When it comes to cheap web hosting, Site5.com is one of the well-known companies, especially amongst designers.
And rightly so!
After all, their slogan is “Built for Designers and Developers”.
But I also heard a lot of good things about them from ordinary bloggers and webmasters. Of course, like any other web host it has its own fair share of complaints and negative reviews and ratings.
To test their service, I signed up for the basic shared hosting plan, set up a WordPress site, and gave it a go. This review is my personal take on Site5 hosting based on this experience. Hopefully, this “Site5 backstage” look will give you enough information to help you make up your mind.
Introduction to Site5.com
Matt Lightner and Rod Armstrong founded Site5 in 1998 and continued holding the positions of CEO and President respectively till 2007. Subsequently, they decided to hand over the reigns of business to an enthusiastic and brilliant team of professionals, so that they could concentrate on additional projects.
During October 2008, the founders handed over the reins of their business to Ben Welch-Bolen and Joel Brown.
Now, the company’s operations are in the hands of a hundred percent remote team, having over hundred employees in different parts of the world, quite like their over 50, 000 clients.
They also provide their clients the facility of choosing from over nineteen locations for shared web hosting, reseller hosting, and managed and unmanaged VPS. That helps local SEO efforts and quicker websites for visitors of that region.
Critics have continued acknowledging the site among the best hosting sites with innovative software and technology.
The company has been a BBB accredited business since 2009. And at the time of writing this review, they have an A rating (on a scale of A+ to F) from the Better Business Bureau.
As for complaints, there was a total of 19 in the last 3 years, all of which seem to be resolved.
I usually don’t usually rely on BBB rating for assessing a company’s reliability since their rating system isn’t entirely based on the actual service the company provides. But I try to add it to my reviews knowing some people like to be aware of it.
Hosting Plans & Prices
At times, one comes across forums pointing out that Site5 is slightly expensive. Yet, the kind of support and services the site provides justifies the prices, conforming to industry norms.
All plans offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space but the fact remains that in the case of shared hosting, it’s not logical to expect unlimited bandwidth and disc space. You should always read that content in fine print.
Here are the different plans offered by them:
- Basic Plan – $4.95/Month
On patronizing this plan, you can host only one website and you need to pay for full one year beforehand. If you are looking for a monthly plan, find another vendor. In any case, there are not many consumers looking for monthly plans, as most prefer paying for at least one year, if not more.
- Pro – $8.95/Month
Its features are similar to the basic plan except that you can host any number of domains.
- Pro + Turbo – $11.95/Month
This has all the features of the Pro plan, meaning you can host any number of domains but you also get a dedicated IP.
You can also have reseller hosting, starting from $23.95 a month, plus VPS starting around $55/month as per your chosen location of the server.
All plans also include Free Migration to Site5, free backups and the rest of the features you generally get with most hosting sites. Perhaps, the impressive feature, in this case, is that you get the freedom of choosing the location of your server.
cPanel and User Interface
What distinguishes Site5 from others is the backend user interface and cPanel, known as “Backstage“. It’s clean and simple, facilitating navigation, which is difficult to find with most other interfaces.
You’ll also appreciate their easy cPanel access as it doesn’t require you to visit your personal cPanel URL. You can straightway login to your cPanel from your account dashboard.
Using the same backend, you may also control your invoicing and pay your associates. For some unexplained reasons, most companies prefer not to offer this facility.
As a web user, you can’t ignore or overemphasize the requirement of a user-friendly clean interface, and I personally think these guys offer just that, making the rest rather obsolete!
How About Support?
I find their support staff much friendlier and more helpful than many other companies’ support team I have gotten in touch with during the years. They patiently go through your complaint to identify the precise problem and offer workable solutions. You won’t find them giving you the usual parrot talk like other companies do (iPage anyone!).
That said, if you are a complete novice, you may find it hard to get things done. I haven’t had anyone being rude to me, but just to test the waters, on one occasion I acted as if I was clueless about how I needed to fix an issue in my .htaccess file and to be honest, if I was truly clueless, none of her answers and tips would have helped me solve the problem.
That said, she did offer to do it all on her own which she did. So, that’s nice but some people like to be more hands on. But then again, how many times are you going to face a problem like that… exactly! So, it’s not that big of a deal to me personally.
The normal response time to your queries is usually under thirty minutes. In case your problem is complex, the same is handled by senior representatives and you are notified of the action so taken, and it may take about one hour to get a response. Although the longest time I ever had to wait was around 17 minutes.
