SiteGround Review: Most Innovative Web Host 2020

Hosting over two million domains, SiteGround is one of the most popular hosts in the world. Why is it so popular and is it worth buying SiteGround hosting? In the managed WordPress niche, SiteGround is considered a budget option. Among its shared hosting competitors, however, SiteGround is among the more expensive alternatives.

Starting at $143.40/year ($47.40 for the first year), all SiteGround’s plans include the kind of WordPress-specific support other cheaper hosts do not provide. But what we see as SiteGround’s strongest advantage is its unique server setup that delivers extra power and stability to each individual account. Read our in-depth SiteGround review below.

Table of Contents

SiteGround Review at a Glance

Performance
95%
Features
100%
Transparency
100%

SiteGround WordPress Hosting

SiteGround Performance

We regularly test SiteGround using HetrixTools to monitor both the uptime and load times of our website. For our most recent results we tested SiteGround for a year between November 2018 and November 2019. The performance of our website hosted in the US was monitored from three locations: New York, Dallas and San Francisco.

In most months the uptime was between 99.98% and 100%. However, because of SiteGround’s maintenance while introducing its custom-made control panel, the uptime dropped below 99.9% in September and October 2019. The load times are nonetheless quite impressive, normally about 500-600 ms.

Below is a summary of the uptime and average load times for 2019. You can see also the actual test results and the test site setup in detail for yourself.

SiteGround Uptime 2019
SiteGround Uptime 2018

2019 Uptime:

99.94%

Average Load Time:

602 ms

SiteGround Features

SiteGround offers three shared hosting plans. They differ significantly both in terms of features and prices. The obvious differences include the number of websites and allocated disk space. Other crucial differences are the number of caching levels, the availability of such tools as on-demand backup and site staging and limits on script executions (that translate into monthly visit limits).

If you need hosting for one new website and don’t expect it to grow much in the future, the StartUp plan may be right for you. In all other cases, we recommend the GrowBig plan as a minimum. The GrowBig plan includes a free website transfer, the on-demand backup and staging tools as well as all three levels of caching essential for the speed.

SiteGround Web Hosting Plans

When your websites start to attract more traffic, you can easily upgrade to the GoGeek plan for your account to be hosted in a semi-dedicated shared environment. SiteGround also offers managed cloud hosting with 100% dedicated resources starting at $80/month.

Plan Specs

We have been testing the GrowBig plan. Here are the plan specs in detail.

Name of the planGrowBig
Monthly price$5.95 + $24.95 setup
Annual price$71.40 (no setup fee)
Recurring price$19.95/m | $239.40/y
Domainsunlimited
SSD storage20 GB
Bandwidthunlimited
Email accountsunlimited
Databasesunlimited
CloudLinuxno
Account isolationyes, chrooted suExec
CPU executions600,000/month
Monthly visits~ 25,000

Technical

Unlike many other shared hosting providers, SiteGround has built its own unique platform. Hosts normally place their customers on separate dedicated servers that have tangible limits in terms of such resources as CPU and RAM. SiteGround instead has built its shared platform on the LXC virtualization technology, which allows the company to create a pool of easily scalable and replicable containers. The result is less downtime, better performance and more stability.

And it is not just its unique platform that makes SiteGround stand out among shared hosting providers. The only common thing between SiteGround and many other hosts is that their services are based on the CentOS Linux distribution. But while the vast majority of hosts rely on the commercial LiteSpeed web server, SiteGround uses open-source Nginx as a reverse proxy for the Apache web server. Rather than MariaDB, SiteGround uses Percona as a replacement for MySQL. Also, SiteGround uses CHROOT account isolation instead of CloudLinux OS. On top of it all, SiteGround has created its own backup system. Finally, SiteGround released its own control panel in 2019. See more software specs below.

