It’s a firsthand experience.
Deciding on a best WordPress hosting can be excruciating.
With all those hosting ads calling your name from every web corner, offering only the prime and elite, it’s hard not to get confused.
We’ve read a plethora of offers, articles, opinions, reviews and comments on different and famous hosting providers.
Not to mention how we dug around until we gathered all available information on everyone and everything. Yes, our heads fell apart until we organized the compiled data. But, since it was a major decision that costs money and may cause stress, we left no stone unturned.
And we’ve seen it all, from [intentional] misinterpretation of the facts, over ignorance, to misleading.
However, two wonderful things emerged out of that unholy mess.
First, we chose SiteGround as our WordPress hosting provider.
Second, because we’re disgusted by the bunch of BS that’s being served to beginners, we wrote this complete and genuine SiteGround review. Affiliate or no, we stand for ethical and unbiased writing and reporting.
Don’t Take Reviews for Granted
To be honest, most rookies fall for deceptive or incomplete stories. If you’re wondering why, mainly because they trust their sources to be credible, impartial, and professional. As a result, beginners don’t feel the need to check the facts themselves. Yeah, a classic blooper.
Besides, even if they wanted to corroborate the infos, it’s too damn complicated to get to the bottom of the truth.
Whom should I trust? What should I believe in?
Well, that’s up to you.
But you can show the internet you’re wiser than they consider you to be, because we’re giving you that opportunity here and now.
Table of Contents:
- SiteGround Overview
- Is SiteGround Popular?
- Competition vs. SiteGround
- SiteGround WordPress Hosting
- WordPress Hosting Plans
- Negative Customer Reviews
- Positive Customer Reviews
- Do We Recommend SiteGround?
Without further ado, let’s move onto the facts.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting: The Overview
Founded in 2004, SiteGround is an American hosting provider company based in Bulgaria.
Although their offer contains various hosting options, including dedicated servers, they’re best known (among the few lucky ones) for their WordPress hosting.
Last year, SiteGround made it as #5 on HRank’s top 2018 providers (Bluehost #44, DreamHost #60, iPage #62, InMotion #90, GoDaddy #92, HostGator #93, NameCheap #128). HRank is an independent US company that measures the performance of 307 shared web hosting providers.
As for this year’s results, they rank SiteGround as #1.
Yet, when you look at the findings, you can’t help but wonder why SiteGround isn’t more popular.
The Question of SiteGround’s (Un)Popularity
Even Google will tell you that SiteGround is little known among average internet users.
On one side, we have SiteGround’s outstanding and proven performance. On the other, we have SG’s disfavor.
So, what’s the real deal with these two contradictory facts?
While other hosting providers engage in astute and often cunning marketing campaigns, SiteGround’s main concerns are service improvement and customer care.
Ever seen a SG ad on Facebook or YouTube? We haven’t. However, SiteGround’s unpopularity isn’t just a matter of advertising, and we’ll also discuss that later. (You don’t want to miss that part.)
But, is it perhaps possible that rivals have more to offer on WordPress hosting than SiteGround? We’ll write a separate article that’ll cover both the full offer and performance comparison soon.
For this occasion, allow us to introduce you to the general analogy.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting vs. Competition
Along with SiteGround, WordPress.org also recommends Bluehost and DreamHost.
Other well-known, or well-recommended to be exact, WordPress hosting providers include: NameCheap, WP Engine, WPX hosting, HostGator, HostMonster, GoDaddy, InMotion, iPage, FatCow, etc.
Compared to the overall figure of web providers, this list is quite small. But even with such a tiny sample, we have a textbook monopoly example.
Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster, iPage and FatCow are all owned by the same company called Endurance International Group (EIG). At the current moment, EIG owns a total number of 83 hosting companies. In addition, there’s been a bunch of scandals involving EIG. Still, what caught our attention was that the service quality decreased in almost all hosting providers, right after they joined the Endurance family.
Increased customer dissatisfaction and lousy service are probably the main reasons why SiteGround WordPress hosting reputation started growing over the recent years.
And here’s what SG’s offer looks like today.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting
SiteGround WordPress hosting is [shared] managed.
What Does Shared Hosting Mean?
