Site5 Review

site5 web hosting

Since I have been hosting with Site5 for awhile I decided I would write a Site5 Review.  Overall Site5 provides robust and fast servers, good support, and a nice backend you wont' find anywhere else.

Anyway here is my Site5 review for those that are considering hosting websites with Site5.

Site5 Review

site5 custom cpanel

Custom Cpnel and User Interface

Site5's custom cPanel and backend user interface deserve a big nod of approval.  It's clean, simple, and easy to navigate which can't be said about most hosting interfaces.

What I really like about Site5's custom cPanel is that you don't have to visit your own cPanel URL.  You can login into your cPanel directly from Site5.com by clicking “Client Login” in the top right.  You can also manage your billing and affiliate payouts from the same backend as well.  It's convenient and a well thought out user interface and system.  I don't understand why more hosting companies don't utilize or have a similar custom cPanel.  This is how other web hosting companies backends should look like and work in my opinion.

Keep in mind this is 2013 and most web users expect ease-of-use and clean interfaces.  Site5 has brought cPanel into the modern age whereas everyone else (including cPanel) is stuck in the year 2000.  If you are a Site5 competitor I ‘d recommend signing up for a free trial account with Site5 just to get an idea of what their setup is like.

Support

Site5‘s support team is top notch.  They will take the time to explain any problems or issues instead of getting an answer that was read from a script.  It is clear support representatives take time to read and review your issue before replying and know what the issue is.

Generally response times on most tickets will get a reply within 30 minutes.  If you have a complex question or issue you will be notified that the ticket has been kicked up to a higher level support representative or system administrator for review.  Tickets that get kicked-up to a 2nd level support member tends to get a reply in about 1 hour.

I've also used Site5's chat service and wait times for an available representative to help you with an issue is usually 10 minutes or less.  The same can't be said for other hosting companies chat support.

What is nice about Site5's email and chat support is they display a picture of the support representative who you are working with.  Under the picture you can click a link that takes you to a short Bio page about that Site5 support team member.  This gives Site5 support a more personal touch and makes you feel like you know the support team better than just being some faceless entity.  One of Site5's support team members includes Mitch Keeler, who is well known in web hosting circles since he runs the Web Hosting Show Podcast.  Ben Welch-Boen, the CEO of Site5, has even replied to one of my tickets and gave a lengthy response to my questions and was quite helpful.  I probably would not have noticed who they were unless they included those pictures.

site5 support

Site5 phone support is only offered between 10am – 6pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on weekdays.  If you are someone who prefers phone support for working through problems than you won't appreciate that timeframe.  (I personally prefer using email and chat support to resolve most issues.)  I've used phone support in the past and found that the call quality wasn't that good since to my understanding Site5 support uses Skype.  Most hosting companies use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems now since it is huge cost saver but each time I called I was disappointed with the call quality.   I've only called Site5 phone support twice though.

UPDATE: Site5 is in the process of updating their phone system to a new provider to improve the call quality.  

Another complaint I have with Site5 support is that if you are not that knowledgeable about hosting or web savvy you might not always find Site5 support helpful. Site5 is sort of a hosting company aimed at geeks and you should have a general idea of what you are doing before hosting with them.  Their support is extremely helpful but they won't hold your hand.

Something you should be aware of about Site5 support agents is that they all work from home.  Personally I think that is nice for employees but others might disagree and not like that for some reason.  Since this is a review and I am trying to provide as much information as possible I thought I would just let people know that.

Uptime and Downtime

Site5 Uptime is pretty decent and is as advertised.  I monitor all of my websites using Uptime Robot and while there is occasional downtime here and there I've never experienced any downtime lasting for too long.  The longest downtime I have on record is 30 minutes according to my Uptime Robot alert notifications.  You can check all of Site5's server uptime stats here.  I've checked the time claimed on my server against what Site5 claims and they are accurate.

One thing I like about Site5 is they are good about sending you notices of when they will be doing scheduled maintenance on your server and when you might experience downtime or issues with accessing your websites.  I appreciate that they keep customers updated about maintenance since you are not caught off guard if your website is down.  Most of the time the maintenance is done early in the morning and should not affect your websites for too long.  I actually don't get Uptime Robot notifications when they say they are doing maintenance.  So most of the time I don't even worry about those scheduled maintenance emails.  Something to keep in mind is a lot of web hosts won't inform you when they do server maintenance.  I really appreciate Site5 does though.

site5 resource points

Server Resources

Site5 does offers “Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage.”   People should know that “Unlimited” for shared hosting plans is never truly unlimited.  While Site5 claims to be unlimited they are actually pretty restrictive it seems with their server resources.

