Nowadays, when someone asks for a hosting recommendation, everyone is quick to vouch for Site Ground.
The company is well-known for their fast services and excellent customer support.
But what is SiteGround? and is it better than Wealthy Affiliate? Which one is easier to use?
Today we’re going to pit both companies against each other and provide you with the facts.
You can decide which one is best for your situation.
The Rundown: Site Ground vs Wealthy Affiliate
These companies are very different.
Wealthy Affiliate has website building and hosting services, but it is also a community and online business training center.
With Wealthy Affiliate members can interact with one another much like any popular social media platform.
In other words, Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform for people looking to build an online business.
What is Siteground?
Site Ground does not include online business training material because their focus is on hosting solutions.
The company uses advanced hosting technology and the best equipment to provide a flawless experience for website owners.
In short, Wealthy Affiliate does include some more features, such as the training center, but it doesn’t have as many hosting features.
Site Ground, on the other hand, includes plenty of hosting features but no training and no social platform.
But do you really need so many hosting features to start a simple website?
To make this review easier to digest, we’ll focus on the hosting aspect of both companies.
We’ll compare the user interface, the setup difficulty (attaching a domain and installing WordPress) and finally the speed of each site.
So what I decided to do is build a dummy website on both platforms.
Each website has the same amount of content, the same theme, and no plugins.
I’ll show you exactly how I did it.
Lets start with Site Ground.
Our Case Study: Two Domain Names, Two Hosts, Who Will Win?
I went ahead and bought the two domain names below from Name.com.
We’ll forward one to Site Ground and one to Wealthy Affiliate.
Next, we’ll make an account with Site Ground.
Getting a Website Up With Site Ground: Is It Easy?
Site Ground has three types of hosting and several payment plans as well.
We’ll start with the Start Up plan.
You’ll be asked to either buy a domain or connect one you already own.
We already own one, so we’ll choose the latter.
One cool Site Ground feature is you can transfer your website to their hosting account for free.
So making the switch is super easy and they’ll take care of all the details.
Another interesting feature is the server location.
You can choose the location of your data center, there are five locations: Chicago, Amsterdam, London, Milano, and Singapore.
I recommend choosing one close to where you live or close to where your target audience lives.
You can also change the location later on, for an additional fee.
Fill in the details at the check-out page and choose your payment plan (1 month trial, 12 months, or annual).
When you’re done, login to your account and lets install WordPress.
For those of you wondering what is Siteground, now you know!
SiteGround Website Builder
Site Ground offers a cool account Set Up wizard that makes it really easy to get a website online.
Choose the type of website you wish to make and the software you want to use, I chose Word Press.
You can choose to skip this wizard if you want to take care of the details on your own.
If you choose WordPress you’ll need to enter a username and password.
Choose a theme and click Next.
Wait a moment, and if everything works, the below message should appear.
From here you’ll see your login information and a copy will be email to you too.
But you will need to configure the Name Servers on your domain name to start editing the website.
To do this, head over to your Site Ground account, click My Accounts, and find Information & Settings to find the name servers.
A copy of this information will be emailed to you too.
Add the name servers to your domain settings and wait until it connects, sometimes it takes a couple hours, sometimes longer.
For me, it took a about six hours, but this varies depending on which company you purchase your domain names from.
I bought mine from Name.com (sometimes it can take up to 24 hours to connect).
Once the domain is configured correctly, its time to login to your WordPress dashboard.
Hit the Go to Admin Panel button to login to your WordPress dashboard to start building the site.
Once inside WordPress, find the users menu to change your password.
Site Ground requires more steps to set up a WordPress website, and it can take awhile for the name servers to connect to your domain name.
Once inside, I went ahead and generated some random text, about 2,000 words of filler content.
I also installed a standard theme, Twenty Sixteen.
Building a Website With Wealthy Affiliate: Super Simple!
Setting up a website with Wealthy Affiliate is really simple but you will need a Premium Account.
Create a Premium Profile or login to your existing account and hit the Site Rubix button in the left-hand menu.
We already have a domain, so we’ll select the middle option.
I noticed with Wealthy Affiliate when you enter a domain you own, a notification will appear telling you to configure the name servers on your domain.
They’ll also link you to a page where you can find the name servers you need.
I didn’t see this notification with Site Ground. I had to figure it out on my own.
Add the name servers to your domain, refresh the page, and you’ll see a green check mark next to the domain name.
Choose a theme, I chose Twenty Sixteen.
You’ll see a page with your WordPress login information.
And you’re done.
No need to wait for name servers to connect, they connect instantly!
Click Login Now to access your WordPress dashboard.
To change your password, find the Users tab in the dashboard, click Admin, and change your password.
We won’t install any plugins, as this will only be used as a dummy site.
Now we’ll throw in same random content to simulate regular content.
I used a Random Text Generator to generate over 2,000 words of gibberish for four test articles, the same text we used in our Site Ground site.
