ScalaHosting review: can this managed VPS replace shared hosting?
ScalaHosting is not the most famous name in the industry, but it sure puts some hosting providers to shame. It offers powerful managed VPS hosting for the price of shared hosting. Well, almost. In this Scala Hosting review, I decided to try out the service and see if it can really outperform the familiar shared hosting.
Everything sounds great in theory. After all, VPS hosting is always regarded as a high-performing and advanced option. So if you can get it for an affordable price and with a control panel that’s easy to use, why not take advantage of it?
That’s what I’m checking out today. I bought a plan and put ScalaHosting through all the standard tests; I analyzed pricing and security, checked out the ease of use, monitored speed, and tried customer support.
So is ScalaHosting really offering a standards-breaking deal, or should it keep its servers to itself?
Don’t feel pressured to read every single one of the 4000 words I wrote, here’s your chance to skip to the verdict.
|Price:||Prices start at $9.95/mo|
|Current deal:||Get ScalaHosting, now 50% OFF|
Pros and Cons of ScalaHosting
- VPS hosting is easy to use
- Customer support is knowledgeable and fast
- 100% uptime result
- Straightforward control panel is included
- Steep price increase upon renewal
- Some UX choices in interfaces could be improved
ScalaHosting has shared hosting plans starting at $3.95/mo, managed VPS priced at $9.95, and unmanaged VPS for $10/mo. In comparison, shared hosting is quite expensive, while managed VPS might just get the cheapest VPS label here.
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Managed VPS ($9.95/mo)||Great performance with the same ease of use of shared plans. Take 50% OFF now!|
|Shared hosting ($3.95/mo)||Small websites and users that need ease of use.|
|Unmanaged VPS ($10/mo)||Full server control for advanced projects.|
ScalaHosting mostly recommends using its managed VPS services. And that makes sense. Its shared hosting is quite expensive, while Managed VPS plans provide significantly more power. Plus, it’s equally easy to use, so even beginner users can take advantage of it.
I’ll be focusing on the Managed VPS option today too – it’s simply the best value for money out of all ScalaHosting services.
All of Managed VPS options come with a free domain, SSL certificates, daily backups, and a control panel (SPanel). They are also fully configurable and can be scaled from 1 CPU, 2GB RAM, and 20GB storage to 24 CUPs, 128GB RAM, and 2000GB storage. It’s available in ScalaHosting’s own New York, Dallas, and Europe data centers.
If it’s your first website or you’ve used shared hosting up until now, choose the smallest plan and upgrade when needed. Keep in mind that all these resources will be dedicated to your account, meaning better performance.
Alternatively, ScalaHosting can resell DigitalOcean instances starting at the same $9.95/mo price. It will give you the same features and extended server location choice (London, San Francisco, Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Toronto, Bangalore).
From the first look of it, the packages really seem to outperform shared hosting. But is there anything else we need to know?
Pricing need to know
After digging through the pricing section, I found out that cheap pricing is introductory and will increase later. That’s a standard procedure but nonetheless, good to know beforehand.
To get the cheapest price, pick the smallest Managed VPS hosting package Start for 1 year. It will be $9.95/mo and a total of $119.4 in advance payment. The plan renews at a $19.95/mo rate with a total payment of $239.4.Check ScalaHosting Pricing Now
While the renewal pricing kicks ScalaHosting out of the cheapest category, it’s still quite affordable considering the features offered. Moreso, as higher renewals are nothing unusual and only a few providers don’t have them.
If we’d look for similar features with other providers, this is how Scala would compare:
|Provider||Plan||Initial price||Renewal price||Extra features|
|ScalaHosting||Starter (1-year)||$9.95/mo||$19.95/mo||Domain included|
|Hostinger||VPS 1 (1-year)||$4.95/mo||$9.05/mo||No domain name, semi-managed|
|Cloudways||DigitalOcean 1 (monthly)||$10/mo||$10/mo||No domain name|
|DreamHost||VPS Basic (1-year)||$13.75/mo||$13.75/mo||No domain name|
|Liquid Web||2GB (1-year)||$35/mo||$59/mo||No domain name|
ScalaHosting hosting prices are quite average both in terms of initial and renewal rates. Nonetheless, you get more than with any other of these hosts – full server management and a domain, which increases value by quite a lot.
So let’s be realistic here.
I don’t think VPS can replace shared hosting for smaller websites just yet. Even if you need speedy performance. There are many amazing shared hosting providers capable of handling serious traffic at affordable rates.
On the other hand, if you’re hosting an online store, membership website, or commercial blog, VPS is definitely the way to go. Plus, ScalaHosting is one of the more affordable options that doesn’t require further investments and is easy to use.
