Why I No Longer Recommend SiteGround

SiteGround was my favorite web host for a long time. In fact, I used to call it the “Apple” of the hosting world due to its focus on customer service and its non-compromising prices. However, after the cPanel changes and the discovery of alternate hosts like NameHero, I can no longer recommend SiteGround as my preferred web host.

Here are my top reasons for why I’ve stopped recommending SiteGround, and how a host like NameHero is better.

1. They Removed cPanel

2019 was a tough time for web hosting. It was the year that cPanel introduced its licensing changes and started charging on a “per account” basis, instead of “per server”. This increased the hosting costs for everyone, and led several hosts to increase their prices or place caps on their reseller plans.

At around this time, SiteGround introduced its new interface that excluded cPanel. While it was probably in development for a long time, the timing was too coincidental. It was clear that they didn’t want cPanel eating into their margins. Here’s a screenshot of what the new interface looks like:

The New SiteGround Interface without cPanel
The New SiteGround Interface without cPanel

But they didn’t have to do this. Many web hosts have not moved away from cPanel. Budget providers like Hostgator have eaten the higher costs or managed their reseller pricing to account for the changes. SiteGround is not a low margin provider. Their prices are higher than average, and there’s no excuse for not giving users access to cPanel.

NameHero Still Uses cPanel

My recommended alternative to SiteGround is NameHero. In addition to matching SiteGround’s features, it continues to use cPanel and has a LiteSpeed web server with better long term pricing.

Here’s a coupon for 55% off on NameHero

2. SiteGround Discounts are Misleading

Look, every web host promises high discounts for the first billing cycle – SiteGround isn’t unique in this. But their renewal prices are so much higher than their discounts, that it’s crazy. Their popular GrowBig plan has a renewal price of $240 – a price that comes as a massive sticker shock to those who are unprepared for it.

Those who are new to web hosting are hit particularly hard by this sudden reversal. Like I said, this is a common strategy for all web hosts, but SiteGround takes it to a new level. Their discount is so deep, that it fools people into thinking that the service costs a lot less than it actually does. And it’s not just the discounts. On an absolute dollar value, SiteGround’s prices are premium. So customers get a double whammy of deep discounts and higher prices.

If you don’t believe me, just check Google for the number of Quora and Reddit threads by shocked customers who have just received their first bill from SiteGround after the initial discount expired. You don’t see this same level of surprise when it comes to other web hosts.

I’d mentioned NameHero earlier. You can see that their renewal prices are much more reasonable:

3. SiteGround’s Plans Are Inflexible

SiteGround uses the same plan for everything. For example, their “semi-dedicated VPS” service is nothing but the GoGeek plan in disguise. Similarly, they claim to have reseller hosting, but once again it’s just the same GoGeek plan. Their “cloud plans” are actually expensive managed VPS offerings.

Throughout, they don’t offer root access, and use the same managed services for all their customers. They don’t advertise a “VPS” for this reason, even though they come close to calling the GoGeek plan a VPS.

4. No Server Caching on the Basic Plan

One of the big features of SiteGround is their SuperCacher service which serves cached versions of your pages instead of generating them from scratch for each visitor. This is great, except that they don’t offer it on their basic StartUp plan. You have to upgrade to at least the GrowBig package for that, which is a real let down.

Compare this to NameHero, which is my preferred alternative. NameHero uses the LiteSpeed web server, which offers native caching on all plans. So you get faster speeds right out of the box, even if you choose the cheapest plan available. You can learn more about LiteSpeed web hosting here.

5. No On-Demand Backups for StartUp Plans

SiteGround offers automatic and manual backups for its GrowBig and GoGeek plans. However, the basic StartUp package doesn’t allow you to create backups on demand. This means that if you’re making a big change to your site, you can’t take a backup immediately before to restore in case something goes wrong. Your only option is to rely on the automatic daily backup system, which means that the changes you made to your site since then are lost.

By contrast, NameHero uses the JetBackup cPanel plugin for all plans and everyone can take snapshots of their entire account and restore them in case something goes wrong. Here’s a screenshot of JetBackup:

NameHero's Backup Allows Snapshots on All Plans
NameHero Backup Systems

Learn more about NameHero’s free backup options.

6. No Off-Shore Backups

Much as I like SiteGround’s automatic and on-demand backups (for non-StartUp plans), I would feel even more secure if they had an integrated solution for offshore backups. Nothing I have read in SiteGround’s documentation assures me that they store their backups in a different location from where they host your site.

Who can forget A2 Hosting’s backup debacle? Their security breach was so bad that they had to get rid of months of their own backups! If it can happen to A2, it can happen to anyone and SiteGround is no exception. It would be great if they offered an integrated backup solution (for a fee) that stored your data offshore somewhere else.

By contrast, NameHero has partnered up with DropMySite, and starting at a paltry $2.00/m, you can take your backups offsite where you can later restore them on any web host – not necessarily the one on which they were taken. This is another advantage to offsite backups. If your relationship with the current web host sours for whatever reason, your backups are not held hostage.

Click below for 55% off on NameHero

Bottom Line

After years of trying various providers, I’ve received a better perspective of what I want from web hosting. SiteGround has some great features and customer service. But it’s no longer enough. Their renewal prices are high, they’ve ditched cPanel, and they don’t offer some key features that I’ve come to demand from my hosting service. Hence my change in recommendation!

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. Interesting that someone else has quit SiteGround. I have also stopped using it due to them dropping cPanel. Shame really as I thought the support was decent.

    Reply

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