Lightning Base Review: Managed WordPress Hosting

Lightning Base Review: Managed WordPress Hosting

If you’re looking for the best managed WordPress hosting provider then you’ve come to the right place.

Since Day one, back on March 26th, 2016, the day I signed up for Lightning Base, I knew that it was going to be the place I call home for News47ell.

As I begin this Lightning Base Review, I’m going to say it now: Sign up. If you are looking for the most secure, fastest and the best managed WordPress hosting provider, look no more, because Lightning Base is all of this and much more.

Keep reading my Lightning Base review to get an in-depth look at Lightning Base and it’s exclusive features that make it one of the best managed WordPress hosting providers out there.

Lightning Base review

Choosing a hosting provider for your WordPress site is like choosing a house for you and your family. It needs to be:

  • Secure & Private: You don’t want anyone to be able to access your home.
  • Great environment: You want your family to live in a great neighborhood.
  • Built by professionals: You don’t want the house to collapse.
  • Upgradeable: An unplanned baby? No problem, build an extra room.
  • 24/7 support: When something breaks inevitably, there should be a team of experts who are ready with a fix.

All managed WordPress hosting providers promise to offer the features above, but not all follow on their promises. Many fall short on the environment for example by using old architecture, some fall short on support, some on security and privacy which is really scary since you’re trusting them with your hard work. It’s unacceptable.

Lightning Base, on the other hand, follows up on everything I mentioned above. Making News47ell, more secure, with a lightning-fast loading time and a 99.9% uptime. It’s unlike anything else I have ever seen before in my life.

Why I moved to a new host

Before Lightning Base, I migrated from one host to another and finally, I settled on one that I thought was reliable. I was completely wrong.

News47ell.com started to flatline multiple times a day. I did my best trying to figure out what the hell was causing this issue but I had no luck. And, with no fix on the horizon even after I contacted their support team, I decided it was time to take News47ell somewhere else.

News47ell Pingdom CW Uptime
Yes! The red highligh on line 1 is an 8 hours and 40 minutes downtime!

I wanted to host News47ell with a top-notch managed WordPress hosting provider where I don’t even need to contact the support team in case of an emergency because there will be no case of emergencies. A host of servers that are already configured properly and maintained by professionals, where I won’t face any major issues randomly during the day that takes News47ell offline multiple times a day.

I wanted a managed WordPress hosting provider that I could watch News47ell grow old with and offer a few specific things:

  • PHP 7
  • Staging Environment
  • Let’s Encrypt
  • Options to scale
  • Reasonable prices

After a few days of research, I came across Lightning Base and I decided to send the support team an email to see if they offer the things I listed above.

When I got a reply from Lightning Base, I was surprised to see that the person who replied to me was Chris Piepho, the Founder of Lightning Base.

We sent emails back and forth for a week, I asked him about every tiny detail I could think of before signing up. He was very detail oriented in his replies, answering every question I had with as much information as possible. Towards the end, he assured me I would find everything I was looking for AND much more with Lightning Base.

And so, on March 26th, 2016, at 8:43 PM, I signed up for Lightning Base and with that, News47ell started a new chapter and a new journey with a new host. It actually feels more like a home now.

Make sure to read my announcement article which I published when I moved my site to Lightning Base.

The 3 Promises:

Lightning Base describes themselves as a Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress hosting provider. After hosting my site with them for nearly 2 years (1 Year, 11 Months) I can say Lightning Base kept their word and delivered.

So let’s get technical and dive in deeper in my Lightning Base review to see how Lightning Base delivers on being a fast, secure and managed WordPress hosting provider with all the features it has to offer.

Fast WordPress Hosting:

The reason why Lightning Base is a Fast WordPress hosting provider comes from the fact that Lightning Base doesn’t use NGINX, Apache, Lighttpd, Facebook HHMV or Microsoft IIS. Instead, it uses LiteSpeed.

