Saturday 20th October 2018

SiteGround Review

Very good uptime; excellent features and customer service; poor response time and no free domain or website migrations.

  • Great uptime but relatively poor server response time;
  • It offers cheap introductory annual prices ($47) but more expensive annual renewal prices ($143);
  • Its uptime and money back guarantees are standard (99.90% and 30 days );
  • Its customer service is among the best we’ve encountered;
  • It’s one of the best hosts for the range of features offered;
  • It doesn’t offer free website migrations on the cheapest packages;
  • Unlike many, it doesn’t offer a free domain and it only allows you to host one website.

SiteGround Review

Very good uptime; excellent features and customer service; poor response time and no free domain or website migrations.

  • Great uptime but relatively poor server response time;
  • It offers cheap introductory annual prices ($47) but more expensive annual renewal prices ($143);
  • Its uptime and money back guarantees are standard (99.90% and 30 days );
  • Its customer service is among the best we’ve encountered;
  • It’s one of the best hosts for the range of features offered;
  • It doesn’t offer free website migrations on the cheapest packages;
  • Unlike many, it doesn’t offer a free domain and it only allows you to host one website.

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Overview

Siteground ranks among our top three web hosts. It’s difficult to say which host is “best,” largely because they’re all strong in different areas, however Siteground excels on customer service, uptime and technical features.

When we compare Siteground to other popular hosts there are upsides and downsides. For example, Bluehost charges for website migrations, is more expensive in the first year (but cheaper in the second year) and lacks the quality of customer support provided by Siteground.

That said, Bluehost offers a free domain, allows customers to host unlimited websites (Siteground only allows customers to host one website per shared hosting account) and is broadly equal to Siteground on uptime but significantly better for server response time.

Overall, we’re impressed with quality of Siteground’s StartUp package, particularly its technical features and customer service.

Latest uptime

Month Uptime Response time
January 2018 100% 1567ms
February 2018 100% 1499ms
March 2018 99.96% 1416ms
April 2018 99.99% 1761ms
May 2018 100% 1802ms
June 2018 99.99% 1726ms
July 2018 99.99% 1603ms

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Monthly price1

$11.95

Annual price2

$47.40

Bandwidth/data transfer

Unmetered

The not-so-small small print

1Many web hosts advertise monthly prices but don't allow you to pay monthly. If you can't actually pay monthly we don't display a monthly price.

2This metric lists the annual price for packages paid 12 months in advance. It doesn't calculate the cost of packages paid monthly for 12 months.

3This is what it costs to renew a package paid annually in the second year. Most hosts increase prices for the second and each subsequent year.

4A "free domain" may sound like an enticing offer but keep in mind its costs will often be subtracted from a refund and some web hosts charge significantly more for renewals than registrations.

5Most web hosts display their uptime guarantees to one decimal point e.g. 99.9% is actually 99.90%. While some uptime guarantees look more attractive e.g. 100%, it's the compensation terms - how much they pay you if they fail to honor it - that matter.

SiteGround alternatives

Excellent uptime and response time but offers poor customer service and lacks essential features.

Annual price

$59.88

Uptime

99.99%

Nothing spectacular, nothing truly terrible. They're expensive relative to other web hosts.

Annual price

£94.99

Uptime

99.93%

1&1

Solid uptime but limited customer service, excessive legalese and overbearing restrictions.

Annual price

$11.88

Uptime

99.97%

Good uptime, features and value for money but no free domain and response time is average to poor;

Annual price

$24.88

Uptime

99.94%

Pricing

Like most web hosts, the price you’re advertised isn’t the price you pay when you proceed through checkout.

The entry-level ‘StartUp’ package is marketed at $3.95 per month but to qualify for this rate you must pay at least 12 months in advance.

If you want to subscribe for 12 months the annual cost is $47.40 payable upfront (which, when compared against its rivals, is cheap considering the features offered).

Unlike a lot of web hosts, it doesn’t vary the monthly rate depending on whether you subscribe for 12 months, 24 months or 36 months – it’s set at $3.95.

Where SiteGround really get you however is with the renewal rate: it’s $143.40 and thus over 200% more expensive than the introductory rate. It appears to have increased its rates recently – the annual renewal price used to be $119.40.

Unfortunately, this process – increasing prices upon annual renewal – is standard across web hosts (with the notable exception of a few hosts, see here); 1&1’s renewal price for its entry-level hosting package is 700% more expensive than its introductory price.

It also offers a one month trial for $3.95 which increases in price to $11.95 per month for each subsequent month. The trial is also accompanied by a $14.95 setup fee.

SiteGround also increased the price of one year .com registrations recently, up from $14.95 to $15.95 per year. This is high relative to some of its competitors and unfortunately, unlike some of its competitors, it doesn’t offer free domain name to new customers.