All in all, ScalaHosting has quite average pricing when compared to other managed VPS providers. Higher renewal rates is definitely a drawback. Nonetheless, there’s a market for plans like this, and it is great for less technical users who need reliable performance.
Hosting management – is ScalaHosting easy to use?
ScalaHosting managed VPS plans come with a control panel, and the backend is taken care of by the provider. This means that this VPS is as easy to use as your regular shared hosting account. At the same time, Scala still has some room for improvement because not every action is 100% intuitive.
Once you create an account, you’ll get access to the main management area, where you can find all of your services and domains listed. This is also where you can contact the support and manage billing details.
The interface is quite okay, but some things are misleading. If you thought that you’d reach the control panel by clicking on that SPanel logo by the cloud VPS service – you’re wrong. It’s just a logo, nothing’s clickable.
To actually reach the control panel, you’d have to select the blue Manage button and click on Manage Service in the drop-down list.
Talking of which...
What does ScalaHosting control panel look like?
Scala Hosting uses its own designed SPanel as a hosting control panel. It is very similar to cPanel, so you won’t be lost. The login details are separate, and they are sent to your email upon purchase.
On the other hand, setting up a VPS server is a little bit different from shared hosting.
With shared hosting, you immediately get access to your hosting management area. With VPS, the first interface is actually server management.
This is where you can see the usage of the server and the possibility to restart it.
But this interface will not allow us to manage website-related stuff, such as WordPress installation. For that, you need to create an account for your website in this server management interface by clicking on Create an Account.
Here, you should enter your domain name, think of a name for the account, and assign storage and other resource limits.
By the way, this is how shared hosting works – you get an assigned piece of the server. But in this case, the whole server instance belongs to you and you are the one who's in charge of all the resources. This means that you can even start a reseller business and offer your VPS piece by piece.
In any case, to log in to a regular control panel, go to List Accounts and click on Login in the Actions drop-down list.
Finally, we reach the actual control panel for your website. This is how the SPanel interface looks:
It’s very similar to cPanel, if not on a more minimalistic look. Other than that, all management modules are the same:
- Email can help you set up a professional mailbox with your domain name and manage forwarded or autoresponders. What’s worth noting is that ScalaHosting includes SpamAssassin that works to battle spam issues.
- Databases is where you can see, create, and manage databases.
- Settings allows you to change passwords or manage other stuff related to the control panel.
- Domains will help to assign new domain names, create subdomains, and edit DNS.
- Files tab is where you can reach the file manager, backups, and FTP.
- Tools tab contains SSL manager, Softaculous installer for WordPress and other apps, as well as PHP manager.
For beginner users, the Tools tab will be the most useful one, as this is where you actually start creating your website.
So how does your website management look from the inside?
How to add an SSL with ScalaHosting?
ScalaHosting provides free SSL certificates, but you have to activate them yourself. To do that, the Tools section in cPanel has SSL Certificates installer.
Inside, you’ll see your domain listed. The installation is as easy as selecting Install free SSL from the Actions drop-down menu and confirming the choice in the pop-up.
It should not take more than a couple of minutes, and you’ll have your domain protected.
How to install and manage WordPress with ScalaHosting?
You can install WordPress in two ways with ScalaHosting; it’s possible to use the standard Softaculous installation or pick WordPress manager which is Scala’s own one-click installer.
If you pick Softaculous, it will be as standard as it gets. It’s the most common tool that takes care of installations. Plus, you’ll find not just WordPress but other content management systems here as well; think of Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, and others.
I decided to try out WordPress manager this time. The tool basically has just the installation form. Once you pick your domain, username, email, and password – it does the rest for you.
It took no more than a minute, and I was able to access the WordPress admin panel by adding /wp-admin/ at the end of my domain.
And this is one complaint about WordPress manager. After installation, it listed my website at the bottom of the same WordPress manager page. Pretty useful, you’d say. Unfortunately, this pretty little thing does not have a WP-admin login button, which is quite standard with other auto-installers. So you got to reach your panel by adding the /wp-admin/ to your domain.
At the same time, this tool can be quite useful. For example, you can turn on the security lock, which will prevent code injections and other malicious activity on your site.
Also, in the actions menu, you can clone the website and use that copy as a staging environment.
So in general, ScalaHosting control panel and management are very similar to cPanel. This means that interfaces are intuitive, and you can easily do the main hosting management tasks. The one thing that’s different from shared hosting is that you get access to the server management area where accounts and the server itself is managed.
Performance – is ScalaHosting fast?
Performance is the most crucial part of Scala Hosting review – it will show us if the provider delivers its promises in terms of speed and reliability. To figure that out, I took advantage of server monitoring, speed, and stability tests. Turns out, ScalaHosting is very reliable, speedy, and can handle a lot of traffic even on the cheapest plan.
Let’s take a detailed look into each test.
