SiteGround / WPX Hosting Comparison
Known as one of the most popular and flexible WordPress hosting solutions, how will SiteGround’s shared, cost-effective hosting fare against the all-in-one managed WordPress host, WPX Hosting?
SiteGround was established in 2004 by Ivo Tzenov and a team of university friends; since then the company has worked its way up to one of the top spots in hosting world-wide. With their humble beginnings in the dorm rooms and only a handful of staff, SiteGround now employs well over 400 people, along with new CEO Tenko Nikolov, and is still growing.
Today, SiteGround processes thousands of customers requests every day and now hosts over half a million domains. With data centres spread out across the UK, USA, central Europe, and even Singapore, SiteGround has a wide reach from their HQ in Sofia, Bulgaria to meet the demands of customers across the globe.
WPX Hosting was founded by Terry Kyle, a web entrepreneur and hosting veteran who wanted to establish a hosting company that employed the best aspects of hosting service from across the business. Originally known as Traffic Planet Hosting, WPX Hosting has evolved rapidly since its inception and still offers web entrepreneurs the most stable, reliable, and fastest WordPress sites online.
Co-hosted from in the Lakeside Datacenter in Chicago, (with new servers in London) and headed from Sofia, Bulgaria, WPX Hosting has maintained a top-quality record in both high-speed hosting and steadfast uptime and is one of the most up-to-date managed WordPress hosting platforms online. They work together with the local Dana Foundation to provide better living conditions for stray dogs and cats in the city of Sofia. Eventually, they hope to establish a haven for strays to live permanently and to keep them off the streets.
In this in-depth comparison, two of the highest-rated companies will face head-on from their home turf in Sofia, Bulgaria. We’ll compare the two on a number of practical factors to determine the superior WordPress hosting solution.
SiteGround offers 3 plans for their WordPress hosting; StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek.
Like other companies, SiteGround prioritises their half-priced introductory rates over the actual monthly prices. SiteGround’s StartUp plan costs €7.95/monthly (or $3.95), GrowBig costs €12.95/monthly (or $7.95), and their GoGeek plan comes to €23.95 per month (or $14.95).
Examining their StartUp plan, SiteGround offers one website, 10GB online storage, 10k monthly visits, “Unmetered” Bandwidth, Email, SSD storage, one free CDN, HTTP/2 servers, spam protection, 24/7 support, one SSL Certificate, 30-Day money-back guarantee, and 1 Free Backup Copy.
This is quite a generous number of features for almost €8 per month and SiteGround offer services that few others, aside from WPX, have offered; SSLs and HTTP/2!
SiteGround’s pricing is comparable to hosting providers like GoDaddy and HostGator, with monthly rates for their lowest plan starting below the €10 mark.
The big difference however, is the quality of service people have come to expect from SiteGround. As seen in my earlier reviews, these low rates were reflective of rather sub-standard hosting and poor support – which thankfully is not quite the case this time around.
I must say however, that the 50% reduction for newcomers, while generous, is still quite misleading. When SiteGround’s hosting is advertised online it is usually displayed as the discounted price, leading people to expect such low costs from that point onwards.
Another unpleasant surprise is the apparent $14.95 ‘Set-up’ fee placed on monthly plans. For customers opting for a monthly subscription, this mandatory fee comes as an unwelcome surprise and catches many new customers completely off-guard.
Overall, SiteGround’s pricing is certainly reasonable and their hosting is targeted at budget level and for those new to web hosting. In previous reviews, such low-cost hosting rang of trouble but SiteGround have so far proven to be a far more reliable hosting provider.
The downside to SiteGround’s hosting prices are the middle and last tier; the GrowBig and GoGeek plans are not as feature-rich as they ought to for the higher asking price. Many reviewers stated that they felt the GrowBig and GoGeek plans did not take them as far as they desired and as a result were left feeling quite underwhelmed.
In comparison, WPX Hosting is a more ‘premium’ hosting service; they mainly cater to independent and start-up businesses as well as ‘solopreneurs’. Their hosting is certainly more expensive but comes brimming with features and free services in exchange.
WPX Hosting offers a Business plan at $24.99/monthly, a Professional plan at $49.99/monthly, and an Elite plan for $99/monthly.
