Not too long ago, I finally finished setting up a client’s website on WebFaction. Giving myself a pat on the back as it marks the end of a tough period for me too. To turn my depression into something cheerful, I have decided to write a review on my experience with WebFaction. Glad to have taken some screenshots of the control panel before things went wrong. This review is based on a month of usage of the web host.
Domains, Applications, Websites
My first experience with using WebFaction is a pretty strange one, as after all, the common CPanel isn’t present when I logged in to their control panel site. They were using their own control panel with a unique concept. Domains, Applications, Websites.
What does this mean? Well instead of uploading your files to a certain folder such as “www” or “public_html” like most hosting, you create an app. From 1 of it’s many choices, it can be a CMS (Content Management System) or framework app such as Drupal, Django or some generic static app that simply holds your media files. Their 1 click installer handles most things for you.
After creating your apps, you can begin linking your apps to a domain. This allows lots of customizations. For example you could have the following configuration:
2 apps linked to the domain called “example.com”
The 1st app would probably be your Drupal / Django / Whatever powers your main site which starts at ‘/’ the root of your site “example.com”
The 2nd app could be a WordPress app at ‘/blog’ which is located at “example.com/blog/”.
And so on. Pretty intuitive to set up once you got the idea. Want another portion of the site to be accessible through HTTPS? Just create another site entry. Want your blog to be located at “blog.example.com”? Another entry too.
Plenty of Tools, Fantastic Support
The other thing I like about WebFaction is the amount of tools it gave you to do your job. From SSH to Python support, it is hard to find a tool it doesn’t have (Sorry ASP.net users). These were all available from their VPS to shared hosting plans for a pretty reasonable price (Lowest at $5.50 USD per month)..
However the main show stopper to me about WebFaction is their support. Other than having fantastic documentation , their customer support is awesome. Several times I have contacted them during the set up of the website and the replies are often within minutes with detailed solutions to the questions I’m asking. Which eliminate the need for me to engage in longer conversations. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Sharp, straight to the point answers and educational material for me as well.
So, is WebFaction for you? Well, that depends on your needs. If you are a developer who like to play around with many different technologies or you have very special needs such as running a Django website or using PostgreSQL as your database back-end, values great customer support and service, then WebFaction is a very suitable choice for you. However if you just want to get a hosting account to run a personal WordPress blog straight away, then I think there are sightly cheaper options elsewhere if cost is an issue for you.
Last but not least, let’s look forward to the new year.