SiteGround Managed Hosting Review: Excellent Support, Not Really for WordPress

With a focus on providing a web hosting service “crafted with care,” Bulgarian company SiteGround has come a long way since launching in 2004.

But what exactly does handcrafted mean as far as web hosting goes? Does that mean reliability, speed and features? Or is it just another marketing term?

We get asked all the time for web hosting recommendations and do our best to point members in the right direction, but who you go with ultimately comes down to your site’s needs – and also how much you’re willing to spend.

To help make the decision a bit easier, we’ve put some of the biggest WordPress managed hosts to the test, with a focus on customer experience. There are already plenty of reviews out there that look at speed and stability, but the ease of use and support capabilities of a company are just as – if not more – important because you’ll run into trouble sooner or later and a great host will always go above and beyond to help you out when disaster hits.

With all that in mind, this is the second of eight reviews, this time putting SiteGround to the test.

Check out the other posts in this managed WordPress hosting reviews series:

SiteGround

The Good

  • Cheap – great for beginners
  • Excellent support
  • Active in the WordPress community

The Bad

  • Marketing as WordPress hosting is misleading – it's just a repackaged shared environment
  • Not very powerful – not for websites with high traffic or professional developers/admins anyway
  • No WordPress-specific tools and features

Our Verdict

  • Price:
  • Ease Of Use:
  • Features:
  • Support:
  • Speed:
  • Overall:

WPMU DEV Rating

The Bottom Line

The harsh truth is that if you want professional WordPress service and top-notch WordPress specific hosting, SiteGround is not what you are looking for. Don't get me wrong, I love the company and all they do for the community, but they just can't provide the level of service a managed WordPress service like WPEngine can. That being said, if you have some low traffic websites SiteGround is a great option. For $8 a month ($16 after your first period) you get unlimited installations.

SiteGround: Company History

SiteGround is not the new kid on the block. It was founded back in 2004 in Bulgaria quickly rising as it reached about 1,500 clients in mid-2005. It shows how long ago this was that Mambo CMS was the most popular one used by their clients. I’m betting that has changed.

The company has a long history of contributing to projects they use. Back when the company started, it contributed to Mambo, now it does the same for the WordPress community, actively taking part in WordCamps – not just sponsoring but organizing and speaking as well.

As far as I can tell SiteGround has been active in the WordPress community since 2006 when the company released free themes for its customers.

The year 2007 is a perfect example of SiteGround’s rise to fame. In February, the host reported its 50,000th website on its servers and by July this number had grown to 100,000 domains. That’s what I call a healthy growth rate!

SiteGround has since continued to sponsor events and make itself known to the Joomla and WordPress community especially. They are there at most events, offering freebies, hosting packages and smiles all-around. Having met the team I can safely say they’re a fun and lovely bunch, but how does their service stack up?

In 2016, SiteGround now has five offices in three continents and large body of employees managing a multitude of hosting options for companies large and small.

First Impressions

Just like all the other hosting websites I had a look at, it’s impossible to gauge the effectiveness of SiteGround from its website. The copy is usually full of vague and unverifiable claims:

“Why are our speed, security and support better? Because we do things most other hosting companies wouldn’t even consider possible! We developed our own solutions to help protect your website from hacks. We invented new techniques that can make your website run over a hundred times faster.”

I am sceptical about the second statement especially. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t apply to all situations, even if true. That said, the website does try and give you everything to make a decision based on your needs. I especially like how you can try out the cPanel on their Web Hosting page.

Each hosting sub-section lays out all the plans very clearly, focussing heavily on the primary applications you would want to use: WordPress, Magento, Drupal and Joomla.

SiteGround services
SiteGround services

SiteGround has a very well-organized site, well-suited to casual onlookers. With chunky icons, readable typography and a nice layout, it’s a pleasure to cruise through to figure out what your needs are.

Plans and Pricing

To be honest, I was a bit taken aback by how the packages are structured. Despite appearances, SiteGround does not actually offer managed WordPress hosting. I did some confirming with their support team just to be sure. Here is how it all works: SiteGround provides shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers. Within the shared hosting category they have three plans: StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek. These are the exact same plans you find under the WordPress and Joomla sections – there is absolutely nothing WordPress or Joomla-specific in these services.

I have no problem with this setup, apart from the fact that there is some deliberate miscommunication involved. The StartUp package cannot be “Crafted for a Great Start with WordPress” or also “Crafted for a Great Start with Joomla.”

This is like manufacturing a shot glass and packaging it separately as a shot glass and also a glass for drinking beer out of. Technically you can do it and you can even do it easily. It’s not really crafted for the task at hand though, is it?

SiteGround's WordPress plans
SiteGround’s WordPress plans

Getting Started

Overall, the signup process is not bad, but not as enjoyable as some of the other services. I started out by writing this as a far more negative review, but since I started working on this article they’ve revamped their signup process, making it a lot better. This is a great sign – companies that focus on user experience tend to be better at what they do in general.

I didn’t like how it’s never mentioned, only at signup, that you can’t actually just grab a month for $3.95, but only if you pay for 12 months. If you want to go for a month only, you’ll have to pay a $14.95 setup fee. As with the hosting plans, I don’t much mind the fee, but what I do mind is the obvious misdirection. This is a risk hedging fee for the company and it has nothing to do with setup.

