SiteGround is a solid host with impressive features, excellent performance and consistently fast speeds. With 60% introductory price discounts, stellar service and proprietary features, we’d have to say that we absolutely LOVE Siteground. Learn more.
SiteGround Review – The 10 Pros & 2 Cons (Server Speed Tested!)
September 12, 2018
Those of you familiar with Bitcatcha may notice that we seem a little biased towards SiteGround, and you know what?
You’re absolutely right.
If you ran as many tests and did as many comparisons as us, you’d probably be biased too.
We’ve tested numerous web hosts since Bitcatcha was formed, and with every test we’ve ran so far, SiteGround bested the competition in terms of speed and value. It’s pretty awesome that they’ve risen to compete with industry giants, considering the company was founded by a few friends working out of their university dorm rooms in Bulgaria during 2004.
Today, SiteGround has datacenters in 5 countries, services more than 800,000 domains worldwide and has over 400 (and growing) people under their employment.
They have amassed many accolades and various sites have sung praises about them, but I would say that their biggest recognition of achievement to date is to be affiliated and endorsed by WordPress. In their WordPress’s own words, SiteGround is “one of the biggest and brightest of the hosting world”.
But web hosting isn’t the only thing the founders of SiteGround are passionate about.
The people on top believe that happy employees lead to happy customers (I can attest to that – they’ve got excellent people handling their live chat), so they’re continuously striving to keep the workplace happy, and it shows – people love working for them, as evidenced by their rave reviews on Glassdoor.
It’s a company that’s equally passionate about their staff, products and customers!
What about the data? What’s the uptime like? How do they compare against the competition?!
Yes, we know what you’re here for, and we’ve got you covered. But before we get to all those juicy details, let’s talk about…
I feel inclined to say that we’re a little biased towards SiteGround. We host Bitcatcha.com with them, our test sites such as SitegroundSGHosted.com are created specifically to test their speeds, and we trust SiteGround so much that we’ve moved all our sites over to them. Visit SiteGround.
10 Reasons Why SiteGround Is An Excellent Web Host!
1. SiteGround can load your site 4x faster!
If you’re new to web hosting, you need to understand this: speed is king.
It’s so important that shopping behemoths like Amazon stands to lose up to $1.6 billion per year if their site were slowed down by just 1 second, so you can see why it’s number one on our list of priorities.
SiteGround understands this very well and they’ve done their homework, using a slick combination of software and hardware to keep sites light and speedy!
They manage this by using SSDs in all their servers. If you’re unfamiliar with SSDs, they’re basically hard drives that can deliver data really fast – up to 30% faster than regular HDDs.
Content delivery can be quite sketchy online. If no optimisation is done, The site you’re looking at will load up really slowly, coming off as unprofessional and unreliable.
This is why SiteGround utilizes Cloudflare; they’re known to have the most number of connections to internet exchange points worldwide. What does it mean for us? Buttery smooth content delivery.
They’ve also optimized their caching systems with their very own SuperCacher.
What this does is that it stores data in the system’s RAM, allowing them to access the requested information in a quicker way and sending that information to screens using the most efficient route possible.
If the previous paragraphy is completely lost on you, don’t worry about it – all you need to know is that this can improve your speed by up to 40%.
Last but not least, they keep all their software up to date. How does this affect speed?
Outdated software runs the risk of being incompatible with their freshly updated peers, causing unnecessary slowdowns and issues. By keeping everything updated, SiteGround keeps everything running like clockwork, helping servers run faster.
2. Quick server response times all over the world!
Server response time is literally is a measure of how much time a server takes to respond to a request before it starts delivering content to screens. Google’s recommended server response time is under 200ms, anything longer than that people will start noticing the lag.
We used our proprietary server speed checker (the one and only speed checker in the world as of this date #shamelessplug) to check our site’s server response time.
Google’s recommended response time of 200ms.
This is the result of the site you’re on right now (www.bitcatcha.com) hosted with SiteGround Cloud with the datacenter in Chicago.
