Fast and secure Hosting is most critical for a professional website. In last six months, I have been running a 40 GB droplet at Digital Ocean. My four websites were hosted on the setup. It was the best setup in terms of speed and security.
My Droplet setting was:-
Digital Ocean + Cpanel + Memcached + Xcache + Google PageSpeed + Nginx
Digital Ocean – A Host
Cpanel – An Operating System
Xcache – For PHP caching
Google Mod_PageSpeed – Over haul Apache for super performance
Nginx – Reverse Proxy for Apache to server more users at optimum speed
Firewall – To block access from China, Russia and Africa
Anti Virus – To scan uploaded files
Swap – for improvement in RAM performance
I am not a professional developer and have absolutely no knowledge about coding. But, I could be able to make this grand setup possible because of arrogant behavior of Indian developers. One website developer asked me 35 thousand rupees to set up Nginx reverse proxy over Apache. My online research skill backed by awesome tutorial at Digital Ocean helped me achieve the best hosting setup for speed and security. With Digital Ocean tutorial, anyone can make a successful hosting.
Although it took me a month to understand and become familiar with PUTTY, Root Access and all basic UNIX commands.
Recently, I received an alert from my Cpanel that 87% of space is consumed. In order to continue with hassle free performance, I had to increase droplet space to avoid negatives. The next size I could choose was 80 GB droplet that could have hit my pocket for 80 (5000 rupees) dollar a month. Therefore, I decided to look for a better solution in pocket friendly budget.
Give up Cpanel
I decided to give up Cpanel as its grand installation was consuming around 15 GB web space. And, a VPS license cost of Cpanel is $15 (14.95). Digital Ocean is charging $1 for 1 GB. Therefore, the Cpanel sucks around $30 a month. This is a costly platform. Why not, I should go for a much better, secure and cheaper solution.
I came across to one great platform called SERVER PILOT developed by experienced American brains. What it does? It installs all needed resources on your server in order to run a website securely. It is free and updates your server and packages for lifetime. Server Pilot team will monitor buzz in the technology and security world. And, regularly release patches to update resources in host for better security and speed.
Trust me; you cannot get more than this at free of cost. Server Pilot is a great platform for developers.
Server Pilot is mind blowing. I will recommend server pilot for safe and easy hosting. If you find difficult working with server Pilot, I am here to help you. Just shoot me a comment or let me drive your hosting vehicle.
Visit at ServerPilot
I have migrated three of my websites to new droplets, which is setup with Server Pilot.
You should never put all eggs in one basket. So, I start searching for a better hosting solution on minimum cost. Suppose due to some unfortunate, if the Digital Ocean faces some problem (very unlikely), my websites will be badly affected. Therefore, a new hosting environment is must.
Choose Hostgator or BlueHost
I have more than six years of website management experience. In last one year, I have become fully active with website management and server development. I am one long serving client of Hostgator (USA and India), where I moved from Godaddy. Hostgator had been awesome web host until it was under the control of its founder.
Based on my experience, I can only say – if you are really interested in earning money and fame with a website, and then do not choose a host from the Endurance International Group. This is a multinational hosting company owns giant like
- BigRock India
- A Small orange
- SEO Club
- Mojo Market Place
- Just cloud
These fifteen companies come under one group. Only names different, rest all ethics and professionalism is similar. All are cruel with customer and does funny games to kill your dream.
In Hostgator India, one of my website was using a critical plugin, which needed PHP 5.3 to work smoothly. Suddenly one day HG India changed default PHP version from 5.2/5.3 to 5.4/5.5. Because of incompatibility of PHP version, my website had started showing white page. Trust me, I was crying for help and none of Host gator India customer-care executive could figure out reason of this problem. After 36 hours of apathy, I decided to move out and called for hosting cancellation. This was a wake-up call for Host gator billing team as I was a big pocket customer. Somehow the billing department executive arranged a technical engineer from server management team to diagnosis my website problem. After few hours, I received an email stating that the problem was related to a plugin, which is incompatible with current PHP version on the server. I have to remove this plugin in order to make my website working. After my approval, they removed the plugin and website was fine.
Could you believe this irresponsible approach? HG had never informed me about changing in default PHP version so I could have taken necessary action to avoid problem.
The repercussion of 36 hours of shut down translated in de-rating of my website in Google search. I lost almost 80% of income. After six months of hard work only, I could gain the same amount of traffic, which was again welcomed with a shutdown from the website administrator in charge of high resources usages. This shut down had a continuation for 16 hours. I was begging for access to Cpanel, but they did not agree. HG billing team told me that control is in the USA so they cannot do anything. Finally, after 11 hours of continues follow-up at senior level, I could get limited access to disable all plugin.
Trust me; I do not want to recall this horror story any more.
