Rackspace Web Hosting Review: Fully Managed Dedicated And Cloud Hosting For Everyone
As with anything, making a decision on which web host to pick can be pretty tough. With various companies out there promising to give you budget-friendly yet high-quality hosting services, premium support, and 99% uptime, there has to be a way to cut through all the noise and make a sound decision. Right?
There are a lot of reviews and articles covering various web hosts that are really great for building a powerful and effective Web presence, but a bad web hosting experience can easily rub off all the good in them. So what should you really look for in a web host? Is it the affordability? The uptime and performance? The customer support? With cloud solutions for small- and medium-sized business set to skyrocket by 72% in the year 2017, it’s all the more important for you to understand what you’re spending your resources on.
To make the search easier for you, let’s start with a web hosting provider like Rackspace. Rackspace may not be as well-known as other web hosts out there, but they’re one of the very few you can actually rely on. The company is focused on providing premium dedicated server and cloud hosting solutions, making them a potentially great choice for when you’re planning to launch a website on a platform like WordPress or Magento, and/or if you’re expecting rapid growth to your brand or business.
Curious now? If you think Rackspace could be a good choice for a reliable and user-friendly hosting solution, then you need to read this in-depth Rackspace web hosting review. Are their fully managed dedicated and cloud hosting for everyone? Let’s find out.
Why Choose Rackspace?
Rackspace labels itself as a “managed cloud company” that offers unrivaled expertise across leading clouds combined with managed security. Since 1998, the company has focused on providing dedicated server and cloud hosting, building up an impressive reputation along the years. They claim to have expanded by at least 50% every year since they began. Today, the company is one of the leading providers of dedicated server and cloud hosting.
Rackspace offers best practices based on helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 150 different countries tap into the power of the cloud. The company boasts an army of certified field experts, with over 3,000 cloud engineers standing by and ready to help their customers across 10 data centers located all across the globe. Rackspace prides itself not only in providing quality hosting solutions, but also for inventing OpenStack, an open source cloud operating platform that they co-founded with NASA. Now, we know OpenStack to be running at massive scale – 1 billion server hours and counting!
Rackspace is headquartered in San Antonio, TX, with overseas offices in Europe (London) and Asia (Hong Kong). Their customer base is mainly composed of small businesses, as well as large corporations. The company also promotes itself as an advocate for the “green revolution” and as such, has established various tree-planting schemes through the US and the UK. Additionally, Rackspace also provides customers the option of carbon-neutral web hosting. So not only will you get to enjoy a top-notch web hosting experience, you’ll also be happy knowing that you’re doing something to save Mother Earth!
Rackspace Web Hosting Plans and Pricing
Serving over 300,000 customers from all over the world, Rackspace has quickly become one of the biggest, most trusted web hosting companies on the Web. What makes them different from most other providers on the market is that they don’t offer any basic shared web hosting plans. They mainly offer fully managed cloud hosting solutions and more recently, added dedicated server plans to their offering. Here’s what you need to know about their plans and pricing:
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a fully-managed, single-tenant hosting environment, then you can never go wrong with Rackspace’s dedicated server plan. This web host offers both Linux and Windows platforms, and you can choose from two different service levels – Managed and Intensive – with the latter allowing customers to manage the servers for themselves.
Each dedicated server comes with the following perks:
- Unmatched performance of a bare-metal server
- Dedicated VMWare environments, managed by VMWare experts
- Combined performance of dedicated hosting and the scalability of the cloud of your choice (AWS, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, or RackConnect)
- Up to 72 Intel processor cores, 12TB local SSD capacity, and 3TB RAM per server to support the most demanding applications
- Dedicated DAS, SAN, and NAS solutions for specific storage requirements
- High-level security with a managed dedicated hardware firewall, and daily backup and monitoring
- Managed web application stack and proactive security patches
- State-of-the-art Managed SLA with 100% network uptime guarantee
- 24/7 dedicated support team
Let Rackspace’s team of architects create a customized solution that built on dedicated servers, storage, networking, and managed services.
For your guidance, see a detailed comparison of the Managed and Intensive dedicated server plans below:
|1-Hour Hardware Replacement|
|URL, Port Availability and Hardware Monitoring|
|Managed Firewall and VPN Access|
|Rackspace-tested OS Patching|
|Bandwidth and Backup Performance Utilization|
|Managed Data Backups and Restores|
|Mananged Security Services||Optional||Optional|
|Server Virus Scanning||Optional|
|On-demand Dedicated Support Team Consultations|
|Guaranteed Response Times for Support Requests|
|Advanced System Performance and Device Monitoring|
|Custom Configuration Trend Performance|
Rackspace’s team of experts will help you design the perfect dedicated server to fit your high-performance workload. You can get a free price quotation or work out your numbers with the special Rackspace Dedicated Server Calculator to estimate your costs and find out how much you could save with dedicated server hosting.