To be more specific, LiteSpeed Enterprise, an Apache compatible, proprietary web server and a server-level caching software, developed and maintained by LiteSpeed Technologies.

w3techs web server stats 29 may 18

LiteSpeed Web Server is the 4th most popular web server with a market share of 3.3%. It includes the following features:

  • HTTP/2: LiteSpeed is the first commercial server to offer full HTTP/2 support. HTTP/2 features include binary protocol, fully multiplexed and header compression.
  • Gzip compression: Save bandwidth by compressing the files sent to the client.
  • Apache Compatibility: LiteSpeed Web Server has been designed to run off Apache’s httpd.conf and .htaccess files.
  • Apache modules: LiteSpeed Web Server is compatible with Apache core modules like mod_rewrite, mod_security, mod_include, and mod_cache.
  • .Htaccess caching: LiteSpeed Web Server uses .htaccess caching to make use of .htaccess files without the performance hit.
  • And many, many more features…

Along with that, Lightning Base servers use 100% SSD based storage. Arranged in a Raid 10 configuration. These SSDs provide redundancy, speed and combining them with Cloudflare CDN makes for the absolute fastest access times.

Secure WordPress Hosting

According to Lightning Base:

Our servers are protected by a comprehensive, dynamic firewall, followed by a web app firewall configured to prevent malicious code.

Lightning Base isolates filesystem for each and every user and uses a set of security features that come packed with LiteSpeed. For example:

  • Anti-DDoS connection
  • Per-IP Throttling
  • Anti SSL BEAST
  • SSL Renegotiation Protection
  • Strict HTTP request validation
  • Mod_security
  • And much more…

If all of this isn’t enough, you can always let your traffic go through Cloudflare and use the infamous Wordfence Security WordPress plugin. And always use a complex, long password and keep it safe using 1Password.

For more info on how to keep intruders away from your site, read my tutorial: How to Protect WordPress Login Page.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Imagine this scenario: You’re busy at work and you get a phone call that a water pipe broke and water is spewing everywhere in your house. What would you do?

  1. Call a technician to fix it?
  2. Take time off of work, go home and try to fix it yourself? Keep in mind that you don’t know anything about fixing water pipes.

I would go with option A. Let professionals do their job.

That’s what managed WordPress hosting is all about. Letting the server administrator fix any issue the server might have, keep it fast, secure and up and running. While you focus on creating a beautiful, read-worthy content.

Throughout my time with Lightning Base, I never had to deal with any issue. It’s all managed by Chris.

Lightning Base Features

The architecture of LiteSpeed

LiteSpeed

As I mentioned above, Lightning Base isn’t your typical managed WordPress hosting provider. It uses LiteSpeed web servers. Which is capable of handling thousands of concurrent clients with minimal memory consumption and CPU usage.

Each Lightning Base site comes pre-installed with LiteSpeed cache WordPress plugin.

This plugin is loaded with dozens of features that take your WordPress site speed to the next level.

Such as:

  • OPcode – Object Cache (Memcached/LSMCD/Redis)
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Combine and load CSS/JS Asynchronously
  • Browser Cache Support
  • Smart preload crawler with support for SEO-friendly sitemap
  • Database Cleaner and Optimizer
  • HTTP/2 Push for CSS/JS (on web servers that support it)
  • DNS Prefetch
  • Cloudflare API
  • WebP image format support
  • Heartbeat control

The features of this awesome plugin don’t end here. There is a set of features that are exclusive to hosts that are LiteSpeed-powered, like Lightning Base, and those features include:

  • Automatic page caching to greatly improve site performance
  • Automatic purge of related pages based on certain events
  • Private cache for logged-in users
  • Caching of WordPress REST API calls
  • Ability to schedule purge for specified URLs
  • WooCommerce and bbPress support
  • WordPress CLI commands
  • HTTP/2 & QUIC support (QUIC not available in OpenLiteSpeed)
  • ESI (Edge Side Includes) support.

For a full list of all exclusive and non-exclusive features, check the plugin in the WordPress directory.

As for the architecture behind Lightning Base, each and every server uses the following software:

  • CentOS
  • LiteSpeed
  • PHP 7.2: You can switch between PHP 5.6, 7, 7.1, and 7.2 in cPanel
  • MariaDB: Community developed, free fork and drop-in replacement of MySQL
  • Let’s Encrypt

These work together to increase the performance and speed of your site to a whole new level.

