About Timothy Shim
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Product Name: Web Hosting
Product Description: Founded in 2004, SiteGround is a full-service web hosting company that offers almost everything you need to run a website. Serving more than 1.8 million domains globally, SiteGround is well-known for its server reliability and excellent customer support.
In short we highly recommend SiteGround.
Having hosted this site – BuildThis.io, on SiteGround for so long, we have come to rely on their excellent performance and sterling customer support.
Fast, reliable and comes with excellent customer support – that would be on any award we would give SiteGround (if we gave awards). There have been so many times when even their front-line chat team has been able to help us that we think it might be difficult for us to move even if we wanted to. Suffice to say that you will be hard pressed to find a hosting provider that can compete with SiteGround on all fronts.
SiteGround was founded way back in 2004 and has not just survived in a competitive industry but thrived. It is ranked among the top 15 in web hosting market share which may not sound impressive at first. Bear in mind however that there are literally thousands of web hosting providers in that market.
Run out of Bulgaria, SiteGround employs roughly 500-odd staff and is a full-service web hosting company. This means that they provide almost everything you can imagine you might need to not just run a website but grow it with them.
In a survey done over the course of 2018 they managed to clinch a 97% customer satisfaction rate (which has increased steadily each year since 2015). Customers were most pleased about their support and service teams.
It is one of only three web hosting companies in the world that is recommended by WordPress.
The primary reason why we’ve decided to do a comprehensive review on SiteGround is because BuildThis.io is hosted on it. We’ve experienced first-hand the excellent features and service they provide. We’re currently on the GoGeek Plan and if things go well, we’ll be scaling with them in future as well.
Plus, serving more than 1.8 million domains globally, SiteGround caters to a very wide range of websites since it has everything one could need under the hood. Their customers span from those who run individual blogs to web design companies, some of which have loyally hosted with them since they started the business.
Because of this it’s difficult to point out which tier of the spectrum they serve best. They do, however, have a fair number of testimonials from users who are notable in the web services industry;
* Click image to enlarge.
So far SiteGround performance has been sterling even with the decent amount of traffic that BuildThis.io gets. It scored excellently on multiple tests including WebPageTest and the BitCatcha speed test as well.
Bitcatcha Speed Test
Google Chrome Audit
SiteGround uptime has also been steady as a rock. We’ve been monitoring it closely since the site started and there are usually no issues here. To see our real-time uptime record, visit: status.buildthis.io.
Here are some screenshots of BuildThis.io uptime record in the past.
Note – Unfortunately, as we reach this point, there is something that you do need to take note of. Speed tests will always vary from time to time. This discrepancy isn’t the fault of the web hosting service provider not the tool which is assessing it but simply the fact that there are many variables that play a part in speed. For all you know, it could simply be a matter of a congested line somewhere along the route that you’ve selected on that day and time.
Website safety should always be one of your top priorities. There’s no point having the fastest or most stable site around if you’re not able to defend both it from Malware. The problem with this is that top-notch anti-malware services often come at a steep price.
With SiteGround you have the option of signing up for SG Site Scanner which helps you monitor your site for malicious code or even to see if it might have been hacked. The service is powered by Sucuri which is one of the top in the web security business.
Sucuri fees (starts from almost $200 a year) are about on par with industry standard and quite painful to bite into. Their partnership with SiteGround brings it down to a much more affordable level. Peace of mind for only $19.80 per year (or $1.65 per month) is a very small price to pay.
SiteGround offers very extensive hosting plans which means you can start at any point you’d like and work your way upwards as your website grows. For example, if you’re starting off a personal blog, you never know when you’ll hit it big.
Signing on with SiteGround means you can stay with them the entire life cycle of your website. Once you outgrow your plan there is always another better one, waiting in the wings to take over. Progress from shared hosting all the way to powerful Cloud Hosting plans without a hitch.
There are even dedicated plans for popular applications such as WordPress (there are both unmanaged and managed flavors available) as well as WooCommerce.
