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Pantheon Review

Sunday, October 2nd

2022 Web Hosting Company Reviews

Pantheon  Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • One-click WordPress core updates
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • Included development, test, and live environment for smooth site launches
  • Most secure against website takeovers and defacements
  • Containerized to prevent problems for your site when other sites have issues
  • Fastest performance among web hosts with specially-tuned WordPress and Drupal
  • SSL included
  • CDN included
  • Varnish caching included

Pantheon is a hosting company that not a lot of people know about, but that still has a lot to contribute in the industry. Founded in 2012, Pantheon was built on the idea of reinventing, from the ground up, how websites are hosted by prioritizing performance and security. While they have certainly succeeded in making a reputation for hosting the fastest, most secure and optimized WordPress and Drupal websites, it came at the cost of higher prices and more difficulty for the average user.

Opinionated Workflow with DevOps and WebOps

Pantheon's unique approach to following an opinionated workflow for publishing a website's code, database, and content is one of its major strengths. For one, it allows developers and designers to work independently of each other, as well as independently of the marketing organization that commissions their work. In contrast, with traditional hosting, marketers have to wait until developers and designers have a "maintenance window" in which they can make changes before rolling out new content and campaigns.

With the "WebOps" and "DevOps" approach of Pantheon, however, content and design changes can happen much more quickly. While marketers update the live site content (not code) to their hearts' content, developers can write their code on a "Dev" instance of the site, deploy it to a live-like "Test" instance for testing in a real-world environment, and then deploy those changes live instantly without downtime. Dev teams can even create different versions of the website in a "Multidev" instance where multiple developers can have their own "feature branch" of the main website that later gets combined or "merged" with the "Dev" instance to all go live together.

Another huge strength of Pantheon comes from the fact that the live site's files are "locked" as read only. This means that the majority of hacking attempts that most other sites have problems with just aren't possible on Pantheon-hosted sites. For this reason alone, if you have a website that is frequently the target of content defacement attempts, you would do well to move to Pantheon. Many developers report that on Pantheon, none of their sites have ever been hacked.

Nearly Instant Page Loads

Along with the above advantages of an opinionated but flexible workflow, plus a huge investment in Varnish, the Fastly CDN, and edge caching, comes the added advantage of performance. Pantheon's speed for loading its own home page is blazing fast. In fact, at 31 milliseconds to load the first byte from the server, it's the fastest time, by far, of all the hosting companies we reviewed. In practice, it is very possible for any website, even on the Basic plan, to get the same speed for the first byte if they follow Pantheon's configuration and coding instructions closely.

A Weakness That Can Also Be a Strength

That brings us to the Achilles Heel of Pantheon. With the great power of the locked-down and optimized WordPress environment comes the trade-off of many WordPress plugins and themes not being able to operate with their default assumptions about WordPress. But even this is a core strength from the perspective that those assumptions are often indicators that the plugins and themes themselves are not secure or stable according to best practices. There are workarounds for the vast majority of popular plugins that make them work on the platform. Pantheon can still be a winning proposition here if your team understands the tradeoffs and benefits and is willing to learn about and accommodate them.

If the Pantheon workflow and constraints sound confusing compared to the relatively simple WordPress world you're used to, that's understandable. But it's not meant to be. It's meant to provide a ton of flexibility and agility of content publishing to any organization that has a lot of work going on with their website at once.

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Pantheon hosting costs

Pantheon offers the following web hosting plans:

  • Basic plan
    • $50 per month paid monthly
    • $41 per month paid annually
  • Performance plan
    • $175 - $1,000 per month paid monthly
    • $160 - $916 per month paid annually
  • Preferred Pricing Basic Plan (when using a Partner Agency as a support organization)
    • $35 per month paid monthly
    • $29 per month paid annually
  • Preferred Pricing Performance plan
    • $125 - $750 per month paid monthly
    • $114 - $687 per month paid annually
  • Elite tier pricing is obtained by contacting Pantheon

Let's Talk About Price

If you noticed, like we did, that Pantheon's pricing puts it into a league of its own compared to competitors, you are correct. They've invested a lot of time, tools, hardware, development, and money to achieve the high availability and strong security and performance that is their core offering.

The list price for the Basic plan is $41 per month paid annually or $50 per month paid monthly. With that, and other higher plans, you get free SSL, free heightened security for WordPress or Drupal, a free Fastly CDN, Varnish caching, and plenty of space for your site's media files. Performance plans are $160-$916 per month paid annually or $175-$1000 per month paid monthly.

If you sign up through a Pantheon Partner Agency, the price comes down to $29 per month paid annually or $35 per month paid monthly for Basic and $114-$687 per month paid annually or $125-$750 per month paid monthly.

