SiteGround is a popular shared hosting provider that offers its users multiple different hosting options.
These include WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, and even dedicated servers.
We’ve been monitoring SiteGround’s cheapest “Startup” shared plan for over two years now.
We paid for a shared hosting account, set up a live test site, and have been closely tracking their performance with a third-party tool to provide this unbiased, transparent review.
Overall, SiteGround ranks near the top of all web hosting companies for both uptime (99.99%) and speed (756 ms). Their customer support team is knowledgeable, fast, and friendly. All plans come with a CDN, SSL certificate, and email accounts.
However, there are some downsides too.
Let’s dig in.
General Info & Hosting Overview
Our Verdict: 5.0
|SPEED:||756 ms (February 2020 to January 2021)|
|UPTIME:||99.99% (February 2020 to January 2021)|
|SUPPORT:||24/7 Live Chat, Phone, Knowledge Base|
|APPS:||Supports more than 500 applications|
|FEATURES:||Unmetered bandwidth, 10 GB storage, website builder, and free email, free SSL and CDN, daily backup|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Shared, WordPress, Cloud, Reseller, Enterprise, and Dedicated Servers|
|SITE TRANSFER:||Not free|
|PRICING:||Starting at $5.99/mo (renews at $12.99/mo)|
Pros of Using SiteGround Hosting
SiteGround starts strong with 99.99% uptime, above-average speeds, and tons of extra features that are perfect for both beginners and power users.
1. Good Performance – 99.99% Uptime in Last 12 Months
SiteGround’s uptime performance has been nearly perfect over the last year. Their 99.99% average puts them among the most reliable hosts we’ve reviewed.
Strong uptime like this keeps website visitors happy. But more importantly, it means your site is almost guaranteed to be working around the clock so you won’t miss out when your customers want to make a purchase, either.
Last 12 months average uptime:
- January 2021: 99.90%
- December 2020: 99.99%
- November 2020: 100%
- October 2020: 99.99%
- September 2020: 99.99%
- August 2020: 99.99%
- July 2020: 100%
- June 2020: 99.98%
- May 2020: 100%
- April 2020: 100%
- March 2020: 100%
- February 2020: 99.99%
2. Above-Average Load Time (756 ms)
Site speed is easily the second most critical factor when choosing a host.
For starters, research by Google shows that 53% of people will leave if your pages don’t load within three seconds.
Furthermore, you can’t do much to fix a slow host. You might be able to compress images to lighten their weight. You might be able to load them through a CDN to take some pressure off your server. But once a slow host? Always a slow host.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that with SiteGround. Their above-average loading time of 756 ms isn’t the fastest we’ve seen, but it does place SiteGround in our pros section (so far!).
3. Good Customer Support Experience
SiteGround provides a knowledge base for customers to find their own quick answers. Otherwise, you can call in over the phone or use the 24/7 live chat.
For this latest test, we opted for the live chat option and we were connected with their customer rep in less than a minute.
Unlike other hosts, there was no noticeable delay in answers. So it seemed like he knew what he was talking about and didn’t have to look up answers each time we sent over a new question.
In total it took us less than three minutes to get a reply to our questions.
4. Free Site Migration for One Website
Whenever we see web hosts come out with a “DIY migration” option, it makes us a little anxious. That’s because most of them aren’t great, and they end up putting more burden on the customer.
SiteGround might be the exception to this rule, though. They’ve created a free WordPress Migration plugin that you can upload to any site.
There aren’t any long and boring walkthroughs, either. You simply generate a token from inside your SiteGround hosting account and the plugin will quickly help do the heavy lifting.
Yes, it still requires you to do a little work. But the good news is that you can migrate as many websites as you want with this option. (In comparison, some hosts that offer “free migrations” cap it after only a few, forcing you to pay after a certain point.)
If you’d rather have some professional, hands-on help, SiteGround will throw in the free service on their higher-tier plans (GrowBig and up).
If you exceed the limits on each plan, they charge a nominal fee of $30 for each additional site.
5. Free SSL Certificate and Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Google Chrome has started actively warning people if the site they’re trying to reach doesn’t have an SSL certificate set up.
SSL helps to protect any information sent back and forth between the user’s device and the website, including personal details like IP addresses or credit card numbers. If left unsecured, hackers and others could easily intercept this information. So Chrome is looking out for web users’ best interest here.
In other words, that basically makes SSL certificates a requirement on all websites today. And thankfully, SiteGround throws these in for free on all plans.
The other bit of good news comes in the form of a free Cloudflare CDN (Content Delivery Network). CDN stores large files, like images, on many servers in different locations around the globe. This helps to make sure that the files are stored as close as possible to site visitors, making them faster to access.
SiteGround has servers spread out over three continents, which helps to keep loading times fast and provide a good customer experience.
6. Beginner-to-Advanced Features Available
SiteGround has a little something for everyone.
Beginners and bloggers will like that you can install popular website builders like Weebly in just a few clicks. Weebly features a simple drag-and-drop editor so you can take full control over the look and feel of your site (without having to dive into code).