Note: I had to wait awhile for Site Ground to connect with my domain name, Wealthy Affiliate connected instantly!
Which Platform is Easier to Use? Wealthy Affiliate
Wealthy Affiliate wins by a long shot.
It is just so much easier to make a site with Wealthy Affiliate.
Though Site Ground does make the installation process easy, Wealthy Affiliate’s process is much easier and faster.
If you want to get a website up and running as fast as possible, Wealthy Affiliate is your best choice.
Site Ground takes awhile to connect to the domain name.
While I was waiting for Site Ground to connect, I had time to create a website with Wealthy Affiliate, and when I was done, Site Ground still wasn’t connected.
So I had to put off the test for a few hours until Site Ground connected.
Wealthy Affiliate vs Site Ground: Which is Faster?
Keep in mind it is pretty much impossible to compare both of these sites 100% accurately.
These tests should be used as a guideline, not a complete indicator of which site is faster.
The reason being each hosting company uses different technologies, hardware, and locations.
Not to mention the speed testers may have servers closer to one host, thus showing a faster load time for that host and creating unfair results.
Nevertheless, we went ahead and performed a bunch of tests, the results are below.
Google Page Speed Insights Test: Wealthy Affiliate
We’ll start with Google’s Page Speed Insights, a super useful tool to examine website speed and identify factors that are slowing it down.
Lets start with Lets Build Wealth Online, our Wealthy Affiliate Website.
Seems to need some optimizations for Mobile, no too bad though.
And we have a good Desktop score, excellent.
Now let’s test our Site Ground website…
Google Page Speed Insights Test: Site Ground
Not much of a difference here, only one point higher than Wealthy Affiliate on mobile.
The desktop version has a two more points than Wealthy Affiliate.
There’s really not much of a big difference here, two points isn’t even noticeable.
Page Speed Insights Winner: Site Ground
Site Grounds wins this test by a tiny margin; one point for mobile and two points on desktop.
So it seems like Site Ground’s site is a tiny – tiny – bit more optimized than Wealthy Affiliate.
Lets look at some more tests.
Wealthy Affiliate Speed Test with Ping-Dom:
We went ahead and used Ping-dom to test the website load time of Lets Grow Wealth Online, our Wealthy Affiliate website.
Here are the results, testing from San Jose, California:
Wow that is fast – it takes less than a second to load.
Lets see if Site Ground can keep up!
Site Ground Speed Test with Ping Dom:
Same configuration, from San Jose California:
Not very good.
Our Wealthy Affiliate website clearly loads much faster, it takes less than a second to load, while Site Ground’s takes two seconds.
But this may be due to the server location.
Lets try a different location, Melbourne Australia (should be quite far from both hosts):
This time it takes a bit longer to load, I’m assuming it is because the Wealthy Affiliate host is quite far from Melbourne.
Lets see if Site Ground is slower…
Site Ground loads faster when tested from Melbourne, though only by a tiny margin, but that may be because the SG host is closer to Melbourne.
Either way, the performance score on Wealthy Affiliate is still much better.
So we’ll give this one to Wealthy Affiliate.
Winner: Wealthy Affiliate
Our next test will be with GT Metrix, another website speed tester.
Let’s start with Wealthy Affiliate.
GT Metrix Wealthy Affiliate Speed Test:
The test server is in Vancouver, Canada, and the same location will be used for Site Ground.
Perfect Page Speed score, faster than our previous test from Australia but still a tiny bit slower than San Jose.
According to this tester, the page file size is only 158 kilobytes, lower than what the other tools reported.
Lets see Site Ground’s Score.
GTX Metrixs Site Ground Speed Test:
Same test server.
Wow – almost a tie!
Site Ground’s load time is 0.1 seconds slower than Wealthy Affiliate, and has four percent less Page Speed Score (100 vs 96).
On the other hand, the YSlow Score is much worse, (77%) vs Wealthy Affiliate’s (96%).
Once again, the page size is also 10 kilobytes more than Wealthy Affiliate’s.
Regardless, even though Site Ground is only a tiny bit behind, Wealthy Affiliate still wins this test.
GT Metrix Test Winner: Wealthy Affiliate
Page Size and Performance Grades:
There are a couple of other things worth mentioning in these tests…
For one, Wealthy Affiliate’s page size is a tiny bit bigger than Site Ground’s, at least on the first two tests.
One more thing is you can change the server location on Site Ground for an additional fee, thus improving load times for people near the host.
There are also cloud-based cache services you can use to speed up load times.
Site Ground has a a cloud hosting feature that leaves a copy of the website on their data centers around the world, so your site will always load instantly.
But this service costs an additional $30/month.
On the other hand you can’t change the server location from Wealthy Affiliate since it is cloud-based hosting already.
The Takeaway From These Tests:
So we tested these dummy websites with three website speed tools; take a look at the results below.
