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SiteGround and WordPress

I don’t know about you, but as I get older I find that time is the most important asset I need to manage and optimize. At the end of the day, being productive is crucial for the success of any business.

I don’t even want to think about the hours I’ve wasted trying to contact hosting providers’ support, updating my plugins or fixing mistakes for WordPress sites – way too many.

A good WordPress hosting provider can help you here, as smart hosts will make your life much easier. And you are probably wondering: Is SiteGround good for WordPress sites?

Spoiler Alert! SiteGround is a solid provider for WordPress for 3 main reasons: its excellent performance, friendly and useful support (with WordPress knowledge) and clever WordPress features such as migration and speed-optimization plugins, auto-update scripts, easy-to-set-up staging areas and 1-click WordPress installations.

At WebsiteToolTester.com we think that SiteGround is one of the best hosting providers out there, especially to host WordPress sites.

yoast recommends siteground hosting

SiteGround is recommended by Yoast

However, we are not the only ones; popular WordPress-related organizations like Yoast, WooCommerce and WordPress itself recommend SiteGround’s hosting services.

But, of course, you should not use SiteGround as your host just because a bunch of large companies (or us) endorse it.

So let me tell you what to expect from SiteGround when you host a WordPress site with them, and when to use it.

Pros and Cons of SiteGround for WordPress

Let’s summarize the main pros and cons of SiteGround:

Pros Cons
  • Performance: SiteGround is one of the top-performing hosts. Its uptime and speed can be compared to much more expensive hosting services like WP Engine.
  • Support: It offers support by chat, email, and phone. I normally use the chat and have always had a good experience.
  • Ease-of-use: It has its own system (not cPanel). It’s modern-looking and intuitive, no UX bugs either.
  • User management: With the GrowBig and GoGeek plans you can add individual users (e.g. clients or collaborators) for each website that you host with them. This is very powerful for developer teams and digital agencies.
  • Unlimited traffic: Unlike some competitors, SiteGround doesn’t cap the traffic your site can get.
  • Backups: They keep 30 daily backups of your websites that you’ll be able to restore. With the 2 top plans it’s also possible to create on-demand copies of your sites.
  • WordPress features: There are a bunch of WordPress tools ready to be used. Among others, you’ll be able to create staging areas, easily migrate your WordPress site or hyper-optimize your website’s speed.
  • Renewal prices: Even if SiteGround (IMO) is good value for money, you’ll need to set aside a chunk of your  budget for when it comes to  renew (starts at $11.95 a month).
  • Limitations: Like any other hosting provider, it has some service limitations. For example, storage, email account space, CPU usage or database size. However, these are generous enough for most WordPress projects.
  • Contract duration: You can purchase SiteGround for 1, 2 or 3 years. Shorter periods (e.g. monthly or bi-monthly deals) aren’t available.

Who is SiteGround for?

Before I dive deep into SiteGround’s prices, features, support and performance, let me quickly tell you in what scenarios I would suggest considering it as your host:

  • If you are looking to host an online store (e.g. using WordPress + WooCommerce)
  • Professional bloggers with medium to big sites
  • Companies using WordPress for their website
  • Developers and users that need cutting edge features (Git or staging areas) for WordPress
  • Organizations that need to give access to several users (e.g. collaborators and clients).
  • In general, anyone that needs a well-performing host

However, there are a couple of cases in which you should probably not use SiteGround:

  • Your budget is very limited – check out DreamHost.
  • You need loads of storage (e.g. more than 50 GB)
  • Those looking for a Windows-based hosting provider (check out A2 Hosting or InMotion)

SiteGround Plans & Pricing

But before jumping on board with SiteGround, you’ll have to make sure that its prices match your allocated budget. I will also check all the available plans and check their fees.

SiteGround Shared Hosting for WordPress

SiteGround has 3 shared hosting plans, all of which will allow you to host your WordPress site. But let’s check out the prices and what each tier offers.

