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Siteground Hosting Review 2017

If you haven't been following our $1000 Web Hosting Case Study, be sure to check out why we are reviewing all of these hosts and what you can expect from us in each of these reviews.

In this Siteground review, we are going to cover a host that we have used for quite a while for our own websites and one that we feel confident recommending to other people. But, I won't bias you with my opinion, let's get to the facts so you can decide if hosting with Siteground meets your needs.

Siteground Installation and Pricing

We actually use Siteground for our how to start a blog guide and you can see Anna giving a full picture and video walkthrough on our launching your blog post.

Siteground offers a fleet of hosting options including shared hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated hosting. This suite is common for most hosting companies so there isn't much new there. We will be focusing on the shared hosting plans since that is usually plenty of processing, storage, and network power for most blogs and small to medium businesses. If you have a large business or need a lot of compute you can read about their other options here.

Siteground offers three shared hosting plans to meet a variety of needs. They are the StartUp Plan, the GrowBig Plan, and the GoGeek Plan. Before we dig into their differences, let's talk about the features that are offered across all three plans.

Features Common to All SiteGround Plans

Free Site Transfer

Most hosting companies will offer this since they get a new customer in exchange for their work and Siteground is no exception. They will migrate 1 site for you​ from whichever host you are currently using to their shared hosting plans.

Free Email Accounts

​Siteground has their own mail server that is used for all of their shared hosting plans. You will be able to create unlimited <email-address>@<yourdomain.com> and use their built-in mail clients. We always recommend trying them out to see if they work well, but you can always set up Gmail for your custom domain as well and get an interface your are more familiar using.

Unlimited MySQL Requests and Database Storage

Most of your blog or website's data is stored in a database​. Siteground uses MySql and doesn't limit the number of requests that each shared host can make. This is great if you have a site with a lot of pages or have a lot of dynamic content that is going to make a lot of requests.

Unlimited Subdomans and Parked Domains

If you are a Domaineer (buy and sell domains) or just have a few laying around, SiteGround allows you to park them for free.

In addition, you can create as many subdomains (subdomain.domain.com) as you want if you need to structure your website and urls that way. This is notable since a lot of other low-budget plans have a cap on the number of subdomains that you can use.​

Website Caching and Speed Enhancements

One of Siteground's main marketing points is the fact that it uses a custom caching solution to help your websites load faster. To do this, they use a combination of Varnish, Nginx, and Memcached. These are all open source applications that they have configured across servers on 3 separate continents.

By using these open source technologies, they are able to cache the static data that is served by your website. This includes any images as well as HTML pages that don't change. If you have a static website this can not only cause your pages to load faster for your visitors, but they will also need to make lets CPU requests and DB requests so you may be able to handle more visitors than they advertise.

Siteground also has a partnership with Cloudflare (a content distribution service) that will make your site load faster for some viewers by caching content on servers across the world. Think of it like retail stores vs. Amazon.com. Your visitors will load all the static images from their local retail store which will be much faster than waiting for delivery from Amazon.

Security and Safety through LXC (Linux Containers)

Siteground also uses a newer linux feature called containers to isolate the separate hosting instances from each other. You have probably heard about websites getting hacked and may be worried about another website on the same host as you being hacked and your site going down.

Linux containers actually virtually isolate each shared hosting account so if one of your peers is hacked or rooted, you don't have to worry. This is actually a strong use of new technology and I applaud Siteground for using it to the fullest.​

Free Daily Backups

The level of support you get for your backups is different for each of their plans, but you do get at least 1 free backup a day and after contacting support they will help you restore it. This can be a lifesaver if you are having a bad day, and something where other web hosts will charge extra.​

Free SSL Integration

Some of the cheaper plans don't allow SSL integration at all, but Siteground does and even has an easy to follow guide to work with Let's Encrypt a free SSL certificate service.

SSH & FTP Access

This feature is actually pretty great if you are a web developer or have a workflow where you need physical access to your web host. Great feature that isn't found in some other hosting plans.


Siteground Plan Comparison

Plan

Visitors

Storage

# Websites

1st Year $/mo

StartUp

10,000

10GB

1

$3.95

GrowBig

25,000

20GB

Unlimited

$5.95

GoGeek

100,000

30GB

Unlimited

$11.95

Unlike a lot of the other hosts in our list. Siteground offers the advertised low price whether or not you buy 1year, 2 years, or 3 years up front. A lot of the competitors only give you the lowest price if you buy 3 years up front. That can be a lot of money to shell out at one time.

Total Cost of Ownership Comparison

Introductory pricing can be misleading because the renewal price after the first year will go up. If you don't lock in the low rate for multiple years this is what you will be paying.

