How To Fix A Slow Website On SiteGround Hosting (While Addressing Core Web Vital Optimizations Not Found In SG Optimizer)

Siteground slow website

Slow load times or poor core web vitals on SiteGround?

SiteGround Optimizer doesn’t do a great job addressing core web vitals and lacks several important features like delaying JavaScript, removing unused CSS, and optimizing above the fold content for LCP. SiteGround’s CDN only has 14 PoPs and their TTFB has a history of being slow. While they hype up their products, they’re not the best compared to other tools like FlyingPress/WP Rocket, Cloudflare Enterprise features on FlyingProxy, as well as Perfmatters.

My point is, don’t only stick to SiteGround’s products just because you use them for hosting. Just by using Perfmatters with SiteGround Optimizer, you can see major performance gains.

Of course, there are other ways to speed up your SiteGround website: upgrading PHP versions, replacing wp-cron with a real cron job, and using SiteGround’s security plugin can reduce CPU usage and improve speed. If your site isn’t fast by the end of this tutorial, leave me a comment.

 

1. Activate SiteGround’s Caching Layers

SiteGround does do a good job with caching. In SiteGround Optimizer, enable dynamic caching (called NGINX direct delivery in Site Tools), file-based caching, and memcached. You’ll need to login to your Site Tools account → Speed → Caching and activate these caching layers here too.

Under file-based caching, I would preheat cache for 1 week on most sites. It’s similar to WP Rocket’s preloading, so only using 1 plugin for this. Most sites shouldn’t cache logged-in users.

You can use SiteGround Optimizer for Cloudflare’s full page caching if you setup Cloudflare through Site Tools, but your site has to use WWW in order to see this in SiteGround Optimizer.

Siteground optimizer caching layers 1
Activate caching layers in both SiteGround Optimizer and Site Tools

 

2. Configure SiteGround Optimizer

You basically have 4 options:

  • Only use SiteGround Optimizer (but lacks features needed for core web vitals).
  • Use SiteGround Optimizer with several free optimization plugins (can get messy).
  • Use SiteGround Optimizer with Perfmatters (make sure to avoid duplicate functionality).
  • Use SiteGround Optimizer only for caching, then FlyingPress or WP Rocket for web vitals.

If it were my site (although I wouldn’t be on SiteGround at all), I would use SiteGround Optimizer for caching only and FlyingPress for everything else. It’s totally your call. Depending on your setup, you can see my configuration guides for FlyingPress, WP Rocket, or Perfmatters. If you’re using another cache plugin, make sure to disable caching in FlyingPress or WP Rocket.

I also have a detailed guide on SiteGround Optimizer, but I’ll walk you through some of the most important settings here.

SG Optimizer WP Rocket FlyingPress
Server-side caching x x
Delay JavaScript x
Remove unused CSS x Inline Separate file
Critical CSS x
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
Font-display: swap x
Preload links x
CDN (beyond Cloudflare) SiteGround CDN StackPath BunnyCDN
CDN PoPs 14 60 93
CDN Tbps N/A 65 80
Dynamic caching x x
CDN geo-replication x x
CDN image optimization x
CDN image resizing for mobile x x
Documented APO compatibility x x

Caching – other than activating caching layers, you’ll want to enable automatic purge and purge the WordPress API cache. That should be the only thing to do unless you need to exclude certain pages from the cache or clear it manually, but you can always check the documentation.

Siteground optimizer caching settings

CSS – minify CSS, JS, and HTML should all be enabled. If one of these breaks your site, find problematic file(s) and exclude it from minification. Combining is generally not recommended especially on large sites. But feel free to test results with combining + preload combined CSS on.

Siteground optimizer css settings

JavaScript – again, you’ll minify files and test combining them. You’ll want to enable “defer render-blocking JavaScript” to fix this recommendation in PSI. If this setting breaks your site, you would need to exclude any problematic files just like I explained earlier with minifying files.

Siteground optimizer javascript settings

Frontend Optimization – web fonts optimization adds preconnect to fonts.gstatic.com but doesn’t host fonts locally or ensure text remains visible during webfont load in PSI using font-display: swap. You can do both of these with OMGF. Elementor can also host fonts locally and preload them under Customizer → Performance. Fonts should be preloaded when they load above the fold or are mentioned in CSS files (check “preload key requests” in PSI or get these through your GTmetrix Waterfall chart). You usually don’t have to prefetch third-party domains since third-party JavaScript can be optimized in better ways, like delaying JavaScript (step #4).

