Summary (details below):
|Product name:||Siteground – Managed WordPress Hosting|
|What it does:||Fast, secure hosting for your WordPress website, with unsurpassed levels of support, free transfer of your existing site and a WordPress starter pack|
|Where to buy:||Siteground|
Please assume any links on this page are affiliate links. An affiliate link means I will get a small commission if you decide to buy the product, but it will not affect the price you pay. The price you pay is the same, whether you buy it through my link or go directly to the site.
Aren’t all web hosting companies much the same?
The answer to that question really depends on the type of website you’re hosting, the traffic (number of visitors) you’re expecting and the purpose of the website.
At the lowest end of the requirements scale you may have a simple 3-page, flat-file website, to which you do not expect many visitors, that is rarely updated and where security against hacking is not a big concern.
If this is your website then yes – all web hosting companies are much the same and you can go for the cheapest option (free).
But when you start climbing the requirements scale things begin to change. The more important your website is to you or your business, the more functionality it has and the more complex it is, the more important it is to select a web hosting company that can reliably support your requirements.
Your website hosting is, after all, the foundation on which your website runs. Make it a solid foundation!
So let’s assume that your website is important to you or your business, maybe because it has a shop on it, or it’s a news site, or because it’s a channel for acquiring new business.
At this point you need a website host that:
- Keeps its infrastructure and servers secure
- Keeps its server software up to date (i.e. at the latest version)
- Offers daily scheduled backups
- Offers 99.99+% uptime
- Offers excellent, quick support, 24/7
- Offers a free SSL certificate
- Offers Caching options (to speed up your website page load times)
- Uses SSD Drives (Solid State Drives are faster than more traditional Hard Disk Drives)
- Is GDPR compliant
- Offers managed WordPress hosting (since this website is focused on WordPress..!)
- Offers a range of hosting options to meet your needs (i.e. shared hosting, cloud (VPS), dedicated hosting)
So which are the best hosting companies for WordPress-based websites?
An important point here:
The comments I’ve made against the hosting companies I’ve listed below are based on my experience of using and working with them. But this industry changes very quickly, so you should do some research, because (as I’ve described below) a web hosting company’s service can change dramatically, and pretty quickly – in a matter of months sometimes.
There is a lot of website hosting companies out there that meet many of the requirements I listed earlier. All of the hosting companies I’ve covered below will successfully host WordPress-based websites, but not all with the same level of service.
Here, then, are the web hosts I’ve used over the years, and of which I have direct experience:
- Lonex – did not offer SSL certificates when I used them – hence my move. Their support was excellent, and the servers were fast. The lack of SSL support was my only reason for moving
- Hostgator – reasonably fast servers, uptime average was good but not spectacular. They started off with great support that deteriorated badly after they were taken over by EIG. Some support tickets were still not responded to after 5 days. I moved because of the support (or lack of!)
- Site5 – Fast servers and great support when I first moved to them, but then they were taken over by EIG as well, and the support deteriorated badly. Poor support is common to hosting companies owned by EIG. Only chat is available and the wait times are long. This tied me to my computer wasting my time while I waited for a response
- Bluehost – another host taken over by EIG with the same result: support deteriorated badly (chat only, and my worst experience was a one-and-a-half hour wait for the first support person to be available)
- Go Daddy – slow servers that are over-loaded, making the sites I managed slow and unstable. This also impeded the performance of some plugins. Go Daddy doesn’t use cPanel (the hosting control panel used by most hosting providers), which made maintaining the account more cumbersome
- Siteground – the hosting company I’ve used since October 2016 and which currently meets every single one of those requirements I set out earlier
My company, Abledragon, which is a WordPress Design and Development agency, has had a VPS (cloud) account with Siteground since October 2016 and we use it to host our clients’ websites.
It is a ‘managed cloud’ account, meaning that Siteground takes care of everything on the server side – e.g. software updates, performance monitoring, problem fixing and so on. We take care of everything on the application side (the WordPress websites).
To say we have been delighted with the service they have provided would be an understatement. Siteground consistently meets or beats our expectation for the level of support we need to keep our clients’ websites running quickly and smoothly.
Support – Siteground’s big advantage
When it comes down to it, there is not a lot of difference in the performance offered by most paid hosting companies – meaning the server up time and page-load speeds. The differentiator, at least in my experience, is the level of support that’s offered.
They offer chat, phone and ticket/email support. Being based in Hong Kong I’ve only used the chat and ticket/email options, but both have been consistently quick, thorough and endlessly helpful.
Raising a trouble ticket will usually get an initial response within 20 minutes, unless the query you have raised requires in-depth investigation. In these cases checking the status of your ticket in the Siteground Administration panel will give an ‘In progress’ message, so you know they’ve received and are working on it.
I mentioned my dislike of chat support in relation to Bluehost above, because it was the only option available and it meant I had to sit at my computer for ridiculously long periods of time waiting for a response – a terrible waste of my time. With Siteground I do generally raise a ticket rather than go through Chat, but where I sense that the problem can be quickly fixed I have used chat and generally everything has been fully resolved within 10 minutes or so.
Just an aside: I also referred above to the excellent support provided by Site5 when I first moved to them. After the takeover by EIG many of the Site5 support staff moved to Siteground, and it was fun meeting up with the same people again when I moved my account!
There are two things that are important to how well your website does in the search results, that Siteground offers by default:
- Lets Encrypt (a free SSL certificate which enables your site to run on HTTPS). When other factors are roughly equal, sites that are running on HTTPS do better in the search results than those that are not. HTTPS has been a ranking factor for a while.
- SuperCacher – a caching option that allows you to set the level of caching for your site. This is so good my sites run faster on Siteground with SuperCacher active than they did on Cloudflare (A CDN that is designed to speed up site load times, which I used for some years). Site load speed has also been a ranking factor for some time, and I’ve not seen this caching option offered by any of the other hosting providers I’ve used.
In addition, Siteground have just launched their WordPress Starter. This is a plugin that walks you through a curated number of themes and the most common site features. The plugin helps you have a fully-functional WordPress site – right out of the box. All new WordPress sites on Siteground come with this plugin installed, which enables you to get going quickly and correctly from the outset!
For more details do please visit the Siteground website:
Which company are you currently hosting your website with? Let us know, and if you have any questions please leave a comment below – I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂
Owner – WP Security Basics