On paper, SiteGround looks more expensive than some modern web hosting alternatives, especially when it comes to low-end hosting. But there’s one thing that you should know about hosting platforms – every low price is disguised in upsells.
SiteGround takes the honest route. Granted, the service does cost more than your average shared hosting platform, but it delivers a solid number of features. This is SiteGround’s selling point – transparency.
Let’s dig in a bit deeper into this web hosting platform and see how good it is and who it’s best suited to.
Let’s start by listing the available plans.
The Startup Account
This is the most basic SiteGround plan. It costs $6.99 at the start and goes up to $14.99 upon renewal. If you’ve been comparing various options, you’ll note that this is far from the cheapest one around. But this is only apparent. With the most basic version of SiteGround, you get unmetered traffic (meaning that you get unlimited traffic storage, although the speed remains limited).
There’s also an unlimited number of sub and parked domains that you can use, and this goes for databases and email accounts, as well. You also get a free SSL certificate for security.
Apps are easy to install, and you get the Weebly’s website builder for free.
With other “cheaper” web hosting services, many of these services are pitched as upsells or are free for a limited time only.
The GrowBig Account
GrowBig will set you back $9.99 initially, which will rise to $24.99 per month upon renewal. This option bumps up the 10GB disk space to 20GB. You also get a free transfer of one of the existing hosted websites. You get various other features that boost the overall performance of your website.
The GoGeek Account
The initial price of $14.99 turns into $39.99 on renewal, which is a solid jump. Still, for the money, you get priority support, improved performance and more resources to work with. You also get something called “White label support.” This function enables you to design sites for other people and give them access to a site management console, all this without having the SiteGround name/logo appear. You won’t find this interesting feature on many web hosting platforms.
No Free Domain
Let’s just get one thing out of the way. With SiteGround, you don’t get a free domain. This is a significant downside, compared to the bulk of SiteGround’s competition. Still, with all the features you get as a part of the available plans, there isn’t much wiggle room for complaining.
When it comes to cloud hosting, SiteGround sticks to the same tactic as with the shared plans. The starting price for a single month is $80, which seems ridiculously high. Read the small print, though, and you’ll see that it’s a brilliant deal.
Unlike the bulk of the competition, SiteGround isn’t looking to cut corners with weak subscriptions at low prices. The cheapest cloud hosting plan gives you 3 CPU cores, 40GB of storage space, 6GB of Ram, and a bandwidth of 5TB.
Another important thing to note is that the $80 price isn’t just an initial price. It’s the regular monthly billing fee – no long-term contract included.
You should also keep in mind that these plans are managed. What this means is that SiteGround takes care of your servers and provides the maximum support levels.
SiteGround account setup is no different than with any other web hosting provider. Start by picking a plan that suits your needs. Then, while signing up, select that plan. You’ll be prompted to enter personal details, such as your name, your email and physical address, and your phone number.
Next, enter your payment details, and SiteGround will activate your account almost immediately.
If you’ve ever used another web hosting service, you’ll note that SiteGround has a bulky dashboard. You get various tabs, non-essential elements, and so on. Intimidating as it may appear, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll realize that SiteGround is extremely user-friendly.
You’ll find that the dashboard will cover the bulk of your account management needs. You’ll also find the Referral plan, which allows you to get free hosting per user you refer to SiteGround.
Now, there’s a setup wizard here that essentially gives you three different ways to make your first site:
- Migrate Website involves importing an existing instance of WordPress
- Start New Website will have you installing WordPress or another one of the supported apps
- Create Empty Site allows you to create your website from scratch, manually uploading everything that you want to
Although SiteGround isn’t WordPress-exclusive, you could say that WordPress is at least one of the main focuses of SiteGround. The best thing about using WordPress via SiteGround is that it’s so easy to set up. Once you’ve installed WordPress on your SiteGround account, you’ll be prompted to enter your credentials. Then, you’ll automatically be offered a malware scan using SiteGround’s Site Scanner.
Once the optional scanning is complete, SiteGround will automatically install WordPress in less than a few minutes. With most other hosts, that’s pretty much it. You’ve got what you wanted. SiteGround, however, supplies you with several very handy management tools. For instance, the website dashboard on SiteGround allows you to open the admin page, reset file permissions, update your password, as well as move/delete the app.
SiteGround also offers the AutoUpdate feature that keeps the WordPress version and plugins up to date. True, this could very well break your site, but SiteGround does everything in its power to prevent that from happening. For one, SiteGround delays major WordPress updates for 24 hours, fully backing-up your website before running any update. Even if a bug occurs and your website is rendered broken or unusable, you can always roll back to the backed-up version.
You’ll find that the majority of website hosts operate using a standard platform (cPanel, for instance) for website management. SiteGround has gone its way in this department, with its Site Tools panel.
This tool gives you all the necessary details regarding your website’s status – nameservers, IP address, page views, unique visitors, etc. you also get quick-launch icons, such as File Manager, Cloudflare CDN, Email Accounts, and so on.
Similar file managers tend to struggle with the drag-and-drop function if they even have this option available. Using the Site Tools panel, all you need do to is select a folder, drag-and-drop what you want to the browser page, and the upload starts. It works and looks a lot like the File Explorer in Windows.
The Performance Aspect
All the cool features aside, it’s time we talked about the performance aspect of SiteGround. Uptime and site load speed are the two main factors that impact the performance of a website. Uptime represents the amount of average time a host’s servers are up over a period of time. The loading speed is the amount of time it takes for a webpage to be loaded.
SiteGround offers very strong service in this regard. As a rule of thumb, uptime is considered “good” if it’s 99.93% or higher. Often, even 99.93% is considered average. SiteGround boasts the average uptime of 99.99%, which is top-notch.
Good response time is considered to be everything around 500ms (half a second). The average response time of SiteGround is 438ms, which is fantastic.
Finally, in terms of online reviews, SiteGround does well. It has excellent ratings, little downvotes, and is generally praised as a powerful, reliable, and secure web hosting service.
SiteGround Isn’t Your Average Web Host
You could say that SiteGround is sort of “wayward,” if you will. It has its panel called Site Tools, it has somewhat out-of-the-ordinary plans, and it doesn’t offer free domains. Still, people are flocking to the service.
SiteGround is a truly special platform with a distinct tone of uniqueness. It’s not your average high-end service, but it’s far from a cheap solution. We suggest that you give it a go.