Sometimes I like to record my first impressions when looking at a company website and see if they were right or not.
On the SiteGround landing page, I get a clean, wholesome feeling, almost like I’m stepping into a fancy coffee shop.
Siteground Pricing Page
I mean, they even call it web hosting “crafted with care”. With InMotion Hosting, it’s a little bit more dated, and business-y, with loads of prices flying about. Maybe more like walking into a cheap car dealership?
InMotion Pricing Page
Of course I know that exercise isn’t actually helpful at all. If you’re looking for hosting, you need the full picture. This is exactly why I’ve broken down all their specifics in this post, down to the very nitty gritty technicalities.
So without further ado, let’s see who is the best web host for your needs.
SiteGround vs InMotion Overview
SiteGround and InMotion offer unlimited bandwidth. SiteGround storage is capped at 10GB ($14.99 a month), 20GB ($24.99), and 40GB ($39.99). InMotion has unlimited storage on their 3 plans ($13.99, $17.99 and $24.99 a month), but with fewer features and slower page speed.
Which one is more popular
If this was a popularity contest, it would be very hard to pick a winner between these two companies. SiteGround, launched in 2004 by a group of Bulgarian university students, now hosts nearly 2M domains and employs 400 people worldwide.
Google Trends Comparison of Siteground and InMotion
InMotion has a staff of around 300, and looks to host around 1.5M sites. It’s older, founded in 2001, and operates mainly from three offices in the US (California, Virginia and Colorado).
So they’re very close competitors, both with an estimated 1.5 ish % of the whole web hosting market share. But SiteGround is more popular with international users, while InMotion does particularly well in the US.
Our video review for SiteGround. Soon we’ll also do one for InMotion!
|Ease of Use||Great||Good|
|Storage||10, 20 or 40GB||50, 100 or 200GB|
|Backups||Very good||Paid add-on|
|Domains, Subdomains & Parked Domains||No free domain, but unlimited domains and subdomains||Free domain for 1 year, but domains and subdomain limits|
|Email accounts||Unlimited accounts, but 2, 4 and 6GB limit.||10, 50 or unlimited accounts, with 500MB, 10GB and 20GB storage.|
|FTP, SFTP and SSH Access and Git||Excellent||Very Good, but no Git|
|SSL & HTTP/2||Excellent||Excellent|
|Server location||Global||US Only|
|Website Migration||Not Great (free WordPress plugin or paid)||Very Good|
|Scalability||Cloud Hosting available||VPS, and Dedicated Server hosting|
Ease of Use
When it comes to signing up, managing your hosting and generally dealing with your site, both Siteground and InMotion offer a pleasant user experience.
Both have clear backends, but the key difference is that SiteGround redesigned theirs in 2019. They now offer a custom visual interface which looks great and is very intuitive. The only minor downside is that if you’re used to the classic cPanel, it will take a couple of minutes to get used to that interface.
InMotion has a standard cPanel, which does an equally fine job. I would say, however, that it doesn’t feel as fresh and modern as SiteGround’s new backend. Maybe it could use a redesign too, but it shouldn’t impact your experience at all.
Now there’s an area where we have a clear winner, and that’s team management. You can add different users to an inMotion account, but without the option to assign roles.
With SiteGround, you have some of the best team management features out there, where you can add roles and permissions with complete control. And that makes it a bit easier to use, in my opinion.
Some of the key variables with web hosting are the actual technical features. Let’s see what SiteGround and InMotion offer.
SiteGround offers three plans. They are generous but limited to 10, 20 and 40GB of storage. Now always be careful with web hosting providers, because there’s often a file limit on top of a storage one. But with SiteGround there isn’t any as far as I can tell. Notice that all SiteGround plans come with a limi on the websites you can host with them – 1 for StartUp and unlimited for GrowBig and GoGeek.
Note, however, that the storage needs to be shared between all your websites. If you’re on the mid or top tier plans, which allows multiple websites, and host dozens of sites, you might feel a bit cramped for space.
InMotion Hosting Plans
With InMotion, storage is limited, but with bigger numbers, at 50GB, 100GB and 200GB respectively.
