Why WordPress Is Awesome (And How To Get Started With Designing And Optimizing A Completely Legit Website)

WordPress Blue

If you want to design a professional website or blog (especially one that is SEO-friendly), WordPress is an excellent choice.

WordPress is 100% free and powers over 24% of websites. There’s amazing selection of themes, hosting, plugins (for adding functionality), and WordPress itself is quite easy to learn. I’ve been designing and optimizing WordPress sites since 2011 and will show why WordPress is awesome, plus tips on getting started with domains, hosting, themes, and other resources.

I definitely recommend WordPress.org over WordPress.com since this gives you full control of your website and access to important plugins (plus other options). While it’s a bit more complicated to setup, you can always hire a freelancer WordPress developer for $40/hour.

The one thing I learned about WordPress, is that there are endless possibilities from both a website design and SEO perspective. There are tons of SEO-optimized WordPress themes to choose from which can be completely customized to your unique website design and SEO needs. I also understand there is a lot of information out there, and the learning curve can be pretty steep for someone who is new to working with WordPress, let alone new to SEO.

Here are some resources to help you get started…

  • 10-Step checklist for designing your WordPress site
  • Migrating your existing website to WordPress

 

1. WordPress Hosting
Getting domain and hosting is the first step to building a website. I recommend SiteGround’s GoGeek plan ($14.99/month) since it makes your website load fast AND you get priority support. If you’re on a tight budget, they have the StartUp ($6.99/month) and GrowBig plan (5.95/month). SiteGround has the best support out there, plus you get a free domain name.

2. WordPress Themes
These are the same thing as website templates, only most WordPress themes are super flexible and can be highly customized. There’s tons of WordPress themes out there, and some are better than others. I suggest starting with these top-notch theme stores:

3. WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are like apps for smartphones. They add functionality to your website that might not come built-in to your WordPress theme (this can be design, SEO, Google Analytics, social media buttons, etc). And like apps, there are thousands of WordPress plugins out there. But to make it easy, here are the plugins I recommend starting out with:

4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Matt Cutts (head of spam at Google) says WordPress takes care of roughly 90% of the SEO mechanics – a technical part of SEO. There is quite a bit to SEO so anything you don’t have to worry about is a good thing. There are also tons of WordPress plugins, tools, and resources out there. Here are some WordPress SEO tutorials to help you get started…

5. Blogging
WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, however over the years it evolved into a content management system used for building websites, blogs, and websites that have blogs. You can add pages and blog posts with ease, use categories/tags to organize articles, and customize them to look super nice. This article will help with both blogging and design…

6. Design
“Can WordPress do this?” It’s the most common question I hear and I’ve honestly never had to say no. Nearly all WordPress themes have built-in features like portfolios, social media, contact forms, sliders and other features. If a theme doesn’t have it, a plugin probably does.
7. Functionality
From adding content to embedding YouTube videos, all the way to selling products through e-Commerce and integrating a newsletter, WordPress can handle pretty much anything.
8. Less Coding
Once your website is setup in WordPress, you’ll be editing your site in the WordPress dashboard. The dashboard makes it easy to add and edit content without knowing code. However, learning HTML and CSS will be very helpful. You can learn this at W3 Schools:

9. Community And Support
Free WordPress help is easy to come by. WordPress forums can tell you exactly how to fix most issues. Many WordPress themes also come with their own support forum, and because WordPress is widely-used there are thousands of video tutorials on Youtube.
10. Paid Help Is Around The Corner
Finding a WordPress designer is easy (I used to be one and still take on some design projects). Check out WordPress designers on Upwork – you can filter your freelancers by reviews, pricing, etc. This is how I used to develop websites that were beyond my skill level.

11. WordPress Is Free
Every website has domain and hosting fees, but WordPress itself is absolutely free. So are the majority of WordPress plugins. You can even find a lot of free WordPress themes, however I would stick with a premium theme since the theme developer is getting paid – so they’ll make sure the theme is legit. The main cost of creating a website is your time.
12. Getting Start Is Easy
Start by going to SiteGround to get your domain and hosting. Then choose a WordPress theme that fits your design needs (check out StudioPress, Zigzagpress, Web Savvy Marketing). You may want to consult with a WordPress expert when choosing your theme, but those theme stores I listed are a good place to start. Then install WordPress and your theme on your SiteGround account, then you’re ready to login to your site and start creating.

 

I know there is a learning curve to using WordPress. While I don’t do any free consultations, I’m always happy to answer whatever questions you have in the comments section! Just drop me a line and I’ll get back to you usually in a day or two. Good luck with your website!

Cheers,

Tom Signature

 

 

How I Optimized My Slow WordPress Site For 100% GTmetrix Scores — 28 Tips For Speeding Up WordPress Sites (2020 Guide)

Have a slow WordPress site?

This post you’re reading has over 70 images, 470 comments (while showing Gravatars), uses external fonts, Google Analytics, social sharing buttons, and an embedded YouTube video. Yet, it can load in under 2s with a 2.56MB page size, 89 requests, and 100%/97% GTmetrix scores.

Everyone ranking for “slow WordPress” in Google has a bad GTmetrix report: WP Buffs, Themeisle, Torque Mag, and Search Engine Shop who uses 0 images and copies my keywords.

So thanks for choosing mine!

I’ll show you how to take your GTmetrix + PageSpeed Insights report and make WordPress-specific optimizations that improve grades/load times. I’ve already written popular guides on WP Rocket, slow plugins to avoid, and a list of 24+ speed plugins. This combines everything.

When in doubt, look at the WordPress optimization guide to see the most important factors. The most common fixes for a slow WordPress site are usually related to your infrastructure (theme, hosting, page builder, cache plugin, CDN, and plugins you’re using). While optimizing images and third party scripts can definitely speed up WordPress, most factors are site-wide.

For this, I recommend Cloudways or Kinsta (hosting), Astra or Oxygen Builder (theme + page builder), and WP Rocket (main optimization plugin). You will avoid 90% of speed issues and they’re all rated highly in Facebook polls. Comment with your GTmetrix report if you need help.

How To Speed Up A Slow WordPress Site

  1. Use Faster WordPress Hosting
  2. Rethink Your Theme + Page Builder
  3. Configure A Solid Cache Plugin
  4. Upgrade To PHP 7.4
  5. Enable Varnish + Memcached
  6. Use A CDN
  7. Avoid 65+ Slow Plugins
  8. Optimize Third Party Scripts
  9. Google Fonts
  10. Google Analytics
  11. Google AdSense
  12. Google Tag Manager
  13. Comments + Gravatars
  14. Facebook Pixel
  15. Use A Fast Social Sharing Plugin
  16. Optimize Images + Videos
  17. Reduce Server Response Times
  18. Clean Your Database
  19. Remove Bloat
  20. Disable Plugin Usage Tracking
  21. Disable Plugins On Specific Pages + Posts
  22. Minimize Redirects
  23. Don’t Enable Yoast Indexables
  24. Utilize Plugins By Gijo Varghese
  25. Increase Memory Limit To 256MB
  26. Make WooCommerce Load Faster
  27. Block Bad Bots From Using Resources
  28. Identify Bottlenecks In Speed Testing Tools

GTmetrix (load times) should be your primary metric while PageSpeed Insights doesn’t even measure load times. Getting 100% in every single tool is not realistic unless you have a bare bones, static HTML site. Don’t obsess over scores – obsess over your actual load times instead.

2020-GTmetrix-Report

Watch My Video – it’s a 42 minute video, but I cover pretty much everything (timestamps are found in video description). You will learn a ton of good stuff on WordPress speed optimization.

 

1. Use Faster WordPress Hosting

Hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide.

Run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights and check if reduce server response times is in your report. Google recommends a response time of <200ms. You can also check your TTFB (time to first byte) in the GTmetrix Timings tab. If these are slow, so is your hosting.

Reduce Server Response Time

I would personally skip the shared crap and go with Cloudways.

