I could just get right into the numbers and raw parameters of this hosting platform, but before I do that, let’s take a moment to discuss what actually makes a quality e-commerce host and what to look for when choosing your perfect hosting plan.
- PCI compliance. This is something required by law if you intend to process any credit card data of your customers (which is the case for nearly all e-commerce stores).
- Dedicated IP address and an SSL certificate. A dedicated IP means that your site gets and exclusive address that’s not shared with anyone. Whereas an SSL authenticates your site on the web.
- Uptime / server tier. Quality data centers are classified as Tier 4. This means they guarantee that you’ll have less than 0.8 hours of downtime per year. Tier 1 is the lowest – nearly 30 hours of downtime per year.
- Good server specs. The more RAM the better. It will make your store quicker and improve the customer experience.
- Data center location. Get a server near your target audience’s geographical location.
- Good security mechanisms and policies. I won’t get into detail here, but the general idea is that your web host needs to have some security mechanisms and policies in place. The more they’re willing to share about this (either in their promotional materials or somewhere else), the better.
SiteGround e-commerce hosting review: in a nutshell
SiteGround provides a number of interesting hosting packages based on what e-commerce platform you want to use for your store, and how big you expect your business to grow.
- There’s standard WordPress hosting. This is the hosting package that SiteGround has built their reputation on top of. Easy to use, and has all the features you’d need for a standard WordPress site.
- There’s special WooCommerce hosting, which is a version of the standard WordPress hosting plan. (Remember, WooCommerce runs on WordPress.)
- There’s platform-specific Magento hosting. Magento is quite a big platform, but since it’s open source, you can theoretically install it on any web server. However, it will only perform well on hosting plans that are optimized to work specifically with Magento.
- There’s OpenCart hosting. For those of you who prefer a simple e-commerce solution, which OpenCart certainly is (see our review).
That being said, those are all shared hosting plans. Albeit they are of good quality, you’re still sharing your server space with other users, which might not be a preferred setup for some bigger, already established e-commerce stores. For entry-level hosting, though, and online stores that are just starting out, this type of hosting will serve you very well.
In case of advanced hosting setups, you might want to look into dedicated servers or cloud hosting. Still very reasonable prices, comparable to what the competition offers.
Features in SiteGround e-commerce hosting
Here’s what you get with SiteGround e-commerce hosting:
- Free PCI compliance depending on the plan you select.
- Free SSL certificate also depending on the plan you select.
- Up to 30GB of disk space on the server.
- Server configuration optimized for speed: RAID10, SAS HDD, MySQL on separate SSD, 24 CPU cores.
- Priority daily backups that include the storage of 30 copies and free manual restore.
- Priority support depending on the plan you select.
- Free domain name during sign-up.
- You can set up unlimited websites and MySQL databases.
- Can handle up to 100,000 visitors / month.
- Good security with power and hardware redundancy, server monitoring, SPAM prevention, anti-hack systems, and more.
- Data centers in Europe, United States, and Singapore.
Who’s SiteGround e-commerce hosting best suited for?
SiteGround really knows WordPress/WooCommerce and everything related to it. They have nicely optimized hosting environments that can handle a WooCommerce store of any scale.
However, when it comes to their other hosting plans – particularly for Magento or OpenCart – it seems that they are just standard shared hosting plans that are only cleverly advertised. When you select them, at some point you’re going to be redirected to either SiteGround’s normal shared hosting plans, or their WordPress hosting plans.
What this basically means is that you’re best off hosting your WooCommerce store with SiteGround, but taking your business elsewhere if you want to build your store on top of some other e-commerce platform.
Also, make sure to select the right plan, which won’t necessarily be the cheapest one they offer.
This actually brings me to:
SiteGround e-commerce hosting review: pricing
SiteGround has 3 main tiers when it comes to their entry-level hosting:
(The same pricing model goes for the Magento and OpenCart plans too.)
Now, the most sensible plan for an e-commerce store running on WooCommerce would be the top one – called GoGeek – $11.95 / month.
It’s the plan that gives you:
- free PCI compliance,
- free SSL certificate,
- comes with improved speed, security,
- and can handle up to 100,000 visitors / month.
The SiteGround team calls it their “semi dedicated” hosting. It’s because although it’s still a shared plan, there’s a limited number of users hosted on each server. Due to this, you get up to 4 times more server resources than customers on the lower tiers.
I know that the cheaper, $3.95 / month plan might be tempting, but it’s missing some crucial parameters. Particularly, the PCI compliance, the SSL, and the priority backups. In short, you won’t be able to launch a serious e-commerce store with it. That’s why I advise going for the GoGeek plan right out the gate.
How to set up SiteGround e-commerce hosting
The good thing about SiteGround is that you get access to not only their easy-to-use 1-click installation tools, but also a migration service for existing sites.
- So if you’re launching a new site, you can just sign up, pick your new domain (free with all SiteGround plans), use the 1-click installer for WordPress, add the WooCommerce plugin, and be all set in less than an hour.
- If you have an existing site that you want to move, just contact support, and SiteGround’s WordPress experts will take care of the migration, with no downtime for your website.
For more advanced users, you also get access to cPanel, where you can take care of all administrative tasks yourself.
Review conclusion – is SiteGround e-commerce hosting the right host for your e-commerce store?
Pros of SiteGround e-commerce hosting
Optimized to work with WordPress and WooCommerce. SiteGround has built their entire reputation by offering optimized WordPress hosting.
Easy site installation and site migration.
Good server parameters on the GoGeek plan.
Priority support. Good security mechanisms and policies. Plus, there are priority daily backups.
Good reputation throughout the WordPress space. People are generally happy with their SiteGround hosting accounts.
Cons of SiteGround e-commerce hosting
The Magento and OpenCart hosting plans seem to be no different than the standard shared hosting plans.
You get PCI compliance and an SSL certificate but only on the most expensive shared plan.