Shared Web Hosting Review – Siteground
In my business, I have a lot to do with various hosting companies. Siteground, Host Gator, Host Papa, Blue Host and VentraIP to name a few. Some are great, some OK, and some are atrocious. Today I want to look at my clear favourite, Siteground. If you are not sure how to evaluate hosting, read on.
- Location & Speed
- Customer Service
- User Experience
Let’s have a look at these one at a time.
Let’s face it – cost is always going to be one of the most important factors with shared hosting. And it’s hard to beat Siteground. Their cheapest hosting package, the StartUp, goes for only $3.95 a month!! Anything cheaper would be suspicious… This is an initial signup offer, and the price reverts to the standard $9.95 after your initial period has expired. The good news is you can tie in up to 3 years at that signup price. But even at $9.95 a month, Siteground remains great value, and after 3 years of great service, I can almost guarantee you won’t be moving.
The next plan up, the GrowBig, has an initial signup price of $7.95, and a standard price of $14.95. The main differences between the StartUp and the GrowBig is that you can host as many domains as you want (or more accurately until your 20GB of space if used up). There is also a little trick if you’re interested in this plan. Go to the sign up page and then go as if to leave the page. A popup will appear, giving you a further $1 discount, bringing it down to $6.95 per month, or an amazing $250.20 for 3 years of hosting (if that trick still works..)
Their top level shared hosting plan is the GoGeek. This is really excellent value at $14.95 per month. This offers a full 30GB for as many domains as you like, with allowance for a LOT of traffic. It also has advanced backup features as well as staging and larger server allocations etc. For a full comparison of the three shared hosting plans, visit this link. It’s going to depend on your requirements and experience as to which plan to choose, but personally I think the GrowBig is the best value.
Location & Speed
Siteground offer a choice of sever on one of THREE continents – North America, Europe or in Asia. This allows you to choose the server closest to your client base. So if you had a US based website whose clientele were largely in Europe you iht choose the England Sevrer, while an Australian based website with a largely US audience would be better off choosing the server in the States. It’s usually only milliseconds of difference we are talking about, but this is a feature not many shared hosting providers offer, so cudos to Siteground for this innovation.
Server location affects speed, but it’s definitely not the only thing. If you’re using a CMS (WordPress, Joomla etc.) then the site needs to be built on request (it’s dynamic, not static). So this is where a CDN (Content Delivery Network) and Caching come into the picture. Siteground also offers leading edge technologies in these areas. Check out the Siteground video on Speed…
One of the most annoying things that can happen to your website is that it goes down. HostGator customers know all about that! Just last week, ALL Hostgator sites in Australia went down, for more than a day!!
Siteground offers a way to check on their uptime from their website, and you can also see the current and total uptime for your own website as well. In over three years of hosting my own sites with Siteground, I’ve yet to have discovered any downtime at all, except for a pre-notified occasion when they upgraded the server. Enough said.
This is the area where Siteground SHINES. They offer great customer service! And I know. I use it ALL THE TIME! There are three types of customer support, Telephone, Live Chat and Support Tickets. They are all answered very quickly. Live Chat and Telephone, almost instantly. Support tickets as well, are answered within 10 minutes. Try HostGator or HostPapa for that, they can take up to an entire day or more to answer… But not all support is equal. In my experience I find a chain of experience as you go up the list. I rarely use telephone support, as I’m mostly looking for Technical Support, but it’s fine for admin related issues. Live Chat is great for a quick discussion around a subject, but you are often asked to log a support ticket anyway if it’s a technical issue. Chat seems to offer a slightly higher level of support staff than the telephone, but it’s the Support Tickets that are answered by the most highly qualified staff. So I go straight to them. I never wait for more than 10 minutes for a reply and the level of support is simply great. I have once or twice had a slightly less than satisfactory answer (you have to be trained sometime) but after using their own ratings system for tickets (also works for chat) the ticket was opened again by a supervisor and they were quick to get back to me with profuse apologies and a better answer. It is in the area of Customer Service I would give Siteground my highest rating. All areas of their service excel, but if customer service doesn’t work, the whole service sucks. Siteground are smart enough to have figured this out. 10 out of 10 guys!
The layout of their Support portal is also well designed, compared directly to their competitors. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.
This is another very important area, and one where Siteground is totally on the job. Siteground specialise in WordPress (and Joomla) and their security measure are way above the standard. See this page for more details, or watch the video below. From my own personal experience, Siteground were quicker than anyone to make changes when there was a big threat WordPress last year. Security is a huge issue, and of course it’s impossible to make a site that can’t be hacked, but if you have good security practices with your site, Siteground will certainly do their part to keep you safe.
Finally, this is a measure of all the other things combined. How is it to be a Siteground customer? Well, in my experience, it’s great. I’ve been a customer for over three years, and I’ve got around 30 sites (both my own and clients) currently running on Siteground. The website is easy to use. Their support is fantastic. The service is fast, affordable and secure. What more could you want?
Well, not everyone can survive on shared hosting. You might have a site that gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a month. Or you just might need the added features and bandwidth of a more dedicated server. Siteground also offer Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Hosting for you. This review though will be perfect for the vast majority of website owners, who are looking for a cheap and decent experience on shared hosting. For my money, SITEGROUND offers just that.