22 Things You Should Use in SiteGround WordPress Hosting
SiteGround migrated their hosting interface from cPanel to custom Site Tools. In our earlier article, we have explained the pros and cons of Site Tools. If you are planning to purchase a hosting plan or already using SiteGround, here are the things you should consider using. We have listed the features available for GoGeek plan though some options may differ and not available in lower level plans.
22 Thing You Should Use in SiteGround
- Install Let’s Encrypt SSL
- Force HTTPS
- Try Starter Kit
- Backup entire site
- Move site location
- Superfast PHP
- PHP Manager
- Ngnix caching
- SuperCacher and SG Optimizer
- Serve WebP images
- Try Cloudflare
- Create stagging site
- Use addon domain
- Setup email with spam filter
- Use collaboration
- Developer features
- Weebly site builder
- Use redirects
- File Manager
- Traffic Statistics
- Check error logs
- Pinning tools
Some of the options in the above list needs SG Optimizer plugin that comes by default with all WordPress installations. Make sure to use the plugin even you have additional plugins like WP Rocket.
1. Install Let’s Encrypt SSL
All SiteGround plans come with a free SSL certificate option from Let’s Encrypt. The first step after installing WordPress or other application on your domain is to install SSL certificate. You can do this by going to “Security > SSL Manager” section of your Site Tools account.
2. Force HTTPS
Let’s say, you have installed WordPress on https://www.yoursite.com. Google Chrome will show the site as “Not Secure” when you access the URL “https://yoursite.com”. In order to avoid this, you have to enforce HTTPS on the domain level so that both with and without www will open with HTTPS protocol. In your Site Tools account, go to “Security > HTTPS Enforce” and enable the option.
This will help you to fix mixed content warning issues especially when you use AdSense or any other advertisement scripts on your site. You can also force HTTPS from SG Optimizer plugin instead of enabling it from hosting interface.
3. Try WordPress Starter Kit
When you install WordPress, SiteGround will offer you an option to use WordPress Starter kit. This will install “WordPress Starter plugin and allows you to choose good looking theme from SiteGround. If you are new to WordPress, we recommend you using this feature so that you can setup everything in few minutes.
4. Backup Entire Site
Do you know that you can backup entire WordPress site including files and database with single click? SiteGround automatically backup entire account, however you can also manually create backups. This is useful when you are planning to do big changes like theme change or installing large plugins like WooCommerce.
Anytime, you can restore the site from backup in case of a need.
5. Move Site Location
Many users install WordPress on a subdirectory like “yoursite.com/directory1”. After installing and setup, you may feel the “directory1” is not a good name and want to change it to “directory2”. In this case, you do not need to delete the first installation and install afresh on a new directory. SiteGround allows you to move the entire site from one subdirectory to another subdirectory.
6. Ultrafast PHP
Speed is the core feature of SiteGround hosting with solid Google Cloud platform and SuperCacher setting. In addition, you can choose the optimized PHP for their infrastructure to further fine tune your site. You can setup the PHP version under “Devs > PHP Manager > PHP Setup”.
7. PHP Variables
Wonder how to change the PHP max_input_time or memory_limit? You do not need to modify config.php or create php.ini file. What you need is to use PHP Manager and change the variables for each site.
8. NGINX Caching
Earlier it was an optional setting to enable caching for static files on your site. However, with Site Tools, SiteGround automatically enables browser caching and use GZIP compression without the need of SG Optimizer settings. This is called NGINX Direct Delivery and you can enable this under “Speed > Caching” section of your account.
9. SG Optimizer Plugin
SiteGround guys are grabbing wonderful caching features from WP Rocket and adding them to their own SG Optimizer plugin. This essentially means, now you have an end-to-end caching plugin and do not need any addition plugins for caching. Make sure to enable all necessary settings in SG Optimizer from your WordPress admin panel.
