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My review of SiteGround’s shared hosting services turned up more than a few pleasant surprises, including how user-friendly it is to work with. A veteran host, SiteGround has kept up with the times and still has a lot to offer if you’re running a personal blog or an online business.
SiteGround has gone through a lot of changes in its day. But as we know, not all changes in the tech world are for the better. To answer whether SiteGround is still going strong, I set up a simple managed WordPress page and tested its performance. I also ran SiteGround’s support teams through their own examinations. I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised with most of the results.
In addition to WordPress hosting, SiteGround offers shared web hosting, WooCommerce-optimized hosting, cloud hosting, and reseller hosting. Since all of its hosting options are either shared or managed, SiteGround would make an ideal host for you if you’re more of a non-techy website owner.
Speaking of ideal users, the entire website, including your client account dashboard and SiteGround’s proprietary control panel, are available in Spanish, Italian, German, French, and English. And when it comes to performance and loading speeds, this old workhorse is still up to the task. Read on to get into the details.
Everything You Need and Maybe a Little More
Small business owners, e-commerce site owners, and personal bloggers will find that SiteGround offers plenty for their website hosting needs, even in the entry-level plan. My StartUp shared WordPress plan included unmetered traffic, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited databases.
And then there are all the features you’d expect from any decent web host. When I signed up, I got free daily backups, a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, site and email migration, and one-click WordPress installation. SiteGround also offers an in-house content delivery network (CDN) solution if you want to speed up site loading around the world.
SiteGround is seriously beginner-friendly, too. We’ll get to its ease-of-use details in a bit, but I feel its user-friendliness is a feature worth mentioning upfront. From the hosting ordering process to the helpful knowledge base, and from a startup walk-through to the Website Setup Wizard, it’s so simple even I could do it without too much difficulty. Let’s look into some other features in more detail.
My managed WordPress account came with SiteGround’s WordPress plugin, SG Optimizer. This plugin is pretty much an all-in-one performance-enhancing tool. You have tools for caching, environmental elements like scheduled database maintenance, frontend issues such as minifying your Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files, and media optimizations such as activating lazy load and compressing images.
For a non-techy user like myself, SG Optimizer takes a lot of the anxiety out of site maintenance. If an option is recommended for your site, it’s accompanied by a blue label. If one of the drop-down options is the preferred choice for your site, you’ll see that as well. So not only does the plugin give you lots of tools, it also tells you which ones are best for you to use.
My WordPress account also came with SiteGround’s security plugin, SiteGround (SG) Security. It gives SiteGround’s WordPress hosting customers an added layer of website protection.
With the SG Security plugin, you have site security options such as hiding your WordPress version and login options such as two-step verification. You also get access to a page titled Post-hack Actions that allows you to do things like reinstalling all your free plugins to ensure that a hacker hasn’t gotten to any codebases.
I was rather impressed to find not one, but two proprietary plugins for WordPress offered with the entry-level plan. Many hosts have developed their own plugins, but few offer them at the lowest price so that all the users can take advantage of them. SiteGround seems to have gone out of its way here, and I appreciate that effort.
WordPress Website Migration Plugin
SiteGround Migrator will automatically migrate your entire existing WordPress website from your old host with a few mouse clicks. While I didn’t need this tool as I was setting up a new site to test, I can see it being invaluable to the site owner who has chosen SiteGround over a lesser-quality host.
In Step 2 of the Website Setup process, you’re asked to choose to either start a new site or migrate an existing one. When you choose to migrate, you’re then prompted to install the SiteGround Migrator plugin.
Once you have the plugin ready to go, you simply follow the prompts, and it will migrate your site for you. If you’d rather have the SiteGround team do the job for you, you can select that as an option rather than install the Migrator instead. As there’s a cost involved, however, I’d try the plugin first, and only ask SiteGround to handle the migration if something went wrong.
SiteGround Features at a Glance
Free domain name?
Managed hosting features?
