My experience of hosting static website hosting on Siteground

My experience of hosting static website hosting on Siteground

It is been around 4 years ago I start my DevOps blog but along the way, I learned a lot about what goes behind hosting a website that receives thousands of users each day. I always wanted to document my journey but there is nothing much to share when your blog does not receive that much organic traffic. To put things into perspective I set a milestone of reaching 100k monthly users on my website and I reached that goal in February-2022 and now sitting on 130k monthly users.

Website 30 days traffic hosting on siteground

In this blog post, I will be sharing all the findings, the good and the bad which I am faced along the way. Keeping my experience as transparent as I can.

So to start with if you wanna start a blog/website and you really wanna stand out then I would recommend 4 things

  1. A good domain name
  2. a Website hosting provider
  3. Niche for your blog/website (One of the most important aspects and you should be damn passionate about it)
  4. Framework for building a website - WordPress(if you are not tech-savvy) or Hugo, Jekyll static website generator

Note- This post is not for those who are looking for free website or subdomain hosting(blogspot.com or wordpress.com)

Table of Content

  1. How did I start with my website?
  2. Why did I choose a Static site instead of WordPress?
  3. Does siteground support hosting a Static website
  4. Speed performance and Core web vital score of my blog
  5. Other static website hosting alternative
  6. What do I recommend and expect from hosting service providers?
  7. Things you should know before you start working with Static Website
  8. Conclusion

How did I start with my website?

I started by searching for a domain name and after a week ended up finding a domain name Jhooq(I always wanted a short domain name that is easy to remember). After finding the domain I purchased Google Domains. (Note - I recommend buying domain separately so that you have better control over domain DNS settings, do not fall into trap of a combo package where you get domain and hosting)

After buying the domain I started searching for a hosting service provider to host my website. After doing a bit of research I found Siteground to be suitable for my need. Although siteground does not offer anything free, so ended up buying StartUp Plan because I did not have that much traffic coming in on my website and the upper limit for traffic was 10,000 visits, so I went ahead with it.

Siteground hosting plan

But later as my traffic grew I switched the plan and now using their GoGeek Plan because it has an upper limit of 400,000 visitors per month.

Why did I initially choose WordPress for my website?

As I was new and I did not want to put more effort into designing and developing the website because it would take a lot of my time rather than focusing on actually writing stuff. So if you are also looking for a quick website setup then I would recommend going with wordpress and as you move on you can start optimizing the look and feel of the website or even you can buy some premium themes of WordPress. (*Note- Currently Jhooq.com is not running on WordPress but instead it is built by Hugo. I will explain later in the post how I am running my static website on Siteground)

Go with WordPress hosting if you are not tech-savvy?

Siteground has really good support for WordPress Hosting. Their onboarding and initial setup of WordPress hosting are really easy and smooth. If you are not a tech-savvy person then I would recommend using the Siteground WordPress hosting option which will ease the pain of technicalities involved in the installation of the WordPress site and you can start publishing content pretty quickly.

Why did I choose a Static site instead of WordPress?

I have written a detailed article on Why I dumped WordPress and moved to Hugo. But if you are interested here are the key points which lead me to dump WordPress -

1. Website Speed and Performance - This is by far one of the prominent reasons I have dumped WordPress because when you run your website using WordPress then all the data is stored inside a database named MySQL. So when an end-user finds a URL of your website and he/she tries to access the page then data is being fetched from the database and then displayed on an HTML page using PHP.

But on the other hand, if you talk about a Static website - "You do not have any database running behind, all the data is in the form of HTML pages along with some javascript". So a user request does not have to travel to the database and which ultimately makes your website faster.

2. Dependency on the Hosting provider is minimal- With a static website, you do not have to rely on the customer support of the hosting provider because you have complete control over your website.

  1. You can simply change the hosting provider at any point in time
  2. To change the hosting provider you simply need to copy the HTML, Javascript, and CSS and you are good to go.
  3. Migration will be very smooth and you do not have to worry about the database backup because you do not have any
  4. You can ZIP the backup of your website in a couple of hundred MBs.

3. Core Web Vitals- If you are following Google Search Engine or SEO guidelines then last year Google has release a new metric known as CWV(Core Web Vitals) which measures your website's LCP(Largest Contentful paint), FID(First Input Delay), CLS(Cummulative Layout shift).

Although all the WordPress theme providers actively working on fixing CVW(Core Web Vitals) if you are using the static website then it is already taken care and you do not have to do any additional optimization for your website.

4. No need for Paid Plugins - WordPress is heavily loaded with plugins, nowadays you will find a WordPress plugin for pretty much every task, and for some of the plugins you need to pay an extra or monthly subscription fee. But on the other hand, if you are using a static site then there is no concept of plugins and it can save some of your expenses towards the maintenance of your website.

Does siteground support hosting a Static website

Yes, siteground does support hosting a Static website. You have to be a little creative to host your static site with site ground.

It does not matter which static site generator framework(Hugo, jekyll) you are using. You only need HTML, CSS, and Javascript file and all the static site generator framework does support exporting the pages into HTML, CSS, and Javascript file.

