If there’s one hosting plan that’s definitely not worth it, it’s SiteGround’s cloud hosting.
A couple years back, I migrated from GoGeek to SiteGround’s cloud hosting. But like most people who reported in Facebook Groups, I was still getting slow TTFBs with CPU issues. Want to know how much I had to pay to stop getting CPU issues and make my website decently fast?
You can get the same amount of CPU/RAM as SiteGround’s entry level cloud plan (4 CPU + 8GB RAM) at Cloudways DigitalOcean for $30 cheaper/month ($80/month instead of $110/month at SiteGround). And, it’s significantly faster. This is what I ended up doing, it’s what most people are doing in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, and it’s probably what you should do too.
1. My Experience With SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting
As my traffic grew, I expected to move away from GoGeek and pay more for hosting.
At the time, SiteGround’s cloud hosting was $80/month. Quite the jump, but if it could handle my steady increase in traffic and make my site fast, I was on board. I had a few issues with CPU limits on their cheaper plans, but I liked SiteGround (at the time) and wanted to stick with them.
There was no difference in load times and I continued to deal with CPU issues. As their support, recommended, I added more CPU/RAM for $120/month. That started to fix CPU issues, but it wasn’t until I added even more CPU/RAM for $180/month that my site had an acceptable TTFB.
Still, my TTFB wasn’t great. When I moved to a different host (Cloudways), load times cut in half and I was paying 1/2 the price with no CPU issues. Since then, I realized the only reason I paid so much on SiteGround is because their support fooled me into thinking it was a “good” choice.
2. It Won’t Fix CPU Limits
Even after jacking up their prices (twice) and migrating to Google Cloud servers, SiteGround’s inode limit is the exact same as it always has been, and they don’t plan on increasing it (read the comments on their blog). This means they’ve done nothing to fix their infamous CPU limit issue.
Keep in mind I write WordPress speed tutorials for a living.
My website loaded instantly, used WP Rocket, Cloudflare, heartbeat was disabled, no high CPU plugins, and I even had a perfect 100% GTmetrix report at the time. For someone who writes about reducing CPU and optimizing site speed, I was amazed I was still getting CPU overages.
With other hosting companies, they might slow down your website if you exceed CPU limits. On SiteGround, they will send you an email warning, swiftly take down your site, and send you a follow up email telling you to upgrade your plan (buy more CPU + RAM or a dedicated server).
What’s amazing is that after migrating hosts, CPU usage was nowhere near as high.
Many people have the same problem:
3. Too Expensive
The same entry level cloud hosting plan on SiteGround (4 CPU + 8GB RAM) can be purchased at DigitalOcean on Cloudways for $80/month. Many customers want to stay on SiteGround because their support used to be good, but that’s no longer the case. Why would you pay more?
4. Not Even That Fast
The entry level 4 CPU + 8GB RAM on SiteGround’s cloud hosting isn’t fast.
Even if you add more CPU + RAM and end up paying $180/month like me, it’s still not as fast as other cloud hosting providers. This is what happened when I migrated from SiteGround to DigitalOcean. Load times were about 2x faster at 1/2 the price. You don’t get what you pay for. Load times were still “decent” on SiteGround, but I did nearly every optimization in the book.
Brian Dean (Backlinko) also did a report and found SiteGround had some of the worst TTFBs.
5. Support Won’t Get Any Better
SiteGround’s support went downhill.
And I wouldn’t expect getting any better support if you upgrade to their cloud hosting. It’s sad because SiteGround used to have one of the best support teams in the industry. Now, they’re only interested in making profit (you can tell because their support isn’t interested in fixing CPU issues, tells you to upgrade, and they even moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek). All these changes are very suspicious in what their true motives are – it’s not making you happy.
6. Features (If You Still Want To Use It)
SiteGround’s cloud hosting comes with 4 CPU + 8GB RAM by default, but it’s usually not enough and you will at least need to upgrade your memory.
CPU – (central processing units) handle and execute programs. When multiple requests are made on your website, they are queued in a line. Multiple CPUs process these faster, thus making your website faster. Think of it like an Intel Core i7 for your computer, only for your site.
RAM – temporarily stores data and command instructions, then passes it along for computation. Just like you would add an extra slot of RAM to your laptop, adding RAM to your cloud hosting plan is one of the best things you can do to make your website load faster.
