There are affiliate links in this article. When you make a purchase through one of these links, I earn a small commission on the sale with no additional cost to you.
Creating and setting up your website can be a daunting task for most of us. And when it is something you have been wishing to do for quite some time and want every last detail to perfection, it becomes so much more important that you get your hosting right. So what decides which is the best hosting site for bloggers? Here, we shall be analysing SiteGround feature by feature, and see what all it offers and why I find it to be the best for beginners.
In the competitive hosting market, hosts offer a plethora of features and at attractive price points for starters and individual customers. Wading through this long list of features and an equally large number of hosting services can be a nightmare. This is especially true for those less technically inclined. This article caters to first-time bloggers lost in a sea of options and attempts to simplify the enormous learning curve with trying to set up a website entirely on your own.
This is a non-sponsored review of the things I believe make SiteGround the best hosting site for bloggers and how I arrived at choosing them as my hosting partner after a lot of deliberation and analysis. Note that this review only talks about and analyses the Managed WordPress Hosting service provided by SiteGround. Given that WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS) and a Managed WordPress Hosting service is tuned to work best with WordPress, this is what most bloggers naturally opt for.
This article also provides a step by step visual installation and setup guide for SiteGround WordPress hosting.
SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting feature list
First, we shall do a rundown of each and every feature that SiteGround advertises against its hosting plans under Managed WordPress Hosting. With WordPress being the most popular Content Management System out there, most hosts now offer dedicated Managed WordPress Hosting. This means that these hosting services are tuned to work best with WordPress. They thereby ensure high speed, security, high uptime, automatic WordPress updates, and dedicated support with expertise in WordPress. WordPress hosting is the no-brainer recommendation from me when it comes to first-time bloggers. The plan that I suggest for people creating their first website is the StartUp plan from SiteGround. Below is the feature list for the plan highlighted in the red box.
This plan allows you to create and host a single website attached to a single domain name. And as most newbie bloggers will start off with a single blog, this is by no means a limitation for starters.
10 GB Web Space
This is the amount of space reserved on SiteGround’s server for your website. This includes all the databases that you might have for your website, all emails created within SiteGround, all the installed WordPress files, all installed WordPress plugin files, all WordPress theme files, and finally all your website content (images, videos, text, or any other form of content that you might have). Now 10 GB is absolutely perfect for blogs just starting off and even for medium-sized blogs. If you use compressed images and videos and are not too media-heavy, 10 GB can go a long way for your blog.
10,000 Visits Monthly
While this may be a limiting factor for websites which get a lot of traffic, it is definitely not so for blogs or websites at their initial stage. Also, this is defined by the number of sessions for users and not page views. This is not a hard cut off and in my conversation with a SiteGround Rep, I learned that they will usually allow you to go over the number by a small percentage, say around a 1,000 to 2,000 extra visits over the 10,000 limit. This visit limitation is a way for hosting providers to ensure fair usage of server resources. While almost all beginner plans by hosts have this limit, not everyone advertises it as clearly as SiteGround.
Another great feature of SiteGround is their Unmetered Traffic for all plans. What this basically means is that they have no defined limit on the amount of download or upload (bandwidth usage) that a site/ its users are permitted to do. So even if you opt for the StartUp plan, you are in no way limited on the amount of traffic that your site is permitted every month.
Free WP Installation
As part of the Managed WordPress hosting service, SiteGround includes 1-click WordPress installation for your website. This does away with any manual setup, requires zero technical knowledge, and allows the installation of WordPress with the click of a single button. 1-click WordPress Installation is included by all hosts offering Managed WordPress hosting.
Free WP Migrator
This service provides a free WordPress plugin that generates a token and allows migration of your complete website to SiteGround.
SiteGround allows you to set WordPress to auto-update itself whenever a new version is released. However, you can configure when would you want your WordPress version to be updated after its release or skip a version altogether. With some hosts, you might need to manually update WordPress.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a way of encrypting the communication between the server hosting the website and the user’s browser. It means that no outsider can snoop in on the information being exchanged between the two. All SSL certified websites show a lock sign on the browser. This also helps the user of the website know that the website is secured and trustworthy, and is extremely important for any eCommerce site with online payment options. While some hosts charge extra for SSL, SiteGround includes Let’s Encrypt Standard and Wildcard SSL certificates with all its plans.