At the very end I read the very small text: “You save 50% on the regular $29.95/mo for the first invoice.” This means that the special low price you see on the front page only applies to your first payment. To be fair, this payment could be made for 3 years in advance, but it still left another frown on my face.

Ease of Use

The backend of a host hopefully won’t be your most visited page but it’s important to make sure it provides all the necessary features to make your life that much easier. Let’s see how SiteGround holds up in that respect.

The Dashboard

The first thing I noticed is that the homepage of the dashboard is utterly useless. Perhaps it’s because I just don’t have a ton of information and sites, but even so there is just no information there apart from the fact that my payment information is outdated. Seriously, look at my homepage:

The thoroughly useless Siteground dashboard home
The thoroughly useless Siteground dashboard home

Once I got past the initial shock, everything was just fine. As I mentioned before, the interface is a little dated to my eyes, but consistency counts for a lot more and the admin panel does well there. The “My Accounts” section lists information and settings you’ll need and also lists your WordPress installations.

If you want to control aspects of your domain like FTP access, subdomains, DNS zones, email accounts and so on, you can do that by going to the cPanel. It’s contained within the framework of the SiteGround admin, which is great for reducing confusion and providing continuity.

If you’re familiar with cPanel you know that it’s not the most beautiful things to look at but it does its job well. One of the advantages of the fact that SiteGround is not a true WordPress host is access to various features like the ones I’ve mentioned.

Creating New Installs

Adding a new installation is not as easy as some other managed WordPress hosting solutions, like WP Engine or Kinsta, but it’s still not too involved. The process is handled with the Softaculous package within cPanel, which can handle a lot more than just WordPress. Interestingly enough I couldn’t do it by clicking the main “Add installation manually” link because that went to the import feature of Softaculous, but once I figured things out it really was easy. Not full marks for user friendliness, but not too bad.

I was pleasantly surprised with the big banner on top of my cPanel telling me that it was easy to create a staging environment. It really was a one-click solution. cPanel made a subdomain for me and copied my live site to it within a minute or so. Even better, you can push changes made on the staging server live and do some more advanced stuff easily.

cPanel staging environment
cPanel staging environment

Features

SiteGround offers plenty of features, but since it isn’t a managed WordPress host, it’s difficult to compare it with the real deal. If you’re looking for a general host it’s just fine, owed in large part to cPanel support. You’ll be able to install anything you need, create email accounts, measure performance, password protect and a lot more.

If you’re looking for features that are inherent for managed WordPress hosting you’ll be unhappy. There is no WordPress-specific architecture in the server, since they need to account for lots of apps, the admin interface is more cluttered and way less streamlined, and you won’t get the same of server-level caching and protection you can get using other hosts.

I was hopeful when I saw the “WordPress Tools” section, but out of the seven tools there was only one that wasWordPress specific – resetting the admin user account. The others had to do with fixing permissions, SSL certificates and so on.

Support

Support is an area where SiteGround excels. From the visuals to the helpfulness, they aced everything. My questions were all answered quickly and honestly. The feeling I got when talking to support was that instead of having guidelines for what they could and couldn’t say, they are told to be honest and genuinely helpful.

One of the best examples was their reaction to an unrelated question I had. I noticed that many companies offer high-end VPS servers which are cheaper than their lower-end dedicated counterparts. I asked a couple of companies wether their high-end VPS is better (power-wise) than their low end dedicated solutions and SiteGround was the only company who honestly acknowledged that it is, unless you need special features that you can only use on dedicated servers.

My – more to the point – question was about a temporary URL I can use to test my websites. Even though there were apparently 22 people in the queue I received an answer inside a minute and a solution within 3.

SiteGround’s support was really one of the best I’ve dealt from the point of view of helpfulness and responsiveness which is saying something for a company this large.

Regretfully, since SiteGround isn’t a dedicated WordPress host, their techs are not WordPress experts. They’ll be able to help you out in a bind, but if you’re looking for powerful WordPress centric support, you’re looking in the wrong place. To be fair, I haven’t seen top-notch WordPress tech support at any company, apart from the big WordPress-only hosts.

Speed

As this review is focusing on customer experience rather than speed, I won’t get into a super-deep speed review because there are just so many factors here that it would be unfair to judge any company based on casual tests.

I installed three websites:

  • Vanilla Twenty Fifteen theme filled with demo content – 1.49Mb, 53 requests
  • WooCommerce shop running on Twenty Fifteen, Shop Page – 0.479Mb, 55 requests
  • Out of the box Avada installation using the Cafe demo – 24.3Mb, 134 requests

When uncached, the vanilla Twenty Fifteen site loaded in about 4 seconds. The WooCommerce shop loaded in around 2.3 seconds and the Avada demo loaded in 9.4 seconds.

When cached, vanilla Twenty Fifteen loaded in around 1.6 seconds, the WooCommerce shop took about 1.3 seconds and the Avada Cafe demo clocked in at 3.4 seconds.

