Siteground Review: The Web Hosting World's Best Kept Secret (May 2017)

If you're here reading this, you're obviously interested in using SiteGround as your web host. Not only that, but you're looking for real data regarding SiteGround's reliability and not just anecdotal stories about great experiences someone might've had. 

Well, you're in luck! In this review you will find both of those things . . . real-life stories about how SiteGround has treated my website AND in-depth statistics proving SiteGround's edge over other well-known hosting providers.

A Quick TL;DR For Those of You with Short Attention Spans

SiteGround is a web host, meaning they provide a doorway for your site to be connected to the world-wide web. SiteGround is fairly new in the web hosting industry, but they’re not rookies when it comes to providing unparalleled hosting services. The company began in 2004 by a group of IT professionals who were college friends. Today, SiteGround remains independently owned and employs a technical workforce of over 280 experts that tends to 450,000+ domains, and is featured in WordPress.org’s list of recommended hosts.


Cons 

Their monthly subscription for shared hosting plans comes with a set-up fee

There's no provision for unlimited storage or bandwidth with SiteGround hosting plans

Pricing isn't as competitive as some other well-known web hosts

 

 

Pros 

Industry-leading up-time

Minimal server response time

Legendary customer support

Advanced features such as SuperCacher, server account isolation technology, and toolkits for WordPress and Joomla

Advanced security practices used to protect your site against attacks

A money-back period of 30 days

Up to 60% off your initial sign-up


My 8-Step Web Host Review Process

I think it’s safe to say that you might be reluctant to spend your money on a service based on second-hand information alone. The same was true in my case. I've mentioned that there’s an endless list of web hosting companies with varying services. How could we be sure which one was the best?

So this is how I thoroughly vetted each web hosting service, after compiling a list of the most well-known and reviewed services available today:

  1. I started by seeing what tech “experts” had to say about the particular web host. A simple Google search sufficed for this.
  2. If the service appeared to be highly rated by the “experts”, I then checked the particular web host on TrustPilot to see what users had to say about their experiences with the service. This was a great step for getting a feel for factors such up-time and customer support. The reason I did this is because I believe user reviews are often less biased than “expert” testimonials. And besides, what’s the motto . . . the customer is king?
  3. Then, if the web hosting service passed a particular threshold of user satisfaction, I would move onto this third step. I went ahead and signed up for either a free trial or actually paid for a basic monthly subscription. I wanted to be able to test the web host’s speed and features for myself.
  4. So after signing up for the web hosting service, I went ahead and installed WordPress. Why? Well, I wanted to see how easy the 1-click install was. I also wanted to be able to judge how user intuitive the dashboard or cPanel was.
  5. This step was the most important. After installing WordPress, I was left with a website with no traffic. What use is a no-traffic site when it comes to testing the functionalities of a web hosting service? So I went ahead and ordered some decent traffic (1,000+ visitors a day) from a freelancer on Fiverr. The traffic came in the form of bots, but they behaved and used up bandwidth like actual human users.
  6. After traffic started coming, I set up Google Analytics so I could see very specific stats regarding website speed and loading times.
  7. I also made sure to set up an account with Pingdom so I could track up-time and server response times.
  8. I then analyzed the analytics and compared them with the results from the other hosting services.

After many late nights and early mornings of careful research, I was able to taper the content of my long list to three: Site Ground, A2 Hosting, and HostGator Cloud Hosting. Well-known GoDaddy didn’t even make it past the second step because of both past personal experience and user dissatisfaction. Bluehost also shouldn't have made it past the second step because of poor customer satisfaction scores, but I decided to include it since it's probably the web host with the most name recognition.


The Stats

Before I reveal the web host data, I want to give a quick definition of the two main data points I studied: up-time and server response time.

A web host's up-time is the percentage of time their service has gone uninterrupted. It's pretty obvious why this is an important number to gauge. What happens if the server goes down? Well, your visitors won't be able to access your site, which could lead to lost sales and a poor user experience.

A web host's server response time (SRT) is the amount of time it takes for a web server to respond to a request from a browser. The SRT is important for you to keep track of because it plays an important role in page speed. The higher the SRT, the slower the page will load; and the slower your page speed, the more impatient your visitors will become. This is backed up by a recent Google study that determined that 53% of users abandoned a mobile website if the page loading time exceeded 3 second. Just like poor up-time, slow-as-a-turtle page speeds can mean fewer visitors, less article viewership, and lost sales.

With those data points in mind, it's easy to see how picking the wrong web host can affect, or even break, your business website or blog.

Alright, so enough with the explanation . . . let's dive into the data. I promise it won't be too mind-numbing!


SiteGround Stats

SiteGround's up-time this month was as close to 100% as you can get, and as you can see below, the only service disruption was for 1 minute. In terms of the average monthly server response time, SiteGround fared really well . . . especially when compared with Bluehost. In fact, SiteGround's 708ms SRT was almost 2x as fast as Bluehost's 1,359ms SRT, which you will see in just a bit.

