Back in January I started experiencing some super annoying problems with my blog – slow to load, down intermittently (way more than necessary), RSS feed not connecting correctly, and terrible, terrible customer service from my (at the time) current hosting provider.
If you’re new to blogging, and are confused by what I mean when I say hosting provider, that simply means where my blog lives. In the blog world, there are free places to host your blog, such as wordpress.com, and there are places where you can self-host your blog, which is what I do. Self-hosting basically means you have complete control over your blog, the entire backend of your site via a C-panel, you can pull any of your files or stylesheets down whenever you need them, your blog points to a custom URL and you own your domain, and you aren’t restricted by a free template on wordpress.com in which you have no control over. There are many more details that go into it, but that’s the long and short of it. Basically, self-hosting your blog is the way to go. (Also if you ever want to monetize your blog, you’ll need to be self-hosted.)
Anyways, so in January I started having several issues come up and when you pay for quality hosting and expect your site to be managed and run smoothly, it is super frustrating when the server in which your site is hosted on is mysteriously ALWAYS experiencing problems. It’s even more frustrating when their tech support can’t give you an answer, basically telling you they don’t know what’s going on, and take days to respond to your support ticket. I even had one tech support guy tell me I was out of luck and that what I was asking was “outside of his realm of support and #### was incapable of fixing the problem.” (And when I told my new company, they basically laughed and couldn’t believe it!) Now, I am married to a systems administrator, so I understand how difficult it is to maintain servers and keep everyone happy, and I also work for a web designer and know it is impossible to guarantee 100% uptime. However, there comes a time when you just have to call the bluff, cut the cord, and find a better solution. So, I parted ways with the hosting company I (previously) so dearly loved and promoted, and sought out a new company. I won’t be sharing the name of my old hosting company because that would be tacky and I imagine many of you use them. But, when I contacted my new company about transferring everything over to them, they said, “Oh yeah, we’ve had a ton of people leave #### to come over here, you aren’t the first!” Annnnd all of this even after I paid the old company to clean up the extra code on my site in order to help it load faster.
So, out with the old and in with the new! I’ve been with my new company for 6 months now (edited 2016: 18 months now) and have been nothing but pleased and impressed by them!
Ever heard of them? I hadn’t either, but after doing lots of research on best hosting companies for WordPress sites, and reading reviews of customer service, I knew they would be an excellent choice!
SiteGround has been amazing, and I can’t help but sing their praises. They made the process of “moving” Sweet Miles flawless, stress free, and they were constantly answering my questions, as silly as they sometimes were. Transferring a website or blog from one host to another isn’t as easy as it sounds. You can’t just turn it off in one place, and back on in another. There are several pieces of the puzzle that have to fall into place, and several people from both sides are involved. And the thought of trusting someone to move ALL of your blog’s data (posts, template, pictures, plugins, custom design changes, EVERYTHING!) from one place to another without it crashing and burning along the way, can be a stressful event! Oh, and trusting that everything has been backed up in case something DID happen along the way. Whew! It’s not a process you want someone who’s never done it before handling, by any means! Thankfully, SiteGround handled everything with ease, helping me find out who to contact, what to ask for, what information to return to them, what settings to change, etc, and they were friendly, compassionate, and knowledgeable the entire time. They also made sure my site was never down, which was a huge plus!
6 reasons why I would recommend SiteGround
1. Their Live Chat is always available. Being able to go to their website, pull up live chat, and wait a very, very minimal and reasonable time, is a huge plus. With my previous company, I would waste so much time just waiting for it to be my turn, and sometimes I’d get the “we’re sorry, we’re too busy right now, try again” message. Every time I’ve pulled up a chat with SiteGround it’s always said however many minutes I have to wait, and it is ALWAYS less than that, and more often than not someone answers almost right away. Edited 2016: In my experience, I’ve never had to wait longer than a minute or two for someone to answer my live chat. Their support tickets are also very timely, always within the same day, even sometimes within the hour. I’ve never felt like I was sitting around waiting and waiting for an answer. This is HUGE for a web hosting company – timely, efficient customer support can be a game changer.
2. They understand the needs of a WordPress customer, versus a Joomla/Magento/other web customer. They have WordPress EXPERTS on hand to help. I loved this feature because I felt more comfortable knowing that someone who truly understood the bones of my site would be able to work on it!
3. Free daily backup (even up to 30 daily backups!) and data centers on 3 continents. Knowing my site is constantly being backed up makes me feel so much better. And, knowing that they take their security seriously enough to have servers on 3 different continents is pretty awesome! If there were to be an attack on one of the other websites living on your server, SiteGround is able to make sure that your site isn’t compromised as well! Or, if the server your site is on experiences a security issue, SiteGround will fix it right away instead of waiting for outside developers to fix it. They also promote a 99.99% uptime, which is as good as it will ever get. There is no such thing as a 100% uptime, and a hosting company who says that is twisting your arm.
4. You can see that they are personable and friendly! You can see part of their team on the website, and can sometimes even put a face to the name of the tech you’re working with! It’s nice to know your support call or ticket isn’t just being farmed out to a call center halfway across the world. You are always speaking with a team member directly affiliated with SiteGround. Often, I end up speaking with the same person so I know they’ve at least had their hands on my site.
5. Everything in the user area is super easy to find, and easy to understand. (Edited 2016:)This is what it looks like when you login as a user. Very straight forward.
6. There are tons of extra services and features you can add on, and several choices of hosting plans you can upgrade to. When I decided to also transfer my domain over to SiteGround, they made it a cake walk! I’m on the GrowBig plan, and so far have been very pleased.
So, SiteGround is fantastic, and there are very few companies out there who I’d actually take the time to rave about. If you’re unhappy with your current hosting provider, you should really look into trying out SiteGround. And I promise if I ever leave SiteGround, I will tell you why!
Affiliate links were included in this post, and I sincerely appreciate your support! Especially with baby girl on the way! If you use this link, I will receive a small commission.
**Edited 2016: SiteGround is also now a recommended wordpress.org hosting provider!
Have you ever switched hosting providers for your blog? Did all of this fly way over your head? Which hosting company do you currently use?