Choosing a hosting company can be daunting even to a seasoned website owner. Unless you’ve had a previous relationship with the website host, it is hard to know just what customer service will be like or if you’ll experience unexpected interruptions in service frequently.
After all, the hosting company isn’t likely to use complaints on their testimonials page. Instead, they are going to present their service in the best light possible.
That is why we review hosting companies here at WHSR and offer a frank and honest look at what works, what doesn’t work and try to gather as much information as possible about what you can expect from that particular host.
*Important Update (Oct 9, 2015) – Please Read!
Unfortunately I cannot get in touch with folks at Optimal Hosting now (live chat is no longer working and I can’t reach the contact person so far) so I do not recommend Optimal Hosting for now. You can learn more about the issue at this review below (under “What I dislike”).
To Optimal Hosting existing users – someone emailed me and informed that he/she was able to regain control on his domain via Public Domain Registrar (seems that the company took over OH). I have reached out to these guys and hopefully get some clear guidelines on the process. Stay tuned.
For alternatives, I recommend InMotion Hosting – where this site is hosted, InterServer – good VPS hosting deal, iPage or eHost (both are EIG brands) – if you are looking for a budget option, and MDD Hosting – very reliable host according to my test. On top of this, you might also want to check out some of the VPS hosting services listed at this page.
Optimal Hosting – The Company
Optimal Hosting was founded in 2012. It is a new cloud-based hosting service based in the United Kingdom.
According to their information, they own their own hardware and network gear and they operate from a top-tier date center in the UK.
The company currently has 21 team members and they are hosting around 36,000 domains.
They offer a range of flexible hosting plans, in-house support and are suitable for both the newbie or power user.
Optimal Hosting plans
Optimal Hosting offers four main plans – Cloud Hosting, Cloud Servers, WordPress Hosting, and Manager Servers.
Cloud hosting and WordPress hosting are essentially the same. They both utilize CloudLinux to distribute server resources and each come in three levels-Lite, Professional, or Business.
- Lite: £5/month
- Professional: £10/month
- Business: £20/month
- Lite: £17.50/month
- Professional: £35.00/month
- Business: £70/month
Optimal Hosting vs other hosting companies
So, how do these plans stack up with other web hosting companies and their basic site or WordPress plans?
Optimal Hosting – Lite Plan
Optimal Hosting’s Lite plan for a WordPress site includes:
- 10 GB
- 100 GB bandwidth
- Ability to host one WP site/domain
vs WP Engine
WP Engine actually offers four plans, but we’re only going to look at the first three as those are comparable to Optimal Hosting’s three plans.
Side by side, the most basic plan offers similar space and bandwidth but runs $29.00/month. Even converting from pounds to US dollars, the lite plan is under $8.00 US.
BlueHost also offers WordPress hosting. They offer four plans as well, but again we are going to look at the top three. Their basic plan is $24.99/month but you get 30 GB of storage and up to 100 million visits per month. You can also have up to 5 WP sites but only 1 domain. You also get SiteLock CDN and some other security features. If you need some more space because of video-heavy or image-heavy content, this plan might work better for you.
vs InMotion Hosting
InMotion offers shared hosting, but it is not WordPress specific. Their rates for their basic package start at $4.89/month (depending on the length of commitment you prepay). For that rate, you’ll be able to utilize two SQL databases and will get “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth. You will have to do a one-click WP install, so will need some working knowledge to get up and going, but you’ll gain access to some backend control panel features that you might find beneficial later.
Optimal Hosting – Professional Plan
Optimal Hosting’s Professional plan for WordPress includes:
- 20 GB of space
- 200 GB bandwidth
- Host as many as 20 WP sites
vs WP Engine
WP Engine offers a certain number of site visits each month for their WP packages, which could be a problem if your traffic grows extremely fast. They charge $99/month for up to 10 WP installs, with up to 100,000 visits a month, 20 GB and unlimited bandwidth.
