When you think of bespoke, artisanal products you tend to think of pottery, clothing, and maybe even coffee, but web hosting? What kind of crazy talk is that? SiteGround offers what it calls web hosting “crafted with care.” It says speed is its passion, security solutions its specialty, and technical support its pride.
That sure sounds nice, but how does that all marketing talk shake out in reality? That’s what this article aims to find out as you wend your way through the endless choices of web hosting services. How do you know which one is right for you or offers the services you need? What is a reasonable price, and what’s an insane amount of money, or does it depend?
Let’s dive into the details of SiteGround to answer some of these questions, and help you make a better decision about web hosting. SiteGround comes 4th in our web hosting rankings, scoring a rock-solid 80%. Let’s get into why.
- Automated daily backups for free
- Automatic WordPress updates for all users
- Not the cheapest web hosting around
- Excellent knowledge base pages
Based in Bulgaria, SiteGround was founded in 2004 by a group of friends out of their university dorm rooms. The company has three offices in Europe and one in the United States, employing more than 400 people. It says it hosts more than one million domains.
SiteGround has a page dedicated to the issue of uptime, which is a measure (expressed as a percentage) of how often the network is active and online. SiteGround claims an uptime of 99.99 percent; however, our research has that number a little lower at 99.98 percent. Either way that’s a great percentage for downtime. Over the course of a year both percentages amount to less than two hours of downtime.
That’s an excellent number, and about what you’d expect from a web host. It’s simply impossible to keep a network running smoothly 100 percent of the time. Eventually, there will be problems that cause brief outages — even Google goes down occasionally.
Still, you want that number to be as close to 100 percent as possible, and SiteGround provides that.
If you are starting out with a WordPress-based site then SiteGround may be the place for you. The company offers managed WordPress hosting on all of its plans, which means the company handles essential services like automatic updates for WordPress. SiteGround also supports WordPress command line management (WP-CLI) on all plans, which is not that common.
That’s not to say SiteGround is for WordPress only; it supports all manner of other content management systems, as well as static sites on generic servers. Since WordPress is a popular option for millions of websites around the world, however, SiteGround dedicates some special advantages to customers who go with the open source blog platform.
If you are coming from another web host and wish to bring your site with you, SiteGround offers free website transfers on all plans where a company agent will handle the transfer for you.
SiteGround’s basic StartUp shared hosting plan supports a single website, 10GB of disk space, unmetered data transfer, a free drag-and-drop site builder, free email accounts, free daily automatic backups, the cPanel hosting control panel, and a one-click installer for WordPress.
While SiteGround offers unmetered data transfer, the StartUp package only supports around 10,000 visits per month. That’s not a lot, but it’s more than enough for a site that is just starting out.
GoGeek, its top-level plan, also adds WordPress staging, which makes it easier to test changes to your site before releasing them live. The top-tier package also comes with the Git version control system pre-installed. Git is a tool for recording and controlling all coding changes and is the backbone of the popular developer site, GitHub. Git is an advanced user feature and is helpful if you have a team of developers working on your site.
SiteGround also offers a cloud hosting product for those who need to scale up their sites based on demand. This level of service is best suited to sites with high traffic such as businesses and popular online destinations or services.
There are four tiers for cloud hosting packages: Entry, Business, Plus, and Super Power. These plans are all about the hardware and bandwidth. Entry offers a Linux container (virtualized operating system) with 2 CPU cores, 4GB of memory, 40GB of SSD storage, and 5TB of data transfer. The top tier Super Power plan offers 8 CPU cores, 10GB of memory, 120GB of SSD storage, and the same 5TB of data transfer.
SiteGround also offers customized enterprise hosting solutions.
Signing-up for SiteGround is relatively easy. After choosing your desired hosting package, SiteGround offers to either register a new .COM domain for $16 per year or allows you to use one of your own domains.
We’d recommend bringing your own domain even if you don’t have one yet. The fact is you can find a domain registrar with cheaper prices than SiteGround. However, if you don’t want the extra hassle of setting up a domain from an external provider then the extra cost may be worth it.
Once you’re through the domain section, SiteGround requires all your account details — name, email, password, payment information, and so on.
Towards the bottom of this screen in the Purchase Information section, SiteGround offers two add-ons for StartUp package customers. The first is website transfer, which is free, and SiteGround’s own Site Scanner powered by U.S.-based website security company Sucuri. The latter add-on costs $20 per year automatically, which raises the price considerably if you’re not paying attention at checkout. It’s always refreshing to see a web host that doesn’t do that.
SiteGround’s support options begin with its multiple knowledge pages. The primary is one is the generic Knowledge Base site with answers to general questions organized by topics such as hosting, cPanel, applications, billing, and so on.
Each section has articles written by the company that help with many of the most common issues. If you don’t see your issue on the Knowledge Base landing page, you can use the search box at the top to drill deeper.
For new customers, SiteGround requires a minimum one-year commitment to get its best price. Pricing for the StartUp package starts at $4 per month and you can commit to a 1-, 2-, or 3-year service plan at that price. Alternatively, you can choose a single one-month trial for $4 plus a “setup fee” of $15.
That’s a nice option for anyone who isn’t sure they want to stick it out with SiteGround for the long haul. The downside, however, is that after that first month you have to pay the not-so-special regular price of $10 per month.
SiteGround’s other pricing tiers have similar options. The GrowBig package is the next tier and offers multiple website hosting, 20GB of disk space, and around 25,000 visits per month for $6 per month–the regular price is $15 per month.
The top tier-plan as we said earlier is is called GoGeek and has an initial price of $12 per month. That plan features multiple website hosting, 30GB of disk space, and around 100,000 monthly visits. You also get several “geeky” advanced features some of which we mentioned above. The regular price for GoGeek is $30 per month.
For cloud hosting, the Entry package pricing is $80 per month, Business is $120 per month, Business Plus is $160 per month, and Super Power is $240 per month.
SiteGround is a nice service with some big pluses to recommend it, such as automated WordPress updates for everyone. While other hosts do that, it’s rare to see this at the bargain basement hosting levels. It’s also great to see another web hosting company that is up front with its pricing and one that doesn’t automatically opt you in to high-priced add-ons.
However, SiteGround doesn’t have the same advantages for lower tier customers that bigger web hosts like HostGator and Bluehost do. Many of them, for example, don’t put limits on the number of visitors you get every month, at least to a point. Companies will constrain access to your site if you are using too much bandwidth so as not to harm other customers using the same server as you. But there are no hard limits as there are with SiteGround.
SiteGround is a good service that offers decent value for money. If your major concern is price, you can definitely find cheaper alternatives, but it’s quite common for most initial price offerings to require a 3-year commitment. SiteGround, in contrast, will give you its special price for a single year or even a month — though you’ll be paying full freight after that initial month. That allows you to get the benefits of a cheaper price without an incredibly long commitment.
Beyond price, some of the basic managed services it provides such as automated WordPress updates are an advantage, and the free automated daily backups are a big plus as well. The limitation on a bandwidth are a definite drawback, but SiteGround is largely competitive. The biggest question with SiteGround is whether you want to give up its added features in favor of a cheaper price elsewhere.
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