Cloudways vs. SiteGround – The Ultimate SiteGround Fanboy Migrates To Cloudways For 2x Faster Load Times At 1/2 The Price

Cloudways vs SiteGround

When it comes to Cloudways vs. SiteGround, I have used both.

I’ve been using SiteGround for 4+ years. But I outgrew their GoGeek plan (my traffic grew) and was getting CPU overages. My only option on SiteGround was to upgrade to cloud hosting for $80/month, which I did, but was still exceeding CPU even though I wrote a tutorial on it. So I added more CPU + RAM until I found myself paying $180/month. That’s when I decided to migrate to Cloudways which not only saved me $100/month, but also cut loads times in half.

I switched to their DigitalOcan plan and my site loads insanely fast – click through my pages or run them through GTmetrix if you want. Even this post loads in <2s and it has tons of images with an 4.70MB page size and 127 requests.

A lot of people in Facebook Groups have the same problem – they sign up for SiteGround and are happy until renewal prices kick in or they get CPU overages. They ask for help, and people point them to Cloudways. This is a common cycle in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. SiteGround is great for low traffic sites not running high CPU plugins, otherwise… Cloudways. My only gripe with Cloudways is support isn’t great, but it’s a tradeoff for better performance.

SiteGround vs. Cloudways

  1. My Story With SiteGround
  2. Why I Upgraded To Cloudways
  3. 2x Faster Load Times On Cloudways
  4. Saving $100/month With DigitalOcean
  5. CPU Limits: Biggest SiteGround Downfall
  6. Cloudways vs. SiteGround In 40+ Facebook Polls
  7. Speed Comparison
  8. Support Comparison
  9. Price Comparison
  10. Features Comparison
  11. Data Centers
  12. WooCommerce
  13. Breeze vs. SG Optimizer
  14. SiteGround Pros & Cons
  15. Cloudways Pros & Cons
  16. Managed Hosting Makes A Difference
  17. Cloudways Sign Up + Optimization
  18. SiteGround Sign Up + Optimization
  19. Reach Out To Their Community Managers
  20. Request A Free Migration
  21. Frequently Asked Questions

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround or Cloudways using those affiliate links, I will get credit for the sale which I genuinely appreciate. It helps me write honest reviews and I also donate $3,000 to GoFundMe campaigns each year. But, my reviews are honest and these are usually the 2 top-rated hosts in Facebook polls. It just depends on your needs and taking into account renewal prices, CPU limits, level of support, budget, features, and of course – speed.

Get hosting from Cloudways Get hosting from SiteGround

 

1. My Story With SiteGround

I went from SiteGround GrowBig → GoGeek → Cloud. I loved their shared hosting while my traffic was low and was able to get 100% GTmetrix reports on my homepage. My site loaded quickly, support and security were awesome, and I virtually had no downtimes. They also had great features like free Let’s Encrypt SSL, easy backups, Cloudflare, and staging. Life was good.

But when my traffic grew and I got CPU overages on GoGeek, I was basically forced to their $80/month cloud hosting, which quickly turned into $180/month to keep my load times fast.

My conclusion: SiteGround is great for shared hosting on low traffic sites with the 3 years promotional price (that’s why I suggest 3 years of GrowBig or GoGeek). But once it’s time to renew, you reach CPU limits, or you need a more powerful server, it’s time to use Cloudways.

 

2. Why I Upgraded To Cloudways

The Main Reasons

  • I didn’t want to deal with CPU limits
  • SiteGround’s cloud hosting is expensive and not the fastest
  • I saw tons of positive reviews of Cloudways in Facebook Groups
  • The Cloudways community manager helped me with the sign up process

Cloudways-Facebook-Review

 

3. 2x Faster Load Times On Cloudways

The graph says it all:

SiteGround-vs-Cloudways-Cloud-Hosting

Even posts with tons of images load in <2s. Run this page through GTmetrix if you want.

GTmetrix-report-for-long-post

 

4. Saving $100/month With DigitalOcean

What I was paying on SiteGround’s cloud hosting:

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Sales-Receipt

What I’m currently paying on Cloudways DigitalOcean:

Cloudways-Invoice

 

5. CPU Limits: Biggest SiteGround Downfall

SiteGround’s CPU limits are pretty ridiculous. Even if you do everything to reduce CPU, you should always keep an eye on it (in your cPanel). Otherwise they will send you warnings, then shut down your site. You can each out to support and request temporary resources, but they will push you to upgrade to a more expensive plan. It’s a cycle many people find themselves in.

I wrote a popular tutorial on reducing CPU, yet I still had them myself. I was using lightweight plugins, WP Rocket, a lightweight StudioPress theme, heartbeat control, blocked bad bots, etc.

SiteGround-CPU-Limits

Here’s what my CPU looks like on Cloudways:

Cloudways-CPU-Usage

 

6. Cloudways vs. SiteGround In 40+ Facebook Polls

This is more of a popularity contest – SiteGround is more popular than Cloudways since they’ve been around longer. But if you look at recent Facebook conversations within these groups (eg. WordPress Hosting Group), more people recommend Cloudways than SiteGround.

2019 Hosting Poll

July 2019 Hosting Recommendation

2017-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Elementor Hosting Recommendations

WordPress-Host-Poll-Sept-2018

Shared-Hosting-Poll-2017

Managed-Hosting-Poll

2019-Hosting-Poll

Go-To-Hosting-Company

Blog-Hosting-Poll

WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017

WooCommerce-Hosting-FB-Poll

2016-Web-Hosting-FB-Poll

Best-WordPress-Hosting-Provider-Poll

WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2019

Best-Web-Hosting-2019-Poll

SiteGround vs Bluehost Facebook Poll

Bluehost vs HostGator vs SiteGround

2018 Hosting Recommendations

2016-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Favorite Hosting For Elementor

WordPress-Host-Poll-Sept-2018

Managed-WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017

SiteGround-Recommendation

2019-Hosts-Poll

Hosting-Poll-For-Speed

Value-Hosting-Poll

WordPress-Hosting-Poll-June-1

2014-Managed-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Best-Web-Hosting-Provider-Poll

Hosting-Poll-Feb-2019

2019-WordPress-Hosting-Poll

Hosting-Recommendations-Poll

SiteGround vs Bluehost Twitter Poll

Bluehost vs SiteGround

WordPress Web Host Poll

Cloudways is usually 1st or 2nd:

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

 

7. Speed Comparison

Here are people who migrated to Cloudways and posted their results. You will have faster load times if you’re migrating from shared hosting (including SiteGround) and even WP Engine. You’ll see many people moving from SiteGround to Cloudways, but not the other way around.

Cloudways Response Times

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

Cloudways Server Response Times

Cloudways Load Time Improvement

Cloudways vs WP Engine

Untitled

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Namecheap To Cloudways Migration

Cloudways WooCommerce Migration

Cloudways AWS Migration

WPEngine to Cloudways Migration

People who migrated to SiteGround and posted their results. You will have faster load times if you’re migrating from EIG (Bluehost, HostGator, iPage), GoDaddy, A2, and low quality hosts. You will rarely see people moving from Cloudways to SiteGround because they’re not as fast. Again, there are more screenshots simply because of SiteGround’s popularity over the years.

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

 

8. Support Comparison

Cloudways Support
If you look at their Trustpilot reviews, the main complaints are about support: ignoring tickets, migration problems, asking for extra payments, and long wait times. Other people (including me) had no problem with support. They they left me to setup SSL and Cloudflare, otherwise their free migration went smoothly and they answered each ticket in about 1 hour. Not bad.

Cloudways Trustpilot Reviews

Cloudways Support Review

SiteGround Support
SiteGround has great support, but they are starting to upsell too much. I just referred a friend to them who is using HostGator’s VPS for $29.95/month and they suggested a dedicated server for $729/month. That is crazy! SiteGround – please stop trying to sell ridiculous plans. Other than the occasional upsell, SiteGround’s support has been the best I have used. And if you look at what people are saying on Twitter, most feedback is positive. You can reach live chat in 30 seconds, and tickets answered in 15 minutes. SiteGround will help you beyond their hosting, while Cloudways will usually only fix things directly related to their services.

SiteGround Pricing

Biggest blogging regret

SiteGround Trustpilot Reviews

Conclusion: SiteGround’s support is usually better than Cloudways, but it really depends on the individual person you get. Most people have better experiences with SiteGround support.

 

9. Price Comparison

SiteGround and Cloudways have completely different pricing structures.

Cloudways is a pay-as-you-go monthly service with no yearly contract. You can add more CPU, RAM, and storage as needed for additional costs. Their cheapest DO plan starts at $10/month.

Cloudways Pricing

SiteGround requires you to sign up for 1-3 years which is the period you get their discount promotional price. After this period, the price triples. You can’t add more server resources or storage unless you upgrade to an entirely new plan. So even though their plans start at $6.99 – $14.95/month, you will eventually be paying $14.99 – $34.95/month once it’s time to renew.

SiteGround Pricing

Best case scenario: buy 3 years of SiteGround to get the low promo price (the best value for shared hosting around) then move to Cloudways once it’s time to renew.

 

10. Features Comparison

All Cloudways features come included no matter what plan you choose. With SiteGround, they depend on your plan. Both support solid states drives (SSDs), PHP 7.3 (both are quick to release new versions), HTTP/2, on-demand backups, Let’s Encrypt SSL, and Cloudflare’s CDN.

SiteGround Features:

  • They use SiteTools (their own version of cPanel)
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL (all plans)
  • 1-click Cloudflare CDN activation (all plans)
  • Email hosting (all plans) – not included with Cloudways
  • Staging (with GrowBig+)
  • Free migrations (with GrowBig+)
  • Advanced caching with Supercacher (with GrowBig+)
  • GIT (with GoGeek)
  • Priority support (with GoGeek)
  • PCI compliant servers (with GoGeek)

SiteGround-Features-Page

Cloudways Features:

  • They use their own interface (I like it)
  • Staging (all plans)
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL (all plans)
  • GIT
  • 1-click backups
  • Premium add-ons (see below)

Cloudways-Add-Ons

Cloudways also has a lot of speed optimization features in their Manage Services tab. SiteGround doesn’t use PHP FPM, Redis, New Relic, or MariaDB. These are Cloudways perks.

Cloudways Manage Services

You can see other Cloudways features here.

 

11. Data Centers

Cloudways has 25 data centers which is much more than SiteGround.

Cloudways-Data-Centers

They actually have 59 if you include all their cloud hosting platforms:

Cloudways 59 Data Centers

SiteGround only has 5 data centers:

SiteGrounds Data Centers

 

12. WooCommerce

Both Cloudways and SiteGround come with a free SSL from Let’s Encrypt.

But the major difference for WooCommerce websites is they usually require more server resources since they typically run more plugins, WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments. SiteGround’s StartUp and GrowBig plan might not have enough resources to support your site, and even on GoGeek, you risk getting CPU overages. Cloudways is best for WooCommerce since their customers don’t experience CPU issues like they do on SiteGround.

With Cloudways, you can scale server resources as needed:

Cloudways-Vertical-Scaling

With SiteGround, each plan has a set number of resources:

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

 

13. Breeze vs. SG Optimizer

Neither of these will replace WP Rocket, Swift, and other top cache plugins.

They simply don’t come with as many features (heartbeat control, hosting Google fonts + Analytics locally, etc) and you will usually get better results with WP Rocket. Your cache plugin will already handle most features in Breeze and SG Optimizer, but they are still worth testing to see how they affect your GTmetrix report. Just make sure you’re not using 2 plugins for the same thing, and that you review my cache plugin guides (located in my nav menu and sidebar).

Breeze Features

  • Caching
  • Minification
  • Gzip
  • Database cleanup
  • CDN URL
  • Varnish options

Cloudways Breeze Plugin

SG Optimizer Features

  • Caching
  • Force HTTPS
  • PHP version upgrades
  • Gzip
  • Browser caching
  • Minification
  • Removal of query strings
  • Disable emojis
  • Image compression
  • Lazy load images
  • Lazy load Gravatars

SiteGround SG Optimizer

SiteGround’s SG Optimizer has more features than Cloudways’ Breeze plugin and will likely give you better results in GTmetrix. But again, I would still use WP Rocket or Swift instead.

 

14. SiteGround Pros & Cons

SiteGround Pros

  • Support is much better than Cloudways
  • Speed is great for shared hosting, but not faster than Cloudways
  • They don’t overcrowd their servers like Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy
  • Activating Cloudflare and using PHP 7.3 can make your site much faster
  • They constantly release new technology to improve speed, security, uptimes
  • For their promotional prices, SiteGround is likely the best value in the industry
  • They’re endorsed by Yoast, WordPress, Ivica from the WordPress Speed Up Group

SiteGround Cons

  • CPU limits
  • High renewal prices
  • Requires 1-3 year contract
  • No plan between GoGeek and cloud

 

15. Cloudways Pros & Cons

Cloudways Pros

  • Monthly payments = no contract
  • You shouldn’t have to worry about CPU limits
  • Servers are much more powerful than SiteGround
  • You can add server resources and storage as-needed
  • Choice 59+ data centers between all cloud hosting providers
  • Cloudways community manager Mustaasam Ansari is very helpful
  • Can save you a lot of money compared to SiteGrounds cloud hosting

Cloudways Cons

  • No hosting option under $10/month
  • Support isn’t nearly as good as SiteGround
  • No email hosting (but they do have SMTP + Rackspace options)
  • Requires a more savvy user, since support won’t always do things for you

 

16. Managed Hosting Makes A Difference

Cloudways is basically the middleman between their cloud hosting partners (eg. DigitalOcean). You are paying Cloudways for the “extra services and performance tweaks” (as well as support) which is not offered by their cloud providers. Otherwise, everyone would go straight to DigitalOcean because it’s cheaper. With Cloudways, managing your hosting is much easier.

Managed Hosting Poll

WordPress also recommends DigitalOcean in their optimization guide:

Digital Ocean Recommendation

 

17. Cloudways Sign Up + Optimization

Cloudways has 5 cloud hosting providers to choose from.

Cloudways-Managed-Cloud-Hosting

Here is Cloudways’ article describing the difference (DigitalOcean + Vultr are most popular):

Cloudways Cloud Platform Comparison

You likely don’t need AWS or Google Cloud unless you need autoscaling and load balancing.

If you do sign up for Cloudways, they posted an optimizations which covers are a few tweaks you can make in your Cloudways dashboard to make your site faster. I listed the steps below.

Step 1: Login to your Cloudways dashboard.

Step 2: Upgrade to PHP 7.3, MariaDB 10.3, and install Redis in the “Settings & Packages” tab.

Cloudways-Speed-Upgrades

Step 3: Increase memory limit to 256MB also in the “Settings & Packages” tab.

Cloudways-Memory-Limit

 

18. SiteGround Sign Up + Optimization

Signing up for SiteGround is easy.

If you sign up for SiteGround, there are also a few things you can do to make your site load faster.

Step 1: Activate Cloudflare in your cPanel:

Cloudflare SiteGround cPanel

Step 2: Always keep your PHP version updated when new ones are released:

PHP Upgrade

 

20. Reach Out To Their Community Managers

If you have questions before you sign up, reach out to their community managers:

Mustaasam Saleem Ansari

 

21. Request A Free Migration

Both SiteGround and Cloudways offer a free migration. With Cloudways, you will go to your dashboard, click the add-ons tab, then click “application migration.” With SiteGround, you will go to the support tab, open a ticket, then request a website transfer. You have to sign up first.

SiteGround Free Website Transfer

Request a free migration from Cloudways Request a free migration from SiteGround

 

22. Frequently Asked Questions

🔵 How much does Cloudways cost?

Cloudways starts at $10/month for the DigitalOcean plan and is billed monthly. Vultr starts at $11/month, Linode at $12/month, AWS at $36.51/month, and Google Cloud Platform at $33.18/month.

🔵 How much does SiteGround cost?

SiteGround's shared hosting starts at $6.99/month - $14.99/month for a 1-3 year promotional period. After that period, the price nearly triples. SiteGround's cloud hosting starts at $80/month.

🔵 Is Cloudways or SiteGround faster?

