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:
Table of Contents
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 can see their costs here.
|Support||Phone, email and live chat||Phone, email and live chat||Phone, email and live chat|
|Storage||10 GB||20 GB||30 GB|
Max. size 500MB
Max. size 750MB
Max. size 1000MB
|Subdomains, FTP accounts, email accounts and bandwidth||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Backup, Caching & Staging||
30 days, static data & not included
30 days, dynamic data & included
30 days + custom, dynamic data & included
|First term price||$3.95/month||$5.95/month||$11.95/month|
SiteGround also lets you purchase a 1-month trial of their plans, but be aware that these prices include a setup fee.
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 (30 GB) and better-performing servers, this plan offers access to Git repositories. It also comes with PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliant Servers, necessary for ecommerce sites (e.g. WooCommerce). You’ll also get priority support.
SiteGround Pros & Cons
When to use SiteGround hosting?
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
- Large corporate websites
- Developers and designers that want quality and good support
- Those looking for features like staging, Git repositories or SSH access
- Everything 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
- If you need a lot of webspace and have a small budget
|Ease of use||Excellent||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 cPanel, a visual interface to manage your hosting services. They could do with updating the design a little.|
|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.|
|Excellent||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||Good||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.|
|Applications||Excellent||You can use Softaculous, the automatic installer included in cPanel, to install most applications. You can choose from WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, Magento, AbanteCart and many more applications.|
|Webspace limit||Good||The StartUp plan comes with 10 GB of webspace, the GrowBig package has 20 GB, and GoGeek has 30 GB of webspace.|
|Monthly data transfer limit||Excellent||There is no data transfer limit.|
|FTP accounts and secure FTP||Excellent||You can create as many FTP accounts as you need. SSH and SFTP connections are also possible.|
|Where your servers are||Excellent||They have several data centers across 3 continents: specifically, in Chicago, Amsterdam, London and Singapore.|
|Security features||Excellent||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.|
|Server speed||Excellent||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.|
|Uptime||Excellent||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||Very good||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 (content delivery network)||CloudFlare integration||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||Good||They use PHP. You can choose among PHP 7.3, 7.2, 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||Yes||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||Good||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 evaluation||Very good||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.|
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.
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
|0.895 s||5.02 s|
|Pingdom test 2
(San Jose, CA)
|1.22 s||5.51 s|
|Pingdom test 3
|2.10 s||5.46 s|
|GT Metrix test 1
|1.5 s||4.5 s|
|GT Metrix test 2
|1.6 s||4.1 s|
|GT Metrix test 3
|1.1 s||5.1 s|
|2.214 s||7.501 s|
(Los Angeles, CA)
|1.691 s||5.274 s|
|1.653 s||4.958 s|
Average 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 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 that SiteGround 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 can take a 30-day, no obligation trial of SiteGround.
01/04/2019 – New features for each plan
01/03/2019 – First Review