Choosing a web hosting provider in 2021 is a challenge that everyone is facing with a plethora of options. From A2 Hosting to MilesWeb and beyond, every hosting service is trying to lure customers with better speed, pricing models and a more managed approach. While things are getting better, the problem of plenty troubles bloggers and web developers. The options for hosting a website are increasing in both number and complexity and choosing or not choosing the right one can make or break your project.
If you use WordPress, the most popular CMS on the planet, for your website projects — you have even more options.
There are mainly two types of hosting services available for WordPress developers and bloggers:
- Unmanaged WordPress Hosting
- Managed WordPress Hosting
Unmanaged WordPress Hosting is nothing but a Linux or Windows based web hosting in which you will have to install WordPress manually or using a CMS installer. This kind of hosting is popular but as the things are not properly optimized for WordPress, you may face issues like slow speed, downtimes and site-hacks.
Managed WordPress Hosting is, as the name suggests, an optimized and preinstalled hosting service in which all you need to do is to pay for the hosting and you are good to go. Managed WordPress hosting services are costlier than the unmanaged ones.
There are several managed WordPress hosting services that have been powering sites with excellent performance and more. Even this site is hosted on a managed WP hosting by WordPress.com Business. Other popular services like WordPress.com Business are WPEngine and Pressable.
I had a chance to play with these two and luckily my experiences were great. In this article I will review Rocket.net and follow up with BionicWP later.
Rocket.net or OnRocket is a fast-paced WordPress hosting service that’s causing a stir in the WordPress community for good reasons. Its user-friendly interface and easy-to-use setup have been exceptional.
|Support:||24/7 Live chat, Email, Over the phone|
|Pricing:||Starter, Pro, Business, Agency|
|Pricing:||Starts at $1/mo (renews $25/mo)|
Let’s see how things went when I gave it a try.
One of the first things that I look for in a hosting service is how user friendly is their onboarding process. This is my personal measuring scale on any SaaS product.
Rocket.net just nailed it. The signup and payment process was a single page thing that took less than two minutes to do. Once that was done I was welcomed with my own dashboard, also known as mission control.
Whole process of creating a WordPress installation on a temporary URL, xyz.onrocket.net took me less than 3 minutes. I installed plugins and moved my existing files to xyz.onrocket.net within minutes. Once everything moved I changed the domain hosted to gatilab.com. The domain migration took a total 6 minutes and my site was on a whole new hosting in just 9 minutes. If you don’t know gatilab.com is my primary business site. Great stuff!
The Mission Control
This is the place where you manage your WordPress site/sites. Do not confuse it with WordPress Dashboard. That is different from mission control. Mission control shows the sites, estimated traffic, disk and bandwidth usage — along with options to create new sites and edit existing ones. You can contact customer support using the same page.
Mission control contains other great sets of tools and information as well.
This looks complete to me. There are several options to manage your sites, divided into 6 main parts.
You have already seen Overview settings above. In this tab, you can track traffic, edit FTP and other details, change domain, move from production mode to development mode and so on.
The next is the Plugins tab. In this, you can see, upload, delete, activate/deactivate WordPress plugins at your pleasure. This comes very handy when your site is down or if you cannot access your WordPress dashboard.
You can also add new plugins using this page by searching for one.
Similarly in the Themes tab, you can add and manage WordPress Themes.
Now let’s talk about the Backups. The most important feature on any hosting service.
Manual and Automated Backups
Rocket.net has options to create both manual and automated backups for your sites. These backups can be easily restored and are lifesavers for web developers. As you can see in the screenshot below, the automated backups are recurring daily. Additionally you can create a manual backup if you make large changes to your website.
Auto-updates and Advanced Settings
WordPress 5.5 started supporting auto updates for plugins, themes and WordPress installations. You can toggle these settings from the Advanced tab in your mission control. You can also change the PHP version of the server as per your requirements. If you use SSH to manage your WordPress installation, you can turn that on as well using the Advanced tab.
Enough with the walkthrough. All of these features don’t count for much against performance, uptime and support.
I have been using Rocket.net for a couple of months now. To be honest, it has surpassed my expectations. Let’s talk about the Rocket.Net Review in some sub-headings:
On a personal level, I didn’t notice any downtime at all. Even the third party monitoring tools have reported over 100% uptime for their servers. This is a great achievement. As far as I know, transient network hiccups and hardware failures make even the largest of the web hosts go down.
Rocket.net is new and not a lot of customers are hosting their sites there for now. This uptime can be expected for the time being. But the real challenge will be managing more sites when their businesses scale and new customers sign up for their services.
Rocket.net is freaking fast. You can give my site at gatilab.com a quick run to check how the things are. I have been advocating for site performance for a decade now. Slow loading sites cost not only your valuable money but also your whole business. Rocket.net is in-house optimized for faster loading time and quick performance.
Here’s how Gatilab performed with Rocket:
A whopping 100% on Desktop and 98% on Mobile.
Even my fully optimized homepage doesn’t perform this well.
Why does Rocket.net outperform? Well, such an optimization requires optimizing various PHP and other server settings. The team at Rocket has already worked through this to sell their product as the label of the fastest. And they surely deliver on that label. I didn’t have to do much with optimization on my site and I am very pleased with the performance.
Rocket.net uses Cloudflare Enterprise as the CDN (content delivery network) and serves dynamic content in HTML using their speedy layer caching and compression. These two are added to all Rocket.net plans and pre-managed for the ultimate performance.
A hack-proof site is the face of a bullet proof business. Rocket offers a set of security tools that are auto-setup for all your sites. They use Web Application Firewall (WAF) to scan and defer malicious web requests and hacker attacks. Network firewall filters such data and prevents them from being uploaded to your WordPress installation.
Above all, a SSL certificate is provided for free with every installation. SSL certificates are important for both security and SEO purposes. To improve this whole system of securing your website, Rocket.net also offers Two Factor Login using your smartphones or an authenticator app.
Having a super-fast website is no use if it gets hacked. Rocket.net offers a whole suite of security tools that you don’t need to do anything to take advantage of. They are automatically offered on all their plans and protect every site you host on Rocket.net.
Hosting is a subject of troubleshooting, issues and more and that is why support is the most important part of a hosting product. Rocket.net offers 24×7 support using Email, Live Chat and over the phone. The phone support is restricted to high tier plans but live chat is more than enough to solve your day to day issues in real time.
I didn’t get to use it but Rocket.net offers Website Migration free of charge. If you had an existing website hosted elsewhere, you can raise a ticket to migrate that to Rocket.net for free.
30 Money Back Guarantee
Refunds are extremely important, no matter what you are selling online. What if your product is not suitable for someone? I love those brands who offer money-back guarantee in case of a poor experience. Rocket.net, even though they have put everything to build their product, offers unconditional 30-days money back guarantee. You have total freedom to try and decide whether or not it fits your needs.
I love to see refunds offered by any company because it means that they are so confident in the product they offer that they don’t expect to ever have to make good on this promise. Rocket.net has obviously designed and built their systems so that they confidently expect that, once you make the commitment, you won’t think of going anywhere else.
With these many goodness available, something had to be bad. And that something is pricing. Rocket.net offers single site plans at $30 per month — which is quite high compared to other hosting providers. If you buy the annual plan, you get a $60 discount on overall price and the rate reduces to $25/month. Larger plans are available at these rates:
- $25/mo for 1 site
- $50/mo for 3 sites
- $83/mo for 10 sites
- $166/mo for 25 sites
To understand full pricing, see the pricing page.
- 20+ Server Locations
- Optimized Google Fonts
- Automated Backups
Looking to explore more, give Rocket.net a try for just $1 for the first month.
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