After making $391,235 with SiteGround’s affiliate program, I made the hard decision to leave (and eventually got banned from their program).
So what happened?
You probably noticed SiteGround’s service has declined over the years, yet they insisted on increasing prices. It was a huge loss-loss for both customers and affiliates. So I voiced my concerns on my blog, outlining all the changes they made (I try to be honest). Even though I backed up my claims with evidence/screenshots, SiteGround called them lies, terminated my affiliate account, and made threats unless I remove SiteGround-related content from my blog.
So I wanted to outline the full story and show you why SiteGround’s affiliate program isn’t a great choice anymore. Not because I’m trying to get back at them, but I firmly because it’s the truth. The hype has come and gone and there are better affiliate programs out there right now.
- Why I stopped promoting SiteGround
- SiteGround terminated my affiliate account
- Covering up negative reviews
- Banning affiliates from certain countries
- Lack of accountability for mistakes
- False claims
- Declining popularity
- $50 – $160 commissions
- SiteGround’s affiliate dashboard
- What’s the average conversion rate?
- No coupons or 2-tier commissions
- Apply to SiteGround’s affiliate program
- Consider other affiliate programs instead
1. Why I Stopped Promoting SiteGround
SiteGround increased prices both in 2018 and 2020.
This wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was the problems that followed
It started with an hour long Skype session with their affiliate manager who told their new “plans” to position themselves as a higher quality hosting provider (in other words, they were increasing prices while cutting costs at the same time). Red flags went off and I addressed my concerns, but it was clear they had already made their decision and I was forced to deal with it.
I started seeing many changes to SiteGround:
- Banned countries – India and many others were cut off as clients/affiliates.
- Price increases – increased prices twice in 2018 and 2020, including renewals.
- Reduced support – took away live chat, limited people’s usage, and scaled back.
- CPU limits – unexplainable and often unfixable CPU limits even on cloud hosting.
- No more free migrations – this used to be free but now you have to pay $30/site.
- Corruption in Facebook Groups – Hristo is an admin for WordPress Speed Up group.
- False claims about their slow TTFB – in a blog post, SiteGround said “using [Google Cloud] will result in high speed for our clients’ websites.” However, SiteGround had the slowest TTFB in Backinko’s test and originally used one of Google’s slowest N1 families.
- Forcing customers onto Big G – moved customers to Google Cloud without warning.
- No more cPanel – ditched cPanel for Site Tools as soon as cPanel increased prices.
- SiteGround Optimizer isn’t good – Hristo and his team don’t thoroughly test their updates and it’s been reported they released 4+ updates in a single day. It didn’t purge cache when content was updated until recently and lacks many features in other plugins.
- Google blocked their DNS for 4 days – they denied anything was wrong in their systems.
- Flagging bad reviews – bad reviews are constantly flagged and reviewers are threatened.
- Limiting number of websites – SiteGround tried to limit the number of websites on their plans (likely to make people pay more), but it backfired and they have since reversed this.
2. SiteGround Terminated My Affiliate Account
Not only did they terminate my affiliate account, they demanded I remove the “SiteGround trademark” from my blog (all content related to SiteGround). They pointed to the affiliate TOS:
Do you really want to spend time creating content for a company who thinks they have the right to do this to you? Freedom of speech wins here my friends, but SiteGround tries to bully people from writing negative reviews about them. This is the kind of company SiteGround has become.
Even after your account is terminated, you still can’t use their trademark? It’s like hush money only you don’t get any.
3. Covering Up Negative Reviews
Flagging negative reviews for no reason and banning members from Facebook Groups when they speak out about SiteGround are just a couple ways they like to control negative reviews.
4. Banning Affiliates From Certain Countries
SiteGround decided that customers/affiliates from some countries (Indian, New Zealand, several others) don’t produce enough sales and therefore, canceled service in those regions.
From a monetary perspective, this made sense or SiteGround wouldn’t have done it. But imagine being one of the Indian bloggers who spent all that time creating content around SiteGround only to get your account canceled. You saw this in the Bloggers Passion Group. I can’t think of any other host who has done this off the top of my head. It was pretty depressing.
5. Lack Of Accountability For Mistakes
SiteGround’s DNS getting blocked by Google for 4 days was a classic example of SiteGround’s lack of accountability.