Cloudways is faster than SiteGround (Cloudways is cloud hosting, and SiteGround is shared hosting). Cloudways is also faster than SiteGround's cloud hosting.

🔵 Does Cloudways provide email hosting?

No, Cloudways does not provide email hosting. But they do have alternatives services to setup email, like Rackspace.

🔵 Do you get a free SSL?

Yes, you get a free Let's Encrypt SSL with both Cloudways and SiteGround which can be activated in 1 click.

🔵 Can you host multiple websites?

Yes, you can host multiple websites on Cloudways. With SiteGround, you must choose the GrowBig plan or higher to host multiple websites.

Conclusion: Cloudways and SiteGround are the 2 most popular hosts in Facebook polls, it just depends on your needs. I’ve had a great experience with both – SiteGround was great for many years until I got CPU overages and needed a faster server. They got pricey. Cloudways is ridiculously fast but support isn’t great. Contact the community managers with any questions.

Get hosting from Cloudways Get hosting from SiteGround

Cheers,
Tom

Cloudways Review: I’m Saving $100/Month With 2x Faster Load Times After Migrating From SiteGround’s Expensive Cloud Hosting

Cloudways-Review

I admit it, I used to be a SiteGround fanboy.

But as my traffic grew, I started getting CPU overages on SiteGround’s GoGeek plan. I eventually upgraded to their $80/month cloud hosting but was still exceeding CPU, so I added more CPU/RAM and started paying them $180/month. Going from $14.99/month on GoGeek to $180/month was insane to me, to say the least. So I migrated to DigitalOcean on Cloudways where I’m now paying $80/month for roughly the same amount of CPU/RAM. After migrating, my load times dropped in half, I am nowhere near exceeding CPU, and I’m saving $100/month.

Obviously, I’m very happy.

Some of my tutorials have 50+ images and 400+ comments (2.56MB page size and 89 requests) and still load in <2s! Run this post through GTmetrix or click through my posts if you want – they all load instantly. This was the biggest difference I noticed when migrating to Cloudways.

Cloudways is a little more technical to set up (they do offer free migrations) and they don’t support direct email hosting which means you will need a Rackspace account to use email. But the tradeoff  in speed and cost savings was definitely worth it for me, and probably for you too.

My honest review of Cloudways

  1. I Was Previously Using SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting
  2. The Money I Saved With Cloudways
  3. Load Times Cut In Half
  4. No More CPU Overages
  5. Free Migration Went Smoothly
  6. Support Is “Decent”
  7. 5 Cloud Hosting Providers To Choose From
  8. Speeding Up Your Site On Cloudways
  9. Using The Breeze Plugin
  10. Adding Cloudflare
  11. 59+ Data Centers
  12. Free SSL
  13. Cloudways Add-Ons (Extra Services)
  14. Other Features
  15. No Email Hosting
  16. The Benefit Of Managed Hosting
  17. Conclusion: I’m A Happy Camper
  18. Cloudways Is #1 In Many Facebook Polls
  19. I Would Use SiteGround If…
  20. I Would Use Cloudways If…

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link I will get credit for the sale which I would seriously appreciate. It also helps me donate to GoFundMe campaigns ($6,000 so far)! A lot of people don’t like SiteGround’s high prices and strict CPU limits, and most people who move away from SiteGround go to Cloudways. It’s much faster (cloud hosting) and I recommend their DigitalOcean plan.

Get hosting from Cloudways

(save 25% for 2 months with promo code OMM25)

 

1. I Was Previously Using SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting

One problem I have with SiteGround is there’s no “middle” plan between GoGeek and cloud. You’re either paying $14.99/month (or more) or you’re paying $80/month. And if you have to upgrade to cloud because you’re getting CPU issues, chances are the entry level plan won’t cut it (it didn’t for me). I had to pay them about $120/month to stop getting CPU overages and $180/month for my server to be relaxed. 2 CPU + 4GB RAM may not be enough for some sites.

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting

These monthly invoices were brutal (wpcommanders is just my account name):

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Sales-Receipt

 

2. The Money I Saved With Cloudways

Quick comparison check: 2 CPU + 4GB RAM costs $80/month on SiteGround when it’s only $42/month at Cloudways on DigitalOcean. Also, SiteGround’s cloud servers can’t handle CPU like Cloudways. In my case, instead of paying SiteGround $180/month for 6 CPU + 8GB RAM, I easily got away with 2 CPU + 4GB RAM on Cloudways with no CPU overages, plus a faster website. Cloudways also does monthly pricing without yearly contracts, which is definitely nice.

Cloudways-Invoice

 

3. Load Times Cut In Half

There’s no arguing the graph:

SiteGround-vs-Cloudways-Cloud-Hosting

The biggest difference was the load time on long/heavy tutorials. This tutorial has around 100 images and 400+ comments, has a page size of 2.56MB and 89 requests, yet still loads in <2s. Of course it’s not an official benchmark, but I did notice a huge improvement in how fast my site loaded just by clicking through my pages. Click my sidebar links if you want to see yourself.

2020-GTmetrix-Report

You can even run this post through GTmetrix and see what you get:

Cloudways-Review-GTmetrix

Other people who migrated to Cloudways (or one of their cloud providers):

Cloudways Response Times

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

Cloudways Server Response Times

Godaddy to DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Load Time Improvement

Cloudways vs WP Engine

Untitled

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Namecheap To Cloudways Migration

Vultr Migration

Cloudways WooCommerce Migration

Cloudways AWS Migration

WPEngine to Cloudways Migration

Get hosting from Cloudways

 

4. No More CPU Overages

CPU overages are one of the biggest limitations of SiteGround.

Keep in mind: I write tutorials on how to reduce CPU and make WordPress sites load faster. I was only using 15 lightweight plugins, a StudioPress theme (now Astra), configured WP Rocket with Cloudflare a CDN, disabled heartbeat, optimized images and third party scripts, and blocked bad bots from Wordfence’s live traffic report. Yet, my site was still getting CPU issues.

SiteGround-CPU-Limits

After migrating to Cloudways, my CPU usage was literally 1%. Makes you wonder.

Cloudways-CPU-Usage

 

5. Free Migration Went Smoothly

This doesn’t happen for everyone (just trying to be honest).

I have read other Cloudways reviews where people weren’t happy with their support and that included migrating their website. I’d say for 95% of people, the migration goes smoothly. But the other 5% can experience downtimes, long wait times while your site is being migrated, and they might not help you setup SSL, Cloudflare, and anything that isn’t related to their service.

I’ll get more into this in the support section, but in my case, I had to setup SSL myself (which was very easy as it was literally a 1-click activation in the Cloudways dashboard), but I’m still having issues getting Cloudflare to work with Cloudways and will need my developer do this.

Cloudways-Migrator-Tools

Request a free migration from Cloudways

 

6. Support Is “Decent”

Not gonna lie, Cloudways gets bashed for their support.

Migrations can have hiccups, support can be rude, and you will not get the same level of support as someone like Kinsta. So if you have issues or questions, I would reach out to Mustaasam Saleem Ansari (the Cloudways community manager) whose #1 job is to make customers happy and answer questions. He is also super activate in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. I was in touch with Mustaasam during the migration – he answered all my questions and gave me peace of mind more than anything. I liked the idea of accountability.

Of course, there are plenty of customers who think Cloudways support is great (including me). I actually reached out to Hristo Pandjarov (SiteGround community manager) about an affiliate question with SiteGround, twice, and he never responded. Every person is different – it depends who your rep is. But if you have questions or issues, try reaching out to Mustaasam.

Mustaasam Saleem Ansari

My personal experience; they migrated the site successfully with no errors, downtimes, and they even configured their Breeze plugin for me. Maybe they knew I was writing this review :)

 

7. 5 Cloud Hosting Providers To Choose From

With Cloudways, you can choose from 5 cloud hosting providers. Just to confirm, Cloudways is the middleman who manages your server. DigitalOcean and the other providers are the ones hosting your website (through their partner, Cloudways). I personally don’t feel like managing my server – ain’t nobody got time for that! But if you do, you can go straight to DigitalOcean.

Cloudways-Managed-Cloud-Hosting

Cloudways has an article describing the differences in each plan:

Cloudways Cloud Platform Comparison

Their most popular plan is DigitalOcean which is also the least expensive (and the one I use).

Cloudways-DigitalOcean

 

8. Speeding Up Your Site On Cloudways

A couple Cloudways customers made an optimization video which includes tweaks you can make in your Cloudways dashboard to make your site load faster. It can easily take 1s off your load time. The video is 40 minutes long, so I’ll save you time and listed the instructions below.

Step 1: Upgrade to PHP 7.3, MariaDB 10.3, and install Redis in the “Settings & Packages” tab.

Cloudways-Speed-Upgrades

Step 2: Increase memory limit to 256MB also in the “Settings & Packages” tab.

Cloudways-Memory-Limit

You can also check their WordPress hosting page to see the speed technology they use: solid state drives, PHP 7.3, MariaDB, PHP-FPM, Breeze plugin, and Cloudways CDN (paid service).

Cloudways-Performance-Features

That’s it!

 

9. Using The Breeze Plugin

Cloudways’ Breeze plugin won’t replace WP Rocket and other top cache plugins since they have more features. Breeze only comes with caching, minification, Gzip, database cleanup, CDN URL, and Varnish options. But it’s worth trying out – you never know when cache plugins will do a better job at optimizing specific things than others, as each website is different. Also, most bad reviews are because of issues related to WooCommerce – in which case, be careful.

Cloudways also has a tutorial for setting up Breeze.

Cloudways Breeze Plugin

Basic Options:
*Avoid duplicate functionality with other cache plugins!

Cloudways Breeze Basic Options

Advanced Options:

Cloudways Breeze Advanced Options

Database:

Cloudways Breeze Database Options

CDN:

Cloudways Breeze CDN Options

Varnish:
*There have been reports that activating Varnish does more harm than good (again, be careful).

Cloudways Breeze Varnish Options

 

10. Adding Cloudflare

Sign up for a free Cloudflare plan, you will go through a set of pages, then see 2 namesevers:

Cloudflare Nameserver Change

Login to where your domain registrar (eg. GoDaddy) and change nameservers to Cloudflare’s:

Godaddy Cloudflare nameservers

Login to Cloudways, go to “Settings & Packages” then activate Cloudflare’s WAF Module:

Cloudways Cloudflare WAF Rule

Cloudways also has a paid CDN option which is $1 per 25GB:

Cloudways-CDN

 

11. 59+ Data Centers

Cloudways actually has 59 data centers if you combine all their cloud providers, not 25.

Cloudways-Data-Centers

When choosing your plan, scroll through their locations.

  • DigitalOcean: 8 data centers
  • Linode: 8 data centers
  • Vultr: 15 data centers
  • AWS: 14 data centers
  • Google Cloud: 14 data centers

Cloudways 59 Data Centers

 

12. Free SSL

Free Let’s Encrypt SSL is included with Cloudways. All you have to do is click to activate it.

Cloudways-Free-SSL

 

13. Cloudways Add-Ons (Extra Services)

Cloudways offers a few add-ons (paid services):

Cloudways-Add-Ons

DNS Made Easy – I love the idea of a premium DNS, until I was told you can’t use it with Cloudflare. Although I’m not using it now, I may have to give it a whirl in the near future.

Rackspace Email – you will need this to use email hosting.

Elastic Email – great if sending out sensitive email (see Cloudways’ email comparison).

Application Migration – Cloudways will migrate 1 site for free, then $25 per site after.

Application Upgrade – if you’re worried about updated WordPress, plugins, etc, you can pay Cloudways $50/month to do this for you, but I honestly don’t know anyone who would do that.

CloudwaysCDN – this is the same as StackPath (Cloudways and StackPath are partners) and costs $1 per 25GB. I use both Cloudflare and StackPath which has saved me lots of bandwidth.

StackPath-CDN-Analytics

 

14. Other Features

Staging – if you want to clone your website to test new designs or plugins, this is super easy. Just go to Applications, click the three dots, and click “Clone App/Creating Staging Website.”

Cloudways Staging Clone

Vertical Scaling – scale your server any time to include more resources or storage.

Cloudways-Vertical-Scaling

Backups – easily take a backup any time you want.

Cloudways-Backups

GIT – used to implement development workflows (they have a tutorial about it).

Cloudways-GIT

Add Team Members – love that you can set permissions for people who have access.

Cloudways-Team-Members

 

15. No Email Hosting

Cloudways does not provide email hosting, but they are partnered with Rackspace to provide email hosting for as low as $1/email/month instead of $2/email/month (Rackspace pricing).

And for transactional or outgoing emails, they are also partnered with Elastic Email to provide an easy setup, or you can setup your own SMTP provider like Gmail SMTP, SendGrid, Mailgun.

Cloudways-SMTP-Settings

 

16. The Benefit Of Managed Hosting

Other than a large performance improvement, managed hosting also takes care of software updates, security patches, and hardware management. But performance is the biggest draw.

The difference between shared hosting and managed cloud hosting is huge. GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, TSOhost, and really any shared host will get blown away by Cloudways. If you’ve never experienced good cloud hosting before, you will see improved server response times, load times in GTmetrix, and a noticeable difference when clicking through your pages.

Managed Hosting Poll

 

17. Conclusion: I’m A Happy Camper

First off, nearly every hosting company blocks Facebook reviews (probably because so many people use it to bitch). Cloudways is one of the few hosts that allows Facebook reviews. And last time I checked, they had 4.5/5 stars with 500+ reviews, which is pretty damn good for Facebook. Having the great experience I did, I decided to leave them my own gem of a review.

Cloudways-Facebook-Review

 

18. Cloudways Is #1 In Many Facebook Polls

SiteGround and Cloudways are usually the top 2 hosts in Facebook polls. SiteGround was actually rated #1 in 30+ polls, but that’s because they’ve been around forever, more people have used them, and they’re cheaper (until you have to renew). But there is a huge shift of people moving from SiteGround to Cloudways, mainly due to SiteGround’s renewal prices.

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

Elementor Hosting Recommendations

2017-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

Favorite Hosting For Elementor

2016-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

 

19. I Would Use SiteGround If…

  • You aren’t savvy with managing your site
  • You haven’t sign up for their promo prices yet
  • You know how to optimize your site to reduce CPU
  • You want to be with a reputable host who has been around for many years

 

20. I Would Use Cloudways If…

  • You want pure performance (by far the biggest reason)
  • You want staging and GIT no matter what plan you choose
  • You are more savvy when it comes to managing your website
  • SiteGround isn’t cutting it (either because of CPU or renewal prices)

And for the record, DigitalOcean is the only host listed in the WordPress optimization guide.

Digital Ocean Recommendation

Get hosting from Cloudways

(save 25% for 2 months with promo code OMM25)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🔵Is Cloudways fast?

Cloudways gave me about 2x faster load times than SiteGround's cloud hosting and I'm paying 1/2 of what I was. My site loads instantly and you can click through my pages to see how fast they load. They use latest PHP versions, MariaDB, and a very fast infrastructure.

🔵 Which 5 cloud hosting providers do they use?

DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud, and Amazon (AWS). Their DigitalOcean plan is the most popular, and cheapest.

🔵 What is Cloudways' pricing structure?

Cloudways has a monthly pricing structure with no yearly contracts or upfront fees.

🔵 Does Cloudways support email?

Cloudways does not provide email hosting directly, but they are partnered with Rackspace who offers it for as low as $1/email/month instead of $2/email/month (Rackspace pricing).

🔵 How does Cloudways compare to SiteGround?

They have a better value especially once you reach SiteGround's renewal prices, but they're also a little more technical. SiteGround is good for shared hosting, but if speed is important, Cloudways is the way to go.

🔵 Is Cloudways a middleman?

In a way, yes. Their hosting is marked up about 200% because it's managed hosting. If you have time to configure and maintain your own server, you can buy directly from the cloud hosting provider. Otherwise, Cloudways will manage the servers for you.

Ready to experience the powerful servers on managed cloud hosting?
Don’t be like me and think that just because SiteGround’s hosting is still good, there aren’t more powerful servers available. Once I finally pulled the trigger, there was no looking back.

