reason why SiteGround is able to have such low downtime is because they absorb the extra cost and run a N+2 redundancy. This means they operate with a completely redundant system. They have 1 extra of everything. In other words, at anyone time the whole system could go down but it wouldn't affect the service (your website) because they have a complete system ready to take the weight. In real terms, none or very little downtime.
Finally, what matters most of all is the physical location of the data centre. The closer the data center is to your actual physical location, the faster your upload performance will be. SiteGround has a total of 5 global data centers in 5 well situated locations, namely: Chicago, Singapore, London, Milan and Amsterdam. Essentially, this means that the site places your website’s performance as their priority, regardless of the package you are paying , your site will be homed at the best location for site performance. Nothing is saved when it comes to performance quality.
I want to give you a fair and accurate view of my feelings and experience with SiteGround. In the past, I've had some issues with previous web hosting services which adhered to data retention and privacy laws. In other words, they didn't allow for the datacentre to be chosen. My experience on SiteGround has been a breath of fresh air. So far this has been a none issue, It's not the default setting but by opting to simply implement the site’s advanced option which allows its users to select services from any of the five data center locations - I chose one of the European data center which has worked perfectly for me to date, as I am based in the UK. Sounds like a small thing, I know but site speed plays a significant role in visitor experience and SEO the like.
Resource Allocation and Security Technologies
The key problem with most shared web hosting services is that they limit the hosting resources available to you. Some hosting services are open with the limitations they put on their shared hosting service whilst others are a little more open about their limitations, with you having to either read the small print of the terms or reach the maximum of the resources afforded you with your plan to realize your being limited. This is frustrating because as your business grows you would like to plan for it's continued growth and not be held back because your hosting service has their hand out for more money.
Furthermore, if an account belonging to a user sharing the same server as you is compromised security-wise, the entire server (including your website) can also be affected. Did you know that? Most don't. Website security is compromised on a daily basis and although you might take further precautions, if the websites that share your server don't you are just as compromised. This is where SiteGround really stands out. If it hasn't caught your attention yet, it should have now.
The shared hosting from SiteGround is cutting edge. It prides itself on being a web hosting provider that takes advantage of unique technologies that solve this specific security problem. They have recognized the problem. Why should you suffer because another website owner has either had some misfortune or hasn't taken the proper measures to protect their website and subsequently, the other sites on the server? And they have created a solution. Now you don't have to suffer.
SiteGround’s shared hosting services encompass a unique server isolation system that works to prevent any server vulnerabilities from taking down the entire network of users connected to it. Rather than have typical VPS hosting, they have developed a cloud container platform which features containers numbering in the thousands - I know, I did say at the start that I get a bit techy in this review.
Through this technology, you stand to gain the benefit of enjoying their system’s downtime prevention mechanism, in which server issues are quickly detected and resolved. My previous service provider needed at least 20 minutes to detect a server issue and an additional 20 to react and resolve it.. All manually. SiteGround’s unique software, however, does this process in real-time. Almost all of the performance issues I have experienced as a user on the site has been instantly detected and resolved automatically. They don't suffer from the same problems other service providers have because they've embraced technology.
Of course, every web hosting service provides security features for all its users. However, SiteGround goes the extra mile of providing you with tools such as SpamAssasin, IP address blocklists, SpamExperts, hotlink protection and Leech Protect. I hardly worry about my website being compromised or hacked even though I have been victim to these kinds of problems in the past with other hosting providers. And even if I am using a rogue plugin/piece of code, SiteGround's built-in protection generally blocks any executions.
Feel free to skip over this is you have no need for a reseller program, I appreciate most won't find this section of interest. However, it would be remiss of me to not review this package for web designers who offer a website maintenance package to their clients because it's actually a pretty good option.
You get a lot of the same benefits as the individual packages. You'll benefit from all the technical features, the datacentres and cutting edge security. The speed and performance of the hosting service. For those web designers and the like who offer packages that include hosting, the quality of the service you get with SiteGround means you don't have to worry that you're residual income is going to be in jeopardy because a competitor is trying to upsell your client to a hosting with better functionality.
Again, it comes down to customer support. When a website of one of your clients has an issue, they're going to contact you. You in return are likely to contact the customer service team using one of the channels available to you. The speed in which the US based, in-house customer service team reply, update and fix the problems means you are able to keep your client in the loop, and get the problem fixed quicker than most hosting providers I've worked on. Their excellent customer support is going to reflect well on the impression your client has on your customer support. Using a reseller package with SiteGround is going to help you manage your reputation with your clients.
Finally pricing. For such quality of service, they are probably the most cost effective. You can get cheaper, but expect lower quality. It may or may not make a difference, depending on the size of your clients and the importance of their website, but if you want to offer the best then this reseller package is worth serious considersation
If you are one of the technically biased individuals who are keen on web hosting specifics, SiteGround is bound to impress you with its ability to provide unlimited email accounts and user databases. Moreover, if you have an existing website that is currently being hosted by another provider, SiteGround will provide the benefit of allowing you to transfer your account's for free. If you are a newbie in website development, you can enjoy the site’s free provision of domain names and site builders for a year. It just makes everything easier.
