• Uptime: 99.99%
  • Support: 10/10
  • Loading Speed: 0.66s
  • Features: 9.5/10
MINIMUM PRICE:
$ 6.99 /month
Visit Website

SiteGround Review - Is the Giant Still in Full Power?

The SiteGround saga continues. Join me as I review all the shiny new features introduced in 2021, and see if SiteGround is still has the best web hosting offer.

SiteGround Review - Is the Giant Still in Full Power?
MINIMUM PRICE:
$ 6.99 /month
Visit Website
  • Uptime: 99.99%
  • Support: 10/10
  • Loading Speed: 0.66s
  • Features: 9.5/10
  • Hosting options: Shared, cloud, dedicated, reseller, WordPress, cloud, and WooCommerce
  • Database: MySQL, included in all plans, unlimited

Best For

PEERLESS CUSTOMER SUPPORT

STRENGTHS

  • Best uptime - 99.9%
  • Best tecnical support
  • Great speed - 0.67s
  • CloudFlare’s CDN (140 Countries)

WEAKNESSES

  • No-free domain on basic plan
  • Expensive basic plan

PRICING PLANS:

StartUp

$6.99

GrowBig

$9.99

GoGeek

$14.99

If you’re looking for a hosting provider, you’re bound to run into SiteGround. It’s one of the most powerful and influential independent hosts, and it has been setting the standards in WordPress-based services for a long time.

The provider has been rated as one of the top services on HostingTribunal for years now and we’ve done multiple SiteGround reviews that cover most of the provider’s hosting solutions.

That said, in 2020 the host implemented a massive revamp of its services. This entailed significant infrastructure changes, restructured plans, and many new features.

But does it still rank among the top hosting providers in 2021?

The latest iteration of our SiteGround hosting review is here to answer that question.

Let’s jump right into the details.

What Is SiteGround?

SiteGround was founded in Bulgaria, but it quickly became a global hosting provider. With points of presence in 10 countries across four continents, it serves more than 2 million domains.

SiteGround hosting is endorsed by WordPress.org and I know it for its big investments back into the online community. And I haven’t even mentioned its R&D activities—while most hosts run on industry-standard software, a big part of SiteGround’s setup is developed in-house.

Sounds impressive, right?

You don’t know half of it.

I collected years’ worth of metrics on the provider’s performance, as well as a bunch of other test results. Join me as I outline what SiteGround has to offer and what you need to watch out for.

The Essentials—Uptime, Speed, Support

Uptime, speed, and support are the key characteristics that define the quality of hosting services. I tested all of them for this SiteGround review.

1. Uptime—99.99%

It didn’t take long for SiteGround to stand out. The large investments in infrastructure paid off, so now it can offer greater redundancy and stability than most providers.

SiteGround uses the Google Cloud infrastructure to establish a worldwide presence and use some of the best hardware money can buy.

It deploys Linux Fedora on top, with a proprietary tweaked kernel. Each customer gets its own Linux container—highly secure and isolated from other accounts on the same server. In other words, it’s extremely unlikely for external issues to affect any individual SiteGround hosting plans.

And I haven’t even mentioned the proactive security monitoring system that checks the servers every 0.5 seconds. The provider also adds a web application firewall to thwart various hacking attempts. Whatever the automated systems cannot fix gets taken care of by SiteGround’s team of expert engineers.

The effect is more than clear. The provider has maintained a nearly perfect uptime, at least since I started monitoring in 2018. Now that it uses Google’s servers, it’s that much more reliable.

The host offers the obligatory 99.9% availability guarantee. If SiteGround’s uptime falls below this, you get a full month of free hosting. Each additional 1% below it brings you an extra month.

That said, SiteGround makes it extremely unlikely that anyone will ever have to take them up on this offer.

Average Uptime 2018 – 99.99%
Average Uptime 2019 – 99.99%
Average Uptime 2020 – 99.99%
Average Uptime 2021:
  • January – 100%
  • February – 99.99%

“One of the most reliable infrastructures combined with an impeccable setup and server management.”

2. Excellent Speed

  • Quick Response Time – 0.38s (7th)
  • Quick Fully Loaded Time – 0.94s (4th)
  • Number 2 Under Load – 0.19s (2nd)

Speed is the second key aspect I checked. Once again, SiteGround doesn’t disappoint.

For this SiteGround review, I tested time to first byte (TTFB) and time to fully load a page. TTFB is a good measurement of server delay and it plays a role in search engine rankings. The latter indicates how quickly the servers actually deliver content.

