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If you are looking for WordPress hosting to start your own business website or blog that provides the best all-around features for the money, then this SiteGround review is for you.
I have personally been using SiteGround as a host since 2016, so I have had years of direct experience with SiteGround, I’ve watched the company change (both good and bad), and I’ve familiarized myself with the majority of the features they offer.
Therefore, this SiteGround review will be very honest and thorough. Buckle up. 😎
Don’t make the same big mistake I did and use cheap, slow hosting for your website. When I used to be hosted with Bluehost years ago, my average total page load time was 17 seconds. OUCH!
I was losing thousands of visitors every month due to being hosted on slow hosting. If I had only paid a few more dollars a month for better hosting, I could have had a much faster site.
After switching to SiteGround and using all the best SG Optimizer settings that I have written about, I now have the majority of my pages loading within 2 seconds and you can very easily do the same by using SiteGround and my free SG Optimizer settings guide.
This will leave you with an extremely fast site that both your visitors and Google will love because your site can pass all of Google’s Core Web Vitals which will get you a ranking boost. Cha-ching!
Check out the SiteGround review + setup guide below:
SiteGround Review Overview
|Ease of Use||★★★★★|
|Overall:||4.7 / 5|
Here at Start Blogging 101, SiteGround is currently my #1 rated company for WordPress shared hosting due to offering excellent performance, top-of-the-line support, the best host-provided caching plugin (SG Optimizer), and unmatched ease of use which is perfect for beginners.
SiteGround also offers free email hosting with all hosting plans that provides an intuitive interface so you can manage your company’s emails directly through SiteGround Site Tools.
What is SiteGround?
First of all, you may be wondering “What is SiteGround?”
For starters, SiteGround is a web hosting company that was founded in 2004 in Bulgaria. SiteGround provides shared hosting, cloud hosting, email hosting, and domain registration.
On top of that, SiteGround prides themselves on providing top-of-the-line support which is available 24/7. SiteGround support is extremely proficient and friendly and has solved my solutions faster than any other host I’ve used. They also have some of the highest-rated support customer satisfaction in the business.
SiteGround’s bread and butter is their shared hosting and is what they are known for. I absolutely recommend their shared hosting as it’s the best solution for anyone starting out.
Even though SiteGround offers cloud hosting for when your website scales up and needs more resources, I don’t recommend SiteGround cloud hosting as there are better cloud hosting solutions out there for the money.
With that, you may also be wondering, “What is the difference between cloud hosting vs shared hosting?”
Well, shared hosting is when multiple websites all reside on a single server with each website sharing resources, hence the name “shared” hosting.
This means that multiple websites are all hosted on the same server and so they are all competing for a limited amount of resources. This is why shared hosting is generally cheaper than cloud hosting, as you don’t have your own dedicated server.
With cloud hosting, you get your own dedicated server for your website. This means there are no other websites competing for your resources, and so you get better performance.
All that being said, SiteGround’s hosting platform is built on Google Cloud servers and uses its ultra-fast network and SSD persistent storage which provides excellent performance for the money.
SiteGround: The Good
First and foremost, I’ve been blogging since 2014 and have been using SiteGround as a host since 2016, so I have a lot of experience with SiteGround.
When I first started blogging back in 2014, the very first host I used was HostGator. Oh man, that was a mistake.
Here are the Trustpilot reviews of HostGator hosting:
Ouch. HostGator hosting has a rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars with the vast majority of the ratings being only 1 star.
Then, after using HostGator for some time, I switched to Bluehost. Mistake #2.
Here are the Trustpilot reviews of Bluehost hosting:
Bluehost is rated even worse than HostGator is at only 2.7 out of 5 stars and 66% of people rate Bluehost at only 1 star. Oof.
If I had known everything I know about WordPress hosting now back when I had HostGator and Bluehost, I never would have purchased a hosting plan through them.
It is absolutely baffling (and really sad) that some of the biggest marketing ‘gurus’ in the website marketing space actually recommend Bluehost when they don’t even use Bluehost themselves.
What a scam!
