At WPAisle here, I use a lot of different hosting providers depending on my needs and requirements.
Recently I was in the market looking for a cPanel Managed VPS service for a client’s project. In this post, I am going to share my review of Host4Geeks’ managed VPS service after having been using it for over 6 months now.
Firstly, to understand what is a VPS?
Unlike shared hosting where your account is one of the hundreds or maybe thousands of accounts hosted on the same server, a VPS (Virtual Private Server) as the name suggests is a dedicated virtualized server that only hosts you and your websites. On a shared hosting service you get access to a cPanel account without any elevated privileges or access on the server, however in a VPS you have full root access to the OS running on the server and it offers you much greater flexibility allowing you to fine tune and adjust the setup and system depending on your needs.
Differences between Managed & Unmanaged VPS
When choosing a VPS plan there are fundamentally two different kinds of VPS services that you must be aware of, managed & unmanaged VPS.
With an unmanaged VPS, you manage the server yourself. You rent the VPS from a hosting provider and set it up yourself from scratch. The responsibility of the hosting company is limited to keeping the server online both by providing power and network connectivity. This is usually a great option for tech-savvy individuals and people with Linux system administration knowledge and experience as it allows for fine tuning of the setup as per their needs. However, for the average user, I do not recommend unmanaged services. While you may be able to follow few online guides and tutorials and install cPanel on your VPS, keeping it updated, secure & monitoring it is a whole different game altogether.
Most people, leave the configuration and setup to the expertise of the web hosting company. For most, working with an unmanaged server is just not worth the time spent learning the system, and for businesses, it usually ends up costing more than a managed server would.
Now coming to a managed service, a managed VPS server is all set and provided as a ready to use solution by the web hosting provider. The service provider takes care of setting up the server as per your requirement and use cases, keeping it updated and secured as well as monitoring it to ensure that your websites are online 24×7.
Why we chose Host4Geeks & what made them look interesting?
Keeping the above pointers in mind, it was a no brainer for me that I wanted a managed service for this project. Doing a simple google search for managed cPanel VPS, presented a few options to us ranging from Dreamhost, InMotionHosting, Host4Geeks & KnownHost.
I checked out my options and immediately DreamHost was disqualified since they did not offer cPanel with their VPS plans. InMotion, Host4Geeks & KnownHost all had very compelling plans and similar pricing but Host4Geeks seemed to offer the best deals when it came to pricing. We decided to reach out to the three providers with some initial questions we had. While all three provider’s websites had an option for live chat, it was only Host4Geeks & InMotion whose live chat was online and staffed, we had to send an email instead, to KnownHost.
Both InMotion and Host4Geeks answered all our questions satisfactorily. At the end of the conversation, we decided to go with Host4Geeks as their feature set and the offering was way more compelling than InMotion and their pricing was the best. Also the fact that the reviews for Host4Geeks available online were nothing short of great.
The Setup Process
Ordering was extremely simple and straightforward, I went to their website and signed up for the Managed VPS – 1 Plan, it is important to note that Host4Geeks has 4 datacenter locations – US West Coast, US East Coast, London UK and Pune India and you are presented with an option to select your preferred server location while placing your order. I decided to go with London, the UK due to its physical proximity to my location.
I signed up for the account, placed my order and made the payment. I immediately received an email saying that said:
I took them about 2 hours to set up the VPS however I was kept constantly updated about the progress of the deployment. Once completed I received my root login details to WHM along with a very handy getting started guide for the Managed VPS services that helped my setup and configure my own nameservers.
It’s great when companies go a step above to make your onboarding as seamless as possible.
Host4Geeks uses SSD Drives for their VPS so I was quite confident that performance would not be an issue and it did turn out to be like that. Right from the start, cPanel felt snappy and quick. I created a cpanel account for the WordPress project that I was working on and installed WordPress using the 1-click installer that Host4Geeks provides with their managed VPS.
By default, the servers coming with PHP 7.1 with opcache enabled along with HTTP2.4 as well as CloudFlare inbuilt and integrated with cPanel, which was surprising.
Needless to say, my WordPress website was blazing fast, I quickly followed my usual optimization checklist of installing W3Total Cache adding a Brute Force Login Protection plugin and enabling Gzip from my cPanel.
Host4Geeks offers technical support over live chat and ticketing system and they claim to be staffed 24×7, while I cannot attest to the fact about it being 24×7 since I only work in my time zone however when I needed them they were there to help me.
I have always preferred using tickets for technical support as the whole experience is much cleaner as opposed to live chat and everything is documented clearly.
My first ticket to them was to install and enable the Google PageSpeed Module and change my PHP handler to suphp.
I received a response within 20 minutes of opening the ticket confirming that Google PageSpeed was installed and enabled and the PHP handler was changed. However, once again the support tech responsible went beyond and also instructed me on how I could change the PHP handler myself from WHM should I need to in the future. Customer education is the best form of support.
The other two occasions when I have had to contact them has been swift, precise and accurate.
Overall, if your site is growing and you need to add more resources, a fully managed VPS is your best bet and for the average user Host4Geeks, VPS plans are a great option.