ScalaHosting uptime and response time
I've monitored ScalaHosting for more than 2 weeks now and it was up 100% of the time, showing very great reliability. Of course, expecting a provider to keep 100% uptime throughout the year or more would be unreasonable, so I'll keep you posted about the situation.
As for response time, Scala Hosting started at a very nice 300ms but climbed up immediately. The average response time settled at 443ms, which in itself is a great result. At the same time, a peak in the speed at first shows that some server-level optimizations might be lacking.
Nonetheless, the speed stabilized. Together with 0 outages, I can really praise the provider for reliability.
For ScalaHosting speed testing, I first compared how fast it loads an empty WordPress installation across different locations. With my website hosted in Europe’s data center (that was the first one available), we are seeing the fastest results when tested from here. Londoners would wait 1.1 seconds to see the biggest chunk of content (Largest Contentful Paint) loaded.
Accordingly, other locations are slower. Visitors from the US would need to wait 1.7 seconds, while visitors from India – 1.9 seconds.
What do these numbers mean?
Internet users expect websites to be fast, and that is supported by leading companies such as Google or Facebook. For example, Google considers websites that have LCP up to 2.5s as good. So ScalaHosting passes this test in all the locations. It’s not the fastest I’ve ever tested, but it is fast enough.
As for Facebook, have you noticed a warning popup that appears if try to open a page from the app? It suggests you leave the page if it's loading slowly, according to the platform. I had this warning appear in mere seconds.
Considering this, we really need to focus on speed if websites are meant for business.
And talking of business websites, I’ve installed a professional theme on the site with all demo content on it. This makes pages quite heavy.
Very naturally, Largest Conetful Paint time increased to 1.5 seconds. Which still is good.
On the other hand, Speed Visualizations shows us a bit more insight into how the website is loaded.
For example, the first checkmark, TTFB lets us know how long the server took to react, when the software asked to open the page. That’s 705ms which is quite a lot.
Meanwhile, the fully loaded time is 1.8 seconds. According to Google and Facebook benchmarks, if your site fits in 3 seconds, it’s good.
So while ScalaHosting is not the fastest provider I tested, it still is fast and manages to keep up with the standards.
ScalaHosting stress testing
An empty website might load fast, but what if 10s of people scroll through it at the same time? Each visitor needs to be “served” just like at a restaurant – they send requests (orders), and the server (the kitchen) has to prepare them. If the restaurant is overloaded, it will be slow.
To make this restaurant scenario real, I’ve sent 50 virtual users (bots) to my website. ScalaHosting passed the test quite well.
In this graph, we can see how the server speed (the blue line) acted when visitors kept piling up (the grey line).
While ScalaHosting managed to pass the test (there are no failures that would be indicated by the red line), the server did slow down. As more and more visitors piled up, the blue line kept increasing. It also jumped up and down, which tells me that the server was having quite a hard time.
So is this good, bad, or what?
Well, 50 users is a lot. And ScalaHosting handled them (minus some slowing down). I’d say this is a very good result for the cheapest plan.
So if you have a website that gets occasional increases in traffic – Scala servers will be able to handle them well.
All in all, Scala Hosting showed good performance results. It was very reliable, loaded websites quite fast, and handled a lot of traffic. This is exactly what we expect from VPS hosting. At the same time, Scala could use some performance optimizations to show even better results.
Security – is ScalaHosting secure?
ScalaHosting offers managed services which means that security is also taken care of in the backend. You get to see only a few things in action. Nonetheless, the feature set is quite extensive, covering SSL certificates, backups, and server security.
- Free SSL certificates are included, but you have to activate them yourself.
- SSHield is a security package that monitors websites and notifies if a hack occurs. According to ScalaHosting, it’s supposed to block 99.998% of attacks.
- Daily backups are performed automatically and stored on a separate server for better security. It allows you to restore files, email accounts, and databases.
- 2 full snapshots are stored as well. So it is possible to restore the whole account in a matter of minutes in case something happens, no matter how heavy your instance is.
- Dedicated IP comes as a default with every VPS server. It’s helpful as it gives you enhanced privacy and allows you to take advantage of a professional email account to the full extent. That’s because reputation is not shared among different users, so you won’t get blocked as spam.
- SpamAssassin is available from the control panel and filters emails you get to keep the mailbox free of spam. Just note that you have to turn it on yourself.
In terms of backups, SSLs, and spam protection – ScalaHosting looks very well equipped.
At the same time, SSHield is the provider’s own solution which we won’t see in action unless anything happens and we get notified. It’s also not exactly clear what kind of web attacks does it cover. Is it DDoS, malware, brute force? In any case, it is there, and considering the number of nice Scala Hosting reviews online, it’s working – no one’s complaining about poor security.