As well as making it more secure and reliable, while maintaining very similar features that everyone knows and loves. Thanks to its compatibility with Apache, its ability to read and run off Apache’s httpd.conf and .htaccess files with no configuration required.

Servers locations

When signing up, you get to choose the location of your server between 3 options: US Central – Australia Melbourne – Netherlands Amsterdam.

  • Chi252
  • Chi351
  • Chi352
  • Chi353
  • Chi354
  • Chi355
  • Chi356
  • Iwa251
  • Ams251
  • Ams252
  • Mel251

Both the Chicago and Amsterdam servers are powered by SingleHop, a leading global provider of hosted IT infrastructure and cloud computing that brings enterprise-class technologies to deliver a customized cloud infrastructure experience for enterprises of all sizes.

As for Melbourne, that server is powered by IBM Softlayer. Now known as IBM Cloud. A global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale with a modular architecture that provides unparalleled performance, control and a global network for secure, low-latency communications.

Each one of these servers is placed strategically and optimized in a way to deliver your content anywhere around the world in a lightning fast, reliable and secure way with the absolute minimum waiting time and minimum to no downtime.

Lightning Base Dashboard

Lightning Base dashboard

Lightning Base has a pretty clean, straightforward and easy to understand dashboard which contains everything you need to manage your account.

  • Active Products/Service: Easily manage your site(s) from here, access cPanel and upgrade your server and your email, or the email’s cPanel to manage spam filter and email forwarding.
  • Support Tickets: Have a quick access to past and current tickets and open new ones right there from your dashboard.
  • Domains: Transfer and Purchase domains with any .TLD .gTLD .cctld etc.

Clicking on your site in the product and service widget, it will reveal extra info about it, such as:

  • Disk / Bandwidth usage
  • Quick access to cPanel
  • Few cPanel shortcuts
  • Extra info about your site

News47ell dashboard Lightning Base

CDN

Cloudflare logo

Lightning Base takes advantage of the amazing Cloudflare CDN which makes your site load even faster anywhere around the world. As well as adding an extra layer of security and give you a set of tools that will optimize and speed up your site.

News47ell currently runs on Cloudflare. It supports both HTTP2 and Railgun, and best of all, it’s free. But if you want to pay CDN, check out KeyCDN or BunnyCDN.

Uptime

This was my main frustration with my previous host, a daily downtime of about 30 minutes with no solution in sight.

With Lightning Base, things are again very different, with an uptime of 99.9% on both Pingdom and Uptime Robot.

You can check out our public status page.

Email

With each Lightning Base account, you will get 5 email addresses, 5 GB of storage and unlimited forwarders. It’s great, free and easy to set up. You can either go with the RoundCube web client or set up apps like Mail, Spark or Thunderbird.

Free SSL

Let's Encrypt logo

Nowadays everybody knows about Let’s Encrypt. The free, easy to deploy SSL certificate. Lightning Base offers an easy solution to deploy your SSL certificate onto your site through cPanel.

Have your own certificate? No problem! Lightning Base also offers the option to bring your own certificate and deploy it, free of charge.

Staging environment

Lightning Base does offer a staging environment. It’s a part of the cPanel software ecosystem and it works really well.

You can easily clone your production site with one click, do all the changes and development that you want. And once you’re ready, one-click is all that separates you from pushing the staging environment back to the production site.

Backups

When something is important to you, back it up, not just once, but multiple times and put the backup in multiple places. Online and offline.

That’s what Lightning Base does with their customer’s data. They perform a daily backup of all the data they have and then they copy these backups to an off-site location in case of a disaster.

Full backups are performed weekly and a database backup is performed daily. You can increase the frequency of the backups but note that it will take more of your plans bandwidth.

If you have your own storage, you can send these backups to yourself.

Customer Support

Support at Lightning Base is something out of this world. Not all managed WordPress hosting providers have a great customer support like the one provided by Lightning Base.