They’re who most people recommend in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group and #1 in most recent Facebook polls, especially since SiteGround increased prices and went downhill. I migrated from SiteGround to DigitalOcean on Cloudways and you can view the results below.

SiteGround-vs-Cloudways

I use them and you can check my GTmetrix report, or visit cwdoserver.com to see the speed of a $10/month Cloudways DigitalOcean test server I set up with an Astra Site. It loads instantly (for reference, stgrndserver.com is the identical Astra Site only on SiteGround’s GrowBig plan).

Do your research on EIG, SiteGround’s CPU limits, and look at Facebook polls, conversations, and migration results. Check your server response time in PageSpeed Insights and your TTFB.

2020-Hosting-Poll

Cloudways Response Times

Godaddy-to-DigitalOcean-Migration

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

SiteGround-Alternative

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

2017-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Favorite Hosting For Elementor

Elementor-Hosting-Poll

Untitled

Vultr-Migration

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

SiteGround-Alternative-For-Beginners

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

2016-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll

Elementor Hosting Recommendations

Cloudways-Facebook-Review

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.

#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.

 

2. Rethink Your Theme + Page Builder

Most people are using Astra Themes.

The only problem with Astra is that most of their themes use page builders. Even Elementor adds a lot of scripts that can mildly slow down your WordPress site (you can check these in Asset CleanUp or Perfmatters). That was my biggest complaint when I had my site redesigned in Astra (I even went themeless). My StudioPress theme was slightly faster with 0 extra scripts.

It really depends on what you want; if you like Astra + Elementor for designing your site and don’t mind a slight decrease in speed, that’s what I would recommend. If you’re a speed freak like me and only want the fastest stuff, I wish I would have stuck with StudioPress and Genesis.

studiopress-themes

Here were my extra CSS and JavaScript files added by Elementor:

Elementor-Scripts

I recommend either Astra or Oxygen Builder.

Astra-Themes-Facebook-Poll

 

3. Configure A Solid Cache Plugin

As far as GTmetrix scores go, your cache plugin has the biggest impact.

WP Rocket is the most popular cache plugin (it’s also what I use) mainly because it comes with more speed optimization features than any other cache plugin. This not only results in better GTmetrix scores, but also means you don’t have to install a bunch of extra plugins on your site.

Get 10% off WP Rocket by signing up for their email list on their coupons page. Then check my recommended WP Rocket settings for optimal GTmetrix scores/load times.

With most other cache plugins, you would need to install about 7 extra plugins to get these features when WP Rocket has them all built-in. Otherwise you will need to research which features your cache plugin comes with, then install these plugins if it doesn’t support them.

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

What About SG Optimizer? If you’re on SiteGround, use their SG Optimizer plugin (instead of WP Rocket) with these SG Optimizer settings. It’s free and comparable to WP Rocket (you will still need heartbeat control and database cleanup). This plugin is only for SiteGround’s hosting.

WP Engine + GoDaddy – these hosts have their own built-in caching system and blacklist you from using cache plugins. In this case, use Autoptimize to optimize HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

I also have configuration tutorials for WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Swift Performance, but I definitely recommend WP Rocket as your one and only caching plugin.

 

4. Upgrade To PHP 7.4

Login to your hosting account (or use the Display PHP Version plugin) to see which PHP version you’re currently running. WordPress stats show most users are running outdated PHP versions when PHP 7.4 is available on many hosting accounts. Upgrading is as simple as finding the PHP Version Manager (or similar) in your hosting account, then upgrading the latest version of PHP.

PHP-7.4

WordPress PHP Benchmarks

Some hosts are quick to release new versions (SiteGround, Cloudways, Kinsta), while others don’t make an effort to stay current in technology. Another reason to avoid EIG and GoDaddy.

*Check your website for visible errors since non-maintained plugins may not be compatible. If you do see errors, you can always revert back to an earlier PHP version.

 

5. Enable Varnish + Memcached

Many cloud hosting providers support Varnish + Memcached. Login to your hosting account and activate them. If you’re using Varnish, be sure to enable the Varnish addon in WP Rocket.

Hosting-Application-Services

 

6. Use A CDN

Most people use Cloudflare or RocketCDN (from WP Rocket).

RocketCDN uses StackPath’s data centers and offers it at a lower price than if you buy directly from StackPath. Both are great CDNs, but there are a few major differences between the two.

Cloudflare vs. RocketCDN

  • Cloudflare is free, RocketCDN is $6.99/month
  • Cloudflare cannot serve images from their CDN, StackPath can
  • Cloudflare has 200+ data centers, StackPath has 45 data centers
  • Cloudlare’s data centers are likely not as high-performance as StackPath
  • Cloudflare has a dashboard you can login to and tweak, RocketCDN does not
  • Cloudflare’s dashboard has extra features like page rules, Rocket Loader, Railgun
  • Cloudflare requires changing nameservers (some hosts also have an option to activate Cloudflare directly from your account), StackPath’s set up is automatic with WP Rocket

Cloudflare-Bandwidth-Savings

Ensure Cloudflare Compatibility With WP Rocket – WP Rocket and most other cache plugins ask for your Cloudflare Zone ID, Global API Key, and your Cloudflare account email. Add them.

WP-Rocket-Cloudflare-Add-On

Configuring The Cloudflare Dashboard – if you’re using Cloudflare, login to your dashboard. There are a few things in here that aren’t available if you set up Cloudflare through your host.

Page Rule 1: Cache Everything And Force HTTPS – cache your website aggressively.

http://*yourwebsite.com/*

Always-Use-HTTPS-Page-Rule

Page Rule 2: Secure The WordPress Admin And Bypass Cache – sets security level of the admin to high and bypasses Cloudflare’s cache in the admin, since you don’t want CDNs (or apps + performance features like Rocket Loader) running inside the admin.

yourwebsite.com/wp-admin*

WordPress-Admin-Page-Rule

Page Rule 3: Decrease Bandwidth Of WP Uploads – since the content in your WP Uploads folder does not change frequently, increasing Edge Cache TTL to a month can save on bandwidth, since the WP Uploads folder cache won’t be refreshed as often.

yourwebsite.com/wp-content/uploads*

WP-Uploads-Page-Rule

Setting Up RocketCDN Or StackPath – the easiest way to set up RocketCDN is with WP Rocket. If not using WP Rocket, you will need to sign up for a StackPath account through their website then follow instructions for creating a CDN site. They will assign you a CDN URL which most cache plugins (including Autoptimize) have a field for. Or use the CDN Enabler plugin.

Make Sure Your CDN Is Working – every CDN should show 100% in GTmetrix YSlow except Cloudflare’s CDN. To make GTmetrix detects Cloudflare, you’ll need to sign up for a GTmetrix account → User settings → “add your hostname to YSlow CDN Hostnames.” You can also use Cloudflare’s Claire Chrome Extension to see if it’s working. GTmetrix always detects StackPath.

CDN GTmetrix YSlow

 

7. Avoid 65+ Slow Plugins

You can find your slowest plugins in the GTmetrix Waterfall tab or Query Monitor.

Slow WordPress Plugin

Most slow WordPress plugins include social sharing, statistic (analytics), sliders, portfolios, page builders, calendars, chat, contact forms, related post, sitemap, Wordfence, WPML, WooCommerce, and any plugin that runs ongoing scans or processes. These can be identified using Query Monitor or GTmetrix Waterfall.

  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

Lightweight Plugin Alternatives

 

8. Optimize Third Party Scripts

Third party scripts are anything that create requests from external websites.

These include Google Fonts, Analytics, Maps, AdSense, Tag Manager, embedded videos, social media widgets, Facebook Pixel, Gravatars, or even like buttons from your social sharing plugin. Some can be optimized to have no impact on GTmetrix while AdSense/Tag Manager are harder.

The next sections (7-16) show you how to optimize specific third party scripts that may be giving you errors in your GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights reports.

Step 1: Learn Which Third Party Scripts Are Slowing Down Your Site
Look at reduce DNS lookups in GTmetrix YSlow or third party usage in PageSpeed Insights.

