SiteGround is good… if you’re comparing them to Bluehost/GoDaddy.
That’s because SiteGround controls many popular Facebook groups and removes bad reviews/posts mentioning other hosts. They also threaten people who write bad reviews. What you’re left with are fake reviews from Facebook admins, affiliates, and paid partnerships. That’s why you don’t hear about the 2M SiteGround domains that got deindexed from Google. Or their TTFB issues. Or how the SiteGround Optimizer plugin does a poor job with web vitals. Just look at the migration results from ex-SiteGround clients who moved to ChemiCloud and Rocket.net.
This isn’t just about performance. SiteGround went from customer-first to “bottom line first.” That’s why they discontinued free Cloudflare, cPanel, and started charging $30/site migrations and a $14.99/mo CDN. Quality of support went down, yet they now charge up to 7.5x renewals after 1 year. This isn’t just me complaining… you can look at the bad feedback on Hristo’s AMA.
But hey, if you want to pay $25/mo+ for shared hosting or $100/mo+ for cloud hosting, it’s your money. I’ve referred about 3,000 people to them. Now I’m targeting 3,000 thank you letters from people who I helped avoid SiteGround because they thought all their glowing reviews were real.
- Poor specs
- SiteGround Optimizer does a poor job with web vitals
- CDN is inferior to Cloudflare APO
- CPU limits suspend your account until you upgrade
- Their cloud hosting isn’t worth $100/mo
- Google blocked SiteGround’s DNS for 4 days
- History of TTFB issues
- Controls Facebook groups and makes legal threats
- Renewals are 6-7x after 1 year
- Harder to move away from Site Tools
- Declined support
- Attempted to limit # of websites
- Removed service in unprofitable countries
- Unsanctioned migration to Google Cloud
- 4 LiteSpeed/cloud hosts that are better than SiteGround
1. Poor Specs
- NVMe SSDs are faster than SATA SSDs.
- MariaDB is more powerful than MySQL.
- LiteSpeed’s PHP is faster than FastCGI.
- LiteSpeed Cache is faster than SG Optimizer/WP Rocket.
- Redis is more powerful than Memcached, especially Redis Pro.
|SiteGround GrowBig||NameHero Turbo WordPress||ChemiCloud WordPress Turbo||Cloudways Vultr HF (2GB)||Rocket.net Starter Plan|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Cores/RAM||Not listed||3 cores/3GB||3 cores/3GB – scalable to 6/6||1 core/2GB||32 cores/128GB|
|Storage||20GB SATA||Unlimited* NVMe||40GB NVMe – 10/11 locations||64GB NVMe||10GB NVMe|
|Object cache||Memcached||Redis||Redis||Redis Pro||Redis|
|Resource limits||CPU limits + suspensions||Efficient with LiteSpeed||Efficient with LiteSpeed||No PHP worker limit||No PHP worker limit|
|CDN||SiteGround CDN ($14.99/mo)||QUIC.cloud ($.02-.08/GB)||QUIC.cloud ($.02-.08/GB)||$5/mo Cloudflare Enterprise||Free Cloudflare Enterprise|
|Full page caching||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Smart routing||Anycast||Anycast||Anycast||Argo/Tiered Cache||Argo/Tiered Cache|
|Optimize images||Very limited||QUIC||QUIC||Mirage/Polish||Mirage/Polish|
|DNS||Blocked by Google for 4 days||Use QUIC’s DNS||Use QUIC’s DNS||DNS Made Easy (use Cloudflare)||Cloudflare|
|Cache plugin||SG Optimizer||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache||Use FlyingPress||Use FlyingPress|
|Data centers||10||1 (US)||11||44||Served from Cloudflare edge|
|Bandwidth or monthly visits||100k||50k||Unlimited*||2TB||50GB + 250k|
|Control panel||Site Tools||cPanel||cPanel||Complex||Easy to learn|
|Major incidents||TTFB, DNS, CPU issues (denies it)||2011 node outage||None||None||None|
|Migrations||$30/site||1 free||10-200 free||1 free + $25/site||Unlimited free|
|Monthly price||$3.99 (1 year)||$8.98 (3 years)||$5.99 (3 years)||$26 (monthly)||$25 (1 year)|
|Renewals||$24.99/mo (1 year)||$19.95/mo (1 year)||$19.95/mo (1 year)||$26/mo||$25/mo|
|Price for 3 years||$659.64||$323.19||$215.64||$936||$900|
2. SiteGround Optimizer Does A Poor Job With Web Vitals
It also has ongoing compatibility issues.