With WPX Hosting’s Business plan, you get 5 sites, 24/7 Live Chat support, free site migration, 10GB storage, SSD, 50GB bandwidth, unlimited free SSL Certificates, complete site security, daily backups, free email included, staging feature, manual backup tool, daily malware scanning and removal tools, HTTP/2, and a 30-Day money-back guarantee. All this for $24.99/monthly.
No other hosting company offers such an array of free features, even on their highest plans. WPX’s annual plans save more money, which does ultimately reduce costs quite a bit. Understandably, their pricing can be a bit much for some.
There are some similar features on offer from both WPX and SiteGround, which we shall discuss in the next section. For now, I am somewhat stuck in choosing a winner.
SiteGround’s prices are indeed more favourable (albeit misleading) but the price for their middle and last plans are hard to justify for the limited allowances and features.
WPX Hosting’s prices are higher but with a wealth of features not found anywhere else and higher allowances overall. I will have to leave this one at a tie, perhaps leaning more towards the abundance of WPX’s hosting.
SSL Certificates are thankfully available from both WPX Hosting and SiteGround. A free Let’s Encrypt SSL is only available on the StartUp plan from SiteGround, and with only one site given, we can gather that SiteGround only give one SSL too.
As is the case with many hosting companies, Wildcard SSL and EV SSL are available for purchase on higher plans. A Wildcard SSL will set you back €55/annually and an EV SSL will cost a whopping €390 per year!
WPX Hosting on the other hand offers multiple sites even on their lowest plan, so thankfully they provide unlimited and free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates. This allows users to assign SSL Certificates to any number of their WPX sites, up to 15 on Professional and up to 35 on Elite.
One of SiteGround’s additional benefits is that users get a free Cloudflare CDN that boots site performance and speed. While WPX Hosting do offer the similar MaxCDN, it’s one of the very few services not included for free with their hosting.
As well as this, SiteGround provide their own SuperCacher tool to optimise webpage speed as a premium tool. This is one of SiteGround’s few in-house features, though it has a limited use and is not available on their StartUp plan.
Migrations are free with WPX and their technical support teams handle all the work themselves, though SiteGround only provide one free website transfer. Should users wish to perform the migration manually, SiteGround provide a Setup Wizard guide on their site.
Managed WordPress hosting seems to be the name of the game as both companies provide automatic updates and easy, one-click WordPress installs.
Unlike WPX Hosting however, SiteGround uses cPanel and allows for the control of email, Cron jobs, and their Softaculous auto-installer from the main control panel. cPanel is favoured by some for its extensive documentation and support available online. Though functional, it is rather archaic and could do with streamlining.
For a more efficient, if slightly more confined experience, WPX Hosting uses their own custom control panel. Using their modified control panel grants the same functionality as cPanel only with a focus on WPX-specific features.
Security is a serious issue and for me; it can be a deal breaker when searching for a hosting provider. One of WPX Hosting’s biggest strengths so far has been their extensive (and free) security coverage.
They employ Enterprise-level DDoS Protection as well as a daily malware-scanning tool. Recently, they even upgraded their security service to include free malware removal – something unheard of from other hosting providers.
WPX make daily backups of all websites stored for 28 days which can be retrieved at customers’ convenience. Their Backup Manager tool allows customers to take control and make and restore backups as they wish.
Should things go wrong, having a safety net in place with backup services is vital. SiteGround provide only 1 free backup on the StartUp plan, compared to WPX Hosting’s free daily backups across all plans.
These backups, along with WPX Hosting’s extensive malware prevention tools, afford users a lot of safety and there have been no negative words said against their security service.
SiteGround do unfortunately disappoint this time around; they have no in-house security features or built-in malware scanning service. SiteGround advertise a HackAlert Monitoring service for an extra $1/month for malware scanning. There is no malware removal service either.
It’s disappointing that SiteGround have no security solutions themselves and rely on outside sources; they employ the third-party Sucuri service (now owned by GoDaddy) in place of their own. This security package lays an additional $199 on your annual bill.
According to some customers, this Sucuri service was not always in place and as one review said: “there was no disease before the cure”. Strangely, customers have only begun to have security issues after the introduction of the Sucuri service, claiming that there were little to no problems with security beforehand.
