SiteGround Review: WordPress-Recommended Web Hosting for Bloggers – wip
Officially recommended by WordPress, SiteGround is a well-known giant of the web hosting world, serving over 500,000 global customers via datacenters in the U.S., Europe, and Singapore. Since their founding over a decade ago, SiteGround has grown significantly due to their reputation for:
- Keen staff who cultivate an active community for bloggers
- Impeccable service and high-speed technology
- World-class expertise
- Provision of everything a blogger needs to get a site launched and running smoothly.
Whether you are a multinational enterprise with a site attracting millions of unique visitors, or a first-time blogger, SiteGround makes the same promise: fast, secure, reliable web hosting generously packed with features at a price you can afford — with no compromise on quality.
- Affordable Premium Hosting for Everyone
- SiteGround Hosting Plans
- Shared hosting
- Is This Enough to Start a Blog?
- Managed Hosting for Bloggers
- Reseller Hosting
- WordPress and Joomla Services
- WordPress Control Panel, Installation, and Plug-Ins
- SiteGround’s Website Builder
- SiteGround Support and Guarantees
- SiteGround Security and Backup Features
- Pros and Cons of SiteGround
- Should I choose SiteGround?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Affordable Premium Hosting for Everyone
Bloggers just starting out sometimes find that professional-level web hosting services are out of their league. SiteGround goes out of its way to make professional quality web hosting accessible to each user, no matter how small the project. It provides in-depth support for popular content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla, offering themes, tutorials and optimized load speeds.
The benefit is, once you start on a hosting service like SiteGround, you never need to switch: you can grow and develop your site to be as big as you like through the company’s many hosting options.[siteground-blogging-rec]
SiteGround was founded in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2004 by several university friends. Tenko Nikolov was in law school when he decided to start building a web host with all the features. With a co-founding team of fewer than 10 members, SiteGround launched from his dorm room.
It has remained in private ownership ever since, growing to employ more than 400 people.
Along with the highest standards of on-site security and redundancy you would expect from professional datacenters, SiteGround has invested heavily in technology to deliver the fastest, safest, most powerful web hosting available, including powerful solid state drive (SSD) servers and Linux container virtualization for maximizing available resources.
SiteGround Hosting Plans
From single site start-ups to enterprise level web management, SiteGround offers a notable variety of hosting plans. Unlike many web hosts, SiteGround offers both managed and unmanaged web hosting. You can choose how much technical control you want over your site hosting and how much support you would like.
Most bloggers will be interested in SiteGround’s unmanaged shared hosting. These are the plans best suited to bloggers, small businesses and personal users as they strike a good balance between performance and price.
Note that shared hosting is really flexible. You can always start on the lowest plan, and upgrade with a few clicks to a higher plan if you need more resources later on.
SiteGround offers 3 main shared hosting plans, designed for blogs of different traffic levels:
- StartUp: For small hobby blogs (Under 10,000 pageviews per month).
- GrowBig: For small business blogs or large hobby blogs (Under 25,000 pageviews per month).
- GoGeek: For e-commerce blogs and other blogs that support a business (Up to 100,000 pageviews per month).
The more visits a plan is built for, the more features it comes with, but the more expensive it gets. Let me break down each plan in more detail, focus on the one that is right for your blog’s size.
The “StartUp” Shared Hosting Plan (for new and small blogs)
Starts at an introductory price of $3.95 per month, rising to $11.95. You get hosting for one website and 10 GB storage. SiteGround recommends this plan is suitable for websites expecting up to 10,000 hits a month.
All shared hosting plans come with a core set of features, including:
- Free transfer of one existing site
- Free one-click app installer, Softaculous
- cPanel management console
- SSH shell access
- SSD storage
- Free website builder
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- Unlimited databases
- Up to 10,000 monthly visitors
Is This Enough to Start a Blog?
This gives you everything you need to get a site or blog up and running and to manage it at a professional level. Granted, you have to do most of it yourself (apart from transferring your site over, which SiteGround takes care of), but SiteGround gives you tools to make this easy.
