May 31, 2019
If you already own a business or are looking to start a business, having a website is a must for any entrepreneur in today’s technology age. People need to be able to find you online, research your services and/or products, understand what you’re about, and contact you. Creating a website is fairly simple. I have created 3 myself. There are only 2 elements that are required, a domain name (i.e. www.tgpzmedia.com) and web hosting. Today, I will be reviewing SiteGround and their web hosting service, specifically their Managed WordPress Hosting.
What is web hosting? It’s a service you buy from a company that allows you to store data and make your website available to people using the internet. There are different types of hosting like shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting, and managed hosting just to name a few.
Managed hosting is where the hosting company takes care of the daily operations. They manage the hardware, operating systems, and applications. It’s usually slightly higher in price, but it’s easily worth it. Managed WordPress Hosting deals with the management of WordPress websites. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system that allows you to build websites. All 3 of my websites are WordPress websites and I would highly recommend it for everyone.
Before we start, I want to address GoDaddy quickly since most people have heard of them. 2 of the 3 websites I own, the domain name was bought through GoDaddy. The experience was a pleasant one and the price wasn’t too high. With some research, you can definitely find a domain name for cheaper as there are many domain name services out there. If you do buy a domain name through GoDaddy, DO NOT GET THEIR HOSTING SERVICE! It’s terrible! There is no cPanel (more on this later) and they charge you for many things that you can get for free. Their hosting was one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve had since I started building websites.
Now to SiteGround! I can tell you right off the bat that one of the things I love the most about this hosting company is it’s simplicity. While creating a website is very simple, building and designing one is not. Things get very difficult with all the coding, templates, plugins, etc. Every once in a while, it’s just nice to click on a drop down box and make a selection. SiteGround functions like this a lot. I’m still amazed to this day how easy it was to do some things.
When you first purchase a domain name, there won’t be much there. If you purchased it from GoDaddy, it will look similar to what is below.
After you purchase a domain, you have to install a content management system for publishing web content. Don’t let that scare you, it just simply means you need to install something like WordPress or Joomla (I HIGHLY recommend installing WordPress). SiteGround couldn’t make this process any easier. Inside cPanel (a control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools), you go to autoinstallers and click on WordPress.
On the next page you select “install now”, you will then be taken to the page you see below. You select the version, protocol, domain, and fill in some other details and click install…….that’s it! You now have a WordPress website.
If you already have a WordPress website, SiteGround offers a WP Migrator plugin that easily allows you to transfer your WordPress website. If you get at least their middle plan (GrowBig), they offer a WP transfer by one of their experts free of charge!
What’s one of the most important factors of a website? Its speed. Studies show that on average users will leave your website if they have to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load. SiteGround greatly increases your website speed with their SuperCacher and Cloudflare CDN site improvement tools. Caching stores previously generated data or requests such as database queries to speed up new requests. What this basically means is that any individual web page will load much faster the second time it’s visited. It’s a game changer and every WordPress website needs to have a caching system. With SiteGround, you just simply click the button to turn it on for your website. So easy!
CDN stands for content delivery network. It’s a distributed network of proxy servers along with their data centers. It provides high performance by distributing the service spacially relative to end users. All that really means is that it makes your website faster. SiteGround uses Cloudflare for their CDN. It’s one of the more popular CDN services. After clicking on the icon under Site Improvement Tools, click manage and change some settings and you’re done. It takes less than 5 minutes. Are you starting to see the pattern of simplicity?!
Often you have to pay for a caching plugin or CDN, but with SiteGround they’re free.
Website security is more important now than it has ever been. When people come to your site, they want to know that you can be trusted. One way this is achieved is through an SSL certificate. It changes your website from http to https and gives you the lock icon to the left of the website.
Some will tell you that an SSL certificate is only important if you’re recording personal information and/or taking credit card numbers. I could not disagree with this more. When I’m surfing the web, it doesn’t matter if I’m giving a website my personal information or not, I always want to see that lock icon to know that the website is secure.