External-Scripts

Common third party domains taken from Github:


//maps.googleapis.com
//maps.gstatic.com
//fonts.googleapis.com
//fonts.gstatic.com
//use.fontawesome.com
//ajax.googleapis.com
//apis.google.com
//google-analytics.com
//www.google-analytics.com
//ssl.google-analytics.com
//www.googletagmanager.com
//www.googletagservices.com
//googleads.g.doubleclick.net
//adservice.google.com
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com
//tpc.googlesyndication.com
//youtube.com
//i.ytimg.com
//player.vimeo.com
//api.pinterest.com
//assets.pinterest.com
//connect.facebook.net
//platform.twitter.com
//syndication.twitter.com
//platform.instagram.com
//referrer.disqus.com
//c.disquscdn.com
//cdnjs.cloudflare.com
//cdn.ampproject.org
//pixel.wp.com
//disqus.com
//s.gravatar.com
//0.gravatar.com
//2.gravatar.com
//1.gravatar.com
//sitename.disqus.com
//s7.addthis.com
//platform.linkedin.com
//w.sharethis.com
//s0.wp.com
//s1.wp.com
//s2.wp.com
//stats.wp.com
//ajax.microsoft.com
//ajax.aspnetcdn.com
//s3.amazonaws.com
//code.jquery.com
//stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com
//github.githubassets.com
//ad.doubleclick.net
//stats.g.doubleclick.net
//cm.g.doubleclick.net
//stats.buysellads.com
//s3.buysellads.com

Step 2: Add Domains To Prefetching
Take the external scripts from your GTmetrix report and add them to WP Rocket (Preload → Prefetch DNS Requests). Prefetching and other browser resource hints makes them load faster. If you don’t have WP Rocket, you can do this with Perfmatters or Pre* Party Resources Hints.

Prefetch-DNS-Requests

Step 3: Use Flying Scripts To Delay Loading Them
The Flying Scripts plugin delays loading JavaScript until the timeout period you set in the plugin. It’s the only plugin that let me show Gravatars without them impacting my GTmetrix report, but this can also be done with other third party scripts. Just enter the keyword of the script into the plugin (eg. discuz) and set a timeout period. I also recommend checking out Gijo’s speed plugins.

Flying-Scripts

Don’t forget to see the next few sections which will help you better optimize external scripts.

 

9. Google Fonts

Here are 4 steps for optimizing Google Fonts and Font Awesome.

Optimize Fonts With WP Rocket Or SG Optimizer – both WP Rocket and SG Optimizer have an option to optimize Google Fonts. This combines your fonts to create fewer HTTP requests.

Optimize-Google-Fonts

Host Google Fonts Locally – use the OMGF plugin to host fonts locally. The plugin will automatically download your fonts, create a stylesheet for them, then include it in the header.

Preload Fonts – grab the URLs of your font files in the GTmetrix Waterfall report and add them to WP Rocket’s “preload fonts” option, or in OMGF. This helps browsers download fonts faster.

Preload-Fonts

Be Minimal With Fonts + Weights – be minimal with the number of fonts and weights.

 

10. Google Analytics

Hosting Google Analytics locally will fix the leverage browser caching issue for Google Analytics in GTmetrix. For this, I use the Flying Analytics plugin since WP Rocket’s Google Tracking add-on still showed errors. Insert your Google Analytics Tracking ID (the UA code) into the plugin, then use the “Minimal Analytics Inlined” method which only adds a measly 1.4KB.

Flying-Analytics

Plugins to host Analytics locally: WP Rocket, Perfmatters, Flying Analytics, CAOS.

 

11. Google AdSense

Google Adsense is one of the most difficult scripts to optimize and you shouldn’t expect a good GTmetrix report with it. You can try enabling Cloudflare’s Rocket Loader which defers loading of JavaScript until after rendering, but affiliate links are way faster and usually more profitable.

 

12. Google Tag Manager

GTM should usually only be used for large, unoptimized sites.

If you absolutely need it, use a good Google Tag Manager plugin and be minimal with tags, but that’s about all you can do. I don’t use GTM on my website (my load times are more important).

Google Tag Manager Speed

 

13. Comments + Gravatars

I use 3 plugins for comments which you’ll see zero errors for in GTmetrix.

  • wpDiscuz: commenting plugin.
  • Flying Scripts: delays loading of Gravatars.
  • WP User Avatar: use a custom, optimized photo as the default avatar.

Step 1: Configure wpDiscuz to load faster.

Comment thread displaying → initiate AJAX loading after page and lazy load comment.

Disqus-Comment-Thread-Displaying

General → disable “use WordPress native AJAX functions” and enable combine/minify JS/CSS.

Disqus-General-Settings

Styles and colors → disable “load font awesome CSS lib.”

Disqus-Load-Font-Awesome-CSS-Lib

Step 2: Delay Gravatar loading with the Flying Scripts plugin.

Speed-Up-Comments

Step 3: Upload a custom, optimized photo using WP User Avatar.

WP-User-Avatar

Retest your GTmetrix report and your comments should load much faster with no errors.

 

14. Facebook Pixel

Use the Pixel Caffeine plugin and host Facebook Pixel locally in WP Rocket.

Facebook-Pixel-Browser-Caching

 

15. Use A Fast Social Sharing Plugin

WP Rocket did a test on the fastest social sharing plugins.

The Grow by Mediavine plugin (Social Pug) was rated the #1 fastest social sharing plugin. It’s also what I use and saw no difference in my GTmetrix report. You can see a preview near my comments section; the buttons look nice, can be loaded before and after the content, and has options for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, email, print. You can also do a floating bar.

 

16. Optimize Images + Videos

There are several ways to optimize images. The first 3 items are in GTmetrix, the last 2 are from PageSpeed Insights. Speed testing tools only show you unoptimized images for the single page you test (keep that in mind when fixing serve scaled image or specify image dimension errors).

  • Serve scaled images – resize large images to be smaller.
  • Specify image dimensions – add a width/height to the image’s HTML.
  • Lossless compress – use an image optimization plugin to compress images.
  • Lazy load images + videos – delays load of images/videos until they’re visibly seen.
  • Serve images using next-gen formats – use WebP/SVG format instead of JPEG/PNG.

image-optimization

Serve Scaled Images – resize large images to be smaller. GTmetrix tells you the correct dimensions. Just click the image in GTmetrix, resize it to the new dimensions, and replace it. Never use the ‘drag to resize’ feature in the visual editor since this only resizes the displayed image (not the actual image). It’s best to resize to the correct dimensions before uploading it.

Serve-Scaled-Images-GTmetrix

Create a cheat sheet so you can use the correct dimensions before uploading images:

  • Slider images: 1903(w) x 400(h)
  • Carousel images: 115(h)
  • Widget images: 414(w)
  • Full width blog post images: 680(w)
  • Featured images: 250(w) x 250(h)

Specify Image Dimensions – means you need to add a width + height in the image’s HTML or CSS. This usually only happens for hand-coded HTML and plugins that don’t take care of this for you. Get the image dimensions from GTmetrix, locate the image, then add the width and height.

Specify-Image-Dimensions-WordPress

Optimize Images – losslessly compress images (also known as “optimize images” in GTmetrix). The best way to compress images is when you’re editing them (eg. in Photoshop or GIMP) since you will likely see a loss in quality with image optimization plugins, even if you select “lossless compression” in the settings. Otherwise, ShortPixel or Imagify are decent options. These plugins can also be resource-intensive and slow down your WordPress website temporarily.

Lazy Load Images + Videos – in your WP Rocket Media settings, enable lazy loading of images, videos, and replace the YouTube iframe with a preview image. These will make images and embedded videos load significantly faster, as they’re often the heaviest element on a page. If you’re not using WP Rocket, try A3 Lazy Load (for images) and WP YouTube Lyte (for videos).

WP-Rocket-Lazy-Load

Serve Images In Next-Gen Formats – most image optimization plugins have an option to convert images to WebP format, or the WebP Converter For Media plugin has great ratings.

