Understanding SiteGround Shared Hosting’s Biggest Limitation

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Last year, Srikanth posted a review of SiteGround, and after hearing great recommendations from other users, I purchased their GrowBig plan using this SiteGround discount coupon.

A few months ago I moved a few of my sites away from Hostgator to SiteGround, as my Hostgator subscription was expiring. It has now been more than three months since I began using SiteGround as the hosting service for five of my small WordPress sites. This period of use has given me enough time to experience the pros and cons of SiteGround hosting.

SiteGround offers an in-house caching mechanism called SuperCacher, which makes your WordPress blog load blazingly fast. SuperCacher technology offers caching at three levels:

  • Varnish Static Cache
  • Varnish Dynamic Cache
  • Memcache

These caching mechanisms are impressive and make SiteGround hosting stand out.

Apart from this, SiteGround also offers:

  • Free SSL Certificate
  • PHP 7.x support
  • SSD Hard drive

Despite the excellent hosting quality offered by SiteGround, this one limitation could make you rethink the possibility of purchasing a hosting package from them.

CPU seconds per account – SiteGround’s biggest limitation

If you are running a medium traffic WordPress site, or any other site that is dynamic, you may or may not face issues based on SiteGround’s constraints. If you consider purchasing a hosting package from SiteGround and investigate their plans, you will notice that their plans are suitable for X number of visitors.

Here is a screenshot of all of the shared hosting plans offered by SiteGround:

  • Save
  • StartUp: Suitable for ~10,000 visits monthly
  • GrowBig: Suitable for ~ 25,000 visits monthly
  • GoGeek: Suitable for ~ 100,000 visits monthly

SiteGround states that the suggested number of visitors does not impose an upper limit, and should not be seen as a limitation. This is partially true, as SiteGround does not use a per-visit calculation to determine your hosting usage. But, they do use CPU seconds to calculate the usage.

What is a CPU cycle on SiteGround Hosting?

According to the official SiteGround knowledge base:

A simple example of an execution is when a visitor opens your website, and your index PHP file is loaded. This counts as one execution. The more visitors your website has, the more executions it will generate. Please note that this is valid only for dynamically generated content. If you open a picture or an HTML page, a new execution will not be generated on the server. Executions are counted for the following scripting languages – PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, etc.

Because 21% of the websites in the world are powered by WordPress which uses PHP, every single visit for WordPress users means one CPY cycle. So relating this to “Suitable for X visits monthly” does impose a limitation on WordPress users, i.e., 21% of all websites in the world.

My sites went offline on SiteGround

I mentioned earlier that I have five WordPress sites running on SiteGround.  Following are the monthly traffic stats for all five blogs:

  • CallingAllGeeks: 61K page views last month
  • WPFreeSetup: 3K page views Last month
  • WPHostingDiscount: 3.5K page views last month
  • Other two sites: Approximately 1K page views last month

In total, my SiteGround hosting account GrowBig, which is suitable for 25K visits/monthly, received about 68K page views. Note: All the sites are running on WordPress CMS. For the last two months at the end of my billing cycle, I have gotten a CPU usage warning email from SiteGround.

Here is the first email that I received when my hosting used 90% of my allotted CPU Usage:

Siteground CPU usage warning
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In the following 48 hours, I received another email saying the following:  “Important: Web Services on callingallgeeks.org is limited due to overage!”

Dear Harsh Agrawal,

We would like to inform you that your account callingallgeeks.org exceeded the monthly allowed number of CPU seconds per account, and your web service is limited for the calendar month. The limit will be removed automatically at 00:10 a.m. CDT on the first day of the next calendar month and service will be fully restored.

Siteground suspended my website
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In short, my websites were temporarily suspended until the start of the next calendar month.

SiteGround customer support to the rescue:

If something similar were to happen for you as a SiteGround customer, do not lose heart, as SiteGround’s customer support is excellent. In my case, I pinged the SiteGround customer support and informed them of the issue, and they gladly added 20K extra CPU seconds to my account. My sites were up after a few hours of downtime, which is somewhat comforting.

Siteground extra CPU seconds
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Additional steps to reduce the CPU cycle:

SiteGround has this resource page that shows how to reduce the CPU executions on your hosting account. Here are a few things that I did to lower the CPU cycle:

  • Added Cloudflare CDN
  • Enabled SuperCacher (Guide)
  • Checked my AWStats using SiteGround cPanel, and blocked leechers and spammy I.P. addresses

Because of my engineering background, it was relatively easy for me to get all of this accomplished. At the same time, it caused me to ask myself the question, “Should I recommend SiteGround to new bloggers?”

An experienced blogger can take action to optimize his or her WordPress and hosting services, but this is not something everyone is capable of doing. Moreover, SiteGround’s CPU seconds usage limit is far too low. Because we live in a world where a site can go viral anytime, SiteGround’s CPU seconds usage is a very significant limitation which every user should be aware of before purchasing hosting from SiteGround.

As an end user, I love SiteGround because of the technology enhancements they are running.

