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Knownhost Review – Reliable and Cheap WordPress Hosting

Knownhost is a popular hosting provider that offers a wide range of hosting solutions in both the managed and unmanaged categories. They even provide reseller hosting services. Apart from that, they have provisions for domain name registration and domain name transfer. They also offer premium SSL certificates. One of their many hosting solutions is managed WordPress hosting.

This review focuses on their managed WordPress hosting only. We will not cover any other hosting services or other services they have to offer.

Let us begin!

It Is Shared Managed WordPress Hosting

Knownhost’s managed WordPress hosting is not a true managed WordPress hosting like Liquid Web / Nexcess, Rocket.net, WPX, Kinsta, Flywheel, etc. In fact, it is shared hosting with some degree of management.

Unlike in true managed WordPress hosting where everything is cloud-based and you get your separate cloud VPS, Knownhost will not give you such an arrangement. It rather gives you the same arrangement as you find in the case of conventional shared hosting where you share the same server with thousands of other websites and share the same resources.

While it is true that you will have a certain amount of RAM and CPU, they will not be exclusive to your site. On the contrary, you get dedicated resources in truly managed WordPress hosting solutions.

The Core Features of Knownhost WordPress Hosting

The following features make up the backbone of Knownhost WordPress hosting:

Free Migrations

They offer 100% free migrations often without any downtime. So, if you have a lot of websites or if you are the type who like to offload these types of work, free migrations will be an added benefit.

Free Backups

They will offer you full backup services without additional costs. You do not have to worry about backing up your WordPress files and database from time to time. They will take care of those things for you.

Free SSL

They will give you free SSL from “Let’s Encrypt.” It does not matter how many websites you have. You will have SSL for free.

DDoS Protection

They offer 500+ GPS DDoS protection for free. No additional charges for that. It is up and running 24×7, constantly protecting your website from cyber threats.

Imunify360

This, too, is a free service. They offer Imunify360 for their WordPress hosting packages that defends websites from malicious traffics, intrusion attempts, and bots.

Preinstalled Stuff

Their WordPress hosting comes preinstalled with SSH and SFTP access, LSCache (LiteSpeed Cache), Git, and WP-CLI. While you will not need most of these things, LSCache will definitely help you give lightening fast website if you can configure it properly.

Automatic WP Updates

They will perform updates for your WordPress core, plugins, and themes. You do not have to worry about those menial tasks. They will test all new updates before implementing them to your site.

Plesk Control Panel

They do not offer cPanel. It is a dinosaur and resource hog. Knownhost offers the famous Plesk Control Panel that is easy to use and quite powerful. It comes complete with a file manager and all the management tools you need to easily manage your website.

Free Email

You will get free email accounts – as many as you need for your website(s). There is no limit set. You will also have access to webmail using Roundcube.

Unlimited Bandwidth

Knownhost will give you unlimited bandwidth. However, do not get too excited about that. They have a limit on the number of visitors your website can have. The maximum number of visitors allowed per month is 200,000. So, your bandwidth consumption will be restricted to the amount of bandwidth that can be consumed by the number of visitors allowed for your account.

Site Cloning

Almost every true managed WordPress hosting provider will give you the feature of cloning your site design. For instance, Liquid Web has a feature called Stencils, Flywheel will give you site Cloning feature, and so on. Interestingly, Knownhost will give you that feature from the Plesk dashboard.

Site cloning is a great feature when you want to build a similarly designed site, but you do not want to go through the pain of configuring everything from scratch.

The Absentee Features that Do Not Make It a True Managed WP Hosting

Of course, you must have noticed that there are various features missing that you would normally find in any true managed WordPress hosting provider. Some of those features include:

Integrated CDN

Every true managed WordPress hosting provider will give you an integrated CDN offered either by a third party or developed inhouse. Knownhost will not give you any CDN.

Automatic DB Optimization

Almost every known managed WP hosting provider offers this feature. They periodically perform database optimization. You will not find that feature here.

No Staging and Development Environments

Every managed WordPress hosting provider will give you at least the staging environment if not the development environment, as well. Even a staging environment can be used for development purposes.

You do not get any of these with Knownhost’s managed WordPress hosting platform.

Custom Dashboard

Every true managed WordPress hosting company has its own custom dashboard. This is not the case with Knownhost. They use a third-party product called Plesk. A custom dashboard is way easier to work with.

The Plesk Dashboard Walkthrough

Okay, now that you know the features you get and those that you do not get, let us go through the Plesk control panel of the dashboard that you can use for managing your website.

Here is what the first view of the Plesk Control Panel or dashboard looks like:

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On the left, you can see the menu options highlighted by the yellow color. The features and functions that you can access through the menu options can also be accessed from the quick access links you see on the right (marked with red boxed and numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4).

You can add subdomains with ease, access file manager, databases, FTP details, web application firewall, etc. all from the quick access links. In fact, you do not have to use the menu at all unless of course, you really want to use the navigation menu on the left. You will anyway land on the same page as the navigation menu will take you too.

