WebFaction Alternatives: What Can You Do Now That WebFaction Is Gone?

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WebFaction Hosting Review

WebFaction Featured Image

For many years, WebFaction was a popular all-in-one web host. They branded themselves as “hosting for developers” by providing great control and access to many development tools. But sadly, WebFaction is no more. It has become part of GoDaddy.

If you’ve been interested in hosting with WebFaction, there are a few good options that you should check out. We will discuss them below.

Who Owns WebFaction?

“WebFaction” was a trade name of Swarm Limited, a company based in London that was co-founded by Remi Delon and Richard James Cooper in 2006.

The company was owned by the Paragon Internet Group, which was registered in England and Wales. In 2016, GoDaddy acquired their parent company, Host Europe Group. Then, in late 2018, WebFaction announced that it was becoming part of GoDaddy. The change became official starting in 2019.

WebFaction provided shared and cloud-based hosting solutions aimed at software developers. The company offered a total of six different hosting plans (one shared hosting plan, five cloud-based hosting plans), each billed at a flat rate on a monthly basis. Depending upon which of these plans would be right for you will determine which alternative is best for you.

Alternatives for WebFaction

Below, we will discuss the features that WebFaction used to provide customers. But if you are just looking for alternatives, consider the following.

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting Logo

For a full range of developer friendly-hosting plans, consider A2 Hosting. There are some managed options, but if you are willing to put in the elbow grease, you can save some money and opt for a self-managed option.

They offer shared hosting plans. On the positive side, they are less expensive. On the negative side, they don’t offer a set allocation of RAM.

You will need to replace WebFaction’s cloud plans with one of A2 Hosting VPS plans. The managed versions of these plans are somewhat more expensive but notably more powerful. The unmanaged versions are very inexpensive if you are up to the demands of maintaining them.

LiquidWeb

Liquid Web Logo

LiquidWeb is another good option, especially for those seeking more premium web hosting. Most of LiquidWeb’s options are fully managed, just like WebFaction’s options.

They offer no shared hosting, so there isn’t really a comparable replacement for WebFaction’s shared plan. They do, however, offer powerful low-cost cloud hosting plans.

One downside of LiquidWeb is that they cater to experienced website owner and their interface can be difficult to use. But they provide top-of-the-line web hosting.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy Logo

GoDaddy is a full-service web host and as the default migration pathway from WebFaction, it is worth checking out. Unfortunately, there are no direct comparisons.

WebFaction’s shared hosting plan is more like GoDaddy’s base VPS plan. GoDaddy offers no cloud hosting, so all those plans are best replaced with higher-level VPS plans.

WebFaction Plans

Hosting Options

WebFaction offered a small number of full-featured, fully managed web hosting options from which you could choose. The packages were not customizable, which allowed WebFaction to charge a flat monthly rate for whichever option you chose.

There were two basic types of hosting available:

  • Shared hosting: entry-level hosting with a smaller allocation of resources at a lower price. There was only one shared hosting plan available.
  • Cloud hosting: higher-tiered hosting equivalent to virtual private server (VPS) hosting. WebFaction offered 5 cloud hosting plans.

Shared Hosting

WebFaction offered one basic (fully-managed) shared hosting plan. For a flat monthly fee of $10, you got 1 GB of RAM, 100 GB of SSD storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth.

WebFaction Plans
There were a comfortable range of plans on offer from WebFaction.

If you needed more resources, but you were not interested in obtaining a cloud hosting plan, you could order additional shared plans.

Aggregated Resources

Multiple shared plans aggregate disk space and bandwidth (but not memory) across servers.

You could also add more disk space and dedicated IP addresses to your account for an additional monthly fee, but you were not limited in the number of domains and apps you could have per account.

Cloud-Based Web Hosting

WebFaction offered five different levels of fully-managed, cloud-based hosting for developers. The cloud hosting plans were WebFaction’s version of VPS hosting.

WebFaction distinguished its cloud-based hosting packages based on the amount of RAM you got with the package. Here is what you got with each package:

  • $20: 2 GB RAM, 1 CPU core, 15GB SSD storage, 1.5 TB bandwidth
  • $30: 4 GB RAM, 2 CPU cores, 45 GB SSD storage, 2 TB bandwidth
  • $60: 8 GB RAM, 4 CPU cores, 90 GB SSD storage, 3 TB bandwidth
  • $120: 12 GB RAM, 6 CPU cores, 180 GB SSD storage, 4 TB bandwidth
  • $240: 24 GB RAM, 8 CPU cores, 360 GB SSD storage, 5 TB bandwidth

WebFaction always noted the following caveat for anyone evaluating the amount of memory and storage offered by the cloud-based hosting packages:

RAM and storage allowances on cloud server plans were approximate and could vary due to resource utilization by the server operating system and hosting infrastructure.

