If you've whittled down your choice of hosting to InMotion vs SiteGround, we know you've very much got the interest of your website at heart. We get it. We've been there. We've seen it all.
Our sites have been attacked ferociously, gone viral, suffered floods of traffic from botnets. We also see steady streams of visitors (more than 60,000 page views each month). In these circumstances, making the right choice for hosting is very important.
The choice of your hosting service makes a real difference to the success of your website.
The perception and feeling of having a fast snappy experience is critical to your website.
The 100% reliability and reassurance that your web hosting won't mess up is something which you need to be ensured of.
The knowledge that your site won't go down under heavy load is essential.
The full protection offered against prolific hacking attempts is something which cannot be taken for granted.
That's why, having narrowed down your choice to InMotion vs SiteGround is already your best decision so far. But, who would we fully recommend?
First, a little bit of essential background.
InMotion vs SiteGround
Who are InMotion hosting?
InMotion, a US-based hosting company, have been around for quite a long time now, since 2001. As of at the time of writing, that's 15 years - a very long time for a web hosting company, where companies bloom and fade away in a matter of months.
Only the greatest web hosting companies stay around for such a long time. Since their inception, this company has always been a leading service provider.
They've got a 3/3 star CNET rating since 2003, and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Over the years they’ve made massive strides in their infrastructure, hardware and networking capabilities. They may not be the cheapest hosting around, but it's no surprise that they have one of the fastest and most reliable networks in the world.
Together with US-based support, this company offers faster performance for over 300 pieces of software including of course WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and a whole host of other popular software to power your websites.
The difference with their service is this - they do not overwhelm their servers - that's why their performance is so fast. With around 300,000 satisfied customers, it's no wonder that they have carved a niche in performance web hosting.
InMotion Hosting Review
If you're not looking for a comparison between these two companies, but are looking to see how the service racks up, we've created a full InMotion hosting review here - you might want to have a look at this too.
Who are SiteGround hosting?
Site Ground was founded in 2004 by a bunch of university friends in Bulgaria - but have grown to have data-centers in locations in Chicago in the United States, Amsterdam, and London in Europe and Singapore in the APAC region. They also have offices in the US, UK, and Spain. Since the very beginning, they have shown themselves to be a differentiator when it comes to web hosting.
Their constant innovation and being at the cutting edge of technology, have enabled them to grow steadily over the years to become one of the established names in the web hosting industry.
They have hosting plans which are primarily targeted towards the more popular website technologies such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Prestashop.
SG has shown tremendous growth over the last few years, mostly thanks to sponsoring of events around WordPress and Joomla and thanks to their base of more than 500,000 domains - and with satisfied customers who are all very keen to praise their services.
This company uses technology to the advantage of their customers. They roll-out many features which few hosting companies roll-out ever. That's why their servers perform so beautifully.
Let's start digging into the details of this SiteGround vs InMotion review.
First things first: network, uptime, and reliability
IM's data centers are primarily based in the US, they have two main data centers, one in the West Coast and one in the East Coast.
The West Coast data center in Los Angeles is connected through One Wilshire, also known as the "most connected building" in the world according to Wired magazine. This hosting company is also connected to four tier-1 ISP's via BGP and also have a BGP route optimizer to ensure only the fastest routes are used for their hosting connectivity.
The East Coast data center in Virginia includes two tier-1 ISP's via BGP, route optimization, and a carrier-grade network core.
Besides this, their MaxSpeed Zones on business hosting and VPS plans, allows you to choose which data center best serves your website. This is because the closer your visitors are to the data center, the faster the performance of your website. Of course, this is logical - your website's data has to travel less distance between the server and the user.
Besides their multiple data centers, they have agreements with a few of the world's largest ISPs and peering exchanges to create direct data connections. The end result is a clearly faster connection.
SiteGround has data centers in Chicago in the US, London, and Amsterdam in Europe and Singapore in the APAC region. The choice of where to host your site is up to you such that the servers are as close as possible to your website's visitors.
Unfortunately, not much technical specs are available on their networks, but we're sure that they are not under specced ;-)
In terms of server technology, SG has always prided themselves to be at the forefront of technology.
They are the first to implement software which gives any type of speed advantage to your website. Memcache(d), HTTP/2, PHP7, HHVM, SSD drives, Nginx, free CDNs and their own custom SuperCacher technology means they are always pushing the envelope. Always edging out that little bit of extra speed for websites hosted on their servers.