The site also provides a chat service, but you may have to wait in Q till a representative comes online to attend to your complaint. This may take up to ten minutes, which I think is reasonable.
Another helpful feature of chat support or email is that you can see a picture of the representative you are dealing with. As you click beneath that picture, you are directed to a short Bio page about the member of the support team of S5. That certainly gives a better feeling of personal touch with the member of the support team rather than dealing with a faceless individual.
However, keep in mind that the site offers phone support only from 10AM to 6PM, EST and only on weekdays.
Uptime and Downtime
Uptime for Site5 is quite okay. I didn’t see any difference between my actual experience and what they state on their sales page. Occasionally, users may face downtime but it’s never too long.
It happened to me once where the site was down about twenty minutes. Of course, no webmaster likes that, but what I did like was the fact that they did email me and let me know about it. Some companies don’t even bother with this hoping you won’t notice it!
You can always check their server status on their uptime report page.
Using Fantastico, you’ll appreciate it that it offers hassle-free speedy installation of WP and find it nearly the same as that of any other host.
Overall, I’d say there is really no noticeable difference between Site5 and any other company such as AnHosting or HostGator when it comes to WP.
Other Reviews of Site5 Hosting
So, as always, I did some reading and looking around to get a sense of the bigger picture and how other people were expressing their experiences with the company. As expected, there were both negative and positive comments and ratings.
I picked out the most common ones and made this pros and cons list out of them.
- The fact that they have continued in the same business since 1999 means you can depend on them.
- They always inform you beforehand of their scheduled maintenance programs and also let you know when you are likely to experience some downtime difficulty in accessing your website.
- You’ll appreciate they keep you informed as you are not taken by surprise when your website is down.
- The site provides daily backups for each account without any charge. This is of great help in case your site gets hacked or you happen to delete all your files and you have no backups, though, one should always keep backups. They can bring back your website/s from the previous day and up to last one week.
- MultiAdmin feature from Site5 offers convenient control of various cPanel accounts through the SiteAdmin interface. You’ll find it helpful when you are operating many sites for yourself or your clients and would like to ensure maximum security. Having a devoted cPanel for each site ensures that if one of the sites gets hacked, the rest won’t.
- Hosting with them also contains another good feature, Site5 Themes, which are specially-designed WordPress themes, have nice layouts and are quick to respond, meaning these are compatible with touch screens and mobile devices.
- Another great feature is you can choose the location of your server. This is of tremendous help in case of SEO, especially local SEO (although it’s still debatable whether or not serving your site from a local server has any impact on SEO).
- The uptime is great, going up to 99.8 percent.
- They provide numerous hosting options that include shared hosting to a cloud VPS.
- Customer support is above decent. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and response times are small indeed.
- Undoubtedly, their plans are costlier than what’s already available in the market. What makes them all the more expensive is an amount of $9 a month for hosting more than one domain! You may compare that to the charges of other leading companies in the same trade, including A Small Orange, HostNine, and MDDHosting, all offering similar services without any extra charge. That’s not at all competitive of Site5. It may already be driving away many prospective clients.
- There is another limitation if it may be so called, with the support of Site5 in the sense that if you are not very conversant with web hosting, you may not find their support very helpful. It’s a kind of hosting company meant for obsessive computer users, expecting their clients to have a fairly good idea of what they intend doing before hosting through them. Otherwise, their support team is really helpful but don’t expect them to hold you by the hand.
- A novice may find the initial signup message a bit puzzling for getting started. The company could have provided just one email with all the private login information through an optional questionnaire after logging in and guide the user through the remaining process of putting in their site.
Is Site5 Web Hosting Right for You?
Bottom line is that support and services provided by Site5 are good, but the proverbial saying “there’s always room for improvement” certainly holds good in their case too.
Individuals, small businesses and self-employed web designers or developers will find this host to perfectly fit their requirements for hosting websites varying from a simple HTML site to a composite membership site, using WordPress or any PHP based application. Should your requirements be more challenging or require managed support, you should look for another vendor.
Perhaps, the most obliging feature of Site 5 is their free trial offer for thirty days. You’ll find it hard to locate another company making such an offer.
Thirty days time is enough to try any service without making any payment. In that period, you can easily assess if Site5 meets your requirements. Additionally, there is also an offer of 45-day money back guarantee if you decide to make payment as per their norms.