+1 for Cloudways
Tom

SiteGround vs GoDaddy: Don’t Touch GoDaddy With A 10-Foot Pole

SiteGround vs GoDaddy

Are you really deciding between SiteGround vs. GoDaddy?

This is honestly the easiest comparison I have ever written. GoDaddy is absolute garbage and you should avoid them at all costs. When comparing them to SiteGround, it’s like night and day.

Here’s why:

GoDaddy packs too many people on their servers (making them slow) which is well-known on Quora, Facebook, and Twitter. They were rated the top malware hosting network and make news for all the wrong reasons, being called out by iThemes, Wikipedia, Forbes, Mashable, and PC Mag. They have been called a “scam” because they make customers pay to upgrade PHP versions and malware issues, when it’s their own fault. GoDaddy is like a doctor who forces illness on patients and treats symptoms to make their money, but doesn’t fix the cause. They also blacklist cache plugins and make you use their own built-in caching system, which doesn’t hold a candle to plugins like WP Rocket, Swift, or even W3 Total Cache. They are known for being 1 thing (cheap) but you will pay the price long-term. I don’t recommend them to anyone.

SiteGround is used by Yoast, recommended by WordPress, and were rated the #1 host in 30+ Facebook polls. I was able to get 100% GTmetrix scores and <1s load times on their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan. Many people who migrated have publicly posted their new load times. Their support is top-notch and you can get ahold of live chat in 30 seconds, and tickets usually answered within 15 minutes – which their customers praise. They have way more features than GoDaddy like free Let’s Encrypt SSL, Cloudflare, daily backups, staging, 4 data centers, and the newest PHP versions. Most importantly, they keep current with new technology and constantly release new updates to improve speed, uptimes, and security – which you can see on their Facebook page. They offer 3 plans and do free migrations with GrowBig and GoGeek.

SiteGround vs. GoDaddy

  1. SiteGround vs. GoDaddy In 30+ Facebook Polls
  2. GoDaddy Servers Are Painfully Slow
  3. PHP 7 Only Available On cPanel Plan
  4. Malware Problems
  5. Blacklisted Plugins
  6. Wikipedia Moves Domains Away From GoDaddy
  7. Support Is Awful
  8. Bob Parsons Hunts Elephant
  9. SiteGround Speed (Migration Results)
  10. SG Optimizer, Cloudflare, PHP 7.3+ For The Win
  11. WordPress Features
  12. SiteGround Is Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, Ivica
  13. Support Is Unbeatable
  14. Tons Of Hosting Features
  15. They Protect Customer Websites
  16. Free Migrations
  17. Choosing A SiteGround Plan: StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek
  18. In Case You’re Still Not Sure (More Facebook + Twitter Evidence)

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no cost to you. Each year I donate $3,000 to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. Either way, I would avoid GoDaddy – join some Facebook groups and see the conversations, polls, tweets, and people who migrated from GoDaddy to SiteGround. I refuse to recommend GoDaddy to anyone – their servers are overcrowded, malware-infested, and they have a SOPA-supporting + elephant-hunting founder. Do your research and look at who Yoast is currently using.

 

1. SiteGround vs. GoDaddy In 30+ Facebook Polls

Join the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Groups to see what real, unbiased people are saying since hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide. SiteGround is consistently #1 in Facebook polls while GoDaddy is rarely in the top 5. If you have specific hosting requirements, the WordPress Hosting Group is a great place to get feedback from people who actually know what they’re talking about – without affiliate links.

2019 Hosting Poll
View Poll

 

2. GoDaddy Servers Are Painfully Slow

GoDaddy is able to offer low-cost hosting because they pack too many people on their servers. You can’t tell how many websites you’re sharing the server with, or how much bandwidth they’re consuming. That’s why it’s best to look at what (unbiased) people are saying on Quora, Facebook Groups, and look at the server response times current GoDaddy clients are getting.

What-is-the-reason-that-GoDaddy-is-loading-very-slowly-Quora

iThemes says:

“GoDaddy [needs to] finally get serious about hosting by improving their servers and server infrastructure, providing users with a real control panel, ceasing to massively oversell their servers (this is why most GoDaddy-hosted sites are so slow), and providing real support that doesn’t answer every problem with “you need to upgrade to a dedicated server.”

You can run any website through Google PageSpeed Insights and if the reduce server response time item is in your report, this means your server (hosting) is definitely slow.

Reduce Server Response Time

Slow Godaddy

Godaddy Server Response Time

Slow Server Response Times on Godaddy

Godaddy Server Response Times

Slow Godaddy Server Response Time

 

3. PHP 7 Only Available On cPanel Plans

How are you not suppose to treat your most loyal customers?

Release an “improved” cPanel plan and tell old customers they have to pay for an upgrade if they want to use PHP 7. GoDaddy’s cPanel and Plesk are the only plans that support PHP 7, otherwise you’re out of luck. Not only were they one of the last hosts to release PHP 7, but when they do, they try to make customers pay for it. They’re the only host I know doing this.

godaddy php upgrade cost

Godaddy Unethical PHP Upgrade

Godaddy PHP Cost

GoDaddy was using PHP 5.6 until 2018 and was one of the last hosts to implement PHP 7. Not only did this make customer websites slow, but also less secure. GoDaddy received countless complaints about this on their support threads and Twitter, and were very late to take action.

PHP Speed

 

4. Malware Problems

GoDaddy is one of the top malware hosting networks and constantly make news for being one of the least secure hosts. If you care about the security of your website, do not use GoDaddy. While SiteGround clearly lists how they protect your website, GoDaddy does the bare minimum. Even to this day, they have a long history of hacked accounts, malware, and viruses.

“an adversary that’s been dubbed “Spammy Bear” —  achieved an unusual amount of inbox delivery by exploiting a weakness at GoDaddy which allowed anyone to add a domain to their GoDaddy account without validating that they owned the domain.”

Malware Hosting Networks

Godaddy Hack Problem

Godaddy Spammer Problem

Godaddy Virus Problem

Even my own blog got hacked when I was using GoDaddy. Someone was able to login to my account, purchase a hosting plan, and redirect my website to a Turkish website that sold hosting services. I didn’t take screenshots because I was in a rush to get it fixed, but that is from my own personal experience.

Malware Scam?
GoDaddy’s malware scanner detects malware even if it’s not there because they want customers to pay them to remove it. It’s pretty shady, and there have been numerous reports.

Godaddy Malware Scam

 

5. Blacklisted Plugins

GoDaddy’s blacklisted plugins are suppose to prevent you from exceeding server resources. They use their own built-in caching system and don’t let you use cache plugins. The problem is, cache plugins do way more than caching. This means you see will likely errors in GTmetrix and Pingdom (eg. minification errors). With GoDaddy, you need to use a plugin like Autoptimize, but with SiteGround you can use better plugins like WP Rocket, Swift, and WP Fastest Cache.

Godaddy Blacklisted Plugins

 

6. Wikipedia Moves Domains Away From GoDaddy

Wikipedia is all about freedom of speech, so when GoDaddy decided to support SOPA (which has been compared to China’s internet censorship), Jimmy Wales moved all Wikipedia domain names away from GoDaddy. A massive boycott erupted after Reddit users started a “Leave GoDaddy Day” which is conveniently when they decided to withdraw support from SOPA. The question is, are you willing to support a company who wants to limit your freedom of speech?

Wikipedia Removes Godaddy Domains

 

7. Support Is Awful

This is the by far the biggest difference between GoDaddy vs. SiteGround. GoDaddy is full of excuses, upgrade selling, lack of responsibility, and no resolutions. They have ridiculous wait times and a designated Twitter account @GoDaddyHelp where customers blast them with frustration. You can get connected to a SiteGround technician within minutes on live chat or phone, who will dig into the problem and help solve it. You’re in better hands with SiteGround.

godaddy 73 minute wait

godaddy award winning support

 

8. Bob Parsons Hunts Elephant

In 2011, Bob Parsons (GoDaddy founder) tweeted about killing an elephant in Zimbabwe. He claimed it was a problem elephant destroying crops. The video shows local villagers (who are rocking GoDaddy hats) carving and passing out elephant meat to the sound of ACDC. Did he do it to get links to godaddy.com or is he just an idiot? We’ll never know. He resigned in 2018.

Bob Parsons Godaddy

bob-parsons-GoDaddy

 

9. SiteGround Speed (Migration Results)

Here are people who migrated to SiteGround and posted their results. You can click each image to view the Tweet. In extreme cases, people cut over 10 seconds from their load time.

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

SiteGround-vs.-Godaddy-Load-Time-Improvement

Godaddy To SiteGround

Godaddy To SiteGround Migration

Godaddy To SiteGround Faster

You can also check out my own GTmetrix report, Pingdom report, and server response times. Obviously tutorials like this take longer to load because they have so many images on the post.

2019-GTmetrix-Report

2019-Pingdom-Report

 

10. SG Optimizer, Cloudflare, PHP 7.3+ For The Win

SiteGround clearly lists their speed technology (NGINX, SSDs, PHP 7+, HTTP/2, SG Optimizer, etc) while GoDaddy claims “industry leading load times” without saying what technology they use. Just my thought, but if hosting companies don’t list their stack, it’s probably not very good.

SiteGround-Speed-Technology

SG Optimizer is SiteGround’s cache plugin which offers 3 levels of caching (static, dynamic, memcached). It uses server-side caching which is faster than the file-based caching used by other cache plugins. It also has options for browser caching, minification, gzip compression, image optimization, removal of query strings, and the ability to upgrade PHP versions. It has great reviews on WordPress.org and SiteGround recently made big updates to their plugin, making in comparable to plugins like WP Rocket. If you’re choosing SiteGround, give it a try.

Cloudflare is built-in to SiteGround’s cPanel and can be activated in 1-click for free. This makes it super easy to take advantage of Cloudflare’s free CDN which has 200+ data centers.

PHP 7.3 is the highest version on SiteGround, and they’re are also one of the first hosts to release new versions when they become available. Companies like Bluehost will release a new version but won’t be stable so you can’t use it. No need to worry about that with SiteGround.

 

11. WordPress Features

SiteGround has more WordPress features than GoDaddy including automatic WordPress updates, their SG Optimizer plugin (for caching), and a migrator plugin. SiteGround even updates their servers when new plugin vulnerabilities are detected (something GoDaddy needs to get better at) and their support is is much more knowledgable when it comes to WordPress. GoDaddy’s WordPress plugins are useless – the only good plugin they had was P3 Performance Profiler and they abandoned it years ago. You can see SiteGround’s WordPress features on their comparison page under the “we give you more WordPress features” section.

SiteGround-WordPress-Features

 

12. SiteGround Is Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, Ivica

I haven’t seen 1 credible person recommend GoDaddy.

Yoast-on-Twitter-We-just-switched-to-Siteground

SiteGround is also recommended by WordPress.

siteground-recommended-wordpress-host

And by Ivica who runs the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group with 15,000+ members.

WordPress-Speed-Up Recommended Tools

 

13. Support Is Unbeatable

SiteGround support has blown me away several times. Free migration with no downtime or errors? Yes please. Have a question about specific plugins taking a long time to load or interfering with your website? They’ll be glad to help. SiteGround’s support is always fast and happy to help even if it doesn’t have to do with their hosting. For the money you’re paying, you’re not going to get better support than SiteGround. And with GoGeek, you get priority support – I’ve had tickets answered within 7 minutes. This is how they built their reputation.

Godaddy To SiteGround Faster Site

SiteGround-Support-Testimonials

 

14. Tons Of Hosting Features

You can see these on SiteGround’s features page which lists everything you get with their StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek plan. I usually recommend GrowBig since it’s $2/month more and you get more server resources (key speed factor found in the WordPress optimization guide), storage, staging, on-demand backups, advanced caching, and a free website transfer.

  • Daily backups
  • 4 data centers
  • SG-Git (with GoGeek+)
  • Staging (with GrowBig+)
  • Cloudflare, SG Optimizer, PHP 7+
  • On-demand backups (with GrowBig+)
  • Automatic WordPress updates (optional)
  • And lots more

SiteGround-Features-Page

On their features page, go to “we allocate the resources you need” and hover over the “server” tab to see how many server resources come with each plan. More resources = faster website.

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

 

15. They Protect Customer Websites

SiteGround’s features page shows how they protect your website. They were the first host to use isolated accounts, meaning if a website you shared servers with got hacked, it wouldn’t affect yours. They also post updates on their Facebook page with frequent security updates.

SiteGround Security Updates

 

16. Free Migrations

SiteGround does free migrations with their GrowBig plan and up. I have done taken advantage of this many times and have never had downtimes or errors. The migrations always go smooth.

SiteGround Free Website Transfer

 

17. Choose A SiteGround Plan: StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek

StartUp allows you to host 1 single website but lacks server resources, storage, staging, advanced caching, free website transfer, and other features. It’s mainly for websites that don’t have much traffic, run resource-hungry plugins, or websites that are just starting to launch.

GrowBig is the best value IMO. For only $2/month more (promo price), you get more server resources, storage, staging, advanced caching, on-demand backups, and a free website transfer. You shouldn’t need priority support (SiteGround’s regular support is already great).

GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting and comes with about 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (one of the biggest speed factors in the WordPress optimization guide). This is the main reason to upgrade, but you also get priority support, GIT, and PCI compliant servers if it’s an eCommerce site. If you’re running a WooCommerce site or you’re running multiple resource-hungry plugins, I recommend either GrowBig or GoGeek since they will be able to better accommodate WooCommerce, which usually requires more server resources.

View SiteGround’s Plans

 

18. In Case You’re Still Not Sure (More Social Evidence)

Do your research on Facebook Groups, Quora, and other unbiased sources. You will quickly see that when it comes to SiteGround vs. GoDaddy, SiteGround is the clear, obvious winner.

I use SiteGround because:

  1. My GTmetrixPingdom reports speak for themselves
  2. My pages load instantly (click through them if you want)
  3. Fast speed technology (PHP 7.3, NGINX, SG Optimizer, Cloudflare)
  4. Recommended by Yoast, WordPress, Ivica from WordPress Speed Up
  5. SiteGround’s servers are much faster and not overcrowded like GoDaddy
  6. Live chat is instant and tickets are answered so much faster than GoDaddy
  7. They protect your website from hackers/malware, while GoDaddy does not
  8. My blog has never gone down from random errors people get with GoDaddy
  9. Upgrading to PHP 7.2 is free (unlike GoDaddy) and they don’t blacklist plugins
  10. Renewal prices are high, but most people don’t want to leave (and if they do, they usually go to DigitalOcean on Cloudways which is managed cloud hosting for $10/month) and is your best alternative as most people say on Facebook + Twitter. Do not settle for EIG, GoDaddy, or A2 if you take your site seriously
  11. GrowBig comes with staging, more storage, and more server resources (scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” and hover over the server tab)
  12. GoGeek comes with even more server resources, storage, priority support
  13. Free migrations, migrator plugin, and a 30-day money back guarantee
  14. Lots of praise on Reddit, Facebook conversations, Twitter, TrustPilot
  15. More praise on Facebook: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7#8, #9, #10#11
  16. GoDaddy customers who moved to SiteGround: #1, #2#3, #4, #5, #6#7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24

Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Feedback

Godaddy-vs-SiteGround-vs-InMotion

godaddy to siteground migration

SiteGround vs Godaddy Twitter

Slow-Godaddy-Site

SiteGround-vs-Godaddy-vs-TSOhost

Godaddy-vs-SiteGround-Opinion

Godaddy-vs-SiteGround-Recommendation

SiteGround-vs-Godaddy-vs-HostGator-vs-Dreamhost

 

Winner: SiteGround

Been with them since 2015.

I write WordPress speed optimization tutorials for a living and wouldn’t any of my readers to GoDaddy. SiteGround has been great, they’re basically a silent partner, keeping my site loading fast with 100% uptimes and no random errors you get with GoDaddy and other cheap hosting.

OMM-On-SiteGround

View SiteGround’s Plans

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Why are people so against GoDaddy?