As always, my own tests are not indicative of speed as a whole. You can always have a faulty server, the company may be having a bad day, anything could happen. The community has mixed feelings about SiteGround.

On hostingreviews.io there are only eight comments on speed, two of which are negative – that’s 25%. Compared to WPEngine, which has 14 speed reviews, one of which is bad (7%-ish) it doesn’t seem great, but it’s not as bad as it seems. They have fewer reviews and people are far likely to leave bad reviews than good ones, so I wouldn’t say SiteGround is a gamble speed-wise.

As long as you follow best practices SiteGround will be there to host your website with sufficient speed, up to a point. My opinion on SiteGround speed-wise is the same as on other counts: it is a perfectly good option for smaller sites, the price makes up for any shortcomings. If you are looking to host a site with a large throughput I would recommend choosing a different host or look at their dedicated/cloud options.

 

Disclaimer: In putting together this review, we received a free account from SiteGround. They did not know if and when we would run any tests and we did not receive any special treatment support or otherwise.

Stay tuned for the last article in the series, which will compare all eight web hosts side-by-side to decide which one is best.

Have you used SiteGround? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

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49 Responses

    pmsteil

    I COMPLETELY disagree. SiteGround is the bomb and has never let me down in terms of supporting me running WordPress – both single WP sites on shared servers, single and WPMU (multisite) on their virtual cloud server offerings.

    Siteground is constantly innovating bringing all the latest and greatest enhancements that all websites and PHP devs need, like PHP 7 support, new free SSL certs and so much more.

    Their support has been 100% spot for EVERYTHING I have needed. The price is right, support is great and they DO have lots of WP specific support in their backend admin area.

    I think the title of this blog post needs to be changed, it is not reflective of how well Siteground does support WordPress!

    Thanks!
    Patrick

    Ahmad Abrar

    DISAGREE I’m using SiteGround to host WordPress sites. They offer all the premium features of the top-end managed sites, but at a fraction of the cost. In the Geek package, you get Varnish caching, Memcache (both of which can be controlled by their own custom plugin) AND Clouflare Railgun support. This combination makes your site blazingly fast.

    But what’s best is their support. They boast about a 10 minute response time to their tickets, and that’s no idle boast. The last four tickets I raised were responded to in an average of 8 minutes, and all of them resolved immediately.

    Christian Nelson

    No matter what anyone says in a review of this type there will always be things to argue about. So be it.

    But Daniel has done what almost no other hosting reviewer seems to do: He doesn’t just go by what the hosting outfit’s web site says, and then write a glowing review. No. What he’s done is actually look at the hosting service with an open (but skeptical) mind, and has actually signed up for the service and taken it for a ride.

    If only more reviewers would do this, it would be great.

    I’ve recently been looking for a good hosting service for some of my sites, but review after review it’s the same old thing…most of the reviews are nothing more than click-bait, and don’t dig in to get to the truth. And that’s not helpful at all.

    Thanks so much for this great review. Whether or not you agree with what Daniel has said here, and whether or not Daniel may have missed a few points, this is a great review…and *this* is what a review *should* be.

      Sue

      @Christian, so glad you tucked this comment in. While I’m with another WP managed hosting web site, I appreciate having an unbiased view on other services, and we all know how hard it is to get the “unbiased” part. So many of the industry reviews have an agenda that makes it tough to discern how credible their report card is. Your gut-check on Daniel’s review is solid.

      @Daniel — I have always found your contributions to have a depth and breadth lacking elsewhere, and your explanations to be laid out in plain speak so they can be easily understood. You are one of the touchstones I use in gauging both efficacy, and potential, so thanks so much for taking the time to share this.

      Sue.

    Erik Haagensen

    I’ve started moving some sites to Siteground, and this article doesn’t really strike me as accurate when they say Siteground isn’t WordPress specific and isn’t a managed solution.

    Siteground offers a WP specific custom caching solution they developed. Switching from Bluehost to Siteground with SSL and HTTP2 support cut my page load times on one site by 90%. This is without even using the Cloudfare with Railgun CDN option.

    Siteground’s staging is very WP specific. If you think about what it takes to move over all the changes from the staging site to the live site, this is inherently WP specific. You can even pick and choose what parts of your WordPress site (files, data, media, specific database tables, etc) to move from Staging back to the live site, that seems very WordPress aware and specific to me.

    The Siteground team recently moved to proactively block some WordPress security vulnerabilities before the WordPress core was updated. Again, very WordPress specific, and very “managed”.

    I’ve also had several interactions with support where they clearly understand WordPress, how it is structured, how it works, and how that impacts the issues or questions I had. To say that they aren’t WordPress experts because they are not solely dedicated to WordPress doesn’t ring true. You can support more than one platform and have very knowledgeable techs for the few platforms supported. You don’t need to be WordPress only to have WordPress experts on staff.

    I appreciate Daniel’s review but don’t really understand how he can say that Siteground is not WordPress specific, isn’t a managed environment, and doesn’t have WordPress savvy techs.

    open4biz

    “This is like manufacturing a shot glass and packaging it separately as a shot glass and also a glass for drinking beer out of. Technically you can do it and you can even do it easily. It’s not really crafted for the task at hand though, is it?”

