We all know how popular WordPress has become for internet marketers due to how easy it is to setup and use. The problem is that many hosting services provide inferior shared hosting plans. This often results in slow and vulnerable Wordpress installations that are also more likely to show fatal errors when plugins are installed.
Today we are going to review Siteground. This is a cloud-based web hosting service that seems to be promising enough according to some critics. This is the reason why we have decided to provide an in-depth analysis that is going to reveal the efficiency and reliability of their service.
Their Battlefield Experience in Managed WordPress Hosting
I always use the world battlefield when I talk about business experience. I did this because I believe that this is the only way to become an efficient business in any market niche. You can have all of the titles and degrees available in your profession, but the experience and the quality service will always come from the battlefield.
Siteground is definitely a veteran with plenty of badges of honor to show for their hard work. They have managed to sign up more than 450k domain names all over the world. Their clients can be found all over the United States, in Europe, Asia and in some regions of Latin America. This is a substantial accomplishment for a company that started back in 2007 with a one-man workforce.
Given that single piece of information, we felt that this was definitely worth investigating. Now we wanted to learn what made this particular host so popular and the reasons why their clients seemed to be so satisfied with their results.
SiteGround was founded in 2004 by Ivo Tzenov and now headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria under the management of its current CEO - Tenko Nikolov.
The startup plan to get us started
When it comes to hosting review, you need to check them out first hand in order to know just efficient their services are and how much of what they offer is true. We purchased their basic plan and we setup a Wordpress page to start analyzing their performance for the following 8 months.
The reason why we took so long is that our experience with web hosts has shown us that the monthly stats of many providers can be extremely different from month to month. This means that a host can have stellar stats for 30 days and then their performance will take a serious dip. So, we knew that 8 months in a row would provide sufficient proof of their average stability and performance.
The following categories are the most important that any host needs to provide. They are uptime, support and the speed in which the server displays the information. It is important to note that the performance of a website is also heavily linked to how efficient and optimal the design of the website is, so we made sure to create a very fast loading and minimalistic website for this purpose.
We can confirm that their uptime was quite good. Perhaps not the highest scoring uptime we have ever analyzed, but at an average of 99.90% of uptime, we found it to be extremely good and this means that the chance of your visitors even noticing that downtime are slim to none unless you have an extremely crowded site. We only had one month with a lower uptime percentage that ended up at 96% but every other month had an average of 99.90%.
This is probably the most essential aspect of a good webhost. You want to make sure that your visitors are getting the fastest possible loading times because we all know how impatient people are in modern times. The differences in bounce rates between a website that takes 1 second to load and one that takes 3 seconds to load are very significant.
The average loading times for the page oscillated between 500 and 550ms. This is a very good number on average and it’s half of the expected loading times that most hosts end up having. Only a couple of other hosts have come close to that, but Siteground has proven to be a definite winner here.
We only remember a couple of months during that 8 month period that had loading speeds as high as 750 and 800ms, but this was only happening sporadically and the fast loading times under 550ms were the most common even during those months.
Now for the other critical issue, the customer service and support
Let’s face it, if there is one thing that most modern hosting companies are lacking big time, it’s definitely their customer service efficiency. There is no need to give any specific names here, but many of the top 20 online hosts have an atrocious customer service. Knowing that SiteGround is ranked in the top ten of most hosting lists, we had low expectations of the kind of customer service we could expect from them.
We have to congratulate them for their customer service as it only took about 15 seconds for a chat representative to introduce herself. We started a very stressful conversation in which we asked all kinds of questions to test her patience. We even asked her what the difference between a JPEG and a PNG image was and we knew this was not part of her job description, but she replied anyway.
Aside from that one odd question, we asked how to create an email account, how to park domains and how to create an html index page and install Wordpress in a subdirectory. She answered all of them clearly and fast. We have no complaints about their customer service and we also called their hotline to ask a bunch of amateur questions and the representative was spot-on. You could tell he knew what he was talking about instead of flipping pages looking for answers.
Special features on all plans
One of the most attractive features that they had to offer was the Auto managed Wordpress hosting service. This is basically an option for people with very little knowledge on website security and backups. It will take care of auto updating and monthly backups that are made automatically, but the best thing is that it will configure the site for optimal safety and to avoid attacks from amateur hackers that are looking to hack into Content Management system websites.
The one-click installer options are all very intuitive and even the most amateur of web designers is going to be able to install and design a simple Wordpress site with an efficient interface and fast loading times. They also offer valuable security add-ons that will provide an extra layer of safety for the sites that are installed and this includes IP blocklists, Spam management and Leech protection.
Easy Ecommerce installations
We all know how intimidating it can be for people to hear about ecommerce installations, but that is definitely a thing of the past. Even the most complex ecommerce platforms like Magento and CScart can be configured in no time with a step-by-step process after a one-click installation. They even offer a free transfer of your current site from another host to theirs and this is a lot of hard work that they do for free when you purchase any of their plans. This is one of the reasons why I feel they have gained so much popularity over the years, they go the extra mile and they work hard to make their clients happy. It’s important to note that we did not try out that particular service, just knowing that it was an option was a huge plus for us.
We found the cost of the shared and dedicated hosting options to be quite good. Their most basic plan starts at $3.95 a month for shared hosting and at $229 per month for dedicated servers. If you want the highest performing solutions, their cloud hosting starts at just $80 a month and this is quite a deal for the level of support and features that are available.
The downside of their service
The truth is that not all can be perfect and good in the land of hosting. Even a great host like Siteground has its share of cons to talk about. The first one is that monthly billing is not even available. They place this tag on the site to show you those low numbers and get you excited, but the minimum amount of time you can purchase on their host is one year. This is kind of a drag since many hosts offer 3-month and 6-month hosting solutions.
Another issue is that their storage and bandwidth is a bit limited when compared to other hosts of similar caliber, but it’s still enough to handle a large audience, but once your numbers go really high, you might need to consider an upgrade to avoid performance issues. This is a reality you have to deal with in all hosting services.
I hope this SiteGround review was helpful for you. My final thought would be that With the sea of hosting service available out there, it makes perfect sense that people are taking more time to evaluate which ones are truly worth their time and money. Siteground is definitely an option worth considering and it’s probably the best one due to their efficient customer service and the large election of entirely free amateur-friendly solutions for web design and security. At least they're better than GoDaddy and BlueHost.