SiteGround Review – The Best WordPress Hosting Of 2018
Lets talk about why SiteGround should be your #1 choice for WordPress hosting in 2018. We switched WP Rocket’s web host to SiteGround earlier this year with shocking results. This website was previously hosted on BlueHost, then GoDaddy servers. Sadly, neither could deliver even the bare minimum speed, reliability, and support that our website required.
Before we migrated our website over to SiteGround, we used GoDaddy’s Pro Managed WordPress hosting. On paper, that plan had great specs and GoDaddy did a great job pitching it to us on their sales page. With GoDaddy hosting, our website constantly suffered from painfully slow page loading speeds and a number of outages that caused our site to go down for hours at a time.
When we called in, GoDaddy’s customer support was not very helpful, often giving us the run around with no real, actionable solution. Our last call for help relating an outage began with a 45 minute hold time. Yikes! With BlueHost we experienced much the same, lousy loading speeds and lacking support. On a positive note, BlueHost did a great job with server uptime with zero outages and we love GoDaddy for purchasing and managing domains.
For hosting? Go with SiteGround! It was hands down one of the best decisions we have made to power our website.
We did not want any more headaches and hoped this be our last and final hosting switch. After carefully researching and picking apart SiteGround’s service offerings, it was a no-brainer. We decided to pull the trigger on SiteGround. And… we have a winner! The skies opened up with light shining from the heavens, birds chirping, and we just felt warm and fuzzy inside. Years of stress and frustration (as a website developer) wiped clean. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but we kid you not, SiteGround is awesome!
Our first impressions began with their customer service department during some pre-sale questions. This was easily the shortest wait time we’ve ever experienced as we were connected to a live salesperson in just under ten seconds. They were super helpful and knowledgeable to boot. We were completely sold once we discovered everything SiteGround has to offer.
The kind representative also informed us we would be able to host multiple websites on our server, each with free lifetime SSL certificates, super fast caching, and Cloudflare CDN (content delivery network) to supercharge our website speed and tighten up security for any site we ever decide to host on their server. At this point, we were already so excited and totally geeking out!
They also informed us that our files would be stored and ran off SSD storage, which is much faster and more efficient than standard HDD memory. Stack that on top of their top-notch security, reliability, and snappy server speed. We could not wait to give them our money! Which by the way turned out to be more affordable than we imagined for such a complete package.
Did we get a great deal? You bet! We got SiteGround’s mid-tier “GrowBig” plan and it was a steal costing only $5.95/month for our first year and $14.95/month when it’s time to renew. We paid for the first twelve months upfront, now we don’t even have to think about hosting for an entire year. And quite honestly, we’re very likely to become lifelong SiteGround customers.
You know what really sweetened the deal? They went as far as having one of their professional technicians transfer our existing website from GoDaddy for free! The entire process was done in just a few hours and we didn’t even have to lift a finger.
Keep in mind, we are entrepreneurs and website designers who have tried numerous hosting companies in the past. SiteGround is now the host that we swear by and use for our own website. That in itself speaks volumes.
Why SiteGround is your best bet for WordPress hosting in 2018
As of right now, SiteGround’s GrowBig plan is the best WordPress hosting deal on the web for websites with less than 25K visits per month. SiteGround offers many premium features that typically are either non-existent or cost a lot more elsewhere. It’s fast, reliable, and backed by an outstanding service and support team.
Let’s first talk about pricing. As an incentive to new customers, your first payment is heavily discounted, then future renewals are charged their standard fee. You can pre-purchase up to three years of SiteGround hosting in advance at the discounted rate which can potentially save you a lot of money long-term.
We suggest to buy as much hosting in advance that you feel confident with to lock in that discount pricing. Plus you won’t have to worry about hosting for a while and can focus on other aspects of your business. And no worries, even when the standard rates do kick in, SiteGround hosting is still super affordable in comparison to most major web hosts. So don’t sweat it.
Our website is currently running their “GrowBig” bundle which cost us only $5.95/month with SiteGround’s “first payment discount” which we pre-purchased for a one year term. After that, our GrowBig plan is set to renew next year at $14.95/month. Which, still isn’t much when considering all the incredible features we got as part of this deal.
Trust me, a similar service would cost you much more anywhere else. SiteGround gives you the best bang for your buck. GrowBig is considered SiteGround’s middle-tier hosting option, they also offer a low-tier StartUp plan which starts at only $3.95/month and renews for $9.95/month. Last but not least, they also offer a high-tier GoGeek plan which costs $11.95/month initially, then renews for $29.95/month.
