2016 Pantheon review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Pantheon is a high-end host that only offers WordPress and Drupal hosting plans.

Pricing:

Personal: $25.00/mo WordPress and Drupal hosting.

Professional: $100.00/mo WordPress and Drupal hosting.

Business: $400.00/mo WordPress and Drupal hosting.

Ideal Customer: Pantheon is great for a development agency or multi-site company that wants an upscale and manageable solution for their hosting needs.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Agency Plans: While Pantheon only offers single site hosting for their three shared plans, you can have multiple sites on the enterprise and agency plans. The agency plans offer versatility and options that you won’t find at other hosts. Pantheon boasts the ability to develop and view multiple sites from the custom dashboard. There are tagging tools and quickly created cloud development environments to keep your crew and projects organized. You also have permission options to keep your developers access level under control. Another feature that is a favorite among agencies is that hosting sites in development are entirely free. You only pay for hosting once a site is live. All of their features allow you to spend more time on billable work hours. The company also has an entire team dedicated to migration so you can transfer all of your projects with little headache.

Multiple Site Dashboard: To assist multi-site businesses in tracking, developing and maintaining their properties Pantheon has created a dashboard that puts everything in one place. While multiple sites aren’t offered with all of the plans, they are on enterprise and agency accounts. The interface allows you to not only see all of your Drupal and WordPress sites but update existing and develop new projects as well. You can manage team access to the dashboard as well as communicate with both developers and clients. Pantheon even boasts the ability to handle thousands of websites at one time. You can also set up operating procedures for updating, developing and securing your sites to make sure your standards are always met. All of these features are meant to attract and be used by large development teams and design agencies and can save you time and money.

Launch Check: There are times when a developer finishes a site only to find that something went wrong during the launch. Mistakes happen, but if they happen on a live site that a client can visit, then you end up embarrassed. Pantheon has developed a tool to keep web designers from ever sending a client to a website that doesn’t work. Their launch check feature will run your entire project through an automated test of 50 indicators. Some of the things the program checks for includes 404 errors, caching problems, and PHP issues. This test can help you launch the site with confidence. Not only does this work for the first time your design is live, but launch check can be run every hour on the hour to let you know about issues as they occur. Once your site is live, it’s going to take some time to open a support ticket, but this feature by Pantheon allows you to prevent issues before they happen. This unique program will tell you that your site is ready for clients and traffic.

Reviews:

There are several business reviews for Pantheon, an overwhelming majority speak positively about the level of technical support and ease of use provided by the company:

“Without Pantheon, the migration process for our site would have taken two to three times longer with the previous engineering-driven systems and processes. I couldn’t imagine doing another site migration of this scale without Pantheon.”

Another review states: “Pantheon just works. It gives me all the access I need as a very technical person. But it abstracts away all the obnoxious, repetitive crap. The result has better uptime and reliability than anything I’d have built on my own.”

We could only find a handful of negative reviews for Pantheon. These users were concerned with things that are different than a typical hosting company.

This review serves as a warning: “The first thing you need to do is make sure you have backups turned on. As bizarre as it sounds, Pantheon does not back up your sites by default. We had the default configuration and after a week of development their systems crashed. We lost everything and had to start over.”

Another customer had a few bad experiences and was worried about a long term contract: “Had a lot of troubles recently and concerned about 12-month commit on enterprise plan.”

We also looked at Twitter and found more positive comments about tech support:

Here response time seems to be slow for one Twitter user:

Pros:

  • Development Options: Pantheon is a developer friendly enviroment, allowing you to manage and create multiple projects at the same time.
  • Great Caching: The company has tuned their equipment and software to offer some of the fastest caching available online.
  • Excellent Security: Pantheon has a history of preventing their servers from a hostile internet, and promise to stay “ahead of the game.”
  • Uptime Guarantee: Complete transparency with uptime is a goal of the company as well a three 9’s guarantee (99.9%).
  • Speed Ready: State of the art SSD’s, high performance PHP and an optimized database all come together to keep your site fast.
  • Energy Efficient: By using containers instead of virtual machines, Pantheon cuts down their energy usage by as much as 90%.

Cons:

  • Pricing: This isn’t the most affordable host, but they do offer more than a typical shared provider.
  • Few Multi Site Options: The only multi site plans are geared towards developers and agencies.
  • WP/Drupal Only: If you are looking for other options beside these two CMS platforms you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Summary:

If you want an easy to manage WordPress or Drupal website for your blog or business then you will benefit from the excellent options offered by Pantheon. Likewise, if you own a web development company or other online agency that has a large team, then you will find their interface and management options easy to use and very beneficial to your organization.

Although, if you want a bargain shared hosting account that can hold multiple sites at an affordable price, you will find better companies for your needs.

Takeaway: Pantheon offers a very high quality hosting solution for single site owners, as well as an incredible amount of features for web development firms and online agencies to help you manage, maintain and impress your clients. Their plans are more expensive than an average web host, but they offer a higher quality product and advanced features.

JP Smooth
 

"JP Smooth" is a tech entrepreneur and owner of too many websites lol. After using over 50 hosts in his day, he recommends this host because their hosting is faster than 99% of other hosts (and they answer support calls in under a minute).

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