My SiteGround Review
This post contains affiliate links. See my disclaimer.
There are tons of great hosting services available in the marketplace today. There is no denying that the choices are crazy wide and this becomes a difficult choice for many beginners. Even non-beginners have a hard time because things change often, services improve, new companies rise up and well, we are faced with tough decisions. Not to mention that once you have built several websites, for example if you host your own client websites, then having to move them all is not so appealing. So these types of decisions to move hosts aren't typically made on the fly.
But the internet is changing. And many of these headaches (like moving websites from one host to another) are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Hosting companies are offering more and more technical support to their clients in exchange for their business and loyalty. You will find some companies now that will move your WordPress site for you to their hosting service, for free.
One of these companies is SiteGround.
Why I switched to SiteGround
Update 9/29/2017: I have now been using and recommending SiteGround for about a year and completely stand by my review below. Their customer service is not only great, but they actually WILL fix things for you (hosting related) and go above and beyond to help. PLUS, they are always available on chat! [end update]
For YEARS I have been building not only my own niche websites but also those of a handful of clients, both for pay and pro-bono. I had some hosted with Godaddy and some with Hostgator. At one point I moved all my hosting from one to the other, thinking the other host would make a performance difference. All to discover that the improvement in speed and performance of the sites (both when I was designing and when users were trying to visit) were negligent in both. Of course, I figured since I had moved from one “major” host to another pricier one, that maybe this was “as good as it gets”. It never occurred to me that maybe this was because BOTH companies I chose happened to just not be so great in this area. Ay!
I will have to admit though, that regardless of the performance of my sites, Godaddy's customer service has always been superb to me, IMHO. They have always been eager to answer my questions and help me solve technical issues. And as a domain registrar I have no problem leaving all my domains there or getting any future ones there as well. HostGator on the other hand, I couldn't say either way. Their customer service just never stood out to me as out of the ordinary. Never had any bad service either.
After I switched from designing websites part time to leaving my 20 year corporate career to do this full time, I thought I better surround myself with professionals in the field and colleagues I could collaborate with. I have joined several professional designer groups and have participated in many forums online. SiteGround is by far one of the most talked about hosting services for WordPress hosting. The other candidate I also researched but decided against (a bit too expensive), was WP Engine. I thought, why not, let's try out SiteGround with my own website and see if I notice ANY difference. And so I did. AND HOLY COW. It was like night and day when it came to the difference in speed and performance. Now hopefully you don't expect to see a bunch of comparison numbers, cuz honestly, I don't even know what the heck to look for there.
This is what I care about:
1- Do my websites load QUICKLY when you are viewing them from a browser?
2- Can I upload images and edit the design from the backend without having to wait 60 seconds every time I hit refresh or update?
If either of those is suffering then I look at what could be bogging down the site: usually large poorly optimized images or not having a proper caching plugin, or a few other things). But when the difference I saw was SO significant that I knew I was simply not being handed a good deal where I was at. SLOW AS MOLASSES I tell ya. What have I been doing all this time!!!? It's almost like one feels when they go to the vet and it's like “yeah ok, here is my card”. Am I right? We don't know what we don't know!
Why I like SiteGround
1- They will move your website for you: this alone can save someone tons of headaches for sure. I can move them myself, but why do that when they offer this for free with new hosting enrollments right?
2- Very fairly priced: can't beat $46/year for hosting that includes a free domain (usually $15)
3- Free SSL (that's https for your site), plus full CPanel access. I believe the SSL might only be with the 2nd hosting option, but even that plan is like $100/year or so. Worth it!
4- The WordPress installation is EASY. Click of a button. Plus they will even start your blog out with a free theme of your choice.
5- Did I mention performance? Websites load FAST
6- From a customer service perspective: They have NEVER EVER failed to answer any of my questions and they have resolved all my inquiries SO FAR. Incredible service really.
Surely there are other great reasons for choosing SiteGround, but those are the ones that spoke to me directly.
Now, no one is perfect and there is always a downside to consider. You must weigh the good with the bad before you choose. Here is what I discovered shortly after I registered a new domain with them (since it was free with hosting): a bunch of marketing emails from all kinds of agencies selling me their ‘web design services”. My business is in web design so I assume whatever industry I checked to set this up is what triggered this. Now at first I had no idea why this was happening but then I realized this was why. It wasn't terrible, and I get unwanted emails daily anyway. It did stop after about a week. It is VERY possible there is a check mark I forgot to UNCHECK while I was setting my stuff up? Anyway, this was the only thing I was a bit confused about. But totally willing to ignore it and that's how much better the hosting was over what I had. LOL.
Also consider that after whatever length of hosting you chose (1, 2, or 3 years) at their discounted price, your regular pricing will go UP to normal. The ‘normal' price is still, in my opinion, very comparable to any other hosting.
So, if you are looking for a decent hosting provider whose performance is above average and well priced, then I highly recommend you checked out SiteGround.
If you need some guidance on how to get started, get your domain and install WordPress with SiteGround, I have a free 3 part video series you can watch here. It will take you less than 30 minutes to watch and LESS than that to actually do it. It also includes a video about how to find and install a responsive theme. Ready to get started?
Click here to watch, it's totally free – XO
Disclaimer: I only write reviews and promote products and services that I have personally used for myself and/or for my design clients and have had good results with. I may receive affiliate commissions from these products should you decide to purchase them via my links.