If you’re brand new to web hosting and there’s only one piece of advice you take away from this article, it would be this:
Don’t ever use any web hosting company owned by EIG (Endurance International Group). These include HostGator, Bluehost, and many other less popular hosting companies.
The only “guaranteed” things you’ll get out of an EIG-owned host are slow speeds and a host of problems (see what I did there?).
You don’t have to worry because SiteGround is NOT owned by EIG.
After switching from Bluehost to SiteGround, my website speed drastically increased, I was met with some of the best support I’ve ever had, and had an extremely intuitive interface that made it super easy for me to run my website.
When I was hosted with Bluehost, my average page load time was 17 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly.
After switching to SiteGround, using a lightweight WordPress theme (Kadence), and dropping third-party page builders to use Gutenberg, I’ve gotten my pages to load around 2 seconds. Talk about a night and day difference!
But don’t take it from me, take it from thousands of reviewers on Trustpilot (one of the most trusted sources for reviews) about how much better SiteGround is than HostGator and Bluehost.
Whoa. SiteGround has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 8,400 people which is nearly 8x more reviews than Bluehost has.
So if you’re thinking about starting your site or switching from another slower WordPress host, SiteGround is one of the best places to start.
Let’s go into a few more reasons why you should choose SiteGround.
1. Good Performance for the Money
SiteGround provides good speed for the money that you’re paying. I will be straight up and say that if you want the absolute best performance, SiteGround shared hosting isn’t for you. I use Cloudways for extreme performance (read my ultimate Cloudways review).
That being said, for anyone just starting out (whether that be a blog or a new business website) who isn’t receiving a lot of traffic (under 25,000 visitors per month), SiteGround will be perfect for you.
You can still easily pass all of Google’s Core Web Vitals while being hosted with SiteGround.
Read more in the SiteGround Speed Performance section.
2. Extremely Easy to Use
SiteGround has unmatched ease of use. They used to offer cPanel for their control panel, but they recently switched everything over to their brand new custom control panel called Site Tools. It’s modern, elegant, and so much faster. Oh, and unbelievably easy to use which is perfect for beginners.
I’ve seen a lot of people complain about SiteGround switching from cPanel to their custom Site Tools interface.
I’m not sure why they’re complaining. cPanel is ridiculously dated, clunky, and not intuitive.
SiteGround’s brand new custom Site Tools runs so much faster than cPanel did, I would never want to go back. Not to mention, it’s so easy to use even my grandma could figure it out.
All the features within SiteGround’s Site Tools are neatly organized into sections which makes finding things a breeze compared to cPanel which was a total mess.
3. Flexible Pricing Plans
SiteGround has flexible pricing for any type of user. Their promotional pricing is excellent and lasts for 1 year after purchase. Their renewal prices (which kick in after your promotional period has ended) are way too high and that’s when I recommend that people switch to Cloudways.
Read more in the SiteGround Pricing section.
4. Best-in-class Support
SiteGround hands-down has some of the best support in the shared hosting business for the money. Sure, you can get absolutely unmatched support from other hosting companies, but you’ll be paying a minimum of about $50/month. No thanks. For the money (anywhere from $7-15/month), SiteGround’s support has absolutely blown me away. Yes, the support quality did degrade during COVID (much more on that in the SiteGround Support section), but the support quality is already recovering and getting back to where it was.
5. Best Host-Provided Caching Plugin
SiteGround creates the best host-provided caching plugin on the market. It’s called SG Optimizer. Want to know the best part? It’s 100% free with any SiteGround plan. As far as caching plugins that are provided by an actual hosting company, nothing comes close to SG Optimizer. In fact, I wrote the most comprehensive guide on the best SG Optimizer settings to speed up your website that you can use as soon as you sign up for SiteGround. 🙂
If you’re ready to get started with SiteGround, go to the Getting Started section.
6. Guaranteed 99.99% Uptime
SiteGround guarantees that your website will be up 99.99% of the time. If they fall below that threshold, you get credited with free months of hosting. It’s a win-win. I’ve been using SiteGround hosting since 2016 and I don’t recall a single time that my site was down due to something that SiteGround did. When they say 99.99% uptime, they aren’t lying.