GoDaddy has a long history of shady business practices and issues with their servers, security, and uptimes. They made customers pay for an entirely new hosting account to upgrade PHP versions, supported SOPA, and were rated in the top 2 malware hosting networks world wide in 2018. They have been called out by Wikipedia, iThemes, Forbes, and Mashable on multiple issues. Their founder also hunted an Elephant in Zimbabwe.

✅ Who is faster between the two?

SiteGround is much faster than GoDaddy and has tools like their SG Optimizer plugin, Cloudflare's free CDN, and PHP 7.4 to make your site faster. GoDaddy does very little to keep updated with speed technology and overcrowds servers in order to make profits.

✅ Which one is cheaper?

GoDaddy is much cheaper, but you get what you pay for. You will pay less upfront, yet you will likely spend more time dealing with issues caused by GoDaddy's servers.

✅ Who was rated better in Facebook polls?

SiteGround was rated the #1 host in over 20+ Facebook polls taken by WordPress-related Facebook Groups while GoDaddy is usually not in the top 5. The WordPress Hosting Facebook Group is a great place to get unbiased opinions on different hosting companies.

✅ Why can't you use cache plugins with GoDaddy?

GoDaddy has their own built-in caching system and blacklists most cache plugins. The problem with this, is cache plugins do a lot more than just caching. So if you don't use a cache plugin, you will be missing out on many other speed optimizations.

Have Questions? Drop Me A Line – I hope you got a lot out of my SiteGround vs. GoDaddy WordPress hosting review. I know choosing a host is tough and there are tons of reviews and biased opinions out there, so if you have questions leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to help.

Cheers,
Tom

SiteGround Cloud Hosting Review – I’ve Been Using It Since March, 2016 And While It’s $80/Month, I’m Also Very Happy

I’ve been on SiteGround’s cloud hosting since March 2016.

I upgraded from their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which is sufficient for many mid-high traffic sites, but I wanted mine to load even faster. After all, WordPress speed is my thang.

There were a couple immediate differences when I upgraded to cloud…

If you have questions about SiteGround’s cloud hosting (or any plan of theirs), drop me a comment. I’ve been with them for over 2 years and write about WordPress hosting frequently.

SiteGround Cloud Hosting

  1. Yes, I Actually Use SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting
  2. What Is Cloud Hosting?
  3. 2 CPU, 4GB RAM, 40GB SSD Space
  4. Autoscale Resources To Compensate For Traffic Spikes
  5. No CPU Overages Or Overclocking Your Server
  6. Isolated Resources Mean Better Uptimes And Security
  7. Additional Features That Come With Cloud Hosting
  8. How I Reduced My Load Time To .4 Seconds In Pingdom
  9. What Other People Are Saying About SiteGround Cloud
  10. It’s The Bomb If You Can Afford $80/Month

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround with my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. Each year I donate $3k to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they are a stellar WordPress host and your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Facebook groups + Twitter and you’ll find most people say the same.

 

1. Yes, I Actually Use SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting

Here’s the email I got when I upgraded…

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Email

 

2. What Is Cloud Hosting?

Definition:

Allows unlimited number of machines to act as one system. Other hosting solutions (shared or dedicated) depend on one machine only, while cloud hosting security is guaranteed by many servers. The cloud technology allows easy integration of extra resources, such as space or RAM and thus enable website growth.

SiteGround Definition

Cloud hosting can sometimes perform better than dedicated hosting solutions

SiteGround Cloud Tutorial

That means your site will have it’s own isolated resources and won’t be affected by issues going on with sites you would have otherwise been sharing servers with. These isolated resources plus higher CPU + RAM improve speed, security, and handling of traffic spikes.

Shared Hosting
You’re sharing servers with hundreds of other websites which reduces performance. This is fine for smaller websites on a $6.99/month budget but isn’t ideal if you want better speed, security, and reliability.

Cloud Hosting
Your website is hosted on a network of servers as opposed to 1 single server. If one fails, others will compensate. At $80/month you can expect better load times, security, and uptimes during traffic spikes.

Semi-Dedicated Hosting
Also called SiteGround’s GoGeek plan, semi-dedicated is 4x faster than regular shared hosting for just $14.99/month. This is an excellent plan for those who don’t want to pay $80/month for cloud hosting.

Dedicated Hosting
Primarily for high traffic websites requiring powerful CPUs and RAM. SiteGround pricing is $229/month and comes with VIP support including ongoing software updates, 24/7 monitoring, and quick tech assistance.

 
Who Is It For?
The applications depend on your site but cloud hosting is usually for medium traffic sites that can have 100 users online simultaneously. Or you run a complex site that needs more CPU, RAM, and disk storage than shared hosting plans. It’s for resource-hungry applications and websites that need special server configuration settings, like PHP running as Apache module. Or for me, it’s if you want to take your site to the next level of speed, uptimes, and security.

 

3. 2 CPU, 4GB RAM, 40GB SSD Space

SiteGround’s cloud hosting comes with 2CPU + 4GB RAM by default. This should be plenty for most sites but if you run a high traffic site or just need more resources to make your site faster and compensate traffic, you can login to your cPanel and add more (eg. during peak seasons). You can also set your plan to autoscale if your servers need it (and get a notification if it does).

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Pricing

CPU – (central processing units) handle and execute programs. When multiple requests are made on your website, they are queued in a line. Multiple CPUs process these faster, thus making your website faster. Think of it like an Intel Core i7 for your computer, only for your website. 2 CPU is usually plenty, but with cloud you always have the option to upgrade.

RAM – temporarily stores data and command instructions, then passes it along for computation. Just like you would add an extra slot of RAM to your laptop, adding RAM to your cloud hosting plan is one of the best things you can do to make your website load faster.

Storage – check how much storage you’re using on your current hosting plan (usually be found in the cPanel). Then add the necessary amount to your cloud hosting plan.

Upgrade Anytime – you can monitor your memory in the SiteGround cPanel to see if your server is stressed (it’s always on the edge of your limits). If this happens you can more RAM or CPU if needed. This was when their minimum plan was only 2GB RAM and I upgraded to 4GB:

Hosting-Memory-Usage

 

4. Autoscale Resources To Compensate For Traffic Spikes

If you have peak seasons or want to compensate for traffic spikes, you have the option set your cloud hosting account to autoscale (increase CPU + RAM) should your website get a large amount of traffic. Otherwise your site would run very slow or shut down (like shared hosting).

To do this, login to your SiteGround cPanel and click Autoscale…

cloud-autoscale

Then simply create an event based on your needs…

siteground-cloud-autoscale

 

5. No CPU Overages Or Overclocking Your Server

The with SiteGround’s shared hosting is your website can be temporarily shut down due to CPU overages. This means you exceeded your plan’s resource limit and can be caused by installing a bad plugin, enabling a CDN (content delivery network) like you would in W3 Total Cache, or just bad code. This actually happened to me when I was on shared hosting.

You are NOT likely to get this on cloud hosting (CPU overages usually happen on medium traffic sites using shared hosting). Even though you can avoid this by reducing executions, SiteGround’s CPU limits on shared plans are often not enough for those medium traffic sites.

cloud-hosting-cpu-resources

 

6. Isolated Resources Mean Better Uptimes And Security

Since you’re not sharing servers with other websites, you won’t be effected if something goes wrong with their. With cloud hosting there is much less risk of running into technical issues.
 

7. Additional Features That Come With Cloud Hosting

SiteGround’s cloud hosting comes with the following features:

  • Backups
  • Priority support
  • Automatic updates
  • Free hosting migration
  • Back & restoration service
  • Unlimited hosted websites
  • WordPress-related support
  • High amount of email storage
  • Security and spam prevention
  • 4 data centers to choose from
  • SiteGround’s speed technology
  • SiteGround’s uptime technology
  • SSD (solid state drives) for speed
  • CDN (content delivery network) for speed
  • NGINX servers, HTTP/2, PHP7, and HHVM for speed
  • Free domain name, SSL, WordPress autoupdates, email storage

Plus everything listed on SiteGround’s cloud hosting page:

cloud-hosting-features

 

8. How I Reduced My Load Time To .4 Seconds In Pingdom

I wrote a pretty popular WordPresss speed optimization tutorial but your cache plugin and hosting are the 2 main factors. If you can drop $49 on WP Rocket it was the #1 rated cache plugin in this Facebook poll and is easy to setup using my WP Rocket tutorial which also shows you how to add Cloudflare + StackPath’s CDN. Combine this with SiteGround’s cloud hosting and your website should load blazing fast. If you prefer to use a free cache plugin I also have a tutorial for WP Fastest Cache and W3 Total Cache (the 2 top rated FREE cache plugins). I would use one of those over SiteGround’s SG CachePress plugin as they got me better results.

Here’s my website…

OMM-On-SiteGround

And it has a .4s load time in Pingdom

Pingdom Load Times

 

9. What Other People Are Saying About SiteGround Cloud

 

10. Conclusion: It’s The Bomb If You Can Afford $80/Month

Remember, SiteGround will migrate your hosting for free so all you have to do is choose your plan then send them your login info. You can also call them directly at 1-866-605-2484.

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

If you run a relatively smaller website and are looking to improve load times without paying the $80/month, their GoGeek plan is cheaper ($14.99/month) and is semi-dedicated hosting which gives you 4x more server resources than their other shared hosting plans. So if SiteGround’s cloud hosting is a budget breaker, try GoGeek… you can always upgrade!

View SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting

 

Check Out My Other SiteGround Reviews

 

 

 

SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review: #1 Host In 34+ Facebook Polls (Very Fast For Shared Hosting) But Renewal Prices Are High

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.

SiteGround + WordPress = ❤

  1. Yes, I Use SiteGround
  2. #1 Rated Host In 34 Facebook Polls
  3. Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, Ivica
  4. People Who Migrated And Posted Their Results
  5. 80ms Server Response Times
  6. <1s Load Time + 100% GTmetrix Scores
  7. PHP 7.3, Cloudflare, SG Optimizer For The Win
  8. Free Migration With GrowBig+
  9. Support Is Phenomenal
  10. Ongoing Security Updates
  11. Con: CPU Overages
  12. Con: Renewal Prices Are Steep
  13. Features Overview
  14. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek
  15. Cloud Hosting
  16. Dedicated Servers
  17. cPanel Demo
  18. Uptimes Are Actually 99.99%
  19. The Problem With EIG + GoDaddy
  20. How To Tell If Your Hosting Is Slow
  21. Why I Use SiteGround
  22. A+ Feedback On Facebook And Twitter
  23. Frequently Asked Questions

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no cost to you. Each year I donate $3,000 to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way, I suggest doing your research, see who Yoast uses, and results of people who migrated.

Get hosting from SiteGround

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.

OMM-On-SiteGround

 

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.

July 2019 Hosting Recommendation

Elementor Hosting Recommendations

2017-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Hosting Recommendation Poll

WordPress-Host-Poll-Aug-2018

Shared-Hosting-Poll-2017

2019-Hosting-Poll

Go-To-Hosting-Company

WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017

Managed-Hosting-Poll

WooCommerce-Hosting-FB-Poll

2016-Web-Hosting-Poll

Best-WordPress-Hosting-Provider-Poll

Best-Web-Hosting-2019-Poll

SiteGround vs Bluehost Facebook Poll

WP Friendly Hosting Poll

2018 Hosting Recommendations

Favorite Hosting For Elementor

2016-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

WordPress Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Poll Sept 2018.png

Managed-WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017

2019-Hosts-Poll-1

Hosting-Poll-For-Speed

WordPress-Hosting-Poll-June-1

SiteGround-Recommendation

2014-Managed-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Best-Web-Hosting-Provider-Poll

Hosting-Poll-Feb-2019

Hosting-Recommendations-Poll

SiteGround-vs-Bluehost-Twitter-Poll

Bluehost vs SiteGround

WordPress Web Host Poll

 

3. Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, Ivica

Yoast uses SiteGround:

Yoast-on-Twitter-We-just-switched-to-Siteground

Recommended by WordPress:

siteground-recommended-wordpress-host

And by Ivica who runs the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group with 15,000+ members.

WordPress-Speed-Up Recommended Tools

Many people have already taken Ivica’s suggestion.

Godaddy To SiteGround Migration

 

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.

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround GoGeek Load Time

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround Blogging Migration

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

 

5. 80ms Server Response Times

The only thing Google PageSpeed Insights is good for is measuring server response times (the KPI of hosting speed). Google recommends response times of <200ms, so I’ll take 80ms all day.

Server Response Time

TTFB (time to first byte) is another indicator of the “responsiveness of a web server.” Check yours in bytecheck.com or the GTmetrix Timings tab. It should be <500ms (<200ms is better).

Time To First Byte

GTmetrix Time To First Byte

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.

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

 

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:

2019-GTmetrix-Report

My Pingdom report:

2019-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.

SiteGround-Speed-Technology

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.

SiteGround Free Website Transfer

 

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.

SiteGround Recommendation

SiteGround Support Feedback

SiteGround Twitter Recommendation

 

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.

SiteGround Security Updates

Here’s how SiteGround protects your website (listed on the features page):

SiteGround-WordPress-Security

 

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.

siteground-cpu-overages

How To Avoid SiteGround’s CPU Overages:

 

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 Pricing

Transitioning From SiteGround

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.

Cloudways DigitalOcean

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)

SiteGround-Features-Page

 

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.

GoGeeksemi-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 $14.99/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.

You can see the difference in server resources on SiteGround’s features page:

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

 

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.

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Plans

Cloudways Cloud Hosting

 

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.

siteground-dedicated-servers

 

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.

SiteGround cPanel

 

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.

SiteGround Uptimes

 

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.

List-Of-EIG-Brands

EIG is hated in Facebook Groups.

EIG-Facebook-Post

 

20. How To Tell If Your Hosting Is Slow

Server Response Time – run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time shows in your report. Google recommends a response time of <200ms.

Reduce Server Response Time

TTFBtime to first byte measures the responsiveness of your web server (hosting). Run your site through bytecheck.com and ideally it should be <500ms, however <200ms is even better.

Time-To-First-Byte

You can also check TTFB in the GTmetrix Timings tab…

GTmetrix-TTFB

 

21. Why I Use SiteGround

  1. My GTmetrixPingdom reports speak for themselves
  2. My pages load instantly (click through them if you want)
  3. Fast speed technology (PHP 7.3, NGINX, SG Optimizer, Cloudflare)
  4. Recommended by Yoast, WordPress, Ivica from WordPress Speed Up
  5. Free Let’s Encrypt SSL, easy to use cPanel, and features for eCommerce
  6. WordPress support is unbeatable even without GoGeek’s priority support
  7. GrowBig comes with staging, more storage, and more server resources (scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” and hover over the server tab)
  8. GoGeek comes with even more server resources, storage, priority support
  9. Free migrations, migrator plugin, and a 30-day money back guarantee
  10. Plenty of praise on Reddit, Facebook conversations, Twitter, TrustPilot
  11. Tons of praise on Facebook: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7#8, #9, #10#11
  12. Many people already migrated and posted results on Twitter: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6#7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32, #33, #34, #35, #36, #37

 

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.

SiteGround Customer Feedback

SiteGround vs Cloudways Cloud Hosting

SiteGround Feedback

 

23. Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What do people say about SiteGround in Facebook Groups?

SiteGround was rated #1 in many Facebook polls, but they have been getting slack for their high renewal prices, CPU limits, and support which some claim has gone downhill. For shared hosting, they are still one of the better options especially compared to EIG.

✅ Where are SiteGround's data centers located?

Chicago, Iowa, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, and Australia. However, when using Cloudflare's free CDN this will data 200+ data centers to your network for free. You can activate this in SiteGround's dashboard.

✅ What's the deal with their renewal prices?

SiteGround's shared hosting costs $6.99/month for their lowest StartUp plan, $9.99/month for GrowBig, and $14.99/month for their higher level GoGeek plan. You get this price for 1-3 years, then the prices about triple after the promotional period expires.

✅ How do they compare to Cloudways?

Cloudways is cloud hosting while SiteGround is shared hosting. Cloudways is faster and cheaper once you start paying around $35+/month. They're a little more technical to setup, but most people who leave SiteGround go to Cloudways. Both have good reviews on TrustPilot.