Siteground optimizer frontend general settings

Media – compress images (Lighthouse tests them at 85% so that’s a good number), and serve images in WebP format. Be sure to check your “exclude media types from lazy load” settings since iframes and other media types are excluded by default when they usually should be lazy loaded. SiteGround Optimizer lacks many features here: it can’t preload above the fold images for better LCP, add missing image dimensions for better CLS, or exclude images from lazy load based on the number of images usually shows above the fold (like Perfmatters and FlyingPress do). There’s also no option to serve small images to mobile devices which can also improve LCP. Try using their skip-lazy helper class to exclude background images, resize images for mobile with an adaptive images plugin (or image CDN), and use WP YouTube Lyte if you embed videos.

Siteground optimizer media settings

 

3. Use Perfmatters To Address Lacking Features

Perfmatters has many optimizations SiteGround Optimizer doesn’t:

Feature SiteGround Optimizer Perfmatters
Script manager x
Delay JavaScript x
Remove unused CSS x
Preload critical images x By number
Exclude images from lazy load By class By number
Lazy load background images x CSS backgrounds
Add missing image dimensions x
YouTube iframe preview image x
Host fonts locally x
Font-display: swap x
Host Google Analytics locally x
Smaller Google Analytics code x
Prevent DoubleClick request x
Preload links x
Preload any resource x
Limit post revisions x
Increase autosave interval x
Move wp-login page x
Bloat removal x
CDN rewrite x

Some of these are 1-click settings while others require configuration (script manager, delay JavaScript, etc). Make sure to read their documentation, see my recommended Perfmatters settings, and avoid activating the same feature in both plugins. A few overlapping features include heartbeat control, defer JavaScript, preload fonts, prefetch third-party domains, lazy load, and database optimization. I’d definitely recommend using Perfmatters for lazy loading.

Make sure you configure the settings for your own site (you can use these as baseline).

 

4. Delay JavaScript

Steps 4-7 can all be done in Perfmatters (or FlyingPress), but I’ll list free alternative if you’re not using either of these.

Delaying JavaScript is usually done with third-party code or plugins loading below the fold. You can delay JavaScript in Perfmatters or Flying Scripts.

View your third-party code report in PSI or use the list of common JS files to delay below (Perfmatters also has documentation on this). You can usually delay Google Analytics, Tag Manager, AdSense, FB Pixel, and even plugins if they load below the fold (i.e. comment plugins).

Delay javascript third party code

Common JS files to delay:

ga( '
ga('
google-analytics.com/analytics.js
analytics.js
gtagv4.js
analytics-minimal.js
/gtm.js
/gtag/js
gtag(
/gtm-
adsbygoogle.js
fbevents.js
fbq(
/busting/facebook-tracking/
wp-content/themes/script-name
wp-content/plugins/plugin-name

Add the files to Flying Scripts or Perfmatters while setting a timeout period. 5s is a starting point, but you can increase this (i.e. 7s) if you’re not seeing good results in speed testing tools.

Flying scripts

 

5. Remove Unused CSS

The 1-click option to remove unused CSS in Perfmatters is the easiest way to do this and you’ll want to choose the file method. This loads used CSS in a separate file so it can be cached and doesn’t increase HTML size which is faster for real visitors compared to loading used CSS inline.

Not using Perfmatters? You can use Debloat, but it’s for advanced users. FlyingPress removes unused CSS using the separate file method while WP Rocket only uses the slower inline method.

Perfmatters remove unused css inline vs. File

Another way to remove unused CSS (or JS) is by disabling plugins in certain areas of your website. Contact forms, social sharing, and WooCommerce plugins are known for loading files across your entire website. In the example below, I disabled a social sharing plugin everywhere but posts. You can use the script manager in Perfmatters or Asset CleanUp. They both have a “test mode” in the settings which lets test this since disabling certain files may break your site.

Disable plugins perfmatters

You can enable dependencies in the Perfmatters script manager settings to see plugins using jQuery (known for slowing down websites). Try avoiding jQuery-dependent plugins if possible.

