Known Host Web Hosting Review 2017 – A Personal Experience
KnownHost is a managed web hosting provider based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. The company has grown rapidly since its launch in 2005 and now offers a wide selection of Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and Dedicated servers, at competitive dollar prices.
You can check out what they have to offer at KnownHost.com
I first began using KnownHost in November 2010 after I had outgrown Hostgator. I’d been forced out of the shared hosting environment for using too many resources, but even their basic virtual plans were performing slowly and I was forced to install a confusing caching system for my WordPress sites. It became a hassle and they were not very helpful. In the end I got tired of it and took a leap of faith to KnownHost. I discovered them simply by checking who was hosting a forum I liked to visit at the time, which had a lot of activity but no slowdowns.
With little knowledge about Virtual Private Servers or what I was even looking for I took their VPS 2 plan, which was $40 at the time but is now $35. This gives you 2GB of RAM, 70GB of storage on RAID, and 6TB of bandwidth. You also get 2 IP Addresses, perfect if you’re running two separate sites.
After the order went through everything was setup within 2 hours and I was transferring my site files right away.
I had a lot of questions in the beginning having mostly been used to using cPanel in a shared environment. It took me a while to grasp that I had “root access” and I could setup multiple cPanel accounts from a broader control panel called WHM. I picked up things quite easily, but whenever I had a problem all it took was a support ticket and they would reply within a couple of hours (often minutes), either with a solution or they’d fix the issue themselves. One time the server was being overzealous in blocking IPs with too many requests and they fixed things while also showing me how to block and unblock IPs myself. Another time either through an errant banner ad or the uploading of an infected PHP file, I ended up with an infected site. They promptly confirmed the problem and used a recent backup to get things back in order. Backups are daily and free.
When they market their servers as “fully managed” they really mean it. All the security and backend stuff is handled and they are responsive whenever you require help. In the years I have been with them I’ve never experienced any slowdowns and don’t recall anything ever going offline. Even during a period of free upgrades (hardware stuff) my sites were unaffected.
My three WordPress based sites have performed well using the VPS 2 plan. On average there are a few thousand hits a day, but I have also experienced the odd viral spike in traffic with no major issues. One site jumped to 100,000 hits in a week and did not slow down the server.
As a genuine customer of KnownHost I am extremely satisfied with the support and performance.
With that in mind let’s take a closer look at what they offer.
KnownHost completely skip the traditional shared hosting environment and get right down to business with 7 VPS plans, which make use of 16 CPUs under equal share. This means you are guaranteed a certain amount of CPU resources from their network.
Plans start with VPS-1 which gets you 768MB of RAM, 25GB of space, and 3TB of bandwidth. This is a solid package for $25, though bumping up to VPS-2 (the plan I use) will ensure you don’t have slowdowns due to RAM. Here’s how the rest of the plans breakdown:
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As with most VPS plans what you’re really paying for is the RAM and Bandwidth.
KnownHost market these servers as being ideal for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or Magento, and I can certainly vouch for them on the WordPress front. You have no limitations in terms of the number of installs or databases.
Upon signing up you can choose from a range of control panels to be automatically installed, including cPanel/WHM, Plesk, or DirectAdmin. I chose the first option since I’m already familiar with cPanel. WHM is just as straightforward and feels very similar.
You also get to choose the location of your server resources, as they have datacenters on the East and West Coast, as well as central Texas. All of these are totally competent but if you have a lot of traffic from a certain geographic location the closest datacenter will make things slightly faster.
If you would like to upgrade at any point you can do so without any downtime or migration. You’ll simply be allocated the resources on the fly.
You can pay for you plan up front for a year or on a monthly basis. All major credit cards are supported, as well as Paypal. You’re notified via email when your invoice is ready to be paid. You then have a day to decide whether to make a one-off payment (for example one month you may use Paypal instead of your card). If not, payment will be taken from your designated method automatically.
Managed SSD VPS
Although I’ve had no real speed issues with my traditional VPS plan, for very high trafficked sites you may want to consider their new Managed SSD VPS plans. A Solid State Drive is simply a different type of storage drive that is faster and more efficient because it doesn’t have moving parts (normal hard drives spin).
Like the other VPS plans you can upgrade without interruption and the same fully managed support is available.
They do however cost more. SSD-1 is $35 a month like VPS-2, but the 2GB of RAM drops to 1.25GB, the space drops to 20GB, and bandwidth drops to 3TB. You do however benefit from 24 CPU cores instead of 16, and the SSD itself is going to be faster.
In real terms this means that the average person visiting your site will experience faster loading, so long as the RAM isn’t maxed out. Here’s how the rest of the plans breakdown:
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Managed Dedicated Servers
KnownHost currently provides 4 fully managed dedicated server options that include cPanel and Softaculous for control panels. Pricing ranges from $179 per month to $379 per month depending on the resources you require. Each option comes with a setup fee. You can also elect to pay more upfront for a cheaper monthly bill.
Unlike the VPS plans their dedicated servers come with unlimited IPs and several 1-click installers for platforms like WordPress.
DS1 has a i7-4770 processor, which is 4 cores at 3.4GHz. There’s 16GB of DDR3 RAM, two 750GB drives, and 10TB of bandwidth.
The top end DS4 plan comes with a 12 core 2.4GHz Dual Xeon E5 processor, with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a 120GB and 1TB drive, and 25TB of Bandwidth.
If these options don’t suit you or you’d prefer SSD drives you can contact KnownHost sales at firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom quote.
Upon order your server is custom built, secured with a firewall and other security measures, tested, and then you are given access. You get 24/7 fully managed support.
High volume customers who purchase more than 3 VPS servers are entitled to VIP discounts across all of the plans. If you buy 3 to 10 VPS servers you get 10% off, 11 to 20 gets you 15% off, 21 to 30 gets you 20% off, and 31 or more gets you a 25% discount.
Single plans can also net discounts if you pay quarterly or yearly. For example VPS-1 is $25 per month, which is $300 per year, but if you pay a year in advance it’s $285.
What Others Say
My personal experience with KnownHost has been nothing but positive. But what do others say? The Better Business Bureau has accredited them with an A+ rating (top marks) and there has only been one complaint filed in the past 3 years, and this was in 2012.
The majority of other online reviews tend to be favourable and you can always seek feedback from the community on their forum at https://forums.knownhost.com/