  StartUp GrowBig GoGeek
Sites 1 site Unlimited Unlimited
Support Email, chat and phone Email, chat and phone

Email, chat and phone

Faster support

Storage 10 GB 20 GB 30 GB
Bandwidth Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered
Database

Unlimited

500MB max. size

Unlimited

750MB max. size

Unlimited

1000MB  max. size

Email & FTP accounts and subdomains Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered
Backup

Caching

Staging

30 days

static caching

30 days

static & dynamic caching

30 days

static & dynamic caching

Free migration No 1 site 1 site
First-term price $3.95/month $5.95/month $11.95/month
Renewal price $11.95/month $19.95/month $34.95/month
More information Visit SiteGround.com

The StartUp plan is ideal if you have a single (smallish) WordPress site and don’t need advanced features like staging areas or Git repositories. Additionally, your storage, email accounts and databases will be limited to 10 GB, 2 GB and 500 MB respectively.

When purchasing the GrowBig package, you’ll have more storage and space for your email accounts and databases (20 GB, 4 GB and 750 MB respectively). With this plan it’s possible to host more than 1 WordPress website. On top of that, you’ll gain access to a WordPress staging system and more caching options (for faster websites).

The GoGeek tier is ideal for larger WordPress users that need even more storage (30 GB), larger databases (1 GB max. size) and more space for their email accounts (6 GB). Additionally, it provides interesting perks such as pre-installed Git repositories and a white-label backend (e.g. you want to give access to your clients).

SiteGround Cloud Hosting for WordPress

For all I know your website may be performing extremely well, meaning that you need an even  more powerful solution (e.g. you get over 100.000 visitors per month). If that’s the case, SiteGround Cloud Hosting could be exactly what you are looking for.

You can understand cloud hosting as a series of interconnected servers that host your website. This type of hosting is ideal for larger websites as you can add resources (e.g. more storage, processing power, etc.) as you need them.

SiteGround cloud hosting set up

SiteGround offers 4 pre-made plans for cloud hosting services (storage and processing power differs). However, as you can see in the above image, you can configure your server to meet your exact needs. Its Cloud Hosting plans start at $80.00 a month and go all the way up to $2,100.

SiteGround Features for WordPress

But let me mention some interesting (hosting) WordPress features that SiteGround has to offer WordPress site owners.

Migration

They have an amazing plugin that will help you migrate your WordPress website in a matter of minutes. It’s a very easy-to-use solution that will only require you to add a plugin to the migrated website.

siteground wordpress migration plugin

SiteGround WordPress migration interface

Unfortunately, the migration plugin won’t work if your WordPress site (database) is really big. I’ve migrated 3 websites using its plugin without any issues – one of them is pretty big and gets about 50,000 visitors. However, I did have an issue with a fourth site – support helped me with the migration though.

1-Click installations

As pretty much every other hosting provider, SiteGround offers an easy way to install WordPress. You can see the whole process in the video below:

Let's quickly check how to install WordPress using SiteGround's hosting. SiteGround is one of the top hosting providers for WordPress sites. You can try ... Learn How to Install WordPress with SiteGround’s Hosting 2019-10-23T07:54:23.000Z https://i.ytimg.com/vi/XMLMT_mKZhQ/default.jpg

 

One perk of its WordPress installation script is that you can actually host your website on a free temporary URL provided by SiteGround. This means that you can create a WordPress installation without having a proper domain for it, great if you just want to test things out.

siteground security addon

SiteGround add-on suggestion for installations

Please, be aware that with each installation, SiteGround will suggest you get a security addon you most likely won’t need. Make sure to skip this option unless you’d like to pay extra for it

WP Starter Plugin

I have to confess to you that I haven’t used the starter plugin on an active website, though it sounds like a useful guide for beginners. For the purposes of this article, I did look into it extensively so I can explain to you what to expect from it.

If you end up using this starter plugin, you’ll follow the following workflow:

  1. Choose one of the SiteGround theme suggestions for WordPress. Most of them are free.
  2. Decide if any of the free suggested plugins (e.g. WooCommerce, JetPack or WPForms) are relevant for your WordPress project. No worries, you’ll be able to add  or remove them later on if needed.
  3. SiteGround offers 3 more plugins that will help you optimize and measure your traffic. Not all of these are free.
  4. Click on complete to add all these to your WordPress website.