It isn’t really suggested to get the low-tier StartUp plan because it does not come with some key features such as advanced caching, free website backup/restore, priority technical support, multi-site server, additional web storage, and higher traffic limits of monthly visitors. To me, the added value from upgrading to at least the mid-tier GrowBig plan was well worth it to justify a slight price increase. If you’re considering SiteGround, I suggest you take a good look at their plans and select the one that best suits your needs.
If you’re just starting out on a tight budget, don’t be afraid to go with SiteGround’s low-tier StartUp plan. You’ll be taken care of just fine with everything you need to get started. It’s actually one of the best starter plans (performance-wise) you can get for the price. Besides, you can always upgrade later on once your website grows and you’ve got to experience just how awesome SiteGround really is!
Although if you can afford it right now, I still highly recommend buying at least the GrowBig package. It’s worth every penny and more.
On the other side of the spectrum, if your site is getting anywhere between 25K and 100K monthly visits, then you should consider SiteGround’s GoGeek plan. This high-tier plan is jam packed with features you would need for a high traffic website. Let’s look inside the box to see what you get with the GoGeek plan:
A whopping 30 GB of web space that can store huge amounts of website content, suitability for up to 100K monthly visitors, 1-click WordPress staging, and faster servers.
Additionally, there are even cloud server hosting options for more advanced power users which we won’t get into today. But as you can see, SiteGround does a great job ensuring there is a hosting plan for anyone, no matter your needs. And they’re all great for what they are.
There is no doubt in my mind, that SiteGround is the best option if you’re just kicking off a brand new website. And if you’re already established on the web, great news! SiteGround makes switching easy and even offers to have one of their professional technicians do it all for you. That’s one of the best and most reassuring parts because we know how scary moving your website can be. We can relate to all that hard work that you put into it.
From our own experience, the website transfer process was seamless and and in our case, was performed in under 3 hours from the time of initial setup of our account. That’s a pretty fast turnaround in our book. If you happen to be more tech savvy, manually transferring your website over yourself is easy on SiteGround.
We checked our site immediately following the transfer and everything was intact. All of our designs, content, and files remained as if they were never touched in the first place. The only difference we noticed? Just how FAST and flawless everything ran powered by our new host. Thank you SiteGround.
Right away, we noticed the back-end of our WordPress admin panel was snappier then ever, plugin installs that used to hang for 15+ seconds on our old GoDaddy server, were now almost instantaneous. It was like click and done. So what have we noticed from the real-time live visitor’s perspective? The execution was perfect.
wprocket.co loaded up it’s landing page in under a second. I remember it was like whoa, thats fast! I didn’t think it was possible to achieve these types of speeds at the cost of what we’re paying but that’s exactly what you’ll get when dealing with SiteGround. It instantly becomes a new norm in your mind and you’ll never want to downgrade again.
Mind you, I’m coming from years of being force-fed 5-6 second page load times and brainwashed into believing that was normal by my previous web host lol. I admit, now I’m spoiled and can never go back to sluggish, laggy hosting ever again. Finally I felt like I found my beloved site the vehicle it deserved. It was like dumping your old clunker and driving off the lot in a brand new car. Everything just worked. Every. Single. Time. And that’s the way it should be. Would you agree?
Above, were some brief recommendations. We’ll now dive into the world of WordPress hosting in more detail, and review SiteGround in full. Please continue reading on, and enjoy.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT buy GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, etc.
I’ve put it bluntly but let me elaborate by saying this: The hosts I mentioned above are great and reputable companies with some of the best digital products in our industry. My comment above was in no way intended to discredit them in any way. But the fact remains there are better (in my honest opinion) comparably priced alternatives such as SiteGround that you should consider when shopping for web hosting for your WordPress site.
We’re not here today to argue why that is or what can change, just sharing my professional opinion.
Onward to our SiteGround review for 2018…
Well that was our advice in a nutshell. Now let’s dig in to our review that will focus on details about our experience with SiteGround’s managed WordPress hosting. The information we present should be helpful to you no matter which host you end up choosing, because it can also be referred to as a list of features any quality host should have by today’s standards.
After you finish reading this review, you should know what features to expect from any potential web host so you can make a better qualified decision for your website.
Please feel free to shop around and compare different hosts against SiteGround and see how they stack up. Hopefully you won’t have to go through the same headaches we did when we were bouncing around from one host to the next. Makes me cringe just thinking back to it lol.