Storage – check how much storage you’re using on your current SiteGround plan (this should be found in Site Tools). Then add the necessary amount of storage to your cloud hosting plan.
Monitoring Usage – you can monitor your memory in SiteGround’s Site Tool to see if your server is stressed (it’s always on the edge of your limits). If this happens, you will need to add more RAM or CPU. You never want to be close to the peak, otherwise you will experience CPU overages (they’ll shut down your site) or get 503 errors which means the server is overloaded.
Autoscale Resources To Compensate For Traffic Spikes – if you have peak seasons or want to compensate for traffic spikes, you have the option set your cloud hosting account to autoscale (increase CPU + RAM) if you get a large amount of traffic. However, since you already have low CPU limits on SiteGround, you may end up autoscaling and paying more than what you thought.
Isolated Resources Mean Better Uptimes And Security – since you’re not sharing servers with other websites (like on shared hosting), your website(s) shouldn’t be affected if something goes wrong on other sites. Cloud hosting in general, should have better security than shared hosting.
7. There Are Better Cloud Hosts Out There
I originally left SiteGround for Cloudways Vultr High Frequency and posted my results in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. But that Facebook Group (along with several others) is now run by SiteGround’s affiliates, so join WP Speed Matters if you want less biased feedback.
Since then, I moved to Rocket.net who is even faster. Unlike SiteGround’s shared plans, Rocket.net and Cloudways Vultr HF are cloud hosting with Cloudflare Enterprise (faster than APO alone), NVMe storage (faster than SATA), Redis (faster than Memcached), and MariaDB (faster than MySQL). And unlike Cloudways, Rocket.net has a lot more resources (32 cores + 128GB RAM) with APO and LiteSpeed’s PHP. In fact, Rocket.net is so fast that they average a <100ms global TTFB which you can test in KeyCDN or SpeedVitals. If yours is slow, you need to rethink your hosting/CDN setup since those are 2 main TTFB factors. Another solid tool to test hosting performance is the WP Hosting Benchmark plugin. TTFB is also 40% of your LCP score.
Curious to why they’re faster, I made this table.
|SiteGround Cloud Jump Start Plan||WP Engine StartUp Plan||Kinsta Starter Plan||Cloudways Vultr HF (2GB)||Rocket.net Starter Plan|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Cores/RAM||4 cores/8GB||Not listed||12 cores/8GB||1 core/2GB||32 cores/128GB|
|Storage||40GB / SATA||10GB / SATA||10GB / SATA||64GB / NVMe||10GB / NVMe|
|CDN||Google Cloud||Cloudflare + Polish||Cloudflare + full page caching + firewall rules||Cloudflare Enterprise – APO ($5/mo)||Cloudflare Enterprise|
|CDN bandwidth||Unmetered||Not listed||100GB||100GB||50GB|
|DNS||Internal (previous issues)||Internal||Amazon Route 53||DNS Made Easy ($5/mo)||Cloudflare|
|Cache plugin||SG Optimizer||x||x||Breeze||x|
|Object cache||Memcached||Memcached||Redis ($100/mo)||Redis Pro||Redis|
|PHP workers||Not listed (but common issue)||Not listed (but common issue)||2 PHP workers||No limit||No limit|
|Database||MySQL||Not listed||Not listed||MariaDB||MariaDB|
|Nginx reverse proxy||✓||Manual configuration||$50/mo||✓||✓|
|Bandwidth or monthly visits||5TB||50GB + 25k visits/mo||25k visits/mo||2TB||50GB + 250k visits/mo|
|Malware removal||Scanner only||x||Removal pledge||x||Imunify360|
|Major incidents||TTFB/DNS/CPU issues, unethical||2015 breach||None||None||None|
|Migrations||$30/site||Paid (quoted)||Free (most hosts)||1 free + $25/site||Unlimited free|
|Price||$100/mo||$25/mo when paying yearly||$29/mo when paying yearly||$35/mo with CF Enterprise||$25/mo when paying yearly|
No matter how many migration results there are, SiteGround will never admit their problems.
Yep, these are affiliate links. But it would a lot easier for me to tell you how “great” SiteGround is than to steer you somewhere else. I’m trying to be honest and I’m also open to your feedback/questions if you need help: tom(at)onlinemediamasters.com.
I hope this helped,