Pagely is a premium web host with a price to match. Though it’d easily be the best web hosting provider we’ve tested in a vacuum, the high price tag can’t be ignored. The elite clientele that can afford its rates will appreciate the extra features and speed, but for most small to medium-sized websites, Pagely is too much.
In this Pagely review, we’re going to go over the high and low points of the service. It’s easy to see how Pagely is superior to most web hosting services with its incredible speed, long list of features and excellent security, but that all needs to be considered in the context of price, which will turn off most users.
That said, if you can afford the rates and want to sit alongside Disney, Visa and Comcast, no one can do it quite like Pagely. Read on to see if it’s the right service for you or if you should avoid the hassle and go with a cheaper provider.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Excellent security features
- Cloud infrastructure
- Full WordPress management
- Powered by Amazon cloud
- Daily backups to Amazon S3
- Catered to power users
- Disorienting setup
- Few support options
Alternatives for Pagely
Features are what sell Pagely, and they better, considering the price tag will make you sick to your stomach. Discontent with the add-ons seen at checkout from web hosts such as HostGator (read our HostGator review), Pagely doesn’t futz around with things such as SiteLock security or paid backups. Instead, it includes everything.
That should be the expectation with how expensive Pagely is. Basic WordPress management doesn’t look as impressive with it as it does with, say, SiteGround because the price suggests that the basics are accounted for (read our SiteGround review). The same can be said for daily backups, a content delivery network and caching.
Even some of the more unusual features lose their luster, such as WordPress staging, which can be found in all plans at Bluehost and JustHost (read our Bluehost review and JustHost review). The command line interface for WordPress can even be found with cheaper options if you look around enough.
The difference is all the features are put under one roof. Instead of making you buy SiteLock to expand an inexpensive hosting package, Pagely includes malware protection. Having everything in one place is worth a premium, just not the premium Pagely is charging. That’s made up for, though, by many of its WordPress features.
Pagely WordPress Features
Pagely is a WordPress web host, so technically, everything is a WordPress feature. That said, like Hostinger, which uses LiteSpeed servers to enhance WordPress website performance, many of Pagely’s features aren’t specific to WordPress (read our Hostinger review). They just work best there.
That includes in-house DNS management to reduce the time it takes to fetch DNS records (read our what are DNS records guide), a page cache to load static content in memory and a global CDN to ensure that your assets are delivered from the closest point possible.
There’s also PressThumb and PressFormance. The former is a dynamic image optimization tool that’ll ensure the images on your website are as small as they can be while maintaining quality. Images are one of the biggest contributors to a slow website, as you can see in our how to improve website loading times guide.
PressFormance, on the other hand, is a performance and security analytics tool. Though Google Analytics will show who’s visiting your website, what they’re interested in and how long they stay on a page, it doesn’t say much about how quickly your website is loading or how secure it is when delivering content. PressFormance solves that issue.
Pagely Features Overview
|Web Application Firewall|
|Telephone Support||Select plans|
|Live Chat Support||Business hours|
Pagely is astronomically expensive, mirroring its elite clientele of Visa, Virgin Atlantic and Comcast. Complaining about Arvixe’s high monthly rate of $15 seems silly in comparison because you’ll need to shell out, at a minimum, a few hundred bucks a month to even access Pagely’s service (read our Arvixe review).
In short, if you’re looking for cheap web hosting, it’s best to run as far away from Pagely as possible and settle for a more reasonably priced web host, such as 1&1 IONOS (read our 1&1 IONOS review).
That said, a person who’s interested in 1&1 IONOS or even something more powerful, such as MDDHosting, won’t be the same person who’s interested in Pagely (read our MDDHosting review). Pagely caters to a different market from most of the hosts we’ve reviewed, and those who need access to its features can likely pay the inflated price.
Though it’s hard to knock Pagely for its focus on enterprise applications, we have issues with pricing. The VPS plans, which are basically Pagely’s focus, range from $200 to over $2,000 per month, and the higher you go in price, the more nodes you’ll have access to. You’ll also be able to host more websites, which is ideal for multi-website networks.
That said, your specs are limited, which is annoying considering how expensive Pagely is. Another terabyte of bandwidth will run you over $100 per month, 100GB of storage will run $150 and a CDN expansion can cost over $400. At the low end, you’ll be paying $200 per month, but you could be paying over $4,000 if you need a tricked-out configuration.
Pagely Enterprise Pricing
The enterprise plans and Pulsar, which is the name given to Elite Publisher plans, are by contact only, and the prices above reflect the cheapest configuration possible. To go all out, a Pulsar plan would cost $35,000 per month.
Because of the high price tag, it’s difficult to get wrapped up in money-back guarantees, but Pagely offers one. You get 30 days to change your mind, which is industry standard. Given that more commercially viable web hosts such as InMotion Hosting offer 90 days, we’d like to see a longer window from an enterprise solution like Pagely (read our InMotion Hosting review).
