SiteGround Review for the Non-Techies

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Written by Jerlynn Tay


Just when I thought it was impossible to love Siteground any more than I already do, they are stepping up the game by moving to Google Cloud. Making them even more lovable..

SiteGround is a massive name in the web hosting industry. Founded in a University dorm in Bulgaria in 2004.

They offer various hosting services including shared hosting, cloud hosting, and WordPress hosting.

In the years since they started operation, they have amassed numerous awards and won the heart of many (including us).

This list of fans appears to include WordPress as SiteGround is affiliated with and endorsed by it.

According to WordPress, SiteGround is one of the “best and brightest of the hosting world”. Quite a claim.

But what does that mean for us as the average everyday users?

The ones that need SiteGround for our blogs, our small businesses, and our online shops?

You are about to find out these different approaches to the Siteground review.

Why the move to the Google Cloud Platform?

Moving to Google Cloud

The latest announcement by Siteground is that they are moving to Google Cloud.

For the past 15 years, they had been thriving on bare metal, and it’s time to step up the game.

To provide new technology and solution in handling today’s complicated network and maximize resources.

First of all, moving to the Google Cloud Platform is certainly a step up in the game rather than a downgrade or scale-back movement.

Google is a much larger corporation with an abundance of resources and facilities, partnering with them is a smart move for Siteground.

Secondly, how often do you see is down? – Rarely or close to none as I can recall.

Quick Fact:

Google handle over 2 trillion searches per day averagely in 2019. You can check out the Google Search Statistics for the latest update. The number is no way accurate as they are not prepared by Google itself but rather an assumption.

With $30 billion spent to improve the infrastructure, it’s not hard to see that Siteground users will benefit from this with faster network and connection points.

How Siteground is going to implement the migration?

From our find out, Siteground will deploy and implement its own Linux Containers while Google Cloud Platform will provide the Virtual machine as the computing process.

Sounds too complicated? Fret not, it’s all being well taken care of.

And the good news is, they are available not just to Cloud Hosting, but also to Shared Hosting as what we’ll be looking at in this Siteground review below.

Different Approaches to Siteground Review

You will discover the 7 deciding factors that might make or break your hosting experience in this Siteground review here.

Leave aside the numbering, and cold testing data input and inspect Siteground from a non-techie perspective as an everyday user.

7 Deciding Factors

  1. Server Response Time
  2. Locations
  3. Uptime
  4. Support
  5. Freebies
  6. Interface
  7. Price

Let’s dive right into the SiteGround review for casual users.

1. Server Response Time

It is basically how long (time) a server takes to display your content to visitors.

Put even more simply, it is how long it takes to load your pages.

While it might not be the fastest with 16.78 milliseconds average by Siteground (We’ve seen under 2 ms from A2 hosting).

It still performed way better than what Google is suggesting under 200ms.

Why do you need to concern yourself with it?

Do you remember how you mutter, “Ain’t nobody has time for this” and switch sites quickly when a page does not load immediately?

That is why. It has everything to do with user experience.

Google research shows that 53% of mobile site visits leave a page if it takes any longer than three seconds to load.

That is not a whole lot of time. We would wager (and hope that you are not a maths genius) that it would take you longer to work out what is 23% of 167.

The good news is SiteGround has an excellent server response time.

Google’s recommended server response time is under 200ms and SiteGround, for the most part, comes under 200ms.

If you are not all that interested in the “how”, feel free to skip to the next point.

For your curious ones, SiteGround has maintained its quick loading time thanks to some serious hardware and software.

As a starter, it uses Solid State Drives (SSDs) — which are up to a thousand times faster than regular hard drives — in all its servers.

Next, SiteGround also built its own caching mechanism, SuperCacher, to “increase the number of hits a site can handle seamlessly” and also for faster loading.

Previously SuperCacher is only available for the GrowBig plan and above.

Now, they are for everyone.

A regular update of its technology for compatibility purposes also ensures SiteGround’s impeccable server response time.