SiteGround allows you to create an SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt (it’s under the security section). After clicking on the Let’s Encrypt icon, you will be taken to this page where you can install a new Let’s Encrypt certificate. All you do is select your domain and make sure Let’s Encrypt SSL is selected. Afterwards, in the action dropdown, you want to select HTTPS Settings and make sure HTTPS Enforce and External Links Rewrite is turned on. THAT’S IT!
There is no worse feeling than putting hours into the creation of a website just to break it or lose it all. I’ve actually never lost anything on my websites, but I’ve broke them many times and needed to restore backups. It’s very important that you run backups for your website and I recommend that you run them daily. SiteGround does this automatically for you. Just select the Backup Tool under Backups Manager. On the next page, you select a date, the system backup time (this is an added step I don’t care for), and select Full Account. Within a short time period, your website is back to the way it was!
This next thing is something I didn’t even know came with SiteGround. I never even thought about it, but now I realize how important it is. It’s the ability to create email accounts that include your domain name at the end (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org). Most people don’t want to do business with someone that has a gmail account. That to me just comes off as being lazy and non-professional. If you want people to take you serious, then you need an email address with your domain name at the end. With SiteGround, creating an email address is a breeze. You just input the name you want at the beginning, select the domain name for the ending, come up with a password, and choose the mailbox quota. With the middle plan (GrowBig), you get a mailbox quota of 4000 MB per email address.
You can access your email by choosing “Access Webmail” from the More drop down box. I would highly recommend that you forward your email address to Gmail or whatever email service it is that you use. You can find a good tutorial video on how to forward email address to Gmail here.
SiteGround also provides a File Manager in cPanel. It’s where you can manage and edit all of your files. It’s very important to have. I would say it’s a must have. It is, however, complicated so I won’t go into detail here. I just wanted to let you know that it’s there.
What is one of the most important things about a company? It’s their customer service. This alone can make you choose whether or not you want to give a company your money. It can even make you take your money away from a company after deciding to do business with them. I can tell you that SiteGround’s customer service is one of the better experiences I’ve had. When talking to people about SiteGround, it’s one of the things I tend to always mention. I knew their customer service was good before I went with them because I had done a fair amount of research, but it has exceeded those expectations. They’re super quick in their response time and have always been able to answer my questions. You can create a support ticket and they will reach back out to you via email, but I usually go with their chat feature and it’s what I would highly recommend. Someone comes on almost right away and you can talk about your situation as you go through the process instead of emailing each other back and forth. They also have a lot of documentation on issues that have been experienced in the past. Their customer service is just great and it’s really as simple as that.
Now we arrive at what everyone cares about, pricing. SiteGround offers 4 different hosting options: Web Hosting, WordPress Hosting, WooCommerce Hosting, and Cloud Hosting.
Since I’m doing a review on their Managed WordPress Hosting, I will talk about those plans. They offer 3 different plans: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. I’m on the GrowBig plan and it would be the one I highly recommend. If there is one thing I have learned from creating websites and buying hosting, plugins, and themes, it’s that having “unlimited” goes a long way. I never thought I would have more than one website but now I do. I can continue to create websites for whatever business venture I decide to pursue, and I don’t have to worry about hosting. Even though you are paying for it, it’s almost like getting hosting for free in a way. You also get the Premium WordPress Features with GrowBig. The SuperCacher is a premium feature and is not available on the StartUp plan. That to me is easily worth the extra money. If you already have a WordPress site, an expert will transfer it for free under the GrowBig plan. This is something I actually had to use and I’m glad it was available. Starting off, their plans are very cheap as you can see down below. They are cheaper than GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting. It does go to the regular price after a year so be cognitive of that. You can check out SiteGround and buy their hosting here.
In conclusion, I believe you can already tell from this review that I would highly recommend SiteGround for your web hosting services. Since I started creating and designing websites, there are few things that have exceeded my expectations, and SiteGround is one of them. If you’re an entrepreneur that wants to make money online, excellent web hosting is something you need and SiteGround can provide that for you. If you have any questions be sure to leave them down in the comments section. I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities.