Nearly three years ago, we made the decision to develop new interfaces to improve the way our clients build and manage their websites and hosting on SiteGround. Now, we’re ready to share the results of all the hard work and show you the new features and designs our team has built.
This process has been highly rewarding, but not without its challenges. We hired 20+ new people, including React developers, QAs, and others, and restructured several core teams in the company to meet the needs of this project. Now that we’re near the end, we feel proud of our work, relieved that it came together, and excited to announce it to the world!
As of today, hosting clients who sign up for our service will be using the new interfaces. This excludes, for the time being, Cloud and Dedicated Server accounts, special partnership orders, and our Italian and Spanish-speaking clients. Current customers who are using cPanel and the old User Area will be gradually switched to the new interfaces starting in September.
Read on to find out more about the most exciting improvements we are introducing and how they can help you manage your sites more easily.
Better UX With Advanced Technologies
The new interfaces make site management easier and more efficient. Built using REACT as a single-page application, they are faster to work with and totally mobile-friendly, allowing you to manage your site and hosting through any device. Our beta testers shared extremely positive feedback on the new UX (user experience) and noted that the new interfaces are a huge leap ahead in terms of usability and functionality.
One of the paradoxes of digital product interfaces is that more features and tools can create more confusion. Without smart design, many users can feel overwhelmed figuring out where to click and which tool to use in order to achieve their goal. That is why we paid a lot of attention to the simplicity of our interfaces and tools. We reorganized our Site Tools around themes and topics such as speed, security, and more so that it’s faster to find exactly what you need. Most of our Site Tools perform a task in a single click. For example, you can create FTP users, MySQL databases, and more in seconds. We also set up helpful prompts and information on every page and for every tool, so that you can immediately access a walk-through on how to get a task done without navigating away.
Site-Centric Philosophy And New Features
The biggest change we are introducing, however, is not just a new user experience, it’s a change of philosophy in our management tools. We have shifted from focusing on the hosting account to prioritizing the individual website. Now, each website is a unit central to all processes and operations in the new interfaces. The hosting plan has become a simple placeholder for one or multiple websites and each site has its own set of Site Tools independent of the others in the same account. That shift was guided by the needs of our clients. We know that what our customers actually need is to build and manage a site, not to play around with hosting, and we’ve designed our interfaces with this in mind.
This new philosophy allows us to significantly improve the user experience for both single-site owners and how agencies and clients work together, since they often manage multiple sites with larger teams. Take a look at how:
Easier Site Creation and Onboarding Process
A significant portion of our clients are single-site users. They are small business owners, growing ecommerce shops, professionals, or bloggers. Their need for easier and faster onboarding has been one of the top priorities when reworking our interfaces. We have re-imagined the site setup process to be more intuitive so you can get your site up and running fast, whether you’re installing WordPress, Joomla, Magento or another app or migrating an existing project.
Smart Collaboration Tools for Agencies and Freelance Designers and Developers
We also added new features that help designers, developers, and agencies collaborate more easily with their clients. We received many inquiries from our agency clients over the last few years and we’re pleased to deliver tools to help you improve your workflow and take on more clients.
- Easily ship sites to clients. With our new setup, you can start your client’s site under your own hosting account and once ready, ship it to them with a click. Use the built-in option in the new Client Area to easily transfer ownership of that site to your client while adding your recommendation for a hosting plan and additional services in the process.
- Easily collaborate on different projects. If your clients are hosted on a GrowBig plan or higher at SiteGround, they can add you as a collaborator through their Client Area. This will allow you to access their site’s Site Tools and even post tickets without logging into the owner’s Account. Alternatively, if you are working on a project with a team, you can provide your colleagues with their own collaborators’ access to your site.
- Give your clients white-label access to the site’s Site Tools. If your business model requires you to remain the owner of your client’s hosting accounts, you can still allow them to access their Site Tools without the SiteGround branding altogether. This is especially convenient if you offer a package deal that combines site management and hosting. This feature is available for sites hosted on GoGeek plans and higher.
One of the best features is that you can do all three of the above without managing multiple logins. Get access to all the client sites that you own or collaborate on with a single login to your own SiteGround Client Area.
Why We Built Our Own Set Of Site Management Tools
To achieve our vision for a new user experience, we developed a whole new set of tools for your sites. Our new Site Tools are site-specific and will replace the cPanel, which is a hosting account-based software. We know that the switch to our new Site Tools is a big, and possibly scary, change for some of our clients. Many of you started using our services precisely because we’ve been using cPanel all these years, while others simply got used to it and don’t like change. We assure you, launching a custom set of tools wasn’t decided on a whim, and below we’ve shared the reasons why we chose to create Site Tools:
- We needed to move away from addon sites, as this concept created certain limitations for our users and their site management options. In the cPanel setup, you have one primary site and subordinate addon sites, which do not get exactly the same functionality. From now on, with our Site Tools, all sites are equal!
- We needed our own implementation of Access Control, so that our new sub-user roles (collaborators and white label sub-clients) can have the desired access levels.
- We want to add new functionality more easily. We have a long history of adding new tools in the cPanel interface to address our unique clients’ needs, such as: WordPress Autoupdates, staging, Let’s Encrypt integration, and more. Now, it will be easier to add similar tools because we will not have to comply with a third-party framework. Maintenance and upgrades to these tools will also be easier.
To make the transition smoother, we made sure our new Site Tools included all the functionality you need to manage your site. You should be able to do almost everything you’re used to doing, except now with a brand new user experience. Since we developed the Site Tools for the specific needs of our clients, they make your site management even more intuitive. We believe that with the new setup, it will be much easier to understand what you are working on, which database relates to which site, how to execute certain tasks, and more.
What About Existing Clients Using The Current Setup?
Clients using the old interfaces will be gradually switched to the new interfaces starting in September 2019. We will be using an automated script that transforms all existing addons into separate sites while properly moving all site, email, and other information. We will notify you by email of the switch schedule so you don’t get caught by surprise.
In the meantime, we know that many of you will be curious and maybe eager to switch to the new interfaces so we offer the following ways to get acquainted with the new tools:
- Watch the video featuring the new Client Area and Site Tools;
- Try a demo of the new Client Area and Site Tools;
- Attend our webinar that we will hold next month (a separate invitation will be sent over email to those subscribed for SiteGround news).