Unlike the competition and certain reviewers, SG doesn’t waste time trying to insult your intelligence by convincing you that managed hosting is the same as dedicated.
Managed hosting ISN’T dedicated hosting.
Unless the hosting plan looks like you’re buying a PC, it’s SHARED. And no amount of twisting the facts and misleading practice will make it dedicated hosting.
The other obvious indicator of shared hosting is the price. Dedicated hosting starts with $100+ a month, although we’ve seen shared hosting plans with these shameless prices. Just an attempt to lead you into thinking it’s dedicated and worth the money.
What Is Managed Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting means that providers pre-crafted the servers to fit the WP needs. That’s why your provider installs and pre-sets the WP platform for you.
With hosting that is NOT managed, you need to install and set up everything by yourself. It’s like renting a computer with a blank hard-drive, without the system and necessary software.
Dedicated or Shared Hosting. Which One Is Better for You?
Unless you’re Facebook, Twitter, or other companies that have thousands of users connected every minute of each hour 24/7, shared hosting is enough for you.
Is Shared Hosting Any Good?
The quality of service depends on the hosting provider, but you need to understand that:
- Shared hosting doesn’t mean lousy hosting by default.
- Likewise, dedicated hosting doesn’t imply quality hosting.
Of course, some additional elements and benefits depend on the hosting plans.
The proof you can have QUALITY shared hosting is SiteGround.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting Plans
SiteGround WordPress hosting includes three plans: StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek.
All three WP hosting plans have the following features in common:
- WP install. SiteGround will install your WordPress for you.
- WP migrator. This tool allows you to transfer your existing WordPress website (if any) to SiteGround.
- Let’s Encrypt Standard and Wildcard SSL certificates and HTTPS. The standard SSL comes pre-installed.
- Unlimited email accounts.
- Cloudflare CDN.
- Automatic daily backup.
- WordPress autoupdates.
- WP CLI and SSH. These options allow you to manage your WordPress website with command lines, much like the Windows command prompt.
- 24/7 WP support.
- 30-days money back.
- Unmetered traffic, aka bandwidth.
- Unlimited MySQL Databases.
Downsides of all three plans revolve around the absence of a free domain. Then again, all plans include unlimited traffic, which is far more important.
Basic WordPress Hosting: The StartUp Plan
With the StartUp WP plan you get:
- 1 WordPress website,
- 10GB of SSD web space,
- Server infrastructure that supports 10,000 visits per month. The estimated visitor number is not a restriction, merely a point of reference.
The downsides of SG’s basic WordPress hosting:
- You must migrate your existing WP website (if any) on your own. Or you can pay SiteGround to transfer your site for you (approx. $15). Higher WordPress hosting plans get this feature for free.
- The absence of SG SuperCacher plugin, which allows dynamic data caching. Higher WP hosting plans have all three caching levels available at their disposal.
- No staging feature. Staging allows you to create a copy of your live website, make changes and test them before pushing those changes to the production site.
- No Git for WordPress. Coders and developers use this feature.
- No backup on-demand.
- The absence of Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant servers, which is a bummer if you’re a merchant and sell online.
- No advanced priority support. You still have all the WP support available 24/7; But, users with the highest plan have priority.
Price: Discounted $3.95/month price ($47.4/year) upon sign-up for new customers.
Renewal price: Regular $9.95/month ($119.4/year).
PRO TIP: SiteGround gives you the option to purchase three years of hosting on each payment. If your budget allows you and you want to save money, use the special price to buy the max 36-months hosting.
Middle WordPress Hosting: The GrowBig Plan
The GrowBig plan gets you:
- Unlimited websites.
- 20GB of SSD web space.
- Approx. 25,000 visits/month. Again, not a restriction.
- SiteGround SuperCacher with all three caching levels.
- WordPress staging.
- On-demand backup.
- Free site transfer.
The downsides include:
- The absence of Git for WordPress.
- No priority support.
- No PCI compliant servers.
Price: Discounted $6.45/month price ($77.4/year) upon sign-up for new customers.
Renewal price: Regular $17.95/month ($215.4/year).
