ScalaHosting may not be the most familiar of web hosting names, but the company has a lot to boast about: 13 years in the business, 50,000 customers, 700,000+ websites managed and the top-rated cloud and web hosting provider on Trustpilot.
A strong range of products has something for almost everyone: shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers, app hosting (WordPress, Magento, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, more), reseller plans, business email hosting, and the list goes on.
Shared plans are crammed with features. The Mini plan supports one site, and gives you 50GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, databases and emails, a free domain, SSL, free CDN, free migration, and a rolling 7 backups for the last 7 days. It’s priced at $3.95 a month on the three-year plan, $5.95 on renewal, or $5.95 if you pay annually.
Upgrading gets you more CPU resources, security monitoring, spam protection, unlimited storage and support for hosting unlimited sites, and more. Prices are very fair for what you’re getting, but you can get better introductory discounts with some other hosts. The Advanced Shared Hosting Plan is $9.95 a month over 3 years, for instance, $13.95 on renewal; HostGator’s closest Business plan starts much cheaper at $5.95 a month, but renews at a higher $14.95.
We were a little concerned when we noticed the lack of live chat support with shared hosting plans – it’s ticket only. But ScalaHosting’s VPS plans quote speedy response times of 30 seconds for live chat, 15 minutes for tickets, and if the company can get close to that, we’ll be happy.
WordPress and servers
ScalaHosting’s application hosting plans are essentially the shared products, at the same prices, tweaked a little depending on the app. For example, even the $3.95 a month WordPress hosting plan is optimized specifically for WordPress performance, includes custom mod_security rules to block common web attacks, and provides extra support to help with common tasks such as troubleshooting plugins.
That’s good value, but it doesn’t have the more advanced features you’ll get with some managed WordPress plans (although you can get some of these with VPS plans – more on those in a moment.) IONOS WordPress Pro includes staging to enable testing site changes before you put them live, for instance, and can automatically update both WordPress and plugins (ScalaHosting manages WordPress alone.) These are valuable tools for busy sites, but the plans are a lot more expensive, too – IONOS prices start at $18 billed monthly.
The VPS range is more impressive, especially for its configurability. Managed plans start at an excellent $11.95 a month for the first term (whatever length you choose), $13.95 on renewal, for a 1 core, 2GB RAM, 40GB storage and unlimited bandwidth setup, with a choice of US or European data centers. But if that doesn’t suit your needs, a customization panel enables choosing your preferred number of cores (1-24), RAM (2-128MB) and storage space (20-500GB), while the purchase screen enables choosing a managed or unmanaged plan, with the free SPanel or cPanel management console, the backup scheme you need, optionally with proactive monitoring. Prices are good, whatever the specs, and if you’re after a VPS plan, it’s well worth adding ScalaHosting to your shortlist.
The company’s dedicated range is much smaller, with only two server plans starting from $116 a month. They’re also very configurable, though, and these are the only products which give you the option of Windows hosting via Windows Server 2008.
Creating and managing your site
Buying our ScalaHosting plan proved simple and straightforward. The website does a decent job of presenting your various options; pricing is clear and transparent (a rarity in the hosting world); choose a product, hand over the cash (credit card, PayPal and bank transfer accepted), and moments later an email arrives with guidance on getting started.
Logging in to ScalaHosting took us to its client portal. This didn’t include any hosting-related tools, but provided easy access to the full range of account management features: contact details, billing, support, ordering, renewal and more.
Find and select your hosting plan, and you’re able to log in to cPanel with a click.
All shared hosting plans include Softaculous, a powerful platform enabling easy installation of WordPress and 400+ other apps.
CPanel’s file manager and FTP tools enable uploading an existing site, and the regular database, email, domain and other modules give you everything you need to get your project up and running.
There’s no surprises with any of this; it’s just cPanel, and if you’ve used it before, you’ll feel at home immediately.
Newbies might have more issues, as there’s not much in the way of web support. Searching the knowledgebase for ‘Install WordPress’ got us a scattering of hits, none of which explained what we needed to know, and there were no hits for ‘Softaculous’ at all. (Looking closer, we realized why: the Hosting section of the knowledgebase includes only 42 articles.)
Fortunately, 24/7 support is available via live chat and ticket. ScalaHosting quotes speedy response times of 30 seconds for chat, 5-30 minutes for tickets depending on the complexity of the issue, and this matched our experience; when we asked a simple product question via ticket, we received a friendly and helpful response in just 6 minutes.
To get a feel for ScalaHosting’s speed, we purchased the starter Mini shared hosting plan and set up a simple static website.
Next, we used Uptime.com to check our site every five minutes over seven days (that’s more than 2,000 visits), recording any outages and logging response times.
Uptime was 100%, but the average response time was disappointing at 388ms, placing Scala Hosting’s Mini plan at 25th out of 28 shared hosting plans.
Result range was better at 338-739ms. Thirteen of our test sites logged response times greater than 739ms, and seven reported times longer than a second.
Dotcom-Tools Website Speed Test measured the load time of our site from 16 locations around the US and Europe. The average load time was an acceptably mid-range 981ms (most sites hit somewhere between 700ms and 1.5s.)
If you’re looking for more, remember that we’re benchmarking each provider’s baseline shared hosting product only. Upgrade to a higher shared hosting product for more resources, or opt for a VPS or dedicated plan, and you should see much speedier results.
Scala Hosting isn’t the fastest or cheapest host around, but that’s okay. It’s still a capable provider with a huge array of fairly priced products, and great support to help you handle any problems, and that sounds good to us.