Mid to large-sized businesses have more intense hosting needs than bloggers or solopreneurs. They need larger and more secure infrastructure. Same goes for ambitious tech startups who anticipate a high volume of visitors in a short time.
If you’re an IT professional looking for dedicated servers or colocation, Hivelocity deserves to be on your consideration list. Their specialty is “instant server deployment” using high-end dedicated servers.
Hivelocity’s ability to deliver servers quickly will appeal to those who already know the hardware and security specs their business requires but perhaps lack the time or staff required to deploy and support such a network.
- 1 About Hivelocity
- 2 Hivelocity’s Infrastructure
- 3 Hosting Types
- 4 Hivelocity Support
- 5 Billing and Cancellation
- 6 The Fine Print
- 7 Three Reasons to Choose Hivelocity
- 8 Three Reasons Not to Choose Hivelocity
- 9 Hivelocity Summary
Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, with datacenters in south Florida and Atlanta, Georgia, Hivelocity has grown from a solitary server in 2001 to owning and operating 60,000 square feet of datacenter space.
They now serve customers in over 130 countries. Hivelocity isn’t a public company but management has been quoted as saying they earn over “eight figures” in annual revenue.
Hivelocity employs about 50 engineers specializing in systems, clouds, and networks. Staff are onsite at their datacenters and available to assist customers day or night. Hivelocity’s leadership team is headed by Mike Architetto (CEO), Ben Linton (CTO), and Steve Eschweiler, Director of Operations and one of the company’s founders.
Hivelocity’s bold claim of 100% network uptime since 2012 is backed up by the beefy hardware and software they deploy.
Network and Datacenters
IT managers will appreciate the depths to which Hivelocity goes to ensure its network stays online. The company boasts that it owns and operates over 10,000 servers — with additional room for 10,000 more as they grow. Their datacenters have high transit capacity overall.
Every server plan they offer benefits from their blend of fiber connections to eight transit providers — including Level 3, Time Warner, GTT, NTT, XOTelia, Italia Sparkle, Comcast, and Cogent. If any of these providers go down, the multiple redundancies ensure that you and your customers will still be able to access your website. What’s more, Hivelocity has over 300 direct peering relationships with partners like Amazon and Google.
All of Hivelocity’s server plans include a large chunk of bandwidth. That being said, all-hours access to your company’s website and data is critical to the bottom line.
To maintain uptime and ensure top speeds, Hivelocity optimizes route traffic with Noction’s intelligent routing protocol (IRP) which substantially outperforms standard routing protocols by monitoring congestion and outages and choosing optimal routes. Since you don’t buy a data plan, the only limitation on your data flow is the port’s bandwidth — and unmetered ports are available.
If you want to see Hivelocity’s datacenters without the hassle of fighting Tampa traffic, you can take a virtual interactive tour or test their network speed from their website. They also have a live datacenter cam that’s pretty boring to watch — but that’s the point, isn’t it? A calm data center is a happy data center.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Most companies rely on quick data delivery, but it’s even more critical if you’re in e-commerce. It’s likely that your IT department will bear the brunt of any issues with content delivery.
Hivelocity’s CDN is pretty standard stuff. You pay only for the outgoing data, but the cost is location-dependent. If you have scads of outgoing international data, the per-gigabyte prices are more expensive when sending to North America. You can instantly remove or block data by geographic location.
Guarding your company’s data is price-of-entry for IT managers looking for a hosting solution. Hivelocity uses proprietary software to ensure overall system security, blocking 95% of attacks before they can enter the Hivelocity data ecosystem.
For an upgrade fee, your company can improve protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks even further by routing traffic through a smart wall appliance.
Hivelocity offers various 128-bit encryption SSL certificates to protect your company’s data.
- Domain Validated Single Domain or Wildcard Certificates, the lowest tier of certificates offered, they simply verify your domain name to your site’s visitors or customers.
- Organizational Validated Single Domain or Wildcard Certificates are on the next tier of SSL certificates Hivelocity offers. These are from Comodo.
- Extended Validation Single Domain Certificates are the top tier of SSL certificates that Hivelocity offers. This certificate type makes it extremely easy for your customers to see that your site has been authenticated.
Backup and Restore
If somehow your company’s data is compromised, be aware that Hivelocity considers backing up your data an “add-on” to their hosting plans. Their Rapid Restore service runs daily backups and gives you the option of restoring the entire server, just one file, the OS, or anything in between for up to five days prior. The cost of Rapid Restore depends on how much data you wish to securely backup.
It’s worth noting that it’s unclear what type of backup system comes free with the servers you purchase. “Rapid Restore” is listed as an upgrade option only.
What About Hurricanes?