Pro WordPress Hosting: The GoGeek Plan
The GoGeek plan will get you the whole package:
- Unlimited websites.
- 30GB of SSD web space.
- Approx. 100,000 visits/month.
- Advanced priority support.
- WordPress staging.
- WP Git.
- More server power.
- PCI compliant servers.
Price: Discounted $11.95/month price ($143.4/year) upon sign-up for new customers.
Renewal price: Regular $29.95/month ($359.4/year).
Which WordPress Hosting Plan Is Right for You?
Choose a plan depending on your website’s needs, your WP knowledge, and the experience you want to provide to your visitors:
- StartUp plan is perfect for small blogs, one-page or portfolio websites.
- GrowBig plan is suitable for regular bloggers or bigger companies.
- GoGeek plan is ideal for sellers because of PCI compliant servers, but also for steady bloggers or everybody else who aim to attract a myriad of frequent visitors.
If you’re a beginner and need constant expert support, choose GoGeek. The other solution is to hire a reliable professional to resolve your issues.
We went for the GoGeek plan, and not because we expected 100,000 visits/month from the start, although it would be a great thing. We did it because we wanted all our users to have the best and fastest experience. Nonetheless, we also chose it because of the priority support.
Plus, the SG GoGeek option is cheaper (even with the regular price) and includes more features than the pro plans from other providers.
Note: If you become a SiteGround member using our affiliate link, we may earn a commission. In that way, you’ll help us run Titan Writer so that we can continue to provide tips and tutorials useful to you and others. Thank you for supporting us and our mission.
But, how can you be certain SiteGround (affiliate) is the hosting provider to go to?
Well, you start with customer reviews.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting Negative Customer Reviews
Although you may already know this, it’s worth mentioning again.
Companies pay for reviews.
Some businesses pay for good reviews to be written, some for bad reports to be taken down, and some to write trash against the competition. Even the famous Yelp is known to delete reviews in exchange for cash or advertising. Yet, this is another practice we didn’t notice SiteGround to engage in.
How can we know this for sure? Because the BS is evident.
In addition, you can find the awful reviews from several years ago all over internet.
We’ve sorted them out, and made a list of the most common complaints.
#1 The Usual Customer Complaints
The majority of usual customer claims were written by people who lack basic WordPress knowledge. Thus, they accused SG for not helping them out. To sum up, customers expected SiteGround to do everything for them, except write and publish posts.
Although it would be ideal if someone else does all the work while we all enjoy, that’s not how things function. SG provides web hosting with some additional features, depending on your hosting plan. Your website is your responsibility.
It’s like buying or adopting a dog, and expecting the breeder or the shelter to take care of walks, meals, grooming, and vet checks.
So, either you do everything by yourself, or you pay a pro to do it for you. Ask Mark Zuckerberg if his web providers manage Facebook. And we can all assume how much FB pays for their servers and hosting, and that amount ain’t $500/year.
#2 Suspicious Customer Complaints
These are, by far, our favourites.
For example, check out this complaint.
Wow, this looks terrible and unprofessional, although Juan didn’t explain what happened to his website (changed, deleted, etc.). On top of all distress, he lost traffic, and Google penalized his page (must be some serious issues). It’s hard to imagine how losing 10 years of work would look like.
Regardless of the fact that Juan skipped to mention he migrated his original site to SiteGround, and instead made a new one, that’s not the biggest lie.
Fake Reviews Revealed
Notice that Juan wrote his comment on January 15.
Then the following sentence: After a couple of months, I tried yesterday to update my posts just to realize my website was hacked. (Which would make the date of the post attempt January 14.)
And then, there’s this: Yes, they have a backup to restore the site, but only from 30 days back. Someone hacked my site on January 1st and it’s been 45 days since.
In ONE single day, Juan lost 45 days. Although it’s difficult for us to believe that someone with 10 years of experience doesn’t own a physical copy of his website, this story is pure rubbish.
Even if we pretended to trust his words, according to Juan’s timeline, that’d still be 14 days. Thus, SiteGround would own his website’s backup.
But what if he made a mistake? The 45-days period corresponds to December 1, so maybe it was an accident. Except, it wasn’t a slip, because Juan wrote “January 1st” twice.