Site5 uses an in house metric known as “Resource Points” to determine if your account is using to much of your shared server's resources.  Site5 says it is easy to understand what Resource Points means but I really have no idea and it seems to be vague.  They calculate it based on CPU, inodes, and some other factors which I don't really understand.  (It does state in their Terms of Service that you can't go above 75,000 inodes on any shared account.)  The server operating system (OS) Site5 uses is Apache, which is the industry standard, but to what I've read is not quite as good at handling server resources as other server OS available.

Adam's Auto Advice was shutdown once for using excessive bandwidth which I believe was only 40 gigabytes.  Honestly that is not that much bandwidth usage.  On the flipside in the span of 2 days the Singing Dogs were mentioned on MSN and the Huffington Post.  The traffic for those 2 days spiked A LOT but really only for a limited time during both days.  I thought Site5 would shutdown the Singing Dogs blog for excessive server resource usage.  Most of the time if you have a traffic spike that much within a few hours your web hosting company will deactivate your account.  I was impressed they did not shutdown the Singing Dogs blog considering the huge traffic spike.

I should also mention that I am consistently over Site5's Resource Points soft limits (check the image above) and they haven't said anything about it.  So… I guess it is kind of hard for me to complain.  I appreciate the “soft limits” but it does concern me since I don't understand what my sites are doing that could take up that much Site5 Resource Points.  I wish my websites got tons of traffic but they don't.

People should understand that no Unlimited host can truly offer “Unlimited Hosting” and shouldn't expect that.  The majority of hosting companies, like Site5, that offering shared unlimited plans have limits and will be kind of vague about it.

Speed

It should be noted that most of my websites are WordPress blogs (including this one).  I have 1 MyBB forum which is moderately active that I host with Site5.  The WordPress Multisite installation I have seems to be a bit slow but I haven't not done much work to speed it up.  (Ok, I don't really know how.)  Wordpress Multisite networks are a bit resource intensive and tend to be slower.  The 1 MyBB forum I have is fast and I haven't had issues with that site being slow.

site5 review

 

Site5 Hosting Plan Prices

I've seen some people on hosting and admin forums complain that Site5 is a bit expensive.  For the level of service and support Site5 provides their hosting plan prices are reasonable and inline with the rest of the hosting industry.

Sure you can probably find a great deal from a Endurance International Group (EIG) hosting company but they won't provide support that knows that they are talking about.  In addition their servers will most likely be overcrowded, have a lot of downtime, and be slower than your grandma driving to church.

HostGator's Baby Plan (an EIG company) is $10 a month after coupons and discounts run out.  Site5's HostPro plan, which is what I use, is $10 a month if you prepay 1 year in advance and $9 if you pay 2 years in advance.  Since Site5 doesn't run coupons specials and promotions that often I think it only seems like their pricing is more expensive.  If you check around a lot of companies offer Unlimited Linux server hosting for $10 a month.

Site5's Additional Features

Some notable additional features Site5 offers is daily backups of all accounts.  So if your site was hacked or you for some reason deleted all your files and don't keep backups, which you should, you can request Site5 to restore your website(s) from the day before or up to a week.  Some hosting companies backup data but few do it everyday.

Site5 also offers MultiAdmin which allows you to easily control different cPanl accounts from the SiteAdmin interface.  This is useful if you have several sites you run for clients or yourself and want to make sure you have best best security.  Running each site in it's own cPanel ensures that if 1 site gets hacked, the others will not.

Site5 also offers you the ability to choose where you want your server to be located for shared, reseller, and VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting accounts.  This is useful if you have customers in Brazil and need to setup a website close to those customers for the best service and speed.  Since Site5 has an available server in Joao Pessoa Brazil you can do this easily.  It will just cost a little extra every month.  Site5 also offers many different cities around the world and throughout the United States.

Site5 Themes is another nice extra that Site5 offers.  These are custom designed WordPress themes which are nice layouts and are responsive (meaning they will work on mobiles devices and touchscreens.)  Check them out and see if they would work for you.