What’s even better is the fact that SiteGround’s “SuperCacher” (customized backup software) will allow you to receive daily backups which take only an hour. This is a huge contrast to most of the web hosting services I have had the displeasure of purchasing that took almost an entire day to run and preserve any modifications I made to my website! This technology is available in four options, namely, static, Memcached, dynamic, and HHVM caches. Now's not the time to go into too many specifics, I wouldn't like to bore those not interested in the technicalities to tears, but just know, your website can be backed up to your specifications with very little work or time needed.
In my experience, SiteGround’s WordPress hosting offers the most advantages to newbies in website creation and management and is even more valuable to professionals in the field. It's normally very rare to be able to do both well. This is due to the fact that the site will oversee the installation of your WordPress through its uniquely created hosting services for the WordPress niche. SiteGround’s WordPress hosting service will grant your website with automated daily backups, enhanced security, staging, page caching, faster load times and most importantly, frequent system updates for all of your automated content management - Which further bolsters security.
SiteGround also offer a specialized Joomla service. I'm not a regular user of Joomla but some people swear by it. SiteGround offers competitive packages as rich in features as their WordPress equivalent that I've spoken about so positively. They have servers specifically optimized for Joomla delivering in performance, the reviews are impressive and the pricing reasonable. I won't spend too long going through it, because I can't speak from experience, I'm just making an observation based on what they offer and my own experiences to date, but definitely worth the time to research.
Lastly, the site has an extremely user-friendly interface characterized by free and easy "one-click" installation processes for add-ons and upgrades. SIteGround’s all-inclusive user interface applies a custom version of cPanel, which is simple to learn even for users with limited website creation and management skill sets. If you are a newbie, SiteGround’s IU is guaranteed to offer you the ease and comfort you need to get started.
Alterantives To SiteGround
If you happen to already be with SG and have had a bad experience or simply didn't find what you were looking for, let me point you in the direction of some other options you have. Don't misunderstand me, I love SiteGround because my experience so far leads me to rave about it, but there is never just one way to skin a cat when it comes to web hosting services. I respect people are different so here are 2 other hosts I can recommend that should be a bit more up your alley.
If you're looking for THE best, fastest and most secure host specifically for WordPress sites only. Then WPEngine is the way to go. They're conclusively (from our testing) the best WordPress host on the planet. They've decided to take the idea of doing just one thing but doing it really well, and they've delivered. Big time.
The only downfall WPEngine has is their pricing, but if you're willing to pay the extra few bucks per month for the best. You certainly get what you paid for. If you want real quality with your website hosting than this is the host to go with.
DreamHost is well renowned for being one of the oldest hosts on the market, and specifically created for the blogging/blogger market. It is used by masses of bloggers all over the globe, owing to the fact that its greatest features include reliable speed and security at an extremely affordable price of $4.95 monthly. However, the site does not offer a site builder for WordPress, which makes it more difficult for beginners to use. There are other ways to install wordpress, and with a bit of application and an hour to watch a Youtube video, it's not a major drama, but boy do I love 'one clicks'.
All round, if I had to make a stand and say which hosting provider was the best in the market at the moment. I would say SiteGround is our #1 most recommended host. I don't make my recommendations lightly and my expectations are higher than most, but SiteGround seem to have figured out what is important for an all round hosting service, and they've delivered.
It's got a well-built network, fantastic customer support, revolutionary & unique technology, great security measures and you simply get what you pay for.
The quality of the servers is directly comparable with any other host on the market. The specifications for the price show that the service is built to deliver quality. My website speed test demonstrates that. Even without any speed optimization. No files have been reduced or images compressed and still the site loads at less than 2 seconds. It's almost unmentionable when talking about a hosting service in this price range.
The attention to detail with reliability has no equal. The datacentres, their back up policy and redundant systems. The location of the datacentres and the opportunity to fine tune your hosting service to best suit your needs, thanks to the accessible and intuitive advance features, collective results in genuine uptown statistics of 99.8% with the process of managing issues automated to be fixed in real time.
Some readers might have skimmed to the conclusion so for your sake, and at risk of repeating myself and irritating those who have already read my views on this. The customer support is second to none. I am a demanding client, but the support is fast and effective. Personally I like the fact that I get personalized responses. Always. That the customer support team is US based and part of the company. It makes them able to understand my problems and be able to solve my problems much more effectively. They could have tried to save money, but they haven't. It will probably be the main reason I stick around. Having an issue with my websites will ultimately cost me money. The speed they deal with my problems is going to help me put more money in my pocket.
And finally. I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that SiteGround uses cutting edge technology to keep your website safe at all times. When you share hosting, which most small websites and blogs do, you put yourself at risk. If another website is hacked, you're at risk. But thanks to SG's unique server isolation system they can stop this from being an issue. A small difference that gives peace of mind. Plus they make creating backups quick and painless.
The ONLY downfall for us is the requirement to get a yearly subscription plan, with no monthly payment options. It makes sense to pay the yearly subscription because your hosting is the foundations for the your website. Create your website on the right foundations and you are putting yourself in a good position to be successful. But, aside from that, it's a truly fantastic host and should be the pinnacle of what every other hosting company on the market strive to be.