    Such analogy. Much correlation. So amaze.

    A doge quip aside, I take more exception to how you presented SiteGround than how they position themselves as a WordPress provider. When you get down to it every single host who knows what they’re doing has been some kind of ‘stack’ to serve web pages as fast as possible. This generally includes Apache and/or nginx, MySQL or MariaDB, maybe an op cache, and likely server-side caching. Siteground is no different as any managed WordPress host in that regard so your ‘nothing special about them’ argument is click-bait rubbish.

    Does Siteground auto-update WordPress (or other things) for you as a ‘managed’ host would? I don’t believe they do. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never hosted with them. I work for a competitor and I’m still coming to their defense. So, updates aside, does SiteGround specialize in WordPress? Yes, absolutely. I almost always hear good things about them and sometimes from well-informed developers who have circled the block a few times.

    In short, if the difference between Siteground a your average WordPress managed host are auto-updates, I would suggest users could learn to handle this (or set it up in wp-config), and this review is not really for WordPress either.

    Cheers

      Martin

      Actually Siteground does provide completely automated updates designed by the company and not only for the WordPress core files, but also for all installed plugins. Both are easily configurable via the WP auto-update plugin in their hosting control panel. It is up to the user to choose he/she wants to have this automated upgrade or do it manually.

    Daniel Pataki

    I thought I’d chime in and answer some of the comments on masse. I have nothing against SiteGround, I love their team and they provide a solid service. However, this review looked at them from the point of view of WordPress only and they plain and simple fall short of hosts that are dedicated to WordPress like WPEngine, Flywheel or Kinsta.

    This is absolutely not a problem and is to be expected, they need to focus on so much more than WordPress. Their WordPress solution is not bad, but to people who have larger websites I would recommend other solutions which are better. These are shared environments and there’s no way around the fact that this is way worse than a VPS – from a resource and security point of view especially – which has been built from the ground up to support WordPress.

    Virgil

    Im sorry but I also have to disagree with this article.

    First of all, the author of this post doesn’t explain what makes a good WordPress specific hosting company. He just kept saying on and on how great WPengine is and seems to be pushing those that does WordPress development into their hosting services.

    I also can understand why he had such a hard time doing a WordPress install. A C-panel is a cpanel and Siteground has a button that says WordPress Install. I can Get WordPress working on any domain within seconds without a hitch. Ad to that is every WordPress install is a multisite install – which I don’t have to configure just to run multisite. To me thats a godsend and a function which is under-marketed to the WordPress community.

    Lastly, Siteground’s speed is good. Its better than some of the other starter hosts that I’ve tried like Bluehost. Their plans are cheaper too and comes with a dedicated IP and SSL certificate. Too me thats really good for what you get.

    Therefore, I don’t think this article does justice to the truth. Siteground is good and competitive even compared to dedicated hosting services out there. I think you get more what you pay for with Siteground. That can’t be said with the other services out there.

    Hristo

    Hey,

    Hristo from SiteGround here. While I appreciate the honesty and the fact that there are definitely things we can improve especially in our User Area (which we are currently working on and is our top priority), I would like correct you on few points in your review.

    First, about having autoupdates. We do have our own system that we launched back in 2013 (https://www.siteground.com/blog/infographic-autoupdate/) when WordPress didn’t have internal update system. We keep maintaining it because many of our customers prefer to use it instead of the core one mostly because it’s easy to manage and does site backups before each update so you can easily restore your site if something goes wrong. Second, we have probably the fastest possible server-level caching system. It’s called the SuperCacher and consists of an NGINX based reverse-proxy and memcache support that users enable/disable from cPanel and our own WordPress plugin that handles the application side. Furthermore, it allows much more flexibility than most of the competition because you can easily exclude URLs from it for example. In addition to that, our caching system supports the most popular WordPress extensions which are known to have issues with aggressive caching systems like WooCommerce, EDD and more.

    On top of that, if you check out the security section of our blog(https://www.siteground.com/blog/infographic-autoupdate/) our own WAF (web application firewall) is maintained by our own security team which has covered our customers form pretty much every major vulnerability that has been released recent years and not only for core issues but for popular plugins too. Last but not least, we were amongst the first to have WP-CLI pre-installed on all our servers so if you prefer to command your site using the command line it’s there for you to use. I strongly believe that whether a hosting provider is a managed WordPress one depends on the actual services it provides – speed boosters, auto-updates, specific security measures and tools to make your development and management process easier and faster. We do all that on ALL our platforms, so we are confident this makes our service a managed one.

    We are quite proud with the statement that we handcraft our solutions as believe that our approach to doing things is actually what really justifies this statement. From the way we build our own internal solutions (monitoring, our own CRM, ticketing and chat to name a few), to the way our server architecture is built (completely customized with performance and security in mind), to the way we approach our marketing materials – it’s all done and crafted in house, unlike many other providers who buy a lot more software from outside and use ready made solutions.

    Thanks again for taking the time to review our services. I am available to answer further questions or comments.

      Daniel Pataki

      Hi Hristo,

      Thanks for the comments! You surely are right about most of your points but I would still keep myself to the original conclusion, for a serious WordPress business I would take my website elsewhere.