If you’re a fan of website builders, then you’ll be happy to know that SiteGround offers access to Weebly.
Weebly is a great site building tool that lets you work with a drag and drop interface. No coding knowledge, no problem! Free access is applicable for basic features though. From there you must pay if you’re looking to access any of Weebly’s upgrade plans.
All SiteGround plans come with free Let’s Encrypt Standard and Wild Card certificates. There is a one-click installation solution located on the control panel for you account that makes taking advantage of this a breeze.
In fact, their one-click SSL solution is a notch above what you normally get in the industry because it also allows you to use WildCard SSL as well. This means you can use a single SSL certificate for your domain and subdomains. The single point of management is extremely convenient as you won’t have to worry about multiple individual renewal dates.
Once you have an SSL certificate you can also take advantage of the SiteGround system to help you enforce HTTPS (so there’s no need to manage your redirect in .htaccess if you use this method.) and rewrite external HTTP links (so your website doesn't get the browser's mixed content warning).
Note – With Google Chrome browser now labeling all websites using HTTP encryption as “not secure”, implementing HTTPS on your website is no longer an option. No matter if you’re running a small blog or high-traffic commercial website, always ensure that you have an SSL certificate installed.
This is one of my favorite things about SiteGround that not all that many hosting service providers offer – the option to choose where your data center is located. The reason why this is important is because not all websites target international traffic. Some go after visitors from specific areas.
Having a data center closer to your targeted visitors helps in reducing your site loading time. This makes it perform much better for them. To that end, SiteGround data centers are very strategically located – in North America, Europe and Asia.
If that isn’t enough there is one more option SiteGround offers that I have yet to see available anywhere else and that is giving you the opportunity to move your site to a different data center! Of course, the move will cost you $30 per move, but that’s a small price to pay for a service that most others don’t even offer.
Customer support is the singular most brightly shining jewel in SiteGround’s crown. May people including us have grown disillusioned by companies abusing the concept of certain service support channels nowadays.
Take for example a ticketing system which promises a response within an hour – and automates responses for each submission, counting that as having ‘met their technical obligations’. Or chat agents who are pretty much useless and simply exist to tell you to submit a support ticket.
SiteGround has fantastic service in all channels. Their live chat service always sees you getting a response within three minutes and they can help you! We can confidently say based on our experience that most basic problems can be resolved by their chat agents.
Yet it’s not just us who are full of praises for SiteGround support, but many others have voiced their support;
To some people, free site migration might seem a pretty insignificant thing for a web host to offer. However, I beg to differ. Consider the two following points – users who might be new to web hosting and web hosts who want to charge customers hundreds of dollars to migrate websites.
Novice website owners are often filled with concern because their skills at the beginning are usually very limited. Small errors made in managing their websites can turn into a disaster for them. Things such as site migration can be a scary prospect.
Imagine the relief they feel if their host says, “don’t worry, we’ll handle this for you.” We feel that this is worth a hats-off to SiteGround for.
* Note – Free site migration service is NOT included in SiteGround Startup Plans. You can however move your WordPress sites with SiteGround Migrator – a special plugin to automate site migration to SiteGround hosting account.
Another extra that many hosts will charge you for is an automated backup and restore system. We’re not quite sure how backup and restore falls under the category of ‘optional’ for some people, but we’re very happy that SiteGround takes this seriously as part of their package.
They offer free daily backups with a 30-day retention period, from which you can restore at any time with just a few clicks if something goes wrong. You don’t even need to get in touch with customer support to do it for you.
Of course, we normally recommend you do an additional offsite backup of your own just to be double safe.
Web hosting is a drain on your wallet – there’s no other way to say it than that. However, there are times when you can bite the bullet happily, such as when you’re moving to a new host like SiteGround. They offer a hard-to-beat more than 70% discount for those who sign up with their GoGeek plans.
Calculated over the long run if you sign up for longer periods, you could be saving significant amounts of money by taking up this discount.
