As a super affiliate of SiteGround, I’ve referred thousands of people to them.
But it’s also my responsibility to warn people about the cons (renewal prices and CPU overages) and try to keep my reviews as unbiased as possible. That’s why you’ll see things like Facebook polls, Tweets, and Reddit answers in this SiteGround’s WordPress hosting review.
SiteGround was as close to the perfect host as you could get – speed, uptimes, support, features, and pricing were all phenomenal. To this day, I have <200ms server response times and an amazing GTmetrix and Pingdom report. My WordPress site loads insanely fast (click though my pages if you want) and has only gone down once in 2 years – for about 3 minutes.
But then… they raised their renewal prices.
Guys, this was inevitable! Good, fast, cheap – pick 2. SiteGround didn’t want to overcrowd their servers like EIG + GoDaddy, and they still have the best support in the industry. Their team is constantly working on releasing new features that make customer websites faster and more secure, which you can see on their Facebook page. Few hosts do this like SiteGround.
This made alternatives like Cloudways DigitalOcean more appealing which is managed cloud hosting (faster than shared) and starts at $10/month. Most people who leave SiteGround go to Cloudways. So are you willing to pay for a top-notch host with high renewal prices but great speed/support/uptimes? Or do you want pure speed (but mediocre support) on a managed cloud platform for a flat fee on Cloudways? These are the best 2 options in this price range.
Whatever you do, avoid EIG, GoDaddy, and other cheap hosts – even A2 Hosting is a big step below SiteGround. As a WordCamp speaker once said, you should pay as much for hosting as you would a shrimp dinner. A $4 shrimp dinner will make you sick. A $20 dinner will be good.
TLDR; SiteGround is great for the first 1-3 years of the promo price, but it gets expensive and some people are moving to DigitalOcean on Cloudways which is managed cloud hosting and even faster than SiteGround. Kinsta is another great option. A2 Hosting is the cheapest, decent hosting provider, but are nowhere near as good as SiteGround, Cloudways, or Kinsta, who are usually rated the top 3 hosts in recent year’s Facebook polls. Do your research and join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to avoid affiliate traps and get unbiased opinions.
1. Yes, I Use SiteGround
I only review what I actually use.
2. #1 Rated Host In 34 Facebook Polls
Many of these were taken in closed groups. If you want to see the public ones, here they are: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14. To see the private polls, click each screenshot and join the group. Lots of them were taken by the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group which has over 12,000 members and prohibits affiliate links and self-promotion. You can check out other hosting-related social media conversations in the A+ feedback section.
3. Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, Ivica
Yoast uses SiteGround:
Recommended by WordPress:
And by Ivica who runs the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group with 15,000+ members.
Many people have already taken Ivica’s suggestion.
4. People Who Migrated And Posted Their Results
When looking for hosting, speed is my #1 priority. I want to know that if I switch hosts, my load times should improve. And frankly, I don’t want to see results from an affiliate who is obviously biased, but regular customers who posted them publicly. Here are people who migrated to SiteGround and posted results. You can click each image to see the Tweet directly on Twitter.
5. 80ms Server Response Times
Higher SiteGround plans come with more server resources (this is shown on their features page) and are what will improve response times. In other words, you get way you pay for. Their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan comes with about 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting and will give you the best response times out of their shared plans. You can optimize your website all you want, but server response times are primarily controlled by your hosting.
6. <1s Load Time + 100% GTmetrix Scores
There’s more to 100% GTmetrix scores than hosting, but it definitely helps. My GTmetrix and Pingdom reports are pretty ridiculous. This is living proof that with a well-optimized site, you can get great load times and GTmetrix/Pingdom scores on SiteGround’s WordPress hosting.
My GTmetrix report:
My Pingdom report:
7. PHP 7.3, Cloudflare, SG Optimizer For The Win
SiteGround’s speed technology is one of the biggest reasons people choose them. They use a powerful combination of NGINX, HTTP/2 servers, SSDs, PHP 7.3, 1-click Cloudflare activation, and their SG Optimizer plugin which handles caching, minification, and more.
PHP 7.3 – SiteGround is always one of the first hosts to release new PHP versions which make your site load much faster. Many hosts didn’t release PHP 7 until 2018, and GoDaddy actually charged customers to upgrade. You don’t have to worry about any of that with SiteGround.
Cloudflare – activate Cloudflare’s free CDN with 1-click in SiteGround’s cPanel, the easiest way to leverage their 200+ data centers and reduce the geographic distance between your server and visitors. This makes the decision “which data center to choose” not as important.
SG Optimizer – they made huge updates to their SG Optimizer plugin which has great reviews on WordPress.org. Not only does it uses server-side caching (faster than the file-based caching used by most cache plugins), but now it also offers minification, gzip compression, removal of query strings, lazy loading, image optimization, and more. It is now comparable to WP Rocket.
8. Free Migration With GrowBig+
SiteGround will migrate your first website for free with their GrowBig plan or higher. I have taken advantage of this on several websites and the migration always went smoothly with no downtime or errors, as their technicians handles it flawlessly. They also have a migrator tool.
