In this blog post, I’ll be reviewing Rocket.net hosting. I went with them after trying WPX Hosting and Cloudways.
Rocket.net is the only all-in-one WordPress platform delivered by Cloudflare Enterprise that’s optimized and delivered as fast as possible.
I’m going to be honest with you, I was a bit hesitant when I first heard about Rocket.net. It sounded too good to be true! But after reading the reviews and articles on their site, I decided to give it a try for my own blog.
After using Rocket.net for over 5 months now, I think this is the right time for me to review this hosting platform.
I was initially using WPX hosting(review).
While the frontend performance was good (due to heavy caching), the backend performance sucked big time.
This is because they offer a meager RAM of 128MB or 256MB depending upon your plan.
So, if you are having non-cacheable dynamic content plugins like WooCommerce, forum, and even if you have a lot of team members working on the backend of your site, the RAM will be a bottleneck.
Added to this, although they had their own WPX CDN, there was no consistent TTFB across multiple geographic locations.
In order to solve these issues (especially the poor backend performance), I was intrigued to try Cloudways with Vultr High-Frequency servers. But the support with Cloudways was terrible. It forced me to revert back to WPX Hosting.
Later, I came across Rocket.net in a Facebook group, and decided to research it.
It was a hard decision for me to consider Rocket.net as it’s a quite new hosting provider.
But upon researching about their company further and researching about the founder Ben Gabler, I realized he has a really solid background when it comes to hosting and CDNs.
The founder has an excellent track-record of being a COO at HostGator, President at HostNine, Senior Product Manager at GoDaddy, Chief Product Manager at StackPath (MaxCDN), etc.
Also upon watching his interviews, he also seemed to be tired of old-school hosting services and also has solid experience when it comes to boosting website performance.
I asked the team to clone all my websites from WPX Hosting to Rocket.net, and serve them over their own temporary staging URLs for me to keep a close eye on the performance for a couple of weeks before pulling the final trigger.
Impressed by their performance, I finally asked them to migrate my sites completely and change the nameservers.
I personally think Rocket.net has a really bright future if marketed well.
Because, according to my research this is the only all-in-one hosting solution that’s geared towards high performance WordPress experience.
Most of the hosts, boost the frontend of your website with heavy caching. But when it comes to backend performance, the speed sucks.
- It comes with really good user management features. You can add a new user and assign them with different permissions. This can be really helpful to grant client area access.
- Your WordPress websites will be optimized and delivered by Cloudflare Enterprise, so you know it’s fast and secure. Every installation is as good as possible.
- It comes with really good security features like WAF, malware scanning, and also automated backups.
- There is always live chat support available for any questions you might have about your account or website hosting needs – this is very useful.
- Offers developer-centric features like SSH access, keys, cron jobs, etc.
- Offers one-click WordPress login, plugin, and theme auto updation helping you manage client accounts with ease.
- Offers consistent TTFB across multiple locations.
- Rocket.net doesn’t come with email hosting. You may need to make use of Google Workspace.
- Some people may feel that the storage is too small, at only 20 GB with their tier 2 plan.
Their user interface is really minimal and intuitive.
After the first login, you become well acquainted with all the features it offers.
They have one click WordPress login similar to the likes of Bluehost. If you are an agency owner or freelancer, you can login to all the WordPress sites you host with ease.
When you click on “Manage website”, you’ll be able to access a lot of features like plugins, themes, backups, reporting, advanced (like SSH access, database management, auto-update plugins, and themes, cronjobs, etc).
The features are carefully crafted keeping ease of management for agencies and also individuals with multiple sites in mind.
Performance and speed
Their servers are highly optimized for WordPress speed and performance. Your website will certainly load faster for all users regardless of their geographic location.
It offers great TTFB across various geographic locations.
For example, on the left you can see my site’s TTFB across multiple locations when hosted on WPX vs Rocket.net (on the right).
You can see it for some locations like Singapore, Sydney, etc. WPX servers took almost 1 sec to even respond with the first byte.
On the other hand, with Rocket.net it’s all-green. These results can be attributed to the power of CloudFlare Enterprise.
With high TTFB, your servers will be a bottleneck for higher pagespeeds and SEO.
Rocket.net also offers CDN (Cloudflare) which helps in improving page-load times and speeds up all assets such as JS, images, CSS, and all other assets.
