Back in 2019, I left SiteGround after paying about 4x in upgrades to fix CPU limits (and they started having TTFB issues).
Since moving which instantly fixed both, I shared my experience on my blog. I was totally not prepared for SiteGround’s reaction.
It started with terminating my affiliate account. Then they sent a cease & desist letter referring to a non-disparagement clause in their TOS which I’ve seen other affiliates get threatened for. They police several Facebook Groups like WordPress Hosting + WordPress Speed Up which their community manager and affiliates are admins for. They use this to ban people who speak out about them, promote their service, and frequently don’t disclose they work for SiteGround.
The SiteGround Optimizer plugin has many compatibility issues which support blames on third-party themes/plugins. It also does a poor job with core web vitals (see comparison table).
In November, 2021, SiteGround’s DNS was also blocked by Google for 4 days which they blamed on Google/Amazon (saying there was no blocking on their end). Yet, they came out with a “fix” 2 days later. And you must use their DNS to use SiteGround’s CDN, so good luck with that.
SiteGround isn’t the company they once were. Not just because of their declined service in multiple areas, but because they have to cover up their mess with lies, threats, and censorship.
- Slow TTFB
- CPU limits
- SG Optimizer lacks features with compatibility issues
- Their cloud hosting is awful
- Google blocked SiteGround’s DNS for 4 days
- High renewals + price increases
- Declined support
- Harder to transfer away from Site Tools
- Attempted to limit # of websites
- Removed service in unprofitable countries
- Forcing customers to use Big G
- TrustPilot reviews are funneled from SiteGround support
- Saying goodbye
- SiteGround alternatives
How hard is it to post a bad SiteGround review without getting flagged, banned, or sued?
View the screenshots and you can decide yourself.
This is the reason you don’t see more bad SiteGround reviews and why they’re glorified in Facebook Groups. It’s complete deception and I will never support any company that does.
2. Slow TTFB
Backlinko’s 2019 TTFB test showed SiteGround had the slowest TTFB of all hosts tested.
When SiteGround moved to Google Cloud, they originally used one of Google’s lowest tier machine families (N1). Yet on their blog, they said “using [Google’s] service will result in high speed for our clients’ websites.” Another false claim since their TTFB actually got much slower.
SiteGround later moved to N2 in 2020 and is still using this machine family to date. While N2 is an improvement, it’s still a “balanced” machine family and isn’t as fast as the C2 machine family used on Kinsta and Elementor’s Cloud websites (although I don’t recommend those either for other reasons). SiteGround will deny their TTFB is slow, but independent people say otherwise:
3. CPU Limits
If you’ve been with SiteGround long enough, you’ve probably run into issues with CPU seconds are were forced to upgrade.
It certainly appears something is fishy considering countless people who originally had CPU limits on SiteGround moved away and they were fixed instantly (including myself). You can find SiteGround’s CPU limits on their hosting page when you hover over the “server resources” tab.
Most hosts throttle your bandwidth which makes your site slow and can cause 503 errors. But on SiteGround, you have to upgrade (to add resources) or they will send you an email warning and eventually take down your website. You can wait it out, try to fix it, upgrade plans, or leave.
- Wait it out – your website will continue to be down until your CPU seconds are reset.
- Fix it – follow my guide on reducing CPU, but there’s no guarantee you can actually fix it and SiteGround will never blame it on their own service. They’ll probably tell you it’s an issue with caching, scripts, bots, cron jobs, or plugins. Make sure you check error logs too.
- Upgrade – upgrading to GrowBig/GoGeek may fix it, but never upgrade to SiteGround’s cloud hosting. It’s been seen time and time again that people who upgrade to their cloud hosting still face CPU issues. When you get warnings on GoGeek, it’s 100% time to move.
- Leave – Vultr HF, LiteSpeed, and Rocket.net are all great options to reduce CPU. Vultr HF and Rocket.net use NVMe storage (and only about 10% of traffic actually hits your origin on Rocket who offloads most of it to Cloudflare). LiteSpeed is more efficient than Apache and NGINX. Many hosts use Redis which uses memory more efficiently than memcached.
4. SG Optimizer Lacks Features With Compatibility Issues
SiteGround Optimizer is good for caching (dynamic, file-based, memcached, Cloudflare full page caching). But it is not good for core web vitals.
