Why I Recommend SiteGround Hosting for WordPress and Nonprofits

It’s rare that I endorse a product on this blog, but I’m making an exception here. This won’t be a regular thing, which I hope says a lot about my decision to write this post at all.

There were a good three years when I struggled to recommend a web host when people asked. After a while, I found WP Engine, which I like and still use for larger sites. That still left me searching for a good host for smaller basic sites—including those of many of the smaller and younger nonprofits I work with—that only need “shared hosting.” Now, I finally feel like I’m ready to recommend one: SiteGround. I hope this web hosting review will help others find a good place to host their own sites.

It’s What I Use & Recommend to Nonprofit Clients

SiteGroundI moved all my sites to SiteGround last September—this one, Nonprofit WP, and three other small business and personal sites—and, ever since, they have been faster, more secure, and better supported. Amazingly, they all run on an $8/month “GrowBig” plan.

I like SiteGround so much because it offers unusually good speed, security, and support. In this post, I’ll lay out the reasons why I feel so strongly about this recommendation and link to instructions needed to the most out of SiteGround and WordPress, especially for nonprofits.

(Need a refresher on what a web host exactly is and how that differs from a domain? Check out the brief “Domain & Hosting” page on Nonprofit WP.)


Speed matters for hosting. A slow site loses impatient visitors, and it’s no fun to edit your site when you have to wait 20 seconds just to save a blog post. That’s true for all websites, including those of budget-conscious nonprofit organizations that are always looking for ways to maximize their technology capacity while keeping costs down.

Speed is what soured me on my last host and what I love most about SiteGround. They have a great overview of what they’re doing to make their sites fast. It’s a little technical, so I’ll give you the short version here:

  • They use the latest versions of programming languages and technologies that increase speed. (PHP7, HTTP/2, NGINX)
  • They offer a custom caching plugin specifically for WordPress that makes sites even faster.
  • They use “solid state” drives to hold your website files. These are much faster than older “disk” drives.

To be honest, you don’t need to understand these technologies to benefit from them. Why do I mention them, then? SiteGround is one of the only hosts offering these technologies on their most affordable plans.

Setting Up for Speed

If you’re starting with a new website on SiteGround, there’s no reason not to use these things, but you’ll need to turn some of them on first. Here are links to the instructions for my favorites:

Security (and More Speed!)

SiteGround was also one of the first hosts to enable free site encryption via the Let’s Encrypt initiative. That means you can then secure your site with HTTPS. You can see I’m using HTTPS when you look in your browser and see the little lock icon next to the URL:

The HTTPS Lock Icon for this site
That green lock is how Chrome shows you’re browsing a site using HTTPS.

If you’re a nonprofit organization with a donate page or even an email newsletter signup form, letting visitors browse your site over HTTPS keeps their information private and shows that you’re a trustworthy organization with visitors’ interests in mind.

Setting Up Let’s Encrypt on SiteGround

You’ll need to set Let’s Encrypt up to use HTTPS, but it’s so easy you’ll be surprised you’re done so quickly!

Once you’ve got your Let’s Encrypt certificate working, you’ll be able to reach your site by going to https://{yoursite}.org. If that works, you can try shifting the WordPress admin or full site to use HTTPS:

And about that extra speed I mentioned above, once you’ve enabled HTTPS, SiteGround will automatically start delivering your website to new browsers over the faster “HTTP/2” protocol, giving your site another speed enhancement!


SiteGround offers 24-hour phone, chat, and email/ticket support. I’ve found their support workers more prompt, knowledgeable, and helpful than most other web hosts. I’ve heard the same from many of the nonprofit staff whose websites use SiteGround as their host.

I have experience through my nonprofit clients with hosting from all the major companies you’ve probably heard of (GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, etc.), and SiteGround is one of the few hosts I don’t dread receiving support from.

If you have trouble using or enabling any of the site speed and security features I mention, SiteGround’s support can probably help you get them working.

Bonus: Free Site Moves

I have the technical ability to move my own sites so I’ve not tried this service yet, but SiteGround does offer to move your site to their hosting for free. If you’re interested in switching hosts, this makes it possible even for less tech-savvy organizations.

More Goodies

SiteGround has great speed, security, and support. Those are the reasons I really like it, but there are some other extra goodies worth mentioning:

  • Their WordPress toolkit offers some really handy solutions to common technical problems including using HTTPS with WordPress.
  • Their “GoGeek” plan includes a few really nice features for larger, more complex sites:
    • One-click site staging, to make a copy of your primary site for testing and training new staff
    • For the rare instances where you are storing credit card information on your website (if you’re not sure, you shouldn’t!), this plan’s sites are PCI compliant.
  • “Two-factor authentication” allows you to use your phone to secure your hosting account
  • For the hardcore WordPress tech geeks, all SiteGround plans support WP-CLI!

It’s Not Just Me

I’m seeing friends, colleagues, and clients all moving to using SiteGround and loving it! Just a few weeks ago, even WordPress.org started recommending it. If you ask me in person, by phone, or by email what host to use, SiteGround is the one I’ll recommend. If that ever changes, I’ll take this post down.

Web hosting is really hard and there is no perfect host, but for the cost, technology, and service, I find SiteGround hard to beat.

Get SiteGround Hosting Today

Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” These tell SiteGround that I’m the one who sent you their way. I get a small commission—if I were in this for the money, I’d recommend a host with better commissions!—and there is no cost to the buyer for using these links.

2 thoughts on “Why I Recommend SiteGround Hosting for WordPress and Nonprofits”

  1. Mark, can you address in a post sometime the advantages / disadvantages of cloud hosting for small to medium sites. SiteGround is $60/month for cloud hosting. But Bluehost is now encouraging their users to make the move over to their cloud hosting. The prices are very reasonable. ($9/month)

    But it may be a “You get what you pay for” type of thing. Bluehost really loads up their shared hosting servers. I am wondering how much they are going to load up the servers for cloud hosting. I get that cloud hosting shifts loads as needed between servers but it seems like you could still overcrowd those servers.

    1. That’s a good question but, sadly, one I’m not very qualified to answer.

      I’ve never used either offering (or any “cloud hosting” for that matter), so I’m hesitant to say to much.

      What I can say is:

      – “You get what you pay for” is often true with web hosting and is especially true on the low end of pricing in my experience.
      – When you pay for hosting, you’re also paying for support and whatever interfaces allow you to work with that hosting plan. These may actually be things that distinguish the cloud hosting plans you’re considering (just a conjecture). I will say that I have found SIteGround’s support immensely more helpful than Bluehost’s in the past few months.
      – “Cloud” is an awfully broad term and is very popular right now. Even if the two plans say they offer the same specs (memory, space, etc.), it’s possible that they’re implemented and perform in very different ways.

      I hope this is useful! Thanks for reading the blog!

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