Serve-Images-In-Next-Gen-Formats

 

17. Reduce Server Response Times

I want to clarify a few things about server response times.

Most hosting providers let you monitor CPU and RAM (memory usage). If you notice these are very close to exceeding your limits, this will put stress on your server. The whole goal is to make your server “relaxed” by giving it enough server resources to accommodate your site’s resource consumption (from high CPU plugins, traffic, WooCommerce, etc). If you notice you’re almost hitting your limits or exceeding them and getting 503 errors, it means your server is stressed.

Cloud-Memory-Increase

That’s why it’s so important to look at how many server resources come with your hosting plan. Any host that says “unlimited bandwidth” is lying (just check their terms and conditions page and they will mention their CPU limits). Especially if you anticipate high resource consumption, make sure your hosting plan includes enough resources to properly accommodate your site.

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

 

18. Clean Your Database

Use WP Rocket or WP Optimize to clean your database.

Ongoing cleanups keep your database optimized and removes transients, spam + trash comments, and potentially hundreds of post revisions which WordPress stores automatically every time you update content. Unless you need post revisions to restore backups of old content, you should be able to delete everything. I recommend scheduling weekly cleanups.

WP-Rocket-Database-Settings

Delete Old Plugin Tables – one thing I like about WP-Optimize is the option to delete database tables left behind by old plugins that aren’t installed anymore (these are often pre-configured settings). If you don’t plan on using these plugins again, delete the tables that say “not installed.”

WP-Optimize-Tables

 

19. Remove Bloat

Perfmatters (by Kinsta) is the ultimate bloat removal plugin.

The features page includes descriptions of what each item does, but it removes unnecessary WordPress features which you probably don’t need. It even has options for optimizing your Google Analytics tracking code, WooCommerce, prefetch + preconnect, and heartbeat control. Remember to selectively disable plugins in the Perfmatters script manager or Asset CleanUp!

perfmatters-features

Limit Post Revisions – use Perfmatters or add the code to your wp-config file.

define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);

Increase Autosave Interval – use Perfmatters or add the code to your wp-config.php file.

define('AUTOSAVE INTERVAL', 5);

Disable Trackbacks + Pingbacks – use Perfmatters or disable in Settings → Discussion.

Disable-Trackbacks-Pingbacks

Disable Unused Addons + Modules – if you’re using a plugin containing a bunch of addons or modules (Elementor, Ultimate/Premium Addons, JetPack), delete the ones you’re not using.

Disable-Addons

Delete Unused Plugins + Themes – any plugins/themes you’re not using should be deleted.

Delete Unused WordPress Themes

 

20. Disable Plugin Usage Tracking

Any time you have an option to disable usage tracking, do it. Sorry plugin developers.

I also don’t recommend Yoast’s speed indexing (the comments have horrible reviews).

Yoast-Speed-Indexing

 

21. Disable Plugins On Specific Pages + Posts

The Perfmatters script manager (premium) and Asset CleanUp (free) both let you disable plugins/scripts from running on specific pages/posts. Some plugins load across your entire site (even on content they’re not being used on), so it’s best to disable them when that’s the case.

Examples:

  • Disable slider plugin on pages that don’t use sliders
  • Disable rich snippets plugin on pages that don’t use rich snippets
  • Disable contact form plugin on pages that don’t have a contact form
  • Disable affiliate link management plugin on pages that don’t use aff links
  • Disable social sharing plugin on all pages (since it’s usually for blog posts)

perfmatters-script-manager

Perfmatters and Asset CleanUp (the premium version) have a Regex option that allows you disable plugins/scripts based on specific URL patterns and categories. For example, you may want to only enable your schema plugin on posts containing the word “review” in the URL.

 

22. Minimize Redirects

If you have URL redirect errors in GTmetrix, it usually means you changed the WWW or HTTP(S) version of your website but didn’t change all your links and images to reflect the new version. In this case, try using the Better Search & Replace plugin to fix these errors in bulk.

minimize redirects

Third party scripts and poorly coded plugins can also cause redirect errors in GTmetrix. The solution completely depends on which plugins and third party scripts you’re using on the site.

 

23. Don’t Enable Yoast Indexables

Yoast 14.0 came out with indexables which they claim “can provide a speed boost of 5-10%.”

However, if you look at the comments, it’s clear they have not thoroughly tested this (many complaints about CPU spikes, crashed websites, errors, etc). None of the feedback looks positive, so I would at least hold off of clicking that button until they do more thorough testing.

Yoast-Speed-Indexing

 

24. Utilize Plugins By Gijo Varghese

Gijo Varghese has create quite a few plugins for speeding up WordPress.

These plugins help you host Google Analytics locally, optimize images and serve them from a CDN, preload pages, delay loading scripts by creating a timeout, and ensure text remains visible while loading fonts. All have great ratings. Check out his WP Speed Matters Facebook Group.

Gijo-Varghese-plugins

 

25. Increase Memory Limit To 256MB

WooCommerce and WPML require a 256MB memory limit, but you should really be using 256MB no matter which type of WordPress site you’re running. Some hosts have an option to increase it in their dashboard, otherwise edit your wp-config.php file and add the code below.

Cloudways-Memory-Limit

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

 

26. Make WooCommerce Load Faster

WooCommerce sites run extra scripts, styles, cart fragments, and they usually require more plugins. That’s why when choosing a hosting plan, you should usually buy one tier up of what you actually need to accomodate for the extra resources often required for WooCommerce.

WooCommerce Cart Fragments

Optimize WooCommerce Scripts, Styles, Cart Fragments
To optimize these, use Perfmatters or there are quite a few solutions on Github and WooCommerce. Disabling scripts will disable WooCommerce scripts and styles everywhere except on product, cart, and checkout pages. There’s also an option to disable cart fragments.

perfmatters woocommerce optimization

Clear WooCommerce Transients
If you feel like your WooCommerce website is getting sluggish, go to WooCommerce Status settings → delete all transients. Transients temporarily store cached data in your database.

Delete WooCommerce Transients

 

27. Block Bad Bots From Using Resources

You would never know if spam bots are hitting your site unless you checked your Wordfence live traffic report. By blocking them, you will save resources and put less stress on your server.

Step 1: Install Wordfence (you’ll want to uninstall it when you’re done).

Step 2: View your live traffic report (under Wordfence’s Tools settings) which shows you all bots hitting your website in real-time. Googlebot is obviously OK, but when I did this, I saw compute.amazonaws.com making a ridiculous amount of requests every couple seconds. I Googled it and sure enough, this was a bot known for sucking up bandwidth. View your report for a minute or two and see if bots with sketchy names are constantly hitting your site. If you have doubts, Google their hostnames and see if other people are having issues with that bot.

Live-Traffic-Report-Wordfence

Step 3: Block the bots. You have a few options: Wordfence blocking (however the plugin itself consumes resources), Cloudflare firewall rules (comes with 5 free rules which means you can block 5 bots), or the Blackhole For Bad Bots. I have a tutorial for blocking bad bots using all 3 methods. It depends on how many you want to block; if it’s only a few, I’d use Firewall Rules.

Login to your Cloudflare Dashboard and go to Firewall → Firewall Rules → Create A Firewall Rule. Copy the bad bot’s hostnames (from Wordfence) and add it here in the “Value” field. Since you can create 5 rules, you would repeat this step for your 5 worst bad bots from Wordfence.

  • Field = Hostname
  • Operator = Contains
  • Value = hostname of the bad bot you found in Wordfence

Cloudflare Firewall Rule To Block Bad Bots

Step 4: Go to your Blocking log in Cloudflare and watch your spam bots get blocked.

Cloudflare-Firewall-Events

 

28. Identify Bottlenecks In Speed Testing Tools

GTmetrix – my tool of choice since you can find exactly which images, plugins, fonts, and external scripts take longest to load (plus it shows your time to first byte and redirect errors).

