See the new support limitations at SiteGround and why you may want to rethink your hosting there.
Incremental Support Changes
For all of 2020 I’ve been seeing changes to SiteGround’s support.
That includes changes to their site’s interface that actually make it hard to find where to get support.
There’s nothing even in their top-level menu for it on their new interface.
While working with clients on their European servers, there was only chat available for support – no call-in number at all.
And now I’m not seeing a call-in number on the U.S. servers either.
Drop of WordPress Support
SiteGround built their business into what it is by advertising that it was great for WordPress users.
Not only did they advertise servers that were tweaked for the best WordPress speed, they also finally got super call-in support that could handle most host and WordPress questions.
In fact, that WP support is why their name was so often mentioned in blogger groups when someone asked for the best host to use.
Well, that’s changed.
While working with a recent client, I needed to contact support for something and saw this new page on the newer interface, which described the limit of what they now covered in support.
The Scope of Our Support
We would like to remind you that SiteGround supports you with service issues regarding the availability of our hosting services and the proper functioning of our tools. Inquiries related to application setup, problematic code and database queries, among others are not within our scope of support.
We have streamlined the support process to increase the problem resolution efficiency and give priority to the following:
If your site, email or domain name is not working.
Malfunctioning of our tools and interfaces
Bugs in our tools that prevent you from using our hosting as intended.
If you believe that you have an issue that falls in one of these categories, click here to proceed.
For all other issues, we recommend the following:
If your site is having a problem after a change you have made, please use backup recovery.
If you need information on how to use our tools, please start by checking our extensive Knowledge base. We have step by step tutorials that will help effectively.
If you have a problem with your WordPress site, such as plugin incompatibility, application settings, slow performance (usually due to slow queries or too many plugins), or similar, it is best if you contact a professional developer.
Please note that if the reported issue is not a result of a malfunction in our systems, we may not be able to help with it.
Conflict with being a pseudo managed host provider
Back in May 2019, I wrote an article about SiteGround becoming a pseudo managed host provider.
They’ve always had a goofy setup.
And they began inserting themselves between the site owner and WordPress more and more to the point that site owners literally did not have full control over updates, Site Health Checks, HTTPS, and more.
SiteGround finally realized the high liability of those auto updates just prior to WP 5.0 rolling out with the new Gutenberg editor.
On the other hand, lack of updates is the number one way sites get hacked. And that puts the server and all other sites on the server at risk.
So, they have maintained their auto update service for that reason alone.
Hard limits and entanglement
Plus, SiteGround has super hard resource use ceilings yet they no longer give you access to full reports on resource usage.
And their caching/optimization revamp was a direct rip off of WP Rocket shortly after they worked directly with the WP Rocket folks to help that plugin work on their goofy setup without jumping through so many extra hoops.
This is exactly why I started offering migration services, to help clients detangle from all of that SiteGround goofery so that they can more easily move to better hosting. And then I clean up the 30 pieces of SiteGround junk that comes over in the migration too.
Who is responsible for support, and on what?
But, some WordPress site owners enjoyed the fact that SiteGround was doing so much for them, or at least giving them an easy to use interface for doing it themselves.
And this is where the problem lies.
SiteGround set themselves up as the place for non-techie WordPress site owners to host.
They were fine with site owners calling support for anything, including WP issues.
And now they have cut that support off.
And I have to wonder what kind of gray area they have placed their clients in with this, considering so many WP related services are reliant on their interface to work.
I think existing clients are in for a super rude awakening the next time they contact the host for help and can’t get it.
This is where a DIY site ownership education pays
My site audit clients rarely to never need to call the host for anything.
And when they do, it is for a hosting issue, not a WordPress issue.
None of them are techies, and all of them can handle their site, including any issues that crop up.
Plus, if they do run into an odd issue, they have a private Facebook group to ask questions that is full of folks who’ve been through the same education they have.
You can’t get that in other blogger Facebook groups when who knows who is replying and giving super bad advice.
And asking in that group first saves them asking a host that is not qualified to resolve a WordPress issue, or something in their security outside the site, like Cloudflare.
I make a pretty good living cleaning up after unqualified folks taking a whack at such things.
High priced boutique hosting or monthly maintenance
If you are not an educated site audit client and you do want to pick up the phone and have someone answer every little question and/or just take care of it for you, then you need to put a dollar value on that and pony up for paying for higher priced boutique hosting that does have qualified WP staff on hand, or paying for monthly site maintenance.
My site audit clients chose to save that money and learn how to do what they can easily do themselves as a non-tech.
Their sites are clean, fast, and secure and they know how to keep it that way. So they don’t need to hire a tech to fix stuff all the time either.
My opinion of SiteGround just dropped even more
I have never been a big fan of SiteGround.
For years their first tier support was horrible.
Their second tier support was good, but only after you had 4-5 touches on the ticket to help them understand what you were trying to do.
Their goofy setup has just kept getting goofier.
They have dropped cPanel in favor of a new custom control panel that they built. And honestly, I rather poke forks in my eyes than work in it. I do work in it, but I hate it. And I can no longer do HTTPS conversions on it.
Their new custom control panel makes it impossible for clients to follow common cPanel tutorials for how to add new things or integrations to their site from other vendors. You know, things like switching to GSuites for emails, or even uploading a verification file for Google or Pinterest.
And they still have clients on cPanel, but with a custom interface, so now they have to support 2 versions of all how-to documentation.
Some folks have been moved to cloud servers while others are still on the old servers.
And all of the servers are only medium speed, which is precisely why they have to keep coming up with more goofy, custom ways to make it faster that just tangle a site owner even further and make it hard to leave.
But I guess that is the point.
I think this latest support limitation is going to start filtering through the blogger community and SiteGround will no longer be a common name given when folks are looking for good hosting.
At least, not a good host for site owners who want to call in for help with anything.
Move to better hosting
There is no best host.
There is a best host for your needs.
READ: What is Managed Hosting? to see the radical difference in hosting providers and their setups to help you choose the best one for your site ownership needs.
READ: Migration Checklist to see what is involved in moving to a new host.
Then contact me for help when you get ready to come off SiteGround. You’ll need the help.