If the hosting plan for your small business or startup is starting to feel a bit too tight, like the jeans you wore in college, you might be outgrowing your shared hosting plan. Enter PacificHost. They have a decent array of mid-size plans that could tempt you away from your current web host.
- PacificHost’s Infrastructure
- PacificHost Hosting Plans
- Pacific Host Support
- Three Reasons to Choose PacificHost
- Three Reasons Not to Choose PacificHost
Based out of Anaheim, California, PacificHost is a privately owned company that’s been in the hosting business since 1999. It hosts over 80,000 websites in more than 100 countries.
PacficHost houses datacenters throughout the US — three in Southern California and one each in Nevada, Texas, and Colorado. Combined, the datacenters are served by 21 points of presence, ensuring redundant connections to the wider internet, resulting in a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%. All datacenters are SAS 70 Certified.
PacificHost acts as a kind of reseller of hosting provided by Cogeco Peer1, an international supernetwork provider. Peer1’s network is a Tier 1 internet backbone consisting of 15,000 miles of fiber optics and peering with over 500 other networks. Its function is to simplify routing decisions to reduce overall network latency by up to 50% on networks connected to it. For your business, that means your website has the potential to load and process faster than other hosts that use BGP routing.
PacificHost also uses an FCP-10Gx routing appliance for optimization and improved network performance. Its network has 10 transit providers, including Level 3, AboveNet, Cogent, Global Crossing, and others.
You can test PacificHost’s network speed to see how it compares to your current host. You can test by file size (up to 200 MB) and by ping speed.
PacificHost describes their servers as having “enterprise grade” hardware, but they don’t really explain what that means. They deploy their servers preconfigured and each runs FFmpeg and Red5 for handling multimedia and internal social media apps. PacificHost’s servers are housed in datacenters with multiple redundancies for power and cooling to overcome power outages.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
For a mid-size business or an expanding small one, timely access to your online data is critical for your customers and your employees. Speed is particularly important if you’re hosting developer applications or e-commerce transactions. PacificHost tackles the question of shared hosting speed with CloudFlare’s CDN, a decentralized cloud environment that caches your website for optimum speed in delivery.
PacificHost uses a configuration called NginX on their CloudFlare servers that loads faster than Apache servers which use threading to handle requests. Threading for high-volume sites can timeout if demand passes 10,000 connections. To avoid this problem, NginX uses asynchronous architecture to scale up and down according to the connection load. This setup allows PacificHost to offer unlimited data ports even on lower-cost hosting plans.
PacificHost takes care of server security for all their hosting plans, eliminating the need for you to have a web security expert on staff.
PacificHost provides these protections standard with every plan:
- Firewall and brute force protection comes via ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) which stands guard in front of your FTP, e-mail, and web servers.
- They protect against SYN flood denial-of-service attacks, DNS poisoning, spoofing, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks as well as suPHP and Suhosin to secure PHP.
- E-mail spam and antivirus protection come by way of ClamAV and Realtime Blackhole Lists (RBLs).
- PacificHost prevents hackers, rootkits, and worms from accessing its servers by installing the latest versions of their core software, like CentOS, cPanel, PHP, Apache, and Named. You can also pay for kernel audits separately.
- Datacenters are protected by armed security and round-the-clock onsite staff.
PacificHost servers don’t automatically come with SSL Certificates so they must be purchased as an add-on. The lowest-level certificates are fairly low cost but the higher level SSLs will cost you several hundred dollars. They offer both standard SSL certificates and Wildcard SSLs.
PacficHost runs daily backups of your website automatically alongside RAID 10 servers which serve as redundant drives. RAID 10 (also called “RAID 1+0”) uses disk mirroring and striping across a minimum of four drives so that if one drive fails an exact copy can be retrieved. However, it’s not clear how you’d go about requesting a site restore, or whether you can restore single files.
PacificHost Hosting Plans
Judging from their website, PacificHost would really like to be all things to all people. They de-emphasize shared hosting (except for plans at very low cost promotional pricing) in favor of promoting plans for resellers, dedicated hosting, managed VPS, business class, and shared cloud hosting. This mix of plan types suggests that PacificHost spends most of its infrastructure, marketing, and security dollars on plans best suited for businesses rather than for personal use. However, they don’t go as far as offering colocation or hybrid hosting plans.
All hosting plans include:
- 300+ script auto-installer by Softaculous. (Otherwise known as “1-click installs.”)