Why did we switch in the first place? Simple. SiteGround has met every single one of our needs. Both on paper and reflecting live actual use, something unfortunately not many other hosting companies can say. The other reason? Because our previous hosting was too slow and unreliable 🙁
You may be in the same boat and can relate to how frustrating that can be. Not being able to get your work done hassle-free like you should. We know the struggle! Moving forward, here are some requirements we set forth for our potential hosting companies upon reviewing them during our research. You can cross check these while shopping around to see which hosts are up to par and eliminate the ones who are not off your list:
Features we required: Free lifetime SSL, advanced caching, CDN, a cPanel interface, easy WordPress installer, ability to host multiple sites, server speed, reliability/uptime, security, and high traffic allowance.
So far, SiteGround has matched our requirements without breaking a sweat, or the bank. Since we switched our site to SiteGround, we’ve never experienced a single outage or disruption of service. Their servers ran buttery smooth even during high traffic spikes when it counted most.
Overall, SiteGround’s hosting has performed extremely well for us. SiteGround has faced each of our tests and no matter what we threw at them, passed with flying colors. Every time and without a hiccup. We even ran our own tests on Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights to confirmed. Following terrible experiences with GoDaddy and BlueHost, this was precisely the backbone our website needed go to the next level.
A word about their customer service/support:
I’m ecstatic to point out that after about a dozen phone calls to SiteGround’s technical support team, I have not once been on hold for longer than 15 seconds. Need help with your SiteGround hosted website? Just pick up the phone and you’re connected with a live customer service representative in seconds. My usual wait times with GoDaddy and BlueHost support staff was about 10-15 minutes on average.
The folks I’ve spoken with over at SiteGround’s support have all been very polite, friendly and intelligent every time.. They’ve always seemed genuinely interested and excited to help. And have a solid understanding of WordPress and web hosting in general.
SiteGround also offers email and live chat support as well. So far every question I’ve asked has been answered clearly in a very easy to understand manner (even with some of the more technical stuff) without ever once getting the run around or abruptly being put on hold. Or my all-time favorite, hangup. Lol there were none of those either. Judging from my experience over the years when dealing with various hosting companies, this was like a giant breath of fresh air.
I was suddenly re-inspired, more than ever to work on my site. Starting by writing this raving review of SiteGround and their services.
Time and time again, SiteGround has gone above and beyond and refused to settle for bare minimum. Something we’ve never seen from any of our previous web hosts. While most companies struggle to be “good enough” SiteGround paves the way with all their innovation and excellence.
We believe SiteGround is raising the bar for the entire hosting industry. The competition will need to up their game to keep up or get left behind. I think SiteGround is winning by disrupting an industry that was once so restricted. SiteGround has crushed the low expectations set forth by hosting companies in the past.
Here are a few more examples:
I gotta give credit to the support staff, one more time!
One of the most pleasant aspects about SiteGround is their technical support staff. They are friendly, helpful, and prove to be experts in their field. Never once have I experienced any significant hold time, automated chat-bot, or upsell from them. Simply put, you get exactly the help you need and it’s easily accessible anytime from someone cool, smart, and easy to talk to. You can count on SiteGround customer service to take care of any issues that may arise.
Let’s get straight to the point here: SiteGround loads websites faster. And page loading speed matters. It’s important to you because you need a fast, responsive platform to perform your work in a timely, efficient, stress-free manner. It’s important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) across major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And most importantly, for the person who visits expecting your website to be fast and intuitive.
In today’s world, the internet has evolved to a place where having a website load for more that five seconds might as well be a crime. People have sky-high expectations and standards these days and may simply drop off if your site takes too long to load. Similarly, search engines don’t like slow websites either. Your website can lose valuable SEO ranking on search engine results if found to be slow when crawled by Google and other search engine bots for indexing.
SiteGround has been tested thoroughly (using real accounts) and compared against 12 of the most popular web hosts on the market: BlueHost, HostGator, iPage, FatCow, JustHost, AsmallOrange, InMotion, WebhostingHub, Arvixe, GoDaddy, GreenGeeks and A2Hosting.
Industry average loading time: 4.7 seconds
SiteGround average loading time (without cache): 1.7 seconds
SiteGround average loading time (with cache): 1.3 seconds
SiteGround hosted websites can also handle more traffic volume without hurting performance. Apart from loading speed, SiteGround has tested how many site visitors can be successfully handled in a span of two minutes by each of the 12 hosting companies using the same test WordPress website.
This test is a good example of how your site would perform during a major traffic spike caused by something like your product or blog post going viral online driving a flood of traffic.
A good host should be able to handle the high and sudden server-load. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a subpar hosting company, often times your website will just crash and go offline temporarily. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of all the hard work you did promoting your site to even get that many people there in the first place? Let me put it to you like this, a lot of visitors on your website should never be a bad thing. If it is, then that’s one clear sign it may be time to switch your web host.