2020-GTmetrix-Report

Pingdom – the most accurate tool for measuring your load times according to WP Rocket which is the primary metric you should be measuring (not grades), but there is a correlation.

Google PageSpeed Insights – good for measuring server response times but also has other recommendations like using next-gen format for images (eg. WebP), lazy loading, avoid third party scripts, preconnect, minification, caching recommendations, and serving scaled images.

Query Monitor – great for finding slow plugins, scripts, styles, and other elements slowing down your site. Make sure to delete it when you’re done since the plugin itself can be slow.

Get Help Fixing Your GTmetrix Report

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🚀 What are the most important speed factors?

Your infrastructure (hosting, theme, plugins, page builder, CDNs) have the biggest impact on load times.

🚀 Which cache plugin should you use?

WP Rocket is usually rated the top cache plugin in Facebook polls since it has built-in features most cache plugins don't. These extra optimizations should yield better scores and load times in GTmetrix. The top free cache plugins are usually WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, and Swift Performance.

🚀 Which WordPress hosting should you use?

The best hosting is highly debatable, but Cloudways, SiteGround, and Kinsta generally the top 3 hosts based on 30+ Facebook polls.

🚀 Which speed testing tool should you use?

GTmetrix has the most robust recommendations especially for finding slow plugins, images, external scripts, and measuring TFFB. Pingdom doesn't have as many recommendations, and Google PageSpeed Insights doesn't measure load times.

🚀 How do you optimize images?

You can optimize images using a plugin like ShortPixel or Smush to compress images and strip EXIF data. Make sure you're resizing images to the correct dimensions, and ideally serve them from a CDN. Lazy loading images and videos will also make the page faster.

🚀 Should you use AMP?

Generally, you should avoid AMP (accelerated mobile pages) since the design changes can lower conversions. Kinsta's conversions dropped 59% after adding AMP and they decided to remove them.

🚀 How do you optimize plugins?

Find high CPU plugins using Query Monitor which usually include portfolios, statistics, sliders, and plugins that run ongoing processes. Next, replace them with lightweight plugins that consume minimal resources. Delete all plugins you're not using, and disable unnecessary plugin settings that consume resources. Finally, selectively disable plugins from loading on certain content using a plugin like Asset Manager or Perfmatters.

🚀 How do you optimize external scripts?

It's best to avoid external scripts all together, such as Google AdSense, Facebook widgets, and plugins that create external requests. Some plugins such as Disques let you load it conditionally. If the page contains JavaScript, try the Async JavaScript plugin. Finally, prefetch all external URLs that are loading on the page.

Really hope this helped! Drop your new GTmetrix scores + load times in the comments :-)

Cheers,
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 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 vs. Bluehost WordPress Hosting Review: My Personal Experience (And What Most People Are Saying In Facebook Groups)

SiteGround vs. Bluehost

I have a confession…

Years ago, I used to be one of those bloggers recommending Bluehost as an affiliate. But that changed after joining over 30 Facebook Groups and reading hundreds of conversations where people asked about the “best” hosting. I immediately transferred my website from Bluehost to SiteGround (spoiler: my loads times are now under 1s). I also stopped recommending Bluehost since there was no comparison between these two – please do your research on social media!

SiteGround was rated the #1 host over 34 Facebook polls (even when compared to Bluehost) and is also used by Yoast. People who migrated from Bluehost to SiteGround were able to cut 7s off their load time. Do your research on Trustpilot, Advanced Twitter Search, and Facebook Groups. You’ll see tons of current Bluehost customers complaining about their slow servers, downtimes, and super slow support. While most SiteGround customers are genuinely happy.

Who did I end up with?

SiteGround, and obviously glad I did, because there are tons of Bluehost affiliates out there who will steer you in the wrong direction. There is also an overwhelming amount of social media evidence that SiteGround is faster. With their GoGeek plan and a few website optimizations, I was able to get <1s load times and 100% GTmetrix scores. I never was able to get that on Bluehost. So why is SiteGround better? That’s what you’ll be learning in this review.

Table Of Contents

  1. SiteGround vs Bluehost In 34 Facebook Polls
  2. Avoid Bluehost Affiliate Traps
  3. Do Your Research On EIG
  4. Bluehost Servers Are Slow As Hell
  5. Frequent Downtimes
  6. Slow + Unhelpful Support
  7. Both Companies Have Unfair Billing
  8. Why You Shouldn’t Use Bluehost
  9. Why I Use SiteGround
  10. Bluehost To SiteGround Migration = 7s Off Load Time
  11. SiteGround’s Servers Are Faster
  12. SiteGround Is Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, And Ivica
  13. Uptimes Are Actually 99.99%
  14. Support Is Phenomenal
  15. WordPress Features
  16. SiteGround’s CPU Limits (Optimize Your Site!)
  17. Free Migrations By SiteGround
  18. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek
  19. Other Alternatives (The Only 4 Hosts I Recommend)
  20. What People Are Saying In Facebook Groups

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 Bluehost – join some Facebook groups and see the conversations, polls, tweets, and people who migrated from Bluehost to SiteGround. I refuse to recommend EIG/Bluehost’s awful hosting. Do your research, see who Yoast is using, and results of people who migrated.

Bluehost-Managed-WordPress-Hosting

 

1. SiteGround vs. Bluehost In 34 Facebook Polls

SiteGround was ranked #1 in 34 different polls while Bluehost was pretty much nowhere on the map. Many of these were taken in private groups, so you will need to join them to see the polls (I also provided screenshots). The WordPress Hosting Facebook Group is a great place to get unbiased opinions about hosting – since they don’t allow affiliate links and self-promoters.

SiteGround vs Bluehost

2019 Hosting Poll

 

2. Avoid Bluehost Affiliate Traps

Bluehost affiliates are littering Google, Quora, and Facebook Groups with bad advice. Bluehost is incentivizing them with high commissions and that is really all they care about.

How To Start A Blog With Bluehost

Where to get truly unbiased hosting opinions

Bluehost EIG Twitter
Bluehost Affiliate Links

Of course, there are plenty of SiteGround affiliates too (yes, including me). But I pull most of my reviews from social media and will address the 2 main concerns of SiteGround – high renewal prices and CPU limits. I will also tell you that most people who migrate away from SiteGround either go to DigitalOcean on Cloudways or A2 (see my other hosting alternatives).

 

3. Do Your Research On EIG

The same company (Endurance International Group) owns 60+ different hosting companies including Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster, Site5, iPage, Unified Layer, and many others.

Why you should avoid EIG

  • They have shareholders to please (profits over people)
  • The cut costs by packing too many people on the same server
  • They “streamline” support by firing staff and making customers wait forever
  • They don’t actively invest in new technology (slow to release new PHP versions)
  • They are known for acquiring decent hosting companies, but then they go downhill

List-Of-EIG-Brands

Read this about EIG…

EIG Facebook
EIG Twitter

 

4. Bluehost Servers Are Slow As Hell

If you care about fast load times and good GTmetrix/Pingdom reports, Bluehost won’t help. They overcrowd their servers and tons of people complain about this on Facebook + Twitter.

Here’s what Bluehost says in their user agreement:

“Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse effect on server performance.”

Just to give you an idea, SiteGround has a 150,000, 300,000, and 450,000 inode limit for their StartUp, GrowBig, GoGeek plan accordingly. Which hosting plan is Bluehost referring to when they mention these 200,000 inode limits? We can only guess, but judging by the amount of people complaining about their servers, that limit probably applies to most plans on Bluehost.

SiteGround vs Bluehost Support

Bluehost Slow Server Response Time

Bluehost Server Response Time Dedicated

Worst Server Response Time Bluehost

Bluehost Crap Server Response Time

Bluehost Server Response Time

How To Check If Your Server Is Slow
You can run any website through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time is in your report, which means your server (host) is slow. This happens a lot with Bluehost.

Reduce Server Response Time

 

5. Frequent Downtimes

Do a Twitter search for “Bluehost down” and you’ll see tons of people experiencing downtime issues. Some websites have been down for over a week and Bluehost’s support could care less.