Both InMotion and SiteGround have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, though the latter state they actually have a 99.99% uptime and several times quotes a 99.996% to 99.999% uptime.
See the following graphs which show close to 100% uptime for both companies. We believe that when it comes to uptime for SiteGround vs InMotion there is not much to debate. They are both absolutely reliable hosts.
The above shows hosting on IM, where you can see that the downtime lasted for 3 minutes, giving an uptime of more than 99.99% over a month.
The above shows a graph of uptime for SG, with downtime of 9 minutes in a month which is also a great record.
You'll probably know that many times, the uptime is outside of the control of the company and usually has to do with an extraordinary circumstance which is beyond the control of the hosting company.
In these circumstances, what separates the men from the boys is how quickly the host can switch to their secondary and backup infrastructures.
Clearly, both InMotion and SiteGround do an excellent job of this.
Performance: Who offers the fastest hosting speed?
Of course, one of the next things which are critical to your website is the performance. Websites should load with lightning fast speeds.
When a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you will start losing visitors.
Your site must feel snappy and fast. This is actually quite a subtle thing.
If your site feels snappy, your visitors will be happy to come back. If your site feels clunky and slow, your visitors will psychologically get turned off by your site.
You WILL lose business if your site is not fast.
Now both of these companies are known for the excellent performance of websites hosted on them. Both offer free SSD drives as part of the default hosting package, which is particularly important if you plan to use Caching to improve the performance of your site.
This is because SSD disk drives are much faster when it comes to retrieving information (up to 20x faster than regular drives).
Another notable good thing about both of these hosting companies is their policies of not putting many websites on the same hosting server. In reality, other hosting companies are able to keep their pricing cheap, because they overwhelm their servers with sites. The consequence of this is that ALL websites suffer.
Not on InMotion or SiteGround. Servers will never be pushed to the extent that they will not perform well.
Our SiteGround vs InMotion speed test
For our performance speed tests, we wanted to perform our own testing rather than rely on the testing of any other 3rd party - there is nothing quite as good as running your own tests.
The testing environment - core WordPress + core Joomla installations
To run the test, we created a core installation of WordPress (4.6) and Joomla (3.6.2) on both InMotion and SiteGround servers. We then performed speeds tests using the main speed testing services available, namely GTMetrix and Pingdom Tools.
This is not a scientific test where we try to eliminate all possible fluctuations.
On the other hand, we wanted to perform a real-world test, under real-world circumstances.
Our tests have not been tweaked or re-touched. They are pure real-world testing results.
WordPress Speed Tests on Amsterdam SiteGround server testing using GTMetrix, Vancouver, Canada
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/joomlawire.com/1q6mkAlZ : 1.3s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/joomlawire.com/pUMJ9vwd : 1.6s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/joomlawire.com/rVQ2ejeU : 1.5s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/joomlawire.com/bVeEzBzn : 1.6
Average Performance: 1.5s - we can see that WordPress is pretty fast when loading on these servers. One should note that there is quite some distance between Vancouver and Amsterdam so an average of 1.5 seconds is pretty good.
Joomla Speed Tests on Amsterdam SiteGround server testing using GTMetrix, Vancouver, Canada
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.joomlawire.com/xrCLuwLY : 1.3s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.joomlawire.com/vCpXchuF : 1.3s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.joomlawire.com/ow5xxQxf : 1.3s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.joomlawire.com/j4uXR0n2 : 1.2s
Average Performance: 1.3s - Joomla seems to perform a bit faster than WordPress out of the box. It seems like that there is less load on an empty Joomla installation and it is lightning fast even though the testing server and the server location are significantly far away from each other.
The Waterfall graph below shows us Joomla has a great initial response time of 472ms!
WordPress Speed Tests on Amsterdam SiteGround server testing using Pingdom Tools, Stockholm, Sweden
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/dZ1GRd/http://joomlawire.com/WPSpeedTest/ : 1.69s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/UF5au/http://joomlawire.com/WPSpeedTest/ : 1.37s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/dkuVaf/http://joomlawire.com/WPSpeedTest/ : 1.34s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/bDor3n/http://joomlawire.com/WPSpeedTest/ : 1.37s
Average performance: 1.41s - As we can see, with the testing server being closer to the test location, the performance of the WordPress website is slightly better. However, it is clear that the actual performance hit is coming from WordPress as opposed to the location of the server.
