If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already somewhat familiar with Nexcess as a hosting company and just looking for a good review of Nexcess hosting, so I’ll save the background information and get right to what you came for. Let’s talk about Nexcess hosting and how it stacks up to its competitors.
I’ve been working as a web designer and web developer for just about 10 years now and in that time have worked with just about every major hosting provider and tried out nearly as many hosting services. And my opinion based on this experience is that Nexcess has distinguished themselves as the best US-based managed hosting provider.
I decided it would be helpful to other web designers and developers out there to back that bold statement up and put together a Nexcess review so that they could make an informed decision.
When it comes to managed web hosting, one of the first questions that anyone is going to ask is “how much does it cost?”.
Nexcess is one of the most reasonably priced managed hosting providers around, especially considering the quality of their hosting services. They have WordPress server packages starting as low as $12/mo when you sign up yearly or $15 per month when paid monthly.
These shared server options are fast, secure, and come with a ton of bells and whistles that many shared hosting providers do not provide. In addition, you have the ability to create email accounts and generate free SSL certificates using Let’s Encrypt.
Nexcess hosting also offers several great cloud hosting options starting at only $29 per month. These cloud servers give you a ton of storage space and bandwidth, making them ideal for use in a number of applications or services.
If you’re in search of something larger or more powerful, Nexcess has a number of dedicated server options. These dedicated servers are also pre-configured for the most popular content management systems including WordPress, Magento, WooCommerce, and more.
The Nexcess dedicated server options start at just about $500 making them some of the most affordable managed dedicated servers available from a US-based company.
Nexcess Server Stack & Performance
In my experience websites always tend to perform just a bit better on Nexcess servers. The differences are not major in most situations, but the differences can be seen in metrics like time-to-first-byte and time-to-first-paint.
Nexcess offers it’s server options based on the content management system your website runs on. As the majority of their offerings are optimized for either WordPress, WooCommerce, or Magento, if you’re not running one of these platforms, these same benefits may not apply to you.
They also offer a variety of hosting options for each content management system. For example, Nexcess hosting offers shared hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated servers optimized for Magento specifically. Nexcess dedicated servers for Magento are an excellent option, especially with Magento 2.
The Nexcess stack uses Apache web server, NGINX acceleration, and HTTP/2 at its core and is primarily engineered for PHP applications. Nexcess is able to run other languages such as Python, NodeJS and Ruby. The full technology stack is:
PHP 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2 & 7.3
NodeJS 8 & 10
Python 2.7, 3.4 & 3.6
Ruby 2.2, 2.3, 2.5
Nexcess servers combine increased performance with a lower memory footprint by using the latest version of the Apache web server for application delivery. Nexcess servers also make powerful caching options like Redis available to speed up applications.
Whether you’re going with a standard shared server or one of the cloud hosting options, Nexcess hosting always offers plenty of disk space and bandwidth regardless of the package. Even the smallest shared server option will give you 10 GB of disk space and 150gb of bandwidth per month.
When it comes to the database portion of the stack, Nexcess runs both MySQL and MariaDB. MariaDB is an open-source version of MySQL that was written by the original creators of MySQL. The Nexcess MariaDB configuration is carefully tuned and tested for peak performance.
Nexcess also offers cloud container services which allow for easy scalability as a business grows and needs change. For example, you can easily add-on services like ElasticSearch, Apache Solr, and Varnish.
The Nexcess cloud and Nexcess standard web hosting stacks are also very scalable. Nexcess offers many features like load balancers, cloud auto-scaling, a cloud accelerator, PCI compliance and much more.
One of my most favorite things about Nexcess hosting though is the daily backups that they perform. When you host a website or application with Nexcess, you sleep a bit easier knowing that they’re making regular backups and storing them for you.
The backups cover both your website files and databases, so you are covered across the board. In the situation that your website crashes or you have a security breach, you know that the very worst case scenario means you would only lose less than one day’s worth of data.
Nexcess also has data centers around the United States. Each Nexcess data center location is carefully chosen for security, performance, and strategic positioning. Every data center is PCI compliant and employs advanced security protocols, many additional redundancies, and a 24/7 support team.
No matter what your business or application needs are, Nexcess hosting surely has a server configuration that can meet your performance requirements.
Nexcess Technical Support
Customer service, technical support, and server maintenance are where Nexcess hosting truly shines. Of all of the website hosting companies I’ve interacted with over the years, Nexcess has the best technical support hands down.
With most managed hosting companies, when you call their telephone support you are likely to get a customer support representative. These representatives are trained in answering general questions about the services and creating support tickets when necessary.
These tickets then get escalated through support until your issue is ultimately solved. This process can take hours, sometimes days depending on the problem and the hosting provider.
When you call Nexcess hosting support, you are connected directly to an experienced system administrator sitting in their Michigan offices.