Looking at the chart, it’s very clear that the countries closest to the the server’s location (US West, US East, London, Sao Paulo) reaped the most benefits, while Australia and the asian countries were slightly slower.
With a worldwide average of 146.5 ms, SiteGround Cloud performed well beyond our expectations! Just make sure to pick the datacenter closest to your target market for maximum impact.
How about the speed for their signature shared host options?
We’ve got your back.
We performed speed tests on SiteGround’s shared plans too, and they’re super speedy with a worldwide average of 148 ms. Check it out at the SiteGround vs HostGator section here.
3. 100% Uptime since 2014
With SiteGround, we’re guaranteed a 99.99% uptime.
We’ve been tracking SiteGround’s uptime since 2014 to put that guarantee to the test, using UptimeRobot to check on our site every 5 minutes. Up till today, the counter still shows a solid 100% uptime!
Uptime since 14 December 2016
* This counter is constantly updating
Now, if you don’t want to get into SiteGround’s technical wizardry, you can skip to #4: Siteground as managed WordPress host. However, If you’re keen on finding out how they’re able to get these sorts of results, here’s what we found out:
SiteGround uses their own technology and handcrafted solutions to predict, avoid and reduce downtimes, such as:
- Using Linux Containers
SiteGround built their existing platform using the highly resource efficient Linux Containers Technology (LXC), which is stable as a rock even during unexpected traffic surges.
- Using their own Pro-Active Server Monitoring system
The ingenious head honchos at SiteGround had the DevOps team created an in-house server monitoring system, which not only detects and fixes current issues, but has the ability to foresee future complications and take measures to avoid them.
- Anti-Bot AI
To tackle brute force attacks by bots, the talented DevOps team created an Artificial Intelligence solution which is so effective, it stops between 500,000 to 2,000,000 brute force attacks per hour across ALL of their servers, just to protect your sites and data.
- Using Secure Account Isolation Technology
Where most web hosting companies see impossibility, SiteGround sees opportunity. They found a way to effectively isolate CHROOT accounts on shared servers (something that other web hosts thought was futile), so that each account works only in their instance, increasing server stability.
For more on these, continue here.
4. Siteground Is A Managed WordPress Host
As mentioned in the intro, SiteGround is one of WordPress’s highly recommended managed web hosts. This award isn’t easy to come by; they had to get through thousands of support, security, and speed tests to earn that recognition.
With that recognition comes certain privileges that other hosts are not privy to, such as:
- Exclusive WordPress Support
SiteGround’s WordPress specialists will assist you with whatever problems you might have. They’ll take care of the technical bits.
- WP-CLI Enabled
This allows you to manage your WordPress sites using command prompt. Site upgrades can be performed, backups can be run, new posts can be published and most regular administrative actions can be done with just a set of commands.
- 1-Click Staging
Sectioned site updates can seem unprofessional. The ability to completely update the entire site with just 1-click is priceless to us.
- Git Enabled
You can use the git platform of your choice, allowing you to work with different coders. The convenience of this feature is the reason why people are looking specifically for Managed WordPress hosts!
- Auto Updates
SiteGround automatically updates the software it uses to keep up to date with the latest and greatest in data delivery, so you never have to worry about speed or security issues!
5. Customer Support That Works
Great customer support is a testament to a web hosts’ credibility, and SiteGround’s support team certainly exceeds expectations.
Let’s have a look at what their customer service has to offer.
- 24/7 Live Chat, Phone support, and Tickets
The live chat feature is what we use the most. Anytime we encounter a problem, we check with their live chat team first. The wait is never long, and our problems are usually quickly resolved.
If live chat doesn’t work or if you just prefer to talk over the phone, just give em a call. You’ll never have to wait longer than 5 minutes to connect to someone, and the you’ll get a reply within 10 minutes of issuing a ticket.
- 30 Day Priority Support
With SiteGround’s GrowBig plan and above, you get access to their 30-day priority support, where their speedy Priority Support team helps sort out whatever issues you may have. Tickets will get replied within minutes (as opposed to hours).
If you give them permission,They can even access your system and help you remotely!
