New SiteGround Interface: First Impressions and Review

NOTE: I no longer recommend SiteGround. Instead, I choose NameHero Hosting. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I stand by it. The loss of cPanel is a big deal, and SiteGround renewal costs are now simply too high to ignore after their deceptively deep discounts for the first year.

At the end of July 2019, SiteGround announced that it was migrating to a new interface and leaving cPanel behind. Apparently, they’ve been working on this for some time. My guess as to why they chose to release it at this particular time, was because of the latest cPanel price increases announced on the 27th of June 2019. It’s probably not a coincidence that these changes come so soon after what would have been a significant cost increase for SiteGround!

Existing users will be migrated to the new interface in September 2019, but new users will get access to it right away. Here’s a review of my first impressions of the new SiteGround cPanel replacement, and how it will affect your workflow.

What If You Still Want cPanel?

If you absolutely want cPanel, I suggest you check out NameHero – a web host very similar to SiteGround. They have:

  • Server caching (on all their plans)
  • Free backups, snapshots and restores
  • Free malware scanning, and more.

Here’s the list of NameHero coupons, and this is their best deal:

NameHero Coupon: WPTWEAKSSTARTER 60

A better discount (60%) than the default pricing on the NameHero webpage.

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Now here are the main features of the new SiteGround interface.

1. Focus on the Website Instead of the Hosting Account

The biggest change in SiteGround’s new interface comes with its focus on websites instead of hosting accounts. Previously when you logged into cPanel, it gave you all available tools for your hosting account. Now, you choose which site you want to work with from a drop-down box as shown here:

SiteGround's New Focus on Sites instead of Hosting Accounts
SiteGround now focuses on sites instead of accounts

This will improve the workflow for some activities, where you previously had to choose the site-specific site to which your actions applied. For example, previously in the “Error Log” section of cPanel, you had to choose the site. Now with the new interface, it automatically knows which site whose records you want to look at because you selected it in the beginning.

The same goes for other tools like staging. I won’t say that this new system is better or worse – but it’s certainly different. And for a lot of customers that deal with sites instead of hosting, it’s surely a simpler workflow.

2. Pinned Functionality at the Top

One of the problems with too much functionality, is that it becomes difficult to access all of it easily. SiteGround solves this problem by introducing the ability to “pin” certain functionalities to the top of the dashboard like this:

New SiteGround Interface Allows use to Pin Features to the Top
Pinned functionality for frequently used services

Since we all use only a small subset of cPanel tools anyway, this will put all the important and most often used ones right at the top where they’re easy to access.

My only gripe is that there are now some functions that are locked away behind others. For example, previously I could click the “phpMyAdmin” icon directly in cPanel. Now I have to first access the “MySQL” area before being able to access phpMyAdmin like this:

Some features need two clicks to access, and there's no search box.
Some SiteGround features require more than one click to access easily

I’m guessing that there will be quite a few other pieces of functionality that will require two clicks to access instead of just one.

3. No Search Box

While testing the new interface, I didn’t see any search box to quickly find individual actions. In my example above, it would be great if I could just search for “phpMyAdmin”, and have the application open up for me immediately. Since we can’t pin everything, I thought this would be a great way to access hard-to-reach functionality.

But as of now, that facility is missing, which sucks. It would have been a great addition!

4. No Need for a Separate Mobile App

The cPanel web interface was not designed with mobile users in mind. As a result, if you wanted to manage your account settings on the go, you were forced to download the cPanel mobile app.

The new SiteGround interface is designed with a mobile-friendly theme in mind. Which means that you can log into the website from a tablet or a phone and still have the same experience that you get on the desktop. No need to download a separate mobile app.

5. Ability to “White Label” your Client’s Sites

This is a very cool functionality that a lot of web designers and SEOs will find useful. Now you can design a site for your client on your hosting account with SiteGround, and hand it over to your client in a completely “white label” fashion without any SiteGround branding. It’s almost like being a reseller yourself!

You can up the ante on your business and seem more professional. You can also add new users and administrators to the sites and specify which sites they can access, and which permissions they have. All this is made possible by the paradigm shift of focusing on sites instead of the hosting account itself.

Bottom Line

The new SiteGround redesign is a likely response to cPanel’s new licensing requirements. But it’s a very polished job that exposes a lot of new functionality. Apart from things like a missing search box, the new interface is very easy to use, accessible, and doesn’t require any special software to use on mobile devices, unlike the older cPanel setup.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

Comments

  1. The new interface is terrible.
    Like it was designed by ex-Microsoft hacks.
    More marshmallow than chocolate bar.

    Reply

  2. I Love SiteGround and I’ve tried many others including WPEngine and BlueHost two of their biggest competitors.
    However, their new interface that just launched this April 2020 is so NON-Intuitive, I literally get angry using it.
    I never once had to call Site Ground to ask where something was. The old interface just made sense.
    This one simplified thing to the point everything is hidden, cryptic or in some cases for me; still not found.
    For the first time, I’m actually looking into other solutions. 🙁

    Reply

    • I agree. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about SiteGround’s new interface. Ever since cPanel introduced their licensing upgrade, I think SiteGround decided to just use their own. If you’re looking for cPanel, I suggest you try out NameHero as mentioned in the beginning of this article. It’s one of the reasons I now recommend them instead of SiteGround.

      Reply

  3. Art Castelli says

    I have multiple domains. I was actually encouraged that the new interface was going to treat all websites equal, instead of add-on domains. I just got switched, and it’s a half-baked implementation. I have the new interface – partially, and I still have cPanel. I had to hunt for my other domains and found them under services/domains. I can’t “manage” them there, I can’t do anything there. I also can’t just go into WP from the interface. I have to type in the domain/wp-admin. It’s just not intuitive. I switched from iPage a couple of years ago, I guess it’s time to start looking around again.

    Reply

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