SiteGround Review and Test Results
|Cheapest Hosting Plan: (1-year term renewal)*||$9.95 per month|
|Available Discounts:||60% off initial term|
|24×7 Phone Support:||Yes|
|Money-Back Guarantee:||30 days|
*Price above based on 1-year term before application of coupon code/introductory discount. While you may pay less for the first year of hosting, unless otherwise indicated, the pricing displayed on this page is the 1-year term renewal rate. Star ratings based on a 0.5 minimum to 5 star maximum scale. Why you can trust this SiteGround review. >
Founded by a group of university friends, SiteGround is devoted to providing customers with personalized services and first-rate web hosting technologies. A truly international firm headquartered in Panama, the company’s operations are located in Bulgaria, and they maintain a U.S. legal address. Datacenters are located in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Singapore.
SiteGround offers three moderately-priced and fully-featured shared web hosting plans — StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. All provide a choice of 12-month, 24-month, and 36-month billing cycles. Shared plans also include a 1-month trial offer that renews at the regular annual rate and is subject to a non-refundable set-up fee.
Designed for websites with up to 10,000 visitors per month, StartUp is the cheapest plan, priced at $9.95 per month for a 1-year term renewal.
StartUp features include 10GB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited subdomains, unlimited parked domains, unlimited MySQL databases, unlimited e-mail accounts, SPAM Experts spam prevention, cPanel control panel (see screenshot below right), choice of three datacenters, CloudFlare CDN (content delivery network), SuperCacher, MySQL on different disk, AWstats, Webalizer stats, free daily server backup, free shopping cart installation, and a free domain name for the life of the hosting account. The plan is limited to hosting for one website.
The StartUp plan also provides more than 300 hosting tools and applications. Single-click installations are made possible by the included Softaculous applications installer.
Screenshot of SiteGround cPanel control panel. Packed with usable web tools — not sales gimmicks. Click to enlarge.
Blogging tools include: WordPress, Open Blog, Serendipity, Dotclear, b2evolution, Textpattern, Nibbleblog, LifeType, Pixie, Nucleus, Chyrp, eggBlog, PivotX, FlatPress, and Movable Type.
Micro blog tools include: Sharetronix, StatusNet, PageCookery, and Storytlr.
Content management systems include: Drupal, Joomla, PHP-Fusion, Concrete5, MODX, CMS Made Simple, e107, Xoops, Zikula, Website Baker, Open Real Estate, PHP-Nuke, ocPortal, Pligg, Subrion, PyroCMS, Mambo, Geeklog, Contao, Typo3, SilverStripe, sNews, jCore, ImpressPages, Quick.CMS, and many more.
Forum software includes: phpBB, Simple Machines Forum (SMF), MyBB, AEF, Vanilla, XMB, FluxBB, Phorum, bbPress, FUDforum, and miniBB.
Image gallery applications include: Gallery, Piwigo, Coppermine, Zenphoto, TinyWebGallery, phpAlbum, 4images, Pixelpost, Plogger, and iGalerie.
Wiki applications include: MediaWiki, DokuWiki, PmWiki, and WikkaWiki.
E-commerce applications include: PrestaShop, AbanteCart, WHMCS, Magento, osCommerce, Loaded 7, Zen Cart, TheHostingTool, TomatoCart, BoxBilling, OpenCart, Avactis, Quick.Cart, LiteCart, SimpleInvoices, CubeCart, ShopSite, and many more.
Also included: social networking, ad management, calendar, gaming, poll/survey, project management, guest book, customer support, educational, and many more applications too numerous to list here.
Screenshot of SiteGround shared web hosting page. It makes no indication that discounted plans renew at the regular rate. Click to enlarge.
The StartUp plan also supports the following programming languages and advanced features: multiple PHP Versions (5.5, 5.4, 5.3 and others), Perl, Python, SSH access, as well as MySQL and PostgreSQL databases.
Designed for websites with up to 25,000 visitors per month, GrowBig is the next-cheapest plan, priced at $14.95 per month for a 1-year term renewal. It includes all of the StartUp features while substituting 20GB of disk space, extensive backup and restore options, and the ability to host an unlimited number of websites. The GrowBig plan also adds priority support and an SSL certificate.
Designed for websites with up to 100,000 visitors per month, GoGeek is the most advanced and costliest shared hosting plan, priced at $29.95 per month for a 1-year term renewal. It includes all of the GrowBig features while substituting 30GB of disk space, MySQL databases hosted on a separate solid state drive, and premium backup and restore services. The GoGeek plan also adds free payment card industry (PCI) data security standards compliance and pre-installed Git revision control software.
All three SiteGround shared plans are backed by 24×7 phone/chat/e-mail support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Click the ‘Pricing and Features’ tab above for the complete plan feature comparison table.
