Professional branding is the key to building a successful business. When it comes to the web hosting, companies usually take two routes – they brand themselves either as inexpensive and great for beginners or a fully professional, perfect choice for serious businesses. But are all web hosting providers that look professional really that good? This Rackspace review is dedicated to finding out exactly that!
What Is Rackspace?
Founded in 1998, this Texas-based company is an important figure in the web hosting landscape. According to the publicly available info, it boasts over 100,000 business customers including 40 of the Fortune 100 companies.
Not surprisingly, big businesses are their main target customer – what’s visible anywhere you look. Even the way they present their offer is different compared to many of its competitors and focuses on the most common business challenges:
Services Offered by Rackspace
Managed Cloud Hosting
This is just scratching the surface and though this list may appear short, Rackspace has way more interesting features to offer.
The company offers application management, business intelligence, database management, enterprise resource planning, security, hosting and data management services just to name a few things in their portfolio. They grouped them into different categories, based on industry, business challenges or the type of service.
What interests us the most is hosting. Rackspace offers a variety of web hosting services, including eCommerce solutions, dedicated servers and managed cloud environments. And it’s the latter that I will be reviewing in this article.
Rackspace Managed Cloud Plans & Pricing
The company offers different types of managed cloud hosting. The choice will depend on what resources you need the most – be it RAM, data, and bandwidth or CPU power. For this Rackspace review, I chose the General Purpose cloud servers.
Those are divided into four tiers and cost between $23.00 to $187 for raw infrastructure and $4.00 to $29.00 for the management part (which applies to infrastructure only). But, these fees are not the only cost of running the server.
Another cost which you have to keep in mind is bandwidth, which is paid separately. The first 10 TB of data costs $0.12 per GB. Not much for a small site, but if you have a lot of outgoing traffic (incoming traffic is free of charge), the charges add up pretty quickly.
This, together with different prices for various regions can easily skyrocket the final expense. In the below table, I’ve included sample monthly fees for General Purpose server with 2TB (2000GB) bandwidth allowance in different regions. The higher price in brackets includes a mandatory monthly minimum service charge.
Hong Kong Region
Linux, General Purpose, 1GB RAM
Linux, General Purpose, 2GB RAM
Linux, General Purpose, 4GB RAM
Linux, General Purpose, 8GB RAM
As you can see, those prices are way different from a typical VPS package that costs $20 – $50 a month.
On top of that, it’s very hard to find pricing on the site and most users will not see it in full before the checkout. Why?
This is because the vast majority of their product pages force you to contact their sales department – there’s no info regarding pricing whatsoever.
Surprisingly, even though the company positions itself as very professional and, without a doubt, spends a lot of money on branding and advertising, I had to wait over 20 minutes to get connected to a sales rep.
Naturally, that could have been just a coincidence or a very busy day. That’s why I’ll not treat this one too seriously when summarizing my Rackspace review.
Rackspace Cloud Offer – Technical Details
And what are the main differences between the four General Purpose hosting plans? The tiers differ in the number of vCPUs, RAM and Disk Space – standard resources allocated to your server.
1 GB RAM
2 GB RAM
4 GB RAM
8 GB RAM
Inbound traffic is unlimited. $0.12/GB for the first outgoing 10TB
How many domains allowed?
HDD or SSD used in servers?
Yes, very comprehensive
Paid. Can also be installed manually on your server
Free assisted website transfer
CentOS 6 or 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or 7, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 14.04 LTS, Debian 7 or 8
24/7 Phone, chat or email support
Choice of server location
Yes – Dallas, Washington, Chicago, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Sydney
Free automated back-ups
The great thing about Rackspace Cloud VPS offer is that they cover the most important locations – you can choose between the US (Dallas, Washington, Chicago), Europe (London, Frankfurt), Asia (Hong Kong) and Australia (Sydney).
The company offers the industry-standard 99.9% uptime guarantee. After checking it in our uptime calculator it turns out this gives them enough room for over a minute of downtime every day. While it doesn’t sound like much, I believe such a professional company could have offered a bit better SLA.
And what if the availability goes below 99.9%? In this case, you will get extra credits – their number will depend on the total level of monthly availability drop:
<99.9% – 99.5%
<99.5% – 99.0%
Knowing their SLA uptime guarantee, let’s check the performance test results. Naturally, they could not have been different – a company with such high prices would not survive too long if they didn’t offer top-notch performance for their customers.
So far, the company proved to be an important player in the industry. Let’s see what are its main advantages worth bringing up in this Rackspace review.
Highly-Qualified Support Team
The company boasts one of the biggest and most highly qualified support team in its niche. With over 3000 dedicated hosting engineers, they are ready to provide you with any type of support your business may need. But, for the price that you have to pay for it, expect to be really pampered.
Great Server Performance
As I mentioned earlier, a hosting provider that’s working with Fortune 100 companies cannot offer them mediocre network and hardware. Of course, it’s not a choice I would recommend for beginners, but if you are a big and stable business and can afford their services, you will not be disappointed performance-wise.
Comprehensive DDoS Protection
One of the main goals of their offer is to assure full business continuity – this means that your website should be accessible at all times. To ensure that, Rackspace had to invest in enterprise-grade DDoS protection which they could then offer their customers.
Services Tailored to Different Industries
Years of working with big businesses across a variety of industries have taught them different needs that various businesses have. This allows them to offer them better and more effective solutions by personalizing the approach to different types of businesses and their biggest challenges.
Naturally, I’m yet to find a flawless hosting company. What are the Rackspace disadvantages that I’ve decided are crucial enough to share them in this Rackspace review?
The Pricing Is Hidden from Most Pages
You can’t just visit their site and check the price for any service you want. Instead, you’ll have to contact their sales team and have a chat or ask for a quote. Keep in mind, though, that it can sometimes take a lot of time to even get through.
As much as it can be profitable not to reveal all your cards before you learn the real needs of your customers, I think it would be better if they were at least a little bit more transparent.
I fully understand that some companies make a significant part of their revenue from upsells. But I completely don’t get why as professional company as Rackspace has to charge extra for simple backups. If you choose the basic cloud plan, you will need to add $10 per month for the peace of mind. Doesn’t make sense, considering their already steep prices.
More Branding than Value
On top of that, I believe that sometimes they put too much effort into branding and not as much into helping their customers – at least before the purchase when you just want to research their offer on your own. One could think that they are focused more on selling the service than on actually helping users benefit from it. While that’s not the case once you already are their customer (their support is really good), seeing the “get a quote” on so many pages can be really annoying.
Rackspace Review Summary
Rackspace has a great team and a lot of expertise. But their services are expensive and the expenses quickly add up – and I haven’t even reviewed prices of more advanced services. Because of that, I believe that if you really need a lot of control and want someone to manage your online infrastructure, sometimes it might be better to choose an unmanaged (and much more affordable) VPS Cloud and paying for remote support once you actually need it.
Highly-Qualified Support Team
Paid Backups in Basic Plans
Lack Of Transparency in Pricing
Regions Price Difference
Ready to Work with Industries
Prices range from $263.36 to $426.88 on following 4 hosting plan offers
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