SiteGround: The Bad
Even though I rave about all the good things that SiteGround does well, there are still several bad things to mention.
And since this is a very honest SiteGround review, it’s only fair that I give you a look into the good and the bad.
1. Temporary Degraded Support
First and foremost, COVID hit SiteGround pretty hard.
As remote working and trying to make a living online skyrocketed in popularity, people were starting new websites like crazy.
SiteGround ran a number of promotions to bring people on board with their hosting service, and since they are the best shared hosting for the money, they took on a lot of new customers.
More customers = more support tickets, and it’s clear that SiteGround was not exactly prepared for the influx of support tickets.
SiteGround had to make some changes to the scope of what their support covered. For example, if you had a WordPress related problem, SiteGround announced they wouldn’t be the ones to support those issues.
Granted, this is fair considering SiteGround is a hosting company, not a WordPress services company.
Many people talked about receiving a message notifying them of the scope of SiteGround’s support and I received it as well after contacting them several times in a shorter period of time.
I should note that this scope change isn’t really too much different from what I had experienced in the first several years of using SiteGround.
If you run a company with a product, the cost to hire support specialists and fully support your product can be some of the highest costs for the company.
Therefore, SiteGround needed a way to prioritize the support tickets coming in and make sure that the support tickets they answered actually had to do with SiteGround hosting problems and not some WordPress problem that someone couldn’t figure out.
This is completely understandable and a smart move on their part to continue providing the incredible support that SiteGround is known for.
I would say that for about 6-8 months during the heart of the COVID pandemic, SiteGround’s support was not in tip-top shape as I was used to. I would have rated it a 6 out of 10 during COVID.
All that being said, I’ve already experienced an increase in their support levels as the original rush from the pandemic has drastically decreased and allowed SiteGround’s support staff to recover.
For me, SiteGround’s support is back to an 8 out of 10 which already blows almost all other hosting companies out of the water at this price range.
Read more about SiteGround support in the support section.
2. Renewal Prices are Too Expensive
SiteGround’s promotional pricing is very good for what you get.
Depending on which plan you purchase, your promotional pricing will be either $6.99/mo, $9.99/mo, or $14.99/mo (read more in the SiteGround Pricing section).
That being said, there is a major downfall that SiteGround changed and I very much dislike.
In order to get those exact promotional prices, you have to sign up for 12 months.
If you sign up for 1 month, the price is extremely high.
If you want to sign up for 2 years or 3 years ahead of time, the promotional pricing goes up. It’s not quite at the regular pricing levels, but it’s higher than the promotional pricing.
When I first joined back in 2016, I paid the promotional pricing for 3 years ahead of time and got the promotional pricing for 3 years until my prices jumped up to the regular pricing.
Now, you can only get the promotional pricing by purchasing a plan for 12 months and then your prices jump to the regular pricing.
The renewal prices (which are the regular prices) are way too high in my opinion.
So, to start off, I suggest people purchase SiteGround for the promotional pricing for 1 or 2 years (depending on what you want to pay). Then, either stick with SiteGround for a higher price if you really enjoy it or switch.
With renewal prices being anywhere from $14.99/mo to $39.99/mo, you’re much better off learning a little bit of technical knowledge and switching to Cloudways after the promotional pricing (or read my detailed Cloudways review).
3. Cloud Hosting Not Recommended
If you own over 5 websites or if your websites are reaching their resource limits, SiteGround suggests that you migrate to their cloud hosting.
Considering that the cheapest SiteGround cloud hosting plan starts at $100/month, it’s way too expensive for what you get.
SiteGround is known for their shared hosting and is where they really shine – not their cloud hosting.
If you have outgrown SiteGround’s shared hosting services, definitely consider moving to Cloudways which will give you much better performance for the money. Cloudways specializes in cloud hosting (hence the name).
4. SiteGround Services Not Available in All Countries
When you go to sign up for SiteGround hosting, depending on which country you’re from, you may see an error after choosing the country. SiteGround services aren’t available in many countries, especially Asian countries.