On the first screen, you will notice a horizontally tabbed menu right at the center of the dashboard. Here is a closer look:

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You can access almost everything from here.

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The tab which reads “Hosting & DNS” is from where you get access from DNS settings, Apache & NGINX settings, web hosting settings (such as www or non-www versions, SSL support, scripting language support and so on).

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The Mail tab will give you access to mail settings and allow you to create mail accounts. You can access the same mail settings from menu on the left.

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You can access the file manage either from the left menu or from the shortcuts in the main dashboard window. The same is the case with the database. You can access database (phpMyAdmin and other settings from the left menu or from the main dashboard window.

Check the image above. The options marked with red boxes give you access to the file manager while the options marked with blue boxes give you access to the database settings.

The file manager is very simple with only a few buttons. It is less confusing that what you see in cPanel.

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You have all the features you need to work with your files. The fewer buttons make it less confusing and gives a smoother user experience.

The Statistics tab is quite interesting in the sense that it will give you statistics about your site visitors. You can also see other interesting stats like FTP stats, data transfer stats, and stats on how your website is visited over SSL/TLS.

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The tab also gives you information on how much disk space you have used of the total allocated storage. It gives a break down by the components like database size, log size, and so on.

The Users menu option give you the details of all users and you can also define user roles.

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The admin will have the ability to create new users or remove existing users.

The Account menu gives the overview of the whole account. You will also get access to certain tools. You will mostly not need those tools unless you want to run backups manually or add shortcuts to external applications in Plesk.

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Finally, you will have the WordPress tab in the menu which gives you the details of your WordPress installation in addition to various important tools. This is what the window looks like:

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You can perform various functions like perform scans, update WordPress core, plugins, and theme, you can enable autoupdates and even check for new updates. If you want, you can enable maintenance more.

You can clone your site, take backups or restore backups, turn on search engine indexing or turn it off. You can even log in to your WordPress dashboard directly from inside the Plesk dashboard. Notice carefully and you will see a link called Setup that will allow you to change admin login and password from inside the control panel.

You can even enable password protection for you site, but that is not an ideal thing to do! If you are building your site from scratch, you can always enable password protection to prevent people from accessing it during the development stage. It is more like a makeshift staging environment. However, when your site goes live, using this option will only prevent you visitors from accessing your site, which will lead to a bad user experience.

Overall, the Plesk dashboard is quite simple and easy to use. Even if you have zero experience using Plesk, you can easily find your way around.

Hosting Performance – Speed

I tested the basic website hosted with Knownhost using Google PageSpeed Insights and the test results were pretty impressive. Of course, the testing site has only the default Twenty Twenty-One theme and no content. It does have a very basic caching plugin – WP Super Cache installed.

Here are the mobile and desktop test results:

For mobile:

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For desktop:

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Of course, these results will change when you start adding content including images and videos. The speed will also be impacted when you add ads, Google Analytics, etc. However, you can still achieve high speed with proper optimization.

Overall, the performance for a basic no-content site with no CDN and no advanced caching, was quite impressive. Obviously, the SSD drives did help.

Pricing Plans of Knownhost

Knownhost offers only two managed WordPress hosting plans, and they are:

Managed Entry Level WordPress

  • 50 GB SSD storage
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • 100,000 visitors a month
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 1 site

Managed Business Level WordPress

  • 100 GB SSD storage
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • 200,000 visitors a month
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 1 site

The only thing that goes over my head is how one site and 200,000 visitors a month make a package a business-level package. But that is what they are offering!

Pros and Cons of Knownhost

Like every other service Knownhost has its set of pros and cons. This is what I feel are the advantages and disadvantages of the hosting provider:

Advantages

  • Offers Plesk Control Panel, which is more robust and user-friendly than cPanel. Also, Plesk is not a resource hog.
  • It offers various additional tools compared to shared hosting providers. For instance, you can manage many aspects of your WordPress site directly from inside the Plesk dashboard.
  • It offers DDoS protection and Imunify360 for free, which is something you will not find in usual shared hosting.
  • They use ModSec to offer a web application firewall. That is something that most of the truly managed WordPress hosting providers offer.
  • It comes with integrated email services. So, you do not have to rely on third-party services like Google Workspace. It also saves money.
  • They have free backup and free migrations.

Disadvantages

  • It is still a shared hosting even though certain services are managed. You do not get isolated VPS servers. You will use same resources as other websites on the metal box server.
  • Though they call their WordPress hosting solutions as managed WordPress hosting solutions, they lack some advanced features like staging site, development environments, etc.
  • They even do not provide integrated CDN like all other managed WordPress hosting providers.
  • They have no plan available for hosting more than one site.

Conclusion

Knownhost is a good hosting provider with clearly defined features, especially the number of visitors they allow. If you do not have the budget for true managed WordPress hosting, you can always get Knownhost’s manage for your starter site and experience the benefits of some managed services. It is quite reliable and cheap, and hence, it will not burn a hole in your pocket. I will recommend Knownhost for those low budget but looking for a reliable and easy-to-use WordPress hosting provider. If you are looking for something different, we recommend Chemicloud WordPress Hosting.

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