As is our practice, we selected the cheapest shared plan — StartUp — for purposes of testing and review. Starting at main navigation menu on the SiteGround homepage we selected ‘Web Hosting’ and clicked ‘Shared Hosting’ from the dropdown menu.
The price for the StartUp is indicated as follows: “Special Price: $3.95/mo. 60% OFF the regular $9.95/mo.” What we find troubling is that there is no indication that the plan renews at the regular rate. In the interest of complete disclosure, most hosting companies would add an asterisk immediately following the discounted price. The text the asterisk refers to would indicate that discounted plans renew at the regular rate. No such disclosure is made here. See screenshot above right.
We continued by clicking the orange ‘Get Started’ button beneath the StartUp summary near the top of the page.
The next step of the checkout process is to enter a domain name to be associated with the account. We selected ‘I already have a Domain’ from the two options presented, entered our domain and clicked the ‘Proceed’ button.
Screenshot of step 3 of SiteGround checkout process. It makes no mention that the discounted 1 month trial renews for a full year at the regular price. Note also that ‘Extra Services’ have automatically been added to the shopping cart total. Click to enlarge.
The third step (screenshot right) requires the entry of contact information, a password to be used with the account, and payment information. It should be noted that SiteGround currently accepts only Visa and MasterCard for hosting payments. There is no PayPal payment option.
Step three also provides for the selection of billing cycle. The following options are presented: Trial: 1 month $3.95/mo + $14.95 setup; 12 months $3.95/mo + free setup; 24 months $3.95/mo + free setup; and 36 months $3.95/mo + free setup. As we required hosting only for the purposes of testing and review, we selected the 1 month option. It should be noted that after 30 days ‘Trial: 1 month’ renews for 1 year at the regular annual rate of $119.40. In fairness to SiteGround, we did receive an ‘early bird renewal’ e-mail 7 days prior to the first renewal date. It provided for discounted renewal based on the billing term selected.
Yet another less-than-consumer-friendly practice we took issue with was the fact that three ‘Extra Services’ had been automatically checked off and added to the shopping cart total. Further, the Terms of Service confirmation had also been automatically checked off. We unchecked the unrequested ‘Extra Services’ and clicked the ‘Submit Order’ button.
NCM Online has and will continue to point out any less-than-transparent business practices employed by the web hosting companies we review — wherever and whenever we encounter them. Further we have and will continue to deduct from the ease-of-use and satisfaction ratings of any host that utilizes such practices. SiteGround’s ratings have been adjusted downward accordingly.
Within seconds of submitting our order, we received the SiteGround ‘Order Confirmation’ e-mail. While it did include ‘Customer Area’ login information and the nameserver settings, it did not include FTP information, e-mail settings, or a direct link to the control panel.
From the Customer Area, we clicked the ‘My Accounts’ tab. The resulting page included a direct link to the cPanel control panel as well as the FTP login details. We then proceeded to upload our NCM test site.
We then updated the nameservers at our domain registrar. Once the domain name had propagated, we set up our Dotcom Monitor page-load speed and uptime testing, and waited for the test results to accumulate.
All web hosting services reviewed by NCM Online are purchased and subjected to our 10-day test for speed and reliability.
SiteGround testing began on 11/27/14 and concluded on 12/6/14. Our test site was checked for page load speed and uptime every 15 minutes from 13 worldwide locations. In all, testing consisted of nearly 2000 individual server checks. We are pleased to report that Dotcom Monitor testing resulted in a perfect 100% reliability score. See uptime test results chart above right.
In addition to reliable, our StartUp shared plan also proved to be fast. One of the 10 fastest shared web hosts reviewed to date, SiteGround recorded a 10-day average speed of 1.3941 seconds to load our one-page test site from 13 locations worldwide, and only 0.9332 seconds from 7 U.S. locations. See screenshot above right for test locations and speed results chart.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- Unlimited e-mail accounts
- cPanel control panel
- Softaculous applications installer
- Access to more than 300 open source hosting applications
- 100% uptime test result
- Fast servers
- Free daily server backup
- Free website migration
- Free domain name for life of account
- 24×7 phone, chat, and e-mail support
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- A+ BBB rating
- Although the information can be found elsewhere on the site, the fact that discounted hosting plans renew at the regular rate is not indicated on the shared hosting page
- Additional-cost options automatically added to shopping cart
- ‘Order Confirmation’ e-mail does not include FTP information or e-mail settings
- StartUp plan 1-month trial subject to $14.95 set-up fee and annual renewal at regular rate
- Payment methods limited to Visa and MasterCard
Despite fast page-load speeds, a perfect reliability rating, 24×7 phone support, and numerous valuable hosting features, SiteGround is not quite as consumer-friendly as it could be. It is unfortunate that an otherwise first-rate hosting provider would resort to less-than-transparent renewal pricing disclosure policies.
