2018 seems to be the best time to start a website. Why? Well, per Internet Live stats, there are over 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web today and the number is growing with each passing moment. So, there can never be a better time to start your own website than now.
And when we say hosting a website, I can’t think of anything better than WordPress hosting. Simple interface that can even be used by people with limited technical knowledge. For those, who are completely unaware about technicalities of managing a website, fully managed WordPress hosting service can be of great help.
If you’re having any of these thoughts,
- What’s the difference between shared hosting or managed WordPress hosting? Or
- Why should I go for fully managed WordPress Hosting? Or
- How to choose the best WordPress hosting service provider?
Then my friend, you are at the right place.
For many of you who still trying to understand – what is Managed WordPress Hosting, here’s the answer:
In a managed WordPress hosting, all the technicalities of running a WordPress site, like speed, security, updates, backups, uptime, scalability etc. are managed by the host.
I have tried a few WordPress hosting services till now, and so I am able to recommend some good services. I usually look for three important things in a WordPress hosting service:
- Page loading speed
- Service uptime
- Customer support
I recently got to know about ZNetLive WordPress Hosting and it seemed to be a very competitively priced feature-rich solution to host a website.
Hence, I decided to take a deep plunge into ZNetLive’s fully managed WordPress Hosting. Here’s what I found.
A quick overview of the host – ZNetLive
Established in 2001, ZNetLive is a hosting and cloud solutions provider to more than 100K+ domains and websites across the globe. With 17+ years of expertise, they are known for high uptime, great customer support, technical acumen and value for money.
ZNetLive introduced fully managed WordPress hosting in India and across the world for improved website performance, with a focus on simplicity. The mission was to help small businesses and individuals start their own website with affordable WordPress hosting plans in India.
The main features of their service include:
- Full management
- Plesk control panel
- WordPress and SEO toolkit
- Smart updates
- Automated backups
All plans have:
Solid infrastructure and security features:
- NGINX for improved security, fast content and application delivery, and scalability and availability features.
- One-click restore to help backup data on time and restore it as and when required.
- Automatic update to the latest versions as soon as it’s available.
- Ability to host multiple sites on the same WordPress hosting account.
The power in users’ hands:
- Pre-installed WP-CLI to manage WordPress installations, update plugins, perform multi-site installations and more.
- FTP access for manual backups, addition of plugins and themes manually and more.
Page Speed Test
Page loading speed is one of the most important features of a successful site. I ran a quick speed test on a site powered by ZNetLive’s WordPress hosting via Google PageSpeed Insights. Here’re the results:
It is clearly a good result. Nevertheless, you can always decrease the load time of a website through proper optimization techniques.
To understand the services and to take a closer look, I decided to purchase a WP hosting trial. Luckily, they offer 30 days trial too.
From the pricing section of the plans, one can select any plan based on his/her requirements Found it quite different from other trials, where you just get to take trial of a single plan.
As I only wanted to experience it, hence WP starter free trial looked good to me.
As I proceeded, I was prompted to choose domains: Either you can purchase a new domain, or you use a domain you own through another registrar.
However, I found that with Free Trial, I could also choose a free subdomain. So, I decided to go with that only.
Now we came to the billing cycle. They offered monthly, yearly, biennial and even triennial billing cycles.
I had to simply sign-in and place the order. Voila! Yes, it was that simple.
If anyone decides to go with a WP-starter plan with 1 year of billing, here’s what his order will look like.
As soon as I checked out and made payment (0 here), I started receiving welcome emails from ZNetLive team. I also got a panel from where I could manage my services with ease. That I will discuss in the next section.
WordPress Hosting at ZNetLive comes with the powerful Plesk Onyx control panel. You will get its details in your mail through which you can set a password and log into your hosting panel.
From here, you can manage and configure your WordPress site with the help of multiple extensions and features within the control panel. I will be discussing each of these features in detail for better clarity:
WordPress Toolkit, powered by Plesk, is one of the most attractive features of ZNetLive managed WordPress hosting. It is a highly useful tool that makes life of a WordPress user easy with a single management interface that helps them easily install, configure and completely manage their WP instances. It also helps automatically secure and manage all plugins, installations and themes.
Also, with the latest WordPress Toolkit 3.3 update, the users will get more functionalities like:
- Quick search capabilities through filters on the plugins and installation screen.
- Ability to check for updates and apply updates to more than one WordPress Instance at a time.
- Availability of CLI for WordPress Installation.
- Ability to check security by clicking on the Check Security button present on the Mass Security screen.
- Ability to change passwords for additional WordPress administrator accounts.
By clicking on the WordPress tab, you can see WordPress dashboard in the control panel. Here you will find three sub-sections: Instances, Plugins and Themes. The Instances section allows you to manage functionalities like backups, cloning, security scans, updates etc. Through Plugins and Themes, you can set new themes and plugins on your site.
