SiteGround Review – Why I may make the switch from Hostgator
I have always hosted my websites with Hostgator in the past, and have written extensively about it on this site in the past and my positive experiences with them. So, when SiteGround contacted me about trying out and reviewing their hosting service, I was a bit skeptical. Not because I didn’t trust or haven’t heard great things about SiteGround, but more because I don’t like messing with things that are working just fine.
However, after trying SiteGround for a couple weeks now, I am seriously considering migrating my sites over once my contract is up. Why?
- Great Customer Support – And when I say great, I really do mean it. It would be safe for me to say that SiteGround has the best customer support of any hosting company I have used in the past (And I’ve used quite a few – Hostgator, Justhost, Bluehost, and Dreamhost). I actually started a couple of live chats and pretended to have some WordPress trouble to see how they would respond. And they were great, specifically by being so thorough and tentative. I went ahead and put a summary of the live chats below, so you can see for yourself how they handle their clients.
- Nicely Packaged Features – One of the great things about getting a WordPress focused hosting company, is that they know WordPress extremely well and know what you need. This is great because they provide you the extra features you may need, but minimize price by not offering the add ons that aren’t useful for WordPress users.
- Affordable – In my opinion, SiteGround is very competitively priced. Their cheapest plan is $3.95, however, they are very scalable. In each of the major hosting plans (shared, VPS, and dedicated), they have 3-4 options, depending on your website size. This is great for maintaining costs low, while still opting in for the additional features.
SiteGround Customer Service
SiteGround has great customer support. And in my opinion, this is the only thing that defines a hosting company. In a general sense, all shared hosting companies are fairly similar. They are all have generally similar load times, uptime, and all cost about the same amount. However, in my opinion what defines a hosting company is its customer support. Specifically, the way they treat you when you know very little or when you have some type of problem that is stressing you out.
These are really the only two times that you will be able to distinguish between a good or bad hosting company. So, I decided to put that to the test. I pretended to be an absolute beginner, so I could test a couple of things:
- Patience with Beginners – If you don’t take the extra time to explain to those just starting out, how would you be treated when you have a major problem?
- Honesty – If you aren’t honest with basic info, how will I know what I’m getting myself into?
- Knowledge Base – How well do they really know WordPress?
- Attentiveness – Will I have to wait minutes between responses?
- Professionalism – What’s your overall attitude towards your customers + can tech support effectively communicate in English?
They passed each of these very well, and I’ll have the entire transcript for you to look through at the bottom of the post, but I just wanted to highlight a couple of things here.
The thing that surprised me the most was the speed by which I was helped. Right when I started the LiveChat, I was told that there were 10 other customers in line before me. Immediately, I thought Ok….I better go get something to eat, it’s going to be a while. However, before I could get up, I already received a message from Desislava, ready to answer any question I had!
The entire conversation lasted around 30 minutes, and it was pretty much a back and forth conversation. The only delays were really on me, trying to think of the next question I should ask. I ended up asking Desislava a total of 3 questions, which she handled extremely well.
1. How do I access my FTP client?
I wanted to start out as beginner as I could think of and see how she handled this. I even pretended that it didn’t work the first time, which she was able to fix with ease.
Desislava P.: Hello Eric
Desislava P.: Welcome to SiteGround Hosting Services!
Me:: I was wondering how I can access my ftp
Desislava P.: I will be glad to help
Desislava P.: I will guide you how to connect to your account via FTP
Desislava P.: First, you should download a FTP client such as FileZilla
Desislava P.: You can download the ftp program from here:
Desislava P.: filezilla-project.org/download.php?type=client
Desislava P.: You can take a look at this tutorial while I am providing you with the right details you should use in the FTP
Desislava P.: www.siteground.com/tutorials/ftp/filezilla.htm
Desislava P.: As host please use _____________
Desislava P.: username: ____________
Desislava P.: password: your-cpanel-password
Desislava P.: port __
Me:: hmm i wasn’t able to login. Do you know what I might have done wrong?