If you’re getting an error that “SiteGround services are not available in the selected country,” this is a result of their decision to focus on just a few key markets due to regulatory issues. However, don’t worry because there’s still more than one option when it comes to finding reliable high-performance hosting solutions!
For instance, I recommend these great hosting alternatives if SiteGround isn’t accessible in your area:
- NameHero – A well-liked high-performance hosting provider that offers fast LiteSpeed servers.
- A2 Hosting – Many people land on A2 Hosting when looking for SiteGround alternatives.
- Cloudways – Cloudways requires a little more technical knowledge to set up, but easily one of the fastest options available on the market. I created a full Cloudways review + setup guide.
How’s that for a quick SiteGround overview? (Well, it wasn’t that quick.)
Are you just dying to learn more? 😉
If so, let’s start digging deeper into the SiteGround (man, my puns are awful).
SiteGround Speed Performance
One of the main questions I want to cover in this SiteGround review is, “How fast is SiteGround?”
With website speed performance becoming increasingly important in order to rank high in the Google search results, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re using high-performance hosting.
SiteGround’s hosting platform is built on Google Cloud, so you know it’s going to be fast and reliable with excellent uptime (99.99% guaranteed uptime to be exact).
In order to properly test SiteGround’s speed, I purchased a new domain name and hooked it up to a SiteGround GoGeek hosting account.
I ran several speed tests to see how fast SiteGround speed performance is. Keep in mind that this first SiteGround speed test is an empty WordPress site.
Here are the results:
Now that’s FAST! Let’s go over the first SiteGround speed test in a bit more detail.
First of all, I ran the site through Google PageSpeed Insights which is what you should be using if you want to make sure that your website passes Google’s Core Web Vitals.
In case you don’t already know, Google has three Core Web Vitals – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) which can also be interchanged by Total Blocking Time (TBT), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
As of June 2021, Google has announced that these three numbers will be part of Google’s ranking factor.
How does it work? Well, it’s pretty simple. Get a green score for all three Core Web Vitals and you’ll get a small boost in rankings. If all three Core Web Vitals are not green (that is, only one of them scores in the yellow or red), then that page will not get a ranking boost.
As you can see in the first SiteGround speed test, the Largest Contentful Paint was 1.9 seconds, the Total Blocking Time was 0 ms, and the Cumulative Layout Shift was 0 which is perfect.
Secondly, I am showing the mobile tab and not the desktop tab. The reason for this is because Google uses mobile-first indexing, so you should be focusing on optimizing your site for mobile and not desktop.
Keep in mind it’s much harder to have a fast mobile site. However, by using SiteGround hosting, you can see that an empty WordPress site is already off to a great start with lightning-fast speeds.
All of these values are well within the appropriate range and score all green for the Core Web Vitals.
Okay, so we know that a relatively empty WordPress site hosted with SiteGround loads very quickly (as expected).
However, how fast does a real-world website load when hosted with SiteGround? That way, you can see what to expect when you add more to your site and have blog posts with dozens of images, various plugins installed, and everything else.
Well, take a look at these results from a blog post from this very site, Start Blogging 101.
You can see that even on a full-blown website (this very site that you’re on), the speeds are still incredible.
In my real-world SiteGround speed test, the Largest Contentful Paint was 2.2 seconds, the Total Blocking Time was 120 ms and the Cumulative Layout Shift was 0 which also passes all of Google’s Core Web Vitals.
So it’s clear that SiteGround can provide top-of-the-line performance despite being shared hosting and is one of the main reasons I recommend SiteGround for everyone starting out.
If you’re wondering how to get started with SiteGround, scroll down to the Getting Started section.
Below is a table showing SiteGround’s pricing plans, including both the introductory promotional prices and then the regular renewal prices:
|SiteGround Plans||Promotional Pricing||Regular Pricing|
Here’s a table showing additional SiteGround plan features offered:
|Number of Sites||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Number of Visits||~ 10,000||~ 25,000||~ 100,000|
|Free Email Hosting?||✓||✓||✓|
|SG Optimizer Caching?||✓||✓||✓|
There are a few things I want to go over when it comes to the SiteGround pricing and features offered from the three shared hosting plans.
