SiteGround recently raised the cost of entry to their shared hosting plans by almost double. Given its excellent reputation, is this new price overly prohibitive? For those who are feeling the cash crunch, there are cheaper SiteGround alternatives you can consider.
Cost is one of the factors that influences users’ choices in web hosting providers. However, different web hosting providers place emphasis on different areas of hosting. Because of this, you may yet find what you’re looking for, even at lower prices.
SiteGround Price Increase
In mid-2020 SiteGround raised the prices of their shared hosting plans. Originally starting at $3.95/mo on their StartUp plan, they bumped prices up across the board. This increase significantly hikes the web hosting Total Cost of Ownership (for lack of a better term) to new users.
You also need to understand that unlike most web hosts, a longer contract doesn’t stretch your sign up discount. SiteGround’s discounts decrease the longer a contract period you opt for. Essentially, the big sign up bonus only applies for 12 months.
To understand this, let’s look at the table below:
SiteGround New Pricing Table
The longer you subscribe, the higher your average monthly price (yes, you read that right).
|Subscription Period||StartUp Plan||GrowBig Plan||GoGeek Plan|
Essentially, the longer a period you sign up for the lower a discount you’re getting with SiteGround. Remember, this is on top of what is already a significant starting price compared to most shared hosting plans in the market.
Why the Increase?
Part of the reason for the price hike is SiteGround’s move towards Google Cloud infrastructure. The move helps increase the performance of their hosted sites significantly but of course, this comes at a cost and their shared hosting plans are part of the move.
For those who haven’t done a Cloud deployment before, it can be a nightmare. There is so much technical detail not just in deployment, but also ongoing operations that most smaller sites simply won’t have the resources to deal with it.
Cheaper Hosting Solutions Like SiteGround
Given how expensive SiteGround shared hosting is now, we can consider some options based on price. There are a number of ways to do this. The most direct is by simply going for a cheaper shared hosting alternative.
Cheaper (but Similar) Shared Hosting Plans
|Web Hosts||Website||Free Domain||Storage||Free Migration||Starting Price||Learn More|
|A2 Hosting||1||No||100 GB||Yes||$2.99/mo||A2 Hosting review|
|Bluehost||1||Yes||50 GB||No||$2.95/mo||Bluehost review|
|Hostinger||1||No||10 GB||No||$0.99/mo||Hostinger review|
However, with SiteGround’s new shared plan prices it might not be unrealistic to take that money and go for a VPS plan instead. There are some entry-level VPS options which are priced even lower than SiteGround shared hosting.
Cheaper (but Similar) VPS Hosting Plans
|Web Hosts||CPU||Storage||Memory||Bandwidth||Starting Price||Learn More|
|A2 Hosting||1||20 GB||512 MB||2 TB||$5/mo||A2 Hosting review|
|DreamHost||Shared||30 GB||1 GB||Unlimited||$10/mo||DreamHost review|
|Interserver||1||30 GB||2 GB||1 TB||$6/mo||Interserver review|
|Namecheap||2||40 GB||2 GB||1 TB||$11.88/mo||Namecheap review|
|ScalaHosting||1||20 GB||2 GB||Unlimited||$9.95/mo||ScalaHosting review|
As you can see, there are many cases where SiteGround’s pricing now reaches towards VPS level plans. In some cases like A2 Hosting, it’s even cheaper than SiteGround’s shared hosting plan.
These VPS plans may not match the performance of SiteGround shared hosting but add a completely new dimension to hosting. Even the cheapest VPS plans are likely to offer capabilities that shared plans won’t be able to.
For example, VPS allows you to customize your environment, install specialized script support, and even offers a choice of web hosting control panel. These additional elements come into play simply because of the nature of VPS.
When is SiteGround Still Worth Paying For?
Despite the major bump in price, SiteGround is still worth the price for a few specific categories of websites. There are a couple of compelling reasons for this which match the nature of those sites which I’ll be discussing.
1. eCommerce / Online Stores
Although in recent times there has been a rising focus on online store or website builders, these options are a bit complex in some ways. They make things easier to get running, but in the long term may cost more and end up locking you in to their system.
For those opting to venture out on their own, SiteGround remains a strong choice. The economics of the matter should easily be covered by eCommerce site revenue. In return, strong performance and customer service fit well with the profile of these sites.
Their excellent server response time makes their shared hosting an excellent launchpad for eCommerce.
SiteGround Shared Hosting Performance
SiteGround Shared Hosting Uptime
2. Small/Medium Businesses
If you’re a small business looking to establish a digital presence, SiteGround is also an excellent host to go for. Their strong record in reliability will mesh well to help you showcase your brand reliability to customers.
This type of value goes beyond price and is something that many web hosts struggle with. There is also the scalability factor to take into account. As your business traffic grows, you can move onto better SiteGround plans and maintain high levels of availability.
Their customer service is also highly competent and responsive, which is important to support your business needs with.
3. Sites With Enhanced Security Needs
This category may sound a bit ambiguous, but that’s because it is. Irrespective of what type of site you’re running, security may be a higher focal point for you. This is the point at which you look past free/shared SSL and look towards a site-specific version that requires you to have your own IP address.
Dedicated IPs can be obtained easily from SiteGround as an add-on service, and quite easily so. All you need to do is apply for it from your client dashboard. SiteGround also offers a number of other great security benefits like their in-house firewall.
4. WordPress Users
While there are a ton of hosts selling WordPress plans, SiteGround has stuck to Managed WordPress hosting. Honestly, WordPress isn’t the easiest environment to optimize for but Siteground is one of the few who have done it right.
From their solid platform performance to extensive developer support tools, they’ve created a WordPress heaven for those who seek to deploy on it. For the non-technical folks, you can expect great performance running WordPress simply out of the box.
5. Web Developers
By nature, SiteGround isn’t very generous with it’s lower-tiers of plans. Having said that, they are one of the few who give developers tools on their better shared hosting plans. For example, staging is available from GrowBig onwards, while those on GoGeek gain access to Git.
SiteGround also has other environments and scripts it supports although it generally doesn’t publicise these. For example, all their plans support Python, Ruby on Rails, Perl, and more. If you’re not sure they have what you need, just ask them.
They also make it easier to work with clients thanks to the included collaboration tools. This, coupled with their self-built developer tools and custom interface makes them a proposition for developers that is hard to beat.
When NOT to Choose SiteGround
Despite how great their service is, there are quite a number of use cases when SiteGround simply isn’t feasible. Most of the reasons for this are commercial, especially given how much SiteGround prices have increased by.
If you’re running sites that have low volume traffic, or simply aren’t interested in monetizing your content, then it may be wise to seek out a cheaper alternative. As you can see from the information I listed earlier, there are a number of choices that are much cheaper and yet offer decent performance as well.
For those who may want something better but still not happy with SiteGround prices, you can also try out a VPS plan. Some providers have comparable prices in VPS, so you’ll gain more benefits if you’re willing to put in the extra work to learn about the VPS hosting environment.
Some examples of sites which may not be suitable for SiteGround include:
- Non-monetized personal blogs
- Sites that need Windows hosting
- Those needing large amounts of storage space
As you can see, Siteground really has laid in the foundation to help their hosting users offer best-in-class service. As with everything like this, there are costs involved and they still need to run a business.
All of this simply means that they’re streamlining their customer base and encouraging the web community to do what it always should have been – knowing their own sites. As website owners, we need to have a keen sense of our target market and core function.
Doing so allows us to not just pick the best hosting for our needs, but also help web hosts offer the right services to the right audience.