Page.ly is hosting company that specializes in WordPress hosting, more specifically Managed WordPress hosting. When doing this review, I had never really paid attention to this company, but have always read or heard about them here and there, so I decided to investigate further.
Their site is really up to date and really easy to navigate. Something that I have learned over the years is that a company, especially one that sells something like services or products needs to be updated often and kept up to date.
This is how I tell if a company is running smoothly because, from my experience, when a hosting company is going downhill, it all starts from the homepage. Keep this in mind when running your own website. There should be at least one major update per year and if you're really growing, every 6 months, new updates are a must. The more fresh things look, the more visitors you will attract.
The company claims to be the first ever managed WordPress hosting company, which was founded in 2006 (4 years BEFORE WP Engine). According to Page.ly, everyone is unique with different needs and requirements for your WordPress hosting. For example, if you have a WordPress site with between 0-250,000 uniques per month, you are probably fine on a regular hosting package, however, if you go beyond that, you will likely need a more complex solution.
Three of the main focus areas of Page.ly are education (digital learning), Woocommerce (Ecommerce) and Performance (entire website optimization – backend not marketing).
- Education – This is not only a service for Colleges and Universities – Online learning is growing at a very fast pace. If you have created online courses for your visitors, you'll see that scalability will become a problem. Maybe at this moment, your course videos never get more than 5 people watching the same online video at the same time, but imagine if there were hundreds! Chances are, your host would drop you faster than you can say Page.ly. They take care of everything on the backend and if you're running out of resources, you don't have to shut down and migrate to another server. You can auto-set parameters to add so much ram, CPU or storage on the fly with zero effort.
- WooCommerce – Do you have an Ecommerce site? Do you use WooCommerce to control inventory, checkout and the whole shebang? It's terrible when you log into WordPress and the dashboard is slow as molasses. This could be because of many reasons like too much traffic, database is too large or too many plugins installed. Page.ly has designed a way for you to run WooCommerce efficiently because it's all about the selling and business, not website and hosting!
- Publishing – Many of us who have businesses based on WordPress that are powered by content ARE publishers. It's no longer about books and newspapers, it's about how you attract visitors and content attracts readers which means you are a publisher! Page.ly claims that they've used 10 years of data and put together some special tricks and tweaks that will enhance performance on a global scale.
Your business and website go hand in hand. The more complex your hosting is, the more complex your business becomes and this is why Page.ly might be just the company you are looking for as far as growth, management, scalability and security are concerned.
Before I begin going through Page.ly's service offerings, I'd like to bring you up to speed and educate you a bit on the backend environment that they are using for their infrastructure. By infrastructure, I mean cloud technology hardware and public cloud.
Normally, a hosting company would get space in a place called a datacenter and that is where all the hardware resides (where your website is housed). For Page.ly, it's a bit different. They are hosting all their solutions on Amazon. Yes, you heard me correct, the bookstore! Amazon is now an IT company that has built, arguably, one of, if not the best hosting environments in the world. IT people know them as AWS or Amazon Web services.
AWS started around 2005 (give or take) as an internal project to host their own requirements as they are an eCommerce powerhouse. Eventually, they opened their in-house project to the public, where you could get hosting services from them and pay per hour for optimum spend control and people loved it because they could now control their budget.
The problem was that this solution required you to be a developer because the tools were too complex to integrate for the average person. This is where Page.ly comes in. They have orchestrated (built) their own automated solution on top of AWS technology so that YOU can now take advantage of the Amazon public cloud with them hands-free which means less pain and more gain.
Now, onto the plans. Page.ly plans are quite simple and start at a Virtual Private Server level as they are built for greater WordPress needs and requirements.
There only two options available to you. As you can tell, they aren't what you would call cheap, but the saying does ring true, you get what you pay for and starting at $499/month does sound like a lot, however, when you really think about it; if your website is generating revenue for you, then it would only take a few sales to pay for this and what is a little bit of profit, in exchange for a much better service that can grow with you and give you less headaches.
You have a business to run, these guys know WordPress and have added their own special sauce to make things work. Think about it this way; Amazon has excellent infrastructure where Page.ly does not have to worry about taking care of and in turn, you don't have to worry about your WordPress setup, configuration or anything else. Everyone is just worrying about business.
