Premium level hosting provider praised for its advanced security features, exceptional performance and customer service.
It’s an Internet success story we’ve heard time and time again; a group of college students launch a startup in their dorm rooms and go on to conquer the world. SiteGround, a European-based web hosting company, has gone on to become one of the biggest on the web in just a few short years.
After starting out by providing shared hosting solutions to their fellow college students, the team at SiteGround began to take things further by putting their own unique twist on the typical hosting model; tailor made solutions and packages designed exclusively for specific platforms such as WordPress and Joomla.
By doing so, the company have gone on from humble beginnings to the hosting provider of choice for over 250,000 domains across the globe. Does that make them a good choice for your next website? Let’s find out together shall we? In the following guide, our experts explain everything you need to know about SiteGround to help you make an informed decision about whether they’re the right provider for you.
Plans and Pricing
As one of the few remaining companies still offering a three-tiered approach to shared hosting, SiteGround breaks its plans down into the usual beginner, medium and advanced packages.
At the lower-end of the scale, the company’s Startup package makes a decent option for those with basic needs.
10GB of disk space and enough bandwidth to cater for 10,000 monthly visits are included, as is SiteGround’s Essential Features package, more of which we’ll talk about later.
Though the amount of space and data transfer allowance isn’t exactly huge, it may be worth the investment for those who are looking to start small and eventually expand, later taking advantage of more advanced packages.
With this, you get double the amount of space for multiple websites, ample bandwidth for 25,000 and the Premium Features plan. This will set you back £4.95 for a first term. If you want our opinion, this is a little on the steep side for the limited amount of bandwidth and storage you’ll receive, and we’ve definitely seen comparable packages cheaper elsewhere.
That being said, the Essentials and Premium Features plan may make up for that depending on your needs.
At the end of the shared hosting scale is the ‘GoGeek’ plan, which is ideal for advanced users and those running eCommerce sites.
Again, storage and bandwidth allowances are fairly restricted here, with just 30GB of space, bandwidth for 100,000 monthly visitors and the addition of the ‘Geeky Advanced Features’ package, all for £8.95.
Other types of hosting
Along with shared hosting, SiteGround also offer both cloud-based Virtual Private Servers and dedicated hosting solutions. The latter starts at £36 per month for an entry-level package, shooting up to £84 per month for the all-encompassing Enterprise package.
You can see what’s included in each of these plans below. Much as with the rest of SiteGround’s plans, dedicated server solutions are a little on the expensive side compared to other hosting companies, with prices ranging from £147 per month up to £275 per month.
Money Back Guarantee
Siteground offer a 30 day money back guarantee (minus domain name fees) on their shared hosting packages. This starts from the day your card is charged for an account.
If you’re happy with the service in general but not the specific account, you can choose to have your refund placed in your SiteGround Virtual Wallet, which you can then use to pay for other goods and services from the company.
What’s included in SiteGround’s Shared Plan?
- Free domain
- Free Site Transfer
- Free App Installs
- Free Email Accounts
- Free Daily Backup
- Free CloudFlare CDN
As we’ve mentioned above, Siteground’s shared hosting plans come with different feature packages, with ‘Essentials’ included in all three plans and ‘Premium’ bundled in with only the ‘GrowBig’ and ‘GoGeek’ plans. With the latter, there’s also the ‘Geeky Advanced Features’ package included. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
This includes a free domain name and site transfer from your outgoing hosting provider, one-click installation of major -and not so major- platforms and applications, email accounts, Unlimited MySQL databases and daily back-ups.
There’s also the inclusion of the renowned CloudFare CDN (Content Delivery Network), and of course, access to all of your hosting features through the easy-to-use cPanel interface.
With a premium plan, you get all of the above, plus priority technical support, advanced loading speeds thanks to their in-built SuperCacher tool and access to 30 back-up copies at any one time.
Along with that, you’ll also get a free SSL certificate, which, as we’ll discuss later on, is essential for eCommerce as well as enhancing your website’s rankings on major search engines like Google.