Here are some features that are really impressive:
- Google Font Optimization: If you’ve ever geeked out on how to use Google fonts most efficiently, then you know that they can sometimes take a long time before loading. Rocket.net has come up with an optimization technique where it automatically loads the font file on their CDN servers and caches them for about 36 hours so that all your pages load quickly without any waiting on fonts from Google’s server.
- Brotli Compression: Rocket.net uses Brotli compression on all the content it serves, which is a new algorithm that Google launched in September 2015 for its Chrome browser and servers. This results in better page load times as well as faster loading of your assets such as JS, CSS, images, etc.
- WAF (web application firewall) Protection: WAF comes as part of the package, protecting all your WordPress websites from hackers and bots.
- Automatic Webp Conversion: It also comes with an image optimization feature that converts all your images to the webp format. It carries the best of both worlds – JPG and PNG.
- CDN (content delivery network) Integration: Rocket.net includes integration with Cloudflare Enterprise, which is a Content Distribution Network provider that boosts the performance and security of our WordPress site by caching content at their servers around the world.
Now my website loads faster than ever before!
You can compare how my site loaded on WPX vs Rocket.net in the below screenshots.
I had the exact site cloned to Rocket.net with CDNs and WordPress caching plugins turned on both the sites.
These are the performance screenshots after the final move.
The high performance of Rocket.net is mainly due to it’s usage of Cloudflare CDN. And also the fact that they are using bare metal servers, running NGINX, sitting inside Edge Data Centers, about 100 feet from CloudFlare Infrastructure seems to be making a real difference.
Many people only discuss frontend speed. But backend speed also matters a lot for your personal and team’s productivity.
When it comes to backend performance, the RAM your hosting provider offers can be really important. They don’t cap RAM for each plan, the users can use 1GB in the php memory_limit.
Added to these they use Argo smart routing so that requests in WP admin are routed up to 50% faster to them than normal.
And you may be also curious about PHP workers they assign.
They aren’t currently limited by PHP workers as they don’t use php-fpm. They run PHP with the lightspeed API. Their Cloudflare CDN handles 95-98% of the traffic so PHP is not a bottleneck on their platform.
For security-related tasks like Bruteforce protection, firewall protection, etc, you don’t need any extra plugins.
If you’re familiar with WordPress plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, and WP Security Audit Log – then Rocket.net has almost all of these features built-in with automatic updates for your WordPress installation to keep it up-to-date.
Added to this, unlike these plugins (especially Wordfence) these features won’t slow down your site.
Some security features here are:
- OWASP Top 10 Protection: protects against common vulnerabilities
- Brute Force Protection with WAF: protects your site from being attacked by hackers
- SQL Injection Prevention: It prevents script-kiddies from exploiting your site
- Firewall Protection: prevents hackers from accessing data on your server
- Block Hackers With a WAF: will protect against DDOS attacks and brute force hacking attempts
Rocket.net uses a malware protection service that shields your WordPress website from malicious code in real-time. This includes HTTP requests and FTP uploads.
When it comes to backups, it also offers automatic daily off-site backups to keep your data safe. Added to this, you can also take on-demand backups.
This is quite impressive, and helps you save money on using services like Sucuri.
Your first integration with the support will be during website migration. You can contact the Rocket.net support and they will perform the website migration and will share a temporary Rocket URL which you can use to test the speed and performance based on your website’s content and then decide for yourself.
They offer 24×7 support. But, for my IST time zone – support seems to be offline sometimes.
But nevertheless, you can raise a support ticket and get it resolved within 2-7 hours. At least that’s what I experienced.
As of now the founders are handling the support. You can expect exceptional technical support now. They plan to do this for the first 1000 customers they get.
They have four plans: Starter, Pro, Business, and Agency plan.
Most of you can go with a Pro plan that comes with support of upto 3 WordPress sites.
It’s not a cheap hosting provider. But for the features all these plans come bundled with, and the number of tools and plugins it replaces, it’s a no-brainer.
You’re getting access to the power of Cloudflare Enterprise at a fraction of the price, mind you.
I was always waiting for performance focused WordPress hosting that is better than WPX when it comes to backend performance and pagespeed.
It’s not only about performance.
This platform has built-in features that eliminate your need for otherwise paid versions of WordPress plugins. Security, malware scanning, image optimization, CDN, and JS content loaders can all be removed, as they are features built into your new platform.
It helps you run your site leaner, and again adds up to the speed of your site.
It is an all-in-one solution that’s especially focused on high performance on a WordPress site.