WPX vs SiteGround – why the first option is significantly better

SiteGround-vs-WPX

If you’re choosing between WPX and SiteGround, you should hear my story.

I was with SiteGround for more than 4 years. They were great at first, but everything went wrong in 2020. They raised prices (again), disabled live chat, CPU limits were pretty much unfixable, and they kept pushing upgrades. As an active member of the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, I saw people were having their own issues. People would constantly complain how their servers have gotten slower. I was personally paying SiteGround $180/month for an upgraded version of their cloud hosting because I was hitting CPU limits. That’s when I left.

I tried WPX which was a big improvement from SiteGround in terms of speed and quality of support. I loved how user-friendly the dashboard was which was a big improvement over SiteGround’s Site Tools. But at the same time, I was also testing other hosts like Cloudways DigitalOcean. They were significantly faster than WPX and since this blog is all about speed optimization, that’s where I moved to. So while I don’t use WPX currently, I did try them out.

If you’re deciding between WPX vs. SiteGround, you should definitely choose WPX. But if you’re open to other hosting options, I highly recommend setting up a free 3-day trial at Cloudways, getting a $10-$20/month DigitalOcean plan, and cloning your website there to compare the difference in speeds. DigitalOcean and Vultr HF should be even faster than WPX.

Overall, WPX has faster load times and better support than SiteGround. They have quick live chat, built-in WPX Cloud CDN, and no strict CPU limits or high renewal prices like SiteGround.

 

1. WPX Is Faster Than SiteGround

SiteGround’s servers have gotten incredibly slow.

I installed the same Astra Starter Site on WPX’s Business plan and SiteGround GrowBig (the most comparable plans especially when considering SiteGround’s renewal prices). Then I measured each website’s TTFB, load times, and server response times in multiple testing tools.

In the speed test, WPX outperformed SiteGround with a 955ms faster TTFB, 847ms faster server response times, and a 412ms faster time spent downloading a page in Search Console.

SiteGround-vs-WPX-Speed-Test-2020
Full report of all 16 hosting plans tested can be found here
WPX Reports

  • GTmetrix – 110ms
  • KeyCDN – 278ms
  • WebPageTest – 238ms
  • WPHPC Plugin – 257ms
  • Search Console – 206ms
  • Pingdom – 436ms
  • Data center: Chicago, Illinois
  • Hosting plan used: Business Plan
SiteGround Reports

  • GTmetrix – 1100ms
  • KeyCDN – 891ms
  • WebPageTest – 1502ms
  • WPHPC Plugin – 1104ms
  • Search Console – 618ms
  • Pingdom – 2280ms
  • Data center: Council Bluffs, IA
  • Hosting plan used: GrowBig

The Pingdom report lets you see a side-by-side load time comparison of 16 different hosting plans tested. WPX loaded a whopping 1844ms faster than SiteGround. But while WPX definitely loaded fast, they weren’t the fastest WordPress host in most tests – Cloudways was.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

While WPX was #1 in Matthew Woodward’s test, he also had WPX Cloud CDN and W3 Total Cache enabled for his WPX demo site. So of course WPX was #1 since they had a clear advantage (that’s why his tests showed hosts with built-in caching + CDNs at the top of the list).

 

2. Why I Left SiteGround

I left SiteGround in 2019 when I found myself paying $180/month for their cloud hosting. I was constantly hitting CPU limits and having to upgrade, even though I’m the #1 result in Google for “reduce cpu wordpress.” I know what I’m doing! I eventually came to the conclusion that SiteGround’s CPU limits are not only unfixable, but pretty much a scam to make you upgrade.

SiteGround used to be great but went completely downhill in 2020. They changed so many things about their hosting and forced customers to be beta testers and deal these changes:

  • Disabling live chat support
  • Replacing cPanel with Site Tools
  • Moving to Google Cloud servers
  • Increasing both intro + renewal prices

They simply lowered the quality of their hosting then jacked up their prices. That’s why so many people are leaving SiteGround

TLDR: I moved to Cloudways which was 1/2 the price for the same amount of CPU/RAM at SiteGround and got 2x faster loads. CPU limits instantly went away with no problems since.

