Jolt Web Hosting Review: UK-based Service from a Young Company
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Spun off from WebHostingBuzz in 2015, Jolt is a very young company. It has a single datacenter, located in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Jolt caters primarily to customers in the UK, though it does some international business.
Until 2012, the domain jolt.co.uk belonged to an online gaming site. The present hosting business acquired the domain but has no other connection to the old site.
What Jolt Offers
The services from Jolt include shared web hosting, cloud VPS hosting, specialty cloud hosting, and dedicated servers. It also has a reseller program for shared hosting.
Shared Web Hosting
The web hosting packages offer a reasonable set of features even at the lowest price level. File storage is on SSD drives, cPanel is included for site management. The number of email addresses available ranges from 10 to unlimited. Email comes with spam protection and allows access by POP3, SMTP, IMAP, or webmail. Backup is an extra-cost option but certainly worth it.
The software is built on CloudLinux, Apache, and MySQL. The file system uses CageFS, which maximizes user privacy from everyone else on the same server. SSH shell access and SFTP for file uploads are available. Account holders can use and edit their .htaccess files. Developers can use PHP (versions 4-7), Python, and Perl.
Customers use their own domains, not a subdomain of Jolt. Getting a domain may require a one-time charge or be included in the plan. Alternatively, the customer can use an existing domain. A Comodo Positive SSL certificate comes with the highest tier, and other types of certificates at the DV level are available as extras. EV certificates, which provide a higher level of confidence in the owner's identity, aren't available through Jolt, nor are shared SSL certificates.
The higher-priced tiers, as you'd expect, come with more available databases, storage, bandwidth, mailboxes, and allowed domains. "Unlimited" storage and bandwidth are available with the top-level tier, but of course nothing is really unlimited. The Acceptable Use Policy spells out what the limits are.
Virtual Private Servers
For those who want a bit more, cloud-based virtual private servers are available. The customer can choose from half a dozen flavors of Linux. The VPS allows full root access, the the customer can reboot it if necessary. Plans with varying amounts of memory, disk space, and bandwidth are available. The plans don't include cPanel, but you can get it as an extra. They can run any software application that's consistent with the terms of service.
Agencies, designers, and developers can buy a reseller hosting package. They can manage all their end user sites through cPanel and Web Host Manager. Softaculous is included for easy installation of applications. These packages can work for organizations that manage multiple sites, even if they aren't actually reselling them.
Web Host Manager (WHM) is included with reseller hosting. It's a control panel that lets the reseller add sites, set up hosting plans, and specify resource limits for individual sites. WHMCS is an additional panel which handles client management and billing. It's included or is an extra-cost option, depending on the plan the reseller chooses.
Finally, customers can lease the exclusive use of a physical server and run almost any kind of software. Options include managed support and high-speed data connections. Both Linux and Windows servers are available. And Jolt will aid in migration from a previous host.
In discussing its dedicated servers, Jolt says it "operates through multiple data centers in the United States." These US datacenters aren't mentioned anywhere else. It isn't clear if this is a mistake or if Jolt uses datacenters in the US only for dedicated servers.
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Jolt offers several specialty packages. The business web hosting packages are suitable for SMBs. They include a free domain and SSL certificate, with a dedicated IP address available as an extra. WooCommerce, OpenCart, ZenCart, and Magento are all supported e-commerce options.
Medium-sized businesses looking for a more powerful e-commerce solution can look at Jolt's Magento cloud hosting. The plans are designed for tens of thousands of visitors or more, so they aren't cheap. But if you have that many customers, you can likely afford it. Regardless of your size, Jolt allows you to scale up or down as their needs change.
A WordPress shared hosting package is available, with one-click installation. Premium themes are available at a discount, and there are no restrictions on plugins.
For educational institutions, Jolt offers Moodle hosting. Moodle is a learning management system which hosts online learning and delivers course content. It includes features such as online quizzes, discussion forums, and collaborative tools.
Customers have access to online documentation and can get support by filing a ticket or using online chat. The wiki is a bit rough-looking, but it holds lots of information if you are diligent. Jolt promises to respond to help desk tickets in thirty minutes and to chat requests in 60 seconds.
The status blog provides information on issues and outages, and users can subscribe by email. Live status is available on shared and reseller servers, VPS carriers, and the core network.
Pros and Cons
Jolt is a new and relatively small company, not tied to any parent company. On the positive side, this gives it the motivation and ability to really pay attention to its customers. It also entails a certain amount of risk. The company could fail, or a disaster could hit its single datacenter.
There's no far-reaching CDN to give distant users fast page loads. The customers who would get the most benefit out of Jolt are ones based in or near the UK, and whose audience is local.
It may not be the most conservative choice, but Jolt is well-suited to customers who want to go local and still get solid service and support.