SiteGround provides daily automated backup service for the entire website with all its plans. This ensures that in the eventuality of you inadvertently doing something with your website you weren’t supposed to or corrupting it in any way, you will always have a copy of your website backed up which is not older than 24 hours. While the StartUp plan includes scheduled backups of up to 30 copies of your website (which can be restored for free), the higher end plans include up to 5 on-demand backup copies which can be created at any time. For the StartUp plan, you may additionally purchase on-demand backups.
SiteGround includes free Content Delivery Network (CDN) service with all its plans. CDNs goes a long way towards speeding up website load times. CDN for SiteGround is provided by Cloudflare. It is a caching service which caches website content, auto-minifies images, and uses RailGun technology to speed up uncacheable content. It also secures your website against SPAM and malicious traffic. Cloudflare’s CDN is distributed over 152 locations and delivers content to visitors of your site from the server closest to them.
SiteGround offers an unlimited number of free email ids with all its plan. These email ids have your website domain and hence are much more professional. The mailbox size can be adjusted for all the email ids and is accessed via a web-based interface.
WP-CLI and SSH
WP-CLI is WordPress’ Command Line Interface which can be used as an alternative to C-Panel for installations and the configuration of plugins among other things without the use of a browser. Similarly, SSH (Secure Shell) is the protocol that uses encryption to secure connection with the server. Both SSH and WP-CLI work in tandem. But since the use of SSH via CLI requires a certain amount of technical competence, this is neither recommended nor of much use for a blogger/ first-timers who would rather focus his or her efforts on content creation for their websites. Siteground includes WP-CLI and SSH with all its plans.
SiteGround includes unlimited databases with all its plans. It supports MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. Again, this might not be of direct value to a blogger or an individual just starting off. Relational databases like the ones mentioned above are used to store a larger volume of data in a structured format used by enterprises and large organisations.
100% renewable energy match
Finally, SiteGround offers a risk-free trial period of 30 days within which, if you cancel, you can get your entire hosting fees refunded. This excludes the domain registration fees, if any, for domain names registered using SiteGround.
The Pros and Cons of SiteGround
Below, I have attempted to summaries all the pros and cons of SiteGround WordPress hosting which I have learned and come to experience while using their service. This helps you weigh what really matters to you as a customer and then accordingly decide.
1. Reliability & Uptime
While most host claim high uptimes, SiteGround makes their uptime data publicly available. They claim an uptime of 99.99% which would amount to downtime of less than 2 hours per year. So when it comes to reliability, SiteGround is right up there at the top.
SiteGround highly acclaimed support is its biggest asset. They have some of the most knowledgeable support reps in the industry and will help you with even WordPress issues if you ever get stuck with one. Most hosts don’t bother to go to the extent that SiteGround does with support. SiteGround’s support is Omnichannel (Phone/ Chat/ Email) and is available 24/7. Their Reps are fast to reply and provide clear answers to your questions. I talk from first-hand experience and I truly believe that SiteGround’s support will lend you the confidence needed to get your first website hosted all by yourself.
SiteGround has developed several proprietary technologies to help websites make use of their server-side caching service apart from CDN. Their SuperCacher technology helps speed up website load times by directly delivering all static content from SSDs. It supports three levels of caching – NGINX Direct Delivery, Dynamic Cache, and Memcached. Of these, NGINX Direct Delivery is included with the StartUp plan. They also have a seperate WordPress plugin called SG Optimizer specially designed for optimising speeds for WordPress sites.
4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
SiteGround includes free CDN with all its plans. As described in the above section, Cloudflare caches data at over 152 locations delivering content to users from servers closest to their location. All setting can be managed from the C-Panel of SiteGround itself.
5. WordPress specific solutions
As part of the Managed WordPress Hosting, SiteGround offers a number of tools to make it easier and less daunting for you to set up your first WordPress website. These include the WordPress Starter Plugin which enables a custom WordPress dashboard and includes a set of tools for first-timers to get started. Also included are WordPress Migrator Plugin for migrating your website into SiteGround and SG Optimizer plugin discussed above.
6. Price for starters
For the first year, the StartUp plan is priced at 6.99 USD (~ 521 INR) when you sign up for a year. They are currently running a promotion with a discount of up to 62% over the standard fee of 14.99 USD (~ 1118 INR) per month. This is quite an affordable price for all it offers and helps you kick things off without being overcharged.
7. Additional features
Additionally, the features which SiteGround includes across all its plans and those I believe are most desirable for the first time bloggers are Daily Backup and free SSL Certificate. Also worth noting is the fact that SiteGround uses a proprietary AI-bot prevention tool to prevent malicious traffic and brute force attack. Finally, the unlimited professional Email Ids included with all plans is a boon for beginners.