 

And of course, none of these are mandatory. So, if instead of using the plugins or themes suggested by SiteGround you’d like to use different ones, you will be allowed.

SG Optimizer Plugin

I think this is the most useful WordPress feature that SiteGround offers. Once the plugin is installed, you’ll be able to enable a dozen optimizations for your website easily. It is also, seriously, a good reason to consider using SiteGround as your WordPress host.

sg optimizer screenshot

SG Optimizer plugin interface

Let me give you a tour of it:

  1. On the first tab ‘SuperCacher Settings’), you’ll be able to configure how the caching should work on your WordPress site. For example, exclude pages from being cached (e.g. shopping cart), decide when to purge your cache or what caching levels to enable.
  2. From the ‘Environment Optimization’ section, the PHP version, SSL activation, browser caching and GZIP compression can be managed.
  3. The ‘Frontend Optimization’ will allow you to speed up your website by minifying your HTML, JavaScript and CSS, and optimize where scripts load (e.g. the footer).
  4. A neat added bonus is the available media optimizations. This plugin will compress and optimize your images and let you lazy-load images and videos.

Since SiteGround launched this plugin, I’ve been using it. I was able to get rid of several other plugins I used to achieve the same.

WordPress & Plugins Auto-Update

Some time in 2013 WordPress released a feature which meant that you could set your installation to auto-update. This can save you a fair bit of time whenever there’s a new WordPress system release (update).

siteground auto update set up

SiteGround WordPress updates manager

SiteGround has gone one step further and gives you a couple of options to handle updates. It’s pretty cool that they let you choose between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ updates and give you so much flexibility: do the updates as soon as they are available, wait 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours.

On top of that, SiteGround will also manage plugin updates automatically, if that’s what you want. But please, be aware that if there is a plugin conflict, your site could break – that’s why we manage plugin updates manually.

WordPress Staging Areas

Finally, another one of my favorite WordPress features are the 1-click staging areas to test code before pushing it live. You can understand this as an exact replica of your site so you can see how new code (or plugin update) will affect your WordPress site without breaking the live site.

You only have to name your staging area and click the ‘Create’ button (see image above). Your staging will be available in a couple of seconds.

siteground staging area for wordpress

SiteGround staging areas for WordPress

Another useful feature is that you’ll be able to replace your live website with the staging copy you created (make sure your site is properly backed up beforehand). Sadly there doesn’t seem to be an option to password protect your staging’s frontend, that would be desirable as you probably don’t want people (or search engines) finding it.

Tip: When creating a new staging area you have to remember to also install the SSL certificate (1 click from the backend) or your staging will not be accessible over https, I constantly forget this and I find myself wondering ‘Why is my new staging not working?

SiteGround & WooCommerce

This is nothing extraordinary, but you can purchase a WooCommerce SiteGround plan that comes with WordPress + WooCommerce pre-installed. It’s also possible to migrate (import) your elsewhere hosted WooCommerce site.

SiteGround WordPress Performance

Of course, you want your website to load lightning fast and with as few interruptions as possible, regardless of what CMS you use (WordPress or any other).

Uptime

Believe it or not, your hosting provider won’t be able to guarantee that your site will be available (online) 100% of the time. For instance, sometimes there are maintenance tasks that will cause downtime.

But, of course, you want your downtime to be as little as possible. Here is where good hosting providers can shine compared to mediocre or bad hosts.

As you can see below, SiteGround provides an extraordinarily good uptime, being way over the 99.95% standard mark.

Provider Uptime (percentage of time checked)
DreamHost 100
SiteGround 99.98
Bluehost 99.98
GoDaddy 99.97
InMotion 99.97
HostGator 99.94
A2 Hosting 99.93
iPage 99.66

In fact, I’ve used SiteGround for several years now, and I’ve never seen them drop below 99.98%, so I am very happy with its uptime.

Speed

I have to say that SiteGround gets things right when talking about speed. We tested it alongside 7 other providers and it came out 2nd after more than 150 tests from different countries (e.g. US, Europe, Asia, etc.).

