Today I bring you an intense and interesting interview to José Ramón Padrón Country Manager of SiteGround Spain more a director of a hosting company, since he is actively participating in the WordPress community.
In this interview he tells us about the beginnings of SiteGround how they were implemented in Spain, what they have contributed to the WordPress community, how they are affected by the latest news from Automattic and WordPress.com and much more.
Past, present and future from SiteGround
Tell us something about you, how did you come to to be Country Manager of SiteGround Spain? Did you have experience in hosting?
When I started being part of the SiteGround family I had 14 years of experience in the world of hosting it was nothing new to me.
I have been privileged to have had colleagues and friends in this profession that has taught me a lot. And it is thanks to them that I had the opportunity to meet Ivo Tzenov and Tenko Nikolov, founder and CEO of the company respectively.
Now, almost 3 years later, I can say that learning has grown on a geometric scale. This company is special in many ways .
I was lucky to meet Ivo Tzenov, Tenko Nikolov and finally Reneta Tzankova through some friends, and practically from the beginning we saw that we shared many values and the magic arose.
When did SiteGround start its activity in Spain? And in the rest of the world?
SiteGround officially began its journey in Spain in September 2015 until then the official language of SiteGround was English and Spanish was incorporated, both on the web, as in support language, also opening our beautiful offices in Madrid located in the neighborhood of Salamanca.
At the beginning of 2016 we have added web and support in Italian, where we also had an excellent entry.
SiteGround born in 2004 in 2015 we had already grown to 300K customers around the world. 13 years of history, marked from 2007 by turning our main activity and becoming a provider of managed hosting specialized in CMS .
In this time, what surprised you the most, what did not Did you wait?
I knew there was a good atmosphere, that they were a different company but I did not expect it to be that much.
Any description I make will be short, but I can say that SiteGround completes me as a person and as a professional and all this is possible thanks to the work and perseverance of management in maintaining a philosophy that equals the treatment of employees and customers and this is not a marketing phrase.
Could you give me figures of your current level of implementation, of your growth?
At the moment we are around 300K customers, 800K web pages hosted in our 5 Data Centers, 430 employees of which 220 are technical support and Customer Care .
We grow in around 12% per year . More or less these are the figures.
What does SiteGround contribute to hosting and WordPress?
And what do you think SiteGround has contributed to the world of hosting in Spain? What differentiates you from other companies in the sector?
Our entry into the country has turned out to be a revulsive within the hosting sector in Spain .
We have arrived at a time when the WordPress hosting was being done by 2 or 3 small companies (and very well by the way), but our technology, our customer service, and our relationship with the Open Source communities has placed us in front and creating trend.
If I had to explain to someone what sets us apart from other hosting providers, I would say our technology and our human team, to be exact our customer service team .
We are specialized in CMS since 2007 and that 10-year advantage is noticeable against most providers offering more general services.
And entering into WordPress what has SiteGround contributed?
We have contributed to WordPress in several directions, from having a payroll developer working on the WordPress core to writing our own security and speed plugins integrating them in our control panel; to sponsor, participate and give talks in more than 100 specific WordPress events worldwide .
We start from fact that WordPress gives us a lot and we have to contribute so that the chain continues .
What is your relationship with the WordPress community? What brings you and what do you contribute?
For me it was one of the most authentic discoveries when I came to SiteGround, thanks to the community I now know a lot of people with whom I share excellent moments.
community gives us values to share and cultivate within our organization . The community brings us their knowledge, experience and trust.
We contributed sponsoring WordCamps around the world, as well as many Meetups in Spain .
So much so that I myself am the organizer of a WordPress Meetup in Gran Canaria and I am starting the preparations for the first WordCamp in Gran Canaria .
Technologies, services and problems with WordPress
I suppose you will see many problems of all kinds daily with websites created with WordPress, but which ones would you say are the most common and how do you solve them?
The most common incidents are not related to WordPress there are many people who call because they do not have or can not recover your access data, email, etc …
But being concrete in t orno to WordPress, we could say that doubts and incidents related to updates are the most common as well as errors 404 .
And what advice would you give to someone who is going to create your website with WordPress so that do not have problems?
That person would say that, if he is able to maintain his design with a number of balanced and functional plugins, with minimum standards of optimization of code, images and server, as well as using the latest versions of all the software that encompasses your project and be hosted in a specialized WordPress hosting provider you will have a successful, fast and secure Internet project.
Demystifying the hosting
A question that I always ask they do about the shared hosting, and I transfer you, is how many webs are there in each web server? How does this affect performance?
On a shared server there can be from a few dozen webs to several thousand it depends on the knowledge and use of technology that the hosting provider has at its disposal. scope
In SiteGround we build our shared services using very powerful hardware, together with our own version of Linux Containers and the latest stable versions of proprietary and third-party software, as well as cache plugins and CDN services so that our clients' websites are the fastest in the entire market.
On the other hand, the perception is that you are specialized in shared hosting, with your Startup, Growbig and GoGeek packages, but You also offer Cloud services, and another question that they always ask me is: how is a shared from a cloud different? Does not a cloud come to be a mix between shared and dedicated hosting? Give us some light on this subject.
A shared product or a dedicated product is a product of fixed features do not change before a peak of traffic or an increase in the number of users of your project.
A Cloud product, however, can adapt instantly to the needs of your website or your business absorbing peak traffic above what was initially planned. It is a pay-per-use concept based on scalability.