Lastly, I measured how the servers perform when you hit them with numerous virtual users. Ideally, you’ll want to attract a lot of traffic, and this test shows you how much of it you’ll be able to handle.

The TTFB falls at 0.320 seconds, which is reasonable. I ran the test from a remote location to test the worst-case scenario. You might get faster responses if your website visitors are near SiteGround’s data center.

SiteGround web hosting content delivery times are nothing short of impressive. Since my site was moved to Google Cloud, SiteGround records an average time till fully loaded of 0.65 seconds. It pegs SiteGround as one of the fastest providers, only a few milliseconds behind highly expensive ones like Kinsta.

Even better, when I hit my website with 300 virtual connections, the response times hardly fluttered. SiteGround maintained a stable response period throughout the 10 minutes of testing, meaning it can easily handle a big influx of traffic.

Average response time 2018 – 0.47s
Average response time 2019 – 0.34s
Average response time 2020 – 0.41s
Average response time 2021:
  • January – 0.30s
  • February – 0.28s
Fully loaded page 2018 – 0.98s
Fully loaded page 2019 – 0.94s
Fully loaded page 2020 – 0.99s
Fully loaded page 2021:
  • January – 0.71s
  • February – 0.70s
Response under load 2018 – 0.19s
Response under load 2019 – 0.17s
Response under load 2020 – 0.23s
Response under load 2021:
  • January – 0.14s
  • February – 0.12s

“SiteGround is among the fastest and most reliable providers, being able to endure heavy traffic without a hitch.”

3. Stellar Support

Support quality has always been one of SiteGround’s main selling points and it’s highly praised in SiteGround reviews.

It’s no surprise—the provider puts each representative through serious training (3-6 months of it.) The agents are ready to go above and beyond for each customer. A lot of the time, they’ll handle things like optimizing your website for you.

I’ve contacted SiteGround support dozens of times over the years and I’ve always received fantastic assistance. The agents have helped me with everything from handling backups and configuring security to changing .htaccess rules.

It’s truly white-glove service.

One recent change I came across while preparing this SiteGround review, which I wasn’t too crazy about, is that it’s more difficult to get in touch with support agents.

You can’t even get to the sales chat if you don’t create an account. But things don’t get much easier once you’re a customer.

Finding the contact form isn’t a piece of cake—you have to scroll through a bunch of options and some routes finish at a dead end. Then you have to jump through a few more hoops to get to the SiteGround live chat or phone options.

On the positive side, SiteGround has a splendid knowledge base. It explains everything from simple concepts to advanced operations like converting databases from MySQL to Postgres. Needless to say, you get comprehensive guides on all proprietary tools, as well as a full ebook on working with WordPress. It’s one of the best-built tutorial repositories you’ll find.

“SiteGround continues the tradition of well-trained staff and excellent knowledge base articles, but the process of contacting the support team can be frustrating.”

The Pros of SiteGround

Is the provider as good as all SiteGround reviews say? Its numerous advantages speak in its favor. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the bigger ones.

1. Google Cloud Infrastructure

SiteGround used to run everything on its own servers for 15 whole years and it worked great. However, the provider is looking to up its game and is currently migrating everything to Google Cloud.

All new customers are hosted on Google Cloud servers and the bulk of old ones have already been migrated from SiteGround’s data centers.

In case you’re not familiar with Google Cloud, it is one of the big players in Cloud computing and a strong competitor to giants like AWS. It lets you rent out server resources on the same infrastructure Google uses.

There are multiple benefits to this.

Google Cloud runs reliable infrastructure with multiple redundancies and near-impenetrable security. It would be tough for any individual provider to achieve this level of stability without sinking millions into redundancy alone.

Second, the servers are blazing-fast and have access to Google’s private optic fiber network. Think massive cables traversing land and sea and connecting six continents at incredible delivery speeds. You can see the effect clearly on the new and improved load times of the SiteGround packages.

And if you like environmentally-friendly services, Google Cloud offsets 100% of its energy usage with green energy credits. That way, you can minimize the carbon footprint of your website.

Overall, the infrastructure is incredibly powerful and reliable, leading to excellent performance for SiteGround users.

2. Optimized for WordPress and WooCommerce

Did you know SiteGround, together with Bluehost and Dreamhost, is one of the three hosts recommended by WordPress.org? There are some incredible advantages of SiteGround WordPress and WooCommerce hosting.