Desislava P.: may I know what password you are using?
Me:: I’m using _____________
Desislava P.: I tried to log into the cPanel with this password but it’s said incorrect. You can change the password easily from here just to make sure you are using the right one 🙂
Desislava P.: Please log into your uSer Area->My accounts->Information and Settings tab
Desislava P.: I made this screen shot for your convenience
Desislava P.: awesomescreenshot.com/075372t75c
Desislava P.: right after you change the password please try to use it in filezilla client
2. How many Siteground clients share a single shared server?
This is a very common question that prospective clients would love to know, and I was no different! But, I also wanted to use this question to see how honest SiteGround was as a whole. After all, if they keep the details a secret, what else are they hiding?
Me:: I had a couple of questions in regards to the various hosting plans you have. I’m just starting off so I’m kind of new, but you have various levels of shared, vps, and dedicated servers. I was wondering when would be a good time to switch to each of them?
Desislava P.: Well, when you get bigger and you need more resources you can easily upgrade to the next plan
Desislava P.: We are very flexible about upgrades
Desislava P.: and you can upgrade to more powerful solution without any data loses or downtimes
Me:: interesting, so the startup, grow big, gogeek is a shared plan. About how many sites are on each one of them?
Desislava P.: On startUp you can host only one main website. the plan is suitable for starting projects. on growbig and gogeek you are able to host unlimited websites 🙂
Me:: ooh perfect, I actually meant in regards to number of clients per server
Desislava P.: I am not able to say how many clients we have on a server exactly because it depends on the websites that are hosted. But on our goGeek account there are 6 times less users on a single server 🙂
Me:: Great to know.
While she wasn’t able to directly answer the question, because conditions are different for each server, she was able to at least give me some valuable information about upgrades. That was, that goGeek accounts have 6 times less clients on their servers. So very good information as a whole! Although I still wouldn’t mind to know a ballpark figure.
3. How helpful are you with my WordPress Questions?
Me:: Great to know, is there a rough estimate? Also, I am planning to create a membership site using wordpress. 1. is this a good cms for that sort of thing and 2. what plugins/themes would you recommend?
Desislava P.: We are wordpress specialised host 🙂
Desislava P.: we can help you not only with hosting related questions
Desislava P.: but we can help you with some advises how to build your wordpress sites
Desislava P.: we have plenty of custom made themes
Desislava P.: if you think some on them is suitable for your site
Desislava P.: you can request a free theme installation
Desislava P.: I’ll provide you with the link
Desislava P.: www.siteground.com/wordpress-hosting/wordpress-themes.htm
Desislava P.: Also, here’s the link for our WordPress tutorials
Desislava P.: http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/
Me:: oh that sounds great! I think I’ll go with wordpress then. What would the best plugin for the membership site be in that case?
Desislava P.: I do not want to mislead you so I recommend you to make a research. You can also have an opinion from another wordpress users which plugin you’d be teh best for your project
Me:: Do you know where a good place to look is?
Desislava P.: Absolutely 🙂 The official wordpress forum
Desislava P.: wordpress.org/support/
Overall, I was very happy with the help I got from Desislava and would definitely recommend her. I think that this is also a testament to the way SiteGround conducts business as a whole.
**To test this further, I did another Livechat, but this time I simulated a fake problem that I had. I didn’t put it here because the review was getting too long, but I’ll post it in a bit.
SiteGround Review – Managed Wordpress Hosting
The Siteground review really wouldn’t be complete, if I didn’t talk about more than just their customer support (although that probably should sell itself). One of the great things about Siteground is that their hosting is dedicated to WordPress and Joomla users. The great thing about this is two fold:
- You get better (more catered) customer support
- Some extra features that are going to help your WordPress website
Most of the hosting plans have a wordpress installer, so that isn’t anything special, but the 3 options that I think are pretty cool are the Auto Update, Supercacher, and Staging area. The auto update allows you to easily update all your sites automatically. That’s plugins, themes, and wordpress itself. This could be great if you have a bunch of sites.
