Branded as “hosting for serious web designers,” Site5 is a popular web hosting company that offers shared, reseller, and VPS hosting packages.
After more than five years as a Site5 customer, I wanted to share a comprehensive review of my experience, breaking down the good and the bad.
Is Site5 web hosting right for you? Well, let’s find out.
Site5 Web Hosting
Site5 is not a bad web host—but its cost-to-feature ratio is unreasonably high.
With no real standout features, you’re better off going with something like SiteGround, which offers a better service at a much lower introductory price.
Site5 Hosting Review
Let’s dig into the details of Site5 web hosting—the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Who Owns Site5?
Site5 was founded in 1999 by entrepreneurs Matt Lightner and Rod Armstrong. In 2015, the company was acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG), a massive conglomerate that controls dozens of hosting companies, including Bluehost and HostGator.
While EIG runs some of the most popular hosting brands, its reputation among industry professionals is not good.
EIG is known for acquiring smaller hosting companies and continuing to operate them under their original branding, while moving their IT and support infrastructure to places like India to cut costs.
I was a Site5 customer before, during, and after the EIG transition. I did, anecdotally, experience a decline in service quality over that period.
With that said, I want to take a step back and assess Site5’s merits objectively, putting aside any prejudices I may have about EIG.
1.4s Page Load Time
Page speed is one of the most important considerations when choosing a web host. Your website’s performance impacts everything from the overall user experience to your SEO, conversion rate, and revenue.
We set up a basic WordPress test site on Site5 and tested its performance using GTmetrix:
For a blank WordPress site, 1.4 seconds is a tad higher than I’d like to see—but not terrible.
590ms Server Response Time (TTFB)
One factor that is highly influenced by your web host is your server response time, or Time To First Byte (TTFB).
Our test site clocked in at 590ms, as measured by Google’s PageSpeed Insights:
While Site5 narrowly passed the audit, it’s uncomfortably close to 600ms, which Google considers a failure.
Lack Of Speed Technology
Site5 falls short of expectations in both page speed and server response time. Its performance isn’t necessarily bad—but it’s clear the company is failing to invest in a few key areas.
- Site5 does not support NGINX, which offers performance benefits over Apache web servers
- Site5’s servers use old-school spinning hard drives, rather than faster, modern SSDs
- Site5 does not offer any built-in caching solution to speed up dynamic applications like WordPress
- Site5 does not support the latest version of PHP
In terms of uptime, Site5’s performance is quite good. In fact, it offers a 99.99% uptime guarantee, with account credits available should your server experience downtime over the course of a given month:
Account Management & cPanel
Site5’s client area is simple and straightforward to use. For server management, it includes a familiar cPanel control panel:
Support is a key part of any good web hosting service. Ideally you’ll never need it—but the reality is, things do go wrong sometimes. When that happens, you want to have a lifeline there to help you.
For its part, Site5 offers 24/7 support via tickets and live chat.
When I first became a Site5 customer, I was extremely impressed by the support team and the value they placed on customer satisfaction. I felt like I had experts in my corner whenever I needed a hand.
However, following the EIG acquisition, the magic seems to have been lost. Response times are slower, and I haven’t experienced the same passionate, customer-focused culture, subjective as that may be.
If there’s one area where Site5 goes above and beyond, it would be account migrations.
Many web hosts offer paid migration services, with some providing a single site transfer for new customers.
Site5’s support team will migrate up to 25 cPanel accounts or up to 10 non-cPanel accounts free of charge, regardless of your account type. They also note that “for Fully Managed VPS hosting, we can certainly migrate more accounts within reason.”
High Cost : Feature Ratio
With all of the above in mind, let’s take a look at the cost.
Site5’s shared hosting starts at $7.65 per month. However, it’s important to note that this rate is for two years billed upfront.
Alternatively, you can get the same plan for $8.95 per month if you pay for 12 months in advance. Site5 does not offer month-to-month billing, nor does it offer a lower introductory rate for new customers. However, it does offer a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Another major issue: Site5 still charges for SSL, an essential service that many other web hosts now offer for free via Let’s Encrypt. The prices are astronomical: $39.95/year for a standard certificate for one domain, or $149/year for a wildcard certificate that covers one domain and each of its subdomains.
These days, SSL is a must-have for nearly any new site, so you have to factor that into the total cost. You should plan on paying at least $11 per month—and that’s assuming you choose the cheapest hosting plan with the basic (non-wildcard) SSL certificate, and pay for two years in advance.
The Pros & Cons Of Site5 Hosting
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, Site5 is not a bad web host—but its cost-to-feature ratio is unreasonably high.
I hope this review has been helpful! If you have any questions about Site5 or another web host you’re considering, please feel free to leave a comment below.