Over the last few years I have used many web hosts and had a variety of experiences. I still keep experimenting with new hosts to find good and affordable hosts. Recently I came across Scala Hosting which looked interesting as it offered excellent features in attractive packages. I decided to dig a bit deeper and see if it is what they claim it to be. Scala Hosting launched in 2007, so it must have hardened over the years of service. I signed up for a plan and played around, found 3 reasons to love it and, well a reason to not love it. I’ll go into exactly why in my in-depth ScalaHosting review below.
Scala offers three main types of hosting services like all other market players:
- Classic Shared Hosting
- Managed Virtual Private Server (VPS)
- Self-managed Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Although they are a solid choice for all sorts of websites, for this Scalahosting review, we would be focusing on the Managed Cloud VPS Hosting and the Start package in particular.
The start plan costs just $13.95 per month (and even cheaper during sales), and the package comes with 1 CPU Core, 2 GB RAM, and 20 GB SSD. I love that I could get a managed VPS at such an affordable price when it costs at least double at any other host. Let’s look at some of the features of this plan.
This is a detailed review and if you want to skip to a particular section of this review, use the below links.
Features of Managed Scala VPS Hosting
When you sign up for the Start package, here is a quick list of everything you receive:
These also translate to some of the top features that Scala has to offer:
Unique and Intuitive Control Panel: Scala offers its custom-built unique control panel, which it promptly refers to as the ‘SPanel.’ And functions similarly to the CPanel that other hosting services provide, becoming a one-stop destination to manage the web site’s files, database, domain, and more. Prominent functionalities included under this are:
- Scala WordPress Manager
- Advanced security features such as the SShield Security Guard offers real time protection to your website
- Built-in website backup system
- Links to the user’s email, MySQL databases, SSL certificates, and domains.
Advanced Security Features: Another major selling point for Scala is that most of the required security features for website development is built directly into their hosting plans. This means that users do not have to shell out additional resources or worry about third-party integrations for these. The security features offered by Scala include:
- WordPress security lock capability
- Dedicated firewall protection for all websites
- Periodic website scans for malware and automated removal
- Free SSL certificates with your plan that encrypt website data
- Automatic updates of WordPress and security plans
- Storage daily website backups on another server
SShield Security Guard: A unique in-house technology that has been developed by Scala, SShield stands capable of protecting websites against 99.998% of the cyberattacks. It monitors the site in real-time, and in the rare event of an actual hack, it gathers all the information, compiles it in a report, and shares it with the website owner. This feature is entirely AI-driven and 100% automated.
SWordPress Manager: Another unique feature, this takes managed WordPress Hosting to another level altogether. Handy features here include:
- One-click WordPress installation
- Automatic website update configuration
- Capability to reset Admin passwords
- ‘Security lock’ functionality that disables Core file modifications
High Scalability: Scala gives users complete control over how they want to manage and add various CPU cores, RAM, and disk space to their website hosting accounts at any time. This means that website owners can scale their websites beyond on a reactive basis without having to plan for it or pay for unused resources explicitly.
Review of the SPanel and How it Compares to CPanel
Why does SPanel exist in the first place? This is a part of Scala’s efforts to build the entirety of their technology in-house while challenging market norms and improving on the current available infrastructures in the process. The result is a significant decrease in the reliance on third-party platforms, which translates to much better security and lesser probability of downtime. And since Scala does not have to share a piece of the pie with any third-party company for website security or maintenance tasks, the benefits eventually reach the pockets of customers.
When Cpanel increased its prices by folds, all hosting providers had to increase their pricing, which affected many users. With Spanel, it would never happen as Scala Hosting offers price lock guarantee.
This is aptly reflected in the comparison of the SPanel with the CPanel.
One look at this chart, and this immediately translates to savings of at least $15 per month that users usually shell out to pay for the cPanel. Depending on the number of user access you require, the cost can even go up to $84 per month.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Other noteworthy features of SPanel that also double up as advantages over cPanel include:
- SPanel also comes with a price-lock guarantee that cPanels lack. This protects you from any unprecedented price hikes that can leave your finances low and dry.
- Sshield is its advanced security system and is free. It acts as an additional layer of security and protects websites against unwarranted access.
- cPanel is resource-heavy which means that it directly eats into the resource usage of server CPU, often impacting the website’s performance. On the other hand, SPanel is lightweight and uses minimal server resources.
- And to top it all, SPanel is entirely compatible with cPanel which, essentially means that users can easily migrate their existing websites onto SPanel without any hassles.
- You can also install Cpanel along with Spanel. I haven’t tried this as I didn’t see a need for having two panels with very similar features.
- You can add unlimited users to your Spanel. If you have 10 clients, create an account for each of them and host their websites separately on their own accounts. This would enable the clients to login by themselves and manage the website. It is also a more secure process as if one of the websites get hacked or goes down, the others remain undisturbed.