Also, for someone as skilled as him to figure out the hack-date, he displayed himself as ignorant when he failed to login to his website through WordPress. All he needed to do is reset the password through the SiteGround account using the cPanel.
In the end, Juan wasn’t sure if he lost the site or not, and seemed more concerned about the regular prices than his web page.
The Internet Is Full of Fake Customer Experiences
The sad part is, there are more stories like the one you’ve just read.
The good side, these guys aren’t paid enough to create decent fairy tales that would make even the slightest sense. It’s almost always the people who invested years and thousands of dollars into their sites, businesses and audience-building (the drama effect). But, at the same time, they login into their websites twice a year. Don’t pity them, thank them. They’re making things easier for you.
You can see through the hogwash straight away, because they base their fictions on the usual cons.
#3 The Usual Cons
First of all, we have to state we don’t agree with the common cons. We have also provided you with logical explanations why we oppose, so you may consider both sides.
#3.1 Higher Renewal Prices
SiteGround doesn’t have higher renewal prices.
What they do have are regular prices and promo prices for new customers.
It’s even written on their WordPress hosting plans.
Even more interesting, SiteGround isn’t the only provider with lower sign-up prices. Other hosting providers offer discounts upon sign-up as well. Yet, when it comes to reviews, other providers don’t have Higher Renewal Prices listed as a con, although their regular rates are higher than what SG charges.
In addition, their discounted values are valid only if you purchase a three-years hosting plan. SiteGround doesn’t have those indecent conditions. You get the same discount whether you take six months or a whole year of hosting.
Intentional misinterpretation of the facts, for whatever reason, is immoral, people.
Hint: After the first billing, you’re no longer a new customer, even if you bought a one-month trial hosting. That’s the policy of ALL companies, or in this case, hosting providers.
#3.2 I Didn’t Know About the Higher Renewal Prices
We would believe that someone got confused about renewal prices if SiteGround kept only the special rates available. Yet, both charges are displayed for everyone to see.
#3.3 SiteGround Didn’t Inform Me That After the First Billing Regular Prices Apply
Almost exact as the previous con.
And again, untrue, because it’s written under the SiteGround WordPress hosting plans.
#3.4 No Free Domain Name
Yes, with SiteGround you must buy a domain.
But, unlike other hosting providers, they’re giving you UNLIMITED traffic. You’ll never worry whether you’ve reached the limit and have to pay for additional bandwidth.
Unrestricted traffic is very important for high-performing websites, but also for individuals on a tight budget.
On the other hand, you’re not obligated to purchase a domain with SG. You can buy it elsewhere and use it with your SiteGround website.
We purchased our domain with SG, because we wanted to have everything in one place. It’s hassle-free, and if something goes wrong, all you need to do is contact a single company to sort things out.
#3.5 Long Waiting Period for Phone Customer Support
Imagine you’re attending a kid’s birthday party.
There you are, with at least 20 children running around, shouting, asking you a bunch of questions all at the same time and craving for your attention.
That’s how we picture the SiteGround’s phone-support waiting line.
Since we can’t relate to people who’d rather spend all day on the phone, it’s tough for us to comment on this subject. However, the only thing we can say is that we wouldn’t call the customer support line unless the website’s on fire. For all other [minor] issues, we would use their documentation, and then ask for chat support.
But, you need to understand something. Having problems with a website pushes people into panic mode. It’s just that some folks are in horror when they don’t know how to change their theme color. That’s probably the greatest reason why there’s a long waiting line on the phone support.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting Positive Customer Reviews
In regards to customer ratings, SiteGround has a 4.9/5 score.
Clearly, there are more satisfied and impartial clients than the unhappy ones.
It’s worth mentioning that SG also receives high praise from IT professionals and long-term clientele. That doesn’t mean SiteGround is difficult to use. On the contrary.
These reviews show you that people who comprehend the role of a hosting provider and their service scope are delighted with SG’s offer.
Note: No matter which web provider you choose, the website is yours to manage. Customers who don’t understand a thing about WordPress and refuse to learn even the basics will always be unsatisfied. In addition, immature users will blame someone else for their failures.
Here’s a list of the top five common reasons to use SiteGround WordPress hosting.