- Free account, script, and database transfers from your former hosting provider
- 45-day money back guarantee
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Round-the-clock support based in the US.
Dedicated Hosting (Managed)
If you’ve got a rapidly growing business, you’ll want a robust server configuration to ensure that obsolescence and downtime aren’t a concern. PacificHost’s dedicated servers come with a 100% network uptime service Level agreement (SLA).
Dedicated server plans come in four types, ranging from dual-core Intel processors at the lowest end, moving up to quad-core processors on the high end. Dual-processor servers are excellent for use in hosting virtual private networks (VPNs), websites, e-mail servers, network storage drives, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), development projects, databases, and gaming servers. The quad-processor servers can handle even bigger demands like those required for enterprise hosting or data mining. You can also request custom-built servers.
All of PacificHost’s dedicated server plans use servers with identical specs (including port speed) except for the number and speed of their processors. Every dedicated server comes with:
- Storage split between two hard drives
- Free setup and site transfer
- Ruby on Rails, PHP5, and MySQL5 for developers
- cPanel server management dashboard.
Managed Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
If your business is small but in growth mode, hurtling toward becoming a mid-size business, PacificHost’s fully managed VPS hosting might be a good next step: you would avoid the higher costs of dedicated hosting. Another perk: VPS hosting can expand to keep up with your business’ growth. VPS hosting can be a boon for businesses that wish to offer video streaming or Flash media. If you need to get your site online quickly, PacificHost can have a VPS host online for you in as little as 15 minutes with their standard configurations. Custom configurations take a bit longer.
VPS plans come in three tiers that start with Dell PowerEdge servers running two, three, or four hyperthreaded Intel processors. RAM and disk space also increase by tier with the “Developer” plan at the lowest level up to the “Pinnacle” plan at the highest level. All plans come with unmetered bandwidth ports, giving you freedom from worrying that traffic spikes might crash your website.
Memory and storage space are the only differences between the VPS plans, which all come with:
- Unmetered bandwidth
- cPanel control panel to manage your site like FTP or auto-installs
- Nearly 200 compatible auto-installable services, from Ajax to Microsoft Exchange, WordPress, and more. (Note that this list is a subset of PacificHost’s longer list of available scripts on shared hosting plans with Softaculous.)
- PacificHost’s Virtual Panel allows you to reboot and upgrade or downgrade
- Support for developer tools like MySQL, PHP, Perl, FFmpeg, Red5, and Ruby on Rails
- Free reseller account and affiliate program
- Vision Helpdesk functionality for your website
- You can add PCI compliance to your VPS plan if your business transacts sales online.
You can think about PacificHost’s Business Class plan as an interim step between your current shared hosting plan and commitment to a more expensive VPS or dedicated plan. Essentially, Business Class hosting is shared hosting plus shopping cart functionality, a shared SSL Certificate, and a bit more oomph in the CPU and RAM specs.
You also get “premium support,” but it’s not clear how it differs from their basic support. If your site depends on high volume access to multimedia or runs resource-intensive server-side apps, this plan might be a good match for your needs.
If your small business isn’t exactly tearing the roof off with its growth (yet!), but you’re unhappy with your current hosting provider, PacificHost has a shared hosting plan that might suit you. They call their shared hosting “Unlimited Hosting,” and for good reason: you can have unlimited disk storage and unlimited bandwidth, even on their cheapest plan. And that cheapest plan? It costs only a few bucks per month if you purchase several years at a time.
PacificHost has three tiers of Unlimited hosting plans. The main differences between them amount to the number of accounts allowed (e.g., e-mail and FTP accounts) and strength of the included SSL certificates.
In addition to unlimited bandwidth and storage, each tier of shared hosting comes with:
- Free search engine optimization tools
- Free site migration and setup
- Access to 250+ free scripts from Softaculous (similar to 1-click installs)
- E-mail accounts
- Hosting for at least five domains
- Free website templates
- Instant deployment.
Attracta SEO Tools
A notable feature in both of PacificHost’s “Unlimited” and “Business Class” shared hosting plans is the opportunity to take advantage of Attracta’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools.
Some of what Attracta does happens automatically in the background. For example, Attracta automatically generates a sitemap for search engines and pings them when you add new pages to your site. On PacificHost’s cPanel dashboard, Attracta shows your site’s ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and it even prompts you for suggestions that can improve your site’s ranking.
