WebFaction Hosting Review
Are you interested in all-in-one hosting, but you are not interested in giving up the freedom and power with DIY options? If so, WebFaction, which brands itself as “hosting for developers” might be the hosting provider for you.
“WebFaction” is a trade name of Swarm Limited, a company based in London that was co-founded by Remi Delon and Richard James Cooper in 2006.
Who Owns WebFaction?
The company is currently owned by the Paragon Internet Group, which is a business registered in England and Wales.
WebFaction provides shared and cloud-based hosting solutions aimed at software developers. The company offers 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.
WebFaction offers a small number of full-featured, fully managed web hosting options from which you can choose. The packages are not customizable, which allows WebFaction to charge you a flat monthly rate for whichever option you choose.
There are two basic types of hosting available:
- Shared hosting: entry-level hosting with a smaller allocation of resources at a lower price. There is only one shared hosting plan available.
- Cloud hosting: higher-tiered hosting equivalent to virtual private server (VPS) hosting. WebFaction offers multiple cloud hosting plans.
WebFaction offers one basic (fully-managed) shared hosting plan. For a flat monthly fee, you’ll get 1 GB of RAM, 100 GB of SSD storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth.
There are a comfortable range of plans on offer from WebFaction.
If you need more resources, but you are not interested in obtaining a cloud hosting plan, you can order additional shared plans.
Multiple shared plans aggregate disk space and bandwidth (but not memory) across servers.
You can also add more disk space and dedicated IP addresses to your account for an additional monthly fee, but you are not limited in the number of domains and apps you can have per account.
Cloud-Based Web Hosting
WebFaction offers five different levels of fully-managed, cloud-based hosting for developers. The cloud hosting plans are WebFaction’s version of VPS hosting.
WebFaction distinguishes its cloud-based hosting packages based on the amount of RAM you get with the package. Here is what you will get with each package:
- 2 GB: 1 CPU core, 15GB SSD storage, 1.5 TB bandwidth
- 4 GB: 2 CPU cores, 45 GB SSD storage, 2 TB bandwidth
- 8 GB: 4 CPU cores, 90 GB SSD storage, 3 TB bandwidth
- 12 GB: 6 CPU cores, 180 GB SSD storage, 4 TB bandwidth
- 24 GB: 8 CPU cores, 360 GB SSD storage, 5 TB bandwidth
It is, however, important to note the following caveat when evaluating the amount of memory and storage offered by the cloud-based hosting packages:
RAM and storage allowances on cloud server plans are approximate and may vary due to resource utilization by the server operating system and hosting infrastructure.
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As a web host catering to software developers, WebFaction supports many different technologies, even at the shared hosting level.
Which Databases are Supported?
You can also install your own scripting languages and other server tools since you have full shell access to your instance(s).
WebFaction’s data centers are currently located in the US, Singapore, and Europe (the company does not provide more specific details).
All hosting plans come with fast CPUs, enterprise-grade SSD storage, and use of a world-class data center and accompanying networks.
All servers come pre-install with a hardened configuration of CentOS 7.
WebFaction does not use the popular cPanel Control Panel, but the company has built their own proprietary control panel from scratch instead. It has all the features and tools available in cPanel, plus extra features geared towards developers.
From within the control panel, you get full access and control of your DNS records, and you can monitor your storage and bandwidth usage.
One-Click Installations and Extras
WebFaction offers many extra features geared towards developers that you won’t usually find with shared hosting, including:
- Full SSH access to servers
- Custom API
- Ability to run any custom tool or framework
They will also automatically load-balance your application across machines and data centers.
With WebFaction, you can set up an unlimited number of databases, free of charge.
You choose the type of database your website uses, whereas many other web hosts bundle MySQL with their plans and charge you to use alternative options.
All WebFaction plans come with comprehensive email services, including the following 5 features:
- An unlimited number of email addresses accessible via SMTP, POP, IMAP
- Webmail availability
- Spam protection
- Server-side rules to handle incoming messages
On the email front, WebFaction has covered most basic angles.