Winner: InMotion has much more generous storage space.
Good news for website owners who expect a lot of traffic and visits: there are no limits whatsoever with InMotion or SiteGround. You can scale your operations with complete peace of mind there.
Winner: clearly a tie as both give you and your users unlimited data exchange.
You’re never too cautious when it comes to website backups, because trust me, if something can go wrong it probably will. What I’m trying to say is that the ability to create backups and restore them automatically should be a determining buying factor.
Note that it’s always possible to create manual backups by Zipping and downloading all the files yourself. It’s quite tedious though, which is why I love SiteGround’s disaster recovery tools. You get:
- Daily backups
- The option to restore anything from the past 30 days
- A one click option to create on-demand backups (with the GrowBig and higher plans)
InMotion, on the other hand, makes it count as an extra. You need to add $2 a month for their backup feature. And if you don’t want it, be careful because it’s usually added automatically when you checkout.
Winner: SiteGround has some of the best backup features out there, so this point goes to them.
Domains, Subdomains & Parked Domains
While most hosting providers tend to bundle a free domain for a year, SiteGround doesn’t. So factor in around $15 extra for a .com domain, for instance. On the flipside, you get the option to add unlimited domain names (with the mid and high tier), and unlimited subdomains.
That price is waived with InMotion because they do offer free domain for the first year. After that, it goes up to $15.99 yearly for a .com, .net, .org, .us, .info or.biz extension, amongst others. Domains and subdomains are then limited as follows:
- Entry tier: 2 domains, 25 subdomains
- Mid tier: 6 domains, 100 subdomains
- High tier: unlimited domains and subdomains
Winner: This one is hard to measure, but I feel like it all evens out between the two providers. Let’s call it a tie.
One note, though: we always tend to look at other solutions to buy your domain names, and we’re big fans of Namecheap, for instance.
Hosting domain accounts with your web host is a smart move, especially with SiteGround since you can create unlimited accounts and connect it to your Gmail account, for instance. Unfortunately, the storage is limited here too, with caps set at 2,4 and 6GB per account depending on the plan.
InMotion Hosting create email account
No such limits with InMotion, where you can create unlimited email accounts with unlimited storage.
Winner: Here again, the pros and cons tend to average out. So let’s call it a tie.
FTP, SFTP and SSH Access and Git
Sending and downloading files manually via FTP and SFTP is easy and free with both SiteGround and InMotion. You can also use SSH to make the process more secure and efficient.
Developers will love SiteGround’s Git integration for version control. It’s only available on the top tier though. Unfortunately, it’s not available out of the box with InMotion.
Winner: It’s a close call. If you’re a developer or work with a developer team, the Git integration from SiteGround is a great feature. While for 90% of users it would be a tie, this one should probably go to SiteGround.
SSL & HTTP/2
You get a cool freebie as part of a SiteGround plan in the form of a Let’s Encrypt account, which lets you add SSL for your sites. You also get HTTP/2 out of the box, which is faster and safer than the old HTTP protocol.
SiteGround SSL Manager
SSL encryption also comes free with InMotion – it’s accessible via the cPanel. HTTP/2 is also part of their packages.
Winner: A clear tie here.
While both SiteGround and InMotion Hosting offer specific WordPress hosting plans (more on that later), it’s also possible to install the world’s most popular CMS via one-click in your dashboard.
SiteGround staging features
Not much to say here, except that SiteGround has a very useful staging option out of the box (for the GrowBig plan and higher). This allows you to work on a “draft” version of your website to make sure everything plays nice before pushing it live. It’s not as sophisticated with inMotion, plus it requires way more manual work and technical knowledge.
SiteGround also has a WordPress migration plugin (more on that later), and a WordPress optimization plugin (e.g. to improve speed and caching options).
Winner: The out-of-the-box staging option and optimization plugin will be a boon for WordPress users, and probably to give Siteground this point.