First of all, the SiteGround promotional pricing of their plans is well worth it.
If you decide to purchase a SiteGround hosting plan, you can get the promotional pricing as long as you choose the 12 month period.
If you want only 1 month, the pricing goes way up for that month.
Also, if you want to pay for 2 years or 3 years up-front, the promotional pricing goes up. It’s not quite at the regular pricing, but it’s in-between.
This is a big gripe of mine that I went over in the “renewal prices are too expensive” section.
Therefore, I recommend that people purchase SiteGround hosting for 1 or 2 years (depending on how much you want to pay).
Then, after your promotional pricing is up, you can stick with SiteGround and pay the regular pricing if you feel it’s worth it. Otherwise, switch away and upgrade your setup to Cloudways assuming that your site is getting a lot more traffic now.
Are you wondering which SiteGround hosting plan you should purchase?
Your choices are the StartUp, GrowBig, or GoGeek.
Personally, if you can afford only $3/month more (which is less than a coffee per month), I would highly recommend going with the GrowBig plan over the StartUp plan which costs $9.99/mo.
Purchasing the SiteGround GrowBig plan over the StartUp plan gives you 4 significant advantages:
- Access to host unlimited websites versus only 1
- More resources to support ~ 25,000 visitors versus only 10,000
- Access to 1-click staging sites (this one is HUGE!)
- Access to the Ultrafast PHP option which can significantly increase your TTFB (Time To First Byte) load time
Having access to staging sites is probably worth the extra $3/month alone to be honest.
I’ve used staging sites so many times with SiteGround and they have been a lifesaver to try out new updates, design updates, WordPress version upgrades, etc. because you should not be doing those types of things on your live site.
If you think you’re not going to need to use SiteGround staging sites, you’re probably going to be in a world of hurt.
Take it from someone who has been creating niche affiliate blog sites since 2014 – you definitely want access to easy 1-click staging sites.
If you need more resources than the GrowBig plan offers for the number of monthly visitors coming to your site, then definitely purchase the GoGeek hosting plan which will give you even more upgrades.
If you’re wondering how to get started with SiteGround, scroll down to the Getting Started section.
Let me preface the SiteGround Support section by saying the following:
SiteGround support has saved me from 5 emergencies so far.
I’m a pretty technical guy. Yet, I’ve made some pretty big mistakes when messing with my site.
So far, I’ve had 5 emergencies of my site being down since I’ve been hosted with SiteGround (all of them which I caused, by the way. None of these were SiteGround’s fault.).
I contacted SiteGround’s support, was connected up to a live support agent within 1 minute, and they had solved my emergency within 15 minutes every single time.
How many hosting companies can say they have that level of support? Hint: Not many.
Not only is SiteGround’s support incredibly knowledgable about how to fix any and all types of issues, they are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever chatted with.
During a period of a few weeks some years ago, I was contacting SiteGround’s support pretty frequently.
I got connected up with the same guy in three separate chat support sessions weeks apart. He remembered my name, I remembered him, and we had some friendly conversation each time chatting about life outside of the regular support. We always ended the chat by saying “Thank you for being awesome” to each other.
It’s clear that SiteGround’s support goes above and beyond your typical support to make sure that you’re satisfied. Considering the price of SiteGround’s hosting plans, SiteGround support is easily some of the best you can get out there for the money.
Not to mention, SiteGround live support now has a modern, attractive interface that pops up and is very easy to use so you can get all your issues solved ASAP.
Getting Started with SiteGround Hosting
If you’re ready to get started with SiteGround, then this section is for you!
1. Choose Your Hosting Plan
First of all, click the button below to go directly to SiteGround’s shared hosting page to get started.
You will be brought to the hosting page where you’ll see the three different plans to choose from:
I went over my personal recommendation more in the SiteGround pricing section, but I recommend going with the GrowBig plan because it gives you several more features for only $3 more per month including giving you access to 1-click staging sites which is extremely helpful to have.