That’s why if you use SiteGround Optimizer, you should only use it for caching then use a separate plugin like FlyingPress to handle everything else (make sure file-based caching is only enabled in 1 plugin). Perfmatters also addresses most lacking features in SiteGround Optimizer.
|SG Optimizer||WP Rocket||FlyingPress|
|Remove unused CSS||x||Inline||Separate file|
|Preload critical images||x||x||By number|
|Exclude above the fold images||By class||By URL||By number|
|Lazy load background images||x||Inline||Helper class|
|Fetchpriority resource hint||x||x||✓|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||x||✓|
|Add missing image dimensions||x||✓||✓|
|YouTube iframe preview image||x||✓||✓|
|Self-host YouTube placeholder||x||x||✓|
|Host fonts locally||x||x||✓|
|CDN (beyond Cloudflare)||SiteGround CDN||StackPath||BunnyCDN|
|CDN image optimization||✓||x||✓|
|CDN image resizing for mobile||x||x||✓|
|Documented APO compatibility||x||x||✓|
There are also constant compatibility issues which support constantly blames on other themes/plugins (you can check the support threads yourself). In other words, it’s not stable.
5. Their Cloud Hosting Is Awful
I’ve used it…
It’s overpriced, slow, and doesn’t fix CPU limits. I even added more CPU/RAM and was still getting CPU issues (plus my site wasn’t crazy fast after doing it). There are way better cloud hosting options than SiteGround. So once you outgrow GoGeek, I would leave immediately.
6. Google Blocked SiteGround’s DNS For 4 Days
Here’s SiteGround’s response when their DNS was blocked from Googlebot for 4 days.
In classic SiteGround fashion, they claimed no responsibility by saying “there is no blocking on our end.” But then 2 days later, they came out with a fix. SiteGround never advised customers to move to an external DNS. Many websites dropped in rankings or even disappeared from Google completely, resulting in a lot of lost time/money for customers. Feel free to look it up on Twitter. And to use SiteGround’s new CDN, you have to use their DNS. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
Status Update: We are glad to inform you that we have implemented a fix for the Google bot crawling issue experienced by some sites. Websites are already being crawled successfully. Please allow a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect. Thank you for your patience!
— SiteGround (@SiteGround) November 12, 2021
The lack of responsibility you are taking here is incredible. If this was simply Google’s fault, surely other hosts would be facing issues? Clearly something has changed on your set-up that has caused an issue. Are you aware just how damaging this is to many of your customers?
— Kim Snaith (@ichangedmyname) November 10, 2021
You should be advising people to move to an external DNS to resolve the issues if it is causing them massive losses in business. I have just sorted our connectivity issue in around 25 minutes by moving to googles DNS. If you had let us know 4 days ago, we wouldnt be £20k+ down!
— Jon Bunce (@thejonbunce) November 11, 2021
If you move to your Google Search Console > SETTINGS > CRAWL STATS you will, if unlucky like me, see something like this :-( pic.twitter.com/ocBEkWKsaw
— Tristan Haskins (@trishaskins) November 12, 2021
7. High Renewals + Price Increases
In the old days, SiteGround’s prices were cheaper, you could get the cheaper intro price for 3 years, and they included a free migration.
They raised prices twice (once in 2018 and in 2020), you only get the intro price for 1 year, and migrations now cost $30. Prices got higher and the value of their service dropped significantly.
Upon renewal, monthly pricing increases from $6.99 to $14.99 (StartUp), $9.99 to $24.99 (GrowBig), and $14.99 to $39.99 (GoGeek). Yearly, that’s $179.88, $299.98, and $539.98. So if you’re on SiteGround’s hosting now, expect a large bill once your renewal prices come into play.
In case you can’t read it, it says:
The special initial price applies for the first invoice only. Once your initial term is over regular renewal prices apply.
Here was my bill for their cloud hosting (can’t believe I was paying this):
8. Declined Support
I laughed when I noticed SiteGround’s support was some of their top Autocomplete results because they’ve made it overly difficult to find. Not even a phone number of their site anymore.
SiteGround’s support has gotten worse because:
- It’s more difficult to reach.
- Unwillingness to help fix CPU limit issues.
- They added a long “scope of support” disclaimer.
- They previously disabled live chat for people who use it too much.
- They cut off entire countries from support when they got too busy.
9. Harder To Transfer Away From Site Tools
Whether you like Site Tools or not, it ain’t cPanel. And if you decide to leave SiteGround, your new host may charge you to migrate everything from Site Tools.
It was released weeks after cPanel increased prices and there were many complaints of bugs and missing features. It also didn’t roll out to some clients until over a year later. SiteGround is quick to replace something when they increase prices – but expect you to stay when they do it.
10. Attempted To Limit # Of Websites
In another attempt to increase their bottom line, SiteGround limited the number of websites you can host on each plan. This backfired and made a lot of people leave them. Although they eventually reversed this, it’s just another sneaky thing they tried to get customers to pay more.
11. Removed Service In Unprofitable Countries
Good business decision or bad ethics?
SiteGround suspended accounts from many Asian areas: India, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, and others.
