Deciding whether to use SiteGround’s GrowBig plan?
GrowBig used to be one of the best WordPress hosting plans available, but unfortunately, SiteGround GrowBig is not worth it’s price anymore. In fact, no SiteGround plan is worth it.
SiteGround went downhill in 2020 with slower TTFBs, ditching cPanel, increased prices, and significantly reducing support. They’re not the “great hosting” they used to to be and this also applies to their GrowBig plan. If you want an honest SiteGround GrowBig review, don’t use it.
My Story – I used SiteGround’s GrowBig plan for about 1 year. I also used GoGeek, cloud hosting, and an upgraded version of their cloud hosting for $180/month. I was an affiliate who referred nearly 3,000 people to them, but no longer recommend them because they went downhill and I try to stay honest. I ultimately left SiteGround for Cloudways who is significantly cheaper, faster, and also take care better care of their customers than SiteGround recently has.
- Yes, I Used SiteGround GrowBig
- I Left SiteGround After Constant Upgrades
- GrowBig Lacks Ultrafast PHP And Priority Support
- GrowBig Lacks Server Resources With Strict CPU Limits
- GrowBig’s Renewal Prices Are Expensive ($299.88/Year)
- SiteGround’s Support Isn’t Good Anymore
- SiteGround’s TTFB Is Getting Slower And Slower
- StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek vs. Cloud Hosting
- SiteGround GrowBig Reviews On Facebook
- SiteGround alternatives (because they’re awful)
1. Yes, I Used SiteGround GrowBig
I just wanted to show you that I actually have used SiteGround. Other people writing hosting reviews sometimes don’t even use the hosting, but I have used SiteGround for years with multiple plans. I wanted to give you my honest experience in this SiteGround GrowBig review because while it used to be good, it’s not anymore and there are much better options available.
2. I Left SiteGround After Constant Upgrades
Heard of SiteGround’s CPU limits? They’re a nightmare.
I went from paying $9.99/month on GrowBig to $120/month for their upgraded cloud hosting. This was all because I was hitting CPU limits and SiteGround would take down my website until I upgraded. Even when I did everything to reduce CPU and had <2s load times with near perfect 100% GTmetrix scores, SiteGround continued to send me these emails and take down my site.
Like many people have reported in Facebook Groups, the only real way to fix this is to leave SiteGround. I was paying them $180/month for a few months until I looked for alternatives and finally left. Dig through conversations from Facebook Groups and you will see it’s very common.
I was lucky enough to leave before things got even worse at SiteGround with Site Tools, reduced support, slower TTFBs, and increased prices. I dodged a bullet so you don’t have to.
3. GrowBig Lacks Ultrafast PHP And Priority Support
SiteGround claims their Ultrafast PHP can reduce TTFB by up to 50% and reduce memory usage by 15%, but it’s only included with GoGeek and they have no data to back this up. With GrowBig, you can use the latest version PHP 7.4 but you don’t get the benefits of Ultrafast PHP.
Nor do you get priority support with GrowBig (only with GoGeek). SiteGround’s support has already taken a turn for the worse and not having priority support makes it even less tolerable.
4. GrowBig Lacks Server Resources With Strict CPU Limits
SiteGround GrowBig has more server resources than StartUp, but it still can’t properly handle websites running resource-hungry plugins like WooCommerce, Elementor, WPML, or even AdSense. You really have to be careful with when running these and you risk hitting your CPU limits. GrowBig is not meant to handle mid to high traffic websites or resource-hungry plugins.
You can find SiteGround’s CPU limits on their features page under the “server” tab:
Tips On Avoiding CPU Overages
- Configure optimal SG Optimizer settings
- Use a hosting plan that can handle your site
- Monitor AWstats in your SiteGround dashboard
- Activate Cloudflare in Site Tools to offload resources
- Avoid heavy plugins, page builders, and third party scripts
5. GrowBig’s Renewal Prices Are Expensive ($299.88/Year)
SiteGround increased prices in 2018 and 2020.
GrowBig now starts at $9.99/month but jumps to $24.99/month after your initial 1-3 year contract. And since you have to pay for an entire year upfront, you will be billed $299.88/year.
GrowBig is an “OK” choice during the initial period, but it’s definitely not $24.99/month for. So if you’re going to use the GrowBig plan, I recommend leaving when your renewal prices kick in.
6. SiteGround’s Support Isn’t Good Anymore
Don’t expect great support on SiteGround anymore.
It used to be good, but has gotten completely downhill throughout 2020 when they:
- Disabled live chat
- Hid the support button in the dashboard
- Only solve issues related to “malfunctions in their systems”
- Moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek (years ago)
- Push upgrades and encourage you to sign up for expensive plans
Honestly, SiteGround’s support is one of the worst out there now. If you’re looking into GrowBig because you want good support with your plan, don’t do it. It’s not good anymore.
7. SiteGround’s TTFB Is Getting Slower And Slower
Here’s a live Astra Starter Site on SiteGround’s GrowBig plan: https://stgrndserver.com
While it doesn’t use Cloudflare or SG Optimizer, it was one of the slowest hosts in speed tests. SiteGround had some of the slowest TTFBs and load times out of all the WordPress hosting plans. This was an Astra Starter Site of out of the box with only 6 lightweight plugins which were also installed on each website. SiteGround’s GrowBig plan averaged a 2280ms load time.