Ease of Use
Our sign-up process was anything but smooth with Pagely. After purchasing our package, we received an email requesting identity verification because Pagely claimed the card we used was from a different region. That was odd, considering that wasn’t the case, and after clarifying that, we were forced to wait multiple days until a support rep got back to us.
White glove service it is not, but even ignoring Pagely’s high price tag, that kind of game is unacceptable. Furthermore, we weren’t able to enter a domain for the site we wanted to host when signing up for an account like you can with almost all other web hosts. Instead, that’s handled after you’ve signed up for an account.
As you’re signing up, you’ll go through a multi-step process similar to Namecheap’s, but far less annoying (read our Namecheap review). You’ll be asked to set a PIN number, watch an introduction video and set up two-factor authentication. It’s far from Kinsta’s no-frills sign-up (read our Kinsta review), but we like the upfront support so customers can get their bearings.
After going through the setup process, waiting for Pagely to confirm your account is set up and grabbing your account credentials, you can log in to Atomic Core. We’ll talk about Atomic Core in detail in a moment, but all you need to know for now is that it’s a far cry from cPanel (read our best web hosting with cPanel round).
Your websites are called “apps,” and Pagely will set a temporary one up for you. As mentioned, you don’t enter a domain when you sign-up for an account, so if you’re starting a new website, you’ll need to add it as an app. If you’re transferring a website, Pagely offers migration services for the first few websites for free.
What makes the setup process disorienting is how different it is from other web hosts. That’s not a bad thing inherently, but if you’re coming from another provider, it’ll take a minute to get your bearings. For instance, there isn’t an app installer because Pagely automatically sets up WordPress on your account. You also won’t get an email showing your website’s nameservers.
You’re expected to know a few things about web hosting before getting started, which is a reasonable assumption given Pagely’s high price. That said, if you stumbled upon the service with a boatload of money and little web hosting knowledge, it’s probably best to stick with a beginner-friendly service, such as Hosting24 (read our Hosting24 review).
Pagely Atomic Core
Atomic Core is Pagely’s proprietary control panel, and while it’s not as sleek as the panels at Bluehost, JustHost and HostMonster, it’s much more functional (read our HostMonster review). That said, you need to know what you’re doing to poke around inside.
The dashboard quickly shows admin links, SSH/SFTP information, your apps and your bandwidth, CDN and disk usage. There are also links to recently published articles, but overall, the dashboard serves as an overview of your service, as it should.
Going beyond that, you’ll get buried in settings, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Using the left-side menu, you can invite collaborators, configure CDN zones, create new DNS records, manage SSL/TLS certificates and add apps. That’s all you need, but that may not be apparent to novices.
While some of the dirty work of installing WordPress and configuring databases is done for you, many of the other aspects of web hosting are not. Setting your website up with Pagely from scratch isn’t seamless, especially if you’re using a domain purchased with a registrar, such as GoDaddy (read our GoDaddy review).
That said, it’s hard for us to fault Pagely. Atomic Core is attractive, useful and intuitive, as long as you’re familiar with how web hosting works. The barrier to entry is so high that we imagine most people picking up a subscription will. If you don’t, though, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Pagely is focused on one thing: managed cloud VPS WordPress hosting. That’s a mouthful, and if you’re new to web hosting, it may not be clear what it means. If you fit in that camp, read our hosting types overview.
In short, cloud VPS hosting is the best solution for WordPress, as we’ve seen from many providers, including MDDHosting and Kinsta (read about them in our best web hosting for WordPress guide). Pagely offers six preconfigured VPS plans that run on Amazon’s cloud, each differing in the number of websites you can host and nodes dedicated to your hosting.
If you’re coming from shared hosting, there are new metrics you have to consider, namely bandwidth. As mentioned, Pagely charges for extra bandwidth, disk space and CDN usage because your plan is limited when it comes to those metrics. Though Pagely gives you enough to play with, that’s something to factor into your hosting package.
What’s most interesting about the lineup, though, is there’s no single-website plan. Pagely starts at five websites and goes up to 60, which shows where its head is at. Pagely aims to capture the attention of businesses that need multiple websites hosted. That’s echoed by the fact that Pagely doesn’t offer conveniences, such as domain registration, like cheaper web hosts.
Pagely Enterprise Hosting
There are a few options outside of the preconfigured VPS plans. Though they still use Amazon clusters, they’re much more customizable, allowing you to configure a plan to fit your needs. That costs a pretty penny, though, with preconfigured enterprise solutions clocking in at $2,500 per month.
The top-tier Pulsar plans come with quality of life features, including full website monitoring, quarterly performance audits, one-hour guaranteed support response times and a dedicated Slack channel. They’re meant for the most demanding applications, and come with prices to match. Even so, it’s difficult to ignore that Pagely accommodates those clients while others don’t.
Speed & Uptime
Our speed tests consist of two parts: a single-point test and a stress test. The tools we use are Pingdom Speed Test and Load Impact, and we test a website hosted on the most inexpensive shared plan available with a blank copy of WordPress installed.
Pagely presents an issue, though, because it doesn’t offer shared plans and none of its plans are inexpensive. Because of that, our expectations are high for this round.
