SiteGround Cloud VPS Hosting Review
WordPress.org officially recommends four hosting companies on the site. They are Bluehost, Dreamhost and SiteGround. Official page was modified to include SiteGround during mid of 2016. In our opinion, they deserve it at least in comparative terms with many other hosting companies. Here is the real and genuine review of SiteGround cloud hosting for those who want to know more. We have used cloud plan for more than two years, hence this review is based on our real experience.
SiteGround Cloud Hosting Plans
SiteGround offers Virtual Private Servers (VPS) under four basic cloud hosting plans:
|Plan||Entry||Business||Business Plus||Super Power|
|Storage SSD GB||40||60||80||120|
|Price in USD/month||80||120||160||240|
VPS servers are fully managed with cPanel access. This helps you to focus on building your site after initial setup. There are two ultimate options available to customize your plan.
- Creating your custom plan
- Use autoscaling to dynamically allocate resources
Creating Custom Plan
You can create your own plan by increasing the RAM / CPU / Storage from lowest available “Entry” level plan. For example, it will cost you $100 for 3 CPU cores, 3GB RAM and 40GB SSD storage. If the offered plans are not matching your requirement.
Resources in addition to the default plan will cost you like below:
- 1CPU core – $10
- 1GB RAM – $10
- 10GB SSD – $5
Using Autoscale Option
Autoscaling is the feature allows you to dynamically scale up the CPU and RAM based on the need. Normally on VPS servers, the site will go down whenever there is a sudden spike in traffic. This happens due to exceeding the allocated usage of the RAM. SiteGround allow you to create events to manage traffic spike and any other unexpected resource utilizations.
You can dynamically allocate additional RAM / CPU through autoscale feature. Autoscaled RAM / CPU needs to be paid on monthly basis. The resources will be automatically lowered to your original plan after completion of a month.
SiteGround offers 30 days money back guarantee on all cloud hosting plans. So you can get the refund within 30 days of your ordering in case if you are not satisfied. We are sure you will not need this with SiteGround.
Additional Features of Cloud Hosting
At first look the price on SiteGround may look higher. Especially when compared to Inmotion or HostGator or Dreamhost who are the major players offer cloud VPS hosting with SSD. But SiteGround offers a complete package with the following features:
- Free domain for one year
- Private DNS
- cPanel and WHM access
- PHP 7.0 is the default version
- Dedicated IP
- Free SSL certificate
- Softaculous auto installer for WordPress and other applications
The list is not ending here. All shared hosting features (of Go Geek plan) are also available in all cloud hosting plans.
- Free Weebly site builder
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- Staging site for testing and development
- HTTP/2 supported
- Three level of caching with free CloudFlare CDN
- Free daily backup
- SSH access
- Spam experts for preventing email spams
- Premium VIP customer support
We believe the cloud hosting pricing is nominal considering the bunch of features offered.
Signup with SiteGround is similar to many other hosts. Once registered you will receive a call from representative to verify the details. In our case we have received a call within few minutes of registration. It was quite a friendly call rather than a type of investigation.
The simple way to check the server response time is to use Google PageSpeed Insights tools. Most of the time we have noticed server response time is shown under passed results. To be more precise, below is the exact server response time of this site when we tested.
Note this website is hosted on SiteGround cloud server and having 1000+ pages. The server response time of the home page shown above sends 100+ requests when loading. So that speed will be lightening fast for smaller sites with less number of plugins.
Solid State Drive
SiteGround offers SSD hard drive for hosting servers. Solid state drives do not have any moving components like traditional rotating disk thus offering lightening speed. To explain more practically, SSD disks are used in Apple’s MacBook Pro for improved speed.
SuperCacher is an inbuilt caching technology developed by SiteGround. It offers three levels of caching:
- The second layer is a dynamic caching. It stores the copy of your dynamic content in RAM to serve faster.
- The last layer is a memcached layer to speed up database queries.
In order to use dynamic and memcached options, you need to download a plugin called SG Optimizer from WordPress repository and install it on your site.