After that I moved to Digital Ocean, where I fly like a bird. I am enjoying thanks to Digital Ocean, which is a SSD based cloud hosting owned by young American minds. If the Endurance International Group tries to enter in Digital Ocean management board, I will move my website out of Digital Ocean.
These cheaper hosting will finish your website’s high search engine raking, which will ultimately translate in loss of income and your broken dream.
$4 monthly Cheap hosting + loss in income for 3 to 6 months = a premium hosting.
Site ground Hosting
I am not saying my 48 hours of experience with Site Ground web hosting is an ideal example and fair review of its highly praised and reliable shared hosting solution for a professional website.
After omitting brands of Endurance International Group, there are few choices left in managed hosting solution. One of them is Site Ground, which is endorsed for stiff security and premium resources that are impossible get in a shared hosting environment.
Initial pros and cons for Grow-big plan
Pros for a WordPress Website (My understanding)
Memcached for reducing database query: – Used by Google, YouTube and Facebook
This is a must (must and must) solution for a professional website. YouTube and Facebook cannot be wrong in usages of this.
Static Caching: – To Cache static files of your website and reduce request to server
This is a good move from host to offer something different from a traditional shared hosting environment.
Dynamic Caching: Caches Dynamic files and reduces server load
I am not sure how effective it is. Not very happy with result I got in 48 hours
Dedicated Plugin: To bring solution of Nginx reverse proxy
This is a commitment of a hosting company for betterment of a WordPress website
If you are choosing one year of hosting solution, then 500 rupees monthly is indeed cheaper considering resources it offers.
This is cool feature. I had an option to escalate at senior level in Technical support department. I have used and it got me needed solution.
Believe me; the senior level support is amazing. I have interacted with two and both of them had knowledge about web hosting.
Cons for a WordPress Website (Based on 24 hours of understanding)
> Site Ground does not offer a complete migration. You have to move email accounts linked with the website. SG team will consider only website content, files and database.
>> Primary technical Support Team
Perhaps I am wrong with my acquisition for primary support team. However, it was simply horrible. One hour work had to be extended in 18 hours of delay because of poor understanding. After successful sign-up, I had submitted a ticket to migrate my website since I had believe, there are many internal server setting, so let expert deal with migration and setup.
Conversation with the First Support Staff
SG: I am not able to access your website Cpanel as it shows broken or invalid user.
I: Please recheck. I am sharing root login details
SG: I have accessed the WHM, but it seems broken. Find screen shot for a confirmation
I: Use SSH for migration
I: Oh I got it; I am using a firewall block to Russia, China and Africa. From which country you are trying to access?
Ironic is, the SG technical team member was not getting that messed up interface is because of firewall blocking. I forgot a firewall is damming root access from China, Russia and Africa. This shows the support staff was lacking in backing hosting knowledge.
(SG tech team staff failed to read the problem. In my six years of experience, a technical support staff (any web hosting company) with complete server knowledge has been 100 steps ahead than me. They used to identify problem and suggest me the required changes. However, to Site Ground Technical team, I was suggesting and a finding solution for a problem)
Continuation of the conversation on the same ticket with a new support staff (I guess shift change)
SG: We are accessing from Bulgaria, request you white-list these IPs.
I: Yes, Done
SG: We got access to the WHM. Migration process initiated. We will update the ticket once we complete the process.
I: Yes, I will wait for that
SG: We have successfully migrated website. Please check the same by adding this XXXX IP and domain to host file
I: Thanks. Yes, it is working fine.
SG: Do you have any further question on this (Ticket closed)
The migration process had been completed in three hours and 18 mins. In my understanding it could have been done in max 30 minutes. And, the strange fact is, they do not use SSH for migration. I am not a professional coder, but always prefer working with SSH and Putty. Perhaps I am wrong, but access to WHM makes me believe that they used the same technique for the migration, which I had followed six years before in my first attempt to move a website from Godaddy to Hostgator. With few UNIX command knowledge, I prefer PUTTY and SSH.
This raises serious doubt on knowledge level of tech team. My claim is also backed by a cap limit of one GB website. If you use a traditional FTP for migration of more than one GB website, the process takes really good amount of time.
Migration is fun and very simple
Create a Zip Tar file of your website directory and migrate over SSH from one host to another. Use MySql command to migrate and restore database.
I seriously doubt the knowledge level in primary technical support staff. And, I believe they lack in basic understanding of server management practices.
Re-opening of Ticket
I re-opened ticket because I was looking for much more than this ultra basic account setup. I was dying to get so-called great Site Ground caching plugin for my website. So, I requested for plugin installation and configuration of three levels of caching enhancement.
