After moving my own websites to SiteGround a few years ago and encouraging a few clients in the same direction, it has been very disappointing to discover that SiteGround have massively increased their prices on their shared hosting (and possibly other services).
The price of the SiteGround "GrowBig" plan, for example, has increased from AU$178.20 last year to AU$299.40 - a 68% price increase.
Unfortunately, SiteGround don't show GST inclusive pricing (in contravention of the Australian component pricing laws). Once GST is added, the GrowBig plan actually changes from AU$178.20 (what I paid last year) to AU$329.34 which is a massive 85% price increase.
This is a separate issue to SiteGround's deceptively low introductory prices (which revert to the full price when plans are renewed after the first year).
As far as I am aware there has been no blog post or other announcement and the first clients usually become aware of the price increase is when they receive their renewal notice four weeks before their hosting expires. This does not leave budget conscious customers much time to find an alternative host and also burdens them with the cost of the move if they choose to go elsewhere.
The official explanation seems to be that many new features have been added and the increase brings them to similar value for money as their competitors. I don't dispute any of this but surely new features could have been added as an option rather than forcing the features and resultant price increase on clients who may not need or use the new features? I suspect SiteGround have done their homework and many clients will grudgingly pay the increased price rather than work out how to move their business elsewhere as this does not seem like a trivial task to most clients (although it is usually fairly easy to do).
When searching for an alternative to the SiteGround "GrowBig" plan (which includes dynamic cache), the two most promising alternative hosting plans with a Singapore data center option are:
- FastComet "SpeedUp" plan @ US$143.40 (annually billed)
- A2 Hosting "Turbo" Plan @ US$251.88 (annually billed)
The FastComet plan looks promising. They have a 14 Day Free Trial (no credit card required) and a free virus and malware removal service. Like SiteGround, the price reduces if you sign up for more than one year.
The other option which might suit some of my Australian clients is to bring the websites home to Zuver or VentraIP and enable a CDN such as CloudFlare or similar. Another option to speed up websites and that works with the relatively new VentraIP "Starter", "Freedom" and "Premier" shared hosting plans is to install the free Joomla 3.x LiteSpeed Cache extension released in May 2018. This improves performance significantly so website visitors across the globe are still able to load web pages quickly even when they are hosted in Australia. For more information see: LiteSpeed Cache for Joomla. The VentraIP "Starter" plan @ AU$83.40/year with LiteSpeed Cache enabled performs as well as, and is a quarter of the cost of, the SiteGround "Growbig" plan @ AU$329.34/year with Dynamic Cache enabled.
I don't mind paying a little extra for a premium product and good service but the SiteGround "GrowBig" Plan @ AU$329.34/year costs more than nine times the Zuver "Web Hosting" Plan @ AU$36/year which is sufficient for many of my clients.
Although SiteGround don't seem to have made any official announcement, they are very quick to answer any complaints on social media including the post I made on the Webilicious Facebook Page (which only has about 100 followers!) and also a post I submitted to the Whirlpool Forums.
Clients who are still hosting their websites with SiteGround should check their renewal dates and plan accordingly.
Renewal notices are sent out 30 days in advance of renewal but credit cards are billed two weeks before the renewal date if you have Autorenew enabled. If you need a little more time to move the website, you can disable Autorenew by logging in to the hosting control panel and going to Billing -> Billing Settings:
Move My Website to a Better Web Hosting Company
Moving a website to a new web host typically takes a couple of hours or around $176 and includes:
- backing up the current website
- finding the most suitable web hosting company for your particular website within your budget
- purchasing a new web hosting plan on your behalf
- restoring the website to the new web host
- updating the domain name to point to the new host
- forwarding any orphaned emails on the old host to the new host
- optionally moving your domain name to the new service provider
Note that you will be moving to a better web hosting company and for most of my clients this is often a cheaper web hosting company so that the cost of the move is soon recovered.
Contact me to enquire about moving web hosts.