In addition to three levels of caching, you can also use HHVM technology developed by Facebook or use Google PageSpeed API to automatically speedup your site.
Note the SuperCacher is not a replacement for W3TC. Because it only offers caching function while W3TC is a dedicated plugin offers huge options on different caching with minification and CDN integration.
Data Centers and CDN
SiteGround offers four data centers – Chicago, Amsterdam, London and Singapore. This helps to cover the users all over the world and server the site from the nearest data center. You can choose to relocate the data center any point of time by paying a service fee of $30.
Similar to most of the hosting companies, you can use free CDN service from CloudFlare. Together with CDN and data center option, you can improve the delivery of your site’s pages faster than ever.
Nowadays it’s rare to see that monitoring emails from Jetpack. During past 6 months we have downtime of 2 times due to server maintenance. You can see the messages on server maintenance inside hosting account and prepare things in advance.
The advantage of cloud hosting is that it does not have CPU execution limitation like WordPress managed hosting offered by SiteGround. You can host any type of websites on cloud without limitation. But the problem is that SiteGround will not monitor the uptime of your account for managed cloud VPS plans. They also will never send you emails alerts when your sites are down. This means you should have a third party resource like Jetpack to monitor your site on your own.
Monitoring Resource Usage
The CPU and RAM usage of your server can be monitored using a dashboard. You can check the usage for 30 minutes, 24 hours, 1 month or any chosen date.
The dashboard shows the usage in real-time which is very useful to monitor the spike in CPU or RAM. Unfortunately getting the server log is not possible from the cPanel. But you can request the customer service to get the log file for you anytime.
Weebly Site Builder
All SiteGround’s cloud hosting plans include a free site building service. This is basically a Weebly site builder with white-labeled option. While you have sites on WordPress, it is also possible to use Weebly on addon or subdomains. This helps to keep all sites together under one paid hosting platform with complete control. Learn how to install Weebly on SiteGround.
Unlike Bluehost, the Weebly site builder offered by SiteGround is more up to date. You have the latest Weebly4 options like sections, resizable headers, responsive themes along with the access to edit source HTML / CSS.
We have wrongly deleted a subdomain when deleting the FTP account. Though it was a shocking mistake, just a ticket to customer care was sufficient to restore the latest copy of the folder. This helped us to bring more than a month time we spent on creating the site.
All cloud plans have a daily back and restore on request option. While restoring backup is a free service, you need to pay for creating a manual backup. Manual database and folder backup will cost you $19.95 and the entire account backup costs $24.95. You can also manually download site files through FTP and use phpMyAdmin to download database files.
The flip side is that SiteGround will not allow scheduling backup on a specific time. The backup may run on the peak time when you have lot of visitors on your live site. Also you can’t browse the backup content directory wise as it is not visible to users.
If you have experience with other hosting platforms then you will be taken for surprise with SiteGround customer care team. They are truly professionals and most of the time you will get what is needed. SiteGround claims the VIP support offered on cloud platforms will respond tickets within 10 minutes and no waiting time on chats. Below is a real example shows the response was made in 5 minutes and ticket was resolved in 1 hour 20 minutes.
If you are not happy with the representative on chat, you can escalate to the senior representative to get relevant answer. The only thing is sometime you may feel too much dependency on customer service. Especially if you are an experienced user then you may not feel comfortable in asking many questions to people. Also the VIP response time is applicable for the first instance of the ticket. When you reassign the ticket back, it will long time to get a response.
SiteGround Cloud Hosting Review
- Signup Process
- Pricing Plans
- Site Speed
- Server Uptime
The entry level plan of cloud hosting will cost you $80 which may look higher than other hosting companies. In our opinion, the plan is a package and worth of paying to get quality service and support. If you are searching for VPS servers for your site then do not hesitate to give a try with SiteGround. The level of customer care support from SiteGround will ensure that you will stick to them forever.
- Packed plans with all needed features.
- High speed servers with multi-level caching.
- Host any type of sites with root server access with cPanel or WHM.
- Reliable customer support.
- No uptime monitoring service.
- Scheduled backup is not available and restore will cost you money.
- Pricing at higher end.