SuperCacher is a great technology, especially for blogs or websites running on WordPress CMS. They have also recently introduced HHVM technology for their cloud hosting, and they seem to be one of the more progressive hosting companies around. At the same time, their CPU seconds usage is so significant a limitation as to render SiteGround a service that is not recommended for any growing blog or website.

Until the time when SiteGround reconsiders their CPU usage limits to the extent that they at least impose an acceptable level, I suggest that you buy hosting from SiteGround alternative sites such as Bluehost or A2Hosting. (Both of these hosting services have higher CPU cycle usage limits.)

I will be updating the ShoutMeLoud recommended WordPress hosting page to reflect the necessary changes.

Let me know if you have ever faced similar issues to mine when using  SiteGround’s hosting services.  Would you recommend SiteGround’s shared hosting to other users? Use the comments section below to tell us why or why not.

If you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

89 thoughts on “Understanding SiteGround Shared Hosting’s Biggest Limitation”

  1. I was looking for something like this. I’ve used Hostgator for all of my websites so far. In 2015, I had some odd issues when I purchesed 2 new shared hosting accounts from them.

    1) The first problem was images and widgets not updating in my browser after making the changes in the backend, despite clearing the cache; this happened on both new shared host accounts, but on none of my older ones.
    2) The other problem, is the speed, which often isn’t the greatest on HG.

    So now I’m setting up 2-3 new e-commerce sites and wanted to try SiteGround for something new. I also like how they seem to have better speeds than HG, as well as the Free SSL.

    I noticed the 20GB disk cap and found this blog post. I have no idea how to estimate the potential disk usage my e-commerce site will take, especially a year down the line when the traffic will significantly increase. I also notice their dedicated servers are twice the price of HG, which is probably their angle for all of this in the first place.

    I’ve had sites with 600k UV’s/month on a HostGator shared plan without any real problems really. I really wanted to try SiteGround, but maybe I’ll have to stick with Hostgator and try their newer WordPress hosting :/

  2. Odira Ndubuisi

    This is the exact reason I didn’t opt-in for siteground. Currently, I’m researching another hosting company. I’m with inmotion hosting at the moment but the fact that they have refused to offer let’s encrypt for no good reason made me want to move. I am considering A2hosting. What do you think about them?

  3. I have a blog that is hosting via Siteground and today my site were down because I reach CPU Limits(25k).
    Very frustrating, my site is a new one and has only 50-100 visits daily.
    Can someone explain me what mean 25k visits?
    25k visits = 2k unique IP???

  4. Karan Bhagat

    Hi Harsh,

    Thanks for this article, much needed.
    What would you recommend between Siteground’s Growbig plan and Bluehost’s Managed WordPress VPS (they say it can handle 100 million traffic but their support if awful) plan?

    Waiting to hear from you.

    Thank You

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Karan
      100 Million traffic is a lot & none of these two shared hosting would be able to handle it. You should rather look for VPS from Cloudways or other hosting like Kinsta or any other that can sustain that kind of traffic.

      1. Karan Bhagat

        Exactly, I wouldn’t have even considered changing my hosting if their customer support was good. Whenever I ask them for any support even for the htaccess file, they say hire a developer.

        What are your thoughts about TMD hosting cloud plans? I just had a chat with them and they say their plan worth $8.8/month can handle 15,000-20,000 traffic per day.

        What would you like to say about this company?

        1. Harsh Agrawal

          @Karan
          This is the first time I’m hearing about TMD hosting. If you signup with them, then do let me know your experience.

  5. GOPAL KRISHNA PANDEY

    How Can I make Payment to purchase Siteground Hosting. because that payment gateway not accepting my SBI or Kotak Mahindra Bank Debit Card.
    Can i Use Entropay virtual card to make Siteground Payment.
    Please Help me To resolve this issue.

  6. Hi Harsh, I am planning to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org My site gets a monthly visit of a little beyond 100000 and once in a while more than 3000000. I really like Site ground customer support. But not sure which host to choose. I plan to start another blog too. So what would you recommend? Which plan would be the most affordable n one that one shut down my sites during peak traffic?

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      Hey Simeon,

      I wouls suggest you to go for managed hosting. Your traffic is too high so going for siteground wouldn’t help much. check out kinsta hosting

  7. Thanks alot for the article. would you advise someone to a SME website with SiteGround or which company would you suggesting having put speed and other aspects in consideration.

  8. I have Cloudflare and their cacher and get about 4000 hits a month….how can a plan that says it can have 25000 hits a month make me get an email telling me Reached Allowed Daily CPU Seconds??????

    Total BS!

  9. Posting on 23 July 2017. Wondering if any of these comments are relevant anymore since I can’t see any dates. As of today, is Siteground improved, the same or worse?

  10. Hello,

    I currently own a blog on blogspot which has an average of 13k pageviews a day (1,500-2k unique views a day) and approximately 300k page views a month. I am thinking of switching to wordpress, my question is, what’s the best WP hosting for that kind of traffic? I am thinking about siteground but then I am concerned about their limitation on the number of visitors.