SiteGround review

In the Google Analytics dashboard for my SiteGround test site, you will see that SiteGround's performance for the last week of the test outdid even it's monthly SRT average . . . with a server response time of 0.41 seconds, or 410ms.

SIteGroundGA

HostGator Cloud hosting Stats

You can see that HostGator Cloud's SRT was a bit faster than SiteGround's. However, up-time wasn't as solid as Siteground's was. There were 5 service disruptions compared to SiteGround's one. 

HostGator Cloud Hosting

A2 Hosting stats

Like HostGator Cloud, A2 Hosting's server response time was a shade better than SiteGround's. But also like HostGator Cloud, A2's up-time didn't match SiteGround's.

A2 Hosting

bluehost stats

Ah, and now we're on to Bluehost. I made sure to include Bluehost because you need to know one thing.

Bluehost isn't as great as their army of affiliate marketers would have you to believe.

Just take a look at the up-time and server response time. Off the bat you can see a service outage of 36 minutes. Just to put that into perspective . . . let's say you average 20,000 visitors a month to your e-commerce store. That means that you're averaging around 667 visitors a day . . . and a day has 1,440 minutes in it. So a service outage of 36 minutes = approximately 20 less potential customers. Ok, so 20 less potential customers might not seem like a big deal, but what if two or three of them where in the middle of checking out? 

The serve response time is pretty poor, too. It's almost 2x the SRT of Site Ground, and almost 3x as slow as A2 Hosting.

I think it's safe to say that Bluehost will most likely not be a smart investment for you to make. And don't just take my word for it, make sure to read the reviews and experiences of other real customers.

Bluehost Review

4 Simple Reasons SiteGround Could Be the Right Web Host for You

 

1. SiteGround Has 5 Data Centers on 3 Continents.

SiteGround Data Centers

This sets SiteGround apart for this simple reason: many web hosts only have servers in one location. Server location is important because it impacts the loading time of your website. Think about it this way - if you live in Berlin and your site used to be hosted in Amsterdam but is now hosted in Chicago, your site will most likely load slower than before because your data now has more distance to travel. With SiteGround, it doesn't matter if you live in North America, Europe, or Asia . . . you'll receive the same performance in each place.

2. siteground offers an Unmatched Combination of Up-time reliability and speed.

This doesn't need to be explained in detail considering the data we went over just a bit ago. Other sites have better server response time or better up-time, but none of them are better than SiteGround in both data points.

3. siteground customer support treats you like you're their only customer.

SiteGround makes some pretty bold claims on its site about responding to tickets in under 10 minutes and resolving the majority of issues within 30 . . . but how many companies make big promises yet fail to deliver?

SiteGround Support

Luckily, within the first few days of signing up for SiteGround, I had the opportunity to see if SiteGround "walked its talk." 

I was running into an issue with my website failing to load (a pretty whopping issue if you ask me!), so I went ahead and submitted a ticket, which you can see here. Note the time.

SiteGround Support

9 minutes later, I received a detailed response from tech support. Not only did the rep outline my problem with a screenshot, but he went ahead and resolved the error for me. 

9 minutes!

That's lightning-fast service. Go ahead and read the reviews of customers of other web hosts who complain about not having a ticket resolved for over 2 months.

Do you want to be left hanging for 2 months . . . especially if it's costing you financially?

4. SiteGround's Quality is Backed by Hundreds of Real-life Customer Reviews.

When it comes to making a purchase decision, one of the most valuable resources has to be reviews from consumers like yourself. Why is this? Well, because sadly, there are an untold amount of internet marketers out there who are either writing biased reviews on products they've actually never tested or are unduly influenced by the bottom dollar.

So you need to be reading what actual customers of the product (in this case, Site Ground) are saying - you need to be aware of their unique stories and experiences.

Here's a place you can start - TrustPilot SiteGround Reviews.


3 Reasons SiteGround Might Not Be the Right Web Host for You

 

1. SiteGround's pricing isn't as competitive as some of the other well-known web hosts.

If you're looking to host a simple blog as a hobby and aren't expecting a lot of traffic, up-time and server response time won't be a deal-breaker for you. In that case, you'd be well off going with a cheaper hosting company.

However, we're a firm believer in you get what you pay for. If your business relies on heavy traffic and quick responsiveness, it makes sense to spend a few more dollars a month to ensure a flawless user experience for you visitors/customers.

2. SiteGround's monthly plan involves an initial set-up fee.

If you're looking to pay on a monthly basis instead of annually, SiteGround will charge you a $14.95 set-up fee . . . so basically an admin fee. Most other web hosts don't do this.

3. SiteGround's Storage Space is Limited compared to other hosts

SiteGround's storage isn't as substantial compared to some other big-name web hosts. The good thing is that SiteGround tells you upfront how much storage and visitors your site will be able to handle. In addition, you can easily upgrade at a reasonable cost to a plan that can handle the amount of data and visitors you need.