WebFaction Supported Technologies

WebFaction Reviews by Our Community

Overall Rating from 9 Reviews by WebFaction Customers

Support
Quality
Features
Value

Most Helpful Reviews

Giovanni Piovesan avatar
Giovanni Piovesan bopjet.com
Jan 27, 2018

I am so lucky that I found Webfaction when I did. My former hosting company was not able to make the grade and with only 1 week’s notice we had to move all our sites. Going to Webfaction was a breeze.

Rock solid service. SSH access. Support is super.

Webfaction is so efficient that I never have to worry about my sites. Webmail is also a dream.

Visit Host Now →

Federico Tomassetti avatar
Federico Tomassetti eremodelviandante.it
Sep 27, 2017

Shameless: I have been a client for over 8 years and I can honestly say they just do not care at all. A few years ago I started having troubles with my main website: it went down for 10-20 times Per day. I contacted support and they did not solved the issue (caused by over usage from another user) for Weeks.

Until they forced me to migrate all my installations to another machine. Of course I moved my main website elsewhere because it was perfectly clear I could not relay on them. Now it is happening again for my minor websites, still hosted there.

I reported the problem 3 weeks ago and followed up many times. Still no solutions, still a lot of down time Every single day. I just cannot believe how little they care.

Also, the load time is pretty bad. Avoid at all cost: their terrible service is going to impact your image.

Visit Host Now →

Dmitriy Sokolov avatar
Dmitriy Sokolov seoconsult.ca
Apr 26, 2017

Today 26/04/17 our corporate website is down for more than 4 hours. Despite of notifications in their blog that issues were fixed, server is still unavailable. Support of WebFaction doesn’t reply to tickets that we’ve submitted.

It is impossible to reach them via phone, only tickets and contact form – but they don’t reply! We are losing leads and profit. Overall, run away from WebFaction.

Visit Host Now →

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Supported Technologies

As a web host catering to software developers, WebFaction supported many different technologies, even at the shared hosting level.

They supported Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, C/C++, and Java scripting languages.

Which Databases Were Supported?

In terms of databases, the company supported MySql, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MongoDB, and many others. (Note that many of the supported technologies came with one-click installers.)

You could also install your own scripting languages and other server tools since you had full shell access to your instance(s).

WebFaction Infrastructure

Infrastructure

WebFaction’s datacenters were located in the US, Singapore, and Europe (the company never provided more specific details).

All hosting plans came with fast CPUs, enterprise-grade SSD storage, and the use of a world-class datacenters and accompanying networks.

All servers came pre-install with a hardened configuration of CentOS 7.

Control Panel

WebFaction did not use the popular cPanel control panel; instead, they built their own proprietary control panel from scratch. It had all the features and tools available in cPanel, plus extra features geared towards developers.

From within the control panel, you got full access and control of your DNS records, and you could monitor your storage and bandwidth usage.

One-Click Installations and Extras

One-click installation was available for a wide variety of applications including Django , WordPress, Drupal, Git, and more.

WebFaction offered many extra features geared towards developers that you wouldn’t usually find with shared hosting, including:

  • Full SSH access to servers
  • Custom API
  • Ability to run any custom tool or framework.

They also automatically load-balanced your application across machines and datacenters.

Databases

With WebFaction, you could set up an unlimited number of databases, free of charge.

You chose the type of database your website used, whereas many other web hosts bundled MySQL with their plans and charge you to use alternative options.

Email

All WebFaction plans came with comprehensive email services, including the following 5 features:

  1. An unlimited number of email addresses accessible via SMTP, POP, IMAP
  2. Webmail availability
  3. Spam protection
  4. Server-side rules to handle incoming messages
  5. Auto-responders.

On the email front, WebFaction had covered most basic angles.

WebFaction Monitoring and Backups

Server Monitoring and Backups

WebFaction’s hosting plans included fully managed servers that were monitored round the clock and regularly updated with security patches.

They also maintained a firewall that blocked connections on incoming ports unless explicitly allowed.

Backups

WebFaction provides weekly automated backups of:

  • Home directories
  • Email accounts
  • Databases
  • CRON jobs.

WebFaction, however, stated clearly that their backups were not guaranteed and that customers were ultimately responsible for their own data.

Migrations

You had to migrate your existing websites to WebFaction. The company did not provide any type of migration services, but it did have several write-ups on how you could do so.

Webfaction did, however, offer a migration service to transfer your data if you upgraded from shared hosting to cloud hosting.

E-Commerce and Domains

If you were launching an e-commerce site or were planning on handling payments, all WebFaction servers were PCI-DSS compliant.

