Siteground.com – Will They Surprise Bill You?

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Siteground.com is my third host review of 4 hosts for November 2010 webhostingstuff.com’s top 25.  To be honest on the surface there is not a lot that I can tell you. This has been a bit of a stumbling block and the reason I have not posted in a while, as this was a host that was not going to take my usual 2 hours of research.   It may very well be a site that deserves to be in a top list.  But I have to ask why are they on webhostingstuff.com?   I could go on about their affiliate program, but it seems a fair program.  The design seems bulky.  Not to mention I really hate the little pop up window the terms of service are in.

So what is wrong with Siteground.com?

Even though siteground.com links to a site that has no negative reviews about them, they are out there.

http://www.besthostsdirectory.com/siteground-reviews.htm

One complaint I see is in regards to reoccurring billing.  In the hosting industry this is not exactly uncommon.  But the problem I find is where they are billing 15 days in advance of the due date.  Then there is their latest special where they offer 5 free gifts.  The problem is they are only free for a certain amount of time, and not all of them are for a year.  Its unclear that after the free period is up that you may get billed for those services, and if so what terms will you be billed for Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annual, or longer?

http://www.web-hosting-top.com/web-hosting/web-hosting-top.siteground.com/type/add-review

For that matter you can find alot of anti-Siteground sites under a search of Siteground sucks.

Siteground.com / Besthostdirectory.com connection?

It should be no surprise that I look at the whois for any domain some how linked to a domain I am reviewing.

Here is what I get when I do a whois on besthostdirectory.com

Registrant:
 Contactprivacy.com
 96 Mowat Ave
 Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
 CA

 Domain name: BESTHOSTSDIRECTORY.COM

No surprise there.  I tend to think that if your a company that you should not get domain privacy and that should be for indivduals only.  You might say on one hand that this is good they have Siteground.com on the number 1 spot, and if you look at there network info they are indeed hosted with Siteground.com.

So what about their previous history?  When I look at the wayback machine guess which host is number 1 every time:

http://web.archive.org/web/*/besthostsdirectory.com

Siteground is number 1 and LunarPages is number 2 in every snap shot.

Ever hear of the company called featuredpricehosting?   This was a hosting company that ran there own top 10, they ended up getting busted over this.  Granted I don’t know the full story but its on my to do list.  But I suspect that Siteground.com is the owner of besthostdirectory.com.   Even if they do not own it, it oddly has no negative reviews about siteground.com.

What about the free Siteground.com stuff I told you about earlier?

Being its now January 7th I find it odd that there still using Santa, but then again when I ran 4 hosting companies I had a New Years graphic up.

Now what is not clear is when you will be billed and how much for.

Standard SSL Certificate

This is the only thing that I can say with some certainty that this will be billed under no less then annual terms.  However I can tell you that you can get SSL certficates for as low as $20.   I can only assume it costs them $10, which is why they offer it for free the first year.  Just as I can believe that it only costs them $5 for a domain.  So if you do choose to go with Siteground.com for a ssl use it for the first year, but go else where to get a cheaper one after you exhausted your free time.

Spam and Email Virus Protection

At $5.50 a month that is $33.00 for 6 months, despite having 6 free months that only costs $24.

Website Wizard

If it was billed monthly it would be $3.50

Premium Support

There is no clear mention of how much more time you would have to wait if you did not pay $5.95 a month for priority support.

Daily Backup

I don’t what the maximum is of back up, this after all is a unlimited package.

Trying to go back to the main page of Siteground.com I get this popup window:

I figure the best thing to do to get my questions answered is to get on  their chat support to find out what they bill for.