Click Get Plan on the plan of your choice.
2. Register a Domain Name
After you choose your plan, you’ll be brought to the next step where you can set up your domain name.
You have two options here:
- Register your domain name through SiteGround
- Register your domain name through a different provider
If you decide to go with option 1 and register your domain name through SiteGround, here are a few pros and cons:
- Pro: Convenient as you’ll be able to register your domain name directly through SiteGround
- Con: More expensive at $15.95/year whereas going through a different provider will cost around $8-10
- Con: SiteGround owns your hosting domain name. If you ever decide to move away from SiteGround, you’d be smart to move your domain name as well which is yet another thing to do.
If you decide to go with option 2 and register your domain name through a different provider, here are a few pros and cons:
- Pro: All your domain names can live on a separate provider that specializes in domain names which makes it easier to manage.
- Pro: You will save money as going through a different provider will only cost about $8-10 per year for a domain name whereas SiteGround charges around $16 per year.
- Pro: You can freely change your hosting if needed and not worry about SiteGround owning your domain name.
- Con: You may have a short initial waiting period to let your site propagate after changing your domain name to point to SiteGround’s nameservers.
I personally recommend option 2 and registering your domain name through Namecheap which is what I’ve been using for all my domain names for years.
Click on the button below to go to Namecheap and register your domain name.
You’ll see the Namecheap home page and can run through an easy process to get your domain registered.
If you decide to register your domain name through SiteGround, you can do it directly with the “Register a New Domain” option as shown at the beginning of step 2 above.
If you registered your domain name through Namecheap, then choose the option “I already have a Domain” and plug in your website’s domain name then hit the “Proceed” button.
3. Review and Complete Purchase
After that, you’ll be on the final Step 3 – Review & Complete.
You’ll need to fill out the first three areas – Account Information, Client Information, and Payment Information which should be pretty self-explanatory.
Then, when you get to the Purchase Information (pictured below), there are 5 things to point out.
- The Period you choose is important. You can only get the lowest prices by choosing the 12 months period. If you choose 24 months or 36 months, the price goes up per month. It’s still cheaper than the regular pricing, but more expensive than the promotional pricing.
- Verify the Hosting Price. As you can see in the image, I have 12 months chosen for the GrowBig plan which is listed at $9.99/mo which is well worth it for that price.
- Notice the line that says * The special initial price applies for the first invoice only. Once your initial term is over, regular renewal prices apply. This is very important. After your initial period of 12 months (or whatever you chose) is up, your prices will increase to the regular pricing which I feel is too high. At that point, consider switching to Cloudways.
- SiteGround has Extra Services which, in this example, is the SG Site Scanner. You do NOT need this for $20/year. There are free plugins that will do this for you.
Congratulations! You have successfully signed up for a SiteGround hosting account. You will be guided through a process that will help set up your brand new site. Now get blogging! 😎
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SiteGround better than Bluehost?
Yes, SiteGround is much better than Bluehost. SiteGround is faster than Bluehost, has better support, and a dedicated caching plugin that is best in its class.
Is SiteGround owned by EIG?
No, SiteGround is not owned by EIG (Endurance International Group) which is one of the main reasons why I recommend SiteGround for shared hosting over other companies such as Bluehost or HostGator.
Which SiteGround plan is best?
My top recommended SiteGround plan is the GrowBig plan. GrowBig is the most popular SiteGround plan for good reason. It offers the best value for your money by giving you access to 2 websites, Ultrafast PHP for faster speeds, and dedicated staging sites.
Does SiteGround have email?
Yes, SiteGround offers free email hosting with all plans. You can create professional email addresses for your business at no extra cost. You can also create as many accounts as you need, access them using a friendly webmail interface, create forwarders and autoresponders, and more.
A Brutal SiteGround Review 2021 (The Very Good AND The Bad)
In this brutally honest SiteGround review written from years of experience with SiteGround hosting, I cover the very good AND the bad so you know what to expect.
Price Currency: $
Application Category: WordPress Hosting
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