Jquery plugin dependencies 1

Last but not least, check your Chrome Dev Tools coverage report to see your largest CSS/JavaScript files. Page builders and slow plugins are notorious for adding lots of CSS/JS.

Css javascript chrome dev tools

 

6. Host Fonts Locally And Preload Them

SiteGround Optimizer’s web font optimization setting preconnects third-party fonts.

The problem is locally hosted fonts are faster since they can be preloaded and don’t create third-party requests from fonts.gstatic.com. There are many ways to do it: Elementor (shown below), OMGF, Perfmatters, and FlyingPress. If you need to add preload font files manually, be sure to test each one and only preload fonts shown above the fold or mentioned in CSS files.

Local vs third party fonts
Host fonts locally instead of using fonts.gstatic.com
Elementor host google fonts locally preload
Many plugins let you host fonts locally
Siteground optimizer fonts to preload
Preload important font files

 

7. Optimize Above The Fold Images For LCP

A big part of LCP is optimizing above the fold images.

You want to exclude these images from lazy load and preload them. A big problem is that your largest LCP image is usually unique to the page, like the image at the top of this post (image #3).

Above the fold images

Instead of manually excluding/preloading every single above the fold image or doing it by CSS classes like you have to in SiteGround Optimizer, both Perfmatters and FlyingPress let you set the number of images usually shown above the fold (in my case, it’s 3). This excludes the 3 top images from lazy load while also preloading them. Much easier than SiteGround Optimizer and WP Rocket. There’s no free plugin that does this that I’m aware of, but you can use the Preload Featured Image plugin for featured images then exclude/preload your logo and sidebar image.

Preload critical images perfmatters

Background Images

These are treated differently and aren’t lazy loaded since they’re found in CSS. Perfmatters can lazy load CSS background images, otherwise you’ll likely need to use a helper class like “lazy-bg” in FlyingPress, the solution from Optimole, or move them to inline HTML if using WP Rocket.

 

8. Remove Unused Database Tables

What’s wrong with SiteGround Optimizer’s database cleanups? 3 things:

  • It doesn’t remove tables left behind by old plugins.
  • It doesn’t take database backups if something goes wrong.
  • It doesn’t let you keep any post revisions (only deletes them all).

That’s why I’d use WP-Optimize for database cleanups which does everything in SiteGround Optimizer (plus the items listed above). You can connect it to UpDraftPlus so it takes a backup before every cleanup, remove the same junk listed in SiteGround Optimizer, and keep a certain amount of post revisions instead of deleting them all (I keep about 10 so I have some backups).

Wp optimize database cleanup settings 1

It also lets you go through your database tables and remove tables left behind by old plugins which are marked as “not installed” or “inactive.” They’re probably plugins that stored data for future use, but if you don’t plan on using it again, remove it. Also take note of any plugins (or plugin modules) adding lots of overhead and consider disabling their plugin features if they do. For example, some Rank Math modules and Wordfence add a lot of overhead to your database.

Wp optimize unused database tables

 

9. Upgrade To PHP 8

Login to Site Tools → Devs → PHP Manager, then upgrade to at least PHP 8.

Even though SiteGround says their Ultrafast PHP can improve TTFB by up to 50%, it’s a bold claim and you probably won’t get anywhere near that type of result. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to keep your PHP version updated as long as your theme and plugins are compatible.

Siteground php version

 

10. Rethink SiteGround’s CDN

The main drawback is it only uses 14 PoPs, 10GB bandwidth, and lacks image optimizations found in other CDNs. And like I mentioned earlier, SiteGround’s DNS has shown to be unreliable.

There’s also BunnyCDN, Cloudflare, and FlyingProxy. For best performance, I would go with FlyingProxy for $10/mo since it includes several Cloudflare Enterprise features which should give you the fastest results and TTFB. If you’re on a budget, you can stick with Cloudflare free. Setting up Cloudflare in SiteGround requires you to use WWW in your domain which gives you access to Cloudflare’s full page caching in SiteGround Optimizer. If you don’t use WWW, you’ll need to setup Cloudflare (by changing nameservers). This gives you access to Cloudflare’s full dashboard where you should take advantage of the different features and Cloudflare settings.

