SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review Based on Years of Experience

>SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review Based on Years of Experience

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SiteGround is an appreciated and respected hosting company which I’ve been using for 4 years now, for different WordPress projects, including this one.

It’s also officially recommended by WordPress.

In this SiteGround WordPress hosting review, I’ll point out their main strengths and features, as well as their weaknesses that I’ve experienced over the years.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting Is Fast

SiteGround uses an up to date hosting infrastructure, and it also provides you with tools to further improve the speed of your WordPress website!

1. Latest technology

SiteGround always implements the latest technology to provide a good hosting infrastructure:

  • SSD: All their WordPress hosting plans include SSD technology (Solid State Drive), which is a lot faster than the standard HDD (Hard Disk Drive);
  • HTTP/2: SiteGround was among the first web hosting companies that implemented HTTP/2, which is the newest network protocol used to improve the loading time of websites;
  • PHP 7: There are many web hosts out there that still don’t support PHP 7. Well, SiteGround does. Running your WordPress website on PHP 7 will further improve its loading time.

2. Good TTFB

One of the important things to look out for when choosing a web host for your WordPress website or blog is TTFB (time to first byte).

Simply put, TTFB is a measurement of how long it takes for a browser to start receiving its first byte of data from the server.

The longer it will take to receive the data from the server, the longer it will take to show the web page.

Many web hosts struggle with this because many web hosts are just bad.

This is not the case for SiteGround hosting, though. Since they make use of the latest technology, they have a good TTFB.

While Google recommends having a server response time under 200ms, you’ll most likely won’t get it.

Even their own blog (it’s not on WordPress) doesn’t go under 200ms. It almost reaches 300ms.

google first byte

And you can imagine that they have a top-notch infrastructure, top-notch web developers, and all the good stuff.

Please note that the Load Time/Fully Loaded Time refers to the time it takes for every single resource to load. It doesn’t refer to the time it takes until the user starts seeing content, which is the important part – Start Render time.

What you’ll usually get on a good hosting will be something between 300ms-500ms, which is fairly ok. Usually, it shouldn’t be over 500ms.

first byte themeskills

The TTFB can differ from test to test. Now you can get 350ms, then 410ms, and so on. It fluctuates.

Keep in mind that the TTFB is also influenced by:

  • How “heavy” your WordPress website is;
  • How well optimized it is;
  • How effective your caching system is;
  • What other tools you might be using.

For example, if you use Cloudflare, as I do, your TTFB can increase.

Probably that’s why they say it’s not important, while a web performance engineer from Google says that it is important. 🙂

Who’s right? I don’t know… Hope Cloudflare is right, though, so we can get one thing off our minds when it comes to website speed.

They say that if you cache your static HTML on Cloudflare, you could get under 50ms.

But that process looks a bit out of my league, and I rather have a higher TTFB than worrying that something on my site could be messed up, and I don’t even know about it.

3. Built-in caching system

SiteGround hosting provides its own caching system for WordPress, called SuperCacher.

siteground supercacher

SuperCacher works in combination with their WordPress caching plugin, called SG Optimizer.

siteground sg optimizer plugin

Back-end look at SG Optimizer

SuperCacher can do a good job on its own.

But, if your WordPress website is a bit more “heavy” and it needs more caching features (e.g. minify), then you can combine it with a plugin that I use and recommend – WP Rocket (here’s a WP Rocket review)!

The WP Rocket plugin is compatible with SG Optimizer, so you can use them both!

I use them both on this website, but I only use the Memcached feature from SuperCacher because WP Rocket doesn’t have that yet.

I let everything else to be handled by WP Rocket.

4. Data centers on 3 continents

The closer the server is to the end clients (your visitors), the faster your WordPress website will load for them.

Therefore, SiteGround hosting has implemented 4 data centers on 3 continents:

  • North America (U.S. – Chicago);
  • Europe (Uk – London; The Netherlands – Amsterdam);
  • Asia (Singapore).

siteground data centers

5. Free Cloudflare CDN

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) can greatly improve your WordPress website’s speed.

If your website is international, then a CDN should be a must!

SiteGround has partnered with Cloudflare to offer you free CDN, which you can simply activate from your control panel (cPanel).

siteground cloudflare

But this only works if your domain will use www (www.example.com).

I don’t recommend using a domain name with www just for that.

Cloudflare offers a free plan anyway, and you can set everything up with them directly.

If you were planning to use www anyway, then it will be simpler to use the Cloudflare feature from your cPanel.

Now, let’s get to the next section on this SiteGround WordPress hosting review: security.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting Is Secure

SiteGround provides good security at a server level, but also provides you with security tools.

1. Server security

SiteGround hosting has several security layers to protect your WordPress website:

  • All their servers are set to use PHP 7 with the latest security fixes;
  • They have sophisticated IDS/IPS systems which block malicious attacks;
  • They are running Apache in a chrooted environment with suExec;
  • ModSecurity is installed on all WordPress shared servers.

