As a WooCommerce user, WooCommerce blogger and WooCommerce developer I often hear this question: “What’s the best hosting for WooCommerce?“.
Well, first and foremost, there is no “best” hosting for WooCommerce (and WordPress in general). There are so many choices out there that defining the “best” is impossible. Besides, if there were a “best” hosting platform, there would be only one hosting company left in business.
So, please accept the fact that:
- yes, there are many hosting companies out there that would be great for hosting a WooCommerce website
- no, there is not a “best” hosting for WooCommerce websites
- however, there is an “ideal” hosting, purely 100% related to your WooCommerce website specifications and personal experience
In my own case, based on my own WooCommerce website features, on the level of organic traffic I get, on the quality of support I require and on the features of the hosting I consider mandatory, SiteGround Web Hosting is my “ideal” choice.
I’ve been a very happy SiteGround user since August 21st, 2016 (on the GoGeek plan) and I believe SiteGround is absolutely perfect for my own WooCommerce websites.
In this article, I’d like to show you the reasons I use SiteGround for WooCommerce and also why I recommend many of my WooCommerce freelance clients to move to SiteGround if they’re having nightmares with their current hosting (but not ALL of them, remember what I said earlier?).
Table of Contents
- Free Website Transfer
- Free SSL
- One-click Caching
- Technical Support
- One-click Staging
- Immediate Plan Upgrade
- WordPress Auto-upgrade
- Backup and Restore
- PHP 7
- Price Point
- WooCommerce Ebook
- WordPress Community
Free Website Transfer
The biggest pain when moving from one hosting to another is transferring your website (or websites, even worse).
What caught my attention with SiteGround was a very smooth, fast and smart website transfer. In fact, SiteGround does not transfer your website immediately – instead, it clones it on your newly purchased server.
You can access this website from a temporary URL (such as ~18.104.22.168/your-site/wp-admin) while your current website stays live on your old hosting.
You can check if everything is working fine, check if there are frontend errors, and ONLY when you’re happy you can actually point your domain DNS to SiteGround’s nameservers and complete the transfer.
- The website transfer service is free for the first website (then, it’s €24/website, which is quite great)
- There is zero downtime: your SiteGround website will go live only when DNS resolves (until then, your website will still be running from the old hosting
- There is a 30 day Money Back Guarantee, no questions asked. If SiteGround clones your site and you’re not happy, they will return your investment immediately, and your current website won’t be affected by this
- The website transfer service is usually super fast. It doesn’t take more than a few hours on average, and sometimes it was done in 30 minutes
- You don’t even need to give SiteGround your website files and DB dump unless you want to proceed in that way. Simply share your current hosting control panel login/pwd and they’ll do the transfer for you
Another thing I wanted to save money on was the SSL certificate. I used to pay almost €200/year for a multisite SSL cert and some extra money to run this on exclusive IP addresses. Also, I experienced a very long and confusing set up process.
With SiteGround Let’s Encrypt integration, you can SSL all your websites for free, with a single click. There is really no excuse not to have your sites on HTTPS now that certificates are free, including non-WooCommerce websites.
Let’s not forget, the Let’s Encrypt certificate is absolutely fine for an ecommerce website. It’s PCI-compliant.
Also, all SiteGround shared/cloud servers support HTTP/2 and comes with new cool performance optimizations is your site is on HTTPS (basically, there is an immediate speed boost).
Finally, if you were wondering “Do I need to manually renew my Let’s Encrypt certificate every 90 days?“, well, a SiteGround Let’s Encrypt SSL will be renewed automatically before its expiration – a very nice feature.
SiteGround developed its own WordPress-compatible caching system. You can enable or disable it from your SiteGround cPanel.
The SuperCacher includes different caching options for maximum optimization of your website, including increasing the number of hits a site can handle and boosting the website loading speed. The main 3 options are:
1. The Static Cache caches all the static content of your website (CSS, JS, HTML, images, etc) so that your visitors can load this from the cache instead of the server whenever they come back to your website.
2. The Dynamic Cache is an extremely effective solution for dynamic WordPress websites: it caches the HTML output created by your PHP and serves it directly from the RAM, instead of recalculating each time.
3. The Memcached option caches the database queries into the RAM in order to speed up the website even further.
This is a nice feature to have, so that you don’t need to worry too much about setting up a caching plugin – SiteGround does all the hard work for you.
Also, this caching system is compatible with WooCommerce, in a way that it disables caching on the Cart, Checkout and My Account pages, which should never work under a caching environment.
I’m still in the process of finding some time to compare the performance of SuperCacher vs WPRocket and CometCache, the 3 most recommended caching systems for WooCommerce. So, I can’t definitely say SuperCacher is a good caching system just yet.
One of the biggest reasons I decided to move to SiteGround was the customer support.
I heard great things about SiteGround team, and definitely could not cope with my old hosting’s Monday-Friday customer support. What’s more, I could not stand the common “hire a developer to fix this” reply to my queries and the very long live chat wait.
So, I transferred my WordPress websites to SiteGround and things changed for the best.
First of all, you get 24/7 support, which is necessary once you start relying on your websites to make a living.
Besides, doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, you never have to wait more than 1 minute if using the live chat or a few minutes if waiting for a ticket reply. SiteGround team must be big to offer such fast turnaround (I just googled it: they’re 400 people at the moment).
But if this was not enough, SiteGround team is WordPress- and WooCommerce-savvy. They state that “aside from providing an easy and hassle-free WordPress installation and free migration, we also help you with popular WordPress plugins and templates, investigate and fix WordPress-related issues and requests that other hosts turn down as beyond their scope“.