      I have tested other non-WordPress-only hosts and SiteGround may be the best among that bunch – we’ll see – and there’s no doubt that your services are great. However, this interview looked at the WordPress stuff only. While your services are awesome, they just don’t beat the large WP only companies.

      As for the servers, there is no way a $4/month server will hold up to any amount of punishment and even the top tier one is meh. Also, while the servers may be customized with performance and security in mind, they are not customized to WordPress, which is the point.

      I wanted to reiterate here in answer to some comments: just because you have a great experience with a host doesn’t mean it’s the best host ever and just because you have a bad experience with a host, it doesn’t mean it’s the worst host ever.

      What I would recommend SiteGround for is smaller scale WP sites or if you tend to do experiments and want to host 15-20 sites for a very low price. For the price it is an awesome service, but I still wouldn’t give you my money-making larger-scale sites.

      SiteGround is a great company which I would trust with my business any time, but I would choose your for your cloud/dedicated solutions and because your customer care is great – of which your comment is a great example by the way :)

            Patricia BT

            Hi

            I’m not sure to understand, we get all the same great WordPress tools (mentioned a lot in several comments here), on VPS and dedicated… so it’s the same.

            And I just replied as you said “there is no way a $4/month server will hold up”, but now I see you maybe meant “at 4$/month, server…” sorry as English is not my first language, a missing letter or comma will change the meaning lot to me :)

            For the same price as a 25 install plan on WPEngine you get at SG a full dedicated and managed server INCLUDING the WordPress tools.

            And tbh, I didn’t understand (my bad, probably) that the series of posts were about *managed WordPress*, I thought it was simply a host comparision (for WordPress users).

            Have a great day!
            Patricia

        open4biz

        Daniel,

        That was a breathtakingly tone deaf response considering you essentially said Siteground’s not WordPress-ey enough for your {insert subjective criteria here} when the managed hosts all have different offerings (no yardstick for comparison), don’t ‘manage’ anything except WordPress update (wow!), and seem to have sucked you in with their marketing. So what if Siteground plays both sides of the fence by not limiting themselves to WordPress-only? You must have similar thoughts about Pantheon, one of the top managed host. They started with Drupal and remain big in the space… but are they WordPress-ey enough for you?

        Personally, I would much more have an enjoyed an article which argued what the minimum service offering a managed WordPress host should have so consumers could expect a, b, c and look at x, y, z as bonuses. The industry is immature and needs more uniformity.

        Cheers

      Daniel Pataki

      And one more quick response in general, perhaps this would have made a good addition to the conclusion:

      Yes, SiteGround is miles and miles above things like HostGator, Bluehost etc. The article is a comment on the very specific niche of WordPress hosting. SiteGround also excels at WordPress hosting, especially given the prices involved, but there are overall better solutions.

    PegWeb

    I was using BlueHost Optimized for WordPress hosting for some time and their support just got worse and worse. I had one client with Magento so I put them on a SiteGround account. I was so impressed dealing with SiteGrounds support team that I setup one of their Cloud hosting accounts to being moving all my WordPress sites over to. So far I am very happy and very impressed with their customer service. I think it is a bit unfair to compare SiteGrounds bottom tier shared plan with somebody like WP-Engines $30 per month 1 install only plan. You get what you pay for. I also disagree with this review. I think SiteGround deserves at minimum 4 stars. Personally I would give them 4.5

    Alex Stine

    Hello,
    Good hosting review. SiteGround is better than HostGator starter plans, I will tell you that. While SiteGround has a lot of awesome features, WPEngine probably will top them because they really are 100% WordPress. SiteGround can handle lots of scripts and CMS’s on top of a really awesome server and caching infrastructure.
    Support is out of this world, 10 minutes, that is all that it takes. They have helped me out in the worst situations possible.

    Thanks.

    Patricia BT

    Hi

    I’m a SG customer, and yes, indeed, they are a “non-specifically” WP host, such as WPEngine = in the meaning of “managed”, so it means, customers can install other scripts, in a standard cPanel account etc.

    BUT they really are WordPress and Joomla Experts, issue vulnerabilities fix ion n Day 0, talk at WordCamps (and similar conferences for Joomla, I don’t know the name), they talk at Sessions on security expertise, and as a sidenote they sponsor WordCamps and “are here” in the community.
    In one of the dedicated tool, you can reset your WP password from the customer panel, make staging copies in 1 click, have your GIT environement (and you say it’s not for developers??), ok you need the highest shared plan, or a VPS or full server, so it’s less cheap, but really different from your review (imo)

    Also, beside WP, I love them for being sponsors of Let’sEncrypt, since its beta version (or even before), and now available in cPanel (soon also for VPS customers). See what it is? the free SSL certificates (A Linux foundation project if I’m correct), woooooow, not a lot of hosts are in the early sponsors, but those who are inspire me trust….

    + many things :)
    Patricia

      Daniel Pataki

      Hi Alex :)

      I completely agree with you on that! The problem is, all the companies you mentioned aren’t even in the same league as SiteGround. SiteGround is a GREAT company, I’m reflecting on their WordPress service here in relation to the WordPress services offered by other large and respected hosts.