Starting off, I thought the competition would be much closer but sadly SiteGround have fallen behind with their lack of in-house solutions and services. Relying too much on outside help, SiteGround have even lost some of the trust they had from their customers prior to introducing Sucuri.
With extensive security protection and free services across the board, WPX Hosting is, as usual, a clear winner in this category.
SiteGround presents potential customers with a variety of hosting options; web hosting, cloud hosting, and of course WordPress hosting. While I cannot go into any details on their non-WordPress hosting options, the array of services on offer are indeed user-friendly.
Their WordPress hosting comes with numerous developer features for the more tech-savvy users; FTP, MySQL (with limited databases), Perl, and support for Python too.
One of their most valuable features is arguably their staging function. This allows users to perform some refurbishment on a sample of their website – a rehearsal version. If changes look good, then these changes can be applied to the actual site.
Sadly, this feature is only available on their highest (GoGeek) plan.
WPX Hosting have recently introduced a staging feature, adding to their generous array of features. WPX also support developer-friendly tools like Python, Perl, and FTP.
As managed WordPress hosts, SiteGround and WPX Hosting will automatically update your WordPress and other essential systems. The breadth and depth of their support, as well as their SSD servers, will keep your website up and running quickly and smoothly.
Technical issues are dealt with by the companies’ experts, giving customers a more relaxing and hands-off experience with their site; this proves that managed WordPress hosting remains the superior hosting choice.
As mentioned earlier, WPX Hosting perform managed website migrations for free, though SiteGround only perform one free managed migration. While this is considered standard practice, free migrations should not be ignored as a valuable benefit.
The Knowledge base sections of both hosts are detailed and extensive, covering a wide array of subjects with clear information and even videos. Both feature a search bar which makes finding your answers that much easier.
Lastly, both companies employ HTTP/2 on their servers. This provides faster and more efficient bandwidth use and provides customers a more swift and easy online experience. That said, tests have shown that WPX Hosting’s servers are more ‘HTTP/2 ready’ than SiteGround’s.
Overall, SiteGround and WPX Hosting both fare well in this category and clearly place a lot of importance on customer satisfaction and ease of use. WPX Hosting has perhaps the most hands-free take on managed WordPress hosting, which makes things so much easier for customers.
SiteGround similarly wins points here for ease of use and managed hosting, but not all is well with their customer service, which we shall get to momentarily.
WPX Hosting edges out SiteGround here when it comes to ease of use but the two are certainly close.
SiteGround has a grand total of 5 datacentres around the world with power and hardware redundancy. SiteGround’s network coverage ranges from Chicago to London, Amsterdam, Milan, and Singapore too! With such a broad reach, SiteGround can provide a fast and reliable network to many countries spread across the world.
WPX Hosting uses the world’s largest datacentre in Chicago to provide extremely fast hosting services to their worldwide customers. Chicago’s Lakeside Datacenter is one of the most secure and reliable server centres on Earth and it’s no wonder that WPX Hosting has been able to maintain their reliability and speed record against so many other hosts.
Back in June 2017, WPX Hosting also launched a new datacentre in London to better serve their European customer base. This extends their high-speed hosting even further afield and WPX Hosting will be opening new datacentres in other parts of the world soon. Their next destination is Australia.
Both companies have reliable and fully backed-up server centres. Unlike some of the other hosts we’ve looked at before, WPX Hosting and SiteGround maintain responsible use of their servers by not overpopulating or renting them from other parties.
Server ownership is taken, both in times of success and failure.
SiteGround includes a free CDN to further improve site performance. They also have developed an isolated server setup, like how a Virtual Private Server works. Meaning that sites are virtually isolated from one another, even when placed within the same server. This helps to prevent cross-site infection within a server filled with different websites.
SiteGround’s list of in-house features is both a benefit and a drawback. Although SiteGround thankfully rely on some internal, self-made solutions, the sheer number of additional products mean that customers are going to be spending frequently.
Like GoDaddy and Liquid Web before, who both heavily relied on upselling and piece-meal services, SiteGround also stores an assortment of extra purchases; SPAM Experts, and SpamAssassin, among others.
This is where SiteGround’s user-friendliness retires as most of their remaining (possibly more essential) features are hidden behind pay walls and require higher hosting plans to access.