This system administrator is able to log in to your server, investigate the issue with you on the phone and more often than not address the problem. In the situation that a system administrator is unable to provide a solution, an escalation through their “ESG” process usually takes no more than a couple of hours.
Support can vary depending on the server you have. For example, some of the support available to Nexcess dedicated server clients is not available to shared-hosting clients. In my experience, the technical support has been excellent regardless of the server I was calling about.
Nexcess tech support typically has plenty of experience troubleshooting common issues with WordPress and Magento websites. While they are not responsible for fixing specific website bugs or errors, their support team is typically very good about having answers to the more common website problems. For example, post-migration issues, database connection issues, or even website security issues.
Comparatively, most managed website hosting companies prefer to do their support through online chat. While many hosting providers have strong online support, for example, Siteground, this type of support just does not come close to the attention to detail and high level of expertise that Nexcess offers.
Don’t just take my word for it either. You can read thousands of verified user reviews on Nexcess and the hosting services it offers on multiple different websites around the internet.
While I love Nexcess as a hosting provider for a number of reasons, I would say it is their technical support that truly makes them stand out from the crowd.
Nexcess vs. AWS
No Nexcess review would be complete without comparing it to AWS. When comparing hosting providers like Nexcess and AWS it’s important to first understand the needs of the application.
AWS does offer some managed services, but traditionally AWS is not a managed hosting provider. This means that while they do offer a ton of server options and environments, you have to know what you’re doing to use everything. In other words, there’s not really a number to call to set things up for you.
So while AWS does offer pre-configured server options and “quick deployment” server guides, getting started on AWS is not for the general website owner or first-time website designer.
For example, this is what would be required to start a new Magento environment on AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/quickstart/architecture/magento/
AWS does offer a ton of flexibility when it comes to server configurations and available tools. So where Nexcess has a few specifically configured server options depending on the CMS platform you’re using, AWS lets you configure a server environment to your exact specifications.
AWS could be a great option if you are a web developer or web design agency planning to manage a website application or sell hosting packages to your clients.
However, if you are a general website owner or small business owner with novice-level or lower web development skills, you may want to consider going with managed hosting.
Managed hosting like Nexcess takes the guesswork out of the server setup, configuration, optimization, and platform deployment. For example, when Nexcess first configures your server it already has the latest version of WordPress or Magento installed on it.
The server also comes fully configured for performance. You would need to really know what you’re doing to configure an AWS server the same way that a Nexcess dedicated server would come out of the box.
For example, let’s say you are someone who plans to buy a WordPress theme or Magento template and build their own website. As soon as your Nexcess server is ready you will be able to login to your CMS and get started on building your website.
With AWS as your hosting provider, you will first need to set up and configure your server, then deploy your CMS. If setting up a theme is going to be a new experience for you, configuring an AWS server may be a bit more difficult than you’d expect.
Don’t get me wrong, I know AWS is a great platform. I have used various AWS services in quite a few projects. I continue to suggest AWS as a solution for client projects all of the time. However, when compared to Nexcess as a hosting provider and comparing apples to apples, I would suggest Nexcess more often than not when it comes to hosting WordPress or Magento websites.
Nexcess Vs. Hostgator
Hostgator is a website hosting provider that many people are already familiar with to some extent. Hostgator has massive name recognition and extremely competitive pricing, however, they are in a completely different arena when it comes to the quality of hosting services.
To start, the pricing is very competitive, but you do get what you pay for. Typically Hostgator servers are not going to be optimized for the specific platform or CMS you are running and therefore won’t perform as well. While the machines that Hostgator hosts websites on may be comparable, the configuration of those servers is just nowhere close to what Nexcess offers.
In addition, the customer support at Hostgator just does not compare to what is offered at Nexcess. Hostgator phone support is typically capable of assisting with basic questions, domain configurations, email setup and things like that. However, when it comes to more technical requests and need for advanced assistance, Hostgator almost always falls short.
If you are someone who has a growing online business, an expanding reputation online, or plans to expand their business online, I would move away from Hostgator. However, if you’re someone who just needs an inexpensive place to “hang your shingle” online, Hostgator could be a great option for your website hosting needs.
Nexcess vs. WP Engine
When it comes to performance and server optimization, WP Engine is definitely a close competitor with Nexcess. Keep in mind that WP Engine is really only suitable for WordPress websites, so if you are a Magento store owner, this may not apply to you.
To be transparent, my experience with WP Engine is limited. I’ve worked on a handful of sites that were hosted at WP Engine, but in that short experience, I did recognize it as a great hosting server.
Some of the benefits of WP Engine are that it has excellent uptime and great performance. If you have a site that is receiving heavy traffic and making a lot of sales, WP Engine is a great solution to make sure you never go down.
WP Engine also takes website security very seriously. They offer regular malware scanning, daily backups, IP address restrictions for brute force attacks and more. WP Engine also offers a wide variety of WordPress specific features that really help maximize the performance of a website.