- The user interface is very intuitive and easy to get used to. SPanel also looks similar and functions like cPanel.
10 Steps to Set Up a WordPress Website with Scala Hosting
While everything looks promising on paper until now, it is time to look at how easy or cumbersome it is to set up a website with Scala Hosting. As discussed earlier, we would be using the Start Package of the Managed Cloud VPS Hosting of Scala for this purpose.
I have covered the entire end-to-end process, assuming that you have not bought the hosting from Scala yet. Simply follow these steps:
Step 1: Go to the website of Scala hosting through this link and purchase the Start Plan of Managed Cloud VPS Hosting. You will see a range of options to customize your server with additional storage, CPU, ram and backups. Daily backups for the last 24 hrs is always free and you can choose to pay for additional backups. Select the most appropriate tenure for your plan and check out through the payment process. For this review, I chose only the default options.
Step 2: Once the payment process is complete, you will receive an email from Scala in your mentioned email address. It will include two links, one to your Scala hosting dashboard and another of the SPanel admin interface. Bookmark both these links for future reference.
Step 3: Click on the first link to log in to your Scala hosting dashboard, which would look something like this:
As you can see, all the primary functions to help you manage your account are on the left-hand panel.
Step 4: Whenever you need to manage any aspect of your hosting plan, simply go to My Services → Manage. Here you can also see options to Renew your Hosting Plan or order any supporting services that you would need.
Once you are at the My Products & Services page, you can accordingly access various details and manage your hosting plan.
Step 5: The next step is to add a domain to your account. There are two ways to do this:
- Point a domain to Scala Hosting: I usually prefer to keep my domain and hosting provider separate and point my domain to the server. If you already have a domain and would like to use it without transferring, follow this.
- Register a New Domain: This enables you to buy and register a new domain name with Scala. To do so, click on My Domains in the left-hand panel and select this option. On the next page, Search for the domain name of your choice, click on Add to Cart, and then Checkout to complete the payment process.
- Transfer Domains: In the case, you already own a domain with any domain name provider, this is for you. To do so, click on My Domains in the left-hand panel and select this option. On the next page, mention the Domain name and the Authorization Code (can be retrieved from your current domain name provider.
Tip: In the case, you have any doubt about the process, you can always raise a ticket my navigating to Support on the hosting dashboard and then clicking on Open New Ticket.
Step 6: It is now time to access the SPanel (through the second link that you received in your email). Once logged in, it should look like this:
As you can see, it comes with a straightforward UI with every functionality to handle emails, domains, databases, files, and more.
Step 7: To set up a WordPress website, navigate to WordPress Manager under Tools which will open up the manager that will help you install a new WordPress website. It is similar to Softaculous, and you will be able to install WordPress in a couple of clicks.
Step 8: Enter all the necessary information to set up login credentials for your WordPress website. Once done, click on Install WordPress.
Step 9: Once complete, you will receive a confirmation email from WordPress on the mentioned email address with the link and log in details for the administrator account of the website.
Step 10: Navigate to the link and enter the login details to begin installing themes and customizing your WordPress website. Alternatively, you can also navigate to https://the domain name of your website/wp-admin
Pros and Cons of Scala Hosting
Like every other hosting, Scala comes with its own set of benefits and restrictions on what you can do. Here’s a quick look at some of these:
Benefits of Scala VPS Hosting
- PHP 7 Support: As expected from any leading hosting provider, Scala includes support for the latest versions of PHP 7, which is the most secure version of PHP and geared for high performance.
- Website Speed and Availability: Since this plan has been built on the Cloud with software-defined storage, the hosting even includes provisions for self-healing architecture. It means that the servers can automatically fix and repair most issues themselves.
- Reliable Support: I have raised three different support tickets with them and all were answered in the first hour itself. The managed cloud VPS plan comes with round the clock support over Live Chat, self-help knowledge base, social media support, and phone support.
- Money-back Guarantee: New users receive the option of getting their money back within 30 days of making the hosting plan purchase.
- Premium Backup Technology: The backup system of Scala has been directly integrated with the SPanel or Cpanel if you opt for it. Servers use SSD storage and R1soft backups.
- Immediate Activation: Although Scala officially states that it takes 24 hours for accounts to be activated, most new accounts witness instant activation.
- Free Domain: For plans that span six months or more, a free domain is included in the package.
Limitations of Scala VPS Hosting
- There is a lack of integrations. For instance, there should be one-click installs for other CMS and tools apart from WordPress, such as Joomla, Magento, Nextcloud, etc. I hope Scalahosting will introduce them soon.
Rounding it Up
Selecting the right hosting provider and plan is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make for your website. Scala, as your hosting provider and the Managed VPS plan, seems like a bullseye deal that empowers your website to function at its maximum potential. You even get advanced security features at no additional costs.
Scala has grown past its small company tag and is now foraying into a territory that was previously known only to the best hosting providers in the world.