Rackspace Managed Cloud brings you amazing performance and is probably one of the best you’ll find in the market today. This was, in part, due to the company devoting two Virtual CPUs to do the job instead of just one, which is what most other companies did. Additionally, they continue to fine-tune their cloud solutions. Despite this, they’re no longer trying to be the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud of choice, a move that has caused the company to fall behind the competition in terms of price versus services. But looking at it now, Rackspace’s focus on managed cloud solutions seems to be working quite well for them. Just a couple of years ago, we weren’t so sure what this web host is trying to do but now, they’ve been gaining more and more customers, with good revenue in tow.
Rackspace lets you choose from three different models: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud. They also support and manage some of the leading cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Cloud / Azure, OpenStack, and VMWare. Simply choose the model and cloud platform you like and Rackspace will take care of the rest for you.
Rackspace provides a robust hardware if you go for their advanced plan. You’ll get a powerful and flexible system, while at the same time getting as many relevant servers as you want. However, I didn’t find the stuffing of some basic features appealing. The most affordable plan comes with 512 MB RAM (memory), 20 GB disk storage, and a single vCPU. That would cost you about $16 per month. Also, it’s not quite clear what processors Rackspace is using for their servers.
Fortunately, minor flaws are easily leveled by a number of add-on features you’ll get with their cloud hosting plan, including new API, choice of more than 15 operating systems, improved geography adjustments, RAID 10, isolated networking, and many more. You can also extend some important features by purchasing some add-on services like Cloud Databases, Cloud Files, Cloud DNS, etc.
Overall, Rackspace’s extensive cloud hosting options offers amazing performance, at competitive prices. Their services give you more possibilities than any other web hosting provider can offer, as these clouds are tailored just for you. It’s really up to you to decide whether or not you want to do your own configurations or go hands-free with the help of Rackspace’s cloud experts. But as with any cloud solutions, these will require bigger investments so make sure to take advantage of the free price quote or use their handy Rackspace Cloud Calculator to estimate your costs.
Rackspace’s website comes across as “cluttered” and confusing because they offer a wide range of services. It takes some time to navigate through and familiarize yourself with all of the features that’ll be included in your hosting package. Also, remember that if you want to make a purchase, you must sign up first, which means you’ll probably get flooded with future unwanted promotional emails.
Fortunately, Rackspace built and designed a custom control panel that puts unbelievable power into your hands. The company’s aim is to make cloud computing fast and simple, and that’s what they achieved with their control panel. The user interface offers a familiar online experience, with a few modern touches of popular consumer apps. Not only is it beautiful, it’s also extremely easy to use and gives you access to a lot of convenient tools and features. Most importantly, it’s where the cloud management magic happens – the gateway to the Rackspace cloud.
Here are some of cool features included in the cloud control panel:
- Tagging. The control panel lets you easily find and use your infrastructure. With this, you can tag databases, servers, and even websites so they can easily be identified and organized.
- Search and Filter. With the search function, you can quickly find servers by name, tag, IP address, and other details. And by filtering lists, you can easily locate a server.
- Action Cogs. This features displays contextual menus of some commonly used actions, thus helping you complete tasks faster. The Action Cogs open a menu where you can make changes, delete servers, and also reboot them. You can also reset admin passwords in a single location.
- Color-Coded Server Status. The Rackspace cloud control panel is more visual as it gives color-coded status updates for servers. For instance, a green bar next to your server means it’s up and running, while a red bar means it’s down. This way, it’s easier for you to get real-time updates on your server’s status.
- Create a MySQL Database. This fairly new addition to the cloud control panel allows users to launch, view, and manage a MySQL database and easily connect it to the rest of their cloud infrastructure.
- SSL Termination. From the control panel, you can load balance SSL traffic from multiple servers. The biggest advantage from this is that traffic is decrypted at the Cloud Load Balancer, and then distributed to one or more servers to be processed.
- Faster Cloud File Uploads/Downloads. Browsing the contents of your containers is made even faster, along with the added ability to purge content from your CDN. And apart from faster uploads and downloads in Cloud Files, Rackspace also improved how links are obtained, thus making it a quick and streamlined process. Additionally, Cloud Files also got a visual upgrade, with icons that indicate whether content is shared or private.
Apart from these awesome features, you’ll also get a mobile app that’s available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. This app lets you perform important management tasks on your control panel wherever you go, as long as you’re connected to the Internet.