WP Engine does have a few drawbacks when compared with Nexcess though. For one, WP Engine is a bit more expensive than Nexcess and offers less storage space. This means that while you could feasibly host 2 websites on the smallest Nexcess hosting package, you would only be able to host one with WP Engine.
In addition, WP Engine does not offer phone support. Now their customer service team was still excellent in my experience, however, it did take a bit longer than Nexcess. I’ve also found that when you can speak to customer support directly on the phone, the more complex issues are typically resolved much more quickly.
WP Engine also does not offer any sort of email hosting or inbox services. This means that in addition to your monthly hosting costs, you will also need to take on additional costs for email hosting with a company like Google GSuite.
So if you are a brand or business that is already fully up-and-running online, WP Engine could be an excellent hosting option to upgrade to when necessary. However, if this is your first website, or you are just getting started with an online business, WP Engine may not be the right choice for you.
It’s important to consider your website needs as well as the type of ongoing support you will have. Are you yourself a web designer or web developer? Or are you employing a web designer to build your website?
If you are employing a website designer to build your website, are you planning to keep employing that web designer once your project is completed? If not, do you plan to retain them on a website management package?
If you are not a web designer yourself and don’t have plans for ongoing website management, WP Engine may not be the right choice for you. The customer service and customer support that Nexcess offers is truly second-to-none and makes a huge difference for novice website owners.
It’s also important to take into consideration all of the different needs that you will have as an online business. In addition to web hosting, you will need email, and a CDN, and SSL certificates, and potentially a lot more depending on your needs. I always suggest that clients keep as many services under one roof whenever possible. By keeping your services together it makes it a lot easier to add new services as well as troubleshoot existing services.
So in short, WP Engine offers excellent WordPress website hosting, however, it’s not always ideal for the more “novice” website owner.
Nexcess vs. Siteground
If there were to be a runner up to managed website services I would probably choose Siteground. Siteground also offers shared and managed servers that are pre-configured for Magento, WordPress, and WooCommerce. Unlike Nexcess, Siteground is based in Bulgaria.
When it comes to server performance, both Nexcess and Siteground offer server options that are optimized for the most popular CMS.
While websites on both servers perform exceptionally well compared to hosting providers like GoDaddy, in my experience Siteground servers do not perform at the same levels as Nexcess servers. Keep in mind, that statement is made fairly generally and based on hosting many sites on both platforms.
Keep in mind, on sites that are built to be more lightweight and efficient, Siteground is a great solution. For example, the website you are reading this article on right now is hosted on Siteground! However, we host a number of other sites with heavier traffic and requests like Fortress over at Nexcess.
Siteground does offer a server caching option called SuperCacher that works pretty well, however even with this feature enabled, Nexcess and the caching options it provides still seems to be the better option.
Nexcess and Siteground also both offer CDN integrations. Nexcess offers it’s own internal CDN and includes the service in the price of most of its hosting options. Siteground does not have its own CDN, but it does offer easy one-click integration with Cloudflare CDN. While Cloudflare is a great CDN option, I have found it leaves a bit to be desired compared to the Nexcess CDN.
When it comes to pricing, however, Siteground has Nexcess beat every time. Siteground has very affordable hosting solutions starting as low as $4 per month. These prices do tend to raise after 1-2 years, however, they typically don’t raise by too much unless you upgrade your server.
Siteground dedicated servers are also considerably less expensive than Nexcess dedicated servers. A dedicated server with Siteground starts at just $269 – that’s almost half what you would pay at Nexcess.
Siteground is an excellent option for the small-business owner starting a first website, the e-commerce entrepreneur launching a new online store, or even a web design company that wants to resell hosting to clients.
Siteground also offers decent technical support. They do not have regular phone support that you can call, however, they do offer live chat support.
The live chat support operators are typically very experienced and can troubleshoot a number of problems. There are limitations as to what the first level of chat support can typically handle, and from time-to-time, there will seem to be some language barrier problems.
In situations that Siteground chat support can’t address an issue, they will escalate it and usually have a result within a few hours.
In my experience, both Nexcess and Siteground offer great managed hosting and support. From a performance standpoint, the big differences will be seen with websites that get more traffic and have heavier resources.
In a customer service scenario, Nexcess is definitely a better option when facing a major issue or in need of a fast solution. While both hosting providers typically resolve any problem you’re facing quickly, there is a different level of attentiveness with Nexcess.
Nexcess Hosting Features
To recap, Nexcess hosting offers a number of amazing hosting features. Nexcess makes the following available to all of its customers:
- Data centers located in Michigan, Australia and Surrey, United Kingdom
- Lots of scalable server plans
- Domain registration
- Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Server-side caching features
- Reseller plans
- Free SSL Certificates
- 30-day, money-back guarantee
Hosting With Nexcess – Want To Learn More?
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about Nexcess hosting or just want to talk to someone with experience using Nexcess, send us an email. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about Nexcess as a hosting platform or finding the right hosting provider for your website or application.