Industry average hits handled: 2852
SiteGround without cache: 8276
SiteGround with cache: over 230 000
Free SSL through Let’s Encrypt
At this point, SSL certificates aren’t really optional. The penalties for both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and visitor trust of not securing your site with SSL and HTTPS are becoming unacceptable. Having an SSL is the new standard for any website whether you’re processing sensitive information or not. Google is even going as far as starting to block websites by warning visitors of sites with missing SSL certificates.
Others are noticing drops in search engine rankings. Your website can’t afford to take such a hit. Unfortunately, some website administrators can’t even afford an SSL certification to begin with, as it costs roughly $60 every year to renew. A little known secret however is that SSL certificates don’t have to cost you anything. Why should you have to pay when you can get a legit SSL for free?
SiteGround is one of the few web hosting companies that partnered with Let’s Encrypt, an organization who started a bold movement to make the web more secure by offering free SSL encryptions to potentially anyone with a website on the web. So long as your hosting companies accept this technology and puts in the work to integrate Let’s Encrypt into their platforms. This partnership was a brilliant move by SiteGround to benefit you, the customer.
Especially those of you who are running e-commerce type businesses and use their website to sell products online. Most credit card processors will require you to secure your website with an SSL certificate before doing business with you. As a SiteGround customer, SSL is one less thing you ever need to worry about. They offer free for life SSL certificates to any sites you host on their server.
Fun fact: The money you save by not having to renew a yearly $60 SSL certificate can pay for your first ten months on SiteGround’s mid-tier GrowBig plan at it’s discounted $5.95/month rate.
Proactive, customer-focused updates and features
Like many shared web hosting competitors, SiteGround rolls out WordPress version updates automatically, so that you don’t have to mess around with it. Making your life a little bit easier. SiteGround also goes leaps and bounds beyond their competitors by offering other cutting-edge technologies that improve your experience of hosting a WordPress site. Let’s Encrypt is a prime example of that, and here’s another:
Since the much faster PHP 7 release about a year ago, SiteGround has gone the extra mile by broadcasting a notification to any WordPress site hosted on it’s servers that is running older versions of PHP 5. Clicking the notification took you to an easy update script hosted directly in the WordPress admin that scans your site’s PHP 7 compatibility, updates it, and lets you know when it’s complete.
SiteGround was looking out for it’s customers by doing so and consistently finding other clever ways we all could effectively improve our website’s performance and security. All while making it dead simple.
Very good caching capabilities
SiteGround uses it’s own caching solution called SuperCacher. Integrated into every SiteGround hosted website, SuperCacher is really good once you understand how to configure it. And thankfully, as with everything else SiteGround offers, it’s simple to set up and makes a huge impact that improved your overall website speed.
Simply enable a few ticks on your cPanel and the rest of your caching settings can easily be accessed through a WordPress plugin called SG Optimizer. It’s cool to watch SG Optimizer itself improve. It has evolved into a feature-rich plugin that let’s you make quick changes to your caching settings on the fly.
As a SiteGround customer, you can expect greatness right out of the box and get to see things getting even better over time. Words can’t describe how pleasant it is to experience after years of being tied down to a hosting company who was comfortably settling for inferior, outdated, and throttled technologies. They got fat while we starved. Thanks SiteGround for caring about your customers and our websites. We do appreciate it.
The following is a screenshot of our own speed test using GT Metrix. We ran this test immediately after the transfer of our site and have optimized our score even more. When we did the same test under GoDaddy’s servers, we were hitting a load time of more than 6 seconds. This is already a huge improvement right out of the box!
Wrapping up our SiteGround review for 2018
SiteGround’s services, particularly in WordPress, are steady improving over the years instead of remaining the same or worse. And it’s refreshing to see.
SiteGround has set itself leaps and bounds apart from other hosting providers and has quickly rose to the top emerging as the best WordPress host for most websites, while continuing to innovate and being full of positive surprises in 2018. SiteGround also leads the race with stellar customer service and support.
Our team at WP Rocket remains ecstatic to have found a web host that never disappoints. We know switching hosting companies can be a nightmare, but so is being stuck with a host that lacks the quality of performance and support. If you’re experiencing any of the struggles we mention in this article, maybe you should consider switching you WordPress website to better hosing such as SiteGround.
That concludes our SiteGround review for 2018. We hope you gained some value from reading it. Comment down below to let us know what you think or if you have questions. And don’t forget to share. It really helps us out!
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