SiteGround Review: WordPress-Recommended Web Hosting for Bloggers
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.
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 need never switch: you can grow and develop your site to be as big as you like through the company’s many hosting options.
SiteGround was founded in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2004 by several university friends. 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.
SiteGround offers unmanaged hosting on shared servers at three subscription levels. These are the plans best suited to bloggers, small businesses and personal users as they strike a good balance between performance and price.
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.
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.
Pricing and additional features for the shared plans are as follows:
- StartUp: Starts at an introductory price of $3.95 per month, rising to $9.95. As well as the core features listed above, 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.
- GrowBig: Starts at $5.95 per month, rising to $14.95 regular price. Premium features include SiteGround’s Supercacher for speeding up page loading for WordPress and Joomla sites, priority technical support, up to 30 back-up copies of your site and free back-up 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.
- GoGeek: The promo price is a competitive $11.95 per month, rising to $29.95. 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.
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. She travels the world to meet and help individuals make their WordPress dreams come true. “Come meet me at one of the booths,” she says “but be ready: I am a chatter and a hugger. In fact, my colleague Hristo suggested we should have a party parrot chatter as my avatar in the company Slack channel. If you have a good one, send it our way!”
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.
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.
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 Apps and Plug-Ins Galore
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.
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.
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 targets its managed hosting at high traffic, high performance sites and offers three types:
- Cloud hosting: Starting at $64 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.
- Dedicated servers: 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.
- Enterprise hosting: 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
SiteGround customers can also make money from hosting websites themselves through the company’s reseller hosting service. Offering discounts on disk space and domain name registration, SiteGround offers resale plans via a system of ‘credits’, with each credit amounting to a single year’s hosting for a single customer. You have to buy a minimum of five credits (so hosting for five potential customers). The more credits you buy, the greater the discounts you receive.
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, SiteGround claims 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.
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.
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. Back-up 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.
On unmanaged shared hosting accounts, SiteGround provides an excellent technical support service, with 24/7 live support via phone or webchat. 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.
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, $29.95 a month is a considerable outlay if you are not making money from your site.