- The Softaculous one-click installer makes setting up applications like WordPress, Joomla and many others simple and straightforward.
- cPanel is a popular and user-friendly control interface.
- If you don’t already have a website, you’ll want to take advantage of the included DIY website builder. It’s quick and easy to use.
For geeks: you’ll get full shell access to your server. This is an advanced management feature you won’t get with many shared hosting plans.
The “GrowBig” Shared Hosting Plan (for medium sized blogs)
Starts at $5.95 per month, rising to $19.95 regular price. It includes everything from the “StartUp” plan, plus more.
Premium features include SiteGround’s Supercacher for speeding up page loading for WordPress and Joomla sites, priority technical support, up to 30 backup copies of your site and free backup recovery in the event of a system failure.
You also get 20 GB storage and can run as many sites as you like, although SiteGround recommends maximum combined traffic of around 25,000 visits on this plan.
The “GoGeek” Shared Hosting Plan (for large, resource-intensive blogs)
The promo price is a competitive $11.95 per month, rising to $34.95. It includes all the features of the cheaper plans, and also advanced features.
The GoGeek plan allows you up to 100,000 monthly visits.
Additional advanced features include PCI compliant servers for taking payments on an e-commerce site, and versioning and development support with one-click Git Repo and WordPress and Joomla staging.
Staging allows you to build, tweak and test pages in a development environment before publishing live. The GoGeek plan gives you 30 GB storage and is recommended for up to 100,000 monthly visitors.
Very few blogs grow beyond this point, but if you do, SiteGround has more powerful cloud hosting and dedicated hosting plans available that you can upgrade to.
Managed Hosting for Bloggers
While SiteGround’s shared hosting plans hand you the tools you need to run your site or blog yourself its managed hosting services take care of all the technical aspects for you.
SiteGround’s perks with managed hosting.
Managed hosting is worth it for all site types, including high traffic, high-performance sites. There are three plans:
Starting at $80 a month, cloud hosting runs sites on ultra-fast virtual servers. Plans start at 4 GB memory and 40 GB storage per month, but one of the advantages of cloud hosting is you can scale up resources at any time by reconfiguring the virtual server, up to a maximum of 10 GB memory and 120 GB storage.
The next step above running your site on a virtual server is to hire one of SiteGround’s state-of-the-art physical servers all to yourself. The company offers up to 16 GB RAM and 2 TB storage on its dedicated server plans, with prices starting at $229 per month. It’s an attractive option for large businesses although unnecessary for bloggers starting out.
For the very largest clients, SiteGround offers customized hosting solutions designed to meet specific requirements that cannot be met by its off-the-shelf plans. Reasons for choosing customized hosting might include replication across datacenters for watertight redundancy and overcoming the 5 TB bandwidth limit on cloud and dedicated packages.
Enterprise clients include Greenpeace.
I’m not going to do a detailed SiteGround reseller review, because the vast majority of bloggers will never need to buy reseller hosting.
The basic concept with reseller hosting is that SiteGround will give you a generous amount of resources and features, which you can then resell to other people and then manage their websites.
You buy “credits,” which are equivalent to a year of hosting on SiteGround, are reasonably cheap, giving you a chance to make money from reselling. High volume resellers get discounts on their credits and make even more.
This type of hosting is ideal for web designers and developers, but not your typical blogger.
WordPress and Joomla Services
Content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are popular for a reason. They allow newcomers with no tech background to build, run and develop professional quality websites quickly and easily. For bloggers especially, using a platform like WordPress has become almost essential.
SiteGround goes out of its way to support CMSs. It is even officially recommended by WordPress. You can host your WordPress, Joomla or Drupal site on all of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans.
If you want to transfer an existing site over, SiteGround will take care of that for you, doing the first transfer for free. One-click installer Softaculous, included with cPanel, makes installation hassle-free, and updates are run automatically.