- Knowledge Based Articles
To help assist you with any issues you may encounter, SiteGround’s excellent support team has written thousands of knowledge based articles. You can access these articles at their knowledge base.
Our experience with SiteGround’s customer support has always been pleasant and effective. We have never finished a live chat session unhappy or with a problem unsolved! Check out our site migration story in point #9.
6. Daily Backup for free
SiteGround’s Cloud and Shared hosting options comes with daily backup, so you won’t have to worry about starting from scratch due to loss of data.
The daily backups are done automatically, so we can go along our business without having to spend time backing up the data ourselves.
With the Shared Hosting option, you’ll enjoy data backup for the past 30 days. If you want to revert to a change you made 23 days ago, you can easily do so within a few minutes via cPanel.
Backing up data from a cloud hosting account is considerably more difficult, with many web hosts completely foregoing the service. SiteGround bravely offers account-rewind up to 7 days. To us, that’s pretty damn impressive!
The daily backups are can be used an option for disaster recovery as well, and the restoring process is absolutely free of charge!
If you submit a ticket, they’ll help you sort things out and your site should be restored within 15 minutes if there are no drastic complications.
7. Optimized Software & Auto Updates
When a server’s software are updated to the latest version, it ensures compatibility with each other, decreasing errors and increasing the efficiency of the server, which in turn directly translates to faster speeds for you.
SiteGround’s system is set up to download and apply the latest versions of their core software automatically without affecting or interrupting the servers.
They’re always working behind the scenes to keep your site optimized, while you’re busy minding the business aspect of things!
They also employ a variety of speed optimisation software to speed up data delivery from servers to screens, such as NGIX Server set up, an advanced web server tech that increases the loading speed of static content by streamlining data, which helps to significantly boost performance.
We’re pleased to find out that they’ve also implemented PHP7 support.
It’s already proven to be much faster than any of the existing PHP releases, and to complement that, you also have the option to enable HHVM (Cloud hosting option & above only), which was developed by Facebook to achieve blazing fast speeds when handling PHP scripts.
8. 5 Datacenters in 3 Continents (SiteGround Is Fast In India!)
Siteground has 5 state-of-the-art datacenters around the world, namely in London, Chicago, Amsterdam, Milan, and Singapore.
Naturally, countries that are closer to the datacenters get to enjoy SiteGround’s speed in all its glory.
You can check out which datacenter is closest to your target customers over here. But that’s not all – click on a datacenter location and a popup box appears revealing the ping/ trace route and IP address.
Anyone can use this IP address to test and check out how fast SiteGround’s servers really are. This act of revealing their IP speaks volumes about their confidence in their servers, which boosts our confidence in them too.
But what if your target market is in a country like India, which has no datacenter presence?
Theoretically, your customers would have have a less than ideal experience, dealing with slow response times, which isn’t good for business.
SiteGround hosted sites are still super fast in India!
We ran a server speed test with our test site hosted in Singapore, and we tested a whopping 68 ms when pinged from Bangalore, India (Google’s recommended server speed is 200 ms)!
Take a look at these results:
SiteGround may not have any datacenters in India, but their use of latency reducing tools and software like SuperCacher, php7, HHVM, NGIX, all contribute to the fast load speeds of your site.
Results from pinged from countries like Australia and Japan (that has no datacenter presence) also tested well, proving that SiteGround’s speed is consistently quick across the globe.
Remember that they’ve got 5 excellent datacenters spread across 3 continents.
Make sure to pick a datacenter that is nearest to your target customers for them to fully utilize it’s speed (Pick Singapore datacenter if you’re going to target customers in Malaysia, India or Australia)!
9. Free Site Migration
You get one FREE website transfer with each new account! (For GrowBig and higher plans only)
Free site migration is only available when you sign up GowBig and higher plans. GrowBig starts from $5.95 /mo and it comes with 20GB SSD storage. Learn more.
All you have to do is fill up the migration request form, provide the SiteGround team with access to your cPanel account and they’ll sort everything out in 24 hours!
We used their site migration service with Bitcatcha.com when we switched over to them, and the process is really as simple as it sounds.
