Pantheon Hosting Review

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8.4

Great

Excellent application-specific host for WordPress and Drupal

WordPress and Drupal are perhaps one of the most widely used CMS out there. They are easy to use and allow for plenty of configurations even for users who are new to these platforms. You may have seen many hosting providers offering all different sorts of plans to bring customers in and also the services that are dedicated to only the WordPress platform. However, today we will be taking a look at another company that likes to do things a bit different.

Pantheon offers a suite of some serious and top quality hosting solutions which are catered to the enterprise level clientele. If you have a website with millions of visitors each month then you simply cannot compromise on performance. What does enterprise level mean though? Well, it essentially means that the hosting environment should be robust and capable of handling any loads that might come through. Additionally, the quality of developer tools that it comes with should be top notch. The customer service is also there for you however and whenever you need it. In simple words, enterprise level hosting isn’t usually for the average joe and those who often go with such a hosting have extensive development requirements. This means that you are limited to dedicated servers, extremely well optimized VPS setups or a cloud hosting setup such as Amazon AWS.

Pantheon has been in the business since 2010 now and is based in San Francisco. They are a web-ops and the team consists of experts who understand both Drupal and WordPress. In this article we will be looking at the different plans and features offered by the company and whether they are a good solution for you. 

Expert Pantheon Review

Pantheon is unique in the sense of the services that it offers to its customers. Still, to see how their performance stands against other hosting providers, we collected data across different metrics. 

With our detailed review of Pantheon’s offering of website hosting solutions, we will be discussing the pros and cons of choosing Pantheon as your hosting provider.

Pantheon General Hosting Overview

Hosting Rank# Out of 35
Hosting PlansBasic Plan, Performance Plan, Elite Plan
Uptime99.95%
PricingStarting at $50
Speed (Desktop)
Speed Mobile(4G)

Time to First Byte - TTFB

First Contentful Paint
Time to Interactive

Support
Website Transfers
Free AddonsFree CDN and Backups
HTTP ProtocolHTTP/2 enabled servers
Web Server

Pantheon Basic Plan

The basic plan with Pantheon starts at $50 per month if you pay monthly or $500 if you plan to pay yearly. Paying yearly will get you a discount. The company also offers preferred pricing to agencies that meet their criteria which drops the costs considerably. With the basic plan, you will get 25,000 monthly visits, 125k monthly pages served, 20 GB of SSD storage, 256 MB of RAM and support for up to 5 domains.

Pantheon Performance Plan

The performance plan is further divided into four tiers. The highest tier in the performance plan is the highest level that you can go with Pantheon without opting for a custom solution. 

Small Plan

With the small performance plan, the pages served and visits allowed are the same as the basic plan with the exception of domains allowed and SSD storage. You can host up to 10 domains and 30 GB of storage. It starts at $175 per month when paid monthly. 

Medium Plan

Going with the medium plan, you will be allowed 50,000 monthly site visits and 250k monthly pages served. For domains, you are allowed up to 15 domains, 50 GB of storage and 512 MB of RAM. This plan will run you $300 per month when paying monthly. 

Large Plan

With a cost of $600 per month when paid monthly, this plan offers 150,000 monthly visits, 750k monthly pages served and support for up to 35 domains. You also get access to 100 GB of SSD storage and 512 MB of RAM.

Extra Large Plan

The extra large plan is the highest tiered plan you can go with on Pantheon. With this plan you get an insane number of 1500k pages served and 300,000 monthly website visits. You also get to host 70 domains and 200 GB of SSD storage along with 512 MB of RAM. This plan will cost you $1000 per month when paid monthly. 

Pantheon Elite Plan

Pantheon does not provide any information or specifics about the elite plan. This is for people who need more than what the regular plans can offer. For the elite plan, you simply need to get in touch with the sales department and they will come up with a custom plan for you.

Here we want to make it absolutely clear that Host Review has a very strict policy of providing unbiased information and accurate data to its readers. An honest review will help you make the right decision with all the pros and cons in mind and figure whether a particular hosting service is suited to your needs or not. 

In this article, we will be looking at pros and cons of going with Pantheon’s offering for WordPress and Drupal hosting. For the purpose of this review, we went with the basic plan and tested the performance using WordPress as the CMS with the default theme. 