Hosting with SiteGround is great in the first year and its features, uptime and customer service are excellent; however, expect to pay a premium for these benefits in subsequent years.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Monthly price

$11.95

Annual price

$47.40

Compare web hosts

We compare 17 web hosts against 56 metrics, including monthly and annual pricing and bandwidth, CPU, read/write, storage and database restrictions.

Technical

Siteground provides more details on technical restrictions than any other web host we’ve reviewed.

The most important restrictions Siteground set relate to domains, CPU usage and script executions.

  • You can only host one domain on its StartUp package (many hosts at this price point allow customers to host unlimited domains);
  •  ‘StartUp’ hosting accounts are limited to:
    • 20% of CPU usage and for a period of no longer than 20 seconds;
    • 10,000 CPU seconds per day (or 1,000 per hour or 300,000 per month); and
    • 10,000 script executions (eg requesting an index.php file) per day (or 1,000 per hour or 300,000 per month).

Siteground doesn’t seem to provide data on how it limits entry processes (simultaneous script executions e.g. loading a WordPress file), seemingly preferring instead to limit based on daily rather than simultaneous script executions.

What do their restrictions on script executions translate to? Siteground believes your resource restrictions will capably handle up to 10,000 visits per month.

If you reach 80% of your allotted script executions or CPU seconds Siteground will send you an email detailing what you need to do to reduce them. This could involve anything from blocking resource intensive IP addresses or implementing caching.

The restrictions are reset each month and don’t apply to static content (eg HTML content), they only apply to dynamic script executions.

Importantly, there’s also a restriction on database queries: they can’t take up more than 10% of server resources (all WordPress installations rely on database queries to render page templates).

Providing you’re not a heavy user it’s unlikely these restrictions will affect you, however it’s worth keeping them in mind when evaluating Siteground’s service.

You’ll also see a ‘running processes’ metric in the sidebar of your admin panel when you first login.

This metric refers to the number of active processes on the server-side particularly as it relates to cPanel, email accounts, FTP accounts, multiple login sessions to cPanel from different browsers, etc. It is not affected by HTTP connections made by your visitors.

Bandwidth is advertised as ‘unmetered’ (this means SiteGround doesn’t monitor it). It’s worth noting SiteGround state in its terms of service that this only applies to web pages (eg, HTML page or PHP pages) and not to the upload or storage of video, pictures or music files.

It also states the following in relation to bandwidth:

“While we do not meter traffic, the maximum availability at any time will depend on current traffic usage and the technical specifications of our equipment”.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

CPU usage restriction?

Yes

CPU usage restriction

20%

Number of CPU cores

NS

Bandwidth

Unmetered

Storage restriction

10GB

RAM restriction

768MB

Database size restriction

500MB

Free SSL?

Yes

No. of websites restriction

1

Compare features

Annual price

Compare all 18 hosts by what it costs if you pay 12 months in advance.

Host Annual price
SiteGround $47.40
Bluehost $59.40
Hostinger $39.00

Free domain?

Compare all 18 hosts by whether they offer a free domain with new hosting subscriptions.

Host Free domain?
FatCow Yes
A2 Hosting No
HostGator Yes

Offers HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 was the first update to the HTTP protocol in 20 years. See which hosts support it.

Host Supports HTTP/2?
Just Host No
GoDaddy No
SiteGround Yes

Entry processes

Learn more about, and compare 18 hosts by, limitations placed on entry processes.

Host Entry processes
InMotion 20
GreenGeeks 100
Namecheap 20

Service

The StartUp package offers a single website backup per day. These backups aren’t available in your admin panel (unless you subscribe to the premium backup and restore option) and you’ll likely have to pay if you require a restore.

The GoGeek package – the most expensive package – includes 30 backups taken over 30 days and unlimited professional restores.

Siteground offers a 30 day money back guarantee. This is standard however a number of hosts, eg Hostgator, Dreamhost and InMotion, offer superior guarantees.

Siteground also offers a 99.90% uptime guarantee (advertised as 99.9%) and the compensation it offers for failing to honor the guarantee is as generous as any other host.

If uptime in any given month is between 99.90% and 99.00% then they’ll give you one month of free hosting (they’ll also give you an additional month of free hosting in increments of 1% downtime).

Finally, Siteground is the best host we’ve reviewed for customer service – they provide both ticketing and live chat support.

They responded to our support ticket in less than eight minutes. Their live chat is equally impressive; all of the questions we had – irrespective how technical – were answered promptly. Ordinarily we’d go into significantly more depth on a host’s customer service however SiteGround just handles customer service the way it’s supposed to be handled.

If customer service is your primary concern then there’s no better host at this price range.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Uptime guarantee

99.90%

Live chat support

Yes

Ticket/email support

Yes

Phone support

Yes