When I was with Bluehost, my site would go down about once every week, sometimes for multiple hours. It was really painful questioning whether it was their hosting, or whether something I did was wrong. Once I migrated to SiteGround, all my downtime problems went away. Again, if this is a business website you rely on to make money, do not choose Bluehost.

This got so bad Bluehost wrote an apology letter:

Bluehost Apology Letter

Bluehost is constantly apologizing:

Bluehost-Apologies

 

6. Slow + Unhelpful Support

Bluehost’s support is incomparable to SiteGround. With SiteGround, you can get ahold of live chat within seconds and tickets answered in 10-15 minutes. Bluehost can takes hours or even weeks to reply. The worst part is, there have been numerous reports of them saying they will “follow up” but never do. If your website goes down on their servers, it can be very frustrating.

Bluehost Support

Bluehost Phone Support
Slow Bluehost Phone Support

 

7. Both Companies Have Unfair Billing

To get Bluehost’s advertised prices ($2.95/month) you need to pay 3 years upfront, otherwise you will pay more for 1-2 years. You will only find this out once you get to their checkout page.

Bluehost Pricing

SiteGround’s renewal prices are high. You can get up to 3 years of their promotional price, then it jumps. That’s why if you can, I would pay for 3 years because at that value, it is likely the best shared hosting you will find. Last year, I signed my girlfriend up for SiteGround and regret not paying for 3 years. Once it was time to renew, we ended up moving to A2 (it’s a restaurant website and she just wanted it up and running for as cheap as possible). I tried to convince her to renew or go to Cloudways. She wanted cheap, and I know better than to argue with women.

SiteGround Renewal Pricing

 

8. Why You Shouldn’t Use Bluehost

  • Owned by EIG who owns 60+ different hosts and is infamous for packing too many people on the same server, horrible support, frequent outages, and whose main goal is to please shareholders (not customers) by aggressively promoting their affiliate program, instead of taking care of existing customers
  • 3 years upfront payment (SiteGround is 1 year)
  • Extremely slow to release new PHP versions
  • Server errors like bad gateways or internal server errors
  • Support is horrible (eg. 1 hour wait times)
  • Support won’t admit if servers are the problem
  • Constantly trying to sell unnecessary upgrades
  • Built-in SEO does nothing (totally separate field)
  • They don’t list what type of speed/uptime technology they use
  • They don’t support staging, Let’s Encrypt SSL, other key features
  • They are for beginner website users who don’t do their full research
  • I’ve completed 30+ WordPress speed projects and it is tough when websites go from 10s to 3s, but clients still aren’t happy yet they refuse to switch hosts
  • You get what you pay for, and Bluehost is cheap as hell (at many WordCamps, they say to pay as much for your hosting as you would a shrimp dinner). Otherwise, don’t complain about your slow website and bad uptimes/support

 

9. 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

 

10. Bluehost To SiteGround Migration = 7s Off Load Time

Look at people who migrated from Bluehost to SiteGround and posted their new load times. Affiliates can say whatever they want, but these are non-affiliated customers who actually went through the experience. SiteGround’s speed technology is so much faster than Bluehost.

Bluehost To SiteGround Migration

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

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

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

Not to mention my own GTmetrix report:

2019-GTmetrix-Report

Here’s my Pingdom report:

2019-Pingdom-Report

 

11. SiteGround’s Servers Are Faster

Now that you’ve seen the load time improvements of people who migrated, I want to cover a few things you can do within your SiteGround dashboard that will make your site even faster. You can check out their cPanel demo if you want to become familiar with where everything is.

SiteGround-Speed-Technology

SG Optimizer
I recommend either using their SG Optimizer plugin or WP Rocket (only use one, no need to use both). SG Optimizer is faster than any other cache plugin because it uses server-side caching instead of the file-based caching used by other cache plugins. But, it doesn’t come with as many features as WP Rocket. It’s a tradeoff between faster caching or more “miscellaneous” speed optimizations. I would test both to see which one gives you the best results in GTmetrix.

Cloudflare
In your SiteGround dashboard, you can activate Cloudflare in 1-click. It’s a free CDN with 200+ data centers and there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be taking advantage of this.

PHP 7+
In your SiteGround PHP Manager, you can upgrade all the way to PHP 7.3. This alone can make a noticeable speed improvement even when clicking through your pages. SiteGround is always one of the first hosts to release newer PHP versions, while Bluehost is late to the party.

Higher Plans = More Server Resources
Higher plans come with more server resources (#1 factor of site speed). Head over to their features page and scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” then hover over the “server” tab. You can see how many server resources come with each plan along with a side-by-side comparison of their StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek plan. I at least recommend their GrowBig plan since it’s only $2/month more and comes with more server resources, priority support, and unlimited hosted websites. GoGeek comes with even more resources + staging.

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

 

12. SiteGround Is Endorsed By Yoast, WordPress, And Ivica

SiteGround is used by Yoast:

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

They’re recommended by WordPress (so is Bluehost but they don’t deserve to be on there):

siteground-recommended-wordpress-host

And by Ivica (Admin of the popular WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group):

WordPress-Speed-Up Recommended Tools

 

13. Uptimes Are Actually 99.99%

Here’s my website monitored by Pingdom Tools which is 100%. This is because their uptime technology is super reliable with Linux containers, server monitoring, an in-house backup system, and secure account isolation (which SiteGround was the first company to create). A lot of hosting companies CLAIM to have 99.99% uptimes but with all the errors you get with bad hosting it’s definitely not 99.99%. With SiteGround your servers will be super reliable so you’ll never have to worry about your website going down for no reason (trust me, I’ve been there).

SiteGround-Uptimes

 

14. Support Is Phenomenal

I don’t care how many features your hosting company has, if their support sucks, they suck. I can pick up the phone and get ahold of SiteGround support in under a minute. It makes such a big difference. Their team is super knowledgeable especially when it comes to WordPress.

SiteGround customers love their support.

Bluehost-vs-SiteGround-Support-Thread

 

15. WordPress Features

SiteGround has tons of WordPres features you can find on their features page:

SiteGround-WordPress-Features

SG Optimizer
I covered this earlier, but SG Optimizer not only does caching, but a lot of other speed optimizations: minification, image optimization, lazy loading, and upgrading PHP versions.

Automatic Updates
You can enable autoupdates for WordPress core/plugins in their cPanel.

SiteGround WordPress Autoupdates

WordPress Security
SiteGround is literally on their game when it comes to WordPress and security. They are constantly monitoring vulnerabilities and updating their servers to protect you against the latest threats – they posts updates on their Facebook page all the time and customers praise this with awesome feedback. You also get periodic emails letting you know your site is secure.

Staging
Staging comes with their GrowBig/GoGeek plan and lets you create a demo website to test new plugins, designs, and updates before launching them on your site (which is done in 1 click).

WordPress Support
I have a feeling most SiteGround customers use WordPress, and they are extremely knowledgable in troubleshooting plugins, helping you block unwanted crawlers that consume resources, and fixing bugs. Most websites don’t go down on SiteGround, but if it does, they are super responsive in helping you getting it back up. Their support for WordPress is awesome.

eCommerce Features
All SiteGround plans come with eCommerce hosting features like a free SSL from Let’s Encrypt. GoGeek comes with PCI compliance which prevents credit card fraud on eCommerce sites. And if you’re not comfortable installing a shopping cart, SiteGround’s will do this for free.

SiteGround-eCommerce-Features

 

16. SiteGround’s CPU Limits

SiteGround tells you how many visitors each plan can handle, but you should really be looking at their features page which tells you each plan’s CPU limits. If you exceed them, they will send you warnings and eventually, shut down your site. That’s why it’s best to reduce your CPU usage ahead of time (which can also improve load times). Many things are as easy as installing the Heartbeat Control plugin, Blackhole For Bad Bots plugin, and using Cloudflare’s free CDN.

