Let’s make this review based on facts only. I think nobody wants to read the philosophy behind SiteGround. You are reading this because you are looking for a web hosting service which will work with no issues, at all. And, personally, I am really fussy about the money/quality balance.
Shopping experience with service ‘WEB HOSTING’
This web hosting with an everyday name has everything you need for running your website. Part of the service deal are: cPanel & SSH Access, free setup & transfer for people who have an already existing website, daily backup, and what I appreciate is free Cloudflare CDN. But let’s now forget about CDN because it is a service by a third party company.
This service ‘WEB HOSTING’ is an SSD-based shared hosting solution (an easy explanation of SSD is: very fast hard drive disk with super-fast reading files). Order is clear and simple.
Anyway, I bought new domain name for testing purposes just for 0.88 USD on NameCheap.com.
Webhosting is set up within one minute. The Order confirmation email is clear with all necessary “How to…” information (which I don’t need to read because I am a web designer and developer, of course). Also the domain name realtest.pro became alive with default landing page. It has a quite clean design with the SiteGround logo and with useful information.
Close look at SiteGround
From ‘My account’ I opened cPanel with auto-login. It is an administration area where you can manage everything. cPanel has and old classy look.
There is a section “Autoinstallers”. It means you can install CMS (content management system) with a few clicks. Available systems are WordPress (of course), Magento, Joomla, Prestashop and a few more.
I am focused on WordPress. It’s available in the latest version 4.7.2. Great.
1-click WordPress installation
You can set the protocol as http or https (s means secured). Type in the field site name, and site description. Username and password are pre-generated, you can change it if you wish. Two security plugins are available. Limit Login Attempts (Loginizer) and Clef Secure Passwordless Login . After clicking on ‘install’ everything is automatic, including database creation. The process shows the percentage. It ends up at 101%.
The final installation is quite clean. There is an extra plugin “Jetpack by WordPress.com” and no additional ‘bloatware’. I can tell you, this has very comfortable and fast WordPress installation. And a nice side benefit is a free SSL certificate.
Old school WordPress installation
cPanel has lots of icons for different functions. On the left side is a search panel, so I just type in “SQL” and I see only the relevant functions for database SQL which is necessary in order to set up for WordPress installation. I click on MySQL® Database Wizard. It is simple: I enter the database name, then Next, username with password sq?h4z’y7e:X<lp!R-u, then Create user, I add all privileges to this new user and that’s all. Just routine. All good. I then click “Return to home”.
Time for FTP account and uploading files
On the “My accounts” page I find the FTP details. The host is sgp28.siteground.asia and the FTP Password is the same as the cPanel password. Anyway, I have no idea what is my password into cPanel. So I just click on “change password” at the end of the line cPanel Username. The new password will be eg f\:4;HvE(f>Yz?jD!Ur:1Jn. Once, I couldn’t login with my new password… weird. Obviously not all characters are supported. After changing password to fD-vEfYz?jD!Ur:1Jn the login was OK. With a simpler password this is less likely to happen.
I’m deleting the default.html file and loading all WordPress + theme files. The upload speed from Prague to Singapore is quite acceptable.
Time to run realtest.pro. In the internet browser a standard installation page will appear. I will put necessary details like database name, username password and so on. OK, WordPress is installed.
Let’s do the speed test now with a clean WordPress installation which is on the Singapore servers. To check the speed I will be using gtmetrix.com and webpagetest.org
Page is fully loaded in 1 second. Hold on! Because…
Time to do real speed test with real content!
How fast is SiteGround with real content in WordPress? Nobody will be using clean WordPress, wouldn’t you agree? I install my favourite WordPress theme Enfold. It is the theme, which has a professional look, modern features and great support. After the theme has been activated and loaded with demo content full of text and images, there is also installed WooCommerce (eshop) and BBpress (discussion forum). Now we have a real website done. Also I do a speed test with Autoptimize plugin, which minimizes CSS and JS files, so loading is much faster. And here are real speed results:
Please note I do the speed test repeatedly because of time zones. Nobody cares about traffic at 3AM.
Final words: I can recommend SiteGround
There are a few details which I don’t like, e.g. icons design in cPanel. It is old fashioned. Also the whole pf the administration pages should get a new fresh look. 3D buttons and shadows were popular 10 years ago. But it is just a cosmetic detail, what’s important is 100% functionality. And it is 100% functional. As I mentioned, I am fussy.
I like one-click WordPress installation with SiteGround, because it is the latest and a clean version (expect the JetPack plugin which you may like; I don’t).
Yes, I can recommend SiteGround to my clients. I like my speed test results which positively surprised me. I really didn’t expect to have a page fully loaded from Singapore in London in 2.7 seconds, or in Sydney in 2.2 seconds.
Author: Milan Lipowski
Milan is a web designer & developer and stock photographer. He also has over 20 years experience with hardware and software computer servicing for individuals, and small & middle-size companies.