The SuperCacher is just like any other caching plugin, but the great thing is that it doesn’t require an additional plugin. I always say, that if you can keep the plugins to a minimum, you should. So this removes the hassle of setting up an additional caching plugin, and also keeps everything all in one place.
The Staging area though is what is the most unique. If you’ve ever changed code and crashed your website once you updated, it is somewhat of a hassle to get back. You have to go to your FTP, download the file you changed, change it back, and reupload this back, before gaining access back to your editor. However, the Staging area eliminates this mistake, by providing you with a testing area where you can see the changes easily before making them go live. You can even use this as a site comparison to see which change you like best.
Plus, they also have integrations for ManageWP and cloud flare CDN. So all you have to do is literally click a few buttons and you’re ready to go with those.
SiteGround Review – Enhanced User Interface + Cpanel
Another great thing about Siteground’s hosting service is that they have an enhanced Cpanel and account page. By enhanced, I’m not just talking about more features. What I’m really referring to is the use to which you can find information.
This is great for beginners or anyone really, because it provides all the information in one easy to use interface. I know I have had to waste a lot of time on chats, because I have forgotten this piece of information or that. So, this is great.
Plus, they have a BUNCH of free wordpress tutorials, so you can feel confident you will get the support you need.
SiteGround Review – Reliability
I think most people are fairly confident in their hosting providers when it comes to reliability, and Siteground is no different. They are extremely reliable not only in website uptime (99.99%), but also in speed. I did a speed report of the site itself.
I did the same thing with Hostgator, so there was something we could compare to.
Siteground was found to load faster than Hostgator and was found to be one of the fastest when compared to other hosting sites as well. Siteground also has 3 data centers in the US, Europe, and Asia. This is great if you have targeted traffic, to help your website performance even more.
SiteGround Review – Flexible Plans
One of the great things about SiteGround is that they have a number of plans. Each major grouping (shared, VPS, and dedicated servers) have 3-4 tiers. So, you have the flexibility to upgrade whenever you’d like. Site migration is 100% free within different SiteGround plans, and is free when migrating from another hosting company.
However, downgrading plans isn’t free, so I’d say that it’s best to start at a lower plan and work your way up from there.
Things to consider…
It wouldn’t be a complete Siteground review if I didn’t mention some things I wasn’t completely in love with.
- While their shared hosting plans are extremely affordable, their VPS and dedicated server plans aren’t the cheapest. SiteGround’s Cloud 1 package is very similar to Bluehost’s standard plan, both with 2 CPU’s, 2 GB of RAM, 40 GB of hard drive space and 1 TB of Bandwith, however Siteground charges $78.95 a month, while Bluehost charges $29.99 a month (both at non-sale prices). After seeing this, I would say that SiteGround is probably best for smaller websites, while Bluehost is better for larger sites.
- Non-promotional prices are quite high. For most hosting companies this is going to be a common trend. Promotional prices are dirt cheap, but once your promotion ends, prices double and sometimes triple. SiteGround falls in this range by raising their prices by 2.5 times (3.95 vs 9.95) once your promotional term is over. I’m not saying this is a con specifically for SiteGround, but more like a con for hosting companies in general.
SiteGround Review Conclusion
While SiteGround may not be the best VPS or Dedicated hosting company option, I believe that Siteground offers the best shared Managed WordPress hosting plans on the market. They are affordable, built well, have great tutorials for beginners and intermediates alike, and most of all have excellent customer support. Siteground has now joined my list of Hosting companies I will be recommending to friends, family, and clients.
Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think for yourself! For $3.95/month AND a free domain, you can’t go wrong.
**Secret Pricing – When I was about to close the window on the checkout page, a popup showed up asking me if I wanted their special deal of $2.95/month for a 12 month term. If this is a term you’d like, try it out!
Wanna check out our other reviews?
After reviewing Siteground, we have made Siteground our #1 choice for WordPress Managed Hosting. With great customer support and site speed, Siteground is a great Web Hosting Company and we strongly recommend their service.