Conclusion

site5 web hosting

Overall I have been happy with Site5's service and support but like most hosting companies they still have some room for improvement.  I'd like it if their support was more friendly to people who are not quite as knowledgeable about hosting.  This would not only make some current customers more happy (me) but I assume bring in new customers to Site5.  Also I wish Resource Points was a bit easier to understand.

The person who originally recommended Site5 to me was my brother.  He runs custom scripts and programs via a private website for his Neuroscience studies at Harvard.   (Yeah, he might sound smart but I am actually the smart brother.)  Site5′ customer base seems to cater to those who want to build and run customized scripts and programs on their servers.  So if you have highly specialized needs Site5 would be a good choice.

My brother has been hosting with Site5 for about 7-8 years I believe.  In that time he has not had any issues or complaints that I am aware of.  So that's good for Site5 and shows the type of service they offer in my opinion.

At the time of this review this blog, Singing Dogs, and Adam's Auto Advice is hosted with Site5.  In addition I have several other websites hosted them too.

Even though I have had my own hosting account with Site5 for about 8 months, Adam's Auto Advice has been hosted with Site5 for several years on my brother's Site5 account.  So in essence I have been hosting with Site5 for quite awhile.

Site5 does bill itself as “Web Hosting for Designers” which I think is pretty accurate.  It is an excellent company for web designers and developers.  If you are just starting out with a new website and getting online though Site5 is a good option but not sure if they will be the best for all situations.

If you want to tryout Site5 they do offer a 30-day free trial which NO other web hosting company offers that I know of.  That seriously means you can tryout Site5's service free for 30-days without giving them your money.  Few web hosting companies offer a Free month of service.  So if you want to find out if Site5 meets your needs, you can see easily without hassle.  Site5 also has a 45-day money back guarantee if you want to give them your money.

There is not much else to say except that Site5 is a quality hosting company offering quality hosting service.  Since the company has been around since 1999 you can be assured if you host with them that they are not going anywhere.  There are around 140,000 websites hosted with Site5 and they have about 30,000 customers worldwide.

I hope you have found my Site5 Review helpful and informative.  If you have found this Site5 review useful I would appreciate it if you left a comment below since I like hearing when I help people.

Got an experience with Site5 you want to share?  Whether it is good or bad please leave a comment below to let myself and others know.

Disclaimer: I have included commissionable links in this review.  This means I get a commission when you buy a web hosting plan through Site5 using a link on this page. However nobody can influence my opinions on this site and this Site5 review reflects my honest opinions about Site5's web hosting services. Also the revenue generated from this links help keep this site and my other sites up and running. 🙂

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I am an auto journalist, blogger, writer, artist, and most of all dog lover. I like playing music with both my dogs, Cody and Sierra. I also love sharing quality content with the world.

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Adam Yamada-Hanff

I am an auto journalist, blogger, writer, artist, and most of all dog lover. I like playing music with both my dogs, Cody and Sierra. I also love sharing quality content with the world.

14 thoughts on “Site5 Review”

  1. Thanks for the great review! Very good points and we appreciate the mention!

    Just wanted to mention a few things 🙂

    1. We are in the process of moving to a new phone system. We have been using RingCentral for the last few years and the quality has really dropped lately. We hope to have a replacement installed and setup in the next 45 days.

    2. Resource Points…

    First, what are they?

    Here is a tech article on it:
    http://kb.site5.com/policies-and-information/resource-points/cpu-time/

    They are a direct map of something in linux called “CPU time”, which is a measurement of the amount of resources your account is using.

    We are working to try to give our users an easy way to view the usage of their account, instead of the previous method which was based on a lot of variables like CPU % used, IO used, concurrent connections, concurrent mysql connections, and a lot of little things that don’t make a lot of sense unless viewed together. Linux’s use of CPU time does a good job of combining together the most important elements of those hardware resource limits.

    It is a complex problem and one we are slowly working to improve each day for our customers so that they know their sites have the highest possibility of uptime and performance possible.

    Feel free to hit me up with any questions too,
    Thanks, Ben

    1. Hey Ben,

      Glad you liked my Site5 review. I tried to point at the positives while also highlighting areas Site5 could improve.

      It’s good that you are upgrading your phone system to another provider. The two times I called it was hard to hear what the support rep was saying.

      -Adam

      1. Thanks, yep very helpful review!

        Ya RingCentral has been a big disappointment this last year, problems with dropped calls and no improvement has materialized. Testing our top two alternatives this month and aiming to switch asap.