#1 Fantastic Performance
This year is only halfway through, and SiteGround has already shown its shine: 99.995% uptime.
What more can warrant you won’t experience any serious downtime? Oh, wait!
SiteGround (affiliate) even has an uptime guarantee.
#2 Uptime Guarantee Legal Clause
SiteGround guarantees average annual uptime of 99.9%.
Anything under the promised value, and you’ll get free hosting for a month to compensate.
#3 Free CDN, SSL, and HTTPS
Cloudflare Content Delivery Network
SiteGround partnered up with Cloudflare to ensure every user has an option to use Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Using CDN decreases web page loading time by serving content from a location closest to the website visitor. So, if you activate Cloudflare through your SG cPanel, it doesn’t matter which SiteGround server you selected upon sign-up. Even better, free CDN is available for all your domains and subdomains.
Using CDN also increases control over content caching and protects your site from malicious attacks such as DDoS.
Let’s Encrypt SSL and HTTPS
An SSL certificate activates a secure connection between the visitors’ browsers and your website. The site’s URL protocol changes from HTTP to HTTPS, marking your website’s URL with a padlock which means the connection is protected.
Since July 2018, every new Chrome version labels websites without an SSL as NOT SECURE.
Without doubt, Google made good on their promise to cut down cybercrime and make the web safer, by ensuring internet users are aware of possible threats.
So what does an SSL certificate do?
Other than providing sensitive information encryption and authentication, it also establishes trust between the brand (website) and visitors.
#4 Stable Response Time
HRank marked SiteGround’s response time as fast and stable.
Ever since June 2018, SG response time has ranged between 500 and 600 ms. Compared to Bluehost whose average RT was 1064 ms, GoDaddy 1089, HostGator 1059, or InMotion 1193, it’s not a surprise why SiteGround earns more trust among website owners.
Google describes the ideal response time as less than 200 ms. Naturally, you can reach this target with the combination of CDN, and an excellent and optimized theme, plugins, databases, etc. But, if the server RT is slow to begin with, no amount of optimization will speed up your web page.
We’re more than satisfied with the results we achieved on SiteGround (affiliate).
However, the thing we and all other SG users love most is their customer support.
#5 Best Customer Support in the World
The SiteGround support team is friendly, enthusiastic, forthcoming, patient and constantly eager to help.
We’ve tested their support on numerous occasions before we joined SG. We kinda acted like Borat in the cheese store, asked a ton of stupid questions and always got an answer. But, we all know that sale representatives tend to be kinder to get the deal done, right? Although it may come as a shock, but the response is NO.
Once we became a SG user, we tested their support again a few weeks later. So, we initiated a support chat, asking them to install a child theme on our account.
Note, we knew that installing themes or plugins isn’t a part of their job or obligation. And, instead of just brushing us off, they tried to calm us down, then provided us with a bunch of detailed tutorials for beginners. Of course, we acted stupid once again, stating we watched and read all of those.
We waisted about a half an hour of their time for this test, and not once did we sense a change in their “tone,” mood or behavior. Furthermore, they didn’t let us go until we decided they helped us.
And trust us, when you’re a beginner, nothing will excite you more than support, especially because the SiteGround team speaks the rookie’s language. In that way, you’ll never feel confused and it’ll be easier for you to follow the steps.
Do We Recommend SiteGround WordPress Hosting?
Our short answer is YES; we recommend SiteGround WordPress hosting.
From day one, we have experienced no issues, except with the Cloudflare Railgun on two occasions. Both times the blooper lasted a few seconds, but that happens with other CDN providers too. And if problems ever occur, we’re positive the SiteGround support team will be by our side to help us out.
In addition, if our opinion on SiteGround at any time changes, you’ll be the first to know. Not only because we despise misleading, but because your trust is important to us. That’s why we really hope SG will keep up with good work and improve their services further.
If you’re interested in becoming a SG member, we wrote detailed instructions on how to open up an account and start a blog on SiteGround.
We’re aware that in SiteGround (affiliate) we found everything we were looking for in an exceptional hosting provider. Likewise, we also believe you will too.
What does, in your opinion, make a decent hosting provider? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.