      Since SiteGround is a great company, just because I ranked their services lower than WPEngine for example doesn’t mean SiteGround is useless and you shouldn’t go with them. There’s no need to pay $99/month for a WPEngine account if you don’t need that level of service. SiteGround provides awesome service for a low price, but expecting it to beat the biggest WordPress-only host like WPEngine is unrealistic.

      In any case, you made a really good decision switching to SiteGround from the three other companies!

    Jørn

    I bought three years worth of SiteGround GoGeek yesterday. When I logged in, I found to my dismay that it was basically just a VPS set up with cPanel, not at all the WP-centric setup they had me think they were.

    A few hours later, I got the WPMU Dev newsletter, which included this article, and it reinforced my impression.

    Today I have cancelled my account and will get a refund.

    It’s not that SiteGround isn’t a good deal, I’m sure it is. It’s just that we are a new, small company and I don’t want to spend my time fiddling with a million options in a confusing cPanel. I want to pay a bit more to worry less and not have to deal with server stuff.

    Looking at my research, it seems like WPEngine will be getting my business (and money) instead.

        Patricia BT

        Hej Jørn

        That’s great!!

        Quick tips to take advantage of the WP centric features (if you have GoGeek plan or above):

        When you go to your cPanel, look for the “Software & Services” and there you’ll find the usual Softaculous to install WP (or others), when installing WP you can choose options with special plugins such as the SG cache, and a choice of themes.

        In the same “Software & Services”, you’ll also find a SG-Git and Staging button (1-click copy of your files and DB for testing or preprod!!).

        And the nice WP Auto Update tool and a Web Application Tools, specifically WP centered and made by Siteground (there is also one auto update for Joomla, is that what made think it’s not “WP centered”?) :
        reset admin pw, secure admin, fix permissions, change domain (on an exisiting site, this tool eliminates issues when changing url), as well as move your install, or help with SSL.
        Talking about SSL, in the “Security” part of cPanel, has been added recently “Let’s Encrypt” : woooow the Siteground tool will create all the certificates for you (all your domain), and install automatically. (1 click = done!!!!!) Do not forget to install WP with https instead of http.

        Those are beyond great WP features … so helpful!
        Enjoy them!!
        Patricia

    markbarnes

    This article sums up everything that’s wrong with wpmudev (I say that as a long-standing, paid up member). The article is very poorly researched, and full of factual errors.

    First, SiteGround never claims to offer Managed Hosting. Comparing it with WPEngine, which is at least three times the price is ridiculous.

    Second, as countless other people have said, SiteGround offer several WordPress-specific features, including a basic web-application firewall, SuperCacher plugin, staging, backups and core upgrades. To say it’s just a “repackaged shared environment” with “no WordPress-specific tools and features” is shoddy and lazy journalism.

    Third, you say it’s not powerful — but you didn’t test with SuperCacher’s Level 3 caching, which is what provides the superb speed.

    SiteGround is head and shoulders the best WordPress host for almost everybody except complete beginners or those with very high traffic.

    I challenge you to re-run your speed tests with SuperCacher Level 3 enabled, and publish the comparisons with (a) WordPress Managed hosts, and (b) similarly priced hosts.

    If you have any integrity you should also remove your factually incorrect statements in the review itself.

    Jon Penland

    I’ve been with Siteground for several months now. I switched over to them from one of the big EIG companies. Daniel, I think a lot of the flak you’re catching over this post has to do with the fact that Siteground’s shared hosting needs to be compared to things like BlueHost, Arvixe, or HostGator shared hosting – not to WPEngine. It’s an apples-an-oranges comparison and isn’t fair to Siteground – who is probably the best shared hosting option out there.

    TLDCO

    I love WPMU Dev but I have to say, WOW, this article is way off. Siteground hosting is fully managed regardless of whether you are using WordPress, Joomla or Magento. Auto updates do occur to WordPress. In my opinion though, if you are managing WordPress installs for clients do you really want those applications auto updating?

    You are correct in saying their support is top notch. I’ve never had a ticket that I’ve submitted go longer than 1 hour before being answered. They even help with application related issues unlike most other hosts.

    I’ve moved all my clients over to siteground VPS at this point but started with them on their reseller plans which were basically their economy shared hosting. Nothing but respect for Siteground, their services and support.

    Another thing to note, on WordPress installations you can enable not only level 1 caching but a level two cache which works with a plugin and or a level 3 cache such as memcache or google page speed module. I’ve never had an issue with page speed because of the host.

    My opinion on this article is while what was written is what was experienced, I think that enough experience wasn’t gained. I do agree the intro panel needs some work but honestly, when I get logged in I go directly to my accounts and don’t really care about that page.

    One last note on services like WPEngine in comparison to Siteground (since it was referenced in the article). WPEngine in my opinion prices itself out for freelancers like myself. Why would I pay for $250 a month for 25 installs with 400k visits when I can get a Siteground MANAGED VPS for less than $100 a month.

    I’m sure WPEngine provides a great service but I’m happy with Siteground and I hope others who are considering Siteground and are reading this comment will understand that its a great company.