Meet Francesca Marano, SiteGround’s WordPress Community Manager. After years of making a living from WordPress blogging she decided to help others — just like you — learn the ropes. She’s organized WordPress meet-ups, a WordCamp, and participated in WordCamp Europe.
If you want to build a new WordPress or Joomla site to host on SiteGround, the company offers its own range of custom-designed website templates to get you started. Templates are free to download and install if you sign up for hosting. It also provides tutorials to talk you through how to use both platforms on a step-by-step basis.
For WordPress users, SiteGround also provides access to WP-CLI, a command line management interface, on all plans. This gives you greater technical control over your WordPress site and is especially useful for fixing issues or handling larger sites with a complex database architecture.
More nerdy bits: GoGeek subscribers can also benefit from a staging platform so they can make changes in a test environment, plus a pre-installed Git repository. This stores versions of all changes made to your WordPress or Joomla site, so you can easily roll back to earlier versions if you are not happy with any changes that have been made.
WordPress Control Panel, Installation, and Plug-Ins
All SiteGround shared hosting plans come with the cPanel control panel for free. It’s a popular, easy-to-use control panel that many hosts offer, and lets you control your hosting account without much technical knowledge.
Through cPanel you can:
- Create a new website
- Install CMSs
- Backup and restore sites
- See site analytics
- Edit databases
- Manage email addresses
- File restorations
- Manually upload files to your website directory
- Monitor storage usage
- Analyze website metrics
SiteGround includes the Softaculous script installer, which makes installing CMSs even easier. Once you click on Softaculous in your control panel, you search for WordPress, and then click “install.” The script handles everything for you from there, it only takes a few clicks from start to finish.
Is WordPress the Most Popular CMS Amongst Bloggers?
WordPress is the most popular CMS by far for bloggers, but there are several others available as well. SiteGround also supports standalone e-commerce platforms such as Magento and PrestaShop, which can be installed via Softaculous. GoGeek hosting plans are designed to support online shops by providing PCI compliant servers, along with a guarantee of fewer accounts per server for better isolation.
If you do install WordPress, you can manage your site from the WordPress dashboard, instead of having to go back to cPanel.
By default, a WordPress website gives you the ability to install WordPress themes to quickly change your site’s appearance, and to post normal pages and posts. There are thousands to pick from (both free and paid).
If you want to add advanced functionality, that’s also easily doable through plug-ins.
WordPress users get full access to the enormous library of plug-ins available independently of SiteGround. To help get you started, SiteGround lists some of the most popular WordPress plug-ins, such as Yoast SEO, WPForms and Elementor live page builder, explaining what they do and providing direct links to download.
If you are looking to add an online shop to your blog, SiteGround provides extra support for WooCommerce, an open source e-commerce plug-in for WordPress. It offers pre-installed store themes and automatic updates.
WordPress and SEO Optimization
As a blogger, you just want to write. But if you just write whatever you feel like, not many people will read it. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your blog posts rank better in search engines like Google to get you more traffic (readers).
Proper SEO optimization can be costly via a third party.
You probably don’t want to become an SEO expert, but there are some aspects of WordPress and SiteGround’s plans that make the basics of SEO easy, and it’ll make a difference in the traffic you get.
One of the most important SEO factors is site speed, which is a main reason why SiteGround is great for small blogs. Most other shared hosts are very slow, so you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Possibly one of the most used plugins by WordPress users – YoastSEO has a rich, simple-to-use feature set which allows you to make small yet significant changes to your website for SEO optimization purposes.
To give you a better overview, here is what Yoast can do for your blog:
|Feature||Snippet Preview||Page Analysis||Breadcrumb Manager||Social Media Integration|
|What Does It Do?||Allows you to see and edit your website's metadata just how it will look in the search engine.||A simple way to check your page statistics including wordcount and keywords you choose to focus on.||An easy way to take care of your website's breadcrumbs, aiding a better user experience with navigation.||Connect with your favorite social media platforms with the click of a button.|
How Do I Speed Up the Content’s Accessibility on My Blog?