We gave them access to our cPanel, they logged into our old host, backed everything up, then deployed the backup from SiteGround’s cPanel.
We were actually pretty worried at this point because of our server speed test tool – we’ve never done anything like this before! What if it breaks? That’s months of development gone in an instant!
Fortunately, the site migration went smoothly, everything was in place and works perfectly well as you can see from our landing page.
* There were altogether 6 support staffs attended to our case. Thanks to all!
The priority support we experienced was excellent.
Our tickets were replied within minutes, and we never felt like we were kept waiting long at all. (In fact, we seems to be the bottleneck of the progress!)
If there were complications which took time to fix, their staff would patiently guide us all the way.
When we posted replies to tickets at odd hours, a different support staff would be ready to assist us without having the need to re-explain the problems we encountered along the way.
Needless to say, we were more than pleased with their site migration service!
10. SiteGround’s Introductory Price @ 60% Off
SiteGround is a web host that takes pride in their service and quality, and they are known for many things… However, discounts and price cuts aren’t one of them.
Even during Black Friday, SiteGround doesn’t offer much in terms of discounts.
This is why we think that their introductory price with 60% off is an amazing deal, considering the services you’ll enjoy.
If you’re serious about hosting your website with SiteGround, we recommend subscribing for 3 years to optimize their introductory price, maximizing your savings.
After all, if you’re not happy with their service for any reason whatsoever, you’re allowed to cancel your subscription and get your money back within 30 days, so it’s totally risk free!
Now that’ve we’ve gone through that comprehensive list of SiteGround’s pro’s, I think it’s only fair that we have a look at…
1. Limited Resources
As amazing as SiteGround’s features and services are, the web host isn’t without its drawbacks. For example, their shared hosting options are limited so you’ll only get a certain amount of space for the plan you signed up for, such as:
- 10GB for StartUp plan
- 20GB for GrowBig plan
- 30GB for GoGeek plan
If you want more server space, you’ll be charged $5 monthly for an additional 10GB.
The thing is, this disadvantage actually isn’t all that bad; it benefits the user in terms of speed and stability.
Shared hosting accounts usually means that all the account holders will be sharing the resources among themselves.
If one user experiences a sudden spike in traffic or is using an unusual amount of space, it’ll affect the rest of the account holders in the same server.
By limiting the amount of space an account holder can use, SiteGround ensures that space hogging doesn’t happen and everybody gets to enjoy their fair share of resources, maintaining the server’s stability and speed.
2. Higher Price for Second Term
You may get to enjoy 60% off the price tag as a new user but once your subscription ends, you’re going have to fork out the full price (Start from $11.95 to $34.95 per month) to renew your contract.
This is why it’s advisable to max out the subscription term as a new user, so you’ll get to maximize your profits for more savings!
SiteGround’s Plans & Features
SiteGround has plans to cater for all users, from small businesses to enterprise clients. Let’s have a look at what they have.
1. Shared Hosting Options
No. of Site
* Special introductory price. Sign up for 1 or upto 36 months with the same price.
2. Cloud Hosting
SiteGround’s Cloud hosting option is an ultra-fast fully managed service that comes with 24/7 VIP support. If you’re in the market for cloud hosting, their plans range from $80 – $240 a month. (Bitcatcha.com hosts with their cloud plan.)
3. Dedicated, Reseller & Enterprise Hosting
You’ll also get to enjoy bespoke hosting if you’re shopping for dedicated servers, reselling hosting space or looking specifically for enterprise hosting. The plans don’t come cheap but it comes with exclusive benefits you can’t get anywhere else. Basically, you get what you pay for!
Although SiteGround offers a wide range of hosting options for different purposes, we personally feel that their shared hosting option is good enough for 85% of the websites.
How Does SiteGround Hold Up Against The Competitions?
SiteGround VS HostGator
We used our server speed checker to test the response times of SiteGround against HostGator to find out which web host performs faster in different locations.
Check out the results below.
