If you’ve been on our website for more than 2.47 seconds, then you’ve probably already figured it out — we like SiteGround.
And before you freak out and start pointing fingers, the answer is “No!”. We do not work for SiteGround and they aren’t sending us huge sponsorship checks every month to promote their service.
The reason that we like SiteGround so much is simple. According to every quantifiable metric, they smoke the competition like Snoop Dogg (or is it Lion? I can’t remember) smokes California prime… 🌿🔥😙💨
Outside of their main competitor – A2 hosting – there isn’t a single company on the market that can compete with the sheer quality and value delivered by SiteGround’s abundant hosting services.
With more than a decade of experience and over 2,600,000 domains under their supervision, we’ve watched SiteGround evolve over the years from ‘meh’ to ‘OMFREAKINGG!’
With data centers spread across Asia, North America, Australia and Europe, SiteGround has experienced a meteoric rise to the top in recent years and with good reason.
In this SiteGround review, we’ll peel back the layers of the proverbial onion to reveal all of the juicy details and numbers regarding why we love SiteGround so much so that you can decide whether or not they’re the right hosting service for your needs.
Let’s dive in.
SiteGround Review – Quick Summary
Introduction to SiteGround
In mid-2013, I was giving a presentation at a conference in Thailand and, after the curtains fell, I started speaking to a few of the attendees.
A few of them were extremely earnest, asking a lot of technical questions about my business and hanging on nearly every word.
The guys in question were actually SiteGround employees and, after discussing my web agency and whitelabel team, they (obviously) recommended their service as a solution to the problems I was having with the existing Canadian hosting services.
I’ll be completely honest. I was skeptical (to say the least). I’d tried so many lackluster hosts in the past that I’d finally just conceded defeat and relegated myself to an eternity of crappy web hosts.
But, I really clicked with the guys I talked with and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. After two short months of using their services, I transitioned more than 150 of my clients’ websites to SiteGround and haven’t looked back since.
SiteGround’s exceptional service saved me and my company thousands of dollars and an incalculable number of hours and, over the next few sections, I’ll explain the technical reasons behind their superior service.
How We Collected This Data
In the world of web hosting (French: Meilleur Hébergement Web), commission fueled recommendations mean precisely… jack sh*t. 💩
Without hard hitting facts and data to back up claims, you can be all but certain that the “recommendation” in question is driven primarily by the desire to make a quick buck off of your naivety… NOT to provide you with an unbiased look at the company in question.
We get this…
Luckily, with our fully integrated client management systems, we’ve been able to collect more than a decades worth of data on dozens of different hosting services including: uptime, downtime, load speeds, and more.
And now, I’m going to share some of those juicy numbers with you…
The following data was collected over a ~12 month period from December 14, 2016 to January 13, 2019.
One of SiteGround’s biggest selling points is, without a doubt, the insanely reliable uptimes offered by their servers. Clocking in at 99.92% for their shared hosting service (a.k.a. the ‘cheap’ hosting), SiteGround does not disappoint.
These tests were conducted using their Iowa data center, and the results were pretty darn good considering that there were only 5 short outages over more than 2 years.
If you consider that iPage — one of the oft-proclaimed “top” Canadian hosting companies — had an uptime of only 97.6% (yes, you read that correctly) and more than 100 outages over the same period, this is ridiculously low.
Testing & Review of SiteGround’s Downtime
- 4/28/2017 – 154 seconds
- 10/4/2017 – 561 seconds
- 11/11/2018 – 431 seconds
- 1/3/2019 – 331 seconds
- 1/14/2019 – 430 seconds
Here are some records of our 2018 uptime reports. As you can see, all of the ranges are between 99.9% and 100%.
This test is specifically from Toronto and was tested monthly on the 23rd of each month last year (as you can see in the image above).
I think it’s pretty safe to say with downtimes as short as these, you won’t need to worry about your website for more than a few (561 to be precise) seconds.
Here’s another screenshot of our dashboard showing the uptime of each individual site/host over the past few years. Pretty solid.
One of the interesting conundrums of reviewing web host companies is that many readers (errantly) assume that local data centers will always trump data centers stationed overseas or in an adjacent country. And it’s easy to see why.
The proximity of a data center goes a long way in determining the speed with which your website data will be delivered to your audience.
The closer the center is to your end users, the less distance the information has to travel, and the faster delivery (should) be. However, it’s important to realize that, with regards to data centers, quality trumps proximity.
Unfortunately, Canadian data centers are still working to rise to the growing demand.
While they are leaps and bounds ahead of Australian (sorry mates) and many Asian data centers, they still tend to rely on unreliable and out of date software making them less effective than their United States counterparts.