SiteGround’s SuperCacher, available on GrowBig and GoGeek plans, greatly speeds up WordPress and Joomla page loading times to improve the visitor experience. In fact, it’s available as a WordPress plug-in.
When you combine that with the free CDN that SiteGround gives you (automatic Cloudflare integration), SiteGround has some of the fastest shared WordPress hosting you can find.
Finally, WordPress offers thousands of plugins as mentioned above. There are some great ones that will automatically do some basic SEO to your blog. Consider installing one of the following:
- Yoast SEO
- All In One SEO Pack
- Premium SEO Pack
- WP Meta SEO
SiteGround’s Website Builder
I highly recommend going with WordPress for a blog. It’s easy, fast, and intuitive.
However, SiteGround also offers a free website builder through Weebly if you don’t want to use a CMS. It’s typically designed for small static sites with a limited number of pages, but can be used for blogs as well.
It offers a few main benefits:
- Drag-and-drop builder: You can easily add and re-arrange elements on any page of your site.
- Store functionality: Ideal if you want to sell products through a store page on your site.
- Responsive themes: Like WordPress, there are also themes to choose from that will make your site look good.
SiteGround Support and Guarantees
SiteGround is proud of its record on service, speed and security, and backs it up with a range of guarantees. With a number of custom-built security protocols, including pro-active server monitoring, AI anti-malware technology and robust account isolation on shared servers.
Connection speed is a key area where SiteGround claims to the edge over rival hosting providers. As well as technologies such as high-speed SSD drives, caching, CDN and HTTP/2 enabled servers, it provides recommendations for the best datacenter to use for your location.
SiteGround customers can use the Cloudflare CDN –content delivery network — for free. When individual visitors access your site, it will be “served” to them from a geographic location close to them. This greatly speeds up your site loading time.
Unmanaged Support – How Does It Work?
On unmanaged shared hosting accounts, SiteGround provides an excellent technical support service, with 24/7 live support via phone or live chat. You can also issue a support ticket via the SiteGround website, with a guaranteed response within 10 minutes.
If you are not satisfied with your SiteGround hosting plan, it offers a full refund guarantee on all cancellations within 30 days. Although you will get your hosting fee back, the refund will not include any domains you have bought from SiteGround.
How is SiteGround’s Uptime and Response Time?
SiteGround claims an uptime of 99.99% or higher. Its actual uptime guarantee, however, is 99.9%. If your site is down for more than 0.1% of the time annually, it offers a month’s free hosting for each percentage point.
We have done a little digging and obtained accurate performance statistics via Pingdom for the last 10 months of SiteGround’s servers – see what you have to work with:
|Month & Year||Uptime||Response Time|
|November 2018||100%||511 ms|
|October 2018||100%||428 ms|
|September 2018||100%||509 ms|
|August 2018||100%||402 ms|
|July 2018||100%||462 ms|
|June 2018||100%||331 ms|
|May 2018||100%||371 ms|
|April 2018||100%||511 ms|
|March 2018||99.97%||433 ms|
|February 2018||100%||435 ms|
It’s safe to say SiteGround have delivered over the past 10 months with an average overall uptime of 99.997%, paired with an equally promising average response time of 439.3 ms.
SiteGround Security and Backup Features
While SiteGround does provide free daily back-ups on all shared hosting plans, this is mainly for the company’s own use in the event of a system outage. Data is only stored in reserve for a short period, and you would have to pay to access your data if you needed to restore it.
Backup and restore with 30-day recovery is included in some higher tier plans, but the safest option is the paid for premium service which offers automatic restore and unlimited support with recovery.
Standard Security Protocols by SiteGround
Ideally, you’ll never need to use those backups, because nothing bad will happen to your site(s). SiteGround certainly tries to keep your site safe, and follows good security protocols:
- Account isolation: Your site(s) are isolated from other user’s sites, even when on the same server (shared hosting). If another user sharing a server with you gets hacked, you’re completed isolated, and won’t be affected.