|SG Optimizer||WP Rocket||FlyingPress||LiteSpeed Cache|
|Object cache integration||✓||x||x||✓|
|Remove unused CSS||x||Inline||Separate file||Separate file|
|Preload critical images||x||x||✓||x|
|Exclude above the fold images||By class/type||By URL/class||Automatic||Automatic|
|Lazy load background images||x||Inline HTML||lazy-bg class||x|
|Add missing image dimensions||x||✓||✓||✓|
|Lazy load iframes||x||✓||✓||✓|
|YouTube iframe preview image||x||✓||✓||✓|
|Self-host YouTube placeholder||x||x||✓||x|
|Host fonts locally||x||x||✓||✓|
|Bloat removal (beyond Heartbeat)||x||x||✓ (details)||x|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||x||✓||✓|
|Advanced cache control||x||x||x||✓|
|Limit post revisions||Delete all||Delete all||Keep some||Keep some|
|CDN image optimization||x||x||✓||✓|
|CDN image resizing for mobile||x||x||x||✓|
|Documented APO compatibility||x||x||✓||x|
|Documentation||Not detailed||Good||Not detailed||Good|
|View tutorial||View tutorial||View tutorial||View tutorial|
This is why you have to use FlyingPress, Perfmatters, or WP Rocket with SiteGround Optimizer to get better results. The closest thing to an “ideal setup” would be using SiteGround Optimizer for dynamic caching + Memcached, then another optimization plugin for most everything else.
If you view the 4 parts of LCP, you’ll see why many SiteGround users have LCP issues. Their plugin can’t preload viewport images or remove unused CSS, SiteGround has a history of TTFB issues (40% of LCP), and their free CDN can’t cache dynamic content or resize images on mobile.
3. CDN Is Inferior To Cloudflare APO
Cloudflare’s network has 100+ more data centers (285 instead of 176 on Google Cloud), 192 Tbps transfer speeds, a plethora of features, over 3,000 employees, and decades of experience with high performance/reliability on cdnperf.com. This is what you get with SiteGround’s CDN:
There are already complaints and you have to use SiteGround’s unreliable DNS to use the CDN.
4. CPU Limits Suspend Your Account Until You Upgrade
If you’ve been with SiteGround long enough, you’ve probably run into CPU limits.
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.
5. Their Cloud Hosting Isn’t Worth $100/mo
I’ve used it.
It’s overpriced, slow, and doesn’t fix CPU limits. I even added more cores/RAM and was still getting CPU issues (plus my site wasn’t crazy fast after doing it). There are better cloud hosts especially when you compare their technology and number of cores/RAM you get for the price. If you’re getting CPU limits on SiteGround’s GoGeek plan, do not upgrade to their cloud hosting.
6. Google Blocked SiteGround’s DNS For 4 Days
Below is 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. History Of TTFB Issues
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:
8. Controls Facebook Groups And Makes Legal Threats
The WordPress Hosting, WordPress Speed Up, WP Beginner, and WP Rocket Users Facebook Groups are all run by SiteGround’s employees or brand ambassadors. Hristo is even an admin for the WordPress Speed Up group. This is the only reason SiteGround is promoted everywhere.
You’ll also see admins banning people and removing comments when other hosts are recommended, or if you speak negatively about SiteGround. They order other hosting companies to “disclose your relationship” yet the same admins pretend to be “SiteGround customers” by recommending them everywhere and acting like support agents, all while not disclosing their own relationship. Please, join the WP Speed Matters Facebook group instead.
