When it comes to hosting your website, not all hosts are created equal!
After years of experience working with clients on different hosts, we can tell you that getting the right host makes a world of difference.
In a nutshell, this is why we’ve chosen to partner with SiteGround.
How fast does your site load? If it takes longer than a few seconds, people notice. If it takes over 5 seconds, people start getting annoyed, and if it takes as much over 10 seconds, they lose patience and leave your site.
Your site is part of your brand, and if people are impatient with your site, that reflects directly on your business.
In short: speed matters!
Not only is it critical to visitor experience, but it factors into your search engine ranking: faster sites rank higher on search engine results.
When we think of site performance, we often think about how the site is built, but we often don’t give enough credit to the hardware running our site.
We’ve seen page load speed increase by as much as 10 times, just by switching to SiteGround.
With server caching tools, solid state storage, the latest versions of hosting software, and limits on how many people share your hardware, they really check all the boxes on quality hosting.
Great Customer Service: The Key to Peace of Mind
The success of your website literally rests on the ability of your host to deliver quality service. Even if everything is perfect with the server and network in the hosting environment, there are all kinds of website configuration and programming issues that require a skilled network technician to help troubleshoot.
Running a web hosting business requires deep knowledge, decades of training and experience, and serious financial resources to purchase the kind of infrastructure required to excel. That’s why almost any agency providing hosting is doing so as a reseller, and if they’re not, it’s a good bet they’re providing inferior service.
At Golden Path Solutions, we chose not to sell hosting service directly because we recognized an inherent risk in promising quality service when we were not directly managing the hosting resources.
Even though we’re a step removed from hosting, the success of the sites we build and manage absolutely depends on the quality of our hosting partners, and our ability to communicate with them.
When your site goes down, that’s a crisis situation requiring immediate access to a skilled team that will respond with thoughtful urgency. At a time like that, you need to get someone on the phone who will listen and work with you until the issue is resolved. The last thing you want to do is work with someone who doesn’t know or care what’s happening via a slow chat session. We’ve been in crisis situations, and had to use a chat system, waiting at least 5-15 minutes between responses to each message. There is nothing more nerve-wracking or frustrating (well… okay, maybe there are some worse things, but if there’s a torture handbook, chat support has got to have its own chapter).
SiteGround has a well-earned reputation for having the best customer service in the industry, and we’re happy to report that our experience has been no exception. We get immediate, courteous, knowledgable help whenever we need it. SiteGround is a critical partner when troubleshooting, and clearly boosts our reputation and brand.
Security: You Don’t Think About it Until You Get Hacked
Few things can turn your website on its head faster than being hacked. SiteGround’s engineers are huge security geeks. They not only keep their software up to date with the latest versions (you’d be dismayed at how many hosts fall short on this!), they create fixes when security holes are reported, even before vendors do.
Naturally, they also offer malware scanning as an additional, paid service supported by industry leader Sucuri. However, if you sign up for one of our support plans, we’ll have you covered on that front.
So, How Much Does it Cost?
Even though their service is superior, SiteGround’s prices are comparable to lesser providers.
We won’t go into everything they offer here, but their shared hosting is just fine for most sites, so I’ll give them some quick attention here.
Like most hosts, SiteGround starts you off with an introductory price that’s 60% off. You can commit to this price for up to 3 years, and we recommend going for it to lock in the rate.
They also include a number of free services:
- Free site migration and set up
- Free SSL via Let’s Encrypt (Secure Socket Layer is a protocol for secure communication over a network)
- SSD Storage (Solid State Drives are much faster than the usual hard drive)
$3.95/mo (Regularly $9.95/mo)
StartUp is the introductory package. It’s okay for the smallest sites, but we recommend starting with the next biggest: GrowBig account. We’ll explain in the next section. Here are some features of the StartUp account.
- One Website
- 10 GB Web Space
- Suitable for 10,000 visits/mo
$5.95/mo (Regularly $14.95/mo)
This is the account we recommend people start with if you’re on a budget because it includes their SuperCacher. The server side caching makes a big difference in speed. They also include additional backup support, which is nice for redundancy.
- Multiple Websites
- 20 GB Web Space
- Suitable for ~ 25,000 visits/mo
- Premium Support
$11.95/mo (Regularly $29.95/mo)
If you have the budget, the GoGeek account is definitely the way to go. Not only do you get allocated more resources, but there are fewer other people sharing your shared host, so you get the best performance in this class. If you have an eCommerce site, this is a good option because the server is configured to be PCI compliant (special attention to security for handling credit card transactions).
- Multiple Websites
- 30 GB Web Space
- Suitable for ~ 100,000 visits/mo
- Premium Support
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free Drag & Drop Builder
- Free Email Accounts
- Unlimited Databases
- Unlimited Sub & Parked Domains
- cPanel & Softaculous
- WordPress Free Install
- WordPress Free Transfer
- WordPress Autoupdate
- WordPress Advanced Security
- WordPress Related Support
- WP-CLI Pre-installed
- Servers on 3 Continents
- SSD Storage
- Customized Server Setup
- Free CloudFlare CDN
- HTTP/2 Enabled Servers
- Level 1 SuperCacher
- Power Redundancy
- Hardware Redundancy
- LXC-based stability
- Unique Account Isolation
- The Fastest Server Monitoring
- Anti-Hack Systems & Help
- Proactive updates and patches
- SPAM Experts Spam Prevention
- Free Daily Backup (1 copy)
- 24/7 Support via phone, ticket, chat
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate
- Multiple PHP Versions
- Perl & Python Support
- Free SSH & SFTP
- MySQL and PostgreSQL Databases
- FTP Accounts
GrowBig & GoGeek
- WordPress Special Cache
- Free Backup Restore
- Free Site Transfer
- Priority Support
- One-click WordPress Staging
- SG-Git for WordPress repo creation
- Free Backups on Demand
- PCI Compliant Servers
Don’t Take Our Word for It
A Google search for “SiteGround reviews” will quickly provide a list of 3rd party feedback. One of the reviews that struck us as especially informative and well executed was produced by Review Signal.
Their WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks for 2016 includes a broad spectrum of tests focusing on performance. Results are broken into 6 tiers: