From Hostgator to SiteGround: Why I Switched Web Hosts
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The Smart Online Fortune blog recently underwent a complete makeover. Now, we’re not just talking about the logo, the branding, and the design of the website either. You can easily see that the website looks significantly different than it did a few months ago.
Aside from the obvious, there’s something else that’s changed. Recently, I made the decision to switch my web host.
I’ve been using Hostgator as my web host of choice since the launch of my website. Hostgator has served me well for over a year. After experiencing some difficulties with Hostgator, I knew it was time to break up with Hostgator and choose a different web host.
Now, I just want to be upfront, I don’t exactly hate Hostgator. Depending on your needs, Hostgator might be a good fit for you. If you have no plans of monetizing your website, Hostgator will do just fine for you. If you want to create a website where you’re not constantly rolling out new content, Hostgator might be the perfect fit for you.
Just because a web host did not work for me does not mean it won’t work for you. Hostgator, however, just did not meet my needs as you’ll soon find out.
Nowadays, I use SiteGround to host my website. I can honestly tell you that switching from Hostgator to SiteGround is the best decision I’ve ever made.
In this blog post, I’m going to tell you exactly why I decided to switch from Hostgator to SiteGround.
Why I Initially Went With Hostgator and the Problems I Experienced
Over a year ago, I decided to host my website with Hostgator because it was an inexpensive web host that provided me with everything I needed to get my website up and running.
At the time, Hostgator seemed like a good (and affordable) web host to use.
I’m probably stating the obvious here, but you get what you pay for. I had paid for Hostgator’s plan 3 years in advance, but decided not to stick around after only a year.
Once I found out that I could get my money back for the remainder two years, I jumped at the opportunity to switch web hosts.
My main concern with Hostgator was how slow my website was loading. Another concern is that Hostgator promised an uptime of 99.9%, but my website was down for days at a time.
I also noticed that Hostgator does not keep their software and programs up to date. I found this out after I downloaded the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and noticed a warning in my SEO dashboard regarding a PHP 7 update. A PHP version of 7 or greater is one of the requirements for the Yoast plugin. You can view more about the plugin’s requirements here.
I called Hostgator’s customer service department to discuss these issues and they weren’t very helpful.
When I chatted live with a Hostgator representative, I was told “We do our best to keep software and program versions up to date. Our technical team regularly evaluates software updates and pushes updates across Hostgator’s servers as they are deemed secure and appropriate for Hostgator’s shared Hosting environment.”
How credible is this statement considering the cURL version I needed came out 8 years ago?
The only solution I could think of to solve my problems with Hostgator was to switch web hosts.
The Reason I Switched from Hostgator to SiteGround
After only a year of hosting my website with Hostgator, my website began experiencing problems with slow servers and an increased downtime.
I tested my Hostgator website using Pingdom’s free speed test tool and my website took more than 9 seconds to load.
That’s a long time and very few people have the patience to wait around for a website to load. If your website doesn’t load within 3-4 seconds, your website visitors are likely to leave and never visit again.
The speed of my website was a huge disappoint to myself and my readers. To make matters worse, slow servers are also a red flag for search engines.
Think about it.
When you Google something, do the top results ever show a slow loading website?
Of course not. Google hates slow loading websites.
You know what else Google hates?
Websites that are constantly down. As mentioned earlier, Hostgator guarantees an uptime of 99.9%. They didn’t exactly live up to their expectations.
Google hates slow loading websites and Google hates downtime. A blogger’s goal is to impress Google, but that’s the opposite of what my website was doing.
With this knowledge, I began looking for ways to speed up my WordPress website. I tried deleting plugins, adding a caching plugin, and calling Hostgator to see if there was anything they could do to speed up my website.
When all else failed, poor website performance and poor customer service ultimately led me to take action. I started researching for alternatives to Hostgator and I came across SiteGround.
On its website, SiteGround promises to make your website faster and more secure. After reading SiteGround reviews from other bloggers, I knew that I had to give SiteGround a try. I decided it was time to make the switch from Hostgator to SiteGround.