9. Support Is Phenomenal
SiteGround’s support has always been top-notch, and they’re constantly praised for it on Facebook and Twitter. Most hosts who offer cheap hosting don’t have the quick, personalized, 24/7 support you get with SiteGround. I have contacted them through phone, live chat, and support tickets. Each time my questions were resolved with detailed answers and no upsells. Their GoGeek plan comes with priority support (faster), but you honestly don’t even need it. You can get into live chat within 30 seconds, a ticket answered in 10 minutes, and on the phone with someone just as quickly. SiteGround has always been known for great support.
10. Ongoing Security Updates
SiteGround uses Linux containers and account isolation to prevent other websites on your server from affecting yours, plus ongoing patches and security monitoring. Of course you should change your generic Admin username and install a plugin like Wordfence, but SiteGround will do their part. Their development team constantly makes sure your site isn’t affected by threats which (if your site has ever been hacked) you know how important it is.
Here’s how SiteGround protects your website (listed on the features page):
11. Con: CPU Overages
SiteGround strictly enforces CPU limits. This means if your website/plugins exceed your monthly resource limits, SiteGround will send you warnings then eventually, shut down your website. The best way to prevent this is to make optimizations ahead of time (using the tips below) and contact support who will be glad to help you. This is the biggest limitation of SiteGround. I had CPU overages on my own site and was able to fix them using the tips below.
How To Avoid SiteGround’s CPU Overages:
- Use their SG Optimizer plugin (not W3 Total Cache)
- Use the Heartbeat Control and WP-Optimize plugin
- Block Bad Bots using the Blackhole for Bad Bots plugin
- Keep your PHP version updated (I recommend PHP 7.2)
- Eliminate/replace high CPU plugins with lightweight plugins
- Activate Cloudflare’s CDN in their cPanel to offload resources
- Delete unused plugins, themes, and clean up the WP Admin panel
- Optimize images (resize large images in GTmetrix) and use ShortPixel
12. Con: Renewal Prices Are Steep
You can get 1-3 years of SiteGround’s promotional price. Once it’s time to renew, you will be paying the regular price which is about 3x the promo price. That’s why ideally, you would buy 3 years of their hosting upfront. Yes, it’s a commitment, but you will not find a better value than SiteGround’s promotional prices. They’re worlds better than GoDaddy, EIG, and other hosts at this price. It’s also 3 full years of solid hosting which will give you time to weigh your options.
SiteGround renewal prices too high? Most people are moving to Cloudways.
Most people who leave SiteGround are moving to Cloudways DigitalOcean which starts at $10/month. Their support isn’t as good as SiteGround, but it’s managed cloud hosting which is even faster than the shared hosting on SiteGround. Look through their reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, and conversations from the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group – this is where the bandwagon is going in 2019. When choosing a Cloudways plan, you will have 5 server choices: DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud. DigitalOcean is generally the most popular, fastest, most cost-effective choice. Their speed technology uses dedicated resources (as opposed to CPU limitations on shared hosting), as well as Memcached, Redis, Varnish, MainDB, PHP 7.3, SSDs, NGINX, and PHP-FPM. Cloudways also does free migrations.
Many affiliates still recommend SiteGround (I was actually a super affiliate for them) but I have to be honest with my readers. Cloudways is just faster and more affordable. Do your research.
13. Features Overview
You can see all these on SiteGround’s features page. I personally use their staging (which comes with GrowBig+), Let’s Encrypt SSL, and Cloudflare. But they have a lot more if needed.
- Daily backups
- 4 data centers
- eCommerce features
- SG-Git (with GoGeek+)
- Staging (with GrowBig+)
- Cloudflare, SG Optimizer, PHP 7+
- On-demand backups (with GrowBig+)
- Automatic WordPress updates (optional)
14. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek
StartUp – good for hosting 1 low traffic website that doesn’t use WooCommerce or require lots of server resources or storage. However, this plan is easy to outgrow and you may end up with CPU overages once you start getting decent traffic or run resource-hungry plugins. I would personally never use this plan, since GrowBig is only $2/month more and comes with more features and server resources. StartUp should be for hobby websites just starting out.
GrowBig – host multiple websites with about 2x more server resources than StartUp (resulting in faster load times). Also includes all 3 levels of caching (static, dynamic, memcached) which also results in faster load times. Double the storage space, on-demand backups, and staging. Definitely worth the extra cost and I believe is their most popular plan.
GoGeek – semi-dedicated hosting and is about 4x faster than regular shared hosting plans. Good for people who want a super fast website but don’t want to pay $80/month for their cloud hosting. Priority support gets your questions answered faster, and also includes PCI compliant servers if you’re running eCommerce as well as SG-Git. A good balance between shared and dedicated hosting, but the renewal price is pretty high and similar to Kinsta.
Higher Plans = More Server Resources = Faster Website – SiteGround’s GrowBig and GoGeek plan include more server resources which make your site load faster (a key factor in the WordPres optimization guide). GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting and is about 4x faster than StartUp for $11.95/month, compared to a dedicated server which runs $229/month or their cloud hosting for $80/month. If speed is important to you,go with GrowBig or GoGeek.