This resulted in a huge loss in rankings/revenue for SiteGround’s customers and websites getting deindexed completely. What’s more amazing was SiteGround’s response to the issue.
They confirmed “there is no blocking on our end” yet 2 days later, said they came out with a “fix.” They also said they traced the issue back to Amazon/Google, yet no other host had this issue but them. SiteGround never advised their customers to move to an external DNS either.
6. False Claims
SiteGround makes false claims on their blog, Facebook Groups, in SG Optimizer’s support, and mostly wherever they go. Anything Hristo/SiteGround says should be taken with a grain of salt.
7. Declining Popularity
SiteGround searches in Google Trends took a large hit around July, 2020.
This was around the time they started making all these changes, so it’s no surprise people left SiteGround for another host. In my eyes, this presents a great opportunity to refer people to other hosts since as the Facebook post says, everyone I know leaves when renewal comes up.
8. $50 – $160 Commissions
Enough about why I don’t recommend SiteGround’s affiliate program. Let’s get into the details.
To get higher commissions, you need more sales. This is true with SiteGround’s affiliate program (and most others). Once you do, you can negotiate your commissions with the affiliate manager.
Most hosting affiliates cap out at $150/sale or $160/sale if you’re getting around 80+ sales/month. Your affiliate manager will be more willing to negotiate commissions if you’re referring people to GoGeek, cloud, dedicated. Though SiteGround’s cloud hosting isn’t good.
9. SiteGround’s Affiliate Dashboard
I have no complaints about SiteGround’s affiliate dashboard. It includes an affiliate link customizer, custom link tracking, conversion/reversal reports, and stat/marketing materials.
Affiliate Link Customizer – create custom links to any page on the SiteGround website so you can track each one separately and see its conversion rate. This will also shorten the affiliate link and use siteground.com/go/ instead of yourwebsite.com/go/ which is better. You can see this link to SiteGround’s features page: (https://www.siteground.com/shared-hosting-features.htm) has a high conversion rate which means I could probably be using this affiliate link more. You can also name each of your SiteGround links as long as it’s not already in use, so choose wisely!
Conversion Report – there’s a lot of factors to increasing conversions. A few things I did was make my content extremely helpful/honest and I spent a lot of time on my about page so people can get to know/trust me. I also provide evidence in the form of Facebook polls, migration results, PageSpeed Insights reports, and key reasons why I would choose one host over another. Unfortunately, much of the polls and “social proof” for SiteGround is outdated. They used to be ranked #1 in tons of Facebook polls, but that’s definitely not the case anymore.
Commission Report – learn which SiteGround plans people are signing up for using your affiliate links, pending commissions, and the status of whether commissions are paid or not.
Banners – I’m not a fan of banners but they have them.
Payment Information – you’ll need a PayPal account to get paid.
10. What’s The Average Conversion Rate?
My conversions used to be around 6-9% but that was a while back.
Before I was terminated from their affiliate program, it was around 3-4%. I would assume it would be even lower now since I feel like they’ve gone downhill even more since I’ve left. They don’t do free migrations anymore which was my highest converting page, so goodbye to that :(
11. No Coupons Or 2-Tier Commissions
One thing I like about other hosting companies is they let affiliates create custom coupon codes and have a two-tier affiliate program.
Coupon Codes – coupon codes are huge for YouTubers because you can share a coupon code that saves your viewers money, and if they use it, you get credit for the sale without anyone having to even click your affiliate link. Cloudways and HostGator both do this, but SiteGround does not. If you’re doing YouTube videos, you should really consider an affiliate with coupons.
This is what Tyler Moore does on his how to make a website YouTube videos.
Sub-Affiliate Commissions – this is where you refer other affiliates and if they make a sale, you get a part of their commissions (think multi-level marketing). Cloudways, WP Engine, and A2 do this, but SiteGround doesn’t. Nice if you blog about affiliate marketing and refer other affiliates.
12. Apply To SiteGround’s Affiliate Program
Here’s where you’ll apply for SiteGround’s affiliate program:
13. Consider Other Affiliate Programs Instead
I stopped promoting SiteGround and started referring everyone to Cloudways and Rocket.net.
