Jumping Into E-Commerce?
Word from around town has it that e-commerce is the ‘thing’ right now; if you surf through the Internet you’ll find and see all these stories on how both the young and old (yes, even aunties and uncles) make money in a fingersnap without using the infamous magic gauntlet. But is it really that simple? Of course not. Much like running a physical business, there are lots of things you need to consider and learn.
Before starting an e-commerce business, you have to know all the important and technical aspects such as: load times, e-store management and security. And, the security element is especially important because without a proper security, it is like waving a huge red flag and shouting out loud “Hey! Come and rob my e-store!”.
So you can’t blindly jump into e-commerce, it is like heading out to a new destination without putting Waze on. (scratch that, Waze is a liar, use Google Map instead)
You will need help, especially if you are not tech savvy and having a hard time understanding all the technical jargons. A web hosting company is the fix you need.
What Is A Web Host?
Huh? What’s a web hosting company? Well, a web hosting company is this:
“Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or a web page onto the Internet. A web host or a web hosting service provider is a business that provides the technology and services needed for a website or web page to be viewed on the Internet. When Internet users want to view your site, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computers will then connect to your server and your web pages will be delivered to them through the browser.” Taken from www.website.com.
In other words:
- provide you with a domain (place/channel) to run your website
- They take care of your website’s technicals: uptime, load speed, and security
- They will explain about any technical jargon that you do not understand (if they have a good and knowledgeable customer support)
Oh, where can you get a domain? If you don’t have one, the web hosting company you registered to will help you purchase a domain.
So, which web host is the best? Well, that depends on what you are looking for but if you are looking for a web hosting company that is economically friendly and has a dependable customer support, i have just the company. Scroll down now, come, come, don’t be shy.
Introducing SiteGround, Your Cost Friendly Web Host
Now if you’re looking for a web hosting service that is economic and a potential friend to your wallet and finances, then SiteGround is the web hosting company for you.
SiteGround is a web hosting company that was founded and established only recently (2014), and its homebase is located in Bulgaria. The fact that it was recently established doesn’t mean they’re like a bawling little baby, they’re actually armed and armoured to the teeth.
And among web hosting companies, SiteGround is known for providing unlimited bandwidth and free SSL (Let’s Encrypt) and CDN (CloudFlare).
Just What Is SiteGround Offering? How Cheap Is It?
The subscription fee for SiteGround is but a meager sum of 3.95$ per month (with additional “set up fee” of 14.95$) which is perfect if you are just starting up or on a tight budget.
And if you convert it into our lovely Malaysian Ringgit, the total cost is only RM61.21. With this price and the other benefits that SiteGround comes with it, it is like a blessing.
Especially if you compare it to other web hosting companies. It could cost you a good RM100 or above just for additional features that will benefit and protect you.
All The Beneficial Features You Can Get
1. Great Uptime And Load Time
I mentioned how service speed is important for an e-commerce, no? Okay, imagine it like this; you go to a mamak restaurant but it takes forever for the waiter to come and get your order or it just seems like the restaurant or cafe rarely operates, that’s no good, right? The same goes with e-commerce, if your website takes forever to load or constantly crashes while browsing, people will simply close the tab and look for a faster and more stable website.
SiteGround can provide you with both; they will provide you with in-house built solutions to ensure the quality of their service is all time high.
- Their platforms builds are based on Linux container which provides more stability in times of unexpected traffic spikes. In other words, your e-commerce store will be able to handle lots of visitors/customers and transactions.
- SiteGround’s server monitoring system monitors your server every 0.5 second and any technical issues will be fixed automatically without human intervention. Meaning, you can sleep soundly at night because there’s a system to help maintain and fix any problems that might occur.
- Account isolation; if hackings or other cyber attacks happen, your account will be protected.
- The page loading time is at 714ms, faster than the industry standard which is usually at 890ms load time.
We purchased and subscribed to their most basic plan—the StarUp Plan, with that we seu-up a default test site and monitored their performance. From our test site on SiteGround, the uptime was averaging at 99.99% which is about 0.5% better than the industry’s standard. And only had 20 outages last year 2018.
Included is a list of detailed uptime reading, from last 10-month period.