Geeky Advanced Features
Sites with lots of traffic or which take up a lot of resource may well benefit from the GoGeek package. Your site will be hosted on a shared server that not only uses advanced technology, but that also promises to be less crowded with other accounts than most shared servers.
You’ll also benefit from one-click staging and pre-installed Git for platforms such as WordPress and Joomla, as well as PCI compliance, ideal for eCommerce solutions.
Building a Website
Another impressive part of SiteGround’s overall offering is their premium Joomla and WordPress support, with a unique system of caching in-built into your server to ensure optimum loading speeds and exceptional performance. This is a primary feature of the company’s specialist packages for both content management systems, along with further tailor-made plans for tools such as the eCommerce CMS, Magento .
Prefer things a little less complicated? As with many good hosting companies, there’s also a free drag-and-drop website building tool built-in to your cPanel. This isn’t something the company likes to make a big deal of, which probably says something about the attention they’ve given this particular tool behind the scenes. It also suggests to us that novice users and those usually drawn to drag-and-drop tools aren’t really the audience SiteGround are targeting.
Still, the tool is there, and it goes a long way to helping make SiteGround a viable contender as the hosting plan of choice for new site owners.
Siteground GoGeek eCommerce package
If you’re impressed so far, and are thinking of using SiteGround to run an eCommerce website, then we recommend the GoGeek package. This comes with the Essential and Premium feature packs that we’ve already discussed, but also a special ‘Geeky Advanced Features’ set of tools. This includes a free one year SSL certificate, something which is essential if your new online store is to run safely and keep customer data secure.
This package also comes with pre-installed PCI Compliance, so that you can be sure your eCommerce site adheres to online commerce and safety regulations.
Reliability and Performance
To their credit, SiteGround are one of the few hosting companies we’ve seen which give you the tools to check the real-time uptime status of domains hosted on their servers.
We ran tests on a few of our own sites and found nothing but positive results, with 100% uptime over a two month period and at least a consistent 99.9% up time during the rest of the time we’ve been hosting with SiteGround.
To achieve these impressive results, the company boasts their own in-house technology which constantly monitors for server issues and deploys unique software which solves 90% of common problems instantly.
With that in mind, if performance and reliability are a major factor in choosing your next hosting plan (and let’s be honest, they should be), you’re in good hands here.
Based on our own experience and those of others we’ve spoken to, customer service with SiteGround tends to range from reasonably good to outstanding, with some of the fastest response times we’ve come across so far via email, phone and live website chat.
Tech support specialists seem to be highly knowledgeable and capable of explaining problems and solutions without getting bogged down in geek-speak, a welcome touch for those less interested in the technical side of things and more interested in simply solving problems as quickly as possible.
The knowledge base available is also commendable, written with clear, step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow and produce the right results the majority of the time.
You don’t get to become one of the most widely-used hosting platforms on the web without doing a few things well.
Highly praised for their commitment to preventing hacking attempts and other security issues, the company have built their web servers using advanced technology and incorporating the kind of security tools that make all of their hosting plans some of the most invulnerable on the market.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, there isn’t an awful lot of negative stuff to say about Siteground. Indeed, we even spent more time than we care to admit scouring the web reading independent hosting reviews in search of Siteground’s less than favorable aspects.
You know what we found? Very little.
Still, as we’ve said before, few companies are perfect, and there are a few minor complaints levied at our number one ranked provider. For one thing, there’s the limited amount of bandwidth and storage space on the £2.95 per month entry level plan. With other top providers offering more resources for less money -at least for the first term- we don’t think it’s asking too much to urge SiteGround to up their allocations a little.
Then there’s the free site transfer service. Though it’s commendable that SiteGround should offer this at all, it’s worth mentioning that most of the negative feedback we were able to find for this company centred around just how slow, and often complicated it was, to get your website from an old server on to your shiny new SiteGround shared plan.
Over to you
So, that’s our expert’s web hosting review of SiteGround, but we’d love to hear yours, too. Your feedback can really help our readers to make a better decision when it comes to investing in their next hosting plan. So, whether you agree or disagree with anything we’ve talked about above, or simply feel there’s something we’ve missed out, let us know in the comments.