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

Be preventative in reducing CPU and don’t let it happen to you:

siteground-cpu-overages

Bottom line: if you’re running a WooCommerce site, high CPU plugins, or your website consumes a lot of resources, make sure you optimize your site and choose a plan that can support those resources. SiteGround’s support can also help you identify if there’s an issue. Every company who offers shared hosting will throttle your CPU usage, not just SiteGround.

 

17. Free Migrations By SiteGround

SiteGround does free migrations with their GrowBig/GoGeek plan. Just open a support ticket and request a transfer. There should be 0 downtime and I’ve had this done for many websites.

SiteGround Free Website Transfer

 

18. StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek

Here’s the comparison chart:

SiteGround-Features-Page

StartUp ($6.99/month) – good for hosting 1 single website that doesn’t require high CPU plugins, WooCommerce, or have much traffic. You should only use it if you’re just starting and don’t anticipate lots of traffic. It doesn’t come with many server resources, storage, staging, and other features. That’s why I generally recommend the GrowBig plan since it’s $2/month and comes with way more features and server resources. StartUp can’t handle much CPU.

GrowBig ($9.99/month) – host unlimited sites with about 1.5x more server resources, more storage, staging, and advanced caching when using their SG Optimizer plugin. You also get a free website transfer and on-demand backups. GrowBig has the best value and is their most popular plan. Even if you don’t need everything else, the extra server resources are worth it.

GoGeek ($14.99/month) – GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting which is about 4x faster than regular shared hosting plans. These server resources should make your site load significantly faster and are the main reason to upgrade. GoGeek also comes with priority support, but their regular support is fast anyway. Personally, I would only upgrade if you want more resources.

 

19. Other Alternatives (The Only 4 Hosts I Recommend)

These are the 4 hosts that have gotten the best feedback in Facebook Groups + Twitter.

Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to see what real, non-affiliated people are saying. I’m a member of 30+ WordPress Facebook groups and here’s a summary of every person asking “what is the best hosting for WordPress?” This is based on 35+ Facebook polls, Twitter evidence, Trustpilot reviews, and way too much time reading these conversations. You can also reach out to Hristo Pandjarov (SiteGround community manager) and Mustaasam Saleem Ansari (Cloudways community manager) which are almost always the top 2 choices.

SiteGround
#1 in Facebook polls and used by companies like Yoast. SiteGround blows other shared hosting out of the water in terms of speed, support, uptimes, features, and security. They have great Trustpilot reviews and are a huge upgrade over GoDaddy, EIG, and A2 Hosting. Do your research and look at people who migrated and posted results. Renewal prices are high, but if you haven’t used them yet, I would 100% take advantage of the promo prices which you get for 1-3 years starting at $6.99/month.

Get hosting from SiteGround

DigitalOcean On Cloudways
Most people who leave SiteGround go to Cloudways. It’s managed cloud hosting (faster than shared) and outperforms WP Engine. Here are tweets from people who migrated and posted results: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10. Support isn’t as good as SiteGround (tickets can take hours instead of minutes) but the tradeoff is pure speed. When choosing a plan, you have 5 options: Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud. DigitalOcean is the most popular and starts at $10/month. After migrating, be sure to upgrade to MariaDB 10.3, PHP 7.2, increase memory limit to 256MB, and enable Varnish + Redis. This alone can improve load times by multiple seconds and can easily be done in your CW dashboard. Again, do your research in Facebook Groups and check Trustpilot reviews – Cloudways is an awesome choice.

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

Get managed cloud hosting from Cloudways

Kinsta
Kinsta is $30/month and is compared to “what WP Engine used to be.” WP Engine used to be great, but just like A2, they grew too fast and their servers got slower. Now, people are loving Kinsta. They are managed WordPress hosting with great speed, uptimes, and especially support. My only complaint is you can’t add more storage + server resources as needed (you have to upgrade to an entirely new plan) while Cloudways lets you add them on a per-usage cost. I haven’t used Kinsta myself… only heard great things – see their Trustpilot reviews. They are usually rated top 2 in Facebook polls for managed hosting (behind Cloudways). Go Cloudways if you want pure speed and okay support, and Kinsta for comparable speeds, but better support.

Get managed hosting from Kinsta

A2 Hosting
I put A2 in red because it’s a downgrade from SiteGround, yet comparable. Their $4.90/month Swift plan is pretty decent for the price – better than EIG. But many people on Trustpilot experience outages, poor support, and not so great servers. If you haven’t taken advantage of SiteGround’s promo prices, you’ll be better off there. If you’ve already been with SiteGround, either renew (because they’re awesome and worth it) or look into Digital Ocean on Cloudways. I would only use A2 for hobby sites.

Get hosting from A2

 

20. What People Are Saying In Facebook Groups

Spend a few minutes reading these conversations, and the decision is clear.

Bluehost-vs-SiteGround-Thread

SiteGround-vs-Bluehost-Thread

bluehost-vs-siteground-in-facebook

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

SiteGround-Feedback

Another-Unhappy-Bluehost-Customer-Thread

Best-Host-Conversation

SiteGround’s semi-dedicated plan is legit as it comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (one of the largest factors in the WordPress optimization guide). Pingdom and GTmetrix scores are fine and dandy, but load time is the most important factor. It’s what I use and I have a 320ms load time in Pingdom, .5s in GTmetrix, with 100% scores.

OMM-On-SiteGround

View SiteGround’s StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek comparison chart

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅Why does everyone promote Bluehost?

Most bloggers promote Bluehost because they offer the highest affiliate commissions. They also pay a pretty penny to be recommended on the official WordPress hosting page, making it easy to promote them. But if you do your research in WordPress-related Facebook Groups, most people do not recommend them.

✅ What do people have against Bluehost?

Their servers are slow, support is not helpful, and many people experience downtimes. Bluehost is also owned by EIG who has shareholders looking to make a profit instead of taking care of existing customers. They are very aggressive with their affiliate program.

✅ Is SiteGround or Bluehost faster?

SiteGround is faster especially if you use their SG Optimizer plugin and activate PHP 7.4 + Cloudflare in the SiteGround dashboard.

✅ Is SiteGround or Bluehost cheaper?

SiteGround is cheaper upfront but is more expensive than Bluehost once you reach their renewal pricing. You can get up to 3 years of hosting for their promotional price, then you will need to pay the higher renewal prices.

✅ Which one is better for WooCommerce sites?

I recommend SiteGround's GoGeek plan. WooCommerce sites usually require more server resources because they typically have more plugins and extra WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments. You will need a more powerful server to handle this. You may even want to skip shared hosting completely and go with a faster host like Cloudways.

If you have a question about my SiteGround vs. Bluehost review, drop me a line. You can also read my full SiteGround WordPress hosting review if you want to learn more about their cPanel, SuperCacher plugin, more Cloudflare tips, etc. I’ve had a great experience with SiteGround and would use them if you need fast, reliable WordPress hosting. And seriously, even if you don’t choose SiteGround I would definitely stay AWAY from Bluehost. Even though more people heard of Bluehost, the evidence clearly shows SiteGround is the better choice.

Cheers,
Tom

Is SiteGround Good For WordPress Hosting (Is The Sky Blue?) – Here are 6 Reasons You Should Host On SiteGround

Yes, SiteGround is awesome for hosting WordPress sites.

I’ve been with multiple hosting companies (Godaddy, HostGator, Bluehost) before switching to SiteGround and the transition was quite flawless. I chose the GoGeek package from their WordPress hosting plans, they migrated my hosting for free, and now my site runs much faster and I’ve had no hosting-related errors. In fact it’s been 8 months and I haven’t contacted them once outside of sales-related questions… which is exactly what I wanted.

OMM-On-SiteGround

Why is SiteGround a good choice for WordPress sites? Because they’ve engineered their hosting specifically for WordPress; their SuperCacher makes your site load faster (as does the built-in Cloudflare CDN), their auto-updates keep your plugins up-to-date and your site backed up, plus they’re active in WordCamps and the WordPress community in general.