It all starts with the server-side technologies. SiteGround runs Apache web server with Nginx as a reverse-proxy, PHP and MySQL tweaks, brotli compression, and custom caching mechanisms working on all three levels. The names might be a bit technical, but SiteGround’s load speeds speak for themselves.

But the perks don’t end with pure speed.

SiteGround WordPress hosting starts you off with its quickstart wizard plugin, which makes setup easier than ever. You can configure your WordPress login credentials, pick one of the many themes, and choose some of the more common plugins to install (like a page builder or a contact form plugin.)

This shortens the setup process from a few hours to less than a minute.

If you already have a site somewhere else, SiteGround has developed a migrator plugin as well. You can use it to move an unlimited number of websites by yourself. The whole process is very smooth, though you might need to do some troubleshooting if you run custom technologies.

In most cases, you can save yourself the trouble and enable automatic updates across the board. But SiteGround offers handy skipping and delaying options, so you can also specify which plugins you want to be updated automatically.

Probably the most significant advantage, at least according to my SiteGround WordPress hosting review, is the SG Optimizer plugin. It is packed with speed optimization features. Robust caching, script minification and deferring, database optimization, heartbeat control, and media compression are all on the table.

The plugin offers everything you would get in a premium solution like WP Rocket and more. And these are just the speed optimization features. You do get a few website security options as well, like enforcing HTTPS.

Last but not least, the SiteGround team offers managed WordPress security. If you have any security concerns, you can turn to the agents to set up proper measures and make your installation tight.

This is more than enough to make SiteGround the best WordPress hosting I’ve seen on the Web.

3. Master of Proprietary Tech

If you’ve read the review so far you might have figured out that SiteGround has a knack for developing its own tech.

Probably the most significant innovation is replacing the traditional cPanel with SiteGround’s proprietary “Site Tools.” The new control panel makes it beyond easy to deploy website technologies, manage various server stack aspects, see resource statistics, manage backups and SSL encryption, and everything else you need to run a website.

Plus, the intuitive UI caters to beginners, so you’ll have no trouble getting around. Testing it for this SiteGround web hosting review was a pleasant experience.

Of course, there’s plenty more, including a bespoke web application firewall, staging tools, and even a customized Linux kernel running it all.

SiteGround doesn’t mess around when it comes to R&D.

4. Highly Secure

You can’t talk about high-end hosting without touching upon security.

The optimization starts with the stack. SG always implements the latest updates to all supported technologies. It even applies common security fixes to the Linux kernel that runs along with a few custom modifications.

All shared SiteGround Hosting Plans are isolated in the so-called Hive containers—a similar technology to Cage FS on Cloud Linux. Essentially, the system prevents accounts on the same server from affecting each other. If one of the other clients fails to optimize their website, hackers won’t be able to leverage this to gain access to your part of the server.

SiteGround makes setting up an SSL certificate a breeze. You can either apply your custom certificate or get a Let’s Encrypt one in a few clicks. Unlike most providers, SiteGround includes the option to get a Let’s Encrypt WildCard, which secures both the main domain and all subdomains.

You’ll likely need this option if you’re using SiteGround for ecommerce.

SiteGround maintains a frequently updated web application firewall, which stops common issues like brute-force attacks or SQL injections. Cloudflare CDN is there to take care of DDoS traffic.

You can pay an extra $1.65/month for the SG Site Scanner—a malware detection system. It will notify you if any issues need addressing or if your website gets flagged by common blacklist databases.

To top it off, SiteGround adds spam protection, two-factor authentication, and many more measures to ensure the integrity of your account.

All in all, security is tight.

5. Fast Stack and Technologies

Sure, SiteGround has a pretty impressive WP optimization, but this isn’t just a SiteGround WordPress review, so I’ll move on with some other features.

SiteGround’s base servers have a robust setup that can deliver content blazingly-fast compared to other sites and platforms.

For starters, its web server of choice is Apache, but the provider runs Nginx as a reverse-proxy for caching static content. That way, you get the fastest possible delivery times for both static and dynamic elements of your website. And the host caches everything, providing a database cache with the SiteGround GoGeek and GoBig plans.

SG opts for brotli compression over standard gzip. The speeds are similar, but brotli puts less strain on the bandwidth.

SiteGround further tweaks its setup to work smoothly with PHP. This includes WAF fixes, various .htaccess rules, and more. The “Ultrafast PHP,” as SG calls it, is supposed to achieve 25%-30% faster script execution.

