SiteGround is one of the many popular web hosting services. They are also recommended by WordPress.org. In this SiteGround review, I will test out its performance and value for money.
SiteGround was founded in 2004 in Bulgaria. They have datacenters in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. This ensures that they have worldwide coverage. Before 2019, they used to have their own datacenters but now they are using Google Cloud Platform which has made their service faster and more reliable.
P.S. Please read the full review to know about the dark side of SiteGround.
SiteGround is mostly popular for its shared hosting plans. They start from $4.99 and go all the way up to $14.99 (keep in mind that these are promotional pricing and standard renewal prices range from $14.99 to $39.99. I have made a table below for a comparison of all of the plans.
|No. of Websites||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Apart from shared hosting, SiteGround also offers Cloud Hosting. While this may seem lucrative to some, in my opinion, it’s a really bad deal as the cost is too high compared to its competitors. For $100, you get 4 Cores, 8GB RAM, 40GB Storage, and 5TB Bandwidth. For comparison, Cloudaways will get you the same specced server but with 160GB storage at $20 less! Also, they have many more datacenter locations compared to SiteGround.
NOTE: Since November 2020, SiteGround has stopped providing their services in South East Asia, Brazil and many more countries due to regulatory issues. Now, their primary focus has shifted to North America and Europe. If you live in a country where SiteGround services are not available, then please look at this post for some great SiteGround alternatives.
Cost and infrastructure is only half of the story. If the performance is not good, hardly anyone is going to buy their services even if they start offering them for free.
Fortunately, SiteGround has great performance especially after they moved to Google Cloud and their in-house innovations which got us the SG Optimizer plugin, and recently, Ultrafast PHP improved the performance even more. I have tested SiteGround hosting with SG Optimizer turned on. Here are the results.
As you can see, total page load time is under 700ms which is outstanding!
As you can see, response times remained below 120ms which is exceptional!
As you can see from the above, SiteGround performs exceptionally well! So, one should not face any problem using their services.
SG Optimizer Plugin
SG Optimizer plugin is a gamechanger. It is built in-house by SiteGround and according to them, if a user uses all three levels of caching from the SG Optimizer Plugin (Memcached, Direct Delivery, and Dynamic Caching) then their website can handle 100 times more traffic than without caching!
In addition to that, you get many performance-optimizing features like minification of HTML, CSS, JS, preloading, pre-connecting etc. SG Optimizer is a great plugin and the best part is it’s free! This is another reason to consider SiteGround for your hosting needs.
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SiteGround Hosting Features
Some of the notable features of SiteGround are:
- 3 level caching via in-house SuperCacher Technology
- FREE SSL Certificates (Yes I had to mention it because even in 2021, some hosts don’t offer FREE SSL *coughs* GoDaddy)
- Free CDN
- Ultrafast PHP (only on the GoGeek plan)
- Git integration (only on the GoGeek plan)
- Staging site (only on GrowBig and higher plans)
- Free migration via their SiteGround Migrator plugin.
SiteGround Customer Support
SiteGround has a huge Knowledgebase of commonly faced issues. If your issue is not covered in the knowledgebase, you can contact their customer support via chat or phone, which is available 24×7.
For testing their support, I asked them for help over chat because I was unable to add a domain to my account as it was telling me that this domain is already in our network. I got connected to a support rep within 2 mins and he escalated the issue to their support team. Their support team fixed the issue within an hour! That’s incredible considering the level of problem that I faced. As to why this weird thing happened, I will tell you about it a bit later down below.
I contacted them at 8:14PM
Problem was solved at 8:56PM
As you can see from the above, the issue was solved within an hour which is impressive considering covid and working constraints.
Pros and Cons of SiteGround
Now, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of SiteGround
- Great uptime (99.99% average) and performance
- Great load times (500ms on an average)
- Good customer support
- Free SSL
- Free migration
- Very high renewal rates
- Limited features on the base plan
- No free domain and domains are expensive. An .com domain will set you back for $15.95/yr. Yikes!
Now for the biggest con – They don’t inform you if they suspend your account for any reason. This thing happened to me. This is the entire story behind it.
on the 24th of May, I signed up for SiteGround Affiliates. I have an international bank account (well, the account is Indian but international transactions are enabled). I knew that they had stopped affiliate for Indians in late 2020. As I had an international account. Also, my batchmate is from the US. So he helped me out with his SSN, Address, etc., and with the help of his details, I signed up for the affiliate account. We decided that we will split the revenue 50-50 which was only fair considering he was helping me so much with opening an account. Everything went smoothly and SiteGround approved my account.
On that day itself, I migrated to SiteGround and started reviewing them. But, the next night, I was shocked to see that I was unable to access my account. So, naturally, I emailed them (as live chat is only available to logged-in users and yes before someone says, I tried resetting my password to no success). I received a reply after 10 hours (yes, that’s exactly how SiteGround treats non-customers or potential future customers). They informed me that my account was suspended due to false information and they had definitive proof that I am living in a country which is different from the country that i selected during signup.
I explained them the whole situation and after another 10 hours, I got a reply. Their reply?
Yes! The domain extension was one of the reasons due to which my account got suspended! I was forced to take the .in extension as wpsteam.com, jordans21.sg-host.com and wpsteam.org were already taken and me, being an Indian, the next logical choice would be taking a look at the .in extension.
Now, coming to the incorrect billing information part. I explained the whole situation to them and even provided them proof of everything that I said. Still, they refused to even let me access the control panel for the last time so that I can migrate my site. On top of that, they didn’t even inform me via email that my account is on hold for xyz reasons. The irony is that my friend bought a plan on SiteGround AFTER they discontinued their services in India but to date, his account is not suspended. Even his affiliate earnings are coming in! So, SiteGround is now entirely focused on profit and they don’t want advertisement anymore.
I’m sorry to say, but, SiteGround has gone from being very to good to being one of the worst web hosting services just because of their customer service. I hope that SiteGround will improve this (which is again, a lot to ask for considering the future).
SiteGround is a very good web hosting service that is fast and reliable. They have developed many in-house tools which further increases performance. Customer support is also good. But, the renewal prices are too high, and also, they will NOT inform you before suspending your account i.e. they will suspend your account happily without informing you.
UPDATE – They have suspended my friend’s account this time. Reason, SAME AS ABOVE! Are you kidding me SiteGround! I DO NOT RECOMMEND SITEGROUND! I REPEAT! DO NOT GO FOR SITEGROUND!
UPDATE 2 – I HAVE POSTED THE ENTIRE INCIDENT IN THIS POST. PLEASE HAVE A READ
I hope that this SiteGround review has helped you to know more about them. If you have any queries or suggestions, then please let me know in the comments down below.
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