BlueHost runs at $74.99/month for 60GB (1 domain) and up to 300 million visits a month. If you get more visits than that, you likely won’t be overly worried about costs, so can easily upgrade.
vs InMotion Hosting
InMotion charges $9.99/month for their second-tier plan. Remember that their plans are not WP hosting specific. You’ll get up to 50 SQL databases, unlimited disk space and storage and up to 6 different websites on that one account.
Optimal Hosting – Business Plan
Optimal Hosting’s Business plan for WP sites includes:
- 50 GB space
- 500 GB bandwidth
- Unlimited number of WP sites
vs WP Engine
By comparison, WPEngine offers a business package for $249.00 month. Their package includes up to 25 WP installs, 400,000 visits a month, 30 GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.
BlueHost’s plan includes 120 GB storage for $119.99/month. You’ll also get up to 20 WP sites and 600 million visitors a month. Remember that you’ll get the advantage of Sitelock CDN.
vs InMotion Hosting
InMotion’s similar package (not WP specific) runs $15.99/month for “unlimited” space and bandwidth. You can also have an “unlimited” number of websites on your account. Another perk is pro-level support.
What I like about Optimal Hosting – Major advantages with Optimal Hosting
- 100% Uptime Guarantee – All Optimal Hosting’s service is backed by SLA – users are covered by a 100% uptime guarantee. They also have 24/7 monitoring of servers.
- cPanel Dashboard – Optimal’s cloud hosting plans are CloudLinux-powered and work in the usual cPanel dashboard. This simply means you can easily transition from standard shared hosting to cloud-based hosting.
- Automated Backup – For cloud hosting users, backups is guaranteed on daily basis; for cloud servers plan users, you can take a full snapshot of your cloud servers in just a few clicks. You can set up these backups to run automatically for you. Set them up daily, weekly or monthly. You can also take a “snapshot” at any time you desire.
- Scalability – Optimal Hosting provide instant vertical scaling– often without the need of reboot according to the officials – great feature for those who are worry about sudden traffic spikes.
What I dislike about Optimal Hosting
- Unreliable server – The uptime was not as great as they claim. I did strike a 99.9% uptime when I first started in December 2014 (I don’t have the screen cap unfortunately). What follows next was quite awful – Optimal Hosting hits 93.05% uptime score in January 2015 and a whopping low of 52% in February 2015 (see uptime review below).
- Live chat not working, can’t contact support – (Update March 27, 2015) Unfortunately I can’t contact Optimal Hosting support via live chat and phone*. I am not sure what’s happening, I am trying to reach out Edward Squires (the contact person I have in Optimal Hosting) for more details. We do not recommend Optimal Hosting for the time being.
Besides server issue – I have no other major complaints on Optimal Hosting. Note that, however, I have not tested their customer support so far. Overall, their rates seem reasonable and their features on target for this price range. This is definitely a server worth trying out if you’re on a budget and looking for reliable hosting.
Further research shown that the company behind Optimal Hosting were having some trouble with their previous website building services – you might want to read it here and here. Note that these complaints were not focusing on its hosting services.
* Credit: Richard Blakeley
I was unaware of Optimal Hosting’s issue until Richard Blakeley contacted me. The following is his feedback on Optimal Hosting –
Having read your review on optimalhosting.com and your recommendation for their usage you may want to re-assess this as they seemingly have disappeared leaving 1000’s of SME without websites and loosing £££££’s….
…Well my site [domain hidden] which they are meant to host no longer directs to my site. No one answering the phone, the online chat link on their site no longer working and links to purchase from them are no longer active.
The registrar they use PDR also not responding to my requests so at the moment I’m stuck and have no ability to take my domain to another host.
Optimal Hosting Uptime Review
It’s a shame that the uptime record at Optimal Hosting was not as great as they claim – they would have been another 5 stars if the server performance were better. Please find screencap below for 30-days average uptime score in January and March 2015.
Bottomline – Should you go with Optimal Hosting?
I do not recommend Optimal Hosting for now as the company seems went into dormant mode right now. The demo site hosted on Optimal Hosting is still up and running; but I just couldn’t contact the guys at Optimal anymore.