What the Users Say

Reviews from users who love Pantheon laud its opinionated and powerful workflow, the ease-of-use of the hosting dashboard interface, the emphasis on security and performance, the extras like the built-in CDN and advanced caching, and the helpfulness of the support team. Reviewers who don't like Pantheon complain about the price and that the workflow is too complicated or rigid and out of the norm for most WordPress and Drupal users. They also don't like the fact that they have to do workarounds for some common themes and plugins that need write access to the file system. Others state that they have had problems working with the customer support team.

Not Ideal for Beginners But Amazing Otherwise

If you're looking for a fast and secure WordPress or Drupal hosting system that lets your development, design, and marketing teams produce content faster and more efficiently, Pantheon is a sure bet. Just know that it is not traditional hosting, is more expensive, and has a steep learning curve to invest in at the outset. If Pantheon had a better balance of those factors for beginners, we would have given it a higher rating.

Which Web Hosting Service is the Best?

Having a website is a necessity for anyone who wants to communicate with a regional, national, or global audience. Whether it's a website for brand awareness, eCommerce, media, services, writing, or a hobby, every site needs to be hosted somewhere. Since the web began, thousands of hosting companies have arisen, flourished, and disappeared. How do you know which companies available today will be around as long as you plan to have your website online? And, how do you know what features to look for?

For starters, be aware of your budget and what hosting companies charge. Don't be lured in by apparently low-priced plans without first reading the fine print. Many companies attract website owners with seemingly impossibly low fees only to jack up the rate at the time the hosting plan is renewed. Some offer a single rate regardless of the billing period. Others offer discounts based on whether you pay monthly, yearly or multiple years in advance. Yet others offer more advanced capabilities depending on the size and needs of your website and audience.

The Best Web Hosting Companies Compare Web Hosting Companies Compare Web Hosting Company Reviews What are the best Web Hosting Companies Best Web Hosting Company Reviews

Web Hosting Company FAQ

Web hosting is a service that provides a computer (called a server) that delivers web page content to your website visitors. Rather than learning how to build and connect your own server to the Internet, web hosting companies provide all of these services for a fee so you can just focus on your website.
Web hosting can be very inexpensive if your needs are basic. But there is also a trade-off of lesser quality availability, security, and performance with lower-cost hosting. It is highly recommended that you prioritize your web hosting budget to balance obtaining the highest quality for a reasonable price. As your website's traffic grows, you'll be happier if you purchased hosting that can grow with it.
All reputable web hosting companies provide some kind of money-back guarantee. Avoid those companies that do not allow you to back out of a plan without penalty if it doesn't initially meet your needs. Choose a company that provides a guarantee that you will love their hosting or they'll refund at least your first payment.
Most web hosts do not require that you sign a contract for their services. Rather, they provide monthly pricing plans or yearly pricing plans that discount the monthly service cost if you pay for a year of hosting up front. It is not advisable to sign a contract or purchase a hosting plan for more than a year of service. Your needs, and the quality of the web host, could change in that time - leaving you out of pocket for the difference if you have to move to another web hosting provider.
Having good web hosting will enable you to get the most out of your website. A fast website is typically hosted on a fast server. Fast websites get and keep more visitors than slow websites. Additionally, the more secure your web hosting company is, the more secure your website will be from the attacks of hackers. And, you'll want a web host that will provide the best features, even if it costs more than some of the cheaper competitors.
Some key features to look for in a web host include:
  • Fast Time to First Byte (the time it takes for the web server to deliver the first byte of data in a request)
  • Free SSL certificates that automatically renew
  • Focus on security and performance so that an attack or spike in traffic on another unrelated site on the same server will not adversely affect your site
  • Included Content Delivery Network (CDN) to duplicate your content closer to the geographical location of your visitors for faster content delivery
  • High availability (typically 99.99% uptime) so that you have as little downtime as possible
  • Backup and restore capabilities, preferably included at no additional cost
  • Maintenance package if your site uses a content management service like WordPress
  • Easy access to support via chat, email, and phone in case of problems or questions
It doesn't matter where your domain is registered, so choosing a hosting provider that doesn't provide domain registration is not a problem. You can always select a different domain registrar service and simply point it to your hosting provider's name servers. Sometimes this is a better option in case your hosting provider decides to cancel your account for any reason. If they do, your domain name will not be jeopardized.
In general you can get some value from most hosting providers. However, there is a practice of very large holding companies buying up popular hosting providers and consolidating their services under one "roof" . Users of these consolidated companies often complain about poor customer service and very low performance and security. Seek out reviews for each company you're considering and ensure that they are not part of a larger consolidation.
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Continued from above...

When considering features, make a list of what you really need, what would be good to have, and what isn't very necessary. For example, do you need a plethora of themes to choose from in a do-it-yourself direction, or would you rather have a web designer create a custom design for you? Do you need a high-availability, supercharged dedicated server or just a bit of space on a shared server? Do you plan to develop your own code or do you need a professional developer for that? If you don't have a domain, will the host sell you one? If you do have a domain, how hard is it for the host to transfer it and also migrate your existing site? If you need email, eCommerce, advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO), be sure to list those as well.