Speed, Uptime and Server Locations
Let’s now look at some of the most important features of web hosting: speed and uptime. But first, let’s see where your sites will be hosted:
- SiteGround: servers are available in Iowa, Frankfurt, Eemshaven (The Netherlands), London, Singapore and Sydney.
- InMotion: Los Angeles if you’re on the US West Coast, or Washington DC for the East.
Winner: remember how I said InMotion was more popular in the US? It’s because their servers are only based there. SiteGround takes this point.
At this point I should mention that here, at WebsiteToolTester, we’ve performed in-depth and through tests to measure the speed and uptime of different providers. These were the results:
- SiteGround’s loading speed is above par: bested only by A2 Hosting, SiteGround was the second-fastest provider. A page took around 2.35 seconds to load, which is looking great if you want to clear the 3 second mark recommended by Google (for SEO). They use SSD disks for storage, advanced caching options and a nice combo of PHP 7 and HTTP/2.
- InMotion also uses SSDs, PHP7 and HTTP/2, but they were closer to that dreaded 3 second mark, loading with an average time of 2.85 seconds.
A quick note on CNDs: both let you use CloudFlare, and I really like Siteground’s one-click setup. Connecting CloudFlare with InMotion is a bit more complicated but also possible.
SiteGround is so confident about their uptime (the amount of time their servers work without any interruptions), that they guarantee it will stay above 99.9%. If it drops anywhere below that rate, they’ll issue you refunds worth about a month of hosting.
InMotion vs SiteGround uptime
Good news for everyone then, because in the few years I’ve monitored their uptime, it has yet to drop below 99.98%. These are really impressive results, and also important for SEO performance.
InMotion didn’t fare so well, averaging 99.91% uptime over 360 days. This is barely above the industry standard.
Winner: SiteGround is our clear winner here too.
SiteGround disappoints me here, because I clearly remember them giving you one free website migration. Unfortunately, they’ve removed that offer and it now costs $30 per transfer.
SiteGround migration plugin
If you need to migrate a WordPress website however, it’s possible to do it with their free migration plugin. It was a bit hit and miss when I tried it myself, mind you.
InMotion has a great offer there, with 3 or fewer cPanel accounts, databases and websites transferable for free. If you need more, it will cost you a mere $10 extra per item. You can simply request a transfer from your dashboard, and there’s a great guide on ensuring everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Winner: InMotion has got you well covered when it comes to migrating your site to their servers.
InMotion partnered with a company called Sucuri to scan your files for malware.It will cost you, at least, an additional $199.99 per year to enable it. Siteground has a similar service, called SG Site Scanner. It costs $1.50 a month, and scans for malicious files.
Then, as previously covered, SSL encryption, PHP 7, and SSH come out of the box with both providers.
Winner: Both have paid add-ons for scanning malicious files. It’s hard to gauge which one is best, but SiteGround’s is cheaper. Let’s call it a tie.
Scalability (dedicated, VPS & CloudHosting)
As you may already know, I’ve only been looking at shared hosting options so far. But both SiteGround and InMotion give you plenty of options to upgrade to a more reliable, faster and powerful hosting solution. Let’s start with cloud hosting.
This is designed to manage traffic and bandwidth dynamically between multiple servers, to manage high traffic spikes without performance issues. Only SiteGround offers Cloud Hosting here, and the data is limited at 5TB on all plans (which is a huge number).
|Entry tier||Mid tier||High tier|
Entry: $80 / month
2 CPU cores
4 GB Memory
|Business: $120 / month
3 CPU cores
6 GB Memory
Business Plus: $160 / month
4 CPU cores
8 GB Memory
These prices are pretty high compared to competitors, but it’s worth noting that it’s a fully managed service. So they will handle all the IT configuration for you. However, if you need more power, you can also customize the cloud hosting plans to meet your needs. There’s even a pricing calculator to help you gauge how much it will cost.
As you’ve noticed, there’s no table for InMotion’s cloud hosting services. If you want more performance from them, you need to use their VPS or dedicated server plans. There’s no equivalent there from SiteGround.
|Entry tier||Mid tier||High tier|
|InMotion Managed VPS Hosting||
$54.99 / month
4 GB Memory
|$84.99 / month
6 GB Memory
$144.99 / month
8 GB Memory
- All these VPS plans come with free SSL, and 5 cPanel accounts, and CentOS and NGINX software configurations, which they claim are up to 10 times faster.