- Google Insights Winner: Site Ground (+1 Mobile Score and + 2 Desktop Score)
- Ping Dom Winner: Wealthy Affiliate (Much Faster When Tested from San Jose, U.S)
- GT Metric Winner: Wealthy Affiliate (Perfect Page Speed Score)
From these tests, Wealthy Affiliate takes the lead, boasting a much faster load time and performance scores.
There are only a few minor differences, such as Page Size, server location, and Requests.
Though our Site Ground site has a smaller page size, Wealthy Affiliate still loads faster.
With some plugins, we could – most likely – improve the Site Ground scores.
Either way, none of these hosts are bad, they both load really fast.
Site Ground got a better score on Google’s official speed tester, but only by a couple of points.
On the other hand, Wealthy Affiliate loaded faster on the other tests, and its much easier (and faster) to setup a website with them.
We’ll talk about the other differences between this two companies in the next section.
What About SSL Certifications? (Switching from HTTP to HTTPS).
Recent Google updates have revealed websites with SSL certificates are favored, and tend to have a competitive advantage.
Luckily, both Site Ground and Wealthy Affiliate offer free SSL certificates for your website.
Just sign-up and install the certificate and you’re good to go (the process is easier with Wealthy Affiliate).
Site Ground offers more secure variations of SSL certificates for an additional fee, the basic version is free.
Wealthy Affiliate only offers one type of SSL certificate.
Regardless, a standard certificate is all you need for a small-time website.
In case you didn’t know, when you install a SSL certificate on your site, the pre-fix on your domain “http://” will change to “https://”, the “S” indicates a secure connection.
Since there are so many scams out there, it is always best to use SSL not only because Google favors SSL websites, but because it provides a more safe experience for your visitors.
Pricing and Features:
So it looks like Wealthy Affiliate has the upper hand here, but lets compare some more features.
As I mentioned earlier, Site Ground is a full hosting service, with plenty of options (dedicated hosts, cloud-hosts, etc)
You can also access the c-panel and install basically any kind of platform you want.
This means, with Site Ground you are not limited to WordPress – you can choose to build your site on a wide range of platforms.
Site Ground’s Softaculous service lets you easily install platforms in more than 20 categories.
The following are some types of websites you can build with this service:
- Wikis, e-commerce sites and online stores
- Social networks
- Customer support
- File management
- Team and Project Management
- and much more.
In the blogging category alone, there are over 20 different platforms you can use to build a website.
Of course, WordPress is the most popular platform, and if you’re starting out it has everything that you need.
But if you need to build a website on a different platform, Site Ground is your best option.
Wealthy Affiliate on the other hand is only WordPress based and you don’t have access to the c-panel.
In other words you can’t edit files on your host and you can only change WordPress settings and editor.
To summarize, Site Ground lets you access and customize all your files, there are no limitations.
You can configure and change every aspect of your website.
Wealthy Affiliate on the other hand is limited to WordPress and you are limited – though only slightly!
Wealthy Affiliate has something Site Ground doesn’t have too, and that’s a full-scale online business training center with detailed lessons.
Besides that, its also a community where you can interact with other members, send messages, chat with people, leave comments, and support one another.
The Wealthy Affiliate training teaches people how to build a profitable website in as few steps as possible.
The training covers almost every topic related to online business, such as keyword research, content creation, traffic, website optimization, sales, affiliate marketing and much more.
In short, it is an online business training course as well.
With Wealthy Affiliate, the premium membership covers access to the platform, website builder, host, and all the other features.
The premium memberships costs $49/a month, though the first month is $19 dollars. Yearly at $359 so a buck a day.
Considering this price includes access to online training material, a community, and a website builder, updated weekly webinars, I think it is well worth it.
Site Ground, on the other hand, is cheaper because it does not offer as many features.
You can choose the trial plan (one month for $18) or dive right into an official plan.
The Start Up Plan is sufficient for most website owners, and it comes to around $3.95/month.
But keep in mind there are bandwidth limits, and if your website exceeds those limits you will have to pay more.
Which Company is Best for You?
I recommend Wealthy Affiliate if you’re new to online business and want to learn the ropes.
Wealthy Affiliate’s website builder is super easy to use and their sites are lightning fast.
Not to mention if you ever have a problem you can ask the community for assistance, the live chat is always active and they have direct support that’s quick to respond to issues.
For people who need an easy to use platform and don’t have much experience working online, Wealthy Affiliate is the best choice.
It is a little more expensive than Site Ground but it teaches you everything you need to know to build a profitable website/online business.
Site Ground, on the other hand, is best for experienced marketers who are already familiar with online business strategies.
It is one of the better hosting companies out there, and their customer support is off-the-charts as well.
With Site Ground you can also configure a lot more settings and you have total control over your website and its files.
In other words, if you already know what needs to be done to create a profitable website go with Site Ground.
But if you’re new and want to learn more about online business, head over to Wealthy Affiliate.
Personally, I think both companies are excellent.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review.
If you have any questions please leave them below.