Something people almost never think about is security and performance. Most like to assume that all hosts are secure and provide fast page load speeds. But that isn't always the case! This is especially a problem when a host charges very low prices for marginally capable plans. Those services are not likely to be secure or fast. Beware of shared hosting, which means your site is among hundreds or even thousands of others housed on the same server. In a shared server, when someone else's site is compromised or has a problem, it puts your site at risk.

Finally, look at a hosting company's reputation. This is not just about how many years they have in business. It's a combination of longevity, how they treat customers, how many complaints are logged, and how many of those complaints are directly answered by a representative of the company. Ask other website owners, web designers, and developers if they like or dislike a hosting company you're considering. Most of them will be able to share good and bad stories about any hosting company.

When evaluating your list and narrowing down your choices, consider these factors:

  • Features. Which features does the web host offer and do you need all the features or just some of them?
  • Cost. How are the hosting costs structured? Will there be monthly subscription cost hikes after a certain period of time?
  • Reputation. What are people saying about the web host online? Is the web host going to shut down or change names soon, and are they engaging in shady practices that can hurt your brand?
  • Security. How many security incidents has the web hosting company experienced? Are there widespread complaints of site outages? If so, how quickly and to what extent were those issues addressed?
  • Performance. Are websites generally faster or slower on one web hosting service compared to its competitors? Does the web host offer plans that handle increasing numbers of visitors or sudden traffic spikes with more ease?
  • Customer Service. If you experience problems with your website, what are the contact options for getting support, and how responsive are they? Are support representatives courteous and helpful, or are they rude and condescending? How long does it take to fix problems?

TopConsumerReviews.com has created a list of the most popular or prominent website hosting providers to guide you in your research. We hope this information makes it easier for you to choose the best web host for your business that will make your website engaging, performant, affordable, and secure.

Compare Web Hosting Companies

Select any 2 Web Hosting Companies to compare them head to head

  • ScalaHosting
  • A2 Hosting
  • Liquid Web
  • DreamHost
  • Host Papa
  • GoDaddy
  • Pantheon
  • Hostinger
  • One
  • Host Gator
  • Bluehost
  • iPage
  • Interserver
  • Network Solutions
ScalaHosting vs A2 Hosting ScalaHosting vs Liquid Web ScalaHosting vs DreamHost ScalaHosting vs Host Papa ScalaHosting vs GoDaddy ScalaHosting vs Pantheon ScalaHosting vs Hostinger ScalaHosting vs One ScalaHosting vs Host Gator ScalaHosting vs Bluehost ScalaHosting vs iPage ScalaHosting vs Interserver ScalaHosting vs Network Solutions A2 Hosting vs Liquid Web A2 Hosting vs DreamHost A2 Hosting vs Host Papa A2 Hosting vs GoDaddy A2 Hosting vs Pantheon A2 Hosting vs Hostinger A2 Hosting vs One A2 Hosting vs Host Gator A2 Hosting vs Bluehost A2 Hosting vs iPage A2 Hosting vs Interserver A2 Hosting vs Network Solutions Liquid Web vs DreamHost Liquid Web vs Host Papa Liquid Web vs GoDaddy Liquid Web vs Pantheon Liquid Web vs Hostinger Liquid Web vs One Liquid Web vs Host Gator Liquid Web vs Bluehost Liquid Web vs iPage Liquid Web vs Interserver Liquid Web vs Network Solutions DreamHost vs Host Papa DreamHost vs GoDaddy DreamHost vs Pantheon DreamHost vs Hostinger DreamHost vs One DreamHost vs Host Gator DreamHost vs Bluehost DreamHost vs iPage DreamHost vs Interserver DreamHost vs Network Solutions Host Papa vs GoDaddy Host Papa vs Pantheon Host Papa vs Hostinger Host Papa vs One Host Papa vs Host Gator Host Papa vs Bluehost Host Papa vs iPage Host Papa vs Interserver Host Papa vs Network Solutions GoDaddy vs Pantheon GoDaddy vs Hostinger GoDaddy vs One GoDaddy vs Host Gator GoDaddy vs Bluehost GoDaddy vs iPage GoDaddy vs Interserver GoDaddy vs Network Solutions Pantheon vs Hostinger Pantheon vs One Pantheon vs Host Gator Pantheon vs Bluehost Pantheon vs iPage Pantheon vs Interserver Pantheon vs Network Solutions Hostinger vs One Hostinger vs Host Gator Hostinger vs Bluehost Hostinger vs iPage Hostinger vs Interserver Hostinger vs Network Solutions One vs Host Gator One vs Bluehost One vs iPage One vs Interserver One vs Network Solutions Host Gator vs Bluehost Host Gator vs iPage Host Gator vs Interserver Host Gator vs Network Solutions Bluehost vs iPage Bluehost vs Interserver Bluehost vs Network Solutions iPage vs Interserver iPage vs Network Solutions Interserver vs Network Solutions
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