1. High Domain Name registration fees
SiteGround charges an additional 15.95 USD (~ 1190 INR) per year if you wish to get your domain name registered via them. It works out to be much cheaper if you buy your domain name from a third party domain name registrar.
2. High renewal fees
Currently, the renewal fees is set at 14.99 USD (~ 1118 INR) per month for the StartUp plan if you renew for a year. This is twice the discounted rate on offer now. However, you always have the option to decide whether you wish to switch to a different host at the end of the first year or continue with SiteGround.
3. Limited StartUp plan
The StartUp plan limits the web space available to 10 GB and number of monthly visits allowed to 10,000. While the later is not a hard cut off, know that as you grow in size and visitor number, you might need to upgrade your plan or move to a different host.
So is SiteGround the best hosting site for bloggers?
As far as I am concerned, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. It provides me with the support, speed, features, and additional tools that I needed to get things started. I am able to focus on my website and content creation rather than worry about the technological underpinnings or any associated learning curve. The pricing for the StartUp plan is perfect for the first year and the addition of unlimited free emails is something most other hosts do not include in their lowest plans. The shortcomings that I have listed above do not really impact me, at least when I am starting off.
In case you are a new blogger looking to set up your own website or planning to move from a free platform, SiteGround can indeed be a great choice for you. If you purchase a plan using one of my affiliate links from this page, it will help me earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. If you have any further questions regarding SiteGround hosting or WordPress in general, do reach out to me by commenting in the section below. Additionally, I have provided a step-by-step guide on how to set SiteGround up in the section below. Hope it helps!
Setup guide for SiteGround
If you click one of my links in this page, you will directly land up in the Managed WordPress Hosting section of SiteGround. Else you can click the WordPress hosting link under Hosting in the Main Menu of the SiteGround website. You will arrive at the page displayed below.
Click on the Get Plan button under the first column for StartUp. That is if you wish to opt for the StartUp plan, which is the one most recommended for bloggers starting off. This will lead you the to below page.
In the Choose Domain page, you have the option to register a new domain with SiteGround which is priced at 15.95 USD (~ 1190 INR) per year. However, you can it for much cheaper from a dedicated Domain Name Registrar like Go Daddy or NameCheap. The only advantage with registering your domain with SiteGround is that you get a single console to manage both your website and your domain name. If you have already purchased a domain name elsewhere or are migrating to SiteGround from another host, select the radio button – “I already have a Domain” and enter your domain name there. Even if you currently do not own a domain name, you can leave the input text box blank or enter an invalid domain and then select the option that you wouldn’t want to register the domain name with SiteGround to proceed. Clicking proceed leads to the following screen.
In the final setup page, fill in your account and contact information as well as the payment details. It’s best to opt for the 12-month plan which gives you the cheapest rate of 6.99 USD (~ 521 INR) per month billed annually. You might additionally opt for SG Site Scanner which is a Website security monitoring service. Click Pay Now and voila! You have successfully signed up for your first website hosting service.
WordPress 1-Click Install
Additionally, you would wish to install WordPress for your website once you have signed up for the hosting plan. After logging into SiteGround, navigate to the following from the main menu: Websites -> Site Tools (Against your website name) -> WordPress -> Install & Manage. You will arrive at the below screen.
Select the first option i.e. WordPress unless you wish to set up an eCommerce store in which case you may select WordPress + WooCommerce. Let the first three fields remain as it is. Enter your desired username, password, and email id and click install. That’s it! SiteGround will do the complete installation of WordPress for your site and let you know once done. Note that you need to have a registered domain name before you can set up WordPress for your website.
With an umpteen number of options for hosting service provides, choosing the right host which fits your needs can be challenging. Moreover, if you are a blogger who is just starting off, you might not have the financial and technical resources that a large enterprise commands. As such, it becomes imperative that you put your investment in the right place and into things which matter. Siteground has been been a positive experience all throughout for me and I can gladly recommend it as the best hosting site for bloggers. But don’t just take my word for it. Try their 30 Day risk-free trial which you can cancel at any time within that period and get a full refund back.
Do let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback in the comment section below. You can also reach out to me by filling in the form in the Contact page. Finally, if you have enjoyed reading this article, please consider sharing it on your favourite social media handle.
There are affiliate links in this article. When you make a purchase through one of these links, I earn a small commission on the sale with no additional cost to you.