An [Updated] Introduction to SiteGround | WordPress Hosting20th November 2018 Updated: 27th November 2020
Whether you are running just a single site or have multiple projects on the go, choosing the right hosting provider is important in terms of [system] uptime , security, speed, cost and, when required, the quality of support received from the provider.
We’ve only used two hosting providers in the short time of creating and managing WordPress websites. As a result it is only fair we comment on those. For the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on our current provider SiteGround whom we’ve worked with for the last 3 1/2 years and do highly recommend.
To qualify our recommendation below, we have no recognised technical expertise with regard to hosting (so as with the majority, we do have to place our trust in a service provider). That said, we’ve also learned much over the last couple of years. We are also only referencing Managed WordPress Hosting and not some of the other hosting options available.
As we began to focus on developing a WordPress based business, it became clear to us our previous provider would not be able to meet our hosting requirements to a satisfactory level.
Researching the best options led us to SiteGround and , in short, they could potentially offer the following (meeting our requirements on a limited budget):
- an affordable and flexible hosting plan (We chose the ‘GrowBig‘ plan) with the ability to upgrade as required –
2019: We changed to the ‘GoGeek’ plan (having upgraded in 2018’s Black Friday Promotion)
2020: We are now running 2 x ‘GrowBig’ accounts as this suited our current setup
- a superior technical specification to our previous provider
- free Cloudflare CDN and Caching capabilities
- free SSL and HTTPS
- email facilities
- a superior level of support (than we previously received, which was poor to say the least!)
The Pros & Cons of SiteGround [Managed Hosting]
We list this first because it has been the most impressive aspect. The support, when required, is prompt (always), courteous, efficient and generally returns a positive outcome. If you feel you may need support in migrating your current account, setting up your hosting etc., then you will not be disappointed.
Update 2020: 2 years on from the original post, the quality of support still ranks as excellent. Technical assistance was only required a couple of times with issues sorted timely & professionally.
We’ve had an almost uninterrupted service since day 1 on our ‘platform’. Once our sites are optimised they run quickly and smoothly. On a day-to-day basis we do not have to worry about the mechanics of our sites being available online.
Easy to install and maintain (at no cost) using Let’s Encrypt certificates.
Easy to use and manage all aspects of hosting our WordPress sites (now up to 17 domains / sub-domains). If you are not comfortable installing WordPress, there is a simple auto-installer available – we still choose to manually install WordPress as it gives us a little more control over some of the back-end options.
Update 2020: With the addition of the new ‘Grow Big’ account we now have access to the NEW Site Tools Suite – Personally, I have found this far more user friendly and manageable than cPanel. Looking foward to our first account being switched over in the next couple of months.
One of the benefits of upgrading to the ‘GoGeek’ plan is the addition of staging tools. This gives us the advantage of being able to develop, test & upgrade sites on a staging server therefore minimising the risk [we used to take working on a ‘live’ site].
Update 2020: Staging is now included in the ‘Grow Big’ plan.
The managed hosting service is cheap and great value for money especially if you are just getting started or are looking to trial an alternate provider.
Update 2020: The subsequent annual (non-discounted) costs have climbed over the period we have held an account. SiteGround’s reasoning is that they are providing a premium rate service which therefore attracts a premium cost. Yes, it would be preferable to keep hosting costs at a minimum however the service still represents good value for money relative to their competition.
These are not so much cons, as we’ve not really encountered many problems, more a list of points to consider if you are planning on using or migrating to SiteGround:
SiteGround are not WordPress experts (they are quite open about that), i.e. they are hosting experts. Whilst the support team will still be as helpful as possible with queries, it is best to seek answers to your specific WordPress issues elsewhere.
There is a daily ‘CPU Time Usage’ restriction on shared hosting accounts which if exceeded can lead to your service being suspended and offline for the rest of the day (we have been caught out a couple of times). It is not always clear what causes spikes in usage but generally it can be easily managed with some help from the support team.
Tip: We’ve learned to manage our account by controlling bot access and modifying the wp-cron jobs.
Update 2019: Aside from the one-off issue noted in Quality of Service above, CPU usage has not been an issue since our upgrade. We can comfortably manage all our sites within the plan parameters.
You tend to forget how little it cost for your first year (with the discounts) so it suddenly seems a big hike in cost upon renewal time (3 times as much)!
Update 2019: On-going costs relative to the initial discounted sign-up cost still feel high. However, in comparison to other hosting services at ‘full cost’, SiteGround still provide excellent value for money. The trust in the hosting and the level of service currently supersedes the hassle and unpredictability of changing hosts to save a few pounds (although of course a saving would be appreciated).
In the grand scheme of things however, the hosting is relatively inexpensive in terms of the overall service received.
(it is still less than out previous provider and we get so much more value). And for the moment it serves its purpose extremely well. We are approaching a time when we will have outgrown the ‘GrowBig‘ plan but when that time comes we have plenty of options to consider which is the most suitable plan to upgrade to. We have upgraded to the ‘GoGeek’ plan and have not been disappointed with the change. New Client Area and Site Tools are being introduced very soon which are intended to make site management even easier then it is at present.
Like many of the choices you make in building and managing your WordPress site(s), it is always wise to do a little more research before making a final decision. You don’t have to take our word for it, but if you are comparing similar package offerings to the SiteGround option you’ll find the general consensus is positive. We, for one, are more than happy to recommend the managed hosting to those who have a similar requirement to ours!
We will be writing some more detailed review and comparisons in 2021, so please keep in touch if you’d like to be updated.