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

 

Respected By The WordPress Community

SiteGround is well-respected in the WordPress community especially for their quick, helpful support. All hosting companies have good and bad customer experiences on Twitter, but if you look at SiteGround’s Twitter mentions the majority of feedback is positive…

 

Engineered For Speed

SiteGround shared hosting ($6.99/month) is good but their semi-dedicated ($14.95/month) and cloud hosting ($60/month) are much faster if you have the budget for it. The speed depends on which plan you choose but each one comes with top-notch hardware, CDN, SuperCacher, and software for it’s tier. SiteGround also makes constant updates to improve speed – allowing customer sites to load even faster. I use the semi-dedicated GoGeek plan…

SiteGround Response Times

 

Best Support In The Industry

With SiteGround’s support system I have always been able to reach someone within minutes whether it be through ticket, chat, or phone. That’s because SiteGround is a people-focused company who won’t make you wait around listening to bad elevator music. Their team is so helpful and will honestly bend over backwards to make sure your issues are resolved. And they won’t tell you “it’s not a hosting-related problem” like other hosting companies.

SiteGround's Hosting Support

 

Top-Notch Security

Not only will your site be protected through autoupdates, daily backups and server protection, but SiteGround also releases their own patches when there’s a widespread security vulnerability (with WordPress, or even a specific WordPress plugin). They’re both proactive AND reactive which is good because WordPress sites have become prime targets.

 

SiteGround WordPress Hosting Plans

Whether you’re on a $6.99/month budget or you need a $229/month dedicated server, there’s a plan for everyone. I mentioned this already but I use their semi-dedicated (GoGeek) plan and my WordPress site loads in under 1 second. Here’s a screenshot of my load time.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting

Choose A Plan

 

Videos By SiteGround

 
 

Conclusion – SiteGround Is Awesome For WordPress Hosting

Between their hosting and tech support, SiteGround is a clear winner. I don’t write many articles on the other hosting companies because SiteGround is in my opinion, the best. I do WordPress SEO and speed optimization for a living so I’ve been through a lot of hosts – and I’m just glad I found one who I can stick with and keep my website blazing fast…

GTmetrix WordPress Speed Report

I hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions about SiteGround feel free to leave me a comment or reach out to their support team who would be glad to help you!

Cheers,

Tom Signature

WP Engine Review

 

Reviews From Twitter

 

WP Engine Features

  • Super fast load times through their servers and EverCache technology
  • No cache plugin needed, WP Engine takes care of that
  • Top-notch security with security updates
  • Daily backups and one-click restore option
  • Exceptional support
  • Never worry about site crashing during traffic spikes
  • $99 migration option through Fantasktic (adds to why it’s so simple)
  • Overall the best WordPress hosting I recommend

 

 

7 Simple Ways To Improve WordPress Speed Performance

Here are a few down and dirty tips to make your WordPress site load faster.

You don’t need to know code to do any of this – it’s just a matter of configuring a cache plugin (W3 Total Cache), importing my pre-configured settings, deleting plugins you don’t need, and following my instructions. By the end your website should load much faster especially if you haven’t done these steps already (and even if you have, I bet you will learn something new).

I like to start with sitewide optimizations (things that affects the performance of your entire website) which is more efficient than doing things like optimizing individual pages and images.

Different websites have different bottlenecks which slow it down, so naturally the first step to improving WordPress speed performance is to find out what items are slowing it down…

 

1. Run Your Website Through GTmetrix

Run your WordPress site through GTtmetrix to see your page load time and which items are slowing it down. You can click on each item to see more details. This can help you find out which plugins, images, pages, and other elements of your site are slowing it down the most. Be sure to check both the Page Speed and YSlow tabs to see all GTmetrix recommendations.

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  • Under 2 seconds = legit!
  • 2-4 seconds = nice
  • 4-7 seconds = meh
  • 7-10 seconds = ouch
  • 10+ seconds = really?

 

2. Configure The W3 Total Cache Plugin

W3 Total Cache can shave seconds off your load time especially when combined with MaxCDN and Cloudflare (which integrate with W3 Total Cache). Use my W3 Total Cache tutorial to configure the ‘performance’ tabs on the left of your dashboard once the plugin is installed, then setup MaxCDN and Cloudflare. My tutorial includes a pre-configured zip file of the same settings I use which you can import into your own W3 Total Cache plugin.

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Here are the settings for the “General” tab but you’ll want to go through my full W3 Total Cache tutorial to get the most out of this amazing plugin. My tutorial has over 200 comments and has been used by 30,000+ people to make their WordPress site load much faster.

w3-total-cache-general-settings

 

3. Configure MaxCDN With W3 Total Cache

MaxCDN’s content delivery network is a paid service ($90/year with my 25% off coupon) but significantly improves load times for visitors who are far away from your server (shared hosting only has 1 server so the CDN basically mirrors your site on multiple servers around the country/world). Here’s a tutorial for setting it up with the W3 Total Cache plugin…

 

4. Get Faster WordPress Hosting

I use SiteGround and have 200ms response times with 100% GTmetrix scores and .4s Pingdom load times. Do a hosting check, run your own tests, or click through my pages to see how fast they load. They were rated the #1 host in 26 Facebook polls and are worlds better than EIG (Bluehost, HostGator), Godaddy, and bad hosts who pack too many people on the same server. They’re recommended by WordPress, do free migrations, and I use their semi-dedicated plan.

Switching To SiteGround

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100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

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Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

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Switched To SiteGround Hosting

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Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

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SiteGround Reduced Load Times

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New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

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2019 Hosting Poll

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Elementor Hosting Recommendations

July 2019 Hosting Recommendation

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Favorite Hosting For Elementor

2018 Hosting Recommendations

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Bluehost vs SiteGround

WordPress Web Host Poll

They have 3 plans to choose from…

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The higher the plan, the more server resources you get (the main speed factor for hosting). GrowBig and GoGeek let you host unlimited sites, have priority support, and come with other features – but those are the main ones. See SiteGround’s features page for a full comparison.

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

 

5. Delete Unused Plugins + Find Slow Plugins With P3

The more plugins installed on your site, the slower your WordPress speed performance will be. Too many plugins (or 1 large plugin) can be the main culprit of your slow load times. Installing Plugin Performance Profiler and running a scan tells you which plugins are slowing down your site. Go through each plugin and consider deleting it, replacing it with code (eg. using a widget instead of a Facebook plugin), or find an alternative lightweight plugin.

Here’s what the scan looks like…

P3 Performence Profiler

 

6. Optimize Images

You can break this down into serve scaled images, lossless compression, and specifying image dimensions (all of which are high priority items in your GTmetrix report). Serve scaled images means you need to resize large images to be smaller (GTmetrix provides you with these dimensions). Lossless compression is done through the Imagify Plugin – definitely the best plugin for this as the completely free ones can break your images. Specifying image dimensions means you need to specify a width/height in the image’s HTML or CSS, which GTmetrix will tell you. See the image optimization section of my YouTube video to learn all this.

 

7. Use A Faster WordPress Theme

If your WordPress theme comes with tons of built-in features (shortcodes, styling, theme options…) you may consider migrating to a theme that loads faster. GTmetrix doesn’t tell you to change your host, migrate to a faster theme or anything like that, so you will need to look into the theme for this. But if your site was slow from the start, this could be why.

I use a WordPress theme built in the Genesis Framework (recommended by WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg), and you can view a list of my recommended WordPress themes which are SEO-friendly, responsive, HTML, and secure. It’s a pain, but worth it long-term.

 

Wrapping It Up

If your WordPress speed performance is still slow, check out my main WordPress speed tutorial which is more thorough. Or if you don’t want to deal with this, I offer WordPress speed optimization services (I actually use my developer for this who you can hire on that page for $40/hour through freelancer.com). I’m investing more time helping clients with WordPress SEO consulting so instead of the $700 I would charge, you can pay my Bangladesh developer $200 who is cheaper. He has helped me optimize my site (and client sites) to load 400% faster.

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Please share this article if you found it helpful. I would appreciate that!

Cheers,

Tom Signature