        Thanks, Ben

        1. Good to know Ben. Keep me informed as to when Site5 makes the switch to a better phone provider.

          1. Quick update, new phone system is being setup and we hope to have it up and 100% running in next 20 to 30 days. Update will be on our blog too.

  2. I talked to the live chat and I liked what they said and the support. I am going to start moving my Hostgator websites over. Site 5 allows me to stay on softlayer data center, since that is one of their data centers. I am very pleased about that.

    1. Site5 support knows their stuff and the migrations process should be easy. They do use the Softlayer datacenter in Dallas but you can choose from several datacenters.

      I’d appreciate it if you used my affiliate link for Site5 btw. 🙂

  3. Adam,
    Are you still using Site5? Is it this site you are using them with. What kind of traffic do you get?

    I signed up last year and had nothing but problems with them. I had to take to Twitter in order to get a refund. Despite constant problems, their support was not helpful and quite rude at times.

    Despite my initial thoughts to jump before the initial 30 day return policy (I believe it was 30 days), I stayed because they continued to assure me things would be repaired. When they were not, they then refused to refund my money because I had paid for a year and they don’t to retroactive refunds and I was over the 30 days.

    When I went to Twitter, I got a message from Ben who told me that the server I was on had known issues. So their support team knew about the issues and failed to assist in any meaningful way or offer me another server.

    After a few days and with Ben’s help I was able to get my money back. I’m on the hunt for a new host and decided to see what I could find on Site5 again, but I see many complaints from people about their service and support.

    It seems tiny sites have no problem, but people with any basic traffic or using a CMS with many files such as Joomla or WP are getting the shaft.

    What ever happened to solid web hosting and top notch customer service? HostGator had it all till they sold out to a conglomerate who has flushed everything down the toilet.

    1. Hi Kray,

      I’m not using Site5 for this website at the present time. That might change in the future though.

      I actually ran a few WordPress sites and a WordPress Multisite installation when I was with Site5 in addition to a MyBB forum. What issues were you having besides Site5 support being difficult Kray?

      Honestly I’m having LOT of issues right now with Hostgator. They are definitely not as good since the Endurance International Group (EIG) buyout. Slow websites, server errors, support is bad, long wait times and email responses, etc.

      http://adamyamada.com/hostgator-parks-domain-names-make-money-off-websites/
      http://adamyamada.com/hostgator-down-along-with-other-eig-hosts-causes-web-hysteria/

      I feel HostGator isn’t regulating some of the other sites that use a lot of resources on shared servers enough. I guess that’s good if your website is using a lot resources and is getting a lot of traffic. They used to be a great web host.

      Ben, Site5’s CEO, is a pretty straight shooter. I was going to use Site5 cloud hosting for a web project recently and he told me it was more for eCommerce sites. (This particular website will have an eCommerce component but we were not ready to launch it then.) Most hosting company reps won’t usually be so straight if they think a hosting plan they offer isn’t right for you, at least that has been my experience.

      You should at least feel good that Ben gave you an honest answer to what the problems were. He’s the only CEO who’s made comments on a review I’ve written on. 🙂

      Site5 does offer pro-rated refunds. A lot of web hosting companies don’t offer that. I assume you took advantage of the pro-rated policy?
      http://www.site5.com/blog/s5/new-refund-policy-changes/20130923/

      Like I said above I found Site5 support was a little too technical at times. From what I can tell they cater to web developers that build custom apps and scripts and web designers. That’s usually who recommends Site5 for web hosting and the tagline under the Site5 logo is “Built for Designers and Developers.” If I was working on some customized project I’d consider using Site5.

      Unfortunately if you go with a web hosting company that offers “Unlimited” bandwidth and space there are going to be drawbacks. They’ll limit the inodes, CPU, I/O (input, output), and few other things so it’s not like you can truly get “Unlimited” resources on a shared hosting plan. I always tell people to keep that in mind but most people will never hit shared account limits, so usually it is not an issue.

      I have not been using them for long but I’ve been happy with SiteGround. Similar interface to Site5 where you can login to your cPanel on the homepage. Although SiteGround is not quite is clean as Site5’s backend. SiteGround support has been good and we’ve been happy with speeds.

      Here is the site btw, we write daily car news stories.

      http://carnewscafe.com/

      I’ve strongly thought about buying another SiteGround hosting plan and moving this site and a few others to them. I’ve also considered a few LiteSpeed hosts and moving back to Site5.

