Don’t use SiteGround, and don’t upgrade your plan to fix CPU issues.
I’ve already been through the wringer with them and am part of several Facebook Groups where I hear the same stories over and over. It’s usually about moving away because of their expensive renewals, exceeding CPU seconds (especially on cloud hosting), or just a slow TTFB.
Over the years, SiteGround came out with many (what they call “improvements”). But if you look at independent forums, they’re usually not improvements at all. Instead, they’re mostly an attempt to make them profit. Replacing cPanel with Site Tools, banning Asian accounts, limited the number of websites on each plan (which they’ve since reverted), hiding support and adding a long “scope of support” disclaimer, and increasing prices so they can provide a “better service.”
But my biggest complaint about SiteGround is they won’t admit when something is their fault. Even when their DNS was blocked by Googlebot for 4 days, they never advised customers to move their DNS and claimed “there is no blocking on our end.” Yet 2 days laters, they came out with a fix. Not to mention their community manager/affiliates are admins for several Facebook Groups and use this to promote their services while removing negative posts about their brand. It’s bullshit to put it bluntly and I encourage you to not feed into SiteGround’s unethical agenda.
I’ve used their GrowBig and GoGeek plan, thought upgrading to their cloud hosting would fix CPU issues (it didn’t) and ended up adding even more CPU/RAM until I found myself paying $180/month. Like most people in FB Groups, I moved to Vultr High Frequency. I use Cloudways (aff link) which cut load times in half and instantly fixed CPU issues while paying half of what I was. But even if it’s not Cloudways, there are many better/faster alternatives than SiteGround.
- My story
- Slow TTFB
- CPU seconds force upgrades
- Cloud hosting won’t fix CPU issues
- High renewals + price increases
- Support is nothing like it used to be
- Hristo and his team run Facebook Groups
- The are better cache plugins than SG Optimizer
- No accountability when Google blocked their DNS
- Site Tools is OK, but it’s launch wasn’t
- Attempted to limit the number of websites
- Suspending accounts from certain countries
- Forcing customers to use Big G (privacy concerns)
- TrustPilot reviews are customers directed from support
- Saying goodbye to SiteGround
- SiteGround alternatives
1. My Story With SiteGround
If you want to know the truth, I used to be a super affiliate for SiteGround.
I’ve referred thousands of people to them and yes, I made a good amount of money as an affiliate. Everything was going fine until I had a Skype meeting with their affiliate manager in 2019. She informed me of SiteGround’s plans to increase prices and position themselves as a “higher quality host.” Even admitting they cut several countries off from support and would shortly block them completely because they weren’t bringing enough revenue. When I brought up my concerns, it was like talking to a brick wall. So I nodded my head and ended the meeting.
The next day, I immediately started changing my hosting recommendations (starting with this post). As time went on and SiteGround made more “changes” from their plan, I updated more and more posts and steered people away from SiteGround to hosts like Cloudways/NameHero.
SiteGround didn’t like this, threatened me (claiming I was in violation of section #9 of their affiliate TOS which basically says they can revoke your right to use their name). I refused since what I’m saying in this review is true, backed by evidence, and ya know… freedom of speech. As a blogger, you can imagine what it’s like to remove the content you spent hundreds of hours on.
I’ve used SiteGround’s GrowBig/GoGeek plan, and finally their cloud hosting before leaving. SiteGround terminated my affiliate account and I’ve removed all their affiliate links on my blog. I continue to speak out about not only the issues I’ve had, but other issues that get “covered up.”
- SiteGround affiliate income
- SiteGround cease and desist letter
- Another blogger threatened by SiteGround
- SiteGround ban countries (and my response)
- Upgrading from SiteGround GoGeek to cloud
2. Slow TTFB
SiteGround’s TTFB reportedly got slower after moving to Google Cloud.
There are many types of GC machine families. SiteGround originally moved to N1 in 2020 but moved to N2 later that year (some hosts like Kinsta use the higher performance C2 machines). Even in the beginning, SiteGround claimed “using their service will result in high speed for our clients’ websites.” But conversations in Facebook Groups say otherwise, even after SiteGround moved to the improved N2 machine family. When Gijo from WP Speed Matters called them out on their slow TTFB, he was called a spammer. There are several other reports of people getting banned from Facebook Groups when they post something on SiteGround and their slow TTFB.
3. CPU Seconds Force Upgrades
One of the biggest cons of SiteGround (and the reason many people leave) is their CPU limits which you can find on their hosting page when you hover over the “server resources” selections.
Some hosts throttle your bandwidth which makes your site slow and can cause 503 errors. But on SiteGround, you have to upgrade (to add more resources) or they’ll send you email warning and eventually take down your website. From here, you can wait it out, fix it, upgrade, 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 are both great options to reduce CPU. Vultr HF uses faster NVMe storage with high CPU clock speeds. LiteSpeed is more efficient than both Apache and Nginx. Cloudways and NameHero also use Redis/MariaDB/PHP-FPM on their cloud hosting and uses memory more efficiently than SiteGround memcached/MySQL/FastCGI.
4. Cloud Hosting Won’t Fix CPU Issues
Like many people, I made the mistake of upgrading from GoGeek to SiteGround’s cloud hosting thinking it would fix CPU limits.
I was getting more CPU spikes and 503 errors after upgrading to cloud than I was on GoGeek. No worries, just scale your server to add CPU/RAM (pay more) and it will eventually get fixed.