- January 2018 average uptime: 100%
- February 2018 average uptime: 100%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.97%
- April 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.97%
- June 2018 average uptime: 100%
- July 2018 average uptime: 100%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- September 2018 average uptime: 100%
- October 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
2. Responsive Support
You don’t have to worry about wasting your phone credits listening to their jingle while waiting for a human to answer your call, because you can just ping SiteGround’s support team directly via chat and they will reply back immediately.
This is because they have over 230 people engaged with all of their clients. And their support is available in three different languages: Italian, Spanish and English.
- They go the extra mile in helping all of their clients. They will also help you in CMS related issues, not limited to hosting alone.
- Fast response; you don’t have to wait for ages to get their responses.
3. An Assistant To Help You Manage All Of Your Accounts
Now, if you are worried about having to manage all the accounts and your website at the same time, you don’t have to because there’ll be someone to help you manage it all.
This person will manage all of the technical aspects: speed, security, support, updates and provide all the required tools—this makes it a whole lot more easier for you.
You don’t have to worry about updating and creating backups, because you will have someone else do it for you.
- Constantly monitors for any WordPress related vulnerabilities and protects you by using custom WAF rules.
- Built on dedicated SSD server and with an in-house built caching tool, the Super Cacher which is important to your website loading speed.
- Plugins update and data backups. With your data being backup on daily basis, you don’t have to worry if the white screen of death occurs.
However, if you are a tech savvy and knows your stuff, you can opt for their GrowBig and GoGeek plans.
These two plans have all the stuff you need to give your website a little bit more kaw! In those two plans SiteGround included; WordPress staging environments, pre-installed Git, WP-CLI for easy command line management options, PCI compliance for e-shops, 1-year Wildcard SSL for free, priority support, free backup and restore.
4. Better Be Safe Than Sorry
You know, when you are going to run a business, there is no such thing as too much security. And SiteGround has tons of extra securities for your website and they come in different shapes and sizes.
The tools available are:
- SpamAssassin and SpamExpert prevent your website from being spammed by unsavory and irresponsibles parties.
- IP Address blacklist helps you block unwanted or harmful parties from accessing your website.
- Leech Protect and Hotlink Protection prevent content of your websites from being stolen.
To make it even better you can add HackAlert for a meager price of 1$ per month (that’s like RM4.09 per month) this little tool helps you by monitoring your website daily and notifies you if there is any breach on your website.
5. Easy Installation
Managing and installing e-commerce applications that power e-commerce platform like Magento can be difficult when you are not technically inclined.
But SiteGround has made the installation process so breezy, you can do it even with your eyes closed. SiteGround removes a lot of the hassles by making it easy for you to choose from the 18 different e-commerce applications and with the one click installation. (no, really it’s just one click)
The important e-commerce features you will get:
- PCI compliance: protects your customers info/data
- Advanced caching solution for a tip top website’s performance, leading to a better experience for visitors.
- As for security, SiteGround will make sure each of their client’s account is isolated so that when an account is hacked, other accounts won’t be affected.
6. Free Transfer…Yeaaay!!
You can transfer your website for free and quickly. Unlike most web hosting companies, SiteGround website transfer happens within 24 hour from the time when the request is made. While other web hosting companies will have you wait for 30 days before the transfer happens.
Though you only get one free professional transfer from them, but it still beats waiting for 30 days and you won’t have to lift a finger.
Their support agents will do all the heavy liftings, also there is more than one way for you to transfer your website. The easiest way to do it, is by requesting for a website transfer when you first sign up. Just click on “Transfer an existing website” in the Account Setup Wizard.
Another way is to request through the support section of your SiteGround account. And it works in this flow: head User Area → Support → Request Assistance from Our Team → Contact Us → Transfer Website.
But remember, SiteGround can only transfer the files and databases of a single website without your email accounts and other settings if only your previous web host isn’t running on cPanel.
7. Feeling Meh With SiteGround Services? Don’t Worry You Can Get A Refund
If you are not satisfied with their services within 30 days you can cancel it and get your money back.
Though some terms and conditions apply for the money back guarantee policy:
- You need and must post a service termination through the User Area
- Initial orders for hosting services are covered only within 30 days from the day that SiteGround activated the service(s)
- Renewal orders are not covered.