So why is it so good?

  1. Most of the time when I contacted the support, it was Chris who replied to me. He’s the only one who knows exactly how his hosting environment runs.
  2. When someone else replies, your ticket won’t travel between multiple support agents until it gets fixed. Only one is assigned to it and only that agent will reply to you. That’s good because then you wouldn’t have to re-explain your issue to every new agent that replies to a single ticket.
  3. You will wait only a short amount of time before you get a reply from/to your tickets. It will be as detailed as you like which helps you understand exactly what caused this, how it was solved, and how to prevent it from happening again.

Isn’t that enough?

I think it is. Seeing that Chris handles most of the support tickets by himself, this helps create a great relationship between the customer and the founder. This isn’t easy to have with other managed WordPress hosting providers. This was one of the main reasons in the first place why I started writing my Lightning Base review.

Affiliate Program

This is pretty straightforward, like many affiliate programs out there. You will get a special link. Once someone visits this link, a cookie will be placed on the visitor’s computer and it will stay active for 90 days.

Once the visitor signs up, you will get 20% of the hosting plan revenue. When your account reaches $100, you can have the balance paid via Paypal.

Pricing:

Lightning Base pricing table

Lightning Base offers a wide range of plans for everyone. Whether it’s your personal or business site. This fast and reliable Managed WordPress Hosting provider offers very generous plans to meet your demand.

Starting at $9.95/mo, this personal plan will get you 1 WordPress with 10,000 Monthly Pageviews, 1GB SSD Storage, and 10GB bandwidth.

Prices go up all the way up to $99.95/mo which allows up to 25 WordPress sites with 140,000 Monthly Pageviews, 14GB SSD Storage, and 140GB bandwidth.

All plans come with 24/7 support, backup, PHP 7 and Let’s Encrypt.

Let’s take News47ell for a spin

I did a few tests on News47ell because I wanted my Lightning Base review to contain test results taken from a live site, rather than a demo site. Because let’s face it, you want to host a real site, with millions of visitors. Not a dummy site.

After conducting multiple tests, News47ell got an impressive score on all the tests.

Bitcatcha – Test Result

Bitcatcha result Lightning Base

Bitcatcha allows you to determine how fast your server is by testing it in 8 different locations around the world.

As you can see, News47ell got a pretty impressive score with a rating of A+

Pingdom – Test Result

Pingdom result Lightning Base

Pingdom is a very popular tool that allows you to monitor the up/downtime of your website. They also provide a tool that allows you to analyze your site, check it’s load time and find any bottlenecks.

As you can see, News47ell’s performance grade is A 95 with a load time of 536 ms.

WebPageTest – Test Result

WebPageTest result Lightning Base

WebPageTest is another popular and much more detailed tool that tests the speed of your site using a wide range of mobile devices as well as desktop, on any browser of your choosing in locations all around the world.

As you can see, News47ell scored 1.539s on the first loading time and 0.231s on the first byte. And A grades across all other tests performed by WebPageTest

SSL Labs Powered by Qualys SSL Labs – Test Result

SSL Labs report Lightning Base

Last but not least there’s Qualys SSL Labs. It’s a test that determines whether your server SSL configuration is done the right way. Scott Helme describes it in a simple way in this article by saying:

‘It’s a great way to get a feel for whether or not you’re doing SSL right.’

As you can see, again, Lightning Base scores an impressive A+ rating.

Hashtag LightningBase

Here are some tweets that people sent out about their experience with Lightning Base.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. Although we are at the end of my Lightning Base review, hopefully, this will be the start of your online journey with this amazing managed WordPress hosting provider.

The amount of love, dedication, and work that Chris put into Lightning Base is unlike anything I have ever seen. It’s truly remarkable.

Chris managed to build a state of the art managed WordPress hosting environment, unlike anything you’ve seen before. Using software that works all together in harmony to create the ultimate hosting experience for everyone using WordPress.

Don’t miss out on experiencing what it’s like to host your WordPress site with Lightning Base and maybe one day, you will write your own Lightning Base review.

Lightning Base


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