Joomla Speed Tests on Amsterdam SiteGround server testing using Pingdom Tools, Stockholm, Sweden
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/dWob1y/http://joomlawire.com/speedtest : 2.06s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/dDw8y/http://joomlawire.com/speedtest : 457ms
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/bhJ1nE/http://joomlawire.com/speedtest : 452ms
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/cznbWw/http://joomlawire.com/speedtest : 637ms
Average performance: 0.857s - As expected, Joomla performs lightning fast when the server and testing location are close to each other. Note that since we are using a real-world situation, we see a significant fluctuation of 2.06 seconds.
This is probably due to the fact that we are using a shared hosting server and this might have come under a bit of load during that specific test.
But again, we see a lightning fast initial response time for Joomla.
WordPress Speed Tests installed on West Cost IM servers using GTMetrix, Vancouver, Canada
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/dart-creations.com/Mpzzp1GC : 0.9s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/dart-creations.com/P1NOB7Kb : 0.8s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/dart-creations.com/zH4TUQZc : 1.2s
Average Performance: 0.92s - we can instantly see that WordPress is able to perform much faster on IM servers. The fact that we are using a West Coast server, which is closer to the Vancouver testing location of GTMetrix clearly makes a difference.
Comparing InMotion vs SiteGround we can see that there is an improvement of a significant 200ms in the initial response times. That's quite a significant number.
WordPress Speed Tests installed on West Cost IM servers using Pingdom Tools, Stockholm, Sweden
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/dE00uU/https://dart-creations.com/wordpress/ : 1.97s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/c7b3Th/https://dart-creations.com/wordpress/ : 1.78s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/cJqfmE/https://dart-creations.com/wordpress/ : 1.90s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/9N7VS/https://dart-creations.com/wordpress/ : 1.83s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/9N7VS/https://dart-creations.com/wordpress/ : 1.8s
Average Performance: 1.85s - clearly we can see the effect that the MaxSpeedZones have on the loading time of the website. Since in the GTMetrix tests we can see that when the testing server is closer, the website performs much faster.
Joomla Speed Tests installed on West Cost IM server testing using GTMetrix, Vancouver, Canada
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.dart-creations.com/Z1RGgZD8 : 0.7s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.dart-creations.com/oGelCXy2 : 0.6s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.dart-creations.com/eifRpj99 : 0.7s
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.dart-creations.com/iUqRsQIQ : 0.6s
Average performance: 0.66s - Once again we can see two things. Joomla is faster than WordPress natively. MaxSpeedZone makes a huge difference in loading times and clearly, IM is a fantastically performing and very fast hosting service.
Joomla Speed Tests installed on West Cost IM server testing using Pingdom, Stockholm, Sweden
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/bIPNkY/https://www.collectiveray.com/joomlaspeedtest/ : 1.46s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/rc3vX/https://www.collectiveray.com/joomlaspeedtest/ : 1.39s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/hakPP/https://www.collectiveray.com/joomlaspeedtest/ : 1.38s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/clAxup/https://www.collectiveray.com/joomlaspeedtest/ : 1.38s
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/WuMmd/https://www.collectiveray.com/joomlaspeedtest/ : 1.56s
Average performance: 1.44 seconds - Once again, we can see how what a clear difference MaxSpeedZone makes on the performance of a website. Given the fact that Stockholm is a bit far away from our server located in the US West Coast, we can see the impact this has on the loading times.
However, if you look at the Waterfall graph below, you can see that the delayed times come from the actual round trip. The performance of the server is still lightning fast.
Analysis of speed tests: InMotion vs SiteGround
It is quite clear from the results that both of the hosting companies have a great infrastructure.
We can clearly see that in terms of actual performance InMotion servers outperform SiteGround servers. This can be seen from the initial response time of the various tests we ran.
We can also see that the location of the server and the testing location also has a significant role in the performance of the site. The closer your website server is to the actual location of the website visitor, the faster the website will load.
Although in terms of performance we believe IM is actually faster, you might want to perform your own tests and see what would work best for the visitors of your website, especially considering the location of the servers available.
Remember, the closer your website visitors are to the server where your website is hosted, the better. If you are a mainly US company, go for a US-based server. If you are a European based company, we would suggest you go for a Europe based server.
Technical Support: who is able to help when there is trouble?