You can get nearly the same amount of CPU/RAM on Cloudways Vultr HF (aff link) for the same price. Or look into NameHero’s managed cloud hosting (aff link) which uses LiteSpeed and has 8 CPU cores + 8 GB RAM for around $50/mo instead of $100/mo on SiteGround which also gives you 4 less cores. Between the bad reviews, not fixing CPU issues, and overpriced CPU/RAM, their cloud hosting has little value. Don’t fall for the trap if you’re having CPU issues on GoGeek.
5. High Renewals + Prices Increase
You only get the cheap intro price for 1 year then it renews at about 3x the price.
Most shared hosts offer intro prices for 1-3 years and renews at about 2.5x the price. SiteGround increased prices in 2018, 2020, then switched intro prices from 3 years to 1 year. Do you really want to buy hosting if you’re going to leave in a year? I don’t see the value either.
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.
Monthly bill after upgrading CPU/RAM on SiteGround:
Downscaling on Cloudways with faster load times and no CPU issues:
6. Support Is Nothing Like It Used To Be
I laughed when I saw SiteGround’s support was some of their top Autocomplete results because they’ve made it difficult to find. There’s no phone number on their website either.
SiteGround’s support has gotten worse because:
- It’s more difficult to reach.
- They use CPU limits to push upgrades.
- They disabled live chat for people who use it too much.
- They cut off entire countries from support when they got too busy.
7. Hristo And His Team Run Facebook Groups
It’s a shame what’s going on in these Facebook groups.
Hristo is an admin for the WordPress Speed Up group and SiteGround’s affiliates are also admins for several other groups. It’s basically forbidden to speak negatively about SiteGround or the post could be removed and you may get banned. SiteGround also gets special treatment.
When someone is struggling with SiteGround’s CPU limits, they’re quick to jump in and help with detailed recommendations. When someone needs a hosting recommendation, they say how happy they are with SiteGround without disclosing they’re an affiliate. I hate to compare them to Hostinger, but they used to do the same shit and were banned – but not SiteGround.
This is why I recommend joining the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group since it’s not moderated SiteGround and their affiliates. The admin is Gijo Varghese from WP Speed Matters who also happened to be called a spammer when commenting about SiteGround’s slow TTFB.
8. The Are Better Cache Plugins Than SG Optimizer
I switched from WP Rocket to FlyingPress and noticed a huge improvement when clicking through my posts (I assume it’s because the caching is more aggressive). And no, I’m not an affiliate for FlyingPress – I just saw great results with it which was recommended to me by WP Johnny. LiteSpeed Cache is obviously a great option, but you have to be using a LiteSpeed host.
These plugins are constantly updated so it’s hard to tell how each version will impact your scores/load times. But there’s a reason SiteGround Optimizer only has a 4.4/5 star rating on WordPress while LiteSpeed Cache is 4.8/5. FlyingPress and WP Rocket are premium plugins not listed in the WordPress repository, but both have a solid reputation. A benefit of LiteSpeed Cache and SG Optimizer is they use server-side caching. These all do a decent job of addressing core web vitals, but my recommendation is FlyingPress or LiteSpeed Cache. Take it or leave it.
9. No Accountability When Google Blocked Their DNS
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.
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
10. Site Tools Is OK, But It’s Launch Wasn’t
Site Tools is alright, but how they released it was a disaster.
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.
Here’s a video by SiteGround if you want to explore Site Tools:
11. Attempted To Limit The Number 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.
12. Suspending Accounts From Certain Countries
SiteGround suspended affiliate accounts from many Asian areas: India, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, and others.
This hurt for 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.
13. Forcing Customers To Use Big G (Privacy Concerns)
A while back, SiteGround moved customers to Google Cloud without warning.
“But we have strict contracts” they say. “And we follow GDPR” they say. “Your information is still protected” they say. But they don’t give you a warning (let alone an option) to not use Google Cloud. For customers who care about privacy, this sudden announcement is a big slap in the face for anyone trying to avoid Big G. This isn’t they we signed up for, but there’s no choice?
14. TrustPilot Reviews Are Customers Directed From Support
Most people writing SiteGround’s Trustpilot reviews are directed here by their support.
You can tell because of the amount of people mentioning how good their support is. This isn’t terrible (Hostinger actually hires employees to write fake reviews and pose as customers) but that’s why SiteGround’s TrustPilot reviews are good (4.7/5) and I wanted to give you a heads up.
15. Saying Goodbye To SiteGround
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 are only interested in profits, and that is apparent when you ditched cPanel, increased prices, moved priority support to GoGeek instead of GrowBig, and enforced strict CPU limits to make people upgrade. Fix your issues and I’ll change this review.
16. SiteGround Alternatives
There are better options than SiteGround (aff links):
- Cloudways Vultr HF (what I’m using)
- NameHero’s shared hosting (LiteSpeed)
- NameHero’s managed cloud hosting (LiteSpeed)
- Vultr HF on RunCloud (buy it from Vultr, connect it to RunCloud)
- Vultr HF on GridPane (no affiliate program so they’re not as “popular”)
I don’t recommend A2 because uptimes are bad, only higher plans use LiteSpeed, and you get less RAM on some plans compared to NameHero. Hostinger uses LiteSpeed but you still get more CPU/RAM on NameHero with better support/uptimes. EIG brands are obviously a big no. I also wrote a detailed Cloudways review and NameHero review which are both solid choices.
Conclusion: A Weight Off My Shoulders
Well, I feel much better after writing this.
I hope other SiteGround affiliates think twice about recommending them. Obviously there are still people who are happy with SiteGround’s service – I would be interested to hear your story.
Drop me a comment and let me know what you think of them.
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.