Although Florida is notorious for hurricanes, Tampa is one of the safer places in the state. Only two recorded hurricanes have passed over the city — one in 1848 and the most recent one in 1921. It narrowly escaped Irma’s wrath earlier this year. Thanks to favorable trade winds, the southwest coast of Florida tends to duck out of harm’s way.
However, it’s worth asking your Hivelocity rep what their contingency plans are for hurricane and flood protection. (In fairness to both US coasts, you should ask about earthquakes too since one of their datacenters is in Los Angeles.)
See Hivelocity’s datacenters
Hivelocity’s hot offering is “instant server deployment.” In truth, it’s not as immediate as flipping a switch, but it’s darn close. If you choose one of their preconfigured server options, they’ll have it up and running in seven minutes. Even if you need a customized server, it can be deployed within 24 hours.
The quick turnaround time can save your IT department a lot of headaches if a data emergency strikes and you’re short on hardware or staff.
Given their emphasis on quick server deployment, it’s probably obvious that Hivelocity isn’t the place to host a blog or a small e-commerce site.
Dedicated servers and colocation are their specialties, but they host virtual servers, private clouds, and hybrid server environments as well.
Instant Provisioning and Custom Server Deployment
Hivelocity offers various pre-built servers for dedicated hosting, which they call “instant provisioning.” Instant server deployment applies to dedicated server plans but not to VPS, colocation, or hybrid services.
- Hivelocity’s low-end instant servers come with a single Intel processor priced reasonably for most small to midsize businesses. Single processor servers are great for hosting websites, email servers, storage drives, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), dev projects, databases, and gaming servers.
- If your budget is larger and you’re willing to wait a mere four hours, Hivelocity can deploy a dual-processor server with an unmetered port. These upper-end servers are good for uses that require more bandwidth or development power like virtual private networks (VPNs), private box exchange VOIP (PBX), and load balancing.
- Hivelocity’s website indicates that they can procure customized quad-processor servers if your needs require it — for enterprise hosting or data mining, for example — but they don’t list prices for these custom setups. It’s safe to assume that these elite servers will cost a good deal more than even the highest costs listed on their site. It’s likely that tailored servers will take more than 4 hours to deliver, but Hivelocity claims they can deploy customized servers within 24 hours.
You can see the range of prices and specs available on instant servers and customizable servers without even talking to a Hivelocity sales rep. Their prices and configurations are listed right on Hivelocity’s home page.
For IT managers, Hivelocity’s transparent pricing, detailed server specs, and speedy turnaround can save a lot of time if you know exactly what you’re looking for.
If your department’s budget is tight, it’s worth looking at Hivelocity’s outlet servers. A few of these cheaper servers are even available for “instant” deployment (within seven minutes).
The outlet servers generally have older-generation processors but there’s no difference in security, network, or support versus what they offer on their more modern servers.
Colocation and Hybrid Hosting
Hivelocity also offers colocation (also called “colo”), allowing you to rent space in their secure datacenters where you can house your own servers or other networked hardware. When your IT department maxes out on server space or staff, colo can be just what you need to address your company’s growing pains.
Hivelocity rents colo space within their two Tampa datacenters and their Atlanta datacenter.
In addition to the overall infrastructure described above, Hivelocity’s colo data centers provide:
- 1/4 racks, full racks, and cages
- Managed storage for backups and data replication
- Power outlets for 120 volts and 208 volts
- At least 24 hours of generator time in the event of a power outage
- N+2 CRAC cooling
- Fire suppression and floor leak detection
- Round-the-clock staff on premises, guaranteed to have Linux, Windows, virtualization, hardware, networking, and firewall certifications
- Full-time monitoring and motion-activated cameras
- Man-trap entrances
- SSAE-16 certifications
- Onsite access to your locking cabinets.
Colo customers can cross-connect with Hivelocity’s instant or custom servers at any time for a hybrid network consisting of your own servers networked with their leased options.
If your hardware goes awry, their onsite staff can procure replacements or upgrades for RAM, CPU, SSDs (and other drives), motherboards, or power supplies with the benefit of Hivelocity’s volume discounts from vendors like Dell, SuperMicro, and Kingston.
Cloud Storage and Private Clouds
Regardless of which type of server you choose, you’ll get a scalable chunk of cloud storage free. Expanding cloud storage — as with any storage — will cost a bit more, but the expansion rates per GB are reasonable.
With Hivelocity, you can opt to enhance your network, server, or colo array with single-tenant clouds. These private clouds reside on hardware dedicated for your use and you can upgrade the cloud server just as you’d augment your other servers.