Pantheon Enterprise Endorsements

*insert Pantheon endorsement media*

Pantheon Pricing

Since Pantheon offers enterprise hosting solutions, they are priced quite a bit higher than your traditional hosting providers. However, their entire infrastructure is top notch and focused towards the best performance possible. The basic plan starts at a whopping $50 per month if you pay monthly or $500 if you pay yearly. If you are an agency with reseller goals in mind then you can work with Pantheon as a preferred partner, getting hosting at a much cheaper price. With preferred, the basic plan will only cost $29 per month when paid monthly. The core features of all the plans are listed below.


Basic Plan


$50 per month when paid monthly


25K visits each month


125K pages served


20GB of SSD storage

Performance Plan

Small Plan


$175 per month when paid monthly


25K visits each month


125K pages served


30  GB of SSD storage

Medium Plan


$300 per month when paid monthly


50K visits each month


250K pages served


50 GB of SSD storage

Large Plan


$600 per month when paid monthly


150K visits each month


750K pages served


100GB of SSD storage

Ex Large Plan


$1000 per month when paid monthly


300K visits each month


1500K pages served


200GB of SSD storage

Elite Plan

Custom plan with custom pricing

Pantheon Pros

Even though Pantheon started providing its services in 2010, the company has managed to create a name for itself in the world of enterprise hosting solutions and dev ops. They justify the high pricing of their plans with the top notch service that they claim to offer. 

Let’s take a look at some of the pros that you can expect to enjoy if you decide to go with Pantheon as your hosting provider.

Uptime Guarantee

Uptime is a really important metric for any website. As we have explained in some of other reviews before, uptime essentially refers to the amount of time for which a server is up and accessible to visitors. 

Pantheon offers an uptime guarantee with all of its plans, however, the level of guarantee depends on the plan you pick out. For example, in the case of basic plan, they ensure high availability which pretty much explains all of the technology they have set up to ensure redundancy so that there is zero downtime. For the performance customers, you get a guarantee of 99.9% which is not amazing but also not bad either. 

Finally, for those who are on the elite plan get a 99.95% uptime guarantee while you can pay an extra fee to get a 99.99% guarantee. If this guarantee is broken, you will be compensated by getting a credit back from the monthly fee according to the defined SLA (service level agreement).

In our experience, Pantheon has provided a solid 99.99% uptime during the time that we were using their service which is amazing in our opinion. In short, you do not have to worry about uptime with Pantheon.

Blazing Fast Speeds

Pantheon makes use of a few different things to ensure that loading speed is not compromised in any way, whether it is on the backend or the front end. To ensure high speed page caching, every website that is hosted on their platform makes use of the Varnish infrastructure. Redis is also used to improve and accelerate application object caching. 

Since their infrastructure is based on Google Cloud, they can technically achieve speeds of up to 16 Gbps but that is not very likely in real life. Still, an optimized linux environment to deliver the best performance possible along with New Relic integration to help with application performance monitoring. 

Proprietary caching mechanisms and tuned versions of everything ensures that there is no compromise on performance regardless of the traffic you are getting on to your website. 

Enhanced Security

Pantheon has got plenty of features for ensuring a secure environment for their customers. The best part, however, is that all of these features along with a free SSL are included with every plan including the basic one. 

Starting with the features, you have DDoS protection which makes use of a bunch of tricks to ensure that your website never goes down because of a denial of service attack. A firewall, CDN and redundant storage check all of the traffic coming in to make sure that it is safe before it is allowed access to your website. 

Next up is a write lock which ensures that no modifications can be carried out with the corre service code. So if anyone is planning to exploit an application by modifying, they will be unable to do because of the measure put in place by Pantheon. 

Finally, the entire thing is managed by a role based access system and by running web applications inside a container. This means that only people whom you provide access will be able to make any changes depending on the access level you assign them. With a container based system, applications run inside a container of sorts, isolated from everything else and using only the resources required. With this, if something does go wrong, you can simply eliminate a container and respawn it again within a matter of seconds.

Free Sign Up Option

Pantheon offers a free sign up option which is a really great thing in our opinion and we wish that more hosting providers would offer this. All you need to do is drop your email on to theur free sign up form, fill out a few details and you are taken straight to the dashboard. 

You will not have to pay a single penny until the moment where you need to take the website live. Before that time, you can explore everything and familiarize yourself as much as you want. You have the option to either create a new website or migrate one, and migrations are absolutely free if you plan to do it yourself. If you plan to hire the pros are Pantheon then you will have to pay an extra fee but they will take care of everything and move your data over without any downtime. 