    Magellan456

    Frankly, although I can put aside my reaction and understand and what you’re pointing, your post title is misleading and so is a big part or your post where you only want to see if this host can support big WordPress sites. There. That could have been your title… and again with more written proofs. You tried to be taken seriously but you click bait your audience with your title. The rest is in the comments as you can see for yourself. A different approach would have made your post more credible and serious.

    George Lerner

    Very misleading review.
    “The harsh truth is that if you want professional WordPress service and top-notch WordPress specific hosting”

    SiteGround does not claim to be “managed WordPress hosting”; but you don’t say what you think they should provide that they don’t.

    They are providing excellent tools for WordPress developers. They do most of the things that you would want a managed host to do, including automatic updates of WordPress and plugins (if you want them to, you can disable that). For developers, they offer much more flexibility than managed hosting.

    SiteGround has technical support extensively trained in WordPress troubleshooting, can fix problems caused by plugin updates or coding problems. Their WordPress support is superb.

    SiteGround has security people who proactively look for issues discovered worldwide with WordPress plugins or themes, and with PHP/MySQL, and block them with equipment before the servers, for all users. They will patch security holes in their customer’s plugins, and let the plugin authors know of the issue and the patch, before the authors roll out the fix. That is a level of service very few hosts provide, managed or not.

    “they just can’t provide the level of service a managed WordPress service like WPEngine can” — well, you haven’t mentioned any specific service they aren’t providing, so I’m going to continue with my assessment that SiteGround provides everything I need as well as WPEngine would, and provides some things WPEngine doesn’t provide, but costs much less.

    SiteGround has command line tools, including GIT and WP-CLI that few hosts provide. This makes their hosting much more powerful for developers. Caching tuned for actual WordPress use, with different servers for PHP than for MySQL, for speed.

    Read the comments left by people. Your title and article are misrepresenting SiteGround. You use inflammatory statements, exaggerations, misunderstandings. “Marketing as WordPress hosting is misleading” — they have very strong benefits for WordPress. “It’s just a repackaged shared environment” — with their excellent caching, separate servers for PHP and MySQL for speed, and excellent technical support, it isn’t “just repackaged”. “Not very powerful” — nonsense. “not for websites with high traffic or professional developers/admins” — no, they have very specific improvements for speed, traffic, and developers. “No WordPress-specific tools and features” — You certainly didn’t find out what they offer.

    Astonishing how much you got wrong in this review.

      Patricia BT

      Agree, so much! I agree with a lot of comments above

      now it raised my curiosity, when you say :
      “well, you haven’t mentioned any specific service they aren’t providing”

      and indeed, I would be interested to learn from Daniel Pataki, what is it, as I’m not very much aware actually of what offers WPEngine or any other “managed” host to be called managed WP host. Beside auto-update (that Siteground does), and double-check of what we install (extensions), what is the real bonus?

      I know a lot of people are very pleased with WPEngine, and lot are praising them, and I trust they are very good.
      And I’m willing to learn, I didn’t find any answer in the WPEngine review post. and as they are compared to Siteground here, so yeah let’s do this here. so :

      What does WPEngine offers that Siteground does not?
      (It’s a sincere question, not irony)

      Thx

    Ivica

    I am sorry but I also have to disagree with this article, there are too many points to mention them all. I would just refer to this sentence from the review:
    “…just because you have a great experience with a host doesn’t mean it’s the best host ever and just because you have a bad experience with a host, it doesn’t mean it’s the worst host ever.”

    I don’t think they are “the best host ever” but I do believe that (at this moment, with such support) they are THE best hosting for me and my WordPress business. As long as they keep their WordPress devotion/Support on the such high level – SiteGround will be the best host for me. I believe that other happy customers feel the same for their businesses.
    There were some situations in which I wasn’t satisfied with some SiteGround performances/issues, but they were handling it in SG Support on a such high level (solved it as fast and pleasant they could) that it was incredible!

    Therefore, I thank SiteGround so much on their expert devotion to “our” WordPress business, we wish them all the best for their business.

    ivycat

    +1 for disagreeing with this article.

    We have NEVER seen a host that offers such speedy and comprehensive support. Their server setup, architecture, and uptime are second to none, in my opinion.

    SiteGround makes it hard to recommend other WP-specific managed hosts because their offerings are so good and their support is unbelievable. It has NEVER taken me more than 30 seconds to get someone on chat or on the phone. Support tickets are always answered with 15 minutes.

    To each his/her own, but for us, SiteGround is the answer for almost any hosting need.

    tomaz

    Looking at other articles in this batch of them I get a feeling there are more people than Daniel alone who did not do their job properly… My experience with SG is also very good. I would strongly recommend them to anyone who needs WP hosting and does not want to graduate from administering it. I run rather big WP sites and manage few other shared hosting setups so I know what it takes to support WP from all angles. Which makes me value their service even more.

    Btw: I cancelled wpmu membership last month because for me wpmudev was no longer good WP support – been using it for several years… Hardly any plugins usable for me and upfront only possible reason to stay, but too costly to keep membership just of that.