Even as we mentioned the final pro of the massive discount that SiteGround offers for new signups, there’s simply no ignoring the fact that their plans are some of the priciest around. We’re referring to their normal renewal prices here.
The GoGeek plan that is hosting BuildThis.io for example costs us more than $400 a year.
A comparable business hosting plan on another provider other than SiteGround would likely cost around half of that. One way of working around this would be to swap out and back into SiteGround to get the discount again, but honestly, who wants to keep doing that?
If you want to take advantage of the excellent products and services that SiteGround has to offer, cost is the single largest bullet you’ll have to bite hard in to.
Although SiteGround has many plans available, we’ll consider shared hosting and Cloud hosting more carefully since these are two of the most popular solutions. Shared hosting plans range from $3.95 per month to $11.95 per month, while Cloud plans range from $80 per month to $240 per month.
|Free Site Builder||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||No||Yes||Yes|
|Entry Price (/mo)||$3.95||$5.95||$11.95|
If you’ll notice from the table above, there are some areas where SiteGround’s shared hosting plans will differ slightly from industry norm. For example, they limit disk space in an era where others give virtually unlimited amounts. However, they do offer HTTP/2 support.
While the implications of things like this may not be obvious there is a logical decision for it. Not all hosts who offer “SSD” features use those drives for everything. Some will advertise that they use SSD, but not mention if it’s used for all drives or only drives which run their server applications.
HTTP/2 is something that not all web hosting companies offer and those who do also tend to offer it only with their premium plans. In the case of SiteGround, you’re getting it even with their entry-level shared hosting.
It’s details like this that separate SiteGround from your run-of-the-mill web hosting service provider.
|Entry||Business||Business Plus||Super Power|
Although the table above shows the segregation of SiteGround’s Cloud hosting plans, you also have the option of customizing a plan according to your needs. Because of the scalable nature of Cloud hosting this means that if you opt for SiteGround, the sky is virtually the limit for your hosting needs.
A2 Hosting is another great option that is comparable with SiteGround, albeit with a few small tweaks. For example, with A2 Hosting, renewal fees clock in at around half of what SiteGround is charging for shared hosting. However, they also offer more limited features.
For example, HTTP/2 is only available on A2 Hosting’s most expensive shared hosting plan. If you’re on a budget and willing to cut a few small corners, A2 offers good performance as well at a lower cost. If performance and top-notch features are what you need then opt for SiteGround.
BlueHost is another reputable solutions provider that can give SiteGround a run for the money. It has a good range of plans at decent prices but is limited in server locations. All Bluehost data centers are in North America.
If you aren’t so concerned about that, another issue is in terms of scalability. BlueHost doesn’t have Cloud hosting plans, which means that you can only grow to a certain extent. Still, if you’re not overly concerned about growth then BlueHost might be a good option.
This really is a comparison between two giants in the web hosting business. Both InMotion Hosting and SiteGround have excellent reputations and range of product. In fact, the key difference between them seems to be price and a couple of features.
However, there are very few web hosting companies that can compete with SiteGround in terms of customer service and support. If this is an area that is of importance to you then SiteGround would be a better choice. Users who may require less assistance can turn to InMotion Hosting.
Having hosted BuildThis.io on SiteGround for so long, we have come to rely on their excellent performance and sterling customer support. There have been so many times when even their front-line chat team has been able to help us that we think it might be difficult for us to move even if we wanted to.
Performance and reliability are also top notch here, but there are other web hosting providers who are equally good in this respect. Still, the thought of dealing with lackluster support irks us and we feel that is a singular area in which SiteGround has really turned the industry on its head.
We do encourage you to consider this aspect very carefully before deciding. Finding a good web host which dedicates itself to supporting your site isn’t easy and we feel that SiteGround offers a hard to beat proposition is this respect.
SiteGround offers a 30-day money back free trial. If you are unhappy with what you see during the first 30 days, you can simply ask for a full refund (not including domain registration fees) from the company.