Cloudways Shoutout

 

3. Too Expensive For What You Get

SiteGround is just not worth it especially when you get into the higher renewal prices.

At first, you will pay $6.99, $9.99, and $14.99/month for StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek respectively. But upon renewal, you will pay $14.99, $24.99, or $39.99/month for the same plan. Yearly, that’s $179.88, $299.98, and $539.98.

There is no comparison between a $24.99/month GrowBig plan and a $20.83/month WPX Business plan. And for that matter, I would also rather have WPX’s Business plan than GoGeek.

Why would you pay more for something that’s clearly inferior?

If  $20.83/month at WPX is too expensive, I still wouldn’t use SiteGround. You will be much better off with a $10/month Cloudways DigitalOcean plan (the hosting I use) or A2 Hosting (what I use for my girlfriend’s small restaurant website). These are both faster than SiteGround.

My bill with SiteGround:

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Sales-Receipt

 

4. CPU Issues Are Common And Unfixable

The biggest complaint about SiteGround are their CPU limits.

If you go to SiteGround’s features page and hover over the “server” tabs, you can see how many resources each plan comes with. Theoretically, when you pay more, you will get more resources.

But even on expensive plans, you are still very likely to get CPU overages. In my case, I had to pay SiteGround $120/month to get rid of CPU overages, and a whopping $180/month to make my site load fast. And believe me, my site was optimized from header to footer for lower CPU.

No matter how optimized your website is, you will still likely face CPU issues on SiteGround.

SiteGround-CPU-Limits

 

5. SiteGround Is Making Too Many Changes

Here’s a timeline for SiteGround’s main changes from 2018-2020.

  • First, they increased renewal prices in 2018.
  • Then, they moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek.
  • Once cPanel increased their prices, SiteGround quickly replaced it with Site Tools.
  • They migrated all accounts to Google Cloud servers regardless of privacy concerns.
  • When asked if they would increase prices again, Hristo said he didn’t know of plans to.
  • 3 months later on June 18th, 2020, they increased both their intro and renewal prices.
  • Now, Hristo (from SiteGround) is an admin of the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group.
  • If you post about SiteGround’s bad business practices or slow TTFB, you will be banned.

Notice a pattern?

I did. SiteGround stopped focusing on customers and they started doing anything to increase their bottom line, even if it means corrupting Facebook Groups. They know what they did was wrong for their customers and they justify it any way they can by assuming no responsibility.

No plans to increase inode limit

Chances are they will change many things in the middle of your contract and you really don’t know what you’re signing up for – they expect customers to be beta testers for the changes.

 

6. Support Is Much Better At WPX Than SiteGround

WPX’s support is literally so much better than SiteGround’s.

You can reach live chat in 30 seconds, they don’t try to sell you upgrades, and they simply listen to your problem and do everything they can to fix it. They also offer free malware cleanup because they know their security is very good and you really shouldn’t get malware on WPX.

Just look at WPX’s TrustPilot reviews:

WPX Hosting Trustpilot Reviews

SiteGround’s support has no live chat anymore and they make it very difficult to reach them. Now, you have to fill out a support ticket, wait at least 10 minutes for a response, then repeat. It’s not efficient and there have been complaints about SiteGround’s support pushing upgrades.

SiteGround’s TrustPilot reviews are good, but I recommend doing your research in non-Hristo managed Facebook Groups to see constant issues people are having with SiteGround’s support.

SiteGround Trustpilot Reviews

 

7. LiteSpeed Servers Yield Faster Load Times

WPX uses LiteSpeed servers while SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers.

Google Cloud servers are supposed to be fast, but they’re not on SiteGround (as shown in speed tests). It just goes to show that just because a host uses fast servers doesn’t mean their hosting is fast. With all the limitations SiteGround puts on their hosting, no wonder they are really slow.

LiteSpeed servers are supposed to be one of the fastest options available. This also means you can use the LiteSpeed cache plugin which has excellent reviews.

 

8. WPX Cloud CDN Is Free And Built-In

WPX has an in-house CDN called WPX Cloud CDN.

It has 25+ data centers and was built by WPX with performance in mind.

It’s free with all WPX plans and can easily be activated inside your WPX account.