Luckily, SiteGround’s North American data centers are located in Iowa and deliver incredibly fast speeds to the country’s Northern neighbors (a.k.a. YOU!)
Besides the location of their data centers, SiteGround has also gone a long way in building their own out-of-the-box caching tool called the SuperCacher, which can speed up a website up to 5 times.
There is more, they have recently launched their unique Ultrafast PHP setup that is available on the GrowBig, GoGeek, and cloud plans and could add an additional speed boost of up to 30%.
In addition, it’s worth mentioning that SiteGround uses Google’s most powerful processors and this also adds to the overall stable and fast service.
Here are some of our test results from Toronto and Montreal:
Not too shabby, huh?
The screenshot below is from one of our client’s eCommerce websites before and after switching over to SiteGround. I think the graph speaks for itself.
If that isn’t enough to sell you on SiteGround’s speeds, then here are a few more tests that we ran throughout 2017 and 2018 from 5 different locations across Canada.
- July average speed: 314ms
- June average speed: 302ms
- May average speed: 283ms
- April average speed: 333ms
- March average speed: 312ms
To someone all about speed, you might want something faster. If this isn’t impressive at all, then you’ll be glad to know that they decided to break their own record with the new version of the SG Optimizer plugin.
This tool allows WordPress websites to further improve speeds by as much as 30% with their improved Memcached support and dynamic cache purging.
SIteGround Customer Support
Here’s the thing about most web hosting provider’s customer support… It sucks harder than Dyson vacuum attempting to clean up the mess that was left in the wake of your little cousin’s 9th birthday party.
No really… It’s awful.
Considering that the industry standard for customer service ranks slightly above Roger’s telecommunications support team (God help you if your account is ever double charged).
You can imagine our complete and utter surprise when we contacted SiteGround for help with a few hiccups… And received effective and nearly instantaneous feedback.
Customer support is a point of pride for SiteGround and their knowledgeable support staff is available 24/7/365.
Support options for SiteGround:
- Live Chat (24/7)
- Ticket System (typically answered in 24 hours)
Here’s a quick snapshot of their customer support chat window. (expect a wait time of about… 10 seconds)
Regular Website Updates
The #1 weakness that hackers and other internet ilk exploit to breach your website and steal your customer’s data is outdated plugins and website themes.
As technology continues to evolve, previous iterations of website software become open to new vulnerabilities unless they are “patched” by the developers.
Think of it like a fence surrounding a secure compound.
Unless the fence is refurbished and fixed on a regular basis, it will become worn down with time and rust, erosion, and other forces of nature will make it vulnerable to anyone and everyone looking to gain entry.
Luckily, SiteGround does all of the heavy lifting for you and sets all of your websites to auto-update so that you no longer have to worry about installing the latest patches or software updates.
With SiteGround, you can literally set it and “fugget” it.
Supercacher, CDN and Enhanced Security
In addition to the uber-reliable uptimes, wicked fast load times, and regular security updates, SiteGround also offer one especially valuable bonus to keep your website running smoothly. (A bonus for which most hosts will make you pay handsomely)
This is the all-inclusive Security plugin which covers all security related areas of your website.
Another great feature included with each plan is a free CDN (or content delivery network) that will spread out your website files over 200 locations worldwide to guarantee the fastest load times possible… No matter where your audience is viewing your content.
SiteGround offers a free Cloudfare CDN setup with every hosting package, saving you $20/month (or more).
Along with this is the Supercacher system that dynamically implements multiple caching systems like static caching, dynamic caching, and the all famous Memcached—tremendously speeding up loading times.
A Free SSL Certificate ($60 value)
SiteGround offer totally free SSL.
But wait, there’s more…
With Google’s recent security updates, having an SSL (secured socket layer) is all but mandatory
That is if you want your website to rank on the first or second pages of Google’s SERP (search engine results page).
An SSL is effectively an encrypted tunnel between your website and your visitor’s device that keeps all private information exactly that… Private.
It’s kind of like sending a letter to your friend in a secret language known only by the two of you. If you sent the letter in plain English, any Jane or Joe who intercepted the letter could quickly read and decode the secret message.
However, by encrypting the information with a secret language, even in the event that the letter was intercepted, no one would be able to determine the contents of the letter.
Luckily, SiteGround provides your website with an SSL certificate — again, entirely free of charge.
This is especially useful if you run an eCommerce business, as many of the most popular payment processors won’t even allow a transaction to occur on an unsecured connection.
One Click Installs For Newbies
Another great feature offered by SiteGround is their 1-click WordPress installation.