      Glad you found my Site5 review and decided to comment but it’s unfortunate you didn’t have a positive experience. Hope you can find a web hosting company that fits your needs in the future.

      Best,
      Adam

  4. Real Research says:

    Site 5 has really fast servers. Some of the fastest that I’ve ever worked with as a web designer, and I was really excited when I began using them. However, that doesn’t make up for the copious problems in dealing with them. The company is very heavy handed and consistently interferes with the operation of peoples’ accounts. Here are the issues that drove me away from ever wanting to use them ever again, and why I tell my clients to stay away:

    – When I first signed up, I called them to tell them my usage would be higher as I was getting all my sites moved over, which requires some bandwidth. Nonetheless they sent me a punitive sounding usage warning email, threatening to suspend my account – within 48 hours of becoming a customer.
    – In that same first 48 hours, their servers were down for 36 of them.
    – They have really sensitive IP blacklisting filters. This means that your own IP address will frequently get blacklisted and you will be locked out of your accounts, and it will take 30 minutes to restore access every time this happens (4-5 times a month on average, for me.)
    – This will especially happen if you try to access your sites or your account when traveling in different states (I’m not even talking about abroad, here). Then your account will get flagged for fraudulent activity.
    – You’ll have constant password problems because Site5 requires you to have several sets of them, which you use for different applications, and which they can’t keep straight. You’ll be asked for your passwords every time you have to contact support to get your IP un-blacklisted, and they’ll tell you you don’t have the right one when you do so they don’t have to help you. They won’t even look at your emails until you email them your password. I’m pretty sure that passwords in email have been proven to be a huge problem, and most companies advise you NOT to do this (Phishing scams, anyone?)
    – They have a large support staff, who will send you lots of emails with smiley faces in them, but that means no one ever takes charge of anything and your issues will rarely be resolved, because they are always passing the buck to someone else, and the buck never lands anywhere. It will take 2 or 3 attempts with customer service each time you need something, like getting your IP address un-blacklisted.
    – God forbid you ever want to change your billing plan. I spent a month and about 10 hours with different departments trying to change my billing plan, and they made me set up a second account (rather than change my existing account) then refused to move the files between the two accounts, all while charging me for both.
    – When you quit using them, because of these issues above, and cancel your service, they will continue to bill you every month. Every month you will tell them that you cancelled the account, and every month they will continue to bill you.
    – The words “cease and desist” mean nothing to them, and they will continue to harass you.

    In short, Site5 has a huge bureaucracy that causes many problems with your account and then refuses to solve them, and even sends you condescending, pedantic sounding emails about it all, adding insult to injury. Fast servers are not worth the smiley-face condescending email and lockout nightmares you will endure.

    1. This customer has left reviews on every site they can find and unfortunately 75% of their review is entirely inaccurate.

      Just to summarize:
      – This customer went over their limits that are clearly on the account.
      – I am not sure we have ever had a server down for 36 hours, inaccurate.
      – Our IP blacklisting only blacklists if you flag a mod sec rule, that is incredibly rare and only if you appear to be attacking a site we host. It is almost impossible to do it with legitimate usage of your website.
      – We have only one set of passwords to login to your control panel, and one for our billing platform. I think the customer means our security questions, and we do use those to verify actions that will affect the account. We do that to make sure it is the account owner is the one making the request.
      – Via email, chat, or phone you can ask a manager to take a look and we have a custom support system that does everything it can to return your ticket to the same person who was working it.
      – It is incredibly easy to change the billing plan.
      – It is incredibly easy to cancel your hosting plan, one form and you are done after a security confirmation :). We don’t hold people hostage.

      Very very inaccurate review,
      Thanks, Ben

    2. So Site5 said you used excessive bandwidth because you were moving sites onto the account? How many sites and what type of bandwidth are we talking about here? What passwords did they ask for? Are you talking about FTP databased, users, WordPress, other CMS, etc. logins? For the billing plan were you trying to downgrade or upgrade a web hosting account?

      I did get shutdown once for “excessive” bandwidth usage which was a PIA and the usage wasn’t that high if I remember. Regarding billing I cancelled my Site5 account and have not had any issues with getting continually charged for services.

      Appreciate you leaving your input here about Site5 Real Research even if it is negative. Out of curiosity what web hosting company are you using now? Are you happy and satisfied with them?

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