Uptime and Performance
If there’s a web hosting provider that could confidently provide a 100% network uptime, that would be none other than Rackspace. Rackspace claims that this zero-downtime commitment is made possible with top-of-the-line backup technology wherein if one network fails, the company will immediately scan for replacement. The result is constant service to their customers. They promise to use only the highest quality bandwidth providers, with the intent to provide top-notch, reliable cloud hosting service.
But of course, no web host can actually achieve 100% uptime, unless you exclude scheduled or emergency maintenance. Let’s be realistic – even big companies like Amazon also experience downtime! Based on an analysis provided by specialized sites, it shows that Rackspace has been 99.99% online since 2005. I mean, that alone is an amazing feat and it’s almost impossible! With these scores, you can never doubt this web host’s uptime guarantee.
In the event that you experience unexpected downtime with your Rackspace hosting account, the company will apply a 5% credit of your monthly fee for every 30 minutes of downtime. That’s up to 100% of your monthly fee for the affected server. Of course, that doesn’t include scheduled or emergency maintenance. Now that’s customer service done right!
Rackspace has a lot of web hosting services on offer so to ensure the stability of their servers, they built multiple layers of redundancy at every level. That includes physical security, power, cooling, and networks. Such redundancies help make their data centers more resilient so customers can enjoy higher uptime and greater reliability.
Rackspace has 6 data centers worldwide. The company has 3 data centers in the US, and 1 each in Europe, Asia, and Australia. They may not have a lot of data centers compared to other web hosting providers but unlike most of the competition, Rackspace’s servers aren’t overloaded and they seem to be handling their load quite well.
While there doesn’t seem to be a clear refund policy / money-back guarantee with this web host, their General Terms of Service indicate that they will provide a refund to the affected party (if payment has been made for a particular service) if either the customer or Rackspace is faced with a claim of infringement of a third party’s intellectual property rights and the company fails to resolve the matter. Other than that, there really is no other way to get your money back should you wish to cancel your hosting account with them. This may put off some customers who consider money-back guarantee as an important factor in choosing a web host. Judging from Rackspace’s current performance in the web hosting market, I don’t see a reason for customers to cancel their account with this company. Still, a decent refund policy would give us some peace of mind. Right?
Customer satisfaction is a top priority at Rackspace, which is why they’ve employed over 2,000 experts and professionals in their workforce, many of whom work on the customer care department. With their so-called “Fanatical Support” system, customer support has become a key element of their web hosting offering, with a team of friendly, knowledgeable, and highly trained customer care reps ready to support you 24/7/365.
You can get in touch with a customer care rep via live chat or phone. They respond promptly to emails and support tickets. Apart from the usual support methods, Rackspace also gives you access to their extensive knowledgebase, called “How-To”. Here, you can find loads of useful articles and a number of video tutorials, as well. You will also find a helpful Open Cloud Community that’s designed to help you keep in touch with many other customers like you. Apart from this, Rackspace also has Support Forums, as well as API Documentation. So if you have a question that requires an immediate answer, or if you simply want to learn how to get around with your hosting account, Rackspace has you covered!
Rackspace is known for providing high levels of security, stable performance, and usage-based pricing; with a few downsides like confusing site navigation and high prices for top-tier plans. The following are some pros and cons you need to take note of prior to purchasing a plan from them:
- Offers Linux and Windows hosting
- Provides handy calculators for estimating costs and resources needed
- Dedicated customer support, with friendly and knowledgeable staff
- Fast, intuitive, and beautifully design custom control panel
- Provides a mobile app for easy management of your account, wherever you go
- Smart server management
- 100% network uptime guarantee
- Various data centers located in various parts of the world
- Not an ideal choice for those who are new to web hosting
- Prices for plans are above average
- Confusing website navigation
- No clear refund policy
- Promotional emails can be annoying
Final Verdict – A Good Choice for Rapidly Growing Brands and Businesses
If you’re looking for a top-level cloud solution with the ability to create isolated networks, then Rackspace is the web host for you. They don’t place any restrictions on your hosting account, which means you’ll get as much features and resources you need as your website (and business) grows.
A few years ago, I would’ve been wary of recommending this web host for managed cloud hosting, but now, they’ve made it clear that they’re on top of their game and belong to the upper echelon of the web hosting industry. They’re all about dedicated servers and cloud hosting, and they’re able to get the job done right – quickly and efficiently. This makes them a potentially great solution if you are looking to launch a powerful website and if you are expecting huge traffic and rapid growth to your brand or business. Topped with a stellar uptime record and premium customer support, you really won’t find any other deal as great as the ones offered by this web host.
So, is Rackspace really a good fully managed dedicated and cloud hosting option for everyone? My answer is YES! Give them a shot today and see for yourself just how amazing this web hosting provider is. We hope this Rackspace web hosting review has served its purpose and has helped you make an informed buying decision for your next web project. Good luck and enjoy your new web hosting experience with Rackspace!