15. Cloud Hosting
SiteGround’s cloud hosting starts at $80/month, but at that price you’re better off using Cloudways DigitalOcean. For comparison, for the $80/month you spend at SiteGround, you get 2 CPU + 4GB RAM, when at Cloudways you get 4 CPU + 8GB RAM for the same price. If you’re paying $40+/month and are looking into cloud hosting, you’re better off at Cloudways.
16. Dedicated Servers
I have never used SiteGround’s dedicated servers but they have them for $229/month. This is for high traffic sites needing a lot of resources and am sure it makes your site ridiculously fast. I just honestly don’t have experience with it (so I won’t give an opinion) but if it’s like any other SiteGround plan I’m sure it’s legit. Maybe when I reach 10,000 visitors/day I’ll give it a whirl.
17. cPanel Demo
If you’re not currently hosted with SiteGround and want to see a cPanel demo, this will help you explore the different options once you purchase a SiteGround plan. You will find many features I’ve gone over including Cloudflare CDN, autoupdates, autoinstallers, staging, backups, email, WordPress tools like their SG Optimizer plugin, and plenty of other features.
18. Uptimes Are Actually 99.99%
Actually, mine was about 100% since in the last 2 years, my website only went down once for about 3 minutes. SiteGround has outstanding uptime technology. If you’ve ever experienced internal server errors, bad gateways, connection failures, and other messages when your site goes down, you shouldn’t get these with SiteGround. They use Linux containers, server monitoring, and secure account isolation so your website stays up. Many WordPress hosts say 99.99% but fail to deliver. SiteGround does, and is one of the biggest reasons to use them.
19. The Problem With Bluehost, HostGator, EIG Companies
Did you know Bluehost, HostGator, iPage, Site5, HostMonster, and tons of other hosting companies are owned by the same awful firm (EIG)? Here’s the full list but EIG is infamous for acquiring companies, firing employees, and completely ruining companies by downgrading hardware and packing more customers on the same server. Great for EIG profits, not for you.
EIG is hated in Facebook Groups.
20. How To Tell If Your Hosting Is Slow
You can also check TTFB in the GTmetrix Timings tab…
21. Why I Use SiteGround
22. A+ Feedback On Facebook And Twitter
The ongoing debate between SiteGround vs. Cloudways continues. Aside from pricing, the main difference is SiteGround has better support, virtually no downtimes/random errors, uses cPanel, and is easier to integrate email. Cloudways tends to have better performance (since it’s managed cloud hosting) but support isn’t as good as SiteGround. I suggest reaching out to Hristo Pandjarov (SiteGround community manager) or Mustaasam Saleem Ansari (Cloudways community manager) and tell them you’re hosting requirements (and that I sent you please), or look through opinions in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group since it’s a tight community.
23. Frequently Asked Questions
How much does SiteGround cost?
SiteGround's shared hosting costs $3.95/month for their lowest StartUp plan, $5.95/month for GrowBig, and $11.95/month for their higher level GoGeek plan. You get this price for 1-3 years, then the prices nearly triple after the promotional period expires.
Where are SiteGround's data centers located?
SiteGround's data centers are located in Chicago, Iowa, London, Amsterdam, and Singapore.
How do you install WordPress on SiteGround?
To install WordPress on SiteGround, go to your SiteGround dashboard and the WordPress Installer will be one of the first options.
Does SiteGround come with a free SSL?
Yes, all SiteGround plans come with a free SSL from Let's Encrypt.
How do you request a free website transfer?
To request a free website transfer, login to your SiteGround account and open a support ticket. There, you will see an option to request a website transfer.
Is SiteGround fast?
For shared hosting, SiteGround is one of the fastest hosts out there and uses SSDs, PHP 7+, and Cloudflare. If you need an even more powerful server, you may want to look elsewhere for cloud hosting, since SiteGround's starts at $80/month.
I hope you found my SiteGround WordPress hosting review helpful! If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line in the comments but I tried to cover as much as I could. I really do love SiteGround (I just bought my SiteGround t-shirt the other day) so ya, I’m kind of obsessed.
- Speed + Uptime + Support
- Renewal Prices + CPU Limits
- WordPress Features
- Everything Else
- Rated #1 host in 34 Facebook polls
- Fast servers (NGINX, SSDs, HTTP/2)
- Fast speed technology (PHP 7.3, SG Optimizer, Cloudflare CDN)
- Support is top notch: live chat, tickets, phone are all fast + result-driven
- Features page outlines exactly what you get when purchasing each plan
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL, daily backups (and website transfer with GrowBig+)
- Semi-dedicated GoGeek plan is a perfect balance between shared/dedicated
- SiteGround has 10x the reputation on Facebook/Twitter than most other hosts
- Renewal prices jump after 1-3 years
- CPU overages can be caused by running resource-hungry plugins, WooCommerce, or too much traffic – try to use lightweight plugins, optimize your site, and use a SiteGround plan that accommodates your bandwidth consumption