A Little Bit About SiteGround
The reviews I read about SiteGround looked promising. However, I wasn’t truly convinced that SiteGround was for me until I read about the technologies they use to make their websites faster and more secure. Before I get into describing SiteGround’s technology, let me just say their technology is awesome. Prepare to be amazed because SiteGround’s technology will know your socks off. Yes, it really is that good.
A good web host is only the first step to speeding up your WordPress website. The next steps to speeding up your WordPress website are outlined in this blog post: How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website.
While the written words can describe how amazing SiteGround is as a web host, you truly won’t know until you experience SiteGround yourself. Anyway, let’s start by discussing the technologies SiteGround uses to speed up websites hosted on their platform.
Here are the latest web hosting speed technologies used by SiteGround:
- Solid-State Drives (SSD): According to SiteGround, SSDs offer a 1000x increase in input and output operations compared to regular storage devices.
- NGINX Web Server Technology: This technology will speed up the amount of time it takes to load the static content of your website.
- Geeky SuperCacher: If you’re using WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, the SuperCacher tool will dramatically speed up your website. SiteGround claims that your website will be 4x faster if you enable the Geeky SuperCacher tool.
- Free Cloudflare CDN: This technology makes your website load faster from anywhere in the world. This means that when foreign visitors access your website, the content on your website will be delivered much faster from the data center that is closest to their location. SiteGround currently has 5 data centers in the following 3 continents: North America (Chicago, USA), Europe (London, UK; Amsterdam, NL; Milan, IT), and Asia (Singapore, SG).
- HTTP/2 Enabled Servers: This network protocol significantly speeds up the loading time of your website in the browser.
- PHP7 and HHVM: New PHP executions are known for their great speed benefits. When it comes to new speed technologies or software, SiteGround is among the first to promptly implement it onto their servers.
Remember how earlier I mentioned that Google hates slow loading websites? Well, that won’t be an issue if you decide to host your website with SiteGround. I’ve personally seen an improvement in my search engine rankings after switching web hosts.
I was pretty much sold on SiteGround after reading about their speed technology and I hope you are too. But if you still need more convincing, you can continue reading about the extra measures SiteGround takes to secure your website and reduce downtime.
Uptime and Security Technology
SiteGround promises an uptime of 99.99%. Since switching to SiteGround, I’ve never had to worry about my website going down. Here are the technologies SiteGround uses to reduce downtime and make websites more secure:
- Linux Containers (LXC): During unexpected traffic spikes, LXC provides great stability so that your website is always up and running.
- Pro-active Server Monitoring: If there is an issue with your website, Pro-active Server Monitoring can fix those issues without delay. Pro-active Server Monitoring can also foresee upcoming problems and take the necessary steps to prevent them.
- Own Backup System: If anything happens to your website, you can use SiteGround’s Backup System to restore your data fast. SiteGround claims that it can now restore your data 4 times faster. Your website is also backed up every single day, so you can just sit back and relax.
- Unique Anti-bot AI: Brute-force attacks on websites can be worrisome. With SiteGround’s Anti-bot AI, they can prevent unauthorized access to your website while saving your resources.
- Secure Account Isolation: This isolates accounts on shared servers so that no account can affect the others. This is one of the best security isolations in the industry.
SiteGround really seems to care about the user experience of its users. SiteGround takes extra precautions to make sure your website is always secure. What more can you ask for in a web hosting company?
After reading about SiteGround’s security technology, I knew that I had to give SiteGround a try. At first, I was debating whether I should wait another 2 years for my Hostgator plan to expire, but that was too long of a wait.
By now, I’m sure you’re convinced that SiteGround is a great web host. But, if your still not convinced, you can continue reading to check out even more SiteGround features.
More SiteGround Features
There’s no doubt that the technology SiteGround uses is top-notch. This technology isn’t the only reason I decided to switch web hosts. Here are more SiteGround features that are included with your purchase:
- 30-day money back guarantee: You’ll probably never need to use this because I’ve never met anybody who has been dissatisfied with SiteGround. However, if you are one of those rare people, SiteGround offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
- Free domain name: You can’t create a website without a domain name, so hosting with SiteGround is an all-in-one package. I didn’t have to worry about this as I was just transferring my domain from one web host to another.