  11. Hi Harsh,

    I agree with most of what you’ve said, and I understand that the purpose of this article is to list con’s about using SiteGround. What I would say though is that why the limits make SiteGround’s plans a little more expensive than they seem at first, the support they provide is off the charts. In comparison with many of their competitors, agents have a higher willingness to help and see to provide genuine advice and useful information. Many of their competitors prefer to give vague instructions and always recommended “upgrading to a higher plan”.

    I’ll admit that I don’t personally have much experience dealing with InMotionHosting’s support so I can’t comment specifically about them.

  12. This is one of the most ridiculous limitation that I’ve seen. And it’s a monthly limit so if your site goes down it’s until the end of the month!

    It’s not listed anywhere when you purchase your plan, and once you are locked in there is no easy upgrade. I purchase the gogeek since my traffic is way below the 100k visit, but I run a shopping cart that is quite active during a certain period every other months. I’ve been spending hours trying to lower the usages on my site but I kept on reaching that limit. The support helped a bit saying that they extend the limit, but then the next day I reached that limit again, to be told few other trick to lower the CPU usage. Finally I got a tech support telling me that the site will have to go down as they cannot extend the limit anymore. That was quite a surprise to me.

    So then I asked to be upgraded to a cloud hosting. Which was no problem for them, but they couldn’t provide a timeframe for the upgrade. It could take anywhere between an hour and 2 days, which during that time I should put my site under construction!

    Siteground is listed as one of the best wordpress hosting all around but it’s not for business hosting. Their limitation is ridiculous and although their support are responsive, there isn’t much they can do if your site uses more resources and they only way out of that limitation is to put the site down for a few hours at the minimum.

    This was the worst decision I’ve ever made.

  13. very big limitation, they dont tell you about it when you join. if you have an heavy wwebsite with a lot of functions like chat and forum, every visit of a visitor consume 1000-2000 exce and after 40 user they close your site.

    you cant count on them.
    very good customer service very bad limitation. the next upgrade is 80$ per month

  14. MD Wasil @ Tech2Hack

    I was about to buy the GrowBig plan in the upcoming Black Friday deal, but now I would like to go with Bluehost, Thanks.

  15. I had the same problem with CPU. I resolved it by removing some plugins on my wordpress blog and installing new plugins with the same functions. On this moment I have a new problem after the server went down last week, I got problems with accessing wordpress dashboard on an android tablet. I think Siteground lowered the limits of php scripts of all accounts on the server. They resolved the problem for me by lifting the limits for the php scripts. It has only resolved the problem for Chrome, not for Firefox. Siteground doesn’t want to lift the limits more than they have already done. Why do I stay at Siteground? I have a Grow big contract for three years. My advice: Look at the limitations of Siteground before you decide to transfer your websites.

  16. I could not agree more and have had a hell of a bad experience with Siteground after years of usage. A very considerable financial loss at a crucial period for us so as of last week I no longer recommend of host any of my client’s website as Siteground.

    The support quality has dropped a lot as they’ve grown and it took almost 4 weeks for an advanced support (I had to escalate to a supervisor) representative to present a real cause of high CPU usage instead of recommending me to upgrade my hosting account. As if my client’s pocket was endless…

    Currently highly disappointed and looking at an alternative provider to move more than 30 sites away…

  17. Angela van Breemen

    Your article is excellent, and provides a good explanation about the shared services and the limited CPU siteground provides. Our car club’s website has suddenly had huge unexplained CPU usage and we have received plenty of warnings from siteground and the site has been repeatedly shut down over the last four days. We have used their services for at least seven years and have never had this problem till now!!!!

  18. I would add another big limitation:
    30 processes limit in Grow Big plan (lower numbers in the smaller plans).
    This is a big limitation if you have many email accounts. Each Thunderbird account uses 5 processes if you have IDLE enabled.
    The only workaround is to disable push email or you will quickly reach the limit.

  19. This echoes my professional experience with dozens of clients who bumped up against SiteGround’s process execution limits. Too many people learn about this limitation too late.

    Agreed with everything you wrote, until seeing your recommendation for Bluehost (and in the comments, for HostGator). Seriously?!? (Unsurprisingly, both are affiliate links.)

    Please reconsider your recommendations. Neither of those EIG-held hosting companies is a serious alternative to SG for anyone who takes their website seriously. Bluehost and HostGator (and all EIG holdings) have an awful record of slow performance and horrible customer service.

    Great alternatives to SiteGround are A2 Hosting, MDD Hosting, Namecheap, FlyWheel, Kinsta, WP Engine. Some are more managed and expensive than others, but ALL are better options than your recommendations.

  20. I had exactly the same problem (early 2018). Signed up for Go Geek and with an average of 60,000 visitors per month over 5 small websites, this should have been fine. A few months in I start getting warnings that I’m about to hit the limit and my sites will go offline. I contacted support and their only solution was to upgrade from my $14.95/month plan to their $80/month cloud plan. No recommendations for finding out what was happening, how to fix it, or any grace period so I could try to in fix the problem. Upgraded so my sites wouldn’t go offline, fixed the problem, then tried to downgrade. No longer eligible for the $14.95 plan, which was apparently discounted, I now have to pay the full $39.95/month price. I was quite surprised because there are so many good Siteground reviews out there and everyone seems to think their customer service is great. Bye bye Siteground!

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