Cloud hosting can be configured via OpenStack, Proxmox, VMware, SolusVM, Microsoft, or any other preferred server virtualization management platform. Hivelocity’s engineers can consult with your team to customize the cloud to your business’s unique situation.
Server Management and Operating Systems
Every IT department has unique strengths and weaknesses which can ebb and flow based on your staff’s expertise. At times you may employ more Linux experts than Windows or vice versa. That means flexibility is crucial to your department’s success.
Hivelocity allows you to pick the operating system (OS) and control panel on the servers you purchase. Panel choices include the popular cPanel, DirectAdmin, and Plesk Panel, but they have other options too: H-Sphere, Virtuozzo, SolusVM, ProxMox, and others.
Hivelocity has their own proprietary software called myVelocity which allows for do-it-yourself server management and usage analysis, allowing you to:
- Upgrade or add servers
- Manage DNS on all your domains
- Manage support tickets you’ve placed with Hivelocity
- Reboot your servers
- Monitor almost anything — server health with IPMI, bandwidth, procurement orders, backups
- Request backup restores
- Setup email or text alerts for metrics you’re monitoring.
Depending on your staff’s expertise, you can choose an operating system for each server you own. Windows, various flavors of Linux, and BSD operating systems are automatically offered, but if you need a more specialized OS, you can self-install over remote KVM-over-IP.
Hivelocity can upgrade many of the features described above. For example, you can:
- Add additional backup storage with Rapid Restore
- Expand the free cloud storage that comes with your server for pennies on the gigabyte
- Add a private cloud for more direct control over cloud storage
- SSL encryption certificates that come in a variety of configurations which you can upgrade or downgrade as you see fit
- Add a bigger data transfer pipe or even an unmetered port.
Hivelocity’s biggest selling proposition (after “instant” server deployment) is that they’re large enough to meet any of your server needs but they’re small enough that every customer counts.
They sell their staff’s expertise on par with their hardware and software offerings. Their onsite engineers are available 24/7 to solve OS, network, hardware, and firewall issues.
The most common way to contact support is via the myVelocity management dashboard (described above) but you can also contact them through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or phone them.
The number of support session minutes you’re allotted is based on what you pay for hosting services. It’s best to clarify the support time allotment in writing to ensure you get the minutes you’ll need.
Billing and Cancellation
Hivelocity’s image relies on being at the forefront of technology, so it’s no surprise that, in addition to credit cards and PayPal, they’ll also accept Bitcoin payments. You can reduce the cost of the services and servers you purchase when you prepay; more prepaid months equal a bigger discount.
Hivelocity’s cancellation policy is fairly strict, which can hinder larger IT departments that require lengthy processes for plan changes. Several points regarding cancellation policy are worth noting:
- Plan your cancellation notification as precisely as possible. Account closures require 15 days notice in writing. If the lead time to cancellation is shorter, you’ll be charged for the full term.
- Cancellation file removals can include unread emails left on the server. Plan for email changes accordingly.
- We were unable to determine whether Hivelocity will grant you access to your backup files after cancellation.
The Fine Print
In addition to the caveats in the previous section, you should be aware of some of Hivelocity’s additional policies.
- Although Hivelocity considers it a point of honor that they’ve had several years in a row of 100% uptime, they only guarantee that the network will be up 99.99% of the time. However, the basis for the percentage is left unclear whether it’s calculated daily, weekly, or otherwise.
- If you experience any network outages, it’s incumbent on you to ask Hivelocity for a credit back to your account.
This next caveat is critical, so we’re quoting it verbatim here:
“Hivelocity does not offer refunds for dedicated servers under any circumstance.”
Three Reasons to Choose Hivelocity
- If your company needs to get a web or storage server up extremely quickly, Hivelocity’s instant and 4-hour server deployments are worth consideration.
- If your IT department is understaffed or its server space is limited, Hivelocity can fill those gaps with their dedicated, colo, or hybrid server plans.
- If your business is outgrowing shared hosting and demand is scaling rapidly, Hivelocity’s quick turnaround, expert staff, and configuration flexibility can help you reach the next level.
Three Reasons Not to Choose Hivelocity
- Since Hivelocity specializes in dedicated server hosting, it’s not a good choice for hosting your blog or if you rely on 1-click installs.
- Hivelocity relies on your judgment to determine whether a particular server’s specs or configuration is right for your company and is worth the proposed cost. If you don’t have sufficient expertise to judge these specs, you should look elsewhere.
- All of Hivelocity’s servers are housed exclusively at their datacenters. If your company requires that servers be housed on your company’s property, Hivelocity isn’t right for you.
For IT departments and businesses in growth mode, Hivelocity’s unique hardware deployment, dedicated server, and colo server plans are worth a look — especially if deployment speed is critical.