Feature SiteGround CDN (Free) RocketCDN FlyingCDN
CDN provider SiteGround StackPath BunnyCDN
PoPs 14 60 93
Tbps Unknown 65 80
Bandwidth 10GB Unknown Unlimited
Dynamic caching x x x
Geo-replication x x
Image compression x
WebP x x
Smaller mobile images x x
Storage Unknown SSD NVMe
Brotli x x
Price Free $7.99/mo $0.03/GB

Full page caching – this caches static content (i.e. HTML) and can improve TTFB in multiple global locations when testing your website in KeyCDN. There are many services that offer this: SiteGround Optimizer (if you setup Cloudflare in SiteGround), Cloudflare APO, and FlyingProxy.

Keycdn-performance-test

 

11. Configure SiteGround Security

Blocking unwanted requests lightens the load on the server too (that’s why using a firewall like Cloudflare’s WAF is so important).

SiteGround’s security plugin can disable XML-RPC, move your wp-login page, limit login attempts, and has several other security features. It has solid reviews and is simple to set up. Just make sure to specify a custom login URL and use two-factor authentication in the settings.

Siteground security plugin

Siteground security plugin

 

12. Replace WP-Cron With A Real Cron Job

SiteGround has a tutorial on this, but it’s easy. Open your wp-config.php file and disable WordPress cron by adding the code before the line: /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true);

Login to Site Tools → Devs → Cron Jobs. Create a cron job using the code to execute twice per hour. As SiteGround says, “replace /home/customer/www/yourdomain.com/public_html with the actual path to your WordPress application’s core file.” This can also help reduce CPU usage.

cd /home/customer/www/yourdomain.com/public_html; wp cron event run --due-now >/dev/null 2>&1

Siteground cron job

 

13. Reduce CPU Usage

SiteGround’s CPU limits are a mess. These are found on SiteGround’s features page. If you exceed them, SiteGround will send you an email warning and can take down your website. Coming close to CPU limits can also lead to a slower website since your server isn’t relaxed.

Plenty of CPU limit complaints are found in the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group (which is one of the few WordPress-related Facebook Groups not moderated by SiteGround’s brand ambassadors, affiliates, or community manager). I had them myself which is ultimately why I left. And I wrote what’s arguably the most used tutorial on reducing CPU usage in WordPress.

Many ways to reduce CPU usage are mentioned in this guide: caching, disabling heartbeat, offloading bandwidth to CDNs, using a real cron job, higher PHP versions, and SiteGround’s security plugin. If you still find yourself struggling, try disabling “preheat cache” in SiteGround Optimizer’s file-based caching. You should also block bad bots (i.e. using Cloudflare bot fight mode or Blackhole For Bad Bots), use a firewall, and remove bloat using plugins like Unbloater.

Siteground cpu limits

 

14. Avoid SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting

Most people upgrade from GoGeek to SiteGround’s cloud hosting in hopes of a faster website or to fix CPU limit issues. Do not do this.

I already did it and it was a huge waste of time/money. I had to add more CPU/RAM several times before fixing CPU limits, then pay about double their entry-level cloud hosting plan to make my website decently fast. Again, you can search the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group.

Siteground cloud hosting cpu limits
Search Facebook Groups and you’ll find more complaints

 

15. Leave SiteGround

As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of SiteGround. I actually think they’re awful.

It’s shared hosting with some of the worst CPU limits, bad cache plugin/CDN, and expensive renewals. Support is getting worse, plus they censor Facebook Groups and try to sue people.

Sorry, not for me!

Avoid siteground

Here are a few better options (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.
Keycdn performance test cloudflare 1
Cloudflare free (no full page caching)
Rocket. Net keycdn performance test 1
Rocket.net Cloudflare Enterprise + full page caching
Rocket. Net top tier wordpress hosting benchmarks
Top performer on wphostingbenchmarks.com by Kevin Ohashi
Rocket. Net ben gabler testimonial
Spend 5 minutes talking with Ben Gabler

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.

Siteground alternative 2021

Siteground alternative 2020

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

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.

Litespeed vs nginx vs apache
Credit: LiteSpeed

Why is my website slow on SiteGround?

A slow website on SiteGround may be from SiteGround Optimizer doing a poor job addressing core web vitals because SiteGround's CDN only uses 14 PoPs. They also have a history of a slow TTFB.

Why is SiteGround's TTFB slow?