2. Locations

SiteGround has 5 cutting-edge data centers all around the world — Amsterdam, Chicago, London, Milan, and Singapore — which boosts its server response time, too.

The closer the visitor is to the data center in terms of physical distance, the better the server response time will be.

Since you are allowed (upon sign-up) to choose the data center where you want your data to be stored, make sure to choose the one closest to your target audience.

3. Uptime

SiteGround — quite bravely, we might add — guarantees an excellent uptime of 99.99%.

What does this mean and the significance of this, say, running a food blog?

Well, the host’s uptime percentage lets you know how often you can expect your website to be unavailable.

Naturally, your next follow-up question is why not a 100% uptime?

That is simply not possible as there are too many variables involved.

Now, how does that affect you?

A near-perfect uptime allows your website visitors to access your site at all times.

Imagine this:

Bob read about a great burger joint on your food blog last week. Today, spontaneously, he decides that he just has to have the burger immediately but he has forgotten the name of the joint. He goes back to your website for the name only to find that your site is down.

Imagine his fury and disappointment that your unavailable website has come between him and his burger. If you are running an online shop, on the other hand, that is sales and money out of your pocket.

If technical talks send you on a train ride to snooze city, this is the part where you skip ahead as we are about to go into how SiteGround achieves 99.99% uptime.

They even went further by putting the guarantee in their TOS, not just plain sales talk but they walk the talk. (Check out section 5.2)

From our SiteGround review dig out, they have developed handcrafted solutions to avoid and reduce downtimes.

Among the solutions is that the platform is built using state-of-the-art Linux Containers (LXC) technology, which effortlessly handles any unexpected traffic spikes.

So, your site will not come crashing down even if there is a sudden surge of visitors to your site.

Not leaving anything to chance, SiteGround also developed proactive server monitoring to immediately detect, fix, and prevent any issue.

Check out the result from our continuous monitoring of the Siteground uptime (average 16.82ms) and server response time performance (100%).

Besides that, its super-efficient Artificial Intelligence stops between 500 000 and 2 million brute-force attempts per hour before they have even reached our sites.

4. Support

Looking for a benchmark for outstanding customer support? SiteGround is it.

There are three ways you can get in contact with the support team: 24/7 live chat, phone support, and submitting a ticket.

The live chat system delivers an immediate reply and is, of course, available 24 hours a day.

Most queries and problems are quickly resolved.

If there are more technical issues that the agent is unable to resolve, the agent will escalate the issues to the technical support team via ticketing, which will get you a reply in less than 10 minutes.

Prefer an even more personal approach? Drop them a call anytime.

Our preferred method is live chat; fast, friendly, and unbelievably efficient.

We had been with Siteground for the past year, and we can certainly vouch for their awesome support.

Whenever we break our website and needed help and support, we know Siteground is there to solve our problem.

Did You Know:

SiteGround backup your website daily even you sign up with the lowest tier of plan. This funny infographic should remind you how important and crucial this little special feature will save your day.

Not too handy in the technical department? That’s why this review is important for non-techie as the agent can even access your system — with your permission, of course — and help you in certain aspects.

5. Freebies

A common marketing strategy, many web hosts include a little something extra to sweeten the deal. SiteGround, too, subscribes to this strategy.

For starters, it comes with free daily backups for your website.

Are you familiar with the pain of losing all the data in your hard drive or your phone?

Well, loss of data when it comes to websites hurts at least twice as much.

We care about backups and cloud storage as much as it can restore, revert and save our days when things go wrong, which it usually does.

With SiteGround’s free daily backups done automatically, you no longer have to live in fear of completely losing your data.

Even better, if you sign up for their GrowBig or GoGeek plans, you do not only get a website backup, but you also get restoration service.

That’s right, SiteGround will restore your website for you.

What a relief!

When you sign up for SiteGround, it throws in free SSL certificates, too.

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is a security protocol for sending information (including personal details and things like credit card numbers) securely over the Internet.