10. Serve WebP images
WebP is the lightweight image format Google recommends to use in order to speed up your website loading time. You can enable WebP in SG Optimizer plugin with a single click. It also allows you to change the quality and regenerate all existing images. Unlike other regeneration plugins, WebP regeneration with SG Optimizer will happen very fast even for thousands of images on your site. you can enable WebP generation under “Media Optimization” section of the plugin.
11. Try Cloudflare
SiteGround offers the basic plan of Cloudflare to get free CDN for all plans. If you are newly setting up a WordPress site with SiteGround then make sure to setup Cloudflare under “Speed > Cloudflare” section to get the CDN advantage.
However, there are some issues with the integration.
- SiteGround will force you to use www, however, you can use non-www directly with Cloudflare.
- SSL certificate may not renew automatically when integrated with Cloudflare. You have to remember the expiration date and manually extend from your hosting account. This happened multiple times for us so that we stopped using Cloudflare at all.
12. Create Staging Site
There are many local server applications like MAMP, WAMP and Local available to play with WordPress installation and learn. However, it is not an easy task to backup live site and restore on your computer periodically. The alternate option is to create staging site and do all your sandbox work there. In fact, you can create multiple staging sites and make your workflow easier for updating plugins/theme/WordPress core.
13. Use Addon Domains
Your hosting account is nothing but the primary domain you use for your website. However, you can add multiple domains from Site Tools (addon domains in previous cPanel) to keep unlimited websites under single hosting account,
14. Setup Email with Spam Filter
Many people think you need to buy email plan for hosting a website. However, this is not true as the hosting company offers email services with the hosting plan you purchase. In SiteGround, you can setup the email and use similar to any other services. Go to “Email” section and create as many as emails on your domain. In addition, you can also setup autoresponders like any other premium email services.
15. Use Collaboration
There are two types of collaboration available in SiteGround. One is that you can give access to Site Tools account of a specific site for other people so that they can manage your site. Second is that you can give access to your clients as a white labelled solution. When your client login and view the Site Tools section, they will not see SiteGround logo and name.
16. WP-CLI, SSH and Git
Besides website owners, SiteGround also covers developers who frequently use Git. In addition, you can use the command line interface and SSH access to get things done quickly.
17. Weebly Site Builder
Many do not aware SiteGround offers a free site builder with Weebly. It is not necessary to use WordPress for all your needs. It is a good idea to try Weebly to keep some of your sites simple. Though you have to go for a premium plan, it makes sense to keep all your sites under single portfolio.
18. Use Redirects
There is no need to use a plugin on your site for setting up redirects. You can easily setup 302 and 301 redirects within the hosting account. You can do this under “Domains > Redirects” section and choose 301 or 302 as redirect type.
19. File Manager
You do not always need to use FTP account to browse the files on your server. Go to Site > File Manager” section in your hosting account to view all the files on that particular site. You can delete, copy, upload and download files from File Manager app.
20. Traffic Statistics
Google Analytics is free and top tool to analyze your website’s traffic. However, within SiteGround hosting account, you can check the traffic under “Statistics > Traffic” section. This will show all details like audience, source, behavior and technology.
21. Check Error Logs
Under “Statistics” section, you can find the access and error logs. This is super useful when you are troubleshooting some issue on your site. For example, the access log section will show all crawlers that access your site. You can find the crawlers frequently accessing your site and block them if they are bad bots.
22. Pinned Tools in Dashboard
If you frequently use some tools, every time do not need to search for them. when you are in “Dashboard” section” click on the “Edit Pinned Tools” link and add your favorite tools. Henceforth, you can quickly access the tools from the “Dashboard”.
In addition, you can also use the search box at the bottom of the right sidebar or open search by pressing “Control/Command +K”.
Few years back, SiteGround was the darling of many customers due to the superior customer quality. However, things are changed recently with many do not like Site Tools, multiple price hikes, Google Cloud and deteriorating customer support. We are sticking to SiteGround for the past 4+ years on their Cloud plan. We do not see many hosting companies offer all the above features under single umbrella without hidden cost. We still recommend using SiteGround and try all their features, chances are high that you will stick to them for long term.