You can run a Google Scorecard for your site, display broken links, and quest a free SEO consultation via the cPanel dashboard.
Softaculous Auto-Installed Scripts
Many of PacificHost’s plans come with access to Softaculous, a set of “1-click installs” or “auto-installed scripts.”
Available apps include content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, Concrete5, and Drupal. You can also install hundreds of additional scripts like forums, galleries, wikis, social networking apps, ad management, calendars, gaming, e-mail, project management, e-commerce, CRMs, and more
Even if you don’t know exactly what you need, you might still be able to find it on Softaculous because you can try out demos of all scripts offered. Ratings and reviews on Softaculous’s website can also help you make the right choice.
Reseller Plans and Affiliates
If your business needs some extra cash, PacificHost will give you a piece of their hosting pie. That is, you can buy plans from them that allow you to resell web hosting to others as a reseller or earn commissions by recommending their service to others through their affiliate program.
Reseller plans come in three tiers that are differentiated primarily by the amount of disk storage and access to billing and helpdesk features for your site. All plans come with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited cPanel accounts. You can get started selling hosting under your own brand name for a monthly fee that’s reasonable, even for tight budgets.
PacificHost’s affiliate program costs nothing to join for their hosting customers. So, if you decide to go with PacificHost, it’s free to take advantage of their 20% referral rate.
Every growing business is unique so PacificHost’s plans can be added to with à la carte offerings to ensure you get exactly what you need. It’s worth nothing, however, that a plan on a higher tier than the one you’re enhancing might get you more bang for your buck.
- Additional IP addresses or dedicated IPs
- Emergency support response
- Extra RAM, storage, or CPU cores
- LiteSpeed web server
Automated Billing and Helpdesk Functionality
On PacificHost’s business-oriented plans (including Business Class, VPS, and dedicated hosting), you have the option to add automated functionality to your website.
For automated billing, you can use ClientExec or WHMCS to handle customer signups and billing.
For your support department, PacificHost provides you with Vision Helpdesk: a multi-channel helpdesk app which converts e-mail, phone, chat, Facebook, Twitter and website requests into service tickets and keeps them organized in one central place. Vision Helpdesk also offers knowledgebase management, staff collaboration on tickets, and much more.
Pacific Host Support
PacificHost’s support team is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can contact them via live chat, toll-free phone, online ticket submission, or via their social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.
PacificHost indicates on some of its plan comparisons that they offer “Premium” support but it’s unclear how that’s different from regular support. Another caveat is that PacficHost doesn’t support its partner’s tools like Softaculous and Attracta. If you have issues or questions related to partner services, you need to contract the downstream provider for support.
PacificHost offers money back guarantees through 30 days (or 45 days for some plans) for any reason except for uptime. It’s not clear how they support their 99.9% uptime guarantee.
You can cancel via a web form, but once the form is submitted your data is subject to deletion. Some plans — like Business, Reseller, and VPS — require three to seven days advance notice.
PacificHost touts itself as an “award-winning” web hosting company. While it is true that the company has won awards, most of them were not bestowed recently or are undated. The most recent award was granted in February 2012.
Three Reasons to Choose PacificHost
- If your small or medium-sized business is rapidly outgrowing your current shared hosting plan, PacificHost’s plans provide you many options at tiered prices — Business Class, managed dedicated servers, and VPS.
- If you’d like to start your own web hosting company via reselling, PacificHost provides an affordable way to get started.
- If you’re looking for a shared web host that offers a wide variety of 1-click installs, PacificHost’s partnership with Softaculous will give you over 300 auto-install scripts to choose from.
Three Reasons Not to Choose PacificHost
- PacificHost isn’t right for you if need colocation services or onsite hardware access.
- Developers looking for support engineers with advanced network and server experience or if you have specific server requirements, you may find more flexibility at lower prices elsewhere compared to what PacificHost offers.
- PacificHost’s e-commerce options aren’t especially competitive or robust, especially when it comes to their SSL certificate options and security compliance. If your site’s transactions need beefier security you might be better off hosting it elsewhere.
If you looked at your hosting plan and, much like Jaws’ police chief Martin Brody, you realize you’re going to need a bigger boat, it’s worth checking out PacificHost.
Even after reading our in-depth discussion of PacificHost, you may still be uncertain about which host to choose for your website. In that case, check out our sister site WhoIsHostingThis.com. It provides more expert discussion and reviews from regular users of PacificHost.