The tables in each of the columns represents the total cost after that time period. The 1 Year Cost = total cost after 1 year and 3 year cost = total cost after 3 years (it isn't in addition to).​

1 Year Up Front and Yearly Renewal After

Plan

1 Year Cost

3 Year Cost

5 Year Cost

StartUp

$48 ($4/mo)

$288 ($8/mo)

$528 ($8.80/mo)

GrowBig

$72 ($6/mo)

$432 ($12/mo)

$792 ($13.20/mo)

GoGeek

$144 ($12/mo)

$851 ($23.60/mo)

$1584 ($26.40/mo)

3 Year Up Front and Yearly Renewal After

Plan

1 Year Cost

3 Year Cost

5 Year Cost

StartUp

$144 ($4/mo)

$144 ($4/mo)

$336 ($5.60/mo)

GrowBig

$216 ($6/mo)

$216 ($6/mo)

$576 ($9.60/mo)

GoGeek

$144 ($12/mo)

$432 ($12/mo)

$1152 ($19.20/mo)


StartUp Plan

  • 10,000 Visitors
  • 10GB Storage
  • Unmetered Network Bandwidth
  • One Website

This plan is market to brand new websites and blogs that will attract less than 10,000 monthly visitors. Instead of giving you a set number of processing cores on a virtual server they have a "cpu cycle calculation". Once you get too many visitors your quota goes down and you may lose access. More on that later.

The plan also allocated 10GB of web storage for your website. Every picture you upload to the site as well as the individual webpages will take up space on the shared host. 10GB is a lot of images if you are properly compressing and resizing your images. At 100kb per image, you would need to upload 100,000 images to reach your data cap.

One of the differences that this host has from some of the others that we review is the fact that the network bandwidth isn't metered. That means your visitors can download as much data from your website and you won't run into trouble. The reality here is that in order to download "a lot" of data you will probably need more than 10,000 visitors so you will hit your cpu cap.

If you are looking to host multiple websites on a single shared host then the StartUp Plan probably isn't the right option for you. You are only allowed to host 1 website on the StartUp plan.


GrowBig Plan

  • 25,000 Visitors
  • 20GB Storage
  • Unmetered Network Bandwidth
  • Multiple Websites

In addition to the increased number of visitors your hosting plan can handle and the extra space. You also get access to all 3 levels of their caching. With the StartUp plan, you only get Varnish caching, but if you step up to the GrowBing plan, you will have access to Nginx caching as well as memcached db caching.

You also get to step up from only storing 1 backup copy of your website (daily) to up to 30 stored backups. This can be great if it takes you a few days to realize you need a backup. You also get access to their backup & restore service which will help automate the process of managing your backups and using them when you need it.

You will also get to step up to a free 1-year of wildcard SSL certificate (instead of a single subdomain wildcard certificate with the StartUp Plan). This will allow all of your subdomains to also be protected through SSL and have the https:// in front of your urls.

Lastly, your will be put at the front of the line for any support requests that you have. Siteground support is great either way so this isn't a necessity, but it may give you peace of mind in case you ever run into trouble.


GoGeek Plan

  • 100,000 Visitors
  • 30GB Storage
  • Unmetered Network Bandwidth
  • Multiple Websites

You get more visitors and storage which is what you might expect, but you also get a few other benefits such as unlimited professional support for backups. You still get access to the restore tool that Siteground has for their backups, but if you need a helping hand or have a big job they will do it for you free of charge.

You will also get free access to a staging server (duplicate of your live site that you can use for development). This is a great feature combined with its automatic git install for website developers or IT administrators that have a large site that needs to be tested before new features go live.​

SiteGround Add On Reviews

SG Site Scanner

This addon will cost you around $20/yr and is aimed to help warn you early if your website gets hacked. Most vulnerabilities have a known "signature" which means they have certain file names or locations that are associated with each hack.

This software will constantly scan for these signatures and alert you if you have been compromised. If you have been hacked before or really need the peace of mind this might be a good option, but it isn't a requirement.​

What to Watch Out For With SiteGround

Overall, SiteGround has a very strong track record and great customer service. There is one blemish that you should understand before you dive in with them. Their hosting model is slightly different with the fact that they charge per-cpu transaction instead of just giving you a certain number of cores or memory to run your website.

CPU Capping

This means you could be in bad shape if you get a ton of traffic that exceed your monthly allotment. They will warn you with email to let you know you are getting close, but if you reach the limit your site will become inaccessible. Yikes!

The people who have run into this issue were able to resolve it through customer support, but that may vary depending on the time of day and number of other people that are looking for support help. For a lot of bloggers even 10,000 visits a month might be more than you get, but it is important to understand your own traffic and plan accordingly if you expect to get close to the limit.​


Siteground Performance


Siteground Support

SiteGround is probably most known for their support. There is a lot of terrible support in the web hosting world and SiteGround decided that enough was enough.

They offer three forms of support if you run into issues:

  1. 24/7 Instant Phone Support
  2. 24/7 Instant Live Chat Support
  3. 10 Minute Wait Email Ticketing​

Our Test of Live Chat

We decided to ask the Live Chat a pre-sales questions regarding SSL certificates.​ Here is the data:

Action

Time

Test Time

2:05 PST Friday

Time to 1st Contact

20s

Time to Answer Question

25s

Answer Helpful

Exact Answer I Needed

SiteGround Live Chat Test Question

20 seconds later...

SiteGround Live Chat Test Answer