Server Monitoring and Backups
WebFaction’s hosting plans include fully managed servers which are monitored round the clock and regularly updated with security patches.
They also maintain a firewall that blocks connections on incoming ports unless allowed by WebFaction.
WebFaction provides weekly automated backups of:
- Home directories
- Email accounts
- CRON jobs
WebFaction, however, states clearly that their backups are not guaranteed and that customers are ultimately responsible for their own data.
You can migrate your existing websites to WebFaction. The company does not provide any type of migration services, but it does have several write-ups on how you can proceed.
Webfaction does, however, offer a migration service to transfer your data for you if you upgrade from shared hosting to cloud hosting.
E-Commerce and Domains
If you are launching an e-commerce site or are planning on handling payments, all WebFaction servers are PCI-DSS compliant.
The company guarantees that your site will pass the security scan required to prove compliance (assuming you have 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.
|Risk of Security Breaches||Decreased||High|
|Level of Trust||Industry Standard||Below Average|
|Brand Building||Greatly Supportive||Counter-productive|
WebFaction is not a domain registrar, so the company does not offer any type of domain name registration services. Need a domain name for your website?
You will need to obtain a custom domain on your own elsewhere and then configure your DNS settings so that it points to your WebFaction website.
Customer Support and Documentation
WebFaction offers technical support solely via a ticket system or an online forum. They do not provide phone support or support via live chat. The company, however, claims that its support center is staffed 24/7 and someone will respond to your question within minutes.
What Kind of Documentation Is There?
On the WebFaction website, you can find basic documentation including a user guide, software documentation, and API documentation.
They also host an active user-moderated Q&A community site where users can gain karma for constructive participation. WebFaction staff members also publicly answer customer questions in the community site.
Billing and Payment Policies
Customers can opt for a monthly, yearly, 24-month, or 36-month billing cycle. Monthly accounts are automatically renewed and charged each month, while other cycles can be manually paid and renewed.
WebFaction does not accept checks or money orders.
You can cancel your account at any time, but the refund policies are slightly different depending on whether you have a shared hosting or dedicated server hosting plan.
A fairly standard looking homepage from WebFaction – easy to navigate to say the least.
Shared hosting accounts come with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Within the first 60 days or service, you can cancel at any time for any reason and receive a full refund. After the 60 day period, you can still cancel, but you won’t receive a refund.
Cloud-based hosting accounts may cancel at any time, and users with these plans will always receive a refund for any unused portion of service beyond the current month.
Sold on This Host?
The following two hosts are great options if you thought WebFaction was something you’d consider. Have a quick read.
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.
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.
Pros and Cons of WebFaction
Even Webfaction has some cons which we want to highlight. You can only research a host if you consider both positives and negatives — believe me, there are always both.
- Weekly automated backups
- Plenty of billing cycle options
- Generous database support
- Custom control panel (could be difficult for newbies)
- Certain cloud resource numbers are “approximates”
WebFaction is a solid hosting company and a good choice for developers who need budget-friendly hosting that allows them to focus on development instead of server administration.
While you may not have as much control as you would with an unmanaged VPS hosting option from another provider, you do not have to worry about the nitty-gritty details of configuring and monitoring your server either.
The Flexibility Might Be Worth It
WebFaction offers 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 give you that with the convenience of a fully-managed plan.
Those who prioritize live support via phone or chat should look elsewhere, but WebFaction’s Q&A community site is very active with both staff and customers, and many reviews cite the speed and effectiveness of their ticket support system.
Most Popular WebFaction Hosting Plans
|Webfaction Plan||Shared Hosting 1||Shared Hosting 2|
|Price||$8.50 / mo||$9.50 / mo||$14.50 / mo|
|Visit WebFaction||Visit WebFaction||Visit WebFaction|
|Shared Hosting 3
|40GB||1800GB||$24.50 / mo Visit Host|
|Shared Hosting 4
|60GB||2400GB||$34.50 / mo Visit Host|
|1000GB||2TB||$250 / mo Visit Host|
|1000GB||4TB||$350 / mo Visit Host|
|4TB||6TB||$500 / mo Visit Host|