Provider Speed (in seconds)
A2 Hosting 2.31
SiteGround 2.35
DreamHost 2.47
HostGator 2.77
GoDaddy 2.85
InMotion 3.07
Bluehost 3.32
iPage 4.61

Source

Check out several of the speed tests:

Loading Seed & SiteGround

Besides the super-useful WordPress SG Optimizer plugin that I’ve talked in-detail earlier, there a couple of general things that SiteGround implements to enhance speed:

  • Like some of its competitors, SiteGround uses SSD drives for all its servers – SSD can be 4 times faster than regular hard-drives.
  • All SiteGround clients can use the latest PHP version for their hosting account. Besides being more secure, it also performs better.
  • Another neat option is being able to host your website in several locations, pick a server in the US, Europe or Asia. Hosting your website near your audience (e.g. not in the US if you target Europe), should give you a speed boost.
  • SiteGround integrates with the Cloudflare CDN that will help you distribute your site more efficiently world-wide. Cloudflare even has a free plan.

Other Useful Features, Unique to SiteGround

SiteGround has many features that other hosting providers offer too. However, there are a couple of unique options that make SiteGround a bit more special. Let me tell you about them:

siteground add user

  • On-demand backups: With SiteGround’s system, you’ll be able to create your own backups (e.g. before pushing some new code), and restore if things went wrong. Many hosts will sell you a pricey add-on to have this advanced backup functionality. SiteGround offers this in its GrowBig tier.
  • Git: The highest SiteGround plan comes with this version control technology pre-installed. Developers use it to record changes and avoid code conflicts when more than one programmer is working on a project.
  • User-management: If you opt for the GrowBig (or higher) plan, you’ll be able to create users for your hosting account and assign them roles and projects – pretty useful if you have a team managing a website. With the GoGeek plan, you can also add clients and the SiteGround branding will disappear.

Successful WordPress sites hosted with SiteGround

I wanted to share a couple of examples of (really big) WordPress websites hosted with SiteGround.

Yoast

This company creates SEO plugins for WordPress, and it is pretty successful with more than 5 million active WordPress installations. It not only endorses SiteGround as a WordPress host, but it uses it to host its website too.

yoast hosted website with siteground

Its website is huge, and built with WordPress. Ahrefs estimates that they have around 400,000 visitors a month.

Sprouts

srputs wordpress siteground

This US healthy supermarket chain has over 340 stores in 22 different (US) states and employs over 30,000 people. According to Ahrefs, its (WordPress-based) website receives over 500K visitors a month.

J.K. Rowling

Maybe J.K. Rowling’s website isn’t the biggest website around – it only gets around 200K visitors a month, according to Ahrefs – but it’s definitely a magical one. Her website is also built with WordPress and hosted on SiteGroud.

jk rowling siteground

SiteGround Support

One thing I really dislike is waiting; I don’t like it when the bus is late or when I have to wait too long for a meal. Equally, having to wait for a (hosting) support agent to be free when I am having an issue really frustrates me.

I suppose this is the same for you?

Generally speaking, SiteGround’s support is fast, sometimes I had to wait slightly longer though. I’ve reached out to them over 100 times and I have to say that the quality of the help has been (almost always) good and my issues were fixed.

siteground support

SiteGround Support Center

Be aware that they can be reached by their ticket system (similar to email), live chat or phone. Personally, I prefer the chat support as I can talk live with an agent without having to stop everything I am doing.

SiteGround WordPress Review: Final Thoughts

Now you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from SiteGround when hosting a WordPress site.

You won’t find many shared hosting providers for WordPress that outperform SiteGround, especially at this cost (starts at $11.95 after renewal). But as I mentioned, you will need to set aside a fair bit of your budget, as it isn’t the most affordable solution – check out DreamHost if you need a cheaper option.

Generally speaking, it’s safe to go with them, especially if you have a large project and you need some advanced features to help you with the daily upkeep (e.g. updating plugins).

It’s also good when working with several team members or clients; being able to create users and assign roles and individual projects to users will streamline your workflow process enormously.

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