SiteGround is the best website hosting I have ever used, bar none. Dev4Press and few other websites are hosted on SiteGround Cloud server since January 2, 2016, and this review provides details about server performance and complete SiteGround experience so far.
Move to SiteGround
Dev4Press was hosted on ASmallOrange since the September 2014 until the very end of 2015. And for the first year, ASmallOrange was a good hosting solution. But, last 6 months, things became increasingly difficult, culminating with a massive outage of ASmallOrange VPS hosting affecting thousands of users and hosting accounts. Dev4Press was offline for almost 2 weeks in December 2015. And as soon ASmallOrange server stabilized enough to move, I have started the search for new hosting.
The main goal was to find reliable hosting, with managed support, support for HTTP/2 and PHP 7. For almost 2 weeks I did detailed research about more than 20 hosting companies, compared reviews, did performance tests and talked with customer support until I ended up with the decision to go with SiteGround.
The initial response to my long list of questions arrived from SiteGround within an hour. From some other companies, I waited for 3-4 days before their sales department responded. And, SiteGround technical support is even faster than their sales support.
For Dev4Press, I have chosen Cloud Hosting, because I needed more CPU and RAM memory to be able to host few smaller websites along the main Dev4Press Network.
Due to the complexity of Dev4Press website, and other websites we have, there was no way to use transfer tools provided by SiteGround (and you get free website transfer with each new SiteGround account) and cPanel. It took few hours to copy all websites files, restore all databases, configure things, update DNS to point to new server. Almost everything was working out of the box. With the help of SiteGround support, all post transfer issues were resolved. Two issues that took a bit more time were SSL certificate for Dev4Press and mail server configuration due to some specific settings I required.
Installing SSL was the only real problem I had with setting up the SiteGround account. I was unable to transfer my existing SSL certificate and ended up buying new SSL from SiteGround directly. But, they provided me with very, very discounted price of only EUR 24.00 for Wildcard SSL, and that installed automatically, and I had no issues after that.
The first thing I always do after I move to a new host after everything is configured and tested is to measure website loading speed. I have kept best results I had with the previous hosting, and while some plugins I used might be a bit different, I used the same cache plugin, same theme framework and most of the same plugins. With A Small Orange hosting, best response time was around 0.8 seconds, and with SiteGround that time dropped to 0.3 seconds. Full page load with A Small Orange was around 3.1 seconds, with SiteGround that time dropped to 1.8 seconds. That was a significant improvement, but with SiteGround, these numbers got even better on HTTPS and HTTP/2, and average full page loading time was around 1.3 seconds.
But, that was not the whole story. Website loading is one thing, but how that affected the server? With the approximately same number of users (tested over a period of 1 month), SiteGround server CPU load was under 10% and memory under 50% average utilization. With A Small Orange, CPU was always over 70%, with memory always in red over 90%. SiteGround results are the combination of better hardware (even so the accounts had similar CPU/RAM/HDD values with the old hosting) and power of PHP 7 with OPCache.
More than a year with SiteGround
Dev4Press is hosted on SiteGround Cloud Hosting for over a year now, and I am extremely satisfied with the uptime, website speed and amazing support SiteGroup provided. To make things even better, a few months ago they added free WildCard SSL to cloud accounts (with Let’s Encrypt SSL’s available for free also), and increased CPU and RAM without extra charge and PHP 7.1 is already available for all accounts.
I really don’t see any need in the foreseeable future to move away from SiteGround.