Why We Love SiteGround – Review of the Fastest-Growing Host
If you’ve been on our website for more than 2.47 seconds, then you’ve probably already figured it out — We freakin’ love 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 4,500,000 domains under their supervision, we’ve watched SiteGround evolve over the years from ‘meh’ to ‘OMFREAKINGG!’
With data centers spread across Asia, the Americas, and Europe, SiteGround has experienced a meteoric rise to the top in recent years and with good reason. In this 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.
Earnings disclosure: Some of the products we reviewed on this page contain affiliate links. Don’t hate us! You don’t have to pay a penny extra for the services and the small commission that we earn is used to cover the costs of maintaining this website and conducting research (remember, we pay for all of these services with our own monies!) Thanks again for your support.
- Impeccable Customer Service
- Reliable Uptime
- Fast Speeds
- An Abundance of Free Features
- Super Affordable Pricing
Our 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. 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 a month of tentatively using their services, I transitioned more than 150 of my clients websites to SiteGround and haven’t looked back since.
Me before using SiteGround…
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, 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 24 month period from July 14, 2016 to July 13, 2018.
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 Chicago 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.
- 4/28/2015 – 154 seconds
- 10/4/2015 – 561 seconds
- 11/11/2016 – 431 seconds
- 2/3/2017 – 331 seconds
- 2/4 2017 – 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 on 12/29/2016 (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, eh?
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 Chicago and deliver incredibly fast speeds to the country’s Northern neighbors (a.k.a. YOU!)
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
Rockstar Level 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 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.
A Few Neat Bonuses: Supercacher and CDN
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)
It’s a feature known as CDN (or cloud distribution network) that will spread out your website files over 34 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).
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 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 understand your correspondence. 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.
Like this guy…
Typically, you’ll have to conduct this transfer manually vai FTP and your cPanel. However, with SiteGround, all new customers get one free transfer completely free of charge. Meaning that they will migrate all of your old website data for you in as little as 24-48 hours. No extra fees required!
This Sound Great… But What About the Downsides?
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, considering the sheer amount of value they bring to the table, I’m willing to overlook this slight transgression.
What Types of Hosting Plans Do They Offer?
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 – $3.95/month
- One Website and 10GB HD Space
- Great for sites with less than 10k daily visitors
- Free Backups and some Addons
Grow Big Plan
- Cost – $5.95/month
- Multiple Websites
- Up to 25k Daily Visitors
- Free SSL
- Free Backups
- Cost – $11.95
- 30GB HD Space
- Up to 100k Daily Visits
- Lots of Upgrades
This is by far the best plan unless you’re running a high traffic business website, eCommerce store, or full time blog.
Here are a couple of features of the plan.
- Free SSL
- Super Easy Signup
- One Click Install
- No BS Hidden Fees
- No Upsells (Thank God!)
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!