Backup services are limited to only 1 website copy on the first plan, which increase dramatically to 30 on higher plans. The Basic (excluding StartUp) and Premium (GoGeek only) Backup and Restore services are not available for starters and could be less complicated for them too.
The actual number of backups available is also quite complicated. SiteGround’s definitions have caused some confusion and their Backup and Restore service could be improved, from their customers’ perspective, by having a daily limit, rather than their one-at-a-time system.
Although SiteGround have provided many free features thus far, it is debateable whether some of their freebies are necessary. Their less essential features are available first and the more important services, like backups, are blocked behind pay walls. While this makes business sense, it is not terrific news for customers.
WPX Hosting on the other hand, boasts the widest collection of free features and does not withhold anything exclusively behind pay walls, aside from a CDN and the standard extension of allowances for bandwidth and disk space.
WPX Hosting provides many free services intended to bolster their already reliable hosting with extras like Malware scanning and removal tools, which run daily, 28-day backup and restore services, Enterprise-level DDoS Protection, as well as the free WHOIS Privacy that comes bundled with their domains.
These features are intended to give customers an advantage but also to improve the safety of their sites, creating a sort of herd immunity. This could be a contributing factor to WPX’s reliable and secure network – having only suffered one minor instance of downtime near the launch of their service.
By providing valuable and free services, WPX Hosting has also helped stabilise their collective hosting community with features designed to emphasise security, privacy, and effective network utility.
For the reasons above, I think WPX Hosting has taken this round with SiteGround very close behind, thanks to their many datacentres, free CDN, and good server practise. WPX Hosting edges out over SiteGround, mainly down to their abundance of free and valuable features. There aren’t any free services given as ‘tokens’ by WPX, which I feel some of SiteGround’s may just be.
As I mentioned before, SiteGround and WPX Hosting both use very reliable datacentres. Not only is their server infrastructure great, they handle them responsibly and neither company has suffered much downtime as a result.
SiteGround have only had about 12 outages in 2016 and a small few so far in 2017. Their servers are not overpopulated, unlike some other WordPress hosts we’ve assessed so far (particularly HostGator, Bluehost, and GoDaddy), meaning that they’re using their 5 datacentres appropriately and not cutting corners.
When downtime does occur, SiteGround’s technicians and support staff have acted quickly and professionally to resolve the crash. This level of care is uncommon for low-cost hosting providers like SiteGround – they are the exception.
SiteGround also employ their unique server isolation system to lock down vulnerable accounts before situations get out of control and customers’ sites are knocked offline. This has helped prevent many disasters no doubt.
This hasn’t stopped SiteGround from eliminating downtime completely however, as they have had enough incidents of downtime to annoy numerous customers over the years. Considering the competition however, SiteGround could do a lot worse.
WPX Hosting have had little to no downtime and employ professional, technical experts to monitor their network and servers. The Lakeside Datacenter, being one of the largest and most relied-upon server centres in the world, takes great care to ensure steadfast uptime.
With their servers safe in Chicago and now in London too, downtime has been a non-issue for WPX customers.
Both companies are outfitted for HTTP/2, the latest and most efficient web protocol, and benefit from its increased speed and efficiency. According to tests, WPX Hosting’s network is more “HTTP/2 ready” than SiteGround, giving WPX another close victory.
SiteGround like to boast about their customer care statistics, claiming to handle thousands of tickets, chat requests and over 800 phone calls in an average day!
SiteGround do have reportedly fast response times and their customer services operates 24/7 (as is the standard now). They also use their ticket system to assign customer cases to relevant agents, based on their skill level and area of expertise.
Customers can rate their conversations with support members and SiteGround have quite a good customer care ‘culture’. They have monthly customer care champions and seem to promote their staff as approachable, with agent profiles and portraits. Unusual for a hosting company, SiteGround place their staff front and centre, which is a positive example for the industry.
Similarly, WPX Hosting feature 24-hour customer support every day of the year and have very fast response times thanks to dedicated support agents. One missing feature however, is telephone support.
Possibly the most crucial element of their support however, is that both companies employ local support agents. Unlike many other hosting providers (typically US-based) who outsource their support, WPX Hosting and SiteGround maintain good relations with their customers thanks to their trained, on-site agents.