As soon as you login to your dashboard, you’ll see an option to install WordPress with (literally) one click and, after setting up your user name and password, will have your website cocked, locked, and ready to rock in a matter of minutes.
Free Website Transfers
Unless you’re planning on creating a brand new website, you probably have several gigabytes of valuable content that is already being hosted on your current site.
Unfortunately, transferring this data from one host to another is a pain in the ass of Jurassic proportions.
The Not So Good
The only real issue that I experienced with SiteGround’s service is that it can get a little bit pricey if you aren’t quite ready to make the 2-3 year commitment required to secure their lowest cost offer.
If you want your website hosted on a monthly basis, you’ll be looking at a fee of $14.99/month for one year of service which is pretty steep considering the price point of some of their competitors.
However, with no hidden fees, the price is actually significantly less than companies like GoDaddy. And considering the sheer amount of value they bring to the table, I’m more than happy to pay this for myself and my clients.
If you consider the amount of time spent dealing with customer support (or just trying to get ahold of them) at other hosts, the extra few bucks is a no-brainer.
Unless you’re looking to setup a dedicated hosting service (which is completely unnecessary until your website generates at least 50,000 visitors — not to be confused with views — per month), you’ll want to opt for SiteGround’s shared hosting plans.
Here’s the breakdown of what they cost and what you’ll get…
- Cost – $3.99/month
- 1 Website and 10GB
- Daily Backups
- Security plugin
- 10,000 Monthly visits
Grow Big Plan
- Cost – $6.69/month
- Multiple Websites
- 100K Daily Visitors
- Free SSL
- Free Backups
- On-Demand Backups
- Collaboration tools
- Ultrafast PHP
- Cost – $10.69/month
- 40GB HD Space
- 400K Monthly Visitors
- White-label hosting
- Staging + Git
- Priority support
- Ultrafast PHP
There is no shortage of viable web hosts to choose from.
However, considering the massive amount of value offered by SiteGround: from their blazingly fast data centers, reliable uptimes, and incredible customer service, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal out there.
We’ve been using them for years and have yet to be disappointed by their service. Give them a try for yourself and let us know what you think.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Witty and sarcastic remarks? Drop them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
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References and image credits:
ed Speed : Slow Usability : Slightly Complicated
try sitting in on my support calls or text and youll change your tune
with SG over 7 years. last 2 years they totally mucked up with the GUI . trying to make it more ‘user freindly’ and to basically make it near impossible to get support quickly. Thus eliminating likely 2/3rds the support traffic. But other things are greatly amiss. They are understaffed now with teh push to grow so fast. the operators are still good, but not great. the ticket system is overloaded and not thorough and the random errors and bs caused by forced server changes, PHP upgrades that arent compatible and on and on have pushed me look elsewhere. Oh and the “lightening speed”. Nope. I am now slower on pageload than 2 years ago. BIG thumbs down for me
Volker Forster Speed : Fast Usability : Easy To Use
I am with Siteground for 3 years. I had a “Go Geek” for the longest time, worked pretty well, but since I sometimes exceeded the allowance of CPU seconds (specially when Russian bots where visiting), I was once a month in fear they would shut down my server (what they never did). They recommended the cloud based service, which is a STEEP up from about 15 USD a month to at least 80. But the problems became even bigger, the 2 CPUs included in my package haven’t been enough already when I converted a stack of pictures or received a data feed from my channel integration tool. So I added 2 more CPUs, but the disk space is still limited with just 10GB (the cheap Go Geek came with I guess 30GB!!). The performance is pretty good, but (however) only on the WP / WooCommerce front end. The dashboard is freaking slow, despite all the tricks and tweaks we applied over the months and years. I finally pay >100USD per month for a service not a bit better than the Go Geek I had before. And I am not giving in and add another 2 or 4 CPUs and more disk space for a ridiculous amount of money.
Besides this, Siteground really has the “Rockstar Support”. Their support is simply the best support I ever experienced anywhere online or offline. Highest quality, extremely good knowledge, lightning fast.
Matt Speed : Fast Usability : Easy To Use
SiteGround was good but we outgrew it
After months of several problems with Siteground (outages, slow load times, unresponsive support, lack of expert knowledge) we made a decision and moved 130 client websites to Kinsta. No regrets, they are in a different league. While siteground is ok and cheap having a more robust platform is what we needed in order to scale our agency. After moving the sites we experienced ~1.5sec improvement in site performance sometimes even more for ecoommerce sites.
Tim Speed : Fast Usability : Easy To Use
Big Fan Of SiteGround. Probably the best support around
Signed up for their basic hosting package after being with a local company for a while. Seriously awesome service, I’m not super technical but any questions you have support can basically help you out right away. Three thumbs up!