The SG support staff gave me a tutorial to follow. So, it was clear for me, nothing extra besides FTP migration (Alleged) of website. I installed the plugin, but the dynamic cache and Memcached was not turning ON. I responded on ticket. Now see this, my issue with Memcached get them informed that the database query cache is not working on the server. This puts a pin into Site Ground’s claim of
SERVER MONSTER 24 BY 7 FOR THE OPTIMUM SUPPORT TO USER. WE FIX BEFORE IT CREATES PROBLEM
There is ample possibility that the problem could persist only for my account. However, my understanding of MEMCACHED (I can install and configure MEMCACHED with closed eye), the problem had impact on whole server. Since I run a Cpanel installation, so I aware, monitoring error log file can easily identify problem in resources executive. Therefore, 100% monitoring claim is also busted.
After three hours, the problem was solved and I could be able to turn on Memcached. I had to continue with ticket because dynamic caching was not turning on. I use cloud flare as primary DNS. The Tech team was confused about working of dynamic cache, while the website is routed through Cloud flare DNS. Why I am saying confused because the second SG staff had told me – Dynamic cache would work, but the third staff told me (due to shift change I was dealing with a new technical support person) it won’t work.
After getting a guarantee that level two dynamic caching will work, I decided to change domain name server to Site ground. Oh my god, I had a confirmation from domain registrar – the DNS record update has been accepted, but still the level two dynamic cache is not working.
I responded on ticket. Now I had been given a false logic that domain propagation requires 24 to 48 hours. Hello, which world you live, what a damn wrong information, I submitted all logic even proof of cloud flare identifying of DNS changes in just five minutes. There is was NO response for next two hours.
I turn to live chat support. Oh god, once again utterly false information was loaded in comment box. On the chat window, I saw a link to escalate to senior level. The Mr. Senior had the same story of DNS propagation requires 24 to 48 hours. So, I shared my details of hosting background and step-by-step information that
- How DNS propagation works
- Why it takes 24 to 48 hours
While the senior realize that I am having knowledge of all these hosting stuff, he asked to wait for few minutes so can have a relook on this issue. After 2 minutes, he asked me to log out from Cpanel and log in again to check the status of dynamic caching. Thankfully it was ON. He agreed that there was some bug in server operation, which was stopping dynamic cache to function. Once again this goes against the high claim of prompt response to favour customer with quick resolution.
>> One Year of locking
This is again against the industry standard. Also, the hosting company does not offer prorated refund.
>> $24.95 dollar of non-productive setup cost
I am not able to read the logic behind account setup. Will you be charged in a restaurant for table cleaning? It is part of a basic service guarantee. What you get in $25, half migration of less than 1 GB website in 4 hours. I can easily read it is to force customer to sign up for at least one year of package.
Site Ground does not offer three months and six months package. The sum total is, if you want to opt out, lose your one years of hosting cost. Is it fair?
Server Resources control = Unique Isolation Technology
There are some strange server recourse controls. With god grace, my website hit the top in first 12 hours. Although Site Ground did not take any action against my account as I was just 24 hours old customer, the live statics in Cpanel was enough for me to indicate run from here.
In first section of this article, I said Site Ground is cheaper. That’s true. It looks cheaper. But you will encounter truth once payment is done and you are allotted a live Cpanel.
Site Ground looks Cheaper, but it is costliest hosting I have ever used.
I will compliment Site Ground for giving fair information. In the GrowBig plan, it is clearly mentioned that it is ideal for 25000 monthly visitors.
Thus, 25000/30= 833 visits a day – This is true and Site Ground offers this much only. In my website traffic is between 1500 to 1700 and impression is around four thousand. The calculation comes true because I had run out of resources within 16 or 17 hours.
My experience has been bitter with Site Ground. Response to my query was like I am a new boy in town. They will never respond to critical and tough questions.
However, I find no mistake of Site Ground. They had answers all my query in pre-sales inquiry. I was under the influence of reviews, which I read on reputed websites. I signed up after reading many positive review of this hosting company.
Now I understood that their motive was just to sell coupon.
I can only say – shame on those recommends Site Ground without giving complete information.
We also review and recommend gadgets. You can question my knowledge, but you cannot question my honesty. We have never given any wrong advice in the selection of a gadget.
Shame on online Hosting reviews, whose main purpose is to sell coupons.
I am not selling any coupon and gain no benefit if I suggest the Digital Ocean. $10 plan is most suitable for a professional website with 20 to 25 thousand hits a day. But you must have basic programming skill and ability to solve WordPress problems. There is no one to help you if your WordPress website is showing a white page. You will be given SSD drive space, one IP and root access. Now do whatever you want to do.
Take my help
I can help you in setting up of a Digital Ocean droplet. And, I do not charge 40 thousand. My cost is even less than what a construction labor earns. I do not make money because of hosting setup and also it is not my primary job. However, I am coming forward because I do not other to suffer as I have been.
Server Pilot Alternative
Cloud Way is an alternative of Server Pilot, which has a great user interface, performs really well with Digital Ocean. Also it owns a support team to help clear all bug and error, which might occur in future. I have just used trail period so I cannot say much about regular performance and support system.