OUR SITEGROUND CLOUD HOSTING REVIEW
SiteGround started web hosting back in 2004 by a couple of University Students. Much has happened in the proceeding 10+ years, and they are now known for “Premium” hosting with specialisms in WordPress and Joomla. For more about the history of SiteGround, and the company generally please see our main Shared Hosting Review.
Their Cloud \ VPS hosting has recently been upgraded \ refreshed (January 2015) and is somewhat different to the old plans. One of the most notable differences is that their SuperCacher (we will talk more about this later) that provides dynamic Nginx + Memcached caching is now included as standard, and storage is full SSD.
VPS Hosting Plans
Whilst SiteGround offer 4 preset plans, you can actually fully customize how many CPU Cores, RAM and SSD Storage that you want. This can actually save you a few dollars, but also allow you to scale up for a little extra power at minimal cost.
Our site for example runs on 3 Cores, 4GB RAM and 30GB Storage. The ability to get the resources that we not only need, but “want” without feeling that we are paying for stuff we don’t is quite a nice feeling.
Probably the best thing about the Cloud is that you can configure it to auto scale upon set criteria. This is particularly useful if you are expecting an increase in traffic or that you just want to make sure your site is always online.
We cover this in a little more detail in our separate article about the feature, but you can see below from the screenshot just how easy it is to configure:
As you can see, you can set at percentage resource usage will trigger an increase, and the maximum increase in resource allowance to be increased to. The pricing is clear cut, and you can downgrade the following month should you choose.
|Plan||Core(s)||RAM||Space||Transfer||OS||Control Panel(s)||IP(s)||Root Access||Managed||Price|
|Entry||1||2 GB||20 GB||5TB||Linux||cPanel \ WHM||2||No||Managed||$60.00|
|Business||2||2 GB||40 GB||5TB||Linux||cPanel \ WHM||2||No||Managed||$80.00|
|Business Plus||2||3 GB||60 GB||5TB||Linux||cPanel \ WHM||2||No||Managed||$100.00|
|Enterprise||4||4 GB||80 GB||5TB||Linux||cPanel \ WHM||2||No||Managed||$140.00|
HHVM – The Game Changer
HHVM is a technology that uses a “just-in-time” compilation approach to significantly improve the speed of handling PHP scripts, thus making dynamic websites such as WordPress or Joomla or any CMS signficantly faster… not by just a little either, but by a mile.
HHVM is the technology developed and used by Facebook, and is taking the hosting industry by storm… Unfortunately, the implementation has been very limited up until now, with only the top tier Managed Hosting Companies and a select few others even offering it, and even then only on dedicated enterprise solutions costing $400+ per month.
So, when we heard about SiteGround using HHVM on their Cloud (20th May 2015) we got a little excited, because this site is already using the service. Unfortunately, the technology has not quite rolled out to existing Cloud plans, but all new accounts will have immediate access to the technology. As soon as we get to try it out we will definitely be providing a little more detail on how great it is.
You will see to the right though a speed test done by Metal Toad, and you can see that Drupal runs significantly faster.
The Cloud VPS has everything that you would find in their powerful developer centric GoGeek Shared Hosting plan. This includes:
- WordPress & Joomla Toolkits – Automate simple tasks such as resetting admin passwords, fixing file permission issues, changing your domain, or just deleting the installation. All these issues can literally be done in one click. You can read more about the Toolkits here.
- SuperCacher – Includes VNginx and Memcached to cache not only static files, but PHP and database queries. Unlike W3 Total Cache that can be used to cache such things, SiteGround caches it to RAM making it much faster than even SSD hosting (which the Cloud also includes!). More information on the Supercacher can be found here.
- Developer Features – This is probably one of the things that make SiteGround such good value. These are very powerful features that include Site Staging, WP-CLI, Drush integration (command line interface for Drupal) and Git integration. Again, we have covered these in depth here.
- Cloudflare Railgun – This is one of our favorite things right now, and is particularly effective for caching the uncacheable. What we mean is that certain sites are not cached very well, such as HTTPS, or Ecommerce sites. What Cloudflare Railgun does is cache the page in its edge servers, and then only retrieve changes. This means that pages that would not normally be cached, now are. We use Railgun on this site with great results.
- HVVM – As Discussed Above
WHM + cPanel Control Panel
With their Cloud Plan you get both WHM and cPanel. This allows you to have separate cPanel accounts for all your different sites, much like you would with a Reseller account.
There are a few downsides to a fully managed Cloud, and especially so with SiteGround. Quite a lot of the WHM functionality has been disabled so things like the backup file restore functionality is gone, as has many of the other admin configuration settings. You can of course create accounts, define packages and such.
That being said, this means it is very hard to break anything, and as the Cloud is full optimized straight out the box you shouldn’t need to anyway.
In addition, you cannot change any configurations via Root either as no access is given.
That being said, if you need minor tweaks to things like php timeouts or anything like that, they are more than happy to make the changes for you. For any larger changes you will have to pay a premium, but they are happy to help.
We have firmly put our money where our mouth is. How could we give a hosting provider a full 10 out of 10 across the board without using them ourselves? Well we couldn’t… we host this site with SiteGround for a reason.
It is great to know someone has our back, and that if there is a problem a response is forthcoming in minutes.
We have put our money where our mouth is […] we host this site with SiteGround.
But quite frankly with their Nginx + Memcache Supercacher technology, Cloudflare Railgun, and now HHVM
You would be absolutely crazy to go with a third party generic VPS installation just to save a few dollars. This Cloud Hosting is worth every cent.