✅ How do you request a free website transfer?

To request a free website transfer, login to your SiteGround account and open a support ticket. 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 7.4, Cloudflare's CDN, and the SG Optimizer plugin. If you need a more powerful server, you may want to look elsewhere for cloud hosting since SiteGround's starts at $80/month.

Get hosting from SiteGround

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.

See Also: How I Optimized My WordPress Site To Load In <1s

Cheers,
Tom

SiteGround Affiliate Program Review – How I’m Making $80k+/Year Which Literally Changed My Life: Income Reports Are Posted Below

So this happened…

In 2017 I made $80,000 through SiteGround’s affiliate program. I’ve never made this kind of money… I was able to move to Denver, buy a new car, I’m living in a nice apartment downtown with my 2 new shelter cats, and I donated $3,000 to Hurricane Harvey. I’ve been broke all my life, but for the first time I’m financially stable making passive income from affiliate marketing.

So naturally, I want to share how I did it :)

I did a ton of research (which I’ll share with you), took a ton of screenshots (which I’ll also share with you), and decided to promote SiteGround on a few articles related to hosting and website speed. I specialized in SEO for 5 years so I’ll also show you some keywords and content ideas. By the end of this SiteGround affiliate review you will have the keywords, screenshots, and resources to make serious cash with the #1 WordPress host in 10 different Facebook polls.

Here was my 1099 tax form in 2017…

SiteGround-1099

One of my best months (March, 2018)…

SiteGround-Affiliate-Sales

Here are some emails…

January-SiteGround-Affiliate-Sales

Got affiliate of the month in July, 2017 :)

SiteGround-Affiliate-Of-The-Month

Table Of Contents

  1. Promoting SiteGround With Screenshots
  2. $50 – $100+ Tier Commissions
  3. 8% Conversion Rates
  4. 10% Reversal Rates
  5. Real-Time Sales Notifications
  6. Affiliate Dashboard / Creating Custom Links
  7. Support From SiteGround’s Affiliate Team
  8. Get Your Site Loading In Under 1s
  9. SiteGround Keywords (For SEO)
  10. Annual Affiliate Surveys
  11. SiteGround Affiliate FAQS
  12. Sign Up For SiteGround’s Affiliate Program

I’m not going to spam this article with affiliate links… my goal is to share what worked for me so other people can better promote SiteGround (which should increase both sales/conversions). I’ve already gotten several emails from people excited to try this out and LOVE doing whatever I can to help… feel free to comment or email me with questions. Being a SiteGround affiliate allowed me to drop all client work and write WordPress SEO + speed tutorials on my own time. I hope it does the same for you :)

If you’re signing up for SiteGround anyway, please use my affiliate link which will help with next year’s donation. It also motivates me to write more tutorials, so thank you.

 

1. Promoting SiteGround With Screenshots

Over the last several months I have accumulated quite the collection of screenshots I use to promote SiteGround. They are all 680px (w) so you may need to resize them, but you can click each image to see the poll. You can use the polls on your own website as long as you provide a link to my SiteGround review. Do not copy my entire content – you need to create your own!

This is literally a gold mine of Facebook conversations where people strongly recommend SiteGround. Between Facebook polls and these conversations, selling SiteGround is EASY.

Ivica runs the WordPress Speed Up Facebook group and ranks them #1…

WP-Speed-Up-WordPress-Hosting

The fact they’re recommended by WordPress

siteground-recommended-wordpress-host

Load time improvement after SiteGround migration…

SiteGround Host Migration

People want unbiased reviews, and embedding Twitter statuses from current SiteGround customers is one way to do that. You can do an advanced Twitter search to see happy customers who have tweeted to SiteGround. You’ll notice my GoGeek review includes tweets specifically about the GoGeek plan. You can do this with speed, support, and other topics…

SiteGround-Support-Testimonials

SiteGround has the fastest load times, screenshot is on the speed page in their cPanel…

siteground-page-load-times

You can tell people to run their site through Google PageSpeed Insights and if the reduce server response time item is in their report, this means their server (hosting) is slow and they should probably switch… to SiteGround obviously. Google suggests a <320ms response time.

reduce-server-response-times-ttfb

Tickets answered immediately, screenshot is on the support page in their cPanel…

siteground-tickets

100% uptimes in Uptime Robot

uptime-robot

The fact I’m actually hosted with SiteGround (use whoishostingthis.com)…

OMM-On-SiteGround

I’m a little obsessed with making sure my Pingdom report looks good, and you should also do this as it can be a key selling point. If you’re using WordPress you can use my WordPress speed optimization guide or hire my WordPress developer who got my site to load in under 1s…

Pingdom Load Times

Don’t forget to save these emails so you can show people you actually use a certain plan…

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Email

Cloudflare CDN, get this screenshot in your cPanel…

SiteGround Cloudflare Activation

SiteGround logo…

SiteGround Cloud Hosting Review

I have plenty of other screenshots on my SiteGround WordPress hosting review if you need screenshots for staging, SiteGround plan comparisons, data centers, automatic backups, and information about their cloud hosting plan. You can read my StartUp, GrowBig, GoGeek, and cloud hosting reviews if you need screenshots related to specific SiteGround hosting plans.

I use SiteGround because:

  1. My GTmetrixPingdom reports speak for themselves
  2. My pages load instantly (click through them if you want)
  3. Fast speed technology (PHP 7.3, NGINX, SG Optimizer, Cloudflare)
  4. Recommended by Yoast, WordPress, Ivica from WordPress Speed Up
  5. Free Let’s Encrypt SSL, easy to use cPanel, and features for eCommerce
  6. WordPress support is unbeatable even without GoGeek’s priority support
  7. GrowBig comes with staging, more storage, and more server resources (scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” and hover over the server tab)
  8. GoGeek comes with even more server resources, storage, priority support
  9. Free migrations, migrator plugin, and a 30-day money back guarantee
  10. Plenty of praise on Reddit, Facebook conversations, Twitter, TrustPilot
  11. Tons of praise on Facebook: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7#8, #9, #10#11
  12. Many people already migrated and posted results on Twitter: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6#7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32, #33, #34, #35, #36, #37

 

2. $50 – $100+ Tier Commissions

Potential To Unlock $100+ Commissions – if you start making more sales, you can contact SiteGround about a custom tier. SiteGround’s affiliate managers like to see you’re selling higher plans (GoGeek + Cloud) and will likely consider this when raising your commissions.

SiteGround Affiliate Program vs. WP Engine – I know what you’re thinking… why would I promote SiteGround when I can make $200/commission with WP Engine’s affiliate program?

  • SiteGround has a MUCH better reputation
  • This means higher conversions rates and lower cancellations
  • About 2.5x as many people cancel with WP Engine than SiteGround
  • SiteGround plans start at $6.99/month (instead of $29/month with WP Engine)
  • Since 25% of WP Engine customers cancel, you might lose trust with your readers
  • This Facebook poll (and other screenshots in my review) sell SiteGround in itself
  • Even though they’re lower commissions to start, it should be much higher long-term

No Reward For Selling Expensive Hosting Plans – the main disadvantage to any tier program is you don’t get rewarded for selling the expensive plans. Here’s a dedicated server I sold for $229/month but only got a $50 commission. This is the ONLY con to SiteGround’s affiliate program – so you may want to focus on selling cheaper (shared) plans because more people will buy them and you get the same commission. SiteGround may be willing to make an exception for selling higher plans by manually upping the commission (they’ve done it before).

siteground-per-sale-commissions

Pros

  • Incentive to sell more
  • Competitively high commissions
  • Conversion rates are high (8%)
  • Reversal rates are low (around 10%)
  • Commissions are paid every week

Cons

  • No incentive to sell expensive plans like cloud or a dedicated hosting
  • You need to make at least 6 sales/month to make decent money

 

3. 8% Conversion Rates (Roughly)

This is different for each affiliate and it really depends on your marketing skills (eg. using good screenshots). I found I get about a 8% conversion rate. I noticed when I added my screenshots and social proof, conversion rates started to increase – so be sure to promote SiteGround well!

SiteGround Conversion Rates

 

4. 10% Reversal Rates (Roughly)

In order to calculate your actual commission per sale you will need to take into account reversal rates (how many people request a refund after the sale). If you make 21 sales at $125 per sale but 10% of those sales get reversed, you’re actually making around $112.5/sale.

Even though you get $200 per sale as a WP Engine affiliate (another WordPress host), they have a 25% reversal rate so you’re actually making $150 per sale. While this is more than SiteGround (unless you don’t reach their top tier), 25% of your readers are now disappointed with their hosting. Referring them to the RIGHT service should be top priority and builds customer loyalty which is SUPER important as an affiliate. Bottom line – don’t sell your soul for higher commissions… people will thank you and it will increase sales long-term.

siteground-cancellations

If you’re good at promoting them your reversal rates can be even lower…

SiteGround-Reversal-Rates

 

5. Real-Time Sales Notifications

Anytime you make a sale, SiteGround will send you an email.

siteground-affiliate-sale-generated

Create custom alerts on your phone for affiliate sales – if you use GMail, go to your settings and create filter so all emails with “SiteGround Affiliate Sale Generated” in the subject line go into their own folder. Then setup a custom alert on your phone (using the GMail app) so anytime you generate a sale, you get a custom alert (here’s a tutorial for Android). I have different sound notifications for SiteGround, StudioPress Themes, etc. Makes my day better :)

Custom-GMail-Filter

 

6. Affiliate Dashboard / Creating Custom Links

SiteGround’s affiliate dashboard has everything you need to market their hosting and get statistics: affiliate link customizer, custom link tracking, conversion and reversal reports, etc.

Affiliate Link Customizer – create custom links to any page on SiteGround’s website so you can track each one separately and see it’s conversion rate. This will also shorten the link and use siteground.com/go/ instead of yourwebsite.com/go/ which is better. You can see my link to SiteGround’s features page: (https://www.siteground.com/go/startup-growbig-gogeek) has a high conversion rate which means I should probably be using this affiliate link more. You can also name each of your SiteGround links as long as it’s not already in use, so choose wisely!

SiteGround-Custom-Affiliate-Links

Conversion Report – if you want to get the higher 5%+ conversion rates like I had last month, use my screenshots and social proof (embedded Facebook / Twitter status of people who complimented SiteGround). This is most definitely what I contribute the large increase to.

SiteGround Conversion Report

Commission Report – learn what hosting plans people are signing up for using your affiliate links, pending commissions, and the status of whether your commissions have been paid.

SiteGround Commission Report

Banners – I’m not a fan of banners but they do have them…

siteground-affiliate-banners

Don’t forget to check out their speed, security, and support pages in their cPanel. These include load time comparison charts from multiple hosts (like the one below), support response time comparisons, and other screenshots I listed in this SiteGround affiliate review.

siteground-page-load-times

Payment Information – you will need a PayPal account, and you can also set triggers.

siteground-payment-methods

 

7. Support From SiteGround’s Affiliate Team

SiteGround’s affiliate support is just as good as their regular customer support. They actually reached out to me in December once I started making substantial sales to make suggestions. Now, their affiliate team and I are working together to run some speed tests on Siteground vs other hosting companies… so yes they will definitely work with you to increase your sales.

SiteGround-Affiliate-Program-Support

 

8. Get Your Site Loading In Under 1s

One of the best ways to promote SiteGround is to get your website loading super fast and showcase your reports in tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Insights. If you’re using WordPress I have been working with the same developer for 5 years who I found on freelancer.com and helped me optimize my site to load in under 1s. You can view my WordPress speed guide if you want to do this yourself but my developer is $40/hour and has a perfect 5 star review on his profile. You can email him at bdkamol@gmail.com. If you’re NOT using WordPress you can still use freelancer.com to find a developer who can help you do this.

Pronaya-Kumar-S-Reviews

 

9. SiteGround Keywords (For SEO)

If you think “SiteGround Review” is going to be your main keyword, you have some research to do. This keyword will be way too competitive so you’re better of reviewing their individual plans (SiteGround StartUp Review), comparing them to other hosts (SiteGround vs. WP Engine) and including them in tutorials about website speed (How To Configure The W3 Total Cache Plugin). This is a MUCH better strategy and the keywords will be much less competitive.

siteground-keywords

Keyword Examples:

  • SiteGround StartUp Review
  • SiteGround GrowBig Review
  • SiteGround GoGeek Review
  • SiteGround GoGeek Review
  • SiteGround Cloud Hosting Review
  • SiteGround Dedicated Server Review
  • SiteGround eCommerce Hosting Review
  • SiteGround Vs. Bluehost WordPress
  • How To Configure The WP Rocket Settings
  • How To Configure The W3 Total Cache Plugin
  • How To Configure The WP Fastest Cache Settings
  • How To Make Your WordPress Site Load Faster

If you want to improve your keyword research skills so you can identify long-tail, not-too-competitive SiteGround and hosting-related keywords, see my Yoast focus keywords guide.

 

10. Annual Affiliate Surveys

SiteGround takes annual surveys of their affiliate program to make sure affiliates are happy.

SiteGround-2016-Affiliate-Survey

Here are the top reasons people joined SiteGround’s affiliate program…

reasons-to-join-siteground-affiliate-program

And here’s how SiteGround improved the program (in 2015) based on feedback from other SiteGround affiliates. Some things they did were add an affiliate link customizer, campaign tracking, detailed commission reports, promo guide, and other improvements. SiteGround is a people company and actually cares about their customers, affiliates, and employees. You can count on them to continuously improve their hosting service AND affiliate marketing program.

2015-siteground-affiliate-assessment

 

11. Affiliate FAQs

Still have questions? Check SiteGround’s affiliate FAQs

siteground-affiliate-faq

 

12. Sign Up For SiteGround’s Affiliate Program

Here’s where you can become a SiteGround affiliate

siteground-affiliate-signup

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How do you increase sales as a SiteGround affiliate?

The main way to increase sales is to show facts (Facebook polls, migration results, GTmetrix reports). There are too many biased opinions out there and people know this. Driving SEO traffic and increasing conversions are both important for your sales.

✅ How much money do you get per sale?

SiteGround is a tier affiliate program offering anywhere from $50 - $150+ per sale depending on your sales volume. The more sales you get, the more they will offer.

✅ What other good hosting affiliate programs are there?

Cloudways is a great one especially since they're growing significantly and are very popular in Facebook Groups. Many people are moving from SiteGround to Cloudways.

✅ How do I track affiliate statistics?

SiteGround's affiliate dashboard shows you sales, conversions, and other statistics for affiliate links. The Thirsty Affiliates plugin also helps you cloak and track affiliate links.

✅ What keywords bring in the most sales?

I can tell you that SiteGround Review and other similar keywords are too competitive and won't bring you any sales because you will not rank for them. My best advice is to focus on keywords where you can provide people with a solution via hosting.

 

Questions About SiteGround’s Affiliate Program?

Leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to answer it. All I can say is I am SUPER glad I decided to promote them instead of WP Engine even though the commissions are initially lower, but long-term it looks like it’s starting to pay off. I’m honestly going to be relying on SiteGround’s affiliate program to make most of my living and still see huge potential in making more money.

See Also: 35+ WordPress Affiliate Marketing Programs (comprehensive list of affiliate programs for hosting, theme, SEO, speed optimization and more).

See Also: SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review (a full review of SiteGround’s WordPress hosting which can give you even more ideas on promoting them).

Cheers,
Tom

SiteGround GoGeek Review: Semi-Dedicated Hosting Is About 4x Faster Than StartUp With Priority Support & Other Extra Features

I migrated my website to SiteGround’s GoGeek hosting in February of 2015.

I started on Bluehost then eventually upgraded to GoGeek which is semi-dedicated hosting and roughly 4x faster than StartUp. That is the biggest difference between GoGeek and their other shared hosting plans – the amount of server resources you get which is the main factor when it comes to hosting and site speed. Your website will load faster with the higher plans.

You can see a StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek comparison chart on SiteGround’s features page which also shows you the extra server resources you get under the “we allocate the resources you need” section. But I will go over these in my SiteGround GoGeek review… with GoGeek you basically get more server resources, 1-click staging to create demo websites, 10GB more storage than GrowBig, and SiteGround will restore your website for you if needed.