Even so, Pagely surpassed that standard. Pingdom Speed Test awarded our test website a 99 out of 100, which is the highest score we’ve seen. This score actually dethrones our previous frontrunner, A2 Hosting (read our A2 Hosting review). It’s immensely satisfying looking at a Pingdom chart and, for once, seeing that everything is loading how it should be.
Load Impact was, unsurprisingly, excellent, as well. We used it to send 50 virtual users to the website over five minutes, which we’ve found to be the point at which most inexpensive shared plans break. That said, seeing as Pagely isn’t dishing out inexpensive shared hosting, the expectation was that it’d take down the test with plenty of room to spare.
Uptime isn’t a concern, either. Seeing as Pagely harnesses the power of cloud hosting, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, for your server to go offline. Pagely uses the same cloud that Netflix does, which delivers terabytes of data across the world within minutes. If Amazon can power a service like Netflix, it’s likely to be able to accommodate your website, too.
As expected, Pagely’s security features are excellent. Mirroring the normal features, Pagely protects your site from virtually all cybercrime, but it lacks conveniences you get with other web hosts. It’s a retraining of what’s important to web hosting when purchasing it in this application.
Much more important are the other security features, which include PressArmor and PressCDN. The former provides network security, ensuring threats are dealt with before reaching your website, and the latter can help speed up content delivery and protect against distributed denial-of-service attacks.
In addition, your website is automatically backed up to Amazon S3, which, as you can see in our Amazon S3 review, is one of the best cloud infrastructure-as-a-service providers. Plus, the backups are kept for 14 days, so you can revert if something goes wrong.
The managed aspect of the service shouldn’t be discounted, either. Having someone else deal with core and plugin updates to WordPress not only makes your website easier to manage, but more secure, too. As you can read in our intermediate guide to using WordPress, keeping your website up to date is your first line of defense when it comes to website security.
That’s tricky, though, because a lot of the data collection that’s likely taking place is out of Pagely’s control. On Pagely’s end, some personally identifiable information is collected, and the use of that information is detailed in its privacy transparency report, which is regularly updated.
That report notes, for example, that signing up for the Pagely newsletter requires your email address and name. Likewise, posting a comment on the Pagely blog collects your email, IP address, website information and content of the comment.
Pagely also describes who else has access to this information. For instance, participation in surveys allows SurveyMonkey to collect the same data Pagely does.
The glaring issue is Amazon Web Services because Amazon isn’t known for great privacy practices. All your data flows through Amazon servers, meaning there’s likely a lot of collection going on outside of Pagely. If that’s a concern for you, it’s best to go with a privacy-friendly provider, such as DreamHost.
As mentioned, we had issues getting a hold of Pagely initially. Once that first waiting period was over, though, our problem was solved, and quickly, at that. Part of the price you’re paying with Pagely is dedicated to support. That said, that also means some support options are hidden behind paywalls.
Everyone has access to support documentation, ticket-based support and live chat, though. Email support is available around the clock, and that’s how we spoke with Pagely. That said, if you need help Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, live chat is on the table, too.
Other support routes include phone and a private Slack channel, but those are reserved for clients who can throw down the big bucks. Though we can understand keeping a private Slack channel reserved, phone support across plans, especially with how expensive they are, would be nice to see.
Self-help resources in the support documentation are plentiful, but they aren’t thorough. For instance, we consulted an article about finding the nameservers to point a domain registered with GoDaddy. The article provided details about finding A and CNAME records in Atomic Core, but no information about finding the nameserver addresses we needed to enter.
That’s true in many of the support articles. Generally, they’re led by a short paragraph and a few step-by-step instructions. Though helpful, they aren’t deep, which can lead to headaches if you need a specific answer. Normally, support channels such as live chat can resolve those issues, but because Pagely only offers ticket-based support 24/7, you’ll likely have to wait to get help.
Unlike many web hosting services we review, purchasing a plan with Pagely isn’t a matter of want but of need. It can accommodate even the most demanding of clients, whereas other providers usually focus more on the little guy. That said, it has a price to match, showing that there’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to web hosting.
From a value standpoint, Pagely isn’t worth it, but those who need the power it can offer can likely pay the price.
What do you think of Pagely? Is it what you’re looking for or is it just too much? Let us know in the comments below, and, as always, thanks for reading.
- Backups are taken automatically to Amazon S3 with Pagely and kept on record for 14 days. You can access your backups by finding the app in Atomic Core and clicking “app backups” .
- Pagely doesn’t use cPanel, so there isn’t a web-based file manager. If you want to access your website files, you’ll need to connect over SFTP with a client, such as FileZilla.
- You can stage your website by adding a new app in Atomic Core and using the Pagely Sync command line utility to mirror your site’s files. You can learn more about the process here.
- Pagely has many clients, but some of the most notable are Disney, Visa, Panasonic, Comcast, Northwestern University and The Hartford.
- Pagely is a private company founded by Joshua and Sally Strebel in 2006. Since then, there are no transactions on record, according to Bloomberg.