The company guaranteed that your site would pass the security scan required to prove compliance (assuming you had not done anything to invalidate WebFaction’s security measures on your website).

Just how important is PCI-DSS compliance? Very. Take a look at the below table to understand why.

 PCI CompliantNon-PCI
Risk of Security BreachesDecreasedHigh
Level of TrustIndustry StandardBelow Average
MonetizationIncreasedConsiderably Less
FinesNo RiskRisky
Brand BuildingGreatly SupportiveCounter-productive

Domain Names

WebFaction was not a domain registrar, so the company did not offer any type of domain name registration services. If you needed a domain name for your website, you would need to obtain a custom domain on your own elsewhere and then configure your DNS settings so that it pointed to your WebFaction website.

WebFaction Support

Customer Support and Documentation

WebFaction offered technical support solely via a ticket system or an online forum. (This is one area where you are likely to be much happier with a WebFaction alternative.) They did not provide phone support or support via live chat. The company, however, claimed that its support center was staffed 24/7 and that someone would respond to your question within minutes.

What Kind of Documentation Was There?

On the WebFaction website, you could find basic documentation including a user guide, software documentation, and API documentation.

They also hosted an active user-moderated Q&A community site where users could gain karma for constructive participation. WebFaction staff members also publicly answered customer questions in the community site.

Billing and Payment Policies

Customers could opt for a monthly, yearly, 24-month, or 36-month billing cycle. (This is fairly standard for alternative hosts too.) Monthly accounts were automatically renewed and charged each month, while other cycles could be manually paid and renewed.

Payments could be made via Paypal or credit card. Visa and MasterCard were accepted for all billing cycles, while Discover and American Express were only accepted for long-term pre-payments.

WebFaction did not accept checks or money orders.

Cancellations

You could cancel your account at any time, but the refund policies are slightly different depending on whether you had a shared hosting or cloud hosting plan.

WebFaction Homepage
A fairly standard looking homepage from WebFaction — easy to navigate!

Shared hosting accounts came with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Within the first 60 days or service, you could cancel at any time for any reason and receive a full refund. After the 60 day period, you could still cancel, but you wouldn’t receive a refund. Note that most alternative hosts provide shorter guarantee lengths.

Cloud-based hosting accounts could be canceled at any time, and users with these plans would always receive a refund for any unused portion of service beyond the current month.

WebFaction Overview

Pros and Cons of WebFaction

Overall, WebFaction was a good hosting company. Like all hosts, it had pros and cons. In general, you can find hosting that is comparable to it.

Pros

  • Weekly automated backups
  • Plenty of billing cycle options
  • Generous database support.

Cons

  • Custom control panel (could be difficult for newbies)
  • Certain cloud resource numbers were “approximates.”

Summary

WebFaction was a solid hosting company and a good choice for developers who needed budget-friendly hosting that allowed them to focus on development instead of server administration.

While you may not have had as much control as you would have with an unmanaged VPS hosting option from another provider, you did not have to worry about the nitty-gritty details of configuring and monitoring your server either.

Flexibility

WebFaction offered an incredible amount of control and flexibility in their shared web hosting plan compared to other providers. For those with a need for more resources, their cloud-based hosting plans gave you that with the convenience of a fully-managed plan.

Those who prioritized live support via phone or chat needed look elsewhere, but WebFaction’s Q&A community site was very active with both staff and customers, and many reviews cited the speed and effectiveness of their ticket support system.

More WebFaction Alternatives

Most Popular WebFaction Hosting Plans

Webfaction Plan Shared Hosting 1 Shared Hosting 2
Disk Space 100GB 10GB 20GB
Bandwidth 600GB 600GB 1200GB
Price $8.50 / mo
Usual price: Get % off!
$9.50 / mo
Usual price: Get % off!
$14.50 / mo
Usual price: Get % off!
Visit WebFaction Now Visit WebFaction Now Visit WebFaction Now
Plan Disk Space Bandwidth Price
Shared Hosting 3
Shared
40GB 1800GB $24.50 / mo Visit Host Now
Shared Hosting 4
Shared
60GB 2400GB $34.50 / mo Visit Host Now
DEDICATED 1
Shared
1000GB 2TB $250 / mo Visit Host Now
DEDICATED 2
Shared
1000GB 4TB $350 / mo Visit Host Now
DEDICATED 3
Shared
4TB 6TB $500 / mo Visit Host Now
More Plans +
Katie Horne

About Katie Horne

Katie is a C# developer who became a technical writer. She is a lifelong bookworm and all-around nerd with a soft spot for gimmicks and packaging. She judges books by the cover, and she's not sorry about it. In her spare time, she likes to swim, knit, and do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

Connect with Katie

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