Before paying for a higher plan because you want speed improvements, follow my guide on how I got 100% GTmetrix scores which will not only improve load times and scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom, but also reduce the resources needed on your hosting account, which can save you money.

If you have any questions or want to leave your own feedback of SiteGround’s GoGeek hosting, leave a comment below. But I do think it’s an awesome plan for those who want super faster hosting for $14.99/month, but don’t feel like paying $80/month for their cloud hosting.

SiteGround GoGeek

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround with my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. Each year I donate $3k to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they are a stellar WordPress host and your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Facebook groups + Twitter and you’ll find most people say the same.

Yes, I Have Used This Plan

You think I would write a review of a hosting plan I haven’t used just so I can make an affiliate commission? Nah, that ain’t me. I only write reviews of things I have actually used. Here’s the email SiteGround sent me after I upgraded from from their GrowBig to GoGeek plan…

siteground-gogeek-upgrade

SiteGround GoGeek is the same thing as their semi dedicated hosting:

SiteGround Semi Dedicated Hosting

Here’s what other people say:

SiteGround GoGeek Review

SiteGround GoGeek Is Good If…

  • You want more server resources (faster website)
  • You want to host multiple websites with priority support
  • You want higher limits on your storage, database, and email
  • You want SiteGround support to restore your site for you if needed
  • You want a pre-installed Git which allows you to create repositories
  • You want to use their PCI compliance to help prevent credit card fraud
  • You want other features that come with SiteGround plans listed below…
  • 30 daily backups, automatic updates, free domain, and hosting migration
  • Actual 99.99% uptimes with quick (priority) support that actually helps you
  • NGINX servers, SSD drives, 4 data centers, Cloudflare and other speed technology
  • Security protection from a team who constantly updates servers during new threats
  • You can pay $14.99/mo for awesome hosting, but don’t want to pay $80/mo for cloud

Semi-Dedicated Hosting = 4x Faster

If you look at SiteGround’s features page under “we allocate the resources you need” you’ll see that as you upgrade plans you also get about 2x the amount of server resources. GoGeek has the highest amount of server resources and is about 4x faster than lower shared hosting plans.

siteground-gogeek-resources

Here’s how many server resources you get with each plan (also listed on the features page):

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

SiteGround says this about GoGeek’s server resources…

Limited number of GoGeek users are hosted on each server. Thus we are able to provide up to 4x more server resources than on the lower shared hosting plans.

.4s Load Time – my site loads ridiculously fast on GoGeek (view Pingdom report).

2019-Pingdom-Report

Cloudflare CDN – don’t forget to activate Cloudflare in your cPanel which makes your site even faster. This comes with all SiteGround hosting plans, but definitely make sure you do this.

SiteGround Cloudflare Activation

Turn on aggressive caching, minify code, and Railgun for even faster load times.

SiteGround Cloudflare Settings

If you’re running WordPress and want your site loading as fast as possible, avoid using SiteGround’s caching plugin (SG CachePress) and use W3 Total Cache instead. It has better ratings and should make your WordPress site blazing fast especially if you use my popular W3 Total Cache guide which has over 200 comments. It shows you how to setup the different “performance” tabs on the left of your dashboard once W3TC is installed, plus Cloudflare and MaxCDN. It also has a pre-configured zip file you can upload to W3TC with the same settings I use. This is an AMAZING combination and can easily improve load times by multiple seconds.

siteground-sg-cachepress

Speed Optimization Tips (Outside Of Hosting)

  • Minimize WordPress plugins, Joomla extensions, etc
  • Configure the W3 Total Cache plugin with Cloudflare/MaxCDN
  • Use a lightweight theme, like a Genesis theme from StudioPress
  • Run your site through GTmetrix to see unoptimized images on the page
  • Resize large images (GTmetrix will tell you the correction dimensions)
  • Specify image dimensions in the HTML or CSS (GTmetrix will also tell you)
  • Use Imagify to losslessly compress all images on your website in bulk
  • Run the P3 Plugin to diagnose large plugins, replace them with lightweight plugins

WP Rocket and WP Fastest cache are also good, and I wrote tutorials for those too.

Let’s Encrypt + Wildcard SSL With PCI Compliance

If you need eCommerce hosting, GoGeek comes with features StartUp and GrowBig don’t have including a free Let’s Encrypt SSL, Wildcard SSL (for use on subdomains), and PCI compliance for safer credit card processing. SiteGround supports most major shopping carts.

siteground-ecommerce-features

SG-Git For WordPress Repo Creation + Pre-Installed Git – creates a Git repository of your WordPress installation, which you can edit on local branches. Deploy updates and show differences between your local source code and your production or staging site. Pretty geeky.

StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek Comparison Chart

A full comparison of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans can be found on the features page:

SiteGround-GoGeek-Plan-Features

SiteGround Features:

  • Backups
  • Automatic updates
  • Free domain + email
  • Free Cloudflare CDN
  • Free hosting migration
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL
  • Security + spam prevention
  • SSD (solid state drives) for speed
  • Servers on 3 continents for speed
  • NGINX servers, HTTP/2, PHP7, HHVM

GoGeek Features:

Priority Support: Tickets Usually Answered Within 10 Minutes

SiteGround’s GrowBig and GoGeek plan come with priority support where tickets are usually answered within 10 minutes, or I can call SiteGround and speak with them instantly. I’ve only had 1 issue and they resolved it immediately. Their team actually logged into my WordPress site and helped me configure the Wordfence Security Plugin to block spammy bots crawling my site. Their support knows more than just hosting – they’re incredibly knowledgeable with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, themes, plugins, and other components of running a website.

SiteGround-Support-Conversation

Tickets are answered super fast.

siteground-tickets

GoGeek Reviews From More SiteGround Customers

SiteGround = #1 Host In Multiple Facebook Polls

At $14.99/month GoGeek is cheap compared to their cloud hosting ($80/month) and dedicated servers ($229/month). It’s the perfect balance if you want a super fast website but don’t want to pay an arm and leg for hosting. It should be perfectly capable of running a high traffic website or multiple smaller sites without you having to worry about resources getting consumed and websites getting shut down (a common problem with other cheaper plans).

Fast hosting is the #1 thing WordPress recommends in their optimization guide so while you can setup caching, optimize images, etc. You still have to rely on your hosting to provide enough server resources to make your site load fast. And that’s where GoGeek comes into play. I contribute my .4s load times partially to SiteGround’s GoGeek hosting, but keep in mind there are other ways to make your website load fast. If you’re running WordPress you can find additional tips in my tutorial: Why Is WordPress So Slow And How To Get .4s Load Times.

I hope my SiteGround GoGeek review helped you choose a plan… it’s definitely worth the extra few bucks a month if you want a fast website. And remember, SiteGround will migrate your hosting for free so getting started is as easy as buying a plan and sending your logins.

OMM-On-SiteGround

2019 Hosting Poll

View Poll

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

View SiteGround GoGeek

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What is the difference between SiteGround GrowBig and GoGeek?

SiteGround GrowBig comes with less storage, server resources, and it doesn't come with GIT or priority support. GoGeek comes with all those features.

✅ Which SiteGround plan is best?

The best SiteGround plan depends on your budget, but GrowBig is their most popular plan since it's only $2/month more than StartUp and comes with lots of extra features.

✅ What is semi-dedicated hosting?

Semi-dedicated hosting is a balance between shared and dedicated hosting. Since you're sharing servers with less people than you would with shared hosting, more resources will be allocated to your website, making it load faster.

✅ Is GoGeek worth $35/month?

GoGeek is probably not worth $35/month after your promotional price expires. At that price, you can get a faster cloud server from a different provider. SiteGround is more for smaller to medium websites for the 1-year promotional period.

✅ Is priority support worth upgrading to GoGeek?

No. SiteGround's regular support is still extremely fast and helpful. Priority support is even faster, but it doesn't make a big difference unless you are constantly using support.

✅ How many visitors can GoGeek handle?

SiteGround recommends ~ 100,000 monthly visitors for their GoGeek plan, but this is an estimated number. It depends on your plugins, traffic, concurrent visitors, and how much CPU your website is using. If you're running resource-hungry plugins or WooCommerce, you will need a higher plan even without considering monthly visits.

 

Check Out My Other SiteGround Reviews

SiteGround GrowBig Review: More Server Resources Than StartUp & Comes With Staging, Advanced Caching, Unlimited Hosted Sites

Deciding between SiteGroud StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek?

SiteGround’s GrowBig plan is perfect for hosting multiple websites, one-click staging, and getting more server resources (the main speed factor in web hosting) compared to StartUp.

It actually has the best value considering you get all this for just $2 more per month. Not to mention you get an extra 10GB of storage, a backup and restore tool, and advanced caching (all 3 levels) if you plan on using SiteGround’s SuperCacher for WordPress and Joomla. I will go over each plan (plus my own experience hosting with them) in my SiteGround GrowBig review.

If you want a spoiler…

Yes, I definitely recommend SiteGround’s GrowBig plan. I’ve had multiple websites hosted on it and they all loaded in under 1 second in Pingdom with 100% uptimes in Uptime Robot. Of course, I’m also a nerd about speed optimization. I upgraded to GoGeek then eventually cloud since, but only because I rely on my website to make a living and it’s very important to me. See this StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek comparison chart to see what’s included with each plan.

Before paying for a higher plan because you want speed improvements, follow my guide on how I got 100% GTmetrix scores which will not only improve load times and scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom, but also reduce the resources needed on your hosting account, which can save you some money.

SiteGround GrowBig

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround with my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. Each year I donate $3k to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they are a stellar WordPress host and your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Facebook groups + Twitter and you’ll find most people say the same.

 

Yes, I Use SiteGround

I’ve been with SiteGround for over 2 years and have used their GrowBig, GoGeek, and am currently on their cloud hosting plan. The only reason I upgraded to GoGeek and Cloud is because I wanted my site to load faster (you get more server resources with higher plans).

OMM-On-SiteGround

Of course I was with a few bad hosts before SiteGround (Godaddy and Bluehost) but have been quite happy since the migration. I wouldn’t write a review of GrowBig if I hadn’t used it – some people just do a bunch of research but I ONLY write reviews of hosting plans I have used (and research). I also blog about site speed, so knowing the best host is super important for me, clients, and people who read my guides. I don’t want to steer them in the wrong direction.

Here’s my site which loads in under 1s (view my Pingdom report)…

2019-Pingdom-Report

 

StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek

This is the same chart shown on SiteGround’s features page

The rest of my GrowBig review goes over these features but also includes tips (outside of hosting) on making your site load faster. Especially if you run WordPress, I have tips for you.

 

GrowBig Is Good If…

  • You want to host multiple websites
  • You want more server resources (faster website)
  • You want 30 daily backups instead of the 1 you get with StartUp
  • You want 20GB of storage rather than the 10GB that comes with StartUp
  • You want your email storage to be 2000MB instead of 1000MB with StartUp
  • You want to use SiteGround’s 1-click backup and restore tool to make this easier
  • You want advanced caching, even though using W3 Total Cache does a better job
  • You want a free wildcard SSL for 1 year (secures your eCommere site’s subdomains)
  • Your website has less than 25,000 visits/month and does not require a ton of resources

 

You May Want GoGeek If…

  • You want semi-dedicated hosting with even more server resources
  • You want staging so you can test designs/code on a demo (staging) site
  • You want priority support with tickets addressed in less than 10 minutes
  • You want SiteGround to provide a free backup/restore service when needed
  • You want PCI compliance for your eCommerce site with prevents credit card fraud

 

Host Unlimited Websites

You can host unlimited websites on your GrowBig account, just make sure you don’t exceed CPU limits or your website could get temporarily shut down (this can happen with any host). This shouldn’t be a problem for most websites but I listed some tips below to help prevent it.

SiteGround-CPU-Limits

This actually did happen to me at one point, but I was able to quickly resolve it with the help of SiteGround’s awesome support team who helped me better configure my Wordfence plugin.

siteground-cpu-overages

Tips On Avoiding CPU Overages

 

More Server Resources Than StartUp

This means you’re sharing servers with LESS websites and more resources are dedicated to hosting YOURS. GrowBig comes with about 2x more server resources than StartUp. You can see this on SiteGround’s features page under “we allocate the resources you need” then hover over the “server” tab. As you upgrade plans, you get 2x simultaneous server process, 2x CPU usage, 2x inodes, etc. This is a huge factor when it comes to hosting speed. GoGeek has even more, but it’s a larger price jump whereas GrowBig is only $2/month more than StartUp…

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

See the features page to see how many server resources you get with each plan…

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

 

Create Demo Websites With 1-Click Staging

GoGeek comes with one-click staging which allows you to clone your website (in Joomla or WordPress) and use it to test designs, plugins, or any changes on the staging site before actually launching to your real site. This is especially nice for testing changes that are risky.

siteground-staging

 

Backup/Restore Service By SiteGround Support

SiteGround GoGeek comes with 30 daily backups, a free backup & restoration tool, and the ability to request SiteGround’s support team to restore a backup if you ever need it. If you’re not comfortable with restoring your website to an earlier version, but you want a reliable team who can just in case something happens, you now have that luxury with the GoGeek plan.

 

eCommerce Features: Let’s Encrypt And Wildcard SSL

siteground-ecommerce-features

Free Let’s Encrypt SSL – all plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL you can find in the cPanel.

Wildcard SSL – GrowBig and GoGeek include a wildcard SSL for 1 year which secures your site and it’s subdomains while giving you a site seal to showcase on your website. After the 1st year it will cost $89/year. You can view SiteGround’s SSL plans if you would like to learn more.

Shopping Carts – SiteGround supports major shopping carts. You may also want to read about their merchant account solutions to learn about processing payments for eCommerce hosting.

PCI compliance – only included with the GoGeek plan and helps prevent credit fraud by unifying payments using 12 requirements.

 

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal Features

WordPress – WordPress install, automatic updates, and amazing WordPress support are all included with SiteGround StartUp. Their support team is extremely knowledgeable when it comes with WordPress and has helped me fixed issues with Wordfence and other plugins. I thought I was good with WordPress but SiteGround’s support continues to impress me. View SiteGround’s cPanel demo to see tools for WordPress, Joomla, speed and mail tools, etc.

siteground-wordpress-features

WordPress tools in the cPanel…

siteground-wordpress-tools

Joomla – 1-click Joomla installation, Joomla support, and other features with Joomla hosting.

siteground-joomla-features

Joomla tools in the cPanel…

siteground-joomla-cpanel-tools

Drupal – Drush, pre-installed Git, and SuperCache come with their Drupal hosting.

siteground-drupal-features

 

Optimizing For Speed: SiteGround Load Times

I was able to get my load time under 1 second In Pingdom, but I’m not the only one with fast load times on SiteGround. Their customers have the fastest load times out of many popular hosts. This is because SiteGround’s speed technology uses NGINX servers, solid state drives (SSDs), PHP7, HTTP/2 enabled servers, and a “stack” that is faster than any other host.

siteground-page-load-times

Activating Cloudflare in the SiteGround cPanel makes your site faster…

SiteGround Cloudflare Activation

Using aggressive caching and Railgun makes it even faster…

SiteGround Cloudflare Settings

If you’re running WordPress, I recommend configuring these W3 Total Cache plugin settings instead of their built-in SuperCacher. There are other better plugins and extensions you can use for caching with higher ratings, and you will likely get better results from. That tutorial I linked to (for WordPress) has been used by over 75,000 people and helped them get 100% page speed scores in GTmetrix. I would definitely check it out if you’re running WordPress.

siteground-sg-cachepress

Or if you like WP Rocket and WP Fastest Cache, I have tutorial for those plugins as well. Your cache plugin and hosting are the 2 biggest factors when it comes to WordPress site speed.

 

SiteGround = #1 Host In Multiple Facebook Polls

Here’s the Facebook polls of top WordPress hosts where SiteGround was rated #1. They were also #1 in numerous other Facebook polls (and you can click each image to see the full poll)…

2019 Hosting Poll

View Poll

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

View SiteGround GrowBig

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How much does SiteGround GrowBig cost?