All in all, ScalaHosting is secure and covers all major areas in terms of web security. SSHield solution could be more transparent, but I won’t complain as there were no security issues for as long as I was testing the provider.
Will ScalaHosting customer support help me?
You can contact ScalaHosting support 24/7 via live chat, email, tickets, and phone. Plus, there’s a big knowledge base covering a variety of web hosting management-related topics.
To be completely honest with you, every management task I did with ScalaHosting was going entirely smoothly. I didn’t have any issues whatsoever. Which is great. But I didn’t get a chance to test the support in a real-life scenario.
So I had to think of something to see if they are actually helpful.
I decided to interview them about the SSHield security solution as I was still not sure how it works and what it protects you from.
Live chat icon is available on almost every page at the right bottom corner of your screen. The agents join in immediately, at least as far as my experience goes.
The agent was helpful and explained about the security package himself, without sending me out to some service or landing page. Which I always appreciate. Also, he shared that in the future, users will get some management options on the SSHield, which is also very nice.
I’d like to say that if you do have some questions for ScalaHosting, they are very ready to help you. I’d speculate that the same goes for actual technical issues.
Alternatively, you can browse through the knowledge base.
Because ScalaHosting uses its own control panel, it has prepared all the documentation for it. Everything is up to date, and you’ll find every topic on web hosting management covered.
All in all, ScalaHosting has all the main ways to reach customer support, all of which are available 24/7. My contacted support agents were pleasant and helpful too. Plus, for some self-help, you can refer to the knowledge base.
Scala Hosting review – the final verdict
Overall, ScalaHosting is a very simple and quite affordable managed VPS option. In fact, this Scala Hosting review went as smoothly as one could expect, with no technical difficulties whatsoever. And that’s not often the case, even with shared hosting that’s supposed to be the easiest one. So big praises for Scala in this regard.
In the table below, I’ve put the results of all of my tests:
|Feature||Great all-round hosting provider|
|Pricing||ScalaHosting offers shared and VPS services with the main one being managed VPS. It starts at $9.95/mo which is very affordable. However, the price increases after the first term.|
|Ease of Use||SPanel is a free ScalaHosting designed control panel that functions flawlessly. Some intuitiveness problems could be resolved, but they don’t make the panel less functional. Alternatively, you can pay extra to use cPanel.|
|Performance||Scala created huge hype about its performance but didn’t exactly deliver. Don’t get me wrong. It was fast, reliable, and very powerful. Well, just not that much faster than some performance-focused shared hosting providers.|
|Security||Security basics such as SSL, daily backups, and spam protection are covered. Also, you get SSHield solution on by default; it monitors incoming traffic.|
|Support||ScalaHosting functions so well that support is rarely needed but it is available 24/7 via live chat, email, tickets, and phone. The agents are also helpful and knowledgeable.|
Who do I recommend ScalaHosting to?
ScalaHosting makes its managed VPS very intuitive and easy to use. Plus, it’s affordable. This makes it great if your technical experience is limited, but you need powerful and secure servers to host your website. Online stores, commercial blogs, and businesses will take the most advantage out of these plans.
Alternatives to Scala Hosting
While ScalaHosting is a high-quality provider offering great value for money, it might not be the one for you. In that case, a couple of alternatives immediately come to my mind.
For example, consider Hostinger if your budget is tight, and give Liquid Web a look if you think that ScalaHosting is not powerful enough for your project.
Hostinger is one of the cheapest web hosting providers overall. It has both very good shared hosting ($1.39/mo) as well as affordable VPS plans ($3.95/mo). Hostinger’s VPS comes semi-managed, which means that you will get a control panel, but server management will be entirely up to you.
So if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, it’s great. And while it requires some more technical know-how, it’s still relatively easy to get a grip on.
Liquid Web is a more advanced and more powerful alternative to Scala Hosting. If you believe that Scala might not be enough for your site, Liquid Web is a logical next choice. With this one here, you can pick managed or unmanaged service with InterWorx, cPanel, or Plesk control panel.
The provider is quite easy to use if you pick managed service, but InterWorx interfaces are somewhat different from regular cPanel or even Scala’s SPanel. This means it might take some time to get used to it. Nonetheless, it packs serious power for big and popular websites and even web-based apps.
What is Scala Hosting?
ScalaHosting is a privately owned web hosting provider that focuses its services on managed VPS hosting. It seeks to make VPS available even to those people who don’t have technical experience.
Is Scala Hosting reliable?
Yes, ScalaHosting is reliable. As a company, it’s been working more than 10 and getting very good user reviews. During my tests, it was also reliable with 100%. uptime. Additionally, all interfaces function flawlessly.
Do I get cPanel with ScalaHosting?
You don’t get cPanel with ScalaHosting by default as it uses its own developed SPanel. However, if you’d like to use cPanel, it can be purchased during the checkout.