- Domains name and domain privacy (ID protect) fees are not refundable. These said fees might even due upon cancellation of their service, even if they are waived as part of a promotion
- Dedicated and cloud hosting, paid support and third-party services are not covered by the money back guarantee.
- Reseller packages are only covered if the entire reseller package is cancelled. This guarantee doesn’t apply to the termination of single accounts in a reseller package
8. Affordable Pricing
SiteGround is putting up a good offer with the combination of their quality hosting and extra features, which does not come cheap usually. Their current rates can be said as the most inexpensive, compared to other web hosts; same pricing but with lesser quality of services.
9. Free SSL Certificate And CDN
This is one of the best benefits SiteGround has to offer; any plans you choose will include a free SSL certificate and CDN (content delivery network) integration.
These features are the best bonuses for you could ever wish for your website.
SSL encryption is what Google uses to fend off against cyberattacks and hacks. So by receiving a free SSL certificate installation, which costs 60$ (will costs RM245 in Malaysian Ringgit) from ‘Let’s Encrypt SSL’ will bolsters your website’s security and search engine optimization instantly.
To make it better, they give and do free integration for CloudFlare’s CDN.
What’s a CDN? CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, it delivers data and content from your site and then will be cached by CloudFlare on their global server and from there to your audience from a nearby location.
There’s no denying that SiteGround has plethora of beneficial features to offer but, alas, like so many other things, there are a few drawbacks. Though it is nothing big, but still worth considering when you are shopping for a web hosting provider.
1. The Sneaky “Setup Fee”
This is how most web hosting providers get you or any other businesses get you.
First, they will advertise ridiculously low monthly price. But in order to get the stated price, you must commit to a three or two months subscription plan. Some of these web hosts do not even provide the ‘month-to-month’ option. Instead, to get the low price as they advertised you have (more like forced to) to commit to one year subscription plan.
However, SiteGround advertises their pricing clearly and they don’t pull the same trick on you. The problem is;they will charge you with one-time “setup fee” on these “month-to-month” plans for extra 14.95$.
Oh, and you won’t know about this extra fee until the very last minute when you are entering your credit card details. It is pretty annoying finding about this when it is not listed nor stated anywhere else.
2. Limited Storage
This is one drawback you won’t like…small storage space. Yes, compared to other web hosts out there, SiteGround is a bit on the small side, so you might want to declare and clarify disk space in advance.
- Only 10 GB of web space
- Recommended for 10,000 visitors per month
If you feel 10 GB is too small or if it seems like you are getting more visitors, you can opt for the 20 GB of space provided by the GrowBig Plan.
- 20 GB of web space
- Recommended for 25,000 visitors per month
Though if you find GrowBig plan is still not big enough for you, you have the option to upgrade to the GoGeek Plan.
- 30 GB of web space
- Recommended for 100,000 visitors per month
Quick Look On The Pricing, Plans And Facts
Let’s take a quick look and do a quick rundown on SiteGround’s hosting plans and pricing.
There are three shared hosting plans offered by SiteGround.
|The StartUp Plan||The GrowBig Plan||The GoGeek Plan|
|Cost: RM16.17 per month||Cost: RM24.36 per month||Cost: RM48.93 per month|
Every single one of their hosting plans comes with a free email account, free CDN and unlimited bandwidth.
|Domain||Price starts from 9.95$ (RM40.74)|
|Easy Signup||Very easy, one-page sign-up process|
|Payment Method||Only credit card|
|Hidden Fees and Clauses||A hidden “set up fee” charge of 14.95$ (RM61.21) if you choose to pay monthly instead of annually. So you’d be better off paying the one year upfront to avoid that sneaky fee charge.|
|Upsells||Nothing majorly bad|
|Activation of Account||Fast|
|Dashboard Experience and Control Panel||cPanel|
|Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla etc||Easy and quick installations of popular apps and CMSs using Softaculous.|
So, Do We Recommend SiteGround?
A big “yes” from us. If you are the kind of person who cares about customer support, page load speeds, impressive uptime and on a budget. Then, SiteGround is perfect for you.
Not only that, they also offer additional features that will be a great help to your e-commerce site, or if you need someone capable to handle the security of your website.
Their current pricing is well worth paying for given the quality of their service and additional features that come along with it. And, the pricing range they have had set is currently par on with other web hosting companies of lesser qualities.
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