- The prices noted here are the highest one per month, you can get between 20 to 33% depending on the length of your term.
- You get a 90 day refund guarantee when you buy a 6, 12 or 24 months plan.
Then, InMotion also has a dedicated server hosting option with cPanel. They claim it’s 20x faster and offers 9.999% network uptime. Here are the prices and specs.
|Entry tier||Mid tier||High tier|
|InMotion Dedicated Server Hosting||
$169.99 / month
1TB SSD Storage
6TB Data transfer
16GB DDR3 RAM
|$229 / month
1TB SSD Storage
10TB Data transfer
32GB DDR3 RAM
$29.99 / month
1TB SSD OS Drive
2 x1TB SSD Secondary
12TB Data transfer
32GB DDR3 RAM
- With the mid and higher tiers, you can choose your data center
- All these options come with 2 hours of free assistance for launch
- You also get 5, 10 or 15 IP addresses respectively
- These are all for included RAID software. You can go one step further with RAID hardware and even more impressive specs, but it’s probably best to contact their sales team at that stage.
Winner: InMotion has more options for taking your web hosting to the next level.
How reliable are the support teams when things go wrong (or you just need to ask an extra question)? In my experience, SiteGround’s team was one of the best around. They’re available 24 hours a day via live chat, email and phone, and their answers were simply excellent. I’ll go as far as to say it’s probably one of the best support I’ve received in all my years reviewing web hosting solutions.
InMotion’s support was also very good. You can also get in touch with them 24 hours a day via chat, phone or their ticketing system. My only qualm is that they were sometimes a bit slow to respond. This could be because I only tested the regular support system, but you do get priority support on their highest plan.
One thing to note though, I’m a really big fan of online resources, and InMotion’s content is fantastic. There are very few questions I had during my review that couldn’t be answered by their great written and video guides.
Prices & Plans
So, how much does it cost monthly to run a website with these two on their shared hosting plan?
|Entry level plan||StartUp – $14.99 / month||Launch – $13.99 a month|
|Middle plan||GrowBig – $24.99 / month||Power – $17.99 a month|
|Higher plan||GoGeek – $39.99 / month||Pro – $24.99 a month|
Of course, remember that these are prices after renewal (of a 12 month contract). The first year is always heavily discounted, and there are also further reductions available for longer terms.
One thing I’d like to comment on here is with the website limits. Remember that on the entry plan, it’s 1 website only for SiteGround, and 2 for InMotion. But for the middle plan, it’s unlimited with Siteground, and 6 websites only with InMotion.
Winner: not exactly a fair or super useful comparison, but InMotion is definitely more affordable if you don’t need the extra-features that SiteGround offers.
So I have to say this comparison brought the two providers quite close together. They both offer decent features, speed and uptime. But there are still clear case scenarios where I would recommend one over the other:
Choose SiteGround if:
- You have a hosting-dependent website: by that I mean a website that needs strong page speed and uptime for SEO, and built-in backup and restore options.
- You aren’t worried about storage space: the 10GB limit of the StartUp plan could be too little for photographers or videographers working with heavy files.
- You work in a team: because their team management features are some of the best around.
- You update your website a lot: the backup and restore function is particularly useful here
- You want WordPress options like staging
And while they also do really well at security and support, so does InMotion. But there are a few other areas where InMotion beats SiteGround I think:
Choose InMotion if:
- You work with heavy files: the higher storage limits and unlimited bandwidth will give you more peace of mind.
- You want a good mix of features and affordability: InMotion strikes a nice balance with their pricing versus features.
- You have more of a “set and forget” approach: InMotion works great for those who don’t need to constantly update their site, especially as it’s more affordable than SiteGround.
And finally, if affordability is your main concern, remember that DreamHost does have a very good set of features for an even lower price than InMotion, which is worth considering.