2. Free “Let’s Encrypt” SSL certificate

SiteGround hosting offers free “Let’s Encrypt” SSL certificate to run your WordPress website on HTTPS, not HTTP.

Running on HTTPS also offers an SEO boost.

siteground let's encrypt ssl certificate

You can activate it with just a few clicks in your cPanel.

Make sure you activate it before installing WordPress, then choose to install WordPress via https://, not http://.

Also, make sure you choose Enforce HTTPS from HTTPS Settings – found in the Action drop-down menu – to properly redirect your WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS.

3. Malware scanner

SiteGround has its own malware scanning tool, called SG Site Scanner, which is powered by Sucuri, one of the most respected security companies.

This tool performs daily malware and blacklist scans for your WordPress website, and then it provides a report.

siteground sg site scanner

Note that this tool doesn’t prevent your WordPress website from getting infected, it only tells you if your site is infected.

It’s your job not to get hacked/infected with malware in the first place. Having a secure hosting server is not enough!

You have to implement security features at a site level as well because that’s where hackers normally attack.

  • Always install the ‘Let’s Encrypt’ SSL certificate I mentioned above;
  • Be careful what themes and plugins you install. Don’t download them from shady sources, don’t use outdated ones, and try your best to find out if they are well optimized or not;
  • Install a good WordPress security plugin. I recommend iThemes Security or iThemes Security Pro for more security features. Here’s a detailed tutorial I’ve written on how to secure your WordPress site with iThemes Security.
  • Be careful whom you give access to your WordPress website, hosting account, and FTP/cPanel.

Next on this SiteGround WordPress hosting review: customer support!

SiteGround WordPress Hosting: Support

SiteGround has a big knowledge base, useful WordPress tutorials, and very fast support!

1. Knowledge base and WordPress tutorials

Their knowledge base provides guidance for hosting, cPanel, applications, billing, and others.

They also have useful WordPress tutorials, but so do I on my blog, so check here too. 😀

2. Live chat and ticketing

This is something that I really love about SiteGround – the live chat and ticketing support!

The longest time I’ve waited to talk to someone on live chat was around 1 minute, I think.

Normally, in 20 seconds tops, I’m talking to someone.

Their ticketing system is also fast.

They’ll usually answer your first ticket in about 10-15 minutes (or less). The replies might take a bit more, though.

siteground ticket support

Look at my last ticket where I was asking for some AWstats assistance because I messed up the files. 😛

I got a reply in 4 minutes! And it wasn’t an automated message, as you can see. He was already helping me out.

You can also call them. I never did, though. I assume they answer just as fast as they do on live chat.

Next on our SiteGround hosting review for WordPress: pricing!

SiteGround WordPress Hosting: Pricing

siteground wordpress hosting review plans

The shared SiteGround WordPress hosting plans are affordable.

The prices usually start at $3.95/mo for the StartUp plan, but I recommend purchasing at least the GrowBig plan, which is $5.95/mo.

Note that those prices are discounted only for the first payment/year!

The GrowBig plan has some useful perks, such as priority support, backup restores, and the SuperCacher that I mentioned above.

I’ve put together a tutorial on how to buy a SiteGround WordPress hosting plan, so you don’t miss important features or choose the wrong options.

And here comes the last part of this SiteGround WordPress hosting review: the cons!

SiteGround WordPress Hosting: Cons

Please note that these conclusions are based on my personal experiences. They are not facts that apply to everyone and for every situation.

1. Sometimes, the support can be biased and quickly jump to the conclusion that the WordPress website is to blame, without performing an in-depth check.

In most cases, they’re right, and the WordPress website is the one to blame.

Unfortunately, the majority of webmasters have poorly maintained and optimized WordPress websites.

But they don’t know or don’t think about that, and when something goes wrong, especially if their WordPress website is slow, they immediately contact support and start ranting.

And when it’s the webmaster’s WordPress site to blame in 90% of the cases, not SiteGround, the support tends to become biased and performs superficial investigations.

Even I got biased a couple of times and blamed them for blocking some MaxCDN IPs (they did that in the past), but in fact, my security plugin was blocking them. 🙂

I didn’t even check, I went straight to support.

So, yeah, I can relate to why they can get biased sometimes.

2. When a more complex and uncommon issue appears, they might get a bit overwhelmed, and it can take some back and forth ticketing to get it fixed.

In 4 years, I only got a frustrated on 3 occasions, which is very good (as a statistic), compared to other web hosts I’ve worked on, where I got frustrated at least once a month.

So, should you buy SiteGround hosting for your WordPress site?

Absolutely!

Your WordPress website will be hosted on a good, updated, and optimized environment, and you won’t have to worry about speed, uptime, and errors popping up every day.

So, head on to SiteGround and enjoy a good WordPress hosting!

That’s a wrap

Hope you found this SiteGround WordPress hosting review useful!

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By |2018-09-16T16:51:43+00:00September 9th, 2018|Hosting|0 Comments

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