SiteGround has earned 4 stars and is recommended with reservations by NCM Online.
Pricing and Features
Cheap website hosting company price comparisons based on 1-year term list price before coupon/promo codes or limited time/introductory offer discounts. These are the renewal rates for the second year of hosting. To ensure that you receive the most affordable SiteGround pricing possible, please see Summary above for coupon code and/or current discounts before making any purchases.
|Suitability||Up to 10,000 Visits Monthly||Up to 25,000 Visits Monthly||Up to 100,000 Visits Monthly|
|Money Back||30 Days||30 Days||30 Days|
|cPanel & SSH Access|
|Priority Technical Support||X|
|SSL Certificate||X||1 Year Free||1 Year Free|
|SuperCatcher for Great Speed||X|
|Premium Joomla & WordPress||X|
|Geeky Advanced Features|
|Less Accounts on Server||X||X|
|Free PCI Compliance||X||X|
|Preinstalled Git & Staging||X||X|
|Geeky Staging Tools||X||X|
|Price per Month*||$9.95||$14.95||$29.95|
*Prices based on 1-year term before the application of coupon/promo codes and introductory/limited-time offer discounts. While you may pay less for the first year of hosting, the prices displayed on this page are the 1-year term renewal rates before applying the recurring 30% discount coupon code.
Founded in 2004, SiteGround is web hosting service provider hosting roughly 320,000 domains with a team of 140 employees. With web space ranging from 10GB to 30 GB, SiteGround offers three web hosting packages suitable for sites receiving around 10,000 to 100,000 average monthly visits. Basic hosting features include free domain names, transfers, and application installs along with email hosting, uptime guarantee, backup, and access to cPanel and SSH.
Premium customers enjoy priority support, access to Joomla and WordPress enhancements, speed enhancement tools, free SSL certificate for a year, and 30 backup copies to minimize risk of data loss. The most advanced web hosting package includes compliance with advanced security features, advanced hardware, and reduced server load.
Further, this package offers semi-dedicated hosting that offers better performance at higher speeds as compared to shared hosting without being as expensive as a full-fledged dedicated server. SiteGround offers instant activation, 1-click setup, 3-minute website migration, and live setup assistance for all three hosting plans.
SiteGround reseller hosting services involve initial purchase of five credits with each credit equivalent to web hosting for a period of one year. The site offers 24/7 reseller support with 1-click management of multiple hosting accounts, non-branded white label cPanel, with security features and uptime guarantees available to all other customers.
Cloud hosting plans offer choices between two to four 2.0 GHz processors, two to six GB RAM, 40 to 150 GB storage space, and bandwidth ranging from 1TB to 5 TB. SiteGround has data centers in Chicago, USA, Amsterdam for Europe, and Singapore for the Asia-Pacific region. Data centers are equipped with multiple power feeds and redundant backup options including power generators and UPS backup. The Booster option is designed to provide additional performance and higher speeds for cloud hosting users.
SiteGround’s Premium Managed Dedicated Server hosting plan customers can choose from three server options—Entry, Power, and Enterprise—offering multiple CPU, RAM, Storage, and Bandwidth options depending on server requirements. The service provider offers active server monitoring to instantly identify server issues and regular upgrades for improved server security.
Other specialized hosting services offered by SiteGround include email hosting with support for third-party and in-house solutions, MySQL hosting run on an independent hard disk for improved performance, FTP hosting with secure transfer options, and osCommerce and PrestaShop hosting designed specifically for online shopping sites.
SiteGround hosts the three most popular Content Management Systems—WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal—along with the option of PHP hosting for those clients seeking custom-designed content management solutions.
SiteGround commits to a 99.9996% annual uptime guarantee and 99.999% monthly guarantee and offers an account isolation mechanism designed to prevents flaws in a single account from spreading to all accounts hosted on a shared server. All clients enjoy access to cPanel for managing websites, domains, email accounts, and all other services offered by SiteGround.
The hosting service provider offers Joomla, WordPress, Magneto, and Drupal templates and themes depending on the client’s requirements and preferences along with CMS tutorials for easy setup and maintenance of websites.
US Legal Address: P.O. Box 48010 Washington, D.C. 20002 866-605-2484
Company Headquarters: Edificio Neptuno, Oficina 7 Via Ricardo J. Alfaro, Tumba Muerto City of Panama, Panama
PLEASE NOTE: While we attempt to provide timely and accurate information, any and all pricing, features, discounts, coupon codes, promo codes, etc. included on this page are beyond the control of ncmonline.com and are subject to change without prior notice.