    MrArtist

    I had their superior GoGeek (shared server) package for a while (twice) and also their Managed VPS at one point for both Joomla and WordPress. One way or another I had big problems and support became a bigger problem, it was literally taking up hours per day just trying to communicate backwards and forwards with all the different people that kept answering with different answers and not reading what went before.

    My sites weren’t many, big or awkward and I liked all the extra features like staging. But now and again, (on GoGeek) the strict cpu/resource/timeout limits would cause issues, the final straw being BackupBuddy saves and exports, things would just fail and all the while support just got more and more awkward with tickets becoming as long as a novel and all you get is someone else answering, offering another tweak which turns out to be duff or they go and screw up your site by bunging in loads of php.ini files without you being asked, that or various overrides to try and put in .htaccess or wherever else they could think of.

    Sometimes it seemed support was just being deliberately obtuse; I ask one question and get a completely different answer. It all depended on which support guy the system piped you through to who apparently are all in different locations and not really talking to each other, each just picking up a ticket if it becomes available. Eventually you get “escalated” to a senior support member who will fight tooth and nail to not admit to the limits they impose causing the issues, yet it ultimately is.

    At one point I took their advice and upgraded to their Managed VPS just before a very important site launch. They assured me everything would be absolutely fine. It failed miserably, my client was embarrassed at the launch event (and I didn’t get any thanks either) and all the delicate settings and tweaks to my configs they’d made were all wiped and everything put on default server/PHP settings that didn’t work for even basic WP or Joomla and getting locked out from various IP locations emails failing. It took them weeks to sort out and I’d paid for six months (expensive) service (non-refundable). I complained and eventually I was begrudgingly offered 7 days free service added on to the end of my contract. The problems never went away and soon it was bye bye SG, never, ever again.

    I don’t question the speed of support, it’s like someone sits there waiting to acknowledge everything that comes in, and for basic things it works. However, if you roughly know what you are talking about, they want to still assume you are an idiot and tell you everything is okay, they then fail to answer questions properly by not reading what everyone said before in the tickets that just get longer and longer. It was a nightmare that wouldn’t go away or get better.

    Since moving to a more local UK host, the relief of having straight answers to straight questions is a dream (and no more strict limits on CPU cycles per hour, memory limits, i-node usage, emails per hour, etc, etc. [read SG’s small print – it’s frightening!])

    Admittedly I now don’t have SG’s nice staging facility but what use is that if I couldn’t get sites running, and I quite liked SpamExperts which worked quite nicely for me and my clients compared to SpamAsassin and MagicSpam which I find appalling – chucking stuff away before it even gets to the server and it was filtering basic me to myself test emails! (so it’s disabled on my new server).

    I’m sure for many SiteGround must work, but I don’t see how based on my experience (three times!)

    ken_edelstein

    I can only speak to my brief experience with Siteground so far. I do not want to be unfair because maybe I just caught them on a very bad week. Any discussion of hosts should be prefaced with acknowledgement of the simple fact that Bluehost is the worst host anywhere. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on to Siteground: One specific experience can be a misleading anecdote or a telling real-world example. But it’s been a pretty awful experience, and it is worth considering if you are thinking of transferring based on what may or may not be affiliate (paid) recommendations from various sources: It’s Tuesday right now. I opened my account on Sunday based on various recommendations on WPMUDEV and elsewhere. Siteground is actually more expensive than most hosts offering similar services, but because I’m not technically adept, I was swayed by all the talk about great support and good website speed. I opted for a free website migration service that they offer new customers to bring my one multisite over. I was informed via my ticket that it had been done and that I could check it by blah-blah-blah (“blah-blah-blah” means that it was tech jargon). I tried to clarify what the tech jargon meant and received no reply, so I resorted to the chat (which is very quick); the fellow there told me I should just go ahead and point my DNS. I did. Then once the DNS propagated, I noticed that none of the subdomains in the multisite had made it over. I alerted them to this via chat (a client alerted me with some concern as well). They assured me all I had to do was open a ticket. Five unanswered requests on the ticket, four chats (a couple of them loooong ones) and 22 hours late. I am not assured that the migration problems will be fixed. I finally did request a credit, and they gave me a small one. But the situation remains unresolved. Other than assurances that it will be solved by the end of the day today (why that long?), the initial botching followed by lack of response raises doubts. Overall, I’m just not sure that support 1) understands the need to communicate, and 2) has standards to ensure that the techs know what they’re doing or that they must treat their clients’ requests with care. The jury is still out, but this experience shows that Siteground support is at best flawed, and that unequivocal recommendations on WPMUDEV and elsewhere should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Patrick

    ive had my site for a little over a month now, with maybe 10-20 visits per day max per jetpack, daily average is around 5. siteground emailed me my site was offline since i went over the 10k cpu seconds per day limit. i added heartbeat and also setup cronjob per their recs, but dont really understand why im exceeding the cpu allotment when i dont have many visits.
    i also attached a screenshot of my aw stats page – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-U4Blp0n93PM1MzZENiQnJJbGM/view?usp=sharing
    i feel as though siteground is trying upsell me to get the higher packages which allow for more cpu seconds, im not sure if i should take their advice, was hoping for some insight here. thank you