Page.ly offers two kinds of plans:
If you don't understand the lingo, I will clarify for you. The Single Node package is a single VPS on a server and the fault tolerant bit just means that if something went wrong, your website will stay up and keep running. An example would be if there was a power failure or hard drive error. AWS is set up to handle things like this.
High Availability Pairs
At $1299/month, I'd expect a lot, maybe even a free trip to Hawaii! Alas, that's not why you're paying so much for. It's all about uptime and performance. You might be wondering what all this tech speak means like active/active, active/passive and regions.
- Regions means locations because AWS is located in many many locations around the world and large WordPress deployments are spread across different regions to make sure visitors can get to your site faster. For example, if you have visitors from Asia/Australia and they are trying to get to your site in the US, they will experience a slow response and this could lead to people leaving to go elsewhere (bounce rate).
- Active/Active means that your website is active in 2 or more locations (can be same location as well). Data is shared between the locations or within the same location (different machine), such that if one location goes down, all traffic will be diverted to the next available location without a hitch. You would want this not only for redundancy, but to also spread out the load (traffic) of your website where the visitor will be directed to the closet (geographical) copy of the website. They work in tandem so if you write a blog, the data is then automatically copied to the other locations.
- Active/Passive – Similar to Active/Active except all the other locations aren't live. They are dormant, but carry a current copy of your data. Again, if your website tanks, traffic will be diverted to the passive location and at that time passive will become your active region.
Full Page.ly plan comparison
The packages are broken up into two main parts. The first being VPS 1 & 2 without multi-copy (two website) redundancy. You still get everything, except if your wordpress goes down (ie. database crash), it will stay that way until they (or you) fixes it whereas the VPS 1 & 2 with HA has full redundancy and can take just about anything you throw at it. Either is light years better than hosting it at another hosting provider.
NOTE: The numbers 30 and 60 in bold are the amount of websites you are allowed to have in the package.
Enterprise WordPress Hosting
This is when everything gets real. At this point, you have to look beyond the price and go straight for what you need to run your business because you're not going to be spending this kind of money on a hobby!
What I like
This is what I like about Page.ly. They are upfront about their additional charges and are aware that people don't like to be overcharged (at least they seem like they are).
The pricing is in increments, and the less or more you need, you will be charged appropriately instead of flat rate. Have you ever had an abundance of files you didn't need anymore and when you deleted them, you'd be charged the same rate, but now, if you reduce, you pay less. It's not just a novelty, it's reality!
All Plans include
Who needs this level of service?
- You have multiple monetized sites and cannot afford to have your website come to a screeching halt when it gets busy
- . Multiple sites and not technical enough to manage them all, plus the security on your setup is not up to snuff. Really, how much security do you think a host would have if you're paying $5/month?
- You are a business owner that as many employees and much of your revenue comes from your WordPress website. Let Page.ly manage it for you and save money from having to hire a full time employee.
- Better performance = more money. With Content delivery and caching services, your visitors will be surfing your pages and won't leave.
Support Better be Fantastic!
Page.ly takes that extra step to show, in an honest way, how their support really is by presenting on their website snapshots of support's performance.
Support Type And Hours Of Operation
- Phone Support – Only on select plans (but they don't tell you which ones)
- Tickets – 24/7
- Live Chat – Monday – Friday / 8AM-5PM (PST)
- Twitter – 24/7
- Slack – This is a private channel that they do not display on the page, but as soon as you become a client, they will give it to you.
To better understand Page.ly's services, I went to find some comments left by past customers.
The only negative review I found was this one and the thing is, it's not even that bad of a complaint, but I do understand where the customer was coming from. I think it's more than worth it to hire a few people on the graveyard shift to give well rounded telephone support, especially since no one is paying less than $499/month.
Page.ly is an incredible platform based on even better infrastructure and is set to offer the best WordPress experience money can buy. Yes, it's quite a bit expensive, but it's not like your not getting your money's worth. Your website is given the best opportunity to succeed with time tested solutions that just work. Isn't that the problem you already have with your other hosts? Things break, don't work and trying to find someone to fix it might never happen and it's even worse if you have no idea how to manage your WordPress environment. There will come a time where $5/month just isn't going to cut it and sometimes, you have to give to get.