On top of it all, Site Tools let you connect to Cloudflare CDN easily. This is one of the leading CDN services with points of presence all over the globe. Aside from protecting you from DDoS attempts, it lets you deliver static content to remote visitors way faster—another point for SiteGround hosting.

Those are some impressive measures, and the speed test results prove it. Once you power up all the caching, you can expect even better load times.

6. Great Cloud Plans

SiteGround web hosting is pretty great, but, let’s face it, there’s only so much a shared plan can handle. And if you do your part right, you’ll quickly outgrow its capabilities.

Enter SiteGround’s Cloud offer. The Cloud plans are fully managed, WordPress-friendly, and come with most of the advantages of shared hosting.

While standard hosting limits your resource usage, SiteGround Cloud Hosting puts a full virtual server under your control. You can configure the settings in any way you want, enjoying even more freedom than with shared hosting.

You can get anywhere from 4 CPU cores, 8GB RAM, and 40GB storage to 33 cores, 180GB RAM, and 1TB storage. You are free to customize the resources any way you want, as long as they fall within these bounds.

Even better, the Cloud system can autoscale for you. That way, you won’t drop any visitors if your current configuration can’t handle all the traffic. You can set custom limits on this option so that you don’t get surprised by your hosting bill.

The SiteGround dedicated server can handle massive apps with ease.

7. Dev and Agency-friendly

Do you develop websites for yourself or your customers?

SiteGround can help you.

There’s no need to dish out a ton of money for SiteGround Reseller Hosting. You can get the GoGeek plan for $14.99/month and white-label the control panel.

The plan lets you add collaborators—great for agencies with multiple devs working on a project. With SiteGround staging and the Git integration, you can easily implement new features and push them to production.

If you need more power, you can do the same with SiteGround Cloud Hosting. This way, you get more control over your server and much more resources. The Cloud plans also run on Site Tools, so you can avoid paying for a cPanel license.

8. Backups Included

Don’t want to bother with backups? SiteGround’s control panel takes daily backups of all your sites and saves them for up to 30 days. You can also make manual on-demand backups with all SiteGround pricing plans.

You can download the backups using FTP for safekeeping. Restorations only take a few clicks—you just need to specify whether to roll back the entire site, specific files, or just the database.

The system can take care of all your backup needs.

9. Good Reputation

Few companies can boast as many satisfied customers as SiteGround.

Users rated it 4.7/5 on TrustPilot and 9.7/10 on HostAdvice—a result based on 10,000+ reviews. The numerous SiteGround reviews on Reddit communicate more of the same.

SiteGround works hard to maintain a happy client base, and it shows.

The Cons of SiteGround

All services have something to improve, even SiteGround. Here are a few details to watch out for before signing up.

1. Migrations, Domains, and Other Services Cost Extra

One inconvenient aspect of SiteGround is that it charges extra for some of the technical tasks, even simple ones.

It’s kind of a given that non-WordPress migrations are paid since SG uses a custom control panel. Still, most cPanel hosts offer this option for free, so moving your website to SiteGround isn’t that cost-effective. However, this doesn’t apply to SiteGround WordPress hosting since you can use the free migration plugin.

Another drawback is that if you want the tech team to do a manual backup for you, you’ll have to pay $19.95.

SiteGround’s domain registration services are also unnecessarily expensive. A .com domain would cost you $15.95/year with an additional $1/month for WHOIS privacy.

You can get the same domain from a registrar like NameCheap for $8.88/year with free domain privacy.

I’d recommend checking if you need SiteGround’s add-on services beforehand, as the costs can pile up.

2. Some Limitations on Shared Hosting

SiteGround web hosting puts some limits on the available CPU seconds and script executions on a monthly basis. Still, they are rather reasonable and easy to track from the admin dashboard.

SiteGround measures your hourly CPU access as well (the hourly cap is about 0.33% of the monthly usage). Technically, you could go over the hourly cap, but SiteGround will suspend you if you do it repeatedly, even if you are within the monthly resource limit.

The crux of the issue is that SiteGround doesn’t specify how much leeway you get for exceeding the hourly CPU allotment. And mind that this is quite easy to do if you experience unpredictable traffic—a simple load test got me to 250% of my allowed usage on the largest hosting plan.

Some SiteGround reviews complain the host forced them to upgrade over a few traffic spikes.

Overall, the caps are reasonable but spiky traffic might push you into upgrading a bit sooner.

3. Premium Pricing

For everything you get, the price is not a downside per se.