Locally-sourced support staff allow WPX Hosting and SiteGround to monitor their customer relations in real time, responding to specific issues appropriately and with on-site experts. Apart from maintaining a closer working relationship between departments, employing local agents for customer support also benefits local employment and industry.
Outsourced customer support teams are repeatedly the bane of the customer experience, so it should not be understated how beneficial it is to speak with local, on-site customer support agents.
Local support teams have not excluded SiteGround from complaints however, their online customer reviews are as diverse as they are plentiful. Despite the many positive reviews, plenty of customer feedback reports also state some distaste for their tech support dealings.
When it comes to customer support however, both WPX and SiteGround outshine their competitors. Although SiteGround operates a larger customer care machine, they have had more frustration and complaints levelled at them. WPX Hosting, with a smaller assembly, maintains strong reviews and much positive feedback.
With such a close tie, I will leave it up to you to determine which company succeeds here.
Considering SiteGround’s professional and generally well-liked customer support, one controversy arises. SiteGround’s positive Live Chat reviews are apparently sent to a third-party reviewing site, while negative reviews are not sent anywhere!
Much criticism has arisen in response to SiteGround’s cherry-picked reviews and external customer review websites will shine light on this practise.
Negative complaints have also been levelled at SiteGround’s telephone support system; as a Bulgarian company, customer care agents’ native tongue is not English. While this is understandable, it may occasionally present a problem. This may also explain why WPX Hosting, another Bulgarian based company, does not feature telephone support [This may be a smart move on their part].
SiteGround’s low account limits (site visitors and disk space) are rather restrictive and many customers have complained about this and their low CPU limits as well. SiteGround customers are frequently knocking their heads on these tight restrictions – 10 GB space and 10,000 visitors makes quite a low ceiling.
These account boundaries are indeed limited when compared to other hosting providers. Customer feedback has mainly focused on these restrictions but another pressing concern for many is SiteGround’s refund policy.
Customers have had poor refund experiences and their complaints highlight a lack of proper billing support or resolution. Monthly billing presents more problems; if a customer does not call to renew their monthly subscription themselves, they will be charged for 1 year!
SiteGround’s hosting plans feature ‘favourable’ introductory rates and may mislead new customers about the actual monthly or annual costs. Such pricing tactics are common amongst lower-cost providers; which is strange when considering that their rates are low anyway!
Apart from their awkward payment methods and lack of structure, SiteGround’s low hosting prices are viewed favourably and they generally rank quite high. This popularity rightly comes because of providing lower-cost hosting while still supplying enough free features and a considerably more effective customer support system to boot.
WPX Hosting have been praised for their transparent pricing, their responsive customer support, and the breadth of services they provide with their hosting plans. Customers seldom suffer the kind of security issues common to other hosts and this is down to WPX Hosting’s serious and in-house approach to customer security.
As well as their daily malware scanning service, WPX features enterprise-level DDoS Protection which helps to keep customers safe from the most vicious online attacks.
Their Malware Removal service goes even further to keeping clients safe and helping them to save their website should it fall victim to malware. This service is not offered for free with any other hosting provider and most of their customers are required to seek help outside of the company, from third-party security companies.
This recent addition to WPX’s plethora of free features highlights the value they place on security and safety; their malware and DDoS protection, as well as their WHOIS Privacy promotes web safety and contributes to their server’s ‘herd immunity’, so to speak.
Searching for negative customer feedback was difficult and listing reviews from lowest to highest brought up this:
Granted WPX Hosting does not have as large a customer base as SiteGround, they have received little to no criticism.
Although their hosting options may not be as flexible as others’, WPX’s dedication to customer site security and solid uptime has given them the reputation of one of the most secure and up-to-date hosting companies around.
SiteGround and WPX Hosting share a similar reputation for professionalism and reliability but SiteGround’s poor customer relations and refund issues have undermined them.
If SiteGround had more consistent customer satisfaction, and handled the finances of their customers better, SiteGround would certainly be a contender as one of the best WordPress hosting companies online.
Once again, WPX Hosting has come out on top in this comparison – their leading factors being their consistency in reputation, quantity of free features, and professional customer relations.
SiteGround are certainly the best choice when compared with other low-cost hosting providers like GoDaddy, HostGator, and Bluehost and are far ahead in terms of dedication to customer care. With that said, they still don’t quite compete with WPX Hosting’s strengths and features.