And I can definitely say their customer support is indeed helpful (“I will login to your WordPress website and fix this for you“), proactive (“I noticed this error, you should look into doing X“), knowledgeable (“There was an error in your .htaccess file, we just fixed it“) and… human. They say: “Each time you get in touch with one of our representatives via our Support Center, you will be able to see their profile with technical background, years of experience, specific areas of expertise and interests. Putting the face behind the name and the title in the digital age makes communication more human – and ultimately far more pleasant“.
To me, WordPress support is worth many hundreds of euros per year. Yet, SiteGround includes this beauty with their hosting packages free of charge. Hat off to them.
Another thing I didn’t have on the old hosting was the staging feature. I cannot say this enough – if you have a WooCommerce website you MUST use staging, and it’s totally worth the extra money you’re required to invest to “unlock” this feature.
With the GoGeek plan, unlimited staging comes out of the box for all your WordPress/WooCommerce websites.
You can create a staging copy of a website, and even a staging copy of a staging copy if you really want to be cool, with a single click.
Updating, testing, customizing WooCommerce is soooooooo much easier now. When a few WordPress/WooCommerce updates are available for Business Bloomer website, I create a staging copy with one click, bulk update everything on the staging site within seconds, do a thorough test of homepage / cart / checkout and push the working staging site onto the live environment.
Immediate Plan Upgrade
The different shared hosting plans on SiteGround suit different people. The StartUp plan is for just one website, while the better ones give you unlimited installs.
Also, each plan has a recommended or maximum number of monthly website visits – the more hits you get the more you’ll need to pay. I’m on the GoGeek plan, which is perfect for now for all my websites. My total traffic is about 60-70,000 monthly users and being under the 100,000 monthly threshold allows me to stay within the criteria.
However, SiteGround will occasionally send you automated messages as soon as you reach your threshold. At that stage, you might want to upgrade to a more appropriate plan, including Cloud or Dedicated hosting.
The good news is that the upgrade is done almost immediately and there won’t be any website downtime. The same applies, I imagine, to downgrading.
In detail, if moving from Shared to Cloud, “due to the DNS changes in the next 72 hours some of the visitors for your website will access it on the old Shared account and some will access it on the new Cloud server. Once it completes, all visitors will see the website on the Cloud server“.
SiteGround control panel gives you the freedom to enable/disable automatic plugin updates. For WooCommerce, you really want to disable automatic plugin updates based on my experience.
Always update plugins manually, on a staging copy of your WooCommerce website.
The same applies to your WordPress theme and WordPress core – never update them from your live WooCommerce website dashboard. Create a staging copy, update, test the checkout, test again, maybe test again and only then “push” the updates to the live environment.
The problem with SiteGround is that WordPress Core is set to auto-update by default, no matter what PHP you write in the wp-config file.
You have to make sure to post a ticket to SiteGround support stating you want your site to be removed from WordPress Auto-Update system.
Not sure why this is not currently possible from SiteGround control panel, I don’t see the reason why this should not be an option if you can already opt-in/opt-out of plugin auto-updates from there.
Backup and Restore
First of all, SiteGround keeps in-house backups for all servers and accounts, and restore from such backups can be easily performed. It keeps them for a period of up to 30 days (shared) and 7 days (cloud).
Yes, technically you don’t need a backup WordPress plugin, as Siteground takes care of that (still, I recommend taking multiple backups via multiple methods, you never know).
You can restore the full account, just some files, a specific database and/or even emails! Pretty cool.
This out-of-the-box backup system is a great thing to have as if your files exceed 5GB, you can’t schedule or manually take your own backups, as this would cause disk space problems.
At SiteGround they know their stuff. They know WordPress is faster and better optimized on PHP 7 – they were one of the first companies to make the switch available.
What’s more, they have a PHP 7 testing tool where you can see if you WordPress website is compatible with it – and if not it will tell you which plugins / themes are creating fatal errors or warnings in case you do the switch. Switch that, by the way, can be done with a single click – including the downgrade.
The switch is immediate. Benefits are immediate (mostly, website speed).
On the other hand, if you’re installing a new website via the control panel right now, PHP 7 is the default version – just so you know.
SiteGround is not cheap – or is it? 🙂
In my opinion, SiteGround has one of the best price/quality ratio among all WordPress/WooCommerce hosting companies.
What’s more, the first year comes at a 50% discount for new users, which is an amazing offers.
By looking at SiteGround shared hosting plans, €23.95/month for the GoGeek plan, which comes with staging, unlimited sites, PCI compliant servers and other gems is not expensive. Running a WooCommerce website with 30 days backups, staging and better servers is a smart choice.
Comparing this to WPEngine, Flywheel and Cloudways (which would be the ones I’d consider for a WooCommerce website), I believe SiteGround offers the best at the right price.
I found it pretty interesting from an entrepreneur’s point of view, and contains hosting tips, tutorials and suggestions to set up an online store.
You can get the free ebook here.
These are the chapters:
- Choosing a fast and secure hosting environment
- Installing WooCommerce
- Selecting the proper theme for your site
- Setting up your payment methods
- Setting up your delivery methods
- Adding your products
- Setting up promotions, discounts and other extra features
- Adding additional protection for customer data
SiteGround are a very inclusive company, and often help organizing WordCamps thanks to their generous sponsorships. I’m sure they contribute to the community in other “silent” ways too 🙂
I think this is very important. All hosting companies get good and bad reviews as we WordPressers and WooCommercerers are all different people.
Different people like different products and have different experiences with the same product. This is how it should be.
SiteGround are just a bunch of very nice people. They look at being profitable, but they’re happy to share their earnings to contribute to WordPress events and speaking around the globe.
They sell a very nice product, and the technical support is worthless. At least, this is what I’ve experienced myself.
Either way, go select a strong hosting platform and go launch your WooCommerce website fast. Hosting is just the beginning 🙂