WPX Cloud CDN

 

9. WPX Dashboard vs. SiteGround Site Tools

The WPX Dashboard is much more user-friendly than SiteGround’s Site Tools.

Taking backups, installing SSL, and creating a staging site is all free and easy. There have been a few reports of bug issues with their staging tools, but everything worked flawlessly on my end.

WPX Hosting Dashboard

SiteGround’s Site Tools was built in a rush after cPanel raised their prices. SiteGround wanted to increase their bottom line by not paying for cPanel, so they created Site Tools. There have been many reports of bugs, but they seem to have most of them fixed now. Site Tools is hit or miss on whether you like it, and I honestly prefer the old SiteGround cPanel over Site Tools.

 

10. SiteGround’s SG Optimizer Is Better For Caching

WPX uses W3 Total Cache for caching, but I would use the LiteSpeed plugin instead. W3 Total Cache isn’t a great cache plugin and you might as well use the LiteSpeed plugin which was developed specifically for LiteSpeed servers (what WPX uses). You should have better results.

SiteGround uses SG Optimizer which is honestly the only great thing about their hosting. Since it’s 2 big updates, SG Optimizer has nearly every single feature included with WP Rocket (database cleanup, heartbeat control, prefetching, and even image optimization). It also uses server-size caching which is faster than the file-based caching done by WP Rocket. See my recommended SG Optimizer settings if you’re planning on using SiteGround. It’s a great plugin.

SG Opimizer Environment Optimization Settings

 

11. Features Comparison

I made a little table comparing SiteGround’s features to WPX’s features.

WPXSiteGround
ServerIn-HouseGoogle Cloud
Speed TestVery FastVery Slow
CachingW3 Total CacheServer Caching (1-3 Levels) via SG Optimizer
CDNWPX Cloud CDNFree Cloudflare
PHP Version7.47.4
SSLFreeFree
BackupsFree DailyFree Daily
StagingYesOn GrowBig+
SupportAwesomeAverage
DashboardCustomSite Tools
Email HostingYesYes
# Of SitesUnlimitedUnlimited On GrowBig+
Banned PluginsNoNo
MigrationsFree$30/Site
Intro Price$20.83 - $83.25/mo$6.99 - $14.99/mo
Renewal PriceNo Higher RenewalsAbout 3x Intro Price
TrustPilot Rating4.9/54.8/5

 

12. WPX Is Newer But The Service Is Better

I get it, WPX doesn’t have as many TrustPilot reviews or the popularity of SiteGround.

But that’s exactly why you should use them. They are doing everything they can to win customers through faster speeds, better support, and improving their overall level of service.

SiteGround is riding a high horse. I have referred nearly 3,000 people to them and they are taking advantage of them. I no longer use SiteGround, nor do I recommend them in my guides.

 

13. WPX Funds Food And Medical Care For 500+ Dogs

You can read more about it here: everydogmatters.eu

It says something when the owner not only makes donations, but creates an entire organization dedicated to helping our best friends. And his face can be found all over the WPX website – something SiteGround doesn’t do much. I like when companies are generous and transparent.

WPX-Owner-With-Dogs

 

14. Similar Alternatives To WPX + SiteGround

As of now, I don’t use either WPX or SiteGround.

I personally use Cloudways which has their own benefits:

  • Fastest host in speed tests.
  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s.
  • Monthly pricing with no higher renewal prices or yearly contracts.
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are very fast and only start at $10-$13/mo.
  • Varnish, Redis, and memcached are all built-in for higher performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating and highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Mustasaam (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

Plus, the overwhelming feedback in groups like the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group:

Cloudways Response TimesCloudways-Migration-Result
Cloudways Google PageSpeed
WP Engine To Cloudways
DigitalOcean Pingdom Report
Hosting-Recommendation
Moving-From-WPX
SiteGround-Alternatives
Preferred-Web-Hosting
UntitledWPEngine-To-Cloudways
Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration
Cloudways Pingdom Load Times
Cloudways Pingdom Report
Elementor-Hosting
Web-Hosting-France
SiteGround-Alternative
VPS-Cloud-Hosting

 
I don’t mean to throw a curveball at you, but if you haven’t looked into Cloudways, you should.

Cheers,
Tom

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