Before I get into the full review I want to tell you a little about myself and why I feel qualified to review hosting.
Soooo…. my name is Kelsea and I’ve been using WordPress as a blogger nearly every day for the last 5 years. I’ve had several profitable websites, used several hosts in several niches, and eventually was inspired to create this website-kelseaventures.com. I’m no marketer, I’m no guru, and I’m not here to just teaching blogging (I only recently started teaching) and I will not be making money teaching something I don’t really do. I actually do blog (see blog) and when I write about blogging I’m writing about my real experience in the blogging world, along with products and strategies I actually use.
Let’s Start By Talking About Hosting, Affiliates and Money
Now, I’m required by law to put a disclaimer stating that I use affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase something from my recommendations I get a percentage of the sale (at no additional cost to you). But, I want to go beyond that. Let’s talk about money and affiliates and hosting platforms here for a second. The reason why I want to start with this, is because the longer I’ve been online the more jaded I’ve become in regard to product recommendations-specifically those related to blogging.
I think if I’m being honest with myself, I believe that a lot of people teach blogging because there’s a lot of profit to be had in teaching blogging. Unfortunately, a lot of people have figured out that they don’t need that experience and they teach blogging without it. Why? Because there are some really great affiliate programs out there in the blogging sphere, and they’re incredibly easy to get approved for. Hosting is at the top of this list!
Now, if you’re pretty new to all this online stuff, then you might not be familiar with affiliate programs, but they’re one of the many, many ways bloggers make money. It’s kind of like those “refer a friend and get $5” offers, except on a bigger scale.
Now, affiliate programs are great because they allow bloggers the ability to recommend products that we personally use and love to our followers. In many cases however, we’ll throw affiliate links (particularly Amazon) onto pages where we talk about something that we really love and only get 4% commission.
AKA: If I do a review of a new necklace I love and it’s $14. I make 56 cents IF someone decides to buy it. Statistically, there’s about a 3% chance that someone will click on the link to go to Amazon and check it out, and then a 3% chance someone will actually purchase the item. So, I will make a commission of 56 cents for every 1500 people who visit the page about my necklace.
Not great right?!
Now, I’m not saying this to scare you off from blogging, there’s plenty of profit to be had, but I did want to illustrate how little some affiliate programs actually make.
In come the people who teach blogging, and a lot of them recommend sites like Bluehost or WP Engine. Now maybe some of those people truly do use those services, but in my experience the people recommending Bluehost DON’T use it (on their main sites). Or in the case of WP Engine, people will try to sell you on why you need an expensive hosting service, when it’s really not necessary-especially for a beginner ($29/week is the cheapest WP Engine option). Ironically, (maybe this is coincidental) WP Engine, and Bluehost are two of the highest paying commissions for affiliate hosting. WP Engine gives you $200 per sale and Bluehost is $65 a sale.
Let’s go back to that initial calculation using the same statistics. 1500 people visit your website. 3% of them click on the WP Engine link and 3% buy. You know have made a profit of $200 with WP Engine or $65 with Bluehost.
To maintain all transparency. SiteGround does have an affiliate program, I am an affiliate, and it does pay $50 per sale (the standard in the industry), which is not too far off from Bluehost.
I do wonder however, if more people promote Bluehost than hosting programs like SiteGround because it makes more sales (possibly due to big influencers like Pat Flynn promoting it and people hearing about it), and thus ultimately makes more profit. I’ve talked to people in the “teach blogging” industry and I’ve heard most get around a 10% conversion rate with Bluehost (well above industry standards).
To do the calculation again, 1500 people visit your website. 10% of them click on the Bluehost link and 10% buy, that’s $975…where promoting lesser known platforms like SiteGround you’d still make the $50 sale for the same number of visitors….
Now this is all hypothetical (although in my mind it’s fact), but it’s very possible that I’ve been online so long that I’m jaded and expect greediness…so take this all with a grain of salt! This was simply my shady attempt at laying out why I believe large quantities of people promote not-so-great hosting.
Let’s Get Away From The Profitability of Hosting and Let’s get into SiteGround!
This is the short version of why SiteGround is the absolute best for most people and why I recommend it.
SiteGround has the best customer support I’ve ever encountered.
SiteGround offers more premium and managed features than any other host I’ve been with-and definitely any host for the price.
SiteGround is faster, has less downtime and is comparable in price to similar hosting services.
SiteGround is NOT an EIG hosting platform (Bluehost, Hostgator, HostMonster, Site5, A Small Orange Etc.)
The Full Review
The SiteGround features are comparable or better than other hosts of the same price.
Some things that make them stand out include their security features which help keep your account really secure.
Daily backups to your account that are INCLUDED in the account price (that’s rare).
A free SSL certification to let other people know that your site is safe
Arguably one of the best super-caches around.
All of these are great features, but my favorite thing about SiteGround is how easy they’ve made it to work with WordPress (they’re actually recommended by WordPress). I’m not a “techie” person, so the fact that SiteGround is easier to use than other hosts in regards to WordPress has been a Godsend.
Good support is important and I have only ever received excellent support with SiteGround. Support is important whether you’re a beginner or not, because at some point something WILL come up you’ll need to contact support for. The first day I got a SiteGround account I had to contact support and only waited seconds before someone actually solved my problem. This is not a normal occurrence in all hosting. With Bluehost I once waited DAYS for a response and they didn’t actually solve my problem. You know that feeling where the person on the support end makes you want to stab someone. That was my experience with every EIG hosting brand I tried (I tried three of them, Bluehost for the longest). The longest I’ve waited thus far with SiteGround was 5 minutes and the bonus was that I never felt my blood pressure raise while talking to their support.
Here’s an official comparison of their support response speed compared to other hosting services.
Besides just being annoying for your guests, site speed can actually dictate how Google treats you. Too slow? You’re pretty much bound to be ranked lower than other sites. SiteGround’s speeds are generally speaking much higher than other hosts. Personally it imrpoved my load time by 4.7 seconds!
Uptime is the amount of time your website is expected to be live. I’ve personally had 100% and SiteGround, garuntees 99.99%. I experienced downtime all the time with Bluehost and since this is my job downtime means a loss of revenue and potential new followers.
Why So Much Bashing On Bluehost In This?
I had nothing but problems with Bluehost, yet I stayed with them for a year (because I had paid for three-thanks shady pricing strategy). You can read my complete thoughts here. Essentially Bluehost is a brand owned by the EIG which is notorious for having bad hosting.
EIG is famous for acquiring hosting companies and then making them horrible by shoving too many on a server and cutting staff. There are many hosting agencies owned by the EIG, and many, many surveys and studies showing that users are unhappy with their services. A couple reputable and well-known sources for these studies include ReviewSignal, WPLift, and CodeInWP.
What About Other Hosts?
Now clearly SiteGround is not the only good host out there (A2, WP Engine and other are also reputable). I personally think for the pricing it’s pretty unbeatable. But, as a general rule of thumb, if you are looking at other hosts avoid EIG owned hosts like the plague. These include Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster, Site5, IPage, A Small Orange (and over 70 others). Also avoid GoDaddy. It’s a known fact in the blogging world that EIG owned hosts (and GoDaddy) are far worse than other hosts comparable by price.
Also, remember how affiliate programs work and take what people say with a grain of salt knowing that they’ll probably make some money off of you!
What Are People Actually Saying?
The thing that really turned me onto SiteGround, wasn’t reviewsm like this one, but what I found real people saying on Facebook and Twitter and in forms. I was too well aware that first page search results and many blogs operate on a “for money” basis. But, I noticed that SiteGround really did seem to have a good reputation, so I tried it and never went back.