Not only did I move my hosting, but I changed most of my content to recommend these instead of SiteGround. You can see my migration results and PayPal reports… very happy I moved away.
Here are the main 4 hosting affiliate programs I recommend (aff links).
- Cloudways – $50 – $150/sale. I see a ton of people moving away from SiteGround to Cloudways (including myself) for speed, CPU issues, monthly pricing, among other reasons. They also have Cloudflare Enterprise, Vultr HF, and Redis Object Cache Pro.
- Rocket.net – $150/sale without having to climb tiers. They are truly one of the fastest hosts with Cloudflare Enterprise and great feedback in FB Groups, but starts at $25/mo.
- NameHero – $50 – $125/sale. They use LiteSpeed with NVMe storage on higher plans and include more CPU/RAM compared to similar hosts like A2/Hostinger. Major downside is they only have data centers in the US + EU, but they’re cheap, fast, and very easy to learn.
- Scala Hosting – up to $200/sale. They have a perfect 5/5 star TrustPilot rating which is unheard of. You’ll choose between DigitalOcean, AWS, or Scala’s own data centers. They also use their own SPanel. The only problem is… most people have never heard of them. Chris and his team are down to earth, generous people and are super easy to work with.
Who are you promoting and what’s your experience with SiteGround’s affiliate program? A lot has changed and we have to adapt as affiliates if we want to stay ahead. Good luck out there :)
It is very bad news for Indian bloggers who promote SiteGround hosting. I was also promoting SiteGround.
Anyway, you were doing good with the SiteGround affiliate. Thanks for sharing all this information with us.
Hi Tom, I was wondering if you knew what’s the conversion rate for people that make online courses or youtube tutorials. For example: Darrel Wilson created an ecommerce tutorial 4 months ago and the view count is 220k. Assuming that only 3% of of the viewers bought siteground, the number of affiliates would be 6600, which is crazy. Is it accurate to calculate it this way?
Thanks in advance.
3% is a very high conversion rate when talking about viewers. Even when people click, 3% is still decent. So I wouldn’t say 6600 would be an accurate number but I know he’s making a lot of sales especially with SiteGround. Though, his “tests” (eg. in his best WordPress hosting video) are definitely not true. NameHero first and Cloudways last? Not a chance. I’m getting ready to publish my own tests and SiteGround was the slowest host besides HostGator.
Thankyou soo much sharing . One of the gem content i ever till so far about siteground Affiliate .
Affiliaters don’t be naive! This guy was one of the first to promote siteground!
NOW IT’S TOO COMPETITIVE! Period.
Yep, also one of the first one to leave, just updated this review.
And yes, I agree it’s gotten more competitive. That’s not the reason I left – my sales have always been very stable even if you look at recent screenshots. There’s just no denying SiteGround has a lot of problems now. You have to adapt with the industry.
Well Tom, very good the article I would like to know what were your main traffic sources that you used to promote SiteGround? And if everything was based on SEO or you also used Payment Traffic? And my last question is if you used the banners that SiteGround offered you and if you had good sales with the banners?
Thank you very much, Regards :) !
I write a lot of tutorials on speed optimization and making your site load faster. I don’t use benners, just contextual links and buttons once in awhile. No paid traffic, all SEO :)
Hi, Ive registered and tried making a few posts on Facebook and Twitter with the links but nothing is biting.
Do you have any advice?
Social media posts aren’t usually targeted and not sustainable. Setup a blog to write articles or create YouTube videos that target keywords where people are interested in hosting and making their website load faster. Start with low competition keywords, then once you can rank for those confidently, you can move to more competitive keywords.
It’s also a bit hard to get the sale even if someone clicks and buys. Their poilcy now is that within the 30 day timeframe of purchasing that hosting, they have to have a website up within 30 days or they will re-evaluate it and then see if any changes have been made to their website. They do let you change it to 60 days for evaluation though.
Even if it’s a WP blog page the customer puts up and it doesn’t look like the customer tried designing it yet, they refuse your affiliate commission. So in that case you need to dispute it with them which they give it to you if they see that you’re honest and website development progress has been made.
It takes time for people to create websites..some people put it off for months. So just saying to get the affiliate commission you need to monitor and dispute.