When all is well and good, support response times and knowledge of support agents doesn't really make a difference. However, in those few days when something is wrong with your website, a good support experience can be the difference between a great experience or a very frustrating situation.
SiteGround support, responsive and technical
Let's start with SiteGround. Their support response times are one of the best I have ever experienced. Waiting time is so low, that you can say it is almost zero. You will surely get a response within a few seconds of trying their support chat. They have various channels to get in touch, including email, chat and opening support tickets.
This is, of course, first line support, so if your problem is a difficult one, you might not solve the issue immediately. You will then have to escalate to 2nd line support, where response time is a bit longer.
Typically, you'll get a response time (in my experience) within 15 minutes to an hour.
This doesn't mean you will have a resolution because sometimes the issues take a few back and forth responses.
One thing which is quite nice about this support team is the ability to ask for Technical Services and Advanced Technical services. These include things like website being down, mail or domain assistance, WordPress or Joomla assistance, Password changes etc.
Advanced Technical services including the website response time is slow, creating of website backups and performing of restores, transfer of websites and others.
Overall, the support at SG is great. There have not been many times where I was not satisfied with the response times I got.
Support is of course 24/7 and based out of their Bulgaria offices.
IM's support, US-based and fast resolutions
Support here is based out of their US offices. They are also 24/7 and can be accessed via various channels. We typically get in touch with them via chat and we've experienced different response times, typically less than 5 minutes.
However, when you are actually connected to a support agent - they know what they're doing. Even if it is the case that they need to escalate to 2nd line support, they will not disconnect and not give you a resolution.
On the other hand, for your problem to actually be resolved, they will ask you to wait a few minutes and in the meantime, they get in touch with their 2nd line technical support agents. So rather than having to open a new ticket and wait for a resolution, you will get a response time (even a technical one) there and then.
This is something which is quite attractive about IM's support. Once you're on the call, you know that before you get disconnected, you will have an answer to your query.
When it comes to InMotion vs SiteGround we do believe that both companies have excellent support. We have always had an overall great experience working with both companies.
SiteGround - where are they better?
We've been saying for quite a while that SiteGround is cutting edge and offer some things which IM don't. So let's get down to it and discuss what these actually are. Otherwise, how can we really say it's an InMotion vs SiteGround review if we don't discuss the strengths of each.
1. WordPress and Joomla Core AutoUpdates
As you might know, one of the most common ways what a website gets hacked is through known security vulnerabilities, for which there is a patch but which hasn't been applied. This is not because people want their site to get hacked, but sometimes we are just too busy to remember or keep up to date with the latest CMS update.
SG knows all of this and has thus developed a system where when enabled, as soon as WordPress or Joomla core update is available, it is automatically installed on your site.
This is a great feature which we implement on all of our sites - it's really worth it.
2. Security + Let's Encrypt
SiteGround are proactive when it comes to newer technologies but they're also very proactive when it comes to security. One of the things we really like about SG is how they actually use their technology to make sure that unmitigated hack attacks are stopped by custom rules on their firewalls.
When there is a risk which is actively being exploited, they apply new rules to reduce the risk.
They've also been one of the first companies to embrace and implement SSL certificates through Let's Encrypt - this is essentially a get together of companies who are striving to ensure that HTTPS is implemented across as many websites as possible, making the whole web implicitly more secure.
3. WordPress + Joomla custom tools for faster and better maintenance
SiteGround uses technology and pushes it to create advanced solutions for their customers.
They have developed their own technologies for making websites fast, including, SuperCacher, custom caching modules for Joomla and WordPress, WordPress and Joomla admin toolkits, GIT repositories and staging sites for testing of any updates before applying them to live sites.
Besides this, they are quick to embrace newer technologies like HTTP/2, Nginx, HHVM, and PHP7. Rather than taking months to deploy these cutting-edge solutions, these are deployed within weeks, so that people who like to be at the absolute forefront of technology can do so.
InMotion - where do they have the edge?
Of course, IM has also got a number of advantages as compared to SiteGround.
1. Fast servers + MaxSpeedZone
We've seen from the tests above that the performance of IM seems to be quite faster than that of SG. For us, this alone is the clincher. When you're chasing the absolute minimum page load times, you'll count every millisecond.
InMotion servers are fast. Period.
