Today we're reviewing one of the most popular shared hosting options amongst affiliates and niche site entrepreneurs. This is none other than Siteground, a company that has gained an almost impeccable reputation over the last few years.
We're going to have a look at their services to find out if they truly are that good of a choice for small and medium sized online business, WordPress powered blogs and affiliates.
Siteground's value proposition:
Web hosting crafted with care
Latest speed technologies
Unique security solutions
Amazing tech support
Definitely a good proposition. We'll discover on this review if Siteground does in fact live up to their claims, but first:
Pricing and Plans
Sitegrounds offers a lot of hosting options, from shared hostings to enterprise-level solutions.
We'll concentrate on this review on the shared hosting as other options are more geared toward big entrerprises and websites with traffic numbers on the millions per month.
SG's shared hosting options will be the options that best suit most niche and small authority websites, so we'll stick to that.
Starting out as cheap as $3.95 per month (if you pay yearly), Siteground's shared hosting plans are built on SSD, come with free SSL "Let's Encrypt" certificate and free CDN.
To get their in-house developed cache tool SuperCacher, we have to go for the GrowBig or GoGeek. That tool really has a major impact on sitespeed, so it is a very valuable inclusion for their superior plans.
To top it up, they offer 24/7 customer support for all customers and WordPress staging environments, pre-installed Git, WP-CLI for easy command line management options, PCI compliance for e-shops, 1 year Wildcard SSL for free, priority customer support, free backup and restore on their GrowBig and GoGeek plans.
There's quite a lot to praise for this guys. Let's have a look at a few critial aspects of any good hosting and see how does Siteground rank.
1. Speed & Performance
One of the main factors on your website load speed it's the speed at which the hosting serves the information to the visitor. As we know, site load speed is also a big factor on SEO, which is typically the main avenue most niche sites go for in terms of obtaining traffic.
Hence, it's clear that we NEED the hosting to be fast. How fast is Siteground?
One of the key indicators of good server loadspeed it's the time it takes to load the first byte of data once a user hits "search" for a given site.
Here's a sample of the TTFB from one of my sites hosted on Siteground, tested using bytecheck.com
Another crytical point is the server location. Yes, the physical distance between where your website is stored and where your a visitor comes from plays a big part on load speed.
Fortunately, Siteground counts with 5 different data centers across the globe: Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Milan and Singapore.
Meaning you'll most likely be able to pick a datacenter that suits perfectly your website's targeting. For instance, if yours is an Amazon affiliate site focused on US, the Chicago server has great performance even for the furthest locations like California, so there's where you'd want to host your site.
It doesn't matter if your server is able to deliver your site at ligthspeed if it's always down.
Siteground counts with an impressive average uptime of 99.98%, which is above their promise and industry standard of 99.79%. Imagine if Siteground is confident on their uptime, that they give a full free month worth of hosting for each 1% of downtime over the course of 12 months. I'm yet to be eligible to any of such credits after being with them for more than 2 years...
3. Customer Support
This is probably the point where Siteground shines the brightest. Their 24/7 support is fast, polite, effective and available in English, Spanish and Italian.
Typicall matters such as installing WordPress, moving from http to https, pointing nameservers or creating an email account for your site are solved with utmost efficiency.
From my experience, if there's anything on the hosting-end of things that I don't know how to do or simply don't want to do myself, I just open a chat with customer support and ask them for help. It'll get solved within minutes, every time. In fact, they run a satisfaction survey every year and they've never gone under 95%.
With Siteground there's plenty of good to talk about, however, there are a couple of points we could say are the weaknesses of this hosting.
Data storage limits
One of the few things I'd wish was better with Siteground is their data storage limits, which are fairly low compared with other shared hostings. Sure thing, by the mere nature of a shared hosting (on which several sites share the storage space) it is understandable that they keep the storage low to keep the respond times as fast as they are.
However, for some media-heavy websites (like viral images or videos sites) this may prove a real issue. Here's what's available on each plan:
- StartUp: 10GB storage
- GrowBig: 20GB storage
- GoGeek: 30GB storage
Most niche websites count with a handful images and perhaps a couple of videos per post, so the GrowBig and GoGeek plans will have enough storage for you.
Resource usage limitations
The way SiteGround has to regulate that people actually stick to what the plans support is their monthly allowance of "CPU seconds". What this means is a cap in the amount of resources your site is allowed to use per month.
This is actually explained in terms of the "suitable monthly visitors" each plan suggests.
But, what makes this a real con?
Well, if you go over your allowance, your site gets a halt and you're notified to either upgrade plan or remain with your site on hold until next month's "CPU seconds" come in.
And because the number is fairly low, for some sites with heavy traffic (like adsense sites) this may be a real problem.
Overall I'd rate SiteGround as one of the very best options in terms of speed, security, customer support and value for money from all shared hosting options out there.
They have a 30-day money back guarantee and don't charge for a migration, so if you're unsatisfied with your site loadspeed or uptime, I can't recommend SiteGround strongly enough. Just give them a try and you won't be dissapointed.