This hurt a lot of affiliates – it was sad to see so many members of the Bloggers Passion Facebook Group (mostly Indians) hurting financially after SiteGround canceled their affiliate accounts. Even if you don’t do affiliate marketing, consider how it affected other people’s lives.
12. Forcing Customers To Use Big G
A while back, SiteGround moved customers to Google Cloud without warning.
Many people were hesitant to host their websites with one of the biggest data harvesting companies in the world. But SiteGround pulled out their excuses on how they follow GDPR, their information is still protected, blah blah blah. The bottom line is they didn’t give a warning (or an option) not to use Google Cloud. This isn’t what they signed up for, but there’s no choice.
13. TrustPilot Reviews Are Funneled From SiteGround Support
SiteGround is a classic example of why you shouldn’t always believe Trustpilot reviews. Even though they have a 4.7/5 star rating, most reviews are solicited by their own support team. This is pretty standard, but it’s also why you should take most TrustPilot ratings with a grain of salt.
14. Saying Goodbye
Well SiteGround, we’ve made a lot of money together over the years, but your company has gone completely downhill in so many ways and I honestly hope the near 3,000 customers I referred to you leave like I did. You’re honestly full of shit and I’m done sending you customers.
15. SiteGround Alternatives
Here are a few better options than SiteGround (aff links):
- Rocket.net – look at their specs and have a conversation with Ben Gabler (that’s all it took for me). They average a <100ms global TTFB which you can measure in KeyCDN. Their free Cloudflare Enterprise is superior than Cloudways/Kinsta with full page caching, smart purging, and built their data centers in the same ones as Cloudflare (Ben was StackPath’s Chief Product Officer so that makes sense). Just to give you an idea, their plans start at $25/mo with 32 CPU cores + 128GB RAM + NVMe SSDs + Redis. No PHP worker limits because only about 10% of traffic actually hits your origin. Everything is free (no paid add-ons) and their powerful stack makes scaling affordable with plenty of resources. I asked Ben to create a coupon OMM1 to make your first month $1. Compared to Kinsta, they use about 16x more RAM, 32x more cores on staging sites, and up to 25x more monthly visits. Top performer on wphostingbenchmarks.com with a 4.9/5 TrustPilot rating too? Take 5 minutes to compare specs and see for yourself or see my Rocket.net review.
Vultr High Frequency – I was previously using Cloudways Vultr HF and this was a big upgrade from SiteGround’s cloud hosting. Also uses NVMe + Redis Object Cache Pro but Cloudflare Enterprise and their Breeze plugin need some work. Can also get expensive between the CPU/RAM, add-ons, email hosting, etc. That said, here’s 30% off 3 months.
LiteSpeed – NameHero if your visitors are in the US/EU or Scala / ChemiCloud if they’re somewhere else. All have great TrustPilot ratings and include more CPU/RAM than similar hosts like Hostinger or A2, for example, if you view NameHero’s specs page. LiteSpeed is not only faster than Apache/NGINX but can handle more concurrent connections which means less chance of CPU limit issues. Plus, the LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC combination is probably the fastest/cheapest setups you’ll find for shared hosting.
What’s Your Experience With SiteGround?
I’m genuinely curious, leave me a comment and let me know.
If SiteGround works for you, by all means keep using them. But even if they’re service was good, there’s no way I would support a company who acts like the police, makes a mess, then covers up their tracks with misinformation. The hosting/affiliate marketing space is bad enough as it is.
Someone’s gotta stand up to them even if it means threatening to get sued. Luckily, all the screenshots are right there for you to see.
Does SiteGround have a slow TTFB?
There have been numerous complaints about SiteGround's slow TTFB in Facebook groups, but many of these posts are deleted since many FB groups are moderated by SiteGround.
Why are SiteGround's prices so high?
SiteGround increased prices twice, once in 2018 and once in 2020. They have also made several changes to cut costs and increase their bottom line, such as disabling live chat and moving priority support to GoGeek. SiteGround is simply trying to increase their profits.
How do I fix CPU usage limits on SiteGround?
Disable WordPress heartbeat, block bad bots, looks for slow queries and error logs, configure a solid cache plugin, offload resources to CDNs, and be careful when using WooCommerce and slow page builders on shared hosting. However, many times you can't fix CPU usage on SiteGround and they tell you to upgrade while holding your site hostage.
What happened to SiteGround's good support?
SiteGround hid their support in the dashboard and added a long scope of work disclaimer to reduce the level of support compared to what they used to offer.
Is SiteGround a good choice in 2022?
My opinion is no. The company is going downhill and the amount of complaints about them in Facebook Groups has increased. They call their changes improvements, but independent forums say otherwise.