With ZNetLive’s managed WordPress hosting, users also get the BoldGrid extension – a tool for building websites. It provides plugins and themes for ease of usage. With ZNetLive WP hosting, the users can easily buy its licenses from within the control panel and start building their WordPress website.
With Git extension with your WP hosting account, you can manage the Git repositories and deploy web site files from the repositories to a specific public directory. You get to choose either GitHub/BitBucket or a local repository. You can even decide whether you want changes to be deployed automatically to the production site or manually.
In control panel, you will also find the Backup Manager that allows you to take backup of your site data. You can either go for automatic backups or scheduled backups.
With this WordPress hosting, you can choose your remote storage from following leading options:
- Amazon S3 backup storage
- Google Drive backup storage
- Dropbox backup
- Acronis backup
AI powered Smart Update
Now this is something really distinguishing. ZNetLive’s WordPress hosting comes with the Smart Update feature. Leveraging deep learning technologies, this feature helps users secure their WordPress site by keeping it up-to-date.
It runs staged simulation to analyze each update to know whether its compatible with the production site or not. On detecting any issue, it alerts the user for the same. So, the final decision to install the update depends upon you.
There are two options for the smart updates: A) Interactive Mode: Here, the user will need to manually initiate the test. The system analyses the update in the test environment and shows the results. It’s up to the user then to decide whether to install update on live/production environment or not. B) Automatic Mode: In the automatic mode, the system runs the test automatically. If the test environment changes completely match with the live site, then the changes are automatically synced. In case of any breaks, the system sends the information through email to the respective user.
You get a built-in File Manager to help you manage your files at one place. You will find all files under the Home Directory with individual categories. You can also create new directories.
Here, you can find the logs of all activities in your hosting account. You can either start real-time updates or filter logs. You can also find settings related to FTP Access, Node.js, DNS, Apache and Nginx etc.
Databases & Statistics
Under databases section, you can create new or manage existing databases. Statistics lets you view detailed reports on how resources that come with your subscription are consumed.
You get a free Let’s Encrypt or Digicert SSL certificate with WordPress hosting by ZNetLive. However, you can still choose to add a custom SSL certificate if you have one. For adding the free SSL certificate, click on Let’s Encrypt section. Enter your email address to receive the details of the certificate. Select the suitable options and click Renew. Your free SSL certificate is now enabled. Simple, isn’t it?
The SSL certificate will automatically get renewed in 30 days before the expiration of the service.
ServerShield by Cloudflare extension
This extension in ZNetLive WordPress hosting helps users protect their website against online threats like hacking, botnets, spamming, DDoS etc. This eventually decreases the page load time too. Features like securing and speeding up the website, automatic provisioning of SSL certificate, server statistics, automatic static content caching etc. are free. User has to update to advance plan to get more features.
Staging & Cloning
With ZNetLive WordPress Hosting, staging and cloning is safe and quick. It lets you create a copy of your site in a safe place for testing purposes. Here, you can test any changes and propagate it to the live environment only when you are completely satisfied.
Security Check and Scans
You also have the option to scan your website for any vulnerabilities and fix them on time. Though it’s good at the beginning with less traffic and data, I recommend going for dedicated security solutions to protect your WordPress site, as WordPress is the most favored target for hackers.
This is my second favorite section (first is yet to come). WordPress has numerous plugins available for enhancing your site’s functionalities. Under the Plugins section, you can see the plugins already installed on your site and from here, you can install new plugins as well.
Under Themes tab, find all the themes installed on your site currently. You can also add new themes from here. WordPress offers a wide variety of themes for your site. You can select one that best suits your needs.
This is my favorite section. Your website is of no use if it does not rank in the search engines’ results. You need to optimize your site content for increasing its SERP ranking. ZNetLive WordPress Hosting comes equipped with SEO toolkit. This toolkit gives you real-time insights into your current search engine ranking. You get complete analysis, comparison with competitors’ ranking and tips to optimize your site.
This was a quick tour of WordPress hosting experience at ZNetLive. Let’s have a look at the pricing now.
ZNetLive WordPress Hosting Plans & Pricing
They have some good WordPress Hosting plans: Starter, Standard, Professional, Premium and Enterprise plans. Prices for Premium and Enterprise plans are provided on request, while WP Starter starts from $4.60/month, Standard from $6.14/month and Professional from $7.68/month.
Per me, they have been priced to perfection.
My final verdict on the service:
I found the service to be very simple to use and perfectly priced. Per me, people with little to no technical knowledge can also go for ZNetLive WordPress Hosting, as it is very simple to use. It’s suitable for both – individuals with limited hosting needs and enterprises with dedicated hosting needs.
Stay tuned till I come up with more such reviews.