4 in the US, 5 in Europe, 1 in Asia, and 1 in Australia
Ease of use
So Easy to Use, Even I Could Do It With No Troubles
I admit that I’m a non-techy kind of girl. I’m not afraid of technology, I’m just not wired (yes, I meant that pun) for the stuff. No matter how much experience I have, I can still mess things up pretty quickly. I need things to be as simple and straightforward as they can get. And on that front, SiteGround delivers in a big, beginner-friendly, user-minded way to use its platform.
SiteGround’s user-friendly website got my attention right from the start. It’s all laid out there for you, in plain language, so there’s no guessing or confusion as to what’s what. The ordering process itself took just a few minutes to complete. After my order was complete and I was ready to start building my site, SiteGround added a little something extra that really impressed me.
Creating a New Account With SiteGround
Creating a new account with SiteGround is a straightforward three-step process. The first step is to choose your plan. With the detailed plan descriptions, deciding on the right plan for your needs is simple and easy.
Step two of the signup process offers you the opportunity to register your new site’s domain. Each extension type carries its own fees. You can periodically get a free domain with SiteGround as a hosting promotion. You can also transfer an existing domain for a fee.
Once the domain was taken care of, step three asked me to review my order, add my personal and payment info, and complete my payment. You can pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover.
I was given the choice to add on SiteGround’s Site Scanner monitoring service, but I chose not to as we use the third-party UptimeRobot to monitor our test sites. One thing to note: the Site Scanner option wasn’t preselected, as so many other hosts choose to do with add-ons during checkout. Another win for SiteGround in my book.
SiteGround’s Startup Walk-Through
The startup walk-through is SiteGround’s “little extra” that’s actually not so little. When you first sign in to your new SiteGround hosting account, you’re met with a screen full of options for getting started. Each walk-through option leads to a step-by-step guide, tool, or tutorial that helps you complete the task at hand. I honestly can’t remember the last time I set up a site as easily as I did my SiteGround test site.
SiteGround Website Setup Wizard
When it came to setting up my domain and installing WordPress, I used a combination of the startup walk-through and the Website Setup Wizard, another tool provided by SiteGround to get you up and running quickly and easily. I followed the steps in the startup walkthrough to point my domain name to my SiteGround site. In a matter of minutes, it was all set up and ready to go.
Then, on to step two. You are presented with the option to set up a new site or migrate an existing one. Once I selected WordPress for my new site, I was taken to a page that walked me through the downloading and installation process with a few simple mouse clicks. Again, I can’t really remember when setting up a new site was as fast and as easy as SiteGround made this experience. And it didn’t stop with setup either.
SiteGround’s proprietary dashboard and control panel is one of the most intuitive I’ve ever used. Site Tools was developed to replace the old cPanel dashboard. It’s also where you can complete the third step of your site setup process and add extras like themes and plugins to your site. It has a clean, sleek look and an organized sidebar menu that lets you quickly find the website tools you need.
I also found it fairly easy to use. I say “fairly” because I’m not as tech-savvy as I could be. I didn’t realize that to set up access to SiteGround’s free CDN, I’d have to click on the Speed option in Site Tools. If I had played around a bit more, I might’ve saved myself a call to support by finding it myself. I just didn’t know where to look.
The Site Tools dashboard accesses general site elements like your file manager and email accounts. Its App Installer gives you access to content management system (CMS) choices aside from WordPress, such as Joomla or Drupal, e-commerce platforms like PrestaShop and WooCommerce, and even LimeSurvey to set up surveys for your site’s visitors. It isn’t as extensive as Softaculous, but it offers more than enough for most users.
I decided on the title for this article based on the performance results returned by my test site. For an older, established hosting service, SiteGround is still capable of achieving some pretty impressive results. If you’d like a detailed look at the kinds of tests we run and what we look for in performance results, we’ve put it all together for you in another article.
I’m not sure which of SiteGround’s 4 US data centers hosted our site: Texas, California, Iowa, or Virginia, but GTmetrix’s Chicago test server location gave some excellent results. SiteGround also has data centers in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Singapore, and Australia.