Free Testing Environments and Version Control Support

As we mentioned earlier, Pantheon’s offerings are more focused towards expert developers as compared to newbies. To support web developers, the company offers a number of tools and environments to make the process of developing and deploying a website much easier. 

Pantheon offers support for all of the major version control systems such as git. There are also separate areas for testing and staging to make your website deployment process hassle free. For example, if you wish to test out a new feature but worry that it will break your website, then all you need to do is deploy it on the testing environment to make sure everything is working properly. 

Since it is a developer focused plattform, Pantheon defines itself as a PaaS hosting provider or platform as a service. They have everything that a WordPress or Drupal developer would need to get a website up and running. 

 Highly Scalable Environment

Scalability is one of the key features offered by Pantheon. That is why they are one of the best enterprise hosting solutions around. If you have a big website, you simply cannot afford to have a slow experience or worse, to be not available to your visitors at all. 

This is where Pantheon’s excellent scalability comes in. During peak traffic months such as around Black Friday or Christmas season, website traffic can really pick up and any bad experience can lead to lost customers and sales. Pantheon takes care of this by instantly scaling your website to cope with the extra traffic and ensures your website is at optimal performance. 

A Slick Looking Interface

An easy to use and nicely done interface is always a good thing and can in many cases be the deciding factor between choosing a platform. In the case of Pantheon, we were happy to see that each section of the platform, from sign up to the testing and staging areas was very easy to use. 

Setting up our website was a very hassle free experience and we were thoroughly impressed with how simple setting up everything was.

Free CDN and Backups

A lot of hoisting providers are now offering free CDN services and daily backups. This is good because you do not have to speed extra time setting and configuring a CDN or backup procedure. 

For the CDN, Pantheon has partnered up with Fastly. A CDN allows for your website to be mirrored on servers in different parts of the world. Visitors will be able to access the contents of your website quite fast regardless of where they are living in the world. 

For the backups, Pantheon makes sure to make nightly backups of your website each day. This means that in case that something goes wrong, you can have your website back up and running within a matter of minutes.

Pantheon Cons

For the backups, Pantheon makes sure to make nightly backups of your website each day. This means that in case that something goes wrong, you can have your website back up and running within a matter of minutes. 

While Pantheon offers van excellent service, it is not free of cons. While some of these might be subjective, we have no choice but to list them down here so that you know about then before committing to Pantheon’s service.

Developer Focused

As we have mentioned throughout this review, Pantheon is focused more towards developers. This means that while the company’s offerings are packed with features, most of them are geared towards developers and making things easy such as adding code or customizations. 

If you are new to the world of hosting providers and are setting up your website for the first time then Pantheon isn’t for the best choice for you. The documentation can be confusing and there is a slight learning curve to making sure everything works properly. 

Unusual Support Options 

There is no doubt that Pantheon’s customer support is great and better than many other hosting providers out there, however, some of their support methods are just a bit odd. 

Pantheon’s philosophy is that “the best support ticket is the ticket you’ll never need to open” and while we wish that we never had to open a support ticket, in real life you sometimes need to. The very lowest level of support is available to everyone with a plan but it can only be availed via live chat between 9 AM and 5 PM Pacific Time. If this doesn’t work for you then you need to buy a support plan. Yes, you read that correct, you need to pay for extra support. They also do not specify the prices for their support plan and it is decided by Pantheon depending on the scale of your business and the amount of support you need. 

In our opinion, not offering users other methods of support is a con. 

Conclusion

If you are a WordPress/Drupal developer or an enterprise then Pantheon is definitely the solution for you. They have everything to make sure that your website development process is as smoothly as possible. However, Pantheon might not be the best idea if you are new to the world of website hosting and plan to host your first website. Other than that, Pantheon is a solid hosting provider for your WordPress and Drupal needs with excellent performance and reliable protection. 

Good

  • Uptime Guarantee (99.95%)
  • Blazing Fast Speeds
  • Enhanced Security Features
  • Free Testing Environments
  • Highly Scalable Environment
  • Free CDN and Backups

Bad

  • Developer Focused
  • Unusual Support Options
8.4

Great

Uptime - 9.2
Speed - 9.8
Pricing - 6
Support - 8
Free Addons - 9
Howdy, I am Sheikh! a professional Software Engineer and multi-award-winning SEO Consultant, helping industry-leading brands achieve their online goals by supervising & directly implementing SEO practices to boost their overall Search Traffic dramatically.
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