The SiteGround.com chat session

Martin: Hello Benjamin
Martin: Welcome to SiteGround.com Hosting Services!
Benjamin: Hello Martin,
Benjamin: I am interested in your current offering
Benjamin: I see that the “gifts” are only free for a certain time and I would like to know if they are subject to auto billing?
Martin: Glad to hear about your interest, allow me a quick moment please
Benjamin: sure
Martin: I will now transfer you to a specialist in the field of current promotion and he will be happy to help you further
Benjamin: Thank you

This chat session has been transfered to Levan [sales]

Levan: Hello Benjamin
Benjamin: Hello Levan
Levan: The “gifts” are indeed for a certain pre defined period.
Levan: Sort of a trial for the extra services
Levan: And yes, as any other service we offer they would also be renewed automatically, if of course you do not choose to cancel them first.
Levan: Of course you will get quite a lot of notification before that, to make sure you remember.
Benjamin: Can you tell me when they would be rebill and for how much and under what terms (i.e. monthly, quarterly, semi-annual…….)
Benjamin: I suspect the ssl is once a year
Levan: which one would be interested in, or all of them?
Benjamin: all of them
Levan: Fair enough.
Levan: The SSL is indeed on a yearly basis
Levan: $82 per year.
Levan: Premium Support is $71.40/yr
Levan: Daily Backups are $71.40/yr
Levan: Spam Killer is $42/yr
Levan: Website wizard $42.00/year
Benjamin: This is not pro-rated to match the account?
Levan: If you could elaborate, please.
Benjamin: Example I buy today
Benjamin: 2 months from now you bill me for the back up
Benjamin: but only at 10 months
Benjamin: so that I am billed the same time as my hosting package
Levan: No the services would be rewed at different times, when the trial for the specific service has lapsed.
Benjamin: ok
Benjamin: do you offer a 30 day guarantee?
Levan: Yes, indeed a 30 day refund policy does come with the package.
Benjamin: In regards to the free domain, is that for the life of the account?
Levan: Yes, as long as you are hosted with us
Levan: the domain name will remain free
Benjamin: ok
Benjamin: how much would it cost to retain the domain if I decide not to keep my hosting account?
Levan: the standard domain registration fee with us is $14.95
Benjamin: cool
Benjamin: ok one last question
Levan: So that would be the it , yup
Levan: As many as you need.
Benjamin: its in regards to the premium support
Levan: ok
Benjamin: what is the difference in the premium and non-premium support
Levan: There are 2 main differences, one would be the average response time
Levan: Standard is around 15
Levan: Premium lowers it to 5 min
Levan: the second one is the ease with which you can post general issues.
Levan: Let me elaborate.
Levan: Basically the normal ticketing system is divided into categories.
Levan: So you need to navigate to the category at hand, and post the issue there, and it goes to the specialist in the field.
Levan: Example
Levan: Domain problems
Levan: Into the domain/DNS category
Levan: With premium you get a direct drop down meny
Levan: With a quick option post the matter immediately.
Levan: So it makes it a little harded for us
Levan: But easier for you.
Levan: That’s about it.
Levan: Of course with the trial
Levan: You get to experience that first hand.
Levan: Given that you do not have many requests
Levan: As mostly service runs smoothly.
Levan: No actual need for premium to be honest.
Benjamin: too many requests?
Levan: Simply for more dynamic users, in need of constant info
Levan: It’s better to go for premium
Levan: kind of beginner vs experienced user
Benjamin: Ok I think that will do it for me I will chew on this for the next hour and then decide if I will sign up. Thanks for the info.
Levan: Most welcome, glad I could assist you.
Benjamin: Have a good day
Levan: And if you need anything else , just come by. We are here at all times.
Levan: Thank you, have a great one as well!

In sum what this siteground.com chat boils down to:

Over 6 months if you choose all 5 so called “freebies” you will be billed $262.20 with 4 billings over the coarse of 6 months.  After the first year you will be billed $344.20 4 times over the coarse of 6 months.  The sales operative told me that they send notices to remind you before you are billed

Also the support service seems a bit wonk, after all why should someone that does not pay for premium service not get this pull down menu support?

Either way if you choose Siteground you better be prepared to watch your email for what may be a surprise bill.

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