2. Affordable VPS hosting
With prices starting at $29.99/mo, the InMotion VPS hosting solutions are extremely affordable. If you are a freelancer or a small digital agency, this is a very attractive package which you can use to host your clients' websites. Click here to see our specific InMotion VPS review.
Their servers, of course, are highly specced and fast, with good amounts of RAM, starting at 4GB burstable RAM with 60GB of storage, much more than the cheapest Cloud Hosting solution offered by SG.
There is also NO CPU lockdown.
This means that your site doesn't get constrained by a lack of raw CPU power. Again, this is the reason why we've seen such good performance on their servers.
3. Up to $250 in free advertising credit + Free domain
Everybody loves a freebie. Who wouldn't? A free domain is great and we love that, because if you are just starting out, you can just go for a casual domain. More than that, however, is the $250 you get in free advertising credit for use with any Business hosting package or above.
4. Let's Encrypt
Recently, IM has also implemented Let's Encrypt functionality on their services. It's implemented very nicely via AutoSSL providers. As soon as the certificate is about to expire, it is automatically renewed. We've implemented this on several of our sites and have found it to be very reliable.
You can also see below what a difference there is between InMotion and other leading hosting companies apart from SiteGround. You can see comparisons with BlueHost, GoDaddy, HostGator and Arvixe.
Prices - who is worth the money?
Let's start with a little bit of a premise. You are looking at two premium hosting companies. We are not looking at cheap web hosting services here.
But - you get what you pay for.
If you are looking for the cheapest hosting services - you might as well go elsewhere. However, given all of the premium services being offered by both companies, you are really getting a fantastic deal out of both companies.
InMotion Hosting Pricing
InMotion just like us, have the mantra, "You get what you pay for". So with that in mind, you may find that they are also not the cheapest host around. It's not who they want to be.
Now - you're actually in luck, because CollectiveRay has partnered up with IM to give you an exclusive offer of 47% OFF regular prices.
InMotion Business Hosting Pricing
If you apply for an account through CollectiveRay, your pricing for launch will $4.19/mo instead of the regular price of $7.99/mo. For the Power package which is the recommended package for shared hosting you'll be paying $5.39/mo instead of the regular $9.99/month and for the PRO package, it's $8.99/mo instead of the regular $15.99/month.
We like to think that this a great bargain, for a great hosting package. At least that's what the many users who have taken advantage already of this offer tell us.
InMotion VPS Hosting Pricing
If you want to really give top-notch performance to your site, we'd recommend going for a VPS - our site is infact hosted on an InMotion VPS. You'll be able to take advantage of the same offer, with an even better discount of up to 51% OFF. You can get your VPS at $29.99/mo instead of the regular $44.99/mo.
With SiteGround, prices start at €3.95/month for the first year, which is 50% off the regular price of €7.95/month. We always recommend that you go for the GoGeek servers, which are the servers which have got all of the juicy, boosted servers, that have been really pimped out for performance. These are €11.95/month for the first year which is also 50% off the regular price for subsequent years.
Unfortunately, we don't have a discount with SG - we like to think that they are already a good deal.
It may not be the cheapest service but rest assured that you will see a significant performance improvement between the Startup and GoGeek plans. As your site grows in traffic you can always scale up to their Cloud Hosting or Dedicated servers. Transfers between all of these are of course completely free.
Other features available with web hosting
There are other features which are available with each web hosting package, but we tried to focus mostly on the differences here. You'll find that both InMotion and SiteGround are powered mainly by CPanel, have backup and restore mechanisms in place, have full email feature sets, allow setting up of multiple MySQL databases and subdomains, raw access to logs, SSL/TLS managers, DNS and MX management and all the standard hosting functions you would expect.
Conclusion: Who should get your money? InMotion or SiteGround?
Really and truly, both companies have got a good thing going on. We've worked with both and found it to be a pleasant experience to work with both them. Yet, so far, we feel that InMotion has got that slight edge. We can't help feel that SG is growing too fast and what once felt like special attention, no longer feels the same.
It feels that like the bigger companies, for SG you are now a number rather than a customer.
InMotionHosting, as we have seen still, has the edge in terms of performance and that is obviously one of the main things for us.
Want to go with SiteGround? We won't stop you - you are not making the worst of choices. However, if we had to choose, we would go for InMotion. Even though they are not as cutting edge as SiteGround, things just work. They work fast.
That's why when going for an InMotion vs SiteGround choice, we'd take InMotion.