Other than Weebly, SiteGround also has deep integrations with WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Each of these apps can be installed quickly and painlessly. No need for a developer to help you out.
However, if you already are a developer, you’re in luck, too.
You’ll get Git pre-installed on bigger plans, along with SSH, WP-CLI, SFTP, and phpMyAdmin. They have multiple PHP versions at your disposal. Multi-level caching is available. And you can also get access to staging environments for sites to prep or test before pushing new features into production.
SiteGround also helps out with security, using a proprietary, AI-bot prevention tool that tries to snuff out new attacks before they hit. Their data reports that anywhere from 500,000 to two million brute-force attempts are blocked on their servers each hour.
So you’re not left alone to deal with these headaches, either.
7. 99.99% Uptime Guarantee
Remember that solid 99.99% uptime average? Well, there’s a reason SiteGround doesn’t falter here – it would cost them a lot of money.
Often, when you dig into a web host’s terms of service, there’s only bad news buried in the fine print.
SiteGround surprised us in a good way. Under their Service Level Agreement, they guarantee “network uptime of 99.9% on an annual basis.” If they ever dip below that threshold, you will get compensated with free months of hosting.
Now, there are a few conditions to how the uptime is calculated. Any scheduled or emergency maintenance issues are exempt. If something you do causes the downtime (such as exceed resources, install applications that don’t work, or violate terms), then SiteGround does not take responsibility. Any major external attacks on their systems could sidestep this policy, too.
8. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
SiteGround features a full 30-day money-back guarantee on all shared hosting plans. In comparison, their cloud, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans only come with a 15-day refund.
Like many other hosts, domain name fees and any other “extras” are usually not refunded. And this refund policy only applies to brand new customers. So you can’t get refunds on renewal plans.
Cons of Using SiteGround Hosting
SiteGround impressed us with near-flawless uptime and their guarantee of free service if uptime dips below 99.99%. Their loading speeds are quite good, even if they’re not the fastest out there. Also, SiteGround offers a variety of apps to make both beginners and advanced users happy.
However, there are a few drawbacks to consider before signing up. So here are some of the bigger issues we ran into during our hands-on test.
1. Higher Renewal Rates
SiteGround’s cheapest plan, StartUp, features a low $5.99/month advertised price on their website.
This deal looks a little too good to be true because it is. Almost every web host we’ve reviewed to date uses the same trick. They catch your attention with a low introductory rate, only to double (or even triple) the price when it’s time to renew.
For example, that $5.99/month rate jumps up to $12.99 when you renew. SiteGround’s other plans hike up to $22.99 and $34.99/month respectively.
The best solution to this is to lock-in the longest term possible (36 months on SiteGround) to take advantage of that low rate for as long as you can.
2. Limited “Cheap” Plan
SiteGround’s pricing on their lowest plan is comparable to the competition so it seems like a good deal when you first look at it.
However, the plan features don’t line up exactly.
For example, you get one website and only 10 GB of web space to handle around 10,000 monthly visits. This plan also features unlimited traffic (or unmetered bandwidth). However, if your site is getting anywhere close to those limits, performance is going to suffer.
That means it’s good for smaller sites that might not hit those thresholds for a while. But if your site starts becoming bigger, you’ll probably have to upgrade and pay more for increased resources.
3. No Free Domain Name
Most web hosts throw in ‘freebies’ to attract new customers.
That often includes the low introductory rate and additional services like email or migrations.
A free domain name for the first year is almost always on that list, too.
SiteGround Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
SiteGround has three shared hosting tiers. Here are the costs and highlights:
|StartUp Plan||GrowBig Plan||GoGeek Plan|
Renews at $12.99/mo
Renews at $22.99/mo
Renews at $34.99/mo
|Other Features||–||• On-Deman Backup Copies
• Speed Boosting Caching
• Add Collaborators
|• White Label Clients
• Ultrafast PHP
• Priority Support
- Domain: No. Domain prices start from $13.95
- Ease of Signup: Very easy, one-page sign-up process.
- Money-Back: 30-days money-back guarantee.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card (there are other options available through chat)
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: They charge a $14.95 setup fee if you pay for their shared hosting plans monthly instead of annually. Renewal rates are also higher. And you have to pay for a domain name (no freebie).
- Upsells: A few… but nothing too bad.
- Account Activation: Quick account activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard: cPanel
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Quick and easy install of popular apps and CMSs using Softaculous.
Do We Recommend SiteGround?
Yes, we do.
SiteGround has delivered solid uptime for a few years now. And their uptime guarantee makes sure that you’ll probably never have any major downtime issues.
Their site speed is pretty good, too. That’s thanks to their servers spread out over three continents and free Cloudflare CDN account. They also give you free SSL on all plans.
Moreover, their pricing is good if you take advantage of the longest term possible. Otherwise, you’ll end up hitting those high renewal rates sooner. Bring your own domain, too, to escape another fee.
P.S. Have you used SiteGround before? Please consider leaving a review below — good or bad — doesn’t really matter as long it’s helpful to our visitors. Thanks for your support.