SiteGround has awesome technologies, but they can be pricey. You can get a semi-affordable start for the first year, true, but afterward, the cost shoots up to $14.99/month. And that’s just the most basic plan.

It’s safe to say this is primarily a premium service. SiteGround reviews like to compare it to high-end providers like WP Engine and Kinsta.

That’s not to say the deals aren’t worth it. SiteGround throws in crazy optimization and many proprietary features at no extra cost. And you get high-quality technical assistance on top of that. It can all be a serious revenue booster for business websites or agencies.

If you know how to leverage SiteGround’s advantages to deploy websites faster and get better performance, the provider is an incredible asset.

Just be aware it’s not the cheapest option on the market, especially when you get to SiteGround Cloud Hosting tiers.

SiteGround Plans at a Glance

SiteGround offers three shared plans. The plans are the same for all websites, regardless of the technology or CMS you’re using.

StartUp GrowBig GoGeek
Starting at $6.99/month, this plan has 10GB of storage and can handle up to 10,000 visitors—perfect for a new business or online store. StartUp imposes no bandwidth limitations. It is good for a single website that will enjoy daily backups.
At $9.99, the SiteGround GrowBig plan more than doubles the available resources and adds features like staging and collaborator accounts. Plus, it allows hosting multiple websites. It’s geared towards larger websites and developers working on more advanced projects. This plan allocates 40GB of storage and enough CPU and RAM to handle up to 100k visitors per month. The Git support, much faster server stack, and the possibility of using SiteGround for reseller hosting make it the prime option for agencies.
Bandwidth: Unmetered across the board. Note that the number of visitors per month represents a reference to the traffic each plan can handle without any performance degradation and not a cap on the bandwidth.
Email:
Free across the board, unlimited accounts.
Database: MySQL and PostgreSQL, included in all plans, unlimited.
Domain names: SiteGround doesn’t provide free domain names.
Control panel: Site Tools – custom control panel.
Software installation: Custom 1-click installer.
Migration: A WordPress migration plugin is available. Other sites cost $30 a pop.
Payment options: Credit cards, Visa, Mastercard and Discover.
Account setup: Almost instant, fully automated process.
Upsells: None.
Other hosting solutions: The company offers cloud hosting which you can use both for more robust apps or for reseller hosting.
SiteGround user reviews: SiteGround is universally praised for its impeccable service and stellar tech support.

Do We Recommend SiteGround?

Absolutely!

SiteGround is a premium host with more than premium features. Tight security configuration, breakneck server speeds, proficient support, and much more.

Not to mention all the goodies for WordPress users and developers. SiteGround introduced quite a few bespoke technologies that enable easy management and magnificent efficiency for beginners and professionals alike. This is confirmed in the thousands of positive SiteGround reviews available online.

Admittedly, the prices can be a tad high if you’re on a tight budget. But when you factor in the robust features you get to take advantage of, the deals are completely fair.

All in all, SiteGround reviews in 2021 deem it one of the top providers, and not just for WordPress.

FAQ

Where is SiteGround located?

SiteGround is based in Sofia, Bulgaria, but it’s an international host. With offices in the US, multiple European locations, Singapore, and Australia, its services are available to most users around the globe.

Why is SiteGround so expensive?

SiteGround certainly isn’t cheap, but few good hosts are. The provider has excellent servers and custom-built technologies. This lets you take advantage of features that would cost you quite a bit with third-party providers. Plus, SiteGround support agents get significantly more training than the industry average, leading to more professional customer service. While the host has premium pricing, you can expect a solid ROI.

Is SiteGround the best WordPress hosting provider?

It’s definitely a good candidate for this title. SiteGround makes it incredibly easy to set up both WordPress and WooCommerce and adds a ton of useful tools, like a page builder, security optimization, and a proprietary speed optimizer. All this amounts to incredible reliability and performance. You can check out more details in this SiteGround review above.

Is SiteGround better than Bluehost?

These are largely different services. Bluehost focuses mostly on simple hosting for smaller websites on a budget. SiteGround offers white-glove solutions for site owners who need outstanding reliability, security, and performance. It’s up to you to decide which one you prefer.

Is SiteGround better than GoDaddy?

I’d give the same spiel about different services, but, in this case, SiteGround outright outperforms GoDaddy on all fronts except the price. It’s way more secure, reliable, fast, and to top it off, it won’t nickel-and-dime you for basic services. Just take a look at all the SiteGround reviews by users and you’ll see why this matters. Yes, the starting price is higher, but you get your money’s worth.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons and helping people get the hosting that suits them.