- Free SSL certificate: When you look at my website address, you see there is an https: before the domain name. This is an SSL certificate, which secures the connection between the web server and the browser. This is an important feature to have because Google has recently decided to prioritize https: websites. This means you’ll have a better chance of ranking in Google if you have an SSL certificate for your website. Also, if you currently have an http: website, your website will be marked “not secure.” Your website visitors will see this on your website and decide whether it’s safe to purchase through your website. Getting an SSL certificate can be costly, so this alone is well worth switching to SiteGround.
- Free email accounts: If you want to turn your website into a profitable business, you need a professional email address. An email that reads [email protected] looks more professional than [email protected]
SiteGround offers a lot of features for a very affordable price, which we’ll discuss next.
Pricing of SiteGround
When I was researching web hosting companies, SiteGround repeatedly came out as one of the best hosting companies out there. Not only is SiteGround a reliable web host, but their prices are super affordable. This is especially true since SiteGround almost always has discounted prices listed on their website.
At the time of this writing, SiteGround is offering a 60% discount on all their plans. This discounted price is usually available year-round. This makes the prices comparable to Hostgator’s discounted prices.
If you’re a blogger or small business owner, I recommend purchasing a plan via shared hosting. SiteGround’s shared hosting consists of three different plans: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. The discounted prices of these three plans are as follows:
- StartUp: $3.95/Month (Regular price is $9.95/Month)
- GrowBig: $5.95/Month (Regular price is $14.95/Month)
- GoGeek: $11.95/Month (Regular price is $29.95/Month)
If you’re just starting out, I recommend going with the GrowBig plan because it includes the SuperCacher tool for great speed. After you’ve crossed the 25,000 visits per a month threshold, you can then upgrade to the GoGeek plan.
If you prefer to go with the cheapest plan, the StartUp plan, you can always get a caching plugin from elsewhere. The best caching plugin I’ve come across is WP Rocket, which only has a one time fee of $39. I believe it’s a far superior choice than the SuperCacher tool that comes with SiteGround. Whichever plan you decide to get, just remember that having a caching plugin installed on your website is very important.
My Web-Hosting Migration Experience
Migrating my website from Hostgator to SiteGround was completely hassle-free. The best part is that SiteGround migrated my website for free. It only took a couple of hours for SiteGround to migrate my website from my old server to the new server.
The only information SiteGround needed to migrate my website from Hostgator to SiteGround was the username and password of my Hostgator cPanel account.
Once my website had been transferred, one of SiteGround’s tech support specialist let me know that the website file transfer had been completed. He also gave me directions on what to do next to complete the process.
He let me know that I still had to edit the hosts files to get my domain to point to SiteGround’s servers. This sounds a bit complicated at first, but don’t worry. The tech support specialist had directions that were easy to follow even if you aren’t tech savvy.
SiteGround’s tech support team was phenomenal throughout the migration process. The tech support team was their every step of the way. I never had to try to figure everything out by myself.
SiteGround’s tech support representatives were quick to reply to my support ticket. I didn’t have to wait for more than 1 to 2 hours before hearing back from them.
I’m pretty happy with my decision to switch from Hostgator to SiteGround. Through this migration process, I have discovered a new web hosting company that I can stand behind and recommend to my readers.
If you are planning to move away from your existing hosting company, you can’t go wrong by switching to SiteGround. If you want a website that is built for speed and security, SiteGround is for you.
The other features I mentioned above are also fantastic features to have, especially the free SSL certificate. An SSL certificate, as mentioned above, is a necessity if you want your website to rank higher in search engines.
It’s hard to find a web hosting company that is not only affordable, but over-delivers on its promises. With SiteGround, you don’t need to pay premium prices to get premium services.
Now that I’ve told you why I switched from Hostgator to SiteGround, it’s your turn. Which web hosting company do you use? And have you ever migrated your website from one web host to another? If so, how was your experience? Please let me know in the comments below.
Also, if you have any other questions about SiteGround, you can post them in the comments below. I would be more than happy to answer them. Plus, I am in love with SiteGround. From now on, you will be seeing a lot more blog posts mentioning SiteGround. Yes, SiteGround really is that awesome.
Anyway, if you’ve found this post to be helpful, please share it with your social media followers. I would greatly appreciate it and be forever thankful.