SiteGround pricing

All shared hosting plans offer a free domain, free SSL certificate, free site transfer, free CloudFlare CDN, and unlimited MySQL DB. The SiteGround shared hosting plans are the following:

1. StartUp Plan

  • Convenient for 10,000 monthly visits
  • $3.95 per month with free setup (subscription for 1-year, 2-years or 3-years)
  • 1-month trial for $3.95 per month with $14.95 setup fee
  • 1 website with 10GB web space
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 1 copy of free daily backup
  • Plus all essential SiteGround features

Please note that according to SiteGround, the number of visitors does not have a limit imposed on it as the host doesn’t do a per-visit count. Instead, a CPU seconds count is utilized. I’ll throw more light on this as we go on with our SiteGround review.

2. GrowBig Plan

  • Convenient for 25,000 monthly visits
  • $7.95 per month with free setup (subscription for 1-year, 2-years or 3-years)
  • 1-month trial for $7.95 per month with $14.95 setup fee
  • Multiple websites
  • 20GB web space
  • 30 copies of free daily backup
  • Year of a free Wildcard SSL certificate
  • Priority technical support
  • SuperCacher for optimised speed

3. GoGeek Plan

  • Convenient for 100,000 monthly visits
  • $11.95 per month with free setup (subscription for 1-year, 2-years or 3-years)
  • 1-month trial for $14.95 per month with $14.95 setup fee
  • Multiple websites
  • 30 GB web space
  • 30 copies of free daily backup
  • Year of a free Wildcard SSL certificate
  • Priority technical support
  • SuperCacher for optimised speed
  • Free PCI compliance

Additional SiteGround Plans

 

1. SiteGround Cloud Hosting Plan

Site Ground offers ultra-fast hosting plans that are cloud-based. They are great for both small web-development projects or a large-scale enterprise websites.

All cloud hosting plans include 24/7 VIP technical support, free CDN (CloudFlare), auto-administered servers and daily off-site backups of your account. All the required software are pre-installed on your server alongside a free personal SSL, SSH access, free domain name, a dedicated IP address, IP table based firewall, MySQL 5, a range of PHP versions, Apache and CentOS, cPanel, Exim email server, along with many other features.

  • Entry – at $54 per month (for 6-months subscription) or $57 per month (for 3-months subscription) or $60 per month (for 1-month subscription), with 1 x 3.0GHz CPU, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 20GB disk space and 5TB bandwidth
  • Business – at $72 per month (for 6-months subscription) or $76 per month (for 3-months subscription) or $80 per month (for 1-month subscription), with 2 x 3.0GHz CPU, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 40GB disk space and 5TB bandwidth
  • Business Plus – at $90 per month (for 6-months subscription) or $95 per month (for 3-months subscription) or $100 per month (for 1-month subscription), with 2 x 3.0GHz CPU, 3GB DDR3 RAM, 60GB disk space and 5TB bandwidth
  • Enterprise – at $126 per month (for 6-months subscription) or $133 per month (for 3-months subscription) or $140 per month (for 1-month subscription), with 4 x 3.0GHz CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 80GB disk space and 5TB bandwidth

2. Dedicated Hosting Plan

If you need to scale your website because of increased traffic or business, SiteGround now offers plans based on dedicated servers.

In addition to 24/7 VIP technical support, you're given an option to select any of the 3 data center locations for your dedicated hosting server. You also get the same cloud-based software pre-installed on your dedicated server with the only differences being that you get 5 dedicated IPs instead of just one along with a private DNS server setup.

6. WordPress Hosting

SiteGround also offers hosting specifically designed for WordPress users. SiteGround's WordPress hosting plans are essentially the same as their regular shared hosting plans in terms of pricing and features, but you do get a few additional features.

Note: SiteGround also offers Joomla hosting.

Hosting for WordPress

Note: What is a CPU cycle on SiteGround Hosting?

According to SiteGround;

A simple example of an execution is when a visitor opens your website, and your index PHP file is loaded. This counts as one execution. The more visitors your website has, the more executions it will generate. Please note that this is valid only for dynamically generated content. If you open a picture or an HTML page, a new execution will not be generated on the server. Executions are counted for the following scripting languages – PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, etc.


To Conclude

Yeeaah! You've made it to the end of this in-depth review. Hopefully you now have all the information you'll need to make a smart decision regarding SiteGround hosting.

While I firmly believe that there isn't such a thing as the best web host (everyone's website and needs are different), I can confidently say that SiteGround will meet the needs of most people who are looking for a web host. Not only that, but it's very likely that SiteGround will drastically exceed expectations. 

At the end of the day, if you value rock-solid reliability and customer support that treats your issue like the most important one in the world, invest in SiteGround. If you aren't satisfied, you can always take advantage of their 30-day money back guarantee.

I hope you've found this review helpful! If so, drop me a comment in the box below! In addition, if you believe I've left out important information, have a complaint about SiteGround, or have an idea as to how I can improve this review, make sure to let me know.

Final Rating - 4.8/5