SiteGround uses a balanced Google Cloud machine family (N2) which is slower than compute-optimized families (like C2). It's also shared hosting with limited resources.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions. Hope this helped!

Cheers,
Tom

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23 thoughts on “How To Fix A Slow Website On SiteGround Hosting (While Addressing Core Web Vital Optimizations Not Found In SG Optimizer)”

  1. There TTFB is appalling. This is nothing short of ripping customers off. The issue points to them either overcrowding servers, throttling performance or old technology.

    Reply
  2. There ttfb really does lag behind others. Dissapointing and something they need to address in the future. The NGINX cache is probably an issue along with slow servers. Looks like they are trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes with the caching instead of investing in better servers.

    Reply
  3. Hi Tom,

    Very interesting article and I have added some of your tips and procedures relating to CloudFlare and the Cron Jobs via SiteGround and seeing improvements.

    I do have a number of observations and these seem to highlight a lot of coyness on the part of many of the players in this game of smoke and mirrors and perhaps a little dishonesty; not one of these players want to put their hands up and say, yes, I must do better, that issue you are observing is our fault.

    On themes, I use Divi and yes it is a bit of a beast but on testing it has come to my attention that there isn’t any difference between it and the lightweight Kadence Theme based on blocks. Both as basic installs (no other plugins installed) start well and then go downhill equally, once you start adding all the necessary plugins required for the site type (WooCommerce, Toolset, etc.).

    I’ll add that any improvement of page builders’ load time is welcome and I note the Oxygen theme you mentioned and how it does layout. On top of this I do believe that the Divi Theme is ging on a diet this year and some of this relates to shortcode removal, hopefully the areas relating to layout structure. Dare I say it, maybe Divi will be re-written to be based on the block editor? That would be novel. I keep going back to Divi, after looking at alternatives, because the alternatives, block based or otherwise, just don’t afford a good experience in terms of workflow.

    On the hosting side of things with SiteGround, I do note the TTFB is flagged in GTMetrix on an initial test and then on subsequent runs improves, due to caching of course. I have tested with various caching plugins, SG Optimiser and W3 Total Cache with not improvements. I was sceptical at first but after trying out WP Rocket on one of my sites I was surprised on how well it improved on GTMetrix results. The initial run was still not great with the TTFB but when applied the configurations in your article, things improved again, Where I was seeing initial C and D scores and 3 seconds LCP, on the first GTMetrix run, now I am seeing B and a 1.3 second LCP consistently. Reduce initial server response time is still being flagged with SiteGround though.

    My Last observation is cynical and a bit sceptical of al this speed metrics. Between all the testing options (GTMetrix, Pingdom, Lighthouse via Chrome) none of them is consistent and all vary in their reports. At the same time, for all intents and purposes, when I eyeball the sites I have made and watch them load, perceptually they all load fast enough and despite all the tweaking, I see little difference each time.

    I look to the likes of Google and I question their agenda on all of this. Look at any of their pages and there’s not much to look at visually. Very boring indeed and I wonder where those of us who build sites with some sort of visual flair are left. And don’t start me on Google’s documentation the covering services they provide; really good UX?

    Reply
    • That is one of the most accurate descriptions of what’s going on in these industries now.

      Google wants good core web vitals but none of their sites have great scores. They want good UX but most of their documentation is all text and usually not practical at all for WordPress. Everyone is saying their service (hosting, builder, cache plugin) is the best/fastest but it’s just not true.

      Those are all interesting but seemingly very true observations. As a blogger trying to give people accurate info, it’s honestly been very difficult to make sense of it all.

      Reply
  4. I joined Siteground because they are supposed to be the best, fastest, as you mention in your other blog. Now, from the same person I read I have to move away. I have a lot of miss information here.

    Reply
    • Hey Simon, IMO they used to be really good up until last year when they made all these changes to prices, reduced support, Site Tools, cancelling accounts, etc. Last year, I stopped supporting them (as did many others)… I believe that’s when Backlinko’s test also came out finding SiteGround’s TTFB is now very slow. A lot has changed with them in a short time and I did my best to change my content to reflect that.

      Reply
  5. Hi Tom !

    Great and clear information for me who just experienced a very slow website last 2 days. I went through all topics and it helps me to check all setup.