* SiteGround Cloud VS HostGator Cloud (Both websites are hosted in America)
With servers of both test sites located in America, SiteGround and HostGator Cloud did equally well, with their worldwide average speeds well below Google’s 200 ms recommendation.
Naturally, they were fastest in the western continent (due to datacenter location), and started losing a little bit of momentum in Singapore, India, Sydney and Japan.
We also performed tests on their shared hosting options and here are the results:
* SiteGround Shared’s worldwide average speed is comparable to HostGator Cloud’s results (144 ms)!
We can’t really compare apple to apple here because SiteGround’s shared test site is hosted in Singapore while HostGator doesn’t have any datacenters outside of the America.
Interestingly enough, SiteGround’s worldwide average is much faster than HostGator’s.
As a matter of fact, SiteGround Shared’s worldwide average (148 ms) is comparable to HostGator Cloud’s results (144 ms)!
This is most likely due to SiteGround’s Supercacher and software, which are all optimized to deliver data quickly even in countries further away from the selected datacenter.
Our confidence in SiteGround was reinforced when we did these tests. While HostGator’s Cloud option does have its advantages, we are a team that prioritizes speed.
Speaking in terms of value and speed, it’s great to know that we’ve got an affordable alternative in SiteGround Shared that rivals HostGator’s Cloud Hosting. For a more in-depth comparison, read SiteGround VS HostGator.
SiteGround VS GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Host
We’ve been so accustomed to the freedom and convenience that cPanel provided so we felt a little disappointed that it wasn’t available in GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting.
They’ve created their own custom dashboard so users can make changes from there, but we still felt that it’s a little restrictive compared to cPanel.
Speaking of restrictions, we love our plugins.
We use plugins like W3 Total Cache to help increase site performance, but the restrictive nature of Godaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting means we can’t use it, hence our preference for SiteGround.
This isn’t all bad though, GoDaddy’s restrictions has its benefits; you know your site won’t run into much problems, it’s completely hassle free, and you’ll enjoy great support from their dedicated support team.
It’s just that you’ll have to sacrifice customisation for convenience.
One more advantage SiteGround has over GoDaddy is the availability of Email.
GoDaddy comes with a free subscription of Office 365 so you can host your email address there, but you can only create one account.
Furthermore, the subscription lasts only for a year; once that expires, you either have to spend money to renew your sub or look for elsewhere for email hosting.
When compared to SiteGround where our email hosting is included in the plan (not to mention we get to create as many email addresses as we want) it’s no surprise which host we prefer.
Having said all that, I think it’s only fair to say that this comes down to preference. We actually love both hosts. Managed WordPress hosting definitely has its advantages (excellent speed, great support, hassle free).
It’s just that we prefer SiteGround because they have all the advantages of GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting, with the added benefit of incorporated email hosting and ability to use GIT, 1-click hosting, and other performance increasing plug ins.
Verdict: SiteGround Is Highly Recommended!
I think it’s clear by now that SiteGround is by far our favourite web host.
Speed is the most important thing to us because it directly correlates to sales, and SiteGround has continuously exceeded expectations.
They’ve created tools and optimised their servers to increase server response times and decrease loading speed.
Thanks to their features like Supercacher (which can increase loading speeds by 40%), PHP7 implementation and solid hardware, they’re able to efficiently deliver data to screens across the globe.
Their support team is top of its class, and they work very well with WordPress as a managed wordpress host.
In Bitcatcha.com, SiteGround rank #1 in our long list of reviewed hosts, and is the top hosts in several countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and United States to name a few.
You won’t have to worry about a thing when you host with SiteGround. Just pick a hosting location closest to your target market, and let them handle the rest. They’ll even migrate your entire site for you for free!
- ✓ Excellent Speed
- ✓ Sufficient Resources
- ✓ 99.9% Uptime Guar.
- ✓ cPanel & SSH Access
- ✓ Free Daily Backup
- ✓ Git & 1-click Staging
- ✓ Server In 3 Continents
- ✓ Premium Support
- • WooCommerce
- • Magento, PrestaShop
- • WordPress
- • Joomla, Drupal
- • Small-large Website
- • Business Website