The auto-escalation is a feature you can not find in other products, only Cloud servers.
Our Cloud product range has that feature, they are capable of provisioning in five seconds and escalate without having to restart the service thanks to our own version of Linux Containers.
Of SiteGround I have always been struck by the fact that you offer 24/7 support, So, can I call your toll-free number for a problem at 4 AM on January 1 and attend to me?
Of course, and you can be answered in Spanish, English or Italian, without distinction.
] It is perhaps one of our strongest points, we make available to our customers toll-free telephone numbers live chat and a ticketing system attended by people who aben of WordPress and are specially trained to assist you quickly and effectively.
Hosting and security
Changing topic, something that worries us all, security, what does SiteGround do to protect your customers in the different service packages?
Only with this topic would we have several hours, but I will try to simplify it.
security measures in our five Data Centers with the presence of hardware and software elements prepared for avoid denial-of-service attacks globally .
We take measures from server-level security with our account isolation technology.
and we take measures at the application level with proprietary solutions that shield your WordPress ante, for example, brute force attacks
To all this we must add our own system of automatic updates of core, plugins and themes and our system of daily backup that will allow you to recover your content before any type of event.
On the other hand, we have a team dedicated to these tasks and in addition we have an alliance with partners like Sucuri specialists in this field.
As far as you can see it is a topic that we take very seriously, it could not be otherwise.
Hosting and optimization
Another star of the moment is web optimization, WPO. How do you approach this challenge in SiteGround?
For those who do not know what it is, WPO ( Website Performance Optimization ) are a set of optimization strategies that allow your web project not only to be faster , but can make much better use of the resources at its disposal, obtaining immediate benefits such as a better user experience, better Internet positioning, and lower production costs.
SiteGround customers have at their disposal ] cache tools specially designed for WordPress. PHP7 one-click, CDN services that allow you to speed up static content and distribute it around the globe, as well as HTTP / 2 available by default in all its servers.
To this we must add the above, a technology platform based on incredible performance servers, as well as a version of Linux Containers that allows us to scale the projects of our clients up to what your business and needs allow you .
To us talk about WPO allows us to highlight the main benefits that result from using the technology that we make available to our customers as a hosting provider specialized in WordPress.  It's a topic that we like a lot and that sets us apart from the rest of our competitors.
Looking to the future, could you guess what the next ones will be? imos challenges with which, from your perspective, we will have to face the WordPress users?
I think that we are fortunate in that and we have some of the simplest and most powerful CMS market .
WordPress will grow towards the part Enterprise and expert becoming a Framework that brings together more technologies thanks to the REST-API and for the less ambitious user the solutions of layout directly on the front-end will take prominence to compete in all sectors of the market.
To us as suppliers any of these changes obliges us to improve without truce our technology internal processes, new formations, etc …
But it does not take us by surprise, what We have been doing for our WordPress products since 2007 uninterruptedly.
On the other hand, the end user will continue to ask us the same thing: advice on SEO, what plugin goes better, what template do you recommend …
In short, the environment will change, but we and our customers will remain the same, better prepared, perhaps with new forms of consumption, but basically the concerns will remain identical.
Automattic and hosting companies
How does SiteGround affect Automattic? decided to include in its premium payment product the possibility of installing plugins and third party themes? Do you think that with this decision you are practically playing in the field of hosting companies? And, with this in mind, how can a hosting company like SiteGround counter such an offer? What is the added value of the WordPress specialized hosting companies such as SiteGround with this type of services offered by Automattic?
It affects us as all other specialized WordPress hosting providers, we have a new competitor in the market, neither more nor less .
Automattic is now also a hosting provider, with limited functions but playing on the same board as the other providers.
Like any other company on the market has its pros and cons, its advantages and disadvantages.
Fortunately , the fact of being specialized in WordPress since 2007 gives us a very advanced experience and knowledge in front of practically all suppliers.
You just have to see the amount of tools Specialized companies that we have integrated in our control panel, and our results in performance, security, speed and support .
SiteGround has gone through a very complete tour before reaching this point where we are , hence we provide a very important value in this specialized sector .
Our knowledge and experience goes beyond the WordPress layer we talk about software and applications that they surround it, of the hardware that houses it, of the Data Centers and its situation, and of the incredible department of support 24 × 7 multi language .
The services of a provider of WordPress specialized hosting are much more than allowing to install applications and themes that were previously not allowed.
We will take it as a new and serious rival, has reached the sector [19459-9].
The future of the hosting  And in regards to SiteGround, can you tell me what you have in mind to improve the hosting service, and in particular to WordPress users in the near future?
Better with two examples than a thousand words:
We just created a system based on artificial intelligence that fights against malicious bots allowing our clients to know that the resources of their WordPress are not wasted in traffic that does not produce nor does it read information or purchase in their stores.
We have just improved SG Optimizer our plugin that formerly was dedicated exclusively to content caching tasks. Now you can change your website to PHP7, and incorporate SSL to your project at a click .
These are projects that are not being done in any other hosting provider, what would be the future for other hosting providers, is present for us .
The future for SiteGround It is just around the corner. The following steps will be oriented towards the improvement of the customer experience with respect to the control panel so that they can manage all their WordPress and CMS projects in general in a very simple way.
And on the other hand the incorporation of new services and collaborations increasing the value of the SiteGround offer in its hosting products.
We will continue supporting the WordPress community tirelessly and continue to soak up its ethical values and professionals, how well they make us as people and that ultimately positively affect the relationship with our clients.