In one of the speed checklist posts I already spoke about the importance of choosing a good Joomla specialized webhost. There are quite a few good ones, but let me tell you why I chose Siteground.com, and more importantly, why I have no plans of leaving! I went to Siteground almost 2 years ago, when I had returning issues with the performance of my previous host. I already heard good stories about Siteground, so I decided to try them out. I paid special attention to performance, as that was the area I had issues.
Well, after switching over I was not disappointed! My site was twice as fast, with increased Page Speed rankings, without changing a thing.... In the mean time I have about 25 Joomla sites hosted with them, most now within one of their Cloud VPS packages. I have had an issue here and there, no one is perfect, but their support has always been great, especially the speed with which tickets are being picked up, usually within minutes.
Performance & Supercacher
I think what I like best about them is their focus on Joomla and performance. Especially running a blog about Joomla Performance makes this an important item. Standard set-up of the servers is already really good. When I moved from my previous host to Siteground, the performance gain was significant! This was out-of-the-box performance, no tweaking whatsoever.
However, they also have further options for advanced Performance tweaking in their Supercacher options. These features are included in their standard hosting packages, no need to pay extra. These features make use of Varnish, which is an advanced caching mechanism, which you can activate on top of the Joomla caching mechanism. This will make your site a lot faster generally garanueed:
Depending on your needs you can activate Static Cache, Dynamic Cache, and for database-intensive sites even Memcache. Each step brings you slightly better performance:
- Static Cache works plain and simple, you just switch it on and it works.
- Dynamic cache even increases speed, but it requires you to install a free plugin in Joomla to use it.
- On top of this, you can even activate Memcache. This speeds up database calls, API calls and page rendering by storing data and objects in the server's RAM. To switch it on, you will need make a small update to Joomla's configuration.php file, to add an option that is not available from the Joomla options.
Tip: You can flush Siteground cache from your Cpanel, but if you use Nonumber's Cache Cleaner, you can automate this so that every time you make a change, your Varnish cache is cleared, next to Joomla's cache.
Alternatively, you can enable mod_pagespeed, an Apache module to enable Google Pagespeed improvement. Note that if you enable this, Varnish cache is disabled, you cannot use both at the same time.
Free Cloudflare CDN
Siteground has a partnership with Cloudflare, one of the major Content delivery Network providers, and they offer the option to activate a free Cloudflare account. Cloudflare is a CDN focussing on security as well as performance. Activation is extremeley easy, you just click the Activate button from the Cpanel, and it is set-up automatically. I wrote an extensive tutorial describing how to do so, including some more advanced stuff.
The rest: Joomla specialist, security and support
Apart from the excellent performance they give to my sites, there's also support (fast, minutes usually!), security (very pro-active when it comes to known vulnerablities) and the fact that they are Joomla specialists can often help in solving issues on your site.
Curious? Check them out the Siteground.com packages here, starting at