9. Renewals Are 6-7x After 1 Year
In the old days, you got the cheaper intro price for 3 years, plus they included a free migration.
They raised prices twice (once in 2018 and in 2020). Now you only get the intro price for 1 year and migrations 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.
If 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 after upgrading from CPU limits:
10. Harder To Move Away From Site Tools
Whether you like Site Tools or not, some hosts will charge you to move from it.
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.
11. 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. Can’t even find their phone # on their website.
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 were busy running sales.
12. 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.
13. Removed Service In Unprofitable Countries
SiteGround suspended accounts from India, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, etc.
This hurt a lot of affiliates – it was sad seeing 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.
14. Unsanctioned Migration To Google Cloud
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.
15. 4 LiteSpeed/Cloud Hosts That Are Better Than SiteGround
ChemiCloud – faster LiteSpeed hosting, faster NVMe storage, and a perfect 5/5 star TrustPilot rating with several reviews of people who either moved or were about to purchase SiteGround. No need to buy a premium cache plugin since you’ll use the free LiteSpeed Cache which does a better job with web vitals. QUIC.cloud’s CDN is also faster (and often cheaper) than SiteGround which you can configure using my tutorial. And you’re much less likely to have to upgrade from CPU limits since LiteSpeed is more efficient and they don’t have strict limits. It’s cheaper, faster, and scalable since you can add CPU cores/RAM using their Turbo+ Boost add-on if traffic grows. NameHero is very similar but they cost more and only use NVMe storage in their US data center. Hostinger/GreekGeeks have many scam reports if you look at their TrustPilot reviews or Reddit.
Scala’s Entry WP Cloud plan – a more powerful shared/hybrid LiteSpeed hosting plan with no limits on CPU cores/RAM, dedicated resources, isolated environment, and a server firewall. You still get NVMe storage (but only in their US data center) and Redis. Also has a near perfect 4.9/5 rating on TrustPilot with people who moved from SiteGround. Unlike ChemiCloud/NameHero, Scala uses a custom built SPanel which uses less resources with more functionality than cPanel.
Cloudways – similar to Rocket.net between cloud hosting, NVMe, MariaDB, Cloudflare Enterprise, and they use Redis Object Cache Pro. However, their Cloudflare Enterprise costs $5/mo and doesn’t have APO, they use PHP-FPM instead of LiteSpeed’s faster PHP, support is worse, and they were acquired by DigitalOcean who raised prices. Still faster than SiteGround (including SG’s cloud hosting) and I was using the Vultr High Frequency plan before Rocket.net.
Rocket.net – if the fastest hosting means fastest TTFB, Rocket.net averages <100ms globally. And with TTFB affecting 4/6 user metrics in PSI, this can lead to a huge improvement in core web vitals as people have seen a 500% faster TTFB (and 200% – 450% faster LCP). The reason Rocket.net is faster is because both their hosting + free Cloudflare Enterprise have better specs + features compared to SiteGround, Kinsta, Cloudways, and 100ms is also 4x faster than WPX. If you have an international audience or WooCommerce site, you’re not going to beat Rocket.net’s performance. Their hosting is easy, it’s $1 your 1st month, and they have awesome support with all 5/5 TrustPilot reviews + unlimited free migrations. This is why I use & recommend Rocket.net.
SiteGround has more reviews, but most of them are coming from Bluehost, GoDaddy, and HostGator. You won’t find 1 review of someone who switched to SiteGround from ChemiCloud, Scala, or Rocket.net if you search SiteGround’s 11,000+ reviews (which are solicited by support).
Yep, these are affiliate links. But it would be 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’d probably be close to $1 million if I still endorsed them.
I was getting $150/sale with SiteGround. As of writing this, I get $50/sale with ChemiCloud. The difference is people are happy with them since you’ll only see 1 sale got declined. If changing recommendations means less money, so be it. That’s why my blog got popular in the 1st place.
What’s Your Experience With Them?
If SiteGround works for you, by all means keep using them. But even if their 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.
Cheers to the truth,
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 2023?
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.