    Nevertheless, my slow down was due to WP cron job consuming lot of CPU. It was solved by deactivating it and installing Siteground cron job which make a hudge difference coming back to a good GTmetrix score. After, I improved the score with your #5 advice (Combine Google Fonts).
    I think cron 
    Thank you Tom .

    Nota : for information about this Siteground cron job , see : tutorials/wordpress/real-cron-job.
    It take five minutes and it is very easy todo for a non-system guy like me

    Reply
    • Thanks for for mentioning it and glad you got it fixed. I’ll update this tutorial soon to include that as a possible solution.

      Reply
  6. Yes. That SiteGround Optimizer thing Condenses (“minifies”) all your scripts and StyleSheets into a different script and style sheet.
    Any changes you make won’t be there until a day or two later and it will
    totally screw up your web site’s performance, and make your web site a miserable experience.

    You’ll also notice that your facebook pixel somehow is installed on some third-party web sites you’ve never heard of, based in Eastern Europe.

    DO NOT USE that SG Optimizer thing. Simply UN-INSTALL IT and REMOVE IT.

    Reply
  7. Hi been reading through but am just not sure what’s my best option i have 50 ish sites and i use Avada theme on all of them and its a bit bloated but been fine for last 7 years on site ground then as you said things have gone down hill big time. my speeds are garbage now in google insights and gt Metrix am not sure what’s happened. Now the question is where do i go with 50sites using like 1tb of disk, 12g of ram and 3 CPU., But around same as siteground where i pay about £120 a month.

    Reply
    • I would personally try Cloudways or Gridpane. Both should be cheaper/faster than SiteGround. For example, for 12GB RAM + 3 CPU on SiteGround you would pay about the same amount (about $135) at Cloudways but would get 16GB RAM + 6 CPU. SiteGround’s cloud hosting is pretty bad, I was using them as well. Otherwise, you may want to post your question in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group and get some feedback there. Lots of knowledgable people.

      Reply
  8. Thanks for the great information – some real good advice for people like me. I will note however that in the time since publishing the performance of sitegrounds seems to be better than Cloudways. (I tested both of your sites on Google PageSpeed and GT Metrix)

    Reply
    • Ahh here’s why.

      I had the SG Optimizer plugin configured on the SiteGround test server (they made some updates and I have a tutorial on configuring the SG Optimizer settings) so I used the test server temporarily just to update my tutorial with newer screenshots. I just deactivated SG Optimizer so now the sites have the same environment. Sorry for the confusion.

      Reply
  9. Hey Tom,

    Great article, I stumbled upon it because I have recently decided to purchase and upgrade a few sites from gogeek shared server to sitegrounds VPS (8gb ram / 4 core) but I find that the sites are not much faster (considering the huge price difference) and the TTFB is painfully slow now.

    i have another site on Cloudways which is significantly faster. Only downside is that I don’t find cloudways support to be as good as sitegrounds. Would you have any suggestions on where I could find cloudways speed but similes support to siteground?

    thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply
    • I would take a look at Kinsta or GridPane. I think both only offer phone support but they’re supposed to be good for both. Liquid Web has great support but speeds aren’t as fast as the others.

      Reply
  10. Hey Tom,

    Thank you for this post, gotta say I am a bit confused as it seems different from previous ones you made…so no more recommendation to use siteground and now we shouldn’t use SG optimizer + WP rocket?

    Reply
    • Hey Kevin,

      Sorry about the late reply.

      Nope, no more recommending SiteGround and I’m in the middle of updating my tutorials to reflect that – I’m just 1 person trying to update 100+ posts, but am getting to it. I just made an update to this post.

      Since SiteGround’s big update to SG Optimizer, I now think it’s a good replacement to WP Rocket since it has many more features.

      But as for SiteGround, they have increased prices (again), have strict CPU limits, and better, faster, cloud hosting options are available for a lower cost. There is a huge shift of people moving away from SiteGround (usually to Cloudways) because of these complaints – especially if you look in Facebook Groups. I already migrated this site over and am very happy.

      Reply
        • Honestly, not a noticeable difference in SEO but could definitely tell it was faster when browsing through pages and measuring it in tools like Search Console. My site was already well optimized though. Paying 1/2 the price ($100 less than on SiteGround) was noticeable.

          Reply

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