If you are with Siteground or any hosting service provider you will always have cPanel(Control Panel) for your website. In the control panel, you have all the options for managing your site.

Here is the screenshot of my control panel -

Siteground control panel

public_html - All hosting providers must have a public_html directory in which you can paste all of your website's HTML, CSS, and javascript code.

Here is my public_html directory where I keep my HTML, CSS, and javascript files.

Speed performance and Core web vital score of my blog

There are a lot of factors that goes behind the CVW(Core Web Vital) metrics and if you are lagging behind on CWV score then I would suggest making an audit and making some bullet point to target those tasks individually because there is no Silver Bullet to get good Core Web Vital score.

Back to the question what are my CWV(Core Web Vital) scores?

So here is the screenshot of my Google Search Console and it shows pretty good CWV(Core Web Vital) scores for Desktop as well as Mobile.

Mobile Core Web Vital Score

Mobile Core web vital score

Desktop Core Web Vital Score

Desktop core web vital score

TIP - If you are heavily using WordPress plugins on your website then it will be really hard for you to get a good Core Web Vital score. To improve the CWV score Get rid of all unnecessary plugin and keep the plugin dependency as minimum as possible

What I did do to improve my Core Web vitals?

I did nothing pretty much all the static websites have very good CWV because static websites are very lightweight and it always has minimum code which ultimately gets you a really good CWV score.

Other static website hosting alternative

There are various static hosting providers in the market and here is the list of them -

  1. Netlify(Popular and has a free hosting option)
  2. Google Cloud Platform
  3. Amazon Web Service(AWS)
  4. Vultr
  5. Surge
  6. GitHub Pages
  7. Firebase
  8. Vercel
  9. Cloudflare

Is it easy to host a static website?

Well hosting and managing a static website can be a little technical because you must have a reasonable understanding of -

  1. Github Repository
  2. Any of the Static Website generator frameworks (Hugo, Next.js, 11ty, Gatsby, NUXTJS, Jekyll)
  3. Markdown language syntax

I will not deep dive into the steps on how to develop and maintain the static site but on a high level, you should have a better understanding of the above tools. Note- In the future I will write a detailed post on how to use a static site generator and deploy it on either of the static hosting providers

All of the Static website generators use Jamstack architecture to make the web faster, more secure, and easier to scale.

What do I recommend and expect from hosting service providers?

I personally love Siteground because -

  1. They have really good customer support
  2. You can one to one 24x7 chat support
  3. There support staff knows the technicalities behind hosting
  4. Siteground provides a very intuitive Control Panel(cPanel) to manage your website
  5. They provide 12 hours cache to provide lightfast performance.

Siteground caching

Cons of Siteground -

  1. You do not get anything for free, you have to purchase a plan based on your monthly traffic
  2. Siteground also provides CDN(Content Delivery Network) but it is an additional cost that you need to pay and I did not like their paid CDN feature
  3. Siteground has a free integration towards Cloudflare for better content delivery but the integration sucks
  4. They do not have native support for the website based on Jamstack architecture, you have to manually upload HTML, CSS, and javascript files whenever your want to make an update on the website.

Other free options for hosting

The most popular option is Netlify and if you are just getting started with a Static website then I would recommend going for Netlify because -

  1. They do provide free hosting
  2. Netlify has native support for the static website based on Jamstack architecture
  3. Netlify has really good documentation and community support

Cons of Netlify -

  1. For the free plan you do not get any support from netlify
  2. Netlify provides mail support for the paid plan but their support is still limited to mail, if you are in urgent need of support then you have to keep patience because they do not have chat support.
  3. Netlify can be a little overwhelming if you are new to website development.

Things you should know before you start working with Static Website

At last, what are the tools you need to learn if you really wanna migrate your website from WordPress to a static site generator -

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. Javascript
  4. Markdown Syntax
  5. Any of the Jamstack Framework (Hugo, Next.js, 11ty, Gatsby, NUXTJS, Jekyll)
  6. GitHub for versioning

You do not have to be an expert on the above tech stack but you should be comfortable enough to use those tools so that you can handle initial integration with the hosting provider. Once your integration is successful then you can concentrate on your content.

Conclusion

Hosting a static website can bring a lot of challenges at first but if you have really good support from the hosting provider then it could be really easy for you to troubleshoot and manage the website. I like siteground because of the customer support although I have to pay a decent amount annually for their services. But if you have long time vision to grow your website then I would recommend investing in good hosting providers such as Siteground, Netlify, Google Cloud, and AWS. Hope this article will help you to make your decision on choosing the hosting service provider for your website.


Read More -

  1. Why I dumped Wordpress and switched to Hugo static site generator
  2. My experience of hosting static website hosting on Siteground
  3. Hosting a website on Netlify
  4. How to set up Netlify CMS for static website?
  5. Fixing the Hugo Theme on Netlify Hosting?
  6. /netlify-deploy-site-with-ftp-manually?