SiteGround GrowBig costs $9.99/month for your promotional period (1-3 years) then $19.95/month after.

✅ What is the difference between GrowBig and GoGeek?

GrowBig has less storage, server resources, and doesn't come with priority support or GIT. While GoGeek does.

✅ Is GrowBig suitable for ~ 25,000 visits monthly?

GrowBig is usually suitable for ~ 25,000 visits monthly, but this is a general number. It depends on your plugins, traffic, and CPU consumption of your website.

✅ Can I host multiple websites on GrowBig?

Yes, you can host multiple websites on GrowBig. Just keep an eye on your CPU usage.

✅ How do I request a free migration from SiteGround?

To request a free migration from SiteGround, open a support ticket and you will see a website transfer option. Provide SiteGround with the details of your old hosting, and they will take care of the migration.

 

Check Out My Other SiteGround Reviews

 

 

 

 

SiteGround StartUp Review – (They’re Rated The #1 Host In Numerous Facebook But StartUp Lacks Many Features In GrowBig)

SiteGround’s StartUp plan is only good for hosting 1 single low-traffic website. If you get decent traffic or are running any high CPU plugins, StartUp probably won’t have enough server resources and you could end up getting CPU overages. But if it’s a small site using lightweight plugins, and you don’t need the features that come with GrowBig/GoGeek, StartUp is easily the best hosting plan you can get for $6.99/month with the promo price.

Just know you can buy GrowBig for $2/month more and get way more stuff… about 2x as many server resources (number of servers is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide), staging, on-demand backups, and you can host unlimited websites on your account… instead of 1. You can see all this on their StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek chart. StartUp is good, but I would do GrowBig if you’re serious about your site – the speed alone is worth it.

Then there’s the GoGeek which is about 4x faster than most shared hosting plans. Smaller/starter websites should probably do GrowBig, websites with more visitors and higher CPU consumption should do GoGeek or cloud. My review will help you choose a plan, but also show you how to make the most out of their speed technology through PHP 7.3, Cloudflare, and SG Optimizer. I also have a guide on how I got 100% GTmetrix scores.

If this is a website(s) you care about and are expecting to make money from – do yourself a favor and pony up the extra $2/month. I currently pay SiteGround $80+/month for an upgraded version of their cloud hosting BUT… it’s an investment. This is primarily why my Pingdom report and GTmetrix report have near 100% scores on both with <1s load times.

Before paying for a higher plan because you want speed improvements, follow my guide on how I got 100% GTmetrix scores which will not only improve load times and scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom, but also reduce the resources needed on your hosting account, which can save you some money.

Why Choose SiteGround StartUp?

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround with my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. Each year I donate $3k to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they are a stellar WordPress host and your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Facebook groups + Twitter and you’ll find most people say the same.

 

SiteGround Facebook Polls

Join the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Groups to see what real, unbiased people are saying, since hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide.

SiteGround was rated the #1 host in 26 Facebook polls and got me amazing results in GTmetrix/Pingdom (click through my pages). Their speed technology is far superior than EIG, Godaddy, and most other hosts, and uses PHP 7.3, NGINX, SSDs, HTTP/2, Cloudflare, and SG Optimizer plugin for WordPress. This usually results in significant load time improvements.

2019 Hosting Poll

View Poll

 

StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek

You can see a full comparison chart on SiteGround’s features page

SiteGround-StartUp-Plan-Features

StartUp ($6.99/mo) – StartUp is good for hosting 1 low-traffic website that isn’t running high CPU plugins, but lacks server resources. All SiteGround plans come with tons of great features: email hosting, free Let’s Encrypt SSL, automatic daily backups, free WordPress + shopping cart install, 99.99% uptimes, and an easy-to-use cPanel. All plans include fast, core speed technology including NGINX, Cloudflare, SSDs, HTTP/2, PHP 7.3, SG Optimizer, and 4 data centers). SiteGround is one of the first hosts to implement new technology for speed and uptimes (eg. newer PHP versions), and you can check their Facebook page to stay updated. As with all plans, support is top notch. All plans include features for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal.

GrowBig ($9.99/mo) – host multiple websites with about 1.5x more server resources than StartUp and comes with staging (to test new plugins, designs, code) then launch it on your actual website with 1 click. This makes the extra $2/month completely worth it in my opinion. You also get on-demand backups so you can take one anytime you want, and a free website transfer. It comes with more storage, database resources, and email features. You get advanced caching with all 3 levels (static, dynamic, memcached) with the SG Optimizer plugin.

GoGeek ($14.99/mo)semi-dedicated hosting comes with about 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting plans. And yes, this makes a big improvement in speed and time to first byte. GoGeek has more storage, email, and database limits. Comes with PCI compliance to prevent credit card fraud on eCommerce sites and Git for repo creation. Priority support will answer your questions lightning fast. I usually get mine answered thoroughly in <10 minutes.

eCommerce Features – all SiteGround plans come with eCommerce features like a free Let’s Encrypt SSL. PCI compliance with GoGeek, and if you don’t feel comfortable installing a shopping cart on your won, SiteGround’s team offers to do this with the purchase of any plan.

SiteGround-eCommerce-Features

Automatic Updates – have SiteGround make automatic updates in your cPanel to WordPress core, plugins, Joomla core, extensions, etc. I have this enabled and haven’t had any problems.

SiteGround WordPress Autoupdates

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal Features – SiteGround has features for each one in their cPanel: free install, transfer, autoupdates, and advanced security are just a few features for each CMS. When SiteGround says they have advanced security, their team is literally on their game.

WordPress features…

SiteGround-WordPress-Features

WordPress tools in cPanel…

siteground-wordpress-tools

Joomla features…

SiteGround-Joomla-Features

Joomla tools in cPanel…

siteground-joomla-cpanel-tools

Drupal features…

siteground-drupal-hosting

 

StartUp Has Less Server Resources Than GrowBig/GoGeek

If you have a slow website, go to features page and scroll down to ‘We Allocate The Resources You Need’ near bottom of the page. You’ll see that GrowBig and GoGeek are much faster than StartUp since you get more server resources. This is the MAIN difference between plans…

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

Here’s how many server resources come with each plan…

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

 

SiteGround StartUp Is Good If…

  • You only need to host 1 website
  • You don’t require priority support
  • You don’t need a lot of server resources/plugins
  • You need less than 10GB of web storage
  • You have has less than 10,000 visits/month
  • You don’t have lots of (high resource) plugins
  • You’re having technical issues with your current host
  • You want a free Let’s Encrypt SSL (but don’t need a premium SSL)
  • You want automatic updates, backups, free domain, and email features
  • You want SiteGround’s core speed technology and Cloudflare’s free CDN
  • You want secure hosting with actual 99.99% uptimes and spam prevention
  • You want a hosting company with a support team that will actually help you
  • You’re running a hobby website, but for serious websites go with GrowBig or GoGeek

 

Upgrade To GrowBig/GoGeek If…

  • You want a free website transfer
  • You want more server resources for faster load times
  • You have multiples websites and need 20GB+ of web storage
  • You want priority support to get tickets answered immediately
  • You use a lot of WordPress plugins (or high resource plugins)
  • You want to create staging websites (GoGeek is needed for this)
  • You want Pre-installed Git or SG-Git for WordPress repo creation
  • You need a premium wildcard SSL or PCI compliance for an eCommerce site
  • You want advanced caching, even though plugins like WP Rocket are better
  • You run a business website and rely (or are planning to rely) on it to making a living

 

<1s Load Times + 100% Uptimes

Yes, I actually use SiteGround…

OMM-On-SiteGround

And my site loads in <1s second (view Pingdom report)…

2019-Pingdom-Report

Here’s my GTmetrix report

2019-GTmetrix-Report

It also has 100% uptimes in Uptime Robot

uptime-robot

I was originally with Godaddy and Bluehost but was disappointed in both. My website didn’t load fast and I was getting internal server errors all the time. Since migrating to SiteGround I could see a noticeable difference in my Pingdom scores, but also by clicking through my pages (give it a try)! I never have to worry about my website getting “randomly” shut down anymore.

I have used SiteGround StartUp, GrowBig, GoGeek, and am currently on their cloud hosting. My site still loaded in 1s on StartUp but I rely on it to make a living (and needed better performance) so I upgraded. I wouldn’t write my SiteGround StartUp review if I didn’t use it.

 

Tips For Improving Speed On SiteGround

Upgrade To PHP 7.3+ – higher PHP versions make your site faster. If you’re just moving to SiteGround, PHP 7+ should be activated by default. But SiteGround is great at releasing newer versions. When they do, be sure to test them in the PHP section of your SiteGround cPanel.

PHP Speed

PHP-Version-Manager

PHP-Upgrade

Cloudflare – in your SiteGround cPanel, activate Cloudflare with 1 click. Cloudflare is a free CDN with 200+ data centers and will help offload resources to their data centers, putting less stress on your own server. A CDN is also recommended in the WordPress optimization guide.

Cloudflare Data Centers

SiteGround Cloudflare Activation

SG Optimizer – SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin (for WordPress) uses server-side caching which is faster than the file-based caching used with most cache plugins. It also has many features outside of caching, like minification, lazy loading, etc. I personally use SiteGround for caching, then WP Rocket for everything else (see my tutorial), which was rated the #1 cache plugin in many Facebook polls. Your cache plugin has a huge impact on your load times and CPU consumption – I recommend trying SG Optimizer, WP Rocket, or Swift, but only use 1.

Optimize Imagesimages can be optimized in 20 ways, but the most common are these 3 items in GTmetrix. Serve scaled images means resizing large images to be smaller. Specify image dimensions means adding a width/height to the image’s HTML. Optimize images means losslessly compressing images using a plugin like Imagify, Smush, or ShortPixel (all are good).

Blackhole for Bad Bots Plugin – a common issue is spam bots hitting your site, which is a waste of server resources. The Blackhole for Bad Bots Plugin blocks them automatically which will save resources for real visitors. There are no settings – just install it and you’re good.

Optimize Plugins – this means deleting unused plugins, disabling unnecessary plugin settings that cause ongoing resource consumption (eg. statistics, backups, etc), avoid high CPU plugins, and only using lightweight plugins. I also recommend installing the Heartbeat Control plugin.

SiteGround Load Times
My WordPress site loads in <1s on SiteGround, but I’m not the only one. Here’s a chart comparing the average load time of websites running on some of the most popular hosts…

siteground-page-load-times

Core Speed: NGINX, SSD, HTTP/2 Enabled Services
SiteGround’s core speed technology is great no matter what hosting plan you choose. All shared plans include SSD (solid state drives) which provide 1000x higher input/output operations compared to regular drives, plus you get NGINX servers which are preferred for faster server speed. HTTP/2, PHP7, and HHVM can also be activated in SiteGround’s cPanel.

 

SiteGround’s Support Actually Helps You

You won’t be waiting 30 minutes for someone to help you (like Bluehost). SiteGround’s support usually responds to tickets in about 10 minutes with priority support. But even if you don’t have priority support they are SUPER helpful and knowledgeable about WordPress plugins, Joomla extensions, etc. For the few times I’ve had to contact SiteGround they always took the time to dig into my website and actually solve the issue. It makes a huge difference.

I usually get a response within a few minutes of submitting a ticket…

SiteGround-Support-Conversation

Chat support can usually solve your issue within 5 minutes…

siteground-chat

Tickets are usually answered within 8 minutes…

siteground-tickets

SiteGround has awesome feedback about their support…

SiteGround-Customer-Reviews

 

cPanel Demo

Here you can take SiteGround’s cPanel demo for a test drive. They have a WordPress installer, autoupdates, staging, Cloudflare, mail options, and plenty of other features that make your website run smooth and load fast. This includes tools for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal…

siteground-cpanel

 

Praise On Twitter From Current SiteGround Customers

SiteGround-Support-Reviews

 

Conclusion: StartUp Is Decent But I Would Do GrowBig

SiteGround’s StartUp plan is good for “hobby” websites but if you’re running a business website that you rely on to make a living, I would definitely go with GrowBig or GoGeek.

GrowBig is $2/month more and will make your site load faster, plus you get priority support and other features. And if you want an even faster website with semi-dedicated hosting, GoGeek is even better. Regardless, if you’re currently using one of the terrible hosts in that Facebook poll, you will be happy you migrated. I’m on their cloud servers but that is $80/month ONLY because I’m obsessed with website speed (and rely on my website to make a living). Unless you really need this, one of their shared hosting plans will be fine. I hope you found my SiteGround StartUp review helpful and if you have any questions, leave a comment.

People usually migrate because their speed technology can improve load times by multiple seconds. You’ve seen my GTmetrix and Pingdom report, here’s what other people are saying:

SiteGround-Host-Migration

EIG-To-SiteGround

SiteGround-Migration

Godaddy-To-SiteGround

SiteGround-Backend

Best-Host-Conversation

Looking-for-a-new-host-provider-Facebook

View SiteGround StartUp / GrowBig

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🚀 What are the main differences between StartUp vs GrowBig or GoGeek?

Higher plans include more server resources which make your site load faster. GrowBig+ can also host multiple websites and has extra features like staging, more storage, advanced caching, and on-demand backups. Check their Features page for a side-by-side comparison of each plan.

🚀 Will my website be OK on the StartUp plan?

StartUp is usually only good for new websites with low traffic which aren't running any resource-hungry plugins. I wouldn't recommend it for medium to high traffic sites, WooCommerce sites, or those running lots of resource-hungry plugins. For these sites, I would use GrowBig or GoGeek instead otherwise you will run into CPU overage issues.

🚀 What does SiteGround mean by less than 10,000 visits/month?

It's a rough estimate of how many monthly visitors the StartUp plan can handle, however this is usually not accurate. This depends on how many resources your site consumes, which plugins you're running, and whether your website is optimized for speed.

🚀 How should I configure the SG Optimizer plugin?

Run the latest PHP version, or choose the Managed PHP Version option in the Environment Settings. Next, test every setting in the Environment and Frontend Optimization tab and keep them enabled if they don't mess up your site. Optimizing images is important, but there's more to this than what's in SG Optimizer's settings (you also want to serve scaled images). Don't forget to enable Cloudflare's CDN in SiteGround.

🚀 What's the best way to migrate to SiteGround?

GrowBig and GoGeek come with a free migration, otherwise using SiteGround's Migrator plugin to transfer everything yourself.

 

Check Out My Other SiteGround Reviews

 

 

 

 

How To Fix Bluehost’s Slow WordPress Hosting (Using GTmetrix, PHP 7.3, Cloudflare’s CDN, Cache Plugins, And Optimizing Images)

Have a slow WordPress site on Bluehost?

The easiest way to fix a slow WordPress site on Bluehost is by upgrading to PHP 7.3, removing slow plugins, using a solid cache plugin, Cloudflare’s CDN, and optimizing images to load faster.

There’s an easy way to tell if Bluehost is the problem: run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time is in your report (Google recommends <200ms). If you have a high server response time or TTFB in GTmetrix, then your Bluehost server is slow.

A warning about Bluehost: Bluehost is not fast and mainly promoted by bloggers who want affiliate commissions. I set up an identical Astra website on blhstserver.com and cwdoserver.com. One is hosted on Bluehost, one is hosted on Cloudways DigitalOcean who was rated the #1 host in Facebook polls, conversations, and migration results. Visit the websites and click through their pages – you will see the difference in speed.

Benchmark your scores + load times in GTmetrix and post them in the comments! If you need help, leave your GTmetrix report in the comments and I’ll provide you with some suggestions.

How To Fix A Slow WordPress Site On Bluehost

  1. Check Your Website’s Server Response Time
  2. Upgrade To PHP 7.3 In Bluehost’s cPanel
  3. Activate Cloudflare’s CDN
  4. Configure A Solid Cache Plugin
  5. Make Images Load Faster
  6. Remove Slow Loading Plugins
  7. Remove Junk From Your WordPress Database
  8. Optimize Google Fonts
  9. Optimize Third Party Scripts
  10. Remove Bloat From WordPress
  11. Retest Your GTmetrix Scores
  12. Consider Moving To Cloudways

When you’re done, hopefully your GTmetrix report looks more like this:

1s-2020-GTmetrix-Report

This video should also help (timestamps are in the video description):

 

1. Check Your Website’s Server Response Time

Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time is in your report. If yes, this means your server (on Bluehost) is slow. A high number of websites on Bluehost have a slow server especially since Google recommends it should be under 200ms.