- Staying upgraded: All SiteGround servers run the latest version of PHP 7. This is a basic security feature, yet I’ve seen many low-cost hosts still running outdated (and vulnerable) versions of PHP (the programming language that WordPress is coded in).
- IDS/IPS systems: These are intruder detection and prevention systems, which prevent the majority of malicious bots and other attacks.
- ModSecurity on all shared servers: This is a well-known open-source firewall. SiteGround updates their ModSecurity rules weekly to protect you from new threats.
- SiteGround WordPress SSL: SSL is a basic security feature for websites. When you visit a site that has SSL, you get the green lock symbol in the address bar, signaling that you’re safe. Most hosts charge for SSL certificates, but SiteGround offers a free SSL certificate to its customers.
These are all good practices and a sign that SiteGround knows what they’re doing from a security point of view. SiteGround also has a great guide to WordPress security that you should read through if you use WordPress (on any host).
Pros and Cons of SiteGround
SiteGround is a great host for bloggers, arguably the best all-around, but it does have flaws. Let’s sum up the best and worst things about SiteGround.
- Great value for the cost: Shared hosting plans for bloggers are particularly low-cost, yet features are on par with more expensive hosts.
- Room for growth: You can easily upgrade to larger plans as you need.
- Great support: All my experiences with their 24/7 support have been quick and helpful.
- The backups are limited: Although the daily backups are free, most customers will need to purchase the additional backup services to be safe.
- Limited migrations: The first migration to SiteGround is free, but you’ll have to pay for any more.
- Not the cheapest: While they are priced competitively, there are cheaper hosting options.
Alternatives to SiteGround
There are a couple other hosts you may want to consider if you’re not sold on SiteGround:
Amazing customer support, and has cheap plans with good speed. It’s a very similar host to SiteGround, but a bit cheaper in most cases. See more in our InMotion Hosting review.
A cheap, popular web host for shared hosting. If you want to get a simple blog up as easily as possible and don’t care about advanced features, it’s a good choice. Here’s our full BlueHost review if you’d like to learn more.
Pretty much the ultimate WordPress managed hosting service. Very easy, amazing support and your WordPress blog will be very fast. But more expensive than SiteGround. See our WP Engine review for more details.
Should I choose SiteGround?
The simple answer in most cases is – yes! SiteGround offers industry-leading, quality web hosting services for websites of every type and size. Although SiteGround does offer managed hosting for large business sites, its core service is its shared hosting, and this is where bloggers and online business start-ups can really feel confident that SiteGround is for them.
Support for WordPress and Joomla makes SiteGround an excellent option for a blog or small business website, as you know you have all the tools you need to get started. Yes, there are technical aspects you will have to learn along the way if you want to get full value from cPanel, WP-CLI, SSH and so on, but really these are a strength of hosting with SiteGround.
There is no ceiling, you can grow and develop your site as big as you want, and it gives you the scope to learn the skills you need to stay in full control.
The only cautionary note is to bear in mind that, as attractive as the initial subscription prices are, they are only introductory offers. Once your first annual subscription runs out, $11.95 a month is a considerable outlay if you are not making money from your site.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are a few questions that might be in your mind.
How difficult and time-consuming is it to create a new blog on SiteGround?
SiteGround is fairly easy to use, even if you don’t have a technical background. The control panel and script installer will let you get a basic WordPress blog up and running within 10 minutes, even if you haven’t used them before.
Will you benefit from switching to SiteGround from another Shared Host?
SiteGround is much faster than most other hosts and more secure. These aspects benefit your site in SEO, meaning that your traffic will likely go up if you switch. SiteGround offers one free site migration to make it easy.
What site creation options does SiteGround offer?
All SiteGround shared hosting plans come with cPanel and a fully stocked Softaculous script installer. You can choose from hundreds of CMSs to install with just a few clicks. In addition, SiteGround integrates Weebly’s drag-and-drop sitebuilder for free.