Traditional webhosts such as HostGator and Bluehost offer competitive rates and eye catching features, such as multiple email accounts, large amounts of disk space and bandwidth, as well as one-click WordPress installations via services like Fantastico. However, many WP site owners are now tempted by the higher end hosting companies that offer a managed hosting service optimised especially for WordPress. These WordPress focused hosting companies include WP Engine, Page.ly and ZippyKid.
While the WordPress centric web hosts are certainly an attractive option, their price tags can often be prohibitive. On the other hand, choosing the usually much more affordable shared hosting options can feel like a compromise, where performance is sacrificed in exchange for lower monthly fees. With the on-going quest for faster page load times, to please not just human visitors but also the search engines, a slow site can be a real hindrance. It is also worth noting that some of the premium WordPress managed hosting services restrict which plugins can be used on your site, taking away some of the freedom that makes using WP so attractive in the first place.
With these issues in mind, SiteGround aims to provide a service that sits somewhere in the middle, by offering WordPress focused hosting on a pricing structure that is more in line with the generic, low cost shared hosting packages.
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In this review we will take a look at the managed WordPress hosting on offer from SiteGround and see if it’s worthy of your consideration.
SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting Features
In a bid to combine the best of both worlds, the SiteGround managed WordPress hosting service offers a package that takes care of the specialised requirements of a WP powered site, together with the traditional duties of a webhost such as domain registration, email management and 24/7 support, while offering all that without a premium price tag.
As a testament to this, the entry level WordPress hosting package at SiteGround is currently advertised as starting at $3.95.They also offer multiple hosting options like cloud and dedicated servers which are also managed and fully optimized for WordPress so Siteground will grow with your hosting needs as ( hopefully! ) your website grows.
For this you get access to the following features:
- Free WordPress Install
- Free WordPress Migration (from current host)
- WordPress Autoupdates
- WordPress Special Cache
- One-Click WordPress Staging ( With GoGeek plan from $14.95 )
- Git System( With GoGeek plan from $14.95 )
- Free Domain Name
- Email Accounts
- 24/7 Support Phone/Chat/Ticket
- Choice of Three Server Locations
Those are some pretty impressive features for a low cost hosting service, which should appeal to anyone running a WordPress site. So let’s take a closer look at some of the main points of interest.
The Control Panel
SiteGround uses the popular cPanel for their control panel software. cPanel allows users to quickly and easily carry out a number of tasks for their package including adding new domains, creating subdomains, setting up email accounts, installing scripts and managing backups.
The use of cPanel makes managing your hosting package very easy and as it is a popular selling point of the popular entry level hosting services like HostGator, it is good to know you won’t be missing out on it by going for a WordPress managed hosting service instead.
Thanks to the user of the cPanel, installing WordPress is a very simple process. As SiteGround uses the Softalicious script library, installing WordPress from the control panel only takes a few clicks of the mouse to accomplish.
There is no need to create the WordPress database yourself, upload any files to the server and then run the installation from the command line. It literally only takes a few clicks and some simple options to choose from before your brand new WordPress installation is up and running and waiting for your first post.
Another feature of the SiteGround hosting service for WordPress that helps it stand out from its competitors is their SG-GIT system.
With the Git system, customers get access to integrated version control for their website. This means they can work on, and test their site locally, before establishing if the changes are ready to be published live. With the SG-GIT system it is now much easier to branch and merge versions as they are developed, before being deployed to the live site.
Using the service is automated, unlike many other hosts that offer a Git system. With SiteGround this feature can be accessed via the cPanel and allows you to create a Git repository of your WordPress site, which can then be worked on by yourself and other users, thanks to the ease with which it can be downloaded. The different versions can be accessed and compared locally, or on a staging server, making it easier to decide which changes to implement and which not to.
This is great feature for WordPress users who want to be able to safely test and develop their sites without risking anything adverse happening to their live, customer facing site.
Staging Area for WordPress
If it’s just you working on the site and you don’t need the integrated version control and ability to fork and merge the development versions of your site, then the WordPress Staging Area feature at SiteGround will be of interest to you.
By using the one-click WordPress staging feature, it is now possible to create a copy of your site, on which you can then test any new code or designs, without your readers and users being affected. With just one mouse click, a copy of the live site will be setup on a staging environment or development area which it can be worked on separately from the live version. Once you are happy with the changes, you can then just as easily push the staging version back to your live site.
At the point of pushing the staging version to the live environment, a backup of the live site is also made to enable an easy rollback should the changes you make turn out to have unintended consequences. This feature is only available on the top tier GoGeek price plan, but it’s still an affordable option for anyone looking to test out plugins and code edits without risking their live site.
SiteGround managed hosting service for WordPress certainly has lots of great features available at very impressive price points. While some dedicated WordPress hosts offer a done for you service, where the security and updates are taken care of on your behalf, they also remove the freedom to decide whether to install the updates or not, while also restricting the options available relating to which plugins can be installed on your site.
SiteGround have done well to position themselves alongside the WordPress-focused hosts, in terms of providing an optimised and secure environment for your site, while also offering the freedom that comes with the more general webhosts, while also competing with them on price.
Features like the staging area will be of interest to anyone who installs plugins and switches themes on their site, while the Git system is ideal for those who have multiple developers working together on the functionality of their website.
With all the regular features of a webhost, alongside the specialist WordPress optimisation and functionality, not to mention the free WP migration from your current host, switching to SiteGround is an affordable and attractive option that many site owners will find hard to turn down.