The only way to fix this is by lowering the amount of CPU consumed by your website (eg. deleting high resource plugins in GTmetrix’s Waterfall tab). Or upgrade your hosting to include more server resources (either with Bluehost or someone else) – but this is the #1 speed factor.

Reduce Server Response Time

Indicators Bluehost Is Slow

  • High server response time in PageSpeed Insights (over 200ms)
  • High TTFB (time to first byte) in GTmetrix Timings tab (over 200ms)
  • High PageSpeed + YSlow scores in GTmetrix, but load time is still slow
  • 503 service unavailable errors; this means the server is being overloaded

You may also want to read Bluehost’s resource usage section on their user agreement page. It says “Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse effect on server performance.” This means if your site is consuming lots of resources (from more traffic, slow plugins, etc), they throttle your bandwidth and slow down your site. Bluehost customers constantly complain about slow servers on Twitter and Bluehost forums.

Join Facebook Groups and do your research.

Bluehost-Managed-WordPress-Hosting

 

2. Upgrade To PHP 7.3 In Bluehost’s cPanel

Most WordPress users are running outdated PHP versions when upgrading can easily make your site 2-3x faster. Bluehost will not upgrade you automatically (because they don’t want to risk breaking your site) so you need to do this yourself as Bluehost releases new PHP versions.

How To Update PHP Version On Bluehost

  • Login to your Bluehost cPanel
  • Select the PHP Config option
  • Select PHP 7.3 and save changes

Bluehost PHP 7.3 1

 

3. Activate Cloudflare’s CDN

To add Cloudflare, login to Bluehost and go to Domains → Cloudflare → Activate.

Bluehost-Cloudflare

Bluehost Cloudflare

This activates Cloudflare’s CDN (content delivery network) which hosts your website on 200+ data centers around the world, reducing the distance between your server and visitors. It also helps offload resources to their data centers (lightening the load on your server) while improving security. Registering your site on the actual Cloudflare website, logging into your Cloudflare dashboard, and configuring the speed tab and page rules can further improve speed.

 

4. Configure A Solid Cache Plugin

WP Rocket was the #1 rated cache plugin, costs $49 and is what I use on my site. WP Fastest Cache was the top rated free cache plugin and is super easy to set up. Both can shave multiple seconds off your load time and I wrote tutorials for both, plus W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Only use 1 caching plugin on your site – I recommend WP Rocket or WP Fastest Cache.

WP Rocket is better because it has more speed optimization features than other cache plugins, otherwise you would need to install the following plugins to get these (different cache plugins have different features, so only install them if your cache plugin doesn’t have a built-in feature).

  • Database cleanup (built-in to WP Rocket, or use WP-Optimize)
  • Heartbeat control (built-in to WP Rocket, or use Heartbeat Control)
  • Lazy load images/videos (built-in to WP Rocket, or use WP YouTube Lyte)
  • Host Google Analytics locally (built-in to WP Rocket, or use CAOS For Analytics)
  • Host Google Fonts locally (built-in to WP Rocket, or use CAOS For Fonts, or SHGF)
  • Integration with Cloudflare + other CDNs (built-in to WP Rocket, or use CDN Enabler)

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

A glimpse of the WP Rocket settings (file optimization are the most important settings):

WP-Rocket-File-Optimization-Settings

Here’s a glimpse of the WP Fastest Cache settings:

WP-Fastest-Cache-Settings

 

5. Make Images Load Faster

There are a few primary ways to optimize your images; some are found in GTmetrix, others are found in Google PageSpeed Insights. All of them will contribute to better scores and load times.

Serve Scaled Images – means images are too large and need to be resized. When expanded, GTmetrix tells you which images have errors and their correct dimensions. Your logo, sliders, blog, and any image on your website usually calls for specific dimensions which you should be resizing them too. Start with images that appear on multiple pages (eg. logo + sidebar images). It’s a good idea to create a cheat sheet of your image dimensions so you can resize images accordingly (content body width, widget width, sliders, featured images, carousel images, etc). This way you or your designer can crop/resize images before uploading them to WordPress.

image-optimization

serve-scaled-images

Specify Image Dimensions – means you need to specify a width and height in the image’s HTML or CSS. The WordPress visual editor should take care of this automatically, however you usually need to do this manually with images that are hand-coded in HTML or CSS. Expand the “specify image dimensions” item in your GTmetrix PageSpeed report and they tell you the width/height.

specify-image-dimensions

Specifying Image Dimensions In HTML:
<img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/example-image.jpg” alt=”Example Image” width=”360″ height=”180″ />

Specifying Image Dimensions In CSS:
logo width: 180px (retina: 360px;)
logo height: 110px max (retina: 220px;)

Losslessly Compress Images – this is the “optimize images” item in GTmetrix. It means you need to compress images using a plugin like ShortPixel (what I use), Imagify, or Smush. Set your compression level in the plugin settings and test a few images before bulk optimizing them, since you may see a slight reduction in quality. Most are free until you reach the monthly quota.

Imagify-Optimize-Images-On-Upload

Lazy Load Images – can be done using WP Rocket and most image optimization plugins. This delays the loading of images until users scroll down the page and visibly see images. Can also be done for videos, including replacing YouTube iframes with preview images (seen in WP Rocket).

Serve Images In Next-Gen Format – this is an item in PageSpeed Insights. It means you need to use image formats like WebP instead of JPEG and PNG. Most image optimization plugins will convert images to WebP format for you, or if you’re using SVGs, use the SVG Support plugin.

 

6. Remove Slow Loading PLugins

Find Your Slowest Plugins – look through your GTmetrix report (especially the Waterfall tab) to find which plugins are causing issues with your load times. Delete or replace them if possible.

Slow WordPress Plugin

Avoid Slow Plugins – avoid these 65+ infamously slow plugins.

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Essential Grid
  15. View Full List Of 65 Slow Plugins

Minimize Plugins – deactivate and delete any plugins you don’t absolutely need.

Consolidate Plugins – use 1 plugin for multiple features, for example, use WP Rocket for nearly all speed optimizations instead of individual plugins like WP-Optimize or Heartbeat Control.

Selectively Disable Plugins From Specific Pages – use Perfmatters or Asset CleanUp to disable plugins from running on specific pages/posts. If you only use your contact form plugin on the contact page, disable everywhere else. Or if you have social sharing buttons on your blog, disable them on pages. Seeing which scripts/plugins are loading on your pages is an eye opener.

perfmatters-script-manager

 

7. Remove Junk From Your WordPress Database

If you’re using WP Rocket for your cache plugin, you can skip this step since there’s an option to do this in the WP Rocket “database” settings. Otherwise WP-Optimize does the same thing… it cleans your database like your spam and trash folder, pingbacks, trackbacks, and potentially thousands of post revisions. Schedule a database cleanup every 2 weeks or so to keep it clean.

WP-Optimize Clean Database

WP-Optimize lets you delete tables left behind by old plugins which aren’t installed anymore.

WP-Optimize-Tables

 

8. Optimize Google Fonts

See font-related errors in your GTmetrix report?

Try installing and configuring the OMGF plugin. It automatically downloads your fonts and creates a stylesheet for them, so that they’re included in your site’s header which makes them easier to optimize. You can also try hosting fonts locally yourself. Elementor Pro also has custom font options for hosting them locally. Especially if you’re using an external font like Google Fonts or Font Awesome, make sure you are minimal with the number of fonts/weights.

Google-Fonts-GTmetrix

OMGF will automatically create the stylesheet for you:

OMGF-Generate-Stylesheet

 

9. Optimize Third Party Scripts

Third Party Scripts are anything “embedded” on your website from an external website.

This is anything from embedded videos to Google Fonts, Analytics, AdSense, Tag Manager, Maps, or even social sharing buttons on your blog. You can usually find these in the “reduce DNS lookups” section of your GTmetrix report. These all generate extra requests from outside websites and will slow down yours. While some can be optimized, others cannot.

  • Embedded Videos – Lazy load videos and replace the YouTube iframe with a preview images (in WP Rocket) or use the WP YouTube Lyte plugin by the Autoptimize team.
  • Embedded Social Media Posts – try taking a picture of the post and using that instead.
  • Google Analytics – try hosting your Google Analytics tracking code locally. This should fix the “leverage browser caching” issue for Google Analytics in your GTmetrix report, but don’t worry if you can’t fix this since it shouldn’t even impact your actual load times.
  • Google AdSense – a GTmetrix killer, I highly recommend just doing affiliate marketing.
  • Google Maps – only use a Google Map on the contact or pages optimized for local SEO.
  • Google Tag Manager – usually only benefits load times for large, unoptimized websites.

WordPress External Scripts

 

10. Remove Bloat From WordPress

By default, WordPress consumes resources with autosaves, post revisions, pingbacks, trackbacks, heartbeat API, jQuery migrate, and many other things you probably don’t need.

I use the Perfmatters plugin by Kinsta to disable these (I was using WP Disable but it has bad reviews and can cause errors on your site). Perfmatters is the only plugin that not only lets you disable the crap, but also has a script manager for selectively disabling plugins (the previous step) as well as hosting Google Analytics locally. It’s what I personally use on my own website.

perfmatters-settings

 

11. Retest Your GTmetrix Scores

Rerun your site through GTmetrix and you should see a significant improvement in scores/load time. If not, this probably means you’re on Bluehost’s cheapest $6.99/month plan and you’re getting what you pay for. Any serious website should not be on such a cheap plan especially if it’s a business website and you rely on it to make a living. Let me know your new page load time in the comments! Or send me your GTmetrix + Pingdom report and I’ll send a few suggestions.

Other Optimizations:

  • Use A Lightweight theme and use fast page builder (Oxygen)
  • For WooCommerce, optimize scripts, styles, and cart fragments in Perfmatters
  • Minimize redirects by using the correct HTTP(S) and WWW version of your site

1s-2020-GTmetrix-Report

 

12. Consider Moving To Cloudways

Switching from Bluehost to DigitalOcean on Cloudways is night and day.

I signed up for 15+ hosting accounts to test their speed. All domains in this video are live, which means you can visit them in real-time and click through their pages, use GTmetrix, etc.

Each website is identical except for it’s hosting (same Astra Starter Site, SSL, no caching, no CDN, and the same 6 plugins). I also used WP Hosting Performance Check and KeyCDN to measure the most popular options. The results align with what most people are saying in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group which I recommend joining to get real, unbiased opinions.

I moved from SiteGround to DigitalOcean on Cloudways and the results speak for themselves. I’m also paying 1/2 of what I was. Cloudways also does free migrations which made it very easy.

SiteGround-vs-Cloudways

#1. DigitalOcean On Cloudwayscwdoserver.com was the fastest, is who I use, and are very popular in Facebook Groups (especially as an alternative to SiteGround). DigitalOcean is also the only host mentioned in the WordPress Optimization Guide. Cloudways was #1 in most recent Facebook polls and people who migrate usually see significant load time improvements. They use PHP 7.4, Maria DB 10.3, Memcached, Varnish, Nginx, and Redis. Pricing starts at $10/month with no strict CPU limits or renewal prices like on other hosts. The community manager is very helpful and they do free migrations. You can get 25% off your first 2 months with the promo code OMM25.

#2. Kinstaknstaserver.com had similar speeds as DigitalOcean on Cloudways only they are more expensive starting at $30/month. Known for being capable of handling many concurrent visitors. People consistently recommend Kinsta in Facebook Groups, Twitter, and in migration results. Even though they’re not always #1 in Facebook polls (likely because not everyone can pay $30+/month), they are great for high traffic sites.

#3. WPX Hostingwpxserver.com is also very quick, but Cloudways and Kinsta are slightly faster. Starts at $20-$25/month and is who Matthew Woodward recommends.

#4. A2 Hostingatwoserver.com usually outperformed other shared hosting but is not nearly as fast as cloud hosting (just cheaper). I use A2 for my girlfriend’s restaurant website and it’s decently fast with good uptimes. A2 (and all shared hosting) is only sufficient for smaller websites with low traffic/plugins. Otherwise, use cloud hosting.

#5. SiteGround – has gone downhill with many complaints about their renewal prices, price hikes, CPU limits, and support isn’t as good as it used to be. SiteGround shifted to Google Cloud hosting (instead of shared) which is supposed to be faster, but load times and TTFB on stgrndserver.com were usually above 1s. Their SG Optimizer plugin should help, but I still wouldn’t use them. You’re better off on Cloudways DigitalOcean.

Affiliate Disclaimer – I would seriously appreciate you using my affiliate links which means I earn a commission at no expense to you. This would help me make GoFundMe donations ($6,000 so far)! I try to base my recommendations on tests, Facebook polls, and conversations I see on a daily basis in the 30+ WP Facebook Groups I’m active on.

I would personally skip shared hosting since cloud hosting is exponentially faster. This is especially true if you’re on GoDaddy or EIG brands (eg. Bluehost and HostGator) and for resource-intensive websites running WooCommerce, WPML, page builders, or slow plugins.

There are plenty of migration results if you check Twitter and Facebook Groups. Avoid the bloggers promoting Bluehost and WP Engine because they have the highest commissions and do your research. Hosting is the #1 factor in WordPress’ optimization guide – very important!

Cloudways Response Times

Godaddy to DigitalOcean Migration

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

2017-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

2018 Hosting Recommendations

Favorite Hosting For Elementor

Untitled

Vultr Migration

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

2016-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

July 2019 Hosting Recommendation

Elementor Hosting Recommendations

Cloudways Facebook Review

 

14. Frequently Asked Questions

🔵 Is Bluehost the problem?

If you have a high server response time in Google PageSpeed Insights, Bluehost may be the problem. Bluehost is owned by EIG who is infamous for overcrowding their servers.

🔵 What can I do to improve speed on Bluehost?

Upgrade to PHP 7.3 in your Bluehost cPanel, activate Cloudflare's CDN, use a good cache plugin like WP Rocket, configure it with optimal settings, and optimize images and plugins.

🔵 Will upgrading plans improve load times?

Yes, but you should optimize your website first and consider alternative hosts. Bluehost's Optimized WordPress Hosting or VPS plans aren't nearly as fast as semi-dedicated or cloud hosting from other providers. Join some Facebook Groups and do your research.

🔵 Which WordPress speed plugins should I use?

WP Rocket, TinyPNG, and Perfmatters are 3 key WordPress speed plugins. If you're not using WP Rocket, you will need to install additional plugins to take care of Heartbeat Control, database cleanup, lazy loading, and hosting Google Fonts and Analytics locally.

🔵 Which speed testing tools should I use?

GTmetrix has the most robust recommendations and is great for finding slow plugins and unoptimized images. Google PageSpeed Insights is primarily good for measuring server response times. Otherwise, follow the speed recommendations provided by GTmetrix.

🔵 Which plugins are slowing down my site?

Most slow WordPress plugins include social sharing, statistic (analytics) plugins, sliders, portfolios, page builders, calendars, chat, contact form, related post, sitemap, Wordfence, WPML, WooCommerce, and any plugin that runs ongoing scans or processes. Your slowest loading plugins can be found using Query Monitor or in your GTmetrix Waterfall report.

🔵 How can I optimize external scripts?

Some external scripts like Google Fonts and Analytics can be optimized by hosting them locally using the CAOS plugins. Disques also has a conditional load plugin, and YouTube videos can be lazy loaded. You can also try the Async JavaScript when loading JavaScript.

Other external scripts like Google AdSense, Facebook widgets, and high CPU plugins are nearly impossible to optimize and best to avoid all together.

Did this tutorial work?
Let me know in the comments and feel free to share your new load time! If you still have a slow WordPress site on Bluehost let me know about that too… I will gladly look into your GTmetrix + Pingdom report and send you a few suggestions (just please do what you can from this guide).

See Also: Cloudways Review

Cheers,
Tom