Here are a few screenshots:
Why is SiteGround slow?
Just because they use Google Cloud servers doesn’t mean their hosting is fast. It’s not entirely clear why their hosting is slow, but there’s no doubt it has gotten slow over the year. A theory is that just like their reduced support (to increase their bottom line), they are doing the same with their server resources and using it as a ploy to get customers to purchase more expensive plans.
8. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek vs Cloud Hosting
You can see a comparison of StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek on SiteGround’s features page.
StartUp – can only host 1 single website and lacks server resources, advanced caching with SG Optimizer, staging, storage, and on-demand backups. In other words, it’s only good if you’re just starting a site that has minimal traffic and doesn’t require heavy plugins or advanced features.
GrowBig – GrowBig has more server resources than StartUp with advanced caching, staging, and more storage. It can handle smaller sites with medium CPU consumption, but likely still can’t handle heavy resources or mid traffic sites. Definitely the best value in my opinion, but again, definitely not worth the higher $24.99/month renewal prices. I would only use GrowBig for their intro prices, but still, I personally wouldn’t use them since the company went downhill.
GoGeek – comes with even more server resources, Ultrafast PHP, more storage, GIT, and priority support. Whether Ultrafast PHP and priority support are worth it are debatable, but $39.99/month is too much. At that price, you’re much better off at Cloudways, Kinsta, or WPX.
Cloud Hosting – absolute garbage. Way too expensive and you will still likely get CPU overages on their entry level $80/month plan and will need to add more CPU + RAM for more money. Support isn’t any better than their lower plans and you can get the same amount of CPU + RAM elsewhere for much cheaper (and with faster load times). No reason to pay SiteGround $80/mo.
9. SiteGround GrowBig Reviews On Facebook
I wanted to show you a few posts from Facebook Groups about SiteGround’s GrowBig plan. I recommend joining the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get real, unbiased feedback.
10. SiteGround Alternatives (Because They’re Awful)
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 GrowBig||NameHero Turbo Cloud||FastComet FastCloud Extra||Cloudways Vultr HF (2GB)||Rocket.net Starter|
|Visits/mo (est.)||100,000||50,000||100,000||2TB bandwidth||50GB bandwidth|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Cores/RAM||Not listed||3 cores/3GB||6 cores/6GB||1 core/2GB||32 cores/128GB|
|Storage||20GB / SATA||Unlimited NVMe||35GB / SATA||64GB / NVMe||10GB / NVMe|
|Object cache||Memcached||Redis||Memcached||Redis Pro||Redis|
|PHP workers||CPU limits common||Efficient with LiteSpeed||Efficient with LiteSpeed||No limit||No limit|
|DNS||Internal (previous issues)||Use QUIC||Use QUIC||DNS Made Easy ($5/mo)||Cloudflare|
|CDN||SiteGround CDN||QUIC.cloud||QUIC.cloud||Cloudflare Enterprise ($5/mo)||Cloudflare Enterprise|
|CDN Tbps||Not listed||Not listed||Not listed||192||192|
|Full page caching||✓||✓||✓||x||✓|
|Image optimization||Very limited||via QUIC||via QUIC||Mirage/Polish||Mirage/Polish|
|Image resizing||x||x||x||via Cloudflare||via Cloudflare|
|Cache plugin||SG Optimizer||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache||Breeze||x|
|Major incidents||TTFB/DNS/CPU issues, but denies them||2011 2-day node outage||2022 DDoS attack on 3 data centers||None||None|
|Migrations||$30/site||1 free||3 free||1 free + $25/site||Unlimited free|
|CDN price||$7.49/mo||$.02 – .08/GB||$.02 – .08/GB||$5/mo||Included|
|Intro price||$3.99/mo||$9.98/mo||$5.49/mo||$30/mo||$25/mo when paying yearly|
If the websites/storage/bandwidth limits are too low, there are still better shared hosts than SiteGround. NameHero’s Turbo Cloud and FastComet’s FastCloud Extra both use LiteSpeed servers which means you’ll use LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN (arguably the fastest setup on a budget). Unlike FastComet, NameHero uses NVMe/Redis, but their data centers are only in US/EU. If your visitors aren’t close to there, use QUIC.cloud CDN’s paid plan which uses 80 PoPs + full page caching, or use the FastCloud Extra plan from FastComet who has more data centers.
These are all faster than SiteGround, but they’ll never admit it.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does SiteGround GrowBig cost?
SiteGround GrowBig costs $9.99/month for your promotional period (1-3 years) then $29.99/month after.
What is the difference between GrowBig and GoGeek?
GrowBig has less storage, server resources, and doesn't come with priority support or Ultrafast PHP, while GoGeek does.
Is GrowBig suitable for ~ 25,000 visits monthly?
GrowBig is usually suitable for ~ 25,000 visits monthly, but this is a general number. It depends on your plugins, traffic, and CPU consumption of your website.
Can I host multiple websites on GrowBig?
Yes, you can host multiple websites on GrowBig. Just keep an eye on your CPU usage.