Normally we use Sucuri Load Time Tester to check results from locations around the world, but it would appear that SiteGround’s network blocks this service.
SiteGround’s entry-level plan returned a solid A rating from GTmetrix with loading times that, although varied, were most often below recommended speeds. UptimeRobot also reported 100% uptime for our test site over the entire testing period.
Our WordPress test site did well over the time period we tested. It experienced a lot of variance in a week of testing, but generally the fully loaded time was almost always within 1 to 2 seconds, which is perfectly acceptable.
Our test site regularly pulled off 100% A grades from GTmetrix. The old workhorse still has what it takes to get the job done when it comes to loading speed and overall site performance.
When it comes to uptime, SiteGround offers the standard 99.9% guarantee. What I found, however, went above and beyond that. UptimeRobot returned a 100% uptime score. Not once did the uptime dip below perfect. There were no incidents or events to report. Just SiteGround keeping the engines cranking nonstop.
Honestly, I was a bit surprised. Typically, the older the hosting service, the more – or should I say less – you can expect. There are always issues resulting in less performance or service. I’ve seen everything from older, slower tech and outdated dashboards to letting customer service fall by the wayside while relying on brand recognition to win you over. Something usually slips somewhere. In that respect, SiteGround pleasantly surprised me.
SiteGround Support Didn’t Disappoint – Almost
SiteGround offers phone, ticket, live online chat, an AI search tool, and an extensive knowledge base for all your support needs. I used the phone, live chat, and the knowledge base to resolve several issues. I was a bit disappointed in one aspect of SiteGround’s support system but otherwise had a relatively positive experience.
One thing stood out to me regarding the phone call. Right on the page with the phone number was my estimated wait time. My call’s reference number was also listed there. No flipping back and forth to punch in the number and no wondering when the agent would be on the line.
I called on a weeknight evening just to test the response. I waited less than 5 minutes. And the call was handled so professionally and expertly that it lasted all of about 5 minutes. The agent walked me through where to find and how to activate the free CDN quickly, in language any non-techy like me could understand.
While I was working with the site, another issue came up. WordPress prompted me repeatedly to perform updates, and yet, I could never find anything to update. So I hopped onto online chat in the middle of a weekday afternoon to see if I was missing something. The agent was able to check my site and assure me that nothing was up. Four minutes, start to finish. Not bad for a Tuesday.
I went to the knowledge base to find out some info on the SG Optimizer plugin. I found an informative video tutorial, as well as an article to read. Between the two, I got a good idea as to what SG Optimizer does and how to use it. SiteGround’s knowledge base turned out to be a useful resource.
My only issue with SiteGround’s support system is the system itself. Whether you enter from the help icon on your account dashboard or by directly accessing the help center, there are hoops to jump through. Even if you directly click the Contact Us link, you’re met with hoops and a leg workout.
It’s only after you’ve exhausted all the possible DIY options to resolve your issue do you arrive at the phone number/reference number/wait time page/support option stage. And not all options for support are ultimately given, just the ones SiteGround thinks are the best to resolve your issue. So you may not be able to call or fill out a ticket, even if you want to. I was never given the support ticket option, for example.
I understand the reasoning is to keep the agents free for people who really need the help. Still, it’s a pain when you’re low on patience, short on time, and just want your question answered or your issue resolved. It’s also the reason the support score isn’t as high as it could’ve been.
High Renewal Fees Await You
I’d heard that SiteGround was one of the pricier budget hosting services around. At first glance, I thought I’d heard wrong.
As with many other hosts, you’ll pay the least if you choose the longest term agreement. Sign up for 36 months, and you can save a bundle. Sign up for one month, however, and you could find yourself paying 10 times the monthly fee you’d get on a yearly contract. And expect your renewal fees to be anywhere from 4 to 7 times more than you paid for the first 12 months, depending on your plan.
From my experience with the entry-level Startup plan, SiteGround does deliver good value for money. It offers more than enough resources for the average small business or personal website. And it does keep giving you more, the more you pay.