Control panelSiteGround Control Panel
Script librarySoftaculous
Web serverApache and Nginx
CacheSuperCacher (Nginx & Memchached)
MariaDB database serverno
Percona Server for MySQLyes
PHP 7.xyes
HTTP/2yes
SSH (advanced)yes
Let's Encrypt SSLyes
Securityhardware firewall
Backup softwareSiteGround Backup Tool
Backupsdaily

Essential

SiteGround provides truly dedicated 24/7 support via phone, chat and ticket. So far, our service has run so smoothly that we could not find a reason to contact tech support. We did, however, use the chat in the pre-sales phase. Our very technical questions were answered precisely and on the go. It is worth mentioning that SiteGround has very detailed tutorials, an extensive knowledge base and an insightful blog. As a SiteGround customer, you also get access to such perks as how-to ebooks and discounts on services from SiteGround’s partners.

Among other essentials, SiteGround has refund and uptime guarantees.

24/7 supportyes
Knowledge baseyes
Instant setupyes
Free migrationsyes (1 on GrowBig & GoGeek plans)
Uptime guarantee99.9%
Money back guarantee30 days

Open Source

SiteGround supports and embraces open-source software, including Joomla and Magento. Its most popular product is WordPress hosting. SiteGround is one of the only three hosts officially recommended by WordPress.org and has sponsored many WordPress meetups.

SiteGround has simplified the way its users launch and run WordPress sites. Its WordPress Starter guides you through the process of launching the site and installs all the relevant features and plugins. Besides WordPress Starter, SiteGrounds installs its SG Optimizer plugin which connects to the other WordPress tools, such as SuperCacher, in SiteGround’s control panel.

In the end, however, it is human support that propels SiteGround to the top of the WordPress community. While many hosts will not provide any support with third-party scripts (such as WordPress), SiteGround helps with investigating and fixing WordPress-specific issues.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting

Transparency

Whether you are looking for web hosting for personal or business projects, you need a host that you can rely on. This is why we always examine the transparency of the company and its practices.

Company

SiteGround is perfectly transparent about its history and operations. Based in Bulgaria, SiteGround has offices in the US, UK and Spain. Founded in 2004, the company is privately owned. In the hosting industry, SiteGround is one of the larger companies with over 500 employees. The key person is Tenko Nikolov. 

SiteGround offers web hosting in four countries: the US, UK, Netherlands and Singapore. Currently all shared accounts are activated in the following data centers: Iowa (US), London (UK), Eemshaven (NL) and Singapore. SiteGround’s further locations in Chicago, Amsterdam and Singapore are reserved for dedicated servers. 

Pricing

The pricing is generally transparent. SiteGround’s billing system is perfect for those who love discounts on their first invoice but don’t mind paying the full price after that. Although a longer billing cycle does not offer further savings, we do recommend at least a period of 12 months to enjoy the special initial price and to avoid a setup fee. SiteGround accepts all major credit cards, and PayPal is available upon request.

SiteGround Billing

SiteGround Review in a Nutshell

4.8/5

SiteGround is by far a leader in the shared hosting industry. For its customers it means that their websites are hosted on the cutting-edge technology. It also means that everything they see is custom-made and optimized – from the way the control panel looks to how they can manage their websites’ performance. By having developed its own user-friendly control panel in 2019, SiteGround has proved again that it is one of the best and most innovative web hosts today.

Such custom-made innovations come literally at a price. SiteGround’s pricing is probably the major concern we have. While the introductory prices are attractive, they renew at the rates that many users may not find as competitive. High quality, however, cannot be cheap and is usually worth the price. Another related concern is that SiteGround’s plans place serious resource limits such as script executions, which results in the restricted number of monthly visits. If your website gets lots of traffic or tends to have seasonal traffic spikes, you may need to consider options beyond shared hosting.

In all other cases, you will be beyond happy with SiteGround. What we love about SiteGround is its very stable platform, WordPress-centered hosting, 30-day refunds, free daily backups and a choice of 4 data center locations.

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