What is the big deal with SSL?

Well, Google Chrome has started to warn users if the site they are trying to access does not have an SSL certificate.

Not secure |

Hence, certain visitors may be wary of actually visiting your website in light of this warning.

With SiteGround’s free SSL certificates, the visitors to your website can browse or shop without any hesitation or fear that hackers will get their hands on sensitive information.

It is all about safety and peace of mind for your visitors.

Another extremely helpful freebie by SiteGround is free site migration.

Quite frankly, web migration when you are switching hosts is all sorts of pain in the you-know-what.

In fact, there are checklists for it floating around on the Internet — that is how much of a hassle it is.

It is a good thing then that SiteGround offers a free transfer of one website. Leave it all up to them and come back to a fully-migrated website.

The only thing we feel is lacking when it comes to SiteGround’s freebies is it does not offer a free domain name.

Hosts like Bluehost, Hostinger, and Dreamhost all throw free domain names in as part of the deal.

With SiteGround, if you do not already have a domain name, you will have to register for one. The price starts at $15.95/year.

6. Interface

For years and years, SiteGround used cPanel for its clients to manage and customize their servers.

You can control and make changes to things like email accounts, domain names, adding domains, and other much more technical things in cPanel.

It is used by many web hosting providers because it is user-friendly, simple, and comprehensive.

But in mid-2019, SiteGround announced that it has developed new interfaces to replace cPanel, following the footsteps of other hosts like Kinsta and Flywheel.

All new clients will be using the new interfaces and current clients who are using cPanel will be gradually switched to the new interfaces, too.

According to SiteGround, the new interfaces deliver a better user experience, are mobile-friendly, and are faster to work with.

Joe had tried the new interface.

To sum up, he didn’t like it as much as he would love to. Maybe he is used to the cPanel interface, old habits die hard.

The onboarding process will also be more intuitive so that average users like us can have our sites up and running in no time.

So far, the new interfaces are well-received and it appears to have hit its mark to make everything more user-friendly and convenient.

7. Price

We have been singing praises thus far, but if there is one thing that SiteGround needs to work on, it is its pricing.

While SiteGround offers a very attractive 60% off for new users and its plans start at an affordable $3.95 per month.

But it is a completely different story when you need to renew your contract.

Upon the end of the subscription, you will need to fork out double or even triple the price to renew.

Intro Price$3.95/mo$5.95/mo$11.95/mo
Renewal Price$11.95/mo$19.95/mo$34.95/mo
Differences+ $8+ $14+ $23
Saving over 3 years$288$504$828

Our advice is to take advantage of the low introductory price and sign up for the longest term possible, which is 36 months for SiteGround.

If for any reason you are not satisfied with its service, you can cancel your subscription and get your money back in 30 days.

Hang on for a second – Tips for saving in Siteground review

Right off the bat, you will notice there are some extra CHARGES when you are signing up with them.

We will teach you how to save some extra dollars here in this Siteground review.

Tip 1. Domain Registration $15.95/year

Register your domain elsewhere, like Domain Name. You’ll get a much better deal with them. An example of costs $8.49/year. There’s a 57% saving yearly.

Tip 2. Domain Privacy $12/year

If you register your domain name using method 1 above, you’ll get free WHOIS privacy. $12 saved every year!

Tip 3. SG Site Scanner $19.80/year

Given WordPress is your main CMS usually, a free WordPress plugin like Wordfence will do the job. As a result, you save another $19.80 every year.

Verdict – Do We Recommend Them?

YES. We would recommend them without a slight hesitation whatsoever.

You aren’t just paying for the server, but for an overall awesome hosting experience as well.

Most noteworthy there has been no announcement on price changes for the latest Google Cloud migration. We hope this sticks.

For those who are looking for the fastest shared hosting, I would suggest you check out my A2 Hosting review instead.

It doesn’t matter if you are a casual user running a blog, a small business owner, or if you build websites for a living.

SiteGround’s services and quality are second to none.