So all in all, at least for your first year or three, SiteGround’s pricing is pretty good, and it does offer very good value overall, so you may decide it’s worth the renewal fee. SiteGround also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re unhappy with your service early on, you won’t lose anything.
SiteGround has a lot to offer, especially for non-techy, new website owners. The overall ease of use is a principal feature of its shared hosting services.
SiteGround’s performance was very good, albeit a bit variable during peak times. Its support could use fewer hoops for you to jump through, but once you complete your workout, SiteGround’s support teams offer proficient and professional assistance. As for pricing, you can find less-expensive hosts out there, true, but for the first 12 to 36 months, you can have a well-hosted site for comparable fees. All in all, I’d have to say that SiteGround is a host worth considering, even after all these years.
What’s the difference between SiteGround’s web hosting and WordPress hosting plans?
SiteGround takes site security seriously. Even with the entry-level plan, you get distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection, SiteGround’s proprietary security suite plugin, and a free SSL certificate.
Does SiteGround deliver good performance?
Our tests revealed that when it comes to site performance and uptime, SiteGround delivers, for the most part. We did see some variance in loading speeds between peak and non-peak times, but these were usually well within an acceptable range of 1 to 2 seconds.
We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
Suzanne has been a freelance writer and editor for 31 years, and has been writing online content since 2008. She holds professional certifications in editing and SEO strategy. She’s often been in the same desk chair as our Website Planet readers, needing to know what’s best and what’s best avoided. When she’s not testing and reviewing vendors, Suz is a professional artist as well as a volunteer therapy musician, playing the Celtic lap harp. She is a nature-lover who is often found walking the hiking trails near her home. She also enjoys time with her family, her grandchildren, and two cats.
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Awesome services and fantastic support as always from the support team...
I have been getting the same great support and every time it is getting better than best. The issue is always redirected to the concerned team efficiently and internal transfer is happening at the earliest.
Engaging with the support team and receiving detailed explanations beyond what's available in the documentation significantly influenced my decision to maintain my agency's portfolio of over 100 client sites on their platform. While there are less expensive options in the market, it's evident that the value received here justifies the cost. The comprehensive features, coupled with automatic scaling, remarkably reduce my weekly management time. The savings in time management alone nearly offset the annual service cost almost immediately.
As business owner seeking help about SiteGround hosting
I am a business owner considering SiteGround for hosting a WooCommerce ecommerce store using Grow Big website plan. It was on special discount for Black Friday and a great price. I was going to go with WordPress.com for my company's website host and ecommerce store but will go with SiteGround. I appreciate the upfront sincerity, honesty, help and informtion needed to make the correct choice.
This is the best support team I have ever encountered. I am NOT a tech genius (I know enough) but when I have urgent issues they get resolved right away. Kind and generous. Gabriel was especially helpful and even includes screen shots on how to exactly carry out a task. Best web hosting site hands down.
I just switched to Siteground from another company and my experience so far has been SUPERB. My website is super fast. They handled the full migration for me. Everything works perfectly. Customer support is incredibly knowledgable and patient. They walked me through every step of my setup and migration process and answered my questions for almost 90 minutes with no complaints. I also never have to wait to be connected to a support team member when I chat in, no matter what time of day or night it is. I'm so grateful this company exists.
AWESOME SUPPORT, AMAZING TEAM!!!! THE BEST BY FAR, been with 3 other hosting platforms, site ground is top tier!
Site ground has a team of experts, where other hosting platforms pail in comparison, the platform is easy to use for non tech people like me and they are always there to support any questions you may have, so glad I am with them!
I used them years ago and was really surprised by the level of service and support. Almost 6 years later I've come back for another round with them and I was pleasantly surprised that the service levels are still amazing. Especially after dealing with Squarespace which takes 3-4 days to reply to a support request, has no easy to reach email , no AI assisted chat bot and no human chat.
IT